December 11, 2007 archive

No Moral Compass: Pelosi, Democrats, & the WP Revelations

Crossposted at Invictus and Daily Kos

Notoriously (depending upon your point of view), this past weekend the Washington Post published an article revealing that a number of top Democrats and Republicans were briefed in September 2002 on CIA interrogation methods. They were “given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.” The reported techniques are said to have included waterboarding.

Yesterday, Pelosi released a statement clarifying what happened from her perspective. This must have shocked even a little those Democratic Party stalwarts, but no, as we’ll see, their Nancy can make no mistake. She was, you see… helpless.

WGA strike news summary Dec 10 2007

Crossposted from dKos, where all teh kool kidz hang this time-a day

Since the AMPTP walked out on Friday, there’s been a whole lot of finger-pointing. I was a bit too busy having a life of my own the past few days to write up more than I did the other day, but I’ll get to it tomorrow — links to my sources below the fold, if you want to read the ‘look how evil they are’ stuff directly.

There is some actual news, though, and some more actions to take. Summaries follow…

“Christmas In Fallujah”

Live In Chicago

“Christmas In Fallujah”

Available on iTunes Dec. 4th

Proceeds to Benefit: Homes for our Troops

Billy Joel & Cass Dillon – “Christmas In Fallujah”

Move On Targets One of the Good Guys: Julia Carson (IN-10)

This pisses me off.  I mean, really pisses me off.  It’s the type of thing that gives an organization a bad name, and deservedly so.  Julia Carson’s one of the good guys on the War and Occupation of Iraq.  Period.

Refusal to Ship

It may sound innocent enough but the recent company stance in regards to it’s employees gives me no choice but to say request denied.  The company has asked all of it’s employees to take a course on the best methods of shipping packages here in the States and internationally.  Shipping, the simple act of moving a package from here to there in this era of Homeboy Security, hazardous substances, customs is really becoming quite involved.  Here is the clincher.

By enrolling in the course the company wants to give me my very own personal “shipping number”.  Mind you I, personally am not shipping a package, I am asking the company to do so.  They are paying for it, they are the cause of the reason for shipping it and by all reasonable assumptions would be liable legally for it.  Let me quote from a most recent official company publication.

“Employees may also be held liable for damages suffered by the company”.

Now you may say I’m being an alarmist or perhaps taking the entire thing out of context but really I am not.  This particular publication deals with US and international business regulations, things which are ever evolving and lawyers specialize in.  We are all up on that stuff are we not?  The publication offers “amnesty” to whistleblowers who have information about “irregularities” in company business dealings.  It also specifically states your “options” should you choose to do so.  Very Catch 22 and specifically states the company will not stand behind the individual employee.

So, how was your day honey?

Supreme Court strikes down mandatory sentences for crack cocaine

The Supreme Court, today, struck down mandatory sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine. The Washington Post reports:

The Supreme Court decided today that judges may impose lighter sentences for crack cocaine, adding its voice to a racially sensitive debate over federal guidelines that call for tougher penalties for crack than for powder cocaine.

The crack cocaine decision was one of two today in which the justices, with identical seven-member majorities, reinforced their view that federal sentencing guidelines are advisory rather than mandatory, and that judges may deviate from them so long as their decisions are reasonable.

In the crack case, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it was reasonable for a federal judge in Virginia to impose a lower sentence than one prescribed by the guidelines because of his disagreement with the rule that imposed the same sentence for a crack dealer as for someone selling 100 times as much powder cocaine. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit said the law did not allow the judge to make such a determination.

Of course, there was a clear racial component to the sentencing disparity, as crack is most often used by blacks, and powder cocaine by whites. On that level, this is clearly a huge step in the right direction. The victory is, however, complicated. I’m no lawyer, but here are some of the best commentaries, thus far:

Bean, at Lawyers, Gun$ and Money:

The decision today was in a crack sentencing case; it provides hope that more and more judges will be able to show their disdain for the crack/cocaine disparity. But as Hogan and I both noted in comments to Scott’s post, Gall and Kimbrough should not be understood as paving the way to the end of the war on (some classes of people who use some) drugs.

Baylor Law Prof Mark W. Osler offers his winner and losers, at ScotusBlog:

While the result in Kimbrough is certainly encouraging to many judges, practitioners, and academics, the opinion is more complex than it might at first appear. In short, Kimbrough seems to be good news for fans of the parsimony provision of 18 U.S.C. ยง 3553(a), bad news for fans of judicial transparency, and an announcement that the conflict over a remedy in Booker may not be resolved.

Ohio State Law Prof Douglas A. Berman gives a Justice-by-Justice review, at Sentencing, Law and Policy:

There is so much to say about the substance of the rulings in Gall and Kimbrough (basics here), and I will likely need a few days to unpack all the important particulars.  Here I want to do a quick Justice-by-Justice review what we see in Gall and Kimbrough, in part because I think it could foreshadow the Court’s work on any number of future sentencing issues.

Read the decisions, in pdf:

Kimbraugh v. United States.

Gall v. United States.

Pony Party: Worst Meals Ever! Reprisal

Okay, I got nuthin’ new this afternoon, so in case you missed it the other two times, here it is again:

Cross-posted from Top Comments at GOS and earlier today chez buhdy.

I was having a tough time finding a topic for my Top Comments diary (on the GOS, as linked above). My Eureka! moment was when I looked through the Spam folder in my email account, just for laughs. “Spam,” I thought, “what a truly horrid food substance.” And then I had it! I should write about all the bad food I’ve eaten in my 30-something years on the planet.

Having been born in the 70s, I’ve had my fair share of food with low nutritional value. The 70s and 80s seemed to be the era of junk food, and my family was far from immune. I’m not sure if it was a matter of convenience or whether it was because junk food was cheaper. Both are reasonable possibilities: my mom was the parent who worked AND did everything around the house (until we kids were old enough for household chores) and our family didn’t have a lot of money.  

Load more