Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

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.

Great moments in improbable causation!

Sen. Santorum says priestly pedophilia is rooted in culture of academic liberalism ...

It is startling that those in the media and academia appear most disturbed by this aberrant behavior, since they have zealously promoted moral relativism by sanctioning "private" moral matters such as alternative lifestyles. Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.

I think this piece from 2002 made <$NoAd$> the rounds back a couple years ago. But I picked it up from these folks this morning.

One party state watch: Congressional Republicans warn Major League Baseball against allowing George Soros to take an ownership stake in the Washington Nationals.

Roll Call reports that the following from Government Reform Chair Tom Davis (R-VA): "I think Major League Baseball understands the stakes. I don't think they want to get involved in a political fight ... I don't think it's the Nats that get hurt. I think it's Major League Baseball that gets hurt. They enjoy all sorts of exemptions" from anti-trust laws.

Do these jokers need to be reminded of the constitution's prohibition of bills of attainder.