It appears John K. Tanner, chief of the Justice Department's voting section, was a bit miffed about the recent leak of an internal document that showed most of the section's lawyers who had reviewed a controversial Georgia voting law felt it would discriminate against black voters. The lawyers were overruled by higher-ups, Washington Post colleague Dan Eggen reported Nov. 17.
Tanner fired off a pyrotechnic e-mail to the section calling the leak "despicable" and "a clear breach of ethics, honor and professionalism."
As would be expected, his e-mail also leaked.
The leak of the voting rights memo was "utterly alien to core principles of membership in the bar, and utterly at odds with the conduct rightly expected of employees of the Department of Justice," Tanner said utterly. "There is no justification for individuals to put their own agendas ahead of their legal and professional obligations."
"Extraordinarily unprofessional conduct," he went on, is "a betrayal of colleagues on many levels." Taking the high road, Tanner said he had "no plans for a leak investigation or other responsive action." Of course, "the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of the Inspector General" will "take any action they deem appropriate." Deportation to a secret jail in some Eastern European democracy?
Meanwhile, he said, the leak, "so utterly alien to the culture of the Department of Justice . . . must not cast a pall over our work."
Sure didn't. Neither did the equally alien leak last week of a memo on a Texas voting rights case.
Signs of the Times
It's usually easy to explain lawmakers' votes. They follow the dictates of those who paid their way to Washington: business, labor, enviros, developers and so on.
But sometimes their supporters are split and legislators don't know which knee to jerk. Their thinking can be downright inexplicable.
So washingtonpost.com, as part of its new, comprehensive voting analysis site, projects.washingtonpost.com/congress, offers a breakdown of every recorded vote in the House and the Senate on every bill since 1991 by party, baby-boomer status, state, gender, region and, perhaps most important, astrological sign.
For example, on July 28 the House voted on HR 3045, the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act. Geminis and Capricorns had a clear majority; Leos and Pisces were generally opposed. But two weeks earlier, the House voted on HR 3100, the East Asia Security Act of 2005. Cancers, Aquariuses and Libras voted in favor; Sagittariuses and Capricorns were opposed.
The Senate's 1999 vote on the first article in President Bill Clinton's impeachment lined up with Arieses voting guilty, Scorpios not guilty and Libras conflicted.
Does the 9/11 Panel Know This?
They can't stop media-bashing. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, at a town hall meeting in Kiev on Wednesday, was asked what she did or said that earned her the nickname "The Warrior Princess."
"Well," Rice said amid laughter. "I should have our press, who dreamed up that name, talk to you. 'Warrior Princess' -- it's not how I think of myself."
She said: "It's kind of a sense of are you somebody who takes on challenges and answers in a kind of challenging way, and does that make you a 'Warrior Princess'? I think that's probably why."
"I will tell you this: the pictures that have gone with it are terrible," Rice said. "I was in a Matrix outfit one time," she said. "I looked one time like Wonder Woman, you know, in one of those bathing-suit things and the hat. So the pictures have been pretty awful."
Yeah, yeah. It's always our fault. So, we are obliged to note a New York Times article in April 2004: " 'She's the one who can make our most forceful case,' one close colleague of Ms. Rice said. 'They don't call her the Warrior Princess for nothing,' a reference to the moniker her staff gave her after the Sept. 11 attacks."
Cunningham Avoids RNC's Dump-Stir
The Republican National Committee graciously has not abandoned GOP stalwart and former representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham (Calif.) just because he took a few bribes. The RNC Web site -- spotted by www.politicalwire.com -- yesterday included in its "Upcoming Events" calendar item this reminder: "12.08.05. Representative Duke Cunningham's birthday."
Hmmm. What to get for the guy who's lost his Louis-Philippe commode?