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Torturous doubts

March 15, 2007 11 comments

According to his confession, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed beheaded Daniel Pearl “with [his] blessed right hand”.  He masterminded 9-11 “from A to Z” and many other attacks.  Really bad guy, if all this is true.

He spent six months in Guantanamo and allegedly over 3 years in a CIA-run prison before that. So at minimum, this guy has been waterboarded, subjected to heat and cold, loud sounds, various kinds of psychological strain, and who knows what else.

So how trustworthy is his confession?  You do all that stuff to me, I’ll cop to assassinating Abraham Lincoln.

If someone believes torture is OK provided we’re really scared, and yet still somehow self-identifies as a Christian, I’m not going to argue with them about morals.  But the practical problem with torture is that it undermines the credibility of any confession you get with it.  Yeah, he’s probably the right guy… isn’t he?

I mean, this confession is pretty darned convenient for the administration.  It wasn’t that “most-wanted guy” we haven’t been able to catch, no sir!  It was this guy all along!  We got him!  Mission accomplished!  We’re doing a heckuva job!

I want to believe it’s him, I really do. But…

Categories: Law, Politics

Smoke free

January 18, 2007 29 comments

Every Saturday morning, MrsDoF and i go on a date to a restaurant in Bloomington to have a nice breakfast together.  Usually it’s coffee, eggs, pancakes, sausage, and coffee, and cigarette smoke.  We wait around for a “non-smoking” table but oddly enough smoke manages to find us anyway.

I’m pretty libertarian about personal behavior and as much as I dislike smoke while I’m eating, I’ve never said anything to anyone or campaigned for any smoking bans.  I put up with smoking because the smoke-free restaurant is eight to ten bucks a plate, while our regular haunt is a less pretentious four bucks, give or take.

But on 01 January, both Bloomington and Normal (yes, that is our town’s name) put into effect one of those newfangled “smoking bans” in restaurants.

It’s really nice.  The restaurant seems as crowded as ever, but we walk in and are seated right away.  The air is clear all the way to the back wall.  It’s refreshing and the food even tastes better.  So i don’t know if it’s an offense against personal freedom – you could make that argument I guess – but i like it.  Just hope it doesn’t hurt the restaurant owners.

Categories: Law, Politics

“Show me in the Constitution where it says we have a right to…”

December 16, 2006 1 comment

Ed Brayton has a post up on Dispatches that answers the common anti-freedom refrain: The 9th Amendment means what it says

Short version: “Show me in the constitution where it says we don’t have a right to…”

An enlightening exploration of the presumption of liberty as it applies to state’s rights, personal freedoms, the differences between them and the limitations of each.

Categories: Law, Politics