Thursday, 15 December 2005

In the Hopper

Being a bit under the weather, there's simply not the time or energy to do any topic justice, but since it may be a while before there is, here's a glimpse at what may be in the hopper.

I have started a post on libertarianism, covering several angles on its relationship to common sense, passion, extremism, and practical political reality. Recognizing both value and danger in its tenets is as important for libertarianism as it is for any political philosophy.

A pure political post will look at the landscape of 2006 Congressional races in a graphical way. That may not happen until January.

I want to focus more on the distressing state of politics in Africa. As depressing as that can be, ignoring it to the extent that American media typically does is inexcusable.

And I want to counter more of the arguments for codified exceptions to a ban on torture or degrading treatment of prisoners. There is a reason, for instance, that we don't codify exceptions for killing one's spouse based on prior abuse. That doesn't mean that wise judges cannot exercise discretion in sentencing. Saying it's OK ahead of time is dangerous. But some think we should trust more the judgment of CIA interrogators than of abused wives. Why?


My recent relative quietude certainly cannot be blamed on a lack of events to comment on. Today's election in Iraq, as scary as the situation is there, is nonetheless a time for hope. It would be the utmost of selfishness to hope for tragic news there for the small political gain that might afford progressive politics at home. We can be united in our wishes for the safe release of Christian Peacemakers Tom Fox, 54, of Clearbrook, Va.; Norman Kember, 74, of London; James Loney, 41, of Toronto; and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, of Canada.

The passages of Eugene McCarthy and William Proxmire remind me of the courage that ought to be more common than it is in American politics.

Dismay at the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams need not depend on an absolute opposition to the death penalty, or a certainty of his redemption. There are some very committed individuals who are convinced of his innocence of the particular crimes for which he is charged. While I don't know enough to form a full opinion, there certainly is a sufficient combination of troubling factors to suggest his execution should have been delayed at the very least. But even among those who could not muster much sympathy for the former gang kingpin, the case of Cory Maye is truly disturbing. That the tragedy occurred four years ago, and a suddenly awoken man who responded to an intruder by fatally shooting him is incarcerated on death row is beyond the pale. Surely this is clearly a case for a full pardon. It is easy to ignore the dangers of prosecutorial zealotry when those affected have no relation to us.

Proof of the untraceable hackability of Diebold computerized voting machines has led Leon County, Florida elections supervisor Sancho to swear off ever using Diebold equipment again. How would America respond if incontrovertible evidence arose that both the 2000 & 2004 elections were intentionally stolen? Reminds me of my two days of rage in November of last year.

That and Bill Clinton's appearance last week at the conference on global warming reminds me why in spite of my distaste for the man personally he was a far superior leader than our current national embarrassment.

1 comment:

Lawrence said...

I was alarmed by a post on 12-22 in which Angelica of BattlePanda lamented the fading interest that the blogosphere was showing in the Cory Maye story. I wrote to her and asked what might be done to keep attention on the story. She had several ideas, one of which included:

"[How about] a button that people can stick on their sidebars to say something like "I blogged to free Cory Maye" which, when clicked, take them to the website? One of the frustrating things about blogs is people forget a story as soon as it is off the front page. Always having that little reminder on the front page that Cory maye is still on death row would go a long way to keep the story alive."

My friend Laura Denyes, a talented graphic designer, donated some of her time to come up with some buttons that might be used in this fashion. We hope people will look them over and choose one they like. We provide the HTML they will need to make the images appear on their weblogs. We will be hosting the images ourselves, and whatever bandwidth issues arise, we will consider part of our donation to this cause. Please consider adding one of these buttons to your own sidebar. You can see them here: