Back to the Future isn't real.
It's not a good week to watch the news...
Just this morning, the Taliban is claiming responsibility for the deaths of over 100 students between the ages of 12-16 in Pakistan. They've said that the school, an army school, was chosen for the attack because the government is targeting them. They were told specifically to shoot only the older students, all of whom were innocent and had nothing to do with the harms the Taliban claims have been perpetrated upon them.
The hostage situation in Sydney finally ended this morning after two of the hostages were killed, leaving people to wonder how the man responsible was missed by the system for as long as he was.
Then there is the huge manhunt going on in Pennsylvania today after 6 family members of Bradley William Stone were discovered killed in three different crime scenes yesterday. People locally have been receiving reverse 911 and shelter in place calls, the authorities trying desperately to locate him before anyone else is hurt.
...and those are just the major stories this morning.
Amal Alamuddin is the most fascinating person of 2014, so says Barbara Walters
As she has done every year since the dawn of civilization (okay, fine, she isn't that old...), Walters ran her end of the year special profiling the most interesting people of the year from her perspective. Amal Alamuddin was chosen as the most fascinating, but the reasons should make you bang your head on the wall a little bit.
For those who don't know, Amal is the woman who just married George Clooney, which is mostly why she was chosen. Prior to that, she wasn't flying high on the public radar. Now, though, she's fascinating simply because she landed one of the most persistent bachelors in the free world.
Nevermind the fact that Amal is one of the most high profile attorneys in the world with a client list that includes Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. She clerked for Justice Sonia Sotomayor while she was in law school and previously worked on the investigations of Enron and Arthur Andersen. She's been involved with international war crimes cases too. I could write and write about all the amazing things she has done....but somehow the fact that she married an actor is deemed the most interesting thing about her.
No. Just no.
The Cosbys. Ugh.
By now, most of the world seems pretty handily convinced that Bill Cosby is a creeper. As more and more women come forward, the picture it paints of him isn't a flattering one at all. Though there have been some people assuming that the women now speaking up are solely doing it for some kind of financial incentive, this is too big and too gross for that simplified kind of explanation.
There isn't a huge "make Cosby look like a predator" conspiracy.
He is one, though, or so it seems.
I was talking to someone about how there's even potentially a case to be made for criminal charges surrounding the incidents that may have happened a long time ago, even though the statute of limitations would have long ago expired. In cases where there is a deliberate deception and/or hiding of the fact that a crime may have been perpetrated, the statute of limitations can be found to be frozen, arrested. The clock doesn't start ticking on it until the victim reasonably would have known that a crime occurred.
Here, the women were systematically abused then told they'd gone along with it. As more of them have started to come forward, it reframes the way that others see the interactions they had with Cosby. It's entirely possible that some of them didn't even realize they'd actually been raped until now.
In these cases, since he seems to have drugged most of the women then convinced them that whatever happened was consensual when it wasn't, there is at least a theoretical argument to be made that he could face criminal charges. I highly doubt that will happen, but it's a possibility if there is a really creative person working in the DA's office and wants to try it.
What I'm having trouble believing this morning, though, is his wife's defense of him. She said this, "None of us will ever want to be in the position of attacking a victim," she wrote. "But the question should be asked -- who is the victim?" The man the media has been talking about of late doesn't sound to her like the man she married.
Well, yeah. That sure as hell doesn't mean that all these women are lying, though.
$81 Million Torture Handbook
There are pieces of the CIA report that I can't bear to stomach. The rectal hydration, the waterboarding, the leaving men on the floor to die of hypothermia.
For fucks sake.
Whoops. I let out the swears.
We should be so ashamed of ourselves. The fact that the government paid two contractors $81 MILLION dollars to develop the torture procedures used is sickening.
I can't say much about this better than Jon Stewart and Senator John McCain did, so I'll just let them do it.
There is a line of reasonableness, a line where interrogation becomes torture, a line past which nothing is defensible or justified.
We were so fast past that line that we cannot defend our actions. Period. If anyone would know about torture, it's John McCain. Maybe we should listen to him.
In the YAY department
There was one small shining beacon of good news this week that I wanted to share. Dr. Vivek Murthy was norminated for Surgeon General over a year and a half ago, but hadn't been confirmed until this week.
These are your tax dollars at work, friends.
He wasn't confirmed, even during the early days of the Ebola crisis, for a reason. It's a good one. Are you ready to know what that reason is???
He has said that the number of gun deaths in the country is a public health crisis, WHICH IT IS.
But you can't just go around and willy nilly say things like that without pissing off the NRA and all the gun rights groups. I mean, suuuuuure...we'll ignore the statistics on gun deaths and just pretend like there aren't more people that die from guns than a very long list of diseases...
His confirmation was delayed this long because of the gun lobby's opposition to him. The Senate finally told the gun lobby to suck it, and confirmed him.
Score 1 for humanity.