Saturday Morning Open Thread

We’ll just do a quick links, because I have to clean the whole house and I want to get started early.

1.) Jim Hoagland at the WaPo delivers a well-earned rimshot:

Two big questions hang over the new agreement to contain North Korea’s nuclear weapons program at its current level — whatever that level is.

Why has a secretive government addicted to power politics and flexing its military muscles abruptly turned to negotiations and peaceful compromise?

And why is North Korea doing the same?

Heh. I will go on record and state that is ‘teh funny.’

2.) You know how the right-wing blabosphere spends every day comparing Iraq to WWII? It’s silly and overstated, of course, but they like to make the comparison to Hussein and Nazis and so forth. At any rate, some vets speak up on how we treated Nazis and how we interrogated:

When about two dozen veterans got together yesterday for the first time since the 1940s, many of the proud men lamented the chasm between the way they conducted interrogations during the war and the harsh measures used today in questioning terrorism suspects.

Back then, they and their commanders wrestled with the morality of bugging prisoners’ cells with listening devices. They felt bad about censoring letters. They took prisoners out for steak dinners to soften them up. They played games with them.

“We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture,” said Henry Kolm, 90, an MIT physicist who had been assigned to play chess in Germany with Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess.

Blunt criticism of modern enemy interrogations was a common refrain at the ceremonies held beside the Potomac River near Alexandria. Across the river, President Bush defended his administration’s methods of detaining and questioning terrorism suspects during an Oval Office appearance.


“We did it with a certain amount of respect and justice,” said John Gunther Dean, 81, who became a career Foreign Service officer and ambassador to Denmark.

The interrogators had standards that remain a source of pride and honor.

“During the many interrogations, I never laid hands on anyone,” said George Frenkel, 87, of Kensington. “We extracted information in a battle of the wits. I’m proud to say I never compromised my humanity.”

Oops. Throw the thrusters in reverse at Torture Apology HQ! We didn’t torture Nazis! Shift to alternate meme! For the time being, spread the word that these are old men who don’t understand the existential threat we are facing.

In fairness to the wingnuts, there was a scene in Saving Private Ryan where some Nazi soldiers surrendered but were shot on the spot.

3.) It appears we have a traitor at Fox News. Sean Hannity, who is on record stating that we wear lapel pins because we were attacked, apparently refuses to wear a lapel pin himself.

Off to Gitmo with the bastard.

4.) Speaking of Gitmo, it is Groundhog Day there – more career lawyers are quitting because of the politicization of the process by hand-picked officers:

People involved in the prosecutions, who spoke on condition of anonymity, have said that General Hartmann challenged Colonel Davis’s authority in August and pressed the prosecutors who worked for Colonel Davis to produce new charges against detainees quickly.

They said he also pushed the prosecutors to frame cases with bold terrorism accusations that would draw public attention to the military commission process, which has been one of the central legal strategies of the Bush administration. In some cases the prosecutors are expected to seek the death penalty.

Through a spokeswoman, General Hartmann declined comment yesterday.

Colonel Davis filed a complaint against General Hartmann with Pentagon officials this fall saying that the general had exceeded his authority and created a conflict of interest by asserting control over the prosecutor’s office. Colonel Davis said it would be improper for General Hartmann to assess the adequacy of cases filed by prosecutors if the general had been involved in the decision to file those cases.

I am sure you are all shocked at this information.

5.) The Guardian tells us what to expect in the next few months as the Bush Admin tries to sell war with Iran:

What is becoming clearer is that the likely pretext for aggression against Iran has shifted from the possibility that Tehran might develop nuclear weapons to its role in supporting and allegedly arming the resistance in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan. The administration is increasingly convinced that it will be far easier to convince the American public of the case for war on Iran if it’s seen as being about the protection of US troops rather than nuclear scaremongering from the people who brought you Saddam Hussein’s WMD. So the focus of the military plans has changed accordingly: from a wide-ranging bombing assault on Iran’s known and suspected nuclear sites to “surgical” strikes on the Revolutionary Guards, who the US claims are backing armed attacks on its occupation forces.

For my money, it would not surprise if Iran were interested in keeping Iraq, their border enemy, in chaos for a s long as possible. Makes sense to me. However, I have not seen any credible evidence that Iran actually is involved, and no detailed information to what level they are involved. All I have seen is anonymous military officers asserting that Iran is involved, and I have seen it become accepted conventional wisdom among some of the media elite and the wingnut blogosphere right. Clearly it is time to invade.

6.) ‘Eers v. ‘Cuse- 12 pm. Go ‘Eers!

7.) Marion Jones fessed up to using steroids (something that was apparently common knowledge), and faces the loss of her medals, financial ruin, and jailtime. I watched her tearful apology yesterday, and I feel bad for her. I don’t know why we are spending all this money and time and energy investigating steroid use in sports, but, the real crime is to her teammates on the relay who will also lose their medals. Such a shame.

8.) Don’t forget our game from yesterday – the competition started at midnight last night. Who will be the big winner? NRO? Red State?

Open Thread

Busy. (I thought about writing something super corny, like “Busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest,” but thought that was just too cheesy).

Oh. And all that stuff about us not “legalizing” torture? Lies. But then again, we are facing an enemy who wants to ass rape us to death, so I guess we need to do a little torture.

Consider this your open thread before I start whining about the MAC again.

This Mac is Killing Me

Look- I understand the reason you folks at Apple don’t include documentation for anything. It is supposed to be intuitive.

After 20 years of using Windows, it isn’t.

And not even a pamphlet for Final Cut Pro? Bastards.

And all these things across the bottom of the screen are giving me chest pains. Why is the aol one bouncing?

*** Update ***

And if anyone can come up with a reason why there is no knob to adjust the volume, I am all ears. Or how to insert a dvd and not have it take up my whole screen.

*** Update ***

And before I get too negative, I do love the 24″ monitor. It is beautiful. Figuring out how to use everything, however, can be summed up in one quick phrase:


*** Update Eleventy-Three ***

Thanks for all the help, but WTF is “apple comma.” I see comma. I see no “apple comma.”

Tuesday Open Thread

Memeorandum is filled with charge/counter-charges, mostly about that idiot Rush Limbaugh, and I have meetings all morning.

The blogosphere seems less and less relevant every day. I can count on one hand the number of sites where I learn something- the rest are just braying sheep (media bias! media bias! BAAA!) and vicious partisans (democrats cause cancer!).

Consider this an open thread.

We Can Sit and Talk and Not Talk For Hours and Still Have Things to Not Talk About

Consider this your Monday Opener.