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The Sadists Are Back

Once again the usual suspects are back on the talk shows proclaiming that torture works and the Shrubbery was responsible for finding bin Laden.

The standard hypothetical for justifying torture is the ticking time bomb. The claimed piece of information was the nom de guerre of a courier that bin Laden trusted, al Kuwaiti. Bin Laden was located 8 years later. Bombs use clocks, not calendars.

When information takes years to be useful, time is not a major concern in the process. In this case, al Kuwaiti would lead people to look for someone with ties to Kuwait, not a Pakistani Pashtun who happened to have been born in Kuwait, probably because his father was working there at the time.

From the beginning, torture has been used to coerce confessions, not to provide useful information.

Another problem with torture is the reality that it reduces the chance of the enemy surrendering. If the enemy believe they will be tortured or killed, they will continue to fight even after the point when it is obvious they will lose.

May 5, 2011   13 Comments

Excuse Me, Vlad …

On April 30th I wrote about Vladimir Putin giving the Japanese hell for their handling of the Fukushima nuclear problems.

In that piece I asked: “How’s that plan to deal with the deteriorating nuclear-powered naval vessels going, or are you just going to let them continue to rust out and pollute the Arctic waters?”

Guess what, I got an answer: from Reuters via the ABC Russian icebreaker springs nuclear leak

Russia has launched an urgent rescue mission after one its its atom-powered icebreakers developed a nuclear leak in the frozen seas of the Arctic and was forced to abandon its mission.

The Rosatomflot nuclear fleet said in a statement that “insignificant increase in activity” had been reported on board its Taimyr icebreaker.

But the incident was serious enough to force the mammoth vessel to abandon its mission and try to track its way back to port in the north-west city of Murmansk.

“What we are most concerned about right now is movement along the waterways,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted top Rosatomflot official Andrei Smirnov as saying.

The fleet official said another icebreaker was being dispatched to the region to help the vessel’s journey back to port.

[Read more →]

May 5, 2011   4 Comments

How Bad Will It Get

Via Dr. Jeff Masters, The National Weather Service in Jackson, Mississippi has up a site, Historic Mississippi River Flooding that provides pretty grim reading if you live anywhere near the Mississippi.

With all of the improvements since 1927, this year is on track to produce flood crests that are higher in some areas. The frontal system that produced the record number number of tornadoes, also produced record rainfall that is flowing into rivers with the melt from the record snowfall this winter.

This is, hopefully, a 500-year flood, and not an every-other-year-because-of-climate-change event.

May 5, 2011   5 Comments

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Takes Over DNC

The Miami Herald reports that Wasserman Schultz wins DNC job.

There was a time when I would have been a very happy man to have read that. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is from Broward County in South Florida, and I have exchanged messages with her since 2000, starting when she was in the Florida legislature. I was very happy when she ran for Congress and won, because she is an unbelievably hard-working individual who strives to do the right thing.

Then she drank Obamaid, and things have changed. She is a true-blue and totally committed supporter of Zero, and cannot be dissuaded. She is already talking about helping Obama get reelected, when it is up the Democratic Party to select their candidate for the 2012 election. It probably will be Obama, because the Democratic Party is suicidal at the moment, but the chair of the DNC is not supposed to back candidates for any position until after they are officially selected.

May 5, 2011   2 Comments

He’s Consistent

'Weepy John' BoehnerAs he has shown since he refused to permit the last US veteran of World War I, Frank Buckles, to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda before his burial at Arlington, John Boehner has consistently shown a total lack of respect for the “norms” of polite society in Washington.

That was followed by his refusal to host a Cinco de Mayo celebration at the Capitol, despite the bi-partisan tradition of doing so.

And now, the House is refusing to issue the normal and traditional resolution praising the SEAL mission.

It is interesting how readily “conservatives” cast aside the small pieces of tradition.

May 5, 2011   5 Comments

Cinco de Mayo

Mexico

Wikipedia usually has to “lock” its Cinco de Mayo page. I suspect it may be related to the sudden appearance of sites opposing the celebration of this semi-holiday and others who have a hissy fit about any Mexican holiday being celebrated in the US.

In Mexico Cinco de Mayo or Batalla de Puebla, is only a really big celebration in the state of Puebla, where the battle took place.

The Mexican army won the Batalla de Puebla on May the 5th, 1862, but the French went on to Mexico City in 1863 after receiving reinforcements and installed Emperor Maximilian.

It has the status of St. Patrick’s Day in the US, an excuse to eat different food, and drink different booze, and be obnoxious show an interest in other cultures.

Margaritas, tacos, and the destruction of piñatas, that’s what it is really about, although some people have other interpretations.

May 5, 2011   8 Comments