Dionne: Why Bill Clinton Pushed Back

No time to comment, but E. J. Dionne says all that must be said about Clinton’s response to the right wing smears on his record in this column.

Bob Woodward: Bush in State of Denial

There’s not much time to blog today (and likely all weekend), but I can’t go without at least mentioning these stories. Bob Woodward’s latest book, State of Denial, is the latest blow to the Republicans going into the midterm elections. From The New York Times:

The White House ignored an urgent warning in September 2003 from a top Iraq adviser who said that thousands of additional American troops were desperately needed to quell the insurgency there, according to a new book by Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporter and author. The book describes a White House riven by dysfunction and division over the war.

The warning is described in “State of Denial,” scheduled for publication on Monday by Simon & Schuster. The book says President Bush’s top advisers were often at odds among themselves, and sometimes were barely on speaking terms, but shared a tendency to dismiss as too pessimistic assessments from American commanders and others about the situation in Iraq.

As late as November 2003, Mr. Bush is quoted as saying of the situation in Iraq: “I don’t want anyone in the cabinet to say it is an insurgency. I don’t think we are there yet.”

The Washington Post runs a story reporting Card Urged Bush to Replace Rumsfeld, Woodward Says:

Former White House chief of staff Andrew Card on two occasions tried and failed to persuade President Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, according to a new book by Bob Woodward that depicts senior officials of the Bush administration as unable to face the consequences of their policy in Iraq.

Card made his first attempt after Bush was reelected in November, 2004, arguing that the administration needed a fresh start and recommending that Bush replace Rumsfeld with former secretary of state James A. Baker III. Woodward writes that Bush considered the move, but was persuaded by Vice President Cheney and Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, that it would be seen as an expression of doubt about the course of the war and would expose Bush himself to criticism.

Card tried again around Thanksgiving, 2005, this time with the support of First Lady Laura Bush, who according to Woodward, felt that Rumsfeld’s overbearing manner was damaging to her husband. Bush refused for a second time, and Card left the administration last March, convinced that Iraq would be compared to Vietnam and that history would record that no senior administration officials had raised their voices in opposition to the conduct of the war.

The book is the third that Woodward, an assistant managing editor at The Washington Post, has written on the Bush administration since the terrorist attacks of September, 11, 2001. The first two were attacked by critics of the Bush administration as depicting the president in a heroic light. But the new book’s title, “State of Denial,” conveys the different picture that Woodward paints of the Bush administration since the invasion of Iraq in March, 2003.

Sci Fi Friday

Doctor Who returns tonight with two episodes. The Christmas Invasion is the first episode after The Doctor regenerated at the end of the first season, and therefore it was decided to show this episode in order as opposed to holding it back until Christmas. I’ve previously downloaded these episodes and think Doctor Who fans will be pleased with David Tennant as the next Doctor. The second episode, New Earch has The Doctor facing a plague and the return of Cassandra. Sci Fi Wire has an interview with David Tennant.

Dr Djoymi Baker watched more than seven hundred episodes of Star Trek to get her PhD from the University of Melbourne according to Discovery News. She believes that Star Trek can both foreshadow and influence scientific advancements:

“Because it’s gone on for so many decades [‘Star Trek’ has] had a big impact on what people think about space and what might be possible in the future,” she said. “A lot of NASA astronauts cite it as their inspiration; scientists have cited it as their inspiration for new technology.”

For example, NASA’s first shuttle of 1977 was named Enterprise after a campaign by “Star Trek” fans.

The “Star Trek” influence can also be seen in new “spray on” drug delivery technologies, the computer chip and even the flip-top mobile phones and automatic doors, she says.

And after the catchphrase “beam me up, Scotty,” scientists have started to experiment with dematerializing and rematerializing helium, and “cloning” laser beams.

“They can’t beam you up yet but they’re starting to do experiments along those lines,” Baker said.

Next week, Battlestar Gallactica returns. Until then, eight of ten webisodes of Battle Star Gallactica, The Resistance are available on line.