The truth will set you free

Free of a job that it is.  In one of the most depressing things yet out of the Obama administration, the State Department official who quite rightly stated that the treatment of Bradley Manning is “stupid and counterproductive” which it undoubtedly is, was forced to resign.   Kevin Drum simply writes, again correctly, “this is contemptible.”  Agreed.  Ezra Klein uses it as the basis to ask what candidate Obama would say about President Obama:

You may only hazily remember the name “Bradley Manning.” He’s the young soldier accused of passing thousands and thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks. I say “accused” not because his guilt is so doubtful, but because he has not yet stood for trial. At the moment, he is simply incarcerated. And in an apparent act of revenge, his captors are subjecting him to sleep deprivation, prolonged time in isolation and continuous nude spot-checks — conditions that Daniel Ellsberg calls “right out of the manual of the CIA for ‘enhanced interrogation’.”

Asked about Manning’s treatment at a speech in Cambridge recently, Crowley made the obvious points: it’s “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” This made life difficult for the administration, and so Crowley — rather than the officials responsible for putting Crowley and every other administration member into the position of defending Manning’s treatment — was forced to resign. The message of this is horrendous. “Crowley’s firing will make it even less likely in the future that decent public servants will speak out against such needless sadism,” writes Andrew Sullivan.

The Obama campaign was only three years ago, but it had strong opinions on this sort of thing. “To lead the world, we must lead by example,” Candidate Obama said in October of 2007. “We must be willing to acknowledge our failings, not just trumpet our victories. And when I’m President, we’ll reject torture – without exception or equivocation.” But now we find there is both exception and equivocation — and the administration is purging those within its ranks who publicly say it should be otherwise. This is a moment in which both those who serve in the administration and those who support it need to ask whether the Obama administration is keeping sight of its values now that it holds power.

This really is disappointing.  It some ways, it’s actually worse for Obama because he did, indeed, campaign against this type of thing.  And honestly, I think he knows better in  a way that George Bush didn’t, making him even more morally culpable.  It does hearten me, though, to see so many liberals call out Obama for this in a way that I’m not sure conservatives would have necessarily called out Bush.

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(Almost) Favorite game ever

So, I went to the ACC tournament this past weekend with my oldest son David.  Sooo much fun.  For only the 2nd time ever, I got to see Duke play Carolina in person.  Last time was in February of my junior year, 1993, when Duke beat Carolina (something they would not do again for a few years).  I only went to that one game because Kim and I got in by waiting all day and camping out was/is definitely not my thing.  Anyway, so awesome to be able to see Duke play Carolina for the ACC title.

My favorite part– other than Duke playing fabulously and winning– was the incredible atmosphere.  To have Duke play Carolina just an hour down the road in Greensboro is just about perfect.  I’d estimate that thanks to a very efficient secondary market, over 90% of the fans in there were either Duke or Carolina fans– probably about 65% Carolina.  As a lover of college basketball, it was awesome to be in an arena packed full of fans completely passionate about the game.  Normally, in something like this, i.e., a final 4, you are looking at more than half the fans who have no strong rooting interest in any particular game.  So, this was pretty much a perfect college basketball environment.  Didn’t really mind being outnumbered by Carolina fans as there were still plenty of vociferous Duke fans.  And, as a parent, few things are better than sharing the things you love with a child who loves them, too.

So, I was about to title this my favorite game ever, but, despite all those things I just wrote, I also had the amazing good fortune to attend the 1991 Final 4 in Indianapolis my freshman year.  I got to see Duke defeat UNLV in the national semifinal and this was a UNLV that had beaten Duke by a NCAA championship record 30 points in 1990 and had not lost a game since the 1990 season– the biggest juggernaut since the UCLA glory days.  Anyway, I realized that would have to take the singular “favorite” title.

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