* The New York Times has an article up about a preliminary government report about the $25 billion dollar reconstruction effort in Iraq. Basically says that this project has not been run well. Read it for yourself.
* When I first started reading blogs in the summer of 2003 as an intern at the Nuclear Policy Research Institute, a contributor to Eric Alterman's Altercation blog stood out to me as a truly unique and powerful voice. Charles Pierce seemed like a modern day Hunter S. Thompson, but one who hadn't lost his relevancy to contemporary times and the annals of old age hippiedom. Pierce was a particularly comforting voice to rally my spirit during the build up to and fall out from the 2004 election. But then he disappeared from the pages of Altercation, only to be seen by me through the occassional odd link on random blogs. Here's the Esquire piece mentioned in the Marquette article. You can find Pierce's election day piece and his goodbye from Altercationhere. And no, I don't like him just because he lives in Newton, though it is strange to like someone who lives there and isn't family.
* Is it just me or does Josh Marshall do the best job in Blogland of turning his readership into accomplice journalists? Alas, I can't apply for an internship as I live in Upstate (or central as some folks prefer) rather than Metropolitan New York. But he has others working with him. And they produce the Daily Muck.
* Kevin Drum has a good post about how minor technical changes in law that occur without much oversight can prove mighty lucrative for special interests. He particularly points to an article in the Washington Post about an under the cover of night GOP change that netted the insurance industry $22 billion in savings over the next decade.
* "Hundreds of CIA-chartered flights have passed through numerous European countries. It is highly unlikely that European governments, or at least their intelligence services, were unaware." Council of Europe report points towards widespread complicity in U.S."outsourcing" of torture abroad. According to the article, secret detention centers would violate European human rights treaties.
* I haven't been too taken thus far with the new main page bloggers over at Daily Kos, but this post by georgia10 does a great job of tying together a lot of the recent developments surrounding the NSA's warrantless surveillance program that have come out of the administration's PR campaign in defense of that program.
* Rick Santorum's call to the Yellow Elephants: "What I'm asking all of you tonight is not to put on a uniform. Put on a bumper sticker. Is it that much to ask? Is it that much to ask to step up and serve your country?" Here's the video. It's hard to tell the exact context from this clip, but it definitely does seem like he is suggesting that supporting Rick Santorum shows an analogous level of sacrifice and patriotism to volunteering to potentially die in armed conflict in the name of the United States. (via Crooks and Liars
* Bush doesn't look too comfortable being asked to comment on Brokeback Mountain
* As I've been learning in the past few weeks, it's always nice to find out what Digby's got on his mind. His page is worth a bookmark.