Today's Blogs

Hamdan Overdrive

Bloggers roundly excoriate the Bush administration for its proposed military tribunal system. They’ve also got mixed feelings about yet another death knell for conservatism, and about a new study that proves the way to a man’s heart is indeed through his stomach.

Hamdan overdrive: In response to the Supreme Court’s Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision, the Bush administration has offered a replacement system for trying terror suspects. The defense secretey would have authority to add crimes at his discretion that fall under the purview of proposed military “commissions,” which await approval by Congress. Defendants would be deprived of a speedy trial, the opportunity to face their accusers, an injunction against hearsay evidence against them, and immunity from “coercive interrogations.” Bloggers aren’t happy.

Ronald Bailey at libertarian Reason magazine’s Hit and Run sees the administration as a naughty child that has taken its lumps only to run back for more: “Is the Bush Administration taking a cue from how the People’s Republic of China conducts secret national security trials? The two Congressional committees hearing testimony today on this scandalously un-American proposal should hold Administration officials in contempt of Congress for violating their oaths to defend the Constitution and toss them in jail.”

At Prague Twin, Mike, an American living in the Czech Republic, wants to see the legislative branch scandalized by its submission to this new brand of martial justice: “[A]lthough the [Supreme Court] has already ruled that an almost identical tribunal as the one proposed is unlawful, they left the door open for Congress to approve a tribunal. They made it pretty clear that if the executive submits a plan to Congress, and Congress appoves that plan, the court will not interfere.”

At Zaphod’s Head, peacenik Glyn Evans of Alberta, Canada, is frightened by the administration’s new plan: “I am not sure which is scarier. The ability of the Secretary of Defense to add crimes at will to the list or the lack of rights the detained people no longer get. Is this Justice? Or perhaps is this a sign of even more things to come? Military lawyers complained that the new draft doesn’t have enough ‘due process rights’ for prisoners and it could ‘further tarnish America’s image’. Well no shit Sherlock.”

Equally appalled is the progressive military-affairs aficionado Jason Sigger at The Armchair Generalist: “This White House would rather play its hand for a set of Orwellian criminal procedures than take the chance that processing the Gitmo detainees might result in some of them being found not guilty and freed by current procedures. Maybe the Bush strategy is to delay longer until they can stack the federal courts with more conservative judges (a la Alito and Roberts) that favor these kind of tactics.”

Read more about the new military courts. Bruce Ackerman wrote about Congress’ response to Hamdan for Slate, while Neal Katyal suggested courts-martials for terror suspects.

Conservative flameout? Progressive Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne (note: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.) argues that the conservatism of Buckley and Goldwater is on life support, if not dead, because Republicans now use inverted New Deal tactics to accomplish their goals. Dionne points to the latest “unprincipled spasm” of the congressional right, a defeated bill that offered a nominal raise in the minimum wage as incentive for reducing the estate tax.

Michael Bindner of The Christian Libertarian Party thinks Dionne misses the cyclical nature of ideology in this country: “In American history, this happens every so often. The past is littered with parties that lost their way…Many Americans are both libertarian and Christian with a healthy streak of egalitarianism, as odd as this seems to many liberal activists who think I am on a fools errand.”

Righty Jonah Goldberg at the National Review’s The Corner asks: “[W]ould EJ consider a similar argument about liberalism/Democrats anything but a non-starter? I mean he writes books with titles like ‘They Only Look Dead’ and ‘Stand and Fight’ all geared toward coping with far graver indictments of progressivism than last week’s minimum wage shennanigans. It seems to me this is wishful thinking gussied-up as definitive analysis.”

Centrist Joe Gandelman of The Moderate Voice writes: “Once-pure conservatism, a concept that had great intellectual appeal to some and was for years a political goal, has become diluted by political expediency. … Look for the true defenders of the Buckley/Goldwater brand of conservatism to assert themsevles a lot more if political defeats become a habit for the Bush/Frist wing of the GOP.”

Read more on Dionne’s column.

Famished, and you’re the one for me, fatty: According to a recent British study, hungry men like heavier girls, while their sated counterparts prefer waifs. Does this have body image-conscious women buying feedbags for their boyfriends? Don’t bet on it.

Responding to the idea that blood sugar levels bear a direct cause on heft-discriminating hormones, the blogger at Feministe’s Journal observes [Need a link]: “[T]hose are transitory states, whereas cultural beauty standards are somewhat more constant. Not that they don’t change, of course — witness the shift in beauty standards from, say, Marilyn Monroe in the 50s to Twiggy in the 60s — but it takes more than a meal to make the difference.” (She also thinks the study skimps on the class-related factors of attractive female body types.)

Californian Alan J.F. at E tenebris, lux dormiens dips into historical lipids: “Ahh, this may explain a lot. In Elizabethan times, men preferred full-bodied women, so much that women who gave birth to children will try to hire a wet nurse because they want to maintain the size of their bosom. It was also a fairly famine-prone time.”

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