Judge reluctant to open CIA inquiry

A federal judge appeared reluctant Friday to investigate the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes while the Justice Department is conducting its own inquiry.

U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy is considering whether to delve into the matter and, if so, how deeply. The Bush administration is urging him to back off while it investigates.

“Why should the court not permit the Department of Justice to do just that?” Kennedy asked at a court hearing.

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Huckabee: ‘Oh, woe is me’

Under fire, Mike Huckabee countered mounting criticism from GOP presidential rivals Thursday by playing the woe-is-me card — and then hitting back by suggesting they lack substantial agendas of their own.

“Everything but the kitchen sink is being thrown at me,” the Republican leader in Iowa polls complained at nearly every stop. “If the only thing some of these candidates have to run on is what’s wrong with somebody else, they must not have much of a platform to talk about.”

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Republicans still kings of pork

The demise of the bridge to nowhere notwithstanding, Sen. Ted Stevens and other Republicans remain the kings of pork-barrel spending, proving that GOP mastery of “earmarks” can withstand public scorn, a president’s rebuke and even a Democratic takeover of Congress.

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Mitt: Another day, another change in story

Mitt Romney, who earlier this year had to backpedal on his hunting exploits, is explaining himself again after claiming an endorsement he did not receive and saying he witnessed his father in civil rights marches he could not have seen.

“It’s a figure of speech,” Romney said Thursday after media inquiries into the Republican presidential contender’s statement during his recent religion speech that he watched his father, the late Gov. George Romney of Michigan, march with Martin Luther King Jr.

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Rudy’s record: Too many secrets

When a mayor of New York leaves office, little goes out the door but memories — unless he’s Rudy Giuliani. Government rules discourage the city’s most powerful officeholder from departing with more than token gifts collected on the job.

Ed Koch, mayor from 1978 to 1989, recalls keeping some neckties. His successor, David Dinkins, walked away with knickknacks from his desk, including a crystal tennis ball and a collection of photographs documenting his meetings with celebrities and business icons.

When Giuliani stepped down, he needed a warehouse.

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Dubya dumps on Congress

President Bush, successful in forcing the Democratic Congress to bend to his will, complained that lawmakers had wasted time and taxpayers’ money. His aggressive stand set a confrontational tone for Bush’s final year in the White House.

Bush used a year-end news conference Thursday to scold lawmakers for stuffing 9,800 special-interest projects into a $550 billion spending measure. He directed his budget director to explore how to erase what Bush considers wasteful spending.

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CIA tape case heads for court

The Bush administration has made its position clear in legal filings and now gets a chance to say it to a judge in open court: Hold off on inquiring about the destruction of CIA videotapes that showed suspected terrorists being interrogated.

U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy ordered the hearing Friday over the objection of the Justice Department after lawyers raised questions about the possibility that other evidence also might have been destroyed.

Kennedy, appointed to the trial court by President Clinton, is considering whether to delve into the matter and, if so, how deeply.

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The bore of Al Gore

“So,” said Al Gore at the recent Bali, Indonesia, conference on global warming, “I am going to speak an inconvenient truth. My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali. We all know that.”

Well, no, Al, what we all know is that a sufficient degree of disloyalty, pomposity, vengefulness and incompetence can lead people to dismiss truths that don’t lend them credence.

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Forget God, let’s talk taxes

The God-O-Rama that the Republican presidential campaign has become has eclipsed the GOP’s signature issue: taxes. Assuming life still matters here on Earth, not just in the hereafter, it might help to evaluate the top GOP candidates and their executive tax records.

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Republicans say strange things

It’s that time of year when we review the weird and wacky comments made this past year by some of our public figures, prompting the always apt phrase, “Is this a great country or what?”

This week we will rankle the Republicans. Next week, the Democrats.

Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, who had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, was arrested in a men’s room at the Minneapolis airport in an undercover sex sting. He refused to resign, stating he was innocent although he had pleaded guilty to proposing a homosexual encounter.

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