NY Times Editorial:
The Senate on the brink. I was pondering this myself, after Senator Byrd’s speech: “... the value of confirming a few extreme nominees may be outweighed by the lasting damage to the Senate. Besides, majorities are temporary, and they may want to filibuster one day.” Does the Republican majority intend to never be a minority? It bespeaks a very blinkered view of future Senate endeavours.
Freed Hostage Wounded by U.S. Troops. Italian papers are angrily claiming that this was no ‘checkpoint’, but a roving patrol. A brave man is dead, the hostage wounded. This demands immediate clarification. [If you can’t read Italian, try Babel.Altavista.com.]
Later: Reuters also mentions the non-checkpoint. “I hope the Italian government does something because either this was an ambush, as I think, or we are dealing with imbeciles or terrorized kids who shoot at anyone.” When in doubt, shoot first and ask questions later ... this is the difference between combat troops and civilian police. No American soldier in their right mind kills freed hostages. If the car wasn’t going fast and there was no checkpoint, why did the soldiers shoot? And if there was a checkpoint, why didn’t the driver stop?
Winds of change, or a passing breeze? Is democracy really contagious? “A huge amount still depends on the outcome in Iraq: a descent into chaos or the failure of the political process there could crush democratic stirrings throughout the region. For all these reasons, it is probably too early for the Americans to crow about an Arab year of revolutions.”
Violent New Front in Drug War Opens on the Canadian Border. “On Thursday, four officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were shot to death in Alberta, British Columbia’s neighboring province, as they were searching a marijuana-growing operation ...” Parse it how you like, but if you buy a bag of “BC Bud” you’re financing murder. Try single-malt instead. Nobody gets killed over peat ... well, at least not recently.
SF New Mexican:
House approves new tax for cities, counties. Happy joy, more taxes. I didn’t see the word ‘online’ anywhere. I wonder.
I figured the Hitler historical reference would bring the reactionaries out in force. There are many more similarities than this, comparing the present US to Germany of the 30’s. Using more creative speechwriting, Senator Byrd should have simply mentioned Weimar and the process by which it created a presidential dictatorship [Bruning, Papen, Hindenburg ... and Hitler]. Senator Byrd is slapping the Senate for kowtowing to the Executive Branch, specifically. He’s concerned with the integrity of the Senate as an independent body, one of the three branches of government.
Is this a partisan attack? Would he make this same speech if Clinton was in office? If Clinton was pushing the same concept through a Democratic Senate majority, I believe he might.
The unsinkable US economy. Why do I not share this confidence?
US snipers on Samarra’s 9th century spiral minaret. Iraq survived the Mongols, they may survive us.
SF New Mexican:
LANL agrees to clean up waste. Court-enforceable this time. There’s a lot of work to do.
Senator Robert C. Byrd.
Natives Pan Plan to Open Alaska Area to Drilling. “Interior Secretary Gale Norton will make the final decision on the proposal.” That would be a ‘go’, then.
Cultures of war. Book reviews. Considering Western warmaking; the West’s weapon-of-mass-destruction answer to the suicidal ideologue question. Never quite thought about it that way.
SF New Mexican/AP:
SF New Mexican:
High court to review Indian reservation fuel taxes. We’re not talking dozens of gas pumps here, in NM. Usually a single (albeit modestly popular) station miles away from metropolitan areas. Hardly a risk to highway funds. That’s my observation, anyway.
The Supreme Court rules that the juvenile death penalty is unconstitutional. We re-enter the world of rationality, if only briefly.
Later: The New Mexico House votes to repeal the death penalty.
Mr Limbaugh in Afghanistan?
The Ten Commandments reach the Supreme Court. When placed with other monuments marking the origins of law, fine. Context is required. But courthouse lawns across America are going to get very cluttered.
U.S. Urges Judge to Dismiss Suit on Chemical Use in Vietnam War. A novel concept: litigate war out of existence.
NY Times Letter to the Editor:
Bush and Putin Mute Differences, Latching on to the Affirmative. The ‘cowboy’ rugged individualist persona only appears against weaker nations, of course.
SF New Mexican:
If you’re still watching the situation at LANL, the one where workers were ordering TVs, barbecue grills, etc., you’ll be interested to hear ... Former LANL workers get prison time.
Our Godless Constitution. Nice general overview. I think I’d say “Christ-less Constitution” rather than “Godless.” In Deism there is still faith in an overarching Creator. Our Founding Fathers were wise enough to avoid specificity as to creed. They had seen enough persecution by and of the religious. Here’s to reading history straight, sans ideology.
Court Debates Anti-Piracy TV Technology. “Edwards, the former chief judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, questioned the FCC’s authority to impose regulations affecting television broadcasts after such programs are beamed into households.” My italics. Lordy, lordy. This could mean that after I read a book, I’m not allowed to utilize the knowledge gained therefrom, without paying royalties?