The teacher set up a circuit course for us for yesterday’s weights class at my gym, with plans to push us through it three times. “Let’s warm up with some jumping jacks,” he said. So we commenced jumping.

A dozen jumps in, something happened in my left knee. It wasn’t the classic pop of a tendon or ligament tear, more like an alarming buckle — a feeling that whoops-something’s-going-somewhere-it-shouldn’t, immediately followed by it’s-back-where-it-belongs-but-there’s-going-to-be-hell-to-pay. Followed by numbness.

Well, hell. And this is my good knee.

It’s just a sprain, I’m sure, but it means days and weeks of not-being-right, and, as you might expect, the numbness predictably gave way to pain. I fished out the brace from my last adventure in this area, and I think the crutches may be called for, too. Also, ice, elastic bandages, elevation, and resentment.

This had to happen to me because the great gods of karma had kissed our work only an hour earlier — we got that grant we were in the running for. A Pulitzer couldn’t have thrilled me more, so of course I had to be punished. Good thing it wasn’t a really big grant — that would have meant tumors or amputation.

So, given that I’m gimpy, behind and otherwise distracted, how about some links and I’ll duck out early to change the ice pack?

Only in Detroit: The papers print these stories to give suburbanites something to screech about, I think. Woman goes into the city to buy a wig for her “cancer-stricken grandmother,” leaves her car 10 minutes, comes out to find her two Chihuahuas stolen. Commenter helpfully adds, they were probably stolen for dog-fighting bait. Way to make a lady feel better!

Gannett editor tells employees to reserve Facebook and Twitter for their private time. Two days ago, I F’booked a complaint about how stupid the site has become of late, and received a note from one of my still-employed ex-colleagues, who said she Facebooks for laffs while she waits to be laid off. So that’s why!

Looks like there’s a good chance the Supremes will rule strip-searching a 13-year-old girl for two Advil is just the price we have to pay to keep schools under administrators’ control. Joy.

Maureen Dowd, touring California and Silicon Valley, keeps lowering the bar. How does she manage?

Off to limp to the shower. And make some coffee.

Posted at 11:17 am in Uncategorized |

63 responses to “Gimpy.”

  1. jeff borden said on April 22, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Ah, Maureen Dowd. She puts me in mind of that old canard, “I wish I could buy her for what she is worth and sell her for what she thinks she is worth.” While she can occasionally toss off a good column, more often she phones it in, much like a certain smarmy Detroit-based columnist we all know and loathe.

    On an unrelated topic, even my cynical self is beginning to think our nation is about to have a serious conversation about torture and the Bush administration. The details are starting to pile up into a big, stinking compost heap of anti-American, anti-Constitutional behavior by some very, very powerful men. Now, we’re starting to get a whiff of the motives behind their lawlessness.

    From McClathy:

    A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration.

    “There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used,” the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

    “The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”

    It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document.


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  2. basset said on April 22, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Way to go on the grant. The Pulitzer comes later.

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  3. brian stouder said on April 22, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Here’s hoping the knee surprises you again, by NOT paining you too much, and then getting better quickly!

    I could only read the first two paragraphs of Dowd, and had to bail out.

    At the risk of becoming one of those old guys who mutters about how silly all this new stuff is, I HATE twitter/facebook/etc

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  4. moe99 said on April 22, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Nancy, so sorry to hear about the knee. This getting old stuff is crap.

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  5. Sue said on April 22, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Congratulations on the grant. Good news two days in a row. A purely selfish question: With teaching and other interests, should we expect posts less often? Strip searching of a middle-schooler: Administrators will get so tired of strip searching kids following bogus reports that they’ll have to find other ways to join in humiliating a vulnerable kid who’s being set up by a classmate. Because they are the professionals and would never do anything stupid.
    And I don’t understand this torture thing. Why torture for information when you can just make it up and get what you want?

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  6. Julie Robinson said on April 22, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Ouch, she says, while balancing an ice pack on her shoulder.

    Our nation could use some truth and reconciliation work such as what South Africa did. Let’s shine some light.

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  7. beb said on April 22, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Julie, Truth and Reconciliation nothing. I want the full Nurnemberg!

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  8. jeff borden said on April 22, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    It’s pretty clear the Obama Administration is not going to actively press for a full investigation of the torture regime, so it’s up to us to push our representatives to take up the cause. These men have brought shame on our nation and its people. If we do not demand a full accounting, we will have little moral standing in the world to demand that other governments not torture their suspects. I say that after the conviction of the American woman journalist in Iran for spying. If they should choose to use the same kind of “enhanced interrogations” –what a lovely Orwellian term– on her that we have used at Gitmo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, etc., what exactly can we say in protest?

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  9. Gasman said on April 22, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I’m with beb. I would be for conditional amnesty for CIA officers who were involved IF they told the full truth, even if it meant implicating themselves and if they spilled the beans on their superiors. Our church just did a Sunday school class on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and such a body has its place. However, there needs to criminal prosecutions concerning the Bush administration’s excesses or our laws don’t mean a damn thing.

    It now sounds as if CIA officers may still face prosecution if the torture began before the torture memos appeared and if they exceeded the boundaries established by the memos. I wonder if Obama/Holder are playing good cop bad cop here? What does Obama gain by appearing to be reluctant – if he really isn’t – to go after anybody in the previous administration?

    It sounds quite plausible that Cheney and Rummy were desperately trying to come up with “proof” as to their B.S. Hussein/Al Queda connection as justification for torture. Leave it to these paragons of virtue to utterly abandon what was left of our national dignity and character in order to retroactively validate their peawit rationale for starting an unjust war.

    All of the liberal paranoia of the last 8 years doesn’t sound so paranoid now, does it?

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  10. Gasman said on April 22, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    jeff borden,
    Obama may not be able to avoid prosecuting someone, and it would more likely be a few someones at the top. With evidence that they tortured Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 – that’s 6 times a day for a month – it is abundantly clear that Bush & Co. did nothing but lie about their involvement in order to cover their tracks.

    Not only were there the initial crimes, there was a calculated and orchestrated attempt to cover them up. Obama is bound by law to investigate and prosecute when the evidence demands it. There is simply too much evidence of criminal activity to ignore.

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  11. MichaelG said on April 22, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    That’s fantastic about the grant, Nance. I know it was nn.c and the fellowship that impressed the judges.

    Dog fighting bait. Lord.

    Strip searching high school kids. What a bunch of sadistic pervs. When Boalt Hall shitcans John Yoo he can get a job at a high school somewhere.

    Brian, go back and finish the Dowd column. It’s hilarious. Her one leg must be twice as long as the other from the guy pulling it. She still doesn’t understand what an idiot she is.

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  12. jeff borden said on April 22, 2009 at 12:47 pm


    My read on President Obama is he will not actively press for investigations for many reasons. If the economy were not in freefall, if there were not two wars ongoing, if there were no future legislative battles looming on health care, tax codes and other issues, perhaps he would push for it, but this most pragmatic of politicians is not going to step into that briar patch right now.

    However –and this is a big however– the release of these documents by his administration begins the drip, drip, drip of outrage as we come to fully realize just how dark and devious was the previous administration. If President Obama plays this right, it will be us through our Congress critters who push and demand a full accounting of the crimes these bastards committed.

    This is not the high point of the O-man’s morality. But given all the challenges he faces and an absolutely braindead and recalitrant oppposition party which will dig in its heels and scream “No,” I can understand his actions.

    To see these sick criminals –Cheney, Rumsfeld, Yoo, Addington, Bybee, Wolfowitz, standing in a federal court facing the charges they so richly deserve– would go a long way to restoring American exceptionalism.

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  13. Danny said on April 22, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Looks like there’s a good chance the Supremes will rule strip-searching a 13-year-old girl for two Advil is just the price we have to pay to keep schools under administrators’ control. Joy.

    What has happened to the Supremes?!? I mean, they used to sing, “Stop in the Name of Love!” I guess age and biterness have changed their tune.

    Take care of the knee, Nance. Sorry to hear about that.

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  14. Danny said on April 22, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    On Dowd: This blog might be improved by limiting some to 140 characters.

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  15. Catherine said on April 22, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Congratulations on the grant — and sorry about the knee. Getting old sucks, but it beats the alternative.

    The Dahlia Lithwick account of the Supremes session on the strip searching made me think, “Once a 13-year-old boy, always a 13-year-old boy.” Grow up and act like a parent, already! It sounds like they will actually rule on this POS case. If they do, the action item for all of us is to make sure that our local school districts ban or carefully codify the criteria for strip searches. Can’t rely on the courts for justice, not to mention maturity.

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  16. jeff borden said on April 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I guess there’s a reason why Samuel Alito was nicknamed “Strip Search Sammy” by those opposed to his elevation to the SCOTUS.

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  17. adrianne said on April 22, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    And my, my, why am I not surprised department – the New York Times has long story today about how the “enhanced interrogation techniques” were approved – by people who had no knowledge and didn’t ask about their provenance. They came from the military training program called SERE that was designed to let pilots and others know what they were in for if they were ever captured by the Communists, who gleefully used such techniques in the Korean War and didn’t consider it torture. Even then, the SERE trainers warned that the methods were ineffective. The process was “a perfect storm of ignorance and enthusiasm,” former CIA guy says. Sounds like an apt description for eight years of Senor Bush’s administration.

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  18. moe99 said on April 22, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Something about the combination of the 13 year old strip searched at school together with the abuse of detainees by our military just really strikes me badly.

    But this part of the argument would have been worth being there to see:

    Justice Breyer: “And in my experience, too, people did sometimes stick things in my underwear.”

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  19. Sue said on April 22, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Well, all you librarians out there, we’ve got a book controversy brewing in our little neck of the woods. Last night the West Bend, Wisconsin Common Council voted not to renew appointments for four library board members, including one retired librarian and one attorney. Has the Harry Potter issued reared its ugly head yet again? Of course not, that’s so ancient and besides, the threatened crop of satan-worshipping wizard wannabes never materialized. No, it’s pornography this time, specifically porn disguised as young adult literature about gays. One particularly chatty alderman compared the West Bend Library to a porn shop and noted his concern about the morality of the City, requesting that library members be chosen who “think and use a little common sense”. For some reason the petition against all this porn includes the word “excretion” several times, and also includes the words “library-produced sexual content”. All they want – really, all they want – is to have all this smut and filth and excretion moved into the adult section and clearly labeled. They’re not even asking that it be removed; just a simple request, really. I’m sure if they are granted this simple request West Bend can go back to normal, and library workers will no longer be harrassed while they go about their duties in the library and their activities in the community. That would never happen among reasonable people endowed with ample amounts of common sense.

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  20. Danny said on April 22, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    It’s rumored that Judge Judy makes more than all of the Supremes combined. I thought if this was true, it would be a terrible injustice. Now … I just don’t know.

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  21. Dexter said on April 22, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I won’t say life is unfair, but why can a barely limping “Coach K” from Duke University be fitted with two DePuy hips that have him running around like a teenager and the surgeons in my network keep finding more and more reasons why I can’t have one bad hip replaced? Ah, I know, reason must prevail…the coach was a candidate for surgery and I am a candidate for canes and walking sticks. At least I can still cycle and I’ll be doing a lot of that Friday as spring finally arrives Thursday with great weather , but Thursday is a mercy-mission day as I drive and wait for some hospital procedures for an old guy I know.

    I took some comfort in that Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen , two artists I enjoy , share the same birthday-month as I have. Then to my chagrin I find out Benyamin Netanyahu is also a close birthday connection…rats! Oh well, Rahm Israel (yes that’s his name!) Emanuel has been turning a cold shoulder to Netanyahu’s hard line stance.

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  22. brian stouder said on April 22, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    OK MichaelG – Maureen Dowd DID make me laugh with the red ants and honey joke.

    Say – a heads-up. I think good ol’ Fort Wayne might make national news tomorrow.


    Because Sandra Day O’Conner, one of only 115 people in United States history to have served on the Supreme Court of the United States, and the first woman to do so, will deliver a lecture to a packed house at Indiana University-Purdue University here in Fort Wayne, at 7:30 tomorrow.

    And the topic of her lecture?

    “Advancing the Rights of Humanity”

    (I love it when, as it happens every once in awhile, the outside world comes to Fort Wayne! And will Pam and the young folks and I be there? Does a shark shit in the sea?)

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  23. beb said on April 22, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    If schools dropped their “zero tolerance” for drugs we wouldn’t be in the position of wanting to strip search students. If it’s OK to have some drugs on you then principals can’t make an issue out of them having a couple aspirin. But the bigger issue is when did Principals get the idea that their In Loco Parentis rights trumped common modesty?

    There’s another case brewing in Pennsylvania, over “sexting”
    The DA called in some 50 families and threatened to prosecte their children for possession of child pornography if their didn’t sign their kids up for a re-education class. Then he called them to huddle up while he passed around the pictures seized from the kid’s cell phones. The article fails to make clear whether the DA only showed the partents picture of their kids or if the pictures were laid out so that anyone could see anyone’s picture (Nancy, for the love of god, drill that necessity into your student’s head!)In either case it would seem that the DA was creating and distributing more child pornography then the kids had.

    There’s also the question of how did they find all these pictures. In one case a teacher caught a kid sharing the picture on his cell phone, but the rest sounds like they just rifled through confiscated phones without asking anyone’s permission. Sure the kids are minors and have reduced rights compared to adults but the phone is not the school’s property, it’s, if anything, the kid’s parent’s property, so the school needs their parent’s permission to examine it.

    In any case this will all blow over in a couple years. It’s like when nudity was first allowed in the movies. It seemed like every movie, every actress had to have nudity. Blake Edwards satirized that point in S.O.B., an underrated guilty pleasure. Nowdays you hardly see any nudity in movies because it rarely contributes to the plot and actresses have decided that flashing the boobs isin’t a career advancing ploy. Kids will tire of taking pictures of themselves naked because it’s commonplace. And all will be back to normal.

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  24. del said on April 22, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Prepare to be bored to tears by Justice O’Connor Brian. I watched about 2 minutes of a speech she gave on C-Span once. As I recall she spoke of herself in the third person and told of a little girl, on a ranch, in the Great West, who one day aspired to great greatness. . .

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  25. Mary Wilson said on April 22, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Congrats on the grant!

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  26. brian stouder said on April 22, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    I caught Justice O’Connor on C-SPAN gabbing with Brian Lamb, years ago, and she was quite feisty. At one point, she was going on about the ranch she lived on, and Lamb asked her how many head of cattle they had…and it is NOT too much to say that Ms O’Connor stared at him as if he had just asked how often she achieved orgasm!

    Her tone went instantly into high-dudgeon/church lady, and she actually scolded him! She said something like “One never asks such a question, Brian”…and he was slow on the uptake and pressed the issue, and she informed him he might as well be asking what her bank balance was!

    Made me laugh out loud!!

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  27. JRG said on April 22, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I heard SJO’C speak while she was still on the bench, and it was, indeed, an uninspiring event, but I’ve heard her in various forums since then, and she’s been more entertaining. She was pretty lively in a recent exchange w/ Jon Stewart, for instance. Of course, that interview was only a few minutes long.

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  28. JRG said on April 22, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    It pisses me off that even though the seemingly interminable Bush presidency finally came to an end we seem to be, because of all the crappy things he did (and didn’t do), stuck looking backwards to try to figure out how to respond to his misdeeds rather than marching forward to deal w/ our real challenges (i.e., healthcare, climate change, income inequality) under the leadership of our new president. Very frustrating. And I really can’t imagine how GWB lives w/ himself.

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  29. jeff borden said on April 22, 2009 at 4:52 pm


    I think President Obama is trying to be forward-looking and is very aware that any investigation into the misdeeds of the Bush Administration carries with it the threat of overwhelming those efforts to move on. But there are very real and very ugly issues that haven’t been addressed. The issue is whether these wounds on the national body will heal on their own –perhaps by embracing Peggy Noonan’s absurd suggestion that some things in life, like torture, should remain mysterious– or whether those wounds will fester and be even more painful to address in the future.

    As to how W. lives with himself, he is an extraordinarily shallow man who has pointed with pride on more than one occasion to a complete lack of regrets. Sometimes, I wonder how his presidency might’ve turned out if he had chosen someone other than Five Deferments Dick Cheney. I cannot convince myself that the loathesome creep from Wyoming wasn’t pulling W.’s strings after 9/11.

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  30. brian stouder said on April 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    JRG, I’m with you. I don’t want to see Obama spend lots of political capital on this….but I definitely DO think the Obama administration needs to obliterate several high-profile, high-value targets.

    That guy who is a 9th Circuit court judge (Bybee?) for example; he needs to be impeached. Gonzo needs to sweat, and some swath of mid-level guys need to take hits….and VP Cheney needs to be subpoenaed and dragged into the dock.

    As was said above – if we’re a nation of laws, and our government is bound by those laws, then the big guys need to called to account (and I won’t lose too much sleep over the lower level guys)

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  31. moe99 said on April 22, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    I wish someone would have the guts to ask Justice O’Connor if she regrets her vote in Bush v. Gore. She spoke to our office two years ago, but we were not allowed to ask such questions.

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  32. sisterlicious said on April 22, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Slightly off topic here, but something really chapped my ass this week. I was listening to some reps from a securities brokerage talk about what’s happening in the economy and what to do with our 401Ks. One of the presenters quoted extensively from some light fiction written by Ben Stein that says the economic collapse is the result of civil rights groups successfully lobbying to force banks to give credit to unqualified poor people. This canard became his refrain and I challenged him a few times. At one point he tried to call it a “noble, well-intended law” or something like that but he wasn’t liking my questions.

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  33. call me "redacted" said on April 22, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Effin’ A on the grant. You go, girl!

    And when you figure out how to monetize your site — which I have no doubt you will — will you please let my husband’s old-media employer in on your secret?

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  34. ROgirl said on April 22, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    I don’t remember where (maybe CSpan? Jon Stewart?), but SJO’C was being interviewed, and she was asked whether she regretted her Bush vs. Gore vote. She said that as a judge she can’t look back at any of her votes and express regret over them.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 22, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Holy cr4p.

    As expected, the New York Times’s business operations began burning cash this quarter (until now, they had remained cash-flow positive). The company has recently made several wise moves that have postponed the date at which it will run out of cash. But the situation is still critical.

    At the current rate of cash consumption, assuming no one-time expenses (highly unlikely), we estimate that the company will max out its current borrowing capacity in 4 quarters. At that point, it will owe about $1.2 billion in debt. This estimate does not include any payments on the company’s $600+ million pension and benefit obligation, of which $181 million is due next year.

    The bottom line: The New York Times Company remains on the brink of insolvency. There are also at least $1.5 billion of claims ahead of common shareholders of the company’s assets should it file for bankruptcy.

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  36. Linda said on April 22, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    The Gannett editor is knee jerking. My twitter account is professional–I give and get good bits of info about fundraising and nonprofits from it. Not everyone who Twitters is a pathetic stalker wannabe.

    Congratulations on the grant! From a selfish point of view, I found out about another grant opportunity. 😀

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  37. brian stouder said on April 22, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    You know, in this world there are two kinds of people – those who live in Microsoft world, and those who are Apple people.

    By default, I’m a Microsoft guy; it works, and I’m happy.

    Apple, on the other hand, has a an oh-so-with-it vibe, and a certain all-encompassing smugness…..

    And the next time I see an Apple commercial making fun of the stodgy Microsoft guy, I’m going to think “well at least Mr Boring Microsoft guy doesn’t laugh about shaking babies to death!”

    Here’s a pitch for an Apple iphone app, that Apple’s “exhaustive” vetting process saw no problem with at all, until they outraged child protection groups.

    Behold –

    “On a plane, on the bus, in a theater. Babies are everywhere you don’t want them to be! They’re always distracting you from preparing for that big presentation at work with their incessant crying. Before Baby Shaker there was nothing you could do about it. “Now, Baby Shaker gives you a charming drawing of a baby sure to make those with a less than iron will fawn. True to life, it begins to annoy you immediately. See how long you can endure his or her adorable cries before you just have to find a way to quiet the baby down!”

    And almost as an afterthought there is this sentence: “Never, never shake a baby.”

    Apple, which should see its 1 billionth App Store program downloaded this week, has more than 25,000 programs in the App Store.

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  38. mark said on April 22, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Congratulations on the grant and take care of the knee.

    The catastrophic threat of our time is Islamist terrorism and its ideology, which dictates that we must be converted or destroyed. It is not a position with which Americans can bargain or negotiate. With it there is no common ground- not even respect for life- on which to begin a dialogue. It can only be destroyed or utterly isolated.

    And for those so anxious to hand out indictments, be sure to include Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and everyone involved in the military’s SERE program. Reid and Pelosi (and others) were fully briefed and if waterboarding is torture when applied to a nutcase caught aiming an RPG at a SEAL team, then it must be really horrible torture when the experience is required as a condition of becoming a SEAL.

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  39. moe99 said on April 23, 2009 at 12:16 am

    I was tired of just hearing crickets.

    Thanks for the pep talk Mark, but if there was a nutcase aiming an RPG at a Seal team, I think the appropriate response is to take him out, not waterboard him. Oh, and Mark somehow I think being waterboarded by your own guys in a Training exercise is far different than being held in isolation, naked and waterboarded 183 times in one month by, say, Al Queda in Pakistan, if you are an American service member. Apples and oranges. Think about it, k?

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  40. Hoosier said on April 23, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Jeff Borden – you’ve got it all wrong. Dubya’s strings were always pulled by Cheney. He wasn’t even smart enough to run for Prez by himself.

    Perhaps the O-man is taking the hi road; allowing Justice to do it’s job when it comes to prosecuting the folks that need to be held accountable.

    Nancy if your knees are prone to injury try wearing elastic knee braces during your exercise periods. Might try some physical therapy after about a week of ice and rest.

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  41. Gasman said on April 23, 2009 at 1:22 am

    The rationale for torture that emerged over the course of Bush’s last year in office was that Al Qaeda represented the single greatest threat that our nation had ever faced. To that I say: BULLSHIT!

    As a nation, we managed to endure some 226 years without officially endorsing torture. Did some isolated abuses occur? Undoubtedly, but they were not sanctified by any president until that archetype of justice and valor, President George W. Bush did so.

    Are we to believe that a group of cave dwelling thugs whose zenith of operational success involved the remarkable feat of coordinating flight schedules and wielding utility knives represents a greater threat to our nation than ALL of the following?
    – The Soviet Union, throughout its entire existence
    – North Viet Nam (and their Soviet and Chinese supporters)
    – Hitler’s Third Reich
    – Mussolini’s fascist Italy
    – Hirohito’s Japanese Empire
    – North Korea (and their Soviet and Chinese supporters)
    – Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany, along with the rest of the Central Powers
    – The Confederacy
    – Along with the rest of the enemies we have faced on the field of battle.

    The above list probably adds up to hundreds of millions of men in uniform with several of the above foes representing at their time the greatest military powers in history. And we are to believe Bush and Cheney that the cave dwelling miscreants of Al Qaeda were more threatening than all of the above?

    Al Qaeda killed less than 3,000 people – Americans and those from other nations – during the 9/11 attacks. Taking the total number of fatalities from U.S. forces and our allies in Viet Nam, Korea, WWII, WWI, and the Civil War, we have a total of at least 20,528,863 deaths. That’s approximately 1/7,600th of the larger number. For this we abandoned two centuries of our national character and honor? In all of the above conflicts there were dozens, if not hundreds of individual battles whose totals were that high or greater.

    It is obvious that Al Qeada represents less threat than any of the least of our previous foes. They lost their most capable operatives on September 11, 2001. Were it not for the masterful Al Qeada recruiting drives initiated by Bush and Cheney, they would have been effectively silenced. However, according to interrogator Matthew Alexander, the number one reason cited by foreign Al Qeada recruits as to why they joined the fight against Americans was the torture programs at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. It not only did not make us safer, it has demonstrably endangered our troops in the field.

    Many presidents and vice presidents managed to face far greater threats than Al Qeada without sacrificing our national sense of character and honor. That Bush, Cheney, et al. lacked the moral fiber necessary for leading this nation is abundantly clear. Please do not try and defend the indefensible. Bush and Cheney lacked honor, character, and strength of will in a time of great national crisis. As they continue to try and offer up justifications for their incompetence and cowardice it is clear that they still lack these same qualities.

    They disgraced their offices, they disgraced our nation, they violated our laws. Let them face the consequences of their actions.

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  42. mark said on April 23, 2009 at 5:28 am


    So how many times do you have to be waterboarded before it becomes torture? Please provide the bright line answer that is so clear it can be used to prosecute attorneys who reached a different conclusion.

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  43. mark said on April 23, 2009 at 6:09 am


    The conclusion that you deem “bullshit” isn’t being offered by anyone other than you. Greatest threat currently doesn’t equate to greatest threat ever or greater than all the threats ever faced, combined.

    Another straw man left beaten and bruised in your wake.

    Perhaps we should list some of those isolated abuses, none of which were sanctioned by any president.

    Sacking of Atlanta


    Mustard gas

    Fire-bombing of Dresden

    Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    Internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans

    Bay of Pigs

    Agent Orange

    My Lai

    The Shah of Iran

    Ferdinand Marcos

    Weapons for the Contras

    But not until the waterboarding of a couple of “miscreants” did we officially employ measures so extreme as to require introspection or generate after the fact criticism.

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  44. mark said on April 23, 2009 at 6:48 am


    Do you recall an old Saturay Night live skit- from the Dan Akroyd era- that featured “stunt baby”?

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  45. jcburns said on April 23, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Mark: “So how many times do you have to be waterboarded before it becomes torture?”

    One time, Mark, once.

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  46. mark said on April 23, 2009 at 7:11 am


    Then by all means, let’s also prosecute all those who have forced our special forces trainees to be tortured as a condition for advancement in their field.

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  47. Jolene said on April 23, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Mark: It’s absurd to equate the situation of a person in a training program with that of an individual in captivity.

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  48. alex said on April 23, 2009 at 7:43 am

    The catastrophic threat of our time is Islamist terrorism and its ideology, which dictates that we must be converted or destroyed.

    I’ll say. Those Islamic fundamentalists are showing our Christian fundamentalists all kinds of scary new tactics that they might press into use when they discover how impotent they are in their attempts at hijacking the political process by other means.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Islam and Christendom could come together, each rounding up all their own crazies and putting them on a remote island together where they could duke it out and leave the rest of us alone?

    Hey, I think we may have a great new reality TV show in the making.

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  49. beb said on April 23, 2009 at 7:51 am

    Mark, now you’re just being ridiculous. Navy SEALS is a volunter special ops force. People who volunter know that it involves a high risk of death, capture and torture. They are trained to endure torture (through the SERE program) the way they are trained to fight, infiltrate, set explosives, etc. Special Ops training has nothing to do with how we, as a civilized nation ought to treat people in our prisons.

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  50. Joe Kobiela said on April 23, 2009 at 8:25 am

    And now our enemy’s will train to endure waterboarding, and the next time there is a successful attack on the U.S. that could have been stopped we will have to to have a bunch more of the pampas ass congress hearings on why it happened and how are we going to blame Bush and Chaney now?
    Pilot Joe

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  51. brian stouder said on April 23, 2009 at 8:34 am

    I will go this far; Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is one of the very few sons of bitches that – if I were a juror on a criminal trial related specifically to his torture – would be very able to NOT rush to judgement.

    The problem is that the policy makers made an illegal policy and applied it widely (to the point that folks like those young, untrained troops who drew duty at Abu Ghraib fell into the tarpits), and that’s NOT how our government is supposed to operate.

    If President Bush specifically signed off on torture for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, I’d be defending that decision.

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  52. mark said on April 23, 2009 at 8:34 am


    I forgot to give an attribution for that paragraph. It’s from the final report of the Bi-partisan Commission on 9/11, a well-known group of whackos. And I know you have a long list of terrorist tactics employed by Christian fundamentalists here in the US.


    So whether waterboarding is torture depends on the circumstances? Its justified by the need to train them to endure a technique that is “universally agreed” to be ineffective?


    We are not talking about prisons. I don’t think a slap on the face is torture, but that doesn’t mean every jailor is free to engage in it. The issue concerns captured foreign nationals who are suspected terrorists. When Obama approves lobbing a missile into a hut in the Pakistani mountains, blowing up a small crowd, the issue concerns foreign nationals who are suspected terrorists. The fact that the one occurs doesn’t mean that the Detroit cops can now dispense with warrants and arrests, and just call in a missile strike on a suspected crack house.

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  53. coozledad said on April 23, 2009 at 9:01 am

    If jail is good enough for Lynndie England, it’s good enough for the gutless little roaches who authorized this bullshit. You’re way out of line, Mark. The military fought this shit tooth and nail because they don’t want torturers in their ranks. They make shitty, undependable soldiers. They tend to be outright fucking cowards, like your boys Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, who, by the fucking way are still dodging responsibility.
    You’re all a bunch of William Calleys, aren’t you?
    Sick fucks.

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  54. mark said on April 23, 2009 at 9:05 am


    blah, bllah, fuck. blah, blah, shit, blah, blah, Kerry, Rumsfeld, fuck.

    Thanks for playing.

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  55. coozledad said on April 23, 2009 at 9:14 am

    This is why you’re the rump party. Flat out evil, stupid, and proud of it. I can’t think of a Western nation where your views would be welcome. You could be a warden in North Korea, or an arse-crawler for Putin.
    Those naughty words are so distressing. Not like jerking off to torture porn, which is perfectly salubrious, and contributes mightily to the outlook of the Republican male.

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  56. mark said on April 23, 2009 at 9:19 am


    We’re on the internet. Shouting down any opinion that isn’t your own doesn’t work here.

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  57. coozledad said on April 23, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Pro-torture isn’t an opinion. It’s a malady.

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  58. Linda said on April 23, 2009 at 9:41 am

    The catastrophic threat of our time is Islamist terrorism and its ideology, which dictates that we must be converted or destroyed. It is not a position with which Americans can bargain or negotiate. With it there is no common ground- not even respect for life- on which to begin a dialogue. It can only be destroyed or utterly isolated.

    As was fascism in a previous generation, and we managed to take out that threat without torture. We are really threatened with keeping the form of our country–the businesses, the government structure, the hobbies and pastimes–and losing our souls. We enter into surveillance on each other without warrants, and fudge about torture (one incidence of waterboarding is enough. No need to split hairs about “how many.”). This country is not an empty vessel of economic prosperity, it stands for particular moral values, and we need to find a way to defeat our enemies without becoming them. If we are not morally superior to terrorists, why should the rest of the world care if we isolate or utterly destroy them? And why should we?

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  59. jcburns said on April 23, 2009 at 9:43 am

    yeah the disconnect here is that somehow torture is a productive path toward anything. It’s a productive path toward being condemned, hated, despised.

    I really can’t state it more simply: Torture ALWAYS makes us the bad guys. I, for one, don’t want to be the bad guys.

    [edit: Just want to add (kerosine on the flames?) that any religion that says if you’re not on our team, you’re condemned, you’re with satan, you’re evil (and so on) is part of the problem. Islam included. Some subsects of Christianity included.]

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  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 23, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Well, if i’ve learned anything from all this debate about interrogations, it’s that the FBI seems to have their act together, and the CIA continues to convince me that they should have been dissolved after 1989, let alone 9-11, and their useful elements, if they can be found, dispersed among the NSA and DIA and perhaps a few fragments tossed over to the cookie pushers of Foggy Bottom.

    JC, i’d say the correct answer is somewhere between universalism and judgment, and how ever you talk about that, you’ll tick some people off. Or you can go for the existential nihilism that Terry Gross tried to articulate on Fresh Air yesterday, interviewing the makers of the nature documentary “Earth.” That strikes me as potentially much more destructive than being too sweeping about your certainties as to judgment and who gets it, but i’m enough of a squish (“sheep not of this fold,” “that all may be saved,” that sort of verse) to avoid the sharper edges of your critique personally — so my point is that there may be more to a religious person saying “you’re not on the team” than just “i’m the bee’s knees and you’re furnace bait.” Islamic, Christianist, or otherwise, you have to draw lines sometimes just to know where you stand. I like a broad circle myself, but you might be drawing a smaller circle for yourself than you realize by your statement; not all fundamentalists are created equal when it comes to ultimate destinies. There’s more universalists out there in practice than you might realize from their rhetoric.

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  61. jcburns said on April 23, 2009 at 10:01 am

    That’s not a bad idea, Jeff (although I’d like some folks smarter than us to evaluate the FBI’s modern-day effectiveness too and make some surgical trims.)

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  62. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 23, 2009 at 10:02 am


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  63. Gasman said on April 23, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    For a lawyer, you present the most infantile and ridiculous arguments imaginable. You trot out armies of straw men to divert the subject at hand as you accuse others. Torture is illegal and it is immoral. It violates our own laws, it violates international law, and if you place stock in the bible, it violates the laws of God. There is no squaring that circle.

    When the first abuses at Abu Ghraib came to light, Bush’s response was to label the behavior as an aberration and to blame low ranking enlisted, reservists, or National Guard grunts. When more abuses came to light, they said these were exceptions to the policy. When even more evidence came to light, we were told that it was only used in limited circumstances and with spectacular results. Now we learn that every single utterance from Bush & Cheney regarding torture – its extent, its severity, its frequency – was nothing but lies.

    You are defending war criminals. You doing this pro bono?

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