Ollie North defects!

I saw the credit but didn’t think it was the Oliver North. Yep:

When the producers of the FX series “The Americans,” an espionage thriller set in the early 1980s, began preparing a story line about the government’s covert efforts to help contra rebels in Nicaragua, they wanted to consult with someone well versed in this chapter of recent history.

So they reached out to colleagues within Fox, the parent company of FX, and were soon connected to an expert with unique firsthand knowledge: Oliver North, the former Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and National Security Council aide, and a central figure in the Iran-contra scandal.

Mr. North provided the producers of “The Americans” with so much detail and color for the April 23 episode that he was rewarded with a story credit.

Well, he always had a talent for storytelling.

… Season 2 is pretty awesome btw. I love how the writers keep working out the logical consequences from prior episodes, ratcheting up the tension. Tonight’s episode was really good, but you had to have been watching before to catch all the nuances. Great fun.

What is sophisticated about the book of Job?

Over at Noah Millman’s blog, the book of Job is praised for its sophistication. Really ?

On a dare, God lets Satan ruin and afflict the virtuous Job. Job’s friends tell him he sinned. Job denies it. God tells Job that God is too awesome to answer questions, and blesses him anew (still sucks for the dead kids). The end.

As an answer to the problem of evil, it seems lacking.

Imagine had God told Job the truth about Satan’s dare. Perhaps God’s shame is the sophisticated part?

Your brief, unlike wine, does not improve with age

We had our attention drawn to a Special Docket Calendar for April 30 in the Mississippi Supreme Court. It’s not always good to be special.

The Court is holding a pair of show-cause hearings (orders here and here) for attorneys whose requests for additional time (above and beyond the 60 days allowed by MRAP 27(b)(1)) to file briefs/responses have drawn the Court’s “special” attention. We are uncertain whether these hearings, like oral arguments, will be streamed live, but regardless, best wishes to all involved.

Git ‘er done, appellate lawyers!


Preaching with pistols

Charles I’s attempt to impose a High Church liturgy on Scotland was not well received:

William Annand, a Glasgow minister, who boldly continued with the new service, was all but torn in pieces by a crowd of women, and the Bishop of Brechin, tough and formidable, who glared at his congregation over a pair of loaded pistols while he conducted the service, barely escaped the rabble which lay in wait for him afterwards.

–C.V. Wedgwood, The King’s Peace, at 177-78

… Wedgwood’s eye for detail is superb.

The King now dismissed his cares temporarily from his mind and went to Newmarket for a hunting holiday. He was displeased to find other people’s dogs trespassing on his preserves, but an order for the destruction of all greyhounds or mongrels within ten miles of his Court set matters to rights.

Id. at 196. What MS did she find that in and make a note from?

CIA torture architect thinks global warming is fake

Okay, George Herbert was supposed to be my “Happy Easter” post, but on the observance of Jesus’s crucifixion, the Guardian brings us a rare interview with James Mitchell, the yahoo who reverse-engineered SERE into a torture program.

“The narrative that’s out there is, I walked up to the gate of the CIA, knocked on the door and said: ‘Let me in, I want to torture people, and I can show you how to do it.’ Or someone put out an ad on Craigslist that said, ‘Wanted: psychologist who is willing to design torture program.’ It’s a lot more complicated than that,” Mitchell told the Guardian in his first public comments since he was linked to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program seven years ago.

I’m just a guy who got asked to do something for his country by people at the highest level of government, and I did the best that I could.”

Not quite how it got started, anyway, according to Jane Mayer:

 a CIA officer who could not be identified, whom a colleague at the Agency described as “a nobody–a pocket-protector-wearing Joe Molecule” who was “in charge of the shrinks on the science side,” turned to the former SERE school psychologists. Having retired from the military and been sidelined from the war on terror, Mitchell and Jessen were eager to get involved. “Mike knew these guys,” the source working with the intelligence community recounted,” and when his colleagues were wimps, he said they would fit the bill.”

But given the puzzlement over how Mitchell could believe torture was an effective tool for uncovering evidence–

Steven Kleinman, an air force colonel who participated in interrogations in Iraq and who is credited with blowing the whistle on abuses taking place there, told the Guardian he did not understand how Mitchell could still believe torture methods that generated false confessions could also produce “reliable, accurate and timely intelligence”.

“Why would anybody think that a model that would produce those outcomes would also be effective in producing the opposite?” Kleinman said.

–this bit indicates something about Mitchell’s talent for evaluating evidence:

He also criticized Obama’s healthcare policy – a “shit sandwich” – and his administration’s approach to global warming. Mitchell believes it’s a myth.

Look, give Mitchell a couple of weeks with Michael Mann, and I’m sure the truth will come out.