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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

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Duke Cunningham even more corrupt than we thought. Prosecutors go back to the bottomless Duke corruption well. That and other news of the day in today's Daily Muck.

If you're a regular reader of this site you've probably been noticing an increasing frequency of posts with that little "TPMmuckraker.com Advance Copy" icon stuck in the text. And, if you look closely at those posts, you'll see that my name doesn't appear in the signature at the bottom.

So let me explain what that's all about.

Back in November -- which seems like a very long time ago -- I told you that I wanted to "launch a new blog dedicated to chronicling, explaining and reporting on the interconnected web of public corruption scandals bubbling up out of the reigning Washington political machine."

We did a fundraiser and got contributions for the project from almost 3000 TPM Readers. And now we're about ready to get started. As promised, we hired two full-time reporter-bloggers for TPMmuckraker.com, one based out of our new office in New York and another based in Washington, DC.

Paul Kiel you've already gotten to know through the Daily Muck column he's been writing every morning over at TPMCafe. Paul has worked at Harpers and written for L Magazine. And he had some key experience working as a paralegal at a law firm specializing in white collar defense work. So that comes in handy for him as he's making his way through an indictment or sentencing memorandum. Paul had good experience for the job and he came well recommended. But I hired him mainly because the letter he wrote applying for the job and then some sample posts I had him write made me think he got how this works -- digging for muck, looking for that delicious Duke Cunningham-worthy detail. And I haven't been disappointed.

Then just two days ago, our second full-time reporter-blogger came on the job. Justin Rood, formerly of Congressional Quarterly and Government Executive magazine, will be reporting for TPMmuckraker.com from Washington, the veritable den of iniquity itself. I met Justin a few years back when I still lived in DC. And we've corresponded off and on since then, particularly about his interest in so-called collaborative or open-source journalism (the sort of stuff we did with the DeLay Rule or the Social Security fight last year). Even with the generous support of TPM Readers, we still had to put this operation together on a pretty modest budget. So we didn't have a lot of money to throw around. And we needed to make every hire count. With all that in mind, I hired Justin because I wanted one of those reporters who just works the phone and finds the sources and scours the documents until he runs the story to ground.

So, that's our team. Justin and Paul. I'll be general editor in the background, with Kate Cambor as Managing Editor.

We plan to get underway next week. The Daily Muck and these Advance Copy posts we're doing here will all be rolled into the new site, along with our Document Collection, a collection of bios of all the major scandals players and a bunch else. We won't be launching with any fanfare or announcement or glitz. If all goes according to plan, we'll just start rounding up the corruption news of the day and breaking stories.

Now, one other point I'd like to make. I had the idea to start this new site for a few different reasons. One was that I'd like to have a site like this that I could read. Another was that I've been increasingly interested in blogs as a hybrid form of journalism.

But the most immediate reason is this: Most of the stuff I come up with on TPM starts with readers -- tips, insights that shed new light on already reported stories, pointers to articles, scuttlebutt that a little reporting can turn into hard news. I've discussed this before on the site. But the stream of emails we get into the site everyday is a resource of simply inestimable value -- something journalists with conventional publications just don't have access to. But as the site has grown, the volume of tips and leads has grown. But my ability to run them down has remained pretty static. So lots of good leads and stories just go unpursued.

But I figured that with a couple hungry reporters who could devote themselves to doing this full-time and a few interns to help them, we could bust open a lot more stories, make more trouble and just have a lot more fun. So that's what we're going to try to do.

From you, here's what we need. Keep the tips coming. It's as easy as clicking the comments link and shooting us a quick email. They all get read. Are you up on the hill? Tell us the scuttlebutt you're hearing. Keep us posted. Have a lead for a story? Want to discreetly pass it on? Let us know. Have documents? We want documents. See a story that needs more attention? Drop us a line and we'll get right on it.

They've got muck; we've got rakes.

This is a post to let you know that I exercised some self-control and didn't do the post about how Gateway Computers has made a covert pact with Satan to sell substandard computer hardware and back it up with service so bad it is guaranteed to push even a relatively well-balanced individual to the brink of insanity. Just wanted to let you know that.

Strobel and Landay at Knight-Ridder: "U.S. intelligence agencies repeatedly warned the White House beginning more than two years ago that the insurgency in Iraq had deep local roots, was likely to worsen and could lead to civil war, according to former senior intelligence officials who helped craft the reports. Among the warnings, Knight Ridder has learned, was a major study, called a National Intelligence Estimate, completed in October 2003 that concluded that the insurgency was fueled by local conditions - not foreign terrorists - and drew strength from deep grievances, including the presence of U.S. troops."

Wait, White House ignored warnings from Intel pros, lied to the public about the warnings and then paid the price? I've been in this movie before.

Actually, I guess, we all pay the price.

Sen. Burns (R-MT) mixes it up a bit, says President Bush has skull of "solid granite".

Ignorance of the law is no defense. How about ignorance about what you did?

In the department of 'you can't make this stuff up': Scooter Libby, lawyer, foreign policy hand, author and Dick Cheney's personal one-man heat shield, has hired a memory loss expert to assist in his defense.

Harvard psychology professor Daniel L. Schacter is the guy who got the call.

Maybe Scooter can consult one of Schacter's books, The Seven Sins of Memory.

Peter Galbraith: "In his State of the Union address, President Bush told his Iraq critics, 'Hindsight is not wisdom and second-guessing is not a strategy.' His comments are understandable. Much of the Iraq fiasco can be directly attributed to Bush's shortcomings as a leader. Having decided to invade Iraq, he failed to make sure there was adequate planning for the postwar period. He never settled bitter policy disputes among his principal aides over how postwar Iraq would be governed; and he allowed competing elements of his administration to pursue diametrically opposed policies at nearly the same time. He used jobs in the Coalition Provisional Authority to reward political loyalists who lacked professional competence, regional expertise, language skills, and, in some cases, common sense. Most serious of all, he conducted his Iraq policy with an arrogance not matched by political will or military power."

A pretty crisp and concise description of a man who has been an utter failure as a leader, in almost every respect unimaginable. Hubris, ignorance, inability to lead or make hard decisions. The list is as bleak as it is long.

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