Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘executive privilege

DOJ

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Lots of angst today about Obama’s DOJ retaining Bush administration policy on state secrets and extraordinary rendition. (Via MeFi; here’s a more Obama-friendly take on this than the ACLU’s. Here’s a rather less one.) I don’t like this, and it’s a clear early sign that even a government that runs on 100% Pure Love can’t be trusted with the sort of extreme executive power that was gleefully handed over to Bush/Cheney by the GOP and the media powers-that-be.

Patrick Leahy’s right: we need to set a precedent that abuse will not be tolerated.

We need to get to the bottom of what happened — and why — so we make sure it never happens again.

One path to that goal would be a reconciliation process and truth commission. We could develop and authorize a person or group of people universally recognized as fair minded, and without axes to grind. Their straightforward mission would be to find the truth. People would be invited to come forward and share their knowledge and experiences, not for purposes of constructing criminal indictments, but to assemble the facts. If needed, such a process could involve subpoena powers, and even the authority to obtain immunity from prosecutions in order to get to the whole truth.

I’ve been in favor of (at least) the truth and reconciliation model for some time. There has to be an accounting. What happened has to be aired and expiated. Obama doesn’t want to waste his political capital “looking backward” and I don’t blame him—that’s what Congress is for.

Friday, Friday

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Friday, Friday.

* Massachusetts has repealed the 95-year-old law that has been used to block out-of-state gay marriages, removing the last major barrier to nationwide legal challenges of marriage discrimination.

* There’s water on Mars (but don’t try to drink it). And there’s a liquid lake on Titan, too.

* Also in legal news: Bush’s claims of absolute executive privilege have been smacked down in the courts. Score another small victory for the rule of law, and start writing up that Karl Rove indictment.

* Garfield without Garfield book announced.

* The Los Angeles City Council has passed a year-long moratorium on new fast food restaurants in South L.A. (More at MeFi.) Food in this country, as we’ve talked about many times, is in crisis—but this is a symbolic gesture, not an actual policy.

* Also in food news: How Sysco came to monopolize most of what you eat. Also via MeFi.

* And now you can watch the growth of Wal-Mart across America. Locusts. Zombies. Plague.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 1, 2008 at 4:00 am

Leftovers: Cell Phones, Harold and Kumar, Scrabulous

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Friday leftovers.

* The director of a leading US cancer research institute has sent a memo to thousands of staff telling them to listen to Ze Frank and use a cell-phone headset (even if Salon is right and it won’t really make you a safer driver).

* Hometown heroes Hurwitz and Hayden are writing another Harold & Kumar—which is a good thing, because it was always conceived as a trilogy. (I’m told they actually have nine H&K movies planned out, including the three prequels.)

I regret to admit I missed the second in theaters, but I plan to make up for that error when the DVD is released in just four days.

* Now that its competing Facebook application is up and running, Hasbro has renewed its lawsuit against the makers of Scrabulous. More at Slashdot, which notes: “EA’s version has netted fewer than ten thousand players, versus Scrabulous’ estimated 2.3 million.” I still say they ought to just buy Scrabulous and be done with it.

* Math may be hard, but there’s no gender difference in math performance, according to a new study in Science. Via MeFi, where the poster adds: “Bite me, Larry Summers.”

* And the Edge of the American West continues to impress: here’s a look back at the decision in United States of America v. Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States, handed down 24 years ago today.

* The minimum wage: a disgrace and a scandal.

Here is how the political and economic system has been ripping off workers. Once upon a time, if you worked hard and were productive, that translated directly into your paycheck. Not anymore. From 2000 to roughly 2007, productivity went up 20 percent — while the median hourly wage was up 3 percent. My friend Joel Rogers,director of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, made a stunning calculation not too long ago: Had wages tracked productivity as they have over the past 30 years, “median family income in the U.S. would be about $20,000 higher today than it is.” Check this out: Taking into account productivity, the minimum wage should be $19.12 — which would make it almost 50 percent above today’s median wage (not to mention the pathetic $6.55).

That’s right. The minimum wage should be more three times what it is today. At that level, you would make almost $40,000 a year. Not an outstanding amount given all the other costs and the likelihood that you would not be in a job with health care and a pension (that’s another issue). But, beginning to be in the realm of respectable.