01 December, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Sunday morning, four Seattle area police officers were shot and killed while they were doing paperwork over coffee.  The man who is believed to have shot them can thank Mike Huckabee for giving him the freedom to become a cop killer:
The suspect in the slaying of 4 police officers in Washington state, Maurice Clemmons of Lakewood reaped a dream benefit from former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. He was banged up for decades as a repeat violent offender, and Governor Huckabee commuted his sentence over the protests of prosecutors in the case.

MAURICE_Clemmons_-_MUG_32282.jpgAt the age of 18, Clemmons was sentenced to 60 years for theft and burglary charges. He was serving 48 years for other violent crimes. During trials in which he was the defendant, he apparently exhibited some more eyebrow raising behavior, which included reaching for a guard's gun during transport, and threatening the judge.

Because the judge did not recuse himself from that trial and a series of other civil rights violations, several charges against Clemmons were dropped (State of Arkansas v Maurice Clemmons).

Even with all that history, Huckabee, citing Clemmons' youth at the time of the commission of the crimes and incarceration, commuted his sentence after he'd served 11 years on sentences totaling 95 years of jail time. He remained on parole and committed more violent crimes. He was arrested, the paperwork in the cases was bad and the prosecutors did not refile.

Now, I don't necessarily blame Huckabee for commuting this sentence.  He should've taken into account the fact that this idiot was violent enough to try to kill people in the courtroom during his trial, of course, but when you've got someone who was a youthful offender and who apparently behaved himself well in prison, you consider clemency.  It's a humane thing to do.

But if you grant clemency, and that idiot you granted it to goes on to kill four police officers, do not be a total shitheel and blame it on everybody but yourself:
Plan to write about the current Huckabee-related atrocity? If so, be sure to read Huckabee's incredible "buck-stops-elsewhere" statement carefully distancing himself from any personal culpability:
Should he be found to be responsible for this horrible tragedy, it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State. He was recommended for and received a commutation of his original sentence from 1990, this commutation made him parole eligible and he was then paroled by the parole board once they determined he met the conditions at that time. He was arrested later for parole violation and taken back to prison to serve his full term, but prosecutors dropped the charges that would have held him.
Not Huckabee's fault, you see. A series of failures by the government, not, mind you, a then-sitting governor named Michael Huckabee.

Keep in mind something.  Huckabee not only commuted that sentence, but appointed the parole board members who subsequently paroled Clemmons

No fucking defense, Huck.  None.  Suck it up and take it like a man.

Here's some more outrageous news about religious Cons who want everybody to believe they're something they're not.  If you read PZ's blog, you know about the hideous anti-gay legislation working its way through Uganda's legislature.  Guess who won't speak out against a bill that condemns homosexuals to death?  That's right - Rick "I Have Teh Gays to Dinner" Warren:

Pastor Rick Warren — whom President Obama controversially chose to deliver the invocation at his inauguration — is now refusing to condemn Bahati’s bill, which has been endorsed by Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa. Ssempa has been welcomed by Warren’s family and made appearances at his church. Newsweek reports that although Warren has distanced himself from Ssempa’s views, he won’t come out against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill:
The fundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and the freedom to make moral choices are gifts endowed by God, our creator. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.
On Meet the Press yesterday, Warren reiterated, “As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides.” He has, however, said that abortion is a “holocaust” and pushed for the passage of California’s Prop. 8.
So, to reiterate: Pastor Warren's good with taking sides when he has the chance to keep gays from getting married, and isn't good with speaking out against gays getting put to death.  I think we know what that means, don't we?

And the stupidity, of course, doesn't end there, although the above items are the worst of it.

Politico thinks Obama should be all worried and stuff about not being American exceptionalist enough.  Greg Sargent and Steve Benen explain why this is absolute bullshit.

If that's not enough bullshit for you, have some entitlement reform bullshit.  Nice to know some politicians, our fearless leader included, are so worried about the national debt that they're willing to investigate the possibility of cutting entitlement programs at a time of horrible economic collapse.  More people are on food stamps than there have been since the 1930s, but the rich can afford their luxury items again, so apparently it's time to fuck everyone else.  Again.

Speaking of the economy, Michele Bachmann's breathtakingly clueless.

And Rep. Bill Shuster is more shameless in his stimulus stupidity than most.

Teapartiers are recruiting.  Do tell me if any approach you.  Send video if you can.  The entertainment value would be astronomical.

Got a Con on your Christmas list?  At a loss as to what to give them?  Here are some delightfully snarky gift basket ideas.

And for those of you who need a good laugh, consider this:
As you may have heard, Newsweek's Jon Meacham has a provocative item in the new issue, encouraging Dick Cheney to run for president because it would be "good for the Republicans and good for the country." There are more than few problems with the argument, but the part that stood out for me is the notion that we need a "referendum on competing visions" of government.
One of the problems with governance since the election of Bill Clinton has been the resolute refusal of the opposition party (the GOP from 1993 to 2001, the Democrats from 2001 to 2009, and now the GOP again in the Obama years) to concede that the president, by virtue of his victory, has a mandate to take the country in a given direction. A Cheney victory would mean that America preferred a vigorous unilateralism to President Obama's unapologetic multilateralism, and vice versa. [...]
A campaign would ... give us an occasion that history denied us in 2008: an opportunity to adjudicate the George W. Bush years in a direct way.
I seem to recall a lengthy process -- I believe it was called "the presidential election of 2008" -- where Americans were given a choice between a continuation of Bush/Cheney policies and a more progressive, Democratic approach. I also seem to recall the outcome -- a one-sided victory for the Dem.

It's true that the defeated and humiliated Republican Party maintains that the president did not earn a mandate, but why would an Obama victory over Cheney change the GOP's mind? 365 electoral votes weren't enough?

For that matter, is the jury still out on the Bush presidency? Meacham sees the need for additional adjudication "in a direct way." I'm not sure what more evidence anyone would need that Bush failed in spectacular and historic ways, in practically every area of public policy. It will take many, many years to address the fiascos of the last eight years.

Meacham sees these catastrophes and thinks, "What we really need is the failed president's vice president to seek national office." There's no reason to think that's a good idea.

It turns out, in fact, that Meacham's Great White Hope has only one other believer:
In a Washington Post poll, a plurality of Republicans say Palin best reflects their “party’s core values,” and they would vote for her “if the presidential nomination battle were held today.” Two people who don’t fare as well in the Post poll are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney:
Just 1 percent pick George W. Bush as the best reflection of the party’s principles, and only a single person in the poll cites former vice president Richard B. Cheney. About seven in 10 say Bush bears at least “some” of the blame for the party’s problems.
The Post surveyed 804 “Republicans and Republican-leaning nonpartisans” for its sample.

Greg Sargent crunched some numbers.  That's .125% of Cons who love them some Dick.  So, nice try, Meach, but I don't think we need to run Cheney against Obama to have our verdict.

One person for Dick.  Excuse me.  I've got to go laugh my ass off.

1 comment:

Cujo359 said...

My feeling about the Clemmons pardon is that it was a mistake, but it's the sort of mistake a governor will make if he pardons people. I don't particularly blame Huckabee for this, but he certainly was the one who approved it. He bears responsibility.

The important thing is to learn from this mistake. What I'm afraid will happen, though, is that what governors with greater ambitions will learn is to not pardon people.