Thursday, December 15, 2005

today's stupidity report: torture, iran's president, spying on peaceniks, locking up cold medicine, banning the cubans, and me

The common thread in today's news is stupidity. Read along with me...

Tortured Logic
Even the wingnut-ruled House of Representatives opposes the de facto Administration on torture. As conservative GOPer Walter Jones said, under torture a prisoner "will tell you what he thinks you want to hear". Torture -- it's ineffective, un-American, and incredibly damaging to our reputation and our anti-terror efforts. And faced with certain defeat, today W accepted John McCain's call to ban cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment of suspects. Watch the White House news operation lie about how they supported this all along -- because after all, we don't torture, so it would be stupid to oppose a law banning torture...

Iran's President on the Holocaust Again
Iran's President Ahmadinejad now calls the Holocaust a myth. Charming fellow, this guy. He's shooting himself in the foot with this sort of stunt, since Iran is trying to avoid sanctions related to its nuclear program, and is trying to get into the World Trade Organization. Hate begets stupidity.

Domestic Surveillance Lives
It's outrageous that the Pentagon is collecting information on peaceniks and Quakers in the name of fighting terrorism. They've admitted it was inappropriate, mostly because they were caught. What is it with security forces who feel the need to keep information about the most innocuous of peace activists? Isn't it stupid to even consider Quakers a threat since their opposition to war is based on non-violence?

Overreacting to Meth
This is really stupid. Sudaphed and similar cold medicines can be used as ingredients when making methamphetamines, so the reaction of this group of House members (backed by the cowboys at the Drug Enforcement Agency) is to force stores to lock up ALL the cold medicines that include pseudophedrine AND force people when buying cold medicines to sign for it and show a driver's license AND limit them to one box a day, total of three a month.

What a mindboggling overreaction. Jeez, if this passes it'll be easier to buy a gun than cold medicine. Will stores have to keep computerized records on this so if I go to a local CVS they can say, sorry you bought your quota of three boxes of Sudafed at the Rite-Aid across town, can't sell you any? Hey, I read that meth labs often use pots and pans, let's restrict them too. And let's limit purchases of rock salt, too.

Not that ANY of this will help. The Food and Drug Administration argues that most illegal methamphetamines are imported anyway. All this will do is inconvenience cold sufferers and the stores that stock them -- and cost a few Americans good jobs with their home meth labs. And people without driver's licenses are out of luck if they catch a cold. How utterly ... stupid.

Cuba, Stay Home
And speaking of stupid, what precisely do we gain by banning Cuba from participating in the World Baseball Classic? The rationale of the Treasury Department (which must approve transactions involving Cuba) appears to be that, if the tournament turns a profit, it could theoretically result in dollars flowing to Havana, a no-no under our increasingly absurd 40+ year embargo on Cuba.

How stupid. We should just get rid of the embargo -- if you haven't noticed, it ain't working too well. Castro will be there till he dies -- he's already outlived five US presidents, and all the embargo does is strengthen his claim to the moral high ground in a battle against the giant capitalist gringo colossus to the north. Get rid of the embargo, and let Cubans buy American cars, watch American TV and movies, attend American universities, and deal with American business people and tourists. It'll accelerate the growing realization that the banana-communist Cuban regime is an anachronism and hasten its demise.

Besides, I was hoping for a couple of good Cuban ballplayers to defect and join the Nationals.

And finally...
I didn't realize there was a major civilization called Aksum based in modern-day Ethiopia. Apparently, it was with Rome, China, and Persia one of the four major civilizations from the first to sixth century AD. And I didn't know that. I feel stupid.