January 24, 2008 archive

Doctors Should Not Be Involved In Executions


Today the New England Journal of Medicine has an editorial entitled, “Physicians And Execution.” The editorial makes it clear that medical doctors should never be involved in state killing.

This is extremely important and another significant step toward the abolition of state killing. How so?  “Lethal injection” was introduced to “medicalize” and lend moral authority to executions when hanging, gassing, and electrocution were finally recognized to be inhumane.  That is why those to be executed are required to lie on hospital like gurney (see above).  And that is why the gurney has sheets on it.  That is why in many cases hospital like curtains are used to surround the dead person after the execution.  The “medical” appearance of killing is intended to make it more palatable.    

More after the jump.

Four at Four

Behold the afternoon news and open thread.

The news below the fold:

  1. The Bush administrations 935 lies that led to war.

  2. Spineless Democrats on FISA (and impeachment).

  3. Irony from Afghanistan.

  4. Burma’s war on poetry.

The Power of NO…Thank You Chris Dodd

Thank You Chris Dodd

“When you give up basic Constitutional rights, you give terrorists a far greater victory in ways.”

Senator Dodd

“The Constitution is not a partisan document.”

Senator Dodd


For anyone who doesn’t know, Chris Dodd is getting set to filibuster the Bill that gives immunity to Telcoms for assisting George Bush to spy on American citizens. I urge you to click the link above and send him some love.

The man is a hero, in a time when we desperately need heroes.

Bill Clinton is hurting the Democratic Party

Please note that I am talking about Bill Clinton, former President as opposed to Hillary Clinton, current Senator and Presidential candidate.  This diary is about him and the impact of his actions and comments – not those of Hillary nor of her campaign.

That being said, this is not about whether Bill Clinton should be out on the campaign trail for his spouse – as many spouses do when their husbands run for President.  There is a big difference between campaigning for your spouse and crossing the line – especially when you are a former President..  For better or for worse, Bill Clinton is still, to many people, the face of the Democratic Party and the one person who many people think of when they think of “the Democratic Party, personified”.

He is the immediate former President, he is the only Democratic President in more than 25 years, and he has used his time since leaving office doing some very high profile humanitarian work.  A lot of this recent work has actually raised the view of him by people whose view was not so favorable while he was in office as well as people who had already viewed him favorably.

Pony Party…. Trouble

as always ~ dont rec the pony, another will trot up shortly

Book Review: The Environmentalism of the Poor

This is a book review of Joan Martinez-Alier’s 2002 classic “The Environmentalism of the Poor.”  This is a book about the history of environmentalism that tries to fit the struggles of native peoples into that history.  

My last review was of a recently-published biography of Sup Marcos, the EZLN (Zapatista) figure; my next review will to a certain extent integrate the insights of Zapatismo into Martinez-Alier’s framework.  This, to a certain, extent, forms the knowledge background for my interest in people’s movements (centered on, but not exclusive to, peasant movements) as a counterweight to the environmental predations of the mainstream of capitalist industry.

(Crossposted at Big Orange)

Pony Party, out of options….

ok, i MUST preface this pony party by explaining that although this posts at 9:00 a.m. eastern, its actually 6:00 p.m. “yesterday” right now, and ill auto-publish it for tomorrow…

…that said, this week is kicking my ass.  

It’s official! Dennis to introduce an impeachment resolution for W on Jan. 28! w/poll

Dennis Kucinich, the only presidential candidate to support the impeachment of Richard Cheney, has made it official on the floor of the House!  Perhaps W will talke about it during his State of the Union Speech later that evening!

Docudharma Times Thursday January 24

This is an Open Thread: Welcome To The Machine

Thursday’s Headlines: F.D.A. Requiring Suicide Studies in Drug Trials: Negotiators Grappling With Stimulus Plan: Gaza embargo ‘will not be crisis’: Robert Fisk: A lesson in how to create Iraqi orphans.: Slovenia’s debut EU presidency marred by row over press freedom: Police in 3 Mexico cities disarmed

Olympic Teams Vying to Defeat Beijing’s Smog

COLORADO SPRINGS – As the lead exercise physiologist for the United States Olympic Committee, Randy Wilber has been fielding one bizarre question after another from American athletes training for the Beijing Games.

Should I run behind a bus and breathe in the exhaust? Should I train on the highway during rush hour? Is there any way to acclimate myself to pollution?

Mr. Wilber answers those questions with a steadfast, “No.”

“We have to be extremely careful and steer them in the right direction because the mind-set of the elite athlete is to do anything it takes to get that advantage,” he said.

The environmental effects of pollution in China is not contained therein. North and South Korea, Japan along with various Pacific Islands feel the effects of this problem throughout spring.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

The Stars Hollow Gazette


Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonss√łn Quisling (18 July 1887 – 24 October 1945) was a Norwegian army officer and fascist politician who served as Minister President of German-occupied Norway during World War II from 1942 to 1945. During this time, he claimed to be the head of government while the constitutional government was exiled in London. After the war, Quisling was convicted of high treason and subsequently executed by firing squad. His surname has become an eponym for “traitor”, especially a collaborationist (see Quisling).

It was once my job to host a delegate from the international part of my club, a visitor from Norway.  While we were traveling around we happened to pass through New Haven and I mentioned it was the home of my favorite traitor- Benedict Arnold.

“Benedict Arnold?”, all innocent she.

“Vidkun Quisling.”

She practically spat at me.  “How do you know about him?”

I read history for if we forget we are condemned to repeat it.

Glenn Greenwald has two pieces of wisdom today-

For apologists of Democratic Party passivity, who claim endlessly that Democrats can stand for nothing because they’ll lose elections if they do, such a claim is not only craven and self-destructive, but factually inaccurate as well. From a new poll released today, commissioned by the ACLU:

Majorities of voters on both sides of the political spectrum oppose key provisions in President Bush’s proposal to modify foreign surveillance laws that could ensnare Americans, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The survey shows nearly two-thirds of poll respondents say the government should be required to get an individual warrant before listening in on conversations between US citizens and people abroad. Close to six in 10 people oppose an administration proposal to allow intelligence agencies to seek “blanket warrants” that would let them eavesdrop of foreigners for up to a year no additional judicial oversight required if the foreign suspect spoke to an American. And a majority are against a plan to give legal immunity to telecommunications companies that facilitated the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping.

“Across the board, we find opposition to the administration’s FISA agenda,” pollster Mark Mellman said Tuesday.

The argument that Democrats should allow chronic lawbreaking because doing otherwise is politically risky ought to be too corrupt an argument for anyone even to entertain. But for those who believe in that calculus, it’s also just factually false.

Consequences for ignoring congressional subpoenas: None

Your Harry Reid-led Senate in action-

(H)e wants to spout this Bush claim that the Senate must comply with the President’s orders immediately because he wants to pressure and shame Dodd, Feingold and any others who might support them out of filibustering telecom immunity and new warrantless eavesdropping powers. Dodd is ruining your weekend, preventing your fun retreat, not letting you go to Davos — all because he wants to grandstand with “talking this to death.” The President said he wants this done and we must give him what he wants and now, and I am acting with my good friend Mitch McConnell — who is explicitly hoping to bully the House into passing the same bill in one day that the Senate passes, just like happened back in August — to make sure this all happens with as little disruption and debate as possible.

If and when telecom immunity is passed (thereby forever extinguishing any hope of investigating and obtaining accountability for the President’s illegal spying programs), and the Bush administration (and subsequent presidents) are vested permanently with vast new warrantless eavesdropping powers to spy on Americans, it will be because Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership conspired to ensure that it happened. They aren’t just standing by meekly, failing to oppose it. They are actively enabling it with as aggressive a posture as the Republicans could possibly have employed had they still been in control of the Congress.

UPDATE: For an excellent summary of just how radical and invasive these new warrantless eavesdropping powers are that Senate Democrats are about to enact, see this comment here, complete with citations.

Harry Reid.

Setting Priorities for De-Bushification

Assuming our patented circular firing squad doesn’t wipe out too many of those who would otherwise cast a progressive-leaning vote in the general elections, we Democrats will win the White House come November.  While this is indeed fantastic – and probably the only outcome that will allow for the survival of an intact democracy – in assuming the reins of power, we’ll have only taken the first step in undoing the vast damage that The Decider and his cronies have visited upon our land over the past eight years.

If “change” is to be “the economy, stupid” of this election cycle, then now is the time for us to talk about the changes we’ll need to implement in order to restore our democracy to pre-Bushian levels of functionality.  We must ask ourselves: What putrid laws need to be undone, what emasculated institutions resurrected, which Manchurian Wingnuts fired, so that our nation might leave the 19th century and rejoin our allies in the 21st?

In short, what should be our next president’s priorities as s/he leads the citizenry in its efforts to De-Bushify our mangled government?

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