Wednesday Linkorama

  • Obama improves international relations — by taking the EU line and blasting low-tax friends as tax havens. Nice touch.
  • Yet another good editorial on the torture issue. It hits a number of my pet whack-a-moles on this issue, notably the SERE canard:

    The most common defense of waterboarding is that we subjected our own soldiers to it. That’s true–as a way of training them to withstand enemy torture. When you reverse engineer a torture-resistance program, you’re almost by definition engaging in torture.

    In reality, Bush’s waterboarding methods did differ from the U.S. military’s torture-resistance training, in that our soldiers knew how far we’d go and could stop the exercise if they couldn’t bear it. Conservatives have inadvertently confirmed this point. Numerous Republicans object that the release of the torture memos will render waterboarding and other techniques useless–“terrorists are now aware of the absolute limit of what the U.S. government could do to extract information from them,” complain former Bush officials Michael Hayden and Michael Mukasey.

    It’s true. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, or torture methods devised thereby. Our chief weapon is surprise. (Surprise and fear. … Amongst our weaponry are such elements as surprise and fear, as Michael Palin might put it.) That’s exactly why training soldiers to withstand waterboarding is different than actually waterboarding.

  • Nick Gillespie is having none of Obama’s “I’m a regular burger guy” stunt.
  • New Jersey is considering a law that would not prosecute teens for underage drinking if they bring a passed out friend to the ER. Here’s an idea: why not just stop prosecuting underage drinking at all?
  • No link, I don’t want to dig it up, but Arlen Specter’s statement that Jack Kemp would be alive today had we fully funded the “War on Cancer” is a perfect illustration of the stupidity of politicians. Never mind the laws of physics or the intricacies of biology and physiology. All we had to do was care enough and cancer would have been cured. Idiot.
  • The more I read about it, the more the Stimulus seems like a great big lottery. One day, there will be an accounting for all this.
  • What is it about environmental doomsayers that being wrong — being spectacularly wrong — being spectacularly wrong for 45 damn years does not discredit them?