Saturday, March 13, 2010

Theodore Olbermann 1929 - 2010

My father died, in the city of his birth, New York, at 3:50 EST this afternoon.

Though the financial constraints of his youth made college infeasible, he accomplished the near-impossible, becoming an architect licensed in 40 states. Much of his work was commercial, for a series of shoe store chains and department stores. There was a time in the 1970's when nearly all of the Baskin-Robbins outlets in the country had been built to his design, and under his direction. Through much of my youth and my early adult life, it was almost impossible to be anywhere in this country and not be a short drive to one of "his" stores.

My Dad was predeceased last year by my mother, Marie, his wife of nearly 60 years. He died peacefully after a long fight against the complications that ensued after successful colon surgery last September at the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center. My sister Jenna and I were at his side, and I was reading him his favorite James Thurber short stories, as he left us.

More. RIP Ted Olbermann and deepest condolences to Keith.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rove: "proud" USA used waterboarding

And I would be 'proud' to see him -- standing alongside Dick Cheney, of course -- executed as a war criminal. So I guess that makes us even.

In a BBC interview, Karl Rove, who was known as "Bush's brain", said he "was proud we used techniques that broke the will of these terrorists".

He said waterboarding, which simulates drowning, should not be considered torture.

In 2009, President Barack Obama banned waterboarding as a form of torture.

But the practice was sanctioned in written memos by Bush administration lawyers in August 2002, providing legal cover for its use.

"Should not be considered torture". Too late, it already is.

Last night, in an interview with Rachel Maddow, Nancy Pelosi said that the evidence against Bush administration officials had to be much more solid than it was and that, as a result, was the reason she took impeachment off the table ... but that she thinks there should always be accountability. I wonder if all the confessions coming out leave any impression on her.

Beyond that, the refusal by Obama's Justice Department to prosecute them -- or turn them over to be prosecuted by a world court -- despite their open boasts is one of the reasons why people like me have lost enthusiasm for this President.

Digressing for a moment to the issue of healthcare reform as analogy: like Ed Schultz, I have come around on the healthcare reform proposal, but I also believe that the criticism of Dennis Kucinich's principled stand against it is uncalled for, and a positively shitty thing to make a political play of (the deadline to file in Ohio has passed so Kucinich won't have a primary opponent.  More of this kind of crap from Markos is going to really piss me off).

But there is no room for compromise on torture. You can't say it's illegal and then turn away from your responsibility for enforcing the law because of perceived political fallout (see 'Clinton, impeachment').

Obama has already lost most of the vim the progressive left had for him so this shouldn't surprise or alarm anyone. The malaise threatens to wash over the November elections all the way down the ballot. The only question left is how broad it goes and how deep it reaches. And whether the Republicans can do something to screw up their advantage between now and then.

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance would like to thank the Academy by presenting it with this week's roundup.

TXsharon went undercover this week to map methane plumes in the Barnett Shale: "Stealth" measurements contradict Shale Gas industry safe air claims, new technology shows. Big Gas is so BUSTED! And it's all reported on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

This week on Left of College Station, Teddy covers all of the results of the primary elections including the surprising defeat of Don McLeroy in the State Board of Education District 9 Republican primary. Left of College Station also covers the week in headlines, and this week will begin coverage of the local municipal elections.

The Texas Cloverleaf provides a Denton County and Texas primary roundup.

Texas Vox celebrated last week as the student governments of two Texas rivals, UT and A&M, passed "green fees" to support sustainability initiatives on campus.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson takes a first look at the general election race for governor in Texas: White vs. Perry is a toss up.

Neil at Texas Liberal offered up a video of him reading the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution in front of the Beer Can House in Houston. This is a house made out of beer cans.

Off the Kuff looks at primary results in the SBOE races.

Bay Area Houston thinks Harris County Democrats are going to get LaRouched in the upcoming Democratic judicial primaries.

Justin at Asian American Action Fund Blog warns those outside Texas to stop being federal snobs and begin to concern themselves with the State Board of Education.

WhosPlayin is watching all hell break loose in Flower Mound, as a group circulating a gas drilling permit moratorium petition is blown off by Town Council, and a political organization in the town tried to have the local school district call the police on them if the group used school parking lots for signature gathering.

Over at TexasKaos, libby shaw writes that Senator Cornyn has found himself a hero: Senator Jim Bunning. Yes that Bunning, the one who scores political grandstanding points at the expense of the unemployed. Read the rest here: GOP Senator to the Jobless and Uninsured: Tough S$it. Cornyn defends him.