Archive for April, 2009
Maine’s Senate voted 20-15 to legalize gay marriage. It sounds like the House and governor are likely to support the legislation. New Hampshire’s Senate also passed a bill to allow same-sex marriage. New Hampshire’s Senate looked unlikely to vote for the bill that their House had previously passed, but an amendment that allows clergy to refuse to marry same-sex couples persuaded some senators. The House and Senate must make a uniform bill to give the governor, and his position is unclear.
The momentum for equal rights picks up yet again.
Enjoy a Christopher Moore book.
Read this article: An actual interrogator’s passionate words on torture.
That is not a typo, folks. Arlen Specter, long-time Republican senator from the state of Pennsylvania, is changing parties. Specter vows to still remain an independent voice, however.
Conservative Pat Toomey was looking to challenge him in the Republican primary, and it would have been close. This, along with the fact that Pennsylvania has been trending Democratic, was enough to send Specter to the other side. The move makes sense. Specter’s approval ratings with Republicans had dipped into the 30s but was high with Democrats. This election will be interesting.
This means that once Franken is finally seated, Democrats will have reached the magical, filibuster-proof number 60. There can be no more excuses or griping about Republicans getting in the way. It will be on their shoulders.
Enjoy 12 straight by the Red Sox.
In 2002, a memo from the military agency that offered advice on the enhanced interrogation techniques called the extreme duress used torture. The memo also warned that any information gained from these techniques would be unreliable. The memo was sent to the chief lawyer of the Pentagon. It also pointed out the unintended consequence of torture, which would be incentive for enemies to torture captured US soldiers.
The military called what were doing torture way back in 2002. Hopefully I’ll never hear “We didn’t torture” leave anyone’s mouth ever again.
Here’s the link: We tortured
Enjoy Youk’s walk-off.
This, from a report by the Senate Armed Services Committee, is ridiculous.
A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under “pressure” to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.
“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”
You can see more information about the report here.
I’m interested in the fact that there was pressure to provide evidence of a link between al Qaida and Iraq that did not exist. They were basically telling interrogators to use the “enhanced tactics” so the administration would have the proof for something they fabricated. This seems absolutely horrific. The link didn’t exist, so the detainees could have been tortured and tortured until they admitted it, and it still wouldn’t have been true. How can you choose what information prisoners will tell you?
This isn’t the first time we’ve learned of the Bush administration engaging in illegal activity to provide proof of the non-existent link. Remember the letter the White House ordered the CIA to forge which provided a link between al Qaida and Iraq? Don’t worry, no one else seems to either. Ron Suskind, an awesome investigative journalist, found this and many other revelations in his book, The Way of the World. It seems all the White House had to do was label it gutter journalism for people to dismiss it. The CIA also denied this, but Suskind posted transcripts from interviews here.
I guess the moral of this story is that the administration used these techniques partially to prove they weren’t wrong when they obviously were. Check out the primary source here. For a great breakdown with a lot of information, go here.
Enjoy the fact that we have new leadership.
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) has pledged to filibuster President Obama’s first judicial nomination, Judge David Hamilton of Indiana. Inhofe is doing so because he is absolutely wrong on one decision Hamilton made. Hamilton, who has support from Republican Senator Richard Lugar from Indiana, correctly ruled on a case (Hinrichs v. Bosmah) brought to him involving Indiana’s House using the word “Jesus” in their pre-session prayers. Using the relevant Supreme Court case, Marsh v. Chambers, Hamilton ruled that God is an acceptable word to use because it is non-sectarian and does not advance one religion, but that Jesus is not because it advances a particular religion. He basically abided by the precedent from the higher court, in this case, the Supreme Court.
Inhofe’s other problem came from Hamilton’s response to a question posed by the Speaker of Indiana’s House. The Speaker asked if they could use the word “Allah” in the prayers. Here is Hamilton’s response:
The Speaker has also asked whether, for example, a Muslim imam may offer a prayer addressed to “Allah.” The Arabic word “Allah” is used for “God” in Arabic translations of Jewish and Christian scriptures. If those offering prayers in the Indiana House of Representatives choose to use the Arabic Allah, the Spanish Dios, the German Gott, the French Dieu, the Swedish Gud, the Greek Theos, the Hebrew Elohim, the Italian Dio, or any other language’s terms in addressing the God who is the focus of the non-sectarian prayers contemplated in Marsh v. Chambers, the court sees little risk that the choice of language would advance a particular religion or disparage others. If and when the prayer practices in the Indiana House of Representatives ever seem to be advancing Islam, an appropriate party can bring the problem to the attention of this or another court.
There you have it. The Supreme Court precedent said the word “God” was okay, and Hamilton did not think it mattered what language it was in. He even warned the prayer could not become Islamic. Obviously no big deal, right? You would think not, but it’s enough reason for Inhofe to filibuster. He apparently thinks this decision was supporting Islam over Christianity (exasperated sigh).
When you begin hearing the “Is Hamilton a secret Muslim?” crap, you will now know to ignore it.
Obama nominated Hamilton because he is considered a moderate with bipartisan support. He nominated him because his approval was supposed to be easy. If this development shows us anything, it’s that we should expect a lot of nomination craziness. It is with this in mind that I politely ask James Inhofe to quit being an idiot.
Enjoy the upcoming battles.
Update: Apparently the people who devised the legal strategies ignored strong opposition from the military. Many in the military recognized that the behavior the strategy was meant to justify was illegal. This would aid in prosecuting those that crafted the strategy.
Obama recently released the torture memos from the Bush administration. There is, of course, outrage. But the outrage is misplaced. Many people are outraged at their release. That’s right, not at the horrible things done in the name of the United States, but at the fact that we now know about it. If you haven’t looked at the list, here are some depressing lows we’ve hit:
- One detainee was waterboarded 183 times in one month
- “Walling” or slamming detainees into a wall (with protective neck gear)
- Confinement in a box with an insect (insect for detainee who feared insects)
- Prolonged nudity
- Wall Standing (standing 5 feet from a wall and supporting your weight entirely with your fingertips for prolonged periods of time)
- Stress positions
- Sleep deprivation (up to 11 days)
- All fluid diet
That’s not America.
People like Karl Rove are mad that these memos were released because it let the terrorists know what we do. Seriously? First of all, if that was an issue, it would imply that we were going to continue this crap. Secondly, how will this change the strategies of terrorists? Will they now stop recruiting people who want to destroy America but have a pesky fear of insects? Thirdly, do you think the people willing to blow themselves up for an unachievable goal are too concerned with preparing to be caught? Fourthly, the best most information we get occurs before the torturing even starts. Torturing people doesn’t get you actionable intelligence.
This seems like another means for the people who destroyed the integrity of our country and the country itself to deflect the criticism and prosecution from themselves. They have actually managed to at least partially frame the debate as if it is about whether or not Obama should have released the memos. By reframing this, they have taken light off the debate about whether or not to prosecute. Obama originally said he would not seek to prosecute the men who devised the legal authority for these tactics, but he seems to have changed his mind. I don’t even think that is the most relevant debate. The debate should be about the proper punishment of those who allowed this to happen. I’m sure they would hope it isn’t cruel and unusual.
Here’s a video from the Daily Show that is pretty awesome:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M – Th 11p / 10c|
|We Don’t Torture|
Here’s a few links to read:
In this one, Russ Feingold supports prosecution and nails Peggy Noonan for the comments you saw at the end of the Daily Show clip: Feingold’s reaction
Here is a NY Times link: torture memos
Here is a link to the Telegraph: more from the torture memos
Here you can actually read through the torture memos: actual torture memos
Enjoy a new direction.
I have changed around the polls. Here are some of the results:
I guess if Congress had received a cost of living pay raise it would have been a big deal. The readers still believe in symbolic gestures.
Michael Steele, according to a decent majority of you all, should resign.
The gay marriage poll was one of our most popular ever. A narrow margin believe gay marriage should be legal.
As for the new polls, the lower one focuses on the misplaced outrage over simple courteousness. The second is largely about my hatred for Glenn Beck.
Enjoy the new polls.
A recent installation of The Word on The Colbert Report brought to my attention the flaws in a bill posing as much needed regulation for payday lending. The loans are borrowed against the borrower’s next paycheck and are supposed to help with emergencies for those that don’t qualify for bank loans. The problem is that payday loans can have interest rates as high as 800%. They often put the borrower who needed help in a cycle of long-term debt. Of the 19 million Americans who have taken out these loans, about 12 million are in a repeat cycle, taking out additional loans to pay off the old ones.
The payday industry opposes the bill, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Colbert points out a possible reason Gutierrez, who once opposed the entire practice of payday loans, introduced such a weak bill. Turns out a payday lending group, QC Holdings, is his biggest contributor and another, Online Lenders Alliance, is a large contributor. Boom, roasted! Another reason for his change is that the industry increased their lobbying efforts.
The video and the articles I have read cannot seem to find agreement on what exactly the bill does. This much is clear: Out of all numbers I have seen, the lowest annual rate on the loans will be at least 391%. It is also full of loopholes that would lead to no change.
The Senate does have its own plans for dealing with the problem. A bill sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) would cap the annual interest rate at 36%. This could kill the industry, though for some reason, Gutierrez thinks that is impossible. Or maybe he just hopes it is.
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|The Word – Have Your Cake And Eat It, Too|
Enjoy baseball’s inevitable return to normalcy, when Royal’s fans hopes die, Chris Duncan for MVP signs can be burned, and the Red Sox take over the East.
Miss California Sparks Furor With Gay Marriage Comments on Miss USA Telecast
I would like to start off by saying that last night was the first time that I had watched the Miss USA competition in years, but I am glad that I did…CONTROVERSY!
From watching it in years past, I don’t remember such politically motivated questions asked of the contestants. 4 of 5 contestants were asked political questions, one of which didn’t really answer the question.
The controversy came from Miss California’s answer on gay marriage.
Perez Hilton, an openly gay gossip blogger, whether she believed in gay marriage, Miss California, Carrie Prejean, said “We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.”
It just so happens that I liked the answer she game, personally. Regardless of what you belief, when you ask someone ‘their opinion, you are going to get that THEIR OPINION.
You obviously could tell by the telecast that Mr. Hilton did not like the answer he got. He was doing what he does best, making something that is not about him…making it about him. It was just to draw ratings.
I personally love the answer that Miss Arizona gave. Summed up, its my own business. Dont ask
- internal hemorrhoids treatments on Egypt Reactions
- like this on John Thune and Sotomayor
- jquery mobile tutorial on College Football/Nebraska-KSU Challenge
- discount learn css3 pdf on Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now aka ACORN
- site link on Rep. Weiner on Justice Thomas and the Appearance of Bias
- rate us online on House Officially Disapproves of Wilson’s Outburst
- rate us on Will Rogers Said It Best
- t1 circuit info on Good God Glenn
- reality show casting on Teacher takes Student the wood shed…
- insurnace companies on Vermont Legalizes Gay Marriage
Most Commented Posts
- Miss me yet (130)
- Arizona's Racist Law (119)
- Confessions of a Tea Party Casualty (83)
- Smoking Ban Thoughts and Poll (80)
- Tom Tancredo Wants Literacy Tests (76)
- The Apparent Trap/Hawaiian Health Care (62)
- Sarah Palin: Persecuted Jew? (57)
- Healthcare (53)
- Cash for Clunkers: What a joke! (50)
- Tom Coburn Has Pelosi's Back and a Point (49)