If You Read One Post About Waterboarding
October 30, 2007

...make it this one, by Malcolm Nance, a longtime counter-terrorism agent: The carnival-like he-said, she-said of the legality of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques has become a form of doublespeak worthy of Catch-22. Having been subjected to them all, I know these techniques, if in fact they are actually being used, are not dangerous when applied in training for short periods. However, when performed with even moderate intensity over an extended time on an unsuspecting prisoner – it is torture, without doubt.

Death At What Price?
October 26, 2007

The Georgia criminal-justice system is getting its fifteen minutes of fame today, mostly thanks to the news that the state Supreme Court mercifully decided to overturn the absurd ten-year prison sentence given to Genarlow Wilson for receiving oral sex from a girl two years his junior. But the Los Angeles Times has a more interesting story from the Peach State: Republicans in the state legislature are up in arms that Brian Nichols, who is accused of rape and four murders, is racking up more than $1.2 million in legal fees in his capital-murder case.

Comedy Central Taking Colbert Seriously
October 26, 2007

A Costly Stunt [Kenneth P. Vogel,The Politico]: "Joke or not, Comedy Central is taking Stephen Colbert’s presidential candidacy--or, at least the legal implications of it--very seriously. The network has consulted a top Washington election law firm and appears keenly aware of the strict election law provisions that could be triggered by Colbert’s satirical campaign." Obama Fundraiser Defects [Nedra Pickler,AP]: "A longtime Democratic fundraiser has abandoned Barack Obama's campaign to help rival Hillary Rodham Clinton win the party's presidential nomination.

Giuliani Hedges On Torture
October 25, 2007

Debating Iran: [Dan Balz, The Washington Post]: "Iran is now the front line in a foreign policy debate that has found Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) defending a vote that her rivals said could embolden President Bush to once again launch unilateral military action against a Middle Eastern nation."   Subjective Torture?: [Michael Cooper, The New York Times]: "Asked at a community meeting here whether he considered waterboarding torture, Mr. Giuliani said: 'It depends on how it’s done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it.'"   Levin v.

Meet "mr. ***k"
October 23, 2007

I've gotten around to this a little late, but for those who haven't had the guilty pleasure of reading David Segal's Washington Post exploration of the less-than-amicable divorce proceedings of Clinton-tormenting billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, you can find it here. It is, as advertised, "like a visit to Gettysburg, minus the gravitas." --Christopher Orr  Update:  If you're wondering about the coy title of this post, it's the result of a not-yet-disabled obscenity filter on our new blog software.

The Fox Debate In Florida
October 22, 2007

Pretty much everything you needed to know about tonight's GOP debate--and much of what you need to know about the GOP race--happened in the first 15 or 20 minutes. That's when Fox News correspondent Chris Wallace invited each of the leading candidates to attack their rivals--and the candidates took him up on it. The differences in the way the four front-runners responded highlighted a key divide in their campaign strategies. Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson swept their deviations from party orthodoxy under the rug, as they have for much of the race, and cast themselves as true conservatives.

Get Your Duke Bashing Here!
October 19, 2007

It's mid-October, which means college basketball teams are allowed to practice--and Coach K is allowed to rip off gullible businessmen. From Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn's account of a visit to a recent Duke practice: Video review is a normal part of the Blue Devils' routine, but what is abnormal on this October Tuesday is that Coach K has a wireless mic clipped to his black Duke polo shirt, and his voice is being projected into Cameron's upper level, where approximately 250 businesspeople are sitting in on what would otherwise be a closed practice.

The Morning News
October 17, 2007

Stealing First [Thomas Beaumont, Des Moines Register]: "Iowa Republicans have scheduled the party's presidential caucuses for Jan. 3, arguing the date would preserve the state's coveted leadoff status but avoid starting the nominating process in 2007." Holy Roller [John McCormick, Chicago Tribune]: "In what is perhaps the most obvious effort yet by Sen.

Pay For Performance (cont'd)
October 17, 2007

Down the merit pay wormhole we go! Ezra responds to my post by saying that it "sort of proves the point" he was making: According to the Department of Labor, "Merit pay, also known as pay-for-performance, is defined as a raise in pay based on a set of criteria set by the employer." That fits the definition used in discussions of education, where merit pay is tied to student improvement, test scores, etc. It doesn't fit a situation in which "my editor likes me" results in a fuzzy and undefined increase. What're the criteria? Agreement with said editor? Fun writing? Personal relationships?

The Morning News
October 16, 2007

ALMOST PHOTO FINISH: Jeanne Cummings, The Politico: "When the official reports went public on the Federal Election Commission website, they showed that Clinton raised more money but Obama eked out his own victory by virtually matching the amount of cash she has in the bank to spend on the hard-fought primary race." IOWA GROUND SWELL: Mike Dorning, Chicago Tribune: "[Obama] has opened 31 field offices across the state, more than any other candidate, establishing local headquarters everywhere from Des Moines to tiny Elkader, population 1,374." EDWARDS WALKS: Erin Jordan, Des Moines Register: "Th