The White House has unambiguously stated that it does not support the “extraordinary rendition” provisions.

The president did not propose and does not support this provision. He has made clear that the United States stands against and will not tolerate torture and that the United States remains committed to complying with its obligations under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Consistent with that treaty, the United States does not expel, return or extradite individuals to countries where the United States believes it is likely that they will be tortured.


Counsel to the President

I’m probably naive- we’ll find out soon enough. But that’s a clear, praiseworthy denunciation of the provisions in question. This leaves Hastert, Hostettler, and other supporters of these provisions without a fig leaf, doesn’t it? The 9/11 commission doesn’t want it, the Justice Department doesn’t want it, and President Bush doesn’t want it. It violates common decency, conservative principle, and 200 years of history. How can they stand up for them?

(I’m really not interested in nailing the White House for a flip-flop. If it’s true that they caved because of political pressure, good for them. Maybe they caved because of principle. Maybe it was a miscommunication. Either way, it’s a blessing, and they deserve praise for it.)

It also gives pro-Bush bloggers a hook to promote this story. President Bush denounces torture! But the provision still needs to be defeated. Pile on, guys!

That’s better

by Ted on October 6, 2004

I missed about half of the VP debate, but Something Awful has some of the best commentary that I’ve seen. Excerpts:

* Cheney lost some credibility by countering Halliburton accusations with, “the nonpartisan website has all the information discrediting those rumors.” Actually, turned partisan about the same time they added the alpaca gallery and video section.

* Both candidates struggled with Gwen’s question, “if you could be any flavor of ice cream in the whole wide world, what flavor would you be?”

* When told not to mention John Kerry’s name in his response, Edwards mentioned it twice. Legend has it that if you say John Kerry’s name three times, he will appear and kill you with his hook hand. Gwen scolded Edwards for trying to invoke evil spirits.

Compass Conference

by Harry on October 6, 2004

Compass is a new organisation that has emerged out of what could perhaps best be termed the thoughtful ex-Blairite left. It’s closely connected with the magazine Renewal. Its first national conference is coming up, with speakers like Polly Toynbee, Ruth Lister, Stuart White, Michael Meacher and Gordon Brown. Looks well worth going to, for those of you who don’t live thousands of miles from London.

Every virtue and but one small defect

by John Holbo on October 6, 2004

While everyone else was watching the debate, I was rewriting my lecture on Descartes’ “Second Meditation”. Since you can’t understand it without knowing a bit about Descartes’ physics, I always say a bit about that. My favorite discussion of the subject appears not in any secondary source, however, but in John Barth’s novel, The Sot-Weed Factor:

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Family/Work Blog Conference in Session

by Harry on October 6, 2004

Laura’s Family/Work blog conference is well underway, and I recommend going over there. The issues are difficult and fascinating. There’s a lot of food for thought in people’s stories about their own frustrations and joys — it is really interesting (to me, anyway) to see how other people work out the conflicts and tensions.