Debating Sotomayor, Bush's Record on Torture, and Rising Tensions in North Korea

Bloggers on Sonia Sotomayor, Obama, Bush, North Korea, and journalists who drink too much.

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Our daily look at stories and topics that are lighting up the Internets:

The Sotomayor Debate

Judge Sonia Sotomayor—Obama's nominee for the upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court—is a hot debate topic in the blogosphere. at least one blogger is havingGreg Sargent notes that even RNC chair Michael Steele has come around to telling Republican Sotomayor opponents to back down. And Steele's not the only Republican who concurs. Peggy Noonan describes Sotomayor as "a beautiful doll containing a canister of poison gas: Break her and you die." Thomas Jefferson Street's own Mary Kate Cary agrees. A whole host of bloggers note that many more prominent conservatives are urging a retreat from the harsh attacks on Sotomayor, bloggers like Thomas Jefferson Street's own Bonnie Erbe, for example. Conservative Rich Lowry has some advice for the opposition: "No one is going to believe you represent them if you are nasty or over-personal—another reason why getting the tone of our opposition to Sotomayor's confirmation right is so important." And Nick Baumann has the real scoop on the Sotomayor gamble.

That Last Administration

Yesterday Bush delivered a speech in which (surprise, surprise) he defended himself and his administration's record on harsh interrogation techniques. Here's the bit of his speech that's drawing the strongest reactions, as reported by CNN: "'The first thing you do is ask, what's legal?' he said. 'What do the lawyers say is possible?' I made the decision, within the law, to get information so I can say to myself, 'I've done what it takes to do my duty to protect the American people.' I can tell you that the information we got saved lives.'" Andrew Sullivan reacts forcefully: "The law was not a boundary to be respected; it was a problem to be overcome. And, of course, the torturing had started before the first legal memo was fixed." Liberal Ben Armbruster is peeved that Bush is still prescreening questions: "Even though Bush recently acknowledged that it is 'liberating' to no longer be president, he apparently still feels 'pretty comfortable inside the bubble.'" And Marcia Yerman summarizes this week's "political Thrilla in Manilla" between James Carville and Karl Rove.

North Korea Sticks Its Tongue Out

...At most of the world, in what this brilliant article describes as the detonation of 40 years of GDP. The latest development to come out of North Korea is a new short-range missile test, causing the U.S. and South Korean militaries to raise the alert levels for the peninsula yet again. Conservative Jennifer Rubin thinks the North Korea developments show Obama's naiveté on multiple fronts: "Maybe it's time to reverse decisions to curtail missile defense programs. In other words, respond to the world as we are experiencing it rather than pursuing a fruitless policy of talk, talk, talk with people who don't want to listen." Michael Hirsh argues we should reevaluate our put-down-the-stick-but-keep-the-carrot foreign policy. And Eric Anderson explains China's complicated relationship with North Korea. Highlight: "What does China want from North Korea? In one word, stability."

Meanwhile

Martin Indyk up close and personal on the Middle East... Ralph Nader accuses Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe of offering him money to drop out of the 2004 presidential race... And here's why journalists are drunks (the British ones, anyway).