Monthly Archives: April 2008

Not a Party Animal Anymore

My brother's White House Watch column today, entitled Party of the Damned, is particularly mordant.

(revised for clarity)

Posted in Dan Froomkin | 1 Comment

Torture Nation (“Is The US Now A Non-Geneva State?”)

Andrew Sullivan, Is The US Now A Non-Geneva State?:

The manner in which free societies lose their moral compass is always incremental. Step by step by step, certain core values are whittled away. There is rarely a moment at which a government stands up, and asks its people if they wish to abandon such “quaint” notions as the Geneva Conventions, the rule of law, humane interrogation or habeas corpus. These things are abandoned incrementally or secretly, slice by slice, euphemism by euphemism, the chronology always clearer in retrospect than at the time. And each incremental step is always portrayed as a small but essential temporary sacrifice for the sake of security in a time of great and imminent peril.

And so defenders of torture have long argued that is is essential to make torture legal – but only in the ticking time bomb scenario. And yet, such a scenario has not yet happened and the United States has still indisputably abused and dehumanized thousands of prisoners in its custody, “disappeared” and tortured hundreds, and seen more than a dozen die in “interrogation”. We now know, moreover, the following undisputed facts: the president of the United States and his closest advisers devised, orchestrated and monitored interrogation methods banned by the Geneva Conventions at Guantanamo Bay and subsequently in every theater of combat; these techniques were used not only in the extra-legal no-man's land of Guantanamo Bay but also at the prison at Abu Ghraib where photographic evidence of many of the actual techniques explicitly authorized by the president – stress positions, hoods, mock-executions, etc. – was incontrovertible. We now know that those techniques that the president expressed “shock” at were already explicitly authorized for use by other agents by him long before Abu Ghraib was exposed.

Read the rest. It's good.

Posted in Torture | Comments Off on Torture Nation (“Is The US Now A Non-Geneva State?”)

Timewaster or a Waste of Time

Although I am often a sucker for online timewasters (and never more than during the exam-writing season!), and although I gather some folks love this thing, I'm having some trouble figuring out the attraction of Pass the Ball, a shockwave object.

Can someone explain?

Posted in Internet | 2 Comments

Belated McCain Bashing

I was busy on Friday, but here's the DNC's anti-McCain ad.

It's a good one.

Hope they run it everywhere and often.

PS. And it's fair, too

Posted in Politics: McCain | 5 Comments

The Edge-of-Campus Mugging that Wasn’t

A week ago I asked, Why Are There TV Crews On the Edge of Campus? and several commentators suggested it was related to a mugging of a student on the other side of campus.

By way of follow-up, I should mention that the Miami Herald reported the other day that police figured out the 'victim' made the whole thing up.

A University of Miami student scratched cuts into herself, ripped her clothing and then lied to police about being attacked by a man while jogging on campus, investigators said Thursday.

Coral Gables detectives noticed holes in the 21-year-old's story about a robbery and attempted sexual assault at knife-point last Friday.

“They determined the tearing on her shirt was from a rip by hand, not by knife like she claimed,” Officer Frank Jackson said.

“We believe this was some sort of mental-health breakdown,” he said.

Posted in U.Miami | Comments Off on The Edge-of-Campus Mugging that Wasn’t

More on U. Miami Data Breach

The University of Miami is mostly getting praise for the way it has handled notification of the theft of patient medical information last week. (For more on that, see Shalala's Message on U.Miami Employee Medical Data Privacy Breach.) Here's an example of the positive publicity from a Wall Street Journal blogger, calling the U's response exemplary.

Meanwhile, however, I seem to be one of the 47,000 people whose credit card info was on one of those tapes and have got the boilerplate note suggesting I check my credit history and put fraud warnings on my cards. Recall, though, that both the University and the Secure Information Services group at Terremark say that the data is very hard to read.

Hard to read, perhaps, but maybe not impossible to read. And it seems that the data could have been encrypted, but wasn't.

So should I worry or not? So far, I'm leaning, “not”.

Posted in U.Miami | Comments Off on More on U. Miami Data Breach