Friday, September 22, 2006

Candiate Davis Ready To Bomb Iran

Comments by GOP candidate for Congress here in the 1st District, David Davis, get a thorough ripping via AC at Volunteer Voters. Here's what Davis said in reference to bombing Iran:

I heard somebody up here (at the luncheon) say, ‘Go for it,'" said Davis, a state representative from Johnson City. "I think when you're in a position of power you have to be willing to listen to other people in positions of leadership. ... I would listen to the people of the 1st District. It is very, very important that we take this war seriously. ... This is a war that we need to be willing to win. I don't want to be in office and be in a position of power when we're attacked and we don't stand up."

AC replies:

Some yahoo in the back of the room says "Go for it" and you're gonna take that into consideration when formulating your foreign policy views? Are you kidding me?

It is simply amazing to me how Republicans running for office are seriously considering another preemptive strike against an Islamic State after the first one went so well."

Sadly, Davis is likely to win the election and once again, the 1st District residents have a Party official dictating actions in congress and taking Party directions.

Representation falls to the wayside.

Read the whole post.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

On Torture and American Principles

I know it's a hard and difficult situation in world politics and American policies regarding the apprehension, interrogation, detention and trials of a far-flung and loosely organized group of terrorists whose goal is to drag America and its allies into hateful, relentless tribal warfare and sporadic attacks on people of all races and religions around the globe.

I have a strong conviction and belief however, that this nation must maintain the strict adherence to civilized behavior, democratic ideals, the tenets of freedom and liberty and law. Isn't that the very core of our national ideals and principles which terrorists want to dismantle?

The recent push by the Bush administration to redefine (or "clarify") policies and rules for holding and interrogating enemies steps too far away from a position of strength, and threatens our credibility both at home and abroad.

A pointed essay by Paul Waldman at raises important questions, presents challenging comments and also underscores the need for maintaining a "moral high ground" in this critical moment in American and World History.

Some excerpts:

In the latest Weekly Standard, William Kristol, —fierce advocate of not only the war in Iraq but another war against Iran, so you know he knows what he'’s talking about, —enthuses that Republicans are becoming the pro-torture party, and therefore they'’re bound to do well in November'’s elections.

If this truly is a clash of civilizations, the conservatives have chosen to engage it by getting in touch with their inner barbarian.

And when progressives (and the occasional conservative) question whether such actions betray our values, the answer from Bush and his supporters is that we should be measured not by our principles, —or by any principles at all, —but by the actions of our enemies. The moral high ground is to be found no more than one step above the worst thing terrorists have done lately. The president may order the use of sleep deprivation and '“stress positions'” to induce mental and physical agony in prisoners, —but hey, he hasn'’t personally chopped anyone'’s head off, so you know he'’s on the side of the angels.

But it is moral poison to measure yourself by the worst acts of your enemies. This is what conservatives have brought to America; the time since 9/11 has seen a moral descent, —if not an outright moral deadening, —on the part of the right."


The justification is always that we'’re dealing with terrorists, who are really, really bad people. So why should they deserve due process? The answer that the twisted conservative mind seems incapable of grasping is that a nation committed to liberty, justice and the rule of law does not have one set of procedures for nice people and another set for mean people. It sets up procedures that reflect its values."

I urge you to read and consider the arguments in the essay. I'm sure there are many who will disagree with the opinions Waldman makes, but an open and plain discourse on these questions is vital not only today but for the future as well.

Another debate on these issues has been growing via a post a KnoxViews. Another essay on the topic is in the Washington Post.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Government Caskets and Hanging Elephants - A Web Walk

No story got my attention as much as a proposal from a Clarksville mayoral candidate who is suggesting the taxpayers fund a city-operated casket and funeral company. The candidate also wants a super-secret force to combat cell phone users/drivers.:

Wilton Sowell suggested some unorthodox measures to raise revenue for the city, which he said would allow low-income residents over 55 to be forgiven of their local taxes.

Sowell is recommending the creation of a squad of 50 undercover traffic agents to combat road rage and driving while on a cell phone, whose fines would flow into the city coffers.

Sowell is also recommending a one-time tax charged to all city residents to create a municipal casket manufacturing company and funeral home, which proceeds will flow into the city and would conceivably guarantee affordable funerals for low-income families.

"Everyone should have a respectable funeral without burdening their loved ones," Sowell said."

11 are seeking the mayor's office. I am more than shocked at the idea the city go into managing final arrangements for residents.

In other news, John at Salem's Lots has a good question regarding a proposal to make English the official language of Nashville government:

What problem are they really trying to solve? What is the real motivation for this bill?"

Read the full post here.

Michael at No Silence Here also has information on Tennessee being the number one U.S. exporter to China. What do we export??

And finally, a UT student is researching one of the strangest stories ever from East Tennessee - the hanging of an elephant in Erwin, TN and the many myths about it.

Now, Frist Supports Senate Filibuster

The flip-flopping Tennessee Senator Bill Frist now sees a value and a reason for the Senate rule which allows for a filibuster. The reason is the legislation in question is backed by President Bush on the issues of handling the prisoners captured by the U.S. in the ongoing "war on terror." Also facing little success of passage is a bill approving "warrantless wiretapping."

But in September of 2006, the likelihood of a Senate filibuster was viewed as an obsolete tactic of obstruction, one he vowed to oppose with a so-called ''nuclear option." In Spetember 2006, the senator sought to have the procedure made ''unconstitutional.''

With this about-face turn on the issue, the senator proves once again he is in Washington to represent the Bush Administration - not to represent the people of his home sttate of Tennessee. The recent actions appear to make sure these bills will not be resolved until after the elections.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

First To Blog From Orbit

Space toruism is still a serious expense at 20 million dollars and checking my financial outlook, I'd hazard to say that I will not be counted among the space tourists unless prices fall faster than a bowling ball dropped from the space station.

However, 40-year-old Anousheh Ansari will spend 10 days in space and be the first person to blog from the space station this week. She started her blog on September 12 prior to her launch tomorrow. In one post she writes:

A long, long time ago, in a country far, far away… there was a young girl who had her eyes fixed on the twinkling stars of the night skies over Tehran. Back then the air was not so polluted and you could see many stars in the night skies. Summer time, when they would set up the beds outside on the balcony to sleep, she would lay in her bed and look deep into the mysterious darkness of the universe and think to herself, What's out there? Is someone out there awake in her bed, and gazing at her in the night sky? Will she ever find her… See her… Will she fly out there and float in the wonderful, boundless freedom of space?"

Ansari has already provided $10 million in prize money for SpaceShipOne, which made two successful flights into orbit in 2002. More can be fdund on Ansari and her voyage here.

Now, she is counting the moments for the journey. I'll keep counting the hours until I make mine, but like I said, that day is still farther away than Alpha Centauri.