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MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow presents Colin Powell, whom she clearly admires, with a series of very tough questions. Most of the Washington press corps could learn from this technique:
Powell doesn’t want to answer the questions, yet his response is neither dismissive nor evasive: These issues are extremely important; they should be the subject of a full and formal inquiry; he should answer them on the basis of a review of his own notes and the documents. “But that complete record will in due course come out,” Powell says. Powell’s statement, fully recognizing the need for an investigation, contrasts sharply with the unfortunate comments made by Senator Patrick Leahy on April 1. Here’s Charlotte Dennett’s report of her recent discussion with Leahy:
Halfway through the allotted 30 minute meeting (with him taking up much of the time explaining why he was not generally opposed to prosecution, since he had been a DA for eight years and had the highest conviction rate in Vermont), he told us that his truth commission had failed to get the broad support it needed in Congress, and since he couldn’t get one Republican to come behind the plan, “it’s not going to happen.”
Of course, John Conyers has found House Republicans to support his initiative. But why should the idea of a commission be subject to a veto by the Senate Republicans? Leahy should listen to Powell. He should recognize that the commission approach is the right thing, and that Karl Rove and John Cornyn should not be permitted to veto it.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”