Monday, February 14, 2011

♥ Happy Valentine's Day ♥

I almost stopped my car in the middle of the road and cheered today when I heard this interview with Matthew Alexander on NPR. Alexander and his team were responsible for the capture of two major figures in the leadership of al-Qaida, one of them the notorious Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Given the rhetoric we so often hear on popular news channels, you'd be forgiven for thinking this guy would be all about the end justifying the means. But think again. The words that almost got me a ticket today: "I don't care if torture works a hundred percent of the time. I'm not going to use it because it goes against the very principles that I signed up to defend." I received some fun messages and delightful adjectives on this romantic day of days, but Alexander's was the one that made my heart sing.

"Well, I won't be one to tell you that torture never works. I've had friends who have given me examples of when torture did work, but I don't care because to me this isn't about efficacy. We have other things that work a hundred percent of the time like chemical weapons and flamethrowers. We don't use them.

"And the reason we don't use them isn't an efficacy argument, it's because it's against our morality, or because the laws of war have determined that they cause unnecessary human suffering, and we've outlawed them. And there's no exceptions to that.

"I think my big disappointment is the shift in priorities from an America that stands for principles to an America that stands for security. My oath of office, when I took it as an officer in the United States military, didn't mention security. It mentioned allegiance and defending the Constitution, which prohibited torture when we ratified the convention against torture and other provisions within the Constitution."

You can buy the book here. Thank you, Mr Alexander, you made my Valentines Day! ♥

courtesy of St. Martin's Press and via NPR.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

On cats, cars, snow, and Super Sissies

Crazy weather and football fever hit Dallas together this week. Schools and colleges were closed Tuesday through Friday as ice and later snow brought the metroplex to its knees as it was gearing up to host Sunday's Super Bowl.

The cat that lives on our porch has been having a chilly time of it. After weeks of refusing all approaches and offers of food, it condescended to accept a blanket yesterday but is otherwise unmoved. Apparently, those big macho footballers in town for the Super Bowl are not quite as hardy as SuperCat. Playing outdoors at SMU was just too much for them to face, poor things! "It's a little too cold for me," linebacker Clay Matthews said (ESPN). Oh please!

Mind you, I'm staying indoors today after yesterday's little adventure saw me skidding down a hill, bouncing off curbs, and spinning 180 degrees before sliding to a stop facing oncoming traffic--I was narrowly missed by a truck behind me that also lost control but managed to slip past me onto the sidewalk. I've about had it with automatics. This wouldn't happen with proper cars with gear sticks!

Meanwhile, anyone else have a problem with the fact that bad weather and rolling blackouts meant two hospitals lost power this week but the stadium for the Superbowl was kept at a balmy 72 degrees?