Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Fireside chat for January 31, 2009

Time to get off the stick, and to finish the Financial Recovery Act. Oh, and Wall Street, stop with the bonuses, already!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Proud to be an American...


A resolution congratulating Barack Obama on his election as president was rejected by a committee of the Arkansas House of Representatives after lawmakers objected to language in the measure that referred to the United States as “a nation founded by slave owners.”

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

TPM: Well, there's your problem right there...

It began with a 17-2 vote. The Senate Judiciary committee voted "controversial" Attorney General Appointee, Eric Holder, out of said committee and onto the full Senate where he's expected to be confirmed. My bet is that, despite the hemming and hawing of the Senate Republicans, no one wanted to be on the wrong side of history and vote against the first black Attorney General in U.S. History.

And for the record, the two Senators who were more than comfortable being on the wrong side of history (and being labeled as racists by me, personally) were: John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

To my Father, who is planning on moving to Texas (voluntarily), all I can say is way to go. Your Senator at work!

Then one local paper stepped up with this tasty nugget of news:

President Obama's choice to run the Justice Department has assured senior Republican senators that he won't prosecute intelligence officers or political appointees who were involved in the Bush administration's policy of "enhanced interrogations."

Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, Missouri Republican and vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in an interview with The Washington Times that he will support Eric H. Holder Jr.'s nomination for attorney general because Mr. Holder assured him privately that Mr. Obama's Justice Department will not prosecute former Bush officials involved in the interrogations program.

Kit of the original, and greatest of the Reagan Airheads.

All of the sudden, everyone is running with that quote: TPM, Huffington Post (well, HuffPo did cover the story at some point, and fortunately changed it)…

…finally, Holder's aides called bull!@$%.

"Eric Holder has not made any commitments about who would or would not be prosecuted," the aide said via e-mail. "He explained his position to Senator Bond as he did in the public hearing and in his responses to written questions."

Even Judicary Chairman Pat Leahy of Vertmont cracked back on the supposition that the Nation's Top Cop would fail to prosecute crimes where he saw them.

"It would be completely wrong if a senator said, 'I'll vote for you if you promise to withhold prosecution of a crime'," Leahy told me. "No senator would make a request like that. It'd be improper."

In fact, in a written response to a question by Torture defender John Kyl of Arizona, Holder said:

Prosecutorial and investigative judgments must depend on the facts, and no one is above the law. But where it is clear that a government agent has acted in "reasonable and good-faith reliance on Justice Department legal opinions" authoritatively permitting his conduct, I would find it difficult to justify commencing a full-blown criminal investigation, let alone a prosecution.

Not comforting, but acceptable...provided no one gets in the way of Congress investigating this mess.

So where did this story come from?

Well, all one has to do is look at the original source of the Kit Bond quote.

The Washington Times, the Fox News of Newspapers.

There's your problem right there.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Times of London: Reporting, Optional.

Is the British Press any better than the American Press when it comes to abject laziness??

Here's the headline: "Freed Guantánamo prisoners taunt US as closure plan falls apart"

Falls apart...

Falls apart???

So...there's a quote in this piece saying conclusively that the President has abandoned his plans to close GITMO?

Oh, there's not?

So what the @$%@#$ are you talking about??

There's plenty of stuff (stuff not being the same thing as quotes mind you) about EU Ministers saying they won't take back GITMO Prisoners:

At a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels yesterday, the idea of taking in about 60 Guantánamo inmates cleared for release received a far from enthusiastic response, with some members, including Britain, appearing to reject the prospect.

But, looking at other papers you get a slightly different response...and by different, by which I mean completely the opposite:

"This is an American problem and they have to solve it but we'll be ready to help if necessary … I think the answer of the EU will be yes," Javier Solana said before the gathering of European foreign ministers, when asked whether the EU could take some former Guantánamo prisoners.

In case the Times of London isn't familiar with the concept, that was a quote...

Granted, there is some resistance to the proposal. The Guardian goes as far as to say that the issue threatens to split the E.U., but...

Those harbouring doubts – including Germany, Austria and the Netherlands – are concerned about the possibility of accepting former inmates who might still prove a danger, a risk highlighted when it emerged last week that Said Ali al-Shihri, who was released from Guantánamo in 2007, is now al-Qaida's deputy leader in Yemen.

"There is no question that chief responsibility to do with solving the problem of this detention centre lies with those who set it up, the Americans themselves," Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister, said. "But it is also a question of our credibility of whether we support the dismantling of this American camp or not."

SunTimes: This is what I was talking about...

All you folks out there supporting Burris (Dad), now you see what I was worried about, and why I think this guy is scum:

“If there was no Martin Luther King Jr. and no Roland Burris, there would be no Barack Obama in the White House today,” Burris said to cheers at a Rainbow PUSH Coalition breakfast in Chicago. “We must recognize, friends, that we all stand on each other's shoulders.”