THAT NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER AND HIS MORTGAGE

Turns out, there’s more to the story. Did Edmund Andrews mention anywhere in his article or his book, Busted, that his wife had twice before declared bankruptcy? Chivalrous of him to leave that out; but, as Megan McCardle notes for The Atlantic, relevant to his tale. Writing of this new twist, Andrew Leonard complains, ‘One of Busted‘s selling points is the level of personal detail Andrews provides about his finances and his marriage. To leave out a detail so relevant to his tale of debtor’s woe smacks of outright dishonesty – and it’s exactly the kind of behavior that you would hope a New York Times reporter would avoid at all costs.’ Nor is Leonard buying Andrews’ response.

THAT NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST AND EQUAL RIGHTS

Get on the stick, Mr. President, writes Frank Rich of the need to provide LGBT Americans equal rights under the law. I have no doubt the President will get there in his careful, thoughtful, deliberate – successful – way. So a few months or even a couple of years more or less may not seem to matter (unless you’re an Arab linguist who just lost his job or a widower who can’t collect survivor benefits). But 40 years after the Stonewall ‘riot’ that marked the beginning of the modern gay rights movement – and with the Democrats controlling Congress and the White House – impatience is understandable. Frank nails it, as usual.

BASEJUMPING

Andy M.: ‘I liked your ‘vacation planner’ – but those slides were nothing! Have a look at this video of basejumpers.’

WATERBOARDING
This conservative radio talk show host lasted six seconds, and observed: ‘It is way worse than I thought it would be. It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back…It was instantaneous…and I don’t want to say this: absolutely torture.’

JESSE VENTURA WAS WATERBOARDED . . .

. . . and told Larry King: ‘It is no good, because you – I’ll put it to you this way: you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.’

☞ In other words, it can get you to say anything. But what Larry might have followed up to ask: ‘Can it get you to reveal important secrets?’

We hope the answer is ‘no!’ because then there’s no dilemma. Sure, we should never do it because it’s torture . . . but, by the way, it doesn’t work anyway.

The more difficult question is whether to do it if it does work.

The answer is still no in almost any conceivable realistic situation (you know ’24’ is not realistic because Jack Bauer’s cell phone never drops a call).

As suggested by this McClatchey Newspapers report, former Vice President Cheney has been misleading us:

[Cheney] quoted the Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, as saying that the information gave U.S. officials a “deeper understanding of the al-Qaida organization that was attacking this country.”

In a statement April 21, however, Blair said the information “was valuable in some instances” but that “there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means. The bottom line is that these techniques hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.”

A top-secret 2004 CIA inspector general’s investigation found no conclusive proof that information gained from aggressive interrogations helped thwart any “specific imminent attacks,” according to one of four top-secret Bush-era memos that the Justice Department released last month.

FBI Director Robert Muller told Vanity Fair magazine in December that he didn’t think the techniques disrupted any attacks.

AND THEN THERE’S THIS . . .

Abu Ghraib was perhaps even worse than you thought. According to this by Philip Gourevitch, the soldiers who tried to reveal Abu Ghraib for what it was were rewarded not with Pulitzer Prizes but with prison. If you think we didn’t torture (we did), read this. If you think the additional photos should have been released (Gourevitch doesn’t), read this, too.

Tomorrow: 39 MPG

 

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