Various and Sundry 2/21/08
* For those of you interested in the future of SFWA, current presidential candidate Russell Davis has popped into the comment thread of the “Gut Check for SFWA” entry and is ready to answer questions you might have about his candidacy and SFWA. Indeed he’s already answered at least one. So feel free to ask. Do me a favor and keep the questions on topic and substantive; don’t ask him if he wears boxers or briefs or anything silly like that. Naturally, I invite Andrew Burt, the other candidate, to answer questions in the thread as well, although I’ll quite understand if he doesn’t.
* For you science fiction geeks — not like there would be any of those, here — who also love the law, Concurring Opinions law blog is running an audio interview with Battlestar Galactica’s Ron Moore and David Eick about the role of law in that television series. Part I-B, on torture and morality, is especially interesting.
* Speaking of torture and morality: Five Myths About Torture and Truth. You know, personally, I’ve gotten to the point that when someone suggests to me that no, really, torture does work, I lump them into the same category as Creationists, i.e., people with a certain-shaped hole in their otherwise functioning cognitive processes. With creationists, it’s the shape of a Bible; for the pro-torture types, it’s the shape of a waterboard. This is a telling quote from the article:
“The larger problem here, I think,” one active CIA officer observed in 2005, “is that this kind of stuff just makes people feel better, even if it doesn’t work.”
Well, it doesn’t make the guy being tortured feel better. But that’s the point. And pretty much the only point. Also, look: If you do actually make an argument that “Well, torture worked for the Gestapo,” as apparently people are doing, aside from the truth of the statement (it didn’t apparently), your own morality has just gone into the same place as my youngest cat’s testicles.
* I’m feeling a little bit sorry for Hillary Clinton recently, because her campaign is caught up in an event it truly can’t control: the messianic fervor surrounding Obama. Clinton’s been trying to go negative on the guy, and it’s not working, because people literally just do not want to hear about it. At this particular moment in time Clinton could unearth a video of Barack Obama eating live kittens while wearing nothing but an oiled thong at an S&M party hosted by Larry Craig, and she couldn’t do anything with it because if she did people would wonder why she was being so mean to Obama, and her polling would suffer.
Now, I don’t regret the negative campaigning being ineffective; I’m happy it’s not. This is just one of those thing where you feel a bit of empathy for someone who sees a goal slipping away due to factors that really have nothing much to do with them.
* Also: Remember to sign up to get the eBook of Old Man’s War — it goes out probably in a day or so.
Off to send Athena to school. Yes! She actually has school today! Amazing!