After announcing a forthcoming cartoon show or something, Gilbert Arenas goes on to address the Halo 3 cheating allegations at considerable length on his blog. Tom Lee scrutinizes the charges and the defense and says: “it’s true that this isn’t as vile as the glitch-based cheating that’s also rampant on XBL. So it may not be necessary to call David Stern just yet. Tell you what, Gilbert: bring home a playoff appearance this season and we’ll forget the whole thing ever happened.” I’ll agree with that.
Via Mark Kleiman, Jon Rauch: “Some optimists say that in Army Gen. David Petraeus, Bush has finally found his Gen. Grant. That may or may not be true, but it is beside the point. The problem is that Petraeus has not yet found his President Lincoln.”
Today, the Washington Post publishes additional details about the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping, noting that the National Security Agency approached Qwest “more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.” But the Body Politik’s Igor Volsky points out that President Bush has claimed that the program was put in place in response to 9/11:
After September the 11th, I vowed to the American people that our government would do everything within the law to protect them against another terrorist attack. As part of this effort, I authorized the National Security Agency to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. [5/11/06]
Kagro X adds, “If Qwest’s competitors were already abetting this bloodless(?) coup before 9/11, then the ‘administration’s’ domestic spying not only has little if anything to do with response to terrorism, but it also objectively failed to prevent 9/11.”
At Fort Leavenworth, KS — the “intellectual center of the United States Army” — young officers are undergoing an “outspoken re-examination of their role in Iraq.” The officers have examined, for example, whether more active four-star generals should have spoken out and whether Donald Rumsfeld bears responsibility for the war’s mistakes. The New York Times reports:
One question that silenced many of the officers was a simple one: Should the war have been fought?
“I honestly don’t know how I feel about that,” Major Powell said in a telephone conversation after the discussions at Leavenworth.
“That’s a big, open question,” General Caldwell said after a long pause.
Speaking of figuring out who to blame, Elizabeth Bumiller has an interesting piece in the Times where she went to Fort Leavenworth, where the Army does its thinking, and spoke to some mid-career officers:
Discussions between a New York Times reporter and dozens of young majors in five Leavenworth classrooms over two days — all unusual for their frankness in an Army that has traditionally presented a facade of solidarity to the outside world — showed a divide in opinion. Officers were split over whether Mr. Rumsfeld, the military leaders or both deserved blame for what they said were the major errors in the war: sending in a small invasion force and failing to plan properly for the occupation.
It seems to me that the idea that the military’s senior leadership didn’t do enough to warn against this looming fiasco is mistaken. The top brass’ opposition to Bush’s war plans was, after all, sufficiently well-known to prompt this scathing editorial from the liberal New Republic magazine slamming Bush for
leading the country headlong into a disaster that would kill hundreds of thousands of people undue hesitancy to fire dissenting officers.
If TNR what was happening, then so did Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. But this debate capped off an era in which it was widely believed by a bipartisan set of powers-that-be that America’s professional military officers were unduly hesitant to commit troops to battle. With the hindsight of years, of course, we can see that they hesitate precisely because they’re the ones — not magazine writers — who wind up bearing the costs when things go south.
Isn’t it a bit ridiculous that Feist songs are being used in ads for both the iPod Nano and the LG Chocolate? Surely there’s some other artist who can be used to sell gadgets.
So we don’t get too besotted in celebration of the Nobel Prize win by Al Gore and the IPCC, the Washington Post shares these depressing factoids with us today:
Polls show that Gore’s efforts have helped raise the profile of global warming among Americans — an April Washington Post-ABC News survey found that the percentage of respondents identifying climate change as their top environmental concern had doubled from a year earlier, to 33 percent — but in the public’s mind, it still lags far behind such issues as the war in Iraq and health care in importance.
In a September Washington Post-ABC News poll, less than 1 percent identified global warming as their top issue for the 2008 presidential campaign, and a January poll by the Pew Research Center ranked it fourth-lowest out of 23 policy priorities that Americans want the president and Congress to address.
Can’t let us have even one good day, eh Juliet Eilperin? Fine! To quote our newest Nobel laureate:
Did you know that “Absence of Income Tax is Key to State Competitiveness”? Well, so it is according to the headline of Cato’s Daniel Mitchell writing up a report from the anti-tax Tax Foundation’s report on which states are best for business.
Of course, according to this metric the best places to do business in the United States are . . . Wyoming and South Dakota. Bringing up the rear, by contrast, are prosperous states full of successful businesses — California, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.
I went to see the National Gallery’s Edward Hopper exhibit yesterday, and it turns out they have some pretty cool multimedia features available on the website.
Other Hopper notes include the observation that he has a real knack for almost exclusively painting places I’ve been, and that despite earlier mixed feelings about the album, In Rainbows was an excellent soundtrack for walking around the gallery.
This week, the House introduced FISA reform legislation that refused to grant immunity to telecommunications companies for their participation in potentially illegal spying activities. President Bush immediately warned that he would veto the legislation if it did not surrender on the immunity provision.
Early reports suggested that the Senate was prepared to back down on the immunity provision. FireDogLake reported that the Senate version of the FISA bill “does contain immunity/amnesty for the telecom companies.”
But this weekend on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke out forcefully against granting unconditional immunity to the telecom companies for potentially illegal acts:
I’m not for blanket immunity until we understand what the program has been about. The day will come, maybe in my lifetime or later, when we’ll finally figure out what the Bush administration has been up to these years with this secret program.
I don’t want the embarrassment of history coming back saying what were they thinking of in Congress to give blanket immunity when they didn’t even know the circumstances.
“The administration says trust us,” Durbin argued. “It is hard to trust an administration which has failed to even tell Congress what the programs are about.” Watch it:
Transcript: Read more