Great News (for Jihadists)

At this rate, maybe we’ll all be dead before the country goes bankrupt.

The Obama administration launched a criminal investigation Monday into harsh questioning of detainees during President George W. Bush’s war on terrorism, revealing CIA interrogators’ threats to kill one suspect’s children and to force another to watch his mother sexually assaulted.

So now we’re not allowed to say mean things to suspected terrorists. Another guy was pinched! Pinched so hard he passed out! We’re basically barbarians.

In one instance cited in the new documents, Abd al-Nashiri, the man accused of being behind the 2000 USS Cole bombing, was hooded, handcuffed and threatened with an unloaded gun and a power drill. The unidentified interrogator also threatened al-Nashiri’s mother and family, implying they would be sexually abused in front of him, according to the report.

The interrogator denied making a direct threat.

Another interrogator told alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, “if anything else happens in the United States, ‘We’re going to kill your children,’” one veteran officer said in the report.

Death threats violate anti-torture laws.

These are the ACLU’s poor, downtrodden examples of prisoner abuse? Couldn’t they find a few people not responsible for hundreds of American deaths? I’ve compiled a list of questions acceptable to ask of, say, hapless innocent Saudi Arabians nabbed in Afghani huts full of bomb-making materials, schematics for American bridges, and fake passports:

  1. Are you planning to kill Americans?
  2. If detainee responds “yes” to (1). Could you stop, maybe?
  3. Please?
  4. Would you like another cappuccino?

The board of experts being assembled by the White House will have to be mindful of tone when asking the third question, but I think this is a list that will totally keep America safe while respecting the inalienable rights of foreign combatants captured overseas.

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Moral Obligation, My Tail

In a conference call today with religious leaders from around the country, President Obama framed the debate over health insurance reform in terms of right and wrong: anyone who hearts big government is right, and anyone who doesn’t is wrong. Trouble is, President Obama is wrong about practically everything.

“These struggles always boil down to a contest between hope and fear,” he said. “That was true in the debate over Social Security, when F.D.R. was accused of being a socialist. That was true when J.F.K. and Lyndon Johnson tried to pass Medicare. And it’s true in this debate today.”

This is President Obama’s argument? If throwing additional tax dollars and half-baked regulations at a serious national issue passes for hope these days, I’ll take fear. Look at Social Security and Medicare! Don’t you wish everything could be managed to insolvency by Washington bureaucrats? President Obama does.

The Weekly Standard has an Obama quote that’s not included in the NYT story:

“You’ve heard that this is all going to mean government funding of abortion. Not true. These are all fabrications that have been put out there in order to discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and moral obligation–and that is that we look out for one another, that I am my brother’s keeper and I am my sister’s keeper. And on the wealthiest nation on earth right now, we are neglecting to live up to that call.”

“I am my brother’s keeper,” “we are neglecting to live up to that call” – does President Obama have any concept of Americans as individuals? I feel bad for the self-proclaimed socialists out there; Obama keeps annexing more and more of their worldview as bipartisanship/pragmatism/realism/centrism/whatever we’re calling it this week.

The Weekly Standard story goes into more detail about the abortion question and the general tone of Obama and Congressional Democrats lately. Republicans are stifling debate – on a bill that Obama wanted to pass weeks ago, before anyone had even read it. Republicans are lying about what’s in Obamacare – although the Mad Libs legislation being pushed by statists would leave politicians to fill in the blanks while taxpayers foot the bill.

I didn’t mean for “Mad Libs” to have a double meaning in that last sentence. Looking at it now, though… that may accidentally be the wittiest thing I’ve ever written. A low bar to clear, I know.

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Geocaching

Geocaching…if you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry, you are undoubtedly in the majority. It is a great treasure hunt activity using portable handheld gps units to find the “treasure” or cache. There are close to 900,000 hidden worldwide, so it is an activity that could potentially take up a good amount of time. I am relatively new to the geocaching scene, so cannot effectively communicate the big picture, but here is a short summary of how things seem to work.

First, and most importantly, you must have a portable gps device, my blackberry does the trick. I downloaded the Blackstar application from the Blackberry app store (for free), and it worked right away and without any problems. Secondly, you must have an account at Geocaching.com (also free). Once you have an account, you can search by zip code and it will list for you the caches in the area. At this point, all you need to do is put the gps coordinates into your gps device and enjoy the hunt! Typically, the gps will get you within ten feet or so of the cache, and the rest is up to your “caching instincts.” The individual caches vary in size and difficulty. This information is available to you on the website when you view the cache and the coordinates. Once you find the cache, just log your find back on the website, and it keeps track of all of your finds for you.

Another fun thing about geocaching is that you can hide your own caches and log them on the website for everyone else to find. If you have a great hiding spot that is close to home, or that you travel past frequently, hide a cache there for everyone to enjoy! Make sure it is somewhere you can visit frequently in case there is a need for maintenance.

One of the best things about geocaching for me is that you go places that you never would have before. I haven’t found many yet, only 14, but I have seen things I never would have seen if it weren’t for geocaching. For example, a great organ donor monument and small park in Columbus. There are also trackable items that you can place in the caches (assuming they are large enough to hold them). By entering the code that is on the trackable item, you can see where it has been, and where it wants to go…hopefully you have the ability to help it along its journey.

My experiences geocaching have been few, but always fun. I am officially “hooked.” Join and add me as a friend, I’d be glad to compare notes.

Profile for Smokey DeBear

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More on Health Care

Alternately, “Moron Health Care.”

“These are nothing more than destructive efforts to interrupt a debate that we should have, and are having,” Reid said. “They are doing this because they don’t have any better ideas. They have no interest in letting the negotiators, even though few in number, negotiate. It’s really simple: they’re taking their cues from talk show hosts, Internet rumor-mongerers … and insurance rackets.”

Harry Reid wishes these darn citizens would shut up and be governed, already. Not to be a good-for-nothing Internet rumor-monger, but aren’t the insurance rackets key players in every health care bill under consideration? It’s also cute that Harry Reid’s definition of debate includes Democrat Senators but excludes peons protesting the Democrats’ lame hippie legislation.

I read a really interesting story today in the Christian Science Monitor. It’s an opinion piece by Zach Krajacic, titled “Why can’t health insurance be more like auto insurance?

Insurance is intended to be a pooling of people’s money to pay for large, unexpected expenses – not for every expense that is incurred. In other words, it is supposed to be a safety net for catastrophic events.

Yet many Americans go to the doctor for all kinds of trivial ailments, because their insurance pays for it. True, many people want this type of coverage, but that is because they do not understand the long-term cost implications. If Americans want to keep the current healthcare system sustainable (and it appears they do), then they need to take on more financial responsibility for their healthcare. People who choose to visit the doctor for the sniffles should pay for it themselves rather than making everyone else pay for it. If they did, the use of services – and thus the cost of healthcare – would go down.

This is dead simple, to the point that I read the piece and felt like an idiot for not thinking of it before. Surely others have thought and written about what Krajacic does here. I have excellent health insurance, and I’m grateful, but I’ve probably been to the doctor (dentists included) half a dozen times in the last five years. Included in my plan? Accupuncture – check. Infertility treatment – check. Weight management programs; weight loss surgery; smoking cessation therapy – check, check, check.

I hope that, combined with polling through the Senate’s vacation, those ignorant Republican operatives looking Harry Reid’s gift horse in the mouth are able to get the point across. President Obama is still in favor of hope, right? I hope health care reform turns into actual reform, as opposed to taking a broken system and making it bigger.

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Your Lyin’ Eyes

Yesterday morning I saw a headline about a White House response to something Matt Drudge linked; the AP story’s titled “White House uses Web against Drudge attack,” which conjures up images of Vice President Biden in a Spider-Man suit hurling webbing and one-liners at a gooey conservative assailant. Or maybe that’s just me.

This is another of those AP stories you kind of have to read to believe, telling the White House’s side of the story, linking to the White House video, and not bothering to provide a link to Drudge or to the original video clip from Breitbart.

In the video Douglas says the site is “taking sentences and phrases out of context, and they’re cobbling them together to leave a very false impression.”

Thankfully, Breitbart has posted an uncut version of the original video, so you can now watch a continuous 54 second excerpt of a 2003 Obama speech. The false impression-creating money quote, cobbled together from lies and lizard tails:

And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.

But don’t worry. The White House has a video clip of President Obama saying you’ll be able to keep your current insurance. Because in whatever beast of a bill Congress passes, you’ll be able to keep your existing health insurance. In some form. For awhile.

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Steyn on Healthcare

Mark Steyn, in the Orange County Register:

Freedom is messy. In free societies, people will fall through the cracks – drink too much, eat too much, buy unaffordable homes, fail to make prudent provision for health care and much else. But the price of being relieved of all those tiresome choices by a benign paternal government is far too high.

I generally enjoy his jokes and always love his writing style, but quotes like this are why I’m such a big fan of Steyn. Personal responsibility is the beauty of American democracy, not a broken feature that should be brought in line with the smothering socialism of other Western states. If a free citizenry looks to you like the result of a lazy central government, you can move to Europe.

We absolutely need health care reform – to clean up Medicare and Medicaid. Is there some compelling reason why, in a stuttering economy, Congress can’t address what’s broken in the current system before trying to implement something even bigger and more complex? Democrats claim “46 million” uninsured Americans desperately need Washington’s help… but I think Steyn gets much closer to the truth.

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Impatience Wins Again

Our new theme is mostly done, so I went ahead and launched it. The goal is better use of screen real estate with fresh content – I was tired of the old theme’s standard fixed-width center column with stacks of archive/admin links on either side. Looking for something more sexy and less… texty.

There are a couple things missing (any kind of worthwhile content in the green social media box at the right, for one), but I’m happy with how this turned out. I used Colorschemedesigner.com to help pick bright, non-clashing colors for the extra content boxes. To save space and reduce the amount of repetitive text in the sidebar, I janked together some code to display a random post with a matching tag for each tagged post. That way if you’re reading a post on a certain topic, you can jump straight to another one instead of picking through the archives. As ever, the WordPress Codex made this less painful.

I’ll be adding links and stuff, but the whole point of the blue and red boxes to the right is that they’ll pull content based on what I share in Google Reader, favorite on YouTube, and listen to with Zune. What’s missing? Any suggestions for social media features?? Leave a comment – which you can now do with your Facebook, Twitter, or OpenID account! For the low price of all 10 of the old comments being eaten…

Yeah, maybe I’ll fix that next weekend!

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