Wednesday, November 12, 2008
From Pink Triangles to Pink Lollypops
This is a very sad story. Every year on Veteran's Day, there's a ceremony to honor gay veterans at the grave of Leonard Matlovich, an Air Force sergeant who became front page news in 1975 when he came out to his superiors and was ejected from the military as a result. Gay Veterans Gather to Honor Their Own, Washington Post, Nov. 12, 2008. I remember when he was on the cover of Time magazine. Matlovich was not allowed to be buried in a military cemetery, even though he received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his combat service in Vietnam. A few gay veterans are buried nearby. This article vividly evokes the scene.
Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3
Ah, the winds of change. Still reeling over the phrase "President-elect Obama" and here are some of the reasons. The Bush administration has gutted important constitutional provisions such as the Fourth Amendment and instituted torture as an official policy of the U.S. government. Today the Washington Post reports that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael V. Hayden expect the Obama administration to give them the boot "because both have publicly supported controversial Bush administration policies on interrogation and telephone surveillance". Top Two Officials in U.S. Intelligence Expect to Lose Jobs. High five!
And more: Guantanamo Closure Called Obama Priority. This article from today's Washington Post says that "Among the thorniest issues [regarding closing Guantanamo] will be how to build effective cases without using evidence obtained by torture, an issue that attorneys for the detainees will almost certainly seek to exploit." Well, duh. Yeah, just a little bit of a problem. Which is one of the reasons why it's not such a good idea to torture people. That's why American citizens are protected by the Fourth Amendment, which protects us against "unreasonable search and seizure," including "seizure" via physical torture. The article goes on to say that "Human rights advocates and some advisers expect the new administration to outlaw torture and enhanced interrogation techniques..." It's really pathetic that this has to be done. I think most people were under the impression until Bush came along that torture was already illegal. I've seen arguments that it has been illegal all along and that no additional legislation is necessary. But perhaps it's more a public relations necessity rather than a legally requirement. A clarification. The article discusses arguments for a special "national security court" rather than referring Guantanamo detainees to regular federal court for criminal prosecution. I suppose this would be different from the military tribunals that Bush already set up, in that it would be civil and not military. But I think any special court is suspect. The article quotes J. Wells Dixon, a staff lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents some detainees. " "What a national security court is designed for is to hide the use of torture and allow the consideration of evidence that is not reliable," he said." That's exactly right.
We Watch So You Don't Have To:
Another in a series of reports from the land of daytime TV
Yet another 45 minutes staring at 8 TV screens at the gym. Here's a useless product taking advantage of women's body image insecurities. The Today Show featured Booty Pop Panties. These are underpants with pads on the butt! Uh, how many women really need this kind of padding? What is the market? Yet in looking for a picture of them, I discovered that they've been featured on several daytime TV talk shows, such as The View, Regis and Kelly, and Rachel Ray. So weird. As is this ad from the Booty Pop company.