I am at the San Mateo County Expo Center, where they are conducting a Presidential Straw Poll today.
This is a large room and it is packed. It looks lime at least a thousand people have turned out. (Later – just heard someone say 1600.)
Along one wall are tables set up by the local Democratic clubs and the campaigns. There are Hillary, Obama, Edwards and Kuchinich tables, and there is a strong Kucinich contingent here. I haven’t seen a Dodd or Biden table or sign or supporters, but I have seen people with Richardson signs. And, of course Draft Gore signs.
I am here with Mary Ratcliff of The Left Coaster and Pacific Views. If I am lucky Mary will let me use her camera because I loaned mine to someone who has not returned it. (hint)
The first speaker is now talking and the sound system is terrible. I’m way in the back at a press table, and there are a lot of talking people between me and the speakers. “…taking back our country … San Mateo County … and I thank you for being here… we WILL have a Democratic president in 2009 …”
— Pictures after the flip —
In response to U.S. Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey’s refusal to say
whether waterboarding is torture, the Governor this morning issued the following
“Waterboarding is torture, and anyone who is unwilling to identify it as such is not qualified to be the chief legal officer of the United States of America. If I were in the U.S. Senate, I would vote against Mukasey unless he denounces such specific forms of torture.
“Torture does not work. Mistreatment backfires and destroys our international leadership, as we saw with Abu Ghraib. Torture also endangers our own troops. The standards we adopt may well be what our own troops are subjected to.
“Anytime one makes a person think he or she is being executed, the very nature of waterboarding, it obviously is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, international law, and basic human decency.
“ABC News has described waterboarding as follows: ‘The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner’s face, and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in, and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.’
“If another nation engaged in waterboarding against American citizens, we would denounce that country and call the practice barbaric, and rightly so.
“We must stand against torture without equivocation, without compromise, and without exception. Torture is a violation of everything we stand for as Americans and as human beings.”