Sunday, May 29, 2011

Multilayered Resistance in Honduras

Over at I've posted More than Zelaya: Multilayered Resistance in Honduras, featuring analysis and interviews on Zelaya's return and the state of the resistance in Honduras. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

a hoisted by their own petard kind of thing

Ol' Tim Pawlenty may be in a bit of a soup. A Daily Kos blogger passed along the news that

...then-Gov. Pawlenty granted to a sex offender in October 2008, a pardon that is certain to haunt Pawlenty throughout his campaign. Turns out the man Pawlenty pardoned was later arrested again for molesting his daughter more than 250 times in an eight-year span, including six years prior to his pardon.
Jeremy Giefer served 45 days in prison in 1994 after being convicted of statutory rape. However, because he married the then-14-year-old girl and stuck around to father the child they conceived together, he begged the state for an extraordinary pardon, which would no longer require Giefer to report himself as a sex offender.
The board — which included the Minnesota attorney general, the chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, and then-Governor Pawlenty — voted unanimously to pardon Giefer.
"Old Redneck" at Kos concludes that this proves Republicans fire teachers and pardon child molesters. Yeah, anyway...

This isn't Pawlenty's first pardon problem. He and Michele Bachmann sought a pardon for a character

...indicted on fraud and money-laundering charges in a U.S. District Court in Minnesota. A former North Dakota pawnshop owner who ostensibly found Jesus while serving a prison sentence in the 1980s, Vennes emerged as a pillar of Minnesota’s conservative Christian community. Then, according to the indictment, he channeled millions into a Ponzi scheme run by the businessman Thomas J. Petters, who is now serving 50 years in federal prison. Much of the money Vennes raised seems to have come from faith-based charities, pastors, and ministers, some of who have lost their life savings.
...Vennes was a major donor to both politicians, and both politicians sought pardons for him in order to wipe away the taint of the crimes that first landed him in prison. Vennes’s respectability in conservative Minnesota circles seems to have enabled his crimes.
... He donated several thousand dollars to Tim Pawlenty’s 2002 gubernatorial campaign, and sat on the board of Teen Challenge, a faith-based drug rehab program, with Pawlenty’s wife, Mary. In 2006, according to the Star Tribune, he was the top donor to Michele Bachmann’s congressional campaign.
(Which leads me to sidebar: Is there a bigger piece of opportunistic trash in congress than Michele Bachmann?)

It's certainly not true that only Republicans abuse the pardon process. Bourgeois politicians, products of the marketplace themselves, have trouble drawing their wheeling and dealing lines. But in this election cycle, it's the GOP that seems tainted by what Politico called "Horton's Ghost."

Sometimes these pardon scandals are a bit unfair, a bit of a stretch to the limits of configural causality and foreseeability. Mittens, for example, appointed people to a parole board who made a pretty egregious error (see the Politico link above). Even Pawlenty can't be faulted for what a shrink should have caught--that the dude that married the 14 year old was also prone to go after younger kids--including immediate family members.

One unanswered question, though, is why Pawlenty would be stupid enough to pardon ANY sex offender. Was he trying to appeal to the self-perceived wrongfully convicted sex offender constituency?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Where to go, Mr. Trumka?

At I ask: Where to go, Mr. Trumka?

Richard Trumka's call to arms, and promise of an "independent" labor movement, was refreshing. Can labor deliver? Does it mean more than just criticizing the Democratic Party? Is there a walk accompanying the talk?

Monday, May 16, 2011

"but I've grown older and wiser..."

"I am for people, individuals, exactly like automobile insurance, individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance, and I am prepared to vote for a voucher system which will give individuals on a sliding scale a government subsidy so to insure that everyone as individuals have health insurance." ~Newt Gingrich, 1993

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

sometimes nice guys finish first!

This is great news about a great person.
Jason West was Mayor of New Paltz New York from 2003 to 2007. An active member of the Green Party at that time, West was the first official in the United States to marry same-sex couples. He was arrested and charged with “solemnizing marriages without a license”. The charges were later dismissed.

After losing in a run at re-election West headed out west, to the University of California at Berkley to study urban planning, and later returned to New Paltz. This year he again ran for Mayor, and . . . he has won that race, giving him a second but non-consecutive term.
West ran on the “Cooperative Party” ticket.
Congrats and good luck, Mayor West. Keep fighting the good fights!

Monday, May 02, 2011

from one living right wing terrorist, concerning a dead right wing terrorist

"If [Obama] was a shoo-in for reelection, Osama bin Laden would still be alive today. There would have been no need to undertake the mission."

--Rush Limbaugh, courtesy of Media Matters and Daily Kos. I'm no Obama fan, but if the POTUS could send the Fat Idiot to Gitmo, I just might become one.

Friendly Fire

Not that I wouldn't dance on OBL's grave (the only good right-wing terrorist is a dead right-wing terrorist), but it's kind of a shame to see the CIA kill one of their own like that.