THAT STORY: This piece is a must-read.The Torture Memos: Putting The President Above The LawBy Stuart Taylor Jr., National Journal...And was it just a bunch of immoral Bush administration lawyers who "narrowly redefined" torture "so that techniques that inflict pain and mental suffering could be deemed legal," as The Washington Post implied in a June 9 editorial? No. The definition is in the torture convention itself. It specifies that torture includes only intentional infliction of … [Read more...]

REV. EUGENE RIVERS is the man. I saw him speak Monday, for the first time, and wow. He says he's "the hard, hard right of the new left"; he's this big fun mischievous guy prowling the country promoting, among other things, marriage. I'm a huge fan.On AIDS in Africa Lots and lots of articles Basic profile Hear him talk about "God vs. Gangs" … [Read more...]

"Government repression of extralegals was plentiful, harsh, and in France, deadly. In the mid-eighteenth century, laws prohibiting the French public from manufacturing, importing, or selling cotton prints carried penalties ranging from slavery and imprisonment to death. The extralegals remained undeterred. Heckscher estimates that within one ten-year period in the eighteenth century the French executed more than 16,000 smugglers and clandestine manufacturers for the illegal manufacture or import … [Read more...]

"THROUGH THE YEARS WE ALL WILL BE TOGETHER": WHEN WE WERE GONE ASTRAY. Part two of Christmas in Depress-O-Vision. Not sure what to say about this. Money is discussed, kisses happen when they shouldn't, and castanets are clacked. This story is a comfort-and-joy-free zone and it only gets worse from here on in.Click here to read the story from the beginning, or here to get part two. There are only about three segments of this story left, yay.Do you hate the tense-switching? I don't, but I know … [Read more...]

"Although they are established to protect both the security of ownership and that of transactions, it is obvious that Western systems emphasize the latter. Security is principally focused on producing trust in trasnactions so that people can more easily make their assets lead a parallel life as capital."In most developing countries, by contrast, the law and official agencies are trapped by early colonial and Roman law, which tilt toward protecting ownership. They have become custodians of the … [Read more...]

PEOPLE, LOOK EAST: I have a book review in the current issue of Crisis of David Aikman's Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power.Excerpts:...According to David Aikman, former Beijing bureau chief for Time magazine, China may soon be among the most influential Christian countries in the world. Aikman's provocative thesis gets a vigorous, if overhasty, presentation in his new book, Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming … [Read more...]