Daily Archives: July 21, 2009

The World’s Fastest Everything-in 5 minutes

So I’m a sucker for those Guinness Book of World Records stories you always see on the news, or on the Internet.

I admire anyone who’s willing to suck it up and go for the glory, no matter how ridiculous the record may be.

When I was interning at the Tennessean in Nashville in the summer of ’96, I covered what I thought was an awesome event: They were trying to set the world record for most people playing the same song on the guitar at once. (What song was it, you ask? “Hound Dog,” by Elvis Presley). It was a big deal; the Goo Goo Dolls showed up to help and everything.

They broke the record, but then of course a year later someone else broke that record, and on and on.

Anyway, thought you might enjoy this YouTube as much as I did; it’s a quick synopsis of the World’s Fastest everything: Pretty cool if you ask me; I was most impressed with the clapper guy and the stamper.

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Bush, Cheney, and the U.S. of Torture

waterboarding

gwbush

 

There are people in the Democratic Party who want to forget the last eight years. They want to move on and focus on the future.

They don’t think, despite having overwhelming evidence  that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, David Addington, Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of the bumbling fools who ran our nation from 2001-2009 should be investigated for the way they tortured often-innocent people.

There is no longer any doubt whatsoever about what these men oversaw; go ahead and check out Jane Mayer’s fantastic and deeply troubling book The Dark Side, or read any of the hundreds of other newspaper and magazine articles detailing just how disgusting and lawless America’s leaders acted after 9/11.

I’m not going to recount all the offensive details here, but go ahead and type Abu Zubaydah, or, even better, Maher Arar, into Google and see what you come up with. Under the last administration, the Constitution was treated like a suggestion manual and all previous knowledge of the Geneva Conventions agreement was throw into the fireplace.

Now, finally, after eight years of complete unaccountability, of low-level soldiers and CIA and FBI agents taking the fall for what was done, the U.S. government is finally in a position to investigate the awful and despicable practices that were performed in the name of “protecting America.”

And yet … President Obama doesn’t seem to want to do it. Democrats in the Senate, with the courageous exception of Sen. Patrick Leahy, seem focused on not riling up the public, and the Republicans, by dredging up waterboarding and illegal and mistaken imprisonment.

I am disgusted and nauseated that members of my party don’t think this is worth investigating. We tortured and imprisoned hundreds of people in the last eight years, rounding them up, throwing them in jail, then asking later (or sometimes not even asking at all) what they were accused of doing.

Cheney and Co. put American lives in the present and future on the line with their blatant disregard for laws. You don’t think the soldier from Idaho who was just captured wished the United States had followed the international laws regarding prisoners of war?

As so many commentators and writers have already said, boil down all the arguments and excuses for torture and you still come up with this:

This is not who we are as a country. This is not what we stand for.

And yet, without a complete investigation into what happened, we will always appear like we condoned it. That while a few drunk-with-power politicians and devious lawyers like John Yoo put a blowtorch to America’s reputation, we stood and watched and kept our heads down.

Thankfully, not every Democrat has his or her head down. It looks like Attorney General Eric Holder is going to push for a prosecutor to investigate Bush-Cheney’s practices, and I sure as hell hope he gets his way on this.

As we try to repair our reputation in the world, it’s imperative we discover how bad the damage is. Think of it like this: Would you start fixing a broken-down car before fully looking into all its possible malfunctions?

Investigate. Torture. Now. No excuses whatsoever, Democrats.

This must be done, or the stain on the United States will grow larger and larger until it covers everything we hold sacred.