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We just started the

We just started the second edition of our new TPMCafe Book Club this mornign.

This week we have author Larry Diamond talking about his new book Squandered Victory, essentially an insider's account of the poor planning, mismanagement and incompetence that bedevilled the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. Diamond is a foreign policy hand with an expertise in democratization and, I think, also a Democrat. But he's a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. And through that connection, he became friends with Condi Rice.

It was Rice who contacted him about six months after the end of the war to ask if he'd go to Iraq as an advisor to the CPA.

The book is his story of what he saw there. And he's just started the discussion of the book this morning.

If you'd like to join in and ask Diamond your own questions, stop by.

The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal oped page -- the folks who brought you 'Karl Rove, Whistleblower' -- have unearthed the evidence of liberal bias in Bob Novak's on-air meltdown last week. Only Novak was sent to the penalty box, not Carville! And after all, Carville provoked him, right?

Actually, what's interesting here is that even if Novak was trying to re-prove himself as a tough guy in the eyes of the Journal hyenas, they seem to have gotten the message that he's not able to defend himself.

In any case, one other thing jumped out at me about the Journal's quick-and-dirty piece. Writes the Journal: "But far from "watching" Mr. Novak, we've defended him while the rest of the press corps has assailed him for doing his job and breaking the news about Valerie Plame's role in getting her husband Joe Wilson a job as a CIA consultant."

Now, I grant you that keeping tabs on all the falsehoods on the Journal oped page would amount to a Sisyphean task. But here we seem to have a bonus falsehood wrapped into the larger campaign of falsehood. "A job as a CIA consultant." Did Wilson ever have a job as a CIA consultant? I think that implies being paid. Whatever else one can say about the man, his trip to Niger or anything else, I believe there is an uncontested and never questioned record that the man was never paid anything but the expenses of the trip.

This is simply another intentional inaccuracy meant to support the larger inaccuracy that the fact-finding trip was a boondogle put together by his wife.

Lies beget lies and yet more lies. And eventually you have a whole oped page.

Switchboard call log update.

Switchboard call log update.

Last night I asked if folks with experience at the White House could give us some sense whether the Rove claim about the call logs was credible (see post below).

I heard from a number of readers, nearly all of whom did not find it credible, for various reasons.

However, the person I heard from who is in the best position to know (personal experience, etc.) told me that in fact that is how the log system operates and thus that the claim that the call was not logged because it came in through the switchboard is credible. So until I hear otherwise I think at least that very narrow question is settled.

This passage comes at

This passage comes at the end of Mike Isikoff's piece on who will have authority over the Fitzgerald investigation now that Deputy Attorney General James Comey has left for the private sector ...

Fitzgerald recently called White House aide Karl Rove's secretary and his former top aide to testify before the grand jury. They were asked why there was no record of a phone call from Time reporter Matt Cooper, with whom Rove discussed the CIA agent, says a source close to Rove who requested anonymity because the FBI asked participants not to comment. The source says the call went through the White House switchboard, not directly to Rove.


My understanding is that <$Ad$> this issue is becoming a key one for whatever it is that Fitzgerald is trying to prove. But is this credible? Do White House phone logs not get kept just because they come in through the White House switchboard? I've never worked there of course. But that seems hard to believe. There's really little point in keeping logs unless they are at least fairly comprehensive -- you look back and you know who you did talk to, when, and who you didn't. And lots of calls must come in through the switchboard.

So this is a question to various friends and sometime sources who've worked this White House and others. Does this switchboard call story make sense to you?

Here for no particular

Here, for no particular reason other than that I was cleaning out my desk, is my own special piece of "Jeff Gannon" history (certainly destined for the TPM archives) ...



Given to me by the man himself, during President Bush's acceptance speech at last year's Republican National Convention.

Drudge says Mike Allen

Drudge says Mike Allen of the Post has accepted a job covering the White House for Time.

If true, it's a huge loss for the Post. The daily political press is filled with more than a few time-servers and many more who have difficulty seeing beyond the narrow minutiae of what they're covering or the iron chains of conventional wisdom. But Allen is consistently good, day in and day out, in most all the ways I can think of to judge a political reporter.

I fear though that this isn't just a loss for the Post but also a loss for me and everyone else who counts on good political reporting. I know I'll hear from my friends at the news weeklies about this. But it's not clear to me that the sort of daily and detailed coverage of the big political stories of the day -- that he excels at -- can be duplicated in the very different, and sometimes sanded-down, big-picturish format of the weekly news magazine.

Here is the full

Here is the full page in which Joe Wilson's entry appears in Who's Who.

I will try to do a post later on explaining why the whole commotion over Valerie 'Plame's' mention in the bio is simply an attempt on Novak's part to confuse the issue. It does have some value, however, in as much as it seems again to show Novak's mendacity.

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