Monday, April 27, 2009

Site of the Day: My First Dictionary

One of the chores of being a new parent in the early 21st century is spending time online looking for tools and resources to ease the rearing of children. Most of the sites you come across are a mix of the useful, the ridiculous and the overwrought. My First Dictionary is none of these...and that is a relief. Instead it's simply delicious, wicked fun. Check it out.

Torturous decisions about torture.

In assessing complex moral decisions in the real world, we must look not only at our acts, but at the consequences of our failures to act. Would it really have been more moral, for example, to have not waterboarded Khalid Sheik Mohammed, if the result had been a successful 9/11 type attack in Los Angeles? A person might answer “yes.” But it is disingenuous to assert that such a person is clearly and unequivocally in a position that is morally superior to that of the person who would answer “no.”

There are sins of omission as well as sins of commission. Are we morally responsible—and therefore guilty—for failing to stop an attack that might have been prevented by gaining information through a coercive technique such as waterboarding?

The people who drew up the rules about waterboarding seemed to have been cognizant of these and other moral complexities. They certainly did not intend or allow the United States to engage in the more extreme type of torture endured by Mr. Chen, for example. But they wanted to permit—and to give guidelines for the use of—something strong enough to extract vital information from terrorists, but weak enough to cause no permanent damage to them.

Read the whole thing.

The Country is in the Very Best of Hands.

The Obama administration declared a “public health emergency” Sunday to confront the swine flu — but is heading into its first medical outbreak without a secretary of Health and Human Services or appointees in any of the department’s 19 key posts.

President Barack Obama has not yet chosen a surgeon general or the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His choice to run the Food and Drug Administration awaits confirmation.

More here.

We're here, we're queer and we're hypocrites

On display at the Miss USA event was the activist left's pageant of selective bullying, a concerted strategy to go after low-hanging fruit like Mormons. But the left leaves off its hit list members in good standing of its normal coalition - its "rainbow" coalition. In California, one of the gayest places on the map, blacks and Hispanics - who disproportionately disapprove of same-sex marriage - get a stunning pass from outraged proponents of gay marriage.

Since 9/11, the highly organized gay left has also been deafeningly silent on Islam's anti-modern approach to homosexuality - let alone same-sex unions. The mullahs in Iran somehow get a major pass while the director of the California Musical Theatre in Sacramento is targeted for ruin. This contradiction is not subtle. Indeed, it's obvious and pathetic.

Some people are more interested in the pleasures of calling other people bigots than in actually advancing the cause of gay marriage.

More here.

Hope and Change!

When campaigning, Obama said he’d not rush to sign any bills. He’d put them online for five days, review, and make them open to the public. So far, he’s 1 for 11 on that promise.

Via Say Uncle.