Monthly Archives: April 2009

Swine Flu Quote of the Day

John Donne’s “Meditation 17″ in 1624:  “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, … Continue reading

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Mexico City Swine Flu: Evolution Happens

Just ask Mexico’s national Health Secretary, Jose Cordova. The Los Angeles Times today: “We have confirmation that this is a mutant of a virus that comes from pigs that . . . never had provoked an epidemic, that is, had … Continue reading

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Swine Flu Quote of the Day

I live in the Los Angeles area, and I mentioned to a colleague today that, because I have two small children—a two year old and a five year old—the outbreak of cases of swine flu in Mexico City, Texas, and … Continue reading

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Bush Era Torture: Were Top Officials Really Flying Blind?

George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” According to the New York Times this week, Bush era torture was being authorized by officials who hadn’t even bothered to investigate, historically, the methods they … Continue reading

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Shepherd Smith is My Hero

It’s nice to see someone at Fox News with moral clarity on Bush era torture:

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A Water World Like Earth’s?

Scientists have found one. So reports Ian Musgrave at Panda’s Thumb. The planet orbits a star in the Gliese 581 system: “Importantly, the orbit for Gliese 581d has been refined too. It is now definitely within the habitable zone of … Continue reading

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Word of the Day

Waterboarding. Here’s how Jonathan Kirsch describes waterboarding in his excellent and troubling 2008 Harper-Collins book, The Grand Inquisitor’s Manual: A History of Terror in the Name of God (p. 4): Among the first and favorite forms of torture used by medieval inquisitors … Continue reading

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Bush Era Torture Lawyers and the Banality of Evil

A passage from one of the Bush era torture memos set to music: Waterboarding, by the way, as a torture method, goes back to the Spanish Inquisition.  Here’s how Jonathan Kirsch describes waterboarding in his excellent and troubling 2008 Harper-Collins … Continue reading

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“Whatever Is”: Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Atheist Poem?

Something that people might not know about Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the 19th century author of the frequently assigned feminist short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, is that she was also a poet. In her lifetime she published well over 500 poems. … Continue reading

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Rush Limbaugh Defends Bush Era Torture

Unsurprisingly, Rush Limbaugh offers a full throated authoritarian’s defense of torture. And please recall that the torture he condones is being done upon people who have been denied any due process. In other words, they may well be innocent of what the … Continue reading

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If You Can Get Over It, Is It Torture?

In the Bush torture memos, Dahlia Lithwick sees a pattern. After an incident, if the prisoner is given an opportunity to recover, or is not permanently injured, it isn’t torture: Laced like cynical poison through the four newly released Justice Department torture memos … Continue reading

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Mike Allen’s Orwellian Description of Bush Era Torture: “Aggressive interrogation practices critics decried as torture.”

Glenn Greenwald lets loose: Politico’s Mike Allen — in the same article where he granted anonymity to a cowardly “top Bush official” to do nothing other than smear Obama as a friend of Al Qaeda (and marvel at Allen’s pathetic … Continue reading

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SHOCKER: Page 3 of the Bybee Memo Describes Bush Administration Insect Usage in Torture

Below is the description, by one of George Bush’s Justice Department lawyers, of insect usage in torture. The description is from page 3 of the 18 page Bybee memo (which you can read in full at the ACLU website here): You would like … Continue reading

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VERY BIG NEWS: Barack Obama Releases Bush Era Torture Memos

This is why I voted for Barack Obama. He stopped the compromising of our national values by putting an end to torture, and now he’s bringing into the air and sunlight the Bush era documents that enjoined the use of torture. You … Continue reading

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State of New Mexico Tells a Religious Photographer: You Have to Take Pictures at a Gay Commitment Ceremony!

I am a strong supporter of gay marriage, but I think that the below story is an outrageous violation, by authorities in New Mexico, of conscientious religious objection. According to the Associated Press this weekend: A professional photographer who refused … Continue reading

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Gay Marriage Hysteria Watch: Making False Claims and Offering Distorting Supports

A methodical dismantling of anti-gay marriage claims and their disingenuous supports:

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Atheists Too Sing America! The Atheist Bus Campaign Comes to Indiana

I like the groovy hippie vibe the ad gives off. It seems to me a slogan less dubious and preachy than the British one (“Now stop worrying, etc.”). In fact, due to this particular ad’s curtness (“You can be good without God”) … Continue reading

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In Washington D.C., a Tea Bag Protester Expresses Longing for a Blown-Up Capitol Building

Sounding like a 1920s German fascist or communist impatient with bourgeois parliamentary democracy in the Weimar Republic, Salon.com reports that a tea bag protester expressed his wish that, on 9/11, our nation’s Congressional building had simply been obliterated. This is really illiberal creepy … Continue reading

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John Demjanjuk: A Former Sobibor Concentration Camp Guard Living in America?

What is Ohio resident John Demjanjuk accused of? According to Der Spiegel, Demjanjuk may be an accessory to the murder of 29,000 people: On March 10, the State Public Prosecutor in Munich issued an arrest warrant against Demjanjuk, first making … Continue reading

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Afghan Crossed Lovers: Romeo, Juliet, the Taliban, and GAY MARRIAGE

Yes, there are real monsters in the world. This today in the Guardian: A young couple who tried to elope in one of the most lawless and conservative parts of Afghanistan have been publicly executed by Taliban gunmen after their … Continue reading

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