Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Guantanamo “Suicides”: Truth will out.

Scott Horton at Atlantic:

According to the NCIS, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and T-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s eight-foot-high steel-mesh wall. Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat. We are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his washbasin, slipped his head through the noose, tightened it, and leapt from the washbasin to hang until he asphyxiated. The NCIS report also proposes that the three prisoners, who were held in non-adjoining cells, carried out each of these actions almost simultaneously.

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Obama: does he get it?

From Balloon Juice:

The Stakes

by John Cole

It is probably worth pointing out that wishful thinking aside, if Coakley loses tomorrow, thirty million or more Americans will remain one slip on the ice and broken shoulder away from bankruptcy, with the alternatives being seeking more expensive and less thorough emergency room care with no follow-up rehab and costs passed on to all of us, or no treatment and debilitating injuries and pain in perpetuity.

You and I might think that is a big deal, but if you read enough left-wing blogs, it really is no big deal. If the bill fails, we can take Taibbi’s advice and just try again in 6-8 years. I mean really, the republicans aren’t much different from the Democrats, I’ve been told. Besides, won’t you feel better knowing that you didn’t sell out to immoral insurance agencies like Feingold and Sanders and the rest of the corporate whores?

No one said having firm principles was without pain, you know.

A Sullivan classic

by DougJ

I know Andrew Sullivan is a controversial subject here, but I love it when he dials the gloom up to 11:

I can see no alternative scenario but a huge – staggeringly huge – victory for the FNC/RNC machine tomorrow. They crafted a strategy of total oppositionism to anything Obama proposed a year ago. Remember they gave him zero votes on even the stimulus in his first weeks. They saw health insurance reform as Obama’s Waterloo, and, thanks in part to the dithering Democrats, they beat him on that hill. They have successfully channeled all the rage at the massive debt and recession the president inherited on Obama after just one year. If they can do that already, against the massive evidence against them, they have the power to wield populism to destroy any attempt by government to address any actual problems.

This is a nihilist moment, built from a nihilist strategy in order to regain power … to do nothing but wage war against enemies at home and abroad.

What comes next will be a real test for Obama. I suspect serious health insurance reform is over for yet another generation.


And so one suspects that this is a profound moment in the now accelerating decline of this country. And one of the major parties is ecstatic about it.

I guess I can’t be so pessimistic, given the demographic trends that favor Democrats. I do think, though, that without non-white voters, we’d probably be a military dictatorship by now.

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Earthquakes this week on the Peninsula along the San Andreas fault

Five small quakes in the past few days on or near the Peninsula.
This is unusual.
I don’t know what it means but I am not getting on the 280; and I do have my milkshake materials ready.

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Camus’ “The Stranger,” re-read

This is the newer 1988 translation by Matthew Ward. Yes, I’m that old. Seems to be a different experience, though I did not have the old version at hand…even more spare and bleak. In his notes, Ward gives an example of he original French, “Il etait avec son chien,” which I and Ward both translate as “He was with his dog,” as compared to the old Gilbert version, “As usual, he had his dog with him.” (!!!). Hello? Gilbert died today….how many French works need a new translation??? I hope to make a more thorough comparison when I can locate a Gilbert, though I’m not sure I could manage a complete read in French.
Ward provides another insight in his notes:
“As Richard Howard pointed out…..time reveals all translation to be paraphrase.”

Camus’ protagonist Meursault, who admittedly kills a man, is sentenced to death. The sentence seems to be the result of an overambitious prosecution which evokes the now infamous case of the Texas man wrongly executed for arson-murder because he seemed not to be appropriately distraught (and because of erroneous “expert” testimony).

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