Prosecute the torture.

November 26, 2015


While it looks like our friends at the Tribune-Review are continuing their Thanksgiving Tradition of misquoting Harry S Truman, so we'll continue our tradition of spreading the word about the Alice's Restaurant Massa-CREE.

From 2013:
When I was a boy in New England (where you can find the best pizza on the planet) every year on Thanksgiving day it was a tradition for at least one New York radio station to play one particular 18 minute piece of music - some time around noon.

This piece of music.
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant.
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant.
Walk right in it's around the back.
Just a half a mile from the railroad track.
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant.
Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2015

Message To Donald Trump (And His GOP Disciples)

Waterboarding is illegal.

It's a war crime.

And yet, that pesky notion doesn't seem to get in the way of Donald Trump's precautionary foreign policy.  From Talkingpointsmemo:
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he'd bring back waterboarding on Sunday and called the practice "peanuts" compared to "what they’d do to us."

Trump appeared on ABC's "This Week" program where he said the country has to be "strong" against enemies.

"We have -- I would bring it back, yes. I would bring it back," Trump said. "I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they’d do to us, what they’re doing to us, what they did to James Foley when they chopped off his head. That’s a whole different level and I would absolutely bring back interrogation and strong interrogation."
Well, the country has to follow its own laws.  And torture is illegal.  Has been since at least the mid-90s when the Senate ratified the treaty against torture that Ronald Reagan signed in '88.

And yet, according to the most recent ABC/Washington Post Poll, Trump is on top of the GOP field by at least 10 points.

How many times have we heard the Tea Party wing of the GOP scream about Obamaic Tyranny?  About his illegal powergrabs?

And yet, one of their own is vowing to "bring back" torture.  Which is illegal.  Which is a war crime.  Which is the ultimate powergrab.

What does this say about our friends in the GOP?

November 21, 2015

Life Comes At You Slow, David

If you get a chance, read Brian O'Neill's column on getting old.

It starts like this:
You know you’re getting old when . . .
So you know I'm not mis-representing.

Anyway, he starts by admitting he defrauded a movie theatre for twenty-five cents while also admitting he went alone to see an Anne Hathaway movie (The Intern, co-starring someone named Robert DeNiro).

I kid.  I kid because I care, Brian.

Then he gets to Ed Asner:
That was a month ago, if memory serves, and can it really at your age? More recently, you pick up your Sunday paper (because you still prefer the feel of the printed page, coot that you are). You see among the listed birthdays, “Actor Ed Asner, 86.’’ Your brain synapses fire up and return you to the day you met him, nearly 27 years ago.

You’ve been in Pittsburgh barely a month when Mr. Asner arrives for a pre-Broadway production of “Born Yesterday.’’
That would be late November, 1988.  Back to Brian:
You ask him to channel Mr. Grant and tell you to how to cover this story on Mr. Asner. “The story isn’t Asner,’’ he growls over his vodka, neat.“It’s the people at the Rainbow Kitchen.’’

You follow his advice and write your column more or less that way. You think, man, what a great old guy. Twenty-seven years later, you do the math in your head and realize you’re older than he was then.
Did someone say math?  And for our British readers, that last question should have read "Did someone say maths?" (And I just don't have the berlins necessary to write the whole bloody thing in British).

If my arithmetic is correct, Ed Asner was a few weeks past his 59th birthday at that point.  But seeing as this is a blog and as a blogger, I am always writing about me, let's see how Asner Time works in my life.

As of this date, I am 19,040 days old.  So adding 19,040 days to Ed Asner's birthday we get (again if my maths are correct) January 1, 1982.

Lou Grant (everyone remembers Lou Grant, right?  It was a dramatic spin-off of the Mary Tyler More Show?) was in its last season when Ed Asner was the age I am now.

Its last season.

This was the first episode of Lou Grant broadcast:

That was September 20, 1977, when Ed Asner was was 17,476 days old


1,564 days younger than I am today.  4 years 104 days younger, to put it in other terms.

By this point in their lives:
  • Beethoven was working his last symphony
  • Brahms was working his last symphony
  • Mozart was already dead 16 years, 3 months and 10 days.
Life comes at you slow, for sure.

November 20, 2015

Chuck McCullough Update (Hint: Things Just Got Worse)

From my last blog post, we learned that former Allegheny County Councilman Charles P. "Chuck" McCullough was attempting to have Judge Lester G. Nauhaus removed from the sentencing part of the trial.  Chuck alleged that:
...that Judge Nauhaus had improper communications with Mr. McCullough’s previous defense lawyer, Jon Pushinsky, in which the judge relayed through a mutual friend that Mr. Pushinsky should “go nonjury” for the trial.

Mr. McCullough claimed in his petition that he wanted a jury trial but feared repercussions by Judge Nauhaus.
That part didn't go so well for our Chuck:
President Judge Jeffrey A. Manning denied McCullough's petition to recuse Judge Lester G. Nauhaus from his sentencing when one witness after another cited rules of evidence, attorney-client privilege or protected sources to avoid testifying at an evidentiary hearing.

“There's absolutely nothing on the record at all to indicate Judge Nauhaus was in any way not impartial ... aside from what was in your petition,” Manning said. “Without evidence, those claims are now scurrilous.”
But that's not really the bad part.

This is:
The day after former Allegheny County Councilman Chuck McCullough lost his bid to have the judge on his case removed, he is to face new criminal charges of perjury and obstruction.

Mr. McCullough is to turn himself in today at Pittsburgh Municipal Court. He received notice of the new charges Thursday; they apparently stem from his waiver earlier this year of his right to a jury trial both in writing and during an oral colloquy before Common Pleas Senior Judge Lester G. Nauhaus.

In those statements, Mr. McCullough said he waived his right to a jury trial voluntarily and free from any threat, but that waiver contradicts his recent claim that he made the nonjury decision under duress.
I would have thought someone with a JD would have known that was coming.

But I'm not a lawyer so what the heck do I know??

November 19, 2015

ANOTHER Embarrassment For The Tribune-Review Editorial Board

Take a look:
The U.S. Senate voted 53-46 to reject a United Nations resolution that “called for member states to support weapons collection and disarmament of all U.N. countries.” The vote precludes the United States from becoming a part of Turtle Bay's Arms Trade Treaty. Indeed it is comforting to know that a majority of the Senate considers sacred our national sovereignty and the Second Amendment; it is just as frightening to think that 46 senators — 44 Democrats and two independents — do not. [Bolding in original]
Ah, the UN Arms Trade Treaty.

The one John Kerry signed in late September, 2013.

The one that says in its Preamble:
Reaffirming the sovereign right of any State to regulate and control conventional arms exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system [Italics in original.]
The one where the Senate voted against it with a vote of 53-46 on March 23, 2013.

That was 971 days ago.

How much more embarrassing can this get for you, my friends?

November 17, 2015

I Guess They Don't Know How To Read, Either.

I mean this is confusing.  They must know who to write, seeing as they string together words that follow certain grammatical rules and in doing so convey a particular idea.

I just don't think the folks over at The Federalist actually know how to read.  Take a look at this from The Federalist:
During a press conference detailing his administration’s strategy to destroy ISIS following several devastating terrorist attacks in Paris, President Barack Obama said he’s not interested in “pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning[.]”
Of course the right wing crazies (perhaps even some of your friends and family) went nuts over this.

But what the the president mean?

Let's take a look at what he actually said:
I guess my point is this, Jim: My only interest is to end suffering and to keep the American people safe. And if there’s a good idea out there, then we’re going to do it. I don’t think I’ve shown hesitation to act -- whether it’s with respect to bin Laden or with respect to sending additional troops in Afghanistan, or keeping them there -- if it is determined that it’s actually going to work.

But what we do not do, what I do not do is to take actions either because it is going to work politically or it is going to somehow, in the abstract, make America look tough, or make me look tough. And maybe part of the reason is because every few months I go to Walter Reed, and I see a 25-year-old kid who’s paralyzed or has lost his limbs, and some of those are people I’ve ordered into battle. And so I can’t afford to play some of the political games that others may.

We'll do what’s required to keep the American people safe. And I think it's entirely appropriate in a democracy to have a serious debate about these issues. If folks want to pop off and have opinions about what they think they would do, present a specific plan. If they think that somehow their advisors are better than the Chairman of my Joint Chiefs of Staff and the folks who are actually on the ground, I want to meet them. And we can have that debate. But what I'm not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning, or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people, and to protect people in the region who are getting killed, and to protect our allies and people like France. I'm too busy for that.
Pay extra special attention to that middle paragraph.  He is talking about real leadership, just not the political sloganeering of it that's designed to make the speaker look tough.

Why?  Because there's always some 25 year old kid with his legs blown off for some "I got a bigger dick than you, you evil doer." slogan.

That's what he's talking about.

And it's amazing to me the otherwise intelligent folks who simply can't read deeply enough to see it.