Bloggers weigh in on House Democrats' decision to subpoena Karl Rove and Harriet Miers about the fired federal prosecutors. They also wonder about the origins of human morality and grumble about MySpace's war on "widgets."
Blitz klieg: In what conservatives have described as a "fishing expedition," a House subcommittee voted to subpoena Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, and others in the White House regarding the eight fired U.S. attorneys. President Bush said he'd push for executive privilege to keep his officials out from under a partisan panel's "klieg lights."
Righty Allahpundit at Hot Air writes: "I think the left wins here just by forcing Bush to take it to court. It makes him look like he's covering up even if he isn't, and it gives them an opportunity to brandish those Nixon comparisons they like so much. If they win, great for them — they finally get to ask Rove under oath whether he orchestrated 9/11 or whatever. If they lose, they get to demagogue 'the same right-wing Supreme Court that cost us the election in 2000' etc while speculating about what the president has to hide. It's a political windfall either way, which is why Reid and Pelosi are milking it with both hands and at least one major newspaper is already deep in the tank."
Liberal Steve Soto at The Left Coaster writes: "For the White House to win the current battle, the Supreme Court would have to be willing to extend executive privilege beyond what former Chief Justice Warren Burger said was the most defensible: to 'protect military, diplomatic or national security secrets.' In this case, none of those apply, and it further harms the administration's case that it has selectively already released thousands of documents on the matter, except those from the White House itself."
"Mr. Grey Ghost," the black conservative Democrat at Politik Ditto, says that because House Democrats "have no chance of impeaching the President or getting Cheney to resign, they will do anything and I mean anything to get the head of the man who orchestrated an election they still feel was 'stolen' from them. Rove is the man they want, still 3rd on their hate list and they'll go after him every day until Bush leaves office."
Lefty Joseph Hughes at TPM Café sees treachery in a White House that doesn't use e-mail, which, according to the Presidential Records Act, is automatically archived for posterity: "It doesn't take much of an imagination to see how an orchestrated refusal among top administration officials to use e-mail for even basic communications could be construed as an intent to impede Congress from getting information."
Read more about the Rove and Miers subpoenas.
Love of the Jungle: A new scientific study conducted by primatologist Frans de Waal suggests that chimpanzees and great apes exhibit sympathy, the social-behavioral seedbed for morality. This has thrown a monkey wrench into the long-held belief that human morality is the result of reason, not emotion.
Mahanoy at liberal religion blog Street Prophets doesn't think sociobiology will usurp the tasks of theology and philosophy: "But it is the priority of any good philosopher or theologian to learn from other disciplines, even - and perhaps especially - evolutionary biology. Philosophy and theology should not confine themselves to a self-constructed intellectual ghetto, ignoring the good and important work being done in other fields."
At Frontal Cortex, Seed magazine's Jonah Lehrer used the New York Times article to riff on the unnaturalness of war – until he read the post's comments and changed his mind: "Look, people and primates do evil things all the time. We are entirely capable of voiding our moral instincts, rationalizing away our evil acts. That goes without saying. My point was simply that this very basic primate morality…is built into the brain. It takes extra cognitive work to excuse our moral failings because it is our failings that make us feel bad." (It's kind of hard to follow since it's a long post and a little off topic. Anyone else?)
The Agnostic Atheism blogger is glad of the de Waal finding that roots morality in evolution, not religion: "I think it's interesting that the Bible shows a God who committed acts we would consider very immoral such as killing babies, promoting slavery, and a host of other atrocities. …Yet, we should look to this book to define morality."
Read more about de Waal's primate conclusions.
WhoseSpace? MySpace is under fire for removing "widgets, or third-party software, from its users' Web pages. One user cited by the New York Times is miffed because she had to take down a widget that helped promote her album.
Whoever covers social networking at Emerging Earth argues that MySpace's parent company, Fox, works against itself by prohibiting third-party software on MySpace pages: "Despite the annoying autoplay audio widgets users often posted, the ability to easily pimp profiles with widgets allowed people to truly make MySpace 'my' space. Fox has clearly lost sight of its acquisition's original competitive advantage."
Want alternatives for broadcasting a breakup 30 seconds after the fact? Kelsey Ruger at The Moleskin likes a new social-edia site called Virb: "On the surface Virb is similar to Myspace with the ability to edit your profile, manage friends/groups and customize the look of your profile page. When you look at the sites however the difference is striking. Even in its current somewhat incomplete state Virb is light years ahead of MySpace in terms of usability, interface, features and customization ability."
Read more about MySpace's troubles with its clientele.