Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 29, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

HARNESSING THE POWER OF THE NET....I missed this yesterday, but Dan Drezner went directly to the source and discovered how Justice Department officials vetted potential DOJ employees using the awesome power of the Nexis news database. Here's the search string they used:

[first name of a candidate] and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 bush or gore or republican! or democrat! or charg! or accus! or criticiz! or blam! or defend! or iran contra or clinton or spotted owl or florida recount or sex! or controvers! or racis! or fraud! or investigat! or bankrupt! or layoff! or downsiz! or PNTR or NAFTA or outsourc! or indict! or enron or kerry or iraq or wmd! or arrest! or intox! or fired or sex! or racis! or intox! or slur! or arrest! or fired or controvers! or abortion! or gay! or homosexual! or gun! or firearm!

Mayberry Machiavellis indeed. Click the link to read their fevered denials and eventual confessions.

UPDATE: The LA Times has more:

In the second of a series of reports on the politically charged tenure of former Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales, the department's inspector general found that two former Justice aides used sexual orientation as a litmus test in deciding whom they would hire or fire.

The report describes an alleged "sexual relationship" between a career prosecutor and a U.S. attorney, who were not named. Margaret M. Chiara, the former U.S. attorney in Grand Rapids, Mich., said in an interview with The Times that she now believed she was fired because of the erroneous belief that she was having a relationship with career prosecutor Leslie Hagen.

"I could not begin to understand how I found myself sharing the misfortune of my former colleagues," Chiara said of the eight other U.S. attorneys who were fired. "Now I understand."

The Chiara case was always one of the oddest of the U.S. Attorney firings, and apparently now we know why. A followup report on all nine USA firings is expected shortly.

Kevin Drum 10:56 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (37)

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Comments

They left out lesbians.

Posted by: reino on July 29, 2008 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

More interestingly, they left out anything having to do with terrorism. Aren't we supposed to be fighting a global war against that?

Posted by: reino on July 29, 2008 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

and she knew it was wrong. That is why she begged for immunity. They were all perfectly mad, serving to pleasure their president. I believe I know officially hate these people.

Posted by: SteinL on July 29, 2008 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Fighting terrorism is only a means to the end of serving His Highness Arbusto.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 29, 2008 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Spotted Owl?

they left out anything having to do with terrorism.

And as we learned yesterday, they left out people with anti-terror expertise if they were Dems.

Posted by: ckelly on July 29, 2008 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Is this the same Daniel Drezner who used to regularly call Paul Krugman "shrill" for being right about the Bush administration several years too early, before it was cool?

Posted by: nemo on July 29, 2008 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Lesbian Party?

Posted by: ohcomeonhussein on July 29, 2008 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

I guess the party that brought us Senator Wide Stance installed obsessed homophobes in the DOJ personnel department. Go figure.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 29, 2008 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

WARNING MEN WARNING MEN WARNING

This image will make you gay.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on July 29, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Given the utterly corrupt process used to come up with Bush-era "nonpolitical" appointees, I should think they ought to re-vet any and all of them. Goodling et al deliberately injected a dose of poison into the U.S. government by bringing in these incompetents and theocratic authoritarians, and as long as we allow them to continue in their careers they will continue to pollute every piece of the federal government that they are part of.

Posted by: jimBOB on July 29, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Nah, it'll just make me want to never have sex with Monica Goodling.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on July 29, 2008 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

That was meant to be a response to Grand Moff Texan, but jimBOB snuck in between.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on July 29, 2008 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

This wouldn't be a story if Lexis didn't use exclamation points as wildcards. :-)

Posted by: RSA on July 29, 2008 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Nexis (a poem by Monica Goodling)

bush or gore or republican!
or democrat! or charg! or accus!
or criticiz! or blam! or defend!
or iran contra or clinton or spotted owl or florida recount
or sex!
or controvers!
or racis!
or fraud! or investigat! or bankrupt! or layoff! or downsiz!
or PNTR or NAFTA or outsourc! or indict!
or enron or kerry or iraq or wmd!
or arrest!
or intox!
or fired
or sex!
or racis!
or intox!
or slur! or arrest!
or fired
or controvers! or abortion! or gay! or homosexual! or gun! or firearm!

*****

Question: Which words are used more than once in this poem? And what does that tell us about the Republican mindset?

Posted by: lampwick! on July 29, 2008 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the thing about 'non-political appointees,' though: to this administration, there *is* no such thing as a non-political appointee. As John DiIulio the first head of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, put it, this administration sees everything as political, policy be damned. He's the one who came up with the term "Mayberry Machiavellis" in the first place.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on July 29, 2008 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the sycophants of President W. Bush had not heard the rumors their dear leader was having homosexual relations with Guckert. Or perhaps the sycophants of President W. Bush only wanted male homosexual lawyers to serve the president.

Posted by: Brojo on July 29, 2008 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Well I wonder how much money those fire attorneys will get with their lawsuits in the end, that we taxpayers will have shell out, all because Republicans love pigs for Prezinut and VP.

And still we can't impeach the entitlement piglet, little Bushie and the bully, yard-king boar Dick Cheney.

I'm sure this is just the tip of iceberg for what what went on this administation in EVERY single department, not just the DoJ.

Posted by: Me_again on July 29, 2008 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

"A witch! Burn her!"

All the logic of the peasants in Monty Python's Holy Grail here.

Posted by: Christopher on July 29, 2008 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

The inclusion of "spotted owl" made coffee come out through my ear. That's a new one, and gives my nose a break.

Posted by: shortstop on July 29, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Well, yes, but on the other hand, ooo dagga bleem blagga jeezus bald eagle cowboy bush freeance and peeance tax welfare ug booba.

Posted by: The Last Reasonable Bush Supporter on July 29, 2008 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

I like the fact that sex!, intox!, fired, and racis! were so important they put them in twice.

Posted by: anandine on July 29, 2008 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

I like the fact that sex!, intox!, fired, and racis! were so important they put them in twice.

Beat me to it.

What I also like is that this is precisely the sort of behavior the Right loves to ascribe to the Left...

Posted by: Doozer on July 29, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

I've never done a Nexis search; am I right in assuming the exclamation points are wildcard characters? Whatever, they make it more fun to read.

sex! fraud! gay! republican! blam!

And ckelly is right: spotted owl?

Posted by: Dr. Drang on July 29, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Fucking Neanderthal children. I'm sorry, there's just no other word for it...

Posted by: Doozer on July 29, 2008 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Indictments and convictions. That's the only solace that will do in this sad affair...

Posted by: Captain on July 29, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Inexplicably, they neglected to add: reagan or gingrich or whitewa! or hillary or janet reno or vietnam or immigra! or evangeli! or elitist! or hippie! or church and state or civil libert! or climate or values or multicultur! or countercul! or obscen! or moderat! or liberal! or federalis! or art! or france or french or defeat! or bork or scalia or oil or telecom! or falwell or voter registration or terror! or tribunal or international law or geneva or unwed or voucher! or choice or affirmative action or wetland! or commandments or torture or FEMA or pharma! or ozone or muslim! or nuclear or border! or PETA or welfare or Afr! or AIDS or disarm! or inner city or contracep! or secular or drug!

Posted by: allbetsareoff on July 29, 2008 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

As a professional librarian that search string offends me.

Posted by: ET on July 29, 2008 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

But they did manage to get sex in there twice...

Posted by: RyanA on July 29, 2008 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Any good researcher will say that this search should have been [first name] w/2 [last name] to pull in everything possible and not exclude potential hits by looking for keywords.

Sounds like these lawyers were being lazy.

Posted by: joel on July 29, 2008 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

For those wondering about "spotted owl", that is a hotbutton issue for anyone that hates environmentalists in general or the endangered species act in particular.

Posted by: tanstaafl on July 29, 2008 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

We're not really wondering about it, tanstaafl; we're just mocking it. "Spotted owl" used by anti-environmentalists is about as fresh as the anti-NEA wails about Andre Serrano that are still circulating. Well, no one ever accused these people of keeping up.

Posted by: shortstop on July 29, 2008 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

I applaud their thoroughness in using the truncation wildcard "!" for the word "gay," because with "gay!" in their search string they also caught references to career prosecutors who were gayish, gayesque, or flat-out gaywads.

As for "spotted owl," well, you know what the bumper stickers say... tastes like "chic!"!

Posted by: Matt on July 30, 2008 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

Chiclets?

Posted by: Ben Cochran on July 30, 2008 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

They left out "Oslo" and "Kyoto" and "CAFE Standards" and "Raise Tax!" and "Single Pay!"

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