Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dropping the F-Bomb to stop torture.

Sheppard Smith just became my favorite Fox News reporter (my apologies to the lovely Patti Ann Browne). There's been a lot of debate whether waterboarding and torture are OK if they saved American lives. Shep sums it up here:

Damn right. Look, go look at my previous posts regarding my firm, and you will see I have been a professional inquisitor for a long time. I know the ins and outs of this stuff. The former Vice President and his lawyers can argue all they want that these techniques got info- the point is irrelevant for two reasons. One, Shep makes quite eloquently above; two, its is a fact, not opinion, fact that in the majority of detainees, harsh techniques will either harden their resolve (particularly in the ideologically motivated like... oh, I don't know, fundamentalist Islamists?), or make them give false info. Which means even if we got info while drowning people, we will NEVER KNOW how much more we would have gotten if we had done it right. Would we have ended the insurgency in Iraq already? Captured 'Usama bin Ladin? Stopped the Taliban's inroads into Pakistan? We don't know.

And we should. Professional interrogation would likely have provided information for all those things. Instead, we had a bunch of people who used techniques from SERE (Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape) training. I've been an interrogator at a SERE school. We were there to be the BAD GUYS. We were there to elicit FALSE CONFESSIONS. What genius was sitting around saying "hey- here's the most important detainees the US has had to question since the Nuremburg Trials; lets act like the bad guys and get them to confess to things they didn't do!"? What kind of person thinks that's a good idea?

Oh. Yikes.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

10 Things I Will Miss About Washington State

So, having kind of made a home up here, my firm has of course decided I have to move. Very well, but here's ten reasons I love this area, and plan to come back.

1) The Olympia/Tacoma area is equal parts hippie and redneck; there's plenty of people to make fun of!

2) Olympic Cards and Comics: best comic shop on Earth. Period.

3) Guy in my neighborhood walks his kids to the bus stop each morning. With his two pet ducks.

4) Trees.

5) Lisa Gangel, KING 5 sports anchor. First person to ever make me feel squishy about sports.

6) Every day is like living in an episode of Twin Peaks.

7) Coffee Shacks. They are everywhere. Nearly every corner. Even the redneck areas. Look at this coffee barn 60 miles from Seattle in Roy, WA and remember point one.

8) The coach of the Seahawks gets on local television after every game and apologizes.

9) Lakes.

10) Mt Rainier, the area's foremost landmark, is actually a dormant volcano expected to kill everything in a 50 mile radius in the next 10 to 100 years. That's adventure. Every day. Any day. Yikes. Nothing says great place to live like imminent death!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Y'all don't come back now, y'hear?

So, Texas Governor Rick Perry while speaking as a tea-bagger (snort) mentioned secession. Secession because a fairly elected president who can be voted out in less than four years raised taxes (for 2% of the people, we'll talk about the deficit later).

I have long said the best thing I ever saw in my career with my firm was Texas in the rear view mirror.

Let us know how your Southern Border fares with no Federal Law Enforcement. I can only ask why you couldn't have done it before you foisted W. on us...

Monday, April 06, 2009

...and it will all happen again.

So sue me- I am a big geek, and I am not done talking about Battlestar Galactica. I decided I couldn't just ignore the series finale, so if you have not seen it:


Turn back now...

You are warned....


I had initially wanted to go back and give my five favorite moments from the finale- get it? The Final Five! However, I couldn't. I was able to winnow it down to seven, but the simple fact is I could give you at least four more. I am down to seven though, and I think they give the flavor of this fantastic finale, and hit on some of the controversies as well.

1)Saul has a great idea: In order to attack the Cylon colony hanging in the accretion disc of a black hole, they Galactica has wired Sam Anders, 2000 year old Cylon, into the ship. This means Cylon tech all over the CiC. Adama looks at his XO, of course one of those old Cylons himself, in exasperation. Tigh reminds Adama, “You know it's not to late to put them all out the airlock...”

2)Flank Speed: Having jumped right into the field of the Cylon colonies guns, the Galactica uses Anders to shut the defenses down. So without the guns blazing, how do you get your troops onto the colony to find Hera? Well ram into them at full speed and wiggle your ship like a tick working its head in, of course! The old girl shows she still has some fight in her, and Lee Adama leads in troops by just jumping out the front window. Yikes.

3)”You see them too?” After years of a lovely version of Six dancing in Gaius Baltar's head, and a suave Baltar in Caprica Six's head, the flesh and blood versions of these characters admit their true love for one another. Then they start seeing each others' hallucinations, and we begin to realize this is not just in their heads.

4)Baltar explains it all: Having lived through seeing his fantasy made flesh, and then reliving his vision of the Opera House, we realize there can only be one Opera House, and that's the CIC of the Galactica herself. Gaius and Six walk in as the Five look down like the Lords of Kobol themselves on the carnage below. Then, when a Number One desperately tries to escape...Baltar gets it. Baltar saves humanity with a simple revelation: revelations aren't all that simple.

5)Starbuck finds peace: Yeah, I know. This is almost the most controversial moment in the whole series. Kara finally realizes she has saved humanity, and the Cylons, and found them their home. She is done- the destiny she died to fulfill is done. She finally can put it all aside- the men, the drinking, the struggles with her fate, her faith, and herself. And while Lee's back is turned, she goes home. What more do you need, but to know she is happy? Goodbye Kara...

6)Baltar becomes a farmer: Humanity and the surviving Cylons are spreading across the planet they will now dub “Earth,” and Baltar and Six will go off together. I smiled when Starbuck left, but when I watched Gaius realize that his true destiny was that he fought so hard to avoid, that he would in fact return to the life he grew up with... well, when he cried, so did I. “I do know something about farming,” he says as he breaks down in realization, and perhaps more than a little release. “I know you do,” Caprica gently tells him. Wow.

7)Adama and Roslin build their cabin: As if I wasn't weepy enough from Baltar becoming a farmer, Adama takes Laura away as she succumbs to the cancer she's fought since the first episode. He finally finds the perfect spot for their cabin, but just too late. And yet as it fades, you know he will love her forever, and die at her side. May we all be that sure in our love.

So- there it is, what should be my last BSG blog and review. Yeah, I could still pick out some show moments, like Dualla's final decision, or Ellen Tigh's first appearance, or even Starbuck and the Eye of Jupiter, or familiar angels in Times Square listening to Hendrix. Time to let it rest though, because I have a feeling after they air the TV movie “The Plan” later this year I am going to have to watch it all again. After all, it has all happened before... and I am really looking forward to watching it all happen again.

I was posting this when something occurred to me: Several of these moments are Baltar. He's been the villain, the weasel, the nut job, the traitor, the collaborator; yet, in the end he saves humanity, and discovers the truth. Now THAT'S what I call character development.

End of line.