by Ted on October 4, 2004

Recently, Christopher Hitchens wrote a typically deeply-principled piece in which he accused “most… Democratic activists” of rooting for bad news in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would be deeply ashamed anyone supposedly on my side cheering for death and injury to Americans and civilians. Unfortunately, Mr. Hitchens doesn’t help me identify these traitors. He neglects to identify a single Democrat by name, or point to a single incriminating quote. I guess Slate isn’t giving him enough space, or something.

It’s much easier to identify Republicans who have, quite literally, voted for torture. They’re the Republicans in the House Judiciary committee. On party-line votes, they have defeated Democratic attempts to strip out provisions that would allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to deport anyone suspected of terrorism to a country where they could expect to be tortured. This power would not be subject to judicial review. (Katherine at Obsidian Wings has much, much more about specific cases of extraordinary rendition.)

Many of these Representatives are in safe seats, but not all of them. Indiana Rep. John Hostettler is identified by OurCongress.org as especially vulnerable.

I would be pleased if Rep. Hostettler was forced to answer some questions about his votes for torture. I suspect that the best way of making this happen is by contacting the newspapers in his district. Letters to the editor normally have to be accompanied by the name, address and phone number of the writer. They have to be short, and they have to be polite.

The Indianapolis Star has a special Letter to the editor page.

The Evansville Courier can be reached at letters@evansville.net.

The The Times-Mail can be reached at mikel@tmnews.com.

Supporters and detractors of the war in Iraq can agree that the world was a better place after we shut down Saddam’s torture chambers. If we follow up by procuring a time-share option in the torture chambers of Syria, Egypt, etc., history will not be kind to us.

UPDATE: Liddy asks why don’t I include a link to Hostettler’s opponent, Jon Jennings. Good question.

RIP Lectures

by Chris Bertram on October 4, 2004

“The Royal Institute of Philosophy lecture series for 2004–5”:http://www.royalinstitutephilosophy.org/lecture_series2005.htm has just been announced and includes several people whose work we’ve discussed on CT (Jonathan Wolff, Mike Otsuka, G.A.Cohen and John Kekes, to name but four).

Plus ça change

by Chris Bertram on October 4, 2004

Jon Snow’s autobiography is being “excerpted in the Guardian”:http://books.guardian.co.uk/extracts/story/0,6761,1319059,00.html . The would-be future leader of Ewekip puts in an appearance:

bq. Meanwhile, we found our cause: anti-apartheid. Liverpool was effectively Tate & Lyle’s British capital. The university had sizeable investments, and a goodly portion found its way to investments in South Africa, where Tate was still big. “Disinvest from South Africa” became our clarion cry. One of the most active staff members was Robert Kilroy-Silk, a junior lecturer in the politics department. In those days, Kilroy was a rabid revolutionary.

A little later on ….

bq. Three days later, 10 of us, mostly elected officers of the students’ union, were charged by the authorities with bringing the university into disrepute. Of Kilroy-Silk, so voluble at the start, there was no sign.

Oh, Lord, make me pure, but not just yet

by John Holbo on October 4, 2004

Following up John Quiggin’s follow-up to my first post on Silenced and Left Behind-style tribulit generally, a couple quick links and thoughts.

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Six Objections to the Westphall Hypothesis

by Brian on October 4, 2004

“Atrios”:http://atrios.blogspot.com/2004/10/cancel-it.html linked to “this discussion”:http://www.xoverboard.com/blogarchive/week_2004_10_03.html#000967 of the rather odd claim that in 164 different TV shows, what we’re seeing is not what is really happening in the fiction, but what happens in the mind of a small character from _St. Elsewhere_ called Tommy Westphall.

The argument for this claim, what I’ll call the Westphall Hypothesis, is based around a rather impressive bit of research about “crossovers in TV-land”:http://home.vicnet.net.au/~kwgow/crossovers.html. (The site seems to be based in Victoria, so I have some natural fondness for it.) The reasoning is as follows. The last episode of _St. Elsewhere_ revealed that the entire storyline of that show hadn’t really (i.e. really in the fiction) happened but had all been a dream of Tommy Westphall. So by extension any story involving a character from St. Elsewhere is really (in the fiction) part of Tommy’s dream. And any story involving a character from one of those shows is also part of Tommy’s dream, etc. So all 164 shows that are connected to _St. Elsewhere_ in virtue of character sharing are part of Tommy’s dream.

It’s a nice little idea, but there are half a dozen things wrong with it.

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