Several school and fire districts across the state are having levy and bond elections Tuesday. If you live somewhere holding an election, your ballot should have come in the mail a while ago. You can check what districts are holding elections for King County here. I couldn’t fine a statewide list, but will happily add one if someone knows about it.
Archives for February 2011
I think Mason Crosby will win this one for the Packers with a late field goal. Throw out your wild predictions here.
“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has had the force of international law since mid-1987. The U.S. joined the club by signing it in 1988. The treaty received ratification in 1994. This treaty is, under Article VI paragraph 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the “supreme Law of the Land.”
Convention (Article 1) prohibits torture, defined as:
…any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.
The treaty grants NO exceptions to the prohibition on Torture…not even under the “Ticking Time Bomb” scenario (from Article II):
(2) No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
One of my disappointments with the Obama administration has been a lack of prosecution for those who justified, authorized, and undertook torture. The lack of action wasn’t unexpected…just disappointing.
So we have alleged criminals living free: the “deciders” George W. Bush (who has, remarkably, confessed to authorizing waterboarding in his autobiography) and Dick Cheney, the “justifiers” like Professor John Yoo and Judge Jay Bybee, and those who actually administered torture.
There may never be domestic prosecutions of these alleged criminals, but at least for the highest profile of the alleged criminals, there is now more to fear while traveling outside the U.S. than being hit in the face with a shoe (via Reuters):
Former President George W. Bush has canceled a visit to Switzerland, where he was to address a Jewish charity gala, due to the risk of legal action against him for alleged torture, rights groups said on Saturday.
Bush was to be the keynote speaker at Keren Hayesod’s annual dinner on February 12 in Geneva. But pressure has been building on the Swiss government to arrest him and open a criminal investigation if he enters the Alpine country.
Criminal complaints against Bush alleging torture have been lodged in Geneva, court officials say.
The fact is Switzerland has no choice but to consider prosecution. As a signatory to the Convention, Switzerland is bound by Article 5:
Each State Party shall likewise take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over such offences in cases where the alleged offender is present in any territory under its jurisdiction and it does not extradite him pursuant to article 8 to any of the States mentioned in Paragraph 1 of this article.
So George Bush cannot travel much outside of the U.S., except, apparently, to Canada…seems like a pretty trivial punishment for committing crimes against humanity.
The punishment could be much worse. As John McCain pointed out in 2007:
…some Japanese were tried and hanged for torturing American prisoners during World War II with techniques that included waterboarding.
“There should be little doubt from American history that we consider [waterboarding] as torture otherwise we wouldn’t have tried and convicted Japanese for doing that same thing to Americans….”
I’ve been posting these things on Hominid Views every Friday night since late May of 2006, but now that Goldy has gone Big Time, I guess they can go here. Enjoy!
The Full Ginsburg: Eric Cantor balances the budget:
- Ann Telnaes: Time for President Obama to let go.
- Newsy: Anderson Cooper and crew attacked in Egypt
- Ann Telnaes: Muburak’s body language.
- Mark Fiore: Autocrat action figures.
- Stephen: Egyptian people ask Anderson Cooper to step down… (via TalkingPointsMemo).
- Ann Telnaes: Mubrack won’t seek reelection, but won’t resign.
- Maddow: The whole world is still watching.
- John Bolton Tells Greta ‘El Baradei Is A Dilettante’ (via TalkingPointsMemo).
- Cenk: Conservatives bringing Sharia law to America!!!
- Newsy: Is wider Arab revolt a media creation?
- Rove: Egyptians are more Western then the rest of them Arab heretics. (via TalkingPointsMemo)
- Cenk and Will Bunchponder the right’s increasingly nutty attacks on President Obama (via Crooks and Liars).
- Obama speaks on Egypt.
Bush for Gay Marriage:
- Newsy: Barbara Bush for marriage equality.
- Young Turks: Barbara Bush for marriage equality.
- Tina Dupuy: Watch that grammar!
Greenman: What the ice cores tell us:
Glenn Beck…Cracking Up:
- Young Turks: Glenn Beck’s insane ‘Marxist–Communist’ theory.
- Young Turks: Glenn Beck’s crazy Muslim Caliphate conspiracy.
- Glenn Beck doubles down on crazy (via Crooks and Liars).
- Sam Seder explains Glenn Beck.
- Cenk: Who writes Glenn’s checks?
- Even some Neocons think Beck is a “panic monger” (via Crooks and Liars).
Sam Seder: Move over John Edwards…National Enquirer fingers John Boehner for extramarital affair:
Rape to Republicans:
- Jon and Kristen Schaal on new definitions of rape (via TalkingPointsMemo).
- Cenk: Republicans try to redefine “rape”.
Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.
Like father, like son. Libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul (R., Texas) is known in the House as a frequenter lone dissenter on bills. Today, his son, freshman Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), voiced the only “nay” vote on a measure that outlaws aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft.
The vote shows a stunning lack of vision…coming from a opthamologist (albeit one who is self-certified).
Whenever Ben Livingston, the founder of the Cannabis Defense Coalition, talks about the mission of the organization, he likes to say that it’s to “bear witness” to the injustices that take place when prosecutors go after authorized medical marijuana patients. While the act of sitting in a courtroom may seem inconsequential, it lets judges and prosecutors know that they’re being watched. During the Bruce Olson trial, the presence of CDC volunteers – and the media coverage that followed – appeared to fluster both the prosecutors and the judge in that case. Olson’s victory in that courtroom might still have happened without those “witnesses”, but Kitsap County’s approach towards prosecuting medical marijuana patients changed after that. They immediately dropped charges against Glenn Musgrove, a quadriplegic who had to be wheeled into the courtroom on a gurney, and have appeared to scale back their attempts to go after patients.
What’s happening in Egypt is happening on a significantly larger scale and with significantly direr consequences, but the same dynamic is in effect. Mass killings of innocent people by a government have happened before, and to some extent, we saw what happened in places like Srebrenica, Tiananmen and Darfur. But unlike those cases, we’re truly “bearing witness” to what’s been going on Egypt over the past 10 days. Technology that allows average citizens to film their surroundings, along with Facebook, Twitter, and an influx of new media outlets able to broadcast this uprising in real time to the whole world, presents an unprecedented challenge to regimes who prefer to operate in the dark.
There’s been a lot of discussion about what role the internet plays in starting these revolutions. But to whatever extent it does, that’s not its most valuable attribute. The more vital role is how it allows the world to bear witness to these events in depth, and to provide the context that encourages more people to stand in solidarity with those who are suffering from the extreme injustices being witnessed. The primary value to the internet is not its ability to allow for greater organization. Even with the internet shut off, millions of Egyptians continued their protests just fine. Its primary value is to provide that window into what’s actually happening – as it’s happening – to the rest of the world.
The latest news out of Cairo is that plain-clothed security forces are now more aggressively rounding up foreign media as they escalate the amount of violence directed at the anti-Mubarak protesters. They fired live ammunition at the unarmed protesters and hurled molotov cocktails from the rooftops of nearby buildings. Aggressors in this battle are being exposed as members of the Mubarak regime’s paid security forces. Others have admitted to having been paid by the regime to suppress the protests. Reports from numerous news outlets have confirmed that the regime is behind the violence, not that it’s even hard to figure out simply by seeing the timing and nature of the attacks.
So what happens next? We watched protests similar to this 18 months ago in Iran, and the crackdown eventually muted the calls for regime change. Even though we were able to bear witness to that, it wasn’t enough to make a difference. But Egypt is not Iran. We have leverage against the Egyptian government that we don’t have against Iran. And as I watch the violence escalate, I wonder when Obama finally starts playing those cards.
The Mubarak regime has taken decades to form itself into an immovable object – along with that necessary dose of hubris that allows them to believe that they can get away with anything. I find it amazing that in just two weeks, Mubarak has gone from being seen as a pro-American ally presiding over a country with good ties to the west, to unleashing his forces against his own people, the press, and foreigners, and using the same tactics and language used by the Iranian government in 2009 and Saddam Hussein in 2003. As we look around the Middle East today, it’s a good reminder that the biggest difference between Hosni Mubarak and Saddam Hussein was never a matter of character. It was a matter of circumstance.
I guess this is satire…right?
In a strong rebuke of President Obama and his domestic agenda, all 242 House Republicans voted Wednesday to repeal the Asteroid Destruction and American Preservation Act, which was signed into law last year to destroy the immense asteroid currently hurtling toward Earth.
It’s getting hard to tell….
Update: Okay…here’s a quiz. Is this satire, or real news?
A state lawmaker from Marietta (GA) is sponsoring a bill that seeks to do away with Georgia driver’s licenses.
State Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta, has filed House Bill 7, calling it the “Right to Travel Act.”
In his bill, Franklin states, “Free people have a common law and constitutional right to travel on the roads and highways that are provided by their government for that purpose. Licensing of drivers cannot be required of free people, because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of an inalienable right.”
Find the answer here.
I like it! I think I’ll demand (as a free person) my right to fly military jets “provided by [my] government.” Anyone up for an exciting trip to Whidbey Naval Air Station this weekend? Navigation skills a plus.
First day on the job at the Stranger, and no, HA is not shutting down. In fact, we’re adding contributors. Stay tuned for more news.
Goldy goes to work! It’ll be interesting to see if he has the time and interest to visit his buddies at Drinking Liberally tonight. Or maybe he wants to show up but Dominique has sent him off to cover some PTA meeting in Longview….
With or without Goldy, please join us tonight for an evening of politics under the influence at the Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally. We meet at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E.. We start at 8:00 pm, and sometimes even earlier for dinner.
Not in Seattle? There is a good chance you live near one of the 209 other chapters of Drinking Liberally.
President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt just announced that he would not step down, but that he would not seek “reelection”… an announcement that did not seem to mollify the crowds.
And yes, some of the best, most insightful, and perhaps most even-handed coverage of the Egypt’s “Jasmine Revolution” can be found on Al Jazeera English. Catch their live stream here.
I was sitting in the auditorium at Mercer Island High School last night at a presentation for parents of incoming ninth graders, when the school’s WiFi network popped up as a connection option on my iPhone. So I thought, what the hell, why not try it out and see if HA would load.
I already knew that the middle school’s network blocked HA, but I didn’t think much of it considering my occasional foul language, and the age of the students. But high school, well, there isn’t much four letter vocabulary I could teach kids that age. Yet sure enough, HA was blocked there too.
Ah well, no worry, I’ll be starting at The Stranger tomorrow so I guess my daughter and her friends could always read me there… but alas, The Stranger is blocked too. The Seattle Times loads fine, as does the P-I, two sites the average high schooler is unlikely to want to read, but The Stranger—a publication whose content might be remotely relevant to teenagers—no, that would be inappropriate. What are we trying to keep our kids safe from… quality writing?
And, of course, that’s the problem with censorship at any level. You could make an argument that some of the language in some of my posts is inappropriate for in-school reading, or that some parents may be offended by the blunt discourse of Savage Love, but in the process you’re tossing out a lot of insightful reporting and beautiful writing about art, music, philosophy and whatnot. Personally, I’m offended by the lies of omission that populate the Seattle Times op/ed pages, so why shouldn’t the high school ban their site too? Cater to every perceived offense, and I guess the district shouldn’t provide internet access at all.
Just seems kinda silly for an institution tasked with helping our teenagers grow into adults, to treat their students like little children.