this n that

Read this, give here.

Why we may need to take international action against Blackwater: they have resettled in the UAE amid mounting legal problems in the U.S.:Blackwater Founder Forms Secret Army for UAE. That doesn’t sound good to me at all — aiming Blackwater at the Arab Spring, do you think?

Among the many problems with death penalties include methods of execution and we seem to be having issues. A national shortage of sodium thiopental, used to sedate and anesthetize the person before the administration of the (painfully) lethal drugs is causing states to look at more dubious sources of the drug. In Tortured to Death in the US we see what the results of both the shortages and budgetary pressures are and it’s not pretty. One of the reasons the SCOTUS upheld the death penalty by lethal injection in 2008 (Baze v. Rees) was that lethal injection was ultimately not considered to be cruel and unusual punishment. That may have changed.

Wonkbook: Happy debt-ceiling day! Better buckle up, it’s gonna be a wild ride:

Today, the Treasury will begin to borrow from the pension workers of federal employees.

A pretty good informative graphic is about half way down this article: As Debt Limit Reached, Agreement Still Far Off.

Well worth looking at and thinking about (via above link). Instead of taxing the wealthy, we are borrowing money from them. The fuck?

Current state of Disunion: American Democracy Beyond Casino Capitalism and the Torture State and 6 State Battlegrounds in the Right-Wing War Against Teachers, Firefighters, Caregivers and the Entire Middle Class. Best digressive commentary:

[Ironic aside: The ‘leaders’ who’re so wildly assailing public employees also happen to be public employees, and they consume a whole lot more of our tax dollars than those they’re dissing. Gov. Christie, for example, siphons $175,000 a year from the public treasury in salary — far more than any of those “greedy” teachers in his state. And while politicos screech for deep cutbacks in rank and file workers, notice that they’re not volunteering any givebacks in their own pay, pensions, health care, limousines, mansions, and other public subsidies. Apparently, they never had a teacher explain ‘irony’ to them, but it would be a better world if they took a remedial class on the concept. Oh, too late — teachers of irony have been fired.]

Of course, one case where whatever sort of education it was failed utterly: Rand Paul: Universal Health Care Is “Slavery”. *blink* And seriously, why is this guy in politics at all: Ron Paul and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Really? Really??

Oh, and also a peek at this: Another Day, Another Gigantic Media Merger — Microsoft’s $8.5 Billion Purchase of Skype. What, didn’t we learn anything in 1776 when we rebelled against monopolies trying to run the colonies? A hundred odd years ago when we had to wade in and bust up the railroad and other monopolies? Don’t we have antitrust and RICO laws on the books? WTF is it with all these huge re-monopolization mergers??

Trump is NOT running for President: Trump Not Running for President: ‘Decision Does Not Come Easily Or Without Regret’. I’m almost disappointed, that would have been plenty of popcorn fodder. But as George Takei opined, Trump probably couldn’t prove he wasn’t born a douchebag :D.

Excellent news! Uganda anti-gay bill ‘shelved by parliament’. More here Uganda anti-gay bill pushed out of parliament. And here: No vote: Future of Uganda’s anti-gay bill in limbo. An international protest does make a difference.

Now, I don’t happen to actually have a problem with Savage being such a prominent spokesguy — though I’d also like to see a wee bit more overall diversity. But he makes the best point about that that I’ve seen in this interview: The Dan Savage Interview

You started out as a sex-advice columnist, and now you’re one of the leading gay voices in America. Are you at all surprised by how your career turned out?

I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. I would say I’m appalled. There are gay organizations with multi-million-dollar budgets, and none of them can seem to scrounge up an executive director who can string a few persuasive lines together and win an argument on basic cable. Why is that every time someone from the Human Rights Campaign is on TV, you just know that we already lost the fight. Whatever the argument is, whatever the question is, it’s over. Some people will say to me, “Who made you spokesperson?” You know what? Nobody. I’m a spokesperson by default.

Ever since the HRC leadership fail in 2008 I’ve been acutely aware of this…

Interesting current culture stuff: A Secret, Boxed-Up Bazaar Of Fantastical Things (both audio and transcript). Makes me think of the modern day circus with a bit of freak show element to it.

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