A 14-day-old infant traveling here for heart surgery died at Honolulu International Airport on Friday after he, his mother and a nurse were detained by immigration officials in a locked room, a lawyer for the boy’s family said.
The Honolulu medical examiner’s office yesterday identified the infant as Michael Futi of Tafuna, American Samoa’s largest village, which is located on the east coast of Tutuila Island. Autopsy findings have been deferred.
According to police, the child died at 5:50 a.m. It is unknown why immigration officials detained the mother, the nurse and the child.
You’re not Northern, Southern, or Western, you’re just plain -American-. Your national identity is more important than your local identity, because you don’t really have a local identity. You might be from the region in that map, which is defined by this kind of accent, but you could easily not be. Or maybe you just moved around a lot growing up.
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I hope he proves me wrong for opposing his confirmation.
Bonus points if you can identify the music.
Russ Feingold (h/t Josh Marshall @ TPM):
I will vote against the nomination of Judge Mukasey to be the next Attorney General. This was a difficult decision, as Judge Mukasey has many impressive qualities. He is intelligent and experienced and appears to understand the need to depoliticize the Department of Justice and restore its credibility and reputation.
At this point in our history, however, the country also needs an Attorney General who will tell the President that he cannot ignore the laws passed by Congress. Unfortunately, Judge Mukasey was unwilling to reject the extreme and dangerous theories of executive power that this administration has put forward.
The nation’s top law enforcement officer must be able to stand up to a chief executive who thinks he is above the law. The rule of law is too important to our country’s history and to its future to compromise on that bedrock principle.
November 2, 2007
The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy, Chairman United States Senate Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Leahy,
In the course of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s consideration of President Bush’s nominee for the post of Attorney General, there has been much discussion, but little clarity, about the legality of “waterboarding” under United States and international law. We write because this issue above all demands clarity: Waterboarding is inhumane, it is torture, and it is illegal.
In 2006 the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the authority to prosecute terrorists under the war crimes provisions of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. In connection with those hearings the sitting Judge Advocates General of the military services were asked to submit written responses to a series of questions regarding “the use of a wet towel and dripping water to induce the misperception of drowning (i.e., waterboarding) . . .” Major General Scott Black, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General, Major General Jack Rives, U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General, Rear Admiral Bruce MacDonald, U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General, and Brigadier Gen. Kevin Sandkuhler, Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, unanimously and unambiguously agreed that such conduct is inhumane and illegal and would constitute a violation of international law, to include Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
We agree with our active duty colleagues. This is a critically important issue – but it is not, and never has been, a complex issue, and even to suggest otherwise does a terrible disservice to this nation. All U.S. Government agencies and personnel, and not just America’s military forces, must abide by both the spirit and letter of the controlling provisions of international law. Cruelty and torture – no less than wanton killing – is neither justified nor legal in any circumstance. It is essential to be clear, specific and unambiguous about this fact – as in fact we have been throughout America’s history, at least until the last few years. Abu Ghraib and other notorious examples of detainee abuse have been the product, at least in part, of a self-serving and destructive disregard for the well- established legal principles applicable to this issue. This must end.
The Rule of Law is fundamental to our existence as a civilized nation. The Rule of Law is not a goal which we merely aspire to achieve; it is the floor below which we must not sink. For the Rule of Law to function effectively, however, it must provide actual rules that can be followed. In this instance, the relevant rule – the law – has long been clear: Waterboarding detainees amounts to illegal torture in all circumstances. To suggest otherwise – or even to give credence to such a suggestion – represents both an affront to the law and to the core values of our nation.
We respectfully urge you to consider these principles in connection with the nomination of Judge Mukasey.
Rear Admiral Donald J. Guter, United States Navy (Ret.) Judge Advocate General of the Navy, 2000-02
Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, United States Navy (Ret.) Judge Advocate General of the Navy, 1997-2000
Major General John L. Fugh, United States Army (Ret.) Judge Advocate General of the Army, 1991-93
Brigadier General David M. Brahms, United States Marine Corps (Ret.) Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant, 1985-88
Cannabis prohibition sends the wrong message to children; it teaches them that it is better to drink alcohol or smoke tobacco, when we know that cannabis is safer. We should encourage children to wait until they are adults to make adult decisions with adult consequences, but we should educate them with honesty. Teaching them falsehoods about cannabis sends the wrong message to children; it teaches them not to trust us when we tell them the very serious dangers of drugs like heroin or cocaine. Criminal punishments for adult possession and use of cannabis teach our children that their government is unjust.
An interview, about 35 minutes long.
Hat-tip Jerome Doolittle @ Bad Attitudes.
Naomi Wolf explains how, but you’ll have to be patient enough to listen to an explanation of what’s going on, first.
We should not have an attorney general confirmed into office who believes that the President is above the law.
Look carefully at what you have become. You are endangering the life of a 12 year old boy.
You say you are good Christians? What Christian would support and encourage torture? What Christian celebrates war? Mocks injured children, soldiers and worse yet, belittles the wounded? What Christian declares intolerance to other beliefs a Christian ideal? What Bible are you reading from? This is not the Christianity I recognize.
And what kind of patriot are you?
You say you are patriots? What patriot hates his fellow citizens and demands the country change to fit his specific ideals? What patriot declares that this nation built on the dreams of immigrants should deny all other immigrants the chance to come here? What patriot states that diversity is a weakness not a strength?
Much more, read on…
President Jimmy Carter speaks to Wolf Blitzer on CNN:
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States will test this month its preparedness for a large scale terrorist attack with a dirty bomb, a Homeland Security Department official said Wednesday.
“TOPOFF 4” (Top Official 4), as the exercise is called, will be held between October 15-20, Deputy Administrator for National Preparedness Dennis Schrader told the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security.
The test will involve setting off fake “dirty bombs” — combining conventional explosives with radioactive material — in three locations: Oregon in the northwest, Arizona in the southwest and the US Pacific island territory of Guam.
Ellroon @ Rants from the Rookery reminds us that America hasn’t quite outgrown slavery yet.
Iran’s parliament on Saturday approved a nonbinding resolution labeling the CIA and the U.S. Army “terrorist organizations,” in apparent response to a Senate resolution seeking to give a similar designation to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Next up, House and Senate nonbinding resolutions condemning Iran for calling the CIA and US Army “terrorist organizations.”
Interesting fact: Cannabis is less dangerous than alcohol.
Jeffrey Feldman @ Frameshop presents the
Senate-House Unruly Times & Upholding Principles in America Act
(S.H.U.T. U.P. America Act)
The United States Congress hereby declares that any American citizen–either individually or as a member of a volunteer citizen association–who feels the need to express a viewpoint about politics in print, in public or otherwise with words and out loud, shall not do so if it risks in any way shape or measure disturbing the delicate sensibilities of the elected members of the state and federal governments.
To wit, should any American be so moved to issue forth in disturbing or indelicate tones, such that may bring about a general or specific assault on the principles of peace and quietude of members of the American government, than such citizen should make every effort to keep such statements to himself/herself, or at the very least to write them down on a piece of scratch paper and then throw it away without making too much noise.
Any mouthy citizen or mouthy citizen group that does uphold this Congressional principle so jointly endorsed will hereby, from this point forward, be condemned by separate non-binding resolutions in each chamber of Congress at regular intervals.
(h/t Charles @ Mercury Rising)
Douglas Farah begins the neocon invention of Al Qaeda in Iran.
Congress gives cover by approving Lieberman-Kyl, effectively declaring the Iranian military a terrorist organization.
Now we’re going to be fighting Al Qaeda all across the Middle East, because we decided to name them all Al Qaeda and who can tell those dark skinned people apart anyway?
Update: Mychal Bell has been freed.
They are practically singing God Damn America.
(h/t PortlyDyke @ Shakesville)
BadTux the Snarky Penguin @ Mockingbird’s Medley compares Adolf Hitler to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
Okay, so unlike Hitler, Ahmadinejad hasn’t invaded anybody. Indeed, he *can’t* invade anybody — the Supreme Ruler (Ayatollah Khamanei) is head of the Iranian armed forces and has sole power to declare war, the President of Iran only has power over limited internal affairs. So unlike Hitler he doesn’t have any armies under his control. Ahmadinejad hasn’t exterminated any Jews either, indeed there are Jewish members of the Iranian parliament. And because he has no power to declare war under Iran’s constitution, obviously he hasn’t declared war against anybody. But… but…Ahmadinejad has SAID MEAN THINGS ABOUT ISRAEL! And saying bad things about Israel MAKES BABY JESUS CRY! WAHHH!!!! So *obviously* he’s Hitler. Despite having no armies. Despite invading nobody. Despite exterminating nobody. Saying bad things about Israel is WORSE than all that, because saying bad things about Israel, like, HURTS THEIR FEELINGS! SOB!
As an ethnically Jewish American, I want Israel to seek peace. I want America to seek peace. I want all nations to seek peace, and to speak together peacefully.
What Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thinks about Israeli politics is his opinion. His opinion of America as a bully would not be disabused by invading his country.
There is no casus belli in Iran. It would be a war crime to invade. Now is the time that members of our armed forces must recognize that an invasion of Iran cannot be considered a defensive act, and refuse illegal orders.
Update: Charles @ Mercury Rising has more thoughts worth reading.
Jon Swift (a “reasonable conservative”):
Ahmadinejad’s plans to visit Ground Zero and lay a wreath there evoked outrage from many. “Assisting Ahmadinejad in touring Ground Zero — hallowed ground for all Americans — is outrageous,” said former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani. If anyone should know how sacred Ground Zero is to Americans, it would be Giuliani, who was there just as much as, if not more than, the rescue workers were, taking such dignitaries and celebrities as Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz, Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov, Donald Rumsfeld and many others on guided tours of this consecrated burial ground. Of course, it is unconscionable for a politician to use Ground Zero for a photo op or to try to score political points on the tragedy of September 11 and I am glad the New York Police Department listened to Giuliani and denied Ahmadinejad permission to go there. What kind of a message would it send the world if we let someone like that use Ground Zero for a publicity stunt? Even though most of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and Iran has not been conclusively linked to the 9/11 attacks, I am sure that there are people working on making a connection and one will be revealed before we declare war on Iran.
Of course we know that Iran had nothing to do with 9/11 or Osama bin Laden. Of course neither did Saddam Hussein or Iraq. Of course this does not matter to those who have covered up the crime scene and prevented investigations. Of course there should be a criminal investigation of 9/11.
Sorry if that’s not ironic enough.
Mustang Bobby @ Shakesville:
By the way, in all of this, I haven’t heard a word of outrage or a tearful plea for mercy from General Petraeus himself. I’m pretty sure that he didn’t get to be a general in the United States Army by letting a schoolyard name-calling taunt get to him.
Watch MSNBC coverage of George Bush trying to be offended on behalf of his toady:
As for the Democratic members of the senate who voted with the idiots to condemn the first amendment, wake up.
This is what happened: Once upon a time, a mortgage was a long-term relationship between a bank and a home buyer where the bank made their money through decades of on-time payments. This meant that banks would encourage buyers to borrow only as much as they could afford. By the time Bush was in office, mortgages were no-longer seen as 15- or 30-year relationships between bank and buyer, but had become hot products where the banker made money at the point of sale. In a few years, the mortgage ‘approval’ process turned into an aggressive sales session. The end result was that consumers, walking into a bank hoping they would be approved for enough loan to buy the house they could afford, would encounter a mortgage seller looking to put them in as much debt as they were willing too take. So, if you thought you could only afford a $250,000 loan, the new kind of mortgage broker would try to put you into a loan for $350,000 on an adjustable rate, interest only for two years, throwing in a piggy back loan to get you past the down payment and making the whole thing possible with a little mortgage ‘insurance.’ An agents who sold a buyer too much debt did not care one bit because he or she made the commission at 9am, then dumped the the loan lock-stock-and-buyer into a secondary debt market the same day. The lender gets their check; the home buyer gets a letter saying their loan is now with a different company–somebody they’ve never met with only a P.O. Box somewhere in rural Iowa, and voila! Your mortgage is suddenly little more than credit card debt on steroids.
Suddenly, after two years of thinking that you had it made by paying only the interest payments on a loan you could never afford in the first place, the interest-only term of your loan expired and your $500/month payment suddenly kicked up to $1,500. Things get tight for a few months, there is additional stress in the family as you can no longer afford vacations or dining out. After a few months of that, the floodgates open. With the Fed threatening to raise rates, your lender decides to adjust your mortgage rate up by 3.5%–completely within their right to do. Unfortunately, this means your payments skyrocket up to $2,800 per month. Unprepared for this change and in disbelieve, you cover some short term expenses by maxing out two credit cards. You make the first mortgage payment and the second, but now you are short cash and start to miss one credit card payment, then another. Life at home becomes unbearably stressful and you start talking about a second job.
But while Bush’s terrorism fetish filled the country with fear, his ‘homeownership’ mantra had the opposite effect: duping vast sections of the country into the thinking they owned homes, when in reality all they had done is sign themselves up for mortgages so rigged in the banks favor that they make credit card contracts look like birthday cards. Any honest financial planner would have looked at 99% of these ‘sub-prime’ and adjustable mortgages against the financial realities of the new home buyers and given vastly different advice about loan amounts. Somehow the simple questions never got asked–questions like, ‘Are you sure you can handle this much debt over the next five years?’ or ‘Are you aware that these radical increases in your payments will likely happen in the next three years?’ or ‘Is it clear to you that housing prices at these levels cannot sustain themselves for more than 24 months, after which it is likely that prices will drop?’ Nobody pushing the ‘ownership society’ on America’s first-time home buyers seemed able to ask those questions at the time they needed to be asked–when the new buyer was poised to sign onto a loan that would inevitably set them on a course for total financial ruin in 3-5 years.
Nobody asked the right questions that would have resulted in a slow expanse of responsible home buying boom and lessened the number of wildly foolish mortgages that Americans took. And nobody asked those questions because the President of the United States was busy giving mortgage sellers plenty of cover by convincing the American public that they were becoming ‘homeowners’ rather than ‘debt buyers.’
Let me see if I can explain the current financial meltdown as I think it is happening. My perceptions are based on reading only public information and there is certainly a great deal that I am unaware of. I’m not a current market trader, just an interested observer. I have no professional qualifications and I’m not your financial adviser. Just so we’re clear, and if you think I need to be corrected on anything feel free to do so in the comments.
Mortgage lending corporations (what used to be called S&L’s) have been making bad loans on bad credit for homes by giving some percentage against the entire value of the home, on the expectation that a default would likely occur and they would acquire the real estate at a substantial discount.
Now the loans themselves are not valuable, they are just paper which they don’t expect repayment on.
But the mortgage lenders have taken this paper and labeled it subprime, and sold it.
Somewhere along the line, they are going to expect you to bail them out.
Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) — The risk of owning corporate bonds rose after a Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst said Countrywide Financial Corp., the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, may have to file for bankruptcy.
Credit-default swaps on Countrywide widened after Merrill Lynch analyst Kenneth Bruce raised the possibility that a loss of access to short-term loan markets could force Countrywide into bankruptcy. Contract prices for mortgage lender Residential Capital LLC and for home-loan insurer Radian Group Inc. are also trading as if investors see a high probability of default.
“This market is feeling awfully similar to the fall of 1998” when Russia defaulted on its debt and banks had to bail out hedge fund Long Term Capital Management, said Bruce, who is based in San Francisco. Bruce downgraded Countrywide’s stock to “sell” from “buy” in a research note today.