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Michael Mukasey

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Michael Mukasey: Republican of the New York Variety

Michael Mukasey
Remember when George Bush appointed New York judge Michael Mukasey to be United States attorney general? And we kinda decided we liked him because he has amazing New York street cred? Well, he went on to lose some of his fan base because of his hard-to-understand stance on torture, specifically waterboarding. (C'mon, everybody's doing it!) It was a big deal, because lately one's position on torture is the Bush administration's litmus test for attorneys general. It used to be abortion or gay marriage that made or broke someone in the eyes of the Bushies. Those days are over, it seems, as is the policy of attorneys general to shun all things gay. The Washington Post today reports that Mukasey lifted a ban, in place since the reign of Ashcroft, on the use of e-mail, bulletin boards, and easels in the Department of Justice to promote the gay group DOJ Pride. They will also be allowed to hold an annual celebration, which they have been banned from doing since 2003. Mukasey even said he'd host it in one of the DOJ's buildings. Aw! Conservative and tolerant: We knew he was a New Yorker under it all. Attorney General Reverses Curbs on Gay Group at Justice Department [Washington Post]

HuffPo's New Comedy Site: Actually Comedic?

Now, we love the Huffington Post and its fearless leader Arianna. But we're not so sure what we think about her newest venture, the "comedy" site 236.com. (It's called 23/6 instead of 24/7, get it? Funny already!) We perused the front page and culled some of the moments from the site's first day that made us wonder whether it is, technically, humorous… • An article on Michael Mukasey includes a joke about waterboarding the pope. (Okay, that's a little funny.) • In their new feature "Dickipedia" (yes, that's a Wikipedia knockoff for people who are Dicks), they profile Pervez Musharraf: "In the weeks since the agreement, Musharraf and Bhutto have publicly feuded and traded accusations — a relationship not unlike Britney and K-Fed, only with the added possibility [of] a nuclear holocaust."

Mr. Mukasey Goes to Washington

How good is Michael Mukasey feeling, after he was confirmed as the 81st attorney general last night? Hm, maybe not so good. According to the Washington Post, the 53-40 vote means Rudy's buddy had the lowest level of congressional support in the past half-century. That's right: People have less confidence in him than they had in John Ashcroft. Some Democrats are still giving Chuck Schumer and the other handful of Democrats who voted for Mukasey the stink eye, since he refused to classify waterboarding, a simulated-drowning technique, as torture. "This is like saying when somebody murders somebody with a baseball bat and you say, 'We had a law against murder, but we never mentioned baseball bats,'" Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy said (kind of amusingly, we might add). “This man has been a judge for eighteen years,” California senator Diane Feinstein, who voted pro-Mukasey, told the Times. “Maybe he likes to consider the facts before he makes a decision.” Yeaaah. We still wouldn't go surfing with him. Senate Confirms Mukasey By 53-40 [WP] Mukasey Wins Votes In Senate, Despite Democrats' Doubts [NYT]

‘Times’ Editorial Chief Andy Rosenthal, Unplugged

MEDIA • Incoming Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes may well spin off the company's huge cable unit, but a sale of Time Inc. looks unlikely since the small potential proceeds (and big tax penalty) would little benefit a company of Time Warner's size. [NYT] • Times editorial-page editor Andy Rosenthal calls all executive editors, including Bill Keller and his own father, crazy. Sweet. [Radar] • Rupert Murdoch is confirming to all his friends he plans to bring in Times of London editor Robert Thomson to become the Journal's publisher as part of an "Aussie invasion" in the first few months of next year. [Guardian via Media Mob/NYO]

Is Mukasey Giuliani’s New Kerik? Kinda!

John Catsimitidis
Like many in the media, we had a brief crush on Michael Mukasey, Bush’s pick to replace the selectively amnesiac Alberto Gonzales as attorney general. The man was a born-and-bred New Yorker, after all, and a respected judge to boot. Chuck Schumer all but endorsed him. We blushingly called him “like, a decent guy.” Hell, we thought he’d give his pal Giuliani an unfair advantage in the race! “Can this really be?” we wrote. “Has the man never worn a dress? Are there no nipple clamps in his bedside table?”

Michael Mukasey: A.G. Confirmation Not So Easy Squeezy After All

Michael Mukasey
Are things looking less rosy for Michael Mukasey, the man who was meant to finally give conservatives an orgasm? The seemingly spotless Bush nominee for U.S. Attorney General has run into a couple of hurdles in the last week during Senate confirmation hearings. The first one is torture: Mukasey told senators that he didn't know whether "waterboarding," the practice of simulating the act of drowning so that a prisoner will divulge information, was unlawful or not. "It turned away from an easy confirmation," a high-ranking Democrat told the Daily News. The second hurdle is presidential candidate Chris Dodd. The Connecticut senator has announced that he will vote against Mukasey's confirmation, largely because the former judge and prosecutor has said that the president might be above certain presidential statutes. "That is about as basic as it gets," Dodd later said. "You must obey the law. Everyone must." Marc Cooper at the Huffington Post points out that once Dodd turned against him, the other Democratic presidential candidates have been forced to turn their thumbs down, too. Torture, as the old saying goes, is not an easy issue to get behind. Mukasey, what happened? You were our hometown boy. Don't make us pull a Rudy and turn against our own kind! Dodd Sets Pace on Dunking Mukasey [HuffPo] Michael Mukasey's AG Confirmation in Doubt [NYDN]

Rudy Hires Legal Bulldog Keep Off Kerik Grime

Rudy and Bernie
Rudy Giuliani has hired a legal bulldog to keep him protected from any involvement in the federal case against his former ally Bernard Kerik, reports the Post. The lawyer, a partner at his firm Giuliani & Bracewell, is named Marc Mukasey — yeah, that's right: the dapper young son of soon-to-be U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey. The younger Mukasey is charged with the task of making sure that Kerik's potential bribery and tax-fraud indictments don't wound the Giuliani campaign. So far, Mukasey has earned his keep by blocking Kerik defense attorneys from talking to former Giuliani aides – basically hamstringing the former NYPD chief's efforts to defend himself. This is an aggressive move for Giuliani, who the paper reports in the past has remained supportive of Kerik even though Kerik has cost him political capital. The point of hiring Mukasey was to make it look like Giuliani didn't know anything about Kerik's alleged activities, but we just took a look at Mukasey's page on his firm Website.

Mukasey Can Explain All Those Calls to 1-800-HOT-ASSS

In recent weeks it's started seeming like Bush's nominee for attorney general, New York attorney and former judge Michael Mukasey, might actually be, like, a decent guy. But can this really be? He's buds with Giuliani, after all! Has the man never worn a dress? Are there no nipple clamps in his bedside table? Is there nothing with the remotest whiff of scandal in his, er, briefs? Well, there was that time he defended the Dial-a-Porn company. "I directed the strategy and legal research, drafted major portions of the papers and gave the principal argument in support of the motion to dismiss the indictment," Mukasey purred to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. Which is all well and good, but what was he wearing? We're beginning to fear this guy will be no fun at all. Attorney General Nominee Provides Senate Details About Former Clients Like 'Dial-a-Porn' Service [Fox News]

Oracle of Omaha Screws With Everyone's Head

FINANCE • Buffett to the rescue: The Oracle of Omaha may take a 20 percent stake in crisis-ridden Bear Stearns. If the deal goes through, Bear CEO Jim Cayne will have another new bridge partner to brag about. [NYT] • Goldman Sachs named Edward Forst as co-head of investment management, a troubled group with a mere $796 billion in assets. Forst takes the place of Eric Schwartz, who's retiring after 23 years with the bank. [NYP] • "The tears of Chuck Norris would supply enough liquidity to solve the credit crisis. Too bad he never cries." [Bloomberg]

Facebook Steals Your Billable Hours

LAW • Highly paid associates are wasting lots of time on Facebook, to the tune of $50 million a year in hours the little bastards should be billing. [NYO] • Cadwalader's bracing for a double whammy: While trying to deal with the massive slowdown in its core mortgage practice area, the firm's also facing a $70 million legal malpractice suit for mortgage warrantees from the late nineties. [Law.com] • Michael Mukasey, attorney-general nominee and New York homeboy, is facing complaints that he used a U.S. marshal to take out the trash, and we don't mean that figuratively. [AP via Law.com]

Thinking Big

It Happened this Week
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s request to lay a wreath at ground zero was the unlikeliest wish in a week of ambitious schemes. Hillary Clinton took a second swing at universal health care, laying out a $110 billion program. Rudy Giuliani crossed the pond to London to rub shoulders with Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, and Gordon Brown, then suggested that Israel join nato. Dan Rather sued CBS for $70 million.

Michael Mukasey: Giuliani’s Inside Man?

Yesterday, when we gleefully listed Michael Mukasey's homeboy specifications (born in the Bronx, went to an UES yeshiva, etc.), we glossed over the most intriguing part: the current A.G. nominee's extensive ties to Rudy Giuliani. The connections between the two deserve their own list. Not only did Mukasey swear in the mayor in both 1994 and 1998, he donated heavily to his presidential campaign; Mukasey's son Marc works at Bracewell & Giuliani, Rudy's boutique law firm; and both Marc and Michael are the Giuliani campaign's judicial advisers. In fact, as a federal judge in the Giuliani era, Mukasey had to recuse himself from some City Hall–related cases because of his friendship with the mayor. Today's Times even describes a less-than-hilarious prank Mukasey played on Giuliani in the seventies (it involved Rudy getting a job at a law firm).

New York Conservatives Actually Having an Orgasm

It's fun enough that New Yorkers stand a good chance of snagging both major-party presidential nominations in 2008. As it turns out, NYC's invasion of the capital has already begun. Judge Michael Mukasey — George Bush's somewhat conciliatory pick of an attorney general to succeed Alberto Gonzales — is as far from the president's Texas-gang talent pool as it gets. In fact, he's a born-and-bred conservative Jewish New Yorker; the sound you just heard was the New York Sun editorial staff having a collective orgasm.

Michael Mukasey Fails to Incite Riots

How about that attorney-general position? It's as transitory as the seats on The View, no? According to the morning papers, the Justice Department's latest benchwarmer will likely be a local boy: Bronx-born Michael Mukasey, a retired federal judge with formidable experience (he was a prosecutor during the Giuliani era and, after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, presided over the trials of Jose Padilla and Omar Abdel Rahman). Other than the almost-sketchy (but not quite) fact that he and his son are currently serving as judicial advisers to Giuliani's presidential campaign, there doesn't appear to be anything particularly offensive about this guy. Even Senator Chuck Schumer, who loves him some outrage, is a fan: Mukasey "seems to be the kind of nominee who would put rule of law first and show independence from the White House," the senator said in a statement yesterday. Well! We're actually not filled with total despair! And at this stage of the game, if the administration doesn't inspire bloodcurdling screams of outrage, even the littlest Hail Mary should be considered a total miracle. Bush to Nominate Mukasey as Attorney General [NPR]