WSJ Opinion Journal:
Iraq’s heritage, not out of the woods yet.
NY Times Op-Ed Contributor:
We are all torturers now. “Mr. Gonzales is unfit because the slow river of litigation is certain to bring before the next attorney general a raft of torture cases that challenge the very policies that he personally helped devise and put into practice. He is unfit because, while the attorney general is charged with upholding the law, the documents show that as White House counsel, Mr. Gonzales, in the matter of torture, helped his client to concoct strategies to circumvent it. And he is unfit, finally, because he has rightly become the symbol of the United States’ fateful departure from a body of settled international law and human rights practice for which the country claims to stand.” Heave-ho.
SF New Mexican:
Oppose drilling in the Valle Vidal. Interesting, that at this present moment in time, the US Forest Service won’t allow snowmobiles up there when the elk are in the Valle. I suppose drilling is *better* for the elk ... ?
SF New Mexican:
The investigation’s over, but the fate of the ‘two missing disks’ from Los Alamos remains a mystery.
Appeal by “Pretty Woman” Star Perplexes Palestinians. “We don’t need the Americans’ intervention. We know who to elect. Not like them—they elected a moron.”
Good Copts, sad Copts. Interesting; successional instability to come in Egypt.
Review of “Oppenheimer: Portrait of an Enigma.” Having grown up around the Institute for Advanced Study, I can safely say that your average theoretical physics genius is about as political as a hedge. Surround the hedge with Communists; it’s still a hedge.
NY Times Editorial:
Ethics in the House. Rather, lack thereof.
Tsunami may ameliorate terrorism. Using the wave as a lever.
Nice little flip-flop. House Rule Change Makes Ethics Probes Harder. Split decisions, or no decisions, equals no wrist-slapping. The circus that is the House of Representatives just gets more perverse. We’ll have harlequins and pierrots dancing in the aisles soon ...
Book reviews, “Imperial Hubris, Why the West is losing the War on Terror” and “The 9/11 Commission Report.” Lots of noise, few remedies.
Columbia Journalism Review:
Blog-Gate. “First, much of the bloggers’ vaunted fact-checking was seriously warped. Their driving assumptions were often drawn from flawed information or based on faulty logic. Personal attacks passed for analysis.” Sounds terribly familiar, doesn’t it? Gobs to say about this, but it would be better discussed over a cup of hot chocolate (it’s slushy and cold here). Don’t have the time to type it all out.
Filing this under “yuck” ... Cleric Suspect Misses Hearing Due to Long Toe Nails. Ranks right up there with having an enjoyable evening snack ruined by a graphic network toe-fungus commercial ...
GOP reverses course on ethics rules. Astonishing, really. How politicians can turn this into political hay for ‘upholding standards.’
The secrets war. “But the secrets guarded by those in Washington don’t only involve Star Wars programs run amok, or abuses of civil rights in a time of war, or poor management of an agency vital to national security. Denial of access to information of all sorts is growing ‘at an epidemic rate,’ according to Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley.”
Shirley Chisholm passes away. “At present, our country needs women’s idealism and determination, perhaps more in politics than anywhere else.” Yes indeed, my dear. Rest in peace, good lady. We will miss your unique and powerful voice.
Evangelical Leader Threatens to Use His Political Muscle Against Some Democrats. The “Bill Gates of religion” says he wants strict constructionists. Read this, you’ll realize he has no idea what a strict constructionist is. Separation of church and state has been a hallmark of strict constructionism, up until the modern liberal revisionism of evangelicalism and “Republican revolution.”
Bush Pledges $350 Million in Aid to Stricken Areas of Asia. Changing from parsimonious to slightly generous late in the game; sounds like the malady I call ‘Rwanda morality.’ Roughly the price of one modern weather satellite or two F/22 Raptors. The rest of the world ain’t coughing up much, yet, as far as I’m concerned. Backing up to mercy. It’s a sad testament to see countries bickering over pocket-change. I’m happy to hear some governments are using air drops. Someone’s thinking clearly about the nature of the crisis; tired of hearing idiotic journalists in planes reporting areas are ‘unreachable’ because the airstrips are ruined ... as if helicopters don’t exist and air drops need runways.
I’m making a small prediction, now that we’ve freed up some cash. Articles will appear about the various countries not taking steps to prepare their populace for even minimal ‘disasters’; that rampant development in flood and tidal zones was to ‘blame’, overpopulation of coastal areas was allowed to continue in unwise fashion, environmental devastation and logging made areas vulnerable, that this is exploitation of rich countries because of their citizens dying in resorts, etc. etc. It’s coming, you watch. The ideological nitpickers are gathering; hear the hum?
Look at the aerial photographs ... deal with the pre-existing reality. Nothing would have reduced the human cost, except a robust warning system. Then again, nothing gives cognizance of vulnerability like actual crisis; we learned that on 9/11 [and we’re still dithering over the best solutions to that disaster].
I sincerely hope a certain portion of this, or specific private funds, would be matched to Asian governments’ funds, targeted to tsunami warning and weather equipment to function as a preventative in the future. Surely a satellite dedicated to weather and ground-based geological event-monitoring stations in this area wouldn’t be a bad idea ... ?
Bargain idea: Save Jeb Bush’s airfare, as the first instalment ...
Later: Before commenting, read this: Bloomberg, Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning Plan Ignored for 15 Years, UN Says.
Even later: Rafe has another way to give aid.
Later later: NOAA answers critics over no tsunami warning. “Among the 11 nations reporting deaths, only Indonesia received any warning from NOAA, and then only indirectly through Australia.”
New U.S. Memo Backs Off Torture Arguments. “The Justice Department released a rewritten legal memo on what constitutes torture, backing away from its own assertions prior to the Iraqi prison abuse scandal that torture had to involve ‘excruciating and agonizing pain.’’” Is there anyone in America who hasn’t heard of Chinese water drop, and other water tortures? [popups, beware.] “Pain” and “torture” aren’t necessarily synonymous.
SF New Mexican:
No more food tax in NM! “But while the Legislature repealed the tax on food, it also raised the tax rate by one-half cent on other goods and services within municipalities to offset the loss of revenue. And the new law requires everyone—including the poorest families—to pay that higher tax rate on nonfood items.” A tax on ‘luxury’ items is better than a tax on sustenance. Now if we could just scare up decent produce in New Mexico ... even much-vaunted (and pricey) Whole Foods lets their produce rot and mold on the shelves ...
The end of Uganda’s mystic rebel? Looks like a direct positive result of the US war on terror. But it’s not going to be so easy to ‘domesticate’ the remnants of the LRA.
Pentagon said to offer cuts in the billions. One of the information almanacs in the 70’s calculated out what the yearly Pentagon budget would finance. If we put the Pentagon on ‘maintenance’ for one year (unrealistic, I know), we could purchase $250,000 homes for every homeless individual in America, and much more besides. If the Pentagon is able to cope, and the Republicans can relax their ‘strong defense’ platform, this can take a chunk out of the deficit.
Explosions rock Saudi Arabia. Oil prices rise.