PROPERTY HAIKU: Very nice response to Cass Sunstein and Oliver Wendell Holmes, from the Yale Free Press blog. I disagree with the anti-natural-rights conclusion (though I do think it's the necessary conclusion for an atheist), but think Gene's analysis of the Sunstein claim is right on.Excerpt: "So the argument boils down to either believing in natural rights granted to us by God or not believing in natural rights. In the first case, we have the right to life. But we can then also claim a … [Read more...]

VATICAN CONDEMNS CHINESE ARRESTS: The Vatican has strongly protested to China over the arrest of three Roman Catholic bishops--one of them 84 years old--in the past month. ...The Vatican and China have had no diplomatic ties since the 1950s, when Beijing expelled foreign clergy.BBC religious affairs correspondent Jane Little says the Vatican response indicates it has lost patience with China.It called the bishops' arrest "inconceivable in a country based on laws". ...[Vatican spokesman … [Read more...]

THAT STORY: Almost all links that follow are via How Appealing.MEMO ON INTERROGATION TACTICS IS DISAVOWED (Washington Post): President Bush's aides yesterday disavowed an internal Justice Department opinion that torturing terrorism suspects might be legally defensible, saying it had created the false impression that the government was claiming authority to use interrogation techniques barred by international law.Responding to pressure from Congress and outrage around the world, officials … [Read more...]

NATIVE AMERICAN PRISON PROBE: From USA Today, via How Appealing:U.S. authorities have identified at least 16 prisoners who have died in Native American detention centers since 2001, according to a senior federal official involved in an investigation of conditions at the facilities.The Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has been gathering the information for the past several weeks as part of a wide-ranging review of allegations of neglect and abuse within the network of … [Read more...]

"Years ago--how long was it? Seven years it must be--he had dreamed that he was walking through a pitch-dark room. And someone sitting to one side of him had said as he passed: 'We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.' It was said very quietly, almost casually--a statement, not a command. He had walked on without pausing. What was curious was that at the time, in the dream, the words had not made much impression on him. It was only later and by degrees that they had seemed to take … [Read more...]

"THROUGH THE YEARS WE ALL WILL BE TOGETHER": O BID OUR SAD DIVISIONS CEASE. Part four of Christmas in Depress-O-Vision. More flashbackery and so to bed. Read from the beginning here; or get the most recent section here. Two more sections coming: Christmas Day, and leavetaking.Problems I have already identified (though you should feel free to email me with any elaborations on these problems, as well as any other things that aren't working): 1. I use two different ways of presenting flashbacks … [Read more...]

KILL TROLL WITH SWORD! Hilarious: "I had kind of a funny start roleplaying. When I was 8 or 9 I was playing Zork on my uncle's new Atari 800 with a couple friends, and we dug it. At some point we wanted to play it but we weren't at my uncle's house, so I volunteered to 'be the computer.' We even played it text-based! I'd write a description, pass the notebook, my friends would read it and write their actions, I'd write the results. We kept that up for a while, actually, several sessions, before … [Read more...]