Monday, November 17, 2008

On Vacation

Taking two weeks off to recover from election season burnout/withdrawal.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama to Prosecute W for Torture?

Over at Mother Jones Jonathan Stein predicts that the first split between Obama and Congress will be over the whether or not to investigate the previous administrations actions. He predicts that that Obama will follow the precedent of previous presidents and not push for or allow any formal investigations of his predecessor. Although Obama has previously stated that he would authorize a fact finding inquiry:

"If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated," he said. But he quickly added, "I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of the Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we've got too many problems to solve."
However if recent speculation of Bush granting a blanket pardon to all individuals involved with torturing detainees proves correct the incoming administrations hands would be tied when it came to prosecuting anyone stateside. That would mean that anyone found guilty would have to be tried by the International Criminal Court. Which as weird as it may seem might actually be the best route to go if the upcoming Obama administration is serious about rebuilding America's image abroad.

As for whether or not we should prosecute members of the (soon to be) former administration I think the answer is pretty clear, "Absolutely." I am not alone in this line of thought. Glen Greenwald of Salon (who I disagree with 90% of the time) is in agreement with Daniel Larison of American Conservative magazine on this (which may be a sign of the apocalypse).

Glenn Greenwald has an important post rejecting the claim that holding lawbreakers from this administration accountable is a kind of partisan attack. Leave aside for the moment that a significant number of voters who elected the new President probably chose him precisely to have this kind of accountability, which would mean that part of the reform of our government that many Obama voters expect entails nothing less than investigating and prosecuting officials who committed crimes. Instead, let’s simply consider what a system governed by the rule of law would require. It would require that those suspected of abuses of power, corruption or the commission of crimes under the color of authority be investigated and, if the evidence merited it, prosecuted.
If high officials have broken the law, the day when they are brought to justice should be considered a very good day indeed. Is it regrettable that these officials created this situation? Of course. What we should never regret or lament is the successul revival of the rule of law that holding such officials accountable would represent.
If you have doubts as whether or or not we should pursue such a course against this administration I have a challenge for you. First either read every source I've linked to on the subject or watch the documentary Torturing Democracy (essentially a time line on this issue using documents obtained under the freedom of info act, leaked memos and transcripts, and interviews with former Bush appointees and military officers) and then ask yourself "If it were Bill Clinton or Obama that were accused would I feel differently?" When any administration to commits a crime and we turn a blind eye we give license to future administrations to perform the same illegal acts.

One could also argue that if Obama fails to follow through on his word on this matter then he is tacitly reserving the privilege for those same excesses for his own administration.
How comfortable are you with that thought?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Open Blogroll Day

I tidied up my blogroll today basically cleaning off blogs that aren't around anymore or haven't posted anything in six months. If you'd like to trade links then slap a link to here on your blog and let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tag, I'm It

Mike over at The Big Stick has tagged me. Fortunately its a simple one.

The Rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six random things about myself:

1: I joined the Army Reserves right out of high school. Less than a year later the Berlin Wall fell. Coincidence? Probably.
2: I used to be a bouncer at a biker bar. This confused the bikers as I only weighed 135 at the time.
3: I started shooting when I was 8 hunting when I was 12. (Throwing knives, hatchets, and tomahawks competitively when I was 10)
4: Five minutes after I wake up a song starts playing in my head. (My inner DJ has no concept of quality control.)
5: I got my first computer (an Atari 800) when I was 11. Numerous geeky pursuits followed soon thereafter.
6: I'm mildly allergic to sunlight. Nothing a little SPF 15 can't fix though.

Tagging and linking to six people:

Polimom of the blog of the same name.

One Fly of Outta the Cornfield

NeoWayland at Pagan Vigil

Blogroll Amnesty Day Folks:

The Political Cat from the self named blog.

Ornery B@stard also at a self named blog.

Nunya at Politicky B!tch

Veteran's Day

The Things That Make a Soldier Great
by Edgar Guest

The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die,
To face the flaming cannon's mouth nor ever question why,
Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips red,
The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed,
The grass plot where his children play, the roses on the wall:
'Tis these that make a soldier great.
He's fighting for them all.

'Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave;
'Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave;
For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam
As when behind the cause they see the little place called home.
Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run,
You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun.
What is it through the battle smoke the valiant soldier sees?

The little garden far away, the budding apple trees,
The little patch of ground back there, the children at their play,
Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray.
The golden thread of courage isn't linked to castle dome
But to the spot, where'er it be — the humblest spot called home.
And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely there
And homesick soldiers far away know spring is in the air;
The tulips come to bloom again, the grass once more is green,
And every man can see the spot where all his joys have been.

He sees his children smile at him, he hears the bugle call,
And only death can stop him now — he's fighting for them all.


For some reason this one always makes me smile.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Newer Low

You know, there are some people that are so vile that if lightning were to strike them some atheists would recant.

On that note:

Fred Phelps and crew are planning on
protesting at Obama's grandmother's funeral.


Note to Secret Service: Please bring truncheons.

Beating a Dead Horse *updated*

Dear Andrew Sullivan,

You don't like Sarah Palin. We got it. She lost the election. Enough already.




It looks like at least one other reader agrees with me.

Know Hope

Dr. Gero Hütter, a German hematologist, has successfully cured a patient of AIDS by transplanting the bone marrow of a donor who had a natural immunity to the disease (a mutation) into his patient.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Binge or Purge?

The battle for heart and soul of the GOP has started and while some are calling to stop the excesses of the party and return to the basics:

In the 2008 elections, Voters did not reject conservatism. They rejected Big Government Republicanism in all its forms, including the Bush administration and the Republican leadership in Congress.
This disastrous defeat can and will be laid at the feet of the Big Government corporate Republicans who abandoned the Reagan Coalition, massively expanded government, and ignored the needs and values of regular, grassroots Americans. They protected Wall Street and K Street, and forgot about Main Street.

Republicans will make a comeback only after they return to their conservative roots. That process starts with the replacement, with principled conservatives, of all of the Republicans’ elected congressional leaders, as well as most members of the Republican National Committee and most state party officials. It’s time for new leaders, from top to bottom.

Richard A. Viguerie is author, most recently, of Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.

Others are calling for the purge of the ideologically impure:

The liberal wing of the GOP has caused the collapse of the Republican party. It is no longer a viable player in the political conversation, and deservedly so: For a decade it has spat on the values of Ronald Reagan. Conservatives let it be known on Tuesday in races all over the country that it has had enough with the betrayal.

L. Brent Bozell is president of the Conservative Victory Committee and chairman, Media Research Center

Whats at stake? Whether or not the GOP transitions to a big tent party with ideas to spare or is reduced to just its base and eventually goes the way of the Whigs they replaced.

Classy Ralph, Really Classy

How out of line do you have to be to get dressed down on Fox News about race?

Ask Ralph Nader...


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Stop For Just a Moment

Think about what just happened.

Today the American people showed the world why America is the greatest nation on Earth. Today the American people showed that the child of an immigrant can, if he works and studies hard enough, become anything he wants within these borders. Come tomorrow morning millions of children, born with skin darker than my own, will wake to discover that anything is possible for them despite what they have been told their entire lives. Today our nation tore that final barrier down and in doing so proved to the world that The American Dream is alive and well.

That alone may do more good for this country than any policy either of the candidates involved in this election could have ever crafted.

Think about that for a bit.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Palin Cleared in Trooper "Scandal"

Good of them to get this out of the way prior to the elections...

From the AP:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Gov. Sarah Palin violated no ethics laws when she fired her public safety commissioner, the state personnel board concluded in a report released Monday. "There is no probable cause to believe that the governor, or any other state official, violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act in connection with these matters," the report says.

"Gov. Palin is pleased that the independent investigator for the Personnel Board has concluded that she acted properly in the reassignment of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan," her attorney, Thomas Van Flein, said in a statement.

Admittedly I don't care for Palin but even given my bias I could see where if the trooper in question was as unstable as claimed then I could see where Palin may have thought she was justified in trying to get rid of him. To me the question was did she abuse her power in the quest of that goal? Apparently the answer is no. Despite that odds are Palin will be packing her bags and going back to Alaska tomorrow night and probably face a tough bid for reelection in 2010. Now that the ethics investigation is over she's clear for the 2012 primaries. I have a strong feeling we haven't seen the last of by a longshot.

Senator Obama's Grandmother Has Passed Away

From the WaPo:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The day took a tragic turn for Sen. Barack Obama when his ailing grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, died today.

Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Dunham died at home late last night in Hawaii, or roughly between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Eastern. Obama learned of the news a little after 8 a.m. in Florida, where his campaign held a morning rally.

The campaign released a statement from Obama and his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng this afternoon:

"It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer. She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure.

My sincerest condolences to Senator Obama and his family. I had hoped that she would have held out long enough to see the election through. No one deserves a loss such as this the day before they make history.

Bottom of the Ninth

And here are the final polling numbers that matter for the Presidential race:


Obama 90.1% Chance of Winning

McCain 10.3% Chance of Winning

Five Thirty Eight:

Obama 98.1% Chance of Winning

McCain 1.9% Chance of Winning

Pollster's Poll of Polls:

Not a pretty picture for McCain