Monday, May 17, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Will You Gay-Marry Me?

Iraqi Car Bomb Kills Head of Governing Council Izzadine Saleem, the Shiite activist who was to be the guy we were going to hand "control" of Iraq to, was killed by a suicide bomber today. To say this is a "disaster" is to greatly understate the case.

Graciously Handing the President a Wedge Issue Massachusetts became the first state in the country to legally recognize homosexual marriages today (Vermont recognizes "civil unions"...a special prize to the person who can explain the difference to me) in a move that is sure to further endear the most liberal state in America to the rest of the country. Before you begin sending in hate mail accusing me of scoffing at a bold leap forward in human rights, let me just say that I think at the very least it would be better to have this discussion in 2005, after Kerry wins the election. There are at least four swing states I can think of where the Republicans will now gleefully portray Kerry as the "Senator from that Gay Marriage state." I certainly hope marriages that are not legally invalid in the other 49 states (and which could soon be invalid in Massachusetts) are worth four more years of George Bush.

I'm a Rocker, Baby. Rockers Don't Care for Rules While conservatives are busy blaming Quentin Tarantino, Ivy League colleges, and porno for the Abu Ghraib scandal, Newsweek has fingered a different culprit for creating the climate where such abuses could take place: the White House. The magazine has unearthed a memo written by White House lawyer Alberto Gonzalez after September 11 advising the president on his exciting new options regarding the Geneva Convention's strict regulations: "In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions," Gonzalez wrote. Now members of Congress are demanding a full investigation, and not just liberal Democrats either. "We need to take this up as far as it goes, and we need to do it quickly," conservative hero Sen. John McCain said Sunday.

While We're Assigning Blame... Don't think we forgot about you, Rumsfeld! In the issue of the New Yorker hitting newsstands this week, Seymour Hersh exposes a covert operation ordered by Rumsfeld in the wake of 9/11 to step up the coercive tactics used in interrogating "terrorist" prisoners in Iraq, including using physical abuse and sexual humiliation. The operation, code-named Copper Green, was apparently a power play by Rumsfeld to wrest control of intelligence-gathering from the CIA. Good one, Donald.

We Prefer to Think of It as "Faith-Based Governing" In a significant policy shift, the Bush administration is now signalling its willingness to install a Shiite theocracy in Iraq if no other options are available. Until now, the Bush gang has said that they will not tolerate a government in power based on Islamic law. Whereas late last year, Rumsfeld was deriding the Shiite politicians as a mere "vocal minority," this is what Colin Powell had to say about Iraq over the weekend: "Surely, everybody understands it is a nation that rests on the faith of Islam." The chaos and violence since April seems to have convinced them that any order, even theocratic order, is preferable. That'll be super news for the region: TWO theocratic Shiite states! I can't wait.

-Consider Arms