Missing the point regarding torture

There is currently a hubub in the news about some Bush Justice Department memos that were released recently by the Obama administration. These memos and legal opinions describe the use of torture by U.S. agencies, such as the CIA, in the “War on Terror” under the Bush administration. It’s not a pretty picture. Apparently the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” was more widespread than had previously been reported. Predictably this has resulted in a hue and cry for investigations and prosecutions. Over on Fox News, however, it’s a different story. Go figure. Here’s some video analysis from Fox. Michael Hayden, the ex-head of the CIA, explains the pro-torture position well in this video from Fox News Sunday.
Continue reading

Travelin’ Joe Don’t Know Albuquerque

There’s a great article every month in Golf Magazine called “Ask Travelin’ Joe” that I like to read and fantasize about traveling all over to play golf. This guy must have the best job on the world. Readers write in and ask Joe for recommendations for courses at their vacation destinations. In the article he briefly profiles a couple of courses in each location for them to try.

In the May 2009 issue a fellow by the name of Warren Dorn from Cincinnati asks for recommendations in Albuquerque, my home town. Warren already intends to play at Paa-ko Ridge and is looking for a couple more courses to try. Travelin’ Joe gives him three recommendations, but I only agree with two of them, so I thought I’d throw out some local knowledge.

Continue reading

Ten Commandments at State Capitol

An Oklahoma state legislator has introduced a bill to put a Ten Commandments monument up at the state capitol. You can read Austin Cline’s report here. Seriously, do they even have Civics and U.S. History classes in schools in Oklahoma?! Apparently the proponents of the bill claim that 1) the monument is intended to honor the origin of the rule of law, and 2) has nothing to do with their religious beliefs. Oh yeah, then why honor the Ten Commandmants instead of Hammurabi’s law code, the earliest known formal system of laws? These people are just so full of it. They have no respect whatsoever for their fellow citizens if they don’t believe in the same fairy tales. Come on Oakies, you deserve better government than this. You are quickly becoming a laughingstock of religious intolerance and ignorance!

Netiquette Reference

While looking for a netiquette guide with which to reprimand an ALL CAPS comment poster I ran across this guide for children. It’s a pretty good guide for adults as well. It also points out a great technique that I haven’t had to think about yet because my children are too young. It suggests making your kids use fabricated profiles while online to thwart predators. I’m going to have to remember that for when they’re older. Maybe we can have some fun making up their profiles together.

Disparate Doctrines: Two Faiths in Conflict

I just ran across this Newsweek article from back in December. I’m not sure why it was published in December. I mean, it could have been relevant and interesting back during the Republican primaries with Mitt Romney in the race. It points out some of the primary differences between Evangelical Christianity and the Church of Latter-Day Saints. The article is short but there are a ton of comments. I was amused to see all the various xtian sects chiming in pointing fingers at the others for not believing the “right” unsubstantiated bullshit. It’s quite humorous. I had to post an atheist perspective since no one else had before me. What a bunch of bafoons! It’s simply incredible how much effort they put into their beliefs, given the complete lack of evidence for it. Either one accepts the bible as a reliable source, or one doesn’t. I guess I’ve just read too many books to see the bible as anything special.

Comment to the ACLU

I added this comment to the end of a survey I did for the ACLU:

I believe that a primary focus of your organization should be the separation of church and state. Many of the other issues that you address are really just sidelines of that central battle. For example, reproductive rights are only threatened by those who believe that their religion forbids it and furthermore that they have a right to force their views on the rest of us through legislation. Demand to be shown a soul before allowing any laws based on souls to be enacted. Another example, LBGT rights, are only endangered by those acting on their religious beliefs. If those beliefs were kept out of our laws LBGT rights would be a foregone conclusion. I understand that you can’t afford to take an anti-religion stand for fear of endangering progress and alienating supporters but I think that the blame for things like Prop. 8′s passage in California belongs solely to the religious organizations (Saddleback Church, Latter Day Saints, etc.) who financed the lobby for it. When people are preaching hate from the pulpit don’t hold back. Call them out on it. If we, as a society, continue to refrain from criticizing particular religious institutions, even when they are advocating hate, we will soon find ourselves as oppressed by them as the citizens of Afghanistan were/are by the Taliban.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that religion is the root of all evil. Just the most unnecessary and inane kind of evil. The rest of it can be attributed to normal human failings (greed, lust, etc.). On second thought I’m not sure lust should be considered a failing, as long as it doesn’t lead one to disrespecting others.

Teething Can’t be Fun

My 10 month old son has really impressed me with his calm easy going nature…until now. He’s been getting his first teeth in for the last couple of weeks and it has really changed his personality. All of a sudden he’s a whole lot more fragile. If we can get him distracted with something else for a while he goes back to his normal self but most of the time he’s clearly very uncomfortable. It’s funny to think that getting one’s first teeth is a traumatic experience shared by all humanity (all mammalia for that matter) but there’s absolutely no bonding or commiseration about it because it happens before we develop long-term memory or the ability to speak. Hmmmmm. Well I hope it’s over soon; he’s just miserable.