Regarding the Retch Plan, Zap and Retch had a talk and Zap told Retch that under no circumstances was this so-called plan going anywhere. The Catalan nationalist parties are being dickheads about the whole thing. The PP and the Socialists are forming a united front against any exalted Basquetballs who actually think this thing is going anywhere. The Republican Left has threatened to pull its support from the Tripartit (SocioCommunistCataloonies), which would leave the central government in Madrid, the regional government in Catalonia, and the city council of Barcelona in shambles; probably if they actually pulled out new elections would eventually have to be called. Maragall has actually been somewhat responsible and said through a whole bunch of Maragallian typical argle-bargle about the role of the city in articulating the organic structure of something or another that he thought the Retch Plan was bogus and that wasn't anything he was going to go along with.
In Franco Aleman's comments section over at Barcepundit somebody posted the complete text of the Economist's story on this whole flapdoodle, so go check it out.
A big deal is being made over the so-called "torture memo" over here. I don't see what the big deal is, personally. Seems to me that what Alberto Gonzales did was give a legal opinion on what constitutes torture and what doesn't, and that we can't do stuff that constitutes torture. As for rough interrogation techniques, I'd follow the general guideline that if you wouldn't do it to your own soldiers as part of training or to suspected criminals of your own nationality, you can't do it to the enemy even if they are scumball dirtbags who we could perfectly well take out and shoot under international law as unlawful bearers of arms. This means that sleep deprivation and listening to "Enter Sandman" over and over and scaring the crap out of them is legit if done for a good reason, like trying to get necessary information about terrorist activities. It would of course not be legit if done just for fun.
Maybe not enough of a big deal is being made about the Abu Ghraib trials. I think it's become clear that the Abu Ghraib tortures and abuses were not the result of any kind of military policy but instead the work of a unit gone bad under poor discipline and with dirtbags for NCOs. The strict punishment, ten years in jail for the pervert-in-chief, shows the Army means business when it says it won't tolerate abuse. Now the guy has to serve the ten years, of course. This doesn't clean up the good name we lost at Abu Ghraib, but it goes partway there.
As for the lack of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq, that means nothing. We know Saddam had them and we know he used them. What we don't know is how he got rid of them, but at this point who cares? He was an evil dictator who murdered his people, invaded his neighbors, and supported international terrorism. Now he's awaiting his date with a rope while what's left of his supporters are being wiped out on the ground. You know, I can perfectly well understand those who opposed attacking Iraq in the first place. What I don't understand are those who seem to want us to lose now that we're in it.