Friday, June 29, 2007

Euro-Gridiron Sighs and Dies

Let's pause to shed a tear for Europe today, where football is once again just soccer. Dozens upon dozens of Dutch and German fans were dismayed to learn this morning that NFL Europe has finally thrown in the thong, er, towel. After fifteen years of unwatched World Bowls, cheerleaders who look like offensive linemen, and offensive linemen who look like soccer players, the NFL finally got tired of the exorbitant costs of extravagant silliness.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tool Chamber Chat

I've mentioned James Yee and Murat Kurnaz in previous posts. Last night, the two of them appeared together for an interview on German TV, along with a couple of German politicians. During the show, Kurnaz revealed that he had become ill during his detention at Guantanamo, but said that he didn't request medical treatment because that required first signing a confession. Beyond the nagging detail of his innocence, which had been established by US intelligence officers years before his release, he also observed that detainees on occasion returned from the infirmary with missing fingers or limbs. Yee could not directly corroborate punitive amputations, but confirmed that Kurnaz's assessment was shared by many detainees. When Yee told the story of his own arrest, during which he was thrown in the back of a truck wearing the same black hood of the detainees he had previously ministered to, Kurnaz's eyes widened. It was closest thing to an emotional reaction shown by Kurnaz, who otherwise detailed his five years of detention and torture with a blank expression.

The US has spent its last dollar of international credibility on systematic torture, and what does it have to show for it? What fruit has this "valuable tool" (Dick Cheney) yielded? Exactly one conviction, that of deranged kangaroo skinner David Hicks. When Cheney called torture of suspects in the "War on Terror" a "no-brainer", I guess he wasn't kidding.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Condiment City

The inevitable finally happened: I ran out of mustard. Timing was poor; I already had a batch of Bockwürste on the stove. Across the street was a new store I'd been meaning to check out; their sign advertised olive oils from southern Italy, so I thought maybe they'd have mustard as well. Denied: just olive oil, plus one expensive bottle of wine. No problem, though, the owner told me; all I need to do is go to the mustard store around the corner.

Pinch me.