Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Justice Served

Michael Vick was released from the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas today. He left in the early morning, and headed back to his home in Virginia, where he will serve 2 months of home confinement. He will have three years of probation ahead of him, but he will have served his hard time and will be free to return to the society that rejected him & his behavior. It seems a cut and dry case for Mr. Vick. He broke the law, was found guilty and sentenced to federal prison. His time almost done, he will be able to rebuild his life, and hopefully move past his dog fighting days, perhaps returning to glory on the gridiron.

Some of his critics seem to think that playing in the NFL is a privilege, one that Mr. Vick is no longer entitled to, and the league should not let him return. I hope that this is not the case. Mr. Vick will have paid his debt to society and should be free to pursue his athletic career, if he so desires, and he can find a team to give him a job. I think now, more than ever, we need for justice to simply work, and for those who have served their time to be given a second chance, it’s the American way.

We have a problem with justice in America. The system seems to work, from the bottom up, almost all the way to the top. We can deal with Bernie Madoff and Michael Vick, but it seems stuck when it comes to dealing with our elected leaders & the law, or lack of it. All across America, the justice system hears cases, Monday through Friday, and the courts churn out verdicts. In this system, our system, Mr. Vick found himself, a jury of his peers and 19 months of hard time in Leavenworth, Kansas. He broke the law, was plucked from his life and placed in jail.

Are we, as a society, going to do anything about this torture disaster? We did in Mr. Vicks case with dogs, but do we have the courage to prosecute those who ordered the torture of human beings? It seems the dogs of America are safe, but the dogs of war still roam wild. We have been told we cannot look back, that we must look ahead. Isn’t crime solving, essentially, looking back? When I look back, I see W, Cheney, and broken laws. Woof.


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Shallow Ken

Torture alone is so far outside the scope of my ken.

How am I supposed to put commentary here at all, let alone regularly? All the hot issues, all the news and blogging out there. I thought I wanted to do it, too, but, well — it’s not just the Presidency, anymore, that’s best described as “trying to drink from an open fire hydrant.” What with the Internet and all.

Being an informed citizen by the standards of the day takes effort. Of course, it ways has. Even if it takes more attention now, just to stay buoyant, it definitely takes much less actual effort than ever. More caffeine and fewer calories.

Good half-serious whining is one way to figure the whole big, roiling, stupid, intimate thing out. Take the time and write down some feelings. Today I downloaded a new Twitter (!) interface “app” for this iPod-brand handheld computer thing.

Going without a laptop for one month now, and I think I’m more used to the limitations. This is how it’s done now.

Open up the fire hydrant.

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I love the city of Pittsburgh. I have friends and family there. I spent 3 great years, working in and around the city, playing music and making records. I lived on the east side of the city, in a relatively tough part of town and I never had any problems. When something good or bad happens to a place you love, you feel it. You feel it in your heart, your mind and your soul; you feel it tugging at the memories that you carry inside you. I was friends with police officers from the east side of the city. They knew me and I knew them. Their job was to protect and to serve, my job was to play music, and I mourn the loss of the officers killed in the line of duty, in the city that I love, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Richard Andrew Poplawski told his friends that he was afraid President Obama would take away his guns, take away his right to defend himself. At this time, it appears that Mr. Poplawski is not allowed to own any guns, due to his being dishonorably discharged from the service, in his case the United States Marine Corps. Mr. Poplawski was reportedly an avid supporter of the 1st and 2nd amendment, but apparently he had little regard for the Federal Law that prohibits ownership of firearms for those who are dishonorably discharged from military service. No guns for you Mr. Poplawski. President Obama was not going to take your guns Mr. Poplawski, because you are not allowed to own them. So, where did you get your AK-47? Where did you get your handguns? Did you buy them; was it before you where dishonorably discharged or did you get someone to buy them for you? Either way, you should not have had them, it is against the law. We live in a country of guns and that is not going to change, but we also live in a country of laws and that is not going to change either. So Mr. Poplawski, I hope you get a fair trial, by a jury of your peers, and I hope that you serve the rest of your life in jail, not for breaking the Federal Law that says citizens, who are dishonorably discharged from the military, cannot own firearms, but for breaking society’s law, for breaking God’s law, that says, you shall not commit murder.

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Kevin Drum may have the missing link between the Paul Krugman op-ed from the last post, and the “head-fakes” I had originally imagined being deployed by Obama & Company. I was just thinking of writing something like this, myself. Scooped!

Do supporters of bank nationalization really think it’s either legally or politically feasible at this point in time? I’m skeptical on both counts. Legally, I’m not sure Obama has the statutory authority to take over a big bank. He may well need congressional authorization of some kind first. And even if he doesn’t, does anyone really think it would be wise to go down this road without broad congressional support anyway? I don’t.

Like it or not, there’s only one way to get this support: show that (a) one or more of the big banks really is insolvent and (b) every other option for rescuing them has been exhausted. Geithner’s plan does both.

It was only a few months ago that tens upon tens of millions of dollars were poured into calling candidate Obama a socialistical, communistical, terroristical dude. Could he be ginning up the populism, positioning Geithner as a useful idiot, and preparing a big speech that calls for a new America? Exciting! Krugman says if today’s plan fails, there might not be the will in Congress to do what comes next (nationalization). But if that’s the last resort, would they really decide to do nothing, instead?

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I have no idea what I meant by “head-fakes,” at the end of that last post. Sort of got led into by the use of a snappy phrase just before. Deception obviously isn’t a good idea. For a more substantive, bleak view.

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Fell flat on my back a couple of times yesterday while tossing the disc with Jan. So I’m a little sore, and it’s depressing that it’s a consequence of doing one of my favorite things in the world. But how great is it living around the corner from my high-school buddy, and even closer to a softball field? Idyllic. There was even a team of youngsters throwing and talking with their coaches and parents in the springtime, in the sunshine.

So… Ana Marie Cox was a founder of Wonkette, which is one of the original snazzy political snark-fest websites. She’s a bit of a Blogfather, so I flew off the handle a little bit and subscribed to her Twitter feed, which I get on my desktop through TweetDeck, which I got on the recommendation of her website.

I kind of understand the appeal of this whole internet thing: the computer is your window and there’s maybe a softball field out there, some houses, some yards, some folks, maybe this guy lives next to your backyard, which actually belongs to the house behind the yard’s other back corner, they have five kids and you like to see the Dad teaching his little ones to ride tiny motorbikes, but you don’t talk to them much. Oh, wait, that’s me.

So… turning eyes back online. Now and then I see Ana Marie Cox’s tweets.

She seems to be at a briefing by Secretary of the Treasury Geithner. (One nice thing about Ana Marie Cox, in addition to all the posting about swilling alcohols. She’s a credentialed White House reporter. “We’re in!”) This morning, I turn on her tweets for the first time in a long while, internetly speaking, and she’s posted this.

Geithner, calling on reporters: “I’ve been going left, I want to go right.” Eric Cantor has an orgasm.

Geithner: “I am very confident this scheme DOMINATES all the other alternatives.” Mainly bc it is the one they’re using.

RT @dan_munz: “‘dominates’ language is a game theory thing: http://is.gd/oxlF. Oooo, look at Tim Geithner and his big fancy brain!”

The last one starts with something sent to her by a reader named Dan Munz. The odd web address is a little twit-sized link to the Wikipedia page on “Dominance (in Game Theory)”. I read a little bit about Game Theory recently. It’s interesting, but I have nothing interesting to say about it. Then she posts this.

Geithner getting slightly testy.Garrett: “How will you know this is working?” Geithner: “Not by participation.” Uhm.

He would seem to be talking about participation meaning whether or not investors flock to his plan, right? Weird, right? Because that’s the point of the plan. To bring in private participants. I do a websearch for “participation in game theory,” and something comes right up. Now that’s something he’d say: you can’t judge my success by whether it’s a success for everyone — it’s all part of a bigger undertaking, we’re figuring out this complex thing as we go. I think it’s time to read some more about Game Theory. Seems like the kind of thing that my President, who’s kind of like me in some ways, would be impressed by when formulating policy to make moves & not fake moves.

And throw in some head-fakes, boys. This ends a basically Pro-Obama post. Even pro-Geithner! Rare breed these days.

(Ooof, my back. Time to go outside.)

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