Tag Archives: politics

It is not the wind

It is not the wind.

The house shudders. A cold front is moving across the Midwest. Tiny snow crystals blown by high winds have returned. I hear a wail as it comes down the street, the cold drafts seeping through the walls.

But it is not the wind that I hear and it is not the cold that chills me and frightens me.

It is not the wind that woke me. What I hear is the wail of a thousand children, a thousand thousand children and their parents for whom the safety net has just been removed, from whom hope has just been stolen

I am up in the middle of the night, shaking and in tears at what I fear is the end of the most promising presidency since my childhood. How sad that it seems that it was only our projection on the blank slate of Barack Obama – large shadows of finger puppets projected by a flashlight on a back yard sheet

The President has written himself into a straight jacket from which, I fear he will not be able to get free. His is not Houdini. How can he start a desperately needed jobs program and cut domestic spending? How can he pass the most needed health care reform without initial increases in costs even if they might ultimately result in savings? How can the economy be restored without stimulating small business and entrepreneurs? How can families survive without extensions of unemployment insurance, and food stamps and job training and . . . and . . .

We have waited a year for bold action. We should have known better. Bold action is more than rhetoric.

When I saw the headline in my email Monday night, “President Obama Rather Be Really Good One Term President – ABC News,” I knew another shoe would drop. It reminded me of all the Presidents who have boasted of doing the hard thing when it would have been easier to do what was popular – In each case they were doing what they thought would be popular instead of the right thing.

I pray that I am wrong, that it was only a nightmare and in the morning I will find I imagined it all or that somehow I am missing something and that Wednesday night he will make sense of it all and soar again.

But I fear it is not just the wind that keeps me awake tonight.

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Tiptoing around the edges of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is not humane

Tiptoing around the edges and tinkering with the details just won’t cut it any more. Yesterday Defense Secretary Robert Gates is reported to have said, the military might not have to expel someone whose sexual orientation was revealed by a third party out of vindictiveness or suspect motives. As an example he suggested that someone who was “jilted” by the gay service member might not be discharged.

“That’s the kind of thing we’re looking at to see if there’s at least a more humane way to apply the law until the law gets changed,” Gates said, according to a transcript released by the Pentagon.

Nonsense… Can you imagine the hearing? What would the evidence be? How is this human?. What difference does it make how the information is revealed?

The time has come to permit our military to be open about who they are. “Don’t ask” is a good idea – the answer is TMI. But not asking has to be coupled with a No Consequences policy no matter the source of the disclosure. Anything less is inhumane and continues the second class citizenship of gays in the military.

U.S. May Permit 9/11 Guilty Pleas in Capital Cases

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal report that the Obama administration is internally circulating a proposal that could allow some terrorism suspects at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to enter guilty pleas without representation and to be sentenced without going to trial. This plan could enable prisoners who appear to want to confess so they can be executed and achieve martyrdom to achieve their purported goal. This, some contend, would save this country from the hassles and embarrassment involved in finding a legitimate solution to the problems created by their incarceration and the difficulties of providing them with trials which contain the minimum due process required by a civilized nation.

While many states permit guilty pleas in capital cases, they often require the state to prove its case before a death sentence is ordered. Would we be satisfied to put these men to death based on guilty pleas resulting from torture or mental illness?

This is one shortcut that just won’t bear scrutiny or even pass the smell test.

Let’s hope this was just a misguided trial balloon.

Why has there been no outcry? Shame on us.

Mea Culpa CREDO

A few days ago I ranted about a poll announced by CREDO, called Bracket of Evil, where participants can select among pairs of candidates for “the most malevolent forces in American politics.” I noted that aside from some instant gratification, villainizing individuals does nothing constructive in our current hateful moment, voting in the site seemed to lead to tons of spam from CREDO thanking me for voting.

Eventually I found an address, info@credoaction.com, and wrote them complaining about the spam. A day or so later I got a nice note from “Kate” suggesting that I must have forwarded those emails to lots of friends and every time one of them used the link to go to the Bracket of Evil site, and voted, it generated another thank you note to me.

Well, I never forwarded the site to friends because I don’t really care for that kind of approach, but I did forward the link to a widely read blog and posted it here without realizing, as “Kate” told me, that the link included an identifier that told CREDO that the voter was responding to my email. When my friend edited the link on his blog, Bifurcated Rivets, the torrent of emails stopped immediately. I am not certain I like CREDO using my info that way, and I still don’t think much of the concept behind Bracket of Evil but I apologize for maligning CREDO and thank Kate wherever she is.

49 Whites at the bar.

Rod Blagojavich is still the Governor of Illinois. He is under an obligation to appoint a Senator to replace Barrack Obama. He has fulfilled that obligation by naming Roland Burris.The Senate leadership has said it will not accept anyone named by Blago for fear of “taint.” Tell me it taint so.

Everyone seems to be looking for some Machiavellian purpose in the naming of Burris. Perhaps the most obvious stares us in the face. Had he not done so and stuck to his insistance that he would not appoint anyone he would have handed the legislature a clear instance of nonfeasance, grounds for impeachment that would not require investigation and delay.

While Burris may not have been on anyone’s short list for Senator, he has served Illinois long and reasonably well.

The Chicago Sun Times reports that Senator Reid objected to three other possible nominees: Jessie Jackson, Jr., Danny Davis and Emil Jones. It may be mere coincidence that all three are black men, but the Senators of all 49 other states are or will be white.

No one has put forth any evidence that Burris was involved in any way with Blago’s shenanigans or the auction for Obama’s seat.

The Senate should seat Burris on Tuesday with no delay.