Saturday, May 23, 2009

The tortured debate about torture has grown stale and tiresome. It is pretty obvious from the evidence that it does not work in the sense that you don't get reliable information from torturing people, just like it is obvious that there are US prisons that can handle the actual guilty people from Gitmo. Yet emotionally, it seems that torture is somehow justified and must work (just ask Jack Bauer)...and that it is scary to think of inviting Al Qeada onto American soil even if it is a supermax in the hinterland. Thanks to Dick Cheney, torture is now something like abortion, where you have an opinion and no one can seem to sway you and the other side must be not just wrong but immoral.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Californians, please redo your constitution rather than just take a bailout. CA's system has the Reaganesque fantasy revenue side, lead by prop 13 combined with the fantasy budgetary quotas on the spending side. Add to it non-competitive races, too short of term limits, and super majorities to pass budgets yet simple majorities for referenda to radically change finances, plus a recession and you get this ungovernable-multibillion-dollar-deficit mess of a state. I say time for a constitutional convention to change the all of aforemented parts of the structure that caused this disaster.

without Jim

The biggest environmental bill since the Clean Air Act passed the House Energy & Commerce Committee yesterday...with a nay from Utah's Rep. Jim Matheson (D-02). The vote was 35 to 25, with one Republican, Rep. Mary Bono of California, voting in favor of the cap-and-trade bill. Some Republicans on the committee thought that requiring the bill to be read aloud would be be a good way to stall--and thereby kill the bill. This prompted committee Democrats to hire someone like this guy to do the reading:

All fun aside, at least Jim had constructive criticisms, perhaps suggested changes that could make passage in the U.S. Senate more likely:
Matheson plans to propose an amendment that will help small refiners meet the new requirements. Small refiners, of which there are a handful in Utah, Wyoming and surrounding states, produces less than 205,000 barrels of oil a day.

"These are just some issues I'm really concerned about," he said.

But Matheson, considered by many to be a key swing vote, said he is not philosophically opposed to the ideas in the bill and believes with some changes he could support it.

"We've got to deal with our energy independence challenge and we've got to deal with our climate change challenge," he said.
To me, this bill is good and we can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, but I think a lot more needs to be done.

Even if we humans were to stop putting CO2 up in the air tomorrow, rather than reducing the amount we put up, there still would be WAY more CO2 in the atmosphere than has been there in at least 650,000 years, as far back as we can measure. We need to figure out a way to dramatically absorb all of that CO2, something like limestone or bacteria, otherwise we are well on our way... Not to being America's Next Top Model, but to becoming Venus.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I don't get the whole Pelosi versus the CIA controversy. Congressional Democrats like her, Rep. Jane Harman, and Sen. Jay Rockafeller are all complicit in two big debacles: the Iraq war and torture. Their level of fault however, pales in comparison to those that orchestrated and relentlessly pushed for those two things. So in the end, Pelosi and her ilk are partially to blame for not raising holy hell at the time, especially those like Rockafeller who voted the same wrong way. But 90 % of the blame still lies with Cheney, Bush and their henchmen. Especially those who still think it is a good idea.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I can now post blogs via SMS. Since I opted for unlimited texting, you are in luck. Obama's speech was good, but broke no ground. His common ground on abortion concept was something Hillary Clinton had said prior to her reelection to US Senate, and while nice, gives the press another chance to talk about that poll that supposidly proves that America is suddenly pro-life after 35 straight years of being pro-choice and voting in a pro-choice president and 59 senators who inclined to allow, if not vote for pro-choice judges to get appointed. If you can't tell, I really doubt this poll is accurate.

Probably for most people though abortion rights one way or another aren't pressing priorities. They would rather have a good economy, get better healthcare for less, and reduce greenhouse gases. Oh and not getting attacked by terrorists anymore and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ASAP would be nice.

I forgot to add that one thing I will miss about Huntsman is that when walking my dog past the guv's mansion, his English Bulldog--Winston--would have a friendly exchange with my dog. What a great name for an English Bulldog.