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July 02, 2008

Hitchens on waterboarding, “if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.”

Believe Me, It's Torture: Politics & Power: vanityfair.com

Here is the most chilling way I can find of stating the matter. Until recently, “waterboarding” was something that Americans did to other Americans. It was inflicted, and endured, by those members of the Special Forces who underwent the advanced form of training known as sere (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape). In these harsh exercises, brave men and women were introduced to the sorts of barbarism that they might expect to meet at the hands of a lawless foe who disregarded the Geneva Conventions. But it was something that Americans were being trained to resist, not to inflict.

Exploring this narrow but deep distinction, on a gorgeous day last May I found myself deep in the hill country of western North Carolina, preparing to be surprised by a team of extremely hardened veterans who had confronted their country’s enemies in highly arduous terrain all over the world. They knew about everything from unarmed combat to enhanced interrogation and, in exchange for anonymity, were going to show me as nearly as possible what real waterboarding might be like.

June 30, 2008

Cory Doctorow is bad for the environment

Freesteel

Check out his carbon footprint:

Let’s see, that’s at least 37 take-offs and landings, and 193,000 kilometres, composed of (approx) 2 short, 5 medium, 7 long, and 23 extended haul flights, which comes to at least 28 tonnes of carbon and other pollution in the upper atmosphere. Add another 7 tonnes for being an average rich white guy, and we’re up to approximately 35 tonnes, 80% of which is flying. Given as the total needs to be less than one tonne for the environment on which we depend to survive, we’ve got a little bit of a lifestyle problem here.

Now folks, there are two kinds of futures we can talk about; there’s the fake one which we like to imagine, where our grandfather gets cured of cancer at the hospital and lives forever, and then there’s the real one which we will all eventually be living in, whether we like it or not.

Cory Doctorow will say and do whatever he can to make Cory Doctorow’s life more interesting and fulfilling. However, there will be people in a 150 years time who are not Cory Doctorow who, when thumbing through his literature which might have just got out of copyright by then, are going to say, “My god, what were people back then thinking when they took this stuff seriously? Not a single person in any of his audiences bothered to ask him about how climate change fitted in with the future he was laying out.” He seemed like he really enjoyed his four day visit to the re-creation of Renaissance Venice in Tokyo Disneysea, but did he ever wonder where was the model of the early 21st century New Orleans?

Southern Baptist scholar says spousal abuse stems from wife’s refusal to submit to husbands

Think Progress -- Southern Baptist scholar says spousal abuse stems from wife’s refusal to submit to husbands.

Bruce Ware — a Southern Baptist scholar – argued that one reason that men abuse their wives is because women rebel against their husband’s God-given authority:

“And husbands on their parts, because they’re sinners, now respond to that threat to their authority either by being abusive, which is of course one of the ways men can respond when their authority is challenged - -or, more commonly, to become passive, acquiescent, and simply not asserting the leadership they ought to as men in their homes and in churches,” Ware said from the pulpit of Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas.

June 29, 2008

Man dressed as penis disrupts graduation

Florida? Oh, yeah. timesunion.com | Man dressed as penis disrupts graduation
Calvin Morett[, 19,] of 337 Pyramid Pine Estates allegedly interrupted the Saratoga Springs High School graduation by marching across SPAC's stage in an inflatable 6-foot penis costume while diplomas were being given out, Saratoga Springs Police Sgt. Sean Briscoe said.
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June 28, 2008

U-Haul asking customers to stop filling the gas tanks with water

U-Haul: Crooked renters refill gas tank with water | KATU.com - Portland, Oregon | Local & Regional

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Crooks have come up with a new scam to get out of paying for gas, and it's costing truck rental companies thousands of dollars.

Crooks reportedly rent U-Haul trucks then, when the time comes to return the truck, top off the tank with water instead of gas, wrecking the engine.

U-Haul dealers say the scam has become more prevalent as gas prices continue to rise.

"We had five or six (instances of) water in fuel (tank) last week," said Kim Merow.

Merow is a U-Haul veteran who has been on the job for 14 years. She says she witnessed gas scams plunge to a new low in the past two months as gas prices traveled further into record territory.