Saturday, June 11, 2005

Feeling a draft yet?

As it becomes increasingly obvious that the situation in Iraq is far from hunky dory, and recruitment continues to plunge, there is increasingly serious talk about bringing back a military draft. As probably enough other bloggers have noted, the current situation in Iraq is simply not sustainable. The US has reached a point to where either the government figures out some sort of quick exit strategy or in order to at bare minimum maintain current troop levels will have to resort to some sort of change in the laws so that the government can coerce people into being bullet-stoppers in Iraq. We know that the Fighting 101st Keyboard Division will, like Sir Robin, bravely run away from any form of military duty and hence the recruiters aren't going to be able to count on those losers to fill in the gaps. And not too terribly surprisingly, parents - even the ones who were gung-ho about Junior Caligula's re-election - aren't exactly encouraging their kids to join up. What to do. What to do.

As Kurt Nimmo aptly notes, the 20-somethings are the prime targets for a renewed draft, and it is going to be up to this group of young men and women to step up and do what they can to prevent that from happening:
Since the Strausscons are emboldened by an almost complete lack of opposition to the occupation and the daily slaughter of innocent Iraqis, and the above mentioned analysts and policymakers and other influential people are not advising against continuing the occupation (let alone expressing moral outrage), conscription is almost a certainty.

It is up to the cell phone generation (as I derogatorily call the current crop of 20-somethings, mostly because they are immersed in mindless consumerism and oblivious to urgent political realities and the very real possibility they will be conscripted and sent to die in Iraq or Iran and if not die there come back to the United States and die from “Gulf War Syndrome II” or the effects of nuclear warfare—and the use of depleted uranium is certainly nuclear warfare). It is time for them to get off their asses and tell Bush and his dour cabal of warmongers (and chicken hawks) to put it where the sun don’t shine. Or as we mused rhetorically in the 60s: what if they gave a war and nobody came? If the cell phone generation refuses to participate, the Pentagon and the Strausscons will be unable to run their murderous bombing runs, invasions, and occupations.

It is now obvious the Strausscon war machine is reaching its limits and will break soon without a fresh influx of human cannon fodder. If there is a hope it is in the fact the world’s most powerful military is pinned down in an Arab country ravaged by more than a decade of medieval sanctions and two “wars” (invasions). Repeating this mistake in Iran would be sheer insanity but then the Strausscons are criminally insane and completely certain of the righteousness of their master plan to eviscerate Islam and the Arab Middle East, as dictated by a small number of far right-wing fanatics in Israel (and supported by more than a few corporations such as Lockheed Martin and Halliburton, who are carpet-baggers looking for a macabre buck).

Human nature will eventually overwhelm the Strausscons—millions of 20-somethings will resist bullet-stopper slavery (for self-preservation is an intractable human trait), that is unless they can devise something more horrific and stunning than nine eleven and thus convince the cell phone generation their sacrifice is required, as a former generation was more or less convinced their sacrifice was required in World War II, even though we now know that war could have been prevented if a gaggle of rich people (such as Prescott Bush, Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, and other industrialists and bankers) had not danced the fandango with Hitler and the Nazis.

I am crossing my fingers the cell phone generation will do the right thing because I am too old and will not be drafted and the only viable action that will shut down the military machine is if soldiers mutiny or don’t show up in the first place. It will be more difficult this time around (more difficult than it was in the 60s and 70s) because the Strausscons are shrewd and will do all they can to trick the cell phone generation into surrendering their lives through illusion, fear tactics, and trickery. It is also in the process of erecting an awesome snoop infrastructure of truly Orwellian proportions.

Be aware.

June 11th has numerous notable anniversaries:

Two that caught my attention, courtesy of the Wikipedia:

Wake up and smell the coffee

It maybe Saturday, but you need that caffeine fix. And while your coffee's brewing, check out, State of the coalition in Iraq.

See also N*ggers, G**ks, and H*ajis - very thought-provoking.

And now for something completely different...

As I was blogging around I ran into a story of some amusing celebrity musical performer meltdowns. One that especially caught my attention concerned jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard (a great hardbop trumpet player during the 1960s, who sadly let his chops deteriorate afterwards):
Star: Jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard
Specifics: Circa 1967 at an unknown venue, probably in Europe
Meltdown: On a bootleg tape that has been passed from collector to collector for close to 40 years, Hubbard can be heard unleashing some torrential trumpet riffs and then uncorking the following tirade to a jeering audience: "Fuck you white motherfuckers! Fuck you white motherfuckers! [Voice in crowd: 'Go home!'] Well, okay, I'll go home. If you don't like me, kiss my ass! That's right, 'cause you jive, you jive, you jive! You white motherfuckers! You the ones who started this shit! Lemme show you -- you the ones -- fuck you! fuck you, you white motherfuckers! [Hubbard starts to weep.] If you don't like me, kiss my black ass! You motherfuckers! [The drummer tries to launch into the next song.] Fuck it, I won't do it!"
Aftermath: Unknown, though this was not to be the last of Hubbard's meltdowns, nor the last to be caught on tape. Another was at Cleveland club the Front Row, where, in 1977 he stormed off the stage screaming, "Miles Davis, Miles Davis, Miles Davis. I ain't Miles Davis, motherfuckers!"

Also of note is a vignette describing Grace Slick's final 1978 performance with Jefferson Starship (formerly Jefferson Airplane, but by this time a mere shell of what they once were - but not yet quite at their nadir, which would occur in the 1980s). Honestly, I always found Ms. Slick to be a bit on the freaky side to begin with. I'll say this - when she melts down, she melts down.

I can't honestly say that I've seen a famous performer melt down, and I keep thinking that I've been to enough gigs at this point in my life that I must indeed be fortunate. The closest to a meltdown was the members of Public Enemy walking out of a gig at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in December of 1988, but that had more to do with their disgust at the rioting behavior among the audience. Hell, I couldn't blame them. Too bad, as the beginning of their set was quite powerful.

I have however seen at least one non-famous person have a meltdown on stage. There was this cat named Richard, a guitarist whose music could basically be characterized as neopsychedelic. He'd performed with a group called The Feeling around 1987 or so, but that crew had broken up by the time I met Richard, and he was more prone to perform solo at various local coffee houses. I used to refer to him as a sort of poor man's Syd Barrett, which given his songwriting skills and personal antics seemed fitting enough. I helped him get a gig opening for Allen Ginsberg at the CSU Fullerton Pub in early 1989, and his set there was tight. No meltdowns that night. Fastforward to June 1989. I and a friend (very nice gal named Leslie) went to catch Richard at an open mike night at Goodies in Fullerton. By the time Leslie and I got to the gig, Richard had already been drinking heavily - and the combination of booze and a rapidly deteriorating mental state led to some bad choices on his part. We all had a drink, smoked some cigarettes and listened to a run-of-the-mill late 1980s-style hard rock band when Richard got the idea that he should ask these cats to back him up when he did his set. I did my best to talk him out of that idea. They really weren't quite his style, and even though he had been writing some edgier, grittier, louder material late that spring, his stuff was on that abstract tip that wouldn't be dug by cats who play 3 chords in 4/4 time, dig? Somehow he talked these cats to play behind him, and he went on to deliver the worst performance I'd seen in my life. The band was clueless (as much because he simply wasn't in a state to communicate what he wanted) and Richard was clueless. It didn't help that he kept forgetting the lyrics to his songs and had to stop in the middle of tunes to try to figure out what he was playing in the first place. Mercifully, the emcee interrupted before things could get too far out of hand - the audience was starting to get pissed - and made some comment about how it took some guts to go up there and play that bad. Ouch! Afterwards, Richard seemed apologetic - I think he felt like he let us down, which he did. As far as I know that was his last gig. We'd periodically hang out, and he'd play some new tunes he'd been writing. Unfortunately, his mental condition rapidly deteriorated, and by the end of the year, he was homeless and had drifted away from the area. Quite a shame. The guy had some talent. And yeah, every once in a while I still dig out one of his old demotapes and play some of his tunes for old time's sake.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Dean is right:

The GOP is essentially a political party for white, nominally Christian [1] folks:
Toni Brandon, 33, said she hadn't read or heard any news about Mr. Noe or the Bureau of Workers' Compensation scandal. She and her eight-year-old son waited on a small hill near I-70 to try to catch a glimpse of the President as he headed toward the event.

"We love the President. He's a Christian and these people are evil,'' said Ms. Brandon, referring to the protesters. "I have plenty of military background in my family and all of us love the President. I wish we had a flag to wave." Link


Of 3,643 Republicans serving in the state legislatures, only 44 are minorities, or 1.2 percent. In the Congress, with 274 of the 535 elected senators and representatives Republican, only five are minorities - three Cuban Americans from Florida, a Mexican American from Texas and a Native American senator originally elected as a Democrat.

'President Bush's home state leads the way. Texas, with a minority population of 47 percent, has 106 Republicans in the state legislature, but there are 0 blacks and 0 Hispanics among them,' Sperling writes. Link

Granted there seem to be plenty of folks who are eager to shoot the messenger, including the usual suspects among the Vichy-Democrat crowd, but for better or worse the facts are beyond dispute. That's hardly news, really. What Dean said recently could just as easily and just as fairly been said 20 years ago. The GOP has been consistently where the fundies hang out, and has been consistently the refuge for the heirs of Jim Crow since the Democrat party embraced civil rights legislation in the 1960s. We report. You decide. Deal with it.

Footnote [1] I say nominally Christian for at least a couple reasons. First, many politicians who publically avow Christian beliefs are far from Christian in their behavior, and given the neocon crowd is likely to be little more than a cynical cover for promoting an authoritarian state. These folks, along with the rank and file who are of similar mindset, are little more than modern day Pharisees. Second, it should be pointed out that even among the true believers in Christianity among the GOP crowd (and I have no reason to doubt that there are plenty among the rank and file who hold sincere beliefs when it comes to their faith), theirs is a narrowly-construed Christianity that largely excludes those of us who practice our faith in association with mainline Protestant or Catholic denominations (and would definitely exclude whatever remaining liberal parishes) or other more explicitly liberal churches. The sort of fundamentalism that seems to characterize the typical GOP-er is one that is alien to my own beliefs and values.


"[A]n attempt to transform Muslim societies through regime change is likely to dramatically increase the threat we face. The root cause of suicide terrorism is foreign occupation and the threat that foreign military presence poses to the local community's way of life. Hence, any policy that seeks to conquer Muslim societies in order, deliberately, to transform their culture is folly. Even if our intentions are good, anti-American terrorism would likely grow, and grow rapidly."

Robert Pape, from his book "Dying to Win"

Click the link and you'll get a book review. It looks like it'll end up on my list of books to pick up in the near future. From the book review, it appears that Dr. Pape has done a thorough study of suicide bombings and those who perpetrate suicide bombings. The basic thrust of his research is that the profile of the suicide bomber as portrayed by our politicians and the mass media is clearly false. Rather than being under-educated religious fanatics, suicide bombers tend to be educated, secular types whose main objective is to remove occupying powers from their own national soil. This of course isn't a brand new argument - I've heard and read variants of that for a while now, but it's useful to finally have some data behind the argument rather than armchair speculation.

Wake up and smell the coffee

For your Friday, here's Repression 101: Anti-War Students Sanctioned at SFSU

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Shorter Steve Plaut

"I can only feel good about myself by projecting my own insecurities and biases onto my political enemies."

See Kurt Nimmo for a more extended smackdown.

Another quotable

More to the point, even though a growing majority of the American people finally appear to have soured on Shrub's war, it's almost certainly not because of the way he got us into it, but because we're losing it -- or at least, not winning it.

The truth (which the political establishment and corporate media understand but can't admit, at least not in so many words) is that the overwhelming majority of the American people probably don't give a flying fuck whether the war was started under false pretenses, or in violation of international law -- or even that impeachable offenses may have been committed under U.S. law. All they know is that Saddam was a bad guy (right out of central casting, in fact) and that we're always the good guys, which means the United States had every right to invade Iraq and overthrow its government. It's strictly movie logic, and movie morality, but for most Americans that may be enough -- at least as long as the movie ends the way such movies are supposed to end, with the triumph of the "good guys."

I know this is going to sound harsh, but my sense is that American popular opinion about the invasion of Iraq is roughly the same as German popular opinion about the invasion of Russia (which was also sold as a cakewalk, all the way up to the battle of Stalingrad) -- most people are just sorry it didn't work out.

But, hey, that's the grim pessimist in me talking. Somebody out there must care, or the corporate media wouldn't even be bothering to debate its coverage of the Downing Street Memo. People may not mind that invasion was unnecessary and illegal, but they do mind the mess it has turned into. And that's a start. Link


At some point, progressives need to stand up to the Minutemen and what they represent, recognizing them for the potent threat they are about to become. It can't be nicey-nice, either; take a gander through Border Ruffian's ruminations here and it becomes clear what we're dealing with.

These aren't people you can negotiate with or engage constructively (though people like Observer, it should be noted, are not as far gone as dedicated racists like Ruffian); they only view your decency as a kind of weakness. The best you can do, really, is shove their fists back in their faces. It's the only language they understand or respect.


There's no point in playing nice with Nazis. And someone needs to start shoving back on those fists somewhere.

I strongly recommend reading the entire post Harassing the harassers by David Neiwert. He's right on target.

Wake up and smell the coffee

Thursday morning and all is Hell: When Marine recruiters go way beyond the call

Right-wingers to Bush: It’s Okay to Urinate on Hadjis

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Say Hello To

Women Kossacks, a blog that has been triggered by the recent Daily Kos meltdown:
So over the weekend, certain segments of the community have erupted in anger over the TBS ad for their reality show, the Real Gilligan's Island. Apparently, having two women throw pies at each other, wrestle each other in a sexy, lesbianic manner, then having water splashed on their ample, fake bosoms is degrading to women. Or something like that.

Whatever. Feel free to be offended. I find such humorless, knee-jerk reactions, to be tedious at best, sanctimonious and arrogant at worst. I don't care for such sanctimony from Joe Lieberman, I don't care for it from anyone else. Some people find such content offensive. Some people find it arousing. Some people find it funny. To each his or her own.

But I am not Lieberman. I won't sit there and judge pop culture and act as gatekeeper to what I think is "appropriate", and what isn't.

And I certainly won't let the sanctimonious women's studies set play that role on this site. Feel free to be offended. Feel free to claim that I'm somehow abandoning "progressive principles" by running the ad. It's a free country. Feel free to storm off in a huff. Other deserving bloggers could use the patronage.

Me, I'll focus on the important shit.

That sweeping generalization (which seems to be part of a pattern with Markos when it comes to womens issues) sure set off a much-deserved shitstorm. Some "progressives" who frequent the blog sure showed their true colors over the last day or two - both in comments to the original story by kos and in the numerous diaries and comments that followed - and to say the least, I was underwhelmed. That, along with Kevin Drum's periodic posts regarding the so-called lack of female political blogs have convinced me that there is still a bit of knuckle-dragging to be found even among those of us who really should know better. So it goes.

Food for thought with your morning coffee

Mitakuye oyasin!

We are all related!

It isn't too late. We still have time to recreate and change the value system of the present. We must! Survival will depend on it. Our Earth is our original mother. She is in deep labor now. There will be a new birth soon! The old value system will suffer and die. It cannot survive as our mother earth strains under the pressure put on her. She will not let man kill her.

The First Nation's Peoples had a value system. There were only four commandments from the Great Spirits:

1.Respect Mother Earth
2.Respect the Great Spirit
3.Respect our fellow man and woman
4.Respect for individual freedom

We must all stand together as a force of love. Be united NOW. There is only one way. Communication. Knowledge. Arm yourself with truth, love and perseverence. Extend your family. Join with others in giving. We are all related. People of the earth take back your heritage. I am not speaking of skin color or religion. Our heritage is this earth... Our heritage is also extended beyond this earth into the heavens where the spirit once lived before our birth into this world. You are bound to both.


Treat the Earth and all that dwell thereon with respect!
Remain close to the Great Spirit
Show great respect for your fellow beings
Work together for the benefit of all mankind!
Give assistance and kindness wherever needed
Do what you know to be right
Look after the well-being of mind and body
Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good
Be truthful and honest at all times
Take full responsiblity for your actions.....


I found this to be well-worth sharing. Peace.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

From the "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" Department:

What Did Bush Decide and When Did He Decide It?

The Downing Street Memo reported that in a July 23, 2002 meeting between Prime Minister Blair and his war cabinet, attendees of the meeting discussed the fact that President Bush had already made up his mind to attack Iraq. According to the minutes of the meeting:

“There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action.”

Yet, as the record below proves, President Bush claimed over and over after July 23rd until the war began that he had not made up his mind.

Bush: “Of course, I haven’t made up my mind we’re going to war with Iraq.” [10/1/02]

Bush:“Hopefully, we can do this peacefully – don’t get me wrong. And if the world were to collectively come together to do so, and to put pressure on Saddam Hussein and convince him to disarm, there’s a chance he may decide to do that. And war is not my first choice, don’t – it’s my last choice.” [11/7/02]

Bush: “This is our attempt to work with the world community to create peace. And the best way for peace is for Mr. Saddam Hussein to disarm. It’s up to him to make his decision.” [12/4/02]

Bush: “You said we’re headed to war in Iraq – I don’t know why you say that. I hope we’re not headed to war in Iraq. I’m the person who gets to decide, not you. I hope this can be done peacefully.” [12/31/02]

Bush: “First of all, you know, I’m hopeful we won’t have to go war, and let’s leave it at that.” [1/2/03]

Bush: “But Saddam Hussein is – he’s treated the demands of the world as a joke up to now, and it was his choice to make. He’s the person who gets to decide war and peace.” [2/7/03]

Bush:“I’ve not made up our mind about military action. Hopefully, this can be done peacefully.” [3/6/03]

Bush: “I want to remind you that it’s his choice to make as to whether or not we go to war. It’s Saddam’s choice. He’s the person that can make the choice of war and peace.” [3/6/03]

Bush: “We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.” [3/8/03]

Bush: “Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it.” [3/17/03]

Courtesy of Think Progress

Pass it on:

Something I received via email:
Shut Down Guantánamo

Dear Friend,

It's time to shut down the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay once and for all. Guantánamo has become a symbol world-wide of the Bush Administration's arrogant disregard for the most basic of human rights. In a hard-hitting editorial on Sunday, June 5, The New York Times wrote: "The best thing Washington can now do about this national shame is to shut it down. It is a propaganda gift to America's enemies; an embarrassment to our allies; a damaging repudiation of the American justice system; and a highly effective recruiting tool for Islamic radicals, including future terrorists."*

Please write your representatives in Congress and the members of the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees and tell them to shut down Guantánamo and either try the remaining 540 detainees in a court of law or release them.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the fight against the detentions at Guantánamo Bay. From the day the government made clear they planned to ship prisoners there to keep them beyond the reach of law, indefinitely, and without any chance to challenge their detention or know the charges against them, CCR has fought for the detainees to have their day in court. CCR won the fight in the Supreme Court one year ago and is leading a team of more than 350 attorneys from around the country representing the detainees in the courts, but the Bush Administration has defied the ruling of the highest court in the land and stonewalled detainees' access to the courts and to counsel. We urgently need your help. Please contact your representatives in Congress and tell them the time has come to shut down the Guantánamo prison camp once and for all. And please help if you can with a donation to help us keep at this critical fight: CCR does cutting edge work, and we can't do it without you.

In response to increasing documentation of abuse and the now admitted intentional desecration of the Koran, Senator Arlen Spector (R-Pennsylvania) will be holding hearings in June on the treatment of the detainees, and Senator Joseph Biden, (D-Delaware), who has just called for Guantánamo to be shut down, has proposed an independent commission to investigate the situation. CCR has long called for an independent special prosecutor with the power to prosecute the human rights abuses being committed in our name as Americans. And now we're calling for the immediate closing of the Guantánamo prison camp.

Ron Daniels and Michael Ratner Executive Director and President, The Center for Constitutional Rights

To find out more about Guantánamo and CCR's other cases go to

Of course it seems to go without saying that the US shouldn't be holding people indefinitely without formal charges or legal representation indefinitely as is happening now - in Guantánamo or anywhere else for that matter; nor should prisoners be tortured. I realize that folks like Biden seem to be concerned merely that the whole sad spectacle makes the US "look bad" and little more. To me the issue of image is secondary to the issue of human rights. Right now, of primary importance is stopping the sorts of abuses that regularly occur in Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Baghram, etc. Nor is "outsourcing" torture an acceptable alternative. It's about doing the right thing: nothing more, nothing less.


This site is certified 30% EVIL by the Gematriculator

Fancy that: this blog is only 30% evil.

Wake up and smell the coffee

A link for your Tuesday morning: This is the House that Bush Bombed

And the winner of the Washington State governor's race is...

Geez. Wasn't this supposed to have been figured out ages ago, like back in November, 2004? Last I've read, it appears that Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges had enough of the GOP shenanigans to throw out the November vote and start from scratch - and that Dino Rossi is calling it quits at this point: no state supreme court appeals. So at least that sideshow is over. It's certainly been entertaining to see Republicans who undoubtedly would have told Gore supporters in 2000 to "get over it" fail to take their own advice and throw the biggest temper tantrum imaginable.

Mickey Z has some commentary (albeit geared toward Presidential elections) that is quite appropriate:
American democracy allows for free and fair presidential elections open to any candidate over the age of 35…who praises god and the free market (am I being redundant?), describes his enemies as “evil,” understands that the rest of the world hate us because we’re free, and can raise at least $200 million.

Third (sic) party candidates are routinely barred from public debates (and often censored by misguided “progressives,” for that matter), only half the eligible voters even bother showing up (trust me, more of you will vote for the winner of Iraqi Idol once you have our system), and the vast majority of congressional elections are essentially uncontested. Prisoners (and there will be lots of those) will not vote…the same goes for many former prisoners.

When all else fails, you can count on your Supreme Court to set things straight (and I do mean straight).


Something that is true in both state and national politics is that "democracy" is kept within very strict boundaries that offer the voters little choice. The state where I reside, Oklahoma, has made it practically impossible for any third party to get on the ballot, thus guaranteeing that the Dems and Repubs will remain firmly entrenched in power whether they deserve to be or not.

This post is in solidarity with the Progressive Blogger Union. Check out the link for more info.

Tag: PBU23

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Want corroborating evidence with the Downing Street Minutes?

You got it, compiled right here.

There are even some conservatives who think Bu$hCo should be impeached:

George W. Bush and his gang of neocon warmongers have destroyed America's reputation.

It is likely to stay destroyed, because at this point the only way to restore America's reputation would be to impeach and convict President Bush for intentionally deceiving Congress and the American people in order to start a war of aggression against a country that posed no threat to the US. America can redeem itself only by holding Bush accountable.

As intent as Republicans were to impeach President Clinton for lying about a sexual affair, they have a blind eye for President Bush's far more serious lies.
Bush's lies have caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people, injured and maimed tens of thousands more, devastated a country, destroyed America's reputation, caused one billion Muslims to hate America, ruined our alliances with Europe, created a police state at home, and squandered $300 billion dollars and counting.

Paul Craig Roberts

Roberts is one of a dying breed of conservatives (I guess the term now would be paleoconservatives) here in the US: you know the type - basically a deficit hawk, and someone who is perfectly okay with a sizeable military but tempered with a general belief that rushing to war is foolish. Some of them have been making noise as of late, and Roberts has certainly been among them. Of course readers of this blog know that I link to, which has been editorializing against the Iraq debacle from a Libertarian/Conservative slant, and regularly features Roberts, Alan Bock, and other similarly minded individuals. Although there are many issues with which I and those individuals would likely diverge, the one common thread is a general understanding that the US is going to have to make some serious sacrifices in order to regain the good graces of the world community. Impeaching Bush and sending him and his cronies to the appropriate international court to be tried for war crimes would be a fitting start.

From the "I'll Believe It When I See It" Department:

Specter to Hold Hearings on Gitmo
WASHINGTON Jun 4, 2005 -- The continuing uproar over U.S. treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib has a top Senate Republican looking at the need to clarify in law the rights of foreign detainees.

On the heels of Amnesty International calling the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "the gulag of our time," Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., will hold hearings this month on the treatment of foreign terrorism suspects there.

It'll be interesting to see if anything comes of it. If Specter does come through, and conducts a thorough and open hearing, then I'll certainly be impressed.