Mayer on Rahm

I first teased out Rahm Emanuel’s role in reversing Obama’s early efforts to reclaim our country from torture last July. In August, my comments at Netroots Nation focused on Rahm’s role in preventing accountability for torture. I kept tracking Rahm’s campaign to prevent accountability here, here, and here.

Today, Jane Mayer has an extended profile of Eric Holder that fleshes out what we’ve all known: Rahm’s the guy who killed accountability for torture.

Emanuel viewed many of the legal problems that Craig and Holder were immersed in as distractions. “When Guantánamo walked in the door, Rahm walked out,” the informed source said. Holder and Emanuel had been collegial since their Clinton Administration days. Holder’s wife, Sharon Malone, an obstetrician, had delivered one of Emanuel’s children. But Emanuel adamantly opposed a number of Holder’s decisions, including one that widened the scope of a special counsel who had begun investigating the C.I.A.’s interrogation program. Bush had appointed the special counsel, John Durham, to assess whether the C.I.A. had obstructed justice when it destroyed videotapes documenting waterboarding sessions. Holder authorized Durham to determine whether the agency’s abuse of detainees had itself violated laws. Emanuel worried that such investigations would alienate the intelligence community. But Holder, who had studied law at Columbia with Telford Taylor, the chief American prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials, was profoundly upset after seeing classified documents explicitly describing C.I.A. prisoner abuse. The United Nations Convention Against Torture requires the U.S. to investigate credible torture allegations. Holder felt that, as the top law-enforcement officer in the U.S., he had to do something.

Emanuel couldn’t complain directly to Holder without violating strictures against political interference in prosecutorial decisions. But he conveyed his unhappiness to Holder indirectly, two sources said. Emanuel demanded, “Didn’t he get the memo that we’re not re-litigating the past?”

That’s what human rights are to Rahm Emanuel–mere distractions, speed bumps on his road to nine wins or–in the case of health care reform–epic failure.

Where Mayer breaks real news in her description of Rahm’s role in preventing accountability is her description of why Rahm opposed so many of Holder’s decisions: because they offended Lindsey Graham.

At the White House, Emanuel, who is not a lawyer, opposed Holder’s position on the 9/11 cases. He argued that the Administration needed the support of key Republicans to help close Guantánamo, and that a fight over Khalid Sheikh Mohammed could alienate them. “There was a lot of drama,” the informed source said. Emanuel was particularly concerned with placating Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, who was a leading proponent of military commissions, and who had helped Obama on other issues, such as the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. “Rahm felt very, very strongly that it was a mistake to prosecute the 9/11 people in the federal courts, and that it was picking an unnecessary fight with the military-commission people,” the informed source said. “Rahm had a good relationship with Graham, and believed Graham when he said that if you don’t prosecute these people in military commissions I won’t support the closing of Guantánamo. . . . Rahm said, ‘If we don’t have Graham, we can’t close Guantánamo, and it’s on Eric!’ ”

At Emanuel’s urging, Holder spoke with Graham several times. But they could not reach an agreement. Graham told me, “It was a nonstarter for me. There’s a place for the courts, but not for the mastermind of 9/11.” He said, “On balance, I think it would be better to close Guantánamo, but it would be better to keep it open than to give these guys civilian trials.” Graham, who served as a judge advocate general in the military reserves, vowed that he would do all he could as a legislator to stop the trials. “The President’s advisers have served him poorly here,” he said. “I like Eric, but at the end of the day Eric made the decision.” Last week, Graham introduced a bill in the Senate to cut off funding for criminal trials related to 9/11. [my emphasis]

All along Rahm’s campaign against Greg Craig and Holder he left complaint after complaint that they had ruined the relationship with Congress. This, I suppose, is what Rahm means: doing anything–even those actions dictated by international law–that offend poor Lindsey’s sensibilities is a mistake, tantamount to ruining the President’s relationship with Congress. And I guess Rahm is okay with that–ceding the President’s authority on national security and legal issues to Lindsey Graham.

And look what you get out of that: Lindsey in a snit, pouting that the Attorney General of the United States determined to try criminals in a civilian court. And in response, refusing to close Gitmo.

In other words, we can’t close Gitmo because Obama’s “crack” Chief of Staff has willingly ceded the authority of the Attorney General of the United States to one Senator from the opposing party, and that single Senator is pouting because the Attorney General might choose law over Kangaroo Courts.

One more thing. Mayer makes a point I have made in the past (here and here). Civilian trials are far more likely that military commissions in successfully reaching a verdict and imposing a penalty–particularly, the death penalty.

The makeshift military-commission system set up by Bush to handle terrorism cases has never tried a murder case, let alone one as complex, or notorious, as that of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who will face the death penalty for the murder of nearly three thousand people.


There is no evidence suggesting that military commissions would be tougher on suspected terrorists than criminal courts would. Of the three cases adjudicated at Guantánamo, one defendant received a life sentence after boycotting his own trial; another served only six months, in addition to the time he had already served at the detention camp; the third struck a plea bargain and received just nine months. The latter two defendants—Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as Osama bin Laden’s driver, and David Hicks, an Australian who attended an Al Qaeda training camp—are now at liberty in their home countries, having been released while Bush was still in office. It’s impossible to know how these same cases would have fared in the civilian system. But the case of John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban, offers a comparison between the two systems, as it closely parallels the case of Yaser Hamdi, a Saudi-American who was captured in the same place (Afghanistan) and at the same time (2001). Lindh, who pleaded guilty in a criminal court, is now serving twenty years in prison. Hamdi, who was declared an enemy combatant, was held in military detention, without charge; in 2004, after a court challenge, he was freed, and is now in Saudi Arabia.

So understand the implications of this: Rahm’s cession of the authority of the Attorney General to one Senator and that Senator’s personal snit are going to make it far less likely that those who attacked the country on 9/11 receive the just punishment for what they did. Because Rahm Emanuel runs the White House like a teenaged clique, it is more likely rather than less that the 9/11 defendants will see real justice.

But I guess that’s what you should expect from a guy who thinks human rights and international law are mere distractions.

  1. scribe says:

    Rahm should be glad that I’m not AG. Friend or not, what he’s doing is obstructing the AG from executing positive obligations of US law: investigation and prosecution of torture. At a minimum, he’s up against the obstruction of justice statute. But, if I were AG, I’d be looking at him for sedition, too.

  2. phred says:

    In other words, political interference with prosecutorial decisions is now SOP. It’s a shame we do not have an Attorney General worthy of the job. Rahm can throw temper tantrums until the cows come home, but at the end of the day, the decision is Holder’s.

    I get all the hostility towards Rahm. I share it. But the only reason he is successful is because he has Obama’s and evidently Holder’s blessing.

  3. Jim White says:

    To Rahm, everything is a game. It’s time for the citizens take away his tokens and send him to his room without dinner. For about 15 to 20 years.

  4. Rayne says:

    So am I wrong in thinking that Graham has implied he will offer up his vote on key issues — possibly SCOTUS nominees — if the White House doesn’t go after torture prosecutions?

    Because it looks we see part of a quid pro quo, one that’s not fully spelled out.

  5. qweryous says:

    What a shame all this is.

    I had such high hopes for Rahm.

    With his background, I thought he’d be wheeling and dealing like the best of Washington denizens.

    I thought that he could be the Democratic answer to Tom Delay, or Newt Gingrich, or Dennis Hastert, or even Karl Rove.

    I’ve been mistaken before, so this time it’s no surprise.

    • afguy says:

      Rahm’s not the Democrat answer to Karl Rove… he’s the Dem’s mirror image of Karl. One who knows how to “win” without really knowing how to do good governance.

      My opinion of him can’t get much lower than it is already. It’s PAST time for Obama to “can” him.

      • qweryous says:

        “Rahm’s not the Democrat answer to Karl Rove… he’s the Dem’s mirror image of Karl. One who knows how to “win” without really knowing how to do good governance.”

        Is it an accident of coincidence that Rahm got this job; if not, then
        the Democratic answer to Karl Rove IS Rahm. The lessons the Democratic party learned from the last eight years are obvious.

        “It’s PAST time for Obama to “can” him.”

        Only when it gets too hot. Not seeing much chance of the type of heat that got rid of KKarl yet. He probably has more friends on the R side of the aisle than the L side. Anyway the new reality is that it will take only ONE ‘friend’ to filibluster any anti Rahm proceeding of any kind.

        • PJEvans says:

          It would be pretty embarrassing if the only people who filibustered such a proceeding were Rs. (I think he’s ticked off a lot of Ds. Whether it’s enough is another question.)

  6. tejanarusa says:

    Let’s see, per Rahm, paying any attention to the gutting of the United States Constitution is a mere distraction; enforcing the basic liberty required by the United States Constitution is a mere distraction; holding people accountable for the evil things they’ve done in the name of the united States is “picking an unnecessary fight” with partisan politicians.

    Oh and we are not “re-litigating the past.” There are so many things wrong simply with that last statement: one, it has not been “litigated” the first time yet, so it ain’t “re-litigating” anything. Second, crime always is prosecuted after the crime is committed, so I guess that’s “litigating the past.”
    So, per Rahm, crimes committed, no matter how egregious or how damaging to the country and its basis in law, never mind its respect in the world, should always be ignored if a powerful politician might be offended by such prosecution.

    To Rahm, nothing matters more than making the political deal. Even if it destroys the president, the congress, the rule of law, and the nation.

    Now I know exactly why I loathe Rahm.
    It’s no longer just a feeling I can’t quite put my finger on….

    AFAIC, this attitude makes Rahm just short of a criminal and on the road to treason himself.

  7. PJEvans says:

    Can we hope that the charges against Blago will enmesh Rahm?
    Because anyone who’s playing politics the way he is needs to be wearing an orange jumpsuit.

    • emptywheel says:

      Not gonna happen. I suspect Fitz had his suspicions about Rahm. But I think John Wyma may have tipped Rahm that their conversations were not private. And Rahm managed to keep monetary advantage out of their discussions.

      I do hope, at least, that Blago embarrassed Rahm along the way.

  8. behindthefall says:

    President Obama ought to realize that history is being written as we speak. He’s going to be linked to his chosen advisors as long as his name is remembered. Is this where he wants to be? With this guy?

    • Leen says:

      On Hardball several weeks ago there was a discussion about generally when someone lik Plouffe is being brought in because things are not going so well that someone is generally let go. Indicated that Emmanuel might be that person.

      Talked about how in the Clinton administration that they were often throwing people off the ship and seldom throwing people off the ship in the Bush matter what they did.

  9. orionATL says:


    I read about this first at Scott horton’s today.

    The points you highlight, ew, are the critical ones.

    Cooking supper,

    I kept thinking of Emmanuel as just another case of me, my family, my friends, my allies –

    in short, just another case of the “family/tribal” thinking ( lyndsey graham’s my friend) that bedevils the entire near east,

    Not to mention the u.s. In the form of it’s right-wing true believers.

    It really is a serious problem for this nation that we have an inexperienced prez and a presidential chief-of-staff who behaves like a desert tribalist ( or an american right-wing loyalist).

  10. JasonLeopold says:

    On a total side note, I was unaware of this and not sure if it really means much but Judicial Watch sued last year to get copies of the CIA briefings on torture that Pelosi and/or her aide Michael Sheehy were present for and a federal judge ordered the documents be turned over by April 15. I thought it has since come out that the CIA didn’t brief her on torture/waterboarding, i.e. lied about what she was told. Anyway, if anyone is interested here’s the info:

    According to a court order issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia January 25, 2010, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) must provide to Judicial Watch by April 15 documents pertaining to congressional briefings on “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Judicial Watch is seeking documents detailing CIA briefings involving House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and/or her staff.

    Judicial Watch filed its original FOIA request with the Central Intelligence Agency on May 15, 2009, seeking the following information:

    1. Records detailing dates when the CIA briefed congressional leaders (to include, but not limited to Rep. Nancy Pelosi and/or her aide, Michael Sheehy) on matters relating to “enhanced interrogation techniques” and/or “harsh interrogation techniques” and suspected and/or known terrorists…
    2. Briefing materials presented to Rep. Nancy Pelosi and/or her aide, Michael Sheehy, relating to “enhanced interrogation techniques” and/or “harsh interrogation techniques” and suspected and/or known terrorists.
    3. Records detailing the names of all Members of Congress (and/or Congressional Aides) briefed on “enhanced interrogation techniques” and/or “harsh interrogation techniques” and suspected and/or known terrorists.
    4. Records and briefing materials from a reported September 4, 2002, briefing of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (and/or her aide Michael Sheehy) concerning waterboarding detainees.
    5. Records detailing all instances when the CIA has provided briefings to Members of Congress under the provisions of the National Security Act from September 11, 2001, to present.

    • emptywheel says:

      CIA’s gonna have a problem with this. First, we know their records are not accurate. So are they going to release their records showing that Bob Graham got two briefings in April 2002 on torture? Were those records entirely fictional, or did some Senator (Shelby, as it happens) or other Congressperson (Goss, who seems to have gotten special briefings on the Iraq war during precisely this time period) get a briefing? Remember that when CIA released its briefing list, it very specifically said there might be more.

      And on that note, are there more? Did CIA hide more briefings that Porter Goss had with Dick Cheney? Will we get to see all the Cheney briefings? Will the O Admin try to shield those?

      Will we get all that appropriations briefings AND NOTES? Because those would be more interesting, in a way, since we know some of these programs were put through on black budgets without being briefed to the intelligence committee members.

    • Mary says:

      That’s pretty interesting stuff. Thanks for the links.

      Some pretty interesting concepts potentially at issue – it will be really interesting to read the filings bc I am very surprised the Judge ordered this info be turned over. If you see this – do you know if Speaker Pelosi’s interests were represented in the filings so far?

      Really interesting stuff – thanks again.

      • JasonLeopold says:

        Hi Mary,
        Today I spoke with some folks in Pelosi’s office and also someone in Feinstein’s office. Pelosi’s camp was unaware of the filing, at least that’s what they said. And it doesn’t appear that their interests are represented. Marcy made some really important points and helped refresh my memory on the whole matter. I’m guessing if anything is released it will only raise more questions and won’t be a smoking gun.

        By the way, during the April 2002 time frame that Marcy references in relation to Graham, the CIA and Cheney also claimed he was briefed on warrantless wiretaps during that same month (and I believe the same date) but, again, Graham’s own datebook shows he wasn’t even in town. I wrote a story on that last year and it just underscores Marcy’s point about the CIA records not being accurate.

        Also, here’s Judicial Watch’s original complaint filed last July if you’re interested

        • JasonLeopold says:

          Oh Mary, forgot my point about mentioning Feinstein. Supposedly, who knew what and when will be addressed in the report her committee will release on torture and whether it resulted in actionable intelligence. Have no idea when that report is supposed to be released though.

        • Mary says:

          Thank you yet again.

          I’m not as fascinated at the prospect of a smoking gun as of the prospect of case law on exec privileges when they begin to share “classified” info with the legislative branch under a legislated duty to disclose (as per the Nat Sec Act)

          That could be some very interesting law that comes out of that I’ll have to see if I can find some time later to go look at it all and see if it is going to be as interesting as it strikes me from what you’ve put up. Maybe it won’t be – or maybe (more likely) I’ll never get around to looking at it – *g*

  11. SaltinWound says:

    If I remember correctly, the love-in between Rahm and Graham began when they were negotiating debate terms for Obama and McCain.

  12. Danno11 says:

    That sound y’all hear is me banging my head on the table.

    Is it just me or do we only litigate things that happened in the past? If not, I plan to sue some people for what they’re going to do to me in the future.

  13. JasonLeopold says:

    The WaPo previews a C-Span interview with Axelrod set to air Sunday in which he addresses Mayer’s New Yorker article and the 9/11 trial. Also…:

    In an interview late Friday, senior adviser David Axelrod did not dispute that a rift had emerged between the White House and the Justice Department over the 9/11 case, which has recently become a political sore spot for the administration.

    Despite a rising tide of opposition to having a trial in Manhattan, which has sent the administration scrambling to find another location, Axelrod said it was not a mistake for Holder to announce the trial would be held there. But Axelrod did not defend it — or portray it in any way as a decision that came from the White House. “The attorney general was responding under the protocol that was developed between the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense for the prosecution of terrorists,” Axelrod said in an interview for C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” series set to air on Sunday.

    Acknowledging White House resistance to the Justice Department decisions, Axelrod continued: “Rahm has a perspective that’s different. He’s the chief of staff. He looks at things from a legislative perspective, he looks at things from other perspectives.”

    And can’t tell if this is from the New Yorker story or something obtained independently:

    Privately, White House officials have expressed increasing frustration with Holder since last year, in large part because of his decision to investigate whether past CIA interrogation techniques were illegal.

    • emptywheel says:

      You know, particularly for stuff like this, it would behoove the WaPo to identify whether this is the “front office” (meaning Rahm and Axe) or whether it is Obama.

      We know Obama fancies himself working by pragmatic means: listen to everyone and make a decision. Presumably, at some point, he made a decision here–perhaps just to give Holder the independence that he as AG must have. In any case, that decision would seem to suggest that WH here means Rahm and Axe, and serves to obscure the question of whether Rahm and Axe are really questioning whether AG ought to have independence–which is where this is going.

      In short, Rahm and Axe are trying to exercise the same kind of influence at DOJ that Rove did, which got Rove in some trouble (though not enough). (In related news, Nora Dannehy did not get the nomination to be CT USA, though she’s been Acting since 2006 and was a leading candidate).

      • Leen says:

        Seperation of Powers, no one is above the law, three branches of our government working independently…yada yada yada. When will they live and act by these great sounding words?

        Rahm’s alleged efforts to keep Howard Dean out of the administration, Rahm’s deal with the Insurance Industry, and now Mayer identifies his role in undermining the Dept of Justice (protecting those who re-wrote torture laws and those who tortured) Who is this guy working for? And why is Obama going along with this?

      • JasonLeopold says:

        Interesting info about Dannehy, Marcy. By the way, I’ve been trying to chase down the rumor that Dannehy recently completed her investigation regarding the US attorney firings. Wonder if Rahm got involved in that one too

    • bmaz says:

      Privately, White House officials have expressed increasing frustration with Holder since last year, in large part because of his decision to investigate whether past CIA interrogation techniques were illegal.

      It should be noted that Holder did NOT decide to “investigate whether past CIA interrogation techniques were illegal”. He ordered a preliminary review, an internal process that is not even remotely close to a formal investigation.

  14. PJEvans says:

    Obama’s “crack” Chief of Staff has willingly ceded the authority of the Attorney General of the United States to one Senator from the opposing party, and that single Senator is pouting because the Attorney General might choose law over Kangaroo Courts.

    That pretty much describes the last year: cede authority to the opposition party, or part of it (and then complain that members of your own party are preventing you from doing anything). It’s a strategy that guarantees you’ll lose every f*cking time.

    I am tempted, since they seem to think that everyone to the left of the Blue Dogs is a socialist, to register as one. And then see what happens to them in the fall.

  15. alinaustex says:

    Rahm is a tool for the corporatist. Rahm is no different then Frank Luntz in the end . I mean look Frank has corporatist clients he creates talking points for that are lies to kill among other progressive agenda items – bank /consumer regulatory reform. Rahm meanwhile cuts some backroom deal with Pharma to co-opt the HRC effort.Rahm and Frank both corporate tools sucklings– with a lip lock on the bloated tits of the Shysters and Gangsters of Wall Street.

    I do hold out hope that Attorney General Holder will in the end do the right things to make us proud -and John Durham will be our go to guy for cleaning up the mess left by bushcheny ( But wait if that was true wouldn’t we already have Dawn Johnsen sworn in at OLC ? )

    When we think of the corporate tool suckling on the tits of the S & G of Wall Street we need to remember “also too’ how much money the Corporations make everyday the Occupation of Irak/Long WAR goes on – part and parcel of that profit are the war crimes Rahm is aided and abetting with his new best buddy Sen Lindsey Graham

    The Democratic Party is goung to be handed its ass in the midterms . Then we will see who is f—cking r– rded then Rahm …

    PS Mayor Bloomberg is a Corporatist too – is that why is the Mayor suddenly get cold feet about the KSM trial ?

  16. tjbs says:

    The difference between Rahm and Mr. Holder ones action doesn’t make him a war criminal and ones action does. Mr. Holder being a trained lawyer should have known before he took the job #1 A lot of rumors and details about torture seeping out. #2 A.G. swears to protect and defend the constitution including the Convention Against Torture #3 Not prosecuting those war crimes ,including the immediate detention of the principles i.e. dick cheney, makes the AG a war criminal. He took the job including this trap.
    This is a huge can of worms of george bush’ making.

    The torture trials would lead to the Iraq war lies which would lead to a second look at 911. But this is by george bush’ hand but the treason of overthrowing our constitution unconstitutionally is his highest crime against the rule of law. There was a legal way to torture and that would have been to go to congress and pass the necessary laws to withdraw from the convention against torture and all the Geneva Conventions and also the Nuremburg protocols. Let there be an open debate about who we are and the principles we should stand for.
    Will this lead to a civil war among politicians ? Damn right.
    Will some stand trail as war criminals? Damn right, by our hand or others.
    The time is past due for the full weight of the law to address the TORTURE / MURDER / TREASON. that has become the operating principles of our country.

  17. BoxTurtle says:

    The Voices are reminding me that Rahm does EXACTLY what Obama wants him to do.

    Obama doesn’t want to prosecute BushCo for ANYTHING. Rahm’s job is to take the blame for that. He needs to be “fired” in time for him to arrive like a White Night to save Obama’s senate seat for the Dems, so things should be heating up on him shortly.

    Boxturtle (Am I the only one who does NOT think Rahm is acting independently?)

    • bobschacht says:

      The Voices are reminding me that Rahm does EXACTLY what Obama wants him to do.

      So, your Voices think that Rahm is a subservient person who does what he is told? That doesn’t fit very well with Rahm’s history or personality as I remember it.

      Sure, he does what Obama tells him to. But, being Rahm means adding his own color to the instructions, and acting independently when he has room to do so.

      Bob in AZ

      • qweryous says:

        “Sure, he does what Obama tells him to. But, being Rahm means adding his own color to the instructions, and acting independently when he has room to do so.”

        Excellent point.

        An important function/dysfunction of staff positions such as occupied by Rahm is filtering information flows in both directions.

        Bureaucratic players and employees known this.

        Those lower or equal on the totem pole must continue to believe that the Chief of Staff (for example) ALWAYS speaks for the big chief. It is not
        good form to question the authority expressed by the chief of staff.

        The only way significant discrepancies are exposed is to have a major blowup with at least one loser exiled.

        Now if the Chief of Staff has his own agenda to advance, the ability to do so is aided by the dynamics of the position held.

        There is little ability to express any doubt, or to request alternate opinion or clarification.

        The president is responsible for the fact that he holds the position.

        The president is not necessarily aware of everything he does.

        The president still trusts him since he has not been removed from his position.

        • Leen says:

          “The president still trusts him since he has not been removed from his position.”

          And this is the bottom line. What this says about Obama.

        • knowbuddhau says:

          Good points, qweryous. And you take ordinary interpersonal power, multiply it by the power of myth, and you get the Bully Pulpit.

          Rule %: The Big Man Upstairs Always Knows Best.

          Rule 0: Life is made of god-forsaken dirt by the Big Man Upstairs. He brought you into this world, he can take you out.

          Rule 1: We’re good/they’re evil.

          Rule 2: Life is a holy war of good v. evil.

          Rule 3: All’s fair in love and war, if and only if you’re doing the work of the Big Man Upstairs, Our Father Who Art In Washington, Whatever Be His Name, His Will Be Done on Earth As It Is In Heaven.

          “Look, The White House really wants this, it’s not wise to stand in the way of the Big Man Upstairs.”

          For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world,” saith Our Great Father in Washington. Oh really? That’s a nice bit of myth-making in service to our de facto state religion. Can I get me a pound of that with a side of fries and a shake? And how ’bout a bottle of holy water from the holy land to wash it down, with a nice holy air space breeze in my hair.

          If the only holy land on earth is located in only one place, what’s that make the rest of us? I think this is the myth with which Rahm is making sense of the world. You’re either on his side, Israel’s side, or in league with the devil and deserving of whatever hell they can make of life for you.

          Besides all that, is John Perkins going to be in a book salon here today?

  18. Jim White says:

    Okay, I’ve just got to share this. My favorite new possession is my new wireless indoor-outdoor thermometer. I can’t believe something this technologically cool is so inexpensive. It gives the outside high and low, inside high and low and the clock talks to the atomic clock radio signal. I put the outside sending unit on the edge of the barn, so now I have a very accurate reading of what the temperature is as I decide when it’s time to put blankets on the horses in the evening or take them off in the morning. I had relied on the WeatherChannel’s desktop icon for local temp in my taskbar, but I find that temperature reading has a timelag.

    With an interest in a weather toy, does that make me geezer or a geek? Maybe a geekzer?

    Edit. Crap. This was supposed to be on “Pull Up a Chair”. More coffee…

      • Jim White says:

        In north Florida. It’s 59.5 F now and the low was 56.0 F. Tonight will be much cooler, so we will put blankets on when the temp is between 50 and 45.

        • BoxTurtle says:

          I’ll work hard on feeling sorry for you.

          Boxturtle (22 degrees and dropping. 4″ snow on the ground, another 2″ in the air)

          • skdadl says:

            I’ll work hard on feeling sorry for you.

            No kidding. We’re -13 C, which is see is 8.6 in Merkin. (I used to know Fahrenheit, but they corrupted me.)

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Neither. Remember, in the old days we’d hang a tube of mercury under the eves wher we could look out a window and read it. It had a magnifying side, so you had to get the angle just right to read it. Using one of those would make you a geezer.

      THIS would make you a geek.

      Boxturtle (Geek enough to think that weather station is really cool)

    • emptywheel says:


      I’ve gotten addicted to my own, too.

      We brought one back from my mom’s house when she moved back in October. THe sensor on it broke, so we replaced it with a new one (and got a new receptor).

      It’s 22.5 here. No horses to blanket, but I do know that’s too warm to need to give McC the MilleniaLab his jacket for today’s walk.

    • PJEvans says:

      It makes you smart.

      (I grew up with a max/min outdoor thermometer and a barometer. My-father-the-engineer liked data. I have his recording barograph/thermograph, but they require ink.)

    • Mary says:

      Even though it landed in the wrong place, I’m glad you put it here (I might not have seen it otherwise) I’ve been getting along by letting the horses get very fuzzy – no clips – and using 1200 denier breathable light weights so I feel like I have a lot of temp extremes covered.

  19. orionATL says:

    Jim white @34

    Why jim,

    Loving neat technology makes you perfectly normal in my book.

    Age is irrelevant.

    I luuuv my wireless weather station.

  20. whitewidow says:

    This just illustrates that it is always and ever politics first, party first, before people or country. They are not leading or governing, just campaigning.

    What’s worse is that Rahm is so dreadfully bad at politics. Every choice he makes, every strategy, has been a failure. (Never stopped him from taking credit anyway, and maybe he defines success differently.)

    That’s why I was horrified when Obama chose him. Rahm’s ideas are bad. It showed that Obama either has bad judgment on politics or is doing the corporations bidding.

    Meanwhile, the Democratic, Constitutional Law Professor President is willing to forfeit the constitution to please Lindsey Fucking Graham.

    Such courage. Such integrity. A true man of principles.

    Is there a position more morally bankrupt than the argument that prosecuting torturers is a distraction?

    What is really sad, is that prosecuting was also the right move politically. I see zero political downside to showing Americans that the Republican party is the party of vicious torturing thugs. I see no drawbacks to having the entire Republican establishment spending all of their time and resources defending themselves, rather than attacking Obama. I see no peril in showing Americans why torture is always wrong.

    I also look forward to the torture and war crimes trials of Democrats when Republicans regain power. Anyone who thinks they wouldn’t go there is probably working for Rahm:)

    end of rant

    Sorry wheelers, I’m kind of pessimistic today. Everything Dems do seems designed to hand the country to the Tea Party. I’m starting to have serious doubts about how long this little experiment in democracy called America can last.

    Maybe we should get the youngsters to join us in a new Socialist Party. We could run against the Tea Party and bill ourselves as the friendlier alternative to revolution.

  21. bmaz says:

    “Didn’t he get the memo that we’re not re-litigating the past?”

    Problem with that Rahm, you fucking retard, is that it was never investigated or litigated to start with.

  22. Sara says:

    Maybe a little O/T — but it is relevant history.

    Staying a little away from the Net in the last week — tis a period for doing books.

    Anyhow, found a reference to an early 1950’s act of Army Torture that might be of interest to some.

    It happened on the E/West German Border near Eisennach during the Berlin Airlife (1948-49) when one of the transport planes suffered mechanical problems over E. Germany and crash landed, with the pilot and co-pilot landing alive but with injury. They were found by an East German Farmer who had previously been a POW during WWII in Nebraska. He appreciated how he had been treated as a POW, and he arranged to hide the American flyers, and move them to Eisennach on the inner-German Border, and then slip them into the American Sector. In the process of slipping across (the border was not as deeply defended in the 40’s as it would be later) they attracted attention of the guards, shooting occurred, but they got across. But in the process the E. German former POW lost his ID papers, and was viewed by the American Guards suspiciously — even though his loss of papers exposed his family to threats from the E. German Police and the Russians.

    For some reason, the US Army interrogators were suspicious of the story, and beat the E. German with a rubber hose quite harshly over a period of a week or so — but then somehow they did check out his story, apologized, and exfiltrated his wife and child to the American Zone (no W. Germany yet.) They classified the whole story as Top Secret, and kept that classification for 45 years, and it was only after Unification that DoD was forced to remove the classification. Apparently that happened when both the former Airlift pilot, and the former POW who assisted his excape, jointly sued DoD after they had jointly found investigative records about the case in E. German Security Files. (the two guys had remained long time friends.)

    Yes, many differences in circumstances. In Law, in 1949, Germany had no government, the Government was OMGUS, (Occupation Military German Government in the US Zone), and whatever the Soviet term was for its zone. The Classification belonged to Army — not to a security service. But it was a “practice” in covering up torture. How common it was to the period, how extensive beating with a rubber hose was to army interrogators? Don’t know without access to more cases. What stands out was the need to sue in the 1990’s to declassify and extract the records. I wonder if there was an Army Interrogation manual in 1949?

  23. mattcarmody says:

    The glaring 800 pound gorilla in the room here is that Rahm Emanuel has the mindset of the Israeli Defense Force. It’s OK to torture people when you don’t accept their existence as humans but only as some form of vermin who infest your personal space and need to be exterminated. It’s OK to not prosecute the exterminators because they’re just following orders.

    As we’ve all come to know, “Never again” only applies to a certain subset of people and most of us aren’t in the club.