In Memoriam: Jimmy Doohan. I think I’ll definitely forego the obvious beam-up jokes, thank you.
And yet again I’m at a loss for a lead-in. I could mention this: we’re approaching our first anniversary here at the Pulse, and what we have planned is a site-wide restructuring and a new presentation format. Widro’s already come up with a beta for the new look, and he wants opinions on it, and apparently wants them now. Excuse me, but I’m trying to do a column here. I’ll get it done afterward, thank you.
And you wonder why we rag on Widro so much.
Screw it, let’s get to the news…
THE PIMP SECTION
In case you were wondering where my British Open coverage was, it’s here at Fleabag’s.
I allowed McCullar to spoil this Harry Potter book’s death. Hopefully all of you little whiny bitch Harry Potter fans mailed him complaining about it like you did to me.
Truncellito talks reality shows in addition to He Who Shall Not Be Talked About.
Gloomchen should learn by now that friends are simply embarassing to have and should be eliminated from one’s life. It’s worked for me.
Padilla says that there’s a sport called hockey. I’ll believe it when I see it on TV. God knows that growing up in Chicago, I never saw it on TV.
Maillaro has his indispensable Marvel news, and since they’re coming off San Diego, there’s a chock full this week. Ditto with Stevens and the DC side of the aisle.
Sawitz never once mentions that The Island is a complete theft of the 1978 film Clonus, at 400 times the budget of that film. Shame on him, but at least I’ll tell you that.
Weavil was as bored as I was by Raw this week.
Okay, Nguyen, you covered the Tour de France, and I’m sorry for claiming your section didn’t. But you didn’t cover Wimbledon, and Venus was an even better story than Michelle Wie.
IF IT WERE ONLY BOB ROBERTS…
Well, it’s John Roberts for the Supremes. And Dubbaya again shows what his agenda is: pandering to the right-wing. What is this going to provide? A very entertaining September on CSPAN and other networks that will cover the confirmation hearings, that’s for sure. Catch this little element from CNN:
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the judiciary committee, said Wednesday the Senate must ensure that people who get lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court will protect the liberties of all Americans.
“We need to consider this nomination as thoroughly and carefully as the American people expect and deserve,” Leahy said from the Senate floor.
“Preliminary views of Judge Roberts’ record suggest areas of significant concern and need exploration,” he said.
“Exploration” in this case meaning a fight if necessary. Good. And just in case you weren’t clear that’s what it means, here’s a quote from Ted Kennedy:
The real issue in these hearings is going to be, Judge Roberts is on whose side? … These are the issues that we’re going to be questioning the judge on. The American people, bottom line, want to know whether he is on their side or whether he’s going to be on the side of the special interests and the corporate interests.
I think the most important thing here is “special interests”. And which interests might those be? Very simple. It all boils down to Roe v. Wade. Every single survey out there states directly that a majority of Americans approve of a woman’s right to have an abortion, including a major poll taken last week. It’s the loudmouths of the Religious Reich who are opposed to the basic principle that it’s a woman’s body and she has a right to do anything she wants to it. It’s become the major litmus test for both sides when it comes to judicial appointees at any federal level, although the right-wing applies it more judiciously (no pun intended).
So, what’s up with Roberts on this issue? He’s represented the anti-abortionists in cases before (specifically as a member of Bush Senior’s Injustice Department). But he’s also made some rather cagey statements about Roe being the law of the land and that he wouldn’t obstruct efforts to uphold it, blah, blah, blah. Ah, mixed signals. How nice. Can the Demos see through this obvious smokescreen? Well, they can, but the problem is that the way that Roberts was showed off, the American public might not stand for the Demos’ Constitutionally-given right to filibuster. The Junta would like nothing better than to have the right to filibuster taken away for judicial nominees, and a movement to do that almost happened recently. A filibuster on Roberts will be the impetus the Junta needs to reactivate this, and there are a number of Demos scared of that possibility, so they might just acquiesce.
They’re right in this case. Roberts doesn’t have enough of an appeals court record to justify a filibuster on the face of it. His record on social hot-button issues is equally thin. Nobody’s going to get too hopped up about the fact that he’s strongly pro-business, although that should be a major strike against him. However, he does have pig-f*cker elements in his background:
Clerked for Rehnquist.
Worked for the Reagan “Administration”.
Worked for a Republican Justice Department.
Voted against the Endangered Species Act in one case.
But that’s balanced out against the fact that he represented states in the MS anti-trust case. Jesus, how can you say anything bad about someone who’s against Microsoft?
Dammit, I hate this. This is a cuckoo’s nest situation. I don’t like this guy, but there’s no way to really stop him. Yeah, he could turn out to be a surprise (just like Sandy Baby was), but I’m not too hopeful of that. The Junta wouldn’t have put him up there if they weren’t too sure. The fact that all the right-wing morons are cheering this appointment is proof enough for me that he’s going to be bad for the country. Please, please, let him slip up during the confirmation hearings. Then Teddy, Biden, and those guys can come down on him like a ton of bricks.
There is one more thing I’d like to say about the situation, though. I’m actually very pleased that there’s been nothing said about Roberts being a 1) white 2) male. If Dubbaya really wanted to pander, he would have nominated a woman or a Hispanic. However, with Rehnquist going to meet his lord and master Satan soon, he’ll have another chance to do that. In a sense, I view Roberts as Rehnquist’s premature replacement, which does tend to make him a little more acceptable. If this one flies, and it regretfully should, then Dubbaya might go for someone next time who will be totally abominable, like Gonzales. Then he’ll feel the shrapnel.
THE PROPER WAY TO HANDLE THIS
Three British soldiers face war crimes charges in connection with the 2003 death of an Iraqi prisoner, while their former battalion commander and two intelligence officers have been charged with negligence, the UK government announced Tuesday.
Another four soldiers face manslaughter charges in the drowning of a second Iraqi, Attorney General Peter Goldsmith told Parliament.
Cpl. Donald Payne, Lance Cpl. Wayne Crowcroft and Pvt. Darren Fallon, all members of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, have been charged with the inhuman treatment of persons — a war crime under British law. Payne is also charged with manslaughter and perverting the course of justice.
Another soldier, Sgt. Kelvin Stacey, has been charged with common assault in the case.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Goldsmith’s office said the charges stemmed from the treatment of Iraqis arrested during raids in Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, in mid-September 2003.
“One of the detainees, Baha Daoud Salim Musa, was allegedly killed and inhumanely treated by one of these servicemen. The same serviceman is also alleged to have inhumanely treated other detainees and committed acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice,” the statement said.
“It is further alleged that two other servicemen inhumanely treated the internees, who sustained injuries following repeated assaults.”
Charged with negligence are Col. Jorge Mendonca, a former battalion commander of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment; and two intelligence officers, Maj. Michael Peebles and Warrant Officer Mark Lester Davies. All seven soldiers implicated in Musa’s death will face courts-martial, Goldsmith said.
The attorney general also announced that four British troops would stand trial for manslaughter in a May 2003 case, in which a suspected looter drowned after being thrown into a canal.
The victim, Ahmed Kareem, was one of four men arrested on suspicion of looting on May 8, 2003, in Basra.
“The servicemen allegedly punched and kicked the looters before forcing them into the Shat Al-Basra canal,” prosecutors said. “Mr. Kareem could not swim and drowned.”
The troops facing court-martial in that case were identified as Sgt. Carle Selman, now a member of the Scots Guards regiment, and three members of the Irish Guards: Guardsman Martin McGing, Guardsman Joseph McCleary and an unnamed lance corporal who has yet to be notified of the charges against him.
The UK, God bless them, has had the wisdom to instill some of the principles of the Geneva Convention into its criminal law. Therefore, these crimes can be truly called what they are: war crimes. Because of that little quirk of jurisprudence, we here in the US can’t technically call the goings-on at Abu Ghraib, etc., what they are, which enables Americans to keep a relatively clear conscience. The phrase “war crimes” is very strong and produces some intense emotions. Frankly, we Americans wouldn’t have been able to stand the fact of the events at Abu Ghraib being labeled “war crimes”. It’s been a long time since My Lai.
And notice that the soldiers in question have been accused by civilians and will be tried in military court. This provides a guarantee that the courts-martial won’t be complete and total whitewashes, as the Abu Ghraib courts-marital have been. The British Army won’t be able to cover things up, shove things under the table, and put the brunt of the blame on the small-fry enlisteds while the officers walk away pretty much scot-free (officers protect each other in virtually any army; trust me, I know this for certain).
And bravo to the UK AG for having the balls to do this. Do you think that John Ashcroft would have had the motivation to do so if the provisions in criminal law were the same here in re Abu Ghraib? Do you think that Alberto Gonzales would have done it? Absolutely not. The Junta has circled the wagons in support of the misadventure that has killed 25000 Iraqis for no real reason other than Dubbaya’s hard-on for Saddam. They’d never admit to anything that would make them look bad. They tried to tone down Abu Ghraib. They’re trying to whitewash Gitmo. They’ve got a mammoth amount of blood on their hands, and yet they have the sheer balls to show them to the world, dripping red, and saying with a straight face that they’re clean.
Let’s hope that there’s justice done in this, or if the British Army tries to do some sort of whitewash, that there’s an outcry. Maybe it’ll start to get through to Americans exactly what the boys and girls are doing there, and the nature of the illicit government that sent them there to do it.
WET BACK, WET BACK, WET BACK TO WHERE YOU ONCE BELONGED
From the Houston Chronicle:
Sen. John Cornyn’s long-awaited immigration bill, introduced Tuesday, would create a guest worker program and require illegal immigrants already in the U.S. to leave within five years before they can legally return.
Cornyn and his co-author, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., unveiled the bill, saying it reflects much of what President Bush wants to see in a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws.
But the White House has not come out in support of Cornyn’s measure, which could cost more than $12 billion, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has said it could be 12 months before the Senate, which will be consumed by John G. Roberts’ appointment to the Supreme Court, could consider it.
Still, Cornyn, who chairs the Judiciary Committee’s immigration subcommittee, and Kyl, who heads its homeland security panel, pressed ahead.
The Judiciary panel is to hold a hearing July 26 on their measure, as well as on one from Sens. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and John McCain, R-Ariz.
The McCain-Kennedy bill, introduced in May, would allow illegal immigrants to earn U.S. citizenship without leaving.
The Cornyn-Kyl bill would require illegal immigrants to return to their home countries within five years. Once home, they could then apply for the guest worker program or for permanent residency.
The bill says that any immigrant who remains in the United States after the legislation has been in force for a year would face a fine of up to $2,000 a year for each year they remain.
If they failed to leave the U.S., they also would be barred for 10 years from applying for the guest worker program or for permanent residency.
The Cornyn-Kyl measure would create up to 80,000 new permanent residency slots, its sponsors say.
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, said the Cornyn plan would not work.
He argues that guest worker initiatives ultimately increase illegal immigration. “It’s almost impossible to get people to go back home,” he said.
The guest worker program would require U.S. employers to offer jobs to Americans first.
Temporary workers could stay for two years and then must return home for a year. The workers can participate three times and their families can visit for up to 30 days.
The program would require foreign countries whose citizens want to participate in the program to guarantee health care for the workers, create incentives for them to return home and accept within three days nationals who are ordered deported from the United States.
Some countries refuse to take back their residents, a stance that has contributed to the growing population of illegal immigrants in the United States. Some estimates put the figure at 11 million.
All U.S. employers would have to verify the immigration status of their wor
kers, and the federal government would be required to issue tamper-resistant Social Security cards to make it harder for illegal immigrants to get jobs.
Here’s a better plan to curtail illegal immigration:
1) Immediate deportation for any illegal found to be working in the US.
2) Mandatory $10000 fine per worker for the employer found to be employing said illegals.
3) Denial of green card for any illegal worker previously caught, with no exceptions.
4) Increase of budget by $2 billion per year to INS to enforce this.
5) Denial of federal assistance to anyone caught harboring illegal immigrants.
6) Denial of US citizenship for any children born to illegal immigrants while in the US.
Screw this temporary worker bullshit. There are laws about this, and there are procedures to do this the right way. Let’s start enforcing these instead of giving these people a green light (not to mention a green card) to stay here illegally. It’s time to get tough.
And it’s time for me to get out of here. Enjoy the rest of your week, and I’ll be back on Friday or Saturday with the Short Form. And, of course, since it’s a PPV weekend, I’ll be contributing to the Round Table (and I swear I’ll start doing TNA PPVs as well, really, I do). Buh-bye.