Did the White House put out the nanny story because--considering all the nanny stories we recall from the Clinton years--we'll instinctively believe it and let the Kerik story die?

Put it more bluntly: In addition to Kerik, did the White House and even "America's Mayor" (but you can call him "Saint Rudy")...lie? Oh, please, say it isn't so!

Another Homeland Security Story: Why Isn't He the Chief?

Kiss the ring, and--like Tenet, Franks and Bremer--you get the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (The joke goes that Bernard Kerik is just one monumental screw-up away from his medal.) But do your job? Tell the truth? ABC News has the story of a patriot who lost his job:

Clark Ervin made himself very unpopular by issuing a series of stinging reports on security programs that he said had failed, officials he called inept, and fraud that he suspected. His year-end report alleges that millions of dollars have been wasted or are unaccounted for by Homeland Security.

"There isn't a concern about the importance of spending every single dollar to the maximum effect of the core mission of the department," Ervin told ABC News.

The White House appointed Ervin as inspector general for the Homeland Security Department only for the term of Congress. He wanted to stay on, but was informed Wednesday night that he would be replaced. "His term expired and that's that," said a White House spokesperson....

Among the investigations being conducted by Ervin was what he called an illegal contract with the Boeing company for the installation of explosive detection machines at airports. "At least $49 million, almost $50 million, in excessive profit was paid to Boeing," according to Ervin.

Ervin also investigated the half-million-dollar awards reception held at a Washington hotel for airport screeners from the Transportation Security Administration. "It was rather lavish, no question," said Ervin.

And just this year he discovered the problem of huge gaps in screening for nuclear materials at U.S. ports continues. Jeez, what part of "loyalty" did this guy not understand?

What's Up with Alabama?

Is it something in the water? Or do they just have no defense in Alabama against aggressive Christianity? In the latest episode of belief run amok, a judge made a stunning fashion statement:

A south Alabama judge refused to delay a trial Tuesday when an attorney objected to the judge wearing a judicial robe with the Ten Commandments embroidered in gold on the front of the garment.

Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan showed up Monday at his Covington County courtroom in Andalusia wearing the robe at the start of a week of jury trials of cases that were being appealed from lower courts...

Andalusia attorney Riley Powell said he was defending a client charged with DUI and filed a motion objecting to the judicial robe and asking that the case be continued. He said McKathan denied both motions.

"I am all for the Ten Commandments for me personally and for my family," Powell said. "But I feel this creates a distraction that affects my client."Why We're In Iraq: This Week's Reason

Lance Corporal Matt McClellan, serving in Iraq with Charlie Company of the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance battalion, shares his motivation:

"Before [Burns] was killed, I thought we were here to kill the bad ones and save the good ones.... Now I think: 'Is he the one who shot Kyle?' It's a revenge thing. Every time I see an Iraqi, I could be face-to-face with the guy who killed my best friend."
The Beauty Part

My wife's version of Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies.

Thought for Today

The drinking dens are spilling out
There's staggering in the square
There's lads and lasses falling about
And a crackling in the air
Down around the dungeon doors
The shelters in the queues
Everybody's looking for
Somebody's arms to fall into
And it's what it is
--Mark Knopfler, from Sailing to Philadelphia

Bernard Kerik: A Morality Tale

Someone with ties to the Republican party told me that some Republicans see l'affaire Kerik as a Democratic set-up designed to embarrass the President and hurt Rudy Giuliani. What--the Dems pushed Kerik on an unsuspecting White House? And the White House listened? If so, that would mark the first time the White House listened to the Democrats in years. Sorry, guys, all signs point to self-inflicted damage. As The New York Times reports:

....everyone at the White House knew that Mr. Bush liked Mr. Kerik, placing him in the special category of "this guy's our guy."

Republican close to the White House who has participated in background reviews of presidential nominees said the fault lay both with Mr. Kerik and with "whoever's job it was to check him out."
The lingering question: Why did Kerik accept the nomination? Did he really think his sordid personal life, his two-degrees-of-separation from Mafia figures, and professional failures would go undiscovered by the White House? (The Times notes that Kerik never filled out his FBI questionaire before he went to Iraq last year--he says he never got it--which might explain why he thought he could fool this year's investigators.)