Glenn Greenwald has an odd exchange with an Army Colonel.
There's a lot of evidence that the Army is politicized: after all, the senior officers are in the tank for GWB or they are forced out. The junior officers are leaving in droves as a result. The enlisted appear divided, with a very substantial group at least unhappy about the war with no end in sight.
This isn't good, but I wonder how different it really is from Vietnam. You know, that conflict from which the Colin Powell's Army said it learned so many lessons. Before it forgot them.
US Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey has written a very lawyerly letter to the Senate Judiciary committee. The letter fails to use the word “waterboarding” although the acceptance of a cast-iron prohibition on “torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” might fairly be seen to cover banning it. The letter might be enough to peel off a few votes on the torture issue.
If you read the letter with any care, however, you will see that it very carefully refuses to say that — even in the face of the FISA legislation occupying the field — the the law can place any limits on a President who decides to wiretap US citizens, in the US, without a warrant, so long as he decides he wants to and is willing to wave the bloody shirt of national security.
This is a strikingly odd position to take in this letter, as the case against those wiretaps is based on both constitutional text and a statute, elements which sufficed to get Mukasey to unbend enough to say that both torture and not-quite-torture are illegal.
If the Senate confirms him after this, they're complicit in undermining the Constitution. Again.
The letter may, however, represent a fine-grained political judgment that there's no way for the administration to win on torture (and this is the most graceful way to lose) but that there's political capital to be had by being seen to be 'tough' on 'terror' — and that almost no one really cares about the Fourth Amendment anyway.
According to the latest forecasts, Tropical Storm Noel looks as if it is neither going to strengthen enormously, nor hit the US.
However, the National Weather service would like you to know that this storm is not pronounced in the same way as a synonym for Christmas ([Middle English noel, from Old French, variant of nael, from Latin nātālis (diēs), (day) of birth, from nātus, past participle of nāscī, to be born.])
Tropical Storm NOEL Forecast Discussion PLEASE NOTE THAT THE PRONUNCIATION FOR THE THIS STORM'S NAME IS NOL…WITH A LONG O SOUND AND JUST ONE SYLLABLE…OR EXACTLY LIKE THE WORD KNOLL.
No umlaut, got it?
Too much to do, and the A/C is busted.
At the conclusion of a scary, at times rebarbative, summary of the 'Values Voter' (what are the rest of us? valueless? devalued?) summit entitled I go to the 'Values Voter Summit' so you don't have to, we find this gem:
I'd like to give a shout-out to Lambda Rising, an iconic gay bookstore not far from the Hilton Washington, where the Values Voter Summit took place. Walking by the store during a break Saturday afternoon, I was amused to see a sign in the window reading, “Attention, Values Voters! Show your badge and get 20 percent off.” I's good to know that the entrepreneurial spirit lives, and my guess is that most of the guys from the 'ex-gay' ministry booth were down there the minute the conference ended.