Posted by: mutantpoodle | July 1, 2007

Newsbits: The Bioterror-industrial complex, More LA Car Trouble, Voter Fraud and the GOP – the Myth that keeps on giving

dog-on-newspapers_smToday’s LA Times has a profile of Kanatjan Alibekov, a Soviet defector who came to the U.S. in 1992 and was one of our top sources on information into the Soviet Union’s bioweapons programs. He also warned of other emigres who had wound up in Iraq and North Korea.

All valuable information, and a terrific public service.

And, as it turns out, pretty lucrative for Alibekov, who has scored nearly $30 million in federal grants to fight the threat he helped hype.

Look, there are real bioterror threats, and we’ve had an anthrax attack in this country in 2001 (note to GOP: we were attacked again after 9/11), but clearly there’s a danger of buying fire insurance from the guys who are warning you about the arsonists. A second opinion might be in order.

As I read this piece, one name came to mind, and it wasn’t a good one: Ahmed Chalabi.

Here in LA, Times columnist Steve Lopez is on the case of Hugo Ortiz, an aide to LA City Councilwoman Jan Perry. Ortiz reported his city-issued Prius stolen after it had been found totaled. Turns out that what he meant was that his 17-year old daughter had taken it out without his knowledge and, in a laudable addition to regular government crash safety protocol, driven it into a pole in a Hometown Buffet parking lot. Lopez is clearly having fun these days, as evidenced by this fat pitch he whacks into the bleachers:

Maybe she thought it was a drive-through. I don’t know, but we’re lucky Michelle Delgadillo wasn’t in the same area or half the town could have been leveled.

More seriously, Lopez wonders (and I have to agree), why there are so many city cars out there. Did government officials all take mass transit before they went to work for the city?

There’s more – surprisingly, the LA City Attorney’s office doesn’t have its act together, and Ortiz, who filed a false police report, got a slap on the wrist.

Just another perfect day in LA.

Finally, McLatchy has an article up about the voter fraud issue and the US Attorney scandal. A lot of this is old news to people who’ve been following Josh Marshall, Emptywheel, and several folks at Firedoglake, but the piece did give me the chance to provide a simple answer to the headline’s direct question:

“Was campaigning against voter fraud a Republican ploy?” it asked.

Yes.

Next question.

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