06/24/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

Good morning and welcome to your Sunday Morning Liveblog of the shimmery and spastic political talkers that pepper the morning television landscape. My name is Jason. The rumble outside my window could only mean one thing: it's Rolling Thunder time in Washington, and another Memorial Day is here. It's a great time to take a vacation, and if you are on one, congratulations! As you may well know, I am not taking one until August, and you can help determine what happens to this liveblog my sending me suggestions in emails with the subject "OMGZ HOW WILL WE CONTEND WITH THIS DREADFUL VACATION IN AUGUST?" Yes, I realize I'm dragging this out and out, but your emails are very fun to read!

At any rate, this is more than just a holiday. It's a time to honor those who have fallen in defense of this country and assist those who continue to bear that weight today. To that end, via Jake Tapper, why not make a small donation to the Bob and Lee Woodruff Foundation? Your donation would go to assist the thousands of veterans who have sustained traumatic brain injury or who are in need of psychological care. It's a great way to give back to these man and women, as well as their families.

More information can be found at I' also encourage people to check out the Iraq And Afghanistan Veterans of America and their SupportYourVet initiative.

And now, on with the liveblog! I remind everyone that they are welcome to leave comments, send emails, and follow this liveblogger on the Twitter, if you are so inclined.


Today! SHOWDOWN between OBAMA and CHENEY! ZOMG! Which man will emerge from the THUNDERDOME of conventional opinion? Plus Karl Rove! JUST KILL ME THIS MORNING.

So, we have John Kyl and BEN NELSON, of all people? Crimony. They take up the matter of GITMO detainees. What would convince Kyl to allow the detainees to the United States? NOTHING, because John Kyl is the real Pussy Galore. He's terrified of terrorists and their magic powers. HOW COULD WE HOLD THESE MEN IN A SUPERMAX PRISON, he asks. THAT'S JUST CRAZY? Ben Nelson offers up a confusing answer that confuses me, and confuses Chris Wallace and that's probably because Ben Nelson's one of the dumbest men in government.

Asked to clarify, Nelson parses the distinction between the terrorist we hold here and those at GITMO as: the ones here have broken U.S. law and the ones at GITMO have been captured in WARS, and so cannot possibly every set foot in the U.S. to face trials.

Meanwhile Kyl says Fox Viewers don't want the prisoners here and so GITMO may or may not remain open. Nelson on the other hand says that Obama, McCain, Bush, Gates, and Powell all say it should be closed and that's a lot of shiny people! But a plan needs to be in place to winnow through the detainees.

A lot of shiny people are also against torture, so Nelson is fine with getting rid of it. He points out, to the benefit of Nancy Pelosi, that Pete Hoekstra and Newt Gingrich have accused the CIA of misleading them. Kyl goes on and on to talk about how awesome torture is, and how we should torture people forever, and he lies about torture saving lives, and I feel bad for our soldiers because I want this nation to be able to say that torturing THEM is wrong, but men like John Kyl have officially enshrined torture as a means of doing business on the battlefield.

As our own Sam Stein has reported, a whole lot of waterboarding went towards nothing that looks like a ticking time bomb:

Some of the first questions asked of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed upon his capture and during the time during which he was waterboarded were about possible connections between al Qaeda and Iraq, according to a review of several reports on U.S. intelligence operations.

The mastermind of the September 11 attacks was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on March 1, 2003, and according to Office of Legal Counsel memos released last month, was waterboarded 183 times that same month.

The substance of the intelligence that was being sought from him has been an object of some speculation, with several defenders of the interrogation practice arguing that the goal was to prevent an impending attack on America. But a line buried on page 353 of the July 2004 Select Committee on Intelligence report on pre-Iraq war intelligence strongly suggests that the interrogation was just as centered on a possible Iraq-al-Qaeda link as terrorist activity.

Speaking of torture! Here's Karl Rove. He says that GITMO and Pelosi will be problems for Obama, but not lethal ones. So, in case you were hoping these policy matters would KILL the president, SUCK IT, I guess?

Wallace asks Rove if he means Obama is soft on terror or is seeing the light. Rove says it's a nuanced thing, but he wishes he'd just get all crazy George Bush about torturing people and imprisoning them indefinitely. Man, oh man, Karl Rove really loves holding people without charge or trial forever! Whereas I am sickened by that concept. To do something like that is basically to say, "No one in this country is capable of arguing our case. We are scared of you and do not want to confront you. We are terrified of enunciating our own values in the open." Of course, it's possible that Rove has no values.

Rove says that no one has spent as much time criticizing the previous administration as the Obama administration, which means I must have spent those many long years of "BILL CLINTON IS THE REASON THAT EVERYTHING WAS BAD" high, on meth or something. Some of these people still compare today's economy to the one Bush inherited as equivalent.

What about Colin Powell? Is he a Republican, anymore? Rove says Powell can say what he wants, as long as it's not "Rush Limbaugh shut up," and that he can be a Republican if he wants. He then goes on to say he'd pick Limbaugh over Powell if it were up to him, but then says, "neither man is a candidate...this is a false debate that Washington loves." That's coming from a guy who's never looked askance at a false debate he couldn't use himself.

And Panel Time! Bill Kristol says Dick Cheney won the debate, and the Senate Dems backed Cheney up by gutting the funding to close GITMO. Ceci Connolly agrees, and I'm guessing Stephen Hayes and Nina Easton will as well.

"I'm going to go to Guantanamo, in a minute," Wallace says. Would that were true!

Hayes thinks that it's terrible that we'd consider not torturing people, because torture is apparently needed to fight terrorists. Easton says that the "debate" was an "unfortunate" partisan duel and that Obama was too partisan, and how dare anyone call what Obama inherited a mess! (I call it a mess, at length, but whatever!)

Kristol thinks that Obama will eventually keep GITMO open, but make it a French pastry cafe. Easton disagrees.

Who does Obama have a bigger problem with, Wallace asks, the Right or the Left? I'd say the Left for a number of different reasons, chief among them being: 1) the "left" makes more sustained and substantive criticism of Obama, and on more serious matters - on military commissions, state secrats, et al - whereas the "right" basically yell about birth certificates and teleprompters like a bunch of effing babies, and 2) the "right" cannot currently get elected to office in large enough numbers, so ultimately, Obama shouldn't be engaging Cheney in "debate" anyway.

Really, the important thing to remember is that Cheney would have been nowhere without Obama giving his speech on national security. Without Obama talking about the subject, Cheney's just spitting nonsense inside the same neo-con vaccuum that can't get elected to office anymore.

Wallace wants his panel to be eliminating possible SCOTUS candidates. Hayes, to his credit, doesn't spit hot nonsense all over the "empathy" idea, suggesting that it's a way of distinguishing between candidates who have spent their careers in academia with candidates who've plied the legal trade on street level. At the same time, Jeffrey Rosen did make a good case for Wood meeting the empathetic criteria. (I criticized Rosen, previously, for a piece on Sotomayor that I felt didn't hit a very high standard for something touted as a definitive "case" on that candidate, but he does a really lovely job profiling Diane Wood, and tying it back to the oft-discusses "empathy" criteria.)

Apparently, Fox got an email from someone suggesting that Alcatraz be retrofitted as the new GITMO, and Wallace responds by saying "San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi says no way," as if Pelosi is being NIMBYish. Would it have killed Wallace to point out that Alcatraz is a MUSEUM? Is it really a serious idea to say that terrorists cannot be housed at a Supermax prison INSIDE A MILITARY BASE, but OH GOD NANCY PELOSI, THAT MONSTER, is standing in the way of "NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 3: HOLY SHIT, WHY ARE THERE TERRORISTS AT THIS POPULAR TOURIST ATTRACTION, THIS IS CRAZY, RUN BEN STILLER, RUN, WHY DID THEY DO THIS, THIS IS GODDAMN BONKERS!"


Admiral Mike Mullen is on hand today, to discuss THE GREAT DEBATE! Mullen has advocated for the closure of GITMO and he stands to that this morning. "Keeping them off the battlefield" is important. GSteph brings up the NYT report on recividism: has GITMO radicalized people, Mullen doesn't say one way or the other, calling the matter a statistical uptick. As I posted on this week, that Times report is being walked back, not that Stephanopoulos noticed!

What would GITMO not closing mean for the military mission? Mullen says that his experience teaches him that GITMO's been a symbol for terrorists and jihadists. GS mentions that Dick Cheney disputed the idea that these "recruiting tools" exist. Mullen doesn't get bogged down in fighting with Cheney, simply stating that his experience teaches him that he's right. So I leave it to you, readers: go with the judgement of a man who walks battlefields or one who's spent his life avoiding them?

Mullen remains concerned that Iran continues to move closer to nuclear weapons, though he won't stipulate to any specific prediction of when this might happen. As far as which worries him more - a nuclear Iran or a war with Iran - both concern Mullen greatly. He's hopeful that the diplomatic overtures underway will achieve their goals, but that the success of the diplomacy is dependent on Iran NOT getting weapons. Without being specific, he's prefer to avoid having to "take out" Iran's nuclear infrastructure with military force.

In Iraq, Mullen says the situation is politically fragile, but violence levels remain low and the military withdrawal is proceeding according to the Status of Forces Agreement. Mullen projects confidence that all is going according to plan. GSteph tries to get Mullen to move off, but Mullen keeps citing the Status of Forces Agreement and the need for a "long term relationship with Iraq." As Mullen points out, it's up to the Iraqis, not General Odierno, to change the Status of Forces Agreement. If U.S. troops remain in Iraq, it will be at the behest of a sovereign nation, and according to their terms. It's an important distinction, militarily and politically, because it means the U.S. are no longer an OCCUPYING force.

Mullen is also advocating the "whole-government" approach to Afghanistan, where diplomacy and the bolstering of government institutions is a major initiative, not just fighting off Taliban.

What about Don't Ask Don't Tell? Mullen hems and haws on whether it should be tossed. The force is "under stress" at the moment, and he wouldn't want to add to that. But the military is always under a certain amount of stress. And let's face it, gays and lesbians are ALREADY SERVING IN THE MILITARY. They just do so whilist playing this parlor room game of looking the other way and pretending they aren't who they are. I'd prefer an all-hands-on-deck approach, and I certainly don't think that discharging another gay translator is going to keep us safer. The rule ought to be done away with. If this is truly the best military force that Mullen has ever commanded, they can handle it.

Mullen says that all of our fighting men deserve the opportunity to lead a "rich life" even if their "path has changed" because they were wounded in defense of the country. Hear, hear!

Meanwhizzle, it's PANEL TIME. George Will, David Brooks, EJ Dionne and Donna Brazile.

So, SCOTUS, what's the haps, panel? George Will is worried that Obama will have the Supreme Court solving social problems, which would be MONSTROUS! Must we rule on Dred Scott again? Will, though, says conservatives are being fatuous where their criticism on "judicial activism" is concerned, because in the Kelo v. New London eminent domain decision, the conservatives want nothing more than a ton of judicial activism.

Brooks points out that Sotomayor will suffer from the New Haven Connecticut firefighters decision being overturned. Dionne says that Elena Kagan benefits from having been already confirmed as the Solicitor General.

But GSteph thinks we're heading for a fight, and Will agrees there will be a big argument, but whoever Obama picks is heading for Confirmation City. Brooks says that firefighters case is REALLY REALLY BAD and will definitely touch off a TERRIBLE RACE WAR of Sotomayor is nominated. Dionne says that Obama will welcome a fight over the SCOTUS and empathy. Will hates empathy, of course, because he hates jeans and bicycles and telling the truth about science! David Brooks loves empathy because he's a BIG SQUEEZY EMPATHY MONSTER in his own life. He empathizes with the wind as it changes direction!

Anyway: Obama and Cheney, YELLING YELLING YELLING. Who yelled the SHINIEST? Brazile doesn't seem too happy about the way the Senate Dems caved on GITMO. Brooks, very astutely, points out that Obama hasn't made any substantive policy changes to the counterterror policies, and that Cheney and the GOP are foolish to pretend otherwise. Dionne points out that Bush HAD TO CHANGE HIS POLICY after three SCOTUS decisions went against him.

Your "THREE DIMENSIONAL CHESS" progressives tend to believe - and to their credit, they argue it well - that Obama is forcing showdowns on policies that will result in change far more founded than his personal executive order. I don't put much faith in that. I want to see the unitary executive deconstructed with all deliberate haste.

Brooks worries that there will be some GITMO 2 created in the wake of the GITMO closure. There already is, it is called Bagram Air Force Base.

OMGZ, look who is back in the Sunday morning teevee! Timothy Geithner! No bailout for California? Will hopes not! Dionne says California needs a Constitutional Convention and he is so right! The budget procedure is NUTLOG and the reliance on citizen referendum is utterly insane. Both of these things seem pretty on paper, but they've gotten so dysfunctional I cannot see it ever repairing itself. Though, what do I know? I'm not Californian! It just seems bonkers to me. Californians, feel free to defend yourselves in emails with the subject: "TRUST US: WE ARE NOT A BUNCH OF CRAZY PEOPLE."


Today, we have Dick Durbin and Newt Gingrich debating the GREAT DEBATE. I almost dread this show, because when it comes to Dave Gregory, it's ALL SHINY POLITICS, POLL OBSESSIONS, AND WHO'S-UP-WHO'S-DOWN ALL THE TIME because the man refuses to admit or explore there are underlying issues about anything. And a panel with Rich Lowry, Michelle Norris, Eugene Robinson, and Chuck Todd.

But first, Gingrich and Durbin and GITMO. Everyone is TERRIFIED TO BRING THEM INTO AMERICA. Via Adam Serwer, here's why:

LOOKIT! ALL AL-QAEDAS CAN DO THAT STUFF! Which is why they must be remanded forever to our Magical Island Prison!

DID YOU KNOW ONLY DICK CHENEY CAN PROTECT US FROM MAGNETO? AND THAT LIZ CHENEY IS DARK PHOENIX? ALL TRUE. And that is why we let the Cheney's drink infant stem cells, right from their newly born spinal columns. It's also why we keep making terrible Chryslers and Fords, because while those cars are awful, the parts are used exclusively to keep the Cyborg Cheney family alive! DO YOU WANT YOUR CHENEYBORGS FITTED OUT WITH GODDAMN FIAT PARTS? I do not think so!

Anyway, Cheney and Reid are in LOCKSTEP on Gitmo, and Gregory's nips have never been pointier! Anyway, Durbin says if you want insight into Cheney's intelligence and insight, one should remember "weapons of mass destruction."


Durbin says the United States has successfully tried terrorists and they can be incarcerated safely.

Gingrich says that even turncoat Obama-lover Colin Powell believed there were WMDs so don't blame Cheney! Gingrich says that we just arrested four terrorists who were "converted in prison!" So now he can't imagine any terrorists being put in jail ever again where they convert people! Of course, THIS IS TECHNICALLY WHAT A JAIL IS: criminals talking to each other, all the damn time. This is an argument to never jail anyone ever. Or it is an argument to build everyone in a world their own jail! Anyway, GITMO should stay forever. Specifically, Gingrich says, "When the terrorists disappear." To which Gregory replies, "You're talking about a long term proposition!" UHM, YES, DAVID GREGORY, OR SHOULD I SAY, DAVID SHERLOCK HOLMES EINSTEIN MCGENIUS BRAINIAC MAN? (No. I should not.)

GINGRICH: "These people want to set off nuclear bombs! They are fighting in Iraq right now! They are fighting in Pakistan right now! We just arrested four people in New York City!" Yes, all are equivalent!

What about the six out of seven who everyone agrees DID NOT RETURN TO TERRORISM? What about the people who were imprisoned by mistake?

Durbin says Gitmo makes us less safe, just like Mullen did earlier. But Gregory wants to "pick up on a point." By which he means, he wants to show a video, of Obama saying what Durbin said he said. Gregory asks where the evidence is that this claim is credible, and Durbin cites Matthew Alexander, who was an interrogator and has walked on these very battlefields, whose detainees told him that GITMO and Abu Ghraib were among the reasons they joined terrorist organizations.

Gingrich writes off Alexander as just one of 500,000 troops that happens to agree with Durbin. Happy Memorial Day!

"The recruits who were going into Iraq were going into Iraq long before Gitmo was an issue," Gingrich says, citing another failed policy that made us less safe: the occupation of Iraq, an operation undertaken in lieu of actually FIGHTING TERRORISTS, and which was preceded by us torturing some of those terrorists in a desperate attempt to get them to provide a material connection between al Qaeda and Iraq.

Gingrich brings up his favorite story about the GITMO detainee who busted up a television because he saw a woman's bare arms on it. As our own Ryan Grim reports, that account has been disputed. What's not under dispute is that THIS INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS TEEVEE MURDERER, who is wholly indicative of why GITMO should stay open has already been released, no doubt to use his terrible SORCERY to destroy more televisions!

Gregory points out that terrorists will just find a new rationale to attack us. Even if we concede that point, I'd point out that the whole point to this country called America is that out founding fathers went out on a limb to suggest that men were entitled - endowed by their creator! - with inalienable rights! And we have this whole system of justice that is quintessentially American that we defend everyday. And it is that system of justice that makes us exceptional. The Gingriches of the world believes that American exceptionalism entitles us to torture people and imprison them indefinitely. But that's not exceptional to me. That's like some backwards-ass banana republic to me.

Durbin should know that the main recruiting tool among terrorists is actually the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The thing that Gingrich isn't telling anyone about these NYC terrorists who were arrested and had learned to be evil in prison is that law enforcement was on top of these guys from jump street, and had infiltrated their "cell," and, in fact, TRICKED THEM, and I have to wonder...maybe all of that was possible because they had been in the criminal justice system in the first place?

Durbin characterizes the actions of Senate Democrats as reversible upon the presentation of a plan, and believes it will be bipartisan. He says it was just a mistake to entertain promising funding before the plan was drawn up.

There are two schools of thought, in the press, of course. One is that Obama is embracing the Bush policies on national security, with minor adjustments. The other is that there are two competing approaches. Gregory apparently subscribes to the latter. Maybe next week he'll subscribe to the former! It'll depend on the conventional wisdom, probably. Brooks and Will pointing out that the former is the truer on THIS WEEK today was a rare moment of penetration. (Though, THIS WEEK has been managing those in greater supply than the other shows we look at on a weekly basis.)

Gingrich says the country is less safe because of all the "past wounds" people want examined and all the Truth Commissions. Gingrich presents this as a false choice: we can either fight terrorists or investigate whether members of the Bush administration broke the law. Seems to me that FOR MAXIMUM SAFETY, we should do both. What good is defeating terrorists if once that's all done, you come home to a country where the president has the right to break the law?

Durbin says that the suggestion that Obama is not working to keep Americans safe is the most "irresponsible thing he's ever heard on this program."

Gingrich says, "The lesson is fear. Fear is probably appropriate." My wife, who, on September 11th drove home to this very apartment, terrified out of her mind because she believed -- the gout of smoke seen from her vantage on the Key Bridge doing not much to dissuade her! -- that she was FLEEING FOR HER LIFE, says, "That's ridiculous! To suggest that the only rational response to fear is to torture people and lock them up indefinitely and never try them in open court is horseshit! It is kindergarten-grade juvenile nonsense!"

It should be pointed out that my wife, has, in fact managed to not torture a single person in nearly eight years.

Gingrich says he "belongs to a wing" that believes "we live in an age where people can do incalculable damage" to our country. Well, I don't know if there's a "wing" that believes this, but I think that we ought to nevertheless not abandon our principles the first time it becomes easy to do so. Anyone wanna join my wing? We can call ourselves the ZESTY WINGS and have a dipping sauce that tastes like we are not a bunch of simpering cowards who treat their principles like fads!

Oh, wow. Remember when I said this: "There are two schools of thought, in the press, of course. One is that Obama is embracing the Bush policies on national security, with minor adjustments. The other is that there are two competing approaches. Gregory apparently subscribes to the latter. Maybe next week he'll subscribe to the former!"

That was what, two minutes ago! Well now Gregory subscribes to the other stance. He is so brilliant! Durbin says that Obama's ad hoc approach to military commissions will be, I guess, of a HOPIER variety than Bush's ad hoc approach to military commissions.

Meanwhile, YELLING AT PELOSI, still in style. This is perfect for Gregory, of course, who reads Gingrich's full nonsensical assertion -- that the Monolithic Left only wants a Truth Commission because of the desire to purge its political opponents. Only Pelosi still wants them even though now she risks a purging herself. Again, I have to wonder: where did the underlying issue disappear to? You know, the torture?

Durbin immediately attempts to bring up "the real issue" and is then immediately interrupted by Gregory: OMGZ WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT REAL ISSUES ON MEET THE PRESS!! Media Monitor Teri McCarthy captures what happens next:

So, I think Gregory got a nice look at the SHINY SHINY miniscandal of Nancy Pelosi, without having to trouble his purty l'il head over anything important. Anyway, Durbin straight up nails Gingrich for criticizing the CIA for misleading on the National Intelligence Estimate. "Would you like to apologize to the CIA?" Durbin asks! Gingrich, like the punk ass he is, says that he's allowed to call the CIA "intellectually dishonest" and I guess they just have to sit there and take it! Hoekstra is allowed to criticize them as well, apparently! It's okay to yell at the CIA as long as you are not Nancy Pelosi!

Whoever produces MEET THE PRESS let the camera linger on Durbin interrogating Gingrich at length, probably spurred by the memory of this thing called JOURNALISM, that the show is ostensibly supposed to supply.

"I just have a couple minutes left," Gregory says, and you know what? I'm fast-forwarding through them. You all will let me know if Gregory did something worthwhile to end that segment, won't you?

Time for our Meet The Press Panel Playlet!


"Shiny Shiny Hoop-de-doo, Forever Maybe!"

a discussion of the great media-manufactures debates in two dispiriting acts, the second being slightly less dispiriting


David Gregory: Following his whimsy into the fires of Mount Doom

Michele Norris: National, Public, Radioing

Chuck Todd: goateed keeper of the polls

Rich Lowry: blood-soaked barbarian


Me: local wretch

Voice Over Narrator: sets up a single, hackneyed joke.



TODD: Apparently, there are differences in tone between Republicans and Democrats! And there might be a new Guantanamo!

ME: Yeah, it's called Bagram AFB.

ROBINSON: Obama also says we'll be doing all of this legally.

ME: Or, "legally."

GREGORY: OMGZ! A tumble of nonsensical sentences will spill from my throat!

LOWRY: I love fear! Especially when there's something to be afraid of! On those occasions, everyone should just give in to it! YEAH. LET'S GET NAKED WITH OUR FEAR RIGHT HERE! LET'S CAKE OURSELVES IN THE VISCERA OF OUR ENEMIES! HAHAHA! WOO! FEAR RULZ!

ME: As longs as we're not talking about the fear that stems from unbridled executive power, right, Rich Lowry!

LOWRY: WOO, YES! Why would you be afraid of the Bush administration, who just wanted to listen to your phonecalls to make sureyou weren't saying anything worth being indefinitely detained and tortured over!


TODD: When you take Dick Cheney away from the Cheney brand, you get something else! Cheney minus Cheney equals Obama! And Cheney is crazy popular with the kids.


GREGORY: OMGZ! Dick Cheney shall rally the GOP to greatness!

LOWRY: And we are so wildly popular! That's why we are smearing entrails on our face and lighting torches and wearing the pelts of wild animals!

NORRIS: You know, some of the former administration officials who haven't been hammering Obama can actually be said to have evolved in their positions.

LOWRY: But everyone was in agreement back in '02 and '03.

ME: Do you just not get what the world evolution means, you--oh, wait, that's right, you don't, do you? Sorry about that.


ME: Not true.



NORRIS: Uhm, you know, no one seems to know what happened at those briefings. Not even the CIA can vouch for what was said.

GREGORY: But Pelosi says that the CIA "uniformly misleads Congress."

ME: Jesus, David Gregory! Did she say that? Did she say that the CIA has UNIFORMLY MISLED CONGRESS? That for all time, the CIA has always lied to Congress? NO ONE HAS SAID THAT.

TODD: What is everyone is telling the truth? What if everyone heard what they wanted to hear?

ME: What if the United States of America pointlessly and in violation of the laws of human decency tortured people, to try to develop a pretext to start a war in Iraq?

TODD: If something else happens, Pelosi could be in trouble!

ME: You realize that Pelosi being in trouble has no effect on anybody's lives, right?

LOWRY: That Pelosi didn't raise "holy hell" over waterboarding only proves its not torture!

ME: Go get yourself, waterboarded, then, Rich!

ROBINSON: We have prosecuted people for waterboarding, you realize.


ME: I'd like to point out that people like George Will have concluded that when Obama talks about "empathy," they believe he means: a justice who might allow empathy for a PLAINTIFF or DEFENDANT sway their decision away from legal foundations. What Obama is actually pointing out, in this Steve Scully interview, is that the empathy Obama speaks of is not an empathy that's to be applied to either person in the courtroom, but rather, with a third party: the American people, who will bear the brunt of any ill-considered decision. The idea is, consider what effects a legal interpretation might have in the real world.

GREGORY: OMGZ! Look at all the lady candidates!

NORRIS: You know, we actually do not have the President's actual "shortlist." You realize that, right? Anyway, the law is a river, that you can skate away on, with Joni Mitchell.

GREGORY: OMGZ! I think that maybe whoever is picked may have to face hearings and questions and stuff! Won't that be amazing!

NORRIS: The Obama team is confident that they may "get more than one bite at this apple."

ROBINSON: The business community seems to be in favor of health care reform.

ME: Ehhhh. The business community may be "joining 'em," but I think they haven't ruled out "licking 'em."

TODD: Wow. The Naval Academy keeps graduating people named John McCain! And some have been hugged by Obama!

LOWRY: We need Limbaugh and Powell to join my MIGHTY BAND OF FEARSUCKING DEATHEATERS!

GREGORY: I'll be right back with my personal thoughts on this Memorial Day!

VOICE OVER NARRATOR: David Gregory is coming back with his personal thoughts on Memorial Day! Will Jason want to hear them? Stick around to find out if Jason wants to hear David Gregory hold forth on the importance of memorial day in Act Two of

~~ACT TWO:~~

ME: No.


And that will do it for me today. But i would also like to offer congratulations to my colleague Julie Satow, HuffPost's business page editor, and co-star of many coming video posts like this one, who this weekend was married to Stuart Elliot. My best wishes and blessings to them both! And here's hoping that all of you have a great Memorial Day weekend!

"The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it."