FRONTLINE | Secrets, Politics and Torture

One of the many things that revolts me about the GW Bush years was their introduction of “enhanced interrogation techniques“.

A new documentary reminds us of American torture.

FRONTLINE investigates the fight over the CIA’s controversial “enhanced interrogation” methods, widely criticized as torture. Based on recently declassified documents and interviews with key political leaders and CIA insiders, filmmaker Michael Kirk investigates the secret history of what the CIA did — and whether it worked.


It didn’t work. It was torture. If another nation had used these techniques on Americans, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld would have called it torture.

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.

You can watch the hour long documentary on PBS.

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Enhanced interrogation techniques … … methods included prolonged stress positions, hooding, subjection to deafening noise, sleep deprivation to the point of hallucination, deprivation of food and drink — as well as waterboarding, walling, nakedness, subjection to extreme cold, confinement in small coffin-like boxes, and repeated slapping or beating.

There were also cases of medically unnecessary forced rectal feeding (anal rape) and threats to harm family members. …

A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks concluded that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it. …

Bill Nye Explains Evolution with Emoji

The Science Guy says adults can believe what they want, no matter how little evidence there is for Creationism. But they shouldn’t push their faith on children.

One of the main arguments put forward by creationists is that something complex, the human eye for example, could only be created by a higher power.

Nye disagrees. He keeps it simple here.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Ireland votes to approve Gay marriage

There are plenty of good arguments against the word “marriage” being used for same sex couples.

I respect those who feel that way. But this battle is pretty much over. If a nation as Catholic as Ireland votes this way, almost every nation will. Homosexuality was illegal in Ireland until 1993 and abortion remains prohibited except where the mother’s life is in danger.

The world reacts to Ireland backing same-sex marriage

the argument for Creationism

A 2012 Gallup poll interviewed a random sample of 1,012 American adults, aged 18 and older. …

Forty six percent Americans believed in creationism, 32 percent believed in theistic evolution and 15 percent believed in evolution without any divine intervention. …

As an Agnostic, I believe creationism is wrong. Flabbergasted that so many thinking adults could overlook the inconsistencies between what their eyes see and the possibility that the Earth is only something less than 10,000yrs-old

Click PLAY or watch a Creationism pitch on YouTube.

I agree with National Geographic.

Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science?

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An overwhelming majority of the scientific community accepts evolution as the dominant scientific theory of biological diversity.

Nearly every scientific society, representing hundreds of thousands of scientists, has issued statements rejecting intelligent design …

61% of Canadians believe that humans evolved from less advanced life forms, while 22% believe that God created human beings in their present form within the last 10,000 years …

According to a 2008 Norstat poll for NRK, 59% of the Norwegian population fully accept evolution, 24% somewhat agree with the theory, 4% somewhat disagree with the theory while 8% do not accept evolution. …

The US has one of the highest levels of public belief in biblical or other religious accounts of the origins of life on earth among industrialized countries. …

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Of the 2016 Republican candidates for President, so far, Huckabee, Perry, Santorum and Ben Carson are creationists. None of the others will admit they believe in evolution. They try to duck the issue often claiming: “I’m not a scientist.”

The GOP is an anti-science Party. :-(

related – A Creationist Campaign – Louisiana students are suffering for Bobby Jindal’s presidential ambitions.

Click through to see Stephen Colbert’s hilarious slap down of Jindal’s creationist “retreat from knowledge”. :-)

Erin Stone is smarter than you

She’s smarter than pretty much everyone. :-)

Jerry DJ-Opie Blakley:

Congratulations to my lovely girl friend Erin Stone on graduating valedictorian of Southern Utah University.

She also graduated with Honors while maintaining a 4.0 throughout 3 years which most people would have done in 4. She also had the highest Z score aside from one class, an almost impossible feet.

She also did Gymnastics and Track and Field (Pole vault and recently Heptathlon)

She was the award winner of top female scholar 2 of 2 years and has just been nominated for NCAA women of the year!

She also applied to 11 Physical Therapy Schools and has been accepted to all 11. She has chosen Eastern Washington University for the next 3 years.

I think that deserves a huge shout out and congratulations that I can’t even do. So throw some likes (on her Facebook grad photo) to let her know how awesome she is!

guns in the home: more suicide, increased risk for women, more likely to be used for crime than self-defense

David Hemenway, professor at the Harvard School of Public Health:

… to qualify for the survey the researcher should have published on firearms in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and that he or she should be an active scientist — someone who had published an article in the last four years. I was interested in social science and policy issues, so I wanted the articles to be directly relevant. …

So,for example, one survey asked whether having a gun in the home increased the risk of suicide. An overwhelming share of the 150 people who responded, 84%, said yes. …

I also found widespread confidence that a gun in the home increases the risk that a woman living in the home will be a victim of homicide (72% agree, 11% disagree) and that a gun in the home makes it a more dangerous place to be (64%) rather than a safer place (5%). There is consensus that guns are not used in self-defense far more often than they are used in crime (73% vs. 8%) and that the change to more permissive gun carrying laws has not reduced crime rates (62% vs. 9%). Finally, there is consensus that strong gun laws reduce homicide (71% vs. 12%). …

LA Times – There’s scientific consensus on guns — and the NRA won’t like it

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That all said, if you still want to own firearms, please handle them responsibly.

Neither myself or Obama is coming for your guns. :-)