Today's Blogs

Deputy Dogged

Bloggers ponder the resignation of Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty. They also tweak the military for banning YouTube and debate a BBC journalist’s outburst over Scientology.

Deputy dogged: Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty resigned Monday, the latest casualty of the U.S. attorneys scandal. McNulty says he’s leaving because of the “financial realities of college-age children and two decades of public service.” But Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that McNulty had “signed off on the names” of the fired U.S. attorneys. Bloggers wonder what the resignation means for the department.

Liberal Irregular Times isn’t particularly enthused: “Sorry, I left my pom-poms home today. McNulty’s resignation might be good news for Democratic Party P.R. purposes, but it doesn’t give us any new information, and it doesn’t change what the Bush administration has already done to invert the meaning of justice in America.”

Josh Marshall at liberal Talking Points Memo wonders whether McNulty might spill more now that he’s gone: “If I were Gonzales and the White House, I’d see McNulty’s departure as a very unwelcome development. Behind the scenes, supporters of McNulty and Gonzales have been increasingly at odds as the scandal has progressed. … [I]t’s hard to figure where McNulty gets less forthcoming once he’s no longer part of the administration.”

Even worse for Bush, now he has to appoint someone to replace him, and that means confirmation hearings. Liberal Emptywheel at The Next Hurrah figures Bush can’t dither: “While Bush might postpone nominating a replacement, DOJ is fairly well gutted at this point, with Gonzales sidelined, Monica gone, Sampson’s replacement USA O’Connor not yet approved. They’re going to need to appoint someone–or else DOJ’s efforts to much up the Foggo Wilkes case (and others) may just grind to a halt.”

Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report looks askance at Gonzales’ point that McNulty “signed off on the names”: “That’s true, but so did Gonzales. Obviously, the Bush gang (which certainly includes Gonzales) wants nothing more than to find a high-ranking scapegoat, but McNulty isn’t it.”

With McNulty out of the way, Alex Pareene at Wonkette imagines Gonzales “sit[ting] in his office all day cackling and lighting cigars with letters of resignation.” Things can only get worse: “McNulty is one of the guys who actually feels sort of bad about this US attorneys scandal, so expect the DoJ to become even more corrupt in his absence.”

Faiz at ThinkProgress posts the video in which Gonzales, in their words, “throws McNulty under the bus.” The Left Coaster’s Steve Soto hopes that Gonzales’ “pansy-assed comments today and the sniping from the White House will lead McNulty to say some interesting things in response when he goes before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees later this year.”

Read more about McNulty’s resignation. Read his resignation letter here.

I want YouTube: A month after cracking down on blogs written by soldiers, the Department of Defense blocked highly trafficked sites like YouTube and MySpace on official computers. Military officials cite the risk of high traffic overwhelming the military’s private network and concerns about sensitive information being disclosed. The military will continue to post videos on its own YouTube site.

Kevin Drum at liberal Washington Monthly’s Political Animal dubs the bandwidth argument “obviously bogus. There are fairly straightforward ways of allocating bandwidth. … They just want to restrict images of war flowing in both directions.” British socialist Anthony Karl Page at Neither Labour Nor Tory agrees: “Considering the sheer amount of money spent bombing Iraq and Afghanistan, I am incredulous that the military can’t afford a few more gigabytes of bandwidth for their own soldiers.”

Preston, commenting on military blog BLACKFIVE, calls the crackdown “a ham-handed solution. I would have liked to see a ‘share the pain’ strategy. They could have restricted the bandwidth hogs to a few machines in a morale tent. I’m sorry if that means the Exec’s 100th PowerPoint presentation takes an extra second to send. He can wait.”

Akinoluna, a Marine sergeant stationed overseas, doubts the ban will do much to prevent the disclosure of sensitive material: “[E]very single servicemember who has access to a military network can simply switch over to using an unblocked website or use their military email accounts instead. And don’t get me started on the proxy server links the resident computer geeks will soon share with all their buddies.”

Stress test: BBC reporter John Sweeney exploded at a Scientology official while researching a documentary on the Church of Scientology that aired Monday. (See above.) After a video of his outburst leaked to YouTube, Sweeney admitted he made a mistake: “”I look like an exploding tomato and shout like a jet engine and every time I see it makes me cringe.” In his report, Sweeney claims the church sent people to follow him and eavesdrop on his conversations.

At the blog of the British Telegraph, Ceri Radford admits she feels “a shade of sympathy for the ‘exploding tomato.’ I mean, if you had been followed about for seven days solid by some implacable drone in a naff suit and reflective sunglasses, wouldn’t you be feeling a little tetchy?”

Author Andrew Collins at Where Did It All Go Right? claims he has no quarrel with Scientologists’ beliefs: “But to see the media wing of Scientology trying to shut down a BBC investigation, threatening legal action, reporting it to Ofcom over what they see as 150 guidline breaches, and then to use intimidating tactics such as we saw in the film, does them no credit whatsoever. It’ll take a personal appearance by Tom and Katie to paper over this one.”

Nick at Beyond Hollywood expected better from Sweeney: “Wait, aren’t BBC reporters supposed to be better than us? As in, they don’t go around screaming into people’s faces like a red-faced maniac? … I just love it when British guys act like us Ugly Americans.”

Mark Maenell at Qaerentia considers Sweeney’s reaction “to a large extent righteous and appropriate. …Scientology’s techniques by themselves are sufficient to indicate seriously sinister intent. … Sweeney was quite right to be angry - and it just reminded me that we should get more angry about these sorts of things.”

Read more about Sweeney’s blowup.