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Weekend Roundup

Well, the move is almost complete. We’ve been remodeling our house for about five months (thought that would be a good activity for immediately after the wedding); in fact, we moved out and into my old apartment the first day that I started here at FDL. And next week, we’re finally moving back in. Weekends of meetings with contractors and shopping at hardware stores for random doorknobs will come to an end. Finally, I’ll be able to give the news some attention!

So here’s what I noticed in between trips up and down Lincoln Blvd. this weekend:

• The notion that you make a criminal suspect aware of his rights while in criminal custody is so elementary even John Ashcroft and the American public understand it. But give them time. The conservative movement has only made this a fundamental question of American liberty for a month and a half. Within a year or two, surely the “Repeal Miranda” Constitutional amendment movement will flourish, and reading a suspect their rights will sound as quaint and obsolete as not torturing them.

• Speaking of torture, I almost couldn’t bring myself to read the OPR report on John Yoo and Jay Bybee. And I certainly cannot do much better in my analysis that Jack Balkin and especially Adam Serwer, who eloquently compares the torture lawyers to the “takfiris” who allowed Al Qaeda to murder anyone they wanted, basically giving terrorism a theologically legal basis.

• Yoo apparently told OPR investigators that the President could order a village of civilians massacred, which almost revives the power to feel shock at his beliefs in malevolent American dictatorship. Who knows what showed up in those Yoo emails that the White House “lost”.

• Of course Social Security is on the table in the Bowles-Simpson cat food commission. If entitlement cuts don’t ensue from that panel David Broder will personally lead a posse to set fire to the report on the White House lawn. There will be enormous political pressure inside the Beltway to use the panel to try and gash Social Security and Medicare, and therefore accomplish for the deficit scolds what they don’t want to initiate themselves.

• Don’t miss David Barstow talking about the Tea Partiers and his intensive reporting on the phenomenon.

• Dana Milbank turned his column over to Rahm Emanuel this weekend and let him explain why everything would have worked out if everyone listened to him and governed by doing as little as humanly possible and not solving the problems facing the country in anything close to a meaningful way.

• I think we have to look at the recent spate of US-Pakistani cooperation and not wonder if there’s really been a sea change in the war on terror.

• Shorter Hank Paulson: Who are these idiots calling themselves Republicans?

• One thing Dean Baker mentioned in our live chat today on FDL Book Salon is that the Federal Reserve may be breaking the law by neglecting their mandate to maximize employment.

• Major media has begun a mini-surge of stories about the end of the foreclosure crisis. The data shows over 6 million foreclosures left to go. Which narrative do you believe?

• Here’s the thing: Republicans are brash and arrogant and always overstate their optimism; Democrats are neurotic and nervous and always over-emphasize their pessimism. So of course Republicans hype their political position beyond the facts. But this affects the narrative in the media, and given the level of “everybody loves a winner” bandwagon-jumping that exists in American life, that ends up adding a couple points to the bottom line on Election Day, I’d gather.

• I am often reminded of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines when thinking of today’s modern conservative movement.

• Great that Arnold Schwarzenegger is calling out his fellow Republicans on the stimulus and claiming it has created jobs, but of course he’s been busily canceling out all the stimulus’ effects in California with absurdly austere budget cuts and some of the worst fiscal mismanagement in American history. Again, Arnold’s a hero on Sunday shows and magazine covers, and a blithering idiot to anyone who’s paid a second of attention to what he’s done in California.

• Mohammed ElBaradei for President of Egypt! Actually, I’d support ending the de facto Mubarak dictatorship and elevating a multilateralist.

Falklands War II? The 80s really are back.

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David Dayen

David Dayen

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