Thursday, April 30, 2009

How did this clueless dumbass ever get past High School?

You've really got to see this video to believe it. Senator Joe Barton from Texas (so already you know where this is going ...) thought it would be a good chance to finally learn about something that's always confused him: how did the oil under Alaska ... get there?

Sweet Shit of Jesus, I'm not even kidding. This moron – a man elected into public office who represents the people of Texas – is stumped by a question any High School student could answer (though not without laughing their asses off at him, too). Which once again shines a good furious light on the fact that Republicans are becoming increasingly transformed into clueless ignorant arrogant idiots.

Why arrogant? Because he thought it would be a good idea to ask such a puzzling, stumping query to none other than Steven Chu, the Nobel Prize-winning Energy Secretary of the US. I think that if you listen hard enough, you could hear Chu's eyes tear up from the effort needed not to burst out laughing. (Along with half the room's.)

Now that Barton moron posted this video up on his YouTube account (jeez, any idiot can get a video broadcasting account these days ...), apparently under the impression he stumped the energy secretary, a man who knows more about, well, energy and geology, than most other men combined. Also, you may be (not) surprised to find that comments have been disabled. Another clue that we're dealing with a clueless Republican here: not allowed to comment on their lethal stupidity levels.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

Continued ...»

Bigoted Miss California to appear in idiotic group's bigoted ad

I think that about sums it up right. You'll remember Carrie Prejean, aka "Miss California", who was asked – unfairly, perhaps – by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton during the Miss USA pageant, whether she was for or against gay marriage. She glibly replied that she was indeed opposed the wedding of gays, instead standing up for "opposite marriage" (which, in her sort of ghastly twisted mind, designates opposite genders, I suppose).

Anyway, she's since been in the middle of a growing semi-scandal in the media, and now to boost her bigoted ego even further, she's gonna "star" in the upcoming 1.5 million dollar commercial against gay marriage. A commercial from (sigh) the National Organization for Marriage.

Yes, the same ludicrously pompous and self-righteous group behind that insidious and pathetic "Gathering Storm" commercial.

The organization has scheduled a press conference with Prejean in Washington on Thursday to unveil the new ad, called "No Offense."

Prejean was roasted by same-sex marriage advocates after she stood up for what she called "opposite marriage" (marriage between a man and a woman) when responding to a question from celebrity blogger and pageant judge Perez Hilton.

Of course, you can imagine how those annoying twits characterized her little speech:

"She is attacked viciously for having the courage to speak up for her truth and her values," the National Organization for Marriage said in a press release. "But Carrie's courage inspired a whole nation and a whole generation of young people because she chose to risk the Miss USA crown rather than be silent about her deepest moral values."

According to the group, the ad will call "gay marriage advocates to account for their unwillingness to debate the real issue: gay marriage has consequences."

Oh my God. I've been molested with stupid.

Of course, according to the NOM, she's been attacked for "having the courage to speak up for her truth and her values". No, it can't be that she just said something decidedly stupid and bigoted and that quite frankly has no place in a beauty pageant (as if those stupid shows could stray any deeper in the swamps of shallowness and pointlessness); it was for having the guts to speak out at all. Yeah, that's it.


They go on and on about her daring to speak about her moral values and such; the thing is: WE DON'T CARE. No-one gives the slightest inkling of a shit as to what a plastic idiot who serves only to look pretty in bright lights before TV cameras, thinks about gay marriage. Or anything at all. She can keep her stupid moral values to herself, and the world would be all the better for it. It's a good thing she lost the crown – the world, especially our society, needs less bigoted idiots at its top. (And yes, sadly, a beauty pageant winner is considered as being at the top.)

Of course, they then continue their boringly repetitive attack on the "consequences" of gay marriage. What could those possibly be, I ask? This is the ultimate, prime argument anti-same-sex-marriage advocates have been hammering in all these years: that gay marriage will have highly negative effects on traditional (heterosexual) marriage, that children's minds will be corrupted, that gays will take over for Christ's sake – it's astonishing how even these feeble-minded parasites can believe this sort of utter lunacy. It's discomforting, really.

Yes, gay marriage certainly does have consequences. Forgive me, but I just don't see any negative ones at all. It would mean a more open popular mindset. It would mean more privileges and rights to gay couples who've for so long been forbidden the elementary right to marry. It would even mean the ushering in of a new era in social rights.

But now, we've got yet another boring-ass, tired and irritatingly pointless TV commercial in the works. As if we didn't have enough stupid commercials to deal with.

Continued ...»

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How prejudice and irrational hatred can ruin lives

Here's a disgusting example of just how far ignorance and hatred can lead to serious problems for anyone, particularly the victims of such prejudice.

SAN DIEGO -- Spencer Trussle likes to play and ride his bike.

"I'm 4 years old," he said, "and I have a sister named Olivia, and I ride my bike all day long."

He lives in a piece of suburbia that seems picturesque: the Venzano development in San Marcos. His parents, Gary and Marla Trussle, moved the family here five months ago.

"I thought it would be good for the children," Marla Trussle explained.

But instead of being welcomed, the Trussle family has been under attack, they said, by neighbors. The accusations against them have been wild, including that 4-year-old Spencer "might come out with a firearm at anytime."

"I thought they had lost their minds," said Marla Trussle.

They are neighbors Sarah Fisher, Danielle Harway and Kelly Plaster. All three filed court papers asking that Spencer, his sister Olivia, and mom and dad be restricted to their own home and driveway.

"There was nothing I had done, my husband had done, my daughter had done, or I had done that warranted that response," said Trussle.

In court papers, Sarah Fisher wrote that, "Gary Trussle is a very violent, unstable and unpredictable man." Daniele Harway said, "He looked to be on drugs." And Kelly Plaster added, "I'm concerned that Gary or his son will gain access to Gary's firearms."

Gary Trussle responded, "There was no merit in any of their allegations."

He said the trouble can be linked to a diagnosis of autism when their son was 18 months old.

Yes, that's right. All this bullshit ... because the 4-year-old kid, who's never shown a hint of violence or hostility towards anyone, is autistic.

And that's not nearly all of it.

One day, some kid was picking on little Spencer, so of course father Gary went and confronted the little bully's father like any good father would. What did this earn him?

Sarah Fisher reported the Trussles to Child Protective Services. She called Gary Trussle's employer, Continental Airlines, where he's a captain. She also made a call to 911, claiming he couldn't control his young children.

So, for trying to reason with the father of a bully (nonviolently, as the article denotes), this unbelievably vile, sanctimonious bitch brought down endless troubles upon them all via Child Protective Services, and even tried to meddle in his career as an airplane captain, one of the highest-ranking civilian jobs there is. Even reported him to the police.

I dunno about you, but this bitch is just begging for a good slapping.

At least, thank God, this is one story that doesn't end in a completely enraging and horrible outcome:

But the San Diego sheriff's deputy who responded declined to write a report. CPS dropped the case as unsubstantiated, and Continental Airlines stood by their longtime employee.

"I'm offended that someone would try to involve my employment, my profession in this matter," Gary said.

He has one firearm that's locked up. It was issued to him by the Department of Homeland Security for his job. He's a former lieutenant colonel in the Marines, who served his country for 25 years.

And one last bit of heartwarming justice:

:The neighbors' accusations and court filings could have ruined the Trussles, but a San Diego Superior Court Judge tossed them all out. In addition, the neighbors have been ordered to reimburse the Trussle's legal fees, which top $12,000.

That doesn't seem like enough to me – this is one case I would've pressed quite hard for punitive damages fees – but I suppose an extra twelve thousand bucks is gonna be good ointment for the wounds they've suffered at the hands of these raving mad lunatics and utter assholes.

This story reminds me of that movie, Lakeview Terrace, which worked quite well at illustrating just how large a hell a poisonous neighbor can transform your lives into. Yes, the parallels are slim between this story and that movie (which was about a racist Black cop who targeted an interracial couple next door), but the connections are there. (Hopefully it won't end like the film did, with one or more fatalities out of the whole ordeal. Bloodshed is always unnecessary in stories like these.) It's highly possible that while the next-door assholes have been royally ass-fucked for a while, that they won't shut up and stop their vitriolic campaign against the poor Trussles and their innocent 4-year-old boy. More likely than not, the Trussles will eventually be forced to move, which I personally would take as a crippling defeat in any neighborhood conflict.

For Christ's fucking sake, the kid's FOUR! What the hell kind of deranged fuckhead thinks a four-year-old is just gonna grab a gun and go on a shooting spree!?

Perhaps, however, there is one other subtle culprit behind this disturbing story. Although those neighbors were certainly as abject as they come, there's a much deeper social problem running through our society these days, by which I mean the public, media's portrayal of Autism and autistics. You never hear of the moderates on TV or in the media: whenever you see or hear about an autistic, nine times out of ten it's gonna be a severely-affected victim of the developmental dysfunction, someone who's so consumed by the illness that they're what some harsh, not to say asshole-ian, people refer to as "mad children". They drool, can't speak, scream all the time, throw things around and flail uncontrollably, etc. In no way do I agree with that term or portrayal of feral children running around like literal little monsters, but that's how society tends to illustrate Autism and its victims.

Really, this is not a defense of those horrible neighbors ... Perhaps more of an explanation for it. Their behavior towards this poor kid and his family is still 100% inexcusable of course.

(via Respectful Insolence)

Continued ...»

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Doesn't she ever shut up?

We've got more inane and silly stupidity from Michele Bachmann, the Republican representative of Minnesota. You can either see the vid, or read the quote:

I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter, and I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it's an interesting coincidence.

Uh ... How old is she? Apparently she wasn't there in the 1970s, or else she might know that it was President Gerald Ford who was in the Oval Office in the 1976 swine flu outbreak. A Republican. (And quite a moderate one at that – in today's world he'd probably be a Democrat compared to the utter loonery the Right has become known for.) Not Carter. Idiot.

Even if she wasn't completely ignorant and massively stupid as to confuse two presidencies (or lie about it, equally possible), it still would've been a liiittle bit of a stretch.

God, how do these morons get in office??

class="smallText">(via Pharyngula)

Continued ...»

Film Review: 'Fast & Furious' – 7.5/10

Film Review: Racing • Action (2009)
'Fast & Furious'
Written by Joé McKen on Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dom and Bryan (Vin Diesel and Paul Walker) are rollin’ together again like the good ol’ days in Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious.

It’s probably odd of me to enjoy the Fast and the Furious franchise, considering my inherent disdain for most of those high-octane illegal-racing-type films and games (particularly as they’re mostly comprised of those pathetic snot-headed, backwards-cap-wearing youths I despise so), but what can I say? I’m a sucker for this particular line of films, starting from the excellent first (The Fast & the Furious), then descending into murky waters with the second (2 Fast 2 Furious), and skipping over the third (Tokyo Drift) which I’ve still yet to see. Call me lazy.

If I was disappointed to hear that the original cast of Bryan, Dom and the rest were entirely absent from Tokyo Drift (minus a tiny little scene at the very end), I was equally rejoiced to hear of their return in their entirety for this fourth installment in the iconic series. Really, it just doesn’t feel like The Fast and the Furious without the Dom and Bryan duality. And if before their friendship was strained, imagine how it’ll be some six years later, after Bryan’s betrayal to Dom and his friends, including his sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster).

The film is an interquel, basically a bridge between 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift, and tries to tie up some loose ends, answer some lingering questions (namely, “what’s happened since?”), and set up part of the scene and introducing some of the characters for Tokyo Drift. Whether it’s ultimately better or less impressive than the first film depends on the viewer; personally, I tend to be plagued by that mysterious phenomenon where recent movies feel like they’re “better” than oldies, though this time they feel equal in their entertainment values.

Enough babbling. The film opens with Dom being up to his old tricks: hijacking huge trucks and rigs on open roads and highways. Right now, it’s a four-trailer propane truck he’s attacking (“black gold”, remember?), and although the highly entertaining and thrilling scene ultimately ends in success, he’s now an internationally-wanted criminal and is forced to end his reckless activities. (Oh, this tanker-truck-hijacking bit was in the Dominican Republic. By the way.) He bids goodbye to his love, Letty, and departs in the night.

But his problems are far from over. A short time later, he receives one phone call he’ll never forget: Letty’s been murdered. Heartbroken and bent on revenge (which, if you’ve known Dom, is a very chilling thought to cross any target’s mind), Dom goes on his own private investigation, coercing leads and sources until he arrives at a race for a notorious and powerful yet elusive drug lord, Arturo Braga. The races are orchestrated by Braga’s aid in hiring the best drivers around, Ramon Compos (John Ortiz).

One little surprise for Dom, though: he’ll be competing against, amongst others, Bryan O’Conner, now an undercover FBI agent – again – who’s also actively searching for Braga. Through races, deceptions and lots of troubles and tight situations, the two re-forge their previous friendship and once again race for the same cause: finding the man behind Letty’s murder … and the several million dollars worth of heroin that’s sneaking its way into the U.S. from Mexico every few weeks.

The film has everything you could expect from a Fast and Furious installment: you’ve got fast cars ranging from exotic sportscars to homegrown muscles, you’ve got steely rebels and sneaky villains, you’ve got good guys keeping secrets from each other until it becomes a web of secrets and lies that Charlotte would be deign to tend to; and all the while the viewer is constantly satisfied with high-octane races, lots of action, excellent (though apparent) CGI scenes (including a race/fight in a narrow and sinuous mountain tunnel that’s truly exhilarating to watch), and enough meaningless and deliberate destruction of structures and constructions to send architects and engineers weeping.

The story feels relatively loose and disjointed at times, seemingly made up of random races, explosions and thrills all stitched together via a hastily-concocted and quite uninspired “drug lord” plot that seems to have been lifted straight out of the second film at times. I did enjoy the considerably darker themes and tones contrasting with the previous films – this is the first film with more than one deaths, if I recall correctly, and several of which are really quite brutal – and it feels like the films, much like their audience, are growing up and maturing into something better, riper. Although, perhaps that’s just my personal, and unique, impression.

Overall, Fast & Furious is certainly nothing you won’t have seen before in elements from a dozen other racing movies, and while certain elements and details are uninspired and plain derivative, the overall end product is one that does somehow manage to hold a proud candle to the rest of the franchise. Not a film to have wet-dreams over perhaps, but it will easily pass the time when you’ve got nothing else to do, or when the video store is out of WALL·E or There Will Be Blood. Or whatever.

Roaring through the screens with delightful fast-paced sequences coupled with a decent plot and old familiar faces, Universal Pictures’ Fast & Furious deserves itself 7.5 wrecked vehicles out of 10.

Dominic “Dom” Toretto: Vin Diesel • Bryan O’Conner: Paul Walker • Ramon Compos/Arturo Braga: John Ortiz • Mia Toretto: Jordana Brewster
Crew & Credits
Director(s): Justin Lin • Writer(s): Chris Morgan. Characters: Gary Scott Thompson. • Original Score: Brian Tyler
General Information
Distributed by: Universal Pictures • Released: April 03, 2009 • Running Time: 107 mins • Budget: US$80 million • Rated: PG-13

Continued ...»

Samples of WingNutDaily hilarity and insanity

I decided to take a casual stroll through the seeping rank that is the ultra-Right-winged netherland of Internet news sources, WorldNetDaily. Truly, if anyone desires to either split a few ribs belting out window-shattering laughter, or to simply shake their heads sadly at how utterly insane the Right has become in these times, they need only take quite a short stroll through the homepage of the "news" website, which is made up of the sort of formatting, gimmicks and article titles that truly make me wonder just what the world has come to when this sort of utterly abject inanity is what passes for "news" these days.

Hell, just scrolling down the first few screenlengths, I came across articles that hyped the supposed "imminent reinstatement" of the Fairness Doctrine[1], a "battle plan" by moron extraordinaire Joseph Farah explaining "how to take America back" from those evil soulless un-American libz, decrying the hype over President Obama's first 100 days in office as "coronated Messiah", urging people to "worship GOD, not GOV", spreading paranoia over whether the notorious "swine flu" is a terrorist biological act against the U.S., spreading ridiculous stigma decrying that Republicans are being blamed for said flu (which is utterly false), claiming (quacking) that a "Cure for Cancer" had been found but hidden (yeah, sure), and finally, advertizing a tripey propagandist Christian pro-life flick ...

And all that is just on the first page!

How these morons aren't deliberately portraying themselves as a self-deprecating humor group is beyond me. They have roughly the same measure of credibility as Ray Comfort does speaking about evolution. Or biology. Or science in general. Or logic, common sense, reason – okay, sorry. You get the idea.

Here's another example: recently (though I can't determine when exactly), another one of those infamous WND headlines appeared:

Being the ever-curious self-flagellistic nut that I am, of course I had to delve a little deeper than that. Here are the first two paragraphs.

When was the last time you read the book of Deuteronomy? Few claim it as their favorite book in the Bible, perhaps, but it happens to be quoted over 80 times in the New Testament. In fact, Jesus quoted this Old Testament book most often when He battled Satan as recorded in Matthew 4 (Deuteronomy 6:13, 16 and 8:3). That alone should earn Deuteronomy a second look. One Bible scholar called Deuteronomy "one of the greatest books of the Old Testament. Its influence on the domestic and personal religion of all ages has not been surpassed by any other book in the Bible."

We as Christian Americans have forgotten the importance of this book's teachings and are suffering the consequences in our country. The Lord makes it abundantly clear (Deuteronomy 4:40; 5:16, 33; 6:3, 18; 11:21; 12:25, 28; 22:7; 28:1-14 and 30:16) that if we keep His commandments (obey Him), it will go well with us in the land and for our children. Yet things are not going so well for America today, are they?

Owch. Seriously ... just, wow. Teh stoopid, it does so burn.

Yes, let's use the good book of Deuteronomy to reform America into salvation. After all, why not? Such barbarity and insanity are perfect foundations for any great country, no?

Hell, just see for yourself! Let's say, starting from Chapter 13, which instructs one to murder anyone who says your religion is shite and theirs is the True ReligionTM:

13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; 13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; 13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: 13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

Aie, that good omni-benevolent God, always so quick to prove His love by encouraging us to kill anyone who doesn't agree with Him. Okay then, maybe we could use Chapter 21 and encourage men to kidnap women they like, shave their heads and make them their wives:

21:10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, 21:11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; 21:12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; 21:13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.

No? Then perhaps just kill any woman who's had sex before her medding day:

22:13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 22:14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: 22:15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: 22:16 And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 22:17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 22:18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; 22:19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. 22:20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: 22:21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

And those are just the three examples lifted from Dispatches. For some more barbaric God-fearin' fun, why not turn to summaries from Wikipedia:

• The worship of God must remain pure, uninfluenced by neighbouring cultures and their 'idolatrous' religious practices. The death penalty is prescribed for conversion from Yahwism and for proselytisation.
• The death penalty is also prescribed for males who are guilty of all of the following: disobeying their parents, profligacy and drunkenness.
• An order for parents to take a stubborn and rebellious son before the town elders to be stoned.

Such peace and loving. Yes, really, America should have its laws and codes rewritten to befit just this book.


[1] The Fairness Doctrine is a law that would obligate broadcasters (TV, radio, news websites, whatever) to present sensitive and controversial topics in a polite and respectful manner, which of course I am entirely supportive of – like we need any more idiotic hotheads on the air.

Continued ...»

Get over yourselves, self-righteous morons

Here's yet another case of a religious group with far too much time on their hands: an "influential Islamic group" from Saudi Arabia is demanding the removal of a popular online videogame where players incarnate religious figures such as Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Ganesh and even God, and fight each other. Of course, a little bit of fun isn't available in Islamofascist-land.

The Saudi-based Organization of the Islamic Conference, which represents most Muslim countries, called the game “incendiary in its content” and today said its makers should take it off the Internet. Players of the game can fight each other with Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, God and the Hindu god Ganesh.

When will these idiots ever learn? The Internet (and anything else) isn't yours to control. If there's something you don't like, tough shit. You don't have any say in what people may or may not post on the Net, especially if it's only a game, no matter how insulting or "blasphemous" it may be. You need to get over your overlarge egos and realize you can't expect everyone to bend over when you snap your fingers. Deal with it.

Continued ...»

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Put your money where your overlarge mouth is, Hannity

More stupidity from Inanity Hannity: amidst the Republicans' continued attempts to try and either trivialize those disgusting torture memos, or worse, even try and glorify them, one of the most prominent of these arrogant amoral fuckheads has got to be Sean Hannity, moron extraordinaire. He casually accepted to be waterboarded, on the air, "for the troops" and for charity, when asked about his stance on waterboarding. Keith Olbermann, whom I seldom disagree with, with the story below.

So what, Hannity thinks waterboarding is a walk in the park, that it's not torture, or even vaguely unpleasant or something? He really is just a fucking fool. Waterboarding is no joke, it is very much torture. Just ask Christopher Hitchens.

That's pretty much as close a representation of real-life waterboarding, the same as they do to "enemy combatants", as you'll probably ever see on video. I dunno about you, but merely being hooded and strapped that tightly to a table would already put me in "unbearable stress". And waterboarding hadn't even begun yet.

Hitchens is one of the toughest sons-of-bitches you'll ever meet or hear about, and if he was only able to last for a fraction of a minute before feeling "unbearable stress", how would other people stand up to that? As he says: there's nothing "simulated" about waterboarding. It's drowning in its purest sense: being overcome by water and not being able to breathe at all.

I for one would absolutely love to see Inanity Hannity get those huge balls out of his mouth and do what he said he'd be willing to do. Strap his arrogant ass to a board, mask his head, and waterboard him. You'd pay me a thousand dollars for every second and I'd still never accept. Drowning is a sentiment I've only experienced two or three times in my life, and I have absolutely no intention of going through that again. Not for anything less than a million fucking bucks, at least. It's probably the least pleasant experience anyone would ever go through in their lives.

So go on, Hannity. Either go through waterboarding, even if you're bribed into a thousand bucks for every second, or shut the fuck up, you simpering little bitch, and stop trivializing the utter atrocities the U.S. has committed upon its captives and prisoners all in the name of "War on Terrorism". As if there could possibly be a more faulty premise than that to begin with.

Continued ...»

Talk about giving the bastards some of their own medicine

Commander Ciro Pinto is the sort of man I'd like to have captain any ship I'm on, particularly in troubled waters such as the current coast of Somalia. What does he do when those pirate bastards try to attack his ship? He lets them know he's not gonna have any of their bullshit.

ROME -- An Italian cruise ship fended off a pirate attack off the coast of Somalia, with its security forces exchanging fire with the bandits, the commander said Saturday.

Cmdr. Ciro Pinto told Italian state radio that six men in a small white boat approached the Msc Melody and opened fire Saturday night, but retreated after security forces aboard the cruise ship returned fire.

Domenico Pellegrino, head of the ship-owner Msc Cruises, told ANSA news agency that all 1,500 passengers and crew aboard the Melody were safe, and credited Pinto for his "cool-headed" handling of the incident.

How's that for a victory? The bastards failed to seize the ship, got shot at (and, dare I hope, hit?) and forced to crawl back in shame, and the ship got to its regular port victorious. What more could you want?

One would hope events like this would serve as a deterrent to these fucking reptiles, though sadly common sense – and a basic understanding of the stupidity and immorality of this sort of scum – tell us they'll always be back for more. It's high time they got their asses whupped, and I mean royally. I'd say, have a flotilla of U.S. warships just drop by and pay them a much-needed visit. You know, the kind with missiles and cannon barrels aimed at their filthy heads.

It's a universal truth that some pieces of evil like these nimrods just won't stop until they realize they've met someone who's willing to strike back with more force and brutality than they are. I know violence is inherently the wrong choice in resolving any given conflict, but sometimes it truly is all that works. These terrorists don't understand reason, and clearly, after half a year of attacks and hostage-taking, they don't plan to stop any time soon, not as long as fabulous ransoms are being paid.

It's as the expression goes: "The problem with being a bully, is that eventually, you will encounter someone who's bigger, stronger, and crazier than you are".

Continued ...»

Saturday, April 25, 2009

More utter stupidity from Michele Bachman

I really am sorry for you Minnesotans. It's got to suck to have such a complete ignorant fool as a state representative in the government. She's always finding new ways to shame you ... and here's yet another, where she tries to enter a professor's role for a second about the gas composition of the atmosphere. This is prize-winning stupid and ignorance, galore.

Thank God the video had that rebuttal from Rep. Earl Blumenauer to counterbalance the falling levels of braincells in my head right now. Always good to see a Democrat show a Republican just how freakin' stupid she is.

Where to begin? Let's see: first, she says, over and over and over, that carbon dioxide is a natural gas, that it appears naturally in nature. Uh, yes, we know that. I've actually yet to hear of an "unnatural" gas, actually, as every gas on Earth appears in nature in one way or another, and in one quantity or another.

Then she starts talking, over and over (we get it the first time you know, moron) about how there's never been a single study, not one, that shows that CO2 is dangerous in any way. ... Just wow. You've really got to walk around with your eyes closed and ears blocked to be that incredibly ignorant.

It gets better: next, she claims that CO2 is supposedly a harmless gas. Hmmm ... what? Is she really that stupid? No, CO2 is not harmless. In small quantities, it's "harmless" but only because the concentration is too small to have much of an impact on us or the environment. Raise the quantities, and problems will appear pretty damn fast. Example: let's stick this idiot in a gas chamber filled with oxygen, and CO2. Just to see what happens. (Who knows, it might change her mind.)

And according to her, the atmosphere is 3% CO2? Yeah, sure. Never mind the fact that most animals would be dead and plantlife would be drastically reduced with that sort of toxicity in the air. No, dumbass, the air we breathe is closer to 0.03%, where it's low enough in concentration to be basically harmless.

Again, no-one's saying that CO2 is evil in itself. It's a gas, much like any other, and – like any other – is perfectly harmless, when in very low quantities. The mere presence of CO2 in the atmosphere isn't gonna change much. It's all in the quantity of it, the concentration, that determines whether we're fine or dying – and whether the climate is steady or volatile. The problem is that the amounts of CO2 IS rising, unimaginably faster than anything ever recorded before. THIS is what's dangerous.

Honestly, they should be forcing aspiring politicians to pass IQ tests every now and then. Utter loons like Bachman wouldn't stand a chance, and who knows, maybe she wouldn't be the shame of Minnesota anymore. Until then, we can always laugh at her, I suppose. Or better yet: ignore her.

Continued ...»

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A gathering problem of religious crankery in D.C.

Something's unfurling that shall precisely reveal just how much influence religion and clergy have in our modern, supposedly secular government. Last month, the Washington, D.C. council unanimously passed a bill that recognized the same-sex marriages and civil unions from other states – which I think is sorta evident. It's not like anyone would go to a state where their happy marriage would suddenly become illegal, unless they're too stupid to deserve to be married anyway. But I digress.

There's also some talk about legalizing same-sex marriage itself in D.C., which would certainly be spectacular news. Problem is, angry kooks and cranks have also caught wind of this and are now forming a sort of coalition amongst the clergy in the D.C. area to oppose same-sex marriage.

We'll know more about who is involved as this coalition builds. Right now it's being led by Bishop Harry Jackson Jr., minister of Hope Christian Church in College Park and a longtime (and outspoken) opponent of legal recognition of same-sex unions, and Rev. Derek McCoy, who used to work at Hope Christian and has become an oft-quoted African-American voice in other similar fights (notably California).

In a letter sent to clergy, the coalition says, "If we fail to act now, history will ask - 'Where were the pastors?'" They are planning a rally at 10 a.m. April 28 at Freedom Plaza and calling on clergy to come to the May 5 Council meeting, when the earlier vote will be ratified. They say they're also planning organizational meetings at churches in Washington, Maryland and Virginia.

So a bunch of old kooks, cranks and miscellaneous dogma-corrupted bigots are collecting to try and make their feeble voices heard against the reigning democrats and the (apparently) overwhelmingly popular idea of gay marriage in the D.C. region ... Don't think they have much of a chance at being any sort of real influence, meself.

I do like their little letter asking "Where were the pastors?", though. It's really amusingly naive of them to think anyone will remember, or care, about "the pastors" being there or not. They're still deluded enough to think religion plays a major role in (most of) American society these days ... tsk tsk tsk. I'd be glad to answer their hypothetical query, however: "crying at the overwhelming inevitability".

Continued ...»

New color scheme & slight changes here and there

As you can see (hopefully), I've made a few changes to the template once again (hopefully it's final this time). I didn't like the overuse of blue – I mean, blue is nice, but there are limits – so I've made the template a fair bit more plain. I've also removed the RD Poll as I'd been the only contributor in three days (come on, I KNOW you're out there! ... Anyone?), changed this and that, and by now the site is pleasantly overhauled. =)

Continued ...»

China trying to tell Obama what to do now?

As if they weren't controlling enough poor souls already with their gruesome totalitarian iron fist-of-a-government, China's now saying that President Obama shouldn't meet with the Dalai Lama as all Presidents since George H.W. Bush have done before him during the Nobel Peace laureate's annual visits to the U.S. Same silly reasons as usual: bent on separation of Tibet from China, blah blah blah.

"We firmly oppose the Dalai's engagement in separatist activities in any country under whatever capacity and under whatever name," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said when asked to comment on a possible meeting. (See pictures of Barack Obama taken by everyday Americans.)

"We have made representations to the United States urging the U.S. to honor its commitments and not allow the Dalai to engage in separatist activities in the United States," she told a regular news conference.

Jiang did not say what would happen if a meeting did take place. China canceled a major summit with the European Union last year because French President Nicolas Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama.

What a bunch of friggin' babies. Let's tell them this as we would to a little child (which does seem to correlate to their mentality and maturity): other people can speak to whom they want, little kid. You don't have any say in that, and thinking you do is deluding yourself into appearing as presumptuous twits.

It is amusing that they canceled to appear at the aforementioned EU summit in 2008, though. I guess they didn't get the memo that refusing to appear at an event is only "punishment" when the others would actually give a shit whether you're not. When your absence is probably more applauded than wept over, it kinda defeats the point. You probably would've punished them by appearing anyway.

I do find this last little bit interesting and vaguely amusing, however:

In February, the Obama administration delighted China when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said during her trip to Beijing that the United States would not let its human rights concerns interfere with cooperation with Beijing.

Anyone else find the obvious contradiction enlightening and telling about China's truthfulness? They say they're happy that their shitty human rights track record won't be brought up, thereby admitting to having, well, a shitty human rights track record. Aah, the subtle stench of hypocrisy ... we meet again.

Continued ...»

Follow NO HR-669 on Twitter

The first hearing has just completed; this attendee says it seems to have gone very well for our side (you know, the side that wishes to allow the ownership of exotic animals in U.S. ...), but no final verdict yet. Keep following – I know I am.

Continued ...»

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

So what do lawyers think of the recent ICR lawsuit against Texas?

The full summary is quite long (though still quite interesting), but this lawyer preferred a two-sentence summary:

This lawsuit is gloriously insane. From top to bottom, this is exactly the kind of lawsuit you would expect from the kind of minds who think the world is 6,000 years old.

:D :D :D

(via Pharyngula)

Continued ...»

It's not entirely hopeless for overpopulated shelters ...

Not if they follow this example, that is. Thousands and thousands of dogs are getting saved literally each week via "transfers", ie. transferring animals from overcrowded shelters to other housings that still have some place left. This is particularly helpful for high-kill shelters that really just don't have any more room for new arrivals, which just keep coming nonetheless.

PetSmart Charities' Rescue Waggin' is the volume leader in moving pets from shelters where there's no chance they'll be adopted to shelters where they're almost certain to get new homes quickly.

Its four transport trucks carry dogs and puppies from shelters mostly in the Midwest and South (92,000 animals are euthanized annually in Louisiana shelters alone, Smith says) to shelters primarily in the North and Northeast, where pet owners have long sterilized their pets and overpopulation has largely been brought under control.

In four years, Rescue Waggin' has transported more than 25,000 dogs for placement in new homes; officials expect to cover 400,000 miles this year and move 8,000 to 10,000 dogs and puppies. "They're generally adopted within three days of reaching the receiving shelter," says Kimberly Noetzel of PetSmart Charities.

In Los Angeles, Pup My Ride has, in less than two years, saved more than 1,000 small dogs that were "red-tagged," or scheduled to be put down. Animal lovers looked across state lines and took advantage of a supply-and-demand reality.

Thinking of the thousands of innocent animals that are put down each week, the millions and millions each year, in shelters across the U.S. ... and that's just in one country in the world. This is just a comparatively small step compared to all that we'd need done to cull this ever-growing problem of animal overpopulation. Remember: there are always other ways to get rid of a problem other than killing the problem animals that make it up. This is just one example ... Hopefully there are many more out there that I'm just not aware of. One can always hope.

Continued ...»

IT'S UPON US – say NO to HR-669!

As we commented on a little while back, the House Resolution #669 anti-exotic animal bill is going to be voted tomorrow, April 23. There's still time to act and make your voice heard if you have any idea what this bill would do to your animal ownership rights.

Once again: if you are an animal-lover and owner, this concerns YOU. If you possess any animal(s) that's labeled as an "exotic" animal, this especially concerns YOU. Anyone with a bird, mouse or rat, hamster or guinea pig, iguana or chameleon, turtle, snake, parrot or parakeet, gerbil or fennec fox, and countless others – ANY animal that isn't strictly native to the U.S. – is under direct threat from this bill. If passed, it could illegalize all ownership, breeding and transportation of exotic animals in America. Your animals would be taken away from you, and entire industries could suffer from the banning of common and crucial animals in the pet-trade and -care business.

Visit this site (NO HR that's at the center of the struggle for freedom and justice, follow any links you can and do anything recommended that you're able to – stop the bill!

The government is seriously overstepping its bound. We as animal-lovers cannot allow this horrendous bill to pass through the House vote. You MUST act NOW. Come tomorrow, it will be too late, and history will have been made – for either the better, or the worse.

Continued ...»

All jokes, good and bad

Just a few random jokes I've come across in this Pharyngula thread, from the genuinely funny to the pathetically lame, and one or two in between.

First up, the subject of Dr. Myers' latest entry (as I write this): a stunningly lame joke used against atheists by smug twits who apparently seem to view it as a true knockout blow. (No pun intended.)

A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments. He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist and a member of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in, looked to the ceiling, and flatly stated, "God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 minutes."

The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop.

Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, '"Here I am God. I'm still waiting." It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him, knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.

The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other students were shocked, stunned, and sat there looking on in silence.

The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, "What the heck is the matter with you? Why did you do that?"

The Marine calmly replied, "God was too busy today protecting American soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot. So, He sent me."

That joke is painful on a number of levels, none of which is the one it's obviously originally intended for. First, it portrays atheist college professors as time-wasting atheists with nothing better to do than defy curriculum and do ... well, nothing, for 15 minutes or more just to brag about God's inexistence. Then, it shows the Marine as the proud and dignified serviceman who does the "right" thing by walking up and just beating a guy unconscious just because he said or did something the Marine didn't like.

And of course, then there's the point of the Marine apparently having auditory hallucinations, if he actually heard God tell him to go and knock the professor off his platform. This, because God was "too busy" (contradicting his supposed omnipotence) by "protecting American soldiers". Right. Tell that to the families of the over four thousand dead troops – in Iraq alone. You will really heal all their wounds, letting them know that God's watching over them. Despite them being, well, dead and all.

One good thing I can say about it though – it certainly isn't about to convert any more Christians, or crush any atheists. It just illustrates the age-old truth of the religious being far more violent and dangerous than atheists have ever been and (hopefully) ever will be.

One of Myers' commentors has posted a revised and rather more accurate version of the same joke. (Modifications to the joke in dark blue; I've fixed the formatting and a typo or two.)

A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments. He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan . One of the courses had a professor who was a vowed atheist and a member of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, “God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I’ll give you exactly 15 minutes.” The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop.

Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, “Here I am God. I’m still waiting.” It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him; knocking him off the platform.

The professor was out cold. The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other students were shocked and stunned and sat there looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, “What the hell is the matter with you? Why did you do that?”

The Marine calmly replied, “God was too busy today protecting America ’s soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an ass. So, He sent me.”

The Marine was quickly arrested by campus security and taken to the local police station. He was tried and convicted of assault and battery. He served a two-year sentence and was dishonorably discharged from the Corps. The professor also sued him for the medical expenses of the concussion, cranial trauma, and spinal damage he received from the punch. The ex-Marine now works at McDonald's, drinks heavily, and regularly beats his wife and children.

Rather more lifelike, if not funnier.

Next, a neat little joke about ... uh ... Christian tableside manners, I suppose.

An atheist is wandering through the forest and looking for mushrooms. Every time he finds one, he admires its beauty and the wonder of the natural world. Then he takes some snapshots. He eventually finds a nice lake and starts walking towards it.
He rounds a corner and is terrified to see a bear.
The bear growls and bolts towards him. Because he is so frightened, he runs.
And runs.
And runs.
Looking back, he sees that the bear is still there. In fact, it's gaining.
The atheist runs and runs and runs and he can hear the bear getting closer.
While looking back, he trips on a root and falls backwards.
The bear is upon him and it raises a clawed hand to strike.
The atheist gasps "Oh God!"
And time stops.
"Uhm, errrr."
"Well," says the atheist. "I'm going to die."
The atheist gets an idea:
"Well, I have no idea whether you're the Christian God , and I'd rather live than convert on my deathbed...
Could you make the bear a Christian?"
And suddenly time resumes.
And the bear, which has its paw in the air stops, blinks a few times, and slowly drops its paw to its chest.
Where it meets with the palm of its other paw.
And the bear says:

"For what we are about to receive, may we be truly grateful. Amen."

I'd originally misread that one, making it rather less funny than it is when you think it's actually talking about Christianity in a good light.

And finally, one last little joke I can't help but smile knowingly at every time I reach the end.

One sunny day in 2009, an old man approaches the White House from across Pennsylvania Avenue, where he'd been sitting on a park bench. He speaks to the Marine standing guard and says, "I would like to go in and meet with President Bush."

The Marine replies, "Sir, Mr. Bush is no longer President and no longer resides here."

The old man says, "Okay," and walks away.

The following day, the same man approaches the White House and says to the same Marine, "I would like to go in and meet with President Bush."

The Marine again tells the man, "Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Bush is no longer President and no longer resides here."

The man thanks him and again walks away.

The third day, the same man approaches the White House and speaks to the very same Marine, saying "I would like to go in and meet with President Bush."

The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looks at the man and says, "Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Bush. I've told you already that Mr. Bush is no longer the President and no longer resides here. Don't you understand?"

The old man answers, "Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it."

The Marine snaps to attention, salutes, and says, "See you tomorrow."


Continued ...»

Now this is evil criminal stupidity and neglect. Seriously.

The Saginaw/Midland area in Michigan is host to Dow Chemicals, which has polluted the area to insane levels over the years, particularly with poisons and toxins like dioxins and PCBs, both highly toxic and carcinogenic substances (ie. they cause cancers). In fact, the state has warned people for years basically not to be anywhere near that area, and to especially NOT eat any of the fish found in the rivers in the vicinity of the plant as they're highly dangerous, particularly to children or pre-menopausal women. Hell, one of the major parks in the area was even shut down recently, as the dioxins and toxins had so saturated the very dirt that it was a hazard to even play in the park, much less take a swim.

And so, what is Dow Chemicals doing to try and save its ugly face?

It's sponsoring a fishing festival in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw river systems. The fish that come through there pass through the single most highly-poisoned area in the entire fucking country, so bad it's now a Superfund area (a location designated by the federal government as restricted due to being so incredibly dangerously polluted or poisoned). Families and children and fishers from all around are invited to spend a day of fun and frivolity – in the single worst polluted area in the entire United States of America, with dioxin levels guaranteed to smack them all down with cancers before the end of their lifetimes.

And that's not even the end of it. To show how loving and charitable Dow Chemicals is being, they're donating all the fish to ... a local food bank. To feed to the poor.

They're the gift that keeps on giving.

And you'll never guess who is the other main contributing sponsor to this horrendous event.

“Dow and MidMichigan Health [the local hospital system] have always been the biggest sponsors of the festival,” said Steve Doyle, spokesman for the Freeland Lions Club which has organized the festival for 24 years.

That's right ... the fucking HOSPITAL SYSTEM.

I can only pray that the activities will be canceled before long and the truth gets out about this unbelievably disgusting and criminally insane act of immorality. What the fuck!? Takes a lot to truly get my blood boiling – usually I'm just emphasizing for the sake of it – but this is just so. Very. WRONG.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

Continued ...»

Again, hinting at the stupidity of Global Warming deniers ...

As if we needed any more proof that you need to be either ignorant, insane or downright stupid to deny the existence of Global Warming, we now have this little treasure: James Inhofe, probably the stupidest nut in the U.S. Senate, has a list of 700 individuals he claims are "prominent scientists" who don't think Global Warming is fact. This is creepily reminiscent of that notorious Discovery Institute list of "prominent scientists" who reject evolution as a basic scientific fact.

As you can probably expect already, it's a list that's crammed full of stupid, ignorance, and hilarity fit to explode the ribs of a professional comedian.

Just a hint: just for starters, a fair number of these "prominent scientists" are creationists.

One of the listed prominent scientists is Chris Allen, who holds no college degree, believes in creationism and belongs to a Southern Baptist church.

Allen is a weatherman at the FOX-affiliated TV station in Bowling Green, Ky.

Hang on ... *grabs calculator* So that's a creationist ... no college degree ... member of a Southern Baptist Church ... a FOX weatherman ...

*Calculator explodes*

DAMMIT! Why do these damn things keep exploding whenever I try to force-feed them stupid like this!??

And the best part? It only gets worse. (Or better; depends what mood you're in.)

On pages 227-228 of the report, Inhofe identified Allen as a meteorologist and quoted from his “scientific writing”—a blog—about global warming.

“[J]ust because major environmental groups, big media and some politicians are buying this hook, line and sinker doesn't mean as a TV weatherperson I am supposed to act as a puppy on a leash and follow along," wrote Allen. "All of this (global warming alarmism) is designed to get your money and then guilt you in to how you live your life."

Inhofe doesn’t quote other segments from Allen’s blog, however.

“My biggest argument against putting the primary blame on humans for climate change is that it completely takes God out of the picture,” he wrote on Feb. 7, 2007.

“It must have slipped these people's minds that God created the heavens and the earth and has control over what's going on. (Dear Lord Jesus ... did I just open a new pandora's box?) Yeah, I said it. Do you honestly believe God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created? Of course, if you don't believe in God and creationism then I can see why you would easily buy into the whole global warming fanfare. I think in many ways that's what this movement is ultimately out to do—rid the mere mention of God in any context,” wrote Allen.

“What these environmentalists are actually saying is ‘we know more than God— we're bigger than God—God is just a fantasy—science is real ... He isn't ... listen to US!’ I have a huge problem with that,” said Allen, a member of Hillvue Heights Church, whose pastor is a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and an adjunct faculty member of Campbellsville University, a Kentucky Baptist university.

[My emphasis]

Oh dear GOD! HELP ME! My poor neurons, they're apoptosing en masse, they can't stand to have read that! Aaargh, it's all dribbling out of my nose ...!

Oh. Wait.

Just normal mucus. My neurons are fine then. Which means I can post even more stoopid quotes!

Responding to criticism on Feb. 23 about not being a meteorologist, Allen blogged, “No, I am not … nor have I ever passed myself off as one [a meteorologist] … But some of these people automatically dismiss my comments as invalid simply because I was not able to take advantage of a higher education. The way I see it, some people are too smart for their own good.”

He added, “I am not a scientist—and I don’t have a college degree.”

Then what the fuck are you commenting on a scientific issue as an "expert" for!? Fucking idiot.

The problem here is not so much Allen’s lack of education, nor his theology of hostility toward science.

The problem is Inhofe’s lack of integrity. Inhofe claims the support of prominent scientists, one of whom has no scientific credentials.

One wonders how many others on the list are without credentials like Chris Allen.

Exactly. As they say, "where there's smoke ..." ... or better yet, "birds of a feather ..." ... and etc. How many more of these "prominent scientists" (should that become a trademark phrase of Global Warming denialists?) are really just scientifically-illiterate twits like this Allen boob?

A number of the so-called scientists are TV weathermen with undergraduate degrees, some of whom have blogs and have been quoted in local newspapers denying global warming. But that’s a far cry from having written scientific papers.

One without credentials in climate science is a professor emeritus at the University of Oklahoma: Edward Blick, a former professor of engineering.

The earth “couldn’t be more than 10,000 years old,” wrote Blick in a January 2007 column that appeared in the Norman Transcript. “Since evolution has never been proved scientifically, it must be believed by faith.”

Supporting Ben Stein’s film, which pushed intelligent design as science, Blick wrote on the film’s Web site about a Baptist university that refused to teach biblical creationism in favor of evolution. Blick said evolution was “the Devils [sic] theology.”

Blick signed a statement opposing Darwin’s theory of evolution sponsored by the Discovery Institute, a creationist organization, and is listed as a scientist with the Institute of Creation Research.

Siiiiiiiiiiigh ...

After having murdered every bit of Reason in the vicinity and made all adherers to Rationality cry, the brutal article ends on this note:

Again, the Inhofe problem is not that Blick advocates a fundamentalist theology that is hostile to science. Blick is certainly entitled to his non-scientific opinion and screwy theology. Just don’t claim that he is a prominent scientist whose opinion should be taken seriously about global warming.

Not only is the Oklahoma senator being deceptive; he is spreading misinformation in the public square. Again and again, the increasingly unhinged deniers of global warming point to Inhofe’s report to validate their theocratic worldview or selfish economic interests at the expense of the global good. It only takes a village of global warming deniers to slow down the needed initiatives to address climate change.

Ex-fucking-actly. Never underestimate the power of teh stoopid.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

Continued ...»

This is why SEALS are the best, period.

Ed Brayton over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars has just put up long excerpts from a New York Daily News column written up by Malcolm Nance, a longtime Navy officer and trainer of SEALs (SEa, Air, Land) – arguably the very best in military special forces – in which the honorable officer mentions his opinions on the CIA memos. This is worth the read. Brayton hasn't posted a link to the source, so here're the bits he quoted.

I have been engaged in the hunt for al-Qaeda for almost two decades. And, as I once wrote in the Daily News, I have personally led, witnessed and supervised waterboarding of hundreds of people - as we trained our own fighting men and women to endure and resist the interrogation tactics they might be subjected to by our enemies. I know waterboarding is torture because I have been on the giving and receiving end of the practice.

This was during the last four years of my military career, when I served at the U.S. Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school. Working there, and helping protect our servicemen and women, was my greatest pride. We especially emphasized escape, because captivity by al-Qaeda's Jihadis would be severe, if not, final. Our methods of instruction were intense, but realistic and safe.


Now, at long last, six years of denials can now be swept aside, and we can say definitively: America engaged in torture and legalized it through paperwork. Despite all the gyrations - the ducking, dodging and hiding from the facts - there is no way to say that these people were not authorizing torture. Worse yet, they seem to have not cared a wit that these techniques came from the actual manuals of communist, fascist and totalitarian torturers. It is now clear how clearly - how coldly - Bush's lawyers could authorize individual techniques from past torture chambers, claim they came from the safe SERE program, and not even wet their beds at night. That many U.S. service members over the years have died as a result of these same techniques was never considered.

This is about more than one tactic, waterboarding, that has gotten the lion's share of attention. As a general rule, interrogations without clearly defined legal limits are brutal. Particularly when they have an imperative to get information out of a captive immediately. Wearing prisoners out to the point of mental breakdown; forcing confessions through sleep deprivation; inflicting pain by standing for days on end (not minutes like in SERE); beating them against flexing walls until concussion; applying humiliation slaps (two at a time), and repeating these methods over and over.

If it were aimed at a U.S. Pilot, soldier or diplomat, I have no doubt all those defending the Bush Administration now would label these tactics torture. At SERE, I learned and taught that breaking the prisoner for compliance and instilling "learned helplessness" was our enemies' terminal learning objective.


Working in the Middle East, daily I face the questions, disbelief and accusations about how Americans could violate the human rights which they once championed. No less infamous a personage than Osama Bin Laden himself has taunted us on this matter saying, "So I say that freedom and human rights in America have been sent to the guillotine with no prospect of return." That we can be lectured by a mass murderer on what should have been an unassailable pillar of American values is unbearable.

Have no doubt: As a counterterrorism practitioner, should I find bin Laden I will cut his heart out with a plastic spoon. That would be about justice and revenge, not interrogation. But that job - finding him and bringing him to justice - has been made incalculably more difficult for our soldiers and intelligence officers around the world by these documents and what they mean.

If America wants to win the war against al-Qaeda, we have to start anew. The Obama administration will have to forget about the pressure they are getting from Bush administration officials and Republicans to hide all further releases of torture memos they themselves defended for years.

Then, Alberto Gonzales, Jay Bybee, John Yoo and Steven Bradbury - who, as Bush administration legal officials, have documented their own complicity to explicitly authorize crimes - will have to be calmly prosecuted, based on the evidence, with all the due process rights to which they are entitled. Who knows, they may well be acquitted.

The sooner the better, as al-Qaeda will recruit hundreds if not thousands more young men to fight, kill and gladly die once they absorb the depth of hypocrisy America stooped to over the last eight years.

Either we investigate our past errors and clean up our ship or we "look forward" and give Al-Qaeda a singular propaganda victory that will kill Americans for years to come.

It's always amazingly refreshing to read something on the Internet that I can safely say I agree 100% with every single line written or spoken. If this morality is present even in a hardened military man like this good Mr. Nance, how can it be so very lacking in Congress and the government?

I hereby nominate Malcolm Nance as the Head of the Council for Slapping Idiot Government Officials and Lawyers Over the Head. Oh, and for next President.

Continued ...»

Drowning in irony here ...

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Busted IronyMeter LTD.'s 34th edition of Battle Royale of the Death-Cults, live from Hypocrisy Stadium! In the gilded corner, we have the Roman Catholic Church, with a wide and long history of lying, deceit, brainwashing and Killing for Jezus, the host of such fantastical events as the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the ever-lasting war against Reason and Science! In the barestones corner, we have Islam, with an almost-as-wide and long history of ... lying, deceit, brainwashing, and Killing for Jez— Allah. With its absolutely stench-ridden track record of humane rights violations, bestiality of morality and the general deprivation of Ration and Sense to society in general, it's perhaps the only opponent against whom reigning heavyweight RCC has a fair match! Now, let's get ready to ruuuuumble!! ...

... Too theatrical? Okay, okay. This story is certainly worthy of a fair bit of theatrical mockery, anyway, considering its been a while (just a short one) since I've been awashed in such levels of irony and hypocrisy. You see, a group from Islam – a religion that's in many ways even far worse than the Church is in terms of continuing humane rights violations and deprivation of basic civil rights to its followers and peoples – is now demanding a formal apology from Pope Benedict XVI following some remarks the latter made (back in 2006) about their dear prophet Muhammad, saying that some of his teachings, such as "his command to spread by the sword the faith", were "evil and inhuman".

While you angrily shake your fist at your screen while shaking the dregs of coffee out of your keyboard, here's an excerpt. You know, for validity and all that.

AMMAN, Jordan -- Jordan's powerful Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday demanded Pope Benedict XVI apologize ahead of his Mideast tour for his previous remarks about the Prophet Muhammad that many Muslims interpreted as insulting their faith.

The controversy centers on a speech the pope made in September 2006 about Islam and violence in which he quoted a Medieval text that characterized some of the teachings of Muhammad as "evil and inhuman," particularly "his command to spread by the sword the faith."

"The pope insulted Islam and deeply hurt our feelings back in 2006 and he must apologize now to clear the air with Muslims worldwide," said Brotherhood spokesman Jamil Abu-Bakr. "We expect a written or verbal apology now or right before he visits Jordan."

Anyone else just can't help but grin somewhat while reading that load of waffle? We've got one massive cult bent on the decimation of all things fairness and justice, trying to lecture another one on fairness and justice.

Dang, my nearest Irony Meter store's closed, too. What a morning.

Of course, spreading a faith through sword and bloodshed and murder is not "evil and inhuman" to their eyes. It's their faith – it's right. Who cares about treaties and councils and common sense? Some old "prophet" said it was so, so it's so. Ain't that so?

Even more amusing is that they're now demanding the Church, which has really been every bit as cruel and plain evil in its assimilation and recruitment tactics throughout history (ever heard of the Crusades?), to apologize ...

Oh my.

Continued ...»

Now China prosecutes Tibetan lamas as criminals

You'll remember the violent riots last year in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, which arose, as usual, to try and make the people's voices heard against China's rule over Tibet. Now, a respected Tibetan lama is accused of illegal possession of weapons and is on trail. Three others have already been sentenced to long prison terms by the Chinese government.

The lama, Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche, the first senior Buddhist monk to face a serious charge linked to last year’s demonstrations, is accused of illegally possessing weapons, his lawyer said. The monk, 52, led a convent in Ganzi, a predominantly Tibetan area of Sichuan Province. The lawyer said Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche had been forced to confess after four days of police interrogation and threats that his wife and son would be detained if he did not comply. Prosecutors say a pistol and more than 100 bullets and cartridges were found under a bed in Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche’s living room during a police raid. The monk has denied the allegation, saying he was framed.

I dunno about you, but judging by China's fucked-up account of humane rights violations and civil rights repressions and its horribly overzealous law enforcement policies and tactics, and the Tibetan monks' tendencies to avoid pain and suffering and conflict – I think I'll side with poor Mr. Rinpoche on this one. Somehow, the idea that the Chinese would have framed him just to try and quell the uprising and defame the Tibetan monks ... doesn't seem all that alien to me.

Actually, I'll be damned if those conniving little rats didn't plant false charges just like that.

Continued ...»

Oh dear: child star from Slumdog Millionaire put up for sale by father

This is one story that really can be seen in either a positive or overly negative light, depending on the reader's viewpoints. One side may argue that the father may actually be trying to do what's right for his daughter's future by reportedly trying to "sell" her to a wealthier family, from which she could then be opened to possibilities like a good education and better career and life options than staying in slumdog India, while the other may, of course, say that he's just trying to make a quick buck off his now-famous kid.

The father of Slumdog Millionaire star Rubina Ali reportedly offered to sell his 9-year-old daughter for nearly $300,000, Britain's News of the World reports.

Trying to confirm that he is fielding several lucrative adoption offers, reporters from the paper posed as a wealthy Middle Eastern family interested in buying the girl.

"I have to consider what's best for me, my family and Rubina's future," said Rubina's dad, Rafiq Qureshi, who claims to be broke and left with "nothing" from the Oscar-winning flick.

The paper claims that Rubina was originally being sold for $75,000, but her father raised the price after the success of Slumdog.

"The child is special now," the girl's uncle said, according to the paper. "This is an Oscar child!"

Personally, I'm not certain which to believe – the father does seem honest and genuine in his claims of only wanting what's best for his daughter, but then again, so do all the others who just want to give their flesh and blood away for some cash.

In the end, it does, of course, rest on what's best for the child. Should she be taken away from her parents who love her and her family and friends in India, just so she can live with a wealthier family (who may very well love her as well in the end as true adoptive parents) and have access to a better education and a better all-around quality of life, or should she forgo all that just to remain in her as-of-yet life's setting? Is either way "worth it"?

Personally, I'd say that if it was done and handled right, she should be given the chance to a better quality of life. Family and friends and loved ones may be good and all, of course, but it's not worth it to merely be loved if she isn't going to live the best life she could. Children (and the rest of people, of course) should have the chance to live their lives to their fullest – get the best education, land the best careers, and overall do whatever it is that they want to. But of course, that would depend on what's best for the child.

But I suppose that's for the courts to decide now.

Continued ...»

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More braying from Jackass Donahue

Bill Donahue, leader of the Catholic League, is no stranger to spouting off incongruous nonsense and bold-faced lies to try and paint his beloved Catholicism as persecuted and stepped-on by a tiny minority, particularly atheists. I suppose he was never quite good at math, because to me, 70% Christians vs. 15% atheists (or something like that) doesn't sound like that 15% is about to overthrow the 7/10 of Americans who do follow Christianity, anytime soon. But then, you can't expect kooks who Lie for Jezus to actually use the truth to attain their goals, right?

But I digress. Donahue has recently written a small pamphlet – which you can obtain by sending his League five poor little dollars – titled "Angels & Demons: More Demonic Than Angelic" – which, as the name so subtly implies, claims that the upcoming film (which, having read the fantastic book, I am dying to see) and its director "do not hide their animus against all things Catholic". The pamphlet basically up and smears Ron Howard and the film as Anti-Catholic – which, while more of a compliment to folks like me than an insult, is really quite offensive to regular religious people. And if its used as an insult, then its taken as an insult, regardless of whether its implications are actually positive or negative to the insultee.

Howard has written up a juicy comeback opinion piece at the Huffington Post, and while he does seem to pander a bit to the Catholic Church in my opinion, he definitely slams Jackass Bill right out of the ballpark and into his own windshield.

He's been making these assertions for years, going back to the theatrical release of The Da Vinci Code. He stepped up his campaign more than a month ago with a series of press releases. And there he goes again, in a Daily News op-ed last Friday, saying that Dan Brown and I "have collaborated in smearing the Catholic Church...."

Let me be clear: neither I nor Angels & Demons are anti-Catholic. And let me be a little controversial: I believe Catholics, including most in the hierarchy of the Church, will enjoy the movie for what it is: an exciting mystery, set in the awe-inspiring beauty of Rome. After all, in Angels & Demons, Professor Robert Langdon teams up with the Catholic Church to thwart a vicious attack against the Vatican. What, exactly, is anti-Catholic about that?

It's always fun to see that hideous moron get kicked in the ass now and again. Donahue'd been oddly quiet these last few months – by his standards anyway, as I hadn't seen any news articles concerning him flash by my news ticker – which I suppose was a nice reprieve, despite it cheating my out of plenty of opportunities to befoul one of the looniest kooks and downright stupidest morons that even the Catholic Church has ever had on its side.

Continued ...»

Stupid Polls: Archbishop against Obama's University of Notre Dame commencement speech

Speaking of polls: the Archbishop of Cincinnati, Daniel Pilarczyk, is backing Indiana bishop John D’Arcy and a growing bunch of religious zanies intent on preventing President Obama from delivering his commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame, because Obama is supportive of abortion rights for women, which to them makes him an unacceptable choice for a Catholic university.

Do you agree with Catholic bishops that President Barack Obama's support for abortion rights makes him an unacceptable choice as commencement speaker at Notre Dame?

Agree – 52.44% (452)

Disagree – 46.17% (398)

Unsure – 1.39% (12)

Total Votes: 862

Vote fast, this puppy's about to be Pharyngulated, I think. (Which it deserves, this time around.)

Continued ...»

Creationists are suing Texas!

It's hard to imagine such a contradictory statement, no? What with Texas and the rest of the Deep South being the hotbed of Creationism in America and all.

Over a year ago, the Institute for Creation Research tried to pass along a few silly degrees in the state of Texas, degrees that basically would allow them to throw in teachers whose entire idea of science and biology would have been taken straight from the Bible and Young-Earth Creationism theological idiocy. For once, Texas made a choice to make us all proud when the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board essentially laughed them out.

But this is America, land where you sue someone over having coffee spilled over your favorite jeans, so naturally, the ICR is now suing the THECB. You can guess how their lawsuit terms must sound.

Even better, here it is for all to laugh at. Concentrated doses of stoopid are always fun!

The sixty-seven-page complaint teems with various factual claims and legal arguments, leading a blogger for the Dallas Observer (April 20, 2009) to quip that it "reads kind of like stereo instructions." It also teems with unabashed creationist rhetoric, citing articles from the ICR's publication Acts and Facts along with case law, explaining that Paredes — born as he was in 1942 — was not a witness to the Big Bang, asserting that discussions about the origin of life and the formation of the earth "do not become 'empirical science' simply because those discussions emit from the oral cavities of 'scientists'" (p. 33), and insisting that the Big Bang "should not be confused with the 'great noise' mentioned in 2nd Peter 3:10" (p. 21).

Well, at least they're not referred to as "scienticians". Right?

For those amused or bored enough to care to follow up on this inane lawsuit, here are the full papers of the event. Do keep your coffee away from your keyboard – falling asleep or dropping out of your chair in laughter is not very good for sensitive electronics, you see.

(via Pharyngula)

Continued ...»

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's time to act! Punish the torture enablers!

The Obama administration may deem it wise not to "linger on the past" (or however they phrased it) by retroactively punishing the CIA heads and lawyers and etc. who wrote up the memos that essentially condoned torture in Guantanamo Bay while weaseling around the proper definitions of "torture", but we as a people certainly have the right and the means to act. Anyone with a modicum of human compassion in them should be rightfully disgusted by these memos – I know I was, judging by my long previous post on the matter – and would be out for blood.

Well, okay, not actual blood. But some indictment, impeachment and generalized punishment sure would be nice – and here're some examples of what you can do.

There's already a strong campaign aiming to impeach Jay Bybee, the redactor of these memos, and in addition to supporting (or even joining) that measure, you could petition to appoint a Special Prosecutor, and finally, you can join the effort in California to impeach Bybee.

If a country is supposed to be the high moral ground on torture, inhumanity and all those things the Unites States are supposed to be against to its core, then they need to show to the world that it will not stand for its own members and officials carrying it out. There needs to be more justice to this world, and Lord knows America is a prominent role-model for the planet, so act now!

(The previous is via Pharyngula. If anyone knows of any other efforts to try and bring these atrocities to light and rightfully punish those behind them, do send the motions in and I'll add them to this post pronto. Thank you.)

Continued ...»

Demonstrating how restricting gay marriage is NOT religious freedom

YouTube is a haven for some of the best stuff you'll come across on the Internet. Here's just another example: crushing those silly claims that upholding gay marriage means crushing religious freedom.

Excellent. Right on every account – it's fun what simple fact-finding and truth can bring out, no?

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

Continued ...»

Sad news: Stephen Hawking is hospitalized

The legendary English theoretical physicist, crowned as the most intelligent man alive – reputed to possess an IQ of over 230 (hint: the norm is 100) –, is currently stuck in a hospital with a severe chest infection. Apparently he'd been "unwell" for several weeks, but only recently did it take a turn for the worse and landed him in the medical ward.

This is a man with a long history of dealing with insurmountable diseases with the sort of courage and fortitude that should make the most hardened of us smile in quiet awe, fighting his terminal ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) which slowly but surely ensured he's now captive to his wheelchair, only able to communicate with a voice synthesizer activated by his fingers. (You can see a humble parody of this in his references in The Simpsons.) While the odds are of course steep, especially for someone in his helpless condition, we can certainly hope for his well-being to return to him – and him, and his brilliant intellect, returning to us, the world.

Continued ...»

Obama's revealing of the CIA torture memos: defining the limits between Right and Wrong, or erasing them?

Wow, this is by far the longest it's ever taken me to plan and write a blog post to date. It might end up being my longest too – who knows, I might even reach Orac's average. You know, those eight-mile-long posts that are so delicious to read you really don't even notice how you should've gone to bed eight hours ago. Etc.

One of the hot topics of the date, alongside those pesky Somalian pirates (wow, they really have some nerve, you gotta admit) or those stupid conservative tea parties that unfurled across America like a plague of the crazies, is last Thursday's President Obama's unveiling of four top-secret CIA memos regarding the torture carried out in the depths of Guantanamo Bay, memos that defined what was acceptable and what was not under American law. Specifically, the memos regarded the "appropriate" methods of "forced interrogation" – notice its pussyfooting around the term "torture" – of three particular inmates, including an Al-Qaeda second-in-command, and even the admitted master planner behind the 9/11 attacks.

You can see said memos here. (This post is gonna be long enough as it is, there's no way I'm posting those PDF images on this page.)

Now, considering the careful wordings found in said memos, some are using this to "prove" that America didn't torture its inmates, but merely subjected them to "mild" physical and psychological damages and coercion.

The four memos on CIA interrogation released by the White House last week reveal a cautious and conservative Justice Department advising a CIA that cared deeply about staying within the law. Far from "green lighting" torture -- or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees -- the memos detail the actual techniques used and the many measures taken to ensure that interrogations did not cause severe pain or degradation.

Interrogations were to be "continuously monitored" and "the interrogation team will stop the use of particular techniques or the interrogation altogether if the detainee's medical or psychological conditions indicates that the detainee might suffer significant physical or mental harm."

Ah. So just a "little" physical or mental harm is a-okay, then.

The first thing one would need to ask themselves: just what is "torture"? What actions constitute torture?

Is tying a chain to a man's neck and pulling him around forcefully to slam him into solid walls, torture?

Is strapping a man to a nearly-horizontal table, covering his face with a cloth, and pouring water over said cloth, which simulates the sensation of drowning, torture?

Is shackling an entomophobic man – someone with a horrific fear of insects – up in a tiny confined area with "stinging insects", torture?

Is forcing a man to be kept awake for up to 180 hours straight, torture?

Of course, anyone with the slightest shred of common sense – and the slightest sense of apathy – will have answered a resounding "well, DUH" to all those previous examples.

Just to be proper, let's look at the official definition of "torture", as given to us by the arguable greatest of dictionaries, dear old Merriam-Webster:

tor·ture Pronunciation: \ˈtȯr-chər\ Function: noun [Etymology redacted for length's sake] 1 a: anguish of body or mind : agony b: something that causes agony or pain 2: the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure 3: distortion or overrefinement of a meaning or an argument : straining

So there. Torture is "anguish of the body or mind". Let's apply that definition/description of torture from now on, shall we?

However, inflicting anguish to a victim's body or mind isn't enough to be classified as "torture", according to a 2002 memo. No – in addition to causing pain and torment, there apparently also had to be a level of intent behind it, for it to qualify as "torture".

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Interrogation tactics such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation and slapping did not violate laws against torture when there was no intent to cause severe pain, according to a Bush-era memo on the tactics released Thursday.

"To violate the statute, an individual must have the specific intent to inflict severe pain or suffering," said an August 2002 memo from then-Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee to John Rizzo, who was acting general counsel for the CIA.

"Because specific intent is an element of the offense, the absence of specific intent negates the charge of torture. ... We have further found that if a defendant acts with the good faith belief that his actions will not cause such suffering, he has not acted with specific intent," Bybee wrote.

That's the sort of crafty weaseling and conniving bullshitting that sends a pounding headache into my head. Damn.

Let me tell you something, A.G. Bybee: bullshit. Intent has nothing to do with what constitutes torture or not. Torture is torture. Whether you wanted to cause "physical or mental anguish" to a person is irrelevant to whether you did or didn't. If you did, it's torture, plain and simple, end of story.

One common method of torture forced interrogation, is "waterboarding". Waterboarding is strapping a victim to a board that's slightly inclined downwards, covering their face with a cloth, and pouring water onto said cloth. The cloth works perfectly well at distributing the water across the entire expanse, effectively "drowning" the victim. The experience is extremely torturous to the victim, who literally feels like they're drowning. Multiple injuries can occur, either from respiratory distress, mental anguish, or even broken bones from struggling against the restraints. (Here I try not to think about what it would be like, to me, to be strapped helplessly to a board while forced to simulate drowning.) Also, the memo states that the technique "could be used for up to 40 seconds -- although the CIA orally informed Justice Department lawyers that it would likely not be used for more than 20 seconds at a time". Because if the lawyers say it isn't used for more than 20 seconds, it has to be so.

Let me ask you: what part of "feels like you're drowning", even if only for 40 seconds or 20 or whatever, is NOT "anguish of body or mind??? What part of feeling like you're stuck underwater until you asphyxiate or, well, drown, isn't cruelty by any definition?

One particular prisoner, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who claims credit for planning and masterminding the whole 9/11 disaster, was waterboarded a staggering 183 times in a single month. That's an average of over six times every day! Nooo, that's not torture!

Another prisoner, Abu Zubaydah, a high-ranking member of Al-Qaeda and close associate of Bin Laden, was put through 83 waterboardings in one month. That's about three every single day.

Another example of these "forced interrogation" methods used against suspected terrorists is the "walling" technique. This is actually unclear – previous reports usually stated that this meant strapping a chain onto a collar around a man's neck, and then swinging him forcibly and crashing him into a hard wall – hence, "walling".


In fact, detainees were placed with their backs to a "flexible false wall," designed to avoid inflicting painful injury. Their shoulder blades -- not head -- were the point of contact, and the "collar" was used not to give additional force to a blow, but further to protect the neck.

The memo says the point was to inflict psychological uncertainty, not physical pain: "the idea is to create a sound that will make the impact seem far worse than it is and that will be far worse than any injury that might result from the action."

Ah. So just as long as they believe their having their bodies shattered into bits, then all's fine. Because psychological torment isn't as bad as "actual" physical torture. Oh, and of course, nothing cruel about slamming a guy's back into a wall, anyway, to begin with.

But probably the worst, in my personal opinion, would have to be their sleep deprivation technique for coercion. You think having a sleepless night or two is hell? Guantanamo Bay-style sleep deprivation means keeping the victim forcibly awake for up to 180 hours straight. Anyone with math talents or a calculator, well point out that equals to just about 7.5 days. That's over a week.

Yes, the human body and mind can hold for about 10 days as a general rule of thumb before permanent damage, if I recall correctly. 10 days are 240 hours – 2.5 days less than the maximum 180 days allowed for forced sleep deprivation.

How would YOU be after an entire week without a second of sleep? Most people can't stay awake for 48 hours straight without dropping everything for a good slumber. (I haven't even been awake for 24 hours yet as I'm writing this, and already I'm yearning for my bed.) So tell me please: how exactly is forcing someone awake for an entire WEEK, not constitute psychological (and even physical) torture?

The four memos on CIA interrogation released by the White House last week reveal a cautious and conservative Justice Department advising a CIA that cared deeply about staying within the law. Far from "green lighting" torture -- or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees -- the memos detail the actual techniques used and the many measures taken to ensure that interrogations did not cause severe pain or degradation.

Oh, bullshit. If common sense tells us anything, it's that no organization on the planet ever really cares about the "law", and that they only reason they obey it is to not get sued or crushed by others, certainly not out of respect for what's "right" and what's "wrong". Same deal here with the CIA (Coercive Interrogation Agency?). Sure, anything can be made legal, when you pussyfoot around proper terms, such as renaming "torture" into something more acceptable – like "forced interrogations" or whatever they're being dubbed – or keeping activities that normally would be quite frowned upon, under tight wraps.

I'm sure that the estimated half of Guantanamo Bay's population who are considered to be innocent bystanders who simply got caught up in fights and wars, will be thrilled to learn that it's really not "torture". Oh, the relief.

Now, don't get me wrong. If throughout this post I sound like I'm against punishing the actual terrorists and evildoers inside Guantanamo Bay, I'm only against torture itself as a form of punishment or coercion during interrogations. Of course, beasts like the one who masterminded September 11th do need to be punished, and as harshly as we can humanely permit. Personally, I'd say throw them in solitary confinement for the rest of their horrible lives and forget all about them, throw away the keys, that's it.

There's just something about torture itself – it's so hands-on, so personal yet impersonal at the same time, it awakens such primal fears and responses in us – not to mention being inhumane in every possible manner – that it truly has no place in our so-called "civilized" society. No matter how evil the perpetrators or their deeds may be/have been. There's just no place for torture, and that's that. Torture is torture no matter what you call it or how you approach it. Inflicting large amounts of pain on a victim, either for coercion or retribution, is simply disgusting.

After all, remember the platitudes: we need to be BETTER than them, NOT sink to their level of immoral debauchery. We are better than them; how is it "better" than these beasts if we indulge in the same acts of horror towards them? I do not give a DAMN what memos or other bullshit says about the "legality" of the issue.

After all, it's a widely-known fact that torture doesn't really work all that well to begin with. Real-life isn't an episode or season of 24. Torture doesn't always work in real-life. It's the interrogation of Michael Crowe all over again: they'll just say whatever their captors want to hear to end the pain and suffering.

We are the better society, and we need to show it to these dementially retarded bastards that we will not stoop to their levels of inhumanity.

Continued ...»