April 21st, 2009


Judge Richard Posner Questions His Free-Market Faith In "A Failure Of Capitalism"

Judge Richard Posner Questions His Free-Market Faith In "A Failure Of Capitalism"

"If you're worried that lions are eating too many zebras, you don't say to the lions, 'You're eating too many zebras.' You have to build a fence around the lions. They're not going to build it."
- Judge Richard A. Posner

One of the most prominent proponents of free-market capitalism is having second thoughts.

Judge Richard A. Posner, a federal appeals court judge who has been called the most cited legal scholar of all time, discussed his doubts and his analysis of the current financial crisis in a wide-ranging interview with the Huffington Post.

A longtime proponent of deregulation, the idea that business works best in a free market without burdensome government regulations, Posner began to change his mind when he realized the enormity of the crisis. This change of heart inspired him to write his upcoming book, "A Failure Of Capitalism."

Though still a believer in the virtues of capitalism, Posner now emphasizes the importance of government regulations; the need to strengthen the regulatory structure by directly funding authorities rather than the current fee-based model; the dangers of excessive executive compensation, and even expressed support for the idea of changing bankruptcy law to make it easier for homeowners who face foreclosure.

"I wouldn't have thought the economy was as vulnerable," he explains. "I wouldn't have thought that banking deregulation was dangerous."
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Dimon: Iraq War, Greed Contributed To Economic Collapse

Dimon: Iraq War, Greed Contributed To Economic Collapse

JPMorgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, in a letter to shareholders, touched on a theme that critics of the Iraq war were highlighting more than a year ago: That spending on the war was damaging to the economy.

Dimon cited "an expensive war in Iraq" as one of the possible triggers of the economic collapse. Spending on the war ballooned the deficit and crowded out investment in domestic priorities. Meanwhile, the trade deficit soared.

"I suspect when analysts and economists study the fundamental causes of this crisis, they will point to the enormous U.S. trade deficit as one of the main underlying culprits. Over an eight-year period, the United Sates ran a trade deficit of $3 trillion. This means that Americans bought $3 trillion more than they sold overseas. Dollars were used to pay for the goods. Foreign countries took these dollars and purchased, for the most part, U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. It also is likely that this process kept U.S. interest rates very low, even beyond Federal Reserve policy, for an extended period of time."

Those depressed interest rates, in turn, pushed air into the housing bubble until it popped.
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Menendez To Geithner: Stop Bailed-Out Banks From Hiking Credit Card Rates On Consumers

Menendez To Geithner: Stop Bailed-Out Banks From Hiking Credit Card Rates On Consumers

Obama is set to meet with credit card company representatives on Thursday:

In a bid to aid consumers hit hard by the recession, lawmakers are pushing legislation this week that would ban a long list of credit-card practices that essentially amount to higher costs for consumers. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has scheduled a meeting with executives from credit-card issuers at the White House on Thursday, adding to pressure on the industry. President Barack Obama plans to attend.

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Cause Texas ain't the only crazy state in the south

Georgia Senate threatens dismantling of USA

7:02 am April 16, 2009, by Jay

It wasn’t quite the firing on Fort Sumter that launched the Civil War. But on April 1, your Georgia Senate did threaten by a vote of 43-1 to secede from and even disband the United States.

It was not an April Fool’s joke.

In fact, Senate Resolution 632 did a lot more than merely threaten to end this country. It stated that under the Constitution, the only crimes the federal government could prosecute were treason, piracy and slavery.

“Therefore, all acts of Congress which assume to create, define or punish [other] crimes … are altogether void, and of no force,” the Georgia Senate declared.

In other words, in the infinite, almost unanimous wisdom of the Georgia Senate, Michael Vick is being imprisoned illegally, Bernie Madoff should serve no time for stealing $60 billion and the Unabomber must go free. In fact, the federal penitentiary in Atlanta should be emptied of its inmates.

But wait, there’s more.

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When Hugo Chavez promotes a book, people in the US buy it!

Chavez has Oprah-like effect on book sales in the US.

Chávez gift to Obama shoots book to No. 2 on Amazon.com

By Matthew Clark | Latin America editor 04.20.09

Say what you will about Venezuela’s fiery leftist President Hugo Chávez, he definitely has the Midas Touch … at least with book sales.

Just one day after handing President Obama a copy of Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, the anti-imperialist tome written in 1970 by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano has shot from being ranked 54,295 on Amazon.com’s list of top sellers all the way up to No. 2.

US News and World Report is even calling Mr. Chavez “the next Oprah, at least when it comes to selling books.”

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Chavez gave Noam Chomsky a boost to #1 a couple of years ago.

spike gone

Plurality of New Yorkers Support Same Sex Marriage

As embattled Governor David Patterson seeks to push a gay marriage bill through the New York State Senate, two new polls suggest a plurality and perhaps outright majority of New York State residents support full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples. One poll, from Siena College, shows an outright majority of 53 percent of New York registered voters in favor of same sex marriage, with 39 percent opposed. The other poll, of 500 adults from SurveyUSA, has same-sex marriage favored by a 49-44 plurality.

A comparison of the demographic crosstabs from these polls, which are interesting if somewhat predictable, is produced below.

(Note: SurveyUSA's age-based demographics are interpolated slightly to match Siena's).

The interesting finding here -- although small sample size caveats apply -- is that same-sex marriage is narrowly favored even by upstate New Yorkers. That could place pressure upon upstate Democrats David Valesky of Oneida, Darrel Aubertine of Cape Vincent, and Bill Stachowski of Buffalo, who have voiced opposition to full-fledged marriage rights, to change their positions. Bronx-based Democrat Ruben Diaz Sr., however, who is a Pentecostal minister, is considered somewhat intractable on the issue, and so Patterson will need to find support from at least a couple of Republicans in addition to trying to lobby the upstate Democrats. Democrats have a very narrow 32-30 advantage in the Senate; New York's lower chamber, the State Assembly, is expected to pass the bill easily.

I was a pleasantly surprised by the Latino responses given the assumed degree of Catholicism in the demographic.</a>


Another 11 Year Old Boy Has Hung Himself Due to Anti-Gay Bullying

Family says bullying led boy, 11, to hang himself


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

DeKalb County school officials are mum about allegations that bullying at Dunaire Elementary School may have led 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera to commit suicide last week.

Public information officer Dale Davis said Tuesday morning that officials are legally unable to comment on student-related records, such as whether Herrera’s mother Masika Bermudez had complained to the school about possible bullying.

On Thursday afternoon, after returning home from school, fifth-grader Jaheem quietly went into his room and hanged himself. His 10-year-old sister, Yerralis, also a fifth-grader, discovered Jaheem’s dead body.

“His sister was screaming, ‘Get him down, get him down,’” said Norman Keene, who helped raise Jaheem since the boy was two years old.

When Keene got to the room, he saw Yerralis holding her brother, trying to remove the pressure of the noose her brother had fashioned with a fabric belt.

Jaheem was bullied relentlessly, his family said. Keene said the family knew the boy was a target, but until his death they didn’t understand the scope.

“We’d ask him, ‘Jaheem, what’s wrong with you?’” Keene recalled. “He’d never tell us.”

He didn’t want his sister to tell, either. She witnessed much of the bullying, and many times rose to her brother’s defense, Keene said.

“They called him gay and a snitch,” his stepfather said. “All the time they’d call him this.”

In an interview with WSB-TV, Bermudez also said her son was being bullied at school. She said she had complained to the school.

She said she asked him about the bullying Thursday when he came home from school and he denied it. She sent him to his room to calm down. It was the last time she would see him alive.

Bermudez told WSB she talked to Jaheem’s best friend about the situation last week.

“He said, ‘Yes ma’am. He told me that he’s tired of everybody always messing with him in school. He is tired of telling the teachers and the staff, and they never do anything about the problems. So, the only way out is by killing himself,’” Bermudez told WSB.

Spokesman Davis said the school sent out a notice to parents alerting them to the death.

Earlier this month the suicide of a Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover — who suffered taunts that he was gay — attracted national attention.

He was also 11. His mother found him hanging from an extension cord in the family’s home.

Jaheem was excelling academically, Keene said, adapting quickly to his new home. The family moved to the Avondale Estates area less than a year ago from St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Last winter, his grandmother died from cancer. She was living with the family at the time.

His grandfather returned to St. Croix after his wife’s passing. He’s taking Jaheem’s death especially hard.

“He says he has nothing to live for now,” Keene said. The family had planned a trip home in June. They’ll be returning next Monday instead to bury their 11-year-old son.


Jesus Christ. :( :( :( :( :(


Another reason to oppose media consolidation: minority stories get swept under the rug.

(Mods, I can't recall if this story has been posted in the past, it is slightly dated- so it's a repeat please delete.)

Feministing.com makes a valid and point that stories involving issues with missing Minorities get little to no attention while the "missing white girl " of the day will have hours of show time devoted to her. Here's the article they cite:

Double Standard: Missing Black Women Still Get Less Media Than Whites
by Jan Ransom
NNPA Special Correspondent
Originally posted 4/1/2009


WASHINGTON (NNPA) - Average looking men, women and children from a variety of economic, social and ethnic backgrounds made up the more than 105,000 active missing persons in America last year, according to the National Crime Information Center. However, national media operations often fail to present what is in fact a very diverse missing persons population – African-Americans. And some observers believe race is the factor.

“There is a culture in America that tends to sympathize with the blond White woman instead of the braided black woman,” said Ernie Suggs, vice president of print for the National Association of Black Journalists. “There has always been a certain level of interest, a certain fascination with White missing persons … Americans identify with who they want to be.”

For example, Latasha Norman, a 20-year-old, Jackson State University honor student from the Mississippi Delta city of Greenville, had been missing for more than two weeks when her body was found on Nov. 29, 2007, in a wooded area in Jackson. Norman’s boyfriend, Stanley Cole, 24, was charged with her murder. Her story received little national coverage and was quickly glossed over by CNN.

Thousands of miles away, the disappearance of Stacey Peterson, a 23-year-old, mother of two from Bolingbrook Ill., whose police officer husband is a primary suspect in her Oct. 28, 2007, received national media attention for weeks. Her case was updated regularly on CNN, MSNBC and other major news stations in great detail. Peterson’s story was featured in a number of major newspapers including the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and New York Newsday.

Stacey Peterson nearly became a household name, producing 723,000 results on Google, a world-wide web search engine. Norman’s name produced 177,000 results.

What’s the difference between the two women?
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Charles DeVore sues to use any music he damn well likes

Eagles star sues for song 'abuse'

Eagles star Don Henley has taken legal action against a Republican candidate for the US Senate for "exploting" two of his solo hits.

Charles DeVore used The Boys of Summer and All She Wants To Do Is Dance without permission, according to legal documents filed in California state.

The songs were part of two campaign videos posted on YouTube, with one adapted to attack a fellow candidate.

Mr DeVore has said he will issue a counter-claim, citing the First Amendment in US law for political free speech.

"While the legal issues play out, it's time to up the ante on Mr Henley's liberal goon tactics. By popular request, I have penned the words to our new parody song," he added.

Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8008573.stm

Elizabeth Warren To Geithner: "People Are Angry"

Elizabeth Warren To Geithner: "People Are Angry" (VIDEO)

In her opening statement at Tuesday's Congressional Oversight Panel hearing on the Trouble Asset Relief Program, COP chairwoman Elizabeth Warren told Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner that the public is not happy.

"People are angry that even if they have paid their bills on time consistently and never missed a payment, their TARP-assisted banks are unilaterally raising their interest rates or slashing their credit lines,"
said Warren, who added that people are upset about foreclosures and a shortage of financing for small businesses.
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TARP Inspector General Conducting 20 Criminal Investigations On Bailout Money
The special inspector general says TARP is 'inherently vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse.' The risk grows as the plan becomes more complex, he says.

Reporting from Washington and Los Angeles -- In the first major disclosure of corruption in the $750-billion financial bailout program, federal investigators said Monday they have opened 20 criminal probes into possible securities fraud, tax violations, insider trading and other crimes.

The cases represent only the first wave of investigations, and the total fraud could ultimately reach into the tens of billions of dollars, according to Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general overseeing the bailout program.

The disclosures reinforce fears that the hastily designed and rapidly changing bailout program run by the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve is going to carry a heavy price of fraud against taxpayers -- even as questions grow about its ability to stabilize the nation's financial system.

Barofsky said the complex nature of the bailout program makes it "inherently vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse, including significant issues relating to conflicts of interest facing fund managers, collusion between participants, and vulnerabilities to money laundering."

The report said little about who is under investigation and how the fraudulent schemes work, but investigators are already on alert for a long list of potential scams. Such schemes could include obtaining bailout money under false pretenses, bilking the government with phony mortgage modifications, and cheating on taxes with fraudulent filings.
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Conservatives Using Hubbub Over Miss California To Argue Against Same-Sex Marriage

God Was Testing Her Faith


Says Miss California USA, Carrie Prejean:
“By having to answer that question in front of a national audience, God was testing my character and faith. I’m glad I stayed true to myself. I have no regrets about answering [judge Perez Hilton] honestly. He asked me for my opinion and I gave it to him. I have nothing against gay people, and I didn’t mean to offend anyone in my answer.”
Prop 8 backers Protect Marriage bleats:
It seems that there is no place left where gay activists won’t attempt to force their agenda onto the rest of society. Same-sex marriage, of course, is at the top of their list. The outcry from some activists in the gay community over Ms. Prejean’s comments are indicative of how far they will go to force their same-sex marriage agenda on society. Miss California is vilified by Perez Hilton in a video blog for respectfully answering his question, and gay men are shouting against her in the theater lobby. Yet we are supposed to take homosexual leaders at face value that if same-sex marriage were legalized they would never force this teaching onto children in the schools. Thank you, Miss California, for knowing the truth about marriage and standing up for it, even when you knew that your honest answer may hinder your chances for the crown of Miss USA.


Yes, you think gay people don't deserve the same rights as you, and you expect the gay men part of the event to take it lying down?  You're in the wrong line of work, missy.

Holy Shit, Batman: Obama open to Hill probe of harsh interrogations


New link here with video and more details:


By JENNIFER LOVEN, AP White House Correspondent Jennifer Loven, Ap White House Correspondent – 15 mins ago

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is leaving the door to open to possible prosecution of Bush administration officials who devised harsh terrorism-era interrogation tactics.

He also said Tuesday that he worries about the impact of high-intensity hearings on how detainees were treated under former President George W. Bush. But Obama did say, nevertheless, he could support a Hill investigation if it were conducted in a bipartisan way.

Obama has said he doesn't support charging CIA agents and interrogators who took part in waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics, acting on advice from superiors that such practices were legal. But he also said that it is up to the attorney general whether to prosecute Bush administration lawyers who wrote the memos approving these tactics.


Honestly?  I kind of knew this was coming eventually.  I think they needed it to get its momentum from the public before they'd really have any backing for it, though.

ETA:  Sorry, I just had to drop this macro in....had to be done.  ;)


Let the Conservative Temper Tantrums Commence!

Feingold Unloads On Peggy Noonan: "Never Heard Anything Quite As Disturbing"

Senator Russ Feingold, one of the harshest critics of the Bush administration's nation security policies, says he can not bring himself to support President Obama's apparent decision not to investigate or prosecute illegalities from those years.

"Part of what troubles me are the lawyers -- we should see their law school degrees -- who consciously wrote these memos justifying and explaining full well those outrageous arguments," the Wisconsin Democrat said on Tuesday in reference to the Bush-era torture memos released last week. "I cannot join the president, or his spokesman, or [chief of staff] Rahm Emanuel, who said we aren't going [to prosecute these people]. I can't. I just disagree with them."

Later, the Senator took a swipe at some of the rationalizations for avoiding prosecution that have been voiced by Washington lawmakers and pundits.

"If you want to see just how outrageous this is, I refer you to the remarks made by Peggy Noonan this Sunday," he said, referring to the longtime conservative columnist's appearance on ABC's This Week. "I frankly have never heard anything quite as disturbing as her remark that was something to the affect of: 'well sometimes you just have to move on.'"

"Some things in life need to be mysterious," Noonan said on Sunday about the release of the torture memos. "Sometimes you need to just keep walking. ... It's hard for me to look at a great nation issuing these documents and sending them out to the world and thinking, oh, much good will come of that."

Feingold's remarks, delivered before the Religious Action Center convention, represent some of the most forceful pushback against the line coming out of the White House to date. Emanuel and senior adviser David Axelrod have suggested that prosecution of Bush officials is likely off the table due to the political sensitivities that would accompany such retroactive action. On Tuesday morning, however, the New York Times reported that White House "aides did not rule out legal sanctions for the Bush lawyers who developed the legal basis for the use of the techniques."

A member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a long-time critic of torture, Feingold viewed investigations and, perhaps, prosecutions as a key tool to restoring America's moral standing.

"It is truly horrifying and unforgivable that anybody operating under the auspices of the United States of America had involvement in any of this," he said. "So I'm not even completely ready to [cede the argument] that people who devised these techniques should be off the hook. I understand the argument. I also remember when people said that they were just following orders. So that troubles me and I am thinking about it."


So, I'm still very much of the opinion that the White House is basically taking it on the chin for the time being until an independent investigation is started to move on these guys.  By letting the outrage build from outside of the administration, the Republicans don't have a leg to stand on by saying that Obama is somehow trying to "get" Bush and his cronies.  Sometimes the most effective way of getting something to happen is standing back and just letting it, rather than trying to lead the charge.

Also, I'm a bit disappointed in Peggy Noonan....she has, on more than one occasion, seemed to actually have the common sense god gave pistacheo nuts....I am no longer convinced of this.

&#39; jules

And once again, truth > spy thrillers

Dem Rep Harman Did Urge Times Not To Publish Wiretapping Expose!

Whoa. Dem Rep Jane Harman did in fact urge The New York Times not to publish its big expose of Bush-era warrantless wiretapping, apparently before the 2004 election, potentially changing the election’s outcome and the course of history, according to a statement from the paper.

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Wow. So Dem Rep Harman appears to have worked behind the scenes to dissuade publication of a blockbuster expose about Bush that could have put her own party’s nominee in the White House and changed the history of the last four years. And, according to Keller, she apparently did this at the request of Michael Hayden, Bush’s National Security Agency chief.


In case you missed the genesis of this story:

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or tl;dr edition:

Last night CQ Politics published an article by Jeff Stein which alleges several things, each and every one of them disturbing:

1. Congressman Jane Harman (D - CA) told a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby.

2. This is known because of an NSA Wiretap.

3. The suspected Israeli agent then promised to lobby Nancy Pelosi to make Harman chair of the House Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections (she wasn't).

4. There were some reports of this influence peddling in 2006, but it was dropped for a “lack of evidence” by Alberto R. Gonzales, who intervened to stop the investigation.

5. Gonzales intervened because he wanted Harman to defend the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about break in The New York Times.

6. And she promptly went out and defended it.

So as you can see the circle is complete. Caught on an NSA wiretap, Congressperson is saved, so as to defend illegal NSA wiretapping.

You stay classy, Israel.

Israel compares Iran with Nazi Germany as racism conference limps on

Speaking at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony in Auschwitz, Israel's deputy prime minister likened Iran to the Third Reich. His remarks came a day after Iran labeled Israel "a racist regime" at a UN conference in Geneva.

Israel's deputy prime minister Silvan Shalom did not mince words in his reaction to comments made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Switzerland on Monday.

Shalom told reporters before a ceremony at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in what is now Poland, "What Iran is trying to do right now is not far away at all from what Hitler did to the Jewish people just 65 years ago."

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MOAR Sauce: Obama Open to Prosecutions in Interrogation Abuses

New York Times

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama said Tuesday the United States lost "our moral bearings" with gruesome terror-suspect interrogations and he left the door open to prosecuting Bush administration officials who vouched for their legality.

At the same time, Obama said the question of whether to bring charges "is going to be more of a decision for the attorney general within the parameters of various laws and I don't want to prejudge that." The president discussed the continuing issue of terrorism-era interrogation tactics with reporters as he finished an Oval Office meeting with visiting King Abdullah of Jordan.

Obama had said earlier that he didn't want to see prosecutions of CIA agents and interrogators who took part in waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics, so long as they acted within parameters spelled out by government superiors who held that such practices were legal at the time.

But the administration's stance on Bush administration lawyers who actually wrote the memos approving these tactics has been less clear. "There are a host of very complicated issues involved," Obama said.


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Blago Entertainment Update: Judge sez GTFO

Blagojevich Reality Show: Judge Denies Permission To Travel To Costa Rica For Show

CHICAGO — Indicted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has lost his bid to travel outside the country to appear on reality TV.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel on Tuesday refused to modify the terms of Blagojevich's bail _ so the ousted Democrat governor won't be able to go to Costa Rica to appear on a planned reality show.

The judge said Blagojevich needs to remain in the United States to help his attorneys formulate a strategy for his defense.

Blagojevich arrived at the federal courthouse in downtown Chicago just minutes before his hearing Tuesday and was swamped by the media. He said he wouldn't have anything to say until after the hearing.

A week ago, Blagojevich pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges.


Awwwww........poor Blago.  

SMH at our american president, how could he endanger American interest so!

 I cannot believe our president would be so politically immature, and such a novice, and so such naivete as to
shake hands with a ruler of a foriegn county. Especially one that does not like the United States,
or one that has such hatred towards our way of life and our allies ways of life. Really , he needs to show some depth in office, and not
give solice to our enimies, because everyone knows th ebest way to deal with hard liners is to ignore them,
give them the diplomatic cold shoulder. isolate them on the world stage, not shake hands with them, smile with them, or be seen joking
around with them... any president worth his salt knows this.....

and now... some pictures

Richard Nixon shakes hands with Mao Tse Tung

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Leahy: If Bybee Is "Decent And Honorable" He'll Resign

On Monday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), rejected calls for the impeachment of federal judge and torture memo author Jay Bybee, saying that he was "one of the most honorable people you'll ever meet."

If that's the case, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), told reporters Tuesday, then Bybee should resign.

"The fact is, the Bush administration and Mr. Bybee did not tell the truth. If the Bush administration and Mr. Bybee had told the truth, he never would have been confirmed," said Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"The decent and honorable thing for him to do would be to resign. And if he is a decent and honorable person, he will resign," he said deliberately.

A reporter followed up, asking what Congress should do if Bybee refused to step down. Leahy smiled and walked toward the Senate chamber, declining to comment further.

Bybee is among a team of Bush administration lawyers that drafted legal documents justifying waterboarding, stuffing detainees in small boxes with insects and other forms of torture.


IMO, if Bybee were a decent and honorable person, he never would have written those memos like that in the first place. 

'Teenage pirate' to face US court

A Somali teenager captured by the US during the rescue of an American sea captain from pirates is due to appear in a federal court in New York.

Abde Wale Abdul Kadhir Muse will be the first person to face piracy charges in the US in over a century, US media reports say.

He was held over the seizure of Maersk Alabama Captain Richard Phillips off Somalia and flown to the US on Monday.

Earlier, his mother appealed to US President Barack Obama to free him.

Adar Abdurahman Hassan told the BBC her son was innocent and just 16 years old.

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ETA: NBC Nightly News is reporting that according to the prosecution, the accused is over 18. The defense is claiming he's 16. In my opinion this is going to be a real mess.


Inhofe:  Obama's Judicial Nominee is a Secret Muslim

Noted global warming denier James Inhofe, who once insisted that the United States base its foreign policy on the book of Genesis, announced on the Senate floor yesterday that he will filibuster the nomination of Judge David Hamilton to the Seventh Circuit. Judge Hamilton, a highly regarded district judge whose nomination received enthusiastic support from Hamilton's homestate Republican Senator Richard Lugar, is President Obama's first nominee to the federal bench.

Inhofe says he will filibuster Judge Hamilton because Hamilton's enforcement of the Establishment Clause offends Inhofe's fundamentalist beliefs:

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Jesus fucking Christ.


Iraqi Gays Face Threat of 'Glued Anuses'

And here we thought the murder of gay Iraqis would get the U.S. government to blink. How about the torture of gay Iraqis?

Buoying the theory that it's the "anal sex" part of being gay that really infuriates homophobes, Iraqi militants are reportedly gluing shut the anuses of suspected gays. Repeat: Gluing shut their anuses. With a glue so resilient, you need surgery to remove it. This is not a time for jokes about having to take a shit (we're looking at you, Bill O'Reilly). This is torture, and some 60 men have already been attacked with it.

And yet, while the U.S. spends billions every month on Iraqi operations, there's no attention, let alone resources, going toward defending these folks. Translating from the news network Al Arabiya:

A prominent Iraqi human rights activist says that Iraqi militia have deployed a painful form of torture against homosexuals by closing their anuses using 'Iranian gum.' … Yina Mohammad told Alarabiya.net that, 'Iraqi militias have deployed an unprecedented form of torture against homosexuals by using a very strong glue that will close their anus.' According to her, the new substance 'is known as the American hum, which is an Iranian-manufactured glue that if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery. After they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they give them a drink that causes diarrhea. Since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death.

Videos of this form of torture are being distributed on mobile cellphones in Iraq.' According to this human rights activist, for the past 3 weeks a crackdown on homosexuals has been going on based on a religious decree that demands their death; dozens have been targeted. She says that the persecution of homosexuals is not confined to the Shiite clerics. Some Sunni leaders have also declared the death penalty for sodomy on satellite channels.


Obama, Chavez Handshake Was 'Boyz In The Hood'-Style: Kudlow. Obama is secret Gangsta

Obama, Chavez Handshake Was 'Boyz In The Hood'-Style: Kudlow

So what's the New New Fox News Thing? Obsessing endlessly on a handshake, folks. Yes, President Barack Obama went to the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad to listen to Daniel Ortega ramble on for a million hours, and during that time, he had the opportunity to meet Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. That's when the worst thing that's ever happened to American hemispheric hegemony occurred: Obama shook Chavez's hand. Immediately, the Statue of Liberty displayed stigmata.

And here's a video of Larry Kudlow freaking out about it, calling it a "boyz in the hood" handshake. But did he make sweet "thuggy love" to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe? No! So now Kudlow is warning of OMENS. So that's why we all get socialized medicine from Citgo today, because Obama didn't just choke Chavez to death, right there in front of everyone.


Chuck Todd Depicts Support For Torture Investigations As Fringe Phenomenon

Chuck Todd Depicts Support For Torture Investigations As Fringe Phenomenon

I really have to object with the way Chuck Todd is characterizing the underlying public pressure that's being brought to bear on President Obama and the White House to investigate and potentially prosecute the authors and the agents of the previous administration's torture regime.

The whole thing is knit up in political process tropes and infused with the pointless melodrama of the day, when a serious and substantive look at this issue is called for.

MITCHELL: They clearly are responding to the letter from Diane Feinstein...and the whole question of whether - in the liberal blogosphere whether they have been too quick to shut down any prosecutions.

TODD: There does seem to be a little bit of a reaction to how this was received on the left. And the president, when he went on in those comments, Andrea, to suggest that he'd be open to some sort of special commission that was bipartisan, you know, he said, on one hand said he's worried about the process getting politicized, and frankly this feels like a political food fight now. Vice President Cheney on one side, President Obama on the other. The hard left, the hard right, fighting over this in the blogosphere. When he talks about - he fears the politicization - that may be too late, so the compromise might be, and the president basically comes out and endorses it in that photo op, questioning that he got there, which is a special commission to look into this but it opens up all sorts of doors on when legal opinions matter and all that. That is just -- this is some touchy situation, issues having to do with legal opinions, the constitution, it's a real tightrope. And the political pressure on both sides is intense.
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GOP Senator To Dems: If There's Blood, It's On Your Hands, Too

GOP Senator To Dems: If There's Blood, It's On Your Hands, Too

If Democrats insist on probing the Bush administration's program of detainee torture, they'd better be careful, a senior Senate Republican said Tuesday, because they might find blood on their own hands as well.

"To sit quietly and to let this happen and then to come back later and say people ought to be prosecuted criminally, not just here in the United States but perhaps internationally, to me is inconsistent, to say the least," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

"If people are going to start looking for responsibility and accountability, I think you'd also have to look at the members of Congress who were in those classified settings who approved those same interrogation techniques," Cornyn told reporters.

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Joe: Release of torture memo helps "our enemies"

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman has been a good Democratic soldier since Barack Obama covered his back during the kick-him-out-of-the-caucus imbroglio earlier this year.

But the hawkish independent, who questioned Obama's experience level from the podium of the RNC last summer, is taking issue with the administration's release of the torture memos, telling Fox host Greta Van Susteren it was "a bad idea" that helps America's enemies.

The transcript:
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Poll Shows Strong Cuban American Support for Obama


MIAMI (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is enjoying dramatically high approval ratings among Cuban Americans, the majority of whom favor his efforts to ease the U.S. trade embargo against their communist-ruled homeland, a new poll showed this week.

Sixty-seven percent of participants in the poll, which underscores a dramatic shift in a community with close ties to the Republican Party, gave Democrat Obama a favorable rating while only 20 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of the young president.

The poll released on Monday was conducted by Bendixen & Associates, a Miami-based public opinion research and consulting firm that has been studying the Cuban American community for more than 25 years.

The nationwide poll of Cuban Americans -- there are about 1.5 million in the United States -- was conducted last week after Obama slightly eased the embargo against Havana by granting Cuban Americans the right to travel freely to the island and send money to relatives there.

He also eased restrictions on dealings by U.S. telecommunications companies with Cuba, but linked any further thaw in relations to Cuban advances in sensitive areas such as human rights and releasing political prisoners.


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Brilliant WaPo Column: CIA Tortured Terrorists To *Help* Them, With Their Religion

Brilliant WaPo Column: CIA Tortured Terrorists To *Help* Them, With Their Religion

Former “Bushie” chief speechwriter Marc Thiessen has written another opinion piece in this morning’s Washington Post and, like most WP columns, it is terrible. But lopsidedly so! It starts on the standard torture defense notes — if torture was effective sometimes then how do you deal with THAT, libtards? Would you rather be dead? — but then just has to go a bit further: apparently the CIA knows very much about the Muslim religion, and it turns out that they, the Muslims, want to be tortured, and the interrogators are just trying to help them on their spiritual quest.
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The CIA's Questioning Worked

In releasing highly classified documents on the CIA interrogation program last week, President Obama declared that the techniques used to question captured terrorists "did not make us safer." This is patently false. The proof is in the memos Obama made public -- in sections that have gone virtually unreported in the media.

Consider the Justice Department memo of May 30, 2005. It notes that "the CIA believes 'the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al Qaeda has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001.' . . . In particular, the CIA believes that it would have been unable to obtain critical information from numerous detainees, including [Khalid Sheik Mohammed] and Abu Zubaydah, without these enhanced techniques." The memo continues: "Before the CIA used enhanced techniques . . . KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, 'Soon you will find out.' " Once the techniques were applied, "interrogations have led to specific, actionable intelligence, as well as a general increase in the amount of intelligence regarding al Qaeda and its affiliates."
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Police run amok in the land of Vitter and Jindal.

Covington store owner, five teens arrested for staging armed robbery for video

A Covington jewelry store owner and five teenagers were arrested Monday night after police responded to the store where a make-believe armed robbery was being carried out and videotaped as part of a school project, authorities said.
A witness called police about 4:45 p.m. after seeing what appeared to be an armed robbery at Expressions in Gold jewelry at 842 North Collins Boulevard, Covington Police spokesman Capt. Jack West said.

The caller said two teenagers had put on ski masks, got an assault rifle and a pistol out of the trunk of their vehicle, and went into the store, West said. The teens pointed the weapons at the people in the store, and the witness saw the people raise their hands into the air, he said.

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source: http://blog.nola.com/tpnorthshore/2009/04/covington_store_owner_five_tee_1.html

This is ridiculous.  These kids all go to my school, and it was for a project in "Literature in Film."  Granted, this was definitely not the smartest thing for them to do.  But really, the fact that charges are actually being filed just shows how overzealous and power-hungry many small town police really are.  
music | sleigh anne.

Another 11 Year-Old Commits Suicide Over Anti-Gay Bullying

Family and friends will gather Tuesday night at the DeKalb home of Jaheem Herrera to remember the fifth-grader loved ones describe as a “free spirit.”

Herrera’s stepfather, Norman Keene, said the family has received overwhelming support from people in the community about the tragic death of Jaheem.

A photograph of Jaheem Herrera, 11, hangs above a poster on the front door of the family’s Dekalb apartment, all part of a makeshift shrine to the dead boy.

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am crying as i post this. also, someone commented that this was posted, but i guess since people haven't seen the other one i'll keep this here unless a mod says so, and i'll delete it.

also, this is also an excuse to share a personal story. I work as a teacher's assistant in a kindergarten class, but during the lunch/recess period, while my kids are having naptime, I monitor the second and third graders. Yesterday we had inside lunch because it was raining. I was watching over a group of second and third grade boys playing Jenga and one of the second-graders went out of turn and a third-grade boy told him "You can't even play right, you are such a little faggot." and I looked at this boy dead in the eye and I told him, "Don't you EVER say anything like that again. Ever. Don't you ever let me hear you use that word again. Kids your age have killed themselves over being bullied and having language like that used on them. So don't you ever EVER let me hear that word come out of your mouth."

He kind of sat there, dumbfounded, but later when I was paying attention to some other kids playing checkers, I glanced up and saw him hug the other boy and apologise. It felt really good.

Rivers shrinking: Flow of many rivers in decline

Rivers shrinking: Flow of many rivers in decline

The flow of water in the world's largest rivers has declined over the past half-century, with significant changes found in about a third of the big rivers.
An analysis of 925 major rivers from 1948 to 2004 showed an overall decline in total discharge.

The reduction in inflow to the Pacific Ocean alone was about equal to shutting off the Mississippi River, according to the new study appearing in the May 15 edition of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate.

The only area showing a significant increase in flow was the Arctic, where warming conditions are increasing the snow and ice melt, said researchers led by Aiguo Dai of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

"Freshwater resources will likely decline in the coming decades over many densely populated areas at mid- to low latitudes, largely due to climate changes, Dai said. "Rapid disappearing mountain glaciers in the Tibetan plateau and other places will make matters worse."

Added co-author Kevin Trenberth, "As climate change inevitably continues in coming decades, we are likely to see greater impacts on many rivers and water resources that society has come to rely on."
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war on drugs

Supreme Court Upholds 4th Amendment in Arizona v. Gant

Supreme Court Upholds 4th Amendment in Arizona v. Gant

Submitted by scottmorgan on April 21, 2009 - 3:16pm.

For many years, the Supreme Court has permitted police to search the passenger compartment of a vehicle any time an occupant of the car is arrested. These so-called "searches incident to arrest" were authorized in New York v. Belton (1981) based in large part on concerns about officer safety, namely that the suspect might dive for a weapon hidden in the car. As a result, police have grown accustomed to searching vehicles for "safety reasons" even after the suspect has been taken into custody. This doesn't protect officers, but it certainly encourages police to make more arrests so they can do more searches.

Well, that's finally going to change. The Supreme Court ruled today in Arizona v. Gant that vehicle searches following an arrest are legal only if the suspect has access to the vehicle or if officers reasonably believe the vehicle contains evidence related to that arrest. In other words, police are now required to have an actual reason to justify the vehicle search, instead of being allowed to do it automatically. This decision restores some much needed logic and common sense to the way many warrantless vehicle searches are analyzed under the 4th Amendment.

We've long been concerned about the ability of police to use arrests for minor crimes as a way of overriding a citizen's refusal of consent. Since many states (and Supreme court precedent) allow officers to perform a full arrest for certain traffic offenses, we've often worried that police could sometimes strong-arm their way into a vehicle by arresting the driver for a traffic violation instead of just writing a ticket. Today's ruling in Gant, however, creates an obstacle to these types of "pretext arrests," because traffic violations are observed infractions for which relevant evidence will not be contained in the vehicle. In that sense, the ruling will likely result in some extra protection for citizens who exercise 4th Amendment rights during a traffic stop.

Beyond the basic legal issues at hand, the case has additional symbolic significance because it truly affects every officer on the street. Every cop is trained to search vehicles automatically after making an arrest, and now every officer will have to learn a new, more nuanced, policy on car searches that is designed to protect individual rights. With today's ruling, the Supreme Court sends an important message to law enforcement that the 4th Amendment still means something in America.

MSNBC story with more details here
  • Current Mood

White Sox in the White House!

Octavio Dotel will never forget how he spent an off-day between otherwise normal, early-season road series in Tampa Bay and Baltimore on April 20, 2009.

The White Sox reliever was part of the group that numbered near 30 people who traveled to Washington, D.C., on Monday and received a special tour of the White House. There also was a meeting with President Barack Obama, the nation's highest-ranking White Sox fan, during which time the president shook hands with each person in the group and asked what they did for the team.

At that point, Dotel made a special request of the nation's leader. He asked for and received a hug from President Obama.

And why did the Dominican Republic native make such a request?

"Because this is a guy I've been following. It's exciting to see him," said Dotel to a pool reporter, after the White Sox contingency returned to its Baltimore hotel. "He's such a powerful man. I never met him before, and it's really, really neat to be around him.

"Just to be close to him and have that chance ... I saw the opportunity to ask for a hug. He said, 'Of course.' That was really nice of him."
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Shirley Animated

Judge prohibits blatantly-religious song in school

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 17 (UPI) — A federal judge has banned a Florida elementary school from having children sing a country song, “In God We Still Trust,” at a school assembly.

The lyrics attack the principle of separation of church and state, U.S. District Judge Harvey Schlesinger said. He issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday against the Webster School in St. Augustine, The Jacksonville Times-Union reported.

While some religious songs can be sung in public schools, “In God We Still Trust” by Diamond Rio is “patently religious and proselytizing,” the judge said.

He cited some of the lyrics: “There’s no separation. … We’re one nation under Him … Now there are those among us who want to push Him out and erase His name from everything this country is all about … Now it’s time for all believers to make our voices heard.”


New Report: Bush Officials Tried to Shift Blame for Detainee Abuse to Low-Ranking Soldiers

New Report: Bush Officials Tried to Shift Blame for Detainee Abuse to Low-Ranking Soldiers

Today we're releasing the declassified report of the Senate Armed Services Committee's investigation into the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. The report was approved by the Armed Services Committee on November 20, 2008 and has, in the intervening period, been under review at the Department of Defense for declassification.

In my judgment, the report represents a condemnation of both the Bush administration's interrogation policies and of senior administration officials who attempted to shift the blame for abuse - such as that seen at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Afghanistan - to low ranking soldiers. Claims, such as that made by former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz that detainee abuses could be chalked up to the unauthorized acts of a "few bad apples," were simply false.

The truth is that, early on, it was senior civilian leaders who set the tone. On September 16, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney suggested that the United States turn to the "dark side" in our response to 9/11. Not long after that, after White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales called parts of the Geneva Conventions "quaint," President Bush determined that provisions of the Geneva Conventions did not apply to certain detainees. Other senior officials followed the President and Vice President's lead, authorizing policies that included harsh and abusive interrogation techniques.

The record established by the Committee's investigation shows that senior officials sought out information on, were aware of training in, and authorized the use of abusive interrogation techniques. Those senior officials bear significant responsibility for creating the legal and operational framework for the abuses. As the Committee report concluded, authorizations of aggressive interrogation techniques by senior officials resulted in abuse and conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody.

In a May 10, 2007, letter to his troops, General David Petraeus said that "what sets us apart from our enemies in this fight... is how we behave. In everything we do, we must observe the standards and values that dictate that we treat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect. While we are warriors, we are also all human beings." With last week's release of the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinions, it is now widely known that Bush administration officials distorted Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape "SERE" training - a legitimate program used by the military to train our troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations - by authorizing abusive techniques from SERE for use in detainee interrogations. Those decisions conveyed the message that abusive treatment was appropriate for detainees in U.S. custody. They were also an affront to the values articulated by General Petraeus.

In SERE training, U.S. troops are briefly exposed, in a highly controlled setting, to abusive interrogation techniques used by enemies that refuse to follow the Geneva Conventions. The techniques are based on tactics used by Chinese Communists against American soldiers during the Korean War for the purpose of eliciting false confessions for propaganda purposes. Techniques used in SERE training include stripping trainees of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, subjecting them to face and body slaps, depriving them of sleep, throwing them up against a wall, confining them in a small box, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures. Until recently, the Navy SERE school also used waterboarding. The purpose of the SERE program is to provide U.S. troops who might be captured a taste of the treatment they might face so that they might have a better chance of surviving captivity and resisting abusive and coercive interrogations.

SERE training techniques were never intended to be used in the interrogation of detainees in U.S. custody. The Committee's report, however, reveals troubling new details of how SERE techniques came to be used in interrogations of detainees in U.S. custody.
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Confessions of a TARP wife~ entitlement blah blah

I am a TARP wife.
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sauce: http://www.portfolio.com/executives/2009/04/21/Confessions-of-a-Bailout-CEO-Wife

New York Magazine just figured out it was former New York Sun business columnist Liz Peek.

Outing Sauce:http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2009/04/who_is_the_anonymous_tarp_wife.html

Thanks to realizes here are some "choice" articles by Liz Peek
Liz Peek: Stock Market Gives Obama’s First Month An 'F'
LIZ PEEK: Chavez Handshake May Cost U.S. Billions

Today I went out and bought cleaning supplies for an apartment that I might be moving to by the grace of my parents after living with them for a year and a half. I cried because I was so happy to have cleaning supplies (edit) for a new apartment. It means that I can finally have something to call a home.

Report: Abusive tactics were used to find Iraq-al Qaida link

Report: Abusive tactics were used to find Iraq-al Qaida link

The Bush administration put relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist.

Such information would've provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush's main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003. No evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden's terrorist network and Saddam's regime.

The use of abusive interrogation — widely considered torture — as part of Bush's quest for a rationale to invade Iraq came to light as the Senate issued a major report tracing the origin of the abuses and President Barack Obama opened the door to prosecuting former U.S. officials for approving them.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and others who advocated the use of sleep deprivation, isolation and stress positions and waterboarding, which simulates drowning, insist that they were legal.

A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that intelligence agencies and interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration.

"There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used," the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity.

"The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there."
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(no subject)

Pass a Hate Crimes Bill for Matthew, Angie, Imaje, and Lawrence



It's shocking to think it's already been 10 years since Matthew Shepard was murdered because of his sexuality. But for his mom Judy, it probably feels like only yesterday. It's fantastic to see this woman move forward with such courage everyday, fighting for hate crimes legislation. A Congressional committee will vote tomorrow on whether to move a new bill forward, or, like the bills that have come and gone in the federal bureaucracy, let it slip away into the ether, while the queer community sees one more means of protection disappear.

The video is being pushed by the Human Rights Campaign, distributed to members in a letter from executive director Joe Solmonese. And for all the shit HRC receives, including criticism lobbed from this website, at the very least they have the resources to set up a camera, upload a video to YouTube, and encourage action.


cookie monster

This is kind of a fascinating new trend I think we will see more and more of.

This new cloning appears to be aimed at cloning children who died before their time, as it were. For example, there is one couple who had a ten year old child who was killed in a car crash. Is there really anything wrong with this? Heck, even if they are cloning someone who lived to be an adult, there are already plenty of twins in the world, what is wrong with a twin a few decades late?

Fertility expert: 'I can clone a human being'

Controversial doctor filmed creating embryos before injecting them into wombs of women wanting cloned babies

By Steve Connor, Science Editor

Wednesday, 22 April 2009


Diplomat Claims Bush White House Destroyed His Memo Opposing Torture

Diplomat Claims Bush White House Destroyed His Memo Opposing Torture (VIDEO)

Philip Zelikow, a longtime diplomat who worked as counselor to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and was the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, has been forthright in his opposition to the harsh interrogation techniques used under the Bush administration.

Zelikow disagreed with the legal reasoning employed by Bush's Office of Legal Counsel to justify the use of harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. And he claims that copies of memo he circulated to detail his opposing views were destroyed by the White House.
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Sherlock - on the side of the angles

Ahmadinejad entourage brands Elie Wiesel 'Zio-Nazi'

On the sidelines of the Durban II conference in Geneva on Tuesday, a member of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's entourage accosted Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel and began screaming "Zio-Nazi" at the Holocaust survivor.

The incident was caught on tape by Simon Wiesenthal Center's Latin American Representative Sergio Widder.

Ahmadinejad, who attended the international conference against racism along with a 180 Iranian representatives, was the only head of state to accept the United Nations' invitation to speak before the delegates.

Dozens of Western diplomats walked out during Ahmadinejad's speech and a pair of rainbow-wigged protesters threw clown noses at Iran's hard-line leader Monday when he called Israel the most cruel and repressive racist regime.

The United Nations said on Tuesday that Ahmadinejad dropped a reference to Holocaust denial from his speech the previous day at the Durban II conference.

The controversial conference, which many states boycotted for fear it would single out Israel for criticism, coincided with the eve of Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day.