Veep Out?

Veep Out?

Veep Out?

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Oct. 19 2005 6:37 PM

Veep Out?

Rumors that Vice President Cheney could resign have some bloggers up in arms. Others are discussing the morality of prenatal testing and the cracking of a code meant to help track criminals by their printers.

Veep Out? As the Plame investigation zeros in on the second-in-command's office, two different stories are sparking debate. A U.S. News & World Report article reports on rumors that Dick Cheney could resign soon, while a New York Daily News story claims that President Bush "rebuked" adviser Karl Rove in 2003 for his role in the scandal. The one-two punch has some bloggers joyous while others are skeptical.

Torie Bosch Torie Bosch

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, New America, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

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Conservatives argue that any speculation is premature, as Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has released no information about the investigation. Edward Morrissey, a blogger at conservative vessel Captain's Quarters, proclaims that the supposed resignation is "a rumor that has been recycled so often for so many reasons that it should have its own title for quick reference: The Old Man And The C," referring to the speculation that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would move into the vice president's spot.

Blogs for Bush's Mark Noonan thinks that the U.S. News article is putting the resignation cart before the indictment horse. He calls the resignation rumors a "fantasy" of liberals "which got endlessly repeated around the leftwing blogosphere until the MSM [mainstream media] picked it up." But liberal Brian of the Loosen the Beltway has a different take on the media coverage. "[W]hat's … disturbing is how little media coverage this is getting," he says, indicating that CNN and MSNBC are barely mentioning the story. "Liberal media, my ass."

Some liberal bloggers aren't happy with the U.S. News story any more than their conservative counterparts are. "The article is so tepid that it might as well have ended thus: Erm, that's my wild guess anyway. But it would be cool thought, you know?" vents the anti-Karl Rove group of George Washington U students who post at Is It Treason? And Kevin Drum, the liberal Political Animal at the Washington Monthly, isn't letting himself get excited: "I don't believe this for a second, but I'd be delighted to be proven wrong."

Talking Points Memo's Joshua Micah Marshall, a liberal, discusses the Daily News story about Bush and Rove in several posts today. Marshall cuts to the chase: "So all that mumbojumbo [from Bush] about wanting to get to the bottom of it and fire the bad actors was, to revert to the King's English, crap." Fellow lefty Daily Kos is also fuming and accuses the president of lying to the country during the outset of the investigation. "Sure, it's not a lie about a blowjob, rather one about national security and compromising intelligence assets in the battle against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but still...."

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Read more about the Cheney resignation rumors and more about the "Bush whacking" of Rove. Slate's Timothy Noah writes here about the 2004 speculation that Bush would drop Cheney from the presidential ticket, and David Plotz wondered in 2001 whether Rove or Cheney was in charge of the White House.

The other abortion debate: A column in today's Washington Post is focusing the ever-present abortion debate on something other than Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. Patricia E. Bauer, a former Post reporter and the mother of a young woman with Down syndrome, discusses the practice of expecting parents aborting fetuses with disabilities detected by prenatal testing.

Andrew Sullivan, a conservative gay blogger, extrapolates "if we ever find a gay gene, you can be sure much of the next generation of homosexuals will be aborted." Sullivan, who fully explains his views on abortion here, condemns abortion as "morally wrong" and calls for a serious discussion about Down Syndrome abortions. Adam of the Humanities Policy blog of the University of North Texas says that though he personally detests abortion, he is in favor of "a woman's right to choose." But in the context of this column, which posits prenatal testing as potentially wiping out Down Syndrome children, Adam argues, "Bioethical issues often present such 'slippery slope' situations because it appears that there are no solid lines based on our own naturalness between, say, therapy and enhancement, abortion and eugenics, life and not-life, etc."

But The Conversation's Jonathan Potts, who agrees with the premise of the column, cautions against the "slippery slope" argument used by many in this situation. "Slippery-slope arguments are of limited utility; as George Will has noted, all of life is lived on a slippery slope," he says.

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One voice daring enough to criticize the piece is Lons from Crushed by Inertia. "Making blanket statements about what is right and wrong for people just because of how a certain situation worked out for you, personally is not journalism," Lons says.

Read more about the Washington Post piece.

Code cracked: A group of tech-savvy civil-liberties proponents claims that they have cracked a government code meant to help track criminals by the printers they use. The Electronic Frontier Foundation discovered a way to detect the patterns of small yellow dots Xerox voluntarily embeds in most printers as a way to help "combat counterfeiting." Other manufacturers have their own codes that identify each individual printer.

"Printers are snitches," declaresseedlings. "The dots are obviously not there for the manufacturers, but for law enforcement — and other potential government (ab)uses." Hammer of Truth, the blog of libertarian Stephen Gordon, is fretting about the invasion of privacy. "Imagine the Brits going after the pamphleteers in the years preceding our Revolutionary War." Freedom to Tinker thinks that this revelation could just brew more trouble. "Now that the code is known, it should be possible to forge the marks," he says.

Read more about the code-cracking.