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It ended, as all regimes bent on total power always end, with torture.

via @jayrosen_nyu Quote and Comment | Prof. Jay Rosen
Andrew Sullivan's Greatest Post Says That Torture Decapitates the Real “But torture gives false information. And the worst scenarios that tortured detainees coughed up - many of them completely innocent, remember - may well have come to fuel US national security policy. And of course they also fueled more torture. Because once you hear of the existential plots confessed by one tortured prisoner, you need to torture more prisoners to get at the real truth. We do not know what actual intelligence they were getting, and Cheney has ensured that we will never know. But it is perfectly conceivable that the torture regime - combined with panic and paranoia - created an imaginationland of untruth and half-truth that has guided US policy for this entire war. It may well have led to the president being informed of any number of plots that never existed, and any number of threats that are pure imagination. And once torture has entered the system, you can never find out the real truth. You are lost in a vortex of lies and fears.” Andrew Sullivan, Imaginationland, Oct. 25, 2007 It ended, as all regimes bent on total power always end, with torture. Why? Because reality may differ from ideology; and when it does, it is vital to create reality to support ideology. And so torture creates reality by coercing “facts” from broken bodies and minds. This is how torture is always a fantastic temptation for those in power: it provides a way for them to coerce reality into the shape they desire. This is also why it is so uniquely dangerous. Because it creates a closed circle of untruth, which is then used to justify more torture, which generates more “truth.” This is the Imaginationland some of us have been so concerned about. Andrew Sullivan, What Cheney Did… April 22, 2009

April 21, 2009

It's time to rethink running

The painful truth about trainers: Are expensive running shoes a waste of money? | Mail Online

This DailyMail article claims that running shoes are bad for you and have led to an increase in knee injuries. But it's the DailyMail, so take everything with a salt shaker of salt.

Come race day, the Tarahumara [of Mexico] don't train. They don't stretch or warm up. They just stroll to the starting line, laughing and bantering, and then go for it, ultra-running for two full days, sometimes covering over 300 miles, non-stop. For the fun of it. One of them recently came first in a prestigious 100-mile race wearing nothing but a toga and sandals. He was 57 years old.

When it comes to preparation, the Tarahumara prefer more of a Mardi Gras approach. In terms of diet, lifestyle and training technique, they're a track coach's nightmare. They drink like New Year's Eve is a weekly event, tossing back enough corn-based beer and homemade tequila brewed from rattlesnake corpses to floor an army.

Unlike their Western counterparts, the Tarahumara don't replenish their bodies with electrolyte-rich sports drinks. They don't rebuild between workouts with protein bars; in fact, they barely eat any protein at all, living on little more than ground corn spiced up by their favourite delicacy, barbecued mouse.

. . .

'A lot of foot and knee injuries currently plaguing us are caused by people running with shoes that actually make our feet weak, cause us to over-pronate (ankle rotation) and give us knee problems.

'Until 1972, when the modern athletic shoe was invented, people ran in very thin-soled shoes, had strong feet and had a much lower incidence of knee injuries.'

April 20, 2009

Chicago suburb knowingly gave residents poisoned water to cut costs, for decades

Poison in the well -- chicagotribune.com

For more than two decades, the 11,000 or so residents in this working-class community unknowingly drank tap water contaminated with toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems, a Tribune investigation found.

As village officials were building a national reputation for pinching pennies, and sending out fliers proclaiming Crestwood water was "Good to taste but not to waste!," state and village records obtained by the newspaper show they secretly were drawing water from a contaminated well, apparently to save money.

Officials kept using the well even though state environmental officials told them at least 22 years ago that dangerous chemicals related to a dry-cleaning solvent had oozed into the water, records show.

Right-wing Media Bias: Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Op/Ed coup

An Atlanta Ediorial Voice May Move to the Right - NYTimes.com
Cynthia Tucker, the editorial page editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has been heir to that tradition, provoking anger with strongly worded positions to the left of the region’s popular opinion, like attacking the case for war against Iraq. She has also criticized figures revered on the left, and in Atlanta in particular, like the heirs of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But last week, the newspaper announced that Ms. Tucker would move to Washington, continuing to write her Pulitzer Prize-winning column, but not working on editorials and not setting the paper’s official stance on issues. In fact, most of the editorial board will be replaced in May, a move that could create a different — and perhaps less liberal — voice for one of the country’s leading regional papers.