Got to love these winners. First up is former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who spoke today at Knox College and angrily played semantic games about torture with a student questioner:
ME: The judgment describes this water treatment, and I quote, "the victim was bound or otherwise secured in a prone position; and water was forced through his mouth and nostrils into his lungs and stomach." One man, Yukio Asano, was sentenced to fifteen years hard labor by the allies for waterboarding American troops to obtain information. Since Yukio Asano was trying to get information to help defend his country--exactly what you, Mr. Ashcroft, say is acceptible for Americans to do--do you believe that his sentence was unjust? (boisterous applause and shouts of "Good question!")
ASHCROFT: (angrily) Now, listen here. You're comparing apples and oranges, apples and oranges. We don't do anything like what you described.
ME: I'm sorry, I was under the impression that we still use the method of putting a cloth over someone's face and pouring water down their throat...
ASHCROFT: (interrupting, red-faced, shouting) Pouring! Pouring! Did you hear what she said? "Putting a cloth over someone's face and pouring water on them." That's not what you said before! Read that again, what you said before![..]ME: "The victim was bound or otherwise secured in a prone position; and water was forced through his mouth and nostrils into his lungs and stomach."
ASHCROFT: (shouting) You hear that? You hear it? "Forced!" If you can't tell the difference between forcing and pouring...does this college have an anatomy class? If you can't tell the difference between forcing and pouring...
Then there is Roger Byrd, pastor of the Church of God in Jonesville, SC, who put up a message on his church marquee reading "Obama Osama/Humm/Are they brothers." Confirming every worst stereotype possible, Byrd claimed the sign was neither political or racial: "His name is so close to Osama I have a feeling he might be Islamic therefore he doesn't recognize Christ," Pastor Byrd said. Yeah, that's neither political nor racial. It's just idiotic.
And finally, John McCain gets the gold for his choice of spiritual advisers and endorsers in Rev. John Hagee. As Steve wrote about, just days after McCain equivocated over whether seeking Hagee's endorsement was a good idea, Hagee decided to up the ante in conservative Republican intolerance. On Dennis Prager's radio show, Hagee retiterated that Hurricane Katrina was God's wrath upon New Orleans for planning a "homosexual rally" for the day after the hurricane hit. Funny that, a long time friend of mine lost his home in Biloxi, Mississippi, due to Katrina, as did many others on the Gulf Coast. I don't believe there was any other gay pride events scheduled, although I could be wrong, Maybe McCain should be asked if his spiritual advisor thinks God just hates that part of the south, or if God just callously considered them collateral damage.