Archive for August, 2007

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Comedy Gold – The Tale Of The “Wide Stance”

August 30, 2007

I’m just going to follow up on my previous post about Larry Craig, just because I think it’s so damn funny.  The thing I keep chuckling about was the fact that Craig told the undercover airport police officer that the reason his foot had crossed into the adjoining stall was because he had a “wide stance”.  I mean, who poops like that?  I’m just trying to picture it.  It’s pretty funny when you do.  Maybe that in and of itself is “lewd conduct”?  I dunno.

Since I live in Minneapolis, I thought about going down to MSP airport and doing a little “Mythbusters“-style experiment to see just how wide a stance you’d have to have to actually touch the foot of the man in the next stall.  The police report wasn’t too specific about which restroom it was (Northstar Crossing refers to the 100+ restaurants and shops in the Lindbergh terminal), and I’m not sure if I can even get in there (it’s been a while since I’ve flown), so I think I’ve decided against it.  It would make for a funny picture though.

Anyway, speaking of wide stances, The Vikings play another preseason game tonight at 7 PM CST.

Update:  RawStory has the audio of Craig’s arrest where he gives his statement to the officer.  Like I said, comedy gold!

Just the fact that he said “entrapment”, to me, means that he is in fact gay and/or has done that sort of thing before. To claim entrapment basically means “Hey, you were sitting in the stall next to me, what gay man seeking annonymous sex is going to resist that?” LOL

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What Does Sen. Larry Craig And “Sea Bass” Have In Common?

August 27, 2007

Public restrooms make them SUPER HORNY!

dumbdumber_05.jpg


FOR A MANLY LOVE
BE HERE
MARCH 25th
AT 2:15 AM SHARP

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First Rove, Then Gonzales

August 27, 2007

Is it just a coincidence that two of the most loyal Bushies in Bushville -both of whom are involved in the supposed non-scandal scandal of the firing of US attorneys- resigned within weeks of each other?

Hhhhhmmmmm…

via Raw Story: Fired attorney: Rove, Gonzales resignations ‘absolutely linked’

During an appearance on CNN, former US Attorney David Iglesias said Gonzales‘s resignation is “absolutely linked with Karl Rove leaving two weeks ago,” and speculated the two resigned “for the same reason”: Congressional investigators closing in on their suspected roles in the attorney-firing scandal.

I’ll admit that I haven’t been following the US attorney scandal very closely. Even for a seasoned Bush-basher, it’s hard to keep up with all shows in this circus.  On the surface, however, it’s pretty hard to overlook the timing of the two.

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Since NRO Doesn’t Have A Comments Section

August 26, 2007

I spotted a short piece on memeorandum in which NRO’s Mona Charen asks Why did we go to war?

This morning on C-SPAN 2, I heard a nice young historian spout the conventional wisdom about President Bush and the Iraq War. This particular interpretation is now totally uncontroversial – but it is false.

Elizabeth Borgwardt of Washington University told an audience that George W. Bush had urged the war in Iraq in order to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction and only later used democracy promotion as a post-hoc justification for the conflict.There is little question that “the weapons” as President Bush typically referred to WMDs were a key concern. But it is highly misleading to say that they were the sole justification.

Here is an excerpt from President Bush’s February 2003 speech to the American Enterprise Institute (the war started the following month) in which he set out the case for war. He addressed WMDs first:

Charen missed the link to Bush’s speech, but I found it.  Bush did indeed talk about the utopian benefits of a free Iraq (although it would have been a bit more convincing if she had linked to a speech where Bush was addressing the nation rather than the friendly confines of the AEI.  I’m not sure how much play this speech got in the media).  Anyway, she goes on:

It may have been impossibly idealistic and even naïve to entertain such hopes (though I don’t think so), but an ambitious freedom agenda was always a part of the justification for the Iraq War – and that’s something that everyone who argues the Bush “lied us into war” is purposely ignoring.

One problem.  Spreading freedom is hardly a justification for war.  One might see it as a benefit, but the principle reason we went to war was always about disarmament.  What Mona’s ignoring is that if this was part of the “agenda”, then Bush certainly did lie when he said this in the speech she cited:

 We hope that the Iraqi regime will meet the demands of the United Nations and disarm, fully and peacefully. If it does not, we are prepared to disarm Iraq by force. Either way, this danger will be removed.

How can one publicly hope for a peaceful resolution to the WMD problem and then turn around and say that an invasion to remove Saddam and free the Iraqis was the plan all along?  Like I stated in my DSM thread, the “I hope the use of force will not become necessary” line was the lie.  If spreading freedom is now part of the justification, then Bush really had no other intention, right?

Elizabeth Borgwardt of Washington University was right.  Bush attempted to focus on freedom and removing Saddam as the justification only after it was clear that the WMD’s weren’t going to be found.  Unfortunately, that alone wasn’t justification for the war in the first place.  After all, it’s not as if Colin Powell went before the UN and made a case for removing Saddam because it was in the “clear interest in the spread of democratic values”. 

Update:  Rob over at “Say Anything” ate Mona’s post right up. 

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Why We Haven’t Found Bin Laden

August 26, 2007

I read an unusually long piece on the Newsweek site today that gave a very comprehensive background on the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and although many of the details it featured have been known for some time, many have not, and it was nice to see it all laid out in one story.  I’d suggest that everyone read it.  The Ongoing Hunt for Osama bin Laden

My takeaway from this was that it further revealed that the Iraq invasion was an unnecessary and counterproductive blunder.  Instead of narrowly focusing on the source of the 9/11 attacks and the ideology that fueled it, we’ve gone ahead and created new problems.  Big problems that we’ll undoubtedly be dealing with for generations.  Here’s the graph that best sums it up in my mind:

The American effort to chase bin Laden into this forbidding realm was hobbled and clumsy from the start. While the terrain required deep local knowledge and small units, career officers in the U.S. military have long been wary of the Special Operations Forces best suited to the task. In the view of the regular military, such “snake eaters” have tended to be troublesome, resistant to spit-and-polish discipline and rulebooks. Rather than send the snake eaters to poke around mountain caves and mud-walled compounds, the U.S. military wanted to fight on a grander stage, where it could show off its mobility and firepower. To the civilian bosses at the Pentagon and the eager-to-please top brass, Iraq was a much better target. By invading Iraq, the United States would give the Islamists—and the wider world—an unforgettable lesson in American power. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was on Rumsfeld’s Defense Policy Board and, at the time, a close confidant of the SecDef. In November 2001, Gingrich told a NEWSWEEK reporter, “There’s a feeling we’ve got to do something that counts—and bombing caves is not something that counts.”

Oh, it’s counting all right.  Half a trillion dollars and counting.  Four years and counting.  3728 and counting. 

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What Color Is The Sky On Hillary Clinton’s Home Planet?

August 24, 2007

I’m a little late to post on this one, but I thought I’d comment on this absurd comment from Mrs. Clinton:

“It’s a horrible prospect to ask yourself, ‘What if? What if?’ But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world,” Clinton told supporters in Concord.

Say WHA….?  What kind of triple backflip inverse logical reasoning is that?  Bush and the GOP have been banking on the “no attacks since 9/11” line for quite awhile now.  Heck, we saw Cheney blurt out “make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again” before the ’04 elections.  How in the hell can both the lack of an attack and an attack be to their advantage? 

Look, I’d like to think that another terrorist attack would be to no American’s advantage, politically or otherwise.  Maybe I’m just naive, but I have no idea where Clinton is coming up with this notion, or what might have motivated her to say this.  Am I missing something here?  Or, is she just acknowledging the fact that, unfortunately, people really fall for the “vote for me, and I’ll keep you safe”, followed by the “See!, I told you that you need us to keep you safe!” after an attack happens? 

I’m not sure why Clinton wouldn’t have just gotten out right in front of it preemptively, instead of giving us this lame line:

“So I think I’m the best of the Democrats to deal with that,” she added.

 I wanted to check on some of the other blogs’ reactions, and I found one from a righty blogger that I respect for his intellectual honesty, Allahpundit:

Of course she’s right. For one thing, people tend to rally to their leader when they’re attacked. The single biggest security lapse in American history happened on Bush’s watch six years ago. How’d his approval ratings look two weeks later?

I’ll have to disagree with Allah on this one.  Terrorism wasn’t a front-burner issue when we were attacked on 9/11, and Bush was still a relatively new president.  People forgot about hanging chads in Florida pretty quick.  But what would we do now?  Insist we invade another country?  It’s just hard for me to picture another attack being anything other than bona fide proof that 6 years after 9/11, Bush has actually pulled of the incredible feat of making the situation worse for us.  All the “fight them over there”, and “follow us home” and “democracy will defeat the ideology” sloganeering would suddenly be revealed to be the crap that it always was.  In a sane world, another attack would be bad for every American, but especially the GOP.  In a sane world…

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It Only Took 19

August 24, 2007

This is a follow up to my previous post, on the subject of Bush’s bragging about terrorist body counts.  I noticed that several bloggers, such as Hugh Hewitt, think that this kind of stat actually means something.  He wonders, Will 10,000 Terrorists Killed Or Captured In Iraq In 2007 Lead The MSM News Tonight

On the surface, I can see where many would want to point to something like this as a sign that we’re actually getting somewhere.  Unfortunately, the number all by itself is pretty meaningless beyond highlighting the fact that we’ve killed a lot of people in Bush’s “war on terror”.  Without any context or idea how many of the “enemy” that we’re dealing with, it’s impossible to tell if we’re accomplishing anything.  For example, if we create two jihadis for every one that we kill I’d have to say that this is a bad number.  Like I stated in the last thread, it’s pretty hard to believe that all these people that we’re killing in Iraq could have been the 20th hijacker.  Most of these people are enemies borne from our own actions.

This isn’t a conventional army with a finite number of recruits that we’re facing.  This is an ideology that knows no country and has no real chain of command, and can spread like a grease fire.    Mr. Victory Caucus apparently thinks that, eventually, we’ll manage to kill all of them, and we win.  I don’t think it’s quite that simple. 

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George Bush On Bad Killing Vs. Good Killing

August 22, 2007

On my way to work today I had a chance to listen to Rush Limbaugh’s repeated “Right On!, Right On!” reaction to the multiple soundbites from Bush’s “Iraq will be like Vietnam if we leave” speech.  I gotta tell ya, when you listen to George Bush speak, it’s hard to think “Right On!” even if he said that the government would be eliminating taxes, simply because the guy sounds like a buffoon whenever he says anything.  Listening to Rush say it to another one of Bush’s attempts to justify the unending war and perpetual mission creep in Cheney’s “quagmire” just might induce one to vomit.

I’m not going to make a big deal out of the fact that Bush is now comparing Vietnam to Iraq, even though he’s rejected the comparison in the past.  My comment is concerning a couple of specific sound bites I heard on on the radio:

Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left. There’s no debate in my mind that the veterans from Vietnam deserve the high praise of the United States of America. (Applause.) Whatever your position is on that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America’s withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like “boat people,” “re-education camps,” and “killing fields.”

Of course the analogy here is the familiar “if we leave Iraq, there will be genocide” theme.  But then, a bit later…

In Iraq, our troops are taking the fight to the extremists and radicals and murderers all throughout the country. Our troops have killed or captured an average of more than 1,500 al Qaeda terrorists and other extremists every month since January of this year. (Applause.) We’re in the fight. Today our troops are carrying out a surge that is helping bring former Sunni insurgents into the fight against the extremists and radicals, into the fight against al Qaeda, into the fight against the enemy that would do us harm. They’re clearing out the terrorists out of population centers, they’re giving families in liberated Iraqi cities a look at a decent and hopeful life.

First off, I thought it was a bit odd to put forth the notion that many people would lose their lives if we leave, and then turn around and boast about how many people we’re killing while we’re there. And 1.500 a month is quite a number.

The devil is in the details here. Who are we killing?  The majority of the “other extremists” that Bush is referring to are undoubtedly Iraqis. Iraqis that would have never been a threat to us here at home if we hadn’t invaded, and are unlikely to be so if we leave. Of course, Bush doesn’t give any specifics on the percentages of “al Qaeda” vs. “other”, but I’d be willing to bet that the actual numbers are heavily on the side of the latter.

Anyone else find Bush’s invoking of the term “killing fields” a bit ironic? 

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Got A Thing For Christiane Amanpour

August 21, 2007

amanpour.jpg Is it the accent? Is it the fact that she’s one of the most accomplished journalists in the biz, who is willing to go to parts of the world that others wouldn’t dare? I can’t put my finger on it, really. All I know is that when she’s on, I tune in. There’s something genuine about her.

There, I said it.

Anyway, I mention this because tonight CNN aired the first of her three-part series, “God’s Warriors”. I was stuck at work this evening, so I didn’t get a chance to see it. Hopefully CNN will replay it, and I’ll  post some thoughts in here.

Update:  In the meantime, I noticed that my pals at LGF also posted a thread about the series.  I see they’re not exactly sharing the love.  Too bad.

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Channeling The Founding Fathers

August 19, 2007

On August 8th, Rep. Bill Sali apparently spoke to/for the dead:sali.jpg

“We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes — and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers,” Sali said, according to an article on the network’s Web site.

Oooooohhhhhhmmmmm…

I think it’s perfectly valid to consider the Founding Fathers’ intentions when it comes to interpreting the Constitution. After all, they wrote the darn thing. Channeling them on the issue of equal opportunity in government is something of a howler though. The Constitution was written in a time when black people were slaves and women couldn’t vote. I guess it’s safe to say that they didn’t “envision” blacks or women (or the double whammy…a black woman) representing the people in Congress either. Or take the 16 Mormons serving in Congress. Here we have a religion that didn’t even come into existence until after the Fathers were dead. 

Now it’s a black Muslim. Oh…the humanity.

Sali responded days later, sending Ellison an e-mail explaining he meant no offense.

“He said that he wanted to make sure that Congressman Ellison understood that he meant no harm or disrespect,” Sali spokesman Wayne Hoffman said.

Hey Keith, your very existence in Congress flies in the face of my interpretation of what the Founding Fathers envisioned. No offense buddy.

Perhaps he should send an apology to every member of Congress whose race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. fits within the criteria of “changes not envisioned by the Founding Fathers” ?

Sali wasn’t done with this topic though. On August 13, he felt the need to expand on it a bit and posted this on his website: Sali: Religious freedom, Christian principles important to the nation. Read the whole thing, but here’s the conclusion:

The Judeo-Christian principles on which our republic was founded can be embraced, defended and practiced by people of any faith. Anyone doing so will find an ally in me. But when principles outside of the Judeo-Christian tradition begin to be promoted within Congress, we should all recognize that the government given to us by the Founding Fathers will be at risk. That should give every American serious pause.

The problem with this piece is, Sali doesn’t really offer any examples of principles being promoted outside of the tradition. If someone of different faith (like Ellison) is capable of adhering to the principles, where is he failing?  Just by showing up?  The whole post is laughably convoluted.  Take this nugget:

For example, in order to protect the language of every ethnic group multiculturalists would find it hard to support English as the official language of the US. The Judeo-Christian heritage would protect the right of every man to know and speak as many languages as he desires, but the banner of E Pluribus Unum could restrict our official language to one, the product of our country’s origin and for 400 years the common language of the American people: English.

“E Pluribus Unum” itself is, of course, Latin.

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Photos: Karl Rove and George W. Bush

August 15, 2007

A look back at the President and his closest aide

read more | digg story

Click for photos

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Flame Warrior Profile: Armilnov

August 14, 2007

During my travels through the blogosphere, I occasionally bump into a netizen whose posts deserve special recognition.  And since I haven’t done one of my “Flame Warrior Profiles” in a while, I figured that I’m probably due for another one.

Today’s profile is for fellow WordPress political blogger armilnov, who appears to be a textbook Ferrous Cranus

Ferrous Cranus
ferrouscranus.jpgFerrous Cranus is utterly impervious to reason, persuasion and new ideas, and when engaged in battle he will not yield an inch in his position regardless of its hopelessness. Though his thrusts are decisively repulsed, his arguments crushed in every detail and his defenses demolished beyond repair he will remount the same attack again and again with only the slightest variation in tactics. Sometimes out of pure frustration Philosopher will try to explain to him the failed logistics of his situation, or Therapist will attempt to penetrate the psychological origins of his obduracy, but, ever unfathomable, Ferrous Cranus cannot be moved.

Armilnov received the honor primarily for the Cranus-like behavior in his insistence that DailyKos is worse than Al-Qaeda over on his blog, then later for his posts here in the Chamber. Just like Ferrous Cranus, no movement could be made no matter how much reason was applied to the wacky arguments that were presented.  Had armilnov’s arguments been a little less, well, out there, he might have at least earned the Tireless Rebutter label.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.

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Downing Street Memo, Revisited

August 14, 2007

While skimming the comments section of LGF, I noticed that one of the Lizards suggested that Wikipedia failed to discredit the now-famous Downing Street Memo.  I felt obliged to mention that the DSM is, in fact, a real British document that was leaked to the media in May 2005*.  There is no discrediting it; neither Bush nor Blair have disputed the document’s authenticity. 

(Since I’ve never mentioned the DSM on my blog in the past, I suppose it makes as good a subject as any for tonight’s entry)

First, here is the text of the actual document (drafted July 23, 2002).

Key portions:

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

and…

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

One should really read the whole thing, but these portions are what makes the document significant. Why?  Well, to me, it has to do with what Bush said a few months later, on the day the Congress authorized the use force against Saddam:

“Our goal is not merely to limit Iraq’s violations of Security Council resolutions, or to slow down its weapons program. Our goal is to fully and finally remove a real threat to world peace and to America. Hopefully this can be done peacefully. Hopefully we can do this without any military action. Yet, if Iraq is to avoid military action by the international community, it has the obligation to prove compliance with all the world’s demands. It’s the obligation of Iraq.”

Most of the conversation over the significance of the memo has been concerning whether it is proof that Bush “lied” about WMD.  While much can be interpreted about the line “intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” (which included countless debates about what “fixed” really meant), I think this overlooks the bigger lie.

This document did not reveal the deliberations of parties that were looking to resolve a problem while considering military action as a last resort.  These were discussions about how to legitimize a war.  THAT’S the lie.  All the hype about WMD’s and connections to terrorism, along with going through the motions of UN blessings was really nothing more than the dog and pony show.   They were planning what they had to do to make an invasion happen and at least give it the appearance of being legitimate.  Intelligence with regards to Saddam’s weapons programs and ties to al Qaeda may very well have been misrepresented and conveyed to the public in a way of making worst case scenarios appear to be iron-clad facts, but that’s not really what this memo proves. It only proves that the focus on these things was seen as part of the means to an end.

*In actuality, there were about a half dozen more British documents that were leaked to the press around the same time as the original DSM, each of them containing evidence that supports my conclusion.  They’re all worth reading.  Also, another key piece of evidence about the WMD intelligence specifically came last December in the form of testimony from Britain’s UN negotiator, Carne Ross.

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Karl Rove, Iraq War Marketer, To Resign

August 13, 2007

Well, everyone is talking about it, so I might as well post something too.  Rove is resigning.  My gut tells me that this is a sign that this is more about Bush’s hopeless lame duck status than anything else.  I’m sure Rove won’t be too far out of the game though.  He’s only a phone call away, after all.  There’s plenty he can do without having to physically be in the White House.

While perusing through the reaction on memeorandum, I came across an interesting Newsweek piece that reminds us just how influential Rove’s role has been in the topic of the decade:  The Architect and the War

In fact, Rove had already begun to shape the political environment to help make the war possible. That January, he had given an important speech to the Republican National Committee where he signaled that the White House planned to politicize the terrorism issue in the upcoming fall election campaign. “We can go to the country on this issue,” Rove said, because the American people “trust the Republican Party to do a better job of … protecting Americans.’’ In June, Rove prepared a PowerPoint slide for GOP donors on his strategy for the 2002 races. “Focus on war,” it read in part.

Rove, the political strategist first and foremost, saw all this as a political opportunity.  Exploiting 9/11 and the hard push to get the public behind an Iraq invasion wasn’t about what was good for America, this was about what was good for the Republican Party.  History will judge Rove and his band of salesmen on this, and I don’t think they’ll be too kind (I’m sure historians would kill to get their hands on that PowerPoint file, ’cause I know I’d be interested to see what it had on there).

OK, so how did he get the country behind this?

But it was still necessary to link Iraq to the public’s legitimate security fears–and there again Rove played a key part, just as the president wanted. That summer, the former White House chief of staff Andrew Card created the White House Iraq Group – a collection of senior advisers, including Rove, who met regularly in the Situation Room to craft a public relations strategy that would play up pieces of intelligence about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and supposed connections to international terrorism.

It was this group that seized on reports that Iraq was rebuilding its nuclear program – reports that were highly disputed and the subject of significant internal debate–and then approved the memorable phrase crafted by chief speechwriter Michael Gerson: “Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof—the smoking gun— that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

The imagery of the nuclear mushroom cloud become a centerpiece of the White House’s sales campaign, first leaked anonymously to The New York Times, repeated on Sunday talk shows and finally enshrined in a major speech by Bush that October.

This is modern marketing.  Lay out a plan in a PowerPoint presentation, come up with slogans, use the media   Now all one needs is to get the weak-kneed Democrats to start thinking about political expediency.

The rush to vote on a critical issue of war and peace troubled then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Why the rush? He pressed Bush at a Sept. 4, 2002, meeting. Daschle saw the hand of Rove—an attempt to box in Democrats and dare them to vote against a highly popular president on a big national-security issue. Vote against the resolution and Democrats would be hammered mercilessly by the White House during the election campaign for being “soft on terrorism,” just as Rove had suggested in his January speech.

“Daschle was right,” one former top White House official later told Corn and me in an interview for “Hubris.” The campaign calendar indeed drove the timing of the Iraq War vote. “The election was the anvil and the president was the hammer,” said the official, who declined to be identified publicly talking about internal matters.

The war resolution passed in mid-October 2002, right before the Congressional elections.  The rest is history.

Enjoy your retirement, Mr. Rove.