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Personally I cant stand

Personally, I can't stand roller coasters. And I haven't been on one since I was like six -- that experience was traumatizing enough. But one of the things you would think you wouldn't have to worry about is two roller coasters colliding. That's what happened today in Salem, New Hampshire. (I knew I was right not get on another one of those things.)

Dont these jokers have

Don't these jokers have more important things to worry about?

Overland Park, Kansas-based artist Terry Aley put his Condit/Chandra collage painting (pictured here) up for sale on eBay recently. But the painting was ordered removed from the online auction site on Monday after Representative Condit complained about potential copyright infringement. The letter Aley received read in part:

We regret to inform you that your auction: 1448723501 NEW ABSTRACT ART-CHANDRA LEVY & GARY CONDIT has been ended at the request of Representative Gary A. Condit, a member of eBay's Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) Program, because they filed a sworn statement that it offers a product or contains material which violates their copyright, trademark or other rights.
Note to Condit, Dayton et. al: Don't sweat the copyright infringement. Concentrate on effective evidence disposal!

Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!

A reader passes on

A reader passes on a very speculative but very interesting thought. Personal items can often be receptacles of evidence in crimes of violence. We know all about the watch box Gary Condit tossed into a trash can over in Arlington, Virginia hours before police searched his apartment. This was the box for the watch given to him by a former girlfriend who worked on his staff in the mid-nineties.

It was very important to Gary Condit to throw away the watch box. Which raises an obvious question ....

So where's the watch?

Oops The New York

Oops! The New York Times has done precious little reporting on the Condit case; perhaps to their credit, perhaps not -- you be the judge. It's always a little sad, though, when one of the bigs ignores the story for weeks and then manages to get a big fact wrong once they actually take a whack at it.

James Risen's article in today's Times reports on Gary Condit's refusal to meet with private investigators working for the Levy family. (Given the acrimony between Condit and the Levys it's actually not hard to blame him, but that's another story.) At the tail end of the piece Risen reports that the Levy investigators are combing over the Condit timeline.

Here's the last graf (emphasis added):

In the Condit timeline, first made public in June by ABC News, Mr. Condit said that at 12:30 p.m. on May 1, he met with Vice President Dick Cheney at the White House. He returned to his office that afternoon for meetings and phone conversations with his constituents, had a doctor's appointment at 5 p.m., voted on the House floor at 6:30 p.m., and then met with a reporter at a restaurant in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood of Washington, near his home. He and his wife later had dinner at home.
Met with a reporter on May 1st? Really? Has Risen caught any other reporting on the Condit-Levy story in say the last month or so?

Apparently Risen didn't catch my story on this meeting from two weeks ago or Jake Tapper's piece last week. Because we both reported what everyone else now knows: that that meeting took place on the second, not, as the Condit team first alleged, on the first -- a pretty important difference when you consider that that's the day Levy disappeared.

But don't take our word for it. Check out when the Modesto Bee reported on it. Or when ABC News finally reported on it. Or maybe just ask the Condit legal team -- they DISAVOWED it about a month ago.

I mean, c'mon guys, this ain't the Wen-ho Lee story. You've actually gotta report this stuff out.

It may not have

It may not have been the most eye-popping piece on the Condit craziness but this article in today's USA Today may turn out to be one of the more significant. The article reports that the obstruction of justice investigation of Gary Condit seems to be focusing in on two of his long-time aides: Mike Lynch, Condit's Modesto-based Chief of Staff, who's been with Condit since his days in the California State Assembly back into the early 1980s, and Mike Dayton, Condit's Washington-based Administrative Assistant.

We'll be saying more about this very soon. But remember, it's a classic prosecutorial tactic to indict the small-fry on ancillary charges and then squeeze them into rolling on their higher-ups.

And, yes, this probably has a lot to do with that watch-box tossed in the trash can in Arlington, Virginia and the person who drove him there to do the tossing.

If you want some

If you want some good fact-packed backgrounders on the Bush Social Security Commission's interim report, here's where to find them.

The Century Foundation has been carrying the ball on the anti-privatization front for several years now and they've got a series of papers online refuting, responding to, and rebutting various arguments and assertions put forward in the interim report. The folks TCF has doing this work -- Henry J. Aaron, Alan S. Blinder, Alicia H. Munnell -- are unparelleled experts in this field. (Peter R. Orszag I'm not as familiar with, but I'm sure he's top-flight too.) Trust me, these folks are the superstars, the Estella Warrens and Elle MacPhersons of dry-as-bones, but important, public policy wonkery.

And, in case you're wondering, I was an editor for three years at The American Prospect, so I know my dry-as-bones, but important, public policy wonkery!

From the beginning of

From the beginning of the Chandra Levy case, some of the best reporting on the subject has been done by Mike Doyle, the DC reporter for Condit's hometown newspaper The Modesto Bee. Today he's got a thoroughly reported piece in the Fresno Bee on the woman who gave Gary Condit the now-infamous watch (later ditched over in Virginia). The story of their affair is strikingly similar to that Condit carried on with Chandra.

Okay lets walk this

Okay, let's walk this through. Soon after being sworn into office President Bush sent a $1.6 trillion tax cut package to Capitol Hill. The bill was made up of cuts in marginal rates (heavily weighted toward high-income earners), an end to the marriage penalty, and a repeal of the estate tax.

Democrats pressed instead for an immediate tax rebate which would a) be more progressive and b) have a more immediate stimulatory effect in a decelerating economy. The administration lampooned the rebate concept and resisted it strenuously. In late March Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill ridiculed the rebate- for-stimulus idea as a once-tried gambit that "just didn't work." (Wash Times, 3/28/01) Democrats forced the rebate into the president's bill and it soon became the most popular part of the tax cut package.

Now the administration is holding carefully choreographed rebate celebrations around the country. At the rebate pep rally in Kansas City on Friday O'Neill (now a born-again rebateer) marvelled at how the rebates were coming "at exactly the right time to give the softening economy a much-needed shot in the arm. This is a rare instance when fiscal policy hits exactly when it was needed most." (Gannet, 7/20/01) In other words Republicans are harvesting the political benefit of a policy initiative forced upon them by the Democrats.

This is:

a) A shameless hypocrisy on the part of Republicans.

b) Extremely shrewd politics on the part of Republicans.

c) An inexplicable public relations failure on the part of House and Senate Democrats.

d) All of the above.

How many guesses ya need?

Its a bit of

It's a bit of a mystery why everyone thinks the the fact that Vice President Cheney provides an alibi for Gary Condit at midday on May 1st is news. Newsweek played it as a big revelation in this July 20th 'web exclusive'. "Not until today," the authors wrote, "did Cheney’s name surface as a potentially important witness in establishing a precise accounting for Condit’s activities during the moments that Levy is believed to have vanished."

Really? Not until today? What about this sentence from a Daily News article on June 29th?

"On the day she disappeared, according to the Condit schedule given to ABC, the congressman met with Vice President Cheney at 12:30 p.m., spent the afternoon in meetings at his congressional office and went to a 5 p.m. doctor's appointment."
The excuse for calling this news seems to be the idea that we only now know that 1 PM was the last time Levy's whereabouts can be accounted for. But even that's been known for weeks.

All Newsweek has is Cheney's office finally confirming the meeting on the record -- but the reality of this meeting was, as nearly as I can tell, never really doubted.

This article in Sundays

This article in Sunday's Washington Post reports that Hillary Clinton has already raised more than $650,000 for her 'leadership PAC' since she was sworn in last January. If true, this would, of course, run afoul of the rule which says that there's something unseemly about anyone named 'Clinton' raising political money.

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