Jan. 3rd, 2005

windelina: (big mouse)
What a totally surreal New Year's.

Okay, the New Year's Eve part was pretty standard. Monte caught a cold and brought it home to me on Thursday (thanks, hon!) so we were both getting snotty on Friday. I spent the afternoon and evening sewing on a project. [livejournal.com profile] lucyruthe came over to camp at our place for the weekend (which was WAY fun and we should have more weekend guests because it makes everything funner!). She went out to Illusion 2005 (which I regret not going to even though I know I was way too sick and tired). Darn it, there will be more dancing in 2005!

Anyway, we went to the BLB and watched "The Scrimshaw Show" and laughed alot and chatted with many. And then we went home to take antihistamines together. The family that takes drugs together, stays together!

Saturday was the Surreal Day.
We slept in on Saturday. Alot. And then slept some more. And slowly started moving around. And bathing. And puttering. And lazing about. Finally, we achieved escape velocity just as Lucyruthe joined the land of the living, so we all headed out to [livejournal.com profile] barda's place for Bollywood Breakfast! The food was mostly gone by the time we arrived, but Barda made us waffles. Yay! And we got to briefly see people before they skipped out. And we watched a Bollywood musical, which was fun and entertaining and mind-bending. We mostly sat around and chatted and then decided movies were in order. The plan to do a double feature at the Lagoon was thwarted by one of the movies not being at the Lagoon. Our huge movie-party-crowd came to a crashing end right at the beginning, alas. But Lucyruthe, Monte and I went in to see The House of Flying Daggers which was gorgeous (I want one of the green outfits), but I think I liked "Hero" better. We then made a dash to the car to see about dashing up to see the Life Aquatic but the roads were assy. Got a call from the rest of the movie-goers and no consensus could be reached for further plans. So we continued on our way until we decided to abort due to bad roads. Instead, we went and rented videos and bought snacks and were denied alcohol.

Okay, let's get into the details here. We slept in, then woke up and went and watched a Bollywood musical. Then a gorgeous martial arts flick. Then we went to Blockbuster, where we were greeted by an Elvis impersonator singing karaoke at us. I shit you not. Lucyruthe, Monte and I declared it the Best New Year's Ever! We grooved around the store picking out movies (death and disaster being the impromptu theme: Ginger Snaps Back [eh, predictable, but still fun], Shaun of the Dead [just as good as the first time!] and the Day After Tomorrow [disaster!]). We went to Rainbow but Lucyruthe the baby-faced could not purchase the Mike's goodness. We consoled ourselves with champagne and red wine at home.

Home for hot dogs, pizza, chips, wine and movies. Yay!

Sunday was the day of sloth. When we found out that Improv-a-Go-Go wasn't even happening, we all caved in to the Siren Sloth Song and decided to do nothing all day. So, we played music and chatted and snacked and went and got the Mike's successfully this time and watched more movies (including What About Bob?) and had a lovely turkey dinner with Nathan who stopped by to visit. Lucyruthe eventually broke free of our wiles and headed home. Monte and I took more cold meds and drooled through Groundhog's Day.

And now it is Monday and I have much to do this week but would rather be napping. Will go find lunch and continue to read the addictive Perdido Street Station. Will sew some more this week. Do prep work on "The Crucible". Watch a few "24" episodes. And sleep.
windelina: (Lenore)
Long-Term Plan Sought For Terror Suspects

By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 2, 2005; Page A01

Administration officials are preparing long-range plans for indefinitely imprisoning suspected terrorists whom they do not want to set free or turn over to courts in the United States or other countries, according to intelligence, defense and diplomatic officials.

The Pentagon and the CIA have asked the White House to decide on a more permanent approach for potentially lifetime detentions, including for hundreds of people now in military and CIA custody whom the government does not have enough evidence to charge in courts. The outcome of the review, which also involves the State Department, would also affect those expected to be captured in the course of future counterterrorism operations.

"We've been operating in the moment because that's what has been required," said a senior administration official involved in the discussions, who said the current detention system has strained relations between the United States and other countries. "Now we can take a breath. We have the ability and need to look at long-term solutions."

One proposal under review is the transfer of large numbers of Afghan, Saudi and Yemeni detainees from the military's Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center into new U.S.-built prisons in their home countries. The prisons would be operated by those countries, but the State Department, where this idea originated, would ask them to abide by recognized human rights standards and would monitor compliance, the senior administration official said.

As part of a solution, the Defense Department, which holds 500 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, plans to ask Congress for $25 million to build a 200-bed prison to hold detainees who are unlikely to ever go through a military tribunal for lack of evidence, according to defense officials.

The new prison, dubbed Camp 6, would allow inmates more comfort and freedom than they have now, and would be designed for prisoners the government believes have no more intelligence to share, the officials said. It would be modeled on a U.S. prison and would allow socializing among inmates.

"Since global war on terror is a long-term effort, it makes sense for us to be looking at solutions for long-term problems," said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman. "This has been evolutionary, but we are at a point in time where we have to say, 'How do you deal with them in the long term?' "

The administration considers its toughest detention problem to involve the prisoners held by the CIA. The CIA has been scurrying since Sept. 11, 2001, to find secure locations abroad where it could detain and interrogate captives without risk of discovery, and without having to give them access to legal proceedings.

Little is known about the CIA's captives, the conditions under which they are kept -- or the procedures used to decide how long they are held or when they may be freed. That has prompted criticism from human rights groups, and from some in Congress and the administration, who say the lack of scrutiny or oversight creates an unacceptable risk of abuse.

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), vice chairman of the House intelligence committee who has received classified briefings on the CIA's detainees and interrogation methods, said that given the long-term nature of the detention situation, "I think there should be a public debate about whether the entire system should be secret.

"The details about the system may need to remain secret," Harman said. At the least, she said, detainees should be registered so that their treatment can be tracked and monitored within the government. "This is complicated. We don't want to set up a bureaucracy that ends up making it impossible to protect sources and informants who operate within the groups we want to penetrate."

The CIA is believed to be holding fewer than three dozen al Qaeda leaders in prison. The agency holds most, if not all, of the top captured al Qaeda leaders, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Ramzi Binalshibh, Abu Zubaida and the lead Southeast Asia terrorist, Nurjaman Riduan Isamuddin, known as Hambali.

CIA detention facilities have been located on an off-limits corner of the Bagram air base in Afghanistan, on ships at sea and on Britain's Diego Garcia island in the Indian Ocean. The Washington Post reported last month that the CIA has also maintained a facility within the Pentagon's Guantanamo Bay complex, though it is unclear whether it is still in use.

In contrast to the CIA, the military produced and declassified hundreds of pages of documents about its detention and interrogation procedures after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. And the military detainees are guaranteed access to the International Committee of the Red Cross and, as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, have the right to challenge their imprisonment in federal court.
windelina: (big mouse)
So, out of curiosity spawned by a terrible movie ("Tiptoes"), I did a bit of poking into the genetics of dwarfism.

Dwarfism occurs 90% of the time from two "average" sized parents. It's a spontaneous mutation.
This is speaking specifically of achondroplasia (there are several disorders that cause dwarfism).
Achondroplasia is dominant genetically.
So, two dwarf parents have a 25% chance of having an average sized child. That child would carry NO genetic markers for dwarfism, since the child would have had to have gotten both recessive "average sized" genes.

So, in "Tiptoes" Matthew McConaughey has as much chance of having a dwarf child as any other joe on the street. Which doesn't actually debunk the movie, but it certainly takes away from its structural integrity.
And here's the thing - this information was easily found. One more reason to disrespect the director of such a piece of trash movie.

This is how I spend my boring time at work - I come up with random questions for myself and go find the answers.
Makes for the occasional win at Trivial Pursuit.

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