Archive for December, 2007

Things I read today (Pharyngula on torture/description of waterboarding)

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

From the science blog Pharyngula

When the US government announces it’s support for torture, they aren’t talking about intelligence gathering: they are simply saying “Fear us.” They are taking the first step on the road to tyranny.

The real problem is that fear isn’t a good tool to use in a democratic society. We are supposed to be shareholders in our government; when a process of oppression is endorsed by our legislators and president, we should recognize that they are trying to set themselves apart from the ordinary citizenry, and it’s time to rebel…before the goon squads come to your neighborhood. Anyone who supports torture is a traitor to the democratic form of government, and should be voted out of office, if not impeached.

Despite it’s tag line, Pharyngula is not just a science blog, it is one of the most consistently interesting of all the blogs I read; taking on, sometimes with humor sometimes with righteous anger, anyone who tries to dress up woolly-headededness, deliberate ignorance, lies or fabrications of any kind as truth.

Myers earlier cited a description of how water-boarding feels from Straight Dope’s message boards which is shocking and a telling refutation to any person or government who would try to twist words and phrases to suggest the practice is anything but deliberate and horrible torture.

I have never been more panicked in my whole life. Once your lungs are empty and collapsed and they start to draw fluid it is simply all over. You know you are dead and it’s too late. Involuntary and total panic…

So, is it torture?

I’ll put it this way. If I had the choice of being waterboarded by a third party or having my fingers smashed one at a time by a sledgehammer, I’d take the fingers, no question.

It’s horrible, terrible, inhuman torture. I can hardly imagine worse. I’d prefer permanent damage and disability to experiencing it again. I’d give up anything, say anything, do anything.

Things I saw today (Senate, spying, send a message now)

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Via Boing Boing

The Senate is poised to grant retroactive immunity for telecoms that broke the law! On Monday, there will be critical, make-or-break votes in the Senate — contact your Senator immediately to stop telecom immunity!

The Senate should not let the telecoms off the hook. Granting immunity sets a dangerous precedent, sending the message that lawbreaking is acceptable and that the rights of Americans can be freely infringed by private companies in defiance of the law. And though the debate about the proper process of collecting foreign intelligence is complex, the issue of telecom immunity is not. The facts are simple enough: the telecoms broke the law, so the Senate should let Americans have their day in court.

See the ACLU page on the The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

I encourage any Americans who are interested in protecting our privacy, civil-liberties and the rule of law to use the easy link provided to Boing Boing to send a message to their Senator by Monday.

Updated: 20080217

The motion to strip retroactive immunity failed in the Senate 31-67 on 12 February 2008. Via holdfastblog.com: “Not present and voting was Senator Hillary Clinton, the only presidential candidate serving in the Senate to miss the vote.”

Not only did the bill which passed give retroactive immunity to companies who broke the law, but The New York Times noted that the Senate voted “to broaden the government’s spy powers after giving legal protection to phone companies that cooperated in President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program.”

See Mark Fiore’s The Spies Who Love You animation with Snugglie the Security Bear.

Things I saw today (Jimmy)

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Take a look at Jimmy by M.I.A., pointed out by dino at another site.

Here is what looks like the inspiration for the video, a Bollywood film Disco Dancer:

M.I.A.’s mentioning both Darfur and Rwanda so I imagine the lyrics are different but both are super-awesome.

New Year’s resolution: watch more Bollywood (and maybe that Tango-lesson I’ve wanted for years)

Things I saw the other day (Gabe & Max)

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Gabe and Max answer Boing Boing readers questionsHistory: The Gabe and Max Internet Thing (found by dino)

See Max Silvestri’s blog (obviously he’s funny but I like his taste in music too)

Things I saw today (spilt milk)

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

pretty pretty

via the ever excellent Dark Roasted Blend