Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Torture

Christianity Today on Torture and "Torture Lite"
So I do not write to demonize those who believe that protecting our nation's security requires the use of interrogation techniques that could be classified as borderline torture. Nor do I want to get into a technical and detailed argument about particular interrogation techniques to determine if they are torture. What I want to focus on is the idea that, given the war on terror, the gloves should be taken off. Simply put, should our government have the option - even if used only rarely and in extreme circumstances - of torturing?

I believe Christians should say no, on the following five grounds ...
1. Torture violates the dignity of the human being. Every inch of the human body and every aspect of the human spirit comes from God and bears witness to his handiwork. We are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28)...
2. Torture mistreats the vulnerable and violates the demands of justice. In the Scriptures, God's understanding of justice tilts toward the vulnerable. "Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry" (Ex. 22:21-23)...
3. Authorizing torture trusts government too much. Human beings are sinful through and through (Rom. 3:10-18). We are not to be trusted, and we are especially dangerous when in possession of unchecked power. This applies to all of us...
4. Torture dehumanizes the torturer...
5. Torture erodes the character of the nation that tortures. A nation is a collective moral entity with a character, an identity that carries across time. Causes come and go, threats come and go, but the enduring question for any social entity is who we are as a people. This is true of a family, a church, a school, a civic club, or a town. It is certainly true of a nation.

Sen. John McCain, who has led the Republican charge against torture, recently said, "This isn't about who they are. This is about who we are. These are the values that distinguish us from our enemies." ...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Seems Relevant

A Shocker: Partisan Thought Is Unconscious - New York Times
neuroscientists have now tracked what happens in the politically partisan brain when it tries to digest damning facts about favored candidates or criticisms of them. The process is almost entirely emotional and unconscious, the researchers report, and there are flares of activity in the brain's pleasure centers when unwelcome information is being rejected. [Emphasis mine. Highlights the futility of arguing with someone who enjoys being wrong.]

Link via mefi

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Three Brothers Reuniting?


Jackie Chan Begins Shooting "Baby" didn't give me high hopes until revealing at the very end that Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung will also be in it. No mention of whether they're making cameos or co-starring though.

Which Side Are You On?

The New York Review of Books: ON NSA SPYING: A LETTER TO CONGRESS
In conclusion, the DOJ letter fails to offer a plausible legal defense of the NSA domestic spying program. If the administration felt that FISA was insufficient, the proper course was to seek legislative amendment, as it did with other aspects of FISA in the Patriot Act, and as Congress expressly contemplated when it enacted the wartime wiretap provision in FISA. One of the crucial features of a constitutional democracy is that it is always open to the President - or anyone else - to seek to change the law. But it is also beyond dispute that, in such a democracy, the President cannot simply violate criminal laws behind closed doors because he deems them obsolete or impracticable. [Emphasis mine.]
You either support the Rule of Law or Authoritarianism. Which side are you on?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Comprehensive Chuck Norris Facts


This list of Chuck Norris Facts neatly sums up the email chain phenomenon of the last month or so. Relevant related material is the official Chuck Norris response to the Facts.

I've emailed this, and the Mr. T equivalent, to a bunch of folks and it occurs to me I may have linked this already, if so, my bad. Just read it again and stop your whining.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Unfairly Maligned

A Case Can Be Made for Jimmy Carter being the only President to serve during my lifetime (start with Nixon) who was actually a decent human being. The rest are or were better suited to serve the country as inmates pounding out license plates.
[Update: link fixed]

Thursday, January 19, 2006

MDDB

Movie Deaths Database: fairly new site, so it's utility will doubtless improve in time. Already fun to surf. The first death I looked for to test the site out was Jim (Sean Connery) Malone's in "The Untouchables."

I'm curious, if you check it out, which one you look for first ...

[link via metafilter]

Saturday, January 7, 2006

How 'Bout Some Lists?

To the best of my recollection, I saw fifteen movies that were released in 2005. Doing a Top Ten list seems like a dirty compromise between narrowing it down to a Favorite Five or just listing all fifteen, so I'll force myself to work a little and narrow it down to ...

C-Dog's Top Five Movies of 2005
1. Serenity -- This was an easy choice. Well-written sci-fi actioner that delivers on the humor and the thrills. Adam Baldwin should win Best Supporting Actor. [RT=80%]
2. The Wedding Crashers -- Flawed (for example, Will Ferrell's weak, bloated cameo) but far and away the funniest movie I've seen in a long time. [RT=74%]
3. Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior -- Low budget, the soundtrack sounds like the canned tune that comes out of the box with a low end Casio synthesizer, but it kicks ass. [RT=84%]
4. The 40 Year Old Virgin -- More funny. [RT=84%]
5. King Kong -- The ape is awesome. [RT=83%]
Just Missed the Cut: Batman Begins [RT=83%]
Other Notable Kung Fu Flicks: Kung Fu Hustle [RT=90%]& Unleashed [RT=67%]
Movies I Thought I'd Like More Than I Did: Syriana, Sin City, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

And then there's a bunch of movies I wanted to see and will netflix eventually: Crash, The Aristocrats, March of the Penguins, Transporter 2, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and possibly The Matador if only because the ads use one of my all-time favorite songs, The Jam's "A Town Called Malice."
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