Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

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Interesting. Coleen Rowley, the FBI 9/11 whistleblower has just announced she's going to run as a Dem against Rep. John Kline (R) in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District.

(ed.note: I came by the information from this post to our 2006 Elections discussion table over at TPMCafe.)

An interesting note from TPM Reader RW ...


In case you hadn't caught this, check out this astounding coincidence.

"MZM opened its doors in 1993, but its first federal contract was a $140,000 deal in July 2002 to provide "office furniture" and "custom computer programming services" for the executive office of the president of the United States, according to the Federal Procurement Data System." San Diego Union-Tribune, June 25th, 2005.

"Wade purchased the boat in August 2002 for $140,000 and officially changed its name to the Duke-Stir – an apparent play on Cunningham's nickname – in January 2003, according to U.S. Coast Guard records." San Diego Union-Tribune, June 28th, 2005.

Small world, ain't it?


Before the whole Duke mess broke out, MZM Inc. was an awfully popular place.

Buried down in Marcus Stern's piece in today's San Diego Union-Tribune is the news that shortly before the CunningScam story broke someone named Kay Cole James had signed on as the company's "senior executive vice president for national security transformation". She just resigned on Friday.

Before signing on with MZM, Kay Cole James was President Bush's highly-controversial Director of Office of Personnel Management.

A few days ago one reader who's well-versed in the federal contracting biz told me he thought MZM's (Duke Cunningham's favorite company) profile looked like it was basically trolling for work. What he meant by this was that the company didn't seem to have any particular specialty as much as it was looking for politically-available contracts and then searching out people to do the work on them.

This came to my mind when I saw this graf at the end of the piece in today's Post ..

Government procurement records show that MZM, which Wade started in 1993, did not report any revenue from prime contract awards until 2003. Most of its revenue has come from the agreement the Pentagon just cut off. But over the past three years it was also awarded several contracts, worth more than $600,000, by the Executive Office of the President. They include a $140,000 deal for office furniture in 2002 and several for unspecified "intelligence services."

Office furniture<$NoAd$>? At the White House?

It's always nice to get a nod. But even without it, we're still happy to see the St. Petersburg Times picked up the story we broke back on the 21st about Katherine Harris's special $32,000 one day haul from Mitchell Wade's MZM, Inc.

Late Update: Meanwhile, this column from today's Charlotte Sun suggests that Harris may have a history of bundled or coerced campaign donations.

In other Aqua-Duke news, the North County Times reports -- rather than sensibly, one would have to imagine -- that under fair market value, Duke would have had to pay rent to live on a boat like the Duke Stir. A boat rental expert consulted by the Times, says Duke avoided paying roughly $9,000 in rent.

Presumably that busts through the 50 buck gift limit.

Could this get a lot bigger?

In Tuesday's paper, The Washigton Post reports that the Pentagon has ordered "a halt in new work for MZM Inc. ... under a contract that has brought the company $163 million in revenue during the past 2 1/2 years."

The article goes on to note Pentagon claims that the halt is unrelated to emerging evidence of the firm's serial flimflammery. But a defense procurement expert quoted by the Post seemed unconvinced.

A very unpopular president.

New CNN/USAToday poll has disapproval at 53%, approval at 45%.

According to CNN, President Bush's worst numbers came on the issue of Social Security. He clocked in at 31% approval and 64% disapproval.

(I'd actually be curious to hear from pollsters out there what the lowest ratings for a president has ever been on any significant issue. I mean, how much lower than thirty percent does it go? With the possible exception of Nixon at the very end of Watergate, how often has a president been under, say, 25% on any issue of significance?)

With numbers like that, is there really any reason imaginable why any Democrat should feel even the slightest need to move even an inch toward accomodation with President Bush's agenda of phasing out Social Security? How unpopular would a president need to be before his unpopularity made it safe to follow the dictates of your own principles?

Want a really good example of why progressive politics in this country is so pitiful and anemic?

Here's a post I just did on it over at TPMCafe.

Check it out.