WTFV

ETFW

(click the fine link)

Rudy lies

Short film

(h/t Len Hart @ The Existentialist Cowboy)

In a nutshell.

Glenn Greenwald:

This is how it goes endlessly with people like [Washington Post editorial page editor Fred] Hiatt: (1) If X does not happen, there is no justification for staying; (2) X has not happened; (3) we must stay. That is why nothing they say has any meaning. Staying in Iraq is always the only real goal. Everything else is just pretext and blather to continue to do that.

We all are saying

Brief address

The US is a powerful country that does not need to prove itself by beating up smaller countries.

There was no casus belli in Iraq.

Occupation will not pacify Iraq, nor should we have any right to expect a reward for our illegal invasion.

As a brave American once said, “You know, this war is so fucking illegal.”

Barack Obama is a member of the reality-based community.

Mitt Romney is not.

Hat-tip Ellroon @ Rants from the Rookery.

Meet the College Republicans

Project for a new American century: a manifesto

Resign or be impeached, there is no other choice.

Medical marijuana round-up

Thehim summarizes:

Already Legal: California, Oregon, Alaska, Washington, Hawaii, Colorado, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia.

New Hampshire: A bill failed in the House.

Connecticut: A bill has passed the legislature and is on Governor Rell’s desk. It’s not known whether she’ll sign.

New York: A bill may be passed by the Assembly this week.

New Jersey: Hearings have been held in the legislature but no bills have been voted on.

Maryland: A 2003 bill allows for an affirmative legal defense for medical marijuana users, but it’s still technically illegal.

Michigan: The Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care is collecting signatures to force a vote in the legislature.

Illinois: A bill failed in the State Senate.

Wisconsin: A bill is expected to be introduced this summer.

Minnesota: A bill died in the State House.

Texas: Legislators failed to get a bill introduced.

Even in the states where it’s been legalized, though, the federal prohibition on any use of marijuana still exists and puts medical marijuana users across the country in a state of legal limbo. You can check here and here for updates.

Related post:

As above, so below

Fake presser

Hat-tip Ellroon.

Withdraw, now.

Iowa poll of likely caucus-goers (hat-tip Andrew Sullivan):

Do you favor a withdrawal of all United States military from Iraq within the next six months? (Republicans Only)
Yes 54%
No 37%
Undecided 9%

Do you favor a withdrawal of all United States military from Iraq within the next six months? (Democrats Only)
Yes 81%
No 5%
Undecided 14%

San Francisco

It didn’t harm Bob Dylan’s performance

NORML:

New York, NY: Experienced marijuana users perform tasks as accurately after having smoked cannabis as they do sober, according to clinical trial data published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology.

Related post:

Monica Goodling admits breaking the law

She didn’t mean to do it.

Remember, she has immunity. Whatever acts she undertook they were not of her own devising, she was working for people who wanted it done.

Hat-tip Paul Kiel.

I do recall

Comey explained yesterday:

COMEY: Mrs. Ashcroft reported that a call had come through, and that as a result of that call Mr. Card and Mr. Gonzales were on their way to the hospital to see Mr. Ashcroft.

SCHUMER: Do you have any idea who that call was from?

COMEY: I have some recollection that the call was from the president himself.

Hat-tip Space Cowboy.

Here is the testimony of (former) acting attorney general James Comey to the senate judiciary committee.

And Attorney General Ashcroft then stunned me. He lifted his head off the pillow and in very strong terms expressed his view of the matter, rich in both substance and fact, which stunned me — drawn from the hour-long meeting we’d had a week earlier — and in very strong terms expressed himself, and then laid his head back down on the pillow, seemed spent, and said to them, But that doesn’t matter, because I’m not the attorney general.

Related post:

Major General Paul Eaton: George Bush does not listen to commanders

Sibel Edmonds

Outsourced local “journalism” == offshore propaganda mill

Steve Benen.fnord

Courtiers

digby. (h/t.)

Major General John Batiste left the army in protest in order to speak out

Hat-tip Monkeyfister.

Republican congressman quotes founder of Ku Klux Klan on house floor

The Carpetbagger Report has the story, Think Progress has the video, via Meme.

It wasn’t an accident, he cited to Nathan Bedford Forrest as a Confederate general. Somebody should also remind him that the Confederate military lost that war.

That’s inappropriate

Change for the machines

The man who saved America.

James Comey to testify before congress next week.

Hat-tip Think Progress.

Related post:

This is quite strange and not suitable for all audiences.

Souma yergon, sou nou yergon

If we had known, if we had only known — how to speak to one another.

Hat-tip Egalia.

Right fucking now.

Short reminder

The American constitution proclaimed democracy with the words, “We, the people.” Despite it having been drafted by some small number of men, and consecrated many injustices in the name of compromise, these opening words gave acknowledgment to the authority of the people to exercise sovereignty.

Advice from Kurt Vonnegut

Wear sunscreen.

Click.

Update: I have been hoaxed, as Ombudsben points out in the comments below. The commencement address was never given, and it was not by Kurt Vonnegut. Here is one account of the story.

Still, it’s good.

George Bush wants to resign now.

How else to interpret the fact that he’s seeking a new Commander-in-Chief?

Story of Rabbit

Hat-tip Neil Gaiman.

Recommended viewing:

Montel, today

Montel Williams From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today. Hat-tip Cannabis News.

Medical use of marijuana should be legalized
By Montel Williams
04/03/2007

You probably know me as a talk show host and, perhaps, as someone who for several years has spoken out about my use of medical marijuana for the pain caused by multiple sclerosis. That surprised a few people, but recent research has proved that I was right: right about marijuana’s medical benefits and right about how urgent it is for states to change their laws so that sick people aren’t treated as criminals. The Illinois General Assembly is considering such a change right now.

If you see me on television [10 a.m. weekdays on Channel 4 in St. Louis], I look healthy. What you don’t see is the mind-numbing pain searing through my legs like hot pokers.

My doctors wrote me prescriptions for some of the strongest painkillers available. I took Percocet, Vicodin and Oxycontin on a regular basis, knowingly risking overdose just trying to make the pain bearable. But these powerful, expensive drugs brought me no relief. I couldn’t sleep, I was agitated, my legs kicked involuntarily in bed and the pain was so bad I found myself crying in the middle of the night.

All these heavy-duty narcotics made me nearly incoherent. I couldn’t take them when I had to work, because they turned me into a zombie. Worse, these drugs are highly addictive, and one thing I knew was that I didn’t want to become a junkie.

When someone suggested I try marijuana, I was skeptical. But I also was desperate. To my amazement, it worked after the legal drugs had failed. Three puffs and within minutes the excruciating pain in my legs subsided. I had my first restful sleep in months.

I am not alone. A new study from the University of California, published in February in the highly regarded medical journal Neurology, leaves no doubt about that.

You see, people with MS suffer from a particular type of pain called neuropathic pain: pain caused by damage to the nerves. It’s common in MS but also in many other illnesses, including diabetes and HIV/AIDS. It’s typically a burning or stabbing sensation, and conventional pain drugs don’t help much, whatever the specific illness.

The new study, conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams, looked at neuropathic pain in HIV/AIDS patients. About one-third of people with HIV eventually suffer this kind of pain, and there are no FDA-approved treatments. For some it gets so bad that they can’t walk.

This was what is known as a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the “gold standard” of medical research. And marijuana worked. The very first marijuana cigarette reduced the pain by an average of 72 percent, without serious side effects.

What makes this even more impressive is that U.S. researchers studying marijuana are required to use marijuana supplied by the federal government, marijuana that is famous for its poor quality and weakness. So there is every reason to believe that studies such as this one underestimate the potential relief that high-quality marijuana could provide.

In my case, medical marijuana has allowed me to live a productive, fruitful life despite having multiple sclerosis. Many thousands of others all over this country — less well-known than me but whose stories are just as real — have experienced the same thing.

Here’s what’s shocking: The U.S. government knows marijuana works as a medicine. Our government actually provides medical marijuana each month to five patients in a program that started about 25 years ago but was closed to new patients in 1992. One of the patients in that program, Florida stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld, was a guest on my show two years ago. If federal officials come to town to tell you there’s no evidence marijuana is a safe, effective medicine, know this: They’re lying, and they know it.

Still, 39 states subject patients with illnesses like MS, cancer or HIV/AIDS to arrest and jail for using medical marijuana, even if their doctor has recommended it. It’s long past time for that to change.

Illinois state Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, has introduced a bill — SB 650 — to protect patients like me from arrest and jail for using medical marijuana when it’s recommended by a physician. Similar laws are working well in 11 states right now.

The General Assembly should pass the medical marijuana bill without delay. Sick people shouldn’t be treated as criminals.

Television talk show host Montel Williams is the author, with Lawrence Grobel, of “Climbing Higher” and other books.

Special to the Post-Dispatch

Synchronization

I planned to make a post which would be called Synchronization, the music was to be the song, “Time After Time” by Cyndy Lauper. I intended to produce some synchronicity but did not know what it was to be.

I went to video.google.com and searched for “time after time”.

The first result follows:

I was first introduced to Eva Cassidy on April 1. She may be invisible, but she seems to be doing her thing.

Recommended listening:

More than a few loose ends

Rez Dog at Mockingbird’s Medley provides a good wrap-up of some very suspicious military deaths that require investigation. I’m copying the whole thing because I don’t want you to have to go farther than necessary to find out more information about each of these cases.

A petition worth your attention is one on behalf of PFC LaVena Johnson whose death in Iraq was ruled a suicide despite obvious signs of a beating. Read the whole story at Welcome to Pottersville. I found the story at Shakespeare’s Sister where Waveflux has been blogging the story for a while.

Here’s yet another suspicious set of circumstances that masks the reality that the chain of command would rather ignore. Here in Arizona, we have a similar military death, SPC Alyssa Petersen of Flagstaff, whose suicide came after she was displayed too much empathy with detainees and was unable to interrogate them as directed.

Arizona, of course, has the well-known case of fabricated events in the death of SPC Pat Tillman but everybody knows that. The less well-known are easily overlooked by the electronic circus that passes for news in this country. All the more reason for citizens to speak out and ask questions.

High society

Copyright be damned, and torturers go to hell real quick

Terry Jones Here is Terry Jones. Via Why Now?

Call that humiliation?

No hoods. No electric shocks. No beatings. These Iranians clearly are a very uncivilised bunch

Terry Jones
Saturday March 31, 2007
The Guardian

I share the outrage expressed in the British press over the treatment of our naval personnel accused by Iran of illegally entering their waters. It is a disgrace. We would never dream of treating captives like this – allowing them to smoke cigarettes, for example, even though it has been proven that smoking kills. And as for compelling poor servicewoman Faye Turney to wear a black headscarf, and then allowing the picture to be posted around the world – have the Iranians no concept of civilised behaviour? For God’s sake, what’s wrong with putting a bag over her head? That’s what we do with the Muslims we capture: we put bags over their heads, so it’s hard to breathe. Then it’s perfectly acceptable to take photographs of them and circulate them to the press because the captives can’t be recognised and humiliated in the way these unfortunate British service people are.

It is also unacceptable that these British captives should be made to talk on television and say things that they may regret later. If the Iranians put duct tape over their mouths, like we do to our captives, they wouldn’t be able to talk at all. Of course they’d probably find it even harder to breathe – especially with a bag over their head – but at least they wouldn’t be humiliated.And what’s all this about allowing the captives to write letters home saying they are all right? It’s time the Iranians fell into line with the rest of the civilised world: they should allow their captives the privacy of solitary confinement. That’s one of the many privileges the US grants to its captives in Guantánamo Bay.

The true mark of a civilised country is that it doesn’t rush into charging people whom it has arbitrarily arrested in places it’s just invaded. The inmates of Guantánamo, for example, have been enjoying all the privacy they want for almost five years, and the first inmate has only just been charged. What a contrast to the disgraceful Iranian rush to parade their captives before the cameras!

What’s more, it is clear that the Iranians are not giving their British prisoners any decent physical exercise. The US military make sure that their Iraqi captives enjoy PT. This takes the form of exciting “stress positions”, which the captives are expected to hold for hours on end so as to improve their stomach and calf muscles. A common exercise is where they are made to stand on the balls of their feet and then squat so that their thighs are parallel to the ground. This creates intense pain and, finally, muscle failure. It’s all good healthy fun and has the bonus that the captives will confess to anything to get out of it.

And this brings me to my final point. It is clear from her TV appearance that servicewoman Turney has been put under pressure. The newspapers have persuaded behavioural psychologists to examine the footage and they all conclude that she is “unhappy and stressed”.

What is so appalling is the underhand way in which the Iranians have got her “unhappy and stressed”. She shows no signs of electrocution or burn marks and there are no signs of beating on her face. This is unacceptable. If captives are to be put under duress, such as by forcing them into compromising sexual positions, or having electric shocks to their genitals, they should be photographed, as they were in Abu Ghraib. The photographs should then be circulated around the civilised world so that everyone can see exactly what has been going on.

As Stephen Glover pointed out in the Daily Mail, perhaps it would not be right to bomb Iran in retaliation for the humiliation of our servicemen, but clearly the Iranian people must be made to suffer – whether by beefing up sanctions, as the Mail suggests, or simply by getting President Bush to hurry up and invade, as he intends to anyway, and bring democracy and western values to the country, as he has in Iraq.

· Terry Jones is a film director, actor and Python
www.terry-jones.net

Please help

I need some advice on how to continue to blog as I have been and still make a little bit more than nothing with two clients across the country one of whom may soon cease to be able to afford me due to the financial condition of his main client. I am in no risk of starving, between my wife’s graduate stipend and a bit we got for our condo when we moved we are okay, but we’re thinking we might want to have kids sometime and it can’t happen if we’re already running a small deficit every month.

This is my message to you.

Recommended listening:

Are you experienced?

Have you ever been experienced?

Hat-tip Cookie Jill.

Related posts:

Do you prefer plagues of locusts?

What do you call a guilty plea made under conditions of likely torture and with denial of prepared counsel?

David Hicks (pictured here) pled guilty to a charge today. It was the only way he was going to be allowed to make any kind of deal to go home. Ever.

I have no idea if the charges are based on anything but speculation. I’ll never believe justice was done under these conditions.

The plea to a late night specially convened military commission came after an apparent deal was reached between his defence attorney and the prosecution.

They couldn’t even stand the light of day in Guantanamo Bay.

It doesn’t matter if the banner said ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’

Or ‘Impeach George W. Bush’, it is a matter of free speech. It wasn’t even on the school campus.

Wikipedia:

Morse v. Frederick is a First Amendment student free speech case argued before the Supreme Court of the United States on March 19, 2007. The case involves Joseph Frederick, a then 18-year-old high school senior in Juneau, Alaska, now 24, who was suspended for 10 days after displaying a “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner across the street from his high school during the Winter Olympics Torch Relay in 2002.

Wikipedia’s background:

In January 2002, students were released from Juneau-Douglas High School to watch the Olympic torch pass by. Frederick, who had not attended school that day, joined some friends on the sidewalk across from the high school (off school grounds). Frederick and his friends waited for the television cameras so they could unfurl a banner reading “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.” When they displayed the banner, then-principal Deborah Morse ran across the street and seized it.

Morse initially suspended Joseph Frederick for five days for violating the school district’s anti-drug policy, but increased the suspension to 10 days after he refused to give the names of his fellow participants and quoted Thomas Jefferson on free speech.[2] Frederick administratively appealed his suspension to the Superintendent, who denied his appeal but limited it to the time Frederick had already spent out of school prior to his appeal to the Superintendent (eight days). Frederick then appealed to the Juneau School Board, which upheld the suspension on March 19, 2002. On April 25, 2002, Frederick filed a §1983 lawsuit against Morse and the school board in the United States District Court for the District of Alaska claiming they violated his federal and state constitutional rights to free speech.

Kenneth Starr, continuing to put his considerable might behind things that are of vital importance to the nation brings this case before the Supreme Court. He will make it about drugs and dirty hippies, it is really about free speech:

JUNEAU, Alaska – Former Whitewater special counsel Kenneth Starr petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take up Alaska’s “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case, a dispute involving a high school student, a banner and a tough school policy.

Starr, who gained national prominence while investigating former President Clinton’s Whitewater land deal and relationship with Monica Lewinsky, filed the petition Monday on behalf of the Juneau School District in response to a March ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Frederick, then a senior, was off school property when he hoisted the banner but was suspended for violating the school’s policy of promoting illegal substances at a school-sanctioned event.

“The principal’s actions were so outrageous, basically leaving school grounds and punishing a student for a message that is not damaging to the school,” said his attorney, Doug Mertz.

Superintendent Peggy Cowan said clarification is needed on the rights of administrators when it comes to disciplinary action of students who break the district’s drug message policy.

“The district’s decision to move forward is not disrespectful to the First Amendment or the rights of students,” she said. “This is an important question about how the First Amendment applies to pro-drug messages in an educational setting.”

If the principal had had a sense of humor and just laughed it off, this would never have become a case. Either way this case goes, students everywhere will continue to challenge the limits of free speech.

Good.

Update: The Washington Post:

When a joke is taken seriously, that’s irony, but when it’s taken so seriously that the Supreme Court is called upon to determine how future jokes can be made, that’s meta-irony. And yet, there it was, a Borat-like moment in the most hallowed of judicial halls: the Morse V. Frederick case. At question in the narrow interpretation: Was it wrong for an Alaska high school principal to tear down her student’s banner during an off-campus field trip because it read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus?” And, despite the absurdity of hearing justices parse the minutia of that “sophomoric” prank, what was at stake in the wider scope could not have been more serious: the regulation of free speech within America’s public schools.

[snip]

…a more narrow focus on the specifics of this case is necessary to further define what constitutes disruption and free speech. And this is where the oral arguments become really ironic. It appears that because Frederick’s banner was a joke, and not a political statement (protected under Tinker V. Des Moines), he might be on shakier ground. The justices seemed to hint that if in the school’s mind he was encouraging drug use rather than advocating its legalization, tearing down the banner may have been justified. That is to say, had it read “Vote Yes For Bong Hits” or “Give Pot A Chance” or “Make Marijuana Mandatory,” he may have been better protected. However, as one reader noted — and this case seems to exemplify — humor and satire that point out absurdity are often vehicles for political statements. Take away students’ capacity to mock authority, and you undermine political expression. Protect it, and every class clown will test and push the limits further. Therefore, it would seem no matter which way the Court leans, the joke’s on them, and us.

[ Cross-posted by whig. Authored by Ellroon, of Rants From The Rookery. ]

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