Why did California Rep. Bob Filner Lose His Temper?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Veteran Vitriol

The ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee has been accused of unleashing an obscenity-studded tirade at employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

At a press conference outside VA headquarters last week, California Congressman Bob Filner ripped Secretary Jim Nicholson for his handling of a stolen computer containing personal information on millions of veterans, calling Nicholson a incompetent political crony of President Bush.

But after two employees leapt to Nicholson's defense — noting Nicholson's military service and calling the press conference a "publicity stunt" — Filner went off, shouting, "You guys [F'd] it up. Stop covering your [rear] and figure it out." Filner's office did not return calls requesting a comment.

Show of Support

The left-wing Truthout.org now says it's "standing down" on its month-old story that White House adviser Karl Rove was indicted in the CIA leak case, but continues to stand behind its reporter Jason Leopold. But freelance writer, Joe Lauria, says Leopold told at least one lie — impersonating him to get information on the case.

Lauria writes that Leopold used his name and professional history in a telephone conversation with Rove spokesman Mark Corallo, and told Corallo that he'd already confirmed Rove's indictment with the prosecutor's office.

Leopold, who detailed a history of telling lies to break stories in a recent autobiography, has denied the accusation.

Positive Policy

The Los Angeles Times say the Federal Emergency Management Agency's plan to give victims of Hurricane Katrina $2000 debit cards a "clever and responsive policy," despite the news that some spent thousands on everything from strip clubs to sex change operations.

In a weekend editorial, the Times calls the "improper and potentially fraudulent" charges "an unfortunate side effect" of the program, but argues that the profligate spending isn't the fault of the people who misspent the money — it's FEMA's.

The Times blasts the agency for "sloppy oversight," as for the spenders themselves, well, "obsessing about the spending habits of refugees comes perilously close to blaming the victim."

No Need for Patriotism

Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines — whose Bush bashing in 2003 cost the group the support of millions of country music fans — now says she doesn't see the need for patriotism. Maines tells the London Telegraph, "Why do you have to be a patriot? About what?" adding, "You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country... I don't see why people care about patriotism."

The band's new album debuted at No. 1 earlier this month, but many country music stations have declined to play their songs after listener complaints, and thousands of tickets for their summer tour remain unsold.

—FOX News Channel's Aaron Bruns contributed to this report.