Friday, 2 November 2007

A Big Day

Next Tuesday, 6th November, is expected to be a big day for news stories.

In the UK the Queen will open the new session of parliament.

It will be election day in the US - though fewer posts are up [Congressional Elections are every 2 years, in the even numbered year]. Virginia though has elections for its General Assembly.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a Nov. 6 vote on the nomination of Michael Mukasey, a former federal judge from New York, to succeed Alberto R. Gonzales as attorney general. This was expected to be straightforward - but after his appearance before the Committee many Democrats were very concerned. As Sidney Blumenthal described it:-

"Then Mukasey was questioned about whether waterboarding -- a technique of forced drowning first used in the Spanish Inquisition and by orders of the Bush administration applied to accused terrorist detainees -- is torture. At great length, the nominee feigned lack of knowledge: "I think it would be irresponsible of me to discuss particular techniques with which I am not familiar when there are people who are using coercive techniques and who are being authorized to use coercive techniques. And for me to say something that is going to put their careers or freedom at risk simply because I want to be congenial, I don't think it would be responsible of me to do that." Questioned further, he said, "If it amounts to torture, it is not constitutional." But he would not say whether it was torture."