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

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.

We've become so desensitized to Bush Administration bamboozlement that it's almost easy to overlook the ironic juxtaposition of the White House pumping up claims of improvement in Iraq while the President makes yet another secret trip there this weekend in which he is unable to leave the confines of a U.S. base.

That's not to say that once American officials start publicly announcing their trips in advance and venturing into Iraqi-controlled territory we can conclude that Iraq has improved. These guys would not hesitate to stage such trips just to drive home the point that Iraq is now safe and stable. But the fact that the Administration cannot engage in those kinds of theatrical stunts tells you all you need to know about how bad the situation in Iraq really is.

Last month, the White House argued in federal court that its own Office of Administration was not subject to FOIA, even though the White House website said otherwise. The White House website has now been changed.

The Iraq War is spawning its own lexicon, and just as in Vietnam some of the richest new terms are euphemisms which unintentionally highlight the absurdity of the situation. Today we are introduced to the "mini-benchmark."

Signaling a major change in negotiation strategy, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says his demands for a firm commencement date for troop withdrawals from Iraq this coming spring has become an "obstacle" and that he is willing to compromise with Republicans on the issue.

Late Update: Reid's spokesman responds to our query about his remarks, leaving little doubt that he's open to the possibility of funding the war this fall without withdrawal timelines. --gs