Friday, June 23, 2006

Everybody Parkour

BBC reports on a new "sport": jumping off buildings (sorta)
Gathering Intelligence, Bush Style

Eric Rauchway from Altercation directed me to this today:

Bush demanded torture of mentally ill man so he wouldn't "lose face"

Who voted Bush into office? Oh yeah. The evangelicals. So we hear anyway. They voted for a man who's against abortion, against gay marriage... but who loves torturing people.

I guess that's a-ok in their book.

Interestingly enough, is one of the comments a reader, "DC Boy," left on the blog entry cited above:

The US military learned its torture techniques from POWs in Korea and later in Vietnam who had been subjected to those techniques. The first US military torturers were instructors who subjected US personnel (pilots, mostly) to mild torture and taught them how to resist and survive.

The Koreans and Vietnamese learned their techniques from the Chinese and the Russians, who had perfected them in order to break "enemies of the state" down so that they would testify against themselves and others at show trials.

The point being that these torture techniques were never intended to elicit the truth. They were designed to compel their victim to say whatever the torturers wanted them to say, no matter how obviously false or even ridiculous.

From the Inquisition to 1984, torture has never been looked on as an instrument of fact-finding. It has always been about destroying a person's sense of being so that he has no object in life other than to please the torturer so that the pain will stop.

Of course torture doesn't produce true and useful information. It's not supposed to.
2 + 2 = 5, right?

How is acting like the Communists and Nazis helping us save our American way of life?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Where'd The Middle Class Go?

All across America, the middle class is disappearing, says the Washington Post. Why is this bad news? Well, before there was a middle class... the world was run by fiefdoms. The world was divided into Aristocrats and serfs. Only with the rise of the middle class did the world suddenly become a fairer place.

Evidence shows a stable middle class is essential to a stable country. If there's only rich people and poor people, the gap between proves a harder one to jump.

The Drum Major Institute For Public Policy released a report detailing how Congress performed on economic issues facing the middle class. On nearly every issue, Congress as a whole voted against the interests of middle class Americans.

On the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act, which made it harder for individuals to declare bankruptcy and clear credit card debt, only 25% in the Senate and 30% in the House voted against it.

On the Fair Minimum Wage act, which would raise the minimum wage, only 48% in the senate voted for it.

And the Democrats haven't exactly done well on voting in the economic interests of Middle Class Americans. Only 44% of House Democrats and 20% of Senate Democrats received A grades from the institute.

Republicans believe if you give to the rich, that money will filter down to the poor (Reaganomics!). Democrats tend to believe the opposite. In the 20+ years of Reaganomics, we've seen two major recessions, interrupted by a huge sustained period of growth from 1992-2000. What happened in 1992-2000? Why did the middle class grow during that time? Why did we have more money? Why did the deficit become a surplus?

What was the difference in those 8 years?

Could it have, maybe, just maybe been the fact that, oh, I don't know... Bill Clinton was President? And his economic policy made sense?

Hate him for the BJ if you will, but it's no coincidence exactly 8 years of economic prosperity matched up with his tenure as Commander-in-Chief.

But I'm digressing. The point is, Congress and the administration, has let the middle class down, widening the gap between rich and poor and causing more economic hardship for those families in between. Is it any wonder Bush's and Congress's approval ratings are so low? They may boast a growing economy, but clearly, whatever economic rise they detect is leaving out the group of Americans which form the backbone of our stable democracy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Republicans Seek Slow, Step-By-Step Return To Slavery

House delays renewal of Voting Rights Act
"House Republican leaders on Wednesday postponed a vote on renewing the 1965 Voting Rights Act after GOP lawmakers complained..."

"We have time to address their concerns," Republican leaders said in a joint statement. "Therefore, the House Republican Leadership will offer members the time needed to evaluate the legislation."
Oh those Republicans. How they wish for the days of pre-civil rights. How they wish that all voters could be white, English-speaking, God-fearing conservatives. They're even willing to block renewal of a key civil-rights era act that helped millions of black voters vote for the first time, and continues to help them vote today.

These Republicans claim that provisions in the act that call for greater scrutiny of southern states are unfair. You know what else was unfair?


You know what else was unfair?

Denying black Americans the right to vote for nearly a hundred years after slavery, through Jim Crow laws, poll taxes and intimidation.

Now those things were unfair.

Nevermind that thousands of black voters were knocked off the rolls in Florida prior to the 2000 election. According to the Republican lawmakers against renewing this bill as is, that kind of stopping-blacks-from-voting stuff doesn't happen anymore in the south.

It's true. Instead, they're stopping Hispanics.

Lead crybaby, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., said:
"Its soooo unfaaaiiir WAHAAAH!! WAAAAH!!! Poor Southie Wouthie has to win permission from the Justice Department or a federal judge to change our voting rules. SO UNFAIR!!!!!!! WAAAH!!! WAAAAHHH!"
Of course, I'm paraphrasing.

So let me get this straight. War in Iraq? Congress gives it the rubber stamp. Enormous, bloated funding requests? Rubber stamp. Questionably legal wiretapping? Rubber stamp. A voting rights law that has gone uncontested for decades? Whoa, lets have a debate!!!

And Republicans wonder why Kanye West thinks George Bush doesn't care about black people?

Stop the delays, stop the proposed amendments, and renew the law that has been working perfectly well for the last 41 years. Then congress can get on to more important things. Like sponsoring another meaningless symbolic resolution stating Jessica Alba is hot AND the war in Iraq is a vital part of an ongoing war on terrorism. Can't vote against that, can you Democrats? Jessica Alba's hot, right? You Democrats aren't... gay... are you?? Oooh, score one for Rove!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

While You Were In Iraq

Maybe we should have done something about this before going after those "Weapons of Mass Destruction."

Today is the UN's World Refugee Day. No matter what our problems may be here in America, they don't come close to what has been going on in Africa.

Show we're interested in more than Britney Spears and Shiloh Nouvel. Visit the Daily Kos site for a list of NGOs and other groups helping refugees in Africa and worldwide-- and show them you care.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Commencement Speaker I Had At NYU Sucked!

David Sedaris talks about Princeton

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