McAvoy Layne
Special to the Bonanza

Back to: News
February 18, 2013
Follow News

Pine Nuts: You never see a Stellar Jay get stuck for a word

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - Not unlike our state bird, the Stellar Jay, I jump from tree to tree and stump to stump, curious about every little thing that is going on in the neighborhood, and equally eager to talk about my findings. If I see a menacing cat I let everybody know about it. Likewise, if I see a cat that is not menacing, I let everybody know about that cat too. That's my job, to alert the neighbors, then let them decide for themselves whether that cat is a threat or not.

Having established this as my job for this week, let me jump right in and go on record as stating that water boarding is not "enhanced aggressive interrogation," it is torture. The semantic definition of water boarding is based entirely upon which end of the water boarding you happen to be on. Where rack, pincers and fire leave evidence, and a dead man is of no use to anybody, water boarding leaves no tell-tale signs and will not kill, mostly. Water boarding is to intelligence gathering what pornography is to photography. As Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography, "I know it when I see it." To my mind, when it comes to aggressive interrogation, it would be more effective to offer the suspect an all expenses paid Carnival Cruise for him and his family, than to water board him.

Moving right along to another neighborhood alert, as reported by American Press last month from Geneva, more than 140 nations adopted the first legally binding international treaty aimed at reducing mercury emissions. It took four years of highly intensive negotiations to finally set limits on the use of this highly toxic metal. Mercury is so toxic it is sometimes used in assassinations.

How does this relate to nuclear weapons? Well, thanks to the mercury treaty, we have now a template for eliminating the deadliest and costliest pox on our fragile house, the nuke.

These same 140 nations, while the ink is still wet on the mercury treaty, must seize the day by authoring a similar treaty to disarm and ban nuclear weapons.

We, the United States, spend about 52 billion on our nuclear weapons each year. Forget the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (I guess we already have) let us deliver unto the world a total ban.

Let's go people, this is a neighborhood alert. You folks in the mercury treaty writing business have a track record now, and a hot template to work with. Should we leave it to heads of state to draw up such a treaty it will never get done. World opinion must finally trump political expedience. The question is, do we have the heart of hearts to do what we know is necessary, and then face down the nationalists who refuse to go along.

But then I'm only a Stellar Jay, yammering away at the neighborhood.

- Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

Stories you may be interested in

Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Feb 18, 2013 06:44PM Published Feb 18, 2013 06:42PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.