Thursday, May 21, 2009

Baby, don't fear the Carmina

The US Senate, by a vote of 90-6, declared that they are afraid of holding 240 alleged terrorists in the United States. Even former Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb. Even former POW John McCain, who pledged to close Guantanamo while running for president last year. Even Diane Feinstein, who submitted a bill in 2007 to close Guantanamo within a year, voted to prevent President Obama from closing Guantanamo now.

Rachel Maddow (at YouTube or at MSNBC) has a theory: it's because an ad run by the Senate Republicans invoked Carmina Burana. Orffophobia taints anything that's accompanied by O Fortuna.

You'd never guess that the US once held about a half million German POWs during World War II, based in 45 of the 48 (at the time) U.S. states. Or that there are over 1.5 million felons in state and federal prisons. Or that 15 thousand people are murdered in the US each year (almost all by fellow Americans), and just about that many people are captured, tried, and jailed for murder every year, some in every state of the union.

It was refreshing to see President Obama give a sober and detailed discussion of the issue in a speech today. I am troubled about his assumption that every accused terrorist will be convicted. His category 5, people who the government thinks are dangerous but cannot be tried, is deeply disturbing, although he proposes a quasi-judicial process to make that determination. The judicial system is supposed to make independent assessments of guilt.

Nonetheless, he did a great job of putting the issue into context and explaining why Guantanomo needs to be closed. Dan Froomkin gives a good analysis of the speech and posts the transcript.

Obama promised at his inauguration to talk to us like adults. Let's see whether the Senate is capable of the same. Or maybe we just need to ban O Fortuna.

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1 comment:

Elrond Hubbard said...

Dude, I was totally going to do a post about O Fortuna. The Daily Show recently had a clip of Sean Hannity's show beginning with, literally, O Fortuna as well. They aren't even using the faux O Fortuna that appears in so many movies -- the 1989 Batman, the Passion of Christ, the Dan Brown movies. They're just going for the Orff, apparently oblivious to it's status as a bastion of physical love. I suggest liberals show clips of Cheney overlaid by the roasting fowl portion.