Archive for July 2008

Obama’s Trip in retrospect

July 31, 2008

I like to read different views of the same news story. Often the Right will have a completely different take on something than the Left. Then to get a totally different angle, I sometimes look at Al Jazeera. In this article, they seemed to be a bit concerned with Barack Obama’s support of Israel, but they appreciated his meeting with Palestinian leaders on the West Bank.

Obama’s visit in the West Bank has generated some goodwill, particularly since his Republican rival, John McCain, did not visit the Palestinians during a Middle East trip earlier in the summer.

The Huffington Post has a very humorous article about the over-emphasis on polls lately. Their conclusion:

In about 13 weeks, the only poll that really matters will be taken — among 142 million registered voters, and not 900 people so bored with life they are willing to interrupt their dinner to talk to a pollster.

CNN offers this video with enough stats to make your head spin, no pun intended.


Radovan Karadzic in the Hague

July 30, 2008

This seems like the biggest story these days. But, I’m afraid I’m too skeptical to take these things seriously. Remember Noriega? Here’s his story on Wikipedia. After being American trained and on the CIA payroll for years, something changed. The stories about his spying for Castro or ignoring orders to stop drug trafficking may very well be true. Perhaps that’s all there is to it; or maybe not.

I wonder what else is behind the Karadzic story. Maybe he’s a bad guy and the world has to intervene. Or maybe there’s more to it. I always take these things with a grain of salt. One thing for sure, his hiding out disguised as a long-haired, bearded health guru is pretty bizarre.

I should have posted this video with the earlier post today, but it seems applicable to this one too.

I’d love to hear your opinion. Please leave a comment.

Neil Young

July 30, 2008

CNN ran a story about Neil Young’s new documentary, which chronicles his 2006 Freedom of Speech tour. The thing that struck me was the problem so many people seem to have with the idea that one can be against the war and for the troops. Why do the anti-war folks so often get accused of not supporting the troops?’s Patrick McDonald provides us with a review of the film complete with several great photos, talk about aging hippies.

Over at 30 Days Out there’s a wonderful review, including the following:

They come from a time when people really cared what musicians had to say, and the sentiments of Déjà Vu Live are at least earnest and sincere. They support the troops but believe the war putting them in danger needs to end.

Domestic Terrorism

July 29, 2008

The story about the Tennessee shooter, Jim D. Adkisson, who killed 2 people in a Knoxville church, has been all over the news. According to dday over at Hullabaloo, the government is dropping the ball in addressing this kind of thing for what it is, domestic terrorism.

I suspect we’re going to hear a whole lot about how the Bush Administration has kept us safe from attacks on US soil. Except that this is also terrorism, designed to terrorize and intimidate a particular sect or group, and instead of paying attention to right-wing domestic extremists, the White House has directed its homeland security efforts at peace groups and Quakers.

The Huffington Post has the details including the letter the killer left explaining his actions.

A four-page letter found in Jim D. Adkisson’s small SUV indicated he intentionally targeted the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church because, the police chief said, “he hated the liberal movement” and was upset with “liberals in general as well as gays.”

I’ve written about guns before, basically talking about handguns, but perhaps shotguns should be included. What’re they for anyway? Hunting? Protecting the home and family? The problem seems to be when these lethal weapons get into the wrong hands, whether those are the hands of a ghetto drug addict or an unhinged right wing bigot, we’ve got trouble. I say the fewer guns the better.

I’d love to hear your opinion. Please feel free to leave a comment.

White House Approves Execution

July 29, 2008

UPDATE NOV. 21, 2008

Today the news broke that President Bush approved the execution of a soldier convicted of rape and murder who’s been on death row in Leavenworth military prison. The first thing I thought was that it must have felt just like old times when Bush was governor of Texas. But that light thought was replaced with all the old arguments against the death penalty. And they are serious. I wrote about it before, basically quoting the Ramones, “I’m against it.”

CNN has the facts, about the crimes that took place in and around Fort Bragg NC in 1988 and the president’s dark history:

Bush allowed 152 executions as governor of Texas and has signed off on three executions of federal inmates since he became president — including that of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who was put to death in 2001.

The Huffington Post has their usual good coverage, including this:

President Kennedy was the last president to stare down this life-or-death decision. On Feb. 12, 1962, Kennedy commuted the death sentence of Jimmie Henderson, a Navy seaman, to confinement for life.

President Eisenhower was the last president to approve a military execution. In 1957, he approved the execution of John Bennett, an Army private convicted of raping and attempting to kill an 11-year-old Austrian girl. He was hanged in 1961.

The Government

July 28, 2008

Since I wrote about those Crazy Polygamists here and here, I’ve been thinking about the government. My formation in this melancholy pursuit took place during the Viet Nam war. We thought things were bad back then, but I’m afraid with the Patriot Act and the new wiretapping laws, they’re much worse today.

Bob Dylan sets the general tone with his line, “I’m on the pavement thinkin’ ’bout the government,” and the rest of his wonderful observations.

(video thanks to CompleteUnkn0wn)

For me, no one says it like John Kaye and Steppenwolf. Lyrics below.

(video thanks to SRangelDE)

Once the religious, the hunted and weary
Chasing the promise of freedom and hope
Came to this country to build a new vision
Far from the reaches of kingdom and pope
Like good Christians, some would burn the witches
Later some got slaves to gather riches

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands to court the wild
And she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

And once the ties with the crown had been broken
Westward in saddle and wagon it went
And ’til the railroad linked ocean to ocean
Many the lives which had come to an end
While we bullied, stole and bought our a homeland
We began the slaughter of the red man

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands to court the wild
And she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

The blue and grey they stomped it
They kicked it just like a dog
And when the war over
They stuffed it just like a hog

And though the past has it’s share of injustice
Kind was the spirit in many a way
But it’s protectors and friends have been sleeping
Now it’s a monster and will not obey

Obama’s Trip – part II

July 27, 2008

In this CNN story, the supporters of McCain are criticizing Obama for not visiting the military bases on his trip.

In the Huffingtn Post report of this story, there’s one line that I especially liked:

John McCain’s campaign has been quick to call most of Obama’s activity abroad inappropriate. Now that Obama has chosen not to do something, you might think they would be pleased. But you would be mistaken:

Here‘s what Steve Benen has to say about it over at his blog, The Carpetbagger Report.