The Challenge in Closing Guantanamo Bay

The financial crisis. Two wars. An oil spill. Health care reform. Student loan reform. And still people are disappointed in what President Obama has done.

The challenge of relocating the Guantanamo Bay prisoners is resistance to finding out the truth of what happened there. Of course, it's a matter of time. But what time would be good for a dose of reality like that? None. So inevitably it is pushed back and pushed back and excuses are made to postpone having to address such uncomfortable issues as America the Torturer.

You have to wonder what made George Bush and Dick Cheney think that no one would ever find out about what they were doing. The United States has a long history of power shifting between political parties. I can't imagine the hubris it takes to think that your group will never lose power. I guess that's what Hitler thought in relation to the Holocaust. Sending people to the death camps was a priority until the last moment of the Third Reich because they didn't want anyone to know what they did and were hoping to kill everyone first.

There will never be a good time for the United States to find out that innocent people were tortured at our hands. And all the excuses made in fear after the attacks on September 11, 2001 were not valid. "Things are different now." That phrase has been the excuse to do anything we wanted for revenge and false security. Those feelings were exploited to go to war to secure our supply of oil in Iraq, all based on the lie of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Congress needs to realize that to delay dealing with Guantanamo Bay and the crimes committed there will not lessen the impact on them or the American people.

Robert Wone Trial: Not Guilty on All Counts

As soon as the verdict was announced, Kathy Wone shrieked and ran out of the courtroom crying hysterically.

The judge took an hour going through her logic and reasoning. She found that the knife found was the murder weapon and it was not the knife missing from the knife set. She also found that there was no intruder into the house that might have done the murder. She found the Joe Price wiped off the knife and pulled it out of the chest of Robert Wone.

Despite all these facts, the judge couldn't reach the threshold of reasonable doubt, and so is forced to find the defendants Not Guilty.

The judge reminded the court that she was the fact finder. She commented on Joe Price being arrogant and unhelpful and Dylan being detached and arrogant. She declared both of their behaviors as "abnormal."

The Robert Wone Trial: Not Guilty on All Counts

As soon as the verdict was announced, Kathy Wone shrieked and ran out of the courtroom crying hysterically.

The judge took an hour going through her logic and reasoning. She found that the knife found was the murder weapon and it was not the knife missing from the knife set. She also found that there was no intruder into the house that might have done the murder. She found the Joe Price wiped off the knife and pulled it out of the chest of Robert Wone.

Despite all these facts, the judge couldn't reach the threshold of reasonable doubt, and so is forced to find the defendants Not Guilty.

The judge reminded the court that she was the fact finder. She commented on Joe Price being arrogant and unhelpful and Dylan being detached and arrogant. She declared both of their behaviors as "abnormal."

Princess Out of Work? Apply Now!

Job listing for a Princess on a local listserv. Must be gracious and kind. Must wear pre-arranged attire and makeup. Will read story to the party guests and be familiar with princess lore (and perhaps create a little more on the spot.)

Familiarity with the wishes and dreams of preschool girls a requirement, as well as the ability to make sheer fantasy believable. Camp counseling experience is a plus.

So apply now!

Party is July 3, 11:30 - 1:00 p.m.

You'll be happy to know that they are an equal opportunity employer, as long as you are able to be a convincing Princess to a very discerning audience.

If you want to really apply, contact me at christineaxsmith@yahoo.com. I didn't get permission to repost this, so I am redacting the name/e-mail address.


The Robert Wone Trial: The Ninja Assassin Intruder Defense

When Rachel Carlson Lieber, a prosecutor in the Robert Wone murder case, summed up the defense as blaming the horrific murder of Mr. Wone on a "ninja assassin intruder" she crystalized and ridiculed their argument at the same time.

The defense argument that someone scaled an 8 foot backyard fence, stepped on a plastic sandbox cover when a taller table and garbage can were right next to the sandbox, walked in a back door that had been left ajar, came upstairs and stole a knife out of a knife set, walked into another bedroom and killed Mr. Wone, and then left without anyone noticing or leaving any evidence of having been there does call into mind the special qualities of a ninja. One quality would be not leaving a trace, which is what the defense would have you believe happened on the night of the murder. Another would be finding the weapon immediately in one bedroom in a strange house and going to another bedroom to find the victim. A third would be scaling an 8 foot fence twice. The smashed sandbox cover must have been a mistake. Ah, well. No ninja is perfect.

Rachel Carlson Lieber called the defense out on all its assumptions and painted a picture for the judge, and onlookers, of what all of the arguments would look like strung together in the way the defense claimed. Yes, the murderer would have to be a ninja assassin to be able to successfully do all that. Her characterization of a "ninja assassin intruder" is perfect. Her delivery was clear and concise. She pointed out the obvious that can get lost in reams of paper and hours of testimony: the defendants know who killed Robert Wone. They won't say who it is. Justice is being denied because of this. They are protecting somebody. That's a conspiracy. That's obstruction of justice.

That girl has a serious future ahead of her in litigation.

It's too early to tell if the defense tactics worked. We can only know that after Judge Leibovitz renders her decision next Tuesday at 11 a.m.


The Robert Wone Trial: The Best Lawyer in the Room

Hands down, the best lawyer in the room in the Robert Wone trial was the judge. Judge Liebovitz peppered the attorneys before her with questions, even interrupting their closing arguments frequently. She reminded the attorneys about questions about laying the proper foundation for the introduction of evidence and rounding out the foundation for expert witnesses. In the testimony of Dr. Farzad Najam, it was the judge's questions that revealed he had never been an expert witness before and that his opinion about the lack of bleeding externally from the victim, Robert Wone, was in reference to the stab wound to the heart and not the two stab wounds to the abdomen.

Today, the judge focused on when the conspiracy could have begun at its earliest or latest in questioning the prosecution. The scream, replied the prosecutor Kirschner, would be the latest. By the time of the 911 call, the defendants were speaking collectively. Aside from that, Econo-Girl noticed in the videotape played at trial that Mr. Price exclaimed "We didn't kill him!" during his interrogation with the police, speaking collectively.

The prosecution claimed the evidence that Mr. Ward was a conspirator was in the 911 call on the night of the murder. His statement was implausible, his discovery of the back door being ajar when he couldn't even see it, and his being silenced by Mr. Price with a glare in the living room when the police were there that night talking to them about what happened demonstrated that.

For Mr. Zaborsky, the indicators of a conspiracy were statements made after what the prosecution calls the "Mercedes meeting" in the parking lot of the police station the night of the murder. He became a conspirator after the scream by calling 911 and reading from a script because it's clear he spoke with Price.

The prosecution argued that the judge would have to find a communication that something bad happened from two of the defendants to the third. He stated that it would not have to be a communication of a specific fact to constitute obstruction of justice.

Bernie Grimm's closing statement pronounced the name of the victim incorrectly throughout. At least he was consistent. He stated that there was no evidence one way or another how this murder happened. He claimed that if a person didn't know the actual truth and they said something different from the truth, it was not a lie. He pointed out that Mike Price, his client, had his brother arrested for breaking and entering and this action demonstrated that he did not have a blind sense of loyalty that would cause him to lie to others in the event of murder.

Thomas Connelly's closing statement argued that Mr. Zaborsky never knew or talked to anybody or entered into any agreement. He cried when the police got there and "he simply doesn't know what happened." The attorney further argued that omitting information in talking to the police is not obstruction of justice unless the fact is material and significant.

Attorney Schertler's closing argument was engaging and troubling. "This case is built on assumption, speculation and innuendo." He pointed to the time frame 10:30 to 11:49 p.m. on the night of the murder. "If you don't know what happened, you can't prove they lied." "Nothing about the state's case is inherently credible." "There is a void in the evidence they just can't fill."

Talking about uncertainty about the charges against the defendents, Mr. Shertler said to the judge "I think we can see your lack of certainty by the questions you've been asking." Do you think this made her happy? She was asking everybody tough questions. This guy had some issues with the judge. You don't talk to judges this way. I know he used to be her boss. But still.

Counsel claimed that you cross the line when you make an affirmative answer which wasn't true, otherwise it is not an obstruction of justice.

Speaking of crossing the line, Schertler really did it after that. Dismissing Dr. Goslinoski's testimony as so refuted as to not be worth discussing, Judge Liebowitz became really annoyed. "She is the only person who testified who wasn't paid to be there. She was getting paid the same no matter what. SHE DOESN'T GET PAID TO CHANGE HER OPINION." That remark was a slam to Mr. Schertler, who used to be a prosecutor and now was a defense lawyer, presumably because it paid better.

Not stopping there, Mr. Schertler said there was no evidence on whether Mr. Wone was moved or not, which was not true. He claimed "this case borders on the Kafkaesque." He finished saying there is no evidence Mr. Ward knew more and lied to the police or saw or heard something and lied to the police about it.

The prosecution's rebuttal was argued by Ms. Lieber who did an outstanding job. She said that the defendants provided details contradicted by evidence. She painted a picture of a super ninja who scaled an eight foot fence, entered the house, stole a knife, killed Mr. Wone and then left without taking anything. As to the circumstantial nature of the case, she pointed out that it was a conspiracy case without an insider testifying. As such, it will be by necessity a circumstantial case. Very fine performance.

At last, the trial ended. And the judge treated us with a promise that she will render a verdict next Tuesday at 11 a.m.


The Robert Wone Trial: "It's Been Four Years of Hell"

That's the mother of a defendant Victor Zaborsky, not of Robert Wone. She's an upbeat, plump, sturdy blond with a determinedly cheerful smile. "He's our son," she told people waiting in line for the court doors to open. The experience become different when you are confronted with the obvious pain of a mother who seems like a very nice, respectable woman. My mind isn't changed, and my sympathy for the family of Robert Wone is not lessened. It just makes it harder to feel hostility towards the defendants.

Waiting for the trial to start, the line must have started 40 minutes before the doors opened. As usual, the press arrived late and were surprised that they were expected to stand in line with everybody else. The order for getting in the doors was family first, then lawyers and their hangers-on, and then the general public. The mysterious monochrome woman was there again today. While waiting, me and the women near me distracted ourselves with the good-looking sheriffs walking the hallways. And yes, DC has some very good-looking sheriffs.

The parents of both Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward were in the gallery today, and seated two rows behind them were the family of Robert Wone. Members of the Wone family left during some of the more grisly testimony.

Today's testimony was about Robert Wone's heart and how reasonable it was that not much blood was found.

Tracy Weaver was the first witness. She placed Wone in the medical unit and on a monitor. He was PEA, pulseless electrical activity. Her testimony that his arms were cold was not allowed.

The next witness was Dr. Fazad Najan, Associate Director of Cardiac Surgery. There was a Rule 16 objection and the ruling was that no PEA testimony was allowed because the defense didn't mention it earlier. There was another Rule 16 objection where blood in other parts of the body was not mentioned in the disclosure. The judge ruled that it addresses a matter that the prosecution already raised so the testimony was allowed.

Rule 703 objection because Dr. Najan was asked about his talking to colleagues about this case. The objection was overruled because the defense is not proving the matter asserted: i.e., that the other colleague agreed with Dr. Najan, but only his diligence. Right after that, counsel asked "Was that opinion consistent with yours?" "Yes" was the reply. The judge was very angry. Defense counsel went ahead and used the hearsay to prove the truth of the matter asserted. The judge commented on it and counsel basically ignored her and just continued with examining the witness. Not a banner day for the defense.

Dr.Najan essentially testified that a knife wound to the heart would not necessarily mean a lot of blood. The heart is covered by the pericardial sack which covers the lung also, the pluram and bony structure. As such, one would not see external hemmorage. It's all in the trajectory of the cut, not its size. The prosecutor got Dr. Najan to admit that it could have been more than 5 seconds until Mr. Wone passed out. He also admitted that his analysis did not extend to the wounds in the abdomen. So his nifty, stab-in-the-heart-but-don't-bleed theory doesn't really apply to what happened to Mr. Wone.

The the judge piled on. I just want to take a moment to note how smart Hon. Judge Liebovitz is. Wow. She's got to keep all this stuff in her head and keep the trial running. When one side or the other makes a motion, she immediately recalls the motions they made earlier in the trial. It's really impressive. Today's performance doubles that.

The judge asked a few questions that should have been asked by the prosecutors. "Have you ever testified as an expert witness before?" she asked. "No," Dr. Najan replied. More questions along this line, all answered no.

Then the judge asks if Dr. Najan has an opinion as to which wound was inflicted first. "No," said Dr. Najan. This is critical because all of the defense's testimony has been about how a person stabbed through the heart would lose consciousness almost immediately. No testimony has been given about if the other wounds happened first and if that would lead to sudden loss of consciousness. And no testimony about why those wounds would not cause external bleeding.

Dr. Najan further testified that if the the abdominal wound was first, he had no opinion as to the quantity of blood.

On cross, Dr. Najan testified that if someone were stabbed in the heart like Mr. Wone, he could pass out instantly, like in a snap of the fingers. The prosecutor even snapped his fingers for effect, and Dr. Najan agreed that a person could lose consciousness that quickly. After further questioning, Dr. Najan testified that an adult heart pumps out 50-60 cc's of blood per beat. Counsel reminded the witness that he said that it took 250cc's of blood in the pericardial for that to happen. "Wouldn't that take longer than a few seconds?"

Tracy Weaver was called to the stand again and was not allowed to testify about her observation that there was so little blood on Mr. Wone when she loaded him into the ambulance.

Today was a lot of technical information, a little rough to follow. I may have some spelling for the medical terms wrong. Oh, well. Got started late because of a dinner guest.

The Robert Wone Trial: Rise of the BobbleHeads

It is a litigation trick to have your paralegals sit behind you during a trial and have them nod in agreement with your expert witness. So they seem like regular onlookers who are being convinced by the expert. The idea is that the jury, or judge, sees this while the testimony is being given and reacts with the natural human instinct to belong and gives more credence to what your expert is saying.

Such was the sad scene yesterday in court during the Robert Wone trial. Paralegals and assistants left and right sat behind the attorneys in the gallery and nodded their heads as defense witnesses testified. It's a bit of a cheesy trick, but it must be effective for the attorneys in the past if they are using it here.


Robert Wone Trial: The Sandbox Defense

Today at the Robert Wone murder trial, little Econo-Girl sat in the middle of family members for people on trial for killing him. "This is a combination of sloppy police work and a cruel prosecutor," opined one man. Just shows you that there really are two sides to every story.

To wit, the first expert witness, Dr. Lee, a famous forensic pathologist, dug his feet in and refused to agree to the simplest idea. Honestly, it detracts from credibility when you deny basic common sense.

The second expert witness, Dr. Mayo, a famous forensic pathologist, went in the other direction and testified that getting stabbed would not prompt an involuntary reaction and that most people didn't have a physical reaction when being stabbed. You see, that makes it possible that Robert Wone wasn't drugged by the three men on trial and then stabbed, and instead was stabbed by an intruder into the house.

Then comes Mrs. Ward, mother to one of the defendants. She tells the court that the knife set to which the killing weapon belonged to her and she got it in Germany, home of good knives. She gave it to her son to use WITHOUT THE KILLER KNIFE IN THE SET. You see, she kept it the entire time in her kitchen and only realized it THIS PAST JANUARY! Wow, lucky for her son that she put it all together in time for the trial.

But the best of the day was saved for the last. The maid next door to the murder scene testified that the morning of the murder she had cleaned the house next to the house where the murder happened. She left. Before she left she noticed that the plastic cover for the sandbox was fine. She came back later, after she heard of a crime next door, and noticed that the cover to the sandbox was SMASHED! That points to again to AN INTRUDER! Using the plastic sandbox cover to STEP UP OVER THE FENCE! The prosecutor pointed out on cross that there was a table and a garbage can right next to the sandbox cover. One could observe that both were higher and sturdier and would be much better to use to climb over a fence.

And thus we have the SANDBOX DEFENSE: our guy didn't do it, some guy who jumps on cheap, plastic sandbox covers to get over a fence did it. See? Smashed sandbox cover? That proves that someone broke it, Right?

So tomorrow the defense is going to finish their rebuttal and then the prosecution will have several more witnesses. Stay tuned...


Human Trafficking in DC

Human trafficking is modern day slavery, and it's happening right here in Washington, DC. But not without some pushback from local citizens. At a meeting organized by Olivia Morgan at the Cleveland Park police station, together with the Polaris Project, a presentation of the local problems with human trafficking and forced sex slavery right here in upper Northwest DC.

The illegal traffic in people is often hidden behind seemingly legitimate businesses. "I never thought about it until I started to learn about human trafficking. Then I looked around and wondered how this small strip of businesses in Cleveland park could support three nail salons," remarked one resident. Other business fronts include massage parlors.

Brad Myles of the Polaris Project "one of the largest anti-human trafficking organizations in the United States and Japan" according to their website, gave information about human trafficking in DC and what community members can do to stop it.

"Community tips are the best lead," Mr. Myles said. "This is not a crime of movement. It is a crime of denial of freedom and liberty."

Human trafficking victims don't know where they are, are not allowed to speak to others, are tense and hyper vigilant about things like getting home on time, they are not being paid, and someone always speaks for them, they are not allowed to speak for themselves. Often the victims live inside 24 hours a day and the windows are blocked so they can't see outside. And victims can be U.S. citizens.


World Cup Marriage Compromise

When my husband, expert taste-tester of all fast food, suggested we try a new restaurant in DC called The Cereal Bowl, I immediately nixed the idea.

Several reasons: first of all, my sister the accountant has a firm rule that the road to poverty is paved with eating out. Has this stopped us? No. But at least I put each eating out decision through a fine mesh screen of analysis, preference and cost-benefit analysis. The result has been that we are eating out far less than we used to, thereby saving money. And cereal as a special restaurant food doesn't cut it. My husband says we just torture ourselves every time we decide to go out to eat, in addition to eating out.

"We can eat cereal at home!" I cried, clutching the checkbook. "Here, let's get three more boxes."

And then I saw an announcement on the neighborhood listserv that The Cereal Bowl was hosting World Cup games in a family-friendly environment. At last! A place where my husband can eat overpriced fast food and where I can watch the World Cup.

My husband is not into sports, for which I am so grateful. He is even less into soccer, but considers the fans brighter than average.

"Honey, I love you, and if you want to watch the World Cup, I will go with you." And eat cereal. These are the compromises from which marriages are made.


Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig - Obama Meets the Families of the Dead Workers

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig didn't just drench birds and beaches with foul-smelling oil, it killed eleven men.  President Obama now is going to meet their families.  Dare I say it?  It's about time. 

Empathy is not President Obama's strong point.  People mocked former President Clinton for his ability to feel the pain of the electorate.  But at least he understood the importance of disaster recovery and made placing professionals in FEMA a priority.  Whenever there was a large disaster, he was on top of it and everyone could see that.  Former President George Bush gave a very good impression of someone who only cared if something affected him or someone on his golf course.  But then he cared a lot.  President Obama never gives that feeling off at all.  Actually, it's part of a President's job to be empathetic.  We all look to our leader to understand what we are going through as a way to endure the suffering.  We need to feel that the people making the decisions know what we need and how much we need it.

None of which we got from President Obama.

So finally President Obama is going to meet the families of the dead men from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig to make sympathetic noises at them.  I guess it will do some good.  However the true tale is told in how long it took him to get there to begin with.  Weeks.  That's because there is so much more to do that is more important.

This crisis wasn't a priority for President Obama until he started to be severely criticized for his handling of it. When the new head of Minerals Management refuses to say there are plumes of oil underneath the surface of the water in the Gulf of Mexico, we all know who it is that she doesn't want to anger.  President Obama.  And tells you where the Administration's true priorities lie.


Why Can't We Rake Hay While the Oil Slimes?

When our we going to take space solar power seriously? The potential for providing energy is limitless.

Having a conference on space solar power won the OpenGov suggestion contest.

Have a conference! Who's going to get hurt? Oh - that's right. Big Oil and Big Coal and the overaged hippies at NASA.

If we weren't addicted to oil, there would be no need to take these environmental risks or to invade other countries. Stop the madness!
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

BP Prosecution! Slam Dunk! Like WMD!

You'd think after the "slam dunk" of the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, people would stay away from that phrase.  Alas, no. 
Now, criminal charges against BP are being called a slam dunk, too.  The enthusiasm is appreciated.  You can just see environmental lawyers in their suits jumping up and throwing a basketball through a hoop.  The crowd goes wild!  High fives all around!
But seriously, can you come up with a better phrase than "slam dunk"?  Slam dunk was the weapons of mass destruction that were never there.  Slam dunk was the reason we went to war in Iraq, because the WMD evidence was a "slam dunk".  Oh yeah.  That's right.  And then they weren't.  So we went to war for nothing, not counting the oil.
How about another phrase like "home run" or "winning by a length"?  You notice all these are sports terms.  No one ever wants to win by a fluffy souffle or flaky pie crust.
"It's a flaky piecrust, Mr. President!"
"Well then, by gum, let's do it!"
And then we go to war.  Or put polluters in jail.


Oilspill and Iraq War

What does the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oilspill have in common with the war in Iraq?  Both risked lives to protect America's supply of oil.  Aren't we tired of doing that?
The first thing we did in Iraq was to take over the oil wells and throw out the oil purchase contracts and sell new ones to our friends.  BP was so interested, as was the U.S., in getting to that oil that BP management insisted on taking risks that were dangerous to human beings.  Remember, eleven men are dead now.  It's not just about the oily pelicans.  It's about the loss of human life. 
But the best part of all is how old men in overpriced suits are deciding that oil is worth dying for.
Where are those BP Board members anyway?  Why aren't they down there cleaning up the oil?   There was a fight just before the explosion where the BP boss told everybody that they had to take shortcuts.  Hours later, the explosion occurred.
 Bp Media Access, Gulf Oil Spill, Oil Spill Media Access, Thad Allen


Oil Spill, Dead Birds and Shrimp

Learn more about how BP is helping!  Just enter "oil spill" into a search engine and their PR flacks will direct you to wonderful lies about how well BP is handling the crisis.  Of course, they have the right to do this.  It's just one more sleazy, misleading thing they have done related to destroying our environment. 
Check out Slate.com for a story of two ways to get fired from a job with BP to clean up the spilled oil.  One is to be an illegal alien.  The other is to bring your own protective gear and breathing masks that have not been given to by BP.
So, in the context of the ongoing sleazy behavior and callous comments by the idiot BP CEO, the latest attempt by BP to manage public opinion looks even worse than it would for another company.
If the vapors from the spilled oil are dangerous, perhaps the entire Board of Directors should be made to go to the damaged area themselves and remain there until it is all cleaned up.


Rachael Ray Angry Over 'Good Housekeeping' Cover

Rachel Ray is a low-rent Martha Stewart copycat. She is a Time-Warner creation intended to replace Martha Stewart. Her upset at Good Housekeeping magazine is silly. So what. They used your photo for their cover. Big deal.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Irish Free Gaza and a Little Bit of History

There's an Irish boat that is going to try to bust the Gaza blockade tomorrow.  Please let's remember that there is a long connection between the Irish Republican Army and the PLO.  In fact, the car bomb was perfected in Ireland and then the IRA went to the Middle East and taught the PLO the best way to blow up a car in exchange for guns.
Fanciful stories about the Irish Potato Famine creating sympathy for the current Palestinian plight are romantic, but ill-informed.  The nature of the connection is terrorists sharing their methods for killing people.  The Irish people who still support the Palestinians actively are doubtless connected to the Irish terrorists who taught them how best to build a bomb.
But I guess the point of this rant is to highlight how these chattering people on television and radio make things up because they don't know the real reason.


Fenty's Fight Against Youth Crime in Age of Budget Decimation

Ten of them were gathered in a room and told to go home.  They didn't work there anymore.  The part-time librarians couldn't believe it.  Some of them had been working there over two decades.  There were tears of disbelief.
Budget cuts like that are hard on any Mayor.  Far be it for me to criticize when I've got no good solution to DC's awful budget shortfall. 
But with staff being slashed there is a standout among the changes:  the library hours are remaining the same.
Reduced staff but same hours?
The idea seems to be that the city wants the libraries to be open as a place for DC kids to go.  Which would make the overworked librarians, basically, babysitters.  Again, I have no better ideas myself.  Perhaps going to your local library to volunteer is the best action any of us can do for now.

Chinese Drywall and What's Wrong With America

Chinese drywall is drywall made in China that has poisonous ingredients and makes anybody putting it in their house very sick.  So sick you would have to vacate the house entirely.
What has gone wrong with America is that we have all fallen victim to the myth that globalization is best.  So we get our clothes from China, our technology built in Pakistan and the call centers relocated to India.  And our drywall from China.  Of course, China doesn't have the quality standards we do in the United States and has even less of a concern for human life, especially American human life.
Globalization is best for large corporations.  It is not best for Americans.  Large corporations can avoid labor laws, safety requirements, lawsuits for avoidable workplace deaths and pollution restrictions in third world countries.  They can't do that in America.
Another problem is that America no longer manufactures what it uses.  That means Americans that make things are pushed out of work, which is a big problem.
If most of the products Americans used were made in America, it would be an automatic hedge against the kind of recession we are having now.  When the American economy is based on betting against stocks and mortgages, there's not much to hold it in place when optimism sours.  When American workers are making what Americans buy, a reverse in the financial poker game won't devastate people and families.


The Gaza Blockade and the Gaza Solution

I don't know what most people expect when they jump in a ship and decide to ram a blockade, but it probably includes some confrontation with armed men in uniforms.  Although the loss of life is regrettable, it is hardly surprising.  Especially if you attack armed soldiers with clubs and knives.  You notice they don't feel inclined to do the same thing to North Korea.  And if they did, no one would be shocked at any loss of life, or even at total loss of life.
The activists were trying to highlight how unjust the Israeli blockade of Gaza.  Sure, it seems like overkill to me, too.  But years of having rockets lobbed at you will make someone a little rigid in their thinking.  And I never hear Palestinian sympathizers talk about that issue.  Never once is someone acknowledging the anti-peace impact of rockets landing on your neighbor.  Nor do they explain what they would think was just if it happened to them.
Aside from blame, there is a larger issue here:  what is this to us?  Why should the United States of America be asked to solve this intractable problem? 
Enough of those people.  Solve it your damn selves. 
Why are we always having to step in and force people to behave?  My mind immediately goes to the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia that only stopped because former President Clinton sent in troops.  If he had not, the Europeans would have sat around picking their noses until everyone in Kosovo was dead.  So that is an argument in favor of US intervention.  However, this conflict is distinguished by the length of time it has been going on, the many attempts at peace agreements made at the behest of the United States and there being no genocide.
The United States should step away from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict immediately.  Haven't we done enough?  At what point do we make the parties involved responsible for their own peace?  How about right now.  This global expectation that the United States needs to create a solution is misplaced.  It is actually up to us, as Americans, to decide what role we play, and pay for.  Each side is invested in its own failure in peace.  They draw money out of us, promising this time to act like reasonable people this time.  And each time the peace fails.
The United States cannot afford to run all over the globe solving conflicts for people, mostly by throwing money at them in exchange for agreements and compromises.  We are not fighting the Cold War anymore.  We are not competing for our way of life.  We are not opening markets for our goods.  There is no need for the United States to be involved in the Gaza conflict.  The bribes up until now haven't worked.  Let's cut our losses.


Look! President Obama Pretends to Care

President Obama announced the appointment of five new people to a commission to study the oil spill. 
If that doesn't speak to the heart of the American public on the BP oil spill, nothing will.  All that emoting stuff is just so hard for him.  You can tell.
Now, I'll be the first one to tell you that my interest in dark, oily birds is eclipsed by my interest in the people of New Orleans who are still without homes.  So I am not one of these people who are going to cry over a turtle but tell people to go eat dirt.  That's the feeling I get from all these "Join the Facebook group to support the Gulf wildlife" types.  It is heart-breaking to see the little guy squirming around covering in oil for me, too.  But let's face it, people are more important than animals.  Or they are supposed to be, anyway.
What we've got on our hands is an ecological disaster, which has been clear from the beginning.  And no matter what your opinion about President Clinton, he knew a large part of his job was to be on the scene and on top of things in the event of disaster.  The man cared.  He looked like he cared and he acted like he cared.  President Obama does not.
President Obama has acted like President Bush during Katrina:  no initial signs of awareness, late to get into action, and late to get in a plane and just take a look at the problem.  I've heard from many people who represent Federal employees that this Administration is just like the last one.  I'm inclined to believe it.  You just get the feeling he thinks he's got bigger things to think about.  He does not.