House Oversight Committee Liveblog – Rocket’s Red Glare

Folks, I have been a pitiful guest host the last two days, and for that I apologize. There was a medical issue in my family that arose on Monday and it has turned into a nightmare. This country needs to find it’s way to a single payer universal healthcare process as soon as possible; else otherwise rational citizens are going to exercise that much ballyhooed Second Amendment right to bear arms and they are going to use them on the health insurance industry. That is all I am going to say for now; perhaps I will revisit all of this at a later date, but what I have seen and been exposed to the last day and a half is eye opening. Even to someone that deals with bad systems as a career, it is eye opening when it is actually you and your family in the breech.

A couple of people have inquired about a liveblog on the Clemens hearings. I was initially fairly uninclined to do that here because we usually deal with more important subjects. But I am fed up with FISA and the dereliction of duty of our Congress on that issue. I also have some time on my hands for a while today and think that there are many issues that really are important that are in play in the Clemens mess; so here we go. I will be posting some updates to the main post and will be here ready to engage and answer any question i can, the best I can in the comments. Feel free to rant and to question.

Update On Constitutional/Due Process Concepts At Play Here: Okay, even I am about Clemensed out after today’s hearing, but I want to take just a minute to point out the legal principles I see at play here that I think should be understood and kept in mind.

First off, if the Federal government thinks Roger Clemens was seriously involved in steroid and HGH use and promulgation, investigate and prosecute him. But the government doesn’t give a rat’s ass about that, they are hot after Clemens because he had the audacity to challenge the God/Petraeus like Mitchell report. And make no mistake about it, if you can’t believe the Clemens portion of the Mitchell report, you have to wonder about the the whole thing (save for a few general recommendations) and the quality of work that went into it. As I said below in the comments, the Congress is vested in the Mitchell report Very heavily, because they think it was the implementation of their last little dog and pony show with McGwire, Sosa and Palmeiro (by the way, you don’t see any of those guys being hammered like Clemens do you?) and because George Mitchell is very close to many in the Congressional leadership including, most notably, Henry Waxman. This is all about bucking up the Mitchell report and, additionally, the work of Novitsky, who is in the middle of the whole mess and the Barry Bonds portion, whom they are dying to nail.

The main issue that bugs the bejeebies out of me on this mess is a concept in criminal law known as "parallel prosecution". Simply put, what this means is multiple prosecutions, by multiple coordinated governmental entities, of one individual, at the same time, usually in an effort to gain advantage over him or deny his ability to effectively defend himself. There are many examples of this in the law, the layman simply doesn’t think about it in those terms, so never really grasps the implications. One common example in drug crimes is the attempt by the government to civilly seize and forfeit the defendant’s property so that he has to give testimony and answer questions in order to keep his property while they are prosecuting him on the underlying criminal case where, of course, he has a 5th Amendment right to silence and to make the government prove his case. The problem with this is that the government is using an artifice to breach the defendant’s 5th Amendment right against giving testimony against himself. If he doesn’t stand in and give testimony and subject himself to full examination, he loses his property because of an alleged crime he has not even been convicted on; if he does fight, he is opening himself up to examination that can be used against him.

This is the problem with the Clemens scenario. Clemens was the big fish in the Mitchell report and, make no mistake about it, Mitchell needed a big fish for his report, and preferably a white one to offset some of the complaints made about the major focus on Barry Bonds in the past. It is my understanding that Mitchell did not originally want to name individuals in his report, but id so after being urged very strongly by congress and MLB to do so. The second that Clemens exercised his right to say "Hey, thats not right, I am innocent", the weight of the world was reigned down on him. He immediately was accused of lying and became the subject of discussions of criminal charges because he was challenging the credibility of the mighty Mitchell report. But Clemens was not afforded the opportunity to have the Government put up or shut up with their evidence against him and to have his right to test that evidence for weight and veracity. Instead, he was immediately under the combined microscope of the IRS, FBI, DEA and the Department of Justice (yes they are all actively involved in this; you just don’t hear about it). Then, to top it off, the United States Congress starts getting in on the act and compelling testimony under oath. Before he has ever been charged with any crime. All because he had the audacity to say "I am not guilty". And all of this, at the time of the Mitchell Report, was based on the unsubstantiated tales of a known, proven liar and suspected rapist, with no physical evidence and no corroboration. That is pretty chilling if you ask me.

So, the net result of the above is that the government is using both civil and congressional proceedings in order to pursue a criminal case against Clemens. This is not only unseemly, and a terrible waste of Congressional resources, it may be legally improper; we will see how the facts flesh out when IRS agent Novitsky is finally cross-examined on how he has conducted this witchhunt. So, to wrap up this part, what the government has succeeded in doing is to shift the burden of proof from the government (where the burden should always be, and to a reasonable doubt standard, according to the Constitution, to Clemens, the putative defendant. As a believer and adherent to the Constitution, I find this abhorrent.

Now, for Bay State Liberal, Gulf Coast Pirate and Neil (who I have missed lately) here is how I could potentially explain McNamee being honest on Petitte and Knoblauch and not about Clemens. Actually, if you have been around criminal law and aggressive federal investigators much, it is pretty easy to see such a scenario. Here goes the first one off the top of my head. This is not a new investigation; it has been going on for years. It is, in fact, the BALCO investigation that has been after Barry Bonds for years (which, by the way, makes all this babbling about Congress referring, or the DOJ initiating, an investigation laughable. There already is an ongoing investigation; this is flat out stupid talk) and which has also rolled up Victor Conte and Marion Jones. The over zealous, and from what has been described to me by people that have been close to different parts of this over the years, ethically dubious thug, IRS agent Jeff Novitsky has been co-opted, along with many other governmental assets, to assist a completely private business matter, the Mitchell report being done for the baseball owners (of which Mitchell is an owner; a pretty substantial conflict).

Here is how it could have played out. The Mitchell report had to have a big name fish if they were going to name names at all, which, as related above, was pretty much demanded by Congress and MLB. So Novitsky works over his stoolie, MacNamee for a big name. It is pretty much uncontroverted that Novitsky had been working MacNamee for a quite some time, without anything being related about Clemens. MacNamee wants to insure that he isn’t prosecuted. Novitsky tells him, well, that is all well and good, but you will be charged and you will go to prison (remember MacNamee has already admitted serious controlled substance crimes by this point) if you don’t give us someone big. He says "gosh i don’t know any", to which Novitsky says "you better come up with one, or go get your toothbrush for your prison cell." So MacNamee conjures up the Clemens stuff, knowing that it will fit in and look believable sandwiched with the Petitte and Knoblauch information, which appears to be partially true. Now, before you go saying that is patently ridiculous, keep in mind that MacNamee is on record, himself, saying exactly that on at least one, if not multiple, occasions. So, when people babble "why would MacNamee lie when he could face prosecution" the answer is simply because he was facing prosecution if he didn’t lie. Oh, by the way, the rumor on the criminal trial lawyer streets I still walk every now and then, is that Novitsky allegedly has a history of exactly this type of behavior; some of it in the BALCO case. To be honest, I would wager pretty good money that his scenario is pretty close to what happened. Despite all that, Clemens is likely guilty; I just loathe the heavy handed dubious way the government is going about it all.

243 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    The opening statements by both the committee leaders and the two witnesses are, thankfully, fairly brief. The committee is incensed, want to protect the children (why won’t they freaking insure their health and fix their educational system then?), is concerned about the integrity of the Mitchell Report and is concerned about everything. For the children of course. Clemens and MacNamee both want everyone to know what great guys they are and how they are here for the truth. And the children. Both stick to their story. Elijah Cummings thinks he is a criminal prosecutor, but is doing a semi-decent job in that role. Tough questions.

    • phred says:

      Thank God for the children. Can you imagine where this government would be without them??? ; )

      Sorry to hear of your troubles bmaz, best wishes to you and your family.

      • bmaz says:

        Thanks Phred, funny thing is, I am more upset and pissed about the insurance issues than I am the underlying problem, which is outrageous. To be honest, i keep thinking about Jane Hamsher and remembering her writing about her insurance issues; It both soothes me a little and makes me double mad, all at the same time. I am self employed, and do not pull in the fees I used to because simply no longer want to put in the 60 hour weeks that I did with a full trial practice. but still, we are certainly not among the poor, and if we (Jane too, I would think) can be up against this insurance wal; what the hell is it like for the majority of Americans who not only have less resources, but are not trained to fight as their job title? Very depressing.

        • phred says:

          I’m with you there on the insurance issue. Up here in MA we now have mandatory health insurance, when what we need is mandatory health care. Regrettably political people cannot distinguish the difference.

        • sojourner says:

          BMAZ, I hope the health issues resolve soon… They are hard enough to deal with without having to deal with the insurance BS!

          I have a close friend who retired last year from a large corporation. For years, she paid for an extended care insurance policy that she continued the premiums on. Several months after she retired, she was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, and it has been very aggressive. She has had to go into a nursing home, but that long-term care policy she was paying on? They are fighting it…

          • bmaz says:

            Don’t know if you have seen any of the stuff going on with Blue Cross in California, but these insurers need ot be given the heave ho. They are a cancer of their own right on the American people.

            • JimWhite says:

              How can we move the discussion past “insurance coverage to all” to “single payer”. It’s obvious that if we remove another level that insists on a 30% profit margin from the system, everyone can get healthcare for much less overall cost to society.

            • sojourner says:

              I have not seen anything on BCBS of California… I think all health insurance companies have taken the attitude that they will just deny anything and everything and dare you to fight it.

              Good luck with whatever you are having to fight!

  2. GeorgeSimian says:

    Why are the Feds so up in arms about perjury in the Clemens crap, but when it comes to perjury from Bush officials, they don’t seem to notice – even though just as many people are screaming “lies”? I don’t see any plans to indict Alberto Gonzales on his perjury. It’s totally depressing.

    • bmaz says:

      Man, that is the 64 gazillion dollar question isn’t it?? There are a whole litany of Bush officials that ought to have been put through this wringer. How about McConnell and hayden who have patently lied and misled Congress several times on the FISA deal, yet we just rammed a huge sweeping seminal bill through Congress yesterday without ever getting to the bottom of that. Rocket, though, has to be put in the star chamber. Bizarre.

      • selise says:


        i think it makes perfect sense, when one considers that today’s hearing is every bit as much kabuki as mukasey’s recent testimony before the HJC.

  3. JohnForde says:

    The problem is very simple:
    Our health care system does not exist to keep people healthy.
    Our health care system exists to keep corporations healthy.

  4. selise says:

    having an illness in the family certainly focuses one’s attention on what is truely important.
    (((bmaz & family)))

    p.s. i was just reading the weblogging rule book and i’m quite sure it said that guest posters are entitled to post on what ever topic is of interest to them. *g*

  5. GeorgeSimian says:

    Why is this baseball crap even in Congress? How is this even their business? Are they planning on issuing some law about something? Isn’t taking this stuff illegal and/or against the rules already? What are the important issues being discussed here, Emptywheel? Perjury?

    • Xenos says:

      Why is this baseball crap even in Congress?

      My best Pollyanna reading of this would be that with a new, high profile perjury case, Waxmand & co. intend to put public integrity back in the spotlight. Then moving on to issuing subpeonas, they can argue that a process good enough for Clemens is good enough for Meiers, Bolton, and so on. So, what looks like a ridiculous diversion is part of a very clever plan to seize the initiative and to begin putting the squeeze on the administration.

      Oh screw it, even as a fantasy it demands too much imagination.

    • bmaz says:

      Please do. This thread is open season for anything anybody wants to bring up. If you want, I will make a thread for that. Quite frankly it is far more important; I just kind of overloaded on it and needed to step back for a little bit so I could figure out where I think thing could/should go from here. I do think that it is still kabuki though, although maybe better than we got in the Senate. The result will be the same in the end though.

      • selise says:

        thanks bmaz – just the occassional update is all i had in mind (especially as i won’t be able to stay by the computer today anyway). although, as per recent sop, i am recording events via c-span1 in case there is anything worth posting to youtube.


        last night the house rules committee met after 7pm to put through a rule to allow consideration of a bill from conyers that will extend the PAA another 21 days.

        this morning the rule is the first item on the house agenda and so far there have been two votes on calling for the house to adjourn (the Rs appear to be playing hardball). now debating has begun (on the rule).

        written updates can be found in the floor summary from the house clerk.
        rule is H.Res. 976.
        bill from conyers is H.R. 5349 (pdf).

    • phred says:

      I would really appreciate it selise. I’ll only be in and out today, so won’t be able to follow things myself…

      • selise says:

        OT – i’ve compressed feingold’s speech from monday, and will post it to youtube later today (sorry it wasn’t done yesterday). and hopefully will get a couple of clips up from dodd, as previously promised (i haven’t forgotten).

        • phred says:

          You’re the best selise — thanks!

          By the way, how does adjournment help the R’s in the House? Are they trying to force PAA to expire? That would be good, then the House could drop the whole thing ; ) I know, chronic wishful thinking, just like Xenos above ; )

  6. GeorgeSimian says:

    I meant to ask bmaz, what are the important issues being discussed here? I don’t get it. The children?

    • bmaz says:

      In some regards, the issue of steroids is germane, even for the kids, but the emphasis is way out of proportion. Kids are dying from children’s cough syrups, where are the hearings on that?.. So to me, a couple of the things that are of import here are 1) the focus of Congress; both what it is and what it should be and why and 2) How all of this plays into the criminal justice system, the role of prosecutors and investigators, and due process to criminal suspects. And there are very significant issues in that regard. I am going to do a couple of paragraphs on this and update the main post in a bit. There are a ton of Constitutional issues with the Clemens ordeal that actually go to many of the ills we complain of daily about the DOJ under the Bushies.

  7. BooRadley says:

    bmaz, thanks, very sorry to hear about your experiences with the health care system.

    My forlorn hope is that the Clemens hearing can be a point in the educational trajectory of American’s about the authority of Congress. If they can dig down into this level of detail about Clemens, they can (for example) ask Scooter some questions.

          • bmaz says:

            Heh heh. I am good to go; just supremely frustrated. All of the work that Marcy, Christy, Jane, Greenwald, me, you, and all of us have done since last summer and we got a whole fucking 29 Senators willing to stand for the Constitution. Far as I can tell, we lost ground in the process, not gained it; it is depressing.

            • selise says:

              since last summer

              lol – it’s been almost two years for me. i started lobbying my senators to support Feingold’s censure resolution with RevDeb and Prof. Foland in early 2006.

              but seriously, i’m seeing an improvement in the the effort being expended to fool us with their kabuki. that means we’re having an impact (although not as great as we would wish). i just hope we can continue to see through their spin and kabuki. that is my goal and why i try to watch as carefully as i am able.

              thanks for understanding why i’ve kinda developed an obsession with it. too much already invested to let it go no.

              • bmaz says:

                Oh, no, I was only referring to the thought that we lost ground, or sure didn’t gain any, from the Protect America Act fiasco and FISA yesterday. I have been fighting analogous stuff with the government and telcos on wiretap issues for clients since I became a lawyer in the mid 80s; and have been concerned about this Administration since they tried to slide the Total Information Awareness bunk in with the criminal John Poindexter stuck in the middle. I never, for one second, thought they gave up that effort; they just hid it in different places and took it underground. what we are seeing now is the geometric growth and result of that effort.

        • bmaz says:

          Thanks. and as to the previous question, I don’t know. My best tact, which i kind of purloined from a discussion with Kevin Drum (who has done some very good stuff on the healthcare issue) is to pitch it as “Medicare for everybody”. By and large, everybody’s parents, grandparents, whatever, have been exposed to Medicare and with fairly good result all things considered. You still have all the benefits of provider choice, competition etc. in the health field itself; but you have single payer. You also get the ability to have supplemental insurance for whatever higher coverage you want. This is just a thought, but the best one i have at the moment.

  8. solai says:

    Selise, just logged on to c-span (on mute) and saw Mike Arcuri (my rep). Did you catch that? Was wondering what he had to say.

  9. JohnLopresti says:

    bmaz, Sorry to hear the insurance hassle. Disagree with writer who avers healthcare should be mandatory. Because of need, I have worked in an allied healthcre field for several dozen years recently engaging several facets of the monolith as it exists in our modern US including peripherally medical malpractice, worker’s compensation, even labor law and environmental toxicology. The insurance industry is a lot like the energy sector, quite consolidated and profitable, and recently vulnerable to price and resource vagaries. On the biologic technicnology side I might be capable of helping; I think I shut off my email link when fdl launched but it is still available on tnh in the archive. On the insurance issues my take is, like pharmaceutical manufactureres, there are economically organized representational organizations protecting insurers’ interests, and recent events have depleted the coffers of many insurers in several sectors. One of insurers’ strongest tools in corporeal coverage is use of expert consultants for the sole purpose of temporizing, a measured and subtle ploy which operates on a different timescale than the body’s need to restore health, the calculus being the body will make its own remedies, meanwhile payments denied are collecting interest; even penalties and other sanctions are unlikely to move the intransigent insuranceCo.

    • phred says:

      Disagree with writer who avers healthcare should be mandatory.

      You clearly have never had a loved one with life threatening health problems. Your cavalier dismissal of the RIGHT of EVERYONE to quality health care is repugnant.

      • bmaz says:

        Easy Phred, we all our entitled to our opinions, and my guess is that JL was referring to the ability to filter claims, practices, treatment etc. for reasonableness. If so, that is a good point, however, I think that can be done esily, and better for the public, by a single payer system. don’t think JL was totally writing off reform, just pointing out one of the difficulties.

    • BooRadley says:

      Interested in your perspective about the AMA’s Liaison Committee on Medical School Education.

      LCMSE artificially restricts the number of graduates from U.S. Medical Schools each year. That’s the primary reason why there is a shortage of physicians in most specialties. The physician shortage is one of the primary reasons why the cost of Medical School education is so high.

    • TLinGA says:

      Someone opposed the vote so they are having a revote…some kind of internal veto/override process.

      Do we have anyone who is a subject matter expert on the House, like cboldt and others are on the Senate? I think I for one need someone who can interpret all the machinations.

    • JimWhite says:

      Voting on tabling the motion to reconsider the ordering of the previous question.

      Translation: the R’s are pitching a fit because the D’s won the vote to move on to considering the 21 day extension of PAA.

        • TLinGA says:

          They’re going through yet another iteration of challenge/voice vote/recorded vote. Can they do this all day?

          • JimWhite says:

            It appears that this cycle of motion to reconsider with a vote on tabling the motion happens once per underlying vote, but I’m very far from an expert. I’m just following along using a bit of experience with Roberts’ rules.

  10. bmaz says:

    Waxman is full of shit here. This is baloney. If anything is tainted it is because of him and the fucking committee interjecting itself into what ought to be a criminal investigation

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      I love Waxman… I know Clemen’s lawyers are trying their best, but they
      need to take a course in public relations…

      Peter Gammons had a good point the other day…

      Maybe Roger DOES believe his own lies…
      and what’s this shit with the Nanny?

  11. JimWhite says:

    This is more fun than yesterday. I think I like the House. The rule was adopted, so we now have one hour of debate on the 21 day extension (after the obligatory R hissie fit, insisting on recorded votes on tabling the motion to reconsider).

    • solai says:

      But this is out there.

      Reluctant to be portrayed as depriving the government of a key tool in the war on terrorism, 21 members of a bloc of moderate House Democrats signed a letter endorsing the Senate approach. Senior Democratic aides said those defections suggested there might be enough support in the House to pass the Senate bill.

      From LA Times via TPM.

      • JimWhite says:

        I’ve been watching, and less than 10 D’s have crossed over on each of these votes, so not all 21 are trying to obstruct this. I’m confused by that, to say the least. Surely Nancy isn’t actually able to bring these miscreants in line, is she?

  12. bmaz says:

    My real bug in my butt over the whole Clemens mess is that I don’t like or approve of the way parallel proceedings are being used for a variety of extraneous purposes, which on their own, are fine; but when they all serve to emasculate Clemens’ Constitutional rights in a criminal investigation, I have a big problem. I am going to take this break to try to do an update on what I mean by this. This is not a good day for Clemens though; he looks bad.

  13. BooRadley says:

    I just offer these two newspaper reports as a window into the business of health care.

    Lead-test mandate isn’t met
    Blood screening is required for all children who qualify for Medicaid, yet many at-risk kids in Wisconsin are going without

    These are physicians who billed Medicaid, but choose to ignore FEDERAL rules to test for lead poisoning, because it’s unprofitable for them to do so. In this article one physician raises as an excuse that obtaining the blood from the children via finger stick is painful. He fails to mentions that if he was so concerned about the child’s pain, he could get it via a heel stick. He also fails to mention that hundreds of thousands of children have an early onset of diabetes, they have to give blood on a daily basis just to mention their blood sugar.

    This is bad enough.

    Below is a NYT’s article about payments from pharmaceutical manufacturer’s to psychiatrists, for medications to children.

    Psychiatrists Top List in Drug Maker Gifts

    I have no direct evidence, but you can see the financial opportunities. Unscrupulous primary care physicians could “refer” children who they refused to test for lead poisoning, to unscrupulous psychiatrists. My guess is we’re talking about $6,000 annually for psychiatric drugs annually for a child. Because it’s a child, this is an incredibly long term and profitable revenue stream for a pharmaceutical manufacturer.

    Within specialties, each physician is aware of what diagnosis and treatment is most profitable for their practice.

  14. BayStateLibrul says:

    Thanks Bmaz…

    Sorry I’m late but I was riveted by the testimony.

    Rep Burton is one sorry Repub Congressman. I was yelling at him.

    Pure and simple:

    I believe McNamee and Roger is one delusional fella

  15. GeorgeSimian says:

    The whole Clemens thing just reminds me of Terri Schiavo. It just makes Congress look like a bunch of pandering fools climbing over each other to tell voters that they’re protecting the children. It’s just like, what are they doing this for?

  16. selise says:

    will be out of touch for a while. it’s a snow day and my neighbor’s 11 year old daughter is over. for some reason she’s not interested in watching c-span, so i’m going to teach her to make chicken soup. hopefully the links i left above will help explain what’s going on in the house on fisa today.

    • bmaz says:

      And Bay State Liberal as well. I think Clemens was one hell of a pitcher; he as close to the pitchers that, as a child, I worshipped, namely Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale. That aside, he has always been somewhat of a jerk and, quite frankly, he is probably guilty as sin. But he is fucking entitled to a presumption of innocence; not from you and passive observers, but from governmental entities as branches that are interjecting themselves into the equation as judicial or quasi-judicial forums. He is not getting that presumption, the burden is being heinously shifted, and, in general, due process criminal target protections are being blown to hell here. That is my real beef.

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        Agreed, but didn’t he bring this on himself?
        Now, he’s claiming his lawyers/agents did not tell him to appear
        before Mitchell.
        The Mitchell Report is on trial here, too besides the Rocket

  17. JTMinIA says:

    In the House, it’s clear that every substantive vote will be followed by a motion to adjourn, requiring another 15-minute vote to block. So this is going to drag on, but it’s nice to see the Democrats slapping down the delay tactics. All is still on-track for a vote on the 21-day extension by this afternoon.

    This is probably as good as one could have hoped for after the cl*st*rf*ck in the Senate. The worst-case scenario, at least, which was the House just passing the Senate’s version, is highly unlikely. In fact, I like the idea of forcing Bush to veto an extension or go back on his “word” (such as it is).

    • ticktock says:


      Proud the Dems showed some backbone in the Congress today regarding FISA….

      Democratic Congressman showing the Senate exactly how it’s done…


  18. solai says:

    Still watching on mute (even though lunch hour is officially over). WTF? The repubs tried to adjourn? Who was the Rep that tried that?

    • JTMinIA says:

      From what I can tell, they will introduce another motion to adjourn after every other vote. If they could do it back-to-back, they would. They are, from what I can tell, trying to protect Bush. They don’t want to force him to either veto an extension or go back on his promise to.

      All it takes in one Bush buddy in the House and you can blow 15 minutes after every vote by forcing a written vote every time.

  19. JTMinIA says:

    One question (since I barely understand the Senate and the House is another mystery to me): do delaying tactics like repeated motions to adjourn have a tendency to unify the other side or are they just brushed off as typical, minority behavior? (Obviously, I’m hoping this nonsense will galvanize the Democrats, but I’d rather have the truth if this isn’t true.)

    • cboldt says:

      do delaying tactics like repeated motions to adjourn have a tendency to unify the other side or are they just brushed off as typical

      Brushed off, for the most part. Fodder for future tit-for-tat.

      Adding on a bit to my “LOL” above, about the length of extension, President Bush’s express veto threat 2 weeks ago, against a 30 day extension, struck me as imprudent and needless bluster. I hope Congress pokes him in the eye with this.

  20. cboldt says:

    House process is “similar” to Senate, with two differences.

    Once difference is that debate on substantive bills is first set out in a “rule,” a House Resolution.

    Another is that the House has a “motion to move to the previous question,” which passes on a simple majority. That motion is “let’s get on with the vote.” In the Senate, “let’s get on with the vote” is accomplished with the cloture widget and a 60 vote supermajority.

    So, here’s what the House just went through:

    1. Motion to move to vote on H.Res.976 (”the rule”) – roll call vote, passed
    2. Motion to table the motion to reconsider the vote on the motion to move to vote on H.Res.976 – roll call vote, motion to reconsider was tabled
    3. Vote on H.Res.976 – roll call vote, passed
    4. Motion to table the motion to reconsider the vote on H.Res.976 – roll call vote, motion to reconsider was tabled

    The GOP is using every tool at its disposal to delay substantive progress on the extension.

    I have to LOL. In hindsight, a 30 day extension would have been shorter, and would have reduced the probability that the House could say “not enough time” to debate the Senate-passed bill.

    • bmaz says:

      That wasn’t my main objection to the extension, but it was sure a secondary one. It is a consistent ploy to back a congressional body i to a corner. Apparently it works every time….

  21. JTMinIA says:

    Thanks again, cbolt.

    Do you have experience teaching? You tailor your answers to various people very well, I’ve noticed.

    • cboldt says:

      Do you have experience teaching?

      Yes. I teach adults in a variety of settings.

      Thank you very much for the compliment, BTW.

  22. cboldt says:

    Reading President Bush’s statement of this morning, he has NOT threatened to veto a further extension. Either that, or I missed the word “reject,” “refuse” or “veto.”

  23. JTMinIA says:

    I’m not JimWhite, but I don;t think they’ve done anything on the Senate’s bill. They went straight to the 21-day extension. There isn’t even a rule (yet) about debate on the Senate’s bill. That’s what is so cool.

    cbolt – You’re welcome. On the veto threat: I’m referring to the old one. I haven’t heard of a new threat this week.

  24. JohnLopresti says:

    Sorry, phr; thanks, bmaz; I have been out there on this. In fact the past two years since Katrina I have been in backwoods slogging thru health care as it is known in the delta, as if family. I would qualify the disclaimer to opt in, opt out. But the entire system from academia and beyond is affected by the taint the insurance debacles signify, a part of a whole. There is a lot of caste inequality in health, but other societal ills have bearing, as well. I defer to the writers of more limpid prose than my hasty jot. On the steroids issue instant, I would add one of the least balanced discussions is metabolic impacts of the compounds; they obtain results but have sequelae; check out a few monographs on nephrotoxicity and metabolite pathways. But the emotional admix is important, because so heartfelt; in that I agree. It even parallels the sense of privacy we appreciate in the bill of rights guarantees, something personal we share as our commons of understanding.

    • phred says:

      My apologies if I misunderstood your previous post. Clearly, bmaz thinks I did. I’m still not sure given your later opt in/opt out suggestion. Like bmaz, I think of what we need is something along the lines of Medicare, or as Paul Krugman repeatedly suggests a V.A.-like system that encompasses all Americans. My use of the term mandatory is intended to be on the part of the health care providers. Once someone walks in the door they are entitled to treatment. That is what I mean by a right for everyone. Eliminating insurers altogether would lead to a large reduction of costs within the system.

      I also agree with Boo Radley that another part of the problem is the tight control maintained on the number of doctors. However, relatively new programs such as nurse practitioners and physicians assistants are helping to alleviate the shortages to some degree by doing an end-run around the AMA.

  25. Loo Hoo. says:

    Whoo Hoo!! (Via Raw Story)

    February 12, 2008

    The Honorable Glenn A. Fine
    Inspector General
    U.S. Department of Justice
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20530

    The Honorable H. Marshall Jarrett
    Counsel for Professional Responsibility
    U.S. Department of Justice
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 3266
    Washington, D.C. 20530

    Dear Inspector General Fine and Counsel Jarrett:

    We request that you investigate the role of Justice Department officials in authorizing and/or overseeing the use of waterboarding by the Central Intelligence Agency.

    Attorney General Michael Mukasey refuses to investigate the Administration’s authorization and use of waterboarding. CIA Director Michael Hayden has testified that the CIA waterboarded three detainees, and Attorney General Mukasey has testified that, “There are circumstances where waterboarding is clearly unlawful.” Nonetheless, the Attorney General refused Senator Durbin’s request to investigate because he does “not believe such an investigation is necessary, appropriate, or legally sustainable.”

    Attorney General Mukasey admitted that, “the CIA sought advice from the Department of Justice, and the Department informed the CIA that [waterboarding’s] use would be lawful under the circumstances and within the limits and the safeguards of the program.” The Attorney General’s justification for refusing to open an investigation is that, “no one who relied in good faith on the Department’s past advice should be subject to criminal investigation for actions taken in reliance on that advice.” However, this does not address Senator Durbin’s request that “a Justice Department investigation should explore whether waterboarding was authorized and whether those who authorized it violated the law” (our emphasis).

    Waterboarding has a sordid history in the annals of torture by repressive regimes, from the Spanish Inquisition to the Khmer Rouge. The United States has always repudiated waterboarding as a form of torture and prosecuted it as a war crime. The Judge Advocates General, the highest-ranking attorneys in each of the four military services, have stated unequivocally that waterboarding is illegal and violates Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

    Yet, despite the virtually unanimous consensus of legal scholars and the overwhelming weight of legal precedent that waterboarding is illegal, certain Justice Department officials, operating behind a veil of secrecy, concluded that the use of waterboarding is lawful. We believe it is appropriate for you to investigate the conduct of these Justice Department officials. As you know, a similar investigation is underway regarding Justice Department officials who advised the National Security Agency that its warrantless surveillance program is lawful.

    To restore the faith of our intelligence professionals and the American people in the Justice Department’s ability to provide accurate and honest legal advice, we request that you make your findings public.

    We ask that you explore, among other things:

    Did Justice Department officials who advised the CIA that waterboarding is lawful perform legal work that meets applicable standards of professional responsibility and internal Justice Department policies and standards? For example, did these officials consider all relevant legal precedents, including those that appear to contradict directly their conclusion that waterboarding is lawful? Did these officials consult with government attorneys who are experts in the relevant legal standards, e.g. Judge Advocates General who are experts in the Geneva Conventions? Was it reasonable to rely on standards found in areas such as health care reimbursement law in evaluating interrogation techniques?
    Were Justice Department officials who advised the CIA that waterboarding is lawful insulated from outside pressure to reach a particular conclusion? What role did White House and/or CIA officials play in deliberations about the lawfulness of waterboarding?
    We agree with Attorney General Mukasey that our intelligence professionals should be able to rely in good faith on the Justice Department’s legal advice. However, if CIA agents or contractors have been put in jeopardy by misguided counsel from the Justice Department, including legal opinions that the Administration has been forced to repudiate, and as a result they risk war crimes prosecution overseas, this is a serious matter. It also places CIA agents at risk of receiving similarly flawed advice in the future. Moreover, the Justice Department’s continued refusal to repudiate waterboarding does tremendous damage to America’s values and image in the world and places Americans at risk of being subjected to waterboarding by enemy forces. We believe it merits investigation to determine if these grievous results were the product of legal theories violating the Department’s professional standards, or improper influence violating the Department’s standards for independent legal advice.

    We respectfully request that you inform us whether you plan to initiate a review as soon as possible, and no later than February 19, 2008. We also request that you inform us whether the results of your review will be provided to Congress and made public. Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Richard J. Durbin
    U.S. Senator

    Sheldon Whitehouse
    U.S. Senator

  26. JTMinIA says:

    Two observations:

    While both houses are giving FISA to both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees, the Senate gave precedence to Intelligence (via the base bill move by Reid), but the House gave precedence to Judiciary (in terms of the time allotted for the one-hour debate).

    Conyers explicitly linked the extension (instead of passing real new bill) to the Admin providing the information that’s been asked for.

      • JTMinIA says:

        I have no idea (and would like to know, too). I just thought that it was an interest difference at the surface level between the two houses, given the difference in the bills that came out in the last round.

        It’s maps nicely onto the basic conflict being debated (when you cut through the crap, such as that being peddled by Tiahrt right now … what a tool). Intelligence argues for more spying; Judiciary argues for more oversight.

        Now, before you jump all over me for adopting the meme that these two things are in conflict, please note that I don’t see them in conflict when you really think about it. I’m simply noting the correlation that exists on the surface.

      • selise says:

        no. in the house the restore act was jointly submitted by reyes and conyers on a monday (holt also submitted his better bill on that monday, but the house leadership blocked it’s consideration, so it went nowhere). on wednesday, both committees met on the restore. although there were some differences in amendments from each committee, they worked together to have one bill.

        the battle was between the house leadership with the initial version of the restore act and the progressive caucus and holt to try to force a better bill. see my first youtube, ripped from the c-span webfeed.

        back to soup.

    • sojourner says:

      That was my take on it last night, too: That Conyers has essentially locked the two together. Maybe Pelosi is ready to back him up, too (but cows could start to fly, as well).

  27. JamesJoyce says:

    Somehow the importance of the Rocket and his trainer escapes me!!! Rocket’s personal life has no effect on me or my self interest and concerns. This is a monumental waste of time which could be better spent holding accountable corrupt executives in the White House who lied and manipulated the American into a war in Iraq to steal Iraq’s oil wealth.

    What utter horses shit politicians feed US

    • bmaz says:

      Well, i agree with you. My interest in the mess is that it is emblematic of Federal law enforcement run amok, and the misuse of diverse branches and entities to actively violate a defendant’s right to remain silent and have credible evidence proffered against him (which MacNamee alone is/was not) and to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him. Clemens is being tried and convicted without any of that. This is a far less serious example, but it is an example nevertheless, of the same thing we fight here and on the internet every day with the Bush Administration in regards to the way they have done things in Siegelman, Fieger, the Wisconsin official and so many others.

  28. merkwurdiglieber says:

    Pro sports are a cancer on our culture, their usefulness as a character
    factory overplayed and the waste of large amounts of tax money to
    subsidize them is a huge scam that could fund healthcare. Good debate
    on FISA, repugs acting out like frat pledges for Junya.

  29. 4jkb4ia says:

    The scope of this circus is mind-boggling. I wish that FISA yesterday would have gotten a fifth of the attention this is probably getting.

    • bmaz says:

      And there is my other real beef. Yesterday, the Senate sold out basic concepts that this country was founded to protect and that god knows how many over the years have fought and died to insure. concepts and protections germane to every citizen. I bet that there has ben one million times the viewership today as there was yesterday.

      • merkwurdiglieber says:

        You never see C-Span 3 live on CNN and ESPN for anything else, which
        just makes my point that Pro Sports are a federally funded cancer on
        the culture… bread and circuses for us to be distracted by.

  30. selise says:

    p.s. i find the house procedures much easier to follow, and have been trying to follow them in detail since august’s fisasco. pow wow has been a great help in this.

  31. JTMinIA says:

    selise –

    That YouTube vid was perfect. So what are the odds, if the 21-day extension goes through, that the leadership will allow Holt et al. to introduce their amendments this time? And, if so, would it all start from the Senate’s bill, requiring a ton of amendments to get all the fixes in and the bad stuff out?

  32. Minnesotachuck says:

    bmaz @ 40, Selise @ 42:
    Do you suppose that the mesage of Donna Edwards’ decisive defeat of Al Wynn in MD yesterday might induce some of the other Blue Dogs to start looking over their shoulders a bit? I wonder whether the Senate vote on FISA yesterday might have have been at least closer if it had come several days after that election and the results had had some time to sink in.

  33. Neil says:

    Roger Clemens is suprisingly adept at answering questions by not answering questions and coming off like a country bumbkin when he is actually obfuscating, dodging, weaving and NOT telling the whole truth. He presents bright shiny objects every chance he gets, even when innappropriate. In answering a question about why he didn’t voluntarily appear before Mitchell, he said he played for the US national baseball team. He claimed he’ a public guy and easy to get ahold of. Why would he lie about not wanting to appear voluntarily? He deserves everything that’s coming at him.

  34. BayStateLibrul says:

    Issa is STILL a fucking jerk!
    Sorry, there is probably more important stuff…
    But why is it that most of these Republicans suck.

  35. bmaz says:

    Jeebus. I don’t know how Marcy does the liveblogging stuff. Man, I can’t even keep up in comments, much less think and write the substantive chunks for the main post I want to say. Anybody that has any interest in this junk, check the main post here later on; I will give a better explanation of the things and concerns i keep blathering about. This is a bizarre paradigm to discuss such things, but the sports cases are actually great vehicles for discussion because they are so ubiquitous. I cannot tell you how many people I was able to educate and inform about 4th Amendment search and seizure law, and criminal trial procedure, out of the OJ Simpson case; it was an incredible vehicle for that. As to evidentiary standards, oppressive and out of control investigators, and the inherent problems in parallel prosecutions, the Clemens case is just as good. To me, this is only tangentially about Clemens; it is mostly about how things ought to be done. I don’t care if he is guilty, the way this is being conducted is very, very wrong.

    • merkwurdiglieber says:

      Agree. Clemens is being burned at the stake to cover up the huge mess
      that he is only a pawn in. As an example of yet another federal witch
      hunt, it is a doozy, with all that self referential legend piled up
      around it. This happens in courts everyday, and the US Attorney scandal
      is another example of the problem you state.

  36. JTMinIA says:

    As to Democratic unity … only 3-8 Dems have voted against the majority today. I’ll take that as a good sign. As to what Pelosi will do after the 21-day extension passes (assuming it does), I have no idea and would love to hear your ideas, sojourner et al.

  37. GeorgeSimian says:

    There was an article in the NYT today about Pelosi bringing up the contempt charges against Rove and Miers.

    • bmaz says:

      Sure, it is easy for her now; because it has been made crystal clear that even if they vote out a contempt charge, it will go nowhere because the DOJ won’t prosecute it. That means years in the court system and no pressure on Pelosi or congress before the general elections. If either branch of Congress gave a flying damn about contempt, they would vote out inherent contempt which obviates the court and DOJ. But Pelosi, Reid, et. al won’t even mention the existence of inherent contempt, much less put it up for a vote.

  38. JTMinIA says:

    Is the origin of the derogatory term “gomer” in any way linked to Gohmert? Me thinks maybe, given what I’m listening to right now.

    • behindthefall says:

      JTMinIA February 13th, 2008 at 11:11 am

      Is the origin of the derogatory term “gomer” in any way linked to Gohmert? Me thinks maybe, given what I’m listening to right now.

      Probably predates Gohmert. Used to hear it being used by fellows on the verge of exhaustion tired of taking care of the same patients (typically poor, uninsured, and elderly) time after time — hence, “Get Out of My Emergency Room” –> ‘gomer’ (sometimes ‘goomer’). But I suspect you already knew that.

      • skdadl says:

        Oh, dear. I did not know this. One of my cats is named Gomer — I didn’t name him; he arrived when some other people’s lives fell apart, and I have no idea where they got the name. He’s a very dear old guy, soldiering on through diabetes and God knows what else. He has seen a few emergency rooms.

        bmaz, I’m very sorry to hear of your frustrations with the medical insurers (and of course of your loved one’s medical problem in the first place). We have a single-payer system up here (I’m in Toronto), although it is always under threat from our own neandroids, and we need all the ammunition we can get to fight back.

      • john in sacramento says:

        JTMinIA February 13th, 2008 at 11:11 am

        Is the origin of the derogatory term “gomer” in any way linked to Gohmert? Me thinks maybe, given what I’m listening to right now.

        Probably predates Gohmert. Used to hear it being used by fellows on the verge of exhaustion tired of taking care of the same patients (typically poor, uninsured, and elderly) time after time — hence, “Get Out of My Emergency Room” –> ‘gomer’ (sometimes ‘goomer’). But I suspect you already knew that.

        Gomer Pyle maybe

  39. BayStateLibrul says:


    Clemens just said he never got the letter?
    Did the Post Office screw up?
    Didn’t he just lie?

    • bmaz says:

      If I understand correctly, the letter actually went to to the MLBPlayer’s association; i.e. Don Fehr and maybe to his agent Hendricks. I guarantee you that the MLBPA was, below the radar, maybe above the radar too, advised all players not to cooperate. Don Fehr is on record as saying they wouldn’t be coming to help Mitchell. If I was Clemens lawyer, barring direct knowledge that all that MacNamee stuff was coming, i would have told him to stay far away from Mitchell.

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        Naw. I interpretated as Letter 1 sent to Player’s Union, Letter 2
        sent to Player’s Union, and Number 3 was sent personally to Roger.
        I may be wrong but that’s how I saw it.
        I think Roger was hoping that the players names might be redacted and
        was wrong.
        At his presser, Mitchell alluded to “not putting names in” but
        decided against it.

  40. JTMinIA says:

    The two sides (on the extension) still had some time left, but Conyers suddenly asked that they postpone (or something like that). Next moment, it’s more of the relatively unimportant bills (in this case Black History).

    All I want to know is that this will be voted on soon. I want it voted on before the Senate’s bill comes up. They are so close. Don’t quit now.

  41. PetePierce says:

    Bmaz you’re always a great host and a great headliner and you bring a double entendre of common sense and terrific legal instincts and legal experience to this blog–along with a fine sense of humor.

    I am truly sorry for any medical fiasco that came your way in a very broken medical system that a lot of us have wanted to fix for a long time.

  42. JTMinIA says:

    Is it possible that they postponed the extension vote until Waxman finishes yelling at Roger? Is that a normal thing to do?

  43. bmaz says:

    Henry Waxman can kiss my ass for his performance today; it was ugly, and I have lost a great deal of respect for him. Personally, I agree with the underlying concerns on steroids etc. but his closed mind and “apology” to MacNamee was disgusting; there should be at least a patina of fairness and impartiality.

      • JimWhite says:

        What, ranting isn’t what he was elected for?

        Snark aside, I think he actually will vote the right way on this one. See the earlier reference today to the letter from him and Durbin calling for the Justice Department to take action. I hope what they are doing with that is setting up the case for an outside prosecutor since we already know Justice won’t do anything while Mukasey is at the helm.

  44. JTMinIA says:

    Me, too. But if someone knows why the House suddenly stopped and when they’ll go back to the extension, please share.

  45. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Bmaz – sorry to hear about the health and subsequent insurance problems. You’re right up above and it’s what I’ve been saying since before HillaryCare in 94, just go to a single payer based on the Medicare model for a basic system and let those who want additional coverage purchase it elsewhere. That way, we at least get everyone some basic level of care, it can be implemented relatively quickly and it would be easy to explain.

    What’s your take on Hardin now? Did he screw up letting Roger get himself into this by not seeing this trainwreck coming or was it Roger just being Roger?

    • bmaz says:

      Thanks. As to Hardin; I don’t know. I haven’t been kidding about how good he is; but you know, criminal defense trial lawyers are a unique breed, and they are used to fighting hard from the first second of trouble, because they have to. I think his statements, even the one joking one that got Waxman’s panties in a wad, were all accurate and/or good points. This is BS, and MacNamee is not credible, and he wasn’t credible long before the Mitchell report came out. There are also a lot of things about this guy Novitsky and how he has conducted himself that will likely come out sooner or later; and it will not paint a very good picture of him. The Petitte stuff in the last two days set me back a little. I would love to ask Rusty about that part of the situation; I would be literally shocked if he would have gone about things quite as he has if he knew that was coming, and I absolutely believe he had talked to either Petitte and/or his attorney. I will be most curious to hear what kind of pressure, if any, was exerted on Petitte. At the root question, however, Petitte doesn’t prove Clemens used steroids or HGH, at best, he demonstrates that Clemens talked about it. I dunno, but the Petitte angle is the first chink in the Clemens defense I have seen to date. Keep in mind that Clemens has been the only guy pounded yet; things will look a lot different when a real lawyer is cross-examining all these witnesses, and Hardin is very, very good in this regard and he will be armed with a ton of investigative material currently known only to him. As to Petitte; I will also note that already the guy that Waxman called “unimpeachable and believable” has already changed his story to investigators twice on what, when and how much he used HGH. Clemens is probably lying, but at least he has been consistent.

      • bmaz says:

        Ah, I forgot where i was going at the start of that comment. Hardin is a criminal trial lawyer (not to mention a Texan to boot) and he probably doesn’t curry any favor with the pompous congresscritters because he will get up and in their grill if he sees bullshit. That may not be the best tact; they may should have let Lanny Breur take the lead in DC

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          Here is my take: only an opinion…

          If the blood/syringes show Clemens DNA (like the Clinton dress)
          than he will be cooked.
          I realize it won’t hold up in a court of law (chain of custody, etc)… but in public opinion, it will the deal-breaker…

          • bmaz says:

            If i am Clemens attorney, here is what I have to say about that. A) That evidence won’t ever hear a courtroom, mush less see the light of day in one. B) If Clemens is telling the truth about B-12 injections (and there is some question as to their effectiveness; but they are given for energy and fatigue, and are done so occasionally, if not commonly, with athletes in locker rooms), then MacNamee could have kept those syringes and he certainly could have drawn up some HGH or Winstrol into them after the fact. This is just crap; and creepy too. This is also something he might hatch up to extort Clemens; which is not inconsistent with what we know of him and the way he leeched off of Clemens, even when he was secretly ratting him out. Not saying this line of thought is true, but I would argue it in a heartbeat if I were Rusty and he will when the time comes.

            • GulfCoastPirate says:

              Did I hear something today about McNamee planning some lawsuits at one time? What was that about?

              I’m wondering why he brought the wife into it. She’s a private citizen, not part of the Mitchell Report, etc.

            • BayStateLibrul says:

              “It is, what it is?”

              Is that a New Yorker talking…
              Boy, you are down on McNamee… now extortion?
              He admitted that he lied, he is a known liar, but for some reason I
              believed his story (maybe I’m gullible)
              Isn’t that self righteous prick, Issa a piece of shit.
              ESPN is reporting that 69% believed Brian and 31% the Rocket.

      • GulfCoastPirate says:

        I didn’t get to ’see’ it but I heard some on the radio driving in the car. It sounded like your basic dog and pony show.

        As for Petitte, I wouldn’t believe everything in the media as to this ‘friendship’, his loyalty or anything else – if you know what I mean.

  46. noncooperator says:

    Hi bmaz, all. I’m a CPA/management consultant and a Fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. I get sick when I hear the right wing arguments against universal healthcare, like “we should empower the individual not the governement”. In the progression of civilization, the first healthcare priority is always sanitation, note how many third world countries still lack in this regard. Would the right wingers have us all individually responsible for sewer systems? We all benefit from cooperative funding to address these needs. I believe the case is similar with universal healthcare, it reduces overall cost to society, contributes to a vibrant economy since people are more willing to take risks with new carrers and business ventures if they do not risk coverage loss. We all benefit from cooperation in this regard. You have my sympathy in dealing with the health insurance industry.

  47. TLinGA says:

    I just got off my second call to my Representative’s DC office of the day. I had a nice conversation with the phone worker (different from this morning) in which I reiterated my Rep’s position on the initial RESTORE Act, as well as the short time to reconsider the Constitutional challenges of telecom amnesty and reverse targetting. He seemed a bit surprised that this is the same bill that the Rep is supporting, and seemed enthusiastic in passing on my points on these two topics.

    He’ll be hearing from me at least twice a day until this is over.

  48. JTMinIA says:

    We’re close.

    We have a recommit delay to deal with. Then, probably, a motion to adjourn.

    Then we’ll see where the Blue Dogs stand.

  49. JTMinIA says:

    OK, back on track. We first get a party-line vote to table the appeal of the Chair’s decision. Then we (probably) have a motion to adjourn. Then we finally get a vote.

    Man. Conyers is not exactly Mr Dynamic, but thank goodness “we” have someone who know how to play the game in the House.

  50. TLinGA says:

    As I heard it, they tried to attach the Senate version of the FISA bill as an amendment to the 21 day extension. Nice poison pill, if it had worked. However, it seems there’s a procedural issue with doing that, based on if the amendment is “germane” to the extension bill. The precedent for refusal was there, the chair made a ruling based on the precedent, and now the floor is voting to stick to the ruling by the chair.

  51. JTMinIA says:

    That’s right. Not germane, as pointed out by Conyers and they seemed well-prepared for the move. They had a defensible decision waiting on the Chair’s desk, complete with precedent.

    I have no idea if this move is so typical that being prepared is no big deal, but as a new watcher, I was impressed. So different from watching Reid.

    • TLinGA says:

      That’s right. Not germane, as pointed out by Conyers and they seemed well-prepared for the move. They had a defensible decision waiting on the Chair’s desk, complete with precedent.

      I have no idea if this move is so typical that being prepared is no big deal, but as a new watcher, I was impressed. So different from watching Reid.

      I would have to imagine that with so many more members in the House, that opposition by someone to almost any measure would be more common. It makes sense to be prepared to defend any position from the more common tactics. But then again, you would have to anticipate that this bill, if nothing else, will get the whole nine yards of ammo fired at it.

    • JTMinIA says:

      Yeah, they’re replaying it now while the House vote is happening.

      It almost looks like he knows he’s lost. Wouldn’t that be nice?

      What’s that German word for enjoying another’s pain?

      I’m a bad person.

      • bmaz says:

        Schedenfreud. But the twit shouldn’t look so haggard, he has been winning everything and then some as to the things I care about. And the House is putting on what appears to be a better showing than the Senate, but I have no doubt that it is all kabuki and the deal is done. I am pretty much positive that Pelosi, Hoyer and Boehner have their skids all greased and did so in conjunction with Hanoi Harry and the Senate Stumblebums. It is good to keep in mind that ALL of the representatives are up for election (only a third, give or take a few, of the Senate), so they have a vested interest in putting on a show. When the curtain closes, the final act will have been the same though.

  52. JTMinIA says:

    OK. I won’t include that on my list or reasons why Reid is pathetic.

    (I was out of paper to write them on, anyway. tee hee)

  53. JTMinIA says:

    But why do they have to put us through this much pain? Are they angry that we are watching and want us to stop? Why make it look possible and then jerk away at the last moment? Why?

  54. bmaz says:

    Well, I am a bit jaded in my view; but yeah, to some extent, I think that is the case as to why the leadership is enabling all this. Remember, we thought there was at least a fighting chance in the Senate, and then all those eloquent and moving words by Chris Dodd, all followed by a whopping 29 Senators having the one ethical bone in their bodies to protect the constitution. Depressing. There is no way the House is going to squelch this after the Senate did that.

  55. JTMinIA says:

    Is it even worth asking if the Senate’s ban on anything outside the Army Field Manual has a chance of passing or should I just go waterboard myself?

    • cboldt says:

      Is it even worth asking if the Senate’s ban on anything outside the Army Field Manual has a chance of passing or should I just go waterboard myself?

      The ban is in a House/Senate conference report, so it’s not just a Senate thing.

      It’s being passed by the Senate now, and if it hasn’t already, will be passed by the House. President Bush will veto it. IIRC, the business of the country got along for a few years with no Intelligence Authorization bill.

  56. ticktock says:

    I know this sounds terrible but,

    Perhaps I take perverse satisfaction that in a sense there is no fear of retribution regarding any discussions here…

    Because we weren’t considered a threat to begin with…

    Please excuse my cynicism but right now there is just one feeling that comes to mind…


  57. JimWhite says:

    Glad I missed it; had some kid shuttling to do. These viruses have knocked out two different drivers for me. What’s up now if the extension has failed?

  58. rosalind says:

    (sorry,completely OT: missed this yesterday. nicole kidman cast as valerie plame in movie version of her book. perhaps the inability to move one’s facial muscles is a plus in the spy biz, or more hopefully nicole’s botox free preganancy may reacquaint herself with the joys of physical expression and she’ll lay off the stuff for a while)…..-you-think

      • rosalind says:

        agreed. i’ve always liked nicole kidman, just something very constrained in her recent performances. here’s hoping stepping into valerie’s shoes (heels?) reignites that spark.

  59. BayStateLibrul says:


    Thanks Bmaz for hosting the hearings.
    I’m a sucker for anything baseball.
    Hope everything is fine with your medical issue…

    • bmaz says:

      And to BSRH also. Thanks to all; we will be fine here. I have been battling with Aetna for about a year now on the fact that they can’t keep our monthly payments straight on the three different policies even though they always cash the check immediately (the asshats demanded that my wife, daughter and I all have separate policies) and can’t ever actually seem to pay our prescriptions, and for the allergy shots my daughter gets weekly, appropriately. We were right in the middle of changing carriers when something disturbing arose medically, It will probably turn out fine, but if not, I am scrambling to try to figure out how to be a step ahead for when they try to refuse coverage. And that is EXACTLY what they try to do now. They take your money and take your money over the months and often years, but have teams of assholes that are literally paid on a commission basis for how many policies they can cancel on policyholders making substantial claims for care. It is really sick what is going on.

  60. JTMinIA says:

    Be amusing, wouldn’t it, if they could get Tom Cruise to play Marc Grossman. tee hee

    Or, maybe, L Ron Hubbard, but I heard a rumor he died. tee hee

  61. JimWhite says:

    The Senate is voting now on the torture-banning intelligence bill conference report. McCain is there and voted no. We’ve got to hang this on him big-time. Liebertard voted along with his new best friend.

  62. randiego says:

    Bmaz – sorry to hear about your difficulties. We’re all in the same boat regarding healthcare, and all my friends are tired of hearing it from me… but we’ll all deal with it sooner or later with either a spouse, parent, child, sibling etc. I still say if people haven’t seen Sicko, see it, rent it, buy it.

    The Clemens thing is an absolute joke and I’m tired of hearing about it. I still couldn’t give a rats ass, but I will say one thing:

    Having all this attention paid to Clemens and Bonds possibly being in jeopardy for lying under oath draws attention to the fact that we have govt officials doing the same thing and totally getting away with it. Regular people (sports fans) are going to start noticing there’s a different standard for Village insiders with R’s besides their names when it comes to perjury and ignoring subpoenas.

    • bmaz says:

      Exactly; where were these hearings for Gonzales, Goodling, Alvin the Chipmunk dude (what was his name?), Hayden, McConnell, Rumsfeld……. The list is endless. But the House is very vested in the Mitchell report, they think it was done as a result of their hearing a couple of years ago, which it probably was, and they all are friends with Mitchell, but this was a total hatchet job and a waste of time .

      It was also inappropriate in many ways; which I am trying to get back to. sooner or later, this time I promise, it will be in the post as an update.

  63. JimWhite says:

    Wow!!! Passed 51-45. We just won a big one have a huge tool against McCain. It just doesn’t get any better (unless Obama and Clinton were there and voted yes; I don’t think they were there but did not hear the entire vote).

  64. selise says:

    But why do they have to put us through this much pain? Are they angry that we are watching and want us to stop? Why make it look possible and then jerk away at the last moment? Why?

    i suspect it is kabuki intended to convince us that they are fighting against the senate bill while actually working to pass it. at least that is definitely what happened in the house in august. so we need to be on the look out for it now.

  65. selise says:

    just as a reminder to folks and especially for those who missed marcy’s post on house fisa kabuki last august. here it is… probably an important reminder of what we should be on the look out for this go around.

    whatever happens in the house on fisa – we can’t let them get away with spinning us.

    • cboldt says:

      Someone please explain why Holt, Sarbanes, and Kucinich voted against the extension?

      They prefer PAA to expire, and the law to revert to FISA as it stood before August 2007.

  66. cboldt says:

    On the “Filed Manual” Intelligence Authorization Conference Report/Bill, the House passed it last December. Neither chamber has anything close to a veto-proof majority.

  67. JTMinIA says:

    Oh, and I know it was a joke question, but the ‘no’ on congratulating the Giants was from Patrick Murphy. My guess is that his staff only told him “vote ‘no’” this morning and didn’t specify whether they meant the extension or the Giants, so the little idiot voted ‘no’ on both.

  68. JTMinIA says:

    OK. Thanks. That makes sense.

    What has me confused is how about half of the 21 Dems who said they were in favor of the Senate bill voted in favor of an extension. Most of the Dems who voted against it are, therefore, not on this list, which is what we were circulating as people to call today.

    In other words, whatever activistism I was working on earlier was totally misplaced.

  69. bmaz says:

    Hey guys, keep at it here for just a little longer and i will have a FISA thread up to discuss what has, and is, happening in the House.

  70. cboldt says:

    Who Stalled the Intelligence Bill? – Thursday, March 8, 2007; Page A21

    For what could become the third year in a row, the Senate on Tuesday evening did not pass an Intelligence Authorization Bill, over the objection of a lone Republican senator whose name is being protected by his colleagues.

    Not trying to piss in the corn flakes, but the passage of this conference report, coupled with the certainty of a veto, end the legislation and just sets the stage with more ammunition for political debate.

    • bmaz says:

      cboldt – Lot of speculation here today on whether there is really any room for psitive movement or success in the House. At 183, 188 and 191 above you can see my guess. If you have a nice little summary of where you think we stand in that regard, i will put it in the post I am about to make and give you all the credit. Gee what an offer eh? I would grease your palm properly for such assistance, but that is hard over the internet….

  71. john in sacramento says:

    Re: Clemens

    I’ve suspected that he’s been on the juice since that one playoff game for the Sox (forget the year and the opposing team [A’s?]) where he came out to the mound with a goatee and was yelling at people from the mound. He got pounded in the first inning or least the first few innings – don’t think he made it past the third or fourth inning

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Exactly…. and remember throwing the bat at Mike Piazza?

      Clemens has a gigantic ego, and when he said he didn’t give “a
      rat’s arse” about going to the Hall, he was again delusional…

      The world revolves around the Rocket…
      Why in the hell would Pettite and Knobloch (sp) confirm Brian’s
      drug dealing, and Roger politely opt out?

      • GulfCoastPirate says:

        Could it have been to protect his dad and his buds over at the gym in Deer Park? We even found out today that whoops, although Petitte said he had only used twice, there was at least one other time when he was playing here with the Astros.

        Clemens may be lying but so far isn’t he the only one who hasn’t changed his story?

          • GulfCoastPirate says:

            I really have no idea and I didn’t see the whole thing today. I’m on Galveston Bay so I get the Houston radio stations and driving home there were some references to Petitte saying in his deposition that he also used while with the Astros and he got the substances from his dad who had procured them from a gym in Deer Park (Petitte’s home town and a south side suburb of Houston about 20 minutes from me), allegedly for heart problems the dad was having.

            All I’m saying is, every time we hear anything new someone else is admitting they are lying.

            My own personal opinion is Congress has better things to do in the era of the smirk than waste a day of testimony, and who knows how many man hours in depositions, on baseball players that almost anyone who has been in a gym could have told you years ago were using. If you want to clean up sports go after the owners collecting the dough. Remember that ‘chicks dig the long ball’ commercial? Did you see any owners object to its popularity or did you see owners raising ticket prices while all those home runs were flying out of the parks all across the US.

            I guess I’m just surprised that so many people are surprised that this was going on. Seemed obvious to me.

            • BayStateLibrul says:

              I kind of agree with you.
              My point is that we require “accountability”, I mean we
              can’t give everyone free passes.
              This blog is about accountability, we want the Repugs to own up
              to their deeds, not hide behind the wall of silence or legal
              opinions that are ginned up to support their positions.
              My first reaction is to give a guy a break, cut some slack.
              But when they react with such bullshit, I say fuck em.
              Pettite came clean and I admire him for it.
              Clemens on the other hand comes across as a lying sack of shit,
              I mean it doesn’t make sense to me.
              I’ve been wrong before, and maybe wrong about Roger, but to me
              it doesn’t add up.

              • bmaz says:

                What if he is telling the truth? Keep in mind that nobody, and I mean nobody, except for McNamee (who has less than zero credibility in my eye) has ever said that they saw or have any direct evidence that Clemens took steroids, which supposedly happened over a six year period. And don’t give me the Petitte stuff, he has nothing but hearsay to the effect that Clemens talked to him about steroids. Petitte sure doesn’t help Clemens, in fact he hurts him some, but it by no means is definitive or direct evidence in any way, shape or form. And if Petitte was as strong as they are saying, they would have had him there today. And guarantee you he was not excused from appearing because they were trying to be nice to dear Andy, he was not there because they thought his story might start to get holes punched in it and they want to postpone that as long as possible. I positively guarantee you that is why the other witnesses were cancelled; Knoblauch and Radomsky had nothing on Clemens and they were afraid that Petitte’s story would start being cross-examined and that he would qualify and hem and haw.

                • BayStateLibrul says:

                  But this brings me back to the question, “If you think Clemens
                  is telling the truth, then ergo, he is being framed? What is the
                  motivation to frame Clemens or to name Clemens?
                  Here is my theory… Clemens thought he might escape the bullet
                  if the Mitchell Report did not name names.
                  This was a distinct possibility because at his presser, Mitchell
                  said he thought about that, but decided the report would not have the weight without providing names…
                  Once he decided to name him, the die was cast.
                  A conundrum, no?

                  • bmaz says:

                    I have a pretty good potential answer as to why that may be actually. i am doing my promised update right now and will put that in it. Should be done it about 30 minutes or so.

                    • BayStateLibrul says:

                      I haven’t seen anything that indicated Mitchell caved in, and/or that it was a MLB recommendation to name names. I thought it was Mitchell’s decision.. Am I wrong on this? I haven’t seen anything that Congress had input either…

                    • bmaz says:

                      Cannot remember where I saw it, but it was directly out of the mouth of either Bud Selilg or Mitchell himself right after the report was released. It was part and parcel of expressing the early thought of mitchell that the report be about the steroids/PED problem itself, how to corral and eliminate it and the future, as opposed to delving into the past with specific players. The pressure from Congress part I know from other means. I have been around here a long time and the community of trial lawyers that actually try the bigger cases is really not all that big. Before Clemens, before MacNamee, before Radomsky, before Mitchell, this case was pretty much local to the San Francisco area and Bonds, BALCO, Conte etc. and was run by this cluck Novitsky and disgraced former US Attorney for Northern District of California, Kevin Ryan (the only one of the fired USAs that was so lame and incompetent that Bush was actually right to have fired him). Then this case happened right here in Phoenix, and it led to the explosion into all the other crap you see now, including rolling up MacNamee, Radomsky and the involvement of Congress and then Mitchell, Clemens etc. There was a whole lot that went on with Grimsly here, a lot of very questionable things pulled by the Feds (remember that Novitsky guy I keep blathering about?), and Grimsley is, and has been, represented by a couple of those aforementioned long time local trial lawyers.

              • GulfCoastPirate says:

                But Petitte didn’t come clean. First he said only two times a number of years ago and now we find out it was more than that and more recently that that.

                You want accountability? Go get some before and after pictures of any number of guys.

                I’m not one of the lawyers here but if they have something specific then let them charge Roger with a specific crime and work it out in court. But this deal today – just a modern day Roman circus. One day they’re abolishing the 4th Amendment and the next day they’re appeasing us by taking down a pitcher on speculative testimony? This isn’t why I gave up my hard earned money to help send Democrats to Congress.

    • bmaz says:

      Keep in mind that that was before ANYBODY has alleged he was juicing; in fact the people pushing this thing have all categorically argued he wasn’t during those years and that is a key part of their analysis on Clemens. For what its worth……

  72. rosalind says:

    as we’re in epu land,’s josh booty tasered this morning while being booked for DUI. what did the police do before tasers? i mean, feckin’ a. the coda is he hit his head on the floor, cracked it open and was carted off to the hospital for treatment.…..ui-arrest/

  73. GulfCoastPirate says:

    I don’t know if Roger is telling the truth or not but I find it irrelevant. The Mitchell Report was bullshit. Congress being involved is bullshit. If they have something on Roger (or anyone else) let them bring it to court. The circus today wasn’t about getting at the truth, it was about maybe getting a ‘gotcha’, then we can take Roger to court on something other than the steroid use. My guess is they want to do it that way because, like bmaz points out, they probably can’t get him on the crime itself.

    A more specific point I would make is I think there were hundreds of players over this time period that used. Why weren’t they all in the report? How many pitchers without Roger’s credentials that may have lasted a couple of years that also used weren’t in the report?

    It just pisses me off that Congress will spend that much time on something like this instead of the things that are really important. It pisses me off that there was so much coverage today but where was the equivalent coverage of what happened in the Senate yesterday?

    Like I said, a roman circus for the masses.

    • BooRadley says:

      The reason Roger was the “only one” was because Roger was the “only one” dumb enough to publicly criticize the Mitchell Report. Congress protects its own.

      Mitchell invited Clemens and his attorney numerous times to refute the evidence and allegations BEFORE Mitchell published his report. Roger now claims, conveniently, he never “knew” Mitchell wanted to talk to him about “steroids.”

      The other thing that separates this from Specter’s truly ridiculous “investigation” of Spygate is that steroids do have an impact on America’s youth. It’s in that context, that I think Congress involvement is understandable. Obviously, I wish many members would put this effort into investigating the Bush administration.

  74. Tominator says:

    Please do share your medical nitemare if you don’t mind. Some of us are going thru the same thing. Surfacing the problem is the first step toward a solution but this one’s a tough nut, I will admit. Good luck and prayers.

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