February 3, 2009 archive

Unrequited Love, and the Failed Obama Presidency

I’m with Rachel here. Maddow NAILS it, when she uses the unrequited love analogy to describe the mindboggling “bi-partisan” courtship that ultimately betrays President Obama’s base.

The Republican’ts (y,gctt) are alternately amused by, and annoyed by Obama’s apparent infatuation with them, and his utter abject heartbreak at not being able to evoke the same feelings in kind.

“They’re just not that into you…”

The full segment is here but msnbc changed their embed code and I just couldn’t tweak it enough to make it work. This 3 minute YouTube covers most of it, but the full 5 minutes is greatly suggested.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


All Aboard

The train pulled in

to the borderland

Beings disembarked

fresh from the city

built a town

a fortress


a replica

of the places

they came from


those things they hated

in the left-behind

Outside those walls

were the Others

pushing back

the Unknown

summoning the uncertainty

the distortion

that is a new boundary

so that once more

the train could move on

to a new borderland

Like the universe

humanity expands

and gravitationally contracts

into clumps

of sameness

ever spreading

further apart

until the border becomes

the edge of the clump

rather than

the edge of humanity

The train pulled in

to the borderland

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–September 12, 2008

Late Night Karaoke

Sit Back Relax And Enjoy  

Karmacoma – Massive Attack feat. Tricky

Michael Phelps’ Missed Opportunity

Michael Phelps missed a stellar chance to be a real hero and move the country forward from our far too long-abiding Puritan legacy and rotting livers.  If Michael had had the guts to stand up for what’s right, for moving the planet forward, he would have been worth another 8 gold medals for a total of 16.

But no, he copped to the “prevailing” lack of wisdom.  He said he had been ‘wrong’ to smoke pot, that he’d made a ‘stupid,’ immature  mistake.  Oh Michael!  You could have said how much kinder pot is to the body than alcohol, what an immensely better high it is, with far fewer damaging effects, including healthier livers.  

But no.  The prevailing lack of wisdom prevailed.  You spoke the trite platitudes of established conformity.  Too bad.  Better luck next time.

Congratulations on your swimming accomplishments however.

Obama Backpedals on Torture, Renditions, State Secrecy (Updated)

The Los Angeles Times had an article over the weekend by Greg Miller, describing the decision by the Obama administration to maintain, in some form, the secret rendition program of the CIA. The program began under the Clinton administration, and was accelerated President Bush. Full details of the program are classified.

In legal terms, extraordinary rendition is the “extrajudicial transfer of a person from one State to another.” But for most of us, rendition remains a fancy term for kidnapping, and involves snatching suspected “terrorists” off the streets, or from airports, as in the case of innocent Canadian citizen Maher Arar, snatched out of JFK airport, and secretly flown to Syria. Maher spent over ten months in a “grave-like” cell, and was beaten and tortured into making a false confession.

Obama’s Answer For FISA & Torture Litigation

As Dick and George slithered out of DC, a number of lawsuits that were filed by victims of their criminal acts involving FISA, torture and rendition have now been inherited by President Obama.  Bush routinely dismissed these cases by claiming his version of state secrets privilege on unilateral steroids.  The megamedia have reported that the Obama Justice Dept. has indicated in pleadings that it will also invoke the state secrets privilege.  However, there is an alternative which could protect legitimate governmental prerogatives, a victim’s right of redress for harms perpetrated by government officials and society’s right for a transparent government that sustains the rule of law.  The alternative is for Obama to adopt the state secrets standards that govern criminal prosecutions as his guidelines for use in civil litigation until Congress adopts the State Secrets Protection Act that was defeated last year amidst Bush’s veto threats. These guidelines are consistent with Supreme Court precedent that has rarely been correctly utilized.

Saving 49 Lives (Part 3)

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

There are 49 people presently facing the federal death penalty.  If we want to, we might be able to spare them.  We might be able to get the new Attorney General, Eric Holder, to review the decisions by the three Bush Administration Attorney Generals to pursue the death penalty in these cases, and if the new Attorney General thought, if there were convictions, that the defendants shouldn’t be killed, he could require prosecutors not to seek the death penalty, to be satisfied with a maximum sentence of life without parole.  This would be a remarkable development.  It would save lives.  The United States would join the civilized world that has stopped state killing.  The essential hypocrisy of an eye for an eye would be abandoned.  It would be a new era.  We would not have these people’s blood on our hands.

America, It’s Time To Say Goodbye To Wall Street: An Interview With Author David Korten


The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal..

“We face a monumental economic challenge that goes far beyond anything being discussed in the U.S. Congress or the corporate press. The hardships imposed by temporarily frozen credit markets pale in comparison to what lies ahead.

Even the significant funds that the Obama administration is committed to spending on economic stimulus will do nothing to address the deeper structural causes of our threefold financial, social, and environmental crisis. On the positive side, the financial crisis has put to rest the myths that our economic institutions are sound and that markets work best when deregulated. This creates an opportune moment to open a national conversation about what we can and must do to create an economic system that can for work for all people for all time.”

Time for a Little Class Warfare (music & pix)

This is a followup to my diary on Post Office Murals in the New Deal.  

Lewis Hine was a great photographer, and also an intrepid social activist.  Amongst his most famous works are pictures of child laborers in the early part of the 20th century, for the National Child Labor Committee.  The black and white slides with this music are mostly all by Hine.

Cross-posted from Daily Kos

The Lovers Cried, and the Poets Dreamed

Fifty years ago, on February 3, 1959, three young musicians were killed in a tragic plane crash.  The lives of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and Jiles Richardson ended on a dark winter night, their voices were silenced.  As the years passed, as the darkness of a long 20th century night of conflict and injustice deepened, too many other young voices were silenced.  By war, by oppression, by disillusionment so deep it emptied their souls and left them mute. They withdrew into isolation and despair, the drums of war, the drums of greed were too loud. The music of democracy, the music of justice could not be heard.  

A long, long time ago…

I can still remember

How that music used to make me smile . . .

Purple thumbs in Iraq.  Red, white, and blue thumbs in America.    We vote, but nothing ever changes.  The music of democracy, the music of justice is still not being heard in the corridors of power.    

Now We Will Find Out…

RawStory this afternoon:

The United States Senate has confirmed Eric Holder, President Obama’s nominee for attorney general, by a vote of 75-21, making him the first African-American to hold the office.

His Republican opponents in the Senate said they felt Holder is hostile to the rights of gun owners and questioned his support of President Bush’s terror war.

Reportedly, among the no votes were Senators Barrasso, Brownback, Burr, Coburn, Cochran, Cornyn, Crapo, Ensign, Kaybee, Hutchison, Inhofe, Johanns, McConnell, Risch, Shelby, Thune and Wicker.

During the confirmation hearing, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) scolded Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) after several Republicans demanded Holder pledge he would not prosecute US interrogators who followed the Bush administration’s orders to torture prisoners.

“No one should be seeking to trade a vote for such a pledge,” said the Vermont Democrat.

“When Cornyn rose to announce his vote against Holder, he did not make such a demand,” reports the AP. “However, he accused the nominee of changing his once-supportive position – on the need to detain terrorism suspects without all the rights of the Geneva Convention – to one of harshly criticizing Bush administration’s counterterrorism policies.”

During the hearing, Holder stated directly, “Waterboarding is torture.”

Now that he has been confirmed, it is within his authority to reverse President Bush’s order granting his former advisers blanket immunity against testimony before Congress. Three of President Bush’s close advisers — Karl Rove, Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton — are facing congressional contempt citations.

“The confirmation of Eric Holder as our new Attorney General is a momentous day for the rule of law,” said Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI). “During his confirmation hearings, Eric Holder clearly and unequivocally stated that no one, including the president, is above the law. Those were welcome words after eight years of Bush Administration policies that undermined our Constitution and damaged the integrity of the Department of Justice.”

Will prayers help?

Open Thread

From Dee over at Citizen Orange a report about one of our private prison systems, and it’s not good news:

A Prison Uprising is underway at the Reeves County Detention Center (RCDC). This is the second uprising in 2 months. The detainees say prison conditions are inhumane and they lack needed medical treatment. The trigger setting them off in December was a prisoner dying.

This center is located in Pecos, Tx, an extremely “out of the way” location. It houses approximately 2,400 minimum security inmates and immigration detainees. It is operated by the GEO group. GEO attempted to cover up the reason for the prisoner’s death by saying the young prisoner died of natural causes. The detainees, risking their lives, protested.

As I have previously reported, the GEO Group, is an international corporation that operates prisons around the country and is frequently in the news for its abuse of prisoners in its care resulting in many preventable deaths. At least eight people died at the Geo Group-operated George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania, the state’s only privately run jail. Several of those deaths resulted in lawsuits by family members who say the facility did not provide adequate medical care or proper supervision for inmates.

Prisons for profit.  Let’s not also forget one of Halliburton’s prisons, the Hutto facility in Texas (hmm, Texas again?) being only one of the most egregious, children imprisoned — for profit.

Lot of cleaning up to do.  But for so many, it’s too little, too late.

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Open thread is open!

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