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Gender: Male
Hometown: North Carolina
Member since: Wed Aug 11, 2004, 06:57 PM
Number of posts: 3,813

Journal Archives

Holder isn't worth it, but Obama is

I called Holder an 'asshole' in another thread, and I'll stand by that overall. Fast & Furious is a debacle & crime, Bradley Manning's imprisonment is unconscionable, the medical marijuana clinic busts are horrible. I could go on. But the fact is that Holder is also doing some good work protecting voter registries in Florida and other states, preventing the widespread disenfranchisement that seems to be Republicans' goal. As a Democrat, I of course stand for voting rights. I wish that Holder would uphold many other civil rights and liberties with equal zeal, but a Republican AG (remember Gonzales? Ashcroft?!?) would be worse.

And more importantly, caving to Issa now gives the Republicans too much raw meat just before the election.

I won't join the chorus of voices calling for Holder's resignation, even though I think he has done a lousy job of supporting (at the very least) the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments of the Bill of Rights. We can and should discuss this matter in the future, but right now it's most important to keep the Mitt-bot away from the levers of power.

In return, I expect Obama to appoint a much better AG during his second term.


Poetic, but not particularly factual.

I worked two summers for the Peregrine Fund, at 'hack sites,' which are where captive-bred peregrines are released into the wild. For ~9 weeks, we hack site attendants would monitor the young birds, feed them (without them seeing us: no human imprinting allowed!), and maintain a log of their progress toward becoming independent birds.

One summer, in the Shoshone National Forest, our site was close to a major road construction project (which included blasting), extensive cattle leases (with all the stream bank and water quality degradations that implies), and logging. I began the summer fully expecting that all this anthropogenic environmental disturbance would hinder the peregrines' success, but it didn't. They hardly ruffled their feathers at the blasts, and their cliff-side perches were high above the cattle and loggers.

I'm all for using narrative form to tug at both the hearts and minds of readers; any which way we raise environmental awareness is a good thing. But accuracy is important. The "stink of death" we carried to peregrines was (is?) DDT and other persistent organic pollutants; "petrol and limestone dust... scorched rubber and hot tarmac" are not particularly worrisome to falcons.


Clinton has been rotten from the start.

There's a reason why Clinton never delved further into or prosecuted Iran Contra as it should have been: he was complicit. The airport used to export arms to the Nicaraguan Contras, and import cocaine was Mena, in Arkansas. The idea that Arkansas' governor at the time (Clinton) had no knowledge of these activities is simply ludicrous.



I know that 'What Really Happpened' is considered a conspiracy / nutter site by some, but the first link is just an Arkansas Gazette article. The second link is a little more full of ads & nuttery, but also has some good audio, quotes, and even some scans of Ollie North's handwritten notes. Definitely worth a look for anyone wondering about why, whenever the chips are down, Clinton has sided with the Bush-istas and the corporate/right-wing/DLC bullshit side of the Democratic Party.

Learn from history or repeat it.


It's time for the Bill of Rights to extend to the workplace

I am pro-union, but presently working a state job in a right-to-work, anti-union state. While I certainly hope that unions can gain some traction in NC and across the country, I think that better workplace rights are a necessary pre-condition for any progress, whether union-centered or otherwise.

We Americans (hopefully) all embrace the Bill of Rights as a codification of fundamental, inalienable, and self-evident freedoms. Throughout American history, more and more of those freedoms have been 'incorporated' into state law via Supreme Court decisions. States are what charter corporations and issue licenses (dba's etc.) to private businesses. Yet for some strange reason many Americans, including too many here at DU, find it perfectly acceptable that one's right to free speech, one's freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, and nearly every other civil right and liberty enshrined in our Constitution end at the workplace door. This is a ludicrous and pernicious notion. As we pursue any other means to gain workplace justice, we ought to always emphasize that our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms can and should be exercised at the times and places where we spend the majority of our waking hours: the workplace. A corporation gaining a charter from the state should only be possible with if said corporation agrees to respect the fundamental freedoms of its employees. Indeed, how can a state give a corporation a power which the state itself does not have? If a state must respect the First Amendment, etc., then so must the corporations it charters.


Review your history

Review your history, harmonicon.

Hitler & Stalin were quite chummy, initially.

And, by the way, both of them opposed private firearms ownership: in Hitler's case basically for anyone who might oppose him, and in Stalin's case basically for any individual citizen.

And furthermore, Stalinist left-totalitarianism and Nazi right-totalitarianism were about equally nightmarish for those shipped off to camps & gulags that each regime employed.

Me, I'll stick with the good ol' Jeffersonian/Tom Paine/Eleanor Roosevelt/Howard Dean American continuum of thought that has proven time & again that private firearms ownership is perfectly compatible with, and possibly essential for, true freedom.


Offen-sensitivity much?

What is your problem with a woman's breast being partially visible in a photo about breast feeding???

Breasts have two biological purposes. The first is of course to nourish the infants of our species. All female mammals use their breasts for this purpose: it is a fundamental aspect of mammalian phylogeny. The second evolutionarily-selected purpose of human female breasts is to attract the attention of men.

"Whatwhatwhat?!?" you say, as you hastily reach for the alert button. Just wait, and hear me out. Although all female mammals have breasts by which they suckle their young, most of these mammals' breasts swell only when the mothers are nursing. Before reproduction, and then also after the infant is weaned, most mammals' breasts shrink back to be similar to males' in size and shape. Humans are the only mammals I can name whose breasts stay swollen throughout adult life. Probably not coincidentally, we humans are also among the minority of mammals who can and do engage in sexual activity with such frequency.

Sexual selection is a fascinating aspect of evolutionary biology. It is reputed to have been the force that has kept horses getting faster and faster with each generation, long after they could outpace their predators. And, yes, it has worked on us humans as well.

So this photo draws upon the two purposes of human breasts. So what? There is nothing wrong with this photo, or with these women.


Free Speech is an extraordinary right.

Free Speech is an extraordinary right.

The 1st Amendment is an extraordinary restriction on the state's ability to suppress speech and demonstrations, and it was written to apply during extraordinary situations and events.

Too bad too many are extraordinarily ready & willing to ignore our Constitution.

K&R for Amy Goodman. She is a truly extraordinary champion for freedom and real justice.


Self-defense is a right

Self-defense is a right; hate crimes and/or attacking another person who poses no threat is not.

It's quite simple, really. Yet many DU'ers seem hell-bent on blaming a law protecting self-defense for the problem of an apparently racist attack. They are wrong. Many of these same DU'ers are equally intent for blaming some tools (guns) for the crimes committed with them: equally misguided. And worst of all, many of these same DU'ers attack a fundamental American freedom (the 2nd Amendment) when they should be attacking racism. The recent tragic hate crimes in France sadly demonstrate that racist attacks involving guns also occur too often in places where personal firearm ownership is banned, and no 'Stand Your Ground' laws exist.

Finally, lying about someone being a threat when they are not is not protected anywhere in the US, even if you are an (idiot) self-appointed 'neighborhood watch captain.'

Excellent post, TPaine7. K&R.


Let's ban crime instead!

Because, you see, if crime were illegal, criminals wouldn't dare commit it, right?

Let me be perfectly clear: everything I have read so far about the Trayvon Martin case thus far indicates that he was the victim of insensate racism, disproportionate violence, and very possibly also premeditated murder. Zimmerman should certainly have been arrested the day of the shooting, and a jury should be now examining the facts of this case.

But short of vaporizing every gun, nay every weapon including shoes, fists, bats, knives, etc.; the problems of power, privilege, and violent crime will persist. The roots of the problem here are racism, white privilege, class entitlement, an overly-entitled cop-wannabe (Zimmerman), and a Police Department that apparently tolerates the murder of a black man by a white perpetrator who was expressly disobeying the guidance of a 911-dispatcher.

Changes in gun laws are not even remotely solutions for the cases of Trayvon Martin, Gabby Giffords, or for that matter, MLK or JFK.

Anyone here who wishes to build alliances advocating for better mental health care, a PD more focused on stopping violence, a wider social safety net, etc.: I'm your enthusiastic ally. But start talking about further erasing civil liberties as a solution to this (or any) crisis, and you lose me and thousands (maybe millions) like me.


Ah, now I see

I used to foolishly think that this discussion about women's choice and reproductive freedom and being open about who we are as humans and sexual beings was about true liberation. But now that I have read your oh so enlightened words, I see the error in my ways.

Yea, verily, if Santorum or Limbaugh speak against contraception or women's freedom, we must oppose it, because they are BAD. But if Arab Muslims say the very same things, we must support them, because... why again???

Oh, and ANY criticism of anything done by Arab Muslims is racist cultural imperialist warmongering oppression. Got it.

Look, standing up for freedom requires SOME measure of consistency. I believe that it's great if and when women enjoy sex. I'm also fine with Bill Maher, and all other men, Enjoying sex.

I oppose politicians telling people what to wear, what contraceptives to use, whom to worship, etc. I don't care whether they are Muslim or Xtian, oppressors suck. Bill Maher is often an ally in this cause. I don't think of him as a leader, but I definitely embrace him as an incisive comedian.

Knee jerk reactions are not 'liberal.'

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