…there’s a catch. No matter how many prisoners Sloan succeeds in releasing, President Obama has made it clear that he only means to close Guantanamo in the most technical sense possible — by emptying the current facility in one fashion or another. He is, it turns out, quite prepared to keep the Guantanamo system of indefinite detention itself intact and has no intention of releasing all the detainees. Those who can’t be tried — due, it is claimed, to lack of evidence — will nonetheless be kept indefinitely somewhere. Fewer than 50 prisoners remain behind bars without charges or trial until — as the formula goes — the authorities determine that they no longer pose a risk to American national security. Although the population is indeed dwindling (Gitmo currently holds 155 detainees), the most basic aspect of the system, the strikingly un-American claim that suspects in Washington’s war on terror can be held forever and a day without charges or trial, will remain in place.
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We’ve had so many collies, “collie years” seems apt, though “dog years” would work as well.
For my birthday I would like to honor someone we’ve lost we loved dearly. I started writing this almost a year ago, and then returned to it the day after our collie, Frankincense, died. Looking for my usual commentary? Yes, I’ll be commenting on how we handle death as a society. But there are also a few stories to tell. Each and every dog I have had has had something to teach me, something to say about the times we live in and how we value the lives of others. And, sometimes, they certainly seemed wiser and more understanding than some humans I have known.
Last time we were in this very dark, difficult place, I was on the road and my wife had to make the decision, be there, see life flee from Terhune the collie’s eyes. This time I had to make the difficult decision: watch as they inserted the needle, watch as he faded into nothingness… or wherever dogs go. I’m hoping we all go the same place, if we “go” anywhere at all.
by Ken Carman
When I first started to write this, almost a year ago, I was looking at Frankincense, our 14 to 15 year old collie: a true, tri-color collie in the rough, who was laying on the floor next to me, as I typed another column. Frankincense was our fifth collie: one of three from collie rescues. A year ago I knew his time was a lot shorter than it was long, kind of like mine. Only collies rarely even live to 14, and if the vet who assessed him after we picked him up from collie rescue was right he was probably 16, closing in on 17. Read more
It’s too soon to tell whether Ted Nugent’s noxious career as a conservative pundit reached a tipping point this week, but the moment he called in sick to CNN and backed out of a scheduled interview with Erin Burnett as Republican politicians denounced him might soon be seen as a flash point for the fading rock star and the incendiary brand of hate rhetoric he’s been cashing in on for years. It might also be viewed as a key stumbling moment for the conservative media, which have been unable in recent years to establish any sort of guardrails for common decency within the realm of political debate.
Increasingly reliant on bad fringe actors like Nugent to connect with their far, far-right audience, the conservative media have built up Obama-bashing personalities who no longer occupy any corner of the American mainstream. Yet Nugent enjoys deep ties with Republican campaigns all across the country. When those ties receive media scrutiny, they cannot be defended.
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