Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

It was coming to this. Responding to Sen. Feingold, Sen. Specter is now arguing on the floor of the senate that FISA is unconstitutional. Ergo, President Bush couldn't have been violating the law becuase it's not valid law.

Quite a way for Specter to end his career.

Sen. Frist pushing Feingold's censure motion to the floor.

Late Update: Sen. Feingold spoke, powerfully and eloquently, I must. Now, Sen. Specter is carrying the president's water. A sad moment. Specter is arguing, in essence, that FISA is unconstitutional.

Ahhh, these are troubled days, aren't they?

Two posts below I linked to a piece on RNC Chief Ken Mehlman knocking out a State Department appointee on behalf of his friend Jack Abramoff. In the post I said Mehlman "killed" the appointment.

Now comes TPM Reader AP suggesting that, given that the Abramoff saga does involved at least one actual murder, that I be more careful with my usage.

Wrote AP ...

Given that the current GOP scandalous web extends to real, non-metaphorical murders in Florida, I think I would be reluctant to post that Mehlman "killed" a State Dept. appointment. I understand that you didn't say he killed the appointee, but I did do a double take, and it'd be nice to keep enough bredth in the language to accurately convey the full range of GOP misconduct.

So just to be clear, in case there was any confusion, Mehlman did not actually kill the appointee Allen Stayman on Abramoff's behalf or anyone else's. He merely derailed the appointment, leaving Stayman, presumably, none the worse for wear in physical terms.

Hope this clarifies things.

Okay, so back in January, in one of his many attempts to de-Republicanize the scandal tied to his friend Jack Abramoff, RNC Chief Ken Mehlman said, "When you look at this scandal, there's no question both Democrats and Republicans received money. . . . We shouldn't be pointing fingers."

Well, it's no surprise Ken Mehlman doesn't want any fingers pointed since one of the big fingers would be pointed at him.

As we noted here, Mehlman killed a State Department nomination as a favor/political payback to Abramoff. The favor in question had to do with knocking out a guy named Allen Stayman who'd earlier made it harder for Abramoff to keep the sweatshops running on Saipan.

So here's where we need your help. Ken Mehlman has been serving up lots of bamboozlement on the Abramoff scandal -- how it's not a Republican scandal, how the malefactors should be punished, how he barely knew Abramoff, and so on and so forth.

Gotta good Mehlman quote along these lines? Send them in and we'll post the best.

Mean Jean, the early years.

Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) got a lot of bad press earlier this year for calling Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) a coward. But apparently she's been a bit of a loose cannon going way back. The Hill has a piece today which digs up a 1984 quote in which she said of Liddy Dole "“I hate that woman ... I just can’t stand her."

Of young GOP activists: "They look like young Hitlers to me. … They’re so grim and deadly serious about the cause.”

Bob Ney and John Doolittle leasing fancy cars on the federal dime. That and other news of the day in today's Daily Muck.

Bizarre, ironic, cosmically just?

In the follow-up to the death of Slobodan Milosevic and the inquiry into the nature and cause of his death, there's now this bizarre new chapter of the story out of the Netherlands. Initial reports say that Milosevic died of a massive heart attack. But now a Dutch toxicologist says that shortly before Milosevic's death, blood tests of the imprisoned war criminal showed traces of a drug called rifampicin, a drug which among other things would counter the effects of high blood pressure meds (it kicks your liver into overdrive and breaks them down more quickly).

Now, why would these drugs be in Milosevic's system? Was someone trying to kill him or (what came to my mind first) was this a rather indirect manner of suicide?

Here are the key grafs from the report ...

Uges told Reuters he believed Milosevic took the drugs himself to try to prove that his medical care at The Hague was inadequate in an attempt to go to Russia for specialist medical treatment.

Last month, the war crimes tribunal rejected his request to travel to Moscow for treatment.

"I am so sure there is no murder. There is not any reason for that," Reuters quoted Uges as saying.

"I don't think he took his medicines for suicide -- only for his trip to Moscow. When he was in Moscow he would be free. That is where his friends and family are. I think that was his last possibility to escape the Hague," Uges said.

There's something absurd and petty and somehow silly about it. Perhaps a fitting ending for one of the late 20th century's great and most destructive opportunists.

Another update on the Katherine Harris senate campaign death spiral. This one from Orlando Sentinel DC Bureau Chief Tamara Lytle.