Reason Express

Vol. 8 No. 46


In this issue:

1. Neener Neener, Mr. Poopyhead
2. The Murtha Escape Hatch
3. Meanwhile, Iran
4. Quick Hits
5. New at Reason Online - PBS Hops on Pop
6. News and Events

1. Neener Neener, Mr. Poopyhead

Average hard-working stiffs and casual news consumers have no doubt concluded that what passes for journalism about and from Washington, D.C., is a slightly more mature version of I've-got-a-secret. With the revelation that Bob Woodward sat on his info about Valerie Plame for two years, special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald must reassess where his investigation goes from here.

At a minimum, Woodward has made clear that there was at least one other conduit of information flowing from the Bush administration and to reporters regarding Plame, Joe Wilson, and the CIA-a conduit that Fitzgerald knew nothing about. For Scooter Libby, this provides the chance to mount a defense based on all the other things the prosecutor didn't know about, which would seem to include the distinction in D.C. between info that everyone knows and info that actually gets reported somewhere.

And if, as has been suggested, former State Department official Richard Armitage was among those talking about Plame's CIA connections, the whole notion of a White House-directed smear campaign against her and her husband becomes exponentially more far-fetched.


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2. The Murtha Escape Hatch

The Bush administration is clearly vexed by the Iraq pull-out plan put forth by Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.). Murtha cannot be lumped with "Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party," as the White House initially tried to do. For now, the Bush team will try to change the subject and point to the most extreme comments about the Iraq war and hope Murtha will go away.

And that might work. But Murtha really has not suggested anything conceptually that radical: He favors trying to get out of the country sooner and recognizing that an open-ended U.S. presence does not make it more likely that the Iraqis will take charge of their country. For that reason, the real debate over the Bush team's strategy for Iraq and the Middle East is yet to come.

The grand plan assumes that the U.S. will be able to maintain a significant military presence in a pacified and functioning Iraq. Murtha is essentially saying Iraq will never be peaceful and functioning as long as U.S. troops are in-country. The White House has yet to even acknowledge this position exists, which kinda makes debate and dialogue on the topic impossible.


3. Meanwhile, Iran

The delicate back-and-forth over Iran's nuclear program has moved back to forth with the U.S. and its European allies opting not to refer the matter of Iran to the Security Council. For now.

On Sunday Iran's parliament had voted to resume uranium enrichment should it get referred to the Security Council, a move that many believe would be a prelude to UN sanctions. A proposal for Iran to move its enrichment operations to Russia, where they could be closely monitored, is out there floating around, but Iran insists that it has every right to enrichment processing fully under its control.

In fact, there does not seem to be any obvious solution to the enrichment question, which in turns leads to deep pessimism about an outcome without some high-stakes brinksmanship on both sides.


4. Quick Hits

Quote of the Week

"The world will feel my anger." -Dominick Sergio Maldonado in a cell phone text message to a friend before he went on a shooting rampage at a shopping all outside Seattle.


Camden! Come On Down!

Camden, the beat-down New Jersey suburb of Philadelphia, was named the most dangerous city in America, according to an analysis of crime statistics.


Rumor of the Week

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead. Or possibly not. A raid on a terrorist safe house in Mosul has produced the speculation.


Annals of Bad Software

How bad was that Sony DRM software? It not only installed a trojan secretly on users' PCs, it could be defeated entirely by merely putting a piece of tape on the disc's outer edge.


5. New at Reason Online

PBS Hops on Pop
A documentary's negative picture of fathers. Cathy Young

Rant: The Crescent City and the Fiscal Black Hole
How a phantom golf game made a ghost of fiscal responsibility. Tim Cavanaugh

Habeas Corpses
Torturing people to death is not a serious way to wage war on terrorism. Julian Sanchez

And much more!

6. News and Events

An Evening with Milton and Rose Friedman

Please join the The Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in celebrating 50 Years of an Idea. This 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner on December 5, 2005 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Los Angeles, California will honor Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman, who first proposed the school voucher idea in 1955.

The Friedmans will participate in a Q&A session, answering questions submitted by the audience. The Friedman's will be joined by several honored guests, who will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information on the dinner and how to attend, visit here.

Get liberated with Ronald Bailey's brave new book for a brave new world!

In his new book, Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution, Reason's Ronald Bailey examines the scientific and ethical controversies surrounding everything from stem cell research to therapeutic cloning to longer life spans to genetically modified food.

Buy Liberation Biology in hardcover from Amazon for just $18.48!

Buy Reason T-shirts and coffee mugs!

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