Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, died today. His politics were complex--a big supporter of authorizing Bush to go to war in Iraq in '02, he also was one of the first legislators to go to Libya as things were starting to thaw in '04, and argued for normalizing relations--but the authority of his voice when he spoke about human rights was something incredibly special. That voice can't be replaced.
Below is maybe my favorite Lantos moment, from an incredibly humiliating hearing for CEO Jerry Yang, whose company, Yahoo, helped send two Chinese dissidents to jail (apologies for the lame graphic accompanying the audio). Yang is the kind of techie Master of the Universe a lot of lawmakers would have kowtowed to, but Lantos told him, "While technologically and financially you [Yahoo] are giants, morally you are pygmies." A week later, Yahoo settled with the two dissidents' families and set up a fund for political dissidents.