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Longwood Gardens. Photos by joanneleon. January, 2013





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News and Opinion



David Dayen wrote this article for HuffPo:


But in reality, a close reading of the McCain-Levin reform proposal shows it would actually do nothing, if not actively harm the ability of the Senate to do its business. The progressive group CREDO asked me to take a look at McCain-Levin, and here's what I found.

The rules reform that doesn't change the rules

 The first thing to notice here is that McCain-Levin isn't a change to the Senate rules at all. This is made clear in the first paragraph:

"We propose the Senate adopt a Standing Order at the beginning of the next Congress, which... would sunset at the end of the 113th Congress."

[...]

Conclusion

McCain-Levin offers almost no substantive change from the current status quo in the Senate. It would actually make the status quo the most attractive option, in the case of the motion to proceed. It would not stop needless obstruction of conference committee motions or Senate confirmations. It would not come close to ending the silent filibuster, where the minority can block legislation without exposing their reasons to public scrutiny. It's a rules reform that people who hate rules reform can believe in.

That it comes from McCain and Levin actually makes a perverse bit of sense. After all, they are the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. This means that their annual highlight comes when they manage the one bill every year that never gets subject to a filibuster or a crush for floor time: the defense authorization bill. Congress has passed this bill every year since 1961. It usually passes with 90 votes or more. The Senate works pretty well for John McCain, Carl Levin and the military contractor industry. None of them can imagine it doesn't work for the rest of the country.

Carmen Ortiz's husband was on Twitter criticizing Aaron Swartz's family on the night before his funeral and discussing details of a plea deal. He got a ton of push back as a result from other Twitter users.  Then he later disabled or deleted his Twitter account (one that he had used extensively for his IBM work) but not before plenty of people had made copies of his messages, perhaps anticipating that he would regret his actions and delete.
Prosecutor's Husband Fights Back Against Everyone Criticizing The Case Against Aaron Swartz

In a series of tweets posted Monday, Dolan attacked ThinkProgress for reporting Swartz "faced a more severe prison term than killers," telling the liberal news site its report was "completely false. Aaron Swartz was offered a plea deal of 6 months. 6 months is not 35 years."
Dolan also fired back against media critic Dan Gillmor for tweeting a Boston Globe article that reported MIT refused to sign a plea deal for Swartz. "If true, just sickening," Gillmor added.

Dolan also criticized Swartz's family, saying it was "truly incredible that in their own son's obit they blame others for his death and make no mention of the 6-month offer."

Um, a little late now, Kathryn.  Also, she claims that depiction is not endorsement but does she address the heinous problem that she caused with her CIA propagand movie which leaves the impression that torture played a key role in finding bin Laden?  She can try to save her own reputation here and try to keep members of the Academy from refusing to vote for her movie for best picture, but the damage is already done in terms of propaganda and the impact on millions? of viewers.  It looks very much like screenwriter Mark Boal, former embedded war journalist, chose CIA torture apologists and propagandists for his sources.  But by the time this movie was made there was plenty of information out here about how torture did not lead to finding the courier and Bigelow could have found that herself if she had wanted to, and perhaps she did.
Kathryn Bigelow denounces torture in new 'Zero Dark Thirty' essay

Zero Dark Thirty filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow has written at length in an essay published in the LA Times about the scenes of torture featured in the movie, insisting once more than “depiction is not endorsement.”

The controversy has dogged the movie for weeks as politicians and pundits attacked the movie, which was based on screenwriter/producer Mark Boal’s interviews with intelligence and military sources, for showing CIA agents beating and torturing suspects who later give up information that leads to Osama bin Laden.

Bigelow essay from LA Times:  Right off the bat, the fact that she calls the controversy "brouhaha" gives me the impression that she is mocking it.  I'm curious to hear what you think about how she handled this.  I found it to be mocking and largely dishonest, avoiding the main criticisms and objections by people who have all the reports and facts.
Kathryn Bigelow addresses 'Zero Dark Thirty' torture criticism
'Zero Dark Thirty' director Kathryn Bigelow answers criticism of the film's depiction of torture, which she says does not equal endorsement of the tactics.

Now that "Zero Dark Thirty" has appeared in cinemas nationwide, many people have asked me if I was surprised by the brouhaha that surrounded the film while it was still in limited release, when many thoughtful people were characterizing it in wildly contradictory ways.
[...]
Bin Laden wasn't defeated by superheroes zooming down from the sky; he was defeated by ordinary Americans who fought bravely even as they sometimes crossed moral lines, who labored greatly and intently, who gave all of themselves in both victory and defeat, in life and in death, for the defense of this nation.





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Debate

Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?

Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.

Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."  ~ Noam Chomsky

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