Saturday, December 08, 2007
Strange how I found myself many years later eating lunch with his son, Julian at the Studios at Las Colinas in Dallas. My office used to be on the studio lot and Julian and his band were rehearsing there. I was walking to the commissary one afternoon and a spunky kid on a skateboard passed by. Julian was headed there, too. I had no idea who he was until the waiter called him Mr. Lennon. Imagine that.
Today, I find myself remembering one of my favorite Lennon songs, Imagine, and I know we all need to hear it again. Thanks John, for everything.
Meanwhile in Happy Land, press secretary Dana Perino said the she did not know whether Bush knew of the tapes and their destruction or not. According to the Washington Post -
Perino refused to say whether the destruction could have been an obstruction of justice or a threat to cases against terrorism suspects. If the attorney general decides to investigate, "of course the White House would support that," she said.
Why do I suspect that support would be about as robust as the support the White House gave during the Vallerie Plame investigation?
UPDATE: Interesting information from the National Review of all places. Columnist David Frum finds info in Gerald Posner's book on 9/11 that might suggest another reason the tapes were destroyed. They may have pointed a finger at Saudi Arabia, since during interrogation, Zubaydah revealed his connections with a Saudi prince. Not a conspiracy theorist myself, but this one sounds really plausible.
Friday, December 07, 2007
These groups are apparently trying to target openly gay city councilman Mark Kleinschmidt from Chapel Hill, NC and have commented on his blog with openly threatening notes. Signing their names as "Adolf Hitler" and "JewstoryMike" the comments come from members of these hate groups. Thanks for brining this to light Councilman Kleinschmidt!
Personally, this stuff scares me. I know that the current government in Washington will do nothnig to stop these kinds of threats. The dirty secret of the Bush administration is that they are supported by these kinds of hate mongers in their "base". About as base as you can get, too!
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, spent hours poring over secret opinions issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) — and he took notes.
Here are a few of the highlights from Thinkprogress.org.
1. An executive order cannot limit a President. There is no constitutional requirement for a President to issue a new executive order whenever he wishes to depart from the terms of a previous executive order. Rather than violate an executive order, the President has instead modified or waived it.
2. The President, exercising his constitutional authority under Article II, can determine whether an action is a lawful exercise of the President’s authority under Article II.
3. The Department of Justice is bound by the President’s legal determinations.
The above are just examples of the way Bush is making up his own rules without regard for the Constitution. Senator Whitehouse is a lawyer, a former U.S. Attorney, a former legal counsel to Rhode Island’s Governor, and a former State Attorney General, so he can recognize when something is legal or not and he was outraged. He made an impassioned speech on the floor of the Senate today. Watch it here.
UPDATE: Here is the text of Senator Whitehouse's speech. Read it, it's very important and then call your Congressperson right now!
The poll was conducted by the LA Times. More info here.
I visited the monument that stands over the watery grave of the battleship Arizona when I was in Hawaii many years ago. It is a sobering sight, the sunken grave of hundreds of service men and women still leaks oil forming a perennial slick on the water above. What I found strange there was in the souvenir shop. They had color booklets of the memorial with archive pictures of the attack. The first one I picked up seemed somewhat strange, and once I looked beyond the compelling photo on the cover, I found I was holding a Japanese translation of the visitor guide. The USS Arizona is a popular attraction for Japanese tourists. They visit the memorial with the same respect and somber mood as that of US tourists. For Japan, Pearl Harbor marked the beginning of a tragic period in their history, just as it was in ours.
Though we dictated the terms of the surrender, both sides in that conflict endured grievous losses and untold pain. WWII was a tragedy for the whole world not just the losing or winning side. Today, Japan is one of our staunchest allies, just as is Germany. I can only hope that someday we have the same relationship with our neighbors in the Middle East. After all, we share the same planet together, and it gets smaller every day.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Senate backers of the bill expressed their disappointment at the reluctance in the House but in the end they could do nothing about it. The sad truth is it was the last chance this year to get any meaningful legislation passed to protect GLBT people from hate crimes. Once again GLBT people are second class citizens and once again Congress has shown it has no backbone when it comes to gay issues.
The answer? Elect even more liberal representatives to the House to offset the alleged "moderates" who vote like conservatives. The alternative, moving to Canada, just doesn’t sit well with me, yet.
Hell yes it could expose it to legal jeopardy, especially since they were using illegal techniques, otherwise why destroy the tapes. This is beginning to remind me of the films the Nazi’s made documenting their war crimes, never figuring they would ever be called to task for them.
Time for a reckoning for the CIA and the Bush administration. When will impeachment be "back on the table"?
Read more about it on ars tehnica.
More alarming is the fact that Chinese companies produce almost one third of over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen sold in the US. With the kind of quality control found in Chinese toys, and the non-existent regulation for their safety, should we be worried about their drugs? I do.
Now the most interesting thing to me is this. Our government or at least the Bush government has long claimed that we cannot import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada because of the possibility of poor quality or dangerous drugs entering the country. That argument was specious as best and now just sounds silly when major drug companies herein the US are making drugs with dirt cheap Chinese ingredients. Remember all that lack of quality control on their toys? Why should Chinese drug companies be any different. Time for country of origin labeling on every product sold in the US. If you can’t tell where it was made, don’t buy it!
Alarmist? Consider this quote from the story:
The Chinese and Indian companies are all but exempt from oversight by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Only 13 inspections were conducted in China in 2007,” Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, said at a hearing Nov. 1. “At this rate, it would take the FDA 55 years just to clear this backlog.”
With that the boy, 19 years old, became "the gunman" referred to by the news media. This boy, who had just lost his job at McDonald’s took an SKS assault rifle and went down to the mall. There he began shooting people randomly to achieve his fame. What he left was a tragedy of 9 people dead and many more wounded but I will not use his name, that would bring him the "fame" he wanted.
Whatever went wrong in his life, in his mind and in his character, the story says something about us as well. It says that in our society, we can value fame over life, we can value violence as a way to solve problems and we can express our sorrow for our actions, yet still go on to commit murder. Surprisingly, I don’t find this mind-boggling. I see very clearly how a young man could develop these beliefs.
As a society we endorse killing as a way to stop killing. We do this in our capital murder cases with the death penalty and we do this in our politics with "preemptive wars". As a society we value fame over character. We reward the vapid troubled celebrities like Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears, yet find little compassion for people who work 6 to 7 days a week just to make ends meet in our inner cities. As a society, and particularly in some forms of religion, we value hollow words over actions and character.
I do not excuse what this disturbed man did. It is horrible and tragic for him, his victims and their families. I understand how he could have reached the conclusions he did, and that is what bothers me more. I am disturbed by living in a society where his actions might indeed bring him fame and where others might see him as an example of how they too might achieve it. Fame, or in this case infamy should have less value, but only we can weigh the costs. Only we can change our currency from the gilded shine of celebrity to the solid rock of love and compassion.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
The White House statement released by Dana Perino tonight also states McConnell told Bush "the new information might cause the intelligence community to change its assessment of Iran’s covert nuclear program."
Now even his own staff is calling his bluff. Come on Congress, impeach this liar and be done with it!
I suggest if you are buying for a child this Christmas, check out the Consumer Action Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys. (http://www.healthytoys.org) Though there are not many that are not poisoned, there are still a few that pass muster and you can always buy your kids books! (If they are printed in the US or Europe!)
By the way, guess where most toys are made today? China...BINGO! Time for American consumers to insist that the government enforce product safety standards on imported goods.
He somehow figures that it was just too convenient for the report to be issued when in his words, "…the administration gets to say its policies worked; the Democrats get to claim we should have eased up on Iran a long time ago: and Russia and China can claim sanctions on Iran are not necessary. Who benefits from all this? Iran."
So Iran is somehow behind the report from our own intelligence agencies! Puleeeze! Thompson is living proof that the delusional can rise to high status and that anyone, absolutely anyone can run for President!
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Today that auspicious beginning comes to an inauspicious close. Michael Guest resigned because of the State Department’s failure to treat the partners of gay and lesbian foreign service officers the same as the spouses of heterosexual officers. In his words he publicly lambastes the State Department and its leadership.
"For the past three years, I’ve urged the Secretary and her senior management team to redress policies that discriminate against gay and lesbian employees. Absolutely nothing has resulted from this. And so I’ve felt compelled to choose between obligations to my partner — who is my family — and service to my country. That anyone should have to make that choice is a stain on the Secretary’s leadership and a shame for this institution and our country."
Monday, December 03, 2007
December 17th is the 5th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This event was created to call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe. Please join us as we celebrate this important day of action with a sex worker open mic, a few brief video screenings and inspiring conversation on the movement for sex workers rights, dignity and de-criminalization!
This event is free and open to everyone, however to participate as a performer in the open mic, the organizers request that you be a current or former sex worker. For more information, please visit: http://www.myspace.com/redumbrellaatlanta
I guess with the Bush folks, there is no such thing as burning a bridge, as long as you are loyal to our glorious leader. Wolfowitz is loyal. So, Bush created a new position that will not require Senate approval, and bingo, Wolfie is back!
The revolving door for criminals and cronies at the White House is a disgrace, but the Congress apparently has no problem with it. Write your Congressperson and let them know what is going on, I suspect they are living in an alternate reality and haven’t got a clue.
What's worse is the position he is in. Head of intelligence for WMD! If you recall he was deeply involved in the pumped up claims of Saddam's WMDs in the lead up to the war. Go figure?
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Enjoy the party!
I would be willing to say that if you hear a Republican loudly arguing against gay rights, there is a good chance he is a closeted queer. (I use the term queer not as an epithet, just for your politically correct folks.) Me thinks they protesteth too much!
Bush is playing the national security card again, and I feel he is over playing his hand. The tired lie that everything that happens in the White House if directly involved in the nation’s security is not working. The White House is the nation’s house, the presidency is our realm, we in a democracy decide what and who is welcome there. It’s time the people spoke and turned the current residents of our house out!