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Ive been a bit

I've been a bit distracted with other things today. But over the course of the day and out of the corner of my eye, I started to realize that the Deep Throat mystery was officially over. It's not just been reported. Or reasoned out, or claimed or triangulated. Late this afternoon, the Post itself even officially reported it, with Woodward and Ben Bradlee confirming that Mark Felt, then #2 at the FBI, was Deep Throat.

It's hard to say what significance it all has historically at this point, though it does shed some new light or at least deepens our understanding of the role the Nixon administration's antagonism with the FBI had in bringing Nixon down.

Whatever it means for history, it's the end to an iconic mystery -- one that for better and sometimes worse was at the heart of what was once the glamor of late 20th century journalism.

As Ive been hyping

As I've been hyping TPMCafe in recent weeks, I've had readers sometimes ask if TPMCafe were replacing TPM or whether TPM is -- I almost shudder to use the phrase -- being phased out.

(And just in case you don't notice that big TPMCafe graphic right there, by all means forget about reading the rest of this post and head over to TPMCafe right now!)

In a word, no. In two words, absolutely not. The sites are and will remain separate. The relationship between the two is obvious, certainly. But TPM will always be where I blog. I'll also be a participant in The Coffee House, the main group blog at TPMCafe. But nothing here should change.

Many of you have noticed or pointed out that the pace of posts here has been somewhat paltry of late. But that's just because a lot of work went into building the thing and various planning and so forth.

And as long as I'm on the subject, when I say 'build', hopefully it goes without saying that I only built this site in the very general sense of participating in building it and setting the process in motion. There are five other people whose names I'd particularly like to mention.

First, my wife, Millet, who in addition to being a wonderful wife and the love of my life, has been involved in every step of this project and whose help has been invaluable.

Second, our good friend Kate Cambor. On an interim basis, she's been doing a lot of the work the associate editor of the new site will do when I finally hire one, which should be in the pretty near future. And in addition to doing all sorts of invaluable work, her assistance has gone a long way to preserving my sanity, such as it is, over the last few weeks.

Next, Matt Ipcar did great graphic design work, which I couldn't be more pleased with, on the site. He designed our new TPMCafe logo, which you see there up at the top of the site.

And finally, two people who in a nuts-and-bolts sense are the two who actually 'built' most of the site, Colin Hill and James Bennett.

To each of them, a very, very sincere thanks.

So I just wanted to clear up any confusion on the first point and thank these people on the other. Now, head on over to TPMCafe and I'll try to get cracking on some more posts here.

Okay enough already. Weve

Okay, enough already. We've been chattering on about it for a couple months now. And with the help of a team of seven, almost three dozen contributors and more than 1500 TPM Readers who helped fund the project, TPMCafe is finally ready to open its doors.

TPMCafe is very much a work in progress. And we wouldn't want it any other way. We've put a lot of time into creating a public meeting place to read about and discuss politics, culture and public life in the United States, a site with both blogs and public discussion areas. But we want your feedback. Let us know what you like and don't like, what's clear and unclear. Join us in shaping what this site becomes.

And this week, as we announced earlier, special guest-blogger, John Edwards.

I was beginning to

I was beginning to think the coming and going of the November election had heralded not only the end of episodic national terror alerts but also the monthly ritual of Iraqi up-is-downism from Vice President Cheney.

Last night on Larry King Live Vice President Cheney said that the Iraqi insurgency was "in its last throes." In this he seemed to be picking up on President Bush's recent claims that the huge upsurge of violence and bombings of late was a sign that the insurgents were on the ropes.

Then, though, Cheney went on to say something ... well, I'm not sure whether to call it 'curious' or almost candid or what. But he went on to predict that the insurgency would end before the president leaves office, or in other words before January 2009, or in yet other words that the US will be fighting a counter-insurgency in Iraq for no more than six years.

And if that means it's in its 'last throes', well ...

How not to get

How not to get annual performance awards (from the Baltimore Sun)...

John Riggs spent 39 years in the Army, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery during the Vietnam War and working his way up to become a three-star general entrusted with creating a high-tech Army for the 21st century.

But on a spring day last year, Riggs was told by senior Army officials that he would be retired at a reduced rank, losing one of his stars because of infractions considered so minor that they were not placed in his official record.


His Pentagon superiors said he allowed outside contractors to perform work they were not supposed to do, creating "an adverse command climate."

But some of the general's supporters believe the motivation behind his demotion was politics. Riggs was blunt and outspoken on a number of issues and publicly contradicted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld by arguing that the Army was overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan and needed more troops.

"They all went bat s- - when that happened," recalled retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner, a one-time Pentagon adviser who ran reconstruction efforts in Iraq in the spring of 2003. "The military part of [the defense secretary's office] has been politicized. If [officers] disagree, they are ostracized and their reputations are ruined."


Garner and 40 other Riggs supporters - including an unusually candid group of retired generals - are trying to help restore his rank.

But even his most ardent supporters concede that his appeal has little chance of succeeding and that an act of Congress might be required.


(ed.note: Note of thanks to TPM Reader DH.)

Flypaper.This from tomorrows Post


This from <$NoAd$> tomorrow's Post ...

The Bush administration has launched a high-level internal review of its efforts to battle international terrorism, aimed at moving away from a policy that has stressed efforts to capture and kill al Qaeda leaders since Sept. 11, 2001, and toward what a senior official called a broader "strategy against violent extremism."


Much of the discussion has focused on how to deal with the rise of a new generation of terrorists, schooled in Iraq over the past couple years. Top government officials are increasingly turning their attention to anticipate what one called "the bleed out" of hundreds or thousands of Iraq-trained jihadists back to their home countries throughout the Middle East and Western Europe. "It's a new piece of a new equation," a former senior Bush administration official said. "If you don't know who they are in Iraq, how are you going to locate them in Istanbul or London?"

Much of what we call al Qaida -- not just al Qaida proper which is at least a somewhat specific entity or association of radical Islamist groups, but the broader movement of violent and extremist jihadism across much of the globe -- was the spawn of the cockpit of brutality and extremism that was the Afghan jihad of the 1980s.

What will this lead to? What will these guys do?

Would take your breath away if you had any left to take.

(ed.note: Note of thanks to TPM Reader BKS.)

Some folks just cant

Some folks just can't let this drop. One of them is Walter Pincus of the Washington Post. And God bless him for it. In today's paper, Pincus has an article detailing how two intelligence analysts responsible for what is probably the single greatest screw-up about Iraqi WMD (the aluminum tubes issue) have received job performance awards in each of the last three years.

It's always important to avoid punishment or scapegoating not tied to specific malfeasance or poor performance. But, as this and other articles amply demonstrate, the screw-up tied to the aluminum tubes wasn't just a bad call made with imperfect evidence. At a minimum, it also involved bad tradecraft on several fronts.

That each of these men could have been given such high commendations over the period of time in which their errors and poor performance became apparent makes it hard not to think that they were actually being intentionally rewarded for their flawed assessments. At a minimum, it demonstrates a complete indifference to any sort of accountability for a national embarrassment and scandal the magnitude of which the country has not even begun to come to grips with.

Almost across the board in this administration, the people responsible for this trail of error and/or untruth have been rewarded while those who resisted it or went along unwillingly have been marginalized, punished or fired.

It's truly a national scandal -- the surface of which has barely been scratched because the institutions with oversight responsibility have vested interest in not revealing what happened.

It's a national scandal for which, as time goes by, we all collectively become more and more responsible.

A TPM Reader chimes

A TPM Reader <$NoAd$> chimes in on Social Security ...

Josh --

I admire the Bushies ability to come up catchy memes and repeat them endlessly (most recently, "Up or down vote.")

Here's my suggestion for what Bush is offering:

His "Nothing For Something"™ proposal.

The government keeps taking the same amount, only the Republicans give the middle class less. No carrot, all stick. Gee, I wonder why people aren't going for this?


Repeat it enough times and I guess it just might work.