What an amazing day! I finally watched the speeches today. Obama is pretty amazing.
Check out this site, Living Room Candidate, which has presidential campaign commercials since 1952. It’s pretty interesting to watch the progression, lack of progression, and even regression. When you watch several years in a row, you get a clearer sense of advertising machinations.
I just wanted to write a quick post about the odd discrepancy I see — and I’m not sure why there is a discrepancy at all between these two cases. As I was looking at various web articles last night, I came across this AP story about Pfc Jesse Spielman getting 110 years in prison with an opportunity for parole after 10 years for being involved in a rape and murder case. Three other soldiers were also given sentences — sentences that ranged from 5 to 100 years. The group of soldiers entered a house, took turns raping a 14 year old girl, and murdered the girl, her parents, and her sister.
Does this sound familiar at all? This is almost the same crime against the Petit family. I am mainly anti-death penalty — and it is the kind of viewpoint I want to develop in a non-emotional state of mind, because obviously, emotions will affect my rational decision making ability. And yet, I could be convinced of using the death penalty in a case like the Petit assaults and murders. The Connecticut prosecutors have charged the perpetrators with capital felony — which would either get them life imprisonment without the chance of parole or death by lethal injection. I think in this case, I actually see the merit of that possibility (though I still am very conflicted and need to think further on this).
Why, then, weren’t prosecutors seeking the same for the pfc’s who committed an almost identical crime on an Iraqi family? They raped a child. They killed two children. They murdered an entire family. The sentences range between 5 years and 110? 5 years!?! I’m not necessarily suggesting that the soldiers involved should receive the death penalty, but parole in 10 years? And a 5 year sentence? People make a lot of noise about making sure sex offenders are registered and publicly known. How about the punishment fitting the crime? How about at least some consistency? I realize the two cases are being tried in different realms — one the world of civilians, one the world of the military. I also understand that the stress of war, and the stress of being overseas in a less than successful mission drives people to do some pretty horrible things, like <a href="My Lai, but this was premeditated — they planned it.
This NY Times article makes me very sad. What ever happened to integrity? So what if some dumb bullies call you names all fall? That does not mean that you do not do what you believe is right — and giving over our rights in a neatly wrapped package to our president (which apparently means dictator) is NOT the right thing to do. It is a poor use of power. Get some backbones, Dems.
According to the article, Pelosi even says it “does violence to the Constitution of the United States.” So how can she let it happen? And finally, when we have so many other issues to deal with, why are we so preoccupied with legislating around fear?
While I wanted to see Sicko on opening night, we went to see Ratatouille instead. So tonight, we finally went to see Sicko, even though I pledged on MoveOn.Org that I would see it Saturday evening — Sorry, MoveOn. My first reaction when I left the theater was — I really want to feel empowered and inspired, yet I feel a sense of despair and powerlessness. It seems the lobbies in this country are magnanimously strong. But I’d like to try to get beyond an initial feeling of powerlessness.
Ironically — or not ironically, I suppose — the movie was not playing at one of the major cinemas in our area. We saw Fahrenheit 911 at the cinema in Plainville, and I was going to get tickets to see Sicko there on Friday afternoon, yet it was only playing at one of the Hartford “arts” cinemas (and a mall cinema that is fairly far from us). I was surprised it wasn’t at Plainville, and Sujal told me his theory that it might have something to do with the fact that Hartford is the insurance capital. Makes sense…
Here’s an interesting YouTube link in which Moore responds to potential attacks on 911 rescue workers.
[fmvideo movie=”http://www.youtube.com/v/QFD61O-EKiE” width=”425″ height=”350″ /]
[fmvideo movie=”http://www.youtube.com/v/XbdwoaI_5eI” width=”425″ height=”350″ /]
I truly hope this does open a national healthcare debate and movement. It is high time!
Yesterday the citizens of West Hartford voted on accepting the proposed budget, and they voted a resounding, “No.”
I have not yet read any reaction to last night’s election, but I wanted to share my immediate thoughts. They may change as I later reflect (I’m a commit-ophobe), but right now I am pretty pleased with the fact that I live in a place that has referendums decent voter turnout in the middle of June. I guess when you come down to it, almost 30% isn’t great voter turnout, but considering what turnouts are often like, it’s not too bad. I cannot say I am pleased with the outcome of the vote, as I believe the West Hartford Taxpayers Association has been less than up front — though more importantly — they have vilified teachers and unions, as well as anyone who opposes them. I am happy, however, that the town of West Hartford had the opportunity to raise a voice. While I may not always be completely caught up on what is happening in my town, (my country, or my world, for that matter) I believe it is important to read up and know what you are voting for or against. I’d like to think that many people who voted no were wooed by the idea of lower taxes — a skewing of the actual WHTA’s issue with the budget. I’d like to think that — not because I want us to all be blind voters, but because I do not want to believe that people can think so harshly of teachers, unions, and education. Of course I don’t want to believe that people vote without a good understanding of an issue, but for some reason it seems worse to believe that citizens think teachers are greedy and self-serving.
The West hartford Blog has provided an invaluable place to discuss the issue, though I wish there had been a public debate forum.
All in all, while I may not agree with the outcome, I am glad that we had the election. I’m getting satisfaction out of being linked in to local politics — having a firm understanding of what is going on in my town. West Hartford does have a lot of great services, and I hope that those services don’t get cut.
I am so proud to have Beth Bye as my state rep. I’d read her powerful testimony, but when Sujal and I watched it on the web — wow. Watch it below.
In my perusal in the Times, I saw that Al Franken is running for Senate in the state of Minnesota. I’m often not so much a fan of the celebrity-politicians, but Franken seems to be a fairly stand up guy. Thinking about him running makes me miss some of my ol’ Minneapolis days.
Shortly after he wrote Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, I saw him read at the now defunct Hungry Mind Bookstore in St. Paul, MN. Actually, I did not see him at the bookstore, but the reading was sponsored by the Hungry Mind. They would hold their large readings at the Weyerhaeuser Memorial Chapel which is part of Macalester College. I saw several great authors there: Al Franken, John Irving, Dorothy Allison. I even saw Brett Easton Ellis at the Hungry Mind — though I’m not sure I’d call him great.
Thinking about Minnesotan senators, I can’t help but be saddened by the death of Senator Paul Wellstone in 2002. He was a great senator an perhaps could have been a great presidential candidate in 2004 or 2008. His surviving kids began the organization Wellstone Action which seeks to train citizens and potential candidates to pass legislation for progressive social change. Ugh — we need a hero. Will Franken be it?