Tuesday Open Thread

It's time for the Tuesday Open Thread.

I've been looking for a place to post this photo of my cousin Max, taken on his cell phone last week. He's the same age as the TL kid. What a cutie. He's given me permission to post it, with the caveat, "I dont mind as long as its not used to shed any negative light on Paris herself. After meeting her I would have nothing but positive nice things to say."

So please, no Paris insults in the comments.

And now, for your news and thoughts of the day.

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    How will you keep him (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:56:12 AM EST
    down on the farm, now that he's seen Paris?

    mad f'g hilarious! (none / 0) (#5)
    by scribe on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:59:01 AM EST
    Yes, "we'll always have Paris." (none / 0) (#14)
    by TexDem on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 12:42:25 PM EST
    ummm, no comment.

    DU and 180,00 dead (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:59:57 AM EST
    I ran accross this statistic in an editorial in AcresUSA by Charlie Walters. Acres is an organic farming magazine edited by Charlie and he can be very political in his editorials. I love the guy, but he does have an annoying habit of not providing quality citations for his sources and statistics.

    In his latest Newsletter, which is not available online, Charlie tackles the atrocities caused by Depleted Uranium in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. He speaks to the horrendous impact these weapons have on Iraqis, Afghanis, and the Lebonese -especially the farmers in rural areas (and also reminds us that this dust is spread worldwide by wind). But he says this about our Vets:

    According to the Department of Veteran affairs, between April 1990 and May 2006, 1.2 million of our sons and daughters were deployed to the Persian Gulf. As of May 30, 2006 only 943,470 of these sons and daughters are still alive of those deployed. Over 180,000 have died - 180,000 Deaths as a consequence of military service. The most recent data reveals that 383,913 have submitted applications for permanent disability and permanent compensation with the Department of Veteran Affairs, all as a consequence of the ongoing nightmare called Iraq.

    These are the kind of statistics that we don't hear about. Instead we focus on Killed in Action and not the the number who die later once they come home. I am wondering about the accuracy of Charlie's statistics. Can anyone confirm?

    Not confirmation (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 12:39:23 PM EST
    but partial corroboration and some leads to follow up on:
    The death toll from the highly toxic weapons component known as depleted uranium (DU) has reached 11,000 soldiers and the growing scandal may be the reason behind Anthony Principi's departure as secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department.

    This view was expressed by Arthur Bernklau, executive director of Veterans for Constitutional Law in New York, writing in Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter.
    "However, a special report published by eminent scientist Leuren Moret naming depleted uranium as the definitive cause of `Gulf War Syndrome' has fed a growing scandal about the continued use of uranium munitions by the U.S. military."
    Of the 580,400 soldiers who served in Gulf War I, 11,000 are now dead, he said. By the year 2000, there were 325,000 on permanent medical disability. More than a decade later, more than half (56 percent) who served in Gulf War I have permanent medical problems. The disability rate for veterans of the world wars of the last century was 5 percent, rising to 10 percent in Vietnam.

    My husband still claims that (none / 0) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 06:32:52 PM EST
    exposure to DU is minimal.  He's fairly accurate on things like that but still has a touch of the jarhead to him at times.  Things that I do know about Gulf War I are that they used pesticides to spray down tents and equipment that is no longer on the market.  It is thought that it likely contained Dursban and that is some bad stuff for a lot of people who have been exposed to it, good luck getting any solid information though.  In the military if Civies use this much then soldiers use three times as much because they are so tough ya know and they were headed to a really tough place.  If it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger ;)  Also during Gulf I we did blow up some facilities that we thought were manufacturing chemical WMDs.  My friend's husband was in one of the camps close to such a suspected facility and the chemical detector sirens in his camp kept going off right after we blew the facility.  He came home suffering nonstop migraines, numbness and tingling, and vision disturbances but that has subsided to the occassional horrible headache now.  When the sirens were going off the soldiers were told it was all false alarm stuff and not to worry so who knows for sure and if they are they aren't talking?  

    Edwards, Clinton, and Obama (none / 0) (#1)
    by glanton on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:51:58 AM EST
    All have refused to participate in a second FNC-hosted Democratic candidate debate.  It's all over the internet.

    Good for all of them. Edwards deserves the most credit as he was the first to disassociate himself from the filth.

    At the same time, while I am no big fan of Hillary Clinton, I have to give her credit for consistently not appearing on the network since she's been a Senator.  Finally, some people with stroke are starting to get it.

    Stay alert, and stay with Fox.

    Not only don't US Attorneys require confirmation (none / 0) (#3)
    by scribe on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:57:38 AM EST
    but, under the New Improved So-Called Patriot Act, they don't have to be residents of the State where they are assigned to serve

    It might help if someone actually read the crap Specter's pet slips into legislation under his watchful eye.

    And, now, so long as it doesn't relate to arrest (none / 0) (#7)
    by scribe on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 12:03:28 PM EST
    or pretrial detention in the criminal system, the feds can torture you all they want.

    Jose Padilla lost his motion to sh*tcan his show trial because of the torture the government inflicted upon him.

    Fruit of the Torture Tree 'n' all that. (none / 0) (#15)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 12:42:46 PM EST
    Scribe, you know better than that. All this ruling means is that torture victims don't get a free pass when it comes to their criminal acts. Padilla can still be held accountable for any crimes he committed and the only way the torture will come into it is if the prosecution tries to introduce evidence that arose as a result of the government misconduct.

    I think scribe is closer than you think (none / 0) (#17)
    by Sailor on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 01:14:15 PM EST
    it failed on other legal grounds because prosecutors are not using any evidence collected during his brig custody in the Miami case.

    To rule otherwise would "effectively provide a defendant with amnesty for any uncharged crime so long as the government violated the defendant's due process rights at some prior point," Cooke wrote.

    To me that's like saying the cops can torture you ... as long as they don't chage you with a crime that you confessed to while being tortured.

    Sorry, but I think the only way to stop the gov't from violating our rights is to make them pay a price.


    You Nailed it: (none / 0) (#19)
    by scribe on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 02:47:05 PM EST
    To me that's like saying the cops can torture you ... as long as they don't charge you with a crime that you confessed to while being tortured.

    There is actually language to that effect in a 7th Circuit opinion, one of the Buckley v. Fitzsimmons decisions (but from before all opinions were put up free on the net, so I can't link it in.).

    In short, some Rethug judge (I think it was Easterbrook), was opining on whether the prosecutors were entitled to any of the many immunities available in civil rights legislation/litigation addressed the issue of whether one could complain his rights were violated (such that he could sue) when another person gave a coerced statement falsely inculpating the putative plaintiff.  The judge stated that, if the plaintiff pleaded he had been done wrong by the torture to the other person (who gave the inculpatory statement), the plaintiff could not sue because it was not his rights that were violated.  If, on the other hand, the plaintiff pleaded that he had been done wrong by the prosecutor's use of the torture-derived statement, the prosecutor was acting as a prosecutor and therefore was entitled to immunity.  In other words, there was no way for the plaintiff to plead a cause of action without simultaneously pleading himself out of court.

    The learned judge writing that Buckley v. Fitzsimmons opinion used all sorts of allusions to putting the other person on the rack and so on, which I then took to understand as being a literary allusion to the treatment of one of the wives of Henry VIII (Jane Grey?), who was inculpated in something or other which cost her her head, based upon the statements of others under torture.  We can see now (if we didn't know so, before) that instead he was trying to give a pseudo-historical/literary gloss to the license to torture he handed out - that day to some Illinois PD, later to just about anyone with a badge.  

    Amazing how the common law develops, too, isn't it?

    That opinion was only in 1993 or 1994 - we've gone from station-house beat-downs to Torture Corps in what - 10 years?


    Yes, it is. (none / 0) (#24)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 03:25:06 PM EST
    Sorry, but I think the only way to stop the gov't from violating our rights is to make them pay a price.

    I agree. But that price comes in a suit against the government. It's not an affirmative defense in a criminal trial.

    To me that's like saying the cops can torture you ... as long as they don't chage you with a crime that you confessed to while being tortured.

    Well, no. If they torture you, you can sue them. But that doesn't mean you get to ignore your other criminal violations.


    Gabe and Scribe, (none / 0) (#25)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 03:53:14 PM EST
    As far as paying a price or putting the burden on the Gov't. From someone who is not a lawyer or a law student.

    My understanding, again from a amatuer view, is that if upon arrest a criminal is not read his or her miranda rights the crime that he or she is charged with can be thrown out. This puts the burden on gov't to provide due process to a criminal, even if the criminal might be guilty of the crime. It seems punitive against the gov't but our courts have decided that defendants must be aware of theri rights if we are to have a civil and just legal system. That's my, again amatuer, interpretation anyway.

    So, mostly to Gabe, why shouldn't defendants be, at the very least, protected from instances of abuse or even uncivilized and harsh treatments as decided by social consensus. Placing this burden on the gov't and punishing them by having charges dismissed against individuals suffering such treatment, even if evidence might suggest the individual might be guilty of such charges, seems to me to be no diofferent than throwing out charges if a defendant is not read his or her Miranda rights. At least, as far as the intention of mking the gov't behve to a minimal standard of decency.


    Peaches (none / 0) (#27)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:14:15 PM EST
    The reason charges are sometimes dismissed when police officers fail to give arrestees Miranda warnings is that due process requires that the arrestee be aware of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

    When there is a failure to give the Miranda warning, any evidence which arises from government contact with the arrestee from that point on is deemed "tainted" by that failure. It is inadmissible in court. Furthermore, evidence which is found as a direct result of this tainted evidence is also deemed inadmissible as "fruit of the poisoned tree." (Hence my comment title above.)

    However, this requirement only applies to tainted evidence or downstream evidence that couldn't have been discovered through an independent source. It does not apply to evidence already in government possession. In a tainted evidence case, the DA would decide whether she has enough evidence to proceed. Then and only then will the decision to throw out the charges be made.

    IOW, tainted evidence may or may not lead to dismissal. But it is far from a certainty, as you treat it in your comment, Peaches. The key point is that Miranda failures lead to thrown out evidence, not necessarily thrown out cases.

    This case is analogous to the hypothetical criminal for whom the police had enough independent (that is, non-tainted) evidence to proceed with charges, despite the fact that some evidence is clearly inadmissible.

    It is possible that we want to use a harsh rule like the one you outline to deter government misconduct. In fact, Miranda was originally conceived in part to serve that purpose. But to date, a black-letter rule whereby whole cases are dropped because of government misconduct has not been adopted by courts or created by legislatures.


    Thanks - that makes sense (none / 0) (#29)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:26:35 PM EST
    Cases can get dismissed when the gov't (none / 0) (#26)
    by Sailor on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:09:14 PM EST
    commits misconduct.

    I would suggest  that torturing a defendent who will testify in his own behalf  could be considered  witness tampering and cases get dismissed for that. Just as an example.

    Violation of rights is another.

    A civil suit is NOT the only remedy for when the gov't violates your rights.


    Witness tampering? (none / 0) (#32)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:38:27 PM EST
    I doubt witness tampering will stick, although that's pretty clever. I don't think it will stick because witness tampering is an intent crime; the intimidation, threats, violence, or "corrupt persuasion" have to be engaged in to influence or prevent the testimony of a person in an official proceeding or to cause that person to withhold or destroy testimony or documents for an official proceeding.

    I don't think that Padilla's attorneys will be able to persuade a judge that he was tortured in order to keep him from testifying about his al Qaida contacts. Nor will a judge buy the idea that he was tortured to keep him from testifying about his torture (since that's just a little bit circular).


    It was just an example ... (none / 0) (#34)
    by Sailor on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 05:07:17 PM EST
    ... and note I said when the gov't engages in misconduct, which it certainly has in this case.

    BTW, the defense alleges that because he was tortured he is unable/unwilling to testify in his case or even participate in his defense.

    IRT this judge; she has shown herself to be a loyal bushie all along, I doubt she'd do anything to hurt her benefactors.


    Heh. (none / 0) (#39)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 05:21:47 PM EST
    Sailor, that goes to mental infirmity, which I believe the judge has already ruled on (and which we already argued here at TalkLeft). I'm going to stick with my argument then: the judge is in a much better position to determine Padilla's mental fitness than you or I.

    Whether that makes her a "bushie" seems like something the losing side would always say. Whenever you lose, just claim that the judge was biased. In any case, mental fitness determinations are open to appeal, so if your baseless charges are true, I'm sure we'll find out eventually.


    In reply (none / 0) (#46)
    by Sailor on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 06:56:34 PM EST
    Sure, you could say I'm "pounding the table", but considering 7 years of Bush appointees rejecting science, law and the International Convention Against Torture.

    so if your baseless charges are true

    We had some Chinese take out last (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 12:07:51 PM EST
    night.  I just ate a fortune cookie and it said You are contemplative and analytical by nature.  I think I just ate my husband's cookie, sorry honey.

    You... (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by desertswine on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 05:46:01 PM EST
    eat those things?

    Shhhhh everyone was at work or school (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 06:14:54 PM EST
    nobody knows I did it except everybody who reads this.  They were sitting on top of the stove, a little puddle of them staring at me all morning and I had this mug of coffee in my hand and the next thing I know I'm reading.....

    Paris looks lovely in that photo (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 12:08:32 PM EST
    Is that nice or what?

    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 12:52:06 PM EST
    Her skin looks luminous. And yes, Big Tent, that was most gracious of you. Thanks.

    Did the TL Kid's (none / 0) (#30)
    by ding7777 on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:28:15 PM EST
    lunch with Bill Clinton start a family rivalry?

    Hadn't thought of that (none / 0) (#38)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 05:19:28 PM EST
    Here's  that picture.  

    Very strong family resemblance (none / 0) (#40)
    by HK on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 05:27:53 PM EST
    between the TL kid and the TL cousin.  At family gatherings, did you ever take the wrong one home?

    Not that I remember (none / 0) (#43)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 06:12:22 PM EST
    That was funny, thanks.  Here's their great, great-grand grandfather (my great grandfather) -- who ran away from the Czar in Russia.  I think it was Czar Nicholas at the end of the 1800's or early 1900's.   I'll save the story for an immigration thread when that heats up again.

    She does. (none / 0) (#21)
    by 1980Ford on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 02:52:39 PM EST
    That is a very good picture. Paris always gets a bad rap and it is likely envy from the middle class who resents those above them who can do what they can't do and who resents those below them who can't do what they can do.

    for some inexplicable reason (none / 0) (#36)
    by scribe on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 05:15:08 PM EST
    she seems to be raking it in from advertising/celebrity work* in the German-speaking part of the world.  I read somewhere she got like a cool mil to show up at the Vienna Opera Ball, and I've seen a lot of web-ads on German language sites with her, for various products.  They can't get enough of her, it seems.

    And, yes, she looks great in the photo.

    Go figure - the female analogue of David Hasselhoff.

    But, then again, you've got that whole "French revering Jerry Lewis as a comedy God" thing, too.

    *Yeah, I know.  "Paris Hilton" and "work" seem to be mutually exclusive categories.


    The CFO of Menu Foods dumped stock (none / 0) (#10)
    by scribe on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 12:09:54 PM EST
    right before the news of the poisoned pets and the company's pet food recall came out.

    According to the Toronto Globe & Mail, the CFO sold about 45% of his stock in his company a few days before the poisoning of cats and dogs by their food became public knowledge.

    He says the timing of the sale is "a horrible coincidence."


    Geez, whudda coinkydink... (none / 0) (#12)
    by desertswine on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 12:39:01 PM EST
    "I hold myself to the highest ethical and moral standards possible. I wouldn't do anything to imperil the high governance standards that I demand of myself or anybody in the company."

    You know when anyone says anything like that, they're lying.


    If he gives the profits (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jen M on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 02:36:50 PM EST
    to help fund veterinary care for animals sickened by the pet food, I might believe him. Maybe.

    Funny thing is - (none / 0) (#20)
    by scribe on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 02:49:16 PM EST
    he might have made $100k (or, more precisely, avoided losses of maybe $100k) - a lot of those pets are requiring thousands of dollars of treatment, each.  Go to a vet - hand money over.

    Subject Change? (none / 0) (#23)
    by peacrevol on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 03:20:29 PM EST
    Maybe global warming is for real. It snowed in Tyler, Texas on Easter Sunday. It's never snowed in East Texas in April...ever. If you've ever been down here, you'll know what I mean. Usually by April it's like 85 degrees. It almost never snows here, but we usually get one or two days a year where we get freezing rain. And that's usually between December and February.

    Maybe? (none / 0) (#28)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:22:07 PM EST

    remote possibility? (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Jen M on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:58:02 PM EST
    Anything is (none / 0) (#35)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 05:07:51 PM EST
    Yeah, that GW also froze my tomato (none / 0) (#41)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 05:43:56 PM EST
    and pepper plants. It got so warm my azaleas dropped their blooms and my crepe myrtles turned black and dropped their leaves.

    I tell you GW was so bad I had to scrap ice off my car's windshield. God knows what it will be doing 30 years from now. Can you spell Ice Age??