Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday Mashup (11/20/08)

  • As noted here, a Russian court recently reversed itself and ruled that the proceedings in the trial of three four men accused in the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya should take place in secret because of jurors’ safety concerns; this was a blow to Politkovskaya’s “relatives, rights groups and journalism advocates” (the man accused of the actual shooting, Rustam Makhmudov, has fled the country, according to the story – a backgrounder is here).

  • Update 2/20/09: Ugh...

    Update 6/28/09: It tells you something about how murky this case is that a retrial of the four acquitted in the first trial (here) is viewed negatively by Politkovskaya's family and friends (i.e., the acquittal of the four meant that the search could continue for the shooter and the person who actually ordered the hit, but with a retrial, the focus once more will be on the other four who were largely incidental to this crime anyway).

  • Midnight tonight is the deadline for Dubya to sneak his rule changes into the Federal Register, and in the process, screw us even more than he has already (no wonder his party has numbers like this; I’m surprised they’re not lower – h/t Atrios).

    So what is Dubya up to here? Well, if you must know (from here)…

    Among the many new regulations—or, rather, deregulations—the Administration has proposed are rules that would: make it harder for the government to limit workers’ exposure to toxins, eliminate environmental review from decisions affecting fisheries, and ease restrictions on companies that blow up mountains to get at the coal underneath them. Other midnight regulations in the works include rules to allow “factory farms” to ignore the Clean Water Act, rules making it tougher for employees to take family or medical leave, and rules that would effectively gut the Endangered Species Act.
    And (from here)…

    ...end(ing) a ban on carrying loaded guns in national parks; a Labor Department plan to change the way regulators assess risk for jobs, especially those that expose workers to chemicals; and a proposal that could make it harder for women to get federally funded reproductive health care.

    ...more than 60 rules contain provisions making it impossible to sue in state courts for negligence on the part of manufacturers.
    And (from here)…

    On health care, the administration issued guidance (in August) that will make it more difficult for states to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program to cover children in middle-income families. The policy has no expiration date, but Congress could override it and allow states to apply for waivers to set more generous coverage standards.

    The administration is also preparing new regulations likely to be published next year on airline security, mine-worker protections and automobile safety and fuel efficiency, White House aides said.
    I could use saltier language than to merely say that George W. Bush is a contemptible little shit for doing this, but I’ll leave it at that for now (just about at 60 days left of this nonsense – sorry, but sometimes swear words are the only ones that work).

    Update: Dana Perino does it again...

  • I’m sure we all know by now that the latest al Qaeda No. 2 surfaced in a video, calling President-Elect Barack Obama, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of State Colin Powell “house Negroes,” referring to blacks of a supposed higher stature in the old South who were nonetheless more servile than “field Negroes.”

    There’s a lot that can be said about that, such as the fact that, were such a ridiculous statement not coming from a murderous coward of al Qaeda, it would actually be funny (this may be the ONLY time that you actually find me in agreement with that prickly guttersnipe Dana Perino on ANYTHING). How can someone who likely has only a passing acquaintance with personal hygiene and probably shares more intimacy with livestock than actual human beings pretend to cast judgment on anyone else?

    But I’d just like to point out that Ayman al-Zawahri, the alleged human being who spoke derisively of the people I just mentioned, said that they were “the direct opposite of honorable black Americans like Malcolm X” (the person who originally spoke of “house Negroes” and “field Negroes”).

    In addition to his numerous other faults, al-Zawahri apparently doesn’t understand (or doesn’t care to know about) the life that Malcolm X lived and the person he truly was (I suppose he only liked Malcolm X because he was once a revolutionary). Yes, there most definitely was a period of his life when he advocated violence, but as he grew older and his life circumstances changed, he grew to understand and embrace people of other faiths and ethnicities. I think that’s demonstrated in the following quotes (from here):

    Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.

    I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don't believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn't want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I'm not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn't know how to return the treatment.

    In the past, yes, I have made sweeping indictments of all white people. I will never be guilty of that again — as I know now that some white people are truly sincere, that some truly are capable of being brotherly toward a black man.

    They call me "a teacher, a fomenter of violence." I would say point blank, "That is a lie. I'm not for wanton violence, I'm for justice."

    I think there are plenty of good people in America, but there are also plenty of bad people in America and the bad ones are the ones who seem to have all the power and be in these positions to block things that you and I need. Because this is the situation, you and I have to preserve the right to do what is necessary to bring an end to that situation, and it doesn't mean that I advocate violence, but at the same time I am not against using violence in self-defense. I don't even call it violence when it's self-defense, I call it intelligence.

    I've had enough of someone else's propaganda. I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it's for or against. I'm a human being first and foremost, and as such I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.

    Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.

    This religion (Islam) recognizes all men as brothers. It accepts all human beings as equals before God, and as equal members in the Human Family of Mankind. I totally reject Elijah Muhammad's racist philosophy, which he has labeled 'Islam' only to fool and misuse gullible people as he fooled and misused me. But I blame only myself, and no one else for the fool that I was, and the harm that my evangelical foolishness on his behalf has done to others.

    I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.

    A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.

    How can anyone be against love?
    And finally…

    "Since I learned the truth in Mecca, my dearest friends have come to include all kinds -- some Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, and even atheists! I have friends who are called capitalists, Socialists, and Communists! Some of my friends are moderates, conservatives, extremists -- some are even Uncle Toms! My friends today are black, brown, red, yellow, and white!"
    I’m not going to waste another syllable criticizing a life form like al-Zawahri, but instead, I’ll merely provide a plug for the 1992 movie “Malcolm X” starring Denzel Washington here (a truly fine film).
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