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What Would People Think?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Quick Thought On The Torture Memos

I've quickly glanced over the Torture Memos, the not-very-objective-but-still-accurate title given to the legal analyses by certain Bush Administration lawyers (i.e. John Yoo, Jay Bybee, Steven Bradbury) which were used to provide a legal cover for "enhanced interrogation techniques." Things like making someone stand in a stressful position for hours, sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures, putting someone in a tiny box with an insect (with the implication that the prisoner thinks it is poisonous) and waterboarding. No matter how much the memos try to dance around it, these things are torture.

I've glanced over the memos, but haven't analyzed them in detail. The thing about the memos that truly chills me to the core is the detached, clinical way they describe heinous acts and analyze whether they violate the law. This is the kind of language I use to analyze whether some company has committed an OSHA violation. This is the kind of language lawyers use to debate whether there has been a breach of contract.

This is not the language used to describe torture. I have to wonder what part of their soul these lawyers had to shut down to think and write like this.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

An Actual Conversation I Had At Work Today

My co-workers and I were discussing the anti-tax "Tea Parties" taking place around the nation. (The main effect on me being such nasty traffic in Atlanta that I worked from home for the afternoon.)

Me: "So should I go down to the protest and thank them for paying my salary?"

Co-Worker # 1: "I think they'd probably stone you."

Me: "Death by stoning. Not a great way to go. Think I'll get back to work instead."

Co-Worker # 2: "Actually, they'd probably stone you with tea bags."

Me: "So instead of death by stoning, it would be death by t......On second thought, I'm not finishing that sentence."

Laughter ensues. Then work ensues. Lots of drafting of legal documents. The day gets more boring from there.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday Post

Instead of saying anything profound on my own, I'm just going to link to an interesting analysis from Slate. It's about the reasons put forth by scholars as to why Jesus was crucified....and why the Crucifixion was kind of an embarassing stumbling block for early Christians. The same author, a divinity school professor in Scotland, wrote an interesting article last year about the difficulty early Christians had with the concept of the Resurrection.

Also, my friend Mike (formerly Christian, now....I dunno, something other than Christian) poses questions about the role of Judas that are worth considering. Last year, he posted a self-proclaimed "over-the-top rant" on why the heck Christians like me call it "Good" Friday.