Friday, August 21, 2009

Opinion vs action...

Torture and Academic Freedom - Room for Debate Blog - NYTimes.com
The strongest legal criticism made of Professor Yoo and other Bush administration lawyers is not based on disagreement over policy or even morality. They were not implementing unjust laws; they were actively circumventing just laws.
The memos purporting to justify the harsh treatment of detainees could do so only by twisting the law beyond all recognition, and doing so in secret so that the flawed legal advice would not be challenged. When the memos were disclosed publicly, virtually no one could be found to defend them on the merits. The Justice Department itself was even forced to take the highly unusual step of withdrawing virtually all of the legal analysis it had issued only months beforehand.

That's the way I see it too: These opinions were kept secret in part because the administration knew they were using twisted logic to circumvent fairly straightforward law regarding the treatment of prisoners. While I support "academic freedom", and the rights of people to express their opinions, this situation is completely different. Here you have government officials using specious, at best, logic to justify practices we have publicly denounced abroad and are demonstrable harmful to America's principles.

Not only should he be fired, but he should be disbarred for using such tortured logic to justify criminal behavior by our government.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Science & Faith...

The Strange Case of Francis Collins | The Reason Project
There is an epidemic of scientific ignorance in the United States. This isn’t surprising, as very few scientific truths are self-evident, and many are deeply counterintuitive. It is by no means obvious that empty space has structure or that we share a common ancestor with both the housefly and the banana. It can be difficult to think like a scientist (even, we have begun to see, if one is a scientist). But it would seem that few things make thinking like a scientist more difficult than religion.


Monday, August 03, 2009

Criminals

Op-Ed Columnist - Rewarding Bad Actors - NYTimes.com
But crashing the economy and fleecing the taxpayer aren’t Wall Street’s only sins. Even before the crisis and the bailouts, many financial-industry high-fliers made fortunes through activities that were worthless if not destructive from a social point of view.

And they’re still at it. Consider two recent news stories.

One involves the rise of high-speed trading: some institutions, including Goldman Sachs, have been using superfast computers to get the jump on other investors, buying or selling stocks a tiny fraction of a second before anyone else can react. Profits from high-frequency trading are one reason Goldman is earning record profits and likely to pay record bonuses

This kind of activity simply must be stopped via regulation... Allowing a group of people to reap huge financial gain at the expense of others: while adding NOTHING to society -- used to be considered criminal behavior... Now we call it investment banking.