Today's Blogs

Extraordinary Indictments

Bloggers weigh in on the indictments handed down against 26 Americans by an Italian court, ponder Howard Kurtz’s profile of conservative columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin, and get fired up for Al Gore’s global-warming concerts.

Extraordinary indictments: An Italian court in Milan has indicted 26 Americans for spiriting away Egyptian cleric Abu Omar to Egypt in 2003, where he was detained and tortured. The trial will be the first criminal case to tackle the CIA’s controversial practice of extraordinary rendition. While experts doubt the United States will hand over the agents, a trial will proceed regardless, as Italian law allows suspects to be tried in absentia. (German authorities issued arrest warrants for 13 American CIA agents on Feb. 1, for the kidnapping of a German citizen, but that trial will not occur unless the accused are present.) Five Italian spies will also be tried.

At New Pairodimes, lefty “trifecta” is pleasantly surprised, writing “[T]he fact that there will be a trial, and there will be evidence and testimony about the practices that our government has employed will be a breath of fresh air. … Europe is starting to fight back. … Ironically, Bush’s overreach has not intimidated the rest of the world. The disaster in Iraq has exposed him as a paper tiger to those he tried to intimidate, and now they are starting to show their own fangs.”

“Turns out, other countries might have a problem with the CIA kidnapping their citizens right off the street with no authorizations or warrants,” Kansas City denizen F Bombs at The Philosopher King writes. “Of course, nobody actually knows what happens to you once you’ve been ‘extraordinarily renditioned’ but we can all assume it involves a prison that nobody’s ever heard of and less than amiable guards in a country where nobody asks questions.”

Scandinavian-American liberal Mark Gisleson jokes about the situation at Norwegianity. “We’re too cool to hang out with mullah-coddling Italians anyway. Our new friends, El Salvador, Georgia, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Albania, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Slovenia are way cooler than losers like Italy,” he quips. Commenting on Truthdig, Big Al celebrated this historical precedent: “Wouldn’t it be great if these neocon creeps, and their loathsome henchmen, found their freedom of travel severely curtailed because of the threat of arrest for international crimes?

At conservative Hot Air, See-Dubya ponders why the media coverage has not focused on the extraordinarily rendered himself, Abu Omar. “Eventually, someone in the MSM is going to have to take a break from the rendition angle and start asking about why the CIA thought Abu Omar was so important,” he writes.

Read more about the Italian indictments. Read Daniel Benjamin’s take on the United States’ rendition practices in Slate.

Malkin unveiled: Washington Post media critic Howie Kurtz profiles conservative heavyweight blogger Michelle Malkin and her polarizing ways in today’s column. Malkin, who maintains she is not “some Republican Kool-Aid drinker,” explains how she has been wronged by her liberal foes. (Disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)

At conservative Captain’s Quarters, Ed Morrissey finds Kurtz’s profile of his friend to be faithful. “Kurtz’ article does her on-line persona justice. It’s not really his job to go beyond that, but he gives readers a glimpse of what makes Michelle special for those of us fortunate to know her,” he writes. Conservative Scott Johnson at group blog Power Line also heaps praise on Malkin: “In the tradition of Bill Buckley, she seems to me to be a happy warrior who has a gift for spotting lightweights and phonies.”

Liberals think Kurtz was overly kind to Malkin. Austin, Texas, progressive David at the Supreme Irony of Life dubs Kurtz’s piece a “valentine” to Malkin. “Oh, Howard. How could you. You provide a nice little platform for the woman who pushes the most hateful, racist propaganda from the far right into the media. … Howard Kurtz chastises the people who published her home address (I don’t agree with the practice myself), yet ignores the inconvenient fact that she did the same to some college students, and sent her readers after them.” Liberal and journalist Larisa Alexandrovna’s at-Largely calls the piece “overly diplomatic to a hate monger who sells her hate as much as she sells the ‘oooh, I’m a conservative minority’ garbage. … [Kurtz] only mildly references the reasons why Malkin is so despised by most rational human beings,” she writes.

The Georgia-based retiree at 1 Boring Old Man is similarly displeased with the profile: [The article] paints Michelle Malkin as a martyr, firmly standing up to bigotry and persecution - an Ann Coulter sans anorrhexia. Like Ann, Michelle interprets the attacks on her as driven by the hateful, unsavory motives in others, rather than as reactions to her own outrageous provocations.”

Read more about Kurtz’s take on Malkin.

Concerts in concert: Al Gore has announced a lineup of simultaneous global concerts, called “Live Earth,”slated for July 7 The celebrity-studded concerts, to take place on all seven continents (yes, Antarctica, too), will aim to raise awareness about global warming, Gore said.

In a post titled “Ozone Man Goes Woodstock,” Norris McDonald at the African American Environmentalist Association is amazed by Gore’s stamina. “He is everywhere. And carbon-neutral. … The man is clearly competing with Jimmy Carter for a post White House ‘activity’ award,” he writes.

At Daily Prez, a blog devoted to obsessively tracking the lead-up to the ‘08 presidential elections, Doug Ludlow parses Gore’s latest move: “Is it just me, but does it seem like for the first time in his very public career, Al Gore looks like he is having fun and enjoying life? One needs to wonder if he would trade away the millions he is making today, and the globe trotting fun he is now having, for a SHOT at the White House.”

Conservatives are more critical of the event. “I’ve never seen a wind powered amp.  Wonder if I’ll see one at this event,” Air Force Master Sgt. Robert Steely snickers at Rounds Out.  Republican Dave Wissing at The Hedgehog Report sees some hypocrisy at work: “I can’t wait for the hilarity of seeing numerous celebrities claim how much they care about ‘global warming’ and reducing carbon dioxide emissions as they are flying to the event on their corporate and private jets and driving in their stretch limousines,” he writes.

Read more about Live Earth.