Do you have anything to share that a respectable progressive should absolutely, positively read today? I do. This column about public education by Chris Fitzsimon at NC Policy Watch. James's blog Comments Richardson out of the race Here's the AP link....Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs. *************************** Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own. Good move No, but respectable progressives might want to ponder this one. Meredith Emerson, the lovely young 24 year old that disappeared near Blood Mountain in GA is, as most of us know, dead. Her killer agreed to lead police to her body in return for a promise from the prosecution that they would not seek the death penalty. Drifter Gary Hilton beat Miss Emerson to death and then decapitated her body. It's said she was alive for three days of the search. One can only imagine what her assailant did to her that would make it such that he felt he had to kill her. This man deserves to die. In my opinion, anyone who does such things deserves to die. I know there are people here and elsewhere that oppose the death penalty. This man is scum. He deserves to die. Stan Bozarth Let Hilton either plead guilty with no death penilty or try him for capital murder and decapitate the bastard. If he pleads guilty to keep his sorry butt alive, place him in a prison population that will "accidentally" beat him to within an inch of his life. Then fix him up, then beat him again until he begs for death. Repeat this as often as his sorry body will take the punishment. What happens in prison, stays in prison. He will be there for the rest of his useless life. Might as well let him think about the pain and suffering he did to this girl and her family. This to me would be justified. It would not be cruel or unusual punishment as this piece of shit did the exact same thing to this girl. It would be equal justice. eye for an eye An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Mahatma Gandhi Not for this guy . Some community will end up having this animal alive in their prison. Some state will be forced to keep this thing fed, clothed and housed. The prisoners will have to live with this thing. The lowest people in our society, they do not deserve to have to deal with this thing. To bring closure to this event for the family, the law made a deal with this animal. Now a society will have to live with that. This thing will have more rights then that young girl he beheaded. That is not fair in any way shape or form. He has the right to live even though he took that right from her. Our country will not eye for an eye this guy and who is better for it? No one. We will have the legacy that we allowed this thing to stay in our society. That we feel it has the right to continue living. All I will say on this. Well I have a pretty strong feeling about this issue myself He doesn't stay in our society if he's put in prison. The anger you express, while understandable, is part of the problem I have with Death Penalty proponents. Justice isn't supposed to be about anger. It is supposed to be about rational determination and the best interests of society. You're worried about the cost of feeding and housing this criminal? Did you know that on average it is more expensive to execute people than to feed, clothe and house them for what remains of their lives? The number of men who have been rescued from death penalty sentences by new DNA evidence is shocking. One would like to understand how a jury could have convicted any of them without absolute certainty of guilt. You and I are absolutely certain of this man's guilt, but for each one like this there are many, many more who are convicted and sentenced to death because of the anger we naturally feel in response to acts that are inexplicable to us. We see this young woman's face and feel an empathy for her -- and a corresponding sense of outrage -- that doesn't exist for the old, decrepit black homeless dude who was just tortured to death by a gang of white kids. I'm not saying that you and I don't feel anger at that savagery, but what we don't do -- most of us -- is say "put those kids to death" right now. We tend to say, "geez, what screwed up kids. What the hell is going on these days?" And we wonder, before scanning the pages for the next interesting headline, whether it is too late for any of them to realize what he has done, come to terms with it and salvage the rest of his life. I don't mean to suggest that this man Hilton deserves a second chance or is capable of reform. Assuming he is guilty, he should go to prison for life and that's the end of that story. My point is that the emotional response that this crime engenders shouldn't be what determines the policy of this country on how to deal with crime. The fact that in one case our outrage is more strongly provoked than in another shouldn't be what determines the punishment. If that were an appropriate standard, lynching would still be acceptable. If that is the appropriate standard, then we should shrug our shoulders at the sentencing of the murderer of a person no one ever heard of, whose face isn't young, white and attractive, and whose case wasn't featured in any newspaper headlines or television stories. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing -Edmund Burke Read No comment. Thank you for your response. Well said. Hi Parmea.... This guy murdered another Humanbeing in cold blood He committed one of the worst crimes imaginable against another living person and in doing so deminished us all, as a civilized society which values human life, and as a people, who consider sacred, the right for that life to exist unmolested and without fear. And now we have him. I am not willing to do to him that which he so cruely and inhumanly did to another. I will never saction the right of the State to execute another human being. The State has and does make too many mistakes regarding guilt and innocence. Cage him for the rest of his natural life, like Charles Manson, alone, with no outside contact. Killing him is merciful compared to depriving him of his freedom forever. Better that we have the legacy of allowing some guilty to live than of having executed one , or more innocent people. Marshall Adame 2014 U.S. Congress Candidate NC-03 I could be satisfied with imprisonment for this scumbag if every day of the rest of his life, rain, shine, sleet or snow he was manacled and out breaking rocks or picking up trash...digging graves for the indigent...12 hours a day. No TV, no magazines, no visitors, NOTHING....no morning coffee, NOTHING to make his life pleasant in any way. Unfortunately, that won't happen. Stan Bozarth Read Thank you for your response. I can appreciate your general stance on killing a person. And would you, or perhaps your parents or grandparents subscribe to that same philosophy for the Nazi butchers who came thru Belgium doing such things as THIS? Stan Bozarth Would I? Were I a victim, or were one of my loved ones a victim, I would probably commit mayhem. That is not justice, however. That is my anger and my desire for revenge. Our justice system isn't supposed to be based on bloodlust. That's why victims of a given crime are not asked to sit on the jury in the trial of the accused. That's why judges are asked to recuse themselves from cases in which they have peronal involvement. I wish I could be more patient with questions like this, but I'm getting old and cranky and kind of fed up with those who want to use anger and emotionalism as a substitute for rational discourse. If you want to go there, you might consider that what the nazis did to the jews wasn't based on rationality but rather a cynical exploitation of fear and ignorance. You want to advocate that as a basis for society's standards of right v. wrong? That makes you no better than the nazis, does it? All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing -Edmund Burke Yes. I'm glad you're interested in history, it keeps us from making the same mistakes. Thom Hartmann's book Cracking the Code Cracking the Code: How to Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America's OriginalVision Someone coming to America during one of our national elections might think politics was a kind of sporting event. They’d see a red team facing off against a blue team and hear that a team would win or lose based on how many votes it got. That kind of thinking got a friend of mine into trouble. read more: gregpalast.com Any suggestions? I'll be seeing a lot of Democratic candidates, like Harry Taylor, Jim Neal, Kay Hagan and Larry Kissell this Saturday. Any suggestions on questions you want them to answer? You can come ask them a question too if you want, you just need to come down here. Left on 49 HR 888- Mike McIntyre and Robin Hayes Troutfishing over at DailyKos has written a few articles on HR 888:"Affirming the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation's founding and subsequent history and expressing support for designation of the first week in May as `American Religious History Week' for the appreciation of and education on America's history of religious faith." Why 888? 888 has significance among dominionists and apocolyptic Christians as the number of Christ, much as 666 is the number of the beast. the closing text: Resolved, That the United States House of Representatives---- (1) affirms the rich spiritual and diverse religious history of our Nation's founding and subsequent history, including up to the current day; (2) recognizes that the religious foundations of faith on which America was built are critical underpinnings of our Nation's most valuable institutions and form the inseparable foundation for America's representative processes, legal systems, and societal structures; (3) rejects, in the strongest possible terms, any effort to remove, obscure, or purposely omit such history from our Nation's public buildings and educational resources; and (4) expresses support for designation of a `American Religious History Week' every year for the appreciation of and education on America's history of religious faith. Did Hayes and McIntyre even read this thing? This is obviously an attempt to push Christian interpretation of history into schools, blur the separation of church and state guaranteed in the First Amendment, and reinforce the baseless claim that America was founded as a Christian nation. This bill has absolutely no business being considered in the Congress of the United States of America. Amen, so to speak. This bill stinks to high heaven. Read H.R. 1955 That's the succinctly-named Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-1955 I'm curious to learn if progressives value civil liberties more than neoconservatives :-) Just in case you're wondering, it's already passed the House and is going to be voted on in the Senate as S 1959. http://blog.lawsonforcongress.com/2007/11/29/the-problem-with-hr-1955/ William (B.J.) Lawson, M.D.Congressional Candidate, North Carolina's 4th District I've read 1955 BJ, and although it does have some possibly troubling language, it appears to be only a vehicle to empanel a study group, not an actual statute or even guidance for law enforcement. I'm not saying (necessarily) that I support it, but I already went through this exercise on another site when someone posted a "Look what the government's doing now!" type thread. If I'm wrong on this, please show me the section(s) you're concerned about. 1855, 666,888, 999, Adds up to a Police State and you are screw! and although it does have some possibly troubling language, it appears to be only a vehicle to empanel a study group, not an actual statute or even guidance for law enforcement.*scharrison As Greg pointed out below, it is whatever a Police State decides how extreme you should be! Your pet gold fish could be lable a extreme enemy of the State since it was bred in Red China and is anti-war. HR 1955 I object to it for many reasons. Grammar is a basic one. The title is a political ploy designed to poison the debate. The text appears to be intended to be about radicalization that leads to the advocacy of violence. The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change. However the radicalization itself is not violent. Many nonviolent people could be accused of "promoting an extremist belief system" and, whether or not it is "for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence" could be open to wide interpretation. It could seriously chill free speech. Some might say advocating abolishing the IRS is an "extremist belief system". Bad grammar or not, these: `(a) Establishment- There is established within the legislative branch of the Government the National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism. `(b) Purpose- The purposes of the Commission are the following: `(1) Examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States, including United States connections to non-United States persons and networks, violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in prison, individual or `lone wolf' violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence, and other faces of the phenomena of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence that the Commission considers important. `(2) Build upon and bring together the work of other entities and avoid unnecessary duplication, by reviewing the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of-- `(A) the Center of Excellence established or designated under section 899D, and other academic work, as appropriate; `(B) Federal, State, local, or tribal studies of, reviews of, and experiences with violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence; and `(C) foreign government studies of, reviews of, and experiences with violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence. are the relevant passages in the bill, because they define and `(i) Powers of Commission- The powers of the Commission shall be as follows: `(1) IN GENERAL- `(A) HEARINGS AND EVIDENCE- The Commission or, on the authority of the Commission, any subcommittee or member thereof, may, for the purpose of carrying out this section, hold hearings and sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, receive such evidence, and administer such oaths as the Commission considers advisable to carry out its duties. `(B) CONTRACTING- The Commission may, to such extent and in such amounts as are provided in appropriation Acts, enter into contracts to enable the Commission to discharge its duties under this section. `(2) INFORMATION FROM FEDERAL AGENCIES- `(A) IN GENERAL- The Commission may request directly from any executive department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality of the Government, information, suggestions, estimates, and statistics for the purposes of this section. The head of each such department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality shall, to the extent practicable and authorized by law, furnish such information, suggestions, estimates, and statistics directly to the Commission, upon request made by the Chair of the Commission, by the chair of any subcommittee created by a majority of the Commission, or by any member designated by a majority of the Commission. `(B) RECEIPT, HANDLING, STORAGE, AND DISSEMINATION- The Committee and its staff shall receive, handle, store, and disseminate information in a manner consistent with the operative statutes, regulations, and Executive orders that govern the handling, storage, and dissemination of such information at the department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality that responds to the request. limit the scope of the legislation to empaneling a "fact-finding" body, and then `(q) Reports- `(1) FINAL REPORT- Not later than 18 months after the date on which the Commission first meets, the Commission shall submit to the President and Congress a final report of its findings and conclusions, legislative recommendations for immediate and long-term countermeasures to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence, and measures that can be taken to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence from developing and spreading within the United States, and any final recommendations for any additional grant programs to support these purposes. The report may also be accompanied by a classified annex. `(s) Termination of Commission- The Commission shall terminate 30 days after the date on which the Commission submits its final report. gives it (the commission) a set life span. While this commission is (apparently) going to have access to all kinds of information from various government sources, the only "act" it is authorized to engage in is preparing a report. The legislation (if any) that is spawned from this report is where the potential violations of civil liberties will be found. Or in other current, less provocatively worded legislation that needed a red herring... No, I think it's a bit worse than that. Check out the full post here:http://blog.lawsonforcongress.com/2007/11/29/the-problem-with-hr-1955/ This bill doesn't just make recommendations, the implementation is in Sec 899E(b): `SEC. 899E. PREVENTING VIOLENT RADICALIZATION AND HOMEGROWN TERRORISM THROUGH INTERNATIONAL COOPERATIVE EFFORTS. `(a) International Effort- The Secretary shall, in cooperation with the Department of State, the Attorney General, and other Federal Government entities, as appropriate, conduct a survey of methodologies implemented by foreign nations to prevent violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism in their respective nations. `(1) a brief description of the foreign partners participating in the survey; and `(2) a description of lessons learned from the results of the survey and recommendations implemented through this international outreach. `(b) Implementation- To the extent that methodologies are permissible under the Constitution, the Secretary shall use the results of the survey as an aid in developing, in consultation with the Attorney General, a national policy in the United States on addressing radicalization and homegrown terrorism. OK, there are some teeth. Now we’ll have a national “policy”. Excellent. But should I be concerned that one of the Findings says, “The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens”? Since we’re going into the policymaking process with that Finding, might we be justified in censoring the Internet? Why are citizens not empowered to educate and defend themselves with broad access to such terrorist-related propaganda? Isn’t knowledge power? This is what our legislature is doing in Washington. Since the problems are too difficult to be solved in legislation itself, they simply delegate rulemaking to lobbyists, whose conclusions are codified into rules/policy that have the force of law. For the record, there's no way I'd support this kind of madness in Congress. But David Price evidently thinks otherwise, since he supported this bill. In medicine, I watched HIPAA come into being the same way. Guess what? Despite the name, health insurance is still tied to employment. And as far as privacy goes, your "protected health information" can now be freely shared with anyone who has a financial interest in your care. In case you're wondering, that's a LOT of people and companies. Let's hear it for rules written by lobbyists, and stamped into law by bureaucrats! William (B.J.) Lawson, M.D.Congressional Candidate, North Carolina's 4th District From my friend in Kenya Every couple of days I get an email from Alex, my friend in Kenya. Over the past week I haven't heard much, as he has been unable to leave his home because of the violence. Today I got this short note, which he sent from an Internet cafe. We thank God that we are ok after the post election events, things are returning to normalcy in the city and people are going on with their usual chores. We still pray for peace to prevail though the year 08 started on a sad note. I hope you are all ok and God bless, Regards, Alex Wear Orange Tomorrow The ACLU advertisement on the right side of your page ask citizens to wear orange tomorrow as a statement of protest about the stain on America's integrity called Guantanamo. I'll be wearing orange. Will you? And if you haven't taken time to join the ACLU, now would be a very good time to do that. I may not always agree with what they do, but I'm grateful they're doing it. DAGNABBIT I'm clothed almost entirely in ORANGE today (ok, burnt orange). Orange sweater over orange skirt, orange socks. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing -Edmund Burke I don't think I own anything orange. seriously. Does this mean I can go shopping? For Guantanamo? Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi Kudos to Besty for lots of good updating of the new BlueNC. In case you haven't noticed, there are six new standing features at the top and bottom, which require one of the admins to . . . well, administer. Betsy's done a fabulous job designing the site . . . and is really make it a pleasure to open my bookmark and see all sorts of good stuff. Thank you Betsy. Awww....it's my pleasure I have to admit I panicked a bit when I didn't have internet access today. Oh My! *************************** Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own. Absolutely - THANKS! This is one time that we definitely want you to pay attention to the woman behind the curtain. It looks smooth and seamless - but it's only because Betsy has been working so hard. I love the new look. Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi But wait! Let me go vacuum the damn curtains...they're dusty. :)Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs. *************************** Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own. Heavens to Betsy Heavens to Betsy. You're a Riot Grrrl Well...maybe not quite :)Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs. *************************** Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own. My god, Greg. Is there anyone on the planet cooler than you? :) Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi No...there isn't Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs. *************************** Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own. Did you know? H/T to momoaizo for pointing me to BrianR's post at Orange Politics. Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi More required reading We are hopelessly racist.