Room 101

Author Christopher Hitchens voluntarily underwent a waterboarding treatment, in order to add his firsthand experience to the torture debate:

I do have a fear of drowning that comes from a bad childhood moment on the Isle of Wight, when I got out of my depth. As a boy reading the climactic torture scene of 1984, where what is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world, I realize that somewhere in my version of that hideous chamber comes the moment when the wave washes over me.

Hitchens took two brave dunks into the tank before quickly succumbing to sheer panic.

As if detecting my misery and shame, one of my interrogators comfortingly said, “Any time is a long time when you’re breathing water.” I could have hugged him for saying so, and just then I was hit with a ghastly sense of the sadomasochistic dimension that underlies the relationship between the torturer and the tortured. I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.

The entire article is thoughtful and not at all a typical vitriolic Hitchens piece, and is worth reading in its entirety.

John Cole at the Balloon Juice blog asks, “Can the indictments start now?”

posted 7/3/08 at 8:27am to Politics, Wingnuttery · 0 replies · permalink

I’m voting Republican

Well, I’m convinced now:


posted 6/12/08 at 10:43pm to Politics, Wingnuttery · 0 replies · permalink

Fair and balanced

Offered without comment:

Fair and balanced


(via Teh Sadly)

posted 6/12/08 at 8:22am to Politics, Wingnuttery · 0 replies · permalink

We need to teach the teachers

We are so fucked.  Submitted without further comment:

Despite a court-ordered ban on the teaching of creationism in US schools, about one in eight high-school biology teachers still teach it as valid science, a survey reveals. . . . US courts have repeatedly decreed that creationism and intelligent design are religion, not science, and have no place in school science classrooms. . . . “It seems a bit high, but I am not shocked by it,” says Linda Froschauer, past president of the National Science Teachers Association based in Arlington, Virginia. “We do know there’s a problem out there, and this gives more credibility to the issue.”

(via New Scientist [there’s more on the original study at Pharyngula])

posted 5/20/08 at 3:41pm to Our Doomed Planet, Science!, Wingnuttery · 0 replies · permalink

National day of whatnow?

Did you know today is National Day of Prayer?  I obviously didn’t.

I’ll merely quote Dr. Myers:

Fuck the National Day of Prayer. 

I can scarcely believe my country is officially pandering to such willful stupidity — elevating evangelical kooks to positions of prestige, trumpeting the virtues of sectarian religion, and actually crediting the successes of America to the fact that a subset of deluded, demented fools sit on their asses and beg an invisible man to protect us and help us kill people in foreign countries. What a waste, and what an encouragement of further waste.


(via tristero)

posted 5/1/08 at 11:57am to Wingnuttery, WTF? · 0 replies · permalink