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Frank Rich writes in his New York Times opinion column: "No matter how hard President Obama tries to turn the page on the previous administration, he can't. Until there is true transparency and true accountability, revelations of that unresolved eight-year nightmare will keep raining down drip by drip, disrupting the new administration's high ambitions."

The Los Angeles Times editorial board writes: "Republicans are exulting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's increasingly defensive explanations about when she knew about torture by CIA interrogators. But you don't have to be a partisan to recognize that the possible acquiescence of Democrats in waterboarding and other cruelties is worthy of further investigation."

David E. Sanger writes in the New York Times: "A series of cover sheets for intelligence reports written for Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and other senior Pentagon officials during the early days of the war in Iraq in 2003 were adorned with biblical quotations, and appeared Sunday, six years later, on the Web site of GQ magazine."

The rest of Robert Draper's GQ article basically consists of other former Bush officials throwing Rumsfeld under the train -- as if he could be blamed for everything that went wrong. "My conversations with more than a dozen Bush loyalists," Draper writes, revealed that a key element of their legacy-building is their "ill will toward Donald Rumsfeld. Though few of these individuals would speak for the record (knowing that their former boss, George W. Bush, would not approve of it), they believe that Rumsfeld's actions epitomized the very traits — arrogance, stubbornness, obliviousness, ineptitude — that critics say drove the Bush presidency off the rails."

Looking for Bush's biggest legacy? Jeffrey Toobin writes in the New Yorker that after four years on the court, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts's record is "that of a doctrinaire conservative...[Roberts] reflects a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society. In every major case since he became the nation's seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff....At this low moment in the historical reputation of George W. Bush, his nominee for Chief Justice stands in signal contrast to what appears today to be a failed and fading tenure as President. Roberts's service on the Court, which is, of course, likely to continue for decades, offers an enduring and faithful reflection of the Bush Presidency."

Pete Yost writes for the Associated Press: "A federal prosecutor questioned former top presidential aide Karl Rove for several hours on Friday, trying to determine his precise role in the Bush administration's politically tinged firings of U.S. attorneys....Rove and the prosecutor who interviewed him, acting U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy, declined to comment as they left the offices of Rove's lawyer separately."

Peter Baker writes in the New York Times: "Ready for a new New Deal? How about the New Foundation? As Mr. Obama labors to pull the country out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression and simultaneously overhaul energy, education and health care, he has coined an expression to encapsulate his ambitious program in the same way Franklin D. Roosevelt did in the 1930s."

Michael D. Shear writes in The Washington Post: "President Obama reached across the aisle [Saturday] to tap a leading Republican governor as his ambassador to China, indicating his continuing desire for bipartisanship in his administration while signaling to Beijing his intent to build 'a new understanding' with the United States' largest economic competitor." Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. had been seen as a potential political challenger for Obama in 2012.

Robert Pear writes in the New York Times: "Hospitals and insurance companies said Thursday that President Obama had substantially overstated their promise earlier this week to reduce the growth of health spending. Mr. Obama invited health industry leaders to the White House on Monday to trumpet their cost-control commitments. But three days later, confusion swirled in Washington as the companies' trade associations raced to tamp down angst among members around the country."

Sally Quinn writes in a Washington Post op-ed that National Security Adviser Jim Jones is the subject of "sniping...reportedly coming mostly from State Department officials and some staffers at the White House."

Robert J. Samuelson grumbles in his Washington Post opinion column about "Obama's Zen-like capacity to discourage serious criticism." Samuelson calls Obama's budget "a case study in political expediency and economic gambling."

Jeff Zeleny profiles Rotus -- Darienne M. Page, Obama's receptionist -- in the New York Times.

By Dan Froomkin  |  May 18, 2009; 3:10 PM ET
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Those biblical quotations on the covers of the Intelligence Reports are blasphemous and obscene.

Posted by: herzliebster | May 18, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

It is hardly surprising that the healthcare companies are already trying to walk back their promises, but it is disappointing. Especially since the promises were already lackluster. Their promises amounted to an increase which will already be higher than inflation, but not quite the torrid increases we've seen the last couple decades.

Posted by: fletc3her | May 18, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Obama is not near New Deal policies. Not in any way, shape or form or even desire. Howard Zinn has a column on The Progressive Mag's website on Obama, suggesting that we need/want him to do a "total turnaround" from policies that have been ongoing (longer than Bush, much longer.). Nice column.

Posted by: NYCartist | May 18, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Those biblical quotations on the covers of the Intelligence Reports are blasphemous and obscene.

Posted by: herzliebster


More to the point, they were crassly manipulative.

All Putin had to do to hookwink Bush was wear a crucifix.

All Rumsfeld had to do was past some bibblecal quotes.

Bush ate it up.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 18, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

In any case, Chief Justice Roberts will only get to assign the opinion when Kennedy votes with him. When Kennedy votes with the liberals, as the justice with the most seniority, he gets to assign the opinion. Justice Kennedy is 73, as is Justice Scalia.

Posted by: dickdata | May 18, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Justice Kennedy is 73, as is Justice Scalia.


And Fat Tony keeps getting fatter. Not very longevity-positive for an old man to weigh so much.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 18, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Don't you think it's about time someone looked into what former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has to say about having a doctors license and his knowledge of water boarding on his watch?
He would be one of the eight members of congress that were briefed.
I sure hope he's not a Europe right now.

Posted by: samellison | May 18, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Robert Draper's GQ article also reveals that Donald Rumsfeld stopped U.S. military search-and-rescue helicopters from flying into flooded New Orleans to pluck stranded people off rooftops.

To understand how serious the Republicans were about stopping federal assistance getting to Hurricane Katrina survivors in New Orleans in the first week of September 2005, please read David S. Cloud's September 7, 2005 excellent NY Times article entitled: Navy Pilots Who Rescued Victims Are Reprimanded. (I googled "Pensacola helicopter Katrina" to find it. It's about the eighth one down).

Plus, there was a report about a U.S. Navy hospital ship, that rode out Katrina and anchored off the Louisiana coast close to New Orleans, with helicopters, medical supplies, food and beds, that was basically not used. On orders of Rumsfeld, just like the search-and-rescue helicopters, maybe?

I still contend that the Bush administration (as part of a Karl Rove smear campaign against Louisiana Democratic Party officials) deliberately withheld federal disaster assistance from New make things worse so that their smear campaign against Democratic leaders in Louisiana would be more effective. And these Republicans didn't care how many people died or suffered in their attempt to politically exploit Katrina. Sound familiar? Iraq. 9/11. All viewed by some of the most corrupt and cancerous Republicans in U.S. history as events they could exploit for Republican gain. So, I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that the Bush administration deliberately stopped federal aid from reaching Katrina-ravaged areas in Louisiana, but especially in New Orleans and at the Superdome.

Read Cloud's NY Times article carefully. If you noticed, the two reprimanded helicopter pilots said that there was a lot of federal disaster relief activity on the ground and in the air that they saw on their way as they flew to resupply the airbase outside New Orleans, but as they approached New Orleans, this furious activity lessened and then disappeared.

In other words, the Bush administration (Bush, Cheney, Chertoff, Rumsfeld, etal.) flooded Mississippi and Alabama with federal disaster relief...because these two Gulf Coast states hit by Katrina had Republican governors...but the Bush administration wasn't about to help the citizens of Louisiana (and New Orleans) because Louisiana had a Democratic Party governor (Kathleen Blanco) and New Orleans had a Democratic Party mayor (Ray Nagin). Because of this blind and inhumane partisanship on the part of some of the most vile Republicans ever to disgrace our federal government, people died.

Posted by: wizard2000 | May 19, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Here's all you need to know about the health insurers' (sic) deal.

Over the next 10 years they give up $2 trillion in ill-gotten gains and keep $6 trillion. Do the math. Think Tony Soprano would take that deal? In a New York minute.

Posted by: boscobobb | May 19, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Jesse Ventura, Bush administration was asleep at the switch BEFORE 9/11 and all this posturing about post-9/11 is a diversion from that. What did the White House NOT tell the 9/11 commission?

Posted by: tbartlett2 | May 19, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

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