A Question of “Quasi-Theft”

So it seems we have a moment here of vigilante eminent domain in the service of getting a cover story for the New York Times Magazine:

“I won’t try to make it sound like I didn’t struggle with it,” he said of the ethical blurriness of the situation. “It’s not the kind of thing you want to do with every story.”

He added, however, that he was legally in the clear, as one cannot own somebody else’s speech, and Mr. McCormick’s transcript features the words of Elvie Thomas. (“You’re not allowed to sit on these things for half a century, not when the culture has decided they matter,” Mr. Sullivan writes in the article, referring to the transcript.)

Yeah, whatever, Sullivan. You’re a douchebag for affirming the social convention that theft and betrayal are OK, as long as it’s done to those weaker than you. To be blunt, when you start saying that someone else “should” think something is as important as (and in the same way that) you do, especially in matters of history, perhaps you’re taking it too personally, and it’s more about you than the history.

Here’s the daughter’s Tumblr post, if you’re into reblogging it.

Hell Just Froze Over

Not only did the Roberts court just vote 6-2 in favor of the EPA, Alto recused himself from the case.

WASHINGTON — In a major environmental victory for the Obama administration, the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate the smog-causing pollution from coal-fired power plants that wafts across state lines from 27 Midwestern and Appalachian states to the East Coast.

The 6-to-2 ruling upholds a centerpiece of what has become a signature of President Obama’s environmental agenda: a series of new Clean Air Act regulations aimed at cutting pollution from coal-fired power plants. Republicans and the coal industry have criticized the effort as a “war on coal.”

Legal experts said the decision, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, signaled that the Obama administration’s efforts to use the Clean Air Act to fight global warming could also withstand legal challenges. The E.P.A. is expected to unveil in June a sweeping new climate change regulation, using the authority of the Clean Air Act to rein in carbon pollution from coal plants.

The regulations covering cross-state air pollution, known as “good neighbor” rules, have pitted Rust Belt and Appalachian states like Ohio and Kentucky against East Coast states like New York and Connecticut.

Okay, where’s the Candid Camera guy?

Kerry’s Biggest Gaffe Is About the U.S., Too

It’s been interesting seeing Kerry’s difference in tone in an Executive Branch position (as opposed to his time as a Senator), and this is perhaps the most truthful, critical moment of his career thus far. An excerpt:

“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” Kerry told the group of senior officials and experts from the U.S., Western Europe, Russia, and Japan. “Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to.”

Never mind that other people, even Israeli political figures, have used this word, Kerry apologized because of the resulting shitstorm. Still, at least a few people are recognizing that what he said is true. Oh, and the other (unstated) alternative to the two-state or “peaceful” one-state solution is that Israel’s “Squeeze Box” strategy continues (and accelerates), until there are no significant numbers of Palestinians living in Israel. This is also incompatible with a sane and lasting solution.

One thing that does bug me is that at several points in the articles above I’ve seen that Israel’s strategy is somehow incompatible with our values as Americans. While the actions taken (both military and civilian) are incompatible with my values (as are the attacks on civilians engaged in by the militant Palestinians), saying that turning a substantial segment of the population into second-class citizens is incompatible with our values as Americans. While we are no longer operating with the ruthlessness we were during the pre-Civil Rights era, we are no paragons of virtue, and risk a slow-motion fall back into the madness not unlike the post-Reconstruction Gilded Age, with religion**, race, class, and gender trumping everything that makes us individuals. The class that writes our national narrative barely remembers most of us as human.

In any case: I don’t know how Kerry ended his speech, but it makes me want to thank Israel for showing us some of the darkest aspects of ourselves in a mirror. Not only do I not want them to continue down that road, I don’t want us to, either.

* In the story “Squeeze Box,” by Phillip E. High, an alien race invades and occupies Earth, forcing the surviving humans into a small enclave. Over time, the aliens claim more and more territory, while making it clear that to resist their territorial expansion will mean the extermination of all remaining human life on Earth. The protagonist, the current human leader, speculates that such a refusal is precisely the end-game the aliens are hoping for, as it will give them a pretext of aggression on the part of the humans in response to “entirely reasonable” demands.
** an often-forgotten hierarchical system

Monday Linkage

Just to get back into the habit of things, here are a few bits of crazy going ’round the world.

Those of you who have known me for years know that I’m no fan of DynCorp.  Their BS just isn’t losing them any business.

Anna Marie Cox (once known as Wonkette) reminds us that the NRA members are human beings, and that the organization (and its leadership) is well past crazytown.

Remember the DHS report from 2009 that proved to be remarkably prescient?  As prognostications go, let’s hope its long-term accuracy doesn’t compare to this about the right-wing noise machine, though I’m afraid it will.

China may be trying to drive a wedge between Japan and the other nations that experienced the Imperial Army’s Pacific Tour during the 30s and 40s.  Regardless, they certainly have brought things back to the surface Japan would prefer that we forget.  I’d very much like to know when those documents were found, and if they prove to be authentic.  I strongly suspect they are.

The Florida Legislature can fuck right off with its passive-aggressive non-rejection rejection of the ACA.

Oh hey, someone decided to see if they could make weapons safer and more under the control of the owner.  Of course, this caused many people to start channeling their inner William Wallace.  It’s the fight over integral gun locks, all over again.