Now that it’s common knowledge that the United States is a.) a country that tortures people and b.) our “rendition” policy and our treatment of “enemy combatants” has inflamed the insurgency in Iraq (while destroying any delusions of our own moral high ground), should we even be debating this?:
[From the Associated Press]
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said for the first time yesterday that officials are at odds over whether a new Army manual should endorse different interrogation techniques for enemy insurgents than are allowed for regular prisoners of war.
The debate hinges on whether suspected terrorists or other insurgents can be treated more severely than captured members of an enemy army. There are concerns such a distinction could fly in the face of a law enacted last year, pressed by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, that explicitly banned cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of prisoners by US troops.
”There is a debate over the difference between a prisoner of war under the Geneva Convention and an unlawful combatant in a situation that is different from the situation envisioned by the Geneva Convention,” Rumsfeld told the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense. ”And those issues are being wrestled with at the present time.”…
Shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush decided that ”enemy combatants” captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan would not be considered POWs and afforded the protections of the Geneva conventions. The Pentagon has felt compelled to look for unconventional approaches to gaining timely information from detainees that might help prevent attacks.
Many of those enemy combatants were sent to the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Since then and after the prisoner abuse scandals that erupted in 2004, officials have debated whether all detainees should be treated the same or whether military interrogators should be allowed to use more severe techniques against suspected insurgents — such as those at Guantanamo.
Rumsfeld said a draft of the new manual has been circulated in recent weeks, and there have been meetings with members of Congress to discuss it…
Some military officials, however, said that disclosing details of interrogations would allow the enemy to prepare and train for them
A tipster sent us this earlier:
Steve is a 40 year old man who lives in Springfield, Georgia with his mother. He spends his time making video blogs, and writing, directing, and starring in his home-made sci-fi drama “The Portal”… In my house he has become somewhat of an overnight celebrity / cult hero. You have to see it to believe it. It’s almost a holy experience.
Too bad evangelicals can’t organize around something worthwhile:
[From Chicago Sun Times]
There are still some religious leaders who are asking fellow Christians to boycott the film based on Dan Brown’s mega-selling novel of the same name. One such group is calling for an “other-cott,” asking “every Christian who loves Jesus” to buy tickets to any other movie besides “The Da Vinci Code” during its opening weekend, which begins this Friday.
But a much larger, more organized and better-marketed movement among major evangelical leaders has been under way for months, urging the faithful to embrace the film as an opportunity to spread the gospel, rather than a threat to its sanctity.
In a survey earlier this year, Outreach Inc., a Christian marketing firm in Southern California hired by Mel Gibson’s production company to market “The Passion of the Christ” to evangelicals, reported that 67 percent of churches planned to do something in response to the “Da Vinci” film.
Our favorite “Christian” teaching tool is a video called The Conspiracy Game. The video ridicules a “liberal” Episcopal bishop “who reduces the bible to tolerance,” a feminist who “hates men,” and of course a beret-wearing French intellectual. You can watch it here. (requires reg)
…and now the albino’s are pissed off about The Da Vinci Code:
[From The Associated Press] The notion of Christ as a family man is not the only raw nerve “The Da Vinci Code” has touched. Albinos are bothered that one of their own has yet again been depicted as a villain.
Dan Brown’s best seller begins its worldwide debut Wednesday with Tom Hanks as the cryptologist pursuing a 2,000-year-old mystery that could reveal Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and that the Vatican covered it up.
Among his co-stars is Paul Bettany, the British actor playing monk- assassin Silas, an albino with red eyes who carries out a series of bloody murders to secure the secret of the Holy Grail, a trove of lost Christian documents that could prove Jesus had wed.
Critics cite a long list of albinos cast as heavies by Hollywood: The dreadlocked twins in “The Matrix Reloaded,” a powder-haired hit man in the Chevy Chase-Goldie Hawn crime romp “Foul Play,” the pasty zombies in “The Omega Man,” a sadistic killer in “Cold Mountain,” even the wicked executioner in the fairy-tale comedy “The Princess Bride.”
Michael McGowan, an albino who heads the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation, said “The Da Vinci Code” will be the 68th movie since 1960 to feature an evil albino.
“Silas is just the latest in a long string,” McGowan said. “The problem is there has been no balance. There are no realistic, sympathetic or heroic characters with albinism that you can find in movies or popular culture.”
Check out Wilco at Union College’s Memorial Chapel, in Schenectady, NY, April 27, 2002 here.
Music Reviews by John Rickman
Wizardzz – “Hidden City of Taurmond”
Wizardzz is the side project of Lightning Bolt bassist Brian Gibson and Bug Sized Mind machinist Rich Porter. Using only drums and synthesizers, the two summon forth a sensational racket that is at once aesthetically ecstatic and magically delicious.
Gibson, oddly enough, sounds like his Bolt band mate and Mindflayer drummer Brian Chippendale on the skins: big, beefy, and bombastic. His fiery, rhythmic flurry gives Wizardzz’ fairy funk an edgy groove, but it plays second fiddle to Porter’s sparkling, improvised synth twiddle and melodious mantras.
The duo crafts a feel-good, instrumental electro-rock sound akin to Cluster on steroids. Indeed, Wizardzz succeed in suggesting a mystical force is at work within their music.
Somehow the instrumentation makes sense together. However, on one or two occasions, Gibson drops out of the mix all together to allow Porter the space to throw down a sequenced electronic hoe-down. These compositions are cute and cartoonish and catchy as hell.
As it turns out, Brian Gibson is also the man behind Barkley’s Barnyard Critters, an irregular animated cartoon series that also features Porter’s strange synthesizer sounds…
Barkley’s Barnyard Critters – “Mystery Tail” DVD
“Mystery Tail” is the latest installment of the Barkley’s Barnyard Critters saga, which tells the story of rocker dog Barkley and his band of freakish animal friends. In Gibson’s animated animal world, unrealized dreams of rock stardom compel a band of crazy creatures to do the wackiest things.
The cartoon epic features hand-drawn and 3-D animation as well as live action characters, the combination of which is reminiscent of Hanna-Barbera’s Banana Splits Hour. Hand-drawn or otherwise, the characters’ voices can be downright annoying and the plot mildly confounding, but that’s part of the charm of Barkley’s barnyard world.
The DVD also features a live Wizardzz performance that’s worth the price of admission alone. And all this time I thought Brian Chippendale was the more prolific and multi-talented Lightning Bolt thrower!
Dub Syndicate – “The Rasta Far I” (Collision)
Reggae artist Style Scott, who first enjoyed success as the drummer for Price Far I and the Arabs and later for Creation Rebel, came to prominence in the 1980s playing for the reggae collective Dub Syndicate: one of the many musical projects spearheaded by British On-U Sound label boss and producer Adrian Sherwood.
Scott’s nimble rhythms and electronic drum style helped define the label’s futuristic Rasta sound back in the day, and today he continues to record under the Dub Syndicate moniker for his own label, Lion & Roots, which he founded in 1998.
Scott’s music is still exciting and forward thinking. His new double CD, “The Rasta Far I” (released on the German Collision label), pulls the best tracks from the Lion & Roots back catalog and presents them in both mega-mix and version fashion.
The double disc set features vocals from some of reggae music’s biggest superstars, such as Big Youth, Junior Reid, and Gregory Isaacs. The rhythm tracks were recorded at the legendary Tuff Gong studio and were mixed by both Sherwood and Scientist. Nuff said.
— John Rickman
And a five year prison stint couldn’t happen to a nicer person. From Bradblog:
Republican extremist/hate-monger, Ann Coulter may be on the verge of being tossed from the Voter Rolls in Palm Beach County, Florida.
The BRAD BLOG has also obtained exclusive official documents from the chain of events which has helped bring the GOP darling to a new place in her career: She has fallen completely silent.
Coulter, who appears to have committed a third-degree felony by knowingly giving an incorrect address on her voter registration form in Palm Beach, Florida, and then knowingly voting at the incorrect polling place last March, could face up to $5,000 in fines and five years in prison if convicted.
In April, The BRAD BLOG posted Coulter’s fraudulent Voter Registration form in full. Today, we have more official and exclusive documents from the incident.
In light of Coulter’s apparent voter fraud felony, the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, Dr. Arthur Anderson, had sent her a letter last March (posted in full below), giving her 30 days to explain her actions, before possibly referring the matter to the state attorney for prosecution. So far, Coulter has failed to reply at all. Officials now say she may be removed from the voter rolls.
According to Michelle Pilecki at Huffington Post, Coulter has since been attacking those who question her about the incident on her speaking tour. Comment at that linked story, posted by a student who attended one of Coulter’s events reported:
Ann Coulter spoke on my campus tonight, and I asked her “I was just wondering if you would like to respond to allegations that you knowingly voted in the wrong precinct in Palm Beach.”
She responded that “No, I don’t live in Palm Beach. Maybe you shouldn’t read retarded news!”
But “retarded news” site, The BRAD BLOG linked to several documents which indicate, in no uncertain terms, that Coulter purchased a $1.8 million dollar crib in Palm Beach in March of 2005. If that is not her residence, Coulter would still be guilty of an apparent voter fraud felony, since she did register to vote in Palm Beach…even if at the wrong address.
As well, Coulter has received a $25,000 homestead tax exemption, which, according to Palm Beach law, would only be available to use as a tax deduction on the property if she “lives there permanently”.