"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you”

Pericles



Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Extended Honeymoon

Rasmussen reports that nearly two-thirds of Americans continue to place blame for the nation's economic troubles on Bush, providing Obama much-needed manuevering room to take dramatic steps (nationalizing a bankrupt GM, for instance) to put the economy on a more solid footing.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cheney, Cheney, Everywhere

I remember fondly the days our former Vice President Dick spent holed up in his "undisclosed location." Today, I am flicking across the channels on the teevee and lo and behold, there he is again. He's at an event honoring Gerald Ford at the National Press Club and he's pontificating about 9/11, terrorism, North Korea and nuclear proliferation. Now, I'm not going to deny him his right to free speech, but I wonder does the traditional media need to put him on camera each time he opens his mouth?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Making it Personal

The most personally wrenching moment in the Oscar-nominated film "Hotel Rwanda" occurred for me not during the scenes depicting the horrific barbaric butchering that terrorized the central African nation. It was a scene during which the voice of American President Bill Clinton emanates from the radio. His declaration that the United States did not believe a genocide was occurring in the war-ravaged nation.

It's a powerful scene. By denying the reality of the horror all around them, Clinton's message essentially extinguished the hopes of rescue for the poor souls barracaded in the hotel. The world had determined there was no political will to engage, so it was simply decided to deny reality.

At that moment my anger, outrage and disgust at the inhumanity of the crisis was transformed into a profound shame. No longer was watching this movie a historical experience. Sure, movies about prior genocides, like Schindler's List were eye-opening and soul-wrenching. But there was always the distance of time. Besides, in most of the stories we are taught in our youth, Americans are on the side of justice.

Now, however, here was something I could not depersonalize. The comfort of time and distance evaporated in an instant. A man I had cast a vote for, a man I believed would do the right thing (especially when confronted with evidence of genocide), chose the politically expedient option. I felt dirty, ashamed. At that point, I became responsible.

Now, with US Army General Antonio Taguba (the one who investigated the Abu Ghraib crimes) revealing the contents of the photos President Obama has chosen to keep from the public, a sinking feeling overcomes me. Is another president putting political expediency over doing what's right? To make it worse, the potential crimes were committed by Americans against prisoners. And they were done in the name of keeping me safe.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gay Marriage Fight Creates Strange Bedfellows

When former Bush II Solicitor General Ted Olsen unites with his former Bush v. Gore adversary David Boies one realizes how dramatically the politics of marriage equality have shifted.

I'll say this again, although it isn't all that popular. The passage of Proposition 8 was a pivotal event in the fight for LGBT civil rights. A community has been transformed. Yesterday's court decision is another important step forward, despite the defeat. The public debate (although at times ugly and nasty) is creating more support for equality more quickly than any court-ordered mandate ever could have accomplished.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mitch's Filibuster Flip Flopping

Mitch's band of Roadblocking Senate Republicans are elevating hypocrisy to new levels. Three years ago, they hyperventilated over the prospect Democrats might filibuster Bush judicial nominees, decrying the move as unconstitutional. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, they're singing a different tune.

Thanks to Media Matters, we've got video footage of these fools.

Will They Listen to the Generals Now?

Recall the Republican argument used to disarm Democratic opposition to the 2007 Iraq surge? They paraded the military leaders, led by Gen. David Petraeus in front of Congress, the television cameras and challenged Democratic politicians to "listen to the generals."

Now that Petraeus has come out in support of closing Gitmo, will they follow their own advice? Or will Rush, Hannity and Beck pillory their once-beloved general to protect Darth Cheney?

"Torture and Abuse Was Counterproductive to What We Were Trying to Accomplish"

Dick "Four Deferrals" Cheney doesn't know what he's talking about: