Category Archives: Government

exposing treachery in the justice department

You’ve probably seen this already. (I hope you have, because I’d personally make it front-page news all over the country.) The New York Times ran a story yesterday that exposes a secret Justice Department brief endorsing torture, written after the same department publicly denounced the same tactics.

When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.

But soon after Alberto R. Gonzalesís arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. … The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.

This is sickening on so many levels I don’t know where to start. Congress is already demanding to see the secret opinions so they can hold hearings, so hopefully this can be brought into the light swiftly and dealt with harshly. I really don’t want to discover that we’ve become the kind of country that does otherwise.

Dinner with Barack

My aunt and uncle have recently had several opportunities to go to DC to speak with Senators and Congresspeople about the issue of asbestos. As a result, they’ve gotten a chance to meet many of the personalities we see in the news, including Barack Obama. Thus, I’ll let my uncle describe this video of Senator Barack Obama in his own words:

The video . . . provides a great sampling of Obama the man, consistent with the two personal interactions that [we] have had with him. In our judgment, he’s genuine, intelligent and exemplifies integrity. If you’ve been waiting for him to state the specifics of his plans, be sure to click on [this] link. . . which will take you to his campaign website, where you can read his policies and plans on various issues and offer your own ideas.

The idea was simple: invite some “regular folks” out to dinner, have a conversation, tape it and use it on the campaign website. But it’s more than that; Senator Obama is actually talking to these people. He could be sitting there pandering to the camera, but he’s actually paying attention to his dinner guests and having a conversation. And listening. It’s enough to give one hope in this jaded day and age.

citizen, know thy country

How well would you do on a citizenship test? No cheating, now! Google is not allowed.

When immigrants want to become Americans, they must take a civics test as part of their naturalization interview before a Citizenship and Immigration Services (INS) officer. The questions are usually selected from a list of 100 sample questions that prospective citizens can look at ahead of the interview (though the examiner is not limited to those questions). Some are easy, some are not. We have picked some of the more difficult ones.†

Post your results in the comments.