A Dark, Dark Day

It is now official. Everything I was taught to believe about the government of the United States of America as a child, as an Eagle Scout, as a delegate to the American Legion’s Boy’s State in High School and in Government class is,… a quaint historical fiction. The terrorists have won.

How did your Senator vote? [Nevada: Reid = no, Ensign = yes]

How did your Representative vote? [Nevada: Berkley = no, Gibbons = yes, Porter = yes]

It’s a 40 day slog through the desert to the polls for you and I. I certainly know who I will be voting for. How about you?

Senator Harry Reid’s (D-NV) floor statement on the detainee bill:

The Framers of our Constitution understood the need for checks and balances, but this bill discards them.

Many of the worst provisions were not in the Committee-reported bill, and were not in the compromise announced last Friday. They were added over the weekend after backroom meetings with White House lawyers.

We have tried to improve this legislation. Senator Levin proposed to substitute the bipartisan bill that was reported by the Armed Services Committee. That amendment was rejected.

Senators Specter and Leahy offered an amendment to restore the right to judicial review – that amendment was rejected.

Senator Rockefeller offered an amendment to improve congressional oversight of CIA programs – that amendment was rejected.

Senator Kennedy offered an amendment to clarify that inhumane interrogation tactics prohibited by the Army Field manual could not be used on Americans or on others – that amendment was rejected.

And Senator Byrd offered an amendment to sunset military commissions so that Congress would simply be required to reconsider this far-reaching authority after five years of experience. Even that amendment was rejected.

I strongly believe this legislation is unconstitutional. It will almost certainly be struck down by the Supreme Court. And when that happens, we’ll be back here several years from now debating how to bring terrorists to justice.

The families of the 9/11 victims and the nation have been waiting five years for the perpetrators of these attacks to be brought to justice. They should not have to wait longer. We should get this right now – and we are not doing so by passing this bill. The National security policies of this administration and Republican Congress may have been tough, but they haven’t been smart. The American people are paying a price for their mistakes.

History will judge our actions here today. I am convinced that future generations will view passage of this bill as a grave error. I wish to be recorded as one who voted against taking this step.

From Majikthise:

Majikthise : Final passage: Bush/McCain Torture Bill
Watch your back.

Another from kos:

Open Thread and Diary Rescue

That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.

-Shakespeare, Richard II, Act 2 scene 1

On this dark day, we are by turns enraged, despondent, half out of our minds, determined. But not silent. Maybe you can find in these diaries something you need: solace, distraction, some borrowed strength to keep on.

mcjoan at dailykos:

On the question do you favor (1) allowing the President to define torture, (2) strip the court of judicial review via habeas corpus (even though the constitution does not allow you to except in cases of invasion or Rebellion), and (3) allowing the President to jail American citizens arbitrarily and without court review?

Gutless Democrats saying Aye:
Tom Carper (Del.)
Tim Johnson (S.D.)
Mary Landrieu (La.)
Frank Lautenberg (N.J.)
Bob Menendez (N.J)
Bill Nelson (Fla.)
Ben Nelson (Neb.)
Pryor (Ark.)
Jay Rockefeller (W. Va.)
Ken Salazar (Co.)
Debbie Stabenow (Mich.)

Gutless Connecticut for Liebermans saying Aye:
Joe Lieberman (Conn.)

History will not absolve you.

Matt Stoller over at MyDD:

Final Tally on the McCain Torture Act, 65-34

Democrats in favor (12) – Carper (Del.), Johnson (S.D.), Landrieu (La.), Lautenberg (N.J.), Lieberman (Conn.), Menendez (N.J), Pryor (Ark.), Rockefeller (W. Va.), Salazar (Co.), Stabenow (Mich.), Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.)

Republicans against (1) – Chafee (R.I.)

Independents against (1) – Jeffords

Later: I see Garret calls it ‘a dark day‘ as well.

YearlyKos III

Yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind, going back and forth (and back and forth) to work and YearlyKos. I did get to see some of ‘luminaries’ and meet some bloggers. But with daycare and other things going on, i only managed to attend the regional caucus.

Aside: Nevada suffers from not really being part of most folks conceptual matrix. If you have everyone split up into geographic arrangements — east, west, etc. — where does Nevada go? (Your options are Northeast, Midwest, Pacific coast, Rocky Mountain, South, International) The Pacific Coast group? [hmm, not really in my book…] How about the Rocky Mountain group? [hmm, again, not really, but more so than the coastal group, IMO.] Often there is a Southwest group and I just go there. So, this time I went to the Rocky Mountain group, but had to leave early to pick Ian up. I did get to briefly meet Sarah R. Carter who is running her Dad, Jack Carter’s, run for Senate web site. Hint: Sarah’s Grandfather was the 39th President of the United States.

I also found out from Susan that there are some lefty blogs in Nevada, like Desert Beacon and the Las Vegas Gleaner.

I wanted to get back for the Science Bloggers Caucus in the evening (5:45-7:15) but arrived about 7, after things had broken up into pure social activity. So, I went in the room and just felt like an idiot standing around and ineptly trying to integrate myself into some of the little groups.

Aaugh! How do people just go up to people and talk when they don’t know them!

Oh well.

I am at work now, but am going to go back to YK later, so look for an update then… (for values of ‘then’ that are ill-defined)

The Other “9/11”

In 1973…

The CIA director in those days was one George Herbert Walker Bush.

I tell myself sometimes that there will come a time when the people in my country wake up. I tell myself that we will throw off the blinders, the television numbness, that we will at long last see the bonds of blood that connect us to our victims, that we will hear their songs in our heads sweetly and relentlessly. I tell myself that the workers and the owners, the fearful people on the edge and the complacent ones behind the stucco walls, the black and white and red and blue will shake their heads, rub the sheen from their eyes and wonder how we could all have been so unfeeling, so ignorant. I tell myself that this nation’s descent into snarling chaos will stop, that we will weep a desperate plea for forgiveness and then start to set things right.

And then I wake up. The rest of the world waits for us in vain. History is already passing us by. [Chris Clarke]

This is not current, Chris posted this last September and I re-stumbled across it.

more on the Manchurian Beefcake scandal from Digby

Who Are They Kidding?
And isn’t it interesting that the other main character in the White House payola scandal, Armstrong Williams, was sued by his male assistant for sexual harassment and settled it for an undisclosed sum. (One of the sweeter aspects of that settlement was that the plaintiff was given a nice sinecure at Oliver Stone’s media outfit. Semper Fi, baby.)

It certainly does seem as if the Bush White House is pretty darned tolerant for an administration that mined millions of votes in the evangelical community by being against gay rights. And the Dems and the mainstream press know very well that this is a problem for the Republicans.

George W. Bush’s carefully crafted mystique is built entirely on his manufactured masculinity. In fact, the Republican Party has based its whole image upon the idea that they are the party of macho straight men and the fawning traditional women who love them. They have spent the last 35 years impugning the manhood of every male Democrat and portraying every Democratic feminist as a man-hating bitch — and winning the national security issue pretty much on the basis of what that implied to their bigoted Neanderthal base. It never ends. Back in the day it was “I can’t tell if you’re a boy or a girl with all that hair.” Just last year they spent hundreds of millions of dollars convincing a large number of people that a documented war hero (and killer) was a mincing, vacillating “Frenchman.” What do you think that that was all about?

I’ve always believed that one of the main reasons Clinton frustrated them so much was that his womanizing protected him from the ongoing gay-baiting subtext of the Republican appeal. It took one of their most potent arrows out of the quiver. The best they could do was call Hillary a dyke.

Every time the Republicans are called upon to squeal “don’t ask don’t tell” when asked about JimJeff Gannon, it puts another hairline crack in their coalition. Don’t ever think that this does not affect them. It goes to the very essence of who they portray themselves to be.

and the kicker…

Update: The above many be the subtext, but here’s the hook [Gannon’s own statements suggest he fed exclusive stories damaging Bush opponents to networks; Bragged of feeding Rather story].

Well, isn’t that interesting? </ChurchLadyVoice>

blivet – 2004/09/11

Fifty-two Days #

We have 52 days to make a difference in 2004 and beyond. Kerry is not out of the race. Bush is not ‘winning.’ Nothing has been decided, yet.

Operation Ignore #

A chapter excerpt from Al Franken’s book: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. via Atrios

9/11… #

Kevin Drum on Juan Cole’s reminder of what Osama bin Laden was trying to accomplish with his attacks three years ago.

Drum sums up with “We are where we are because of George Bush. Never forget that.” Exactly.

9/11 #

A sad anniversary of a terrible day. Remember, we can put our flags out in commemoration as well, the stars and stripes do not belong only to the Republicans…

blivet – 2004/03/18

Turning The Tide #

Noam Chomsky blogs. [wood s lot]

"The Panda’s Thumb" is many things… #

Many pointers to this weblog "dedicated to defending the integrity of science against all attempts to weaken it, distort it, or destroy it" today…

""The Panda’s Thumb" is many things…

First, it is an example of jury-rigged evolutionary adaptation made famous by the late Stephen Jay Gould in an essay of the same name. Second, it is the legendary virtual bar serving the community of the legendary virtual University of Ediacara somewhere in the Ediacaran hills of southern Australia, growing out of the lore of the Usenet talk.origins newsgroup. And now it is a weblog giving another voice for the defenders of the integrity of science, the patrons of "The Panda’s Thumb".

Much as in any tavern serving a university community, you can expect to hear a variety of levels of discussion, ranging from the picayune to the pedantic. The authors are people associated with the virtual University of Ediacara (and thus the talk.origins newsgroup), and various web sites critical of the antievolution movement, such as the TalkOrigins Archive, TalkDesign, and Antievolution.org.

So, here’s a virtual pub crawl that you might actually learn something from. We hope you find your time spent here pleasant and rewarding." [The Panda’s Thumb]

blivet – 2002/09/11

Honor them with peace, not war.

It has been a year since the tragedy of 11 September. Today we personally remember in whatever manner we deem fitting. Nationally, we will be flooded with messages from many corners telling us how we should feel and act. Today, my thoughts, compassions, and prayers go to all who lost husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends and relatives of every kind, co-workers, casual acquaintances, and complete strangers.

I don’t know what else to say except that I hope that we, individually and collectively, can begin to piece our lives and our world back together. Perhaps we will then begin to quit starting at shadows and whispers. Perhaps then we can rebuild our society of freedom, openness, and trust we have left behind.

This will doubtless include bringing more to answer for the murders of so many. This is right action. Many other things that are contemplated are not right action as they are motivated by personal, political, and, I fear, corporate gain. This is not right action.

When we have returned to our lives we can truly say we are honoring the innocents slain a year ago. Of course, this is my opinion. You may have a differing one. That is part of being free.

Except for what is above, blivet will have no postings today.

blivet – 2/5/2002

I have to go to bed…

More really good things on PBS tonight. On NOVA was a Secrets, Lies, and Atomic Spies which "chronicles the lives and covert activities of the so-called "atom spies" in the 1940s, including the big one that got away". Then came what turned out to be a rebroadcast, Bill Moyers Reports: Trading Democracy. "Bill Moyers takes an investigative look at the way corporate investors are using an obscure provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement to secretly challenge laws, regulations and jury verdicts before an international trade tribunal." The NOVA program was good, excellent in fact, but that is not unusual. The Moyers program just blew me away completely. It is truly sad that there is not a companion website for this program like often accompanies things broadcast on PBS. It’s beyond sad really, the provisions of NAFTA – Chapter 11 are devastating to the rights of citizens, municipalities, and it seems, nations, when corporations feel their profits are being lessened. Most especially where environmental law is concerned. Really disgusting and disturbing corporate behavior.

All Aboard… This heartens me greatly as several months ago I did not imagine that Doug could sound so upbeat about his workplace. Fantastic! I’m really happy for you Doug! [Erehwon Notebook] [ed. note: I added the link to Doc’s piece which was further up on Doug’s page]

"(…)Over the past few months, I and an incredible team of people have literally revolutionized a failing business through the application of the simple principle Doc outlines above. Technology enables it, but isn’t the heart of it. Our organization functions like a web. Decision-making is distributed, with the people best equipped to make decisions completely able to do so. Most importantly, we strive to make information as accessible and as transparent as we can. Knowledge isn’t the possession of senior management, to be distributed in small packets and kept compartmentalized. (…)"

Man, I have *got* to start going to those staff meetings! John (genehack) is at a new url, jumped the post-doc ship and donned the "That’s Doctor Root to you" mantle at the same place. He got a step in pay to be a sysadmin too I’ll bet. At least I hope so, unless Bio post-docs get paid a lot more than Archaeo post-doc. But he sounds happier. (Hi John!) Tangent: Does anything besides being a Grad TA pay less than an Archaeo post-doc? [corrected a typo 2/7]

Levi’s "Crazy Legs" Super Bowl XXVI ad
Thanks Rafé

"Here’s a USA Today article about Johnny Cervin, the dancer in the Levi’s "Crazy Legs" Super Bowl ad. The ad was filmed in Mexico City, and directed by Spike Jonze. All of Cervin’s moves were real, but they superimposed an image of his perfectly still upper body into the video. (Thanks, Tara.)"

blivet – 1/25/2002

Thanks for the kind words about Ian. Like any new parent, I never tire of looking at him or talking about him.

American Samizdat, a group effort from some familiar bloggers.

These are great thoughts from Craig. (Your Uncle Albert sounds like a great guy.)

"Be good to yourself and to your loved ones. Call up an old friend or relative that you haven’t seen in a long time. Tell them that you love them, before you miss your last chance."

Introducing: Matthias Xavier Kurt Roepcke. Hi little guy! [have browser, will travel]

blivet – 11/23/2001

Ken posted this amazing letter to the editor from today’s (23 Nov) edition of the Eugene Register-Guard.

Susan Kitchens of 2020Hindsight came by the blivet hacienda and got to meet Ian.

Susan Kitchens of 2020Hindsight stopped by and got to meet Ian. At one point it got rather recursive (Susan taking a picture of Hal taking a picture of Susan taking a picture…).

It was really good to see her again and hear about some of her projects. Of course Ian was sociable, as always.


The Doonesbury comic strip that has Rush upset. I had already cut it out, I’ll just find a better place to hang it. via wood s lot

Jonas is off to Thailand. I hope you have a great time and that things work out…

I don’t know if I had anything to do with it (it was Thanksgiving in the USA after all), but I really enjoyed reading what people were thankful for yesterday.

catching up a bit…

Have a look at these great interactive maps of Afghanistan at National Geographic.
via Charles at little green footballs who got it from Jon Swenson

This has been happening for several years ˜ today is Buy Nothing Day! via adbusters

Eliot (FMH), thank you for the linkage.