Cheney Lied About Torture Saving Lives

For over a month Dick Cheney has been justifying his support for the illegal use of torture by claiming that CIA documents prove that torture was effective in saving American lives. This was very convenient for Cheney since the documents which supposedly show this are classified. Although Cheney’s claims contradict general statements on the lack of efficacy from torture, we could not evaluate the actual documents Cheney was referring to. Fortunately Senator Carl Levin has reviewed the documents and has stated that Cheney is lying:

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says former Vice President Dick Cheney is lying when he claims that classified CIA memos show that enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding worked.

Levin, speaking at the Foreign Policy Association’s annual dinner in Washington on Wednesday, said an investigation by his committee into detainee abuse charges over the use of the techniques — now deemed torture by the Obama administration — “gives the lie to Mr. Cheney’s claims.”

The Michigan Democrat told the crowd that the two CIA documents that Cheney wants released “say nothing about numbers of lives saved, nor do the documents connect acquisition of valuable intelligence to the use of abusive techniques.”

“I hope that the documents are declassified, so that people can judge for themselves what is fact, and what is fiction,” he added.

The Year Of Big Transitions


This has turned into a year of major transitions. It includes the change from George Bush to Barack Obama, but heads of state come and go and there are even bigger transitions. In Great Britain the major transition comes when The Doctor regenerates, with the change from David Tenant to Matt Smith occurring on Doctor Who later this year. Here in the United States a key transition is when there is a change in the host of The Tonight Show.

Tonight is Jay Leno’s last night as host. While an event of note, this day is minor compared to seventeen years ago when Johnny Carson stepped down. It  is largely because of Carson’s legacy that tonight is even of significance. While Johnny was the undisputed king of late night, Leno has had to share the time spot with David Letterman, and the shows airing later are of increasing significance. Many see the upcoming move by Conan O’Brian as being the key event here. Besides, Jay Leno is no Johnny Carson. Even if  many people cared about  Leno leaving The Tonight Show it is not the virtual farewell to television as when Johnny Carson stepped down seventeen years ago. Leno is just moving to 10:00.


While the previous transition was more significant, this one is being handled much better by NBC. While Leno got Carson’s  job, David Letterman was believed to be Johnny’s choice to take over. Letterman certainly thought the job should be his, and wound up leaving the network. Carson stepped down with Bette Midler as his final actual guest and performed a monologue without guests for his final episode. In contrast Conan will be Jay’s guest tonight. When Johnny did make a brief  appearance on television after retiring, it was on The Late Show with David Letterman during a visit to the west coast, not on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.


By snubbing David Letterman, a guy who never forgets a slight (just ask John McCain), NBC lost Letterman to CBS. NBC was determined to avoid such a fiasco again and the plans for Conan to take over at this time had been determined long ago. The only flaw with the plan was that Jay Leno was not ready to retire. After years of saving money by airing not-so-realistic “reality shows” as opposed to conventional prime time shows, NBC realized they could save a lot of money by giving Leno the 10:00 p.m. slot. This was especially easy to do as NBC has been down creatively for several years and this spares them the trouble of finding shows to fill all those hours.

Sometimes transitions are dominated by certain sources. If Virginia for many years was the mother of presidents, Late Night has become the traning ground for the top late night shows. The 11:30 spot will now become a competition between the last two hosts of the show.

Palin Place: Will The Antichrist Be A Homosexual?

It has been a while since we’ve looked in on our favorite soap opera, Palin Place. Like any successful soap, our story has expanded beyond the original characters of the Palin family. We have already met Sarah, the young earth creationist.  This leads to the question of whether any other characters could make Wasilla look even more absurd than Sarah has. Enter our soap opera’s latest character, Ron Hamman, pastor for the Independent Baptist Church of Wasilla. Hannon cites the bible to warn that the Antichrist might be a homosexual:

Sodomy is the only sin for which God came down from heaven to destroy. Though God dealt with many other sins in various ways, there is no other for which he came down from heaven to verify and destroy. In the New Testament, sodomy is declared to be “against nature.” And of the men, Paul in Romans 1 says they leave “the natural use of the woman….”  In effect, there is no greater sin against God than to reject how he made you, and no greater sin against women than to reject how God made them.

But will the Antichrist be a homosexual? Having seen what the Bible says of sodomy, we have no further to look than the book of Daniel, chapter 11 to find our answer. It says, “Neither shall he [Antichrist] regard… the desire of women….” As I said at the onset, I am not the first to draw attention to this, but the verbiage is clear.

From a lost perspective, the reason sex sells, pornography is profitable, and prostitution is “the world’s oldest profession” is mankind’s desire of women. From Christianity’s position, it is part of the glue for the bond of marriage and the propagation of a godly heritage. But homosexuality does not regard this — in their unbridled lusts they burn for their own gender.

But consider this: The time is ripe for such a leader. Indeed, it should not be surprising that the one who is against everything Biblical and Christian should be a partaker of so great a sin; there is no greater way to reject the Creator than to reject your gender and his design for it. And at what other time have we seen such perversion come out of the closets onto our streets, threatening violence if we do not accept their ways?

Is it any wonder that Revelation 13 says that this same Antichrist will make war with the saints of the tribulation, and overcome them? Are they not now readying themselves to make it illegal to “offend” them in any way, calling it hatred to preach against their sin? Is it because they love us? The time is ripe for such a man.

But remember that sodomy is the one sin that God left heaven and came to earth to destroy. Could it be that this will be the predominate sin on earth when Christ descends from the clouds to fight against the armies of wickedness? And will it be just a coincidence that the Antichrist will be the very first occupant of the lake of fire, tasting eternal death 1,000 years before even the devil himself?

You be the judge.

Is that the religious right’s sign off to go along with Fox’s “We Report, You Decide?”  More importantly, what of those who judge differently from where Hannan is leading,  and do not see  the point in using the bible to support one’s personal prejudices? While these questions might not be asked in Palin Place, the attention which Sarah Palin has brought to Wasilla has led to far more comments (mostly negative) than Hannan could ever have received before.

With what we have seen of Wasilla, the methamphatemine capital of Alaska, it  is a shame that Wasilla is real and Cicely, Alaska is the fictitious city.

How To Tell If You Are A Liberal or Conservative

Nicholas Kristof attacked the subject of differentiating liberals from conservatives. Any such attempt is bound to have some limitations considering that there are a wide variety of people falling under both labels, and to some degree the labels are fluid over the years. For example, Barry Goldwater spent most of his career as a conservative leader, considered himself a liberal in his later years and, while he wouldn’t fit in perfectly with either group, would be radically at odds with today’s  conservative movement.

For whatever it is worth, I’ll throw out Kristof’s way to tell if someone is liberal or conservative:

If you want to tell whether someone is conservative or liberal, what are a couple of completely nonpolitical questions that will give a good clue?

How’s this: Would you be willing to slap your father in the face, with his permission, as part of a comedy skit?

And, second: Does it disgust you to touch the faucet in a public restroom?

Studies suggest that conservatives are more often distressed by actions that seem disrespectful of authority, such as slapping Dad. Liberals don’t worry as long as Dad has given permission.

Likewise, conservatives are more likely than liberals to sense contamination or perceive disgust. People who would be disgusted to find that they had accidentally sipped from an acquaintance’s drink are more likely to identify as conservatives.

The upshot is that liberals and conservatives don’t just think differently, they also feel differently. This may even be a result, in part, of divergent neural responses…

One of the main divides between left and right is the dependence on different moral values. For liberals, morality derives mostly from fairness and prevention of harm. For conservatives, morality also involves upholding authority and loyalty — and revulsion at disgust.

This fits in well with George Lakeoff’s strict father view of conservatives. This mindset based upon upholding authority explains why so many go ballistic in response to criticism of government activities and see liberal dissent as subversive and unpatriotic, along with their tendency to compromise civil liberties to support authority.