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Torture talk from a serial commuter

Past Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, whose many prison pardons and commutations while governor of Arkansas are well documented, showed his national security credentials by talking tough about how Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab should be treated.

Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist pastor who now has a Fox News talk show, suggested on a recent show that Abdulmutallab be tortured. Specifically, Huckabee mentioned putting the explosives back into Abdulmutallab’s underwear, where he reportedly had them on an airline flight when he was captured, and detonated if that was required to make him talk.

Huckabee later said he was being facetious. Someone should tell him that sadistic levity about a deadly serious topic hardly befits a president, a presidential candidate, a former presidential hopeful or even a television talk show host who may or may not seek his party’s nomination for the office again. For that matter, neither is blaming others for gubernatorial pardon and commutation mistakes.

[H/T: Ambassador Gwen]

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January 20, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , | Comments Off on Torture talk from a serial commuter

Haiti, a week after the earthquake

Nicholas Laughlin at Global Voices writes:

Relief efforts are under way in southern Haiti, exactly a week after the country was devastated by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. As many desperate Haitians flee the capital, Port-au-Prince, for what they hope will be relative safety in other towns and rural areas, and as growing numbers of relief aid workers and foreign troops arrive, bloggers and Twitter users continue to report on local developments, make pleas for emergency assistance, and comment on the government and international response to the crisis.

He recommends:

  • Musician and hotelier Richard Morse, tweeting as @RAMhaiti:

    A 6 or 7 story hospital building collapsed and fell over on the Dessalines School. No chance 4 the children.Search&Rescue headed 2 St Gerard

  • Radio and TV journalist @carelpedre:

    I love haiti! I see hope and smile on so many faces today:

  • Photographer Frederic Dupoux tweetingh as @fredodupoux:

    Just spoke to a 5 y-o girl a block fell on her head its an open wound and there’s no help around. People around just gave her amoxiciline.

  • Troy Livesay in Port Au Prince tweeting as @troylivesay:

    Our clinic turned into a hospital,and our sewing room into a surgical ward,and an arm was amputated with a reciprocating saw.

Laughlin also pointed us to Konbit Pou Ayiti where melindayiti wrote:

This afternoon, feeling helpless, we decided to take a van down to Champs Mars (the area around the palace) to look for people needing medical care to bring to Matthew 25, the guesthouse where we are staying which has been transformed into a field hospital.

Since we arrived in Port au Prince everyone has told us that you cannot go into the area around the palace because of violence and insecurity. I was in awe as we walked into downtown, among the flattened buildings , in the shadow of the fallen palace, amongst the swarms of displaced people there was calm and solidarity. We wound our way through the camp asking for injured people who needed to get to the hospital.

Despite everyone telling us that as soon as we did this we would be mobbed by people, I was amazed as we approached each tent people gently pointed us towards their neighbors, guiding us to those who were suffering the most.

We picked up 5 badly injured people and drove towards an area where Ellie and Berto had passed a woman earlier.

Gwenn Mangine at The Life and Times of the Mangine Many in Jacmel wrote:

Mad props to my kids and staff. I miss being around them. Except Hugues, cause he’s there working alongside of us. Really hard– just as hard as we are, no, actually probably harder. Tonight he was just toast after another long day of carrying boxes virtually all day long. I told him that since tomorrow is his day off he should just take it easy and not worry about coming to the airport– we’d find someone to do his work. He refused. He said he wants to be there as long as we’re there. I tried to talk him out of it, but he says his country needs him now. I really, really love the spirit of Haitian people– love it, love it, love it.

January 20, 2010 Posted by | news, WWW | , | Comments Off on Haiti, a week after the earthquake

Pat Robertson’s budding secular humanism

Watching serious theologians’ tangle with televangelical self-promotionist Pat Robertson’s assertion of a Haitian pact with the devil was a humorless exercise until we stumbled across Martin E. Marty’s Jan. 18 Sightings.

Marty, a University of Chicago professor emeritus of the History of Modern Christianity, was the first we’ve come across who explained that Robert’s “pact with the devil” is rooted in secular humanist literature and nowhere in the Bible.

Marty wrote:

You won’t find “pact with the devil” in your biblical concordance, as the phrase did not enter our culture from the Bible.

Mention a “pact with the devil” and you will immediately be dredging up the explicit language of the Faust legend, whether from Marlowe or Goethe or Thomas Mann, who told classic versions of Dr. Faust’s famed contract.

Search the literature and you will find secular humanists touting the greatest, Goethe’s Faust, as a “secular humanist manifesto.”

Something good to say about Robertson, then? Yes: We like to document popular evangelicalism’s enlarging scope; here is an instance. Could Robertson have been courting secular humanists with this turn to non-Biblical sources?

Really: Pat Robertson, fumbling toward late-life intellectual growth? Almost gives renewed meaning to “all things in good time.”

January 20, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , | 1 Comment