26 June 2007

The Kids Are Alright

Our brightest students pass a note to The Decider.

The students had been invited to the East Room
to hear the president speak about his effort to
win congressional reauthorization of his
education law known as No Child Left Behind.

The handwritten letter said the students "believe
we have a responsibility to voice our convictions."

"We do not want America to represent torture.
We urge you to do all in your power to stop
violations of the human rights of detainees, to
cease illegal renditions, and to apply the Geneva
Convention to all detainees, including those
designated enemy combatants," the letter said.

The designation as a Presidential Scholar is one
of the nation's highest honors for graduating high
school students. Each year the program selects
one male and one female student from each
state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico,
Americans living abroad, 15 at-large students,
and up to 20 students in the arts on the basis of
outstanding scholarship, service, leadership and

25 June 2007

Cheesy Summer Reading

Some highly recommended picks...


In the meeting, the officials professed ignorance
about Abu Ghraib. “Could you tell us what
happened?” Wolfowitz asked. Someone else
asked, “Is it abuse or torture?” At that point,
Taguba recalled, “I described a naked detainee
lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an
interrogator shoving things up his rectum, and
said, ‘That’s not abuse. That’s torture.’ There was


Across the board, the vice president's office goes
to unusual lengths to avoid transparency. Cheney
declines to disclose the names or even the size of
his staff, generally releases no public calendar
and ordered the Secret Service to destroy his
visitor logs. His general counsel has asserted that
"the vice presidency is a unique office that is
neither a part of the executive branch nor a part
of the legislative branch," and is therefore exempt
from rules governing either. Cheney is refusing to
observe an executive order on the handling of
national security secrets, and he proposed to
abolish a federal office that insisted on auditing
his compliance.


Few, if any, presidents have ever been the subject
of such a devastating legal decision. While
presidential actions have been ruled illegal or
unconstitutional in the past, they were individual
acts. But in the case of Bush, the al-Marri decision
not only discredits Bush's position but denies his
idea of his presidential legitimacy in the American
tradition. The decision also declares that Bush's
idea is a mortal threat to the Constitution. And this
ruling was issued by the most conservative court
in the land.

20 June 2007

Take the Money and Run

Last week, Little Caesar explained to the press why
there was no mention of Iraq in his recently outlined
“12 Commitments to the American People.”

“What I was trying to do was to look at the
things, as best as you can predict it now, that are
going to be there a year and a half from now,” he
said. “Iraq may get better; Iraq may get worse.
We may be successful in Iraq; we may not be. I
don’t know the answer to that. That’s in the
hands of other people. But what we do know for
sure is the terrorists are going to be at war with
us a year, a year and a half from now.”

Ahhh... America’s Mayor. Smell the leadership!

WASHINGTON -- Rudolph Giuliani's membership
on an elite Iraq study panel came to an abrupt
end last spring after he failed to show up for a
single official meeting of the group, causing the
panel's top Republican to give him a stark choice:
either attend the meetings or quit, several
sources said.

Giuliani left the Iraq Study Group last May after
just two months, walking away from a chance to
make up for his lack of foreign policy credentials
on the top issue in the 2008 race, the Iraq war.

He cited "previous time commitments" in a letter
explaining his decision to quit, and a look at his
schedule suggests why -- the sessions at times
conflicted with Giuliani's lucrative speaking tour
that garnered him $11.4 million in 14 months.

17 June 2007

Aluminum Falcon

I wish I could get back the time I wasted on those shitty
prequels and just watch that clip 300 times instead.

Inasmuch as Lucas has often seemed humorless
about "Star Wars'" creative shortcomings under
his stewardship, it's also nice to see the
filmmaker/mogul join in the fun. Yet even in this
lightweight diversion resides a lesson highlighted
by Cartoon Network's animated "Clone Wars"
shorts -- namely, that Lucas' fantasy has
frequently sailed the smoothest when he takes a
back seat and leaves the starship piloting to
someone else.

Check out more from Robot Chicken, here.

15 June 2007

Pants On Fire!

Someone call Wolf Blitzer.

Tell him he’s been scooped again by a comedian with an
internet connection.

Maybe someday CNN will equip The Situation Room with
the kind of cutting-edge technology that only Comedy
Central seems to possess.

It might come in handy the next time someone predicts
what will happen six months from now.

11 June 2007

War Pigs

Glenn Greenwald:

The very idea of starting a new war with Iran is
so obscenely irrational -- to say nothing of its
morality -- that it is difficult to put into words. A
vast consensus of military experts across the
ideological spectrum have all been warning for
several years that no viable option exists for the
military glory which the great and serious
Churchillian warrior, Joe Lieberman, seeks. Just
fathom how quickly and how completely
whatever lingering shreds of moral credibility
America has left would disappear if we
commenced a military attack on that country.

Joe Lieberman cares about none of that -- issues
of American credibility and American security
could not be any less important to Lieberman --
and the same is true for his fellow band of
warmongering ideologues who have long been
hungry for war with Iran as the next step in their
grand vision that brought us the invasion of Iraq.
Over the last year, they have been gradually
increasing the explicitness with which they urge
a war with Iran, and yet they are treated with as
great a respect as ever.

In the American political framework, one can
never lose credibility by urging on new wars.
That is an inherently respectable position. Only
opposing new wars, or the continuation of old
ones, can result in a loss of credibility. Yet both
the views and the underlying motives of
warmongers like Lieberman are as radical -- and
as deceitful and corrupt -- as can be.

05 June 2007

Time to get a new nickname

Scooter gets sentenced to 30 months in the big house, and
the PPW (Presidential Pardon Watch) officially begins.

President Bush, traveling in Europe, said through
a spokesman that he "felt terrible for the family,"
especially Libby's wife and children.

But he doesn't feel the least bit "terrible" for Valerie Plame,
the CIA agent whose life was put in danger when Cheney, Rove,
Libby and the rest of the White House gang leaked her identity
to reporters in a clumsy attempt to hurt her husband for telling
the truth about Bush's bogus claims that Saddam had acquired
nuclear materials from Niger. Of course not. That would require
some degree of intelligence and decency.

And speaking of intelligence and decency, check out all the
"love letters" sent to the court by Libby's buddies (including
James Carvile?!) now on file at The Smoking Gun.

03 June 2007

Wish You Were Here

I was very sad learn that one of my favorite bloggers,
Steve Gilliard at The News Blog has passed away.
He was only 42 years old.

Covering a unique blend of topics ranging from military
history to local New York politics to killer BBQ recipes,
Steve’s passionate, intelligent (and often hilarious) posts
were always essential reading.

Jane Hamsher met the man behind the blog and has
written a lovely tribute.

So long, Steve. It won’t be the same without you.