Calling the Hypocrites Out.

EJ Dionne has the right take on the gun nuts in Congress. If what they are proposing does not make them gun nuts, then they should read EJ’s suggestion and figure out if they are gun nuts or hypocrites catering to the fears of the gun nuts.

Mind you, I like all of our Constitutional rights, I don’t exercise my second amendment rights as much as I do my first amendment rights, but I like them all. But just because I think we should have the right to bear arms, it doesn’t mean I want an assault weapon in my closet.

If you think owning weapons will make you safe (especially from an over-reaching government, you might want to review recent history aw Ruby Ridge and Mt. Carmel)

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Arm the Senate!

Isn’t it time to dismantle the metal detectors, send the guards at the doors away and allow Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights by being free to carry their firearms into the nation’s Capitol?

I’ve been studying the deep thoughts of senators who regularly express their undying loyalty to the National Rifle Association, and I have decided that they should practice what they preach. They tell us that the best defense against crime is an armed citizenry and that laws restricting guns do nothing to stop violence.

If they believe that, why don’t they live by it?

Why would freedom-loving lawmakers want to hide behind guards and metal detectors? Shouldn’t NRA members be outraged that Second Amendment rights mean nothing in the very seat of our democracy?

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Police Work

I have a theory about police work and social work.  Here it is:  if you want to be a police officer, you have to train as a social worker and work as a social worker for five years before you can become a police officer.

In order to balance the job market, anyone interested in becoming a social worker would have to work as a police officer for five years after completing their MSW.

That would mean that a lot of us would end dealing with an authoritarian social worker who would yell at us, threaten to knock us down and rough us up if we did not make change quickly.  That might not be an altogether bad thing.

It might also mean we would end up with cops who would pull us over for speeding, or not using our blinkers, or making too many lane changes and they would sit down in the car with us and say things like:  I am worried about you, I think what you did back there was dangerous.   What were you thinking about?   Let’s talk about the important people in your life, how would they do if you were killed in an auto accident?  Do you have anything important that you need to say to your friends and family?  Have you said it?   because I am worried about you, you are driving like a person with a death wish.   If a miracle happened and everything was just the way you want it, what would the speed limit be?

And then, I guess, hey, our time is up for now.  You want to meet here again next week?  Great, let’s think about this situation.  I am not going to write you up this time.  Give me a hug, big guy.  Take care of yourself now.  Don’t hurt anybody, including yourself.

What Kind of Folks Are Drawn to Police Work?

It’s certainly not true that all police in the US are racists, but there is no doubt that police work as a career attracts a certain personality type the way a basketball court attracts tall people.

It’s a job where you can exercise power, where you can enforce your sense of propriety and order. The smart cops who respond to a call like the Gates “burglary” in Cambridge apologize quickly for the misunderstanding and earn the respect and trust of the population, but a significant number of the police officers who respond to this situation behave just like this officer did: they exercise their authority and demand deference from the public and especially from individuals perceived to need a lesson.

There is much discussion of the US as post-racial in the wake of an election that put a dark complected person in the Oval Office, but racism is alive and well in the US. Racism is at work every day in interactions like the one that took place in Cambridge. It makes the news when a guy like Henry Louis Gates Jr. gets booked.

What is the solution? I don’t know. My impulse says fire this cop. Make an example of him, but I know that just feeds the fears of the “oppressed white males” who can’t see racism at work if it was burning like a cross in their front yard. It feeds the fears that power the sales of assault weapons and arm caches by these fearful individuals. I know that we have to love these poor souls until they evolve beyond their current limited understanding of the world and how we should relate to each other. Complicated stuff. I hope Skip Gates will seize this teaching moment and show us something.

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What Do You Call a Black Man with a Ph.D.?

The Skip Gates arrest shows how little some features of the national racial landscape have changed over time.

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    Posted: July 21, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Ain’t nothing post-racial about the United States of America.

Ain’t nothing post-racial about the United States of America.

I say this because my best friend, a well-known, middle-aged, affluent, black man, was arrested on his own front porch after showing his identification to a white police officer who was responding to a burglary call. Though the officer quickly determined that my friend was the rightful resident of the house and knew by then that there was no burglary in progress, he decided to place my friend in handcuffs, put him in the back of a police cruiser and have him fingerprinted and fully “processed,” at our local police station.

This did not happen at night. It happened in the middle of the day. It did not happen to a previously unknown urban black male. It happened to internationally known, 58-year-old Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. I am writing about this event because it is an outrage, because I want others to know that it is an outrage, and because, even now, I have not fully processed the meaning of it.

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Getting Hot on a Small Blue Planet

Guess we can let the statistics speak for themselves. Ocean and land temperatures near all time highs. Ice cover on the ocean continuing to disappear.

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NOAA: Global Ocean Surface Temperature Warmest on Record for June

The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for June, breaking the previous high mark set in 2005, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Additionally, the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for June was second-warmest on record. The global records began in 1880.

Global Climate Statistics

  • The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for June 2009 was the second warmest on record, behind 2005, 1.12 degrees F (0.62 degree C) above the 20th century average of 59.9 degrees F (15.5 degrees C).
  • Separately, the global ocean surface temperature for June 2009 was the warmest on record, 1.06 degrees F (0.59 degree C) above the 20th century average of 61.5 degrees F (16.4 degrees C).
  • Each hemisphere broke its June record for warmest ocean surface temperature. In the Northern Hemisphere, the warm anomaly of 1.17 degrees F (0.65 degree C) surpassed the previous record of 1.12 degrees F (0.62 degree C), set in 2005. The Southern Hemisphere’s increase of 0.99 degree F (0.55 degree C) exceeded the old record of 0.92 degree F (0.51 degree C), set in 1998.
  • The global land surface temperature for June 2009 was 1.26 degrees F (0.70 degree C) above the 20th century average of 55.9 degrees F (13.3 degrees C), and ranked as the sixth-warmest June on record.

Notable Developments and Events

  • El Niño is back after six straight months of increased sea-surface temperature anomalies. June sea surface temperatures in the region were more than 0.9 degree F (0.5 degree C) above average.
  • Terrestrial warmth was most notable in Africa. Considerable warmth also occurred in Siberia and in the lands around the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Cooler-than-average land locations included the U.S. Northern Plains, the Canadian Prairie Provinces, and central Asia.
  • Arctic sea ice covered an average of 4.4 million square miles (11.5 million square kilometers) during June, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. This is 5.6 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent. By contrast, the 2007 record for the least Arctic sea ice extent was 5.5 percent below average. Antarctic sea ice extent in June was 3.9 percent above the 1979-2000 average.
  • Heavy rain fell over central Europe, triggering mudslides and floods. Thirteen fatalities were reported. According to reports, this was central Europe’s worst natural disaster since the 2002 floods that claimed 17 lives and caused nearly $3 billion in damages.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the oceans to surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

July 17, 2009

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Was David Kay A Target of Cheney’s Assassination Squad?

I don’t for a minute believe that we have any idea about the scope or purpose of VP Dick Cheney’s secret CIA program. I think once you know that Cheney told the CIA not to inform Congress about a program, the question immediately arises: how will we ever know what the program was about? Who is going to tell us about the scope and purpose of the program?

The “secret program” is being peddled as targeting assassinations of top al qaeda leaders. There are a lot of legal, not to mention ethical and moral, problems with that plan, but it is probably palatable to an American electorate that is informed on international law by watching Jack Bauer on 24. But what if the program really was operational and actually targeted a Cheney enemies list? Do I need to remind anyone that Richard Nixon compiled his famous “enemies” list and that the list led to harassment by IRS, the break-in at Ellsburg’s psychiatrist office and who knows what else? (everybody who believes that we ever got to the bottom of the Watergate scandal should line up now, they are pouring the Koolaid)

So, let’s think for a minute… are there any convenient deaths of folks who would certainly make a Cheney “enemy list.”

Well, I guess Paul Wellstone and David Kay come to mind.

I have no confidence that a House panel will get to the bottom of Cheney’s secret CIA programs, but I guess it’s encouraging that some legislators think they should exercise their oversight responsibilities.

Simple solution: put Cheney under oath. No immunity. If he says anything (other than invoking the protection of the 5th amendment) that can be shown later to be a lie, indict him for perjury.) Don’t hold your breath for that. Any lawmakers who decide they want to take on Dick Cheney will need to consider the untimely end of folks like David Kay and Paul Wellstone and his family.

Can you say military-industrial complex? I knew you could.

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House Panel to Investigate Canceled CIA Program

The House intelligence committee announced yesterday it will investigate the CIA’s handling of its secret al-Qaeda assassination program, including whether Vice President Richard B. Cheney improperly intervened to stop the agency from telling Congress about the initiative.

The probe will examine the nature of the now-canceled program — described by intelligence officials as a series of planned attempts to use assassins to kill or capture senior terrorists — but it will mostly focus on whether the agency improperly withheld information from lawmakers, committee members said.

“The committee must be kept fully and currently informed of significant intelligence activities as required by law,” Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.), chairman of the panel, said in a statement. He said the decision to investigate was made in consultation with House Republicans.

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Appoint the Prosecutor

Patrick Fitzgerald would be fine with me as the prosecutor, but I doubt he can be appointed since he was so successful last time and tracked wrong-doing to Scooter Libby of Dick Cheney’s office.

Investigate, indict, prosecute and jail the war criminals and torturers. Strip them of government pensions, benefits. Let’s send a clear signal regarding the rule of law.

Come on, Mr. Holder, appoint the prosecutor now.

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Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is leaning toward appointing a criminal prosecutor to investigate whether CIA personnel tortured terrorism suspects after Sept. 11, 2001, setting the stage for a conflict with administration officials who would prefer the issues remain in the past, according to three sources familiar with his thinking.

White House Has Resisted Inquiry

Probe of Alleged Torture Weighed

Among the unauthorized techniques allegedly used, as described in the report and Red Cross accounts, were shackling, punching and beating of suspects, as well as the waterboarding of at least two detainees using more liquid and for longer periods than the Justice Department had approved. That conduct could violate ordinary criminal laws, as well as the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which the United States signed more than a decade ago.

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Does Anyone Doubt that the Bush Folks Implemented TIA?

Total Information Awareness.  

Surveillance, data-mining of American citizens without warrant is a violation of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution. To authorize unconstitutional government activity is exactly what is meant by high crimes.

People should lose their jobs, their pensions, their benefits if they are career CIA officers and they went along with a blatantly unconstitutional activity – data-mining and conducting surveillance against US citizens without warrant. By the way, this activity is also expressly prohibited by the terms of creation for the Central Intelligence Agency.

George Tenet? Investigate, indict, prosecute and jail him if he has violated the law.

JULY 13 UPDATE:  The Wall Street Journal reports that the hidden program was targeted assassination of Al Qaeda leaders.   I think if the facts ever become known we will discover that the Vice President operated more like a mafia godfather than an elected leader of a constitutional democracy.

I will wait for the other shoe to drop and indicate that wide-spread surveillance of US citizens has been conducted without warrant.

Who know what we will find out if a prosecutor is appointed?

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Democrats May Investigate Secret Program

CIA Director Leon Panetta alerted lawmakers about the secret program at closed-door briefings for the House and Senate intelligence committees.

House Democrats said yesterday that they expect to launch a formal investigation into a secret CIA program that was not disclosed to Congress for almost eight years, a probe that could entangle senior Bush administration officials who oversaw intelligence issues.

“This wasn’t an oversight. There was an order given to not inform Congress,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), chairman of the panel’s oversight and investigations subcommittee.

The New York Times, on its Web site, reported yesterday that Panetta has told the committees that Vice President Richard B. Cheney gave the order to keep the information from Congress. The newspaper cited unnamed sources.

Cheney’s current spokeswoman did not respond to an e-mail last night seeking comment.

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Can Sarah Palin Explain the Lake Lucille House?

This story has been out there for quite a while. It’s not clear that there is corruption or illegality around the house, but how many of us can build a house with value of $500,000 plus with a couple of contractor friends?

How about some receipts to show where the materials came from? Granted, nobody has to provide this kind of personal information, but it’s not unreasonable to ask a few questions when the City of Wasilla was going into major debt for the sports complex while the Palins took up residence in the Lake Lucille home.

These are not unreasonable questions to ask when we are talking about the politics of Alaska. Anybody remember Ted Stevens?

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Palin House:Sarah Palin’s House Built For Free?

Palin House:Sarah Palin's House Built For Free?

Palin House:Sarah Palin’s House Built For Free? – Palin house is the drama of the day.The Palin family has a house worth $552,000 that is causing a bit of controversy. Palin house is located at Lake Lucille.It is a two-story, four bedroom, four bath home and “Todd Palin said that he built the house with friends who were contractors.    Palin House:Sarah Palin’s House Built For Free?

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