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Times-osaurus rex

15 Apr

I dislike pretty much anything that hurts anyone and by hurt, I’m talking about a wide variety of pain.  If there is an industry (and therefore a lot of people) that is suffering right now it is the newspaper industry.  I don’t think journalism is easy, and I think we owe journalists (the un-brainwashed ones) a lot of gratitude for scaring folk into doing the right thing or risk to be humiliated in the newspaper.  But I also think we (esp the gen y’ers) owe craigslist and google a lot of gratitude.  I’ve done everything from selling cars, finding roommates, applying to grad school — all the important stuff on the internet for free and much quicker than I could have done it back in the day.  Because of google and craigslist I have way more luxury time to devote to working or playing.  This is huge and this is why our world is progressing exponentially.  But again I feel for reporters  like Maureen Dowd who are at risk.  She, as per usual, hits the nail on the headtyrannosaurus-rex-skeleto-004.

Firms, like Google here and Craigslist in San Francisco, have hijacked journalism, making us feel about as modern as the Tyrannosaurus rex model that sits on the Google campus.

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Torture update, big deal.

2 Apr

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2 big things are going on in the torture world.

1.  The honorable Judge Garzon of Spain (best known for taking down Augusto Pinochet) is at it again, and I love him for it. The LA Times reports,

A high-profile Spanish judge has initiated a possible investigation of alleged torture and war crimes by half a dozen U.S. officials who created the legal framework for interrogations at Guantanamo, a senior Spanish official said Saturday.

The process has gotten so far, it is scaring the begeezus out of Bush senior staff.  John Yoo and David Addington, two of torture enablers, have recently canceled their Chevy Chase esque European adventure.  Huff post reports quotes from both gentleman that show just how clueless they are to the pain they’ve caused.

“It’s a shame when you have someone who thinks they’re above the law…like Mr. Garzon,” said Addington, “and now two innocent people have to suffer. We had been looking forward to this for years, and now they just want to put us on the rack…I’m speaking metaphorically, of course.”

2.  Today a Federal judge ruled that detainees in Afghanistan are entitled to challenge their detention in US Courts.  The fact that they were unable to challenge their detention before was one of my only disappointments with Obama thus far.  So I’m glad that this has been overturned.  We must stop treating individuals as they have varying value.  We all have equal value in this world — this ruling helps affirm this.  As reported by the NYT,

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have the right to challenge their detention in court. But the government had argued that it did not apply to those in Afghanistan.

Bates said the cases were essentially the same and he quoted the Supreme Court ruling repeatedly in his judgment and applied the test created by it to each detainee. It is the first time a federal judge has applied the ruling to detainees in Afghanistan.

The beastly, the brash, the big word, globalization.

26 Mar

globalizationI was hoping that this recession would do away with all the free market talk, get rid of the Chicago boys rhetoric once and for all and help build a globalized economy that protects the little guy.  While it hasn’t done all that, it has taken the stigma from “regulation” and spread it around to some other words like…Wall Street and securitization.  In hopes of permanent regulation we need to think big.  Damon Silvers, associate general counsel for the AFL-CIO, is looking to change the world market, not just the US.  What he says is sound thinking, we are more connected than ever and might as well fix all the holes at once.  Let’s see how the G8 countries feel about all this.  More importantly now though, how do American taxpayers feel about this.  As reported on AFL-CIO Now Blog, if they don’t feel taken…then they aren’t paying attention.

Silvers, associate general counsel for the AFL-CIO, says taxpayers are being asked to givie away too much to hedge funds and private equity in President Obama’s financial rescue package. The plan for public-private partnerships announced by the Treasury Department on Monday gives taxpayers 95 percent of the risk with only 50 percent of the benefits in buying the toxic assets.

Those are not the kind of odds I’m looking to play (or pay).

Gamma Omicron Phi – Republicans might as well be a big fraternity.

24 Mar

USA-BUSH/The Republican party is acting like a sorority or a fraternity lately.  No individual thinking, only collective thinking.  Collective thinking is bad, unless it is collaborative thinking.  The only reason to have one opinion shape a group is to amass power.  Which is exactly what the GOP is doing.  The lovely ladies from Maine helped us out last time and it looked as if Arlen Specter was going to do us a solid this time with the Employee Free Choice Act.  But, he reneged.  Big surprise…  As reported in the Globe,

Big business won a key ally today in its high-stakes fight against the “check-card” bill that would make it easier for unions to organize workplaces.

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who was the only Republican to support the bill two years ago, told business groups that he will oppose the measure.

Unions were counting on him as the 60th vote to overcome an expected GOP filibuster. Democrats and two independents who usually vote with them control 58 seats.

This basically kills the bill and drops it in filibuster land.  Not somewhere any of us would like to end up.

Now we’re stripping 13 year old girls to see if they have 800mg Advil?

24 Mar

ibuprofen800mg-quaAs detailed in a NYT article today, a 13-yr old girl (Savana Redding) was strip searched as an 8th grader after another 13-yr old girl accused her of having Rx strength Advil (ooooh…scary drug) hidden on her body.  The case has made it all the way up to the US Supreme Court.  One side incorrectly asserting that schools must take liberties to control drug use while the other uses common sense to see the error of school officials.  It is absolutely absurd to strip search a 13 yr-old in school without a parent or guardian present unless there is overwhelming evidence that the student has a bomb strapped to their chest.  Tthat is there are wires hanging our of their L.E.I. jeans!  As reported in the Times,

In Ms. Redding’s case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled that school officials had violated the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches. Writing for the majority, Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw said, “It does not require a constitutional scholar to conclude that a nude search of a 13-year-old child is an invasion of constitutional rights.”  “More than that,” Judge Wardlaw added, “it is a violation of any known principle of human dignity.”

I completely agree and if there is any time where privacy should be most respected, 13 is that time.  I can’t imagine how embarrassed and upset Savana must have been after being strip searched at her middle school!  Unfortunately, the school district doesn’t see their obvious boundary crossing behavior.

…the school district said, the search was “not excessively intrusive in light of Redding’s age and sex and the nature of her suspected infraction.”

Adam B. Wolf, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Ms. Redding, said her experience was “the worst nightmare for any parent.”

“When you send your child off to school every day, you expect them to be in math class or in the choir,” Mr. Wolf said. “You never imagine their being forced to strip naked and expose their genitalia and breasts to their school officials.”

This incident reminds me how far we have to go when it comes to teaching young women to love and nurture their bodies, that are their own.  This behavior teaches young women that their bodies are the property of others.  If you think I’m going to far then consider how you’d feel if you were strip searched at 13, 23 or even 33 for drugs that you knew you didn’t have on you.  Would that make you feel in control of your own body?

And if you doubt that we are losing the battle in proving to young women that they deserve respect at all times.  Read the recent article in the NYT detailing young women’s thoughts regarding Rihanna and Chris Brown…so sad :(.

AIG chieftain representin’ Che.

23 Mar

The fascination with Che in the US is hilarious.  I, along with many of my peers, own a silk screened Che shirt.  I feel a bit ashamed wearing it seeing as if I’m 99.9% pacifist and Che…well, was not.   But, I do consider myself a lover of many things ‘marxist’ and  ‘socialist’ and therefore wear the shirt as an unabashed criticism of capitalism.  So, that is my excuse.  What is the excuse of this AIG big-wig in charge of financial products?  I’m guessing he’s a pretty big fan of capitalism.  gerry-pasciucco

Nuevo Mexico, dijo ‘NO’ al ejecución

19 Mar

flag_of_new_mexicosvgWith roots along the Rio Grande flood plain, I am extremely proud of my home state today.  Governor Richardson has shone himself to be an extremely principled person and he continues to do so today.  Gov. Richardson has repealed the death penalty in New Mexico and by doing so makes an incredibly valid point.  He is not anti-death penalty in all cases, but he is made uncomfortable by the finality of such a decision.  He says in his official statement,

Once a conclusive decision has been made and executed, it cannot be reversed. And it is in consideration of this, that I have made my decision.

I have decided to sign legislation that repeals the death penalty in the state of New Mexico.

Regardless of my personal opinion about the death penalty, I do not have confidence in the criminal justice system as it currently operates to be the final arbiter when it comes to who lives and who dies for their crime. If the State is going to undertake this awesome responsibility, the system to impose this ultimate penalty must be perfect and can never be wrong.

But the reality is the system is not perfect – far from it. The system is inherently defective. DNA testing has proven that. Innocent people have been put on death row all across the country.

I agree with Gov. Richardson and would add one more reason.  In a world of malicious criminals who blow up buses and trains on a semi-regular basis we must stand firmly on the other side.  We must affirm that killing is wrong, regardless of why we are killing and we must accept that we have an imperfect moral judgment system and criminal judgment system.  By concluding that peace is better than war, and that life is better than death is the only way to regain respect as a just nation.

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