Immunity (sort Of)
October 31, 2007

The New York Times today briefly attempts to clarify the murky issue of Blackwater's immunity deal with the State Department. According to the Times, Blackwater was offered a special type of immunity called a Garrity Warning, typically offered to law enforcement officials who may have done something illegal.

Gloves Off For Democratic Debate
October 30, 2007

  Showdown: [Nedra Pickler, AP]: “Seven Democratic presidential candidates are scheduled to participate in a two-hour debate starting at 9 p.m. EDT Tuesday and telecast on MSNBC. It's their first debate in a month, and during that time Clinton has solidified her position as the front-runner, gaining in polls, taking the lead in fundraising and dominating the agenda.”   Copycat: [Klaus Marre, The Hill]: “Claiming that both Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) are going negative in the race for the Democratic nomination, Sen.

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

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"

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

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

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.