Chris's Rants

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Mission accomplished!

The New York Times reminds us that in addition to all the other bad news for Dubya this week, that the situation in Iraq is still fubar and getting worse, not better (emphasis mine):
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 29 - In the first public disclosure that the United States military is tracking some of the deaths of Iraqi civilians, the military has released rough figures for Iraqis who have been killed or wounded by insurgents since Jan. 1 last year.

The estimate of dead and wounded Iraqi civilians and security forces was provided by the Pentagon in a report to Congress this month.

It appeared without fanfare in a single bar graph on Page 23 of the document. But it was significant because the military had previously avoided virtually all public discussion of the issue.

The count is incomplete - it provides daily partial averages of deaths and injuries of Iraqis at the hands of insurgents, in attacks like bombings and suicide strikes. Still, it shows that the military appears to have a far more accurate picture of the toll of the war than it has been willing to acknowledge.

[...]

According to the graph, Iraqi civilians and security forces were killed and wounded by insurgents at a rate of about 26 a day early in 2004, and at a rate of about 40 a day later that year. The rate increased in 2005 to about 51 a day, and by the end of August had jumped to about 63 a day. No figures were provided for the number of Iraqis killed by American-led forces.

Extrapolating the daily averages over the months from Jan. 1, 2004, to Sept. 16 this year results in a total of 25,902 Iraqi civilians and security forces killed and wounded by insurgents.
There wasn't an accompanying graphic, but here's what that progress looks like to add up to the total reported above:



Worst. Administration. Ever.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

First snow

Local Weather - Whitinsville, MA (01588):
On The Spot Weather



Snow
37°F
Feels Like
33°F
UV Index: 0 Low
Wind: From NNE at 7 mph
Humidity: 61%
Pressure: 30.09 in.  
Dew Point: 30°F
Visibility: 9.0 miles

Updated Oct 29 04:25 p.m. ET

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Friday, October 28, 2005

XML Processing Model Working Group Charter

Congratulations to Norm - XML Processing Model Working Group Charter and Paul - Charter of the XML Schema Patterns for Databinding Working Group on their new assignments!

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Obstruction of Justice

US Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel has indicted Skippy, er... "Scooter" Libby, Darth Cheney's Sith Lord, er... chief of staff.

Still many unanswered questions... it seems clear from the indictment that Libby leaked Plame's identity to Judith Miller at the very least, and that "Senior Administration Official A" *cough* Rove *cough* did so to Novak who subsequently published the previously classified information.

As Yogi would say, "it ain't over 'til it's over". jeralyn thinks that Rove may have cut a "double super secret" plea bargain. More likely, given that the investigation continues with a new grand jury, that Rove and his minions aren't out of the weeds just yet.

It is clear that Libby has fallen on his sword to protect someone. I wonder who that might be.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Cheney de Sade

Yesterday's WaPo editorial - Vice President for Torture:
It's not surprising that Mr. Cheney would be at the forefront of an attempt to ratify and legalize this shameful record. The vice president has been a prime mover behind the Bush administration's decision to violate the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention Against Torture and to break with decades of past practice by the U.S. military.
Shameful indeed. There are some low-level grunts serving time in Leavenworth for the abuses they committed. Yet, the top-level administration figures, such as Cheney and Rummy, who authorized and encouraged the illegal behavior are still running the country. They are the real criminals. They are the war criminals.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Mission accomplished

Via Think Progress - 2,000 Americans have died in Iraq

$%#@! war criminals.

Impeach Bush

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Wil-maaaaaaaahhhhh! part deux

My son just called from Boca Raton, Fl. Just before 10 am ET, the eastern eye wall of Wilma had passed over his location and the eye was directly overhead. He reported lots of damage in his apartment complex; trees down and windows broken. Fortunately, both his apartment and car were spared any damage at least for the first, and worst half of the storm. He still has a couple hours of severe weather to go through. Thankfully, the storm is moving very fast and constantly gaining speed.

This is his 5th hurricane since moving down there in may of last year.

I myself am headed down to Tampa, Fl. later this afternoon for the WS-I community meeting. I was scheduled to fly down this morning... obviously, not a good idea <grin/> ... but managed to get a flight later in the afternoon.

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Ruh roh!

List of Foiled Plots Puzzling to Some (emphasis mine):
Intelligence officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the White House overstated the gravity of the plots by saying that they had been foiled, when most were far from ready to be executed. Others noted that the nation's color-coded threat index was not raised from yellow, or 'elevated' risk of attack, to orange, or 'high' risk, for most of the time covered by the incidents on the list.

[...]

"The problem with these lists is that we don't know the criteria," said Bruce Hoffman, a Rand Corp. terrorism expert. When the incidents do not correspond to elevated threat levels, "it runs the risk of 'Were we just crying wolf then?' This is animpressive [sic] compendium of actual attacks, but what about the other ones?"
This reinforces Keith Olbermann's piece the other day about the uncanny coincidence between the incidence of bad news for/about the President/White House and announcements of elevated terror alert status. Given the plethora of other bad news coming this week, seems we are ripe for at least Orange if not Red alert status any minute now.

Oh, and did I mention that Novacula, the Douchebag of Liberty himself, has been cooperating with Fitzgerald all along? Steve Soto asks:
I wonder if the White House knew this before tonight?
This ought to be an interesting week.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Re: Things you can do with an XML message

Over on Stefan's blog, Diego Sevilla writes in comments (emphasis mine):
...for example, you can store the IIOP message the same you can store the XML message. It’s just a blob of data. As for processing it using other tools like XQuery and such, take into account that the purpose of XML messages (as IIOP ones) is to ask an application for something.
It is? That's certainly news to me...

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hellblazer: The Fifth Labor Of Patrick Fitzgerald

Hellblazer: The Fifth Labor Of Patrick Fitzgerald:
Going to be a something to tell the kids. That's for sure.
I think Hal has it just about right.

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Monday, October 17, 2005

One can only hope...

The Raw Story | New York Daily News source believes senior White House official has flipped in leak case:
The case of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame is set to explode.

The New York Daily News is set to report in Tuesday editions that a well-placed source interviewed by the newspaper believes a senior White House official has flipped and may be helping the prosecutor in the case, RAW STORY has learned.

The Daily News will reveal that a top source believes that based on the questioning of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and his other contacts with the investigation, someone in the White House has turned.
Recall that Watergate was going nowhere until Howard John Dean flipped. Could it be that someone in the White House actually has a conscience?

One can only hope.

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Wil-maaaaaaaahhhhh!

Wilma is the 21st named storm of the season. The only other time that many storms formed since record keeping began 154 years ago was in 1933.
Six more weeks to go... what are the odds that there won't be another (few) named storms this season?

This past September was the warmest on record.

The Arctic ice cap has shrunk for the fourth consecutive year.

Yet, BushCo thinks that all this talk of global warming is fringe science... the rantings of a bunch of nerdy Cassandras wearing bifocals taped at the bridge.

Keep driving those SUVs! It's the American way of life!

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Nothing to see here...

... move along.

Think Progress � Rice: After 9-11 “We Could Decide the Proximate Cause Was Al Qaeda”:
The fact of the matter is that when we were attacked on September 11, we had a choice to make. We could decide that the proximate cause was al Qaeda and the people who flew those planes into buildings and, therefore, we would go after al Qaeda…or we could take a bolder approach.
A bolder approach?

Let's see, what is this... reason #591 on why we invaded Iraq?

Dead or alive, my ass.

Worst. President. Ever. (not to mention miserable failure)

Impeach the lying bastards, all of them.

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What's in a name?

Why all the fuss over whether or not Rove or Libby revealed Valerie Plame (Victoria Flame? Victor Victoria?) by name? The law prohibits revealing the identity of a NOC. If Libby and/or Rove revealed to reporters that Wilson's wife worked at WINPAC in the CIA, then that clearly identified her. How many wives does Joseph C. Wilson IV have? Anyone knowing that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA could have done a little intrepid sleuthing through the public record to find out her name.

It should be an interesting week (or two) as we await the verdict of the grand jury. There has never been a more deserving bunch of creeps.

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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Judy reads from her notes

My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room - New York Times:
According to my notes...
Blah, blah, blah. What dreck. According to my notes. What? She forgot about the substance of the interviews and is telling us only what is written in her notes?

What a hack she is.
My notes indicate that well before Mr. Wilson published his critique, Mr. Libby told me that Mr. Wilson's wife may have worked on unconventional weapons at the C.I.A.
That would be on June 23rd, well before the Wilson op-ed piece. Once again, this proves conclusively that the major players in this scandal have lied to cover-up their crime. Whether they realized it to be a crime or not is irrelevant.

Seems to me that "Scooter" is in a pickle. He's going down.
As I told the grand jury, I recalled Mr. Libby's frustration and anger about what he called "selective leaking" by the C.I.A. and other agencies to distance themselves from what he recalled as their unequivocal prewar intelligence assessments. The selective leaks trying to shift blame to the White House, he told me, were part of a "perverted war" over the war in Iraq.
No, it was the CIA trying to get the truth out that the war in Iraq was based on lies and cherry-picked intelligence spread by the White House.
On one page of my interview notes, for example, I wrote the name "Valerie Flame."Yet, as I told Mr. Fitzgerald, I simply could not recall where that came from, when I wrote it or why the name was misspelled.

I testified that I did not believe the name came from Mr. Libby, in part because the notation does not appear in the same part of my notebook as the interview notes from him.
How conveeenient!
"No briefer came in and said, 'You got it wrong, Mr. President,' " he said, according to my notes.
Oh, come on! Gimme a break! What a bald-faced lie. Before Dubya used the infamous 16 words in the SOTU speach, the CIA Director had explicitly requested that mention of Iraq's alleged attempts at aquiring uranium from Niger be removed from numerous speeches.
Mr. Libby also told me that on the basis of these two reports and other intelligence, his office had asked the C.I.A. for more analysis and investigation of Iraq's dealings with Niger. According to my interview notes, Mr. Libby told me that the resulting cable - based on Mr. Wilson's fact-finding mission, as it turned out - barely made it out of the bowels of the C.I.A. He asserted that George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, had never even heard of Mr. Wilson.
Sorry, that simply isn't believable either. Wilson was the former ambassador to Iraq, the one to told Saddam, to his face, to f*** off.
I said I couldn't be certain whether I had known Ms. Plame's identity before this meeting, and I had no clear memory of the context of our conversation that resulted in this notation. But I told the grand jury that I believed that this was the first time I had heard that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for Winpac. In fact, I told the grand jury that when Mr. Libby indicated that Ms. Plame worked for Winpac, I assumed that she worked as an analyst, not as an undercover operative.
Poor Scooter... he is sooo screwed.
I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I was not sure whether Mr. Libby had used this name or whether I just made a mistake in writing it on my own. Another possibility, I said, is that I gave Mr. Libby the wrong name on purpose to see whether he would correct me and confirm her identity.
Oh, please.
Mr. Fitzgerald asked my reaction to Mr. Novak's column. I told the grand jury I was annoyed at having been beaten on a story. I said I felt that since The Times had run Mr. Wilson's original essay, it had an obligation to explore any allegation that undercut his credibility.
Jeez, don't ever write an op-ed piece, negative of the administration, for the Times! Judy thinks it is her obligation to undercut your credibility. What a partisan hack.

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Friday, October 14, 2005

Blackout

Baghdad Blackout Caused by Sabotage:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents sabotaged power lines to the capital Friday evening, knocking out electricity across the greater Baghdad area and plunging it into darkness on the eve of the country's key vote on a new constitution.
Guess that'll make those diebold machines somewhat inoperative. That ought to make it difficult for the Bushies to rig the outcome of the vote.

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Richard Cohen is a nitwit

Larry Johnson (former CIA operative) slams Cohen for yesterday's pathetic excuse for an op-ed:
The point that Cohen and the other White House hacks have missed is that protecting the identities of intelligence officers, whether they are working under official or non-official cover, is part of national defense. To compromise these identities is to commit an act of treason.

Patrick Fitzgerald understands that he must prosecute within the confines of the law. However, he also understands that what was done to the wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson was more than a rough game of inside the beltway hardball. Karl Rove told Chris Matthews that 'Wilson's wife is fair game'. Not only was she an unfair target, but in going after her the White House political crew unwittingly exposed several intelligence assets and caused the loss of intelligence assets overseas.

Richard Cohen is dead wrong to argue that the best thing Patrick Fitzgerald can do is leave town. To the contrary, the best thing Patrick Fitzgerald can do is a send a clear message to politicians in both parties that when it comes to political hardball intelligence assets must be kept out of the game. At the end of the day our nation's security is no game, it is a matter of life and death.
When I read that column yesterday, I was stunned. Cohen has been ripped to shreds in the blogosphere, and rightly so. Larry Johnson has the most compelling response of them all.

Of course a crime was committed. In this case, the cover-up is not worse than the actual crime (treason), although that is what many white House apologists would have you believe. However, the WH has not done itself any favors by continuing to obstruct justice. The administration should pay the penalty for that as well.

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A picture that says more than 1000 words.

Via tbogg - insomnia: A picture that says more than 1000 words. It seems pretty clear now. He cheated during the presidential debates with Kerry. He even needs to cheat in a completely stage-managed, scripted, photo-op with "real troops in Iraq". What a complete loser. Bush is making Reagan look competent and engaged by comparison.

Given that the real president is either suffering ill health, or has fallen out of favor with Dubya over the Plame Leak fiasco (or something else), makes you wonder who the hell is minding the store? The puppet who needs a hand up his backside to put words in his mouth?

Heaven help us all.

Worst. President. Ever.

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Why does this not surprise me?

Juan Cole:
The Arabic text of the recently released letter alleged to be by Zawahiri (al-Qaeda's number two man) to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq raises questions for me as to its authenticity.

[...]

My gut tells me that the letter is a forgery. Most likely it is a black psy-ops operation of the US. But it could also come from Iran, since the mistakes are those a Shiite might make when pretending to be a Sunni. Or it could come from an Iraqi Shiite group attempting to manipulate the United States. Hmmm.

The authenticity of the letter has also been questioned by al-Qaeda in Iraq.
You don't suppose that this has anything to do with the "interception" of such a letter, do you?

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Free fallin'

ROFLMAO! This is just too funny... almost addicting:-)

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Clemens!

Astros Oust Braves in Record 18 Innings:
HOUSTON - Roger Clemens and the
Houston Astros gave a whole new meaning to the word 'longevity.' The 43-year-old Rocket came out of the bullpen to rescue the Astros and Chris Burke ended the longest postseason game in baseball history with a home run in the 18th inning, lifting Houston over the
Atlanta Braves 7-6 Sunday and into the NL championship series.
Unbelievable.

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

More BushCo incompetence

Bush Plan Shows U.S. Is Not Ready for Deadly Flu - New York Times:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 - A plan developed by the Bush administration to deal with any possible outbreak of pandemic flu shows that the United States is woefully unprepared for what could become the worst disaster in the nation's history.

A draft of the final plan, which has been years in the making and is expected to be released later this month, says a large outbreak that began in Asia would be likely, because of modern travel patterns, to reach the United States within "a few months or even weeks."

If such an outbreak occurred, hospitals would become overwhelmed, riots would engulf vaccination clinics, and even power and food would be in short supply, according to the plan, which was obtained by The New York Times.

The 381-page plan calls for quarantine and travel restrictions but concedes that such measures "are unlikely to delay introduction of pandemic disease into the U.S. by more than a month or two."

The plan's 10 supplements suggest specific ways that local and state governments should prepare now for an eventual pandemic by, for instance, drafting legal documents that would justify quarantines. Written by health officials, the plan does yet address responses by the military or other governmental departments.

The plan outlines a worst-case scenario in which more than 1.9 million Americans would die and 8.5 million would be hospitalized with costs exceeding $450 billion.

It also calls for a domestic vaccine production capacity of 600 million doses within six months, more than 10 times the present capacity.

[...]

The plan also calls for a national stockpile of 133 million courses of antiviral treatment. The administration has bought 4.3 million.
Worst case scenario has 1.9 million Americans dead... one would assume that that would be if the plan were implemented as written.

After last years debacle with the flu vaccine, which was you'd think that this administration would have worked on fixing the situation with vaccine manufacturing... but noooo.

Why do I have this sinking feeling that the BushCo clown show will screw the pooch on this one, as they did with Katrina and that the worst case scenario will seem like a day at the beach compared to what we'll likely face.

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Google Reader

I'm not overly impressed with Google Reader thus far. Subscribing to feeds is a Rube Goldbergian nightmare, for starters. Updating feeds is obviously happening at their pace.

It has "gmail this" and "blog this" actions, which is nice, but I get that anyway.

I'll stick with SharpReader for now, but keep an eye out for improvements in Google's offering.

1 Comments:

  • +1
    the interface is pretty crap at the moment.
    I wanted to remove a folder from the OPML I imported and it just wasn't easy or obvious.

    I'm all for clean interfaces but this looks like it was thrown together and pushed out with the hope that it having google.com attached would keep it afloat.

    SharpReader for me too..

    By Anonymous ian, at October 09, 2005 11:04 PM  

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Friday, October 07, 2005

You don't suppose...

... that all these terror alerts could have anything to do with this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or (oops) this?

Poor ol' Dubya is not having a very good week, month, year.

Slip-slidin' away...

I'm goin' down, down, down, down, down...

Free fallin', out into nothin'

How low can you go?

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

If this is true...

... then the man is clearly insane.

BBC - Press Office - George Bush on Elusive Peace:
Nabil Shaath says: 'President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.' And I did, and then God would tell me, 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …' And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.' And by God I'm gonna do it.''
Not that I ever doubted that for a moment.

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Who?!

Harriet Miers? Someone who has never served as a judge?

There's no one more qualified than she?

She may be a fine attourney, who knows. Certainly, because she has been serving as Bush's counsel, we'll never know what her views are, and have access to precious little of her writings.

What ever happened to the notion that being nominated to serve on the highest court in the land usually meant that you had earned that distinction and that there was no doubt as to your qualifications.

BushCo cronyism continues at its breathtaking pace.

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Ground This Mission

From the WaPo editorial staff - Ground This Mission:
More fundamentally, we believe that the needs of NASA -- and the country -- can, at this point, be better served by continuing and expanding robotic exploration. In a visit to The Post the other day, Mr. Griffin emphasized the inherent limits of robots; NASA, he said, had concluded that a human could achieve in a single day what it would take a robot 90 days to do.

But sending a human into space costs far more than dispatching a robot. The inherent risks of human spaceflight can be minimized but not eliminated. And humans, at least in the near future, will not be able to remain on the moon, Mars or elsewhere nearly as long as robots; the rovers Spirit and Opportunity are still cruising the Martian surface after landing in January 2004. All in all, 90 days to one seems like a pretty good trade-off.
I have to say that, although I am highly supportive of scientific exploration of our solar system and the cosmos, I couldn't agree more. Manned space filght to the moon and beyond (to infinity and beyond!) saps from NASA's budget to fund some real science, exploring our solar neighborhood with robotic technology. That isn't to say that we shouldn't pursue manned space flight. I think we should; eventually. However, I don't think that we're ready now, nor will we be in the next 10 years. What we should be doing now is exploring/researching safer options for achieving escape velocity than strapping a few brave men and women onto enormous quantities of high explosives.

In the meantime, NASA should be sponsoring more robotic exploration like the wildly successful Mars Explorer missions of Spirit and Opportunity. After all, I think that when we do reach the point where we can safely (well, more so than what we can do now) put men and women into space and bring them safely home, that they will need plenty of robotic assistance.

1 Comments:

  • Manned exploration is a given for all who are involved intimately and working with space programs. As are robotics.

    What worries me is the new NASA administrator is coming across as being the antagonizer Bolton (UN) of space. Based on one press release where he basically claimed his predecessors were wrong and foolish for doing the space shuttle and ISS space station projects.

    That coupled with the less than impressive (although safe & proven antique) version of basic rockets with capsules on top being his selection for the next major missions. That would truly demonstrate excessive costs for something so basic.

    By Anonymous M. Allen Schultz, at October 03, 2005 2:18 PM  

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Wazzup with that?

Jay Rosen writes Judith Miller and Her Times on his blog at at the The Huffington Post:
In the mystifying drama of Judith Miller and her Times, I am as clueless as the next person about what's really going down. But it seems to me we're watching just that-- Judy Miller's New York Times.

It's kind of staggering, the way she has hijacked the institution with an 'epic collision' between herself and the state.
I have to admit, I am baffled by this turn of events. When Matt Cooper caved in at the 11th hour after Rove's attourney made a fool of himself and Cooper's legal counsel advised that they should accept the waiver that Rove had given long ago, I thought to myself that it seemed that Cooper could have done that more than a year earlier. Now, it turns out that Miller, after 85 days in prison, has essentially come to the same conclusion after discussing with Libby and his legal counsel; something that they could have done long ago.

This case could have been wrapped up before the elections; possibly to a very different outcome.

Jay concludes:
The problem with Miller's stand on principle is that other Washington journalists who deal in secrets found a way to maintain their principles without sharing that stand. So there must be something else to it beyond being a woman of her word. "The law presented Judy with a choice, said Keller on the Newshour in July. "She could betray her source and go free or she could go to jail." This is the epic collision Shafer spoke of.

But now we know she had a third choice: to seek a negotiated end to the stand off, which is what her new lawyer, Robert Bennett, eventually did, and also what Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post, to name two, earlier did.

Keller continues: "I think the choice she made is an honorable, principled, brave choice, and one that has been honored down the centuries in America." He and Miller always saw the case as a classic instance of civil disobedience. "The right of civil disobedience is based on personal conscience," Miller said in a statement before she was led to jail. "It is fundamental to our system and it is honoured throughout our history."

Here, I believe, is the error the Times made. Civil disobedience succeeds when there is clarity in purpose, cogency in argument, and transparency in action. None of which has been apparent in Miller's decisons. As Keller himself said in July about the prosecution: "This has been a kind of series of black holes, and I-- I honestly don't know what is at the heart of this case any more."

I'm afraid the answer is: Judy Miller.

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