Archive: April, 2009
One of the biggest problems in our society is what to do with the boundless energy (and appetites, political and otherwise) of our current governor and former mayor, Ed Rendell, when he's forced to leave office in 2011. Since the job that he really wants and is best suited for, commissioner of baseball, is roadblocked for life, options once looked slim.
However, maybe by accident, maybe by design, he seems to have found his voice, as the governor of a "Deer Hunter" state with a common sense approach to gun control that could, and should, carry over to Washington someday, With a big assist to Crooks and Liars, here's some of what Rendell said about guns on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" earlier this week (transcript via Nexis):
Devastating New York Times report tonight on the government officials who approved torture regime in the early 2000s and their ignorance that they were approving tactics that traced back to Communists in the Korean War, to the Spanish inquisition and one of the most brutal dictators of our time, Pol Pot:
According to several former top officials involved in the discussions seven years ago, they did not know that the military training program, called SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, had been created decades earlier to give American pilots and soldiers a sample of the torture methods used by Communists in the Korean War, methods that had wrung false confessions from Americans.
As you might have heard, this good-looking 22-year-old medical student from Boston University, Philip Markoff, was arrested today and charged as the so-called "Craigslist killer". He stands accused of murder, armed robbery and kidnapping of women selling erotic services through the popular Internet site. In the most brutal case prosecutors allege that "he sought to rob a masseuse, but bashed her in the head and shot her through the heart when she fought back."
Look, this Internet crime spree was clearly a dark and painful period in history. But the damage has already been done. Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past. Prosecuting Philip Markoff won't bring back Julissa Brisman -- and frankly it is a waste of our time and energy. We face important challenges ahead in policing predators on the Internet and preventing future violence against women. Now is the time for reflection, not retribution.
There are some things in life that don't necessarily make sense but we don't question because it's always been done that way. In a world where college education is so critical to success, we offer young people free education right until they get to college, and then charge extortionary tuition rates. In the same vein, we talk equal opportunity for students, but offer them wildly varying education based on what zip code they live in. We acknowledge that a healthy mass transit system is good for the environment and for economic development, so why charge commuters much more aggressively to ride a train or a bus than to use roads, which aren't exactly free but only passively funded by gas taxes?
The last point has me wondering whether we should listen to this op-ed in today's Daily News:
This is an amazing story -- the most amazing part is that it reflects so badly on every single player linked to this in any way, from Nancy Pelosi and Congressional Democrats to the New York Times to Alberto Gonzalez and the Bush administration. But of the many, many questions that I have, the biggest ones are these:
Why was the National Security Administration "inadvertently" listening to a phone call between a Democratic congresswoman from California and a naturalized U.S. citizen who lives in California? "Inadvertantly"? Really? How many other phone calls did the government "inadvertently" listen to? How do we know it wasn't you or me? How much more stuff is about to hit the fan now that Bush and Cheney are out of power?
Journalism handed out the Pulitzer Prizes today, the first of the post-newspaper era. Normally, I have some deep commentary about the awards and what it all means about the state of the media or the state of the nation. This year, not surprisingly, no breakout trends emerge, so here's a simple look by the numbers:
1: Number of Pulitzer Prize-winning photos at which I was present, (top), part of the winning portfolio in feature photography from Damon Winter of the New York Times. It was taken at at Barack Obama rally at Widener University in Chester on Oct. 28, 2008, duriing that 47-hour rain delay before the Phillies won the World Series.
Senator John F. Kerry will hold hearings in Washington next week on the financial problems facing the newspaper industry, as dwindling advertising dollars push many US papers to the brink of closure.
Who is he? He's Jay S. Bybee, a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th District, and he is not entitled to be sitting behind the bar of justices -- he ought to be behind bars. It was Bybee, along with area man John Yoo, who came up with the tortured explanations for the United States to torture terror suspects, a violation of American and international laws and a black stain on America's reputation.
In one of the more nauseating passages, Jay Bybee, then an assistant attorney general and now a federal judge, wrote admiringly about a contraption for waterboarding that would lurch a prisoner upright if he stopped breathing while water was poured over his face. He praised the Central Intelligence Agency for having doctors ready to perform an emergency tracheotomy if necessary.