Wednesday, January 28, 2009

So long, Rabbit

And now John Updike is dead. That's two writers that really touched my life gone in less than a year.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Damn it

Nadine Strossen is speaking to my red state law school and I have a makeup class during it. My grasp of hearsay is too tenuous to skip.

Three good developments today

Green Light for US Stem Cell Work

Senate OKs Wage-Bias Law

Obama to End Mexico City Rule

Searching for news stories on family planning funding is irritating because all of the top stories on Google News are from the Christian Broadcasting Network or Catholic Culture.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thank god

Obama Issues Directives to Shut Down Guantanamo, Extraordinary Rendition, Torture, etc.
President Obama signed executive orders Thursday directing the Central Intelligence Agency to shut what remains of its network of secret prisons and ordering the closing of the Guantánamo detention camp within a year, government officials said.

The orders, which are the first steps in undoing detention policies of former President George W. Bush, rewrite American rules for the detention of terrorism suspects. They require an immediate review of the 245 detainees still held at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to determine if they should be transferred, released or prosecuted.

And the orders bring to an end a Central Intelligence Agency program that kept terrorism suspects in secret custody for months or years, a practice that has brought fierce criticism from foreign governments and human rights activists. They will also prohibit the C.I.A. from using coercive interrogation methods, requiring the agency to follow the same rules used by the military in interrogating terrorism suspects, government officials said.
Now about that Mexico City policy...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How appropriate

It's somewhat fitting that one of Bush's final acts in office was to commute the sentences of two border control agents who shot a non-threatening person who was running away from them and then tried to cover up the evidence.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Takeover Rhetoric

Researching the history of corporate takeovers is more interesting than I had imagined, at least for aesthetic reasons. I had no idea there were so many fun metaphors: Poison Pill, Suicide Pill, Gray Knights, Greenmail, Jonestown Defense, Pac-Man Defense, Lobster Trap, Shark Repellent, Killer Bees.

Friday, January 16, 2009

How the Bush administration screwed up the Civil Rights Division...

...with the help of the Federalist Society.

I haven't found the report yet, but the summary on the NYT's editorial page is frightening (although we already knew how Bush and Gonzales politicized the DoJ). I guess I'm going to one of those attorneys that isn't a "Real American."

The report found that a former senior Justice Department official, Bradley Schlozman, set out to hire so-called “Right-Thinking Americans,” including members of the Federalist Society and other Republicans, for what were supposed to be apolitical career positions. He then gave them plum assignments on civil rights cases when he was helping to run the Civil Rights Division, beginning in 2003.

The report also concluded that Mr. Schlozman, who left the Justice Department in 2007 amid the uproar over the dismissal of at least eight United States attorneys, which led to Mr. Gonzales’s resignation, gave false statements to Congress when he repeatedly denied factoring politics and ideology into his hiring decisions.

The report’s case against Mr. Schlozman relies heavily on his words, from e-mail and phone messages to colleagues and underlings. His disdain for the traditional independence and mission of the Civil Rights Division is palpable. He spoke brazenly about reshaping the division by doing away with “pinko” and “crazy lib” lawyers and others he did not consider “real Americans.”

“As long as I’m here, adherents of Mao’s Little Red Book need not apply,” he wrote in one e-mail message. The report found that Mr. Schlozman transferred three lawyers out of the division because they were viewed as liberals who opposed his political agenda. The transfers, the report found, violated federal civil service law and “constituted misconduct.” All three lawyers brought federal discrimination claims and returned to the division after Mr. Schlozman’s departure.

While he was a senior official in the division, political appointees overruled career lawyers to approve a Texas redistricting law that clearly violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act, as well as a plainly unconstitutional voter identification law in Georgia that amounted to a modernized poll tax.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Over 20 Versions of the Exact Same, Terrible Right Wing Cartoon

Good collection showing how editorial cartoonists distribute their trite talking points:

If Global Warming is Real, Then Why is it Cold?

People are really this stupid. They seriously think that the IPCC has no idea that the Northern Hemisphere tilts away from the Sun once a year.

Edit: Here are some hilariously awful McCoy cartoons. At least they're not making an identical joke.

Bush administration official admits that torture occurred

Oh my.

The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a "life-threatening condition."

"We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani," said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Queen II on vinyl

I think this is the first version of this record that I've heard that hasn't been a shitty tape dub or CD-R in a long time. It's nice to hear a clean transition from "March of the Black Queen" to "Funny How Love Is."

Thanks, wife.

It makes me think of being in Junior High, dubbing it for my best friend from the county library's scratched up CD. Last I heard, he was in Iraq with the U.S. Army, which makes me nostalgic and nervous.