A Perfect Storm

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

First of all, this picture, at first quick glance, made me laugh pretty hard.

It also sums up what James Baker may actually think of the Boy King's Administration and their botch of the training of Iraqis, and this whole mess in the first place. Well, it would if that actually were his middle finger. But really, at first glance, it looked like it.

The Iraq Study Group contends that the wrong agencies were sent to Iraq to train Iraqi police and shape their judicial system.

The U.S. erred by first assigning the task of shaping the judicial system in a largely lawless country to the State Department and private contractors who "did not have the expertise or the manpower to get the job done," Hamilton and Meese said in testimony obtained by The Associated Press.

In 2004, the mission was assigned to the Defense Department, which devoted more money to the task. But department officials also were insufficiently trained for the job, Hamilton and Meese said.

As a result, Iraq has little if any on-the-street law enforcement personnel or a functioning judicial system free of corruption, they said.

Justice Department officials, they said, should lead the work of transforming the system. Police executives and supervisors should replace the military police personnel now assigned.
I know. I know. You're shocked and awed that this too was botched. I could hardly believe it myself. That being said, under the grand leadership of Alberto Gonzales, I am not so sure that the Judicial system in Iraq would be any better. I guess they could fire all the existing attorneys in Iraq and replace them with strict anti-Iranian, pro-Isreali attorneys who have spent all their time doing political opposition research. Hasn't that happened somewhere else?

Anyway, read the rest of this article for more on the Police and Judicial system. One of the recommendations, as seen in the above quote, is to have cops train cops, not MPs train cops. Totally different mindset. Ask any cop.

On my way into work this morning, there was a 3 or so minute piece from Ted Koppel on NPR. Check it out here. It's an audio clip right now, not yet in writing, but is excellent. It is a clip about how dishonest the Iraq debate is, from both parties.

Koppel picks holes in both the strategy of troop increases and in the strategy of an immediate withdrawal. Interestingly, he contends that the debate and resulting timeline for withdrawal ought to focus on completion of certain benchmarks, not on failure to complete certain benchmarks. It's a great point.

The way it's being pitched now, if Iraqis fail to meet a benchmark, we will leave, leaving them worse off. Instead, if they meet a benchmark, which we can play a role in helping them get to, then we can leave and they're better off. Seems intuitive.

He spent a moment to define what the Administration means by "the Region (as in withdrawal will make things worse in the region):" not Iraq, but the total oil-rich region. He then contends that despite "Cheney's bravado" that things really are worse in the region and Iraq. If oil is what we want, alluded to by Koppel, we have actually made it harder to keep secure.

He does, nonspecifically, take the Dems' part of the debate to task as being dishonest as well, most likely meaning it was more for their own poliical gain than to actually fix Iraq. But hey, I agree. It got 'em elected. Prove us wrong, and show you're really interested in fixing Iraq, not just in being exactly the opposite of Bush.


Friday-That-Became-Saturday Beer Tasting

Saturday, January 27, 2007

This nearly settles it. I need a job where I can get paid what I make now, but not really do any serious work. There's got to be some sort of Corporate Drone job out there like that. My natural state is Slouch. All this working out, all this working hard, all this Marine Corps stuff...it is a state of mind that takes real effort every day to make happen. At my core, at my very essence, I am lazy. I buy office chairs that rock backwards so I can slouch. I sit on couches in the Slouch position. On a cloudy Saturday afternoon, like today, given the option to go out and "do," or something else, I choose Slouch. The only real reason I lift is so that I don't weigh 9,000 pounds and my wife won't get disgusted.

I Slouch, therefore I am.

And that pretty much sums-up this week's beer. Lazy.

Today's Saturday Aftrnoon Nap of a beer is Ceylon/Lion Brewery Ltd.'s Lion Stout.

No, no...don't get up.

The bottle itself is brown with a gold foil neck. Michael Jackson, not the dancer/singer/child-toucher MJ, but the beer enthusiast and self-proclaimed beer hunter, has a promo on the back of this bottle. I can only imagine that's because Lion paid him for it. Because they're too lazy to brew a beer that's truly great, they just pay him. Easier that way.

It pours an unfiltered black, with brown hues when held up to my light, which took lot of effort. Nothing remarkable here: a black stout with a tan head. Whooppee.

I smelled some roasted notes to it, but I had to try really hard to find that smell underneath a pretty standard and insipid beery smell. Nothing that really jumped out and smacked me here about the smell. It's like they were there, but totally contrived. Like....like a Yankee Candle. The one that smells like cookies. Why actually bake cookies when you can achieve the same smell by lighting a candle? Psha. Make cookies. Think of the effort.

This is supposed to be a sweet stout, but rides a quiet, indecisive ground between sweet stout and Irish dry stout...it can't make ups its mind because it really doesn't want to be anything, and thusly isn't. I do taste a sweet, malty brew that is smooth but unremarkable. It has all of the characteristics of a stout, but none of the effort of the truly great ones: malt, some roasted character, chocolate, molasses. It's all there, but it's all just...there. Like you on your couch staring at the t.v. All of the characteristics of greatness are there: you have a brain, a mouth, opposable thumbs...but no commitment.

This beer, at this point, reminds me of the chief comlaint levied againt me by all my highschool teachers: he's bright. We can see it. There's just no effort. That's this beer, all the way.

The beer finished metallic and dry, and there is an overarching oxidized characteristic to the beer (in this case, think wet wood). Lke the brewers knew what they were doing, but were a bit lazy and careless in producing a remarkable final product. They let a bit much air in.

My overall impression is that this is a pretty one-dimensional beer. Nothing remarkable. It meets all of the minimum requirements but never really shines as an amazing beer. It's like my highschool educational career. Enough to get by; even enough to get into a decent college. That's this beer: enough to be classified as a stout, but jut as s stout. Not a mind-blowing stout.

So ask someon to get you this stout from your fridge. Have them open it for you. Have them pour it into a glass. Or not. Take a sip of the beer. Ask them for their impression, because this beer will take away your ambition to do it yourself. Then go take a nap.


Any Given Sunday

Monday, January 22, 2007

By all accounts, this was an amazing weekend for football. Those were indeed two very exciting games.

I am thrilled for Lovie Smith who has endured a season's-worth of second-guesses, and armchair quarterbacking from talking dunces at ESPN, and kept faith in Rex Grossman to lead the team. And for being the first African American coach to go to The Show.

I am excited for Rex Grossman who with every single loss this season (of which there really weren't many, especially if your a Lions fan like I am) has had to withstand questions and accusations from sportswriters about not being good enough, and constant cries to replace him with Greise (who I think would have been worse). Who's laughing now, bitches? Rex Grossman is, all the way to the Superbowl. Where he will quarterback.

I am equally thrilled for Tony Dungy who also endured overtures and speculation of being fired at the end of the season, constant criticism from the mouth-breathers over at ESPN about not being a good enough coach to make any headway in the NFL (along with constant pleas - or nearly so - for his firing), and, like Lovie, for being the second African American coach to make The Show AND for being one of 2 in history to coach the Superbowl at the same time. My heart is absolutely bleeding.

And finally I am releived for Payton Manning. What do I hear every damn Monday morning from the two Neanderthals on Sports Center? How Manning is a good QB, but not great, as he can never follow-through and "win the important games." Here he finally is, on the way to the Superbowl. Manning is such an honest guy, who so easily makes light of himself on a zillion commercials...but it doesn't come across as staged. He's just a good, honest guy, humble to the core. I like to see Nice Guys win.

So now for the Superbowl. I predict a barn-burner this year. Two teams are playing each other who are not used to easy wins. They work, and work hard, every game to win. The coaches are comparable. I think there is a difference in QB; Manning, in my mind, is the better of the two. But Grossman is surrounded by talent and the Chicago Defense is a monster. Every single tackle, you see them trying to strip the ball. 10 times out of 100, it works...but they do it every tackle. That's coaching and discipline.

But Manning and his Offense won't be cowed by a solid defense, as we saw yesterday. Even after an entire half of mistakes, they hung in and came back for the win.

I am really looking forward to the game this year. And for the record, if every it matters in the history of the Universe, I say Bears by 3.


What Did Our Forefathers Do?

Friday, January 19, 2007

When it was cold...this damn cold...what did my forefathers do? How did they stay warm? How did they find nourishment?

They drank beer.

In honor of those of us with brave, seafaring ancestors, who braved the coldest of voyages and ports, who had the stomach for huge beers, I offer this week:

Victory Storm King Stout!

This is a fine example of a Russian Imperial Stout, known for being able to survive the voyage from England to St. Petersberg and Moscow; known for keeping the bellies of sailors on arctic expeditions warm and fed on the coldest of nights.

It pours a deep tar-pitch black, crowned with a thick coffee-colored foam head, like storm clouds in the North Atlantic. As the head settled, it formed thick patches of head and lace, like whorls whipped-up in those severe storms. It pours with a viscosity; not quite like oil, but with a visible thickness like the coldest parts of the ocean.

The aroma is subdued, like the calm before a storm. It's there...you smell it...it just hasn't hit yet. But the anticipation is there. Some citric hops, big eathy nose, some mustiness and a roasted character...like the cabin of your ship.

Then the beer hits like the gales and wild, roaring storms that have dashed many ships in the Atlantic. Big roasted, molasses, coffee, dark chocolate, Cajun chicory and earth. Sharp hops break through and sworls with a heavy roasted coffee. Flashes of citrus and a tight carbonation spark like lightning on the open sea, balancing out the heavy dark malt characters, like the huge, black clouds of a heavy storm.

The alcohol is warming, like the pot-bellied stove, and complements the raging storm with a blended spice feel. It finally finishes dry with roasted notes; the sun comes out after the storm.

The mouthfeel is thick, viscous, but smooth as silk.

This is one lovely, heavy beer. Safer to watch the storm from the comfort of your home than be tossed about in high seas, for then you can truly appreciate the Storm King for its true beauty.


Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It seems that Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas is having second thoughts about housing the library for President George W. Bush.

Yep. The George W Bush Presidential Library. This is too easy. [insert joke here]

Says Rev. Bill McElvaney, professor emeritus of SMU's School of Theology:

I would love to see it somewhere else. I don't think it serves SMU well. Given the secrecy of the Bush administration, I have concerns about what papers will be turned over in the first place.
A damning quote indeed from the people supposedly on "his" (Bush's) side. The question Rev. McElvaney is raising involves the release of Presidential documents to their individual libraries for study and research into their terms. There is certainly value in a University's ownership of such documents, as it pulls researchers and biographers to that University. The Rev. McElvaney, however, seems to be questioning the value of such documents, and indeed the library, if they really reveal nothing about Bush's Presidency other than his favorite White House menus and his travel schedule. I can't imagine the library would house, say, his favorite books.

Mirroring the concern of the Good Reverend is SMU's Faculty Senate President Rhonda Blair:
The faculty as a whole are most concerned that academic freedom in all of its forms be protected as much as possible and supported as much as possible, which to my mind means respect across the entire political spectrum
I guess I would be concerned too, in that again, there is little value in a Presidential Library that is empty. I understand documents that are of national security concern, but with this Administration's track record of what is and is not of grave national concern, I have doubts that the docuemtns scholars would seek would be of much value.

Not all Presidential Library negotiaitons go smoothly. The article points out that the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon libraries were also quite controversial. But ultimately, having such a library on-campus attracts the type of people you want there. But again, it's a question of the value of the documents therein.

It seems, though, that another grave concern for SMU is that in addition to the library, they will also be getting the Bush Institute, a conservative think tank. Again, insert joke here.

It seems that this think tank, which could be of benefit to the University, is going to report to the Bush Foundation, and not to the University the way the library will (or may). The University, an institution of Higher Learning, will be shut out of this think tank's studies. Seems...well...you get it.

For now, this project is a "go." However, according to the article, the Faculty Senate held a meeting without SMU's President so they could have a more frank and open discussion of their concerns. If I had more time and research capability myself, I would like to see where SMU's President falls in terms of contributions to W. For him to not be involved in these Faculty Senate hearings says to me (however uninformed it may be) that he is complicit in the development of this library and is too convinced of its "rightness" that he won't truly listen to the faculties concerns, or that there is some sort of rift between the faculty and him (possibly from this, possibly from many "thises," who knows).

I really don't know how "open" other Presidential libraries are in terms of how many documents each Administration brings of what kind of relevance, but it seems that many libraries eventually make each Administration surprisingly transparent. Look at how much we now know, for better or worse (I always think for better in this case), of FDR's advanced knowledge of Pearl Harbor, massive rifts in Lincoln's Cabinet, Washington's underwhelming second term and Nixon in general. This open access to this information is good for us and good for our Democracy, and this Administartion does not have the kind of history that says we'll be able to get the inner picture of what they were really up to any time soon, if at all.

I do understand the value of such a research library to any University. I guess I would ask if there are any credible Universities (not Bob Jones) that wouldn't have such concerns over this particular library.


Guaranteed the A-Crowd Doesn't Read It

Monday, January 15, 2007

Courtesy of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Nachos, I too was able to dig-up my little slice of Blogdom in the big card catalog of The Internets.

Go make your very own here.


The BCS Must Die

Monday, January 08, 2007

It all boils down to this: the BCS is this guy's fault. Jim Delany.


"...Delany, 58, has emerged as a man widely considered the most powerful figure in college sports and the biggest obstacle to a Division I-A football playoff."
This guy, this Big 10 Commissioner, is the roadblock to a system that, um, makes sense.

Normally, I would be proud that my conference of choice (I am a Sparty) is the leader in something; some brave new concept, some challenging new sports concept or whatever. But no, the Big 10 turns out to be the obstructionist against rationality. And Mr. Delany, against the likes of Lloyd Carr and Joe Paterno (you know, two relatively minor players in college football) and their urgings to move to a playoff system, has chosen the stolid path of the status quo. The article state, in terms of Delany's reaction, "But as he has done with the public outcry, Delany has largely ignored the coaches' call for a playoff."

Tangent: sound like another leader we know?

Of course, it would have helped Lloyd's argument just a little bit if he didn't get killed by USC. But that's another post for another day.

I think that in this case, Boise State makes just as good an argument that Michigan could have if they didn't get spanked like naughty children (hey, I'm a Sparty, I'll rip when I can). 13-0 after beating Oklahoma? And they can't play Ohio State, who is playing (and will hopefully destroy) 1-loss Florida.

Another tangent: if I hear one more ESPN talking head discuss the difficulty of Florida's schedule versus Ohio State's, I will go on a murder spree.

Here's where we get to where I really start to get all red-faced:
Defending his assertion, Delany said revenue from college football has grown to $900 million from $200 million since 1990; average attendance for Big Ten games has increased to 71,000 from 58,000 over that same period; and the rising TV ratings and sponsorship dollars suggest the game is as healthy as ever.

"There's probably more of an outcry than there was 15 years ago for something different. I don't disagree with that," Delany said during a recent interview in Chicago. "But what I've also seen simultaneously is the growth in interest in the BCS and the regular season.

"If the public walks away from our games during the regular season and walks away from television during the regular season and walks away from the bowls, they're saying, 'We won't support this anymore. We want something else.' But I don't see them walking away from anything."
I have lots of problems with those assertions.

College football's revenue growth is not tied to the BCS. Well, let me clarify. Because there are bowl games in a weird configuration, Tostitos, Alamo, Go.Com, Th Happy Day Buddhist Temple and whoever the Hell else will gladly shell-out the cash for a bowl game, which I know brings more money into college football. But increasing fan bases and alumni loyalty have nothing to do with the BCS.

He asserts the game is as healthy as ever, citing the increase in average attendence. Again, this is completely separate from the BCS. This has more to do with the rise of college football "purity" over NFL "primadonas" than anything it. The least it has to do with is the BCS system. I don't watch college football because I love BCS. I don't go to more State games because of the BCS. That's just ludicrous. I love the Spartans (equally ludicrous, I know), and that's why. College admissions has increased as well...maybe that too would increase your fan and alumni base?

The part that really gets me is the last paragraph where he essentially says that nobody is walking away from tv, games and bowls. That, in his mind, is the only litmus test as to whether or not the system is broken.

Of course we're not walking away from games. I will continue to watch the Spartans (lose) because I love them. I won't walk away (though I should for so, so many other reasons) simply because I hate the BCS. I will continue to hate the BCS and watch the Spartans. They are two completely different tracks. I would imagine that most college football fans would agree. Most people would not stop watching their favorite team in protest over the dumbest post-season series ever. To say that is indicative of the BCS being a fine idea is to ignore:
Polls show more than 50 percent of college football fans favor a playoff.
So under Delany's logic, more than half of college football's fans would have to stop watching their favorite team to get their message across.

God, but this guy sounds like some other national figure I have heard of....on the tip of my tongue...

No, more to the point, Delany is saying "Fuck you, I don't care what you think, Tostitos is throwing money at us."

Look, I think you can have a college football playoff system (like Division IAA, II, III and every single other college sport) that makes as much money. Playoffs are a huge draw. How many Michigan fans are going to watch Ohio State play tonight? A whole mess of them. And they'd do it in a playoff system too.

Studies indicate the slightest step toward a playoff – seeding the teams in four BCS bowl games and pitting the two top-rated teams emerging from those games in the national championship – could generate another $50 million. But with a new system, Delany and the commissioners of the other BCS conferences could lose control of the knife that guarantees them a huge slice of the financial pie.

The so-called BCS conferences – which include the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC – outnumber the less powerful conferences six to five. Thanks to that slim majority, the six conferences grant themselves automatic bids to the five BCS bowls and this year will take in more than three-quarters of the estimated $120 million the BCS will generate.

The annual yield since has widened the financial gap between the haves and have-nots, and since the formation of the BCS eight years ago, no conference has benefited more than the conference Delany runs. He appears determined to protect the Big Ten's economic interests even if it means preserving a flawed system.
And there it is. A playoff system hurts the Big 10 financially.

With that said, I can't blame Delany for protecting the financial interests of the conference with the most to lose financially. That's his job. But for God's sake, if that's what the real deal is, say it. Don't tell me that nobody's walking away so we don't need to change. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is the most intellectually lazy mindset of all time. And as a fan of college football, the playoff system works best.

Studies have shown that an additional $50 million hits college football for moving closer to a playoff system. But as this article points out, the "BCS schools" lose control over their huge monopoly on that money.

All that money just might go to "unknown" Boise State instead.

What doesn't help is that ABC (Disney), Fox and others are signing 8- and 10-year deals to show the Rose Bowl.

But with potential (or apparent) conflicts of interest regarding the Big 10, Rose Bowl deals and the like, as well as public outcry for a fair system, I think things have to, and should, change. Instead of an easy monopoly, the Big 10, SEC, PAC 10 and others would have to put-up or shut-up. Want the money? Want the deals? Field good teams and don't lose.

Regardless of it being his job to hoard this money for the Big 10, and he's doing a damn fine job, I think the BCS needs to die.

Should I be careful for what I wish? I hope so.


Arrogant Bastard

Friday, January 05, 2007

Coming up with clever, pop culture-related titles is a difficult business at best. But in this case, for this particular beer, the very name of the beer seemed to suit just fine.

Today, we talk about a real snob. A true self-centered prick. Stone Brewing Company's Arrogant Bastard Ale. All the bravado and elitism of your favorite Hollywood diva or div....o.

The beer is encased in a large 22oz. brown "bomber" with a silk-screen painted label of the famous (at least to us beer geeks) Stone Brewing "Gargoyle." Gargoyles ward-off evil spirits from cathedrals, so I imagine their ugly mascot wards off impurities that would otherwise make evil of such a heavenly beer from the brewing world's true cathedral. The bottle itself proclaims "You're Not Worthy" as if understanding that my own lesser, sinful nature is not good enough for this holy elixir.

The beer is a deep ruby with russet highlights. It carries a delicious, thickoff-white head and lace. It is a thick, almost cloud-like froth, like those lovely clouds that it looks like you could walk on. It dares you to get beyond simply staring at its heavenly beauty. You don't want to drink it, it's so pretty. And it knows.

The first smell is a citrus-and-floral hop slam that says "indeed, you are afraid of this beer, weakling." This is followed by the right amounts of enticement of toasted grains, fruity, citrusy esters and a deep alcohol burn. This must be what the Garden of Eden smelled like, and as a lowly humn, wrapped in Original Sin, I am truly not worthy of the beer. But like Adam and Eve to the apple, away I will drink, for I am boastful and sinful.

Oh my. I must be sinning by drinking this beer. I should not be allowed to let it pass my lips. The beer is syrup-sweet from the malts, with hints of chocolate and caramel (but scant hints..the arrogant bastard has caramel and chocolate, he's just not sharing all of them with you). Oh, there's that lovely little alcohol burn that is immediately smacked-down by the hop attack. "No," this jerk says, "this is my alcohol. You can't have it all." Like a truly arrogant bastard, the beer is raw, prickly and over-assertive. But like that same arrogant bastard, we in drooling Fan Land are strangely drawn to its every move, as if my life is somehow better for knowing every step of its life.

Arrogant Bastard is medium bodied, yet rich, powerful and complex. Smooth, especially as it warms up a bit from fridge temperature. Sure, he's a cold-hearted bastard, but so smooth wealthy that we worship. And he knows.

The back of the bottle says that there is no way you're good enough to appreciate this beer and that you'd be better off drinking safe, yellow fizz. But we want more. We want what the arrogant prima-dons have so much that we're willing to stretch ourselves to attain it. And thus, this beer.

Drink it, if you dare. 9/10.


The Compassionate Heart

Thursday, January 04, 2007

By way of explanation, the Dalai Lama outlines the two principle objectives behind Buddhist contemplation techniques:

...the cultivation of a compassionate heart and the cultivation of deep insights into the nature of reality, which are referred to as the union of compassion and wisdom.
The truth is that my wife got me, among other things, one of those "one-a-day" desk calnedars where each day has some witticism or whatever. Last year's was a Daily Show calendar. This year's is called "Insight from the Dalai Lama."

I was initially suspicious that this was my wife's intelligent and subtle way to inform me that I needed to stop focusing so much time and energy on Pools of Disembowled Goons III or Ultra-Violence XII and a little more time contemplating what is truly valuable.

Fat chance. I have an X-Box.

Anyway, the quote above was today's insightful...insightfulness. But it really seemed to be relevant in light of our current national condition, articluated well in two diffeent Balloon Juice articles.

First is this treatment of Saddam Hussein's assassination. In it, Slate columnist Christopher Hitchens makes an immediate appeal for why the death penalty should always be opposed. More than that, he points out how hasty "justice," especially in such a sensitive matter of what to do with someone who is truly dangerous, makes matters worse. Even though Saddam made an appeal for people "not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair."

I will take a break here to say how disgusting and ironic it is that a murderer and torturer made an appeal for an end to hatred and to 'be fair,' but I guess your impending death makes you wax poetic. But just as nearly laughable as it is for a guy like Saddam to make an appeal for peace, it is just as laughable that he was handed over in such a way as to perpetuate violence. No care was taken to do the execution with any sort of justice, save the visceral justice of death. As John Cole says, It was botched.

Let me clarify something, as I ramble. I have no love for Saddam Hussein. I can't say I'd shed a tear if he was killed in prison. I don't care if he took his last breath in prison. I don't care that he'll never breath again. He was a thug. But what I do oppose on its very principle is the death penalty.

I want to say again for the few people who might read this and think I weep for Saddam: MY OPPOSITION TO THE DEATH PENALTY IS NOT BASED ON SYMPATHY FOR THE PEOPLE WHO DESERVE IT. It is simply based on objecting to execution.

In a related measure, a New Jersey legislative commission found that the death penalty was "inconsistent with evolving standards of decency." They are recommending that New Jersey abolish its death penalty laws.

That's it. That's why. Execution is indecent as an evolving society. It is neither compassionate nor wise (see the quote at the start of the post).

Worse than the excution of Saddam is what we have done to alleged apartment-bomber Jose Padilla. What are we...who are we...when we allow this to happen?

We screwed up evidence against him. We screwed up legal procedures around him. But worse of all are the litany of things we have done againt an American citizen. What is happening to him is why we have the system of justice we do. Here's the list of what we do to our citizens:
According to court papers filed by Padilla's lawyers, for the first two years of his confinement, Padilla was held in total isolation. He heard no voice except his interrogator's. His 9-by-7 foot cell had nothing in it: no window even to the corridor, no clock or watch to orient him in time.

Padilla's meals were delivered through a slot in the door. He was either in bright light for days on end or in total darkness. He had no mattress or pillow on his steel pallet; loud noises interrupted his attempts to sleep.

Sometimes it was very cold, sometimes hot. He had nothing to read or to look at. Even a mirror was taken away. When he was transported, he was blindfolded and his ears were covered with headphones to screen out all sound. In short, Padilla experienced total sensory deprivation.

During length interrogations, his lawyers allege, Padilla was forced to sit or stand for long periods in stress positions. They say he was hooded and threatened with death. The isolation was so extreme that, according to court papers, even military personnel at the prison expressed great concern about Padilla's mental status.

The best part is where the government says "that whatever happened to Padilla during his detention is irrelevant, since no information obtained during that time is being used in the criminal case against him."

So, we can beat, torture and rot you so long as we don't use anything you said in your pain and fear.

Makes me feel really comfortable. Go check out the whole article linked above.

Here's the deal: Padilla was a bit-player in the larger plot. I seem to recall that we locked-up McVeigh and gave him a trial and all (however, see penalty; death, above). That being said, Padilla is probably guilty of some part of the plot, no matter how "bit." But now he is not mentally competent to stand trial. Anything we could have gleaned, we can't. Anything good we could have done, we won't. You see, we have the system of justice we have because it serves justice and peace. It allows good to come of wrongs.

It is the union of compassion with wisdom.

Instead, we lose an opportunity, we tarnish our justice system and we have ceated a drooling animal of a human being.


New Year, New Toys

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Been offline a while...the Holidays are dismal for online communication like blogs. Was all wrapped-up in the pure, unrestrained joy of an 18-month-old kid during Christmas. He was beside himself. Pix later. Never have I seen so much excitement over a wagon, a sled, and some noisy Elmo toys.

At any rate, I am getting used to my new toy too. Funny...my kid's toys are numerous (they take up a whole house) but relatively inexpensive. As you get older, excepting cars, toys get smaller and vastly more expensive.

Bck to my toys. Got a new laptop (Gateway, Centrino Duo, Windows Vista Premium capable, 2048 SDRAM, etc.) and a wireless router for the house. So now instead of being relegated to the den upstairs (which will become my kid's room as we consider adding another progeny), we can now update blogs and check email anywhere in the house. Welcome to the 21st century! I am sure we had some neighbors who enjoyed access to our network as well for the day it took me to figure out how to make it "secure."

So the past few nights have been full of watching football and downloading everything we had on the old tower computer that we liked onto the new one (iTunes, Microsoft Office 2003, etc.).

But no games?


Got me an X Box. Since getting the X Box I have averaged maybe 3 hours of sleep a night.

Got any new toys for Christmas? Brag away!



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