Yann Arthus-Bertrand's photographs
I experienced yet another one of those increasingly frequent moments of surreal and terrible lucidity, when I realize how terrifyingly far we’ve come from anything I recognize as the America I grew up in, when it occurred to me that we’ve started thinking of the hawkish and anti-choice John McCain as a reasonable moderate because he’s opposed to torture.
A few years ago "anti-torture" wasn’t even a political position; it was like being "anti-rape" or "anti-genocide"--it pretty much went without saying, unless you were an out-and-out monster.
A national politician being referred to as "anti-torture" is one of those clever background details that a science-fiction novelist would drop to clue us in to the fact that we’re in some brutal fascist dystopia of the future or a nightmarish parallel history where the Nazis won the war.
I can no longer pinpoint the moment when supposedly respectable people were no longer ashamed to debate the merits of "torture" in public, when we became an unapologetically evil nation; it’s like trying to identify exactly when you ceased to be a decent person and drifted over some unnoticed line into corruption and depravity. The scenario routinely invoked to justify torture—a nuclear device about to be detonated in Times Square, only an hour until it goes off, and we have one terrorist in custody who knows where it is!--is such a ludicrously unrealistic James Bond fantasy I can’t believe anyone takes it seriously.
If 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina have shown us anything, it’s that the first time the Bush administration will hear about a nuclear weapon being detonated in America will be when some reporter tells them about it. Bush will be obliviously joshing around with billionaire donors at a campaign fundraiser while the rest of us are weeping in horror at footage of children’s skin peeling off in East Orange. Anyway, didn’t we manage to beat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan while observing the Geneva conventions?
This delusion that torturing people is going to make us tougher in the War on Terror is a fantasy that has more to do with fear and hatred than with real security--like the fearful adolescent fantasy that owning a gun will keep you safe from all those gangstas and serial killers and child molesters you hear about on Fox News and in the New York Post.
A few days ago my colleague and old comrade-at-arms from the war-protest days, Megan, sent me a MoveOn "action alert," urging me to write me representatives and the President and ask them not to nuke Iran. "http://political.moveon.org/dontnukeiran/ was the url." Again, I can’t believe the phrase "don’t nuke Iran" is even necessary.
It seems to me like we really ought not to have to be in the position of begging our government not to nuke anyone, just as in the ordinary course of events I don’t have to talk my friends out of raping anyone. But, as Batman once said, "It’s isn’t exactly a normal world, is it?"
by George Orwell
You have this uncanny feeling that you're always being watched. Thus life has become a bit of a show as you try to portray yourself as much more reputable than you actually are. All around you, people seem to accept an unending stream of lies and propaganda without flinching. Your only hope may be a star-crossed love affair, but pain seems stonger than love. If you have any older brothers, be very wary of them.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
The Characteristics of a Queenslander
As most people envisage it, the Queensland house includes most of the following elements:
- construction of timber with a corrugated-iron roof;
- highset on timber stumps;
- single-skin cladding for partitions and sometimes external walls;
- verandahs front and back, and perhaps at the sides;
- decorative features which screen the sun or ventilate the interior; and
- a garden setting with a picket fence, palm trees and tropical fruit trees.
The Windmill on Wickham Terrace was constructed by convicts in 1828 and is today the oldest building still standing in Queensland.Because of a fundamental design flaw it never worked as a windmill, and 25 convicts at a time were put to work turning a treadmill which became known as the "tower of torture". For special punishments, 16 convicts were kept on it for 14 hours straight.
Over a long period the building has been subjected to various uses including a treadmill, a signal station, a time ball, fire brigade and as a building for radio and television research.
This stuff is Spiritual, my Brothers and Sisters. I was born to skate. And after all these years, the drugs, the rehabs, the broken careers, the failed relationships, the therapists, the prisons, the trial medications, the ECT... whatever, I have truly found myself.