OH, THE HORROR. It's nice that the administration's Torture Enabling Act of 2006 -- a provision of the Omnibus Gin-Up the Crazee Base bill -- may well get sunk by its own side, and equally spiffy that the last of the scales seem to have fallen from the eyes of Colin "Day Late, Dollar Short" Powell. However, it seems to me that the struggle over this issue is distracting from the equally atrocious attempts to legitimize retroactively what are pretty clearly impeachable offenses -- namely, the president's brazen law-breaking with regard to warrantless electronic surveillance. The Specter bill is awful for a whole host of reasons -- not the least of which for the demonstrable surrender of congressional powers that is part of its very existence, and for the craven surrender of American values without which there would be nothing left of the bill except the punctuation marks. Any compromise that I've seen -- even Feinstein's, which is the best of them -- is simply a higher class of horrid. On the one hand, in the context of overseas prisoners, we have John McCain talking about how we should hold to our values while, in the context of the rights of the average American citizen, there seems to be no great effort to keep from pitching those values, piecemeal, out the window in order to appease the lawless.

--Charles P. Pierce