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Small Widget Spot
March 17, 2009

he hit me, and it felt like a kiss

he hit me, and it felt like a kiss
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the analogy has been made before, but it bears repeating. we, the people, are behaving like a battered spouse who forgives his/her abuser. it’s sickening to watch us. and we know it. we can’t bear to actually act on what we know must be done. we ought to be punching back. hard.

this ought to be required reading for every american. mark danner lays out the facts and they aren’t pretty. an excerpt from the ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen “High Value Detainees” in CIA Custody by the International Committee of the Red Cross:

The result is a document—labeled “confidential” and clearly intended only for the eyes of those senior American officials to whom the CIA’s Mr. Rizzo would show it—that tells a certain kind of story, a narrative of what happened at “the black sites” and a detailed description, by those on whom they were practiced, of what the President of the United States described to Americans as an “alternative set of procedures.” It is a document for its time, literally “impossible to put down,” from its opening page…

...to its stark and unmistakable conclusion:

The allegations of ill-treatment of the detainees indicate that, in many cases, the ill-treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture. In addition, many other elements of the ill-treatment, either singly or in combination, constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Such unflinching clarity, from the body legally charged with overseeing compliance with the Geneva Conventions—in which the terms “torture” and “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” are accorded a strictly defined legal meaning—couldn’t be more significant, or indeed more welcome after years in which the President of the United States relied on the power of his office either to redefine or to obfuscate what are relatively simple words.

please read the entire piece. it will make you shake your head in disbelief, cry. and cry out in anger. if you think of yourself as a law-abiding, patriotic american who believes this country stands for something more than military might and unrestrained greed, you will shudder. and if you have a heart, you will realize down to your core that we’re in a very dark period of our history here…and if we aren’t able as a society to look at what happened, prosecute those who perpetrated and allowed it, and make it very clear through word, deed and law that it will never happen again, then we do not deserve to call ourselves americans. at least not in the traditional sense of that word. the sense that used to connote honesty, integrity, gumption, persistence and honor. because we will collectively be in possession of none of the above. it’s a big challenge: how do we become america again?

Posted in: politics
March 11, 2009

vituperating vitter

vituperating vitter
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after reading about senator david vitter’s latest bout with bad behavior (he’s a naughty little boy, for those who aren’t aware), i dashed off a quick note to him via his senate site.

subject: your behavior

yo davy:

i heard about your unfortunate episode at the airport last week and thought i’d offer a couple of pieces of advice:

  1. read those guidelines the airlines publish, particularly the one about arriving for your flight at least two hours before departure. surprisingly, they apply to all travelers, including self-righteous assholes who hold public office and are members of the party that created so many fake ‘terror’ threats for political reasons that the entire security system is now bogged down with unnecessary and expensive routines.

  2. if an airline employee doesn’t recognize you from your cute little ‘senator’ pin, just tell them you’re the republican guy who likes to pretend he’s a family man and a good role model for his three daughters while paying for sex with hookers who let you wear diapers. that will help differentiate you from the republican senator who likes to troll for anonymous blow jobs in airports. i know, i know: it’s hard to keep up with all of you hypocrites, but most people are pretty sharp and will be able to remember your particular set of identifying characteristics if just reminded of them.

  3. stop giving louisiana a bad name with your unfortunate behavior. it would be one thing if you actually did something worthwhile for the fine folks of your great state to offset your antics. but barring that unlikely occurrence, it’s probably best that you follow the lead of that classic cartoon character, snagglepuss, (oh the irony) and “exit stage left!”

all my best,

February 3, 2009

bonnaroo does it again

bonnaroo does it again
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i’m consistently amazed at how the superfly and AC entertainment folks manage to pull together incredible lineups year after year for the bonnaroo music & arts festival. from snoop dogg to merle haggard, the lineup is all over the place—all over the place in that good “holy crap, how am i going to decide between this tent or that tent?” kind of way.

i’ll be heading down to the farm for my sixth bonnaroo. the only bad part is having to wait until june.

here’s the official promo video, released earlier today.

Posted in: music
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October 16, 2008

it’s not even close

it’s not even close
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great little montage of senator loser mcangry at tonight’s debate.

watching these two together is truly fascinating; the contrast could not be more stark. and the choice could not be more obvious. more fascinating still is the fact that there are actually people out there who believe mccain would be a better leader of this country.

no meaningful comparison between the two would lead one to that conclusion. not a comparison of intellect. nor of temperament. nor of judgment. obama is clearly – to anyone with eyes, ears and a brain – the smarter, more even-keeled, wiser, thoughtful, empathetic, and POSITIVE candidate. it’s not even close.

in fact, it is becoming more and more clear that people who plan on going to the mat for john mccain on november 4th can truly only fall into some simple categories:

  • racists. of course they’re out there. sad but true. real support of education policy in this country will go a long way toward eradicating this problem. but until we fix the root cause, we have to turn over the rocks and let them scurry out into the light, exposed for what they are. a black president. get over it. get used to it. understand why it doesn’t matter.

  • selfish ‘financialists’. this group can’t see beyond the faux ‘robin hood’ argument put forth by mccain and the republicans about ‘spreading the wealth’. paying one dollar more (regardless of how many dollars one might already have) is “un-american” and “antithetical to the beliefs of our capitalist system.” this group generally has little understanding of macroeconomics or the concept of the greater good.

  • the incredibly stupid.  exhibits A and B: gayle quinnell numberswiki.com

    and jonah goldberg. there are many others, unfortunately. they watch fox news. they think jerome corsi is a journalist. they think barack obama is a muslim. they think the republican party is actually looking out for them but they’ve never bothered to actually see if that’s true or not.


  • ‘down with the ship’ republicans. often, but not always, a subset or matching set of the ‘selfish financialists’, this group just loves being republican. it’s like a frat. or sports team fan club. USA! REPUBLICAN! there are chants, bumper stickers, and a desperate need for a party with which to identify. republicans to the death, the ‘country first’ mantra of the mccain campaign is a bitter joke. nobody believes that for a second; it’s party first and always has been.

  • single-issue voters. gay marriage. gun control. prayer in school. abortion. this group can’t see the forest for the trees. and in most cases, the single issue is one that is not a majority-held position, but rather a morality-based issue of personal choice favored by a few. given most of these ‘wedge’ issues have some association with religious beliefs, the republican party is the only one willing to meld church and state to lock down the voting bloc.

it’s possible there may be more. i’m sure a mccain voter would never want to be put into any of the above buckets, but any arguments made with regard to “better policies” or “higher integrity” or “he was a POW” are easily swatted down like horseflies in 105-degree heat.

i long for a thinking, feeling adult in the white house. we can’t afford to elect a me-first asshole of the first degree like john mccain.

Posted in: politics
October 7, 2008

from hero to zero

from hero to zero
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nobody’s calling this pathetic excuse for a human being a “hero” these days. here’s mr. “country first” at one of his nuremberg – er, campaign – rallies today with what is obviously a sizable chunk of the low-information voter bloc in attendance.

mccain has neither the guts nor the moral compass to denounce the supporter who yells out “terrorist!” in response to mccain’s question “who is the real barack obama?”

this is today’s republican party in a nutshell: ignorant, more info

living in fear of manufactured threats and enemies, selfish and self-serving, and utterly incapable of acting with civility, compassion or grace. i imagine that true self-described ‘fiscal conservatives’ and/or ‘goldwater republicans’ (commonly mistaken for libertarians) have already abandoned the shitheap that is their party. but those who continue to claim proud membership in the republican club are either incredibly and willfully stupid – or morally bankrupt.

Posted in: politics