David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

The rumored short list of potential attorney general nominees doesn't include DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff any longer.

Apparently the push-back from the Senate GOP leadership has convinced Larry Craig to soften his stance about staying in the Senate--but he hasn't completely given up retaining his seat. It would take a confluence of unlikely events--successful withdrawal of his guilty plea and a quick dismissal of the case--for Craig to be able to resolve (or would that be re-resolve?) his legal case by September 30, a reality that Craig's spokesman is now acknowledging.

The Hill explores the relationship between Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Alaska businessman Bob Penney. An earmark here. A sweetheart land deal there. Pretty soon you're talking real muck.

Passed on without comment:

Supporters of Sen. Larry Craig with the American Land Rights Association are calling for a boycott of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport.

The Battle Ground (Washington) based association says airport police who arrested the senator in a men's room sex sting are responsible for weakening private property rights in the West. Craig is a Republican member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Late Update: More on the boycott from the website of the American Land Rights Association (.pdf):

By ambushing Senator Larry Craig, the Minneapolis St Paul Airport Police have effectively declared war on the West. They are primarily responsible for greatly weakening private property rights and Federal land use advocates in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and in Congress. We are urging you to make all your flight arrangements avoiding the Minneapolis-St Paul Airport for at least the next year and probably longer. We’ll keep you posted as the boycott develops. Urge your friends, neighbors and fellow workers to try to avoid any flights that take them through Minneapolis St Paul Airport. We must inflict economic pain on the airport authorities to get them to change their behavior. -----And they must apologize to Senator Larry Craig.

Ted Stevens, Republican Senator from Alaska and noted climate specialist:

Stevens, while acknowledging the impact of global climate change, said he believes the worst may be over.

"We're at the end of a long, long term of warming. 700 to 900 years of increased temperature, a very slow increase. We think we're close to the end of that. If we're close to the end of that, that means that we'll starting getting cooler gradually, not very rapidly, but cooler once again and stability might come to this region for a period of another 900 years," Stevens said.

In explaining to KTUU why he had softened his previous hard-line stance on global warming, Stevens said:

"Evolved to the point, I think there is a contribution of mankind to the warming cycle. But I've also been convinced now by our scientists that that the basic cycle itself is a natural one that been going on as I said for 700 to 900 years and we have to learn to live with that," Stevens said.

Thanks to Uncle Ted, Alaskans who feared bearing the brunt of some of the most dramatic climate changes can rest easy now. (Thanks to TPM Reader TM for the link).

In a swipe at the GOP Senate leadership, Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) sent one of his attorneys, Stan Brand, onto the Today show this morning to call for the complaint against Craig filed with the Senate Ethics Committee by the GOP leadership to be dismissed.

Late Update: Craig's lawyers have followed up now with a letter to the Ethics Committee:

Lawyers for Senator Larry Craig of Idaho delivered a letter to the Senate ethics committee Wednesday asking the committee to reject a complaint relating to his guilty plea in an airport sex sting operation. The move opens a potentially ugly battle between Craig and the Republican leadership, as Craig reconsiders his plans to resign from the Senate.

Citing a Republican leadership aide says, the AP is reporting that Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-OH) was found dead in his apartment Wednesday (via CNN).

Late Update: The Hill has sources who say the cause of death was an apparent heart attack.

Is the D.C. Madam attempting to raise the graymail defense? Or is it the throw-everything-against-a-wall-and-see-what sticks defense? From the WaPo:

The woman accused of being the D.C. Madam now argues that the fact that Muslim men used her elite, Washington-based escort service before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks might have played a role in the government's effort to prosecute her.

Deborah Jeane Palfrey says she might need to divulge classified information that has sensitive national security implications -- perhaps including the identities of Middle Eastern customers -- to defend herself against the charges. She is asking a federal judge for a hearing behind closed doors to discuss the information as it relates to the government's charges.

I'm not sure where this is going. A grand unified theory of scandal, perhaps? Warrantless wiretapping of Muslim men after 9/11 led to the interception of information indicating some Muslim men used a D.C. escort service, which led to the investigation of Palfrey, which led her to divulge that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) was a client of her escort service. Therein may be a defense for Vitter: If I resign, the terrorists have won.