Wednesday, November 15, 2006


We'll begin with a bit of history regarding the Apocalypse. Note how often, throughout history, people have been wrong about the timing regarding it.

Why is this imporant? Because more are predicting the American Apocalypse will come from stuff like this.
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday his country expects its uranium enrichment program to be ready by February to meet Iran's nuclear fuel needs, the national news service IRNA reported.

"We will commission some 3,000 centrifuges by this year end. We are determined to master fuel cycle, and commission some 60,000 centrifuges to meet our demands," the president said at a news conference closed to foreign reporters.

"Today the Iranian nation possesses the full nuclear fuel cycle and time is completely running in our favor in terms of diplomacy."

Ahmadinejad said Iran hopes to celebrate its nuclear success during the "Ten-Day Dawn" festivities at the beginning of February, which mark the country's victory in the Islamic Revolution, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
[full story]

Personally I feel that the burden of proof is now on us to prove the lie, as our recent allegations regarding banned weapons proved wildly off the mark. The IAEA is working on it, but so far hasn't been able to draw conclusive evidence.

Luckily, the U.S. is quickly headed down the wrong road all by our lonesome.
Washington - A couple's ill-concealed sexual play aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles got them charged with violating the Patriot Act, intended for terrorist acts, and could land them in jail for 20 years.

According to their indictment, Carl Persing and Dawn Sewell were allegedly snuggling and kissing inappropriately, "making other passengers uncomfortable," when a flight attendant asked them to stop.

"Persing was observed nuzzling or kissing Sewell on the neck, and ... with his face pressed against Sewell's vaginal area. During these actions, Sewell was observed smiling," reads the indictment filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
[full story]

I mention these two stories in particular, because I think the greatest antitode, and stalling tactic, against Apocalypse is to have a good society. The fear/terror generated by 9/11 and the ensuing rights grab by our government has done nothing, IMHO, but push us closer to the brink.

I also mentioned "American Apocalypse" previously becuase it is my general opinion that American culture is one of, if not the only, major world culture to have to experience such a thing. Like all the others before us, we arrogantly assume that our apocalyptic premonitions apply to the whole world, but like everyone else before us...we're wrong in that assumption. It will come only to us.
Another reason it is getting closer? We refuse to speak truth to power.
WASHINGTON: The US President, George Bush, has warned against holding talks with Syria and Iran and beginning a withdrawal of troops from Iraq, two key proposals for a new Iraq strategy that are gaining support at home and abroad.

After a meeting with members the Iraq Study Group, a panel led by a former secretary of state, James Baker, looking at options in Iraq, Mr Bush said he was open to "new ideas" to reinvigorate his Administration's approach to Iraq. But he cautioned against proposals for gradual or phased troop reductions saying that no military option would work unless it recognised "conditions on the ground".
[full story]

Arrogance and idiocy are a dangerous combination. We are slowly figuring out this ancient truth once again.
For something completely different, watch one of your fine childhood memories fade in a bout of cynicism and reality.
Outside of reality, but well within the realm of cynicism, we have this article regarding the real problem between Islam and the West (according to a U.N. report) [hint: it's all about the Benajmins].
"This report is important because it debunks certain myths about an increasing polarisation between the West and Islam," explained Ali Alatas, former foreign minister of Indonesia and one of the authors of the 40-page Alliance of Civilisations report.

"One of our major conclusions is that the divide is not religious or cultural but political."

The authors of the report, who were drawn from a wide variety of religions and cultures, argue that divide can be closed. They reject the theory of an inevitable clash of civilisations outright.

"That is a total misnomer. There are tensions, there are even hostilities but they are not caused by religion, by culture or by civilisations," Archbishop Desmond Tutu insisted.

"They are political causes: when people are poor, when people are hungry or humiliated. But religion is morally neutral."
It's as easy to understand as this....

Israel: GDP, per capita: $25,000
Gaza Strip: GDP, per capita: $600
West Bank: GDP, per capita: $1,100

That's it. In a nutshell. Everything else is rationalization.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Desktop Clearning Link Dump

Let's start off with evolutionary morality.
Primatologists like Frans de Waal have long argued that the roots of human morality are evident in social animals like apes and monkeys. The animals’ feelings of empathy and expectations of reciprocity are essential behaviors for mammalian group living and can be regarded as a counterpart of human morality.

Marc D. Hauser, a Harvard biologist, has built on this idea to propose that people are born with a moral grammar wired into their neural circuits by evolution. In a new book, “Moral Minds” (HarperCollins 2006), he argues that the grammar generates instant moral judgments which, in part because of the quick decisions that must be made in life-or-death situations, are inaccessible to the conscious mind.
[full story]

Ohh, I don't think they are inaccessible to the conscious mind...but I would say they are inaccessible to most conscious minds. Some of us can't stop thinking about 'em.

And those of us like that end up talking about it a lot. Then, if we turn out to be correct...others believe us, write it down, and we get new religions. That's the simplified version, but that, most certainly, is the outline for the process.
The 13 Enemies of the Interwebs The following countries are doing their darndest to avoid the coming Information Age (it already is's coming to them...whether they like it or not)
Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egpyt, Iran, North Korea, Suadi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam
Quit making your people stupider, dumbasses.
Speaking of non-democratic actions...
The head of the Virginia Board of Elections, Jean Jensen, tells MSNBC that “the FBI is now investigating allegations of voter intimidation and voter suppression.” State officials have documented “dozens of phone calls that were made to heavily Democratic precincts in which the people who were receiving the calls were either given incorrect information about polling sites [or] misdirected about election laws.”
[full story]

This is, undoubtedly, part of why Allen conceded in Virginia.
Call me what you will, but this is a mark of a good leader.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Friday he would step down as Palestinian prime minister if that would persuade the West to lift debilitating economic sanctions.

His offer appeared to be another indication that the Islamic militant group and the rival Fatah Party of President Mahmoud Abbas were inching closer to a national unity government made up of independent experts — a coalition that presumably would present a more moderate face to the world.

The West and Israel have withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and tax revenues since Hamas took power in March in an effort to pressure the ruling group to moderate its violently anti-Israel ideology.

The sanctions have prevented Hamas from paying a large portion of the salaries owed to 165,000 government employees, causing widespread hardship in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
[full story]
The (closer to) full Pat Tillman story. I'm still happy he got his birthday wish.
Later, Donnie, you unbelievable bastard.
-- nice...only 150,000 dead innocent people. It's only like 50 9/11s.
A stunning new death count emerged Thursday, as Iraq's health minister estimated at least 150,000 civilians have been killed in the war - about three times previously accepted estimates.
[full story]

This guy does make the same mistake as Bush though (no...not invading a country that wasn't a threat), he doesn't realize the Lancet study was about all Iraqis, not just non-combatants [more on that point].
Poor Donnie. Maybe okaying torture wasn't such a good call after all.
Just days after his resignation, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is about to face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Couldn't be happening to a nicer warmonger. You would think, after using torture as a reason to invade, we could have avoided doing it ourselves.

You'd think...
Understand history, understand the present...
Because covert operations are usually kept secret, it is unlikely that any public hearing will ever be held to determine how many CIA associates were killed in Iraq. But this much is clear: the agency's reputation has been demolished. "It may be that the CIA actually made tremendous efforts to protect its people," says Baram. "But the perception among Iraqis is that having anything to do with Americans is dangerous to your health." The rout will make the CIA's future tasks in the Middle East--and perhaps the rest of the world--harder still to achieve.
[full story]

That's a bit of prophecy from Time Magazine the neocons somehow totally missed.
And here's another reason Bush and His Buddies are failures.
Maybe Bush can run this place after the investigations and his resignation. Keep an eye on that 'out jury' and all.
Finally, a pretty fitting closing paragraph.
A final note. I just read somewhere that some of the families of dead American soldiers are visiting the Iraqi north to see ‘what their sons and daughters died for’. If that’s the goal of the visit, then, “Ladies and gentlemen- to your right is the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, to your left is the Dawry refinery… Each of you get this, a gift bag containing a 3 by 3 color poster of Al Sayid Muqtada Al Sadr (Long May He Live And Prosper), an Ayatollah Sistani t-shirt and a map of Iran, to scale, redrawn with the Islamic Republic of South Iraq. Also… Hey you! You- the female in the back- is that a lock of hair I see? Cover it up or stay home.”

And that is what they died for.
[full post]

Friday, November 10, 2006

How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic (and big flare)

This is a wonderful guide for talking to the irrational about the fact that we only have one planet, and should probably be kinder to her than we have been.

Also, just to help you understand how fragile life can be and how quickly a "climate" can change, check out this story.
Scientists using NASA's Swift satellite have spotted a stellar flare on a nearby star so powerful that, had it been from our sun, it would have triggered a mass extinction on Earth. The flare was perhaps the most energetic magnetic stellar explosion ever detected.

The flare was seen in December 2005 on a star slightly less massive than the sun, in a two-star system called II Pegasi in the constellation Pegasus. It was about a hundred million times more energetic than the sun's typical solar flare, releasing energy equivalent to about 50 million trillion atomic bombs.

Fortunately, our sun is now a stable star that doesn't produce such powerful flares. And II Pegasi is at a safe distance of about 135 light-years from Earth.
It looks like they got a nice picture of it too.

AT & T, NSA Continue to Fight for Right to Spy on You

NEW YORK, Nov 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. government and AT&T Inc (T.N: Quote, Profile, Research), fighting against a lawsuit accusing the telephone operator of illegally allowing the government to monitor telephones and e-mails, won the right to argue for dismissal of the case before a U.S. Appeals Court on Tuesday.

In January, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a privacy advocacy group, sued AT&T, saying it collaborated with a National Security Agency spying program it said involved eavesdropping on phone calls, reading e-mails and gathering call records of millions of Americans, without warrants.

In July U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker rejected a request from AT&T, the head of U.S. intelligence and other officials to dismiss the EFF suit.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday agreed to hear an appeal by AT&T and the government of Judge Walker's decision.
FSM bless the EFF.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Republican Lose Congress, Bush Just Loses

I have to say that I'm pretty damn happy about the election. It good to see that the age old adage still holds true; "You can fool all of the people some of the time [2004], some of the people all of the time [R], but you can't fool all of the people all of the time [2006]."
Now let's get on to doing some real good....
...and holding some serious investigations into what exactly these people have been doing in the name of our country (and with all that money). I think it is probably going to end up making baby Bush and the noecons cry...

....but it's about time they felt some of the pain they have brought to so many.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Understanding the U.S. Problems in the Middle East in Two Easy Stories (updated to full circle)

Many people have a hard time understanding why the U.S. has such a difficult time in making progess in the Middle East. It's really quite simple. Let me use two recent news stories to demonstrate.

First up, the typical U.S. position.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday said it saw signs that Syria, Iran and Hezbollah militants were trying to topple the Lebanese government and warned them to keep their "hands off."

White House spokesman Tony Snow said in a statement that the United States believed one of Syria's aims was to prevent the Lebanese government from setting up a tribunal to try those accused of involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

"Support for a sovereign, democratic, and prosperous Lebanon is a key element of U.S. policy in the Middle East," Snow said.

"We are therefore increasingly concerned by mounting evidence that the Syrian and Iranian governments, Hezbollah, and their Lebanese allies are preparing plans to topple Lebanon's democratically elected government led by Prime Minister (Fouad) Siniora," he added.
In a briefing with reporters, Snow declined to cited evidence of the U.S. accusations, saying the information was classified.
Essentially, we treat countries in the M.E. (all but one) as little children. No explanation, no argument, simple commands and a "we know better than you" attitude. That first story continues with more, shall we say "overwhelming", hypocrisy.
"And if you have the example of a stable democracy that's able to fend off terror -- in the case of Lebanon, from Hezbollah -- then you have an opportunity to create an entirely different set of circumstances in the Middle East," Snow said.
The strange thing is that Hezbollah recently won kudos (locally) from fending off Israeli terror that was trying to topple their entire country.

Now we move on to the other story.
Four Palestinians, including two civilians, have been killed as Israeli forces launched a second day of strikes in Gaza, continuing one of the largest raids in the strip in recent months.

Helicopter gunships, backed by tanks and ground troops, tightened their grip on Beit Hanoun, said by the Israeli army to be a base for militants launching rocket attacks into Israel, with 300 fired from the northern town in recent months.

In response, the Palestinian President urged the US to intervene to stop the raid, which has so far killed 12 Palestinians in total, including seven militants, as well as an Israeli soldier.

Today helicopter gunships sent missiles hurtling into the town, while about 50 tanks patrolled and other tanks fired several rounds from the other side of the Israeli-Gaza border.
[full story]

The death toll for the latest incursion has recently jumped dramatically since I ran into that story. The updated version.
BEIT LAHIYA,Gaza Strip - A 17-year-old student was killed in a Gaza air strike on Monday, as Israel pressed an assault against militants that has left 50 Palestinians and one soldier dead in six days.

The offensive, the latest in four months of Israeli operations in the territory where more than 300 Palestinians have been killed since a soldier was captured in late June, has been condemned by the international community.

Student Mahmud Ashrafi was killed and nine other Palestinians, two of them five-year-olds, wounded when an Israeli aircraft fired a missile on the town of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, a medical source said.

Witnesses said the militants who were the presumed target of the air strike escaped unscathed but that the missile exploded near a bus carrying children to school.
[full story]

So..on the one hand the U.S. is warning Iran and Syria against intervening in the affairs of another country. One the other hand, the U.S. unilaterally invaded a sovereign country and plunged it into choas. One the third hand, the U.S. stands by as Isreali bombs the crap out of Lebanon, and does the same in Gaza.

Now, is it any wonder the U.S. has become so very reviled in the region? And is it any wonder that our word is now shit there?

It shouldn't be. If we truly want peace, we must do more to stop those who would continue to escalate it.

UPDATE: Understanding terror.
A young Palestinian woman has blown herself up in a suicide bomb attack on Israeli troops in northern Gaza, injuring one soldier but also wounding a number of civilians.

The suicide bombing came in the northern town of Beit Hanoun, and Israelis will see it as further evidence of a terrorist menace there.

But many Palestinians will regard the attack as an act of desperate resistance.
In the past six days more than 50 Palestinians have been killed in northern Gaza. Most of them have been militants, but civilians are continually being caught in the violence.

And nowhere has the hardship been greater than in the town of Beit Hanoun.

It has been under the very tight control of a large force of tanks and troops who have ordered the tens of thousands of local people to stay off the streets for all but very brief periods.

A senior United Nations official, John Ging, has described the atmosphere in Beit Hanoun as one of "death, destruction and despair".

People are living in constant fear.
And all Palestinians would argue that Israel grossly over-reacts to the missile attacks from Gaza.

The crudely made rockets often cause panic and minor injury, but they very rarely kill.

In response, though, Israel has launched a major military operation that has gone on for more than four months and led to the death of around 350 Palestinians - many of them civilians.

During that time, three Israelis have died. All of them were soldiers, and one of them was shot accidentally by his own side.
[full story]

And the cirlce of violence goes on...much like the circle of life...just down instead of up.

UPDATE: You want terror, you got terror.
At least 19 Palestinian civilians were killed and dozens were wounded following an Israeli artillery attack on the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, the Israeli daily Haaretz reports.
The Israeli army confirmed that an artillery battery fired 12 shells, aiming at a Qassam rockets launching pad. The shells diverted one kilometer from their destination. Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz ordered the army to investigate the incident and present him with the conclusions.

The town of Beit Hanoun is located on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, only a few miles from Israeli communities. Its citizens are caught between Palestinian terrorists who are using its location to fire at Israel, and Israeli troops who operate against them.

Hamas is now calling to resume terror attacks in Israel. Palestinian Prime Minister Isma'il Haniyya, called on the United Nations Security Council to hold an emergency session to discuss the "massacre in Beit Hanoun."
[full story]

UDPATE: Full Circle Finish.
THE United States vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution yesterday that condemns an Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip and demands Israeli troops pull out of the territory.

Ambassador John Bolton said the US was "disturbed" that the Arab-backed draft resolution is "biased against Israel and politically motivated".
A few things on this...1) I can't wait until that Neocon idiot is gone. 2) Umm,'s biased against a country that sluaghtered 19 people last week. 3) If you want a political solution, you need to be politically motivated.

The jackass continued...
He told the council: "This resolution does not display an even-handed characterisation of the recent events in Gaza, nor does it advance the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace."
Ummm, so it didn't point out that no one has been killed by Palestinian rocket fire since mid-2005 and over 300 Palestinians have been killed during the same period? Guess what...the situation is NOT "even-handed". It would have advanced the peace, what it doesn't advance is the idea that Israel can do no wrong and is justified in their killing of innocent people because they are trying to kill terrorists. That kind of "end justifies the means" logic is the reason the U.S. lost in Iraq, and is creating more terror in the world.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Clear the Desktop, Because Adoby Crashed

Red wine might be VERY good for you. I always wondered why winos lived so long.
Dallas Morning News columnist Frank Shaeffer is leaving the Republicans because he is sick of their lying b.s. That b.s. is currently being used to try and retain the power they obviously don't have the responsiblity to wield.

I'm a Christian, a writer, a military parent and a registered Republican.

On all those counts, I was disgusted by an e-mail I just received that's being circulated by campaign supporters of Republican George Allen, who's trying to retain his Senate seat in Virginia.

The message goes like this: "First, it was the Catholic priests, then it was Mark Foley, and now Jim Webb, whose sleazy novels discuss sex between very young teenagers. ... Hmmm, sounds like a perverted pedophile to me! Pass the word that we do not need any more pedophiles in office."Democrat James Webb is a war hero and former Marine, wounded in Vietnam and winner of the Navy Cross. He was writing about class and military issues long before me and has articulated the issue of how the elites have dropped the ball on military service in his classic novel Fields of Fire. By the way, that's a book Tom Wolfe calls "the greatest of the Vietnam novels."

Mr. Webb's son is a Marine in Iraq. That's an uncommon fact in this era in which most political leaders' children act as if it is only right and proper that it's someone else's war to fight.
But enough is enough. I've had it with Republican smears.

The Webb e-mail is the embodiment of the cynical Republican strategists, some of whom must know the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Was Agatha Christie a murderer because she wrote about murder?

According to the Allen camp's logic, God would be a pedophile, too. After all, we Christians believe God inspired the Bible. And God-the-author chose to include the "sleazy" story about Lot offering to send out his young virgin daughters to be raped by the men of Sodom.

The Bible has masturbation scenes, rape, pedophilia and God's favorite man – King David – warming himself with a young virgin in his old age. He's the same man God tells us committed murder after he indulged his peeping Tom fantasies.

Lucky for God-the-author that He's not running against George Allen.
Well said, and here's a welcome from the third (at least) of the country that finds both our parties useless..and the Republicans in power now damn near evil.

I'm not a Democrat (I don't think anyone even pretending to be a journalist should be registered with a party), but I am advocating voting a straight (D) ticket next week.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pre-Election Bush Bash (re: Iraq, Idiots, Etc)

note: mirrored on QP and HMKHO.
As something of an aperitif, I offer this Bjork video, which kottke loved so much.
It's quite the story within a story about a story about a book....and stays accessible through it all.

Before we get to the bashing, I just want to address the complaints of some about "bashing Bush" in general. They seem to think that actually laying out complaints is somehow unpatriotic. They seem to think that Bush is undeserving of bashing. They seem to think the U.S. has improved greatly during the 21st century. If any of them read this...realize something...I only bash Bush because of the things he has don and said. There's no other thing to go after him. It's not about who he is, or where he's's about what he has done in office, and to stay in office, that really needs to be addressed.

I think it's important to start off with something like that, because next we move on slightly more serious matters. In this case, a warning from a previous President.
Ike is a bit behind the times however. While he speaks of the "Military Industrial Complex" in this speech, the name has been updated to go along with the times. Nowadays, folks like me call 'em the "Neocon Imperial Militarists" (NIM for short).

This is some pretty serious stuff, and there's a lot more where that came from. Like this excerpt from a speech by General Smedley Butler in 1933. Yes, people have known this for a while. I'm sure I could wander through the annals of military history and find many more examples of soldiers pointing out the often inane aspects of organizaed warfare.'s General Butler's take.
War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
[full speech]

And since I'm very much into quoting combat veterans in this post, let's take a look at the thoughts of another one. While you haven't heard much from Kevin Tillman before, his brother Pat gained national fame when his death was used as a prop by Bush during the 2004 campaign [1]. Kevin goes on at lengh regarding the situation.
Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can't be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.[2]
Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It's interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.[3]
Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense. Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.
[read the whole thing, at least one troop would appreciate you taking the time to do so]

We are now, pseudo-officially on a timeline in Iraq.
The top US military commander in Iraq and the powerful American ambassador to the country gave a rare joint briefing in Baghdad today to stress that control of the country was transferring to Iraqis and that the future lay largely in local hands.

The briefing, coming two weeks before the congressional mid-term elections in America, in which the Iraq war has emerged as the defining issue, sought to clarify the US mission in the country and put forward a timeline of political developments that Washington expects Iraqi leaders to achieve within the next 12 months.
Actually, I guess it's more that the Iraqi puppet government is on a timeline. Those who have studied a bit of history regarding the U.S.'s stupid wars know what is happening now is a set up for the next stage of the great game, i.e. passing of the buck on responsibility. It simply couldn't be the people who dreamed up and started this war that were was the liberals that didn't support it and the weak-kneed transition goverment that doomed the project to failure.

The sad part is that a whole bunch of people will buy it. How else can this asshat stay stocked wiht oxycontin?
WASHINGTON — Rush Limbaugh has accused actor Michael J. Fox of exaggerating the physical effects of his Parkinson's disease in political ads urging viewers to vote for Democrats in next month's election.

The conservative radio host told listeners Monday that Fox's lurching, palsied movements in a TV ad for Missouri Senate challenger Claire McCaskill were "an act." Limbaugh noted that Fox, a longtime advocate for research on embryonic stem cells, has said he sometimes does not take his medication in order to illustrate Parkinson's severe physical effects. Uncontrolled shaking and stiffness are among the symptoms of the nerve disease.
John Rogers, Fox's spokesman, called Limbaugh's remarks "shameful."

It's an appalling, sad statement," Rogers said. "Anybody who understands Parkinson's disease knows it's because of the medicine that one experiences" body movements like those seen in the ad.

Fox, who has had Parkinson's for 15 years, is supporting candidates who would vote to expand research using stem cells from human embryos.
[full story]

It is sad to see someone who (mind boggles) gets respect from a large portion of our population saying such ridiculous things. Also, I hope the Dems keep hammering away at the anti-science, anti-evolution, anti-intelleigence culture that the Republicans brought to Washington. If Alex P. Keaton wants to join in on the bashing, I'm all for it.

UPDATE: Some days I actually have hope.
I said before is, it's like saying a person with cancer is faking it because they lost their hair," Kirby said. "There's no logic to it."

For the last six years, Kirby has watched her husband, Kevin, suffer from Parkinson's. His tremors and twitches are not as severe as Fox's.

Kirby emailed everyone she knows to boycott advertisers of the Limbaugh show, and she took it a step further.

"We've been Republicans, dyed in the wool, forever, and we didn't vote Republican at all this time," Kirby said.

Limbaugh has since apologized for his remarks. But the Kirbys say the damage is done.
[full story]

That's enough about what level of idiot it takes to continue supporting Bush. If there are still a few who don't get it, this next link stands as even more evidence that we are in bad shape...and will get worse if we don't come up with a sane Iraq policy.
Troops With Stress Disorders Being Redeployed
(CBS News) Army Staff Sgt. Bryce Syverson spent 15 months in Iraq before he was diagnosed by military doctors with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sent to the psychiatric unit at Walter Reed Medical Center, CBS News correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi reports.

"It ended up they just took his weapon away from him and said he was non-deployable and couldn't have a weapon," says his father, Larry Syverson. "He was on suicide watch in a lockdown."

That was last August. This August, he was deployed to Ramadi, in the heart of the Sunni triangle -- and he had a weapon.

He's still there. Under pressure to maintain troop levels, military doctors tell CBS News it's become a "common practice" to recycle soldiers with mental disorders back into combat.
[full story] Cutting corners like this will only lead to another Haditha.

Things are so bad for Bush now, even fate is conspiring to bash him.
Everything seemed to be going wrong for Bush last week, even the metaphors. On the way to the Allen fund raiser, we stopped for a photo op at a picturesque farm stand outside Richmond. There was a pile of pumpkins sitting on a flatbed truck, and both Allen and Bush tried to hoist an aesthetically pleasing pumpkin by the stem. Both stems snapped. "If you break it, you pay for it, Mr. President," said Richard Keil of Bloomberg News, echoing Colin Powell's famous rule at the outset of the Iraq war. Bush didn't seem to get the joke. "I suppose you're right," he said, and tried to buy the broken pumpkin.
[full story]

What's really sad is that the nightmare continues, and Bush is just now realizing how bad it is. Read this and let me know if you can find the Orwellian doublespeak.
Despite conceding painful losses, Bush said victory was essential in Iraq as part of the broader war on terror.

"We're winning and we will win, unless we leave before the job is done," he said.

Bush said that as those fighting American and Iraqi forces change their strategies, the United States is also adjusting its military tactics.

"Americans have no intention of taking sides in a sectarian struggle or standing in the crossfire between rival factions," he said.
[full story]

For those from the 20th Century visiting the 21st, we have an update for you. "Civil War" is now called "Sectarian Struggle". Yes, the alliteration is nice, but it still means countryman killing countryman....and countrywoman and countrychildren. Geez, maybe Bush can use "the google" to figure out WTF is going on in the's worked wonders for me.

Pre-pre-final link: It looks like others have noticed, as I did, that the RNC is now airing Al Qeada Terror™ Brand commericals.
I'm not at all sure terrorists would consider this footage useful for propaganda purposes, but a reasonable case can be made — indeed, has been made — that the latest commercial from the Republican National Committee is far closer to an "enemy propaganda film" than anything we've seen on CNN.
[full post]

Pre-final link: Keith Olbermann also picked up on this obvious meme...and done run with it. Arianna did the same.

Finally...please...suck it up and vote for the Dems.

Bonus: Forward looking link.
Bush faces political nightmare if Democrats win

WASHINGTON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - If Democrats win control of the U.S. Congress in the Nov. 7 election, it would turn the Capitol upside down and create a political nightmare for the already embattled President George W. Bush.

If his Republicans lose the majority, Bush would hear newly empowered calls to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and would suddenly face promised Democratic-led congressional investigations with subpoena power into the unpopular war.

Bush, whose public approval ratings are below 40 percent, would also face Democratic demands he offer "mainstream" rather than "right-wing" judicial nominees if he wants them confirmed.
[full story] This is the hope. There have been so many shady deals and strange b.s. in D.C. that hasn't been investigated while Bush has been in control, it will be nice to see some accountability. Also, I think the last few years have illustrated how one-party control of the country (any country) is not a good thing.

Arrogance and stupidity indeed [4].

[1] via fdl via E&P
Mary, the mother, complained to the Post that the government used her son for weeks after his death. She said she was particularly offended when President Bush offered a taped memorial message to Tillman at a Cardinals football game shortly before the presidential election last fall.

[2] This is perhaps the worst part of the situation, and why Bush has been so bad for America, and why...even if Bush recalled the concept of honor and resigned tomorrow...we would still face an uphill climb to get back where from we came.
UNITED NATIONS --Several governments around the world have tried to rebut criticism of how they handle detainees by claiming they are only following the U.S. example in the war on terror, the U.N. anti-torture chief said Monday.

Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special investigator on torture, said that when he criticizes governments for their questionable treatment of detainees, they respond by telling him that if the United States does something, it must be all right. He would not name any countries except for Jordan.

"The United States has been the pioneer, if you wish, of human rights and is a country that has a high reputation in the world," Nowak told a news conference. "Today, many other governments are kind of saying, 'But why are you criticizing us, we are not doing something different than what the United States is doing?'"
[full story]

[3] This phenomenon was noted in a recent post, "Support our Oops". I've got the money quote from Bush here.

BAGHDAD -- A senior US diplomat said the United States had shown "arrogance" and "stupidity" in Iraq but was now ready to talk with any group except Al Qaeda in Iraq to facilitate national reconciliation.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera television aired late yesterday, Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department offered an unusually candid assessment of America's war in Iraq.

"We tried to do our best, but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq," he said.
The sad part? He backed off his truth telling after a call from home mentioned how "truth" went of style around 2000 and "truthiness" is all the rage nowadays.

Ed note: Yea, I've been gone for a while. The problems still remain, but I'm trying to work through them with my hosting company.

UPDATE: What's so funny, Mr. President?

UPDATE: Ever seen a grown man fellate a Vice-President (who likes being compared to Darth Vader?)?

Here ya go.

Can I please have 5 minutes on tape with Cheney? He can be exposed as an evil man in 2 minutes or less, with a couple simple questions. The fact that he talks about "the terrorists" taking actions that could kill hundreds of thousands of people somehow overwhelms the fact that HE HAS TAKEN ACTIONS THAT HAVE KILLED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE.

Neocons believe in the things most of all.
1) Might Makes Right.
2) The Ends Justify the Means.

Once you understand this, you'll know why they are evil. Or, coversely, you can just look at what they've done.

UPDATE: Here's Imus on Limbaugh. Good way to put it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fight Hearts Opec Brawls (Iraq Still Sucks)

Might I suggest a quick Fight Club refresher?

Or maybe a horrid way to assure the loss of hearts and minds?

OPEC has done all they can for Republican election efforts (i.e. lowering gas prices) and will now cut production.
One analyst said some OPEC policymakers wanted to make deeper cuts in output but felt hamstrung by mid-term elections in the United States, where fuel prices are a political issue.

"If it weren't for the U.S. election and the high prices we've had there would be a better than 50 percent chance that OPEC would cut more than a million barrels," he said.

OPEC's official ceiling has been at 28 million bpd since July 2005. During that time output has shifted around 500,000 bpd either side of the official limit.
Some memorable sports brawls. Nolan Ryan is still one of my heroes (saw his 7th no-hitter from 5 rows behind home plate).

Duh, duh, and duh.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The World's Oil :: Projection

The exectuive summary speaks for itself.
This article is a first simplistic (but comprehensive) assessment of World Oil Exports, here defined has the total amount of liquid hydrocarbons that are surpluses in producing countries. This assessment is made by projecting in to the future fixed change rates that reflect current trends in liquids production and consumption in countries where presently the difference between the two is positive. The outcome of this assessment is worrisome.
My less. A lot less.

It should also be noted that I follow my own advice.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Industry Self-Policing Doesn't Work

Industry self-policing doesn't work. I thought Enron taught us that. Here's the latest example, and this is damn near straight out of Fast Food Nation.
While officials praised a Salinas company Monday for voluntarily recalling potentially contaminated lettuce over the weekend, consumer advocates said the case raises more questions about whether the produce industry should be policing itself.

A state Senate committee will hold a hearing in Sacramento on Wednesday to review whether the industry and government are doing enough to prevent and respond to outbreaks of food contamination. The lettuce recall and a recent spate of three deaths and numerous illnesses traced to a separate problem with Salinas Valley spinach also have drawn new calls for regulation in Congress.

``Clearly the company did the right thing,'' said Dr. David Acheson, a top food safety official with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, referring to the decision by the Nunes Co. to recall more than 8,500 cartons of its green leaf lettuce after finding E. coli bacteria in water from a reservoir that was used to irrigate the crop.

So far there is no evidence that the lettuce itself was contaminated, and no illnesses have been reported.
Read the rest of the article for more arguments from both sides. The effectiveness of self-policing is, uh, readily apparent.
114 Sick From Spinach E.Coli; No Tampering Found
(AP) SAN JUAN BAUTISTA Tampering is not suspected in an outbreak of E. coli linked to fresh spinach, federal health officials said Monday as they continue to probe the source of the contamination and warned consumers to continue to avoid eating fresh spinach products.

The Food and Drug Administration has linked a California company's fresh spinach to the outbreak, which as of Monday afternoon had killed one person and sickened at least 114 others. Investigators are working to pinpoint the source of the bacteria. Possible sources include contaminated irrigation water.
[the story that started it all] One could also point to the gutted EPA and FDA under the Neocons as a source for worry, but the simple fact is that self-policing doesn't work (unless by "work" you mean make more money with more risk)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Nuclear dud in NK?

Some more skeptical analysis for the North Korea nuke test earlier this week. Essentially the point is that this was either a small test (smallest a large factor), thick bedrock in NK, or something else. More coming later.
There is lots of data floating around: The CTBTO called it 4.0; The South Koreans report 3.58-3.7.

You're thinking, 3.6, 4.2, in that neighborhood. Seismic scales, like the Richter, are logarithmic, so that neighborhood can be pretty big.

But even at 4.2, the test was probablya dud.

Estimating the yield is tricky business, because it depends on the geology of the test site. The South Koreans called the yield half a kiloton (550 tons), which is more or less -- a factor of two -- consistent with the relationship for tests in that yield range at the Soviet Shagan test site:

Mb = 4.262 + .973LogW

Where Mb is the magnitude of the body wave, and W is the yield.

3.58-3.7 gives you a couple hundred tons (not kilotons), which is pretty close in this business unless you're really math positive. The same equation, given the US estimate of 4.2, yields (pun intended) around a kiloton.

Ride the Lightning, Indeed

A WOMAN has suffered severe burning to her anus after being struck by lightning which hit her in the mouth and passed right through her body.

Natasha Timarovic, 27, was cleaning her teeth at home when lightning struck the building.

She said: "I had just put my mouth under the tap to rinse away the toothpaste when the lightning must have struck the building.

I don't remember much after that, but I was later told that the lightning had travelled down the water pipe and struck me on the mouth, passing through my body.

It was incredibly painful, I felt it pass through my torso and then I don't remember much at all." Doctors at the city hospital where she was treated for burns to the mouth and rear said: "The accident is bizarre but not impossible.

She was wearing rubber bathroom shoes at the time and so instead of earthing through her feet it appears the electricity shot out of her backside," a medic told local television news channel, 24 Sata.

This is Good Science

This is sooo much better a better use for liquid fuels than ICBMs.
CNN) -- Spectacular new images of Mars could reveal clues about tens of millions of years of the red planet's history.

NASA has just released photos taken from above the planet by the spacecraft Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, showing the rover Opportunity perched next to the enormous Victoria Crater. Four or five football stadiums could fit inside the crater.

"We've taken approximately 160,000 photographs from Spirit and Opportunity," said Jim Bell, lead scientist for the rover's panoramic camera. "The images that have come down just this week have instantly vaulted to my top 10 list," he said.

The rovers Spirt and Opportunity landed on Mars three weeks apart in January 2004.

The images were taken from about 170 miles above the Martian surface, revealing information about the sedimentary layering of the planet.
And here's why NASA should be getting proper respects from everyone, everywhere.
Few scientists imagined the two robots would still be gathering information. The robots, about the size of motorized golf carts, have continued to function, 10 times longer than expected.

"Today is day 960 of Opportunity's 90-day mission to Mars," said Steve Squyres from Cornell University.
Getting an order of magnitude more performance out of something that has never been done before is certainly worth a Nobel, IMHO. Or at least a few years of solid grant money.

Friday, October 06, 2006


It's certainly something, all right.

pwning the Confederate Yankee

This is as easy as shooting sexual predators in Congress (i.e. fish in a barrel).

Read the thread for the pwnage.

BTW, I've run into these jackholes before...details
on is still frickin' down...grrr...

pwning the Confederate Yankee

This is as easy as shooting sexual predators in Congress (i.e. fish in a barrel).

Read the thread for the pwnage.

BTW, I've run into these jackholes before...details
on is still frickin' down...grrr...

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Do Not Switch to Beta Blogger unless you just want to play around. It will switch ALL of your blogs over, take away your ability to post, break most compatability...and there's no way back.

If they had even warned of ONE of these things when asking, I never would have hit the button. Now all my shit is busted.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

They Want Your Soul

They Want Your Soul - 720x480 High-Res - Google Video
This is a pretty wild sci-fi/conspiracy theory mash-up. It goes from 9/11 through the WoT™, through a bunch of speculative/prototype military/tracking tech, and then takes it home with the "hive mind", "transhumanists", and quotes from Revelation.

Personally I'd say it makes for a pretty good outline of a sci-fi story. The only way it will/could come about in reality is if people get so pessimistic and cynical they stop trying to make a better world.

So, uh, what do you want to do tonight Brain?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Dark Side of the Rainbow

Click the play icon to start the video.
Please be patient while your media loads.

Great example of how Pink Floyd synchronized 'The Dark Side of the Moon' with 'The Wizard of Oz'.

Having watctched this before, and read a bit about Floyd, I'd say it is fairly likely the ablum was designed this way.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Won't somebody think of the prochlorococci?

APOD: 2006 September 27- Earth from Saturn
"Explanation: What's that pale blue dot in this image taken from Saturn? Earth. The robotic Cassini spacecraft looked back toward its old home world earlier this month as it orbited Saturn. Using Saturn itself to block the bright Sun, Cassini imaged a faint dot on the right of the above photograph. That dot is expanded on the image inset, where a slight elongation in the direction of Earth's Moon is visible. Vast water oceans make Earth's reflection of sunlight somewhat blue. Earth is home to over six billion humans and over one octillion Prochlorococcus. "
Won't somebody think of the prochlorococci?

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Creeping Corporate Control of Culture

Microsoft Media Player shreds your rights
"THINK DRM WAS bad already? Think I was joking when I said the plan was to start with barely tolerable incursions on your rights, then turn the thumbscrews? Welcome to Windows Media Player 11, and the rights get chipped away a lot more. Get used to the feeling, if you buy DRM infected media, you will only have this happen with increasing rapidity.

One of the problems with WiMP11 is licensing and backing it up. If you buy media with DRM infections, you can't move the files from PC to PC, or at least you can't and have them play on the new box. If you want the grand privilege of moving that content, you need to get the approval of the content mafia, sign your life away, and use the tools they give you. If you want to do it in other ways, you are either a lawbreaker or following the
advice of J Allard. Wait, same thing.

So, in WiMP10, you just backed up your licenses, and stored them in a safe place. Buying DRM infections gets you a bunch of bits and a promise not to sue, but really nothing more. The content mafia will do anything in its power, from buying government to rootkitting you in order to protect those bits, and backing them up leaves a minor loophole while affording the user a whole lot of protection.

Guess which one wins, minor loophole or major consumer rights? Yes, WiMP11 will no longer allow you the privilege of backing up your licenses,"

Clinton V. Wallace, A bit of History and some Updates

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: Who wanted to "cut and run" from Somalia?

The facts, as they were.
"President Clinton's response was refreshingly aggressive because the premise of the question is so patently and outrageously false. Clinton responded: 'They were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day after we were involved in 'Black Hawk down,' and I refused to do it and stayed six months and had an orderly transfer to the United Nations.'President Clinton's response was refreshingly aggressive because the premise of the question is so patently and outrageously false. Clinton responded: 'They were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day after we were involved in 'Black Hawk down,' and I refused to do it and stayed six months and had an orderly transfer to the United Nations.'"
The rest of the post is quotes from Senate Republicans, and others, indicating that pundit Chris Wallace's questions during the Bill Clinton invterview (watch it here), were false and misleading.

The funny part about this story is how quickly it is spreading. On the one hand (the right one) we see an attempt to portray Chris Wallace as even-handed. This fails utterly when you look at a question Wallace asked Rumsfeld.
MR. WALLACE: I think a lot of people in Washington are trying to figure out, to understand, Richard Clarke; to make sense of what he has said and of apparent contradictions in his story. Is he telling the truth or is he pushing an agenda? What do you make of his basic charge that pre-9/11 that this government, the Bush administration largely ignored the threat from al Qaeda?
That, boys and girls, is what is called a "softball". There are any number of ways Rumsfeld could have spun it...and he did.

Now let's look at Wallace's history. Here's a "tough question" he asked Condi Rice a while back.
MR. WALLACE: The Democrats' number two man in the Senate, Dick Durbin, created quite a stir this week when he compared U.S. treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo to Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, and the killing fields of Cambodia. Does it make it harder for you to do your job as you travel through the Mideast and push U.S. policy on human rights and democracy when a top American official says we are part of the problem?
Now, one might think that Abu Grahib, Guantanamo, and the massacre at Haditha would have made her job more difficult...but's not our actions, it's Democrat reactions to those actions that are the real problem.

Next, on Iran.
TEHRAN - In a sign of both historical de ja vu and Chomskyian "manufacturing consensus", the US media is nowadays filled with news on Iran's nuclear threat, thus preparing the American public for yet another Middle East conflict without, however, maintaining a modicum of balance by reflecting the Iranian point of view.

This much is clear in a Fox News special, titled "Iran: The Nuclear Threat", that aired on Sunday, May 8. Hosted by Chris Wallace (with whom this author worked as an Iran expert at Wallace's previous home, ABC News), this program lacked the minutest evidence of objectivity, displaying instead piles of prejudice on top of prejudice reminding one of the Iraq weapons of mass destruction threat played up by the right-wing, sensationalist, network during 2002 and early 2003, duping millions of American viewers about the authenticity of the Bush administration's allegations against the regime of Saddam Hussain.

The Fox program on Iran is simply the latest example of how the US media has traded political favoritism to the White House, and its fierce demonization of Iran, for objective news.
[full story]

More from Greenwald

Chris Wallace has forgotten the face of his father. [breaking a commandment, that's a paddling]

Chris Wallace lied during the interview.

UPDATE: The White House per...with obfuscations and outright falsehood.
"That's the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now," Mr Clinton said.

"They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try, they did not try."

'Battle plans'

Ms Rice responded: "What we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years.

"The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there and didn't do that is just flatly false - and I think the 9/11 commission understood that."
[full story] Umm...Ms. Rice? Clinton shot cruise missiles at those folks. If what you did was "at least as aggressive"...why the massive cover-up? I mean, you would have told us if you fired cruise missiles at someone, right? I really don't recall the pre-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan...WTF, eh?

Then it gets worse.
She also disputed Mr Clinton's statement that he "left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy" for incoming officials when he left office, including "battle plans" to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taleban regime and launch a full-scale search for Bin Laden.

"We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al-Qaeda," she said.

"For instance, big pieces were missing, like an approach to Pakistan that might work, because without Pakistan you weren't going to get Afghanistan."
You know...I have to think it's pretty funny that they didn't give a plan for Pakistan (sorry, a "comprehensive", Ms. Rice, told the 9/11 commision they gave you ideas and "action items", i.e. the definition of "plan")...sorry, err, it's funny you blame Clinton for not having a Pakistan plan, only days after it has surfaced that the plan ya'll came up with for Pakistan was "do what we say or we bomb you back to the stone age".

You know, maybe it all was Clinton's fault. And I mean the whole debacle that has been the Bush Years. If only he'd left a comprehensive plan on how to be President, maybe we could have avoided all this crap, and Bush could have gotten busted for blowing a reporter, rather than blowing up Iraq.

UPDATE: Rice bust lying about her statement.
JIDDA, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 2 — A review of White House records has determined that George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, did brief Condoleezza Rice and other top officials on July 10, 2001, about the looming threat from Al Qaeda, a State Department spokesman said Monday.
The account by Sean McCormack came hours after Ms. Rice, the secretary of state, told reporters aboard her airplane that she did not recall the specific meeting on July 10, 2001, noting that she had met repeatedly with Mr. Tenet that summer about terrorist threats. Ms. Rice, the national security adviser at the time, said it was “incomprehensible” she ignored dire terrorist threats two months before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Officials now agree that on July 10, 2001, Mr. Tenet and his counterterrorism deputy, J. Cofer Black, were so alarmed about an impending Al Qaeda attack that they demanded an emergency meeting at the White House with Ms. Rice and her National Security Council staff.

According to two former intelligence officials, Mr. Tenet told those assembled at the White House about the growing body of intelligence the Central Intelligence Agency had collected pointing to an impending Al Qaeda attack.
[full story]

The Capital Times :: God the Killer

The Capital Times

There is a quote that always jumps to my mind* when Western culture accuses Islmamic culture of being too violent.
"Dear Editor: Bishop Robert Morlino's defense of the pope's recent comments on the Muslim religion (Sept. 16) insisted: 'Killing the innocent and violence are contrary to reason, and God, who never acts contrary to reason, would never authorize that.'

Has Bishop Morlino read the Bible? There is no other book in which life is so cheap! Killing in the 'Good Book' is of biblical proportions.

It takes eight pages in Ruth Hurmence Green's book, 'The Born Again Skeptic's Guide to the Bible,' just to list the mass killings ordered, committed or approved by the biblical deity. These range from drowning all but eight of the world's human inhabitants to merciless scorched-earth commandments to 'utterly destroy' other nations (Deut. 7:1-2). There are countless biblical edicts to kill the innocent."
The quote is as follows.
Matthew 7:3-- Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but don't consider the beam that is in your own eye?

4-- Or how will you tell your brother,'Let me remove the speck from your eye;' and behold, the beam is in your own eye?

5-- You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye.

U.S. to relax air travel restrictions - Yahoo! News

U.S. to relax air travel restrictions - Yahoo! News

I think somebody left out the "stupid" in front of "air travel restrictions" in that title.
"WASHINGTON - The government is partially lifting its ban against carrying liquids and gels onto airliners, instituted after a plot to bomb jets flying into the United States was foiled, an administration official said Monday.

A Homeland Security Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made, said that most liquids and gels that air travelers purchase in secure areas of airports will now be allowed on planes."
The funny part? We're still going to be wasting time and money on non-existent threats.
New procedures also were being announced for products like lip gloss and hand lotion that passengers bring to the airport. Previously, those liquids have been confiscated at security checkpoints. Now, the official said, those products will be put in clear plastic bags at the checkpoint, screened and returned to the passenger if they pass screening.
See? Twice the time wasted, and no real change in anything. Frickin' retarded.

Middle East Times:: Summary of Middle East Reaction to U.N. Speeches

Middle East Times

This is what it looks like when the people one is purporting to help believe one is lacking in credibility.
"The state-run paper said the US president portrayed the region as enjoying stability due to the help of his administration, but mentioned Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinian territories, and Sudan as points of concern. The newspaper insisted that Bush failed to see that these countries he mentioned 'constitute the majority of the Middle East.'

It said Bush's 'ignorant' statements failed to mention that Israel was among the 'extremist forces and does not consider that his own administration includes extremists who are pushing the region and the world towards more conflicts.' "

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dennis Miller’s H&C lame “Real Free Speech”

Crooks and Liars » Dennis Miller’s H&C lame “Real Free Speech”

This has to be the worst comedic performance I've seen since Strom Sturmond did his take on Dave Chappelle's "Nigga Family" sketch.

Dave's original is below...

Iran's proud but discreet Jews

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran's proud but discreet JewsThe more you know...
"Although Iran and Israel are bitter enemies, few know that Iran is home to the largest number of Jews anywhere in the Middle East outside Israel.

About 25,000 Jews live in Iran and most are determined to remain no matter what the pressures - as proud of their Iranian culture as of their Jewish roots.

It is dawn in the Yusufabad synagogue in Tehran and Iranian Jews bring out the Torah and read the ancient text before making their way to work.

It is not a sight you would expect in a revolutionary Islamic state, but there are synagogues dotted all over Iran where Jews discreetly practise their religion. "
...the less you want to kill.

Caerphilly Castle - HDR

Caerphilly Castle - HDR, originally uploaded by MerthyrGuy.

Nice HDR (high dynamic range) castle photo.

My personal introduction to HDR came through Half-Life 2, but I have to looks pretty cool IRL as well.

U.S. Army defends Raytheon contract amid storm

U.S. Army defends Raytheon contract amid storm - Yahoo! News
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Raytheon Co. mini-missile defense system at the heart of a U.S. Army weapons-buying storm was clearly the best choice under the circumstances, a top general told Congress Thursday.

Army officials opted in April to forego a rival Israeli system to boost combat vehicle protection from rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles, even though it is closer to being ready for use.

A September 6 NBC News report on the issue was 'biased, unfair and truly disheartening,' Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, deputy assistant army secretary for acquisition, told a House of Representatives' Armed Services subcommittee."
Standard arms-buying rip-offs. The MIC wins again, and we buy more useless, expensive, kill-toys.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Why the U.S. is Losing/Lost Iraq

Informed Comment

On the current "mission" in Iraq. BTW, have many people realized that the Generals are already assuming that beating the insurgency is impossible for U.S. forces? And that our "mission" now is to train Iraqis to fight...Iraqis.
"The US Department of Defense has done some opinion polling that indicates that 3/4s of Iraqi Sunnis now support what the Pentagon calls the 'insurgency'. When the DoD started doing polling on the subject in 2003, they found that 14 percent of Sunni Arabs supported the insurgency. If there are 5 million Sunni Arabs, let us say that 1.5 million are less than 15 years of age. Of the 3.5 million left, half are women and less likely to actually engage in violence, though they might offer support for it. So that is 1.75 million men. At 75%, that is 1.3 million male supporters of the guerrilla movement.

Of the 147,000 US troops in Iraq, a very large number of which now seem to be in and around Baghdad itself, I don't know exactly how many are fighters. The traditional rule of thumb is 10%, but I read somewhere that the percentage is much higher in this war. A reader who served over there challenged the latter assertion and said that no, it is just 10%.

If we really just have 14,700 fighters facing 1.3 million Sunni guerrilla supporters, it isn't any mystery why things in Iraq are as they are and why Gen. Casey openly admits that we are not there to win, just to keep a lid on. I can't imagine how they could hope even to keep a lid on. Given the figures released today, I'd say it isn't much of a lid (though remember that the death figures could easily be twice or ten times as bad.)

The other thing to remember is that the Sunni Arab areas have been under US military occupation for the past over 3 years, and that this vast increase in support for the guerrilla movement is therefore in some large part the fault of bad counter-insurgency tactics by the US military. They were all reading that stupid, racist tract, Raphael Patai's The Arab Mind, which says you can control Arabs by humiliating them. What Patai didn't tell them is that yes, you can for a short while, but then in order to recover his self-respect, the humiliated Arab has to spend the rest of his life trying to kill you, and so do his 5 brothers and 25 cousins. "
UPDATE: What it's like in the losing/lost Iraq.
BAGHDAD — On a recent Sunday, I was buying groceries in my beloved Amariya neighborhood in western Baghdad when I heard the sound of an AK-47 for about three seconds. It was close but not very close, so I continued shopping.

As I took a right turn on Munadhama Street, I saw a man lying on the ground in a small pool of blood. He wasn't dead.

The idea of stopping to help or to take him to a hospital crossed my mind, but I didn't dare. Cars passed without stopping. Pedestrians and shop owners kept doing what they were doing, pretending nothing had happened.

I was still looking at the wounded man and blaming myself for not stopping to help. Other shoppers peered at him from a distance, sorrowful and compassionate, but did nothing.
It used to be a nice upper-middle-class neighborhood, bustling with commerce and traffic. On the main street, ice cream parlors, hamburger stands and take-away restaurants competed for space. We would rent videos and buy household appliances.

Until 2005, we were mostly unaffected by violence. We would hear shootings and explosions now and again, but compared with other places in Baghdad, it was relatively peaceful.

Then, late in 2005, someone blew up three supermarkets in the area. Shops started closing. Most of the small number of Shiite Muslim families moved out. The commercial street became a ghost road.

On Christmas Day last year, we visited — as always — our local church, St. Thomas, in Mansour. It was half-empty. Some members of the congregation had left the country; others feared coming to church after a series of attacks against Christians.

American troops, who patrol the neighborhood in Humvees, have also become edgy. Get too close, and they'll shoot. A colleague — an interpreter and physician — was shot and killed by soldiers last year on his way home from a shopping trip. He hadn't noticed the Humvees parked on the street.
Read the whole thing.

Finally, what we've "accomplished" in Iraq.
ARBIL, 20 September (IRIN) - Humanitarian organisations and local authorities in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region have expressed concerns over the living conditions of more than 900 families who have been displaced from their villages on the border strip between Iran and Iraq as a result of heavy artillery shelling by Iranian forces.

"The situation has not yet reached the level of disaster," said Jalal Mahmoud Saeed, the head of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society's office in the northeastern province of Sulaimaniya. "But if the bombardments continue in future, it may reach disaster level."

Since last May, parts of Kurdish-dominated northern Iraq have been the targets of sporadic bombardments by Iranian and Turkish armies, for the alleged presence of Kurdish rebels there.
We have, in the Kurdish north, created a safe haven for terrorists (they've been blowing up people in Turkey rather regularly) that attack both Turkey and Iran.

Given the "Bush Doctrine", both Iran and Turkey are now completely justified in invading Iraqi Kurdistan and establishing a new government therein.

Yes, the "Bush Doctrine" is retarded.

UDPATE: Here we get to see how frickin' retarded the namesake for the "Bush Doctrine" actually is.

I love how he says the U.S. ambassador and top general are "on the ground". But really, I like how the reporter uses the phrase "divorced from reality". That was one of Gannon's catch phrases.[1]

[1] Jeff Gannon was an ultra-conservative plant in the White House (and gay call guy on the side) that was used by Bush to avoid real questions during a press conference.

The Devil and Hugo Chavez The Devil and Hugo Chavez -- Page 1
"When a Mexican reporter asked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a question during a press conference at the United Nations this afternoon, Chavez beamed and told the room that he was a great fan of the Mexican Revolution hero Pancho Villa. 'Especially the part,' Chavez said, 'when Villa invaded the United States.' True to his boisterous style, Chavez was in the midst of his own invasion of New York City, where he brought his unabashedly radical, left-wing and anti-U.S. politics to the U.N.'s annual General Assembly. In a speech Wednesday morning to the Assembly, Chavez, as he has done several times before, called President Bush 'the devil.' Referring to Bush's own U.N. speech yesterday, Chavez said, 'The devil came right here... And it still smells of sulfur today.' "
Cheers to Time for recalling that Chavez has used this rhetoric repeatedly. It's sad that U.S. actions under the Neocons make Iran and Venezuela's Presidents look sane by comparison.

U.S. official questions regulatory scrutiny of Apple

U.S. official questions regulatory scrutiny of Apple -

Welcome to Bizarro Washington.
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top U.S. antitrust official on Wednesday urged foreign governments to think twice before interfering with popular new technologies, singling out overseas scrutiny of Apple Computer Inc.'s (AAPL.O) iTunes online music service as an example of misguided enforcement.

Justice Department antitrust chief Thomas Barnett cited proposals by some officials overseas to impose restrictions on iTunes as an example of overzealous regulation that he said could discourage innovation and hurt consumers.

Barnett warned about a rise in 'regulatory second-guessing' that 'threatens to harm the very consumers it claims to help.'"
For those who missed it, a top U.S. antitrust official is defending Apple's anti-competitive behaviour.

The back story...all music bought on iTunes is LOCKED into Apple's players (iPods). Now, some countries think that's a bit of illegal product tie-in (kinda like selling coffee that only works on a particular companies coffee-makers). The U.S. government on the other hand, in it's strive for fascist integration between business and government, thinks all consumers should be hog-tied, have no choice in the marketplace, and pay out the ass for everything.

Defensive barrier planned for Baghdad | Chicago Tribune

Defensive barrier planned for Baghdad | Chicago Tribune

Riiight...a wall/moat around the city. That'll work.
"BAGHDAD -- In the latest proposal to curb the seemingly unstoppable violence in Baghdad, the Iraqi government is planning to build a defensive barrier around the city to keep out terrorists and militants who might be planning attacks.

Iraq's Interior Ministry said Friday that the government wants to dig a trench encircling the capital. At a news conference in Washington, President Bush said at least part of the barrier would be a berm."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thai army declares nationwide martial law

Thai army declares nationwide martial law | Top News |
"BANGKOK (Reuters) - The Thai army declared martial law nationwide in the early hours of Wednesday after a coup to dismiss Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a coup spokesman said in a televised address.

He also ordered all soldiers to report to their barracks and banned troop movements unauthorized by the coup leaders.

The army took control of Bangkok and announced it would set up a commission to reform the constitution despite Thaksin declaring a state of emergency from New York.

After tanks surrounded Government House in the country's first coup in 15 years, all television channels relayed a written statement saying the armed forces and police were in control of Bangkok and surrounding provinces, and appealed for calm."
Jeez, it's already been 15 years since a coup? My, how the time flies.

Good To Know

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That's nice... :-)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Diminished Public Appetite for Military Force and Mideast Oil

Pew Research Center: A Diminished Public Appetite for Military Force and Mideast Oil

Good to see America slowly returning to rational mode.
"Five years later, Americans' views of the impact of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have changed little, but opinions about how best to protect against future attacks have shifted substantially. In particular, far more Americans say reducing America's overseas military presence, rather than expanding it, will have a greater effect in reducing the threat of terrorism.

By a 45% to 32% margin, more Americans believe that the best way to reduce the threat of terrorist attacks on the U.S. is to decrease, not increase, America's military presence overseas. This is a stark reversal from the public's position on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. In the summer of 2002, before serious public discussion of removing Saddam Hussein from power had begun, nearly half (48%) said that the best way to reduce terrorism was to increase our military involvement overseas, while just 29% said less involvement would make us safer.

Similarly, in 2002 a 58% majority felt that military strikes against nations developing nuclear weapons were a very important way to reduce future terrorism. Today, just 43% express the same level of support for such action."
We need a new Manhattan Project. Except this time it needs to be for the power directly, not the weapons to secure the power.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pope remarks reveal harder stance

BBC NEWS | Europe | Pope remarks reveal harder stance
"The furore over the Pope's remarks about Islam has left many Catholics inside and outside the Vatican shaking their heads in disbelief.

Aides of Benedict XVI are dismayed that a quotation used to illustrate a philosophical argument should have provoked such anger from Muslims.

But for others, the row has highlighted their concerns about the Pope's attitude towards the Church's relations with the Islamic world. "
Realize folks, talking about Muhammed, or making fun of him, is very much liking making fun of the 2nd Coming of Christ after it has happened to American Fundies.

Saying that such a figure (Messenger/Messiah) offered only evil things to the world is pretty much fightin' words.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Nancy Grace, Vampire

Missing Fla. Boy's Mom Commits Suicide -

What a horrid story.
"LEESBURG, Fla. - Two weeks after telling police that her son had been snatched from his crib, Melinda Duckett found herself reeling in an interview with TV's famously prosecutorial Nancy Grace. Before it was over, Grace was pounding her desk and loudly demanding to know: 'Where were you? Why aren't you telling us where you were that day?'

A day after the taping, Duckett, 21, shot herself to death, deepening the mystery of what happened to the boy."
I had the misfortune of catching Nancy Grace's opening two minutes last night, and I must say, she is an evil vampire, sucking the blood out of our system of justice.

This is a woman who prosecutes people on the public television. No standards for evidence, no disallowing of hearsay, no appeals, no justice. All vampire.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Partition Debate Splits Iraq

Partition Debate Splits Iraq - World Opinion Roundup

The White House is wrong...again...
"Last month, the White House dismissed the idea that Iraq should be divided into three countries as an impractical scenario that most Iraqis don't want.

But the biggest Shiite party of the Iraqi parliament is calling for the creation of autonomous regions in Iraq, sparking a debate in the war-torn country's coalition government. Opponents -- namely Sunni Arab leaders and Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr -- say the plan amounts to the de facto partitioning of Iraq.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Abdulaziz Al-Hakim lobbied for the establishment of a federal Shiite region consisting of eight districts. 'Al-Hakim, who is the chairman of the Iranian-backed Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), said the Shiite south should become one of several regions which would comprise an Iraqi federation.' "
It's funny hearing how much Tony Snow knows about what Iraq wants. What isn't particularly funny is realizing the strongest parties in Iraq are allied with Iran.


Banker's Killing A Blow For Russia

Banker's Killing A Blow For Russia -
"The assassination of Andrei Kozlov, Russia's second-ranking central banker, provides a political test for President Vladimir Putin and a test of nerves for foreign bankers and investors who have started to put more faith in a successful outcome to the country's transition from financial lawlessness to a modern economy."

An Apology Regarding Karl Rove

STLtoday - News - Columnists

Very nicely put "apology".
"After reviewing all this material, I feel obliged to say: I'm sorry Karl Rove . . . still has a job.

With respect to the specifics, Armitage or no Armitage:"
Read the linked article for the facts behind the b.s.

Whistle-Blower Trying to Stop Kiler Drug From Making a Killing - FDA whistle-blower Graham blasts new Merck arthritis drug
The arthritis drug that Merck has developed to compete with Celebrex may be as risky for the heart as Vioxx, writes Food and Drug Administration whistle-blower David Graham in an editorial posted online Tuesday by a medical journal.

In considering whether Arcoxia should be approved, 'the FDA, academia, and the medical research enterprise are once again faced with the opportunity to forsake common sense by willfully accepting misdirection and disinformation presented in the guise of science,' Graham writes on the Journal of the American Medical Association's website.

An editor's note says the FDA allowed Graham to write the editorial as a private citizen, not as an agency employee. The editorial and the two studies it accompanies will run in the Oct. 4 JAMA, but they were posted online early 'because of the public health implications,' a JAMA press release says."
Bah, what's the public health worth anyway. No, seriously, how much is it worth, because Big Pharmy is leveraging it to good effect.

Apple Commercials

Apple Commercials

A bounce through computer memory lane.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The sad state of American broadband

The sad state of American broadband

I can't imagine why we'd be flagging in this regard...
"Three groups, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union (responsible for Consumer Reports magazine), and media policy group Free Press, have released a joint report (PDF) called 'Broadband Reality Check II.' A follow up to a similar report issued last, the year, the picture it paints of the broadband landscape in the United States is not a flattering one.

Divided into sections covering broadband penetration, speed and price, market structure, new technologies, the digital divide, FCC metrics, and policy recommendations, the report touches on just about every aspect of the US broadband market, mostly in a very critical fashion."
Oh wait, I know exactly why....this is the guy in charge of national policy.

The First Hard Disk Drive

BBC News | Enlarged Image

Nice to see where from we have come.
"In September 1956 IBM launched the 305 RAMAC, the first computer with a hard disk drive (HDD). The HDD weighed over a ton and stored 5MB of data."