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Boo Birds

"It is startling to hear, in private conversations, how widely and deeply the U.S. officer corps despises this secretary of defense. The joke in some Pentagon circles is that if Rumsfeld were meeting with the service chiefs and commanders and a group of terrorists barged into the room and kidnapped him, not a single general would lift a finger to help him. . . .

"Some of the most respected retired generals are publicly criticizing Rumsfeld and his policies in a manner that's nearly unprecedented in the United States, where civilian control of the military is accepted as a hallowed principle. . . .

"Does President Bush know this is going on? If he does, he would do the nation -- and the Constitution -- a big favor if he launched a different sort of pre-emptive attack and got rid of Rumsfeld now."

Philly blogger Dick Polman captures in a nutshell the political dilemma of the immigration uproar:

"It's no surprise that the Republican Senate failed last week to figure out a way to deal with illegal immigrants. The whole issue is a political nightmare for the governing party. If the Republicans had cracked down too much on the illegals -- as suggested by the House GOP -- then they would have risked alienating the fastest-growing electorate in American politics, one that Karl Rove has been coveting for years. Illegals can't vote, of course, but legal Hispanic voters have already demonstrated, most notably in California, that they view GOP attacks on illegals as a blanket insult on their ethnicity.

"Yet if the Senate Republicans had managed to pass a program that would've paved a road to citizenship, they would have risked infuriating their core conservative followers -- who have been agitating for the GOP to show some guts on border enforcement. In terms of short-term politics, it's probably just as well that the Senate's compromise bill collapsed last Friday, because any plan that looks remotely like 'amnesty' would be an invitation for the GOP conservative base to boycott the 2006 congressional elections. In other words, Republicans risked alienating either the voters they want to have in the future, or the voters they have right now. Hence their paralysis. But the problem now is that, by doing nothing, they risk alienating both groups."

I've heard of staffers babysitting a congressman, but now comes a case of underlings having tobaby-sit the congressman's kids.

Former ABC correspondent Bob Zelnick is stepping down as head of Boston University's journalism department, and Mark Jurkowitz has his statement:

"The new arrangement should give me more time to think, write, put my face in front of cameras and generally to fight liberals wherever I find them."

Do some producers only want guests who will toe a particular line? The latest dispatch from a blogger who's spent time reporting from Iraq catches the eye of Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum :

" Michael Yon reports from the UAE on the facts of life in conservative talk radio:

"Last week, in America, a radio producer for a large syndicated program in the United States called me requesting that I go on the show, a show that has hosted me many times and where I've been referred to as, 'Our man in Iraq.' But when I said Iraq is in a civil war, that same producer slammed down the phone and, in so doing, demonstrated how much he reveres truth. . . . When the receiver slammed into the phone, the producer revealed himself naked; he was not supporting the troops, nor the Iraqis, but the president. . . .


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