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Advancing Progressive Ideas

News Roundup, 4/3/08: A Casual Splash of Acid

So it apparently turns out that it's not really torture if you acid scalded someone in the process of an interrogation without the intent to torture.

At least that's what ex-deputy assistant attorney general John Yoo thought when he crafted his 81-page memo saying that President Bush's wartime powers are not limited by any international ban on torture. The article states that the memo "was released as part of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit to force the Bush administration to turn over documents about the government's war on terror."

The Senate is seeing some preliminary consensus in working out a bipartisan housing relief bill. There are still a few details to be worked out, including a provision to allow bankruptcy judges to modify the terms of subprime and non-traditional loans which is opposed by Republicans.

It was a good day for Florida Democrats yesterday, as Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean held a press conference with the Florida Democratic congressional delegation and stated that the DNC would be doing everything in their power to seat the Florida delegation in this year's national convention. And you know they're serious, because they've reserved a hotel for them — hotel space is like gold in national convention planning. It remains to be seen how they will seat the delegates in a way that both presidential campaigns will approve of.

Speaking of presidential candidates, McCain has his choices for his vice-presidential running mate narrowed down to a slim list of 20. We're not likely to see a final selection from him any time soon, however; he says he doesn't want to rush the process to avoid picking another Dan Quayle:

"I'm a great friend of Dan Quayle's and I think he was a fine senator," McCain also said. "I just think that it was you know, a lot of people in retrospect would have thought maybe the process should have been…I just think you have to have a measured process, make sure that you have taken every, all the factors into consideration and then decide."

You can be assured that spelling "potato" will be one of the weed-out considerations in that list of 20. Study up, Republicans!

George H. W. Bush's old congressional seat, generally considered a solid Republican stronghold, may be much more in play this year than one would think. Democratic candidate Michael Skelly is making national news by rounding up some formidable funds to challenge incumbent John Culberson. That'll be one to watch come November.

For a quick international interlude, we go to Zimbabwe, where the opposition MDC party is claiming that current president Robert Mugabe has lost the recent presidential election by nearly seven points, and that their candidate got over 50 percent of the vote, making a runoff unnecessary. By contrast, the state-run newspaper reports that neither candidate got 50 percent and a runoff was inevitable.

And finally, in the "remarkable grasp of the obvious" category, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated that the economy may be heading toward a recession. It's nice to know that the Fed's caught up with the rest of us.

Oopsie Daisy

Shorter Yoo Memo: All is forgiven if you just say "my bad!"

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