Today's Blogs

Whither Gitmo?

Bloggers are divided when it comes to the United Nations’ suggestion to shut down Guantanamo Bay, yet they are united in empathy for victims of a Philippine mudslide. Some are also taking a little personally a recent study that shows a correlation between unattractiveness and crime.

Whither Gitmo? The U.N. Human Rights Commission released a 54-page report adumbrating the torture and inhumane treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and calling for the American-run prison’s immediate closure. Kofi Annan, European Parliament, and now Desmond Tutu have all seconded the recommendation, while the White House has dismissed the investigation, which was conducted without on-site inspection because of a sustained U.S. proscription on personal interviews with inmates, as narrow and biased.

Andrew Oh-Willekie, a Denver attorney at Wash Park Prophet, thinks that offshore detainment and interrogation of suspected jihadists continues on an expired timestamp of practicality, not to mention without any constitutional imprimatur: “If you believe in fighting terrorism, step one is to stop doing what doesn’t work. Guantanmo Bay, which has housed relatively few real terrorists, destroyed our relationships with the U.N. and our allies, undermined support for the U.S. anti-terrorism effort at home, and produced little in the way of useful intelligence, is an approach that does not work.” Bahrainian blogger The Joker lauds the United States for “trying to spread democracy in the region through many different military and non-military channels … and to crown this new era of democracy in Iraq, namely, they insisted on having Saddam in court … now thats good … I love that …” But here his praise ends: “[N]ow can you practice what you preach and have the 500+ prisoners in Guantanamo Bay stand before an independent courtroom, not a military branch?”

At MemeFirst, “Sterling,” whose opinion of the United Nations lies somewhere between that of John Bolton and Jesse Helms, salvos: “The United States also stands accused of force-feeding hunger strikers. Of course, were the U.S. to change its policies and allow hunger strikers to die, next year’s UN report would tsk-tsk over the number of dead hunger strikers…And given that the inescapability of moral condemnation, I must side with the UN ‘Special Rapporteurs’ and opt for the solution that results in the least number of breathing terrorists.”

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick yesterday wrote about Gitmo as the perennial nonstory due to the facility’s near absence from the public consciousness. Read more about the call to close Gitmo.

Archipelago havoc: Heavy rain caused a deadly mudslide in the southern Leyte province of the Philippines, where 1,500 people are still missing and a death toll is already estimated to be in the hundreds. Bloggers were unanimous in their sorrow for the victims, though some ventured into speechifying about American aid responsibilities.

“Dr. Tom” of The Moquol writes, “I know how callous it sounds to say this, but here is another opportunity for America to help a country (in a region) whose collective soul is teetering on the brink between the shocks and uncertanties of the aspiration for modernity and the ‘sure thing’ of retrograde fundamentalism.  We have yet another opportunity not only to help others, but to help ourselves.”

“After a tragic mudslide that claimed the lives of a suspected 1500 Fillipinos, including women and children,” digests “njm” at the satirical Don’t You Hate Pants, “the world continues to hold its breath in trepidation as to how 700 Club host and conservative pundit Pat Robertson will misinterpret the disaster.” Carl Brickman, a former Marine reserveman, at Gung Ho! has a grim personal interest in the South Asian calamity: “My wife has family members in this area of the Philippines (Southern Leyte). They also have had mud slides. We have lost contact with my sister-in-law via cell phone.”

ThePinoy, a Philippine news and information service, features a gallery of photographs as well as a timeline of recent natural disasters that have plagued the archipelago. Read more about the mudslide.

If looks could kill:  Richard Morin’s “Unconventional Wisdom” column today in the Washington Post (Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.) discusses a recent joint university study that shows a marked relation between faces made for radio and all-points-bulletins. Blogger reaction runs from self-pity to snark.

New York meta-media maven Gawker purges features like these for breakfast: “We suppose this makes Seventeen editor Atoosa Rubenstein’s enthusiasm for starvation much less offensive. Clearly, the woman is a crime-fighting vigilante.”

Meanwhile, the study has led the DC lawyer at GooseTales to uncover a new prospect at the end of his homely vale of tears: “Well, I certainly wasn’t prom king or on the football team or anywhere near the most attractive guy growing up. I avoided most school dances and the ones I went to, well, we jvale of tearsust won’t go there. Now, to find out I’m statistically more likely to be a crook? Maybe, I should just run for President.”

Read more about the ugliness-crime ratio.