Archive for November, 2007

November 30, 2007

In general I find College Humor videos pretty annoying, but this was actually really funny:


More on Waterboarding
November 30, 2007

Matt, in response to my last post on waterboarding, brings up an important distinction:

But they have a kernel of a decent point — waterboarding isn’t deadly and has no long term physical effects to speak of. I don’t want to sound like Rambo, but I could probably handle waterboarding in a controlled situation where I know it would stop eventually, and knew that the people doing it to me weren’t trying to harm me. Of course, that’s not how waterboarding is experienced by detainees. What makes it torture is that when in captivity, you are being interrogated and then get waterboarded. You do not know that your assailants are every going to stop, you don’t know what else they’re planning for you. There is no safeword, there is no way out.

Just so. The psychological damage inflicted by torture, particularly when it comes to the tactics allegedly used on detainees at Guanatanamo and the CIA black sites, is in many ways a lot more troubling than the physical scars it leaves behind. Like in the case of José Padilla, for example:

The psychiatrist said Mr Padilla suffered from a facial tic, problems with social contact, lack of concentration and a form of Stockholm Syndrome, by which people in captivity sympathise with their captors.

Sure Padilla has all of his limbs and organs functioning properly, but he also has serious mental illness as a result of his treatment that is going to be with him in some form or another for the rest of his life. And as Matt points out, even if Ashcroft and Reynolds agreed to be waterboarded, it could never properly simulate the unimaginable anguish of long-term torture with no perceivable way out. That’s what the detainees being waterboarded are really being subjected to, and that’s the sort of monstrous treatment that people like Ashcroft and Reynolds continue to defend.

Clinton Campaign Hostage Situation
November 30, 2007

Jesus Christ. Continual updates coming from The New York Times political blog.

Ashcroft/Instapundit: I can take a waterboarding
November 29, 2007

So both former Attorney General John Ashcroft and Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds have now said that if asked, they will agree to be waterboarded, to prove that it’s not torture. Not to open myself to accusations of advocating the torture of people who disagree with me (for the record, I don’t) but I think if these guys volunteer someone should call them on it.

When the right argues that waterboarding isn’t torture there’s always an implicit argument in there that people who have been waterboarded and said that it is torture should, you know, man up. But that argument is kind of weak considering I haven’t heard a single pro-waterboarding voice from someone who’s undergone the procedure and decided that it’s not all that excruciatingly painful. If those manly-men Ashcroft and Reynolds can shrug off a good waterboarding then they’ll score some points in the debate, but somehow I don’t see that happening. Hopefully, if challenged, they would back down and admit that it might be torture, because the only other intellectually honest option is to agree to be tortured and I don’t wish that sort of thing on anyone.

Welcome, Johnsonian readers
November 29, 2007

Very soon my blog is going to be embedded on the site of Winthrop University’s school paper, The Johnsonian, meaning that everything I post here is going to be cross-posted there. Props to my good friend JV for setting this up.

Last night’s debate
November 29, 2007

Okay, so this is kind of a bad habit, but to be honest I never really watch the debates. Instead I’m getting more and more reliant on the highlight reels that Ben puts together, such as the one below. It’s all of the important stuff from what are generally unbearably vacuous exercises condensed down into eleven very bearable minutes.

Hello again
November 29, 2007

I believe today is the one year anniversary of this blog’s first post at its original home so now seems as appropriate a time as ever to start blogging again.

So here’s the deal. As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve moved. The new digs are roomier, prettier, and have more ads. That’s because when my amazing internship at TPM Media ends in two and a half weeks I’m going to get serious about blogging in a way I haven’t before. That’s why I put down the money on a domain and that’s why the ads are here. Right now the goal is to make enough money off of ads just to cover the cost of the domain, but eventually I’d like to see if I can transform this into more than a time-consuming obsession and into something of a part-time job.

To whatever readers I have left over from the previous incarnation of this site, I’m going to need your help for that. If you like what you read here, tell your friends. Link to stuff. Digg it. Favorite me on Technorati. Facebook note readers might consider clicking through to the actual site. Maybe even click on one of the ads. And if you want to do me a really big favor, you might consider cutting out the middleman and subsidizing my existence by donating to either my PayPal or PayPages accounts (both of which should have convenient little buttons at the top of the leftmost column). If you help me out, that means I won’t need to get another job and that means I’ll have more time to write, blog, and generally improve the quality of this site.

By the way, this site is soon going to have yet another exciting feature – music! I have a friend who’s an extremely talented musician and who has been looking for a place to host his music. So stay tuned for some free mp3’s and if you like what you hear you should throw a donation his way too. Once I get some of my own music recorded it will probably go up here as well.

Well it’s been a while, but it feels good to be back blogging. Quite a lot has happened during my time at TPM – from the Petraeus report to Blackwater to Huckabee’s surge to Clinton’s stumble to the most recent revelations that Romney doesn’t want a Muslim in his cabinet and Giuliani had local government subsidize his adultery. And that’s barely scratching the surface. And then of course there’s the debate tonight, which I’m not watching at the moment.

Just a little side note – one area where I was very wrong about the 2008 from before I headed off to my TPM internship was in my prediction that there was more to Brownback’s campaign than met the eye. Turned out there was actually exactly as much to Brownback’s campaign as met the eye and it tanked. My mistake.

Blogging is going to be at best sporadic and at worst virtually nonexistent until my internship at TPM ends and classes finish for the semester. But after that this is really going to kick into high gear.

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