Senate confirms Petraeus, Odierno
Notwithstanding months of partisan wrangling in Congress over the Iraq war, the Senate on Thursday handily confirmed Gen. David Petraeus as the top commander in the Middle East and Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno to replace Petraeus as the chief military officer in Iraq.
The Senate voted 95-2 in favor of Petraeus with Democratic Sens. Robert Byrd and Tom Harkin opposing. Harkin, D-Iowa, cast the lone vote opposing Odierno, who was confirmed 96-1.
The Senate action will keep the nation on its present course in Iraq for the remainder of the year. It also will hand the next administration a pair of combat-tested commanders who have relentlessly defended the need to keep troops in Iraq in large numbers, rather than wind down combat operations.
Byrd, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he opposed Petraeus in part because the general should see through the operations in Iraq.
Actors guild rejects contract proposal
The Screen Actors Guild rejected the latest contract offer from Hollywood studios on Thursday but claimed it was willing to negotiate and presented a counterproposal.
Producers, however, didn’t appear as willing to consider any revisions to what they called their final offer.
“We made it clear our final is our final and that we’re not interested in further counterproposals,” said Jesse Hiestand, a spokesman for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
The two sides met privately for more than five hours before the AMPTP released a statement saying the guild was “unreasonably” seeking more than other unions. The session came as actors continue to work under a contract that expired last month.
SAG committee members are scheduled to meet today to discuss the situation.
Rove a no-show at House hearing
Former White House adviser Karl Rove defied a congressional subpoena and refused to testify Thursday about allegations of political pressure at the Justice Department, including whether he influenced the prosecution of a former Democratic governor of Alabama.
Rep. Linda Sanchez, chairman of a House subcommittee, ruled with backing from fellow Democrats on the panel that Rove was breaking the law by refusing to cooperate – perhaps the first step toward holding him in contempt of Congress.
The White House has cited executive privilege as a reason he and others who serve or served in the administration should not testify, arguing that internal administration communications are confidential and that Congress cannot compel officials to testify. Rove says he is bound to follow the White House’s guidance, although he has offered to answer questions specifically on the Alabama case – but only with no transcript taken and not under oath.
Rove had been scheduled to appear at the House Judiciary subcommittee hearing Thursday morning. A placard with his name sat in front of an empty chair at the witness table.
A decision on whether to pursue contempt charges now goes to the full Judiciary Committee and ultimately to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
From wire reports