We don't know yet whether it's heck or hell; guess we'll find out soon enough - but Mukasey was confirmed by the Senate. Although six Democrats voted to confirm, the majority of them did not, because of his equivocal position on the torture issue.
"Democrats said Mr. Mukasey’s refusal to characterize waterboarding, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning, as illegal torture disqualified him from taking over as the nation’s top law enforcement official.
'I am not going to aid and abet the confirmation contortions of this administration,” said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee. “I do not vote to allow torture.'"
The article in the New York Times goes on to say that NONE of the Democratic candidates for President who are currently serving in the Senate cast a vote on this issue. According to the Times, "The four Democrats had said they would not support Mr. Mukasey because of his equivocation during the confirmation hearings over whether waterboarding is torture." So why did they somehow manage to avoid casting the votes? I'd like to hear an explanation.
John McCain, who had denounced waterboarding as torture, did not vote either, although he had said last week that he would support the Mukasey nomination. I guess he didn't have the heart to support it enough to vote for it, however.
The New York Times has an excellent editorial about the Employment Nondiscrimination Act that just passed in the House of Representatives, protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in the workplace.
First of all, I'd like to say that the ideal solution would be that NO type of discrimination against any person for any reason should be allowed by our Constitution. That is, or should be, the promise of our country.
Personally I think that promise is in there already; but obviously no one is paying attention to it, and perhaps it isn't specific enough, so an amendment would be needed to enshrine it properly in the Constitution. But given that an Equal Rights Amendment for women has still never been able to pass, it is unlikely that a more all-encompassing amendment would pass either. So the only solution is to ensure these important civil rights by legislation.
Some may ask why we need this law? But according to the Times, "there remain 30 states that have not acted to prevent gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from being denied jobs or promotions simply because of who they are."
Sadly, even the House legislation that passed this week had a group of people removed before passage was ensured: Transgender people. I find this disgraceful, and it is a sad commentary on our elected officials that they can't manage to pass a bill that protects this group as well as gays and lesbians.
However, I always say "The best is the enemy of the good," so, although some gay advocacy groups opposed the final bill because of this omission, I still feel it is important to get this version passed despite this defect. Hopefully, one step at a time, these rights will continue to expand.
It is amazing to me that this country is, at heart, so ignorant and so bigoted, that so many can feel threatened by giving people rights they themselves have without having to even think about them.
Tellingly, only 35 Republicans voted for the House bill. Senator Edward Kennedy is going to introduce the bill in the Senate as the next step.
Naturally, Dubya is threatening to veto the bill. According to the Times editorial, the reasons given are "that it would be too burdensome on businesses and that it would lead to too much litigation" - pitiful excuses for outright bigotry.
Let's hope if he does veto the bill, that the Congress will override the veto. And Bush can go down in history as the Anti-Civil-Rights President.
Today's haiku, entitled "Democratic Candidate Lament"
I do hate torture
And can't stand waterboarding
Voting is risky.