The new Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, wouldn't admit during recent confirmation hearings that waterboarding constitutes torture.To waterboard, an interrogator binds a prisoner, tightens cellophane or a cloth over his face, and pours water on him. The wet cellophane or cloth triggers the gag reflex.
Then the process is repeated until the prisoner believes he will drown.
If that description doesn't convince you the technique is torture, the federal code might.
The common arguments against steroid use fail to identify the most important problem with performance enhancement in sports.The central issue isn't cheating.
Certainly, breaking rules violates codes of ethics. But what if a contest allowed steroids, so the athletes and fans knew what to expect and the record books stayed accurate?
Then, cheating wouldn't remain an issue.
Nor is the central issue damaging a person's body.
The New York Times reported Sept. 10 that federal prison chaplains, acting under government orders, have been removing thousands of religious texts per penitentiary so only about 150 titles for each major religion will remain. These titles appear on an unreleased list of books approved by unnamed "experts."The Bureau of Prisons, an agency of the Justice Department, wants, in light of the 9/11 attacks, to prevent prisoners from reading books that might advocate violence or radicalize.
Last year, on Sept. 11 and 12, the front pages of newspapers reflected and helped set the predominant tone today's date holds for many of us: grief. The New York Times emboldened "Grief" on its cover; "Grief Endure(s) Across Region" appeared on The Washington Post's; Americans were "United in Grief" according to top headlines from both the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Press of Atlantic City. From coast to coast citizens were united.
Near the beginning of the Earth's history, the first cell arose from the primordial ooze; oxygen-breathing bacteria took more than a billion additional years to evolve. Eventually, fish began to swim and grow eyes and jaws. They pulled themselves onto swamps as amphibians, and after awhile, mammals came to be: their brains growing larger, larger, larger. Finally, life evolved beautifully self-aware humans. So do we, after all this effort, allow our minds to be sucked into sitcoms instead of books?The answer, unfortunately, is "yes."
Readers might remember Steve Best, the University of Texas at El Paso associate professor of humanities and philosophy who came to TCU in spring 2005 to defend the Animal Liberation Front, a group the FBI rightly considers a terrorist organization. For example, the ALF members have claimed responsibility for bombing university biomedical research facilities in their quest to "liberate" animals.
The City of Fort Worth held a meeting Wednesday to hear citizens' concerns about zoning issues affecting, among others, TCU students. The meeting was conversely heated and reserved at the same time. Reserved in that open discussion of a controversial issue separates American government from, say, Cuban dictatorship.But heated in that we heard reports of flying potatoes launched into residential property by TCU students using PVC-pipe weaponry.
This month prosecutors - including my stepfather, Joe Shannon - accused Edward Lee Busby Jr. of robbing Laura Lee Crane, a former director of Starpoint School at TCU, and then driving to Oklahoma with her in the trunk, killing her and leaving her body in the woods, head covered with duct tape, dead. Jurors found him guilty, no doubt a victory for Fort Worth and for TCU.The jury then sentenced Busby to death. Is this too a victory?
The English department publishes a lengthy document with long descriptions for each spring 2006 class."Modern Fiction," for example, receives a 222-word treatment detailing the books read, the themes discussed and the work expected.
But the TCU Course Catalog gives the same class a mere 41-word synopsis. Ten out of 10 students agree: The more informed the choice a student could make about a class, the better.
Talia Sampson, in the Aug. 29 edition of the Skiff, said, "Adding one more week to the add date would greatly benefit the students."