Through the ages, from the atavistic beginnings of conflicts between tribes, beliefs, cultures, city states, philosophies, and religions there has been the tenure of torture to elicit information or just to aggrandize the base desires of mindless sadists.

Modern societies, cultured administrations, democratic ideologies and spiritual philosophies do not do that for it is a barbaric and criminative action that is no longer tolerated in sophisticated society. Plain and simple: it is wrong.

I applaud the Obama edict that the United States of America will no long tolerate, endorse, encourage or condone torture as a means to glean information.

I repudiate the Bush administration and especially Vice President Cheney for even suggesting that torture is a viable means of maintaining national security. Shame on you Mr. Chaney, you have misused and debased your temporal and temporary power and abrogated your spiritual knowing in your fabrication of the righteousness of torture.

I have hopes that with your departure into oblivion, despite the fact that my tax dollars continue to support your livelihood, that never again will this great country succumb to the dictatorial whims of usurped power.

Live long Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. Think hard. Meditate often. Be surprised.

Caroline Kennedy

Sometimes pure and rampant speculation is plain fun. So just for fun here is my take on why Caroline Kennedy withdrew from the list of those who’d like to be the junior senator from New York State.

I don’t believe the reasons given by her publicity people that she is concerned about her uncle Ted Kennedy and his battle with brain cancer. I’m sure she’s concerned, but that’s not the reason she is withdrawing from the senatorial list. It is, however, a convenient excuse.

Senator Ted Kennedy’s cancer battle has been ongoing for several months and his collapse at the Senate inaugural luncheon on Tuesday or anywhere for that matter, though not expected, is always probable with brain cancer. I can’t image that niece Caroline does not know that. I think she and the publicists are using Uncle Ted as a cover for the real reason.

In my made up scenario here’s what I think happened. Governor Patterson, as a courtesy, calls Ms. Kennedy to say that he is going to appoint someone else. She decides to save face and tells him she is withdrawing her name from consideration. Patterson agrees to go along with the story and everyone goes on their political way.

Since this is all fantasy, I think Governor Patterson ought to appoint himself to replace Senator Clinton and take his chances in 2010 with getting reelected. I think he’d have a good chance.

He has to run on his own anyway for the governorship in 2010.

I live in New York and he is well respected, but not solidly rooted throughout the state. He was Lt. Governor and was thrust into the job with the resignation of Governor Spitzer over prurient assignations with a high priced hooker.

I think Patterson would have a better shot as Senator in 2010 than to be reelected governor. Appointing himself would certainly get him out of the economic mess New York State is in at the moment.

Remember this is all fantasy and speculation. In truth he’ll probably appoint Kirsten Gillibrand or Andrew Cuomo or someone else. How’s that for specifics? We’ll see how it all works out in a few days.

The Inauguration

Some brief observations about watching the inauguration ceremonies yesterday in Washington, D.C.

First of all I loved the pomp and ceremony, the traditions, the symbolism, the history and the individual performances that enhanced the event. Poetry, prayer, songs and music.

For the most part I thought the networks and the cable channels did a good job of covering the event given the geographic expanse and security limitations.

I do wish Wolf Blitzer of CNN would interrupt less than he does. As a long time anchor of various television events I understand the need for continuity, fill and prattle, but I have long been a proponent of listening to completion the thoughts of another and for the efficacy of natural sound for it often carries a meaning that belies spoken words.

I was disappointed in the people who only wanted to party and yell while the rest of us were trying to hear an answer to a question asked. What is it about cameras that make seemingly sane people jump up and down, wave, and act silly?

I was disappointed in a group of New York City High School students who were asked on CNN what they thought of the event. The answers were ignorant at best and stupid at the worst and I really am trying to be kind. Our nation does need to work on our education system.

I applaud the technology that allowed cameras at pivotal points all over the inaugural confines. Wow, how it has change since my first “watched” inaugural of Dwight Eisenhower. Years later I was a young reporter covering the White House and Capitol Hill during Nixon’s first administration and technology has certainly changed since then.

Above all, I loved the parade, patriotism, pageantry, great orchestration and especially the change of administrations. It was time. And having been at a number of similar big events, you’ve gotta love portapotties.

President Barack Obama

Today is one of those times in each of our lives that we will remember with specific detail and visceral emotion. The inauguration of a President is significant enough, but when he or she is a first then it becomes special.

The world is watching, that much we know for technology is sophisticated enough for the inaugural ceremony to be carried into the smallest villages of the world where the democracy practiced in the United States can still be seen as a beacon of hope. It remains a ray of wonder that the liberty and freedom guaranteed by words and belief over two centuries ago is still valid and alive today.

If I were to bring my hopes and wishes for the new President into single words here are several couplets that come to mind.

Courage and compassion. Justice and understanding. Confidence and communication. Laughter and humility. Faith and tolerance. Listening and contemplation and finally joy and integrity.

To govern under a democracy is never easy. Freedom and liberty encourages vocal and peaceful descent. Governing requires fitness, compromise and trust. It requires intellect, grace and the personal sustainment of awe.

It also requires one other very important quality of life and living. Love. It is my prayer that President Obama embraces that divine balance every moment of every day in his service to humankind.

It is also my prayer that each of us find it too as we participate in this profound experiment called life.