Saturday, December 04, 2004

Sneak Peek into My Mind

I should not be allowed to watch the intro credits to the TV show "Due South", because I get all homesick and misty for the great white north in the span of about a quarter note. I will never stop being from Alaska, even when I've been gone from there for another 17 years. Look at that sweeping vista of snow! *sob* I can smell the crispness in the air from here.

*gets all misty just thinking about it*

"Guinea Pig Kids"

Debunking "Guinea Pig Kids" and More Guinea Pig Kids

Guinea Pig Kids, including transcript.

Democracy in Action

Guerillanews has some pictures of American Democracy™.

Torture OK in US

Attorneys for the prisoners argued that some were held solely on evidence gained by torture, which they said violated fundamental fairness and U.S. due process standards. But [deputy associate attorney general Brian] Boyle argued in a similar hearing Wednesday that the detainees "have no constitutional rights enforceable in this court."

And THEN that same attorney says

that if the military's combatant status review tribunals "determine that evidence of questionable provenance [torture] were reliable, nothing in the due process clause (of the Constitution) prohibits them from relying on it."

But THEN he says there's nothing like torture going at GTMO, even though Amnesty International and the International Red Cross seem to disagree.

I tell you, I just don't know who to believe: guy working for most secretive, power-hungry US Administration in history, or watchdog groups of longstanding international repute?

PoTAYto, poTAHto.

Now, in another article, the same attorney was speaking with a different judge:

"If a little old lady in Switzerland writes checks to what she thinks is a charitable organization for Afghanistan orphans, but it's really supporting . .. al Qaeda, is she an enemy combatant?" [U.S. District Court Judge] Green asked.
Boyle said the woman could be, but it would depend on her intentions. "It would be up to the military to decide as to what to believe," he said.

It would be up to the military to decide what to believe.

Now see, I don't want someone thinking I don't respect one of the greatest institutions America has going for it: service. No, no, no. What bothers me is that, unless Switzerland is a new front on "the war", and the BBC just isn't reporting troop movements yet, it is now the job of the American military to determine if every single person on the planet may be detained by the US, sans rights.

Marriage Debate

Jonathan Rauch points out the blindingly obvious over at

the rule that infertility disqualifies all gay couples from marriage but disqualifies no straight couples is a crass double standard that demolishes the very principle (marriage=procreation) on which it's supposed to be based.

(via Alas, a Blog)

20 Years Later: Bhopal

Fusion Reaction reminds us that yesterday, Dec 03, was the 20th anniversary of the chemical spill in Bhopal.

Today is the 20th anniversary of the world's worst industrial accident. In the early morning hours of December 3, 1984, a toxic chemical leaked from a Union Carbide factory in northern India and killed thousands of people in their sleep. The estimates of the dead ranged from 3,000 to 10,000 and we may never know exactly how many died.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Shabbat in Space

A Responsum Regarding Space Travel

Fascinating discussion of when a Jew should observe the Shabbat in space. When days stop behaving like days, do you stick with the sun, or follow your watch?

Since the eighteenth century, rabbis have discussed how to observe Shabbat in “inner America”, Norway, Sweden, Alaska, Iceland and other areas where the sun does not rise or set for months on end. Polar days are unusually long; space days are unusually short – but the general problem is similar.