*The Post leads with a piece on how the Bush administration had already prepped their ghastly, torture-like tactics “long before they were granted legal approval to use such methods,” ignoring the advice of an Army lieutenant colonel who pointed out that a strong-arm approach “usually decreases the reliability of the information because the person will say whatever he believes will stop the pain.”  The New York Times takes a different angle: why didn’t administration officials do their homework on the origins of those techniques?

*Maureen Dowd visits Twitter HQ to find out “if the inventors of Twitter were as annoying as their invention. (They’re not. They’re charming.)” (The real question: Is Maureen Dowd as annoying as this column?)  In her umpteenth use of the screenplay gimmick (at least she wrote it herself this time!), Dowd confesses her own Twitterific ambition: “When newsprint blows away, I want a second career as a Twitter ghostwriter.”  Someone sign this woman up!

*The Examiner reports a surge in D.C.-area gun sales. Are people stocking up in anticipation of tightened gun regulations and economically fueled civil unrest? “Experts” say yes.  But there may be something else at work:

“Business is great,” said Bill Kelley, own of The Gun Center of Frederick. “The gun industry, like everything else, was going into a recession. All of the sudden, after November, the entire country decided they had to have [guns] and have them now.”

Gun enthusiasts here and around the country say they don’t trust the Obama administration and a Democratic Congress. There was a similar sales rush after President Bill Clinton won election in 1992, but Philip Van Cleave of the pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League says he’s “never seen anything like this.”

“People are pulling their hair out,” Van Cleave said.

God knows I am.  When the Prez starts palling around with Chavez, and a whole host of tyrannies loom…it’s Glock time!

*Over at the Washington Times, Cal Thomas has penned the definitive meditation on the Susan Boyle mini-phenomenon. The take-home?  Surface is shallow, prettiness passing, but true inner beauty—now that’s the stuff! “For two days I contemplated the phenomenon that is Susan Boyle,” Thomas confesses, before leading us through the viewing experience:

We quickly size her up: a nearly 48-year-old woman with graying hair, a dress that looks as if it might have been purchased at the British equivalent of Wal-Mart hugging a body that even she described as “like a garage.” Frumpy is the word that first comes to mind.

Crikey.  With looks like that, how could Boyle possibly (as the show’s title goes) “got talent”?  But lo:

All those hypocrites who thought nothing good could come from this dowdy woman because our narcissistic culture has taught us that the only thing that matters is beauty, not depth of character, suddenly want to embrace what seconds ago they had instinctively rejected.

The question remains: Does the Boyle sensation represent an actual cultural inversion, or what a better columnist would call a “flash in the pan”?

*Prince of Petworth approves of a Young Playwrights’ Theater production based on his blog commentariat. “I didn’t get made fun of too badly,” marvels the Prince. Coming soon: a CBS special inspired by whoever comments on this very post!*

*Or, at the very least, a Lifetime miniseries.