Showing posts with label United Nations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label United Nations. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

India's Mr. Hanky apocalypse

NSFW. But your boss will understand, once he or she stops laughing.

Does a bear s*** in the woods?

No, if he's in India, he takes a big, fat dump on the street . . . and on the sidewalk . . . and in the gutter . . . and on the lawn, just like everyone else.

On one hand, this UNICEF video is screamingly hilarious. On the other hand, what can one say about a place where people have to be cajoled into not dropping trou and letting loose  . . . wherever. Oh, well.

Typhoid happens.

Especially in places where folks haven't figured out what even the ancients knew to some extent. (Toilets, even running-water toilets, go waaaaaaaay back.) From the Wall Street Journal story:
Mr. Poo stars in a techno-infused animated music video, “Poo Party.” He is also featured in a smartphone app, released last month, that encourages users to register human feces sightings, which are then overlaid on maps of Indian cities.

It is a calculated risk for the United Nations Children’s Fund, known for its more-earnest appeals. Joking about something so taboo— and, for many, a source of national embarrassment—could backfire.

Though the campaign has been widely praised on social media, some activists have said “Poo Party” doesn’t take its subject seriously enough. Pratima Joshi, executive director of Shelter Associates, a nonprofit that assists India’s urban poor, said it is simplistic and “demeans the poor.”

The video, posted on YouTube, is awfully funny.

In it, a goateed man wakes to find a menacing Mr. Poo waiting for him outside. He shuts his door, only to find Mr. Poo at his window, oversized, winking and jeering.

The accompanying song begins: “First thing in the morning, what do I see? A pile of s— staring at me.” After a dance-and-chase scene, the townspeople band together to build a giant, multicolored toilet and lure the poo inside. The toilet is flushed, to many cheers, and Mr. Poo is gone.

The campaign targets younger, urban, tech-savvy Indians who don’t relieve themselves outside but who don’t speak out against the practice. It exhorts Indians to sign a pledge denouncing what is known technically as “open defecation.”

Some 620 million people across India defecate outside, the largest number world-wide. About 70% of rural Indians don’t use toilets, and 28 million children have no toilet facilities in school, according to Unicef. It is common practice for India’s mothers to dispose of their children’s waste in the open.

Open defecation is a serious public-health problem. It can expose people to diseases such as polio, giardiasis, hepatitis A and infectious diarrhea. In 2012, nearly a quarter of all young children who died of diarrhea world-wide were Indian. Constant exposure to fecal germs can also lead to stunted growth, a condition afflicting some 61 million Indian children.

India has made progress: The percentage of Indians using toilets has increased substantially since 1990, when 75% of the population defecated in the open.

Sue Coates, head of Unicef's water, sanitation and hygiene program in India, attributes the lag to India's population growth, which continues to outpace the building of new toilets. Then there's mismanagement and corruption. The latest national census showed that more than 50 million toilets were "missing"—appearing on state expenditure reports but not found in homes.

In addition, Ms. Coates said, India focused more on building toilets in people's homes than on encouraging people to use them. Access to toilets is crucial, she said, but equally important is undermining cultural preferences for defecating outside, an area in which Bangladesh has been particularly successful.

In rural areas, defecating outside has been the natural choice for centuries, said Vijayaraghavan Chariar, a sanitation expert at Delhi's Indian Institute of Technology. "There's a reason it's known as 'nature's call,' " he said. "Some feel suffocated by toilets, and don't see a connection between open defecation and poor health."
NO, WE MUST NOT demean the poor. It is far better to let them die stinky deaths instead.

And no, we must not be "suffocated" by bathrooms. It is far better to be suffocated by the stench when you walk out the front door.

I know, I know . . . people are dumb all over. People are ignorant all over. Sanitary waste disposal can be problematic all over. I get that. I've even seen that during the course of my Louisiana upbringing, where it wasn't uncommon, in the wilds of Livingston Parish, for one's poo to go straight from the loo into the river.

And, yes, I have used outhouses. More than once. And a "slop jar" (lots more than once) which we emptied, being that "camp" didn't have running water then, into a weed patch across the road where you only went to empty the slop jar. No, it wasn't a great public-health setup, but it wasn't a bunch of human turds lying all around the shack, either.

But at least there were outhouses and toilets (and chamber pots) -- even if you didn't want to play in a certain weed patch or go swimming in the river, and not because of the risk of water moccasins or alligators. Because even in the wilds of Livingston Parish, squatting in the yard and doing what came natural was a big faux pas. Especially if you just left it there.

Like I said, it ain't brain surgery. And God knows, back then you didn't find a lot of brain surgeons in Livingston Parish.

POO. LOO. Learn it, Love it. Live it.

And if that takes SWPL-hilarious videos that run the risk of "demeaning" the poor, so be it.

HAT TIP: Rod Dreher.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blame the TV Lady

Would you like to know why, in New Orleans, this poor woman is screwed?

Why no one is going to listen to the people advocating for the right of all poor people to have decent housing?

Why, no matter how plain the moral scandal -- no matter how many vulnerable people die squatting in fetid Crescent City heaps for lack of affordable housing -- no one will care, and they will feel morally justified in not caring?

Two words: Sharon Jasper.

THIS IS HER. Sharon Jasper, a.k.a., "the TV Lady."

The woman whose Section 8 housing is nicer than my house, but not good enough for her to refrain from decrying it as a "slum house" almost two years ago.

The woman who can't afford to pay full rent
but who can afford to have a 60-inch television.

The woman who spent her time protesting the demolition of rundown, crime-ridden public-housing slums so the city could replace them with mixed-income developments, designed to provide better housing while breaking up concentrations of poverty and violent crime.

The woman who, with a cadre of angry local and out-of-town "activists," spent her time protesting, yelling "Shut up, white boy!" during city council meetings and getting arrested for allegedly bopping a cop.

All this despite local housing officials' assurances there were more than enough subsidized-housing units for residents who would be displaced.

In a New Orleans Times-Picayune story this week, the head of a group that assists the homeless said hers is a race against death in some cases:

UNITY head Martha Kegel explained that the homeless people they met were placed on a waiting list and given priority according to how likely they were to die without housing. Quite a few already had died waiting for housing, she said.

"Is there a quick way to house people so that they're not dying on a list?" Farha asked. "What is the policy answer to address the immediate need?"
WELL, one policy answer might have been for local activist groups to not to jump on board the Sharon Jasper Express, which went full-steam for the right to live not in decent housing, but instead in a hellhole named Desire . . . or St. Bernard . . . or Lafitte. That is, before it jumped the tracks.

At top, Grace Bailey sits in her squat, as captured by Times-Picayune photographer John McCusker. In 2007, Sharon Jasper thought her nice Section 8 apartment with the 60-inch TV was a "slum house." I'll bet Bailey wouldn't mind trading up to Jasper's "slum" abode.

But she won't get to trade up to a house where she doesn't fall through the floor and where the mosquitoes don't swarm her as she sleeps. Justice -- and housing -- for the poor has been thoroughly discredited by many of those claiming to be their advocates.

Nowadays, the greedy and the callous in New Orleans can blow off "the least of these," and their cause, with three little words.

"The TV Lady."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Katrina, poverty and America's Big Lie

What's the difference between the United States and a lot of banana republics where the rich get richer and the meek inherit not the land, but troubles and sorrows instead?

Pretension and self-delusion. Most banana republics, I would wager, have no real illusions about who -- and what -- they are.

America, on the other hand, has a grand national myth to uphold. Liberty and justice for all . . . Horatio Alger . . . rags to riches . . . the glory of the free market, and all the rest of that convenient rot allowing our hearts and our consciences to remain relatively unmolested.

AND TO THOSE Americans who hold fast to our national delusions -- to those who believe the Big Lie for the sake of an untroubled life of relative ease and conspicuous consumption -- I say let them come to New Orleans.

Or, at a minimum,
read this story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Mickey Palmer, who traveled the world for 20 years as a merchant seaman shipping out of the Port of New Orleans, welcomed international visitors on Monday morning to his home, an abandoned building scattered with Katrina-era debris.

As a cool wind blew through a large open window, Palmer, 57, puffed on a cigarette and tried to stay positive.

"This is a good place to squat, as we call it, " he told international housing expert Leilani Farha, who led a small entourage to New Orleans this week to interview people who have lost affordable housing and others who may lose their homes.

Farha, who leads a low-income-housing advocacy group in Ontario, Canada, is part of an advisory group that reports to UN-HABITAT, the United Nations agency charged with monitoring poverty and housing. The group spent Monday morning with outreach workers from UNITY of Greater New Orleans who tromp through blighted buildings searching for disabled people who need help. The group will publish a report online after their visit.

Representatives of the United Nations have shown special interest in New Orleans since Katrina, with some U.N. officials using the storm as an opportunity to critique the U.S. government's policies toward poor and minority groups.

The group's forays haven't been without controversy. Last year, two U.N. specialists attracted international attention when they said the federal government's response violated an international treaty on racism. But the authors of the resolution also acknowledged they hadn't visited New Orleans since the storm.

On Monday, UNITY officials told the latest U.N. visitors that they believe 6,000 squatters may live in the city's more than 65,000 abandoned structures.


In a nearby decrepit house, two other homeless women cited similar medical woes. Peaches Jackson, 42, suffers seizures because she lost 20 percent of her brain in an accident 10 years ago, she said. Charlene Stewart, 35, is scheduled for abdominal surgery next week for a bacterial infection.

Bailey walked back to the room she sleeps in. She keeps the window there closed at night or else mosquitoes devour her, she said. When it rains, the roof leaks generously onto the rotting floorboards.

She didn't always live like this, she said quietly, talking about her work in the service industry and the low rent she'd paid nearly all her adult life.
TO THE EXTENT the average citizen can look at this and spout platitudes about free markets, bootstraps and "U.N. socialists out to get the United States," God will -- and should -- damn America. That human beings live like this in the richest country on earth -- live much as the biblical Lazarus did right under the nose of the rich man, begging for crumbs off a table of plenty -- should be as much a scandal to us as it was to Jesus Christ two millennia ago.
"There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.'
Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.'
He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.'
But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.'
He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'"
IN THE WORST economic times since the Great Depression, there has been much talk about "stimulus packages."

The bottom line is that people need work. People need decent places to live. People need dignity and a sense of their basic worth. That's the "stimulus" we need.

President Obama, I have a "stimulus" package for you. The trial for this new stimulus program can be conducted in New Orleans, where many American citizens are living in Third World conditions in the wake of Katrina. (In fact, many were living in Third World conditions before Katrina.)

HERE'S THE STIMULUS: Put New Orleanians to work providing decent housing to people like the ones being surveyed by the United Nations. That such a survey is necessary is a national scandal -- but that's not important now.

What's important is eliminating the scandalous conditions.

And I don't see how it should take that much effort to make this project "shovel ready" -- or "saw and hammer ready," to be precise.

Take stimulus funds, hire unemployed and underemployed tradesmen and women -- hell, train "unskilled" workers for the job -- and salvage the abandoned housing stock in New Orleans. Turn it into livable residences for low-income people.

IT HAS BEEN four years since Katrina (and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) laid waste to New Orleans. If properties have not been razed or rehabilitated by now, it probably is safe to assume they won't be. At least not by the owner. Those property owners should be given 30 days to reclaim -- and remediate -- their property or forfeit it to the city.

If there are "legal impediments" to that, change the law. Property rights are important, but they are neither inviolable nor limitless.

Houses that can be saved should be. Those that can't should be torn down and replaced with "Katrina cottages" or new "green" construction. Most of the housing should be owned and administered by the Housing Authority of New Orleans as "scattered site" housing.

Some, say a quarter or a third, should be turned over to Habitat for Humanity and made available for purchase by eligible families.

DAMN IT, this is America. We don't "do" the Sudan -- or Haiti . . . or Somalia -- here. That's the party line.

It would be nice if that weren't just another damned lie in a world clogged with too many damned lies.

We say we are a great nation. But our collective inaction is that of small men and women.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Iran's stopped clock has right time

You know you are really and truly screwed when clowns like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad start to make a lot of sense when he's upbraiding your country.

this Associated Press account of Doctor Whack's address to the United Nations General Assembly and know the United States is well and truly up a fragrant creek. Without a paddle. In a leaky rowboat:

Iran's president addressed the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday declaring that "the American empire" is nearing collapse and should end its military involvement in other countries.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said terrorism is spreading quickly in Afghanistan while "the occupiers" are still in Iraq nearly six years after Saddam Hussein was ousted from power in Iraq.

"American empire in the world is reaching the end of its road, and its next rulers must limit their interference to their own borders," Ahmadinejad said.

He accused the U.S. of starting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to win votes in elections and blamed a "few bullying powers" for trying to undermine Iran's nuclear program.
ANYBODY WANT to look at the headlines and argue where, exactly, Iran's stopped clock hasn't indicated the correct -- and late -- time of day in Empire America?

Friday, October 05, 2007

When we let our kids' schools deteriorate
into dumps, is it a human-rights violation?

Let's ask the United Nations Human Rights Council . . .

Treaties and Human Rights Council Branch
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Friday, Oct. 5, 2007

To Whom It May Concern:

I realize this may be something of a stretch -- all right, a big stretch -- but I was wondering whether the deplorable condition of many U.S. public schools, particularly in the context of the United States being the richest nation on Earth, might constitute violations, at least in principle, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. I was thinking, particularly, of Articles 24 and 26:

Article 24

1. Every child shall have, without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, property or birth, the right to such measures of protection as are required by his status as a minor, on the part of his family, society and the State.

Article 26

All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Attached are photographs I took last week at my old high school, Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Magnet High School, from which I graduated in 1979. What I found there would seem to indicate that the school, which was not in that condition when I attended there, has been allowed to deteriorate into a state of abject ruin by the East Baton Rouge Parish (county) School Board. It would appear there has been no meaningful maintenance on the building in the 28 years since my graduation, and that the copious amounts of peeling lead-based paint, crumbling terra cotta and plaster, pothole-sized craters in the gymnasium floor, rusted-over metal surfaces and gym lockers, as well as fetid, deteriorating restrooms pose a clear and present threat to the health and well-being of students who spend eight-plus hours a day there.

Furthermore, I've been informed that Baton Rouge Magnet High School is far from the only East Baton Rouge Parish school in that condition, just a particularly egregious example. One could find many schools across the American South -- and in many Northern urban centers -- in similar condition. Again, this in the context of the richest country on Earth.

I also note that -- while many Baton Rouge schools were in relatively poor condition when I matriculated some three decades ago -- Baton Rouge High's deterioration seems to have coincided with the school system's transition from 65-percent (or so) Caucasian to roughly 80-percent African American in racial makeup.
To my mind, this reflects the abject failure of school-system governors, as well as the local electorate and political and civic leadership, to provide clean, safe and adequate educational facilities for all the community's children, regardless of race, class or socio-economic status. Could not this be interpreted as a clear violation of Articles 24 and 26 of the Covenant? After all, parents with the income and inclination are able to shield their children from fetid educational facilities; the poor and working-class, largely, are not.

Is not a proper education in clean, safe, reasonably maintained facilities -- according to the standards and means of their particular country and region -- a basic human right? And is it proper for parents to expect they must pay a surcharge in private-school tuition to obtain what world governments are charged to provide as a basic service to their citizens?

These are the questions I have, and I eagerly await guidance in this matter.


The Mighty Favog

cc: Charlotte Placide
East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools

War criminals by any standard

Perhaps it's time to start referring to the Republican Party as The Party, as in Nazi party . . . or Communist party . . . or Party apparatchik . . . or Party functionary . . . or Party orthodoxy.

You know, Party purge, Party power struggle and Party members.

As this New York Times report damningly reveals, there's not so much difference anymore between our Party chief in America and previous Party chiefs who constitute ugly stains on human history, particularly in the bloody 20th century. In fact some infamous Party types got themselves hung, shot or thrown in Allied prisons for life for the self-same things our Supreme Leader, Party chief George W. Bush and his vice premier, Dick Cheney, are most assuredly guilty of.

Here's what the Times reported Thursday:

When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.

But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.

Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.

Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret opinion, one most lawmakers did not know existed, current and former officials said. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard.

The classified opinions, never previously disclosed, are a hidden legacy of President Bush’s second term and Mr. Gonzales’s tenure at the Justice Department, where he moved quickly to align it with the White House after a 2004 rebellion by staff lawyers that had thrown policies on surveillance and detention into turmoil.

Congress and the Supreme Court have intervened repeatedly in the last two years to impose limits on interrogations, and the administration has responded as a policy matter by dropping the most extreme techniques. But the 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums, officials said. They show how the White House has succeeded in preserving the broadest possible legal latitude for harsh tactics.

A White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, said Wednesday that he would not comment on any legal opinion related to interrogations. Mr. Fratto added, “We have gone to great lengths, including statutory efforts and the recent executive order, to make it clear that the intelligence community and our practices fall within U.S. law” and international agreements.

More than two dozen current and former officials involved in counterterrorism were interviewed over the past three months about the opinions and the deliberations on interrogation policy. Most officials would speak only on the condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the documents and the C.I.A. detention operations they govern.

When he stepped down as attorney general in September after widespread criticism of the firing of federal prosecutors and withering attacks on his credibility, Mr. Gonzales talked proudly in a farewell speech of how his department was “a place of inspiration” that had balanced the necessary flexibility to conduct the war on terrorism with the need to uphold the law.

Associates at the Justice Department said Mr. Gonzales seldom resisted pressure from Vice President Dick Cheney and David S. Addington, Mr. Cheney’s counsel, to endorse policies that they saw as effective in safeguarding Americans, even though the practices brought the condemnation of other governments, human rights groups and Democrats in Congress. Critics say Mr. Gonzales turned his agency into an arm of the Bush White House, undermining the department’s independence.
The interrogation opinions were signed by Steven G. Bradbury, who since 2005 has headed the elite Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department. He has become a frequent public defender of the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program and detention policies at Congressional hearings and press briefings, a role that some legal scholars say is at odds with the office’s tradition of avoiding political advocacy.

Mr. Bradbury defended the work of his office as the government’s most authoritative interpreter of the law. “In my experience, the White House has not told me how an opinion should come out,” he said in an interview. “The White House has accepted and respected our opinions, even when they didn’t like the advice being given.”

The debate over how terrorist suspects should be held and questioned began shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when the Bush administration adopted secret detention and coercive interrogation, both practices the United States had previously denounced when used by other countries. It adopted the new measures without public debate or Congressional vote, choosing to rely instead on the confidential legal advice of a handful of appointees.

The policies set off bruising internal battles, pitting administration moderates against hard-liners, military lawyers against Pentagon chiefs and, most surprising, a handful of conservative lawyers at the Justice Department against the White House in the stunning mutiny of 2004. But under Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Bradbury, the Justice Department was wrenched back into line with the White House.

After the Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the Geneva Conventions applied to prisoners who belonged to Al Qaeda, President Bush for the first time acknowledged the C.I.A.’s secret jails and ordered their inmates moved to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The C.I.A. halted its use of waterboarding, or pouring water over a bound prisoner’s cloth-covered face to induce fear of suffocation.

But in July, after a monthlong debate inside the administration, President Bush signed a new executive order authorizing the use of what the administration calls “enhanced” interrogation techniques — the details remain secret — and officials say the C.I.A. again is holding prisoners in “black sites” overseas. The executive order was reviewed and approved by Mr. Bradbury and the Office of Legal Counsel.

Douglas W. Kmiec, who headed that office under President Ronald Reagan and the first President George Bush and wrote a book about it, said he believed the intense pressures of the campaign against terrorism have warped the office’s proper role.

“The office was designed to insulate against any need to be an advocate,” said Mr. Kmiec, now a conservative scholar at Pepperdine University law school. But at times in recent years, Mr. Kmiec said, the office, headed by William H. Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia before they served on the Supreme Court, “lost its ability to say no.”


Never in history had the United States authorized such tactics. While President Bush and C.I.A. officials would later insist that the harsh measures produced crucial intelligence, many veteran interrogators, psychologists and other experts say that less coercive methods are equally or more effective.

With virtually no experience in interrogations, the C.I.A. had constructed its program in a few harried months by consulting Egyptian and Saudi intelligence officials and copying Soviet interrogation methods long used in training American servicemen to withstand capture. The agency officers questioning prisoners constantly sought advice from lawyers thousands of miles away.

“We were getting asked about combinations — ‘Can we do this and this at the same time?’” recalled Paul C. Kelbaugh, a veteran intelligence lawyer who was deputy legal counsel at the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorist Center from 2001 to 2003.

Interrogators were worried that even approved techniques had such a painful, multiplying effect when combined that they might cross the legal line, Mr. Kelbaugh said. He recalled agency officers asking: “These approved techniques, say, withholding food, and 50-degree temperature — can they be combined?” Or “Do I have to do the less extreme before the more extreme?”


Mr. Bradbury soon emerged as the presumed favorite. But White House officials, still smarting from Mr. Goldsmith’s rebuffs, chose to delay his nomination. Harriet E. Miers, the new White House counsel, “decided to watch Bradbury for a month or two. He was sort of on trial,” one Justice Department official recalled.

Mr. Bradbury’s biography had a Horatio Alger element that appealed to a succession of bosses, including Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court and Mr. Gonzales, the son of poor immigrants. Mr. Bradbury’s father had died when he was an infant, and his mother took in laundry to support her children. The first in his family to go to college, he attended Stanford and the University of Michigan Law School. He joined the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, where he came under the tutelage of Kenneth W. Starr, the Whitewater independent prosecutor.

Mr. Bradbury belonged to the same circle as his predecessors: young, conservative lawyers with sterling credentials, often with clerkships for prominent conservative judges and ties to the Federalist Society, a powerhouse of the legal right. Mr. Yoo, in fact, had proposed his old friend Mr. Goldsmith for the Office of Legal Counsel job; Mr. Goldsmith had hired Mr. Bradbury as his top deputy.

“We all grew up together,” said Viet D. Dinh, an assistant attorney general from 2001 to 2003 and very much a member of the club. “You start with a small universe of Supreme Court clerks, and you narrow it down from there.”

But what might have been subtle differences in quieter times now cleaved them into warring camps.

Justice Department colleagues say Mr. Gonzales was soon meeting frequently with Mr. Bradbury on national security issues, a White House priority. Admirers describe Mr. Bradbury as low-key but highly skilled, a conciliator who brought from 10 years of corporate practice a more pragmatic approach to the job than Mr. Yoo and Mr. Goldsmith, both from the academic world.

“As a practicing lawyer, you know how to address real problems,” said Noel J. Francisco, who worked at the Justice Department from 2003 to 2005. “At O.L.C., you’re not writing law review articles and you’re not theorizing. You’re giving a client practical advice on a real problem.”

As he had at the White House, Mr. Gonzales usually said little in meetings with other officials, often deferring to the hard-driving Mr. Addington. Mr. Bradbury also often appeared in accord with the vice president’s lawyer.

Mr. Bradbury appeared to be “fundamentally sympathetic to what the White House and the C.I.A. wanted to do,” recalled Philip Zelikow, a former top State Department official. At interagency meetings on detention and interrogation, Mr. Addington was at times “vituperative,” said Mr. Zelikow, but Mr. Bradbury, while taking similar positions, was “professional and collegial.”

While waiting to learn whether he would be nominated to head the Office of Legal Counsel, Mr. Bradbury was in an awkward position, knowing that a decision contrary to White House wishes could kill his chances.

Charles J. Cooper, who headed the Office of Legal Counsel under President Reagan, said he was “very troubled” at the notion of a probationary period.

“If the purpose of the delay was a tryout, I think they should have avoided it,” Mr. Cooper said. “You’re implying that the acting official is molding his or her legal analysis to win the job.”

WHAT WILL BE BUSH'S FATE, and that of his Party underlings? And what fate awaits we who voted him into power and tolerated his soiling of our most sacred principles as Christians, Jews, humanists and Americans . . . not to mention a political opposition who refused to oppose when conscience demanded resolute opposition?

This is going to get ugly. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.