Saturday, January 08, 2005

Succinctness on the NYT op-ed page, from Thursday:

The war in Iraq and the war on terrorism are ultimately political in character. Victory depends in the end not on technology or on overwhelming force but on political persuasion. By using torture, the country relinquishes the very ideological advantage - the promotion of democracy, freedom and human rights - that the president has so persistently claimed is America's most powerful weapon in defeating Islamic extremism. One does not reach democracy, or freedom, through torture.

By using torture, we Americans transform ourselves into the very caricature our enemies have sought to make of us. True, that miserable man who pulled out his hair as he lay on the floor at Guantanamo may eventually tell his interrogators what he knows, or what they want to hear. But for America, torture is self-defeating; for a strong country it is in the end a strategy of weakness. After Mr. Gonzales is confirmed, the road back - to justice, order and propriety - will be very long. Torture will belong to us all.

Amusing sequence from an AP article about Frist in Sri Lanka. First...

"They talk as though they do everything here. Many people come here; they just take photographs, but we don't get anything," said Ramzan Mohideen, a man in a Muslim cap and gown who lost his jewelry business.
Then, two paragraphs later...
Just before his helicopter lifted off, Frist and aides took snapshots of each other near a pile of tsunami debris. "Get some devastation in the back," Frist told a photographer.
Oh, sweet irony.

Sure, maybe this was just a fiendishly clever photo op, but you have to admit that it was pretty neat:

The day before he was sworn in as a congressman, Democrat Henry Cuellar of Laredo trekked to the White House with about 50 other freshman lawmakers for a reception with the president. After posing for a photo, Mr. Cuellar ambled into the kitchen, grabbed an apron and started pitching in. "I washed dishes when I was at Georgetown University. I went up there and said, 'Hey, I'm Henry Cuellar, I'm your new co-worker and I'm here to wash dishes,'" he said. He spent about 10 minutes in the highest kitchen in the land, chatting in Spanish, he said. One worker who'd been there since President Lyndon Johnson's days told him he'd never seen a congressman roll up his sleeves that way.

Continuing Wednesday's theme of famous people showing up for jury duty:

John McCain spent Thursday at Phoenix Municipal Court. And when his fellow potential jurors asked what he was doing there, he responded, "I'm a citizen."
"Also," he added, "I heard Steve Breyer was doing it, and man, that guy is nothing if not worthy of emulation." Also:
He entertained his new friends in the hallway by playing tunes from his cellphone and making small talk.
"Playing tunes from his cellphone"? It's funny, that's actually number six on my list of the Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Lose Respect For You, If You're Already a Senator Whom I Respect.

This inauguration is sure to be the rockin'est party this side of the Mississippi:

Inauguration planners seemed to be backpedaling yesterday about the event following a call from the Daily News. "Kid Rock has not been confirmed," insisted Tracey Schmitt, a spokeswoman from the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "But I can tell you Hilary Duff has been confirmed, as has JoJo." Schmitt added, "There's no greater defender of family values than President Bush."
Hilary Duff and JoJo, in the same place!? If ever there was a reason to use an interrobang, this is it!

Friday, January 07, 2005

The Shamokin, PA (motto: "We're almost as big as Wilkes-Barre!") News Item reports that Tricky Rick Santorum has finally figured out how to get that website out to a larger audience: put it online!

Sen. Santorum launches new online Web site

Thursday, January 06, 2005

A fascinating (and utterly bizarre) article about Andy Card's "mental kitchen," a memory device he uses in lieu of written notes.

Andrew Card is talking about his kitchen. "I know my kitchen really well, as evidenced by my rotund being," Card says, patting his belly. "I know where the oven is and I know where the microwave is and I know where the sink is and I know where the refrigerator is and the freezer and the cupboards and the table and the chairs."
Long, but really: worth reading.

"Let the Eagles Soar" goes primetime:

Guy Hovis, a vocalist from Tupelo, Miss., who performed on the Lawrence Welk show, will sing, "Let the Eagles Soar," a song written by Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Terrific headline: Nine-Year-Old Boy Fascinated by Toilets

Steven Breyer shows up for jury duty. Nervous "Can he be serious?" glances ensue.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Great, great excuse for missing a court date:

Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri failed to appear before a British court Tuesday, complaining his toe nails were too long and he could not walk.

You know, I actually liked McGreevey, so I may be an unfair judge. But seriously, "chatting up neighbors" in the lobby of his pathetic apartment building in Rahway? How can anyone not feel sorry for this guy?

He can often be seen chatting up neighbors in the lobby of his new apartment building. "He's very outgoing," said Jeff Halter, the building's rental agent. His walks in Rahway River Park with James J. Kennedy - Rahway's mayor and a friend since the 1980's - and Jerry Scaturo, a Rahway city councilman, typically start at 7:30 a.m. and go for about three miles. Nearly every day, Mr. Scaturo said, a dozen or so people stop the former governor to say hello and offer support.

The Bush Administration: "We're Not Running for Anything Anymore, So Let's Screw Some Folks."

The Bush administration has signaled that it will propose changing the formula that sets initial Social Security benefit levels, cutting promised benefits by nearly a third in the coming decades, according to several Republicans close to the White House.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Patridiot Watch. Liberal news, etc.

There's an astonishingly high number of sites that can be described as such, isn't there?

(Editorial note: I'm back, baby! The past three weeks have been devoted to finals, travelling, and about 250 hours of sleep, but now it's back to bloggin'.)