Respectfully Submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)- Weekend Contributor

We have seen and heard the claims from Donald Rumsfeld and others that the leaked Senate torture report is off base because the enhanced interrogation techniques were not only legal according to the Office of Legal Counsel, but they also produced results.  Putting aside the idea that just because an allegedly illegal act is claimed to have been successful in producing actionable intelligence, does not make it any more legal or illegal, is there a reason why we should listen to the participants who authorized the waterboarding and other torture procedures when they claim that all is well?

Now it seems that Donald Rumsfeld has company.  “In an uncompromising and wide-ranging interview with the Guardian, his first public remarks since he was linked to the program in 2007, James Mitchell was dismissive of a Senate intelligence committee report on CIA torture in which he features, and which is currently at the heart of an intense row between legislators and the agency.

The committee’s report found that the interrogation techniques devised by Mitchell, a retired air force psychologist, were far more brutal than disclosed at the time, and did not yield useful intelligence. These included waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation for days at a time, confinement in a box and being slammed into walls.

But Mitchell, who was reported to have personally waterboarded accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, remains unrepentant. “The people on the ground did the best they could with the way they understood the law at the time,” he said. “You can’t ask someone to put their life on the line and think and make a decision without the benefit of hindsight and then eviscerate them in the press 10 years later.” ‘  Reader Supported News  Continue Reading »

Submitted by Charlton (Chuck) Stanley, Weekend Contributor

This piece could easily have been titled, Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis (below, left) discovers the Streisand Effect.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis (Official Photo)

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis
(Official Photo)

The same might be said of Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard. Sometime in February or early March, the Twitter account @Peoriamayor was created, with a picture and fake bio of Mayor Ardis. On or about March 10, the account was labeled a parody, clarifying that it was not really Jim Ardis’ account. That did not deter Ardis, who appears to be as thin-skinned as any politician we have seen recently. He recruited Police Chief Settingsgaard to track down whoever was behind the parody Twitter account.

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Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Weekend Contributor

First, there was Citizens United. Now, we have the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the McCutcheon case. It does appear that our country’s campaign finance laws may have been “eviscerated”—as noted by Justice Breyer when he wrote that, taken together with Citizens United, McCutcheon “eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”

Corporations are people…money is speech. The more money one has to spend…the more “speech” one can afford to buy—especially where political campaigns are concerned.

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Happy Easter to all of our bloggers and readers that are celebrating today. Our little fluffy friend made it to the Turleys and left baskets overflowing with chocolates and candies. The poor overworked bunny forced to work a bit later by a questionnaire from Madie.

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Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

LunchBox Laboratory AdRestaurant chain Lunchbox Laboratory caused a bit of a stir when it presented its annual 4/20 sale offering a thirteen dollar Burger of the Gods in a “Buy one get one free” special. 4/20 is celebrated in the cannabis subculture as a national holiday of sorts and the numbers refer to California Senate Bill 420 which authorized medical marijuana in that state. Events during this day are celebrated in many areas of the United States.

For the year 2014, April 20th coincides with Easter. In a melding of the two holidays Lunchbox Laboratory sought a new way to generate business.

The restaurant e-Mailed the advertisement to 13,000 subscribers with the add featuring a burger toting, joint toking Jesus who laments: “When I Get Back, All I Want is the Burger of the Gods.”
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Bored With Beards?

By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor

walter relighWant that Sir Walter Raleigh look to entice the opposite (or even the same)  sex and alleviate your morning shaving bump ritual? Well, you can avoid the shaving but your attractiveness to the object of your affections might depend more on the frequency of your biological competitor’s facial hair than your own or so says a new study out of Australia. Evolutionary biologist Zinnia Janif wanted to know if  sexual attractiveness was enhanced by facial hair and if so to what degree. Her researchers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, showed photographs of 36 men who volunteered to grow facial hair for a month to 1453 women and 223 men. The photographs were filmed at identical angles and with exactly similar lighting conditions and depicted the subjects at four stages of growth: clean-shaven, light stubble (5 days), heavy stubble (10 days), and full hipster beard (4 weeks). The female viewers were either heterosexual or bisexual and the male viewers were all heterosexual.

Janif’s premise was that evolutionary biological traits might depend on the frequency of the trait among a given population to decide its advantage or disadvantage. Biologists have long known that some traits don’t depend on the frequency of their occurrence to provide an evolutionary advantage. Things like stronger wings or longer leg bones always provide an advantage for predators in chasing down prey but studies of color variations in guppies suggested that oddball colors were only an advantage to this aquatic prey if the frequency was small. Predators, it seems, get better at deciding what to eat if the differently colored guppies aren’t too numerous. So the advantage of the rare coloration begins to disappear as the trait becomes more common. Continue Reading »

Cops_camera_arrestThere have been a long list of studies and articles on the problem of false testimony by police officers. Most officers that I have met or represented would not testify falsely. However, there is cultural pressure to hold “the thin blue line” to support other officers. That appears what is occurring in a recent scandal out of Chicago. In a Skokie courthouse, five officers (three from Chicago and two from Glenview) took the stand and lied about what occurred in a drug arrest. What is relatively rare is that the prosecutors appear to be seriously considering criminal charges.

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