This is priceless video. Now if I could only reach out and grab the cell phone from the hands of stupid drivers, and beat them with it.
I take no pleasure in the fact that this nation, under the Presidency of George Bush, used methods and practices of torture that ran counter to international law, and the ethics and underpinnings of our nation. There are not enough words to be found in the dictionary to excoriate his administration for these past crimes. But there is a process that this nation, and the indeed the world, needs to go through in order to get past what the United States did. It is important that we hold ourselves fully accountable for the past, and let the world understand that we ‘get it’, and fully appreciate the gravity of these practices, and the impact it has on international relations.
Part of that accountability process was to have been the releases of more photographic evidence of the torture committed by Americans. The Obama White House had stated that the evidence would be released. However today there was a reverse direction given, and as CNN reports those pictures will not be released.
President Obama said Wednesday that he told government lawyers to object to a court-ordered release of additional images showing alleged abuse of detainees because the release could affect the safety of U.S. troops and “inflame anti-American opinion.”
The Defense Department was set to release hundreds of photographs showing alleged abuse of prisoners in detention facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“I want to emphasize that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the images we remember from Abu Ghraib,” the president said on the South Lawn of the White House. “But they do represent conduct that didn’t conform with the Army manual.”
Obama said the publication of the photos would not add any additional benefit to investigations being carried out into detainee abuse — and could put future inquires at risk.
I find this argument weak, and unacceptable. I think there will need to be further pushing to get the pictures released. There is no justification for hiding the facts. None! To cave in to those on the right who bluster about the potential harm that these photos would ignite is rich, considering it was the very policies of the conservatives that have placed our nation at this moment in time. Showing the world what happens when neo-conservatives rule is not harmful, but educational. If we do not see and know the truth we are bound to repeat it.
Amrit Singh, an attorney with the ACLU, said the president’s decision “makes a mockery” of his promise of transparency and accountability.
“Essentially, by withholding these photographs from public view, the Obama administration is making itself complicit in the Bush administration’s torture policies,” Singh said. “The release of these photos is absolutely essential for ensuring that justice was done … for ensuring that the public could hold its government accountable, and for ensuring that torture is not conducted in the future in the name of the American people.”
Singh said his organization is prepared to “do whatever it takes” in order to have the photos released.
This had lots of folks talking this past week. I admit this may not be the worst idea that has floated around lately as a way to boost the fortunes of The New York Times. The following is a good read.
It’s the hottest topic on two coasts. Why in the world would David Geffen, perhaps the shrewdest investor Hollywood has seen in years, want to plunk down $200 million or so for the 19.9% stake in the New York Times Co. held by hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners? Like most newspapers, The New York Times, which owns its fabled Gray Lady flagship, the Boston Globe and other assorted assets, is losing tons of money. Worse yet, with ad sales that make up 59% of its overall revenues tanking and not likely to fully recover, the Times is fast becoming a non-profit institution.
This is exactly what David Geffen understands. For $200 million, the Hollywood financier, who generously contributes hefty amounts to the arts and hospitals in the LA area, would be making a financial contribution to a national institution that likely will never be a large money maker.
Geffen, who in the last year has stepped down from his job as chairman of Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks studio and from the board of Dreamworks Animation, doesn’t so much see this as a business venture, but rather as a civic investment. Hard to believe, but after years of watching Geffen operate behind the scenes, it is clear that at 66, he has little left prove in the business world. He is worth . . . well, who knows. But likely north of $6 billion since he presciently took all his money out of the stock market a year before the crash.
I suspect that Geffen would love to make another billion somewhere, but he clearly knows that The New York Times isn’t that place. Last year, the company lost $57 million. This year it has already lost nearly $75 million.
But a Times investment would be deeply personal for the billionaire. Geffen came from New York, having been born to immigrant parents who lived in Brooklyn, and he has become for the last three decades a fixture in the power structure of the city. He grew up reading The New York Times, and knows its power as a national oracle. (He, after all, helped hobble Hillary Clinton’s fundraising efforts with a well-aimed barb to Times columnist and friend Maureen Dowd in which he said the Clintons lie with “with such ease, it’s troubling.”)
With its annual haul of Pulitzer Prizes, The New York Times is a journalistic giant and a national treasure. And, as I am sure that Geffen knows well, it is also an impassioned voice for the liberal causes that Geffen likely holds dear. Would he like to make sure it continues as the Oracle of the Big Apple? Does a Hollywood mogul live behind a large gate (and Geffen’s walls are the largest in town)? You betcha.
Harbinger would not comment, but a source close to the matter says that the firm “hasn’t made a decision concerning The New York Times.” This source also confirms that Geffen approached Harbinger and that Harbinger declined the offer. Geffen’s overture was first reported on Fortune’s Web site.
So does Geffen make another bid for the Times, or was his offer to Harbinger just a passing fancy? That’s harder to say. He tried in 2006 to buy The Los Angeles Times, and I suspect that, too, would have likely gone from its alleged status as a profit-seeking venture to non-profit status had he won it. He backed out because the asking price was too high and he didn’t see eye to eye with partner Eli Broad, who also saw The LA Times as a civic institution necessary to be saved.
So, this is not a new idea to him. And while Geffen famously refuses to over-pay, my bet is that he and the Harbinger folks are likely still talking, or that they will before too long. Geffen these days is spending a lot of time on the 453-foot-long (yes, you heard that right) super-yacht he shares with Oracle founder Larry Ellison, and recently returned from Thailand.
Eventually he would likely run out of places to visit. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t voyages he still wants to take.
If Carrie Prejean wants to talk about satan and homosexuality then she better be prepared to talk about a whole host of things, including her soft-porn past.
Hat tip to ‘my source’.
The long and messy divorce proceedings between the parents of Miss California Carrie Prejean, which included many gay slurs, reveals some interesting undercurrents that may help explain the insensitivity and outright lack of foundation that Carrie exhibited about gay marriage in a recent beauty pageant.
The papers, dug up by TMZ.com, show that Prejean’s parents flung a series of homosexual allegations against one another.
In one of the documents, Prejean’s father describes a confrontation he had with her mother in 1996, in which “Ms. Prejean accused me, in front of our daughter, of homosexuality.”
Another excerpt quotes a court-appointed doctor who said “The mother questioned [within hearing of the girls] whether [her father] was a homosexual or had a homosexual roommate.”
Court papers dated May 16, 2000, include the following statement from a court-appointed counselor: “The mother also alleges the father told the girls their stepfather was gay, that all men with mustaches are gay.”
Prejean’s father “acknowledges talking with the girls about the stepfather’s brother being gay, not the stepfather,” said the papers.
Prejean has said she believes her gay marriage views cost her the crown. She has since signed on to star in a controversial National Organization for Marriage campaign supporting “opposite marriage.”
“Marriage is good,” Prejean said at a news conference announcing the ad campaign. “There is something special about unions of husband and wife. Unless we bring men and women together, children will not have mothers and fathers.”