Thursday, July 27, 2006

DevilDucky - Gas Guzzler

DevilDucky - Gas Guzzler

We won't make any real progess fighting this problem until people realize it is a moral issue.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ohh, so that's how you do it.

Matt Haughey Tells All at Like It Matters

Learn from someone who knows, the first rule of knowledge.
"The first session at Webvisions is Matt Haughey talking about blogging professionally. Here are my notes from his talk.
The challenge: finding an audience and revenue despite all the blogs out there.

3 steps:
follow your passion
find your audience
gain revenue"

Apple - Trailers - The Fountain - Trailer 1 - Large

Apple - Trailers - The Fountain - Trailer 1 - Large

If you enjoyed the black-and-white trip that was Pi or the downright-best-anti-heroin-commercial-ever that was Requiem for a Dream, take heart, Mr. Aronofsky has been hard at work...and with one hell of a budget, it would seem.

BTW (and on a serious, mathematical tangent), "pi" is a relationship, not a number. This confusion has baffled science for a good long while. It's about time we appreciated the difference.

On Bill Gates tackling poverty and disease in Africa | Society | Sarah Boseley: on Bill Gates tackling poverty and disease in Africa

As many issues as I have with Microsoft's monopolistic business practices, I have to hand it someone like Gates for taking this next step.
" 'We're not going to give up working on an Aids vaccine. Not in my lifetime.' And when I ask if he could reach a point when he will decide that too much money has been spent with nothing to show for it, he answers with what passes for a laugh: 'Ask me in 30 years' time.'

Regardless of anyone's views on Microsoft's business practices, it is an attitude that has to command respect. As he says himself, no government facing election every four years would take such risks. He is not standing in for rich governments - he is doing what they do not dare to do. If this is what philanthropy is about in our times, perhaps we should just be glad."

Life Imitates Art : Verbatim Version

The Cellar Image of the Day

The Cellar IOTD is very worthy of a bookmark or two.
"'Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte' is the English name of it, and surely you've seen it; it's the prime example of pointilism, the technique Seurat came up with. You know, where the image is created by thousands and thousands of tiny dots. The technique copied in most types of photo reproduction and laser and dot-matrix printing.

If nowhere else, you've seen it studied by Cameron in 'Ferris Beuller's Day Off', since it lives in the Arts Institute in Chicago, Chicago being the city in which Beuller took his day."

Lance Bass of *NSYNC Reveals He's Gay - Lance Bass of *NSYNC Reveals He's Gay - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment

Ahh, sometimes, life is just so obvious you miss it.
"NEW YORK - Lance Bass, band member of *NSYNC, says he's gay and in a 'very stable' relationship with a reality show star.

Bass, who formed *NSYNC with Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick, tells People magazine that he didn't earlier disclose his sexuality because he didn't want to affect the group's popularity."

Be an Expert on Anything

Wired 14.08: Be an Expert on Anything

From Stephen Colbert, the expert on expertism.
"GET YOUR OWN ENTRY IN AN ENCYCLOPEDIA. In the media age, everybody was famous for 15 minutes. In the Wikipedia age, everybody can be an expert in five minutes. Special bonus: You can edit your own entry to make yourself seem even smarter.

USE THE WORD ZEITGEIST AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE. Ideally, you want to find words that sound familiar but people don�t really know their definitions: zeitgeist, bildungsroman, doppelganger - better yet, anything Latin. But avoid paradigm. It's so 1994. If you say the word paradigm, everybody knows you're a poser."

evhead: Massive, Tangled Up Tubes!

evhead: Massive, Tangled Up Tubes!

Senator Ted Stevens, techno-super-stah.

4 Killed When Israeli Bomb Hits U.N. Post

BREITBART.COM - 4 Killed When Israeli Bomb Hits U.N. Post

This is a rather horrible development.
"A U.N. observer post was hit by an Israeli airstrike in south Lebanon Tuesday, killing four peacekeepers, U.N. officials said.

A bomb directly hit the building and shelter of an Indian patrol base from the observer force in the town of Khiyam near the eastern end of the border with Israel, said Milos Struger, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon known as UNIFIL."
But what was said next is even...stranger..
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said in New York that the Security Council was informed that four officers with UNIFIL were killed, but he had no other information.

"We're obviously very sorry," Boltin [sp] said. "We're attempting to get information where we can to confirm the nature of the incident."
Now, let's take that..somewhat strange apology (who is employing Bolton?) and compare it to what is coming out of the White House.
Tony Snow: Why would it be our war? I mean, it's not on our territory. This is a war in which the United States -- it's not even a war. What you have are hostilities, at this point, between Israel and Hezbollah. I would not characterize it as a war.

So...uh...WTF, eh?

BTW, read the article linked here, as well, and you'll see how, strangely, the biggest cheerleaders for the "War on Terror" are terribly reluctant to call a real war a war (particularly if the word "civil" is involved).

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Internet Class of '96

Internet '96

This is a nice distraction for a couple of minutes. I made the transition from BBS to WWW in 1993-4, so these are actually pretty advanced examples compared to some of the "cutting edge stuff" I remember. Strange to realize I'm that much of an old-timer, but time waits for no alll men (and women) have long since realized.
"In 1996, the Internet Archive began archiving the web for a service called the Wayback Machine. They've now archived 55 billion web pages. That's enough web pages that if you were to print them all out using your roommate's printer while he was at class and tape them end-to-end, you could reach the moon and back 28 trillion times.

I decided to peruse the Wayback Machine's earliest archives to see what the internet looked like in 1996, when I was 14 and evidently had much less free time than I do now. Much to my chagrin, few websites from these early years have been successfully archived, and many of the best preserved ones were created by fast food and soft drink corporations because they were some of the earliest adapters of the internet. They viewed the medium as a chance for inexpensive advertising and invested dozens upon dozens of dollars into it. The results are tremendously humiliating."

China's GM cotton battles a new bug

New Scientist Breaking News - China's GM cotton battles a new bug

I think when we get to the chapter on the environment in my book, there's only going to be one word in it: Balance. Nature will always find a balance, because it abhors a vacuum and life will find a way. In order to be efficient, we need to find the kind of balances that can balance each other out. This won't be easy, but dang will it be good for us if we can pull it off.
"The benefits of growing genetically engineered cotton resistant to bollworm pests appear to have been eroded as new pests move in, a new study suggests.

The five million Chinese GM cotton farmers appear to have created a natural vacuum by growing cotton genetically engineered to kill the bollworm larvae which used to destroy their plants. With the bollworm larvae gone, other pests called mirids have taken over, forcing farmers to eradicate them with lashings of expensive insecticide that have all but destroyed the original economic benefits.

When GM cotton was first grown in China in the late 1990s, it produced miraculous results that were hailed as proof that GM technology could benefit poor farmers. They saw great gains – in the first three years of planting the crop called Bt cotton – they cut pesticide use by more than 70%.

But seven years down the line, mirids are spoiling the party to such an extent that the farmers have to spray their crops up to 20 times per growing season to control them."

Chris Matthews RANTS HUGE

Crooks and Liars - Matthews on Imus: Pencil Neck Foreign Policy

I would highly recommend downloading this and listening to it. Basically Chris Matthews is finally acknowleding how the Neocons steamrolled Bush and now we're acting like freaking idiots. Essentially, he's reaching the same conclusion I did a couple years ago...the Neocons are fricking idiots and their ideology is so warped as to be considered evil. And Bush bought it, hook, line and sinker.

"Chris Matthews, MSNBC: 'It's all ideology with this crowd. All they care about is ideology. The President bought it, hook, line and sinker, he had- but you know, it was just put into his head, sometime after 9-11, and his philosophy is what he has given it. He didn�t have to have any philosophy when he went in, and they handed it to him. These guys- the guys-you know, the guys that you used to make fun of at school, pencil necks, the intellectuals, the guys you never trusted. All of the sudden he trusts the intellectuals, the guys you knew at school, yeah, they're a bunch of pencil necks and now he buys completely, their ideology, because he didn't have one of his own coming in. That was his problem. I don't know what Bush stood for, except I'm a cool guy and Gore isn't, and that was our problem. We elected the guy because he was a little cooler than the other guy, and, I hope the next election, it isn't a problem of who goes to bed with their wife at 9:30 at night, or who knows how to tell a joke on a stage. But it's who had the sense of strength that comes from having read books, most of their life, tried to understand history. Every mistake we're making in the Middle East right now, was made years and years ago by the British, by the French, but the mistakes they made in Vietnam were made by the French before. In Algeria the French made all the mistakes we're making now."
He goes on for a while, kinda loses it. Hey, Chris...where was this 2 years ago??!!!?!

The DLC Won't Talk About Corporate Power

The Blog | Jonathan Tasini: The DLC Won't Talk About Corporate Power | The Huffington Post

After reading through the DLC's tepid program, it's easy to see why they are called "Republican-Lite." To pull another example, like the ones in the linked article, they are saying that everyone should have the right (and "responsibility") to be ripped off by pharmaceutical companies.
"The Democratic Leadership Council has, once again, shown why it cannot be trusted with the future of America's workers. It has rolled out yet another poll-tested, slogan-filled program/manifesto that is neither bold, visionary, and, more important, simply perpetuates a massive fraud on hard-working Americans.

Yesterday, the DLC unveiled "Saving the American Dream," which claims to be a plan to save the middle-class.

And to deal with the economy we face today, what does the DLC propose as its key solution? College. "
You can understand how tepid this program is by reading this CNN post.

Like this...
"America needs to work for everyone, not just the privileged and the powerful," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday at the Democratic Leadership Council's 10th annual "National Conversation" in Denver. "Democrats can be the change agents our country needs." what is this change of which you speak?
"In the end if it's going to be a Democratic year, and if we're going to build the foundation for taking the White House back we're going to have to do it by what we stand for, by the values and ideas that we promote," DLC founder and CEO Al From said.
Which are???!!!??
Clinton helped design and unveil the DLC's "American Dream Initiative," a policy agenda geared toward expanding economic, health care and educational opportunities for the middle class.
By doing...what, exactly?!!
"It's an agenda that we hope will unite Democrats and help elect Democrats across the country this November," Clinton said. "As Americans, we know what's wrong with the other side: They're not taking care of America."
Aahh, by not being Neocons.

The problem is that they've already assumed Neocon framing. As it states on page 6 of the pdf.."The Bush administration ushered in runaway spending and tax cuts for the wealthy, putting us deep in debt to our economic competitors even as we must fight a prolonged war on terror" [emphasis mine]. So, the DLC is sooo different from the Neocons they ADOPT THE EXACT SAME RHETORIC FOR THE EXACT SAME STUPID WAR AGAINST A TACTIC.

I'd much rather the Dems go left and fight for something, rather than go right and just change the letters around (exchanging an "R" for a "D") while doing the exact same crap.

Why the MIC should be Stopped

Rush Crumbles Over Buckley Quote
"'If you had a European prime minister who experienced what we've experienced it would be expected that he would retire or resign.'
William F. Buckley"
Some interesting reading when rush goes nuts, and laments that we can't kill millions now without the TV cameras folliwing.

He's right. We can't...which is why it's absolutely insane to keep spending as much on our military as we do. We've seen what they can, and can't do, in Iraq. Now it's time to cut back and put some of that money into actually solving problems, rather than blowing thousands of people to pieces.

Going to California

Led Zeppelin | Going to California Lyrics

Here is a poem I've always loved that perfectly encapsulates my planned excursion for later this week.
"Spent my days with a woman unkind,
Smoked my stuff and drank all my wine.

Made up my mind to make a new start,
Going to california with an aching in my heart.

Someone told me there's a girl out there
With love in her eyes and flowers, in her hair.

Took my chances on a big jet plane,
Never let them tell you that they're all, all the same.

The sea was red and the sky was grey,
Wondered how tomorrow could ever follow today.

The mountains and the canyons started to tremble and shake
As the children of the sun began to wake.

Seems that the wrath of the gods
Got a punch on the nose and it started to flow;
I think I might be sinking.

Throw me a line if I reach it in time
Ill meet you up there where the path
Runs straight and high.

To find a queen without a king;
They say she plays guitar and cries and sings.

Ride a white mare in the footsteps of dawn
Tryin to find a woman whos never, never, never been born.

Standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams,
Telling myself its not as hard, hard, hard as it seems."

How Bad Is It in Iraq?

Sources: Negroponte Blocks CIA Analysis of Iraq "Civil War" (

HINT: When the Neocon appointee refuses to even conduct an analysis, you know it's FUBAR.
"I reported in May that despite the deteriorating situation in Iraq, no National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) has been produced on that country since the summer of 2004. The last NIE, a classified document that the CIA describes as �the most authoritative written judgment concerning a national security issue,� was rejected by the Bush Administration (after being leaked to the New York Times) as being too negative, though its grim assessment subsequently proved to be highly accurate.

The situation has gotten even darker since my initial story�a United Nations report cited in Wednesday's New York Times found that an average of more than 100 Iraqi civilians were killed each day in June�and I've learned from two sources that some senior figures at the CIA, along with a number of Iraq analysts, have been pushing to produce a new NIE. They've been stonewalled, however, by John Negroponte, the administration's Director of National Intelligence, who knows that any honest take on the situation would produce an NIE even more pessimistic than the 2004 version. That could create problems on the Hill and, if it is leaked as the last one was, with the public as well. "

Peace prize winner 'could kill' Bush

Peace prize winner 'could kill' Bush | World Wide Weird | The Australian

You know, after a while, even the blindest Bush supporters have to ask themselves, what is it about this man that makes so many people angry? Simple answer...the last 5 years.
"NOBEL peace laureate Betty Williams displayed a flash of her feisty Irish spirit yesterday, lashing out at US President George W.Bush during a speech to hundreds of schoolchildren.

Campaigning on the rights of young people at the Earth Dialogues forum, being held in Brisbane, Ms Williams spoke passionately about the deaths of innocent children during wartime,
particularly in the Middle East, and lambasted Mr Bush.

'I have a very hard time with this word 'non-violence', because I don't believe that I am non-violent,' said Ms Williams, 64.

'Right now, I would love to kill George Bush.' Her young audience at the Brisbane City Hall clapped and cheered.

'I don't know how I ever got a Nobel Peace Prize, because when I see children die the anger in me is just beyond belief. It's our duty as human beings, whatever age we are, to become the protectors of human life.' "
UPDATE: Here's the kind of picture (via billmon, warning: GRAPHIC) that inspires this kind of anger.

Portal Demonstration from Valve

YouTube - Portal Demonstration from Valve's EA Summer Media Event

A nice look at the future of gaming. Now that we have achieved photorealistic gaming (Doom 3 got there first, IMHO), it's time to start warping the world in new and ever more interesting ways. A great example of innovative gaming is below.

George W Bush Speechwriter

George W Bush Speechwriter

Link says it all. Pretty well done, although I'd prefer a free text field that then looks for bits and pieces to put together.

Early deaths tied to lack of grocery stores

Early deaths tied to lack of grocery stores

Being poor sucks. And it turns out there are a number of ways to say it.
"Chicagoans who live in areas with scant grocery stores and many fast-food restaurants are more likely to die prematurely and at greater rates from diabetes, cancer or heart disease, a study to be released today finds.

Residents of such 'food deserts' -- clustered predominantly on the West and South sides -- also are more likely to be obese and suffer from hypertension, according to the study commissioned by LaSalle Bank."
These kind of stories always remind me of this post.

Silver Linings and a Cross of Gold (Rejoicing in Slaughter)

Silver Linings and a Cross of Gold (

Some..disturbing excerts from a "Bring on the Rapture" mailing list. It's just so painful to see otherwise good people reveling in war, death, and destruction.
"Note, July 23, 2006, 8:30PM: Most of the quotes in this item were contained in a posting to an email discussion group to which I belong; that posting linked directly to the Rapture Ready bulletin board. It turns out that several other sites had previously posted the quotes. I'm not sure who originally found the Rapture Ready messages, but if you let me know I'd be happy to make note of it here."

Why Israel is Losing

The Liberty Papers - Blog Archive - Why Israel is Losing

This is a fairly biased (it's the NY Post, duh!) list from an Israeli perspective. I've had a few discussions with people from both sides of the conservative aisle (fiscal and social) and both had some serious issues with how this war is being waged.
"Israel is not winning its war against Hezbollah, according to retired Colonel Ralph Peters in the New York Post. He has some bullet points that review the situation:"
Tough situation, but this "The Independent" infographic does a pretty good job illustrating world opinion.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Coincidence, author says, is a sign of God: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Coincidence, author says, is a sign of God: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Curious stuff. I've actually (and this sounds strange, I know) got a fairly decent proof as to the reason for stuff like this happening. It's mostly the basis of the whole "Quantum Philosophy" thing. Sorry to write a teaser, but...yea, I figured it out.
"In 1993, after nearly two decades with the network, Rushnell was trying out different topics as a motivational speaker. Invited to a small church in Upstate New York, he chose 'Coincidence: Is it Evidence of a Grand Plan?' The audience loved it."
UPDATE: You can read this Fark thread for a general preview of the argument (and associated farkness)

Global Heat Wave


Aaawww, ain't CO2 wonderful (like the energy companies say it is).

Folks, you can get on the bandwagon now, or you can push the body cart later.
"In Britain, temperatures hit an all-time high for the month of July, touching 36.3 degrees Centigrade (97.34 Fahrenheit) south of London to edge out the previous record set in 1911.

Germany's national meteorological service said July was on the way to being the hottest since records began in many parts of the country.

In France, an 85-year-old man admitted to hospital and an 81-year-old woman found dead in her home were the first people believed to have died there because of the heat. Officials said nine people were believed to have died. "

How To Play iPod War - your best friend on the internet

Great idea on how to share some music and expand your library.

The object of the game is to put your music library up against another person's - find out some secret favorites they have, and hope your guilty pleasures don't pop up in an embarassing number.

Playing is simple: In the card game WAR, two opponents split a deck of cards. In each 'battle,' players would turn over the top card on his or her deck. Whoever had the highest card won the battle and kept the two cards. At the end of the deck, the person with the most cards won the war.

iPod War follows the same guidelines. Two people put their iPods on Shuffle and play music. As each song comes up, whoever has the better song wins the battle. After 10 songs, the person who won the most battles wins the war.

It's not necessary to play iPod war in person (I typically play over instant messenger)."
Read the link for the rest of the rules.

Kent Hovind arrested for unpaid taxes

Boing Boing: Dr. Dino arrested for unpaid taxes

I've run into this guy before, as he came up as a tangent in a creation/evolution discussion. I ended up watching some of his videos and presentations. Slick, scary, but slick. The guy is, IMHO, a nutjob who hates evolution because his brothers told him spiders live in bananas...weird but true.
"If Kent 'Dr. Dino' Hovind is sitting on the evidence that proves Jesus is not the son of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, BoingBoing's offer still stands. Lord knows he needs the cash. He's been indicted by the federal government, with charges he paid employees in cash as 'missionaries' so that he could avoid tax obligations. Of course, he could always sell off Dinosaur Adventure Land, his creationist-themed funpark -- 'Where Dinosaurs Meet God.'"
BTW, "Dinosaur Adventure Land" is all about how man and dinosaurs lived in harmony...after their mutual creation 6,000 years ago.

This was a first

I've had any number of bloodletting scrapes in my life, but this one is unique. Why, you ask...because it was done with a 65 lb. NASCAR tire, that's why.

O.k. I just reopened it with a tire, it was originally done playing some indoor soccer. Now back to the news. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 23, 2006

CNN cites Fark to make case that we're in WWIII. (2185611) CNN cites Fark to make case that we're in WWIII. Manages to not mention the URL of course.

This one is weird for a couple reasons. First, because it's an echo chamber effect. Newt Gingrich thinks Republicans should run on a "World War III" platform. Second,t he usual suspects concur (o.k. that's not weird, they always stick to the RNC playbook). And thrid, CNN cites freakin' Fark as more evidence that we are in a World War. Fark. I mean, it's Fark. Just read that thread for how insane this is.

Anyway, as I mentioned on QP back in 2004, the media paradigm has already shifted away from TV (see this evidence), so I guess it's not surprising they have to mine the Net for content. Weird, but not surprising.

Working Toward the Paper Trail

Voting measure may appear on ballot

After the whackiness that happened in Florida in 2000 and the outright weirdness in Ohio in 2004, getting a verified paper trail for voting should be one the largest issues in our Democracy. But considering who benefited from said irregularities, you can guess why it isn't.
"Concerned voters in 15 Florida counties are closely watching Sarasota's paper ballot referendum this fall before considering similar initiatives.

Volunteers for SAFE - the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections - gathered 2,000 more signatures than the required 12,030 well before the July 7 deadline, and Elections Supervisor Kathy Dent has certified the signatures as valid.

The final ballot language and title were submitted to the county commission this week by lawyers for SAFE.

The proposal would require independent, voter-verified paper ballots and random audits of voting machines in selected precincts across the county immediately following an election, by 2008."

Why Electing Republicans is Silly

Daily Kos: What Did You Expect, America?

This is a pretty solid rant on the irony of electing people to public office who think government is an abomination.
"Would you hire a babysitter who hates children and thinks they should be eliminated? Or who declares for years in your hearing that children are irritants who should be starved to be small, unseen and mute?

Would you hire cops who think laws are stupid and useless and should be abolished?

Would you hire a conductor for your orchestra who believes music itself an abomination?"

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Karl Rove was a source in outing Plame

Novak: Rove was a source in outing Plame - Yahoo! News

I think everyone already knew this, but it is nice to have suspicions confirmed. For those counting, this is fourth or fifth direct lie Bush has been caught in.
"WASHINGTON - Now that Karl Rove won't be indicted, now that the president won't fire him, now that it really doesn't matter anymore, more details of the Valerie Plame leak investigation trickle out.

In his latest syndicated column released Wednesday, columnist Robert Novak revealed his side of the story in the Plame affair, saying Rove was a confirming source for Novak's story outing the CIA officer, underscoring Rove's role in a leak President Bush once promised to punish."

Baghdad's Darkest Days

Notebook: Baghdad's Darkest Days, Lee Cowan On Continued Violence Against Iraqi Civilians - CBS News

This is actually from nearly a month ago. And no, it's not gotten better since then.
"It's hard to imagine, but the last week in and around Baghdad has been relatively quiet, at least by the macabre standards that apply here. That said, since Monday night, suicide bombers, IEDs and car bombs have left more than 40 people dead - all of them civilians.

You can hear gunfire on the streets every night. Random shootouts don't even make headlines anymore � they're not big enough. But you hear of them anyway. A string of people selling gas on the streets, a harmless innovative way to make money these days, were shot and killed. The reason? No one really knows. Their gas cans weren't stolen; they were left full next to their victims. "

What Civil War Looks Like

What Civil War?

The horror continues. Please keep aware of it. I know how hard it is, but this is our mess, and we cannot ignore it.
"Kufa, Iraq - A suicide bomber killed 59 people in a crowded Iraqi market on Tuesday after luring Shi'a day labourers aboard his minivan with an offer of casual work.

The blast in Kufa, near Najaf, was one of the bloodiest attacks of the year and followed a gun and grenade attack on another market on Monday that killed a similar number.

Clashes broke out between police and angry crowds demanding better security after the Kufa bomb, which also wounded 132 people in the city south of Baghdad."

Six months of rising Mideast tensions

Reuters AlertNet - CHRONOLOGY-Six months of rising Mideast tensions

This is an excellent run-down of major events during the last 6 months. It does, however, leave out any mention of the Iranian nuclear program, so it does lack a bit of context.
"July 16 (Reuters) - Here is a chronology of the events this year leading to the violence between Israel and the Hizbollah guerrilla group in Lebanon.

Jan. 25 - Islamic militant group Hamas defeats Fatah movement of moderate President Mahmoud Abbas in first Palestinian parliamentary election in a decade.

Jan. 30 - Hamas rejects a call from the Middle East Quartet to renounce violence and recognise Israel.

Feb. 19 - Israel halts its monthly transfer of millions of dollars to the PA ahead of the formation of a Hamas-led cabinet."

Kicking the Bear

Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | Bush Blocks WTO Entry for Russia

You know, one would think that we'd like to stay friends with Russia as the world stumbles toward another war. But then again, the Neocons want 100 years of war, so maybe this is the right move (from their insane perspective).

"ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) - In a chilly summit prelude, President Bush blocked Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization on Saturday and President Vladimir Putin mockingly said Moscow doesn't want the kind of violence-plagued democracy the United States has fostered in Iraq.

Alternately joking and poking at each other, the two also showed differences at a news conference on the explosion of violence in the Mideast."

Friday, July 21, 2006

Lebanon Crisis Threatens the Region


The Daily Show did a wonderful bit the other day on the historical and amazing acts that Israel has taken to protect its citizen. This latest action seems vindictive and designed to hamper thier neighbors for years to come.
"Israeli attacks on Lebanon have divided the Arab world as to its position with Hezbollah.

The crisis will seriously affect the balance of power in the Middle East, and it will enhance Iran's influence, Hezbollah's principal supporter, in the region.

US allies -- Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan -- hold Hezbollah responsible for the crisis, while Sunni populated Arab countries support Hezbollah. "

Ralph Reed Loses In Georgia Primary Election

Free Internet Press - Ralph Reed Loses In Georgia Primary Election

Thank god for small favors. Good job, Georgia. Now give Kansas a clue.
"Former Georgia Republican Party chairman Ralph Reed lost his bid for the party's nomination for lieutenant governor last night, the first electoral defeat this year that can be traced directly to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

Meanwhile, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia), facing her first election since a scuffle with a Capitol Police officer this spring, will face a runoff with her main challenger, Hank Johnson, a former county commissioner with roots in the heart of her core constituency.

Reed conceded defeat to Casey Cagle, a little-known state senator, less than three hours after the polls closed. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Cagle led by 56 percent to 44 percent. "

Bush barred probe of eavesdrop plan - Bush barred probe of eavesdrop plan

More evidence that our CINC thinks he's a KING. BTW, it turns out that active Army guys don't like it when you call their boss a jackass (longer story, involving a whole bunch of beer and scotch).
"WASHINGTON - President Bush personally blocked a Justice Department ethics probe of the government's warrantless anti-terror eavesdropping program, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales disclosed to Congress on Tuesday.

Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Bush refused to grant security clearances to the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which had sought last spring to determine whether department lawyers who reviewed the classified program had acted properly. The office acts as the department's watchdog for ethical behavior.

Lacking access to the program, the office closed its investigation in April. It announced the end of its probe in May."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Universe Today � Archive � At the Centre of the Milky Way

Universe Today - Archive - At the Centre of the Milky Way

I think I see the aorta.
"You're looking at the heart of your own galaxy with X-ray specs. This photograph was captured by NASA's Chandra X-Ray observatory, and shows the three massive star clusters that surround the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. These star clusters have so many large, bright stars that the whole area blazes in the X-ray spectrum. This photo shows 1 million seconds of accumulated observing time by Chandra of these mysterious region of our galaxy. "

720 Degree Dunk

YouTube - 720 Dunk - Better Quality

720 degrees?

That's hot.

Bush Vetos Science

Bush makes first veto on stem cells |

It's going to take so long to recover from this "presidency". I just have to shake my head in wonder.

"WASHINGTON - The 'veto bubble' has finally burst. Five-and-a-half years into his presidency, George W. Bush has ended his record stretch of bill-signings as he rejected legislation Wednesday that would expand federal funding of human embryonic stem-cell research.

Attempts in Congress to override the veto, which would require a two-thirds vote, were expected to fail.

Analysts agree that President Bush's veto was risky but unavoidable. Since the issue of stem-cell research arose early in his presidency, when Mr. Bush approved federal funding of preexisting stem-cell lines, he has remained adamant that no federal monies be used on newer cell colonies. The president believes the killing of human embryos, from which stem cells are harvested, is murder, says press secretary Tony Snow. "
O.k. here's the deal...actually, Dark Syde over at DKos makes it as plain as possible [with pictures].
One more time for those in the back row: On the left is a blastocyst from which embryonic stem cell lines are made. It's ten times smaller than the dot at the end of this sentence and contains roughly 100 cells. On the right is a human baby, one of many who's life might someday be saved or greatly enhanced by treatments developed from ESC research. Any questions?
BTW, that baby contains trillions of cell, not 100. But the 100 of the same types can turn into the 1,000,000,000,000(s) of many different types. The question is "how" and THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT!!1!

This, first, horrid, veto, comes from man that once called himself, and you should just shake your head in wonder here...a science president. It just boggles the mind and saddens the heart to think we are led by someone so far removed from the reality the rest of us experience.

UPDATE: Can you follow the logic here? From the WH spokesnut.
"The president believes strongly that for the purpose of research it's inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder," White House spokesman Tony Snow said Tuesday, addressing the legislation before the Senate.
"However," Mr. Snow didn't continue, "We think it would be wrong to prosecute people who try to have babies with the benefit of science and end up murdering 1,000 of embryos in the process. So murder away, just don't try to cure incurable diseases."

The logic is just...not..logic.

UPDATE2: This Fark comment captures the outrage precisely.
2006-07-19 03:15:42 PM Silellak

A lot of things Bush has done in the past have pissed me off - but this crosses the line.

From the CNN article: "...The measure, which the House of Representatives passed 238-194 in May, allows couples who have had embryos frozen for fertility treatments to donate them to researchers rather than let them be destroyed."

CNN Story

Seriously, how can anyone support this man? How can anyone believe it's the correct decision to tell couples they can't donate THEIR OWN FROZEN EMBRYOS CELLS for the benefit of all of mankind? He'd rather they be destroyed, than help people? What kind of sick monster takes their own perverted morality so far that the only time he takes a stand against a bill, in his ENTIRE PRESIDENCY, is to block research that could potentially save the lives of thousands and, over time, millions? Not to mention the other millions that wouldn't have to watch, helpless, while their loved suffer through, say, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's? They aren't murdering babies for this research, they're using FROZEN FARKING EMBRYOS THAT WOULD BE DESTROYED ANYWAY.

I'm so pissed I can't even think straight. I really hope those of you that voted for him are happy, because this Presidential veto is a direct result of that vote. Kerry may've been a dickhead too, but I can't imagine him causing the country as much damage as this single act of Bush's could potentially do.
UDPATE: C&L has TDS coverage, which is awesomer than sliced bread.

The Big Lebowski - F_cking Short Version

YouTube - The Big Lebowski - F_cking Short Version

Really does a wonderful job capturing the essence of the film, IMHO.

Neocon History Checks

Crooks and Liars -- Krugman: March of Folly

via Crooks and Liars
"Since those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it - and since the cast of characters making pronouncements on the crisis in the Middle East is very much the same as it was three or four years ago - it seems like a good idea to travel down memory lane. Here�s what they said and when they said it:

"The greatest thing to come out of [invading Iraq] for the world economy ... would be $20 a barrel for oil." Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation (which owns Fox News), February 2003

"Peacekeeping requirements in Iraq might be much lower than historical experience in the Balkans suggests. There's been none of the record in Iraq of ethnic militias fighting one another that produced so much bloodshed and permanent scars in Bosnia." Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense and now president of the World Bank, Feb. 27, 2003

"Earlier this week, I traveled to Baghdad to visit the capital of a free and democratic Iraq." President Bush, June 17, 2006

"People are doing the same as [in] Saddam's time and worse. ... These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things." Ayad Allawi, Mr. Bush's choice as Iraq's first post-Saddam prime minister, November 2005

"My fellow citizens, not only can we win the war in Iraq, we are winning the war in Iraq." President Bush, Dec. 18, 2005"
This is important because these exact same folks are now using the Isreal/Lebanon shennanigans to call for a wider (and therefore more successful) war in the M.E.

Hell, Newt is calling for WWIII.

More here.
The champions of American global empire are using the latest upsurge of violence in the Middle East to give new life to their discredited plan to extend the war in Iraq to Syria and Iran. The neo-con Weekly Standard has taken the lead in its July 24th cover issue, proclaiming that the current violence is "Iran's Proxy War" against the West.

As Standard editor William Kristol puts it, "It's our war." America's, that is.

"What's under attack," Kristol argues "is liberal democratic civilization, whose leading representative right now happens to be the United States." The logical conclusion of this "war of civilizations" analysis is Kristol's advice to the Bush Administration: "our focus should be less on Hamas and Hezbollah, and more on their paymasters and real commanders -- Syria and Iran. And our focus should be not only on the regional war in the Middle East, but also on the global struggle against radical Islamism."
Hmm, so I guess Kristol is arguing that Israel shelling Lebanese suburbs is a "attack on liberal democratic civilization.", and calls for Israel to stop doing that. Strange.

UPDATE: Kristol's war mongering

Juan Cole on the overheard conversation that illustrates what an ignorant asshat our President is (short version, we celebrated when Syrian forces left he blames Syria for not controlling the militia that filled their army's place...ARRGGH!!).

Billmon breaks it down further.

The Baby Name Wizard: NameVoyager

The Baby Name Wizard: NameVoyager

Looks like "Roy" peaked in the 1890's. S'okay, it'll be making a comeback around 2025.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bush Bad Touches Germany's Merkel

Bush Gropes Germany's Merkel

This is a funny little thing. Essentially Bush was being a bit...familiar with the lady PM from Germany. She didn't like it. The outrage of this linked post is silly, however, as Texans do rub shoulders of peers occasionally (and Bush likes to act like one), and it's not that big a deal.
"UPDATE: George W. Bush's sexual harassment of the Chancellor Merkle has pushed the wingnuts over the edge. "
Actually, Taylor Marsh, it has pushed you over as well.

How to spot a viral marketing campaign - busting ThatGirlEmily

What is Will Thinking: How to spot a viral marketing campaign - busting ThatGirlEmily

Good work, Will
"Good morning, class. Today's class is going to deal with how to spot a viral marketing campaign.

Our subject today is the blog from ThatGirlEmily. At first glance, this appears to be the blog of a woman who found out her husband has been cheating on her with her best friend. This woman scorned is going to spend the next two weeks making her hubby's life miserable by humiliating him in various ways, the first of which is by posting a billboard on the side of a building close to where he works in NYC. "
Once you see the same sign in L.A. and note the girl started the blog...and then was quickly and horribly cheated on...and you realize that a book, or a movie, or a tv show is sure to follow...

FW: How to Spot a Rich Guy

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Why Lieberman Will Lose

Why the Left Is Furious at Lieberman - Los Angeles Times

A.k.a. Why Lieberman will Lose
"Late last year, after President Bush's job approval ratings hit record lows, Lieberman decided to lash out at the administration's critics, writing in the ultraconservative Wall Street Journal editorial pages that 'we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril.' In this he echoed the most toxic of Republican talking points -- that criticizing the conduct of the war is actually damaging to national security.

Lieberman has a long history of providing cover for the worst of Republican actions while enthusiastically serving as his own party's scold. After the Senate acquitted President Clinton on all impeachment charges, Lieberman called for his censure. More recently, he rejected a call by Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.) to censure Bush over the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program, calling the attempt 'divisive.'

Lieberman looks happiest when playing a 'Fox News Democrat,' as he did in a February appearance on Sean Hannity's radio program, during which the two exchanged compliments and expressions of friendship and Hannity offered to campaign for him. "
This race is one of the true tests of the liberal 'sphere, and whether or not they can make a huge impact on the national political scene. Given the usualy low turn-out for primaries, it is not unthinkable that Lieberman will be chopped liver before too long.

Straight-talking Dubya says diplomatic mouthful, unaware mikes are on | Defence | The Australian

Straight-talking Dubya says diplomatic mouthful, unaware mikes are on | Defence | The AustralianBush Unplugged
"IT looked like a spittoon wouldn't have been be out of place. Speaking out of the corner of his mouth like he was chewing baccy - apparently it was a bread roll - George W. Bush did diplomacy Texas-style yesterday.

In footage that zoomed around the world and set internet blog sites ablaze, the US President, at a lunch with leaders at the Group of Eight summit in St Petersburg, chatted with British Prime Minister Tony Blair - not realising the microphones were on.

'See, the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it's over,' Mr Bush said with his mouth full as he continued to butter his bread. "
This article offers a nice glimpse into the on-stage banter at such events. I, for one, am not the lest bit surprised that Bush doesn't see the irony is that what he needs to do is get Israel to get Israel to stop doing this shit. They've killed over 200 civilians in the last week. It takes the Patestinians months, if not years to do that. Israel, look, we get it, you're a stop picking on the children.