April 30, 2009

Did you lose your fatty in the bath?
Did you make the city slicker laugh?

Anna Skladmann, Pig Head, 2008

* Eugene Robinson.

"President Obama's words on torture at his "100 days" news conference were, to my ears, sharp and unequivocal. What he didn't tell us is what happens next.

"He said bluntly, without leaving any wiggle room, that waterboarding is torture. While he didn't directly answer the question of whether the Bush administration had "sanctioned torture," his moral clarity left listeners with only one inference to draw. He was particularly aggressive in refuting the "Jack Bauer" argument -- that torture may be unpleasant, but it produces quick and vital results. Obama said that interrogators "could have gotten this information in other ways, in ways that are consistent with our values, in ways that are consistent with who we are." He said he believes this just as strongly even after reading the intelligence memos that Dick Cheney says prove that the torture was justified. The president even cited Churchill, which politicians tend to do when they're in no mood to discern between shades of gray."
"The president of the United States told the world, in no uncertain terms, that at least one of the interrogation techniques practiced by his predecessor's administration constituted torture. As Obama knows, torture is against international and American law.

"Obama has said previously that he's not fond of the idea of a blue-ribbon "truth commission." He hasn't ruled out a Justice Department investigation -- but hasn't ruled one in, either. The fact of torture is there for all to see. What we're going to do about it remains opaque. Maybe Obama is saving that decision for some time in the next 100 days..."

* A video history of Ian Svenonious, who recently interviewed Stephen Malkmus for his excellent Soft Focus show.

* "I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up - they have no holidays." -- Henny Youngman


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