Colin Powell dies, exemplary general stained by Iraq claims

Colin Powell, who served Democratic and Republican presidents in war and peace but whose sterling reputation was forever stained by his faulty claims to justify the U.S. war in Iraq, died Monday of COVID-19 complications. He was 84. A veteran of the Vietnam War, Powell spent 35 years in the Army and rose to the rank of four-star general. In 1989 he became the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that role he oversaw the U.S. invasion of Panama and later the U.S. invasion of Kuwait to oust the Iraqi army in 1991. But his legacy was marred when, in 2003, he went before the U.N. Security Council as secretary of state and made the case for U.S. war against Iraq at a moment of great international skepticism. He cited faulty information claiming Saddam Hussein had secretly stashed weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s claims that it had no such weapons represented “a web of lies,” he told the world body.

Risky business: Some Capitol riot defendants forgo lawyers

Some of the defendants charged in the storming of the U.S. Capitol are turning away defense lawyers and electing to represent themselves, undeterred by their lack of legal training or repeated warnings from judges. That choice already has led to some curious legal maneuvers and awkward exchanges in court. A New York man charged in the Jan. 6 insurrection wants to bill the government for working on his own case. A Pennsylvania restaurant owner is trying to defend herself from jail. A judge told another New Yorker that he may have incriminated himself during courtroom arguments. The right to self-representation is a bedrock principle of the Constitution. But a longtime judge cited an old adage in advising a former California police chief that he would have “a fool for a client” if he represented himself.

‘I Hate Alabama’ song about lost love, not just Crimson Tide

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — As with any social media post, click through the headline before judging the story of “I Hate Alabama.” Though encased in a chorus of anti-Bama fervor, Conner Smith’s single actually unfolds as a backhanded compliment to the ponderous phenomenon of Alabama football, especially during its ongoing Nick Saban dynasty. At core, it’s a lost-love song, about an ex-girlfriend who decamped in Tuscaloosa: “Then you had to go and break my heart/in a beer-can-covered frat house yard.” When the singer dwells on pain, he sees crimson, literally and figuratively. But it doesn’t help the hurt that “Ever since ’06/They get us every season.” Bama football has won 14 straight against Smith’s University of Tennessee Volunteers. “I’ll say ‘Roll Tide’ all day long,” said Smith, 21-year-old star of the country ballad that’s burning up on TikTok and elsewhere, with clips added showing the Crimson Tide wiping out opponents.

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