Saturday, November 03, 2007

Republicans Condemn Torture

Yes, Republicans condemn torture but that doesn't mean they are not in favor of harsh interrogation techniques. See, if the US uses a particular technique, by default, it's not torture because the US doesn't torture.

The big tough men running for the Republican nod to the presidency, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson all refuse to rule out the use of waterboarding as an interogation technique. The only really tough guy Republican presidential candidate that is adamently opposed to torture is John McCain, the guy that actually was tortured. Unlike Giuliani, Romney and Thompson....McCain served in the military, was captured by the enemy and was held as a POW. As McCain says the other three tough guys “chose to do other things when this nation was fighting its wars.”

Unfortunately, 43% of Americans believe that torture is often justified or sometimes justified. So maybe the "tough guys" know what they are doing.

No one is going to stop G.W. Bush from allowing waterboarding to be used in interrogations especially Judge Mukasey who has already stated that the President can violate a Constitutional law if he believes that he is entitled to do so in the name of national security

My question now is....why even have an Attorney General if a) he/she won't enforce the law, b) he/she believes there are times the President is exempt from the law?

Simply Left Behind: A Good Blog

I forgot about good old "Senator Santos" from West Wing.

"Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things...every one! So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, 'Liberal,' as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won't work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor." -- Matt Santos, The West Wing

From Simply Left Behind. Thanks.

Giuliani Says Prostate Cancer Statistic is Correct

What world does Giuliani live in? He spouts off inaccurate statistics comparing prostate cancer survival rates between England and the USA. Now, after many (and here and here) have shown that his statistics were wrong....Giuliani insists that they are not wrong.
Giuliani defended his figures as "absolutely accurate" at the time of his prostate cancer treatment in 2000. "Those statistics have changed slightly today," he said Friday.

Giuliani is completely delusional. He doesn't even live in Bush world. One really needs to question Giuliani's sanity.

Ok, the point Giuliani is attempting to make is that many British subjects are leaving England to obtain medical care. This is supposedly due to "socialized" medicine. But the number of Brits that seek healthcare outside of the UK pales when compared with the number of Americans that seek healthcare overseas, 500,000 last year. A whole medical tourism industry for Americans has sprouted in India and is very successful. American companies are even exploring overseas healthcare as a means of cutting health insurance costs.

So what is Giuliani's healthcare plan for the USA. He doesn't have one or maybe he has the G.W. Bush plan. His "plan" is to offer a tax incentive to purchase health insurance which is laughable. How exactly does that solve the problem of out of control price increases in the healthcare industry or help the working poor obtain health insurance?

No, Giuliani's real plan is to scare the American people with words like socialized medicine, single payer and nanny state. He has no interest in solving problems.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Haircuts, Laughs and Prostate Cancer Survival Rates

Remember the John Edwards' $400 haircut? Google it and you get 658,000 hits. How about Hillary Clinton's laugh? Google that topic and you get 1,740,000 hits. Now Google Rudy Giuliani's lie about prostate cancer survival rates in England and the USA. You get 64,800 hits.

Paul Krugman, in todays NYT's has a few comments about this.
But here’s what I don’t understand: Why isn’t Mr. Giuliani’s behavior here considered not just a case of bad policy analysis but a character issue?

For better or (mostly) for worse, political reporting is dominated by the search for the supposedly revealing incident, in which the candidate says or does something that reveals his true character. And this incident surely seems to fit the bill.

Leave aside the fact that Mr. Giuliani is simply lying about what the Democrats are proposing; after all, Mitt Romney is doing the same thing.

But health care is the pre-eminent domestic issue for the 2008 election. Surely the American people deserve candidates who do their homework on the subject.

Yes, $400 is alot to pay for a haircut and it says something about John Edwards. He's rich. And, Hillary has a hearty laugh. I'm not sure what that says about her. Both those topics have been extensively reported, discussed, debated, and blogged. But Rudy Giuliani's lie about prostate cancer survival rates....not so much discussed at all. Why isn't his lie a major political scandel. It says alot about his character.

Weaseling on Waterboarding

G.W. Bush managed to get Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. John McCain into full weasel mode yesterday. Bush has been forced to speak out on behalf of Attorney General candidate Judge Mukasey who can't or won't say whether waterboarding is torture.

Graham and McCain, who have both come out against the use of waterboarding because it is torture, now say they will vote for Judge Mukasey. But here is the great weasel point the Senators issued in a joint statement:
“Once he is confirmed, however,we strongly urge that he publicly make clear that waterboarding is illegal and can never be employed.”

Ok good. But why can't Judge Mukasey make that point now? What difference does it make whether he says it before confirmation or after confirmation?

Judge Mukasey pretty much had the support of Democrats until the waterboarding issue came along. Democrats figured Mukasey was the best they were going to get out of the Bush Administration because the Judge has shown some independence in the past.

Sen. Charles Schumer, who recommended Judge Mukasey as a consensus candidate, has been uncharacteristically quiet about Mukasey. Sen. Schumer is in a bit of a weasel mode as well:
"From this administration, we will never get somebody who agrees with us on issues like torture and wiretapping.
An editorial in todays Washington Post suggests the following. The Senate should confirm Judge Mukasey as Attorney General of the USA. Then Congress should pass National Security with Justice Act (S. 1876) which prohibits waterboarding, making it illegal. Unfortunately, that Bill has little chance of making it to the floor for a vote. That is because it also proposes to restore habeas corpus, prohibit rendition, and prohibits extraterritorial detention of prisoners. All things near and dear to G.W. Bush's heart.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Rudy Guliani and the NYCFD Radios

If you want to hear a good summary of why NYCFD employees don't think much of Rudy Guliani, watch this video.

Dog Bounty Hunter Bigot

Duane "Dog" Chapman is the latest media person that needs to meet with black leaders to apologize for his racist rant.
When the National Enquirer posted an audio clip of bounty hunter and reality TV star Duane "Dog" Chapman caught in a racist rant Wednesday, Chapman immediately apologized publicly and reached out to black leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton.

The audio of Dog's racist rant is posted (at the National Enquirer) but I won't link to it. It seems Dog doesn't care for his son's black girlfriend and used some choice words to explain why. Unfortunately for "Dog" his conversation with his son was recorded.

I was never a fan of "Dog"...his wife was a little too scary for me.

Westboro Baptist Church Ordered to Pay $10.9 Million

The family of a Marine killed in Iraq brought a lawsuit against the strange "Westboro Baptist Church" (not affiliated with any real Baptist organization). They won the lawsuit and the "Church" has been ordered by a Federal court to pay $10.9 million to the family.
Church members showed up at Snyder's funeral chanting derogatory slogans and holding picket signs with messages including "God Hates Fags."

Obviously the "Church" doesn't have $10.9 million so hopefully they will be completely bankrupted. I encourage you to visit the WBC website so you can see what some people do in the name of religion.

My "Google Image"

PZ Meyers asks what is the first picture that comes up when you "Google" for the image that comes up first for your name? Here's mine:

Why Waterboarding Cannot Be Torture

We now have at least one opinion concerning why Judge Mukasey cannot admit that waterboarding is torture:
“You would ask not just who carried it out, but who specifically approved it,” said Mr. Silliman, director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke. “Theoretically, it could go all the way up to the president of the United States; that’s why he’ll never say it’s torture,” Mr. Silliman said of Mr. Mukasey.

Torture allegations have already come back to haunt former Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Human rights groups in France have filed a lawsuit alleging that Mr. Rumsfeld approved of torture at US run detention facilities in Iraq and Cuba.

An editorial in todays NYT also proposes that Mr. Mukasey is trying to protect Pres. Bush.
And yet the nominee for attorney general has no view on whether it would be legal for an employee of the United States government to subject a prisoner to that treatment? The only information Mr. Mukasey can possibly be lacking is whether Mr. Bush broke the law by authorizing the C.I.A. to use waterboarding — a judgment that the White House clearly does not want him to render in public because it could expose a host of officials to criminal accountability.

But we all should agree that torture of humans is nothing when compared with consensual sex in the White House. Many believe that the world could use more BJ's and less torture.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Is Waterboarding Torture?

It's a dumb question for most people. Of course it's torture. That's my opinion and also the opinion of Gary Solis, a former Marine Corps Judge Advocate and military judge.
The U.S. Army has long known. During the U.S.- Philippine War (1899-1902), five Army officers, Major Edwin Glenn, Captain Cornelius Brownell, 1st Lieutenants Julien Gaujot, Edwin Hickman, and Preston Brown, were convicted by courts-martial for employing the “water cure” in interrogating Philippine prisoners.
Unfortunately, Judge Michael B. Mukasey, Bush's nominee for attorney general, doesn't know if water boarding is torture but he does know it's repugnant. But if it is torture, it's unconstitutional (probably because of that pesky 8th amendment). It probably isn't torture because the United States government does not use torture. We have the word of the President of the United States on that issue.

Maybe if it's decided that waterboarding is not torture, Congressional investigations can start using it to get answers out of Bush administration officials.

Judge Mukasey was the "fairhaired boy" of the Senate Judiciary committee before the waterboarding as torture question came along. Next Tuesday the committee votes whether to recommend Judge Mukasey for attorney general to the full Senate.

My a week or two we will be calling him AG Mukasey.

UN to Take Americans Guns Away

This is just going too far. The UN has a plan in the works to take guns away from Americans! Well, Fred Thompson isn't going to let that happen.

Naturally this is just another load of wingnuttery, but hell, it's just the UN and it is election season and you just can't be a good conservative without being agin the UN.

Gen. Petraeus' Spokesman Email Hacked?

This little incident at Glen Greenwalds blog is very interesting and hasn't really hit the mainstream press. It is best summarized in this article published by editor and publisher.

It seems Col. Boylan, director of the military's Combined Press Information Center in Baghdad, sends an unsolicted email from Iraq to Greenwald and then denies ever sending it. When Greenwald emails Col. Boylan back in an attempt to clarify whether the military's email has been hacked....Boylan basically says don't worry about it.

You need to read the whole thing to appreciate the weirdness of the affair. An overwhelming amount of evidence (in my opinion) points to Col. Boylan outright lying about sending the email.

UPDATE: Another nice summary and commentary on the Greenwald/Boylan mystery email here at Salon.
What's most bizarre about this story is the military's determined inattention to it -- a man whose job is to be the mouthpiece for the war's top general is claiming that his words are not his own, and authorities are nonchalant. On Tuesday morning I called the Multi-National Force in Iraq, and I got through to Cmdr. Scott Rye of the Navy, the day chief of media operations. Rye had not heard of the controversy. He said that he takes Boylan "at his word" that he was not the author of the message, but added that he's interested in looking into whether someone has been impersonating the colonel. I sent Rye the disputed e-mail. He responded: "I'll share with the IT guys and see what, if anything, they can determine." I have not heard back.

Halloween Gruesome

All in the name of science, forensic science that is. Ever wonder what a corpse looks like after lying around outside for 15 days? Worse than you probably think (not for weak stomached individuals).

Interesting formula provided also.
most corpses in the wild are skeletonized or mummified according to the formula y = 1285/x, where x is the average temperature in Centigrade, and y is the total number of days.

Halloween Scary

Very cool. An inside out halloween costume designed by "girlontherocks". I really like the unraveling intestines. (Thanks boingboing for the link)

Is Congress "Wasting" Our Time

G.W. Bush is upset. We have a "do nothing" Congress. They are wasting our time with investigations of his administration. Congressional oversight of the Executive branch is a "waste of time"? Maybe there are reasons for so many investigations. How much oversight of the Executive branch has gone on over the last six years? They are wasting our time with votes trying to get US troops out of Iraq. It's not like a majority of Americans want US troops out of Iraq.

I'm sure Pres. Bush could contrast this Democratic-led Congress with all the "hard work" done by the previous Republican-led Congress. The 109th Republican-led Congress was the most "do-nothing" session of Congress since 1948, meeting only 101 days during their second session.

One of Pres. Bush's biggest complaints is that "proposed" spending is skyrocketing under their leadership. Maybe G.W. actually isn't aware of how much he is borrowing to pay for the war in Iraq and what the ultimate costs of that war will be (>$2 trillion).

And then there is the S-CHIP legislation. George doesn't seem to understand the difference between the Medicaid program and the S-CHIP program. Medicaid is for the poor. S-CHIP is for those children whose parents are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford to purchase health insurance. It's really not a difficult concept to understand.

But it is good to get criticism of the current Congress from a President that has done such a good job managing the war in Iraq and the Katrina hurrican disaster to name just a few of his accomplishments.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

American DNA?

From a letter to the editor in todays Adirondack Daily Enterprise:

In closing, I beg you all to go and vote. There’s real red blood on the earth in Iraq with American DNA to have that privilege, and no one has the right to disregard it.

I fully agree with the sentiment...people need to get out and cast their vote. It's important. But American DNA? What is that all about?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Prostate Cancer Survival Rates and Liars (Giuliani)

In his new tv political ad being aired in New Hampshire Rudy sez:

"My chance of surviving prostate cancer -- and thank God I was cured of it -- in the United States: 82 percent." "My chances of surviving prostate cancer in England: Only 44 percent, under socialized medicine."

Naturally the 44 percent number came from Rudy-land. Anyone familiar with Google can find the actual statistic.

The relative five-year survival rate for men diagnosed in England in 2000–01 was 71%, compared with only 31% for men diagnosed in 1971–75. And, that rate is rising in the UK just as it is in the USA because more men are being examined and diagnosed earlier. England does this spending far, far less money than does the USA.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Homeopaths and Avogadro's Number

My favorite skeptic, James Randi, talks about homeopathy and Avogadro's number. Randi points out that homeopaths are cheats, liars, frauds, swindlers, fakes and criminal. I agree. If you are into homeopathy do yourself a favor and listen to this video.