Monthly Archives: October 2009

Hello, Hello……

…. Is anybdy home? Anyone?

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Times Profiles Mullah Omar

Wanted poster for Mullah Muhammed Omar

Wanted poster for Mullah Muhammed Omar

The New Yorks Times recently printed a profile on Mullah Omar, the leader of Afghanistan’s insurgency.  Looks like he’s a force to be reckoned with. Allied forces are going to have to deal with him one way or another soon, if they’re going to make any headway there.

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Iranian Protestors Sentenced to Death

Supporters of Iran's opposition set flaming barricades in the street during a protest in June.

Supporters of Iran's opposition set flaming barricades in the street during a protest in June.

Three of the countless Iranians arrested for protesting the country’s June election results were tried and sentenced to death this week. That should put to rest any fantasy that Iran is somehow a democracy and not just another dictatorship run by jack-booted thugs posing as religious figures. Theyre’ going to make damn sure that people think twice before speaking out of turn again. And if that wasn’t enough, there are allegations that some defendants were tortured into confessing, and others raped while in custody.

Yup, that’ll teach ’em.

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Maddow v. Oklahoma Abortion Law and other stuff that happened while I was out…..

While I was busy enjoying my Friday:

Rachael Maddow attacked Oklahoma’s new law requiring the online posting of names and personal information of women obtaining abortions there. It’s obviously an attempt to harass women to the point where they are afraid to receive services there. It was in nearby Kansas that Dr. Killer was shot and killed, and there’s no doubt that some of those furthest over the edge will see the postings as a hit list. In the end, patients will be targeted for harassment at home and at work, at the least. Whatever one thinks of abortion, there is a reason for the right to privacy. The ends don’t justify the means. This is a law that needs to be attacked and wiped off the books. 

President Obama shocked the world by winning the Nobel Peace Prize. There were naturally mixed reactions world-wide, and GOP Chair Michael Steele couldn’t resist taking a cheap shot. The President is giving the $1.4 million prize to charity; I’m sure his opponents will find a way to criticize that, too.

Turkey and Armenia signed an historic diplomatic agreement. What’s an Armenia? 

Insurgents have attacked and are holding hostages at Pakistan Army HQ. Pakistan needs to wake up and realize that the terrorists are well on their way to taking over the country. Maybe it’s just me, but I would think the good people of Pakistan would dislike being ruled by murderous fanatics more than they dislike the American assistance in getting rid of said fanatics.

The Brookings Institute published a book putting forth some keen ideas on customer-driven health care.  Haven’t read the book, but the executive summary mentions the possibility of cutting costs by reducing professional responsibility for routine tasks and record-keeping, while also making it possible for patients to receive higher quality care. Modern technologies such as cell phones, remote monitoring devices, video conferencing, and the Internet make it easier for people to manage their own health-care records and schedules. It would take some major public policy shifts, but I like the sound of it.

Thats all I’ve got. Enjoy your weekend.

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Bad Commericals Battling Gay Marriage

Personally, don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other concerning gay marriage. But I do support bad art.

I was really trying to embed the ad “NOM Gathering Storm” here, but I guess I’ll have to settle for posting the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp76ly2_NoI

 If you’re against gay marriage, fine. But cut the crap. Allowing gay/lesbian unions is not going to take away hetrosexual’s rights. And I doubt kindergarten teachers are preparing an “It’s OK to be gay” curriculum. If you’re afraid of that, ship them to a private school. My two youngest spent several years in a daycare run by a lesbian and her partner, and as of yet the boy doesn’t wear girl’s clothing and my daughter still prefers the Jonas Brothers to KD Lang. If everyone would mind their own damn business and let their neighbors alone, we’d all probably be better off.

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We Need to Start Videotaping Interrogations

In 1934, three black tenant farmers were arrested in Mississippi and charged with the murder of a local white planter. Although there was no real evidence linking them to the crime, and after their repeated denials, the arresting deputy whipped the men – two of them with a leather strap with buckles on it until their backs were torn to shreds – until they confessed. The confessions were used to convict them at trial, and they were sentenced to death until the conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court

police-interrogation-chBrown v. Mississippi is one of the most egregious examples of a coerced confession, but far from the only one. More often than many of us want to admit, law enforcement officers can become so certain of a suspect’s guilt, so eager to make an arrest, that they take fail to follow procedure during interrogations. The Miranda readings get lost in the shuffle, or suspects are pressured to forgo their right to a lawyer. Legitimate interrogation techniques give way to unlawful coercion. And that leads to too many false confessions. The problem is particularly abhorrent when on realizes the number of children who’ve falsely admitted guilt.

In the worst case scenario, it doesn’t just cause an innocent to be jailed – it leaves the true guilty party free to continue victimizing society.

The Fifth Amendment prohibits coerced confessions, but there’s too frequently no record to prove coercion when a defendant challenges his statement. That’s why – more sooner than later – there need to ba a law on the books mandating the videotaping of police interrogations. It would not only prove when police go overboard in extracting a confession, but would also protect officer from false accusations of wrongdoing. The historic excuse of prohibitive costs can no longer be used – decent taping equipment can be had for the cost of a box of donuts. (Ok, that was a cheap shot, but I couldn’t help myself).

There’s no reason not to. It’s cheap and easy to use, and it protects all sides.

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What’s Wrong With the Bills

I love sports, but I really love good sportswriting. Give me someone who can cut through the bull and isn’t afraid of alienating the home team, and I’ll take a lifetime subscription. Especially so if they write about my favorite team.

So I fell head over heels for Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, who wrote a scathing indictment of the Cowboys this morning, after their loss to Denver. I’m not a Dallas fan – in fact, I love it when they lose. But so much of what she wrote could be said about the Bills…

“This isn’t an offense problem. This isn’t a defense problem. This is a far bigger problem. This is a character problem, and it has been brewing since Coach Wade took over.”

“When you allow your team to make excuses, you always have an excuse.”

“The reality is there are reasons this stuff happens, and why it keeps happening to the Cowboys. They are missing something, and not just tackles.”

What’s wrong with the Cowboys is what’s wrong with Buffalo, except more so. They’ve lost the killer instinct. They’ve gotten complacent. They punt on fourth and one with the game on the line. They dance on the sidelines during a blowout. They don’t expect to win, and they’re ok with that.

Guess what? I’m not.

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