Correction to This Article
The print edition of this article incorrectly said that the Senate confirmed 66 of President George H.W. Bush's judicial nominees in 1988. It confirmed 64, and that occurred in 1992. This version has been corrected.
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Judicial Vacancies Leave GOP With Empty Feeling

Beg Your Pardon?

President Bush, speaking to National Guard members and their families in Martinsburg, W.Va., for the Fourth, compared the war in Iraq to the American Revolution, which of course was
President Bush, speaking to National Guard members and their families in Martinsburg, W.Va., for the Fourth, compared the war in Iraq to the American Revolution, which of course was "more than two decades" ago. (Pool Photo By Roger L. Wollenberg)

ANNOUNCEMENT: President Bush's decision to commute the two-year prison sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former aide to Vice President Cheney-- and almost surely pardon him later -- means that we will have not one but two sets of winners in the Loop's Pardon Scooter Contest.

First, we'll select the 10 Loop Fans who came closest to guessing that the pardon would be July 2, 2007. (They will be announced shortly.) Then we'll hold the remaining entries to select 10 more winners of those In the Loop T-shirts when Bush actually pardons Libby, which sounds like it will be toward the end of his presidency.

Heading for the Exit

What's up at NAM? Every time you turn around, somebody is departing from the National Association of Manufacturers, reports my colleague Jeffrey H. Birnbaum.

The most recent: Douglas R. Kurkul, vice president of member communications and marketing services, who is leaving to run the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce in Nevada. Also in recent weeks, Lawrence A. Fineran, NAM's vice president for regulatory and competitive policy, and Patrick J. Cleary, senior vice president of communications, have left, bringing to roughly 60 the number of people who have gone elsewhere since former Michigan governor John M. Engler (R) became NAM's president in 2004.

The biggest departure was NAM executive vice president Michael E. Baroody , who recently withdrew as President Bush's nominee to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission. As a result, NAM's lobbying, sales and communications shops have been extensively overhauled, former insiders say. In addition, IBM is no longer a NAM member, they say. So, what does it all mean?

"We're growing. We're strengthening," said NAM spokesman J.P. Fielder. "Engler is a visionary."

Hard to see from here. . . .

Some Time Ago

President Bush, in his Fourth of July speech to National Guard members and their families in Martinsburg, W.Va., linked the war in Iraq to the battles faced by the Continental Army.

"Our first Independence Day celebration took place in a midst of a war -- a bloody and difficult struggle that would not end for six more years before America finally secured her freedom," Bush said, according to the White House transcript. "More than two decades later, it is hard to imagine the Revolutionary War coming out any other way -- but at the time, America's victory was far from certain."

Can't fault that timing. It's been "more than two decades" since a lot of things -- the Big Bang, the birth of Christ, the fall of Rome. . . .

And who can forget when the Queen of England visited this spring and Bush thanked her for being here in 1776?

Legion Post Iraq

This just in: "FIRST AMERICAN LEGION POST TO OPEN IN IRAQ: Commander Richard Billig, Department of State, Post 68, announced that Thomas R. Huff, Senior Vice Commander of Post 68, has founded and started recruiting veterans for the first American Legion Post to be located in Erbil, Kurdistan, in Northern Iraq. Application information is available by contacting Senior Vice Commander Huff at: (571) 438-8005. E-mail: Veterans@PathsofPatriots.org."

The announcement goes on to say: "It is expected that most active and retired military, especially American troops who have served, are serving and who are scheduled to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan will join and support the mission of Post 68A."


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