THE FACES OF THE WOUNDED. The New York Times features an art exhibit with photographs of wounded Iraq war veterans on display at the Jen Beckman Gallery. The photos sampled by the Times are yet another reminder of the human cost of war, costs which will extend far beyond whatever day we are no longer in Iraq. The photographs are worth looking at. --Kay Steiger
COMPASSIONATE TORTURE. Jason Zengerle says the "quote of the day" is John McCain saying that as president he would "never torture another person in American custody." Before liberals start swooning over McCain, let's remember he voted to authorize the Military Commissions Act of 2006 , which was billed as a fix to put our detention policies in line with the Geneva Conventions, but really ended up granting unchecked power to the executive branch, and contains a lot of loopholes . McCain is good at saying that he opposes torture, but he's bad at actually voting to stop the policies that enable it. --Kay Steiger
ARMY SUICIDE RATES AT ALL-TIME HIGH. Via C&L . The AP reports that in the last year there were 99 suicides, half of which were by soldiers under the age of 25. A Pentagon psychological consultant put the blame on "failed intimate relationships," but it's hard to believe that relationships suddenly got more stressful in the last year. The consultant, Col. Elspeth Ritchie , grudgingly admitted that extended deployments can add to relationship stress. This is true, but relationship stress I'm sure isn't the only cause of suicide. I think soldiers being in a place where they could be blown up at any given moment by a car bomb (known in military language as an IED) has something to do with it. --Kay Steiger
DIVIDED BY DISASTER. The NYTimes reports on how, less than two weeks after the Minneapolis bridge collapse, partisanship is showing. I'm always surprised by the mistaken belief that disasters will cause the parties to set aside their differences and work together. That sounds rosy, but the reality is that the two parties have fundamental differences, and how to handle a disaster naturally exacerbates these differences rather than diminishes them. We saw calls for bipartisanship following 9/11. That worked badly. We ended up with unchecked executive power and major election and legislative losses for Democrats and progressivism. What people really mean when they talk about bipartisanship is one side giving up an agenda and ceding to whoever is in power. The bridge collapse allows Democrats to highlight a major platform issue: investment in public goods. It offers an excellent opportunity to point out that this is an extreme case, but it illustrates the problems with cutting back...
ELIZABETH EDWARDS, CAMPAIGNER. This story in yesterday's WaPo about Elizabeth Edwards assailing her husband's rivals was one of many I've seen lately that features her taking an extremely active campaign role, more so than either of the other frontrunner spouses Michelle Obama or Bill Clinton . In fact, though I'm a little young to remember this, Elizabeth Edwards reminds me of the kind of active campaigner that Hillary Clinton was in the early '90s -- taking strong stances on the issues , launching attacks on other candidates , and even representing her husband at events targeted at women voters . Obviously, Elizabeth Edwards isn't running for president. John is. But I seem to recall that this model of campaign team worked very well for the Clintons in the '90s. --Kay Steiger