President Bush’s approval rating in a new Harris poll, “the lowest level of his presidency.”
One of Scooter Libby’s “most ardent defenders, Richard Carlson, a former chief of the Voice of America who serves as a member of a defense trust set up for Libby,” reacts to Patrick Fitzgerald’s latest filing which again states that Valerie Plame was covert:
I think it’s certainly unseemly that he is kicking him while he’s down. For Fitzgerald, to get on his high horse, it’s disgusting and he should be ashamed of himself.
Richard Carlson is the “bow-tied father of bow-tied television pundit Tucker Carlson” who “sent a courier with a check to Libby’s Virginia home…on the morning of his perjury indictment.”
“Former Vice President Al Gore tells ABC News that if he were still in the United States Senate, he would have voted ‘no’ on a war funding bill without a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq which passed both house of Congress last week and was signed into law by President Bush.” Good for him.
Via Dave Roberts, a New York Times graphic on the carbon impact of liquid coal:
The upshot is that it would be radically better for the environment to just build more coal power plants (normally the gold standard for bad environmental policy) and spend the money on subsidizing plug-in hybrids. This is to say nothing of the potential environmental benefit of targeting our subsidies away from things that are harmful and toward things that are helpful.
Nazi Germany. Andrew Sullivan adds:
Critics will no doubt say I am accusing the Bush administration of being Hitler. I’m not. There is no comparison between the political system in Germany in 1937 and the U.S. in 2007. What I am reporting is a simple empirical fact: the interrogation methods approved and defended by this president are not new. Many have been used in the past. The very phrase used by the president to describe torture-that-isn’t-somehow-torture – “enhanced interrogation techniques” – is a term originally coined by the Nazis. The techniques are indistinguishable. The methods were clearly understood in 1948 as war-crimes. The punishment for them was death.
UPDATE: A group of experts advising the intelligence agencies on interrogation techniques are arguing that “the harsh techniques used since the 2001 terrorist attacks are outmoded, amateurish and unreliable.”
The psychologists and other specialists, commissioned by the Intelligence Science Board, make the case that more than five years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has yet to create an elite corps of interrogators trained to glean secrets from terrorism suspects.
While billions are spent each year to upgrade satellites and other high-tech spy machinery, the experts say, interrogation methods — possibly the most important source of information on groups like Al Qaeda — are a hodgepodge that date from the 1950s, or are modeled on old Soviet practices.
From the new issue of the New Yorker:
DeLay says that when, in the coming years, he is not fighting the indictment in Texas (he insists that he is not guilty) he will be building a conservative grass-roots equivalent of MoveOn.org. “God has spoken to me,” he said. “I listen to God, and what I’ve heard is that I’m supposed to devote myself to rebuilding the conservative base of the Republican Party, and I think we shouldn’t be underestimated.”
Global carbon dioxide emissions are now exceeding even the most “extreme” predictions, and 2007 is already the hottest year ever recorded. Yet even as congressional leaders draft legislation to reduce greenhouse gases, “a powerful roster of Democrats and Republicans is pushing to subsidize coal as the king of alternative fuels.”
Prodded by “intense lobbying from the coal industry,” lawmakers from coal states are proposing that taxpayers spend billions of dollars to subsidize the coal industry’s production of liquid diesel fuel.
This is a dangerously backwards idea. Coal-to-liquid fuels “produce almost twice the volume of greenhouse gases as ordinary diesel,” and the production process of such fuels “creates almost a ton of carbon dioxide for every barrel of liquid fuel.” The New York Times offers this infographic:
Congressional supporters of coal-to-liquids argue that “coal-based fuels are more American than gasoline.” But the only responsible way to achieve American energy independence is to create policies that also reduce global warming, and that can be done with low-carbon, American-grown alternative fuels.
A profile in courage on this issue is Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who this month killed a coal-to-liquids proposal despite coming from a coal state. As Gristmill’s Dave Roberts noted, Tester realizes “that blundering ahead with coal before addressing its emissions is tantamount to collective suicide, and he’s not willing to sign on with that for the sake of a big-money industry in his state.”
UPDATE: Climate Progress has much more.
You should be able to find something you like here:
Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) is attacking senators who voted against last week’s Iraq spending bill, which was passed without a withdrawal timeline. “As long as there are troops who are in a position where, if we don’t fund them they are going to be hurt, I’m not going to cut off funding,” Biden said during a meeting with Des Moines Register editors and reporters. “That’s what the other candidates said too, but they changed their mind.”
“The onslaught of porn,” writes Naomi Wolf, “is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women.” An interesting claim, I thought. To make it responsibly in a journalistic context, one would want to see both convincing evidence that male libido in relation to real women has, in fact, deadened in recent years and then some kind of argument that porn is responsible. The article appeared in New York so I didn’t really expect statistical proof, but anecdotal evidence, sure. Wolf doesn’t have it. Instead she has this:
Here is what young women tell me on college campuses when the subject comes up: They can’t compete, and they know it. For how can a real woman—with pores and her own breasts and even sexual needs of her own (let alone with speech that goes beyond “More, more, you big stud!”)—possibly compete with a cybervision of perfection, downloadable and extinguishable at will, who comes, so to speak, utterly submissive and tailored to the consumer’s least specification?
Now, if such feelings are genuinely widespread, this is a legitimate topic for concern. But it’s worth noting that it’s not actually the same problem. That college women may feel insecure about their ability to “compete” with pornography seems plausible to me. That college men have lost interest in having sex with real women because they could watch porn instead strikes me as wildly implausible. No doubt things have changed on campus since I graduated (more WIFI networks, etc.) but I’d be shocked if things had changed that much.
Link courtsey of Vaness at Feministing who raises some additional objections.