A member, and hoping to stay that way, of the reality-based community

18 December 2008

War crimes trials would be a good start

The New York Times has finally said what so many others have said for so long about the Bush Administration and Guantanamo (and Abu Ghraib, and Bagram, and the we-don't-really-know-how-many "black sites"): investigate and punish. Frankly, I'd like to see us just hand over Bush, Cheney, Addington, Yoo, Rumsfeld, Feith, and any of the rest of them that are implicated to the International Criminal Court and be done with it. That's the most reasonable approach, as far as I am concerned.

Really— plainly and simply, any American official or officer above the rank of Colonel who approved of torture (in the sense of "agreed that it was an acceptable policy or helped to implement it") should be handed over to the ICC for trial on crimes against humanity. Bush, for those not sure of his culpability on simple grounds of mental capacity, deserves attention because he agreed that the United States would unilaterally abrogate its responsibility under the Geneva Convention.

I've argued elsewhere that Scalia ought to be impeached for ignoring the plain language of the 4th Amendment, but this is arguably worse. My own father, who is very much a partisan Republican most of the time, said at the time of Abu Ghraib that it was a horrible stain on our country. If we can publicly acknowledge that these horrible things were done in our name, and still not feel compelled to punish them, then we are weak, and deserve the horrible things that will be done to us. If by-then-President Obama wants to be a true leader for all people, one thing he will have to lead us to do is to see that torturers are punished fittingly.

Music to stay at home and drink to

I am a fan of much music, but I make an effort to expose myself to the music being made around me that is even remotely of interest, because it is more fun to me to watch someone trying earnestly to build an audience than it is to see someone preen, having succeeded. That being the case, I often feel like there are people who make music that is grossly under-appreciated. Today, among those people I would list the Denver band Everything Absent or Distorted (A Love Story).

Their most recent release (and first "full length"), The Great Collapse, is beautifully heart-wrenching. It's lush pop music, made by the modern equivalent of a big band (a friend who shares my addiction to music you can see up close counted 15 players on stage at one point at the CD release party they threw at Denver's Bluebird). And the title is a none-too-subtle reminder that these are perilous times. Other commenters have noted that EAOD (as they are called for short) sound like Arcade Fire at times, and resemble Broken Social Scene in ways, but I'd say that's not a bad thing. Their harmonies on their first effort, A Soft Civil War, were certainly less like Arcade Fire, and they have a way with horns that Broken Social Scene completely lacks, so maybe these comparisons are more the result of Arcade Fire and BSS being a bit too ubiquitous. I don't care. I know what I like, and this is on that list.

03 December 2008


Via Political Animal:
It may not top the list of Obama administration priorities, but Hawaii Democratic Congressman Neil Abercrombie is urging the president-elect to take on one more controversial issue -- creating a new playoff system for college football. [...]
Oh, fer crying out loud!

Please, there is so much more to do than this for the DOJ. No time need be wasted on it by anyone except the NCAA.

And they need to pull their heads out of their asses and make it work. FWIW, the BCS doesn't work.