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Archive for June 9th, 2008

When Should We Kill? The Inconsistent Penalty of Death

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2008 4:37 am by HL

When Should We Kill? The Inconsistent Penalty of Death

A columnist for the Wichita Eagle compares recent homicide prosecutions and reasonably concludes that the haphazard application of the death penalty makes it unfair in any particular case, no matter how ugly the facts.

With all of the variants, including where and how a murder occurs, who gets killed and the makeup of the jury, the death penalty forces society into the ridiculous practice of comparing tragedies and assigning a sliding scale of value to victims' lives.

Is killing a child as heinous as killing a law officer, or more so? Should we kill rapists? Does the victim's race or the killer's race matter? All of these factors, which we like to pretend don't matter, give the death penalty a capriciousness that ought to make us sick. …

Our state hasn't executed anyone since 1965, and we simply can't execute anyone anymore without inviting a million moral and ethical questions about the system's fairness.


Good

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2008 4:35 am by HL

Good
In addition to the fact that Diane Sawyer is awful, these events should not be proprietary for any single media entity.

NeW YORK – Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama rejected an offer by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and ABC News to host the first general election town hall meeting because they do not want it limited to one network, their campaigns said Sunday.

McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, had asked his Democratic counterpart last week to join him in 10 meetings with voters in the coming months, and campaign managers for both sides had agreed in spirit to schedule some type of joint appearances.

But the campaigns said no to a formal offer outlined in a letter from Bloomberg and ABC on Sunday envisioning a 90-minute primetime broadcast moderated by Diane Sawyer to kick off the town hall series in New York City. The campaigns said the candidates intend to make the town hall meetings open for broadcast on all television networks or on the internet, rather than sponsored by a single network or news organization.


Dear Congress: “Pentagon Units in Afghanistan are Operating like South American Death Squads”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2008 4:34 am by HL

Dear Congress: “Pentagon Units in Afghanistan are Operating like South American Death Squads”
In a letter to Congress, human rights leaders urge Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to stop funding torture in the so-called “war on terror.”

Blackwater’s Private CIA
The notorious mercenary company now offers spy “services” to Fortune 500 companies, for the right price.


Where is Wells Fargo?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2008 4:33 am by HL

Where is Wells Fargo?
Sunday morning TPM reader Ellen posted a letter she said she had received from Wells Fargo, responding to my earlier post about a customer who was the target of some very sharp dealings. The “facts” in Ellen’s post–the customer’s divorce,…


DoJ Confirms Internal Investigation in Case of Maher Arar

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2008 4:32 am by HL

DoJ Confirms Internal Investigation in Case of Maher Arar
Richard L. Skinner, the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, revealed yesterday that his department had reopened the investigation into whether U.S. officials knew that Canadian citizen, Maher Arar would be tortured when he was turned over to…


War bill helps Iraqis, ignores Katrina

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2008 4:31 am by HL

War bill helps Iraqis, ignores Katrina
New Orleans resident says, ‘This place has been forgotten, just forgotten.’


Novak On McCain Adviser?s Claim That Obama Is 3rd Bush Term: ?Silliest Thing I Have Ever Heard!?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2008 4:30 am by HL

Novak On McCain Adviser?s Claim That Obama Is 3rd Bush Term: ?Silliest Thing I Have Ever Heard!?
On Bloomberg TV this weekend, McCain policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin — attempting to fight off the fact that McCain is running to continue President Bush’s key policies — ludicrously claimed that Barack Obama would be like President Bush on the economy. Obama is “dedicated to the recent Bush tradition of spending money on everything,” Holtz-Eakin […]

On Bloomberg TV this weekend, McCain policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin — attempting to fight off the fact that McCain is running to continue President Bush’s key policies — ludicrously claimed that Barack Obama would be like President Bush on the economy. Obama is “dedicated to the recent Bush tradition of spending money on everything,” Holtz-Eakin said.

But even conservatives aren’t taking the bait on the new talking point. Reacting to Holtz-Eakin’s interview, conservative pundit Robert Novak said on Bloomberg TV:

That is the silliest thing I have ever heard! And I won’t even dignify how stupid it is.

Novak went on to argue that there’s no doubt McCain is attempting to “get away from Bush.” Asked if McCain can succeed in that strategy, Novak said yes because “slamming Bush” is something many Republicans would approve of. Watch it:

The new McCain strategy appears to be “I’m rubber, you’re glue; whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.” But as James Kvaal and Robert Gordon demonstrate in a Wonk Room analysis, the McCain and Bush comparison sticks because it is true.

It’s pretty devastating for Holtz-Eakin that his crackerjack talking point won’t even pass Novak’s smell test.


Senate Votes To Privatize Its Failing Restaurants

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2008 4:29 am by HL

Senate Votes To Privatize Its Failing Restaurants
Year after year, decade upon decade, the U.S. Senate’s network of restaurants has lost staggering amounts of money — more than $18 million since 1993, according to one report, and an estimated $2 million this year alone, according to another.


Muslim Extremists Turn On Bin Laden

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2008 4:28 am by HL

Muslim Extremists Turn On Bin Laden
Paul Cruickshank, NYDN

McCain’s Evangelical Problem
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Shortcomings by John McCain’s campaign in the art of politics are alienating two organizations of Christian conservatives. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family is estranged following the failure of Dobson and McCain to talk out their differences. Evangelicals who follow the Rev. John Hagee resent his disavowal by McCain. The evangelicals are not an isolated problem for the Republican candidate. Enthusiasm for McCain inside the Republican coalition is in short supply. During the four months since McCain clinched the nomination, he has not satisfied conservatives who oppose his positions on global warming, campaign finance reform, immigration, domestic oil drilling and how to ban same-sex marriages.