It's tempting to view yesterday's commutation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's 30-month prison sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice as the moment the wheels finally came off this administration, as the sign that George W. Bush has totally lost control over a process that he's spinned and gamed for so long without repercussion. But we've felt that way before, and we've been proved wrong. Even our cynicism has been overwhelmed by how much these people have gotten away with. We're assuredly part of the problem: As Liz Smith so eloquently declaims this morning, "If all of us who love gossip and celebrity so much only loved history more - with all it has to tell us - I know we'd be better off." Sing it, sister!

Do we sound strident? Well, it's hard to watch a nation lead into a complete cock-up of an unnecessary war that has ruined so many lives and diminished our standing in the world and sacrificed the pretense that there's something especially noble about us (My country both performs and outsources torture! I cannot tell you how proud that makes me.) and not sound strident. It's hard to watch the deck reshuffled so that those who have more continue to get more and give back less and not sound strident. It's hard to watch the utter disregard for long-established precedents and rules go unpunished and not sound strident. And still: We can be angry, and we can hope that yesterday's events finally bring things back to "normal," whatever that was, but we're not counting on it. We've seen worse, and nothing has happened.

But remember this: The next time anyone from this administration or its enablers in the media stand up in front of the American people and talk about the "rule of law," they are full of shit. And the other side's not much better. We're sort of screwed.

We're aware that we've strayed a bit from our remit here, so we'll try and put it all in a perspective that skews to the site's format: A man who ended the career of a C.I.A. agent in an attempt to forestall criticism of manipulated and outright false intelligence designed to lead this country into a war it did not need to fight, and then lied about it, will spend less time in prison than Paris Hilton.

Bush Spares Libby 30-Month Jail Term [NYT]