A Friday afternoon hodgepodge —

(1) I need to think about how I feel about this. Does Congress need a religious caucus? Is there a prayer that it would welcome representatives of both progressive and conservative ideologies? Here’s the LA Times story they mention. And here is The Revealer’s skeptical take on the matter.

(2) If you’re using Inernet Explorer to read page, you might want to know about this newest security flaw. I followed the recommended steps and seem to be clean. But as a friend observed, this might be as good a time as any to switch to Opera.

(3) Daily Kos shows how much Oregon Republicans want Nader on the ballot.

(4) Did Cheney stage a coup? Also from Daily Kos, referring to this Newsweek item:

This is startling information. The vice president ordered the president sent away and took control of the government. There is no other word for this than ‘coup’.

There was a reason Cheney didn’t want Bush testifying to the commission

by himself.

Here’s a segment of the Newsweek piece:

But the question of Cheney’s behavior that day is one of many new issues raised in the remarkably detailed, chilling account laid out in dramatic presentations by the 9-11 Commission. NEWSWEEK has learned that some on the commission staff were, in fact, highly skeptical of the vice president’s account and made their views clearer in an earlier draft of their staff report. According to one knowledgeable source, some staffers “flat out didn’t believe the call ever took place.” When the early draft conveying that skepticism was circulated to the administration, it provoked an angry reaction. In a letter from White House lawyers last Tuesday and a series of phone calls, the White House vigorously lobbied the commission to change the language in its report.

“We didn’t think it was written in a way that clearly reflected the accounting the president and vice president had given to the commission,” White House spokesman Dan Bartlett told NEWSWEEK. Ultimately the chairman and vice chair of the commission, former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean and former representative Lee Hamilton—both of whom have sought mightily to appear nonpartisan—agreed to remove some of the offending language. The report “was watered down,” groused one staffer.

(5) Via today’s Progress Report: Apparetly the Carlyle Group, which has long, deep ties to the Bush clan and to the Saudi royals has purchased Loew’s cineplex Theaters. This nicely packages another component in the military-industrial-media complex.

(6) Al Gore, of “John Kerry’s Coalition of the Wild-Eyed,” delivered this speech to Georgetown University. Among the take-home observations:

I am convinced that our founders would counsel us today that the greatest challenge facing our republic is not terrorism but how we react to terrorism, and not war, but how we manage our fears and achieve security without losing our freedom. I am also convinced that they would warn us that democracy itself is in grave danger if we allow any president to use his role as commander in chief to rupture the careful balance between the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches of government. Our current president has gone to war and has come back into “the city” and declared that our nation is now in a permanent state of war, which he says justifies his reinterpretation of the Constitution in ways that increase his personal power at the expense of Congress, the courts, and every individual citizen.

(7) This just leaves me speechless. Schwarzenegger wants to save the money by killing stray animals sooner.

(8) Via Kevin Drum, a fascinating roundtable on Iraq in the current Rolling Stone.

(9) A match made in heaven — Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama! I’m definitely going to need to make another centimeter of space on the CD rack for this one. (I only ran into that because I was poking around the Rolling Stone Magazine site; why did I stop reading that so many years ago?)

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