This is what I'm talking about. Let's call an asshole an asshole, yes?
George Felix Allen Jr. and his bush-league lapdog, Dick Wadhams, have not earned the right to challenge Jim Webb’s position on free speech and flag burning. Jim Webb served and fought for our flag and what it stands for, while George Felix Allen Jr. chose to cut and run. When he and his disrespectful campaign puppets attack Jim Webb they are attacking every man and woman who served. Their comments are nothing more than weak-kneed attacks by cowards. George Felix Allen Jr. needs to apologize to Jim Webb and to all men and women who have served our nation,” Webb spokesman Steve Jarding said.
I don't know anything else about Webb, but I almost don't care. This is exactly the type of anger that I'm looking to vote for. This is why I can't be a politician. I would have just called Allen a fuckface and pissed on his leg.
What about the death penalty? It's an issue on which I suspect people of faith are sharply divived [sic]. What about the environment? Global AIDS and world poverty? Poverty in America? These are all issues that go to the core of what it means to be a Christian.
Maybe they are. But I don't see the "courting". It seems to me that the courting should go something like, "Hey, assholes. I respect your little superstitions and whatnot. But take a look at reality for a sec, okay? Our positions on the issues are more in line with the ancient moral code you profess to follow. The fucks you're voting for, who claim to believe in the same myths as you, they're full of shit and couldn't care less about your morality. Supporting them will likely send you to the imaginary hell you think is waiting for everyone else. And if you believe in different myths, or even different flavors of the same myth, then you're really fucked. They really hate you. So you should vote for us, because if you rationally examine your beliefs, we're better. I know that's not your strong point, but give it a try."
I'm sure some politician can give that turd a polish and make it sound pretty.
Maybe this graphic is just indicating a correlation rather than causation, but I think this is something we need to look into. The future of life as we know it could depend on bringing Pirates back. Or perhaps the future of Pirates depends on us getting global warming under control. Or something. Can anyone enlighten me?
I'm extremely embarrassed that I used to be a fan of Christopher Hitchens. His coining the nonsense term "Islamofascism" and his attacks on Chomsky comforted me when I was angry and confused in the weeks following 9/11. Thankfully, I have long since regained my composure, and have come to my senses about Hitchens. Here is his latest misadventure:
The recent memorial for long-term New York Review co-editor Barbara Epstein, sadly felled by cancer on June 15, was disfigured by an unseemly outbursts from Christopher Hitchens. There was a list of invitees for the private ceremony and C. Hitchens -- a sometime NYT contributor was not on the list. He implored to be admitted, and some misguidedly decent soul gave him the green light.
Visibly taken with drink, in the estimate of at least one observer, Hitchens showed up and soon made his way to Jean Stein, a close friend of Barbara Epstein, also editor of Grand Street in recent years. Hitchens spared Stein the habitual presentation of his hairy cheek but made a low, facetious bow and offered his hand.
Stein icily declined, saying she had no desire to shake hands with him for many reasons, not least the fact that Hitchens had attacked one of her best friends, Edward Said, while he was on his death bed.
As Hitchens retreated, someone remarked to him, "So your glorious war has turned out to be a total disaster, hasn't it?"
"It is glorious," the sodden scrivener blared, "and it IS my war because it needed Paul Wolfowitz and myself to go and convince the President to go to war."
As mourners digested this megalomanic outburst, Hitchens continued, "And we are going to kill every Al Qaida terrist (sic) and Baathist in the country and that's a good thing. They need to be killed and we will kill them."
I'm starting to think that this Presidenting gig doesn't really require much skill. Lots of style, but very little substance, from what I've seen over the past five years. I mean, your working knowledge of geopolitics need only be basic; whenever something bad happens, your press secretary burns a DVD of all the news footage for you to watch while you're perched on the West Wing john; the Armed Forces keep dressing you in discontinued, presidential seal-emblazoned "Members Only" jackets that would make "Kickin' It" Kim Jong Il launch an ICBM in a fit of envy; and you get to hand-pick your audience when you have to make that annoying policy speech over and over again.
God knows, you don't have to be particularly photogenic or articulate. You don't even have to believe what you're saying. To quote Eddie Izzard: "70% of what people react to is how you look . . . , 20% is about how you sound, and only 10% is what you say." All you have to do is mouth the words.
And when the press hounds you for surrounding yourself with over-protective sycophants, all you have to do is forcefully pound the podium, look sternly at Helen Thomas, call yourself "The Resolver" or "The Chooser" or "The Figure-Outer," and you're out of the Rose Garden and on your mountain bike before Andy Card can put on his jock.
Follow up to previous post linking to digby post that linked to Josh Marshall post
Sadly, No! makes a good point. The Republicans actually do have a plan for Iraq: stay there forever.
As far as I can tell — and I’m not the smartest or most sober guy ever, but I can often make up for it by doing really focused due diligence — the reason we’re in Iraq is that there’s oil there; and we’re building permanent military bases because we intend to maintain a presence in Iraq for the foreseeable future, in regard to that oil, which would otherwise be on the market where such entities as China would be competing for it equally. It’s not about WMDs, or about removing a threat, nor about ’spreading democracy,’ and never was; but about the simple fact that there isn’t very much oil left unclaimed in the world, and whether ensuring a supply of it militarily, through conquest, is a good or bad thing geopolitically (I wonder about that often, with clammy discomfort), the current administration is an administration of oilmen, who are also focused almost exclusively on the needs of people like themselves.
So no, they’re not leaving. They intend to stay.
"Staying the course" is their plan. There is no plan to leave Iraq because they aren't planning on leaving Iraq.
"A mass spawning of squid resembles, at first glance, a chaotic 'nuptial dance' (1). But for the first time, we have applied 3-D, radio-linked acoustic positioning (RAP) to this confusing process, and our early results now reveal a choreography that is, in fact, well organized in time and space. Remote tracking with RAP of individual Loligo vulgaris reynaudii off South Africa has provided insights into the daily sequence of behaviours that lead these animals to aggregate for sexual selection. Each dawn, the squid navigate for several kilometers, towards the shore, to small, well-defined zones near egg beds on the substrate. After several hours of circling above the egg beds, a pelagic, 3-D lek-like aggregation of large males forms: females are drawn in, and the aggregation condenses as the females and males pair, mate, and lay eggs. Smaller 'sneaker males' remain on the periphery of the mating arena and, from this station, attempt extra-pair copulations (EPCs). The mating system of squids is thus unexpectedly complex, rivaling those of mammals and birds (2, 3). Commercial squid-jigging fishermen in South Africa have recently been attracted to the spawning grounds, and they have been successful. Moreover, their activities may be selective for large males. Thus, attention should be devoted to ensuring that such targeted fishing does not alter the characteristics of squid population genetics. Remote tracking and video observations, in combination with genetic analyses, may offer a new opportunity to monitor mating effort and reproductive success, and thus to manage the fishery."
And the time to decide what you stand for is not after you lose the election.
I want to vote for candidates who are as pissed off as I am. I want them to discuss the issues in clear, profanity-laced declarative sentences. Like millions of other Americans, I am filled with anger. I love my country, or at least the country that it has the potential to become, and I hate that we are moving farther away from that ideal. I'm filled with anger, and I'm waiting for a candidate to come and change that anger into passion. Instead, I am forced to vote for cowards and fuckwits.
Fuck it. I'm going back to World Cup. Big game tomorrow.
"[The soccer ball] consists of 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons, and a standard question one can ask is: why can't we tile the whole surface with hexagons ? This shape is also called the Buckyball, and is a special case of a carbon allotrope called a fullerene.
Apparently, the soccer balls being used at the World Cup are no longer polyhedral. They consist of 14 pieces, many of which look a lot like the squashed oval shape you see on tennis balls and baseballs. This makes the ball rounder and faster, and apparently gives it baseball-like effects when moving through the air."
The brain's reward for getting a concept is a shot of natural opiates
Neuroscientists have proposed a simple explanation for the pleasure of grasping a new concept: The brain is getting its fix.
The "click" of comprehension triggers a biochemical cascade that rewards the brain with a shot of natural opium-like substances, said Irving Biederman of the University of Southern California. He presents his theory in an invited article in the latest issue of American Scientist.
"While you're trying to understand a difficult theorem, it's not fun," said Biederman, professor of neuroscience in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
"But once you get it, you just feel fabulous."
The brain's craving for a fix motivates humans to maximize the rate at which they absorb knowledge, he said.
"I think we're exquisitely tuned to this as if we're junkies, second by second."
Biederman hypothesized that knowledge addiction has strong evolutionary value because mate selection correlates closely with perceived intelligence.
Only more pressing material needs, such as hunger, can suspend the quest for knowledge, he added.
The same mechanism is involved in the aesthetic experience, Biederman said, providing a neurological explanation for the pleasure we derive from art.
"This account may provide a plausible and very simple mechanism for aesthetic and perceptual and cognitive curiosity."
Does anyone else here give a shit about the World Cup? I know Ethan at least pretends to care, since that's the only way to have any chance of getting laid in Europe right now. ("Poland was eliminated? Shh, baby... Don't cry. Put your head on my shoulder and Ethan will make it all better...")
Since I'm math-retarded, the one thing I hate about World Cup is the fucking differential equations I need to do to figure out how my teams progress to the next round. I figured they both need to win to progress, but luckily someone at Wikipedia went into a bit more detail.
Croatia. They're going into their last match with only one point. They need a win to boot the Aussies back to Aussie-land. Technically, they might win and still be eliminated if Japan beats Brazil by 2 or 3 points. But since my sides hurt from laughing at the thought of that, Croatia's win will lock up second place in Group F.
Korea. Korea probably needs a win. A win would put them in first place in Group G. If they lose or tie, everything hinges on the Togo v. France match. And who the fuck knows what would happen then. Neither team has looked great in their matches. France should probably win, but in the past 8 years France and Togo have scored the exact same number of times in World Cup matches, so who can say. I'm hoping for a win from Korea so it doesn't end up going to a coin flip or something.
Is anyone still awake? Feel free to comment with your picks, or whine about how much you hate soccer because it preempts your favorite bass fishing show or something.
Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys in Iraq? Are the good guys the U.S. troops fighting to impose American hegemony in the Gulf? Are the good guys the American forces who have installed a murderous Shi'ite theocracy in Baghdad? Are the good guys the Marines who murdered children and babies in Haditha in cold blood? Are the good guys the U.S. officers who brought us Abu Ghraib, or the generals who signed off on their methods, or the administration that set them on such a path in the first place? Who was it, after all, who pulverized the institutions of the Iraqi state and society?
Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn's "The Endless Forest"
"The Endless Forest is a MMORPG where everyone plays a deer. And no, the aim is not to shoot other deers. There's no violence, no particular rule to follow, neither does the game feature any chat-functions. All communication happens through deer-body-language. You can roar, sniff other deers, eat mushrooms from the trees, pick up and carry flowers on your antler, etc. Players do not even get 'proper' names, but pictograms that represent their characters."
Multiplication and division are grounded in visuospatial concepts, which is why these number theoretical results are easy to understand. What would a proof that stayed grounded in visuospatial concepts look like?
Dennis Haysbert, former president on t.v. show 24, and currently Allstate Insurance ad man, doesn't seem to mind that he collects his paycheck from a company that just settled a class action lawsuit for racial discrimination against blacks and hispanics.
DENVER, Colorado (AP) -- A 15-year-old girl can enter into a common-law marriage in Colorado, a state appeals court ruled Thursday. Younger girls and boys may also be able to marry. While the three-judge panel stopped short of setting a specific minimum age for such marriages, it said they could be legal for girls at 12 and boys at 14 under English common law, which Colorado recognizes.
The ruling overturned a lower-court judge's decision that a girl, who is now older than 18, was too young to marry when she was 15. The panel said there was no clear legislative or statutory guidance on common-law marriages, and that Colorado courts have not determined an age of consent.
Colorado is one of 10 states, plus the District of Columbia, that recognize common-law marriage, which is based on English law dating back hundreds of years.
For traditional ceremonial marriage, Colorado law sets the minimum age at 18, or 16 with parental or judicial approval.
"It appears that Colorado has adopted the common-law age of consent for marriage as 14 for a male and 12 for a female, which existed under English common law," the ruling said. "Nevertheless, we need only hold here that a 15-year-old female may enter into a valid common-law marriage."
Worldwide financial crisis on the horizon? Mark Ames hopes so:
Could we be on the verge of another financial catastrophe? I'll admit it: I'm hopeful. First, because I'm poor and spiteful, and secondly, because one of the nice things about financial collapses (like military disasters) is that all the ugly, corrupt realities underpinning a so-called economic boom are revealed, and the worst in humanity is laid bare, and everyone everywhere gets pissed off, cynical, and hopeless. That's the kind of thing that boosts my mood, not to mention my sexual drive. Financial panics are to me what endangered mammal horns are to Chinese men: pure Viagra placebo.
. . .
The bottom line is this: the global economy is experiencing one of those insane, untenable imbalances, all emanating from New York and Washington, just like the last time around, most of the effects of which will be felt in Mumbai, Istanbul and Moscow.
As the easy credit dries up in the US, assets that inflated most wildly -- like American houses and Russian stocks -- are the first to fall. And both already are.
What's happening with emerging market stocks is just a snapshot of what's to come. In just the last month, the stock market selloffs have wiped out $2 trillion in wealth around the globe. That's scary, and that means that more money's going to be leaving places like Russia. And just like last time, first it's the stocks and bonds that get hit, and eventually, property prices get creamed as more and more money leaves.
How far everything will fall, and for how long, is anyone's guess. All one can do is hope. And my hope is that the whole fucking house of cards comes crashing down, to the point where in a couple of years from now, humanoids will be roaming barren cities in packs, competing with crows and stray dogs for carcass bones. Because when that happens, everything, even a nifty three-room apartment in Kitai Gorod, or a humble condo at Zuma Beach in Malibu, will be affordable to a lifelong fuckup like me.
So keep the easy credit rolling, ye greedy finance goons...the higher it rises, the harder it will fall. And the more for me.
I 've been working on a two disk DVD which includes three Newsreel films on the Black Panther Party along with Black Panther stories, photos, and FBI documents It contains never before seen interesting historical material. The DVD is for personal and educational use in schools especially in American History, Black Studies, and Legal Studies. All donations are tax deductible ( 501 (C) (3). Donations over $50.00 will receive a copy of the DVD. I am trying to raise $10,000. Checks can be made out to Green Valley Media and sent to: Roz Payne P O Box 164 Richmond ,Vermont 05477
Why should I support Abu Ghraib torturers and murderers like the fuckers at Haditha? Why should I support thugs that sing songs like "Hadji Girl"? Here are the lyrics to that lovely Marine ditty:
I was out in the sands of Iraq And we were under attack And I, well, I didn't know where to go. And the first thing I could see was Everybody's favorite Burger King So I threw open the door and I hit the floor. Then suddenly to my surprise I looked up and I saw her eyes And I knew it was love at first sight. And she said
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah Hadji girl I can't understand what you're saying. And she said Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah Hadji girl I love you anyway.
Then she said that she wanted me to see. She wanted me to meet her family But I, well, I couldn't figure out how to say no. Cause I don't speak Arabic. So, she took me down an old dirt trail. And she pulled up to a side shanty And she threw open the door and I hit the floor. Cause her brother and her father shouted
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah They pulled out their AKs so I could see And they said Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
So I grabbed her little sister and pulled her in front of me. As the bullets began to fly The blood sprayed from between her eyes And then I laughed maniacally Then I hid behind the TV And I locked and loaded my M-16 And I blew those little f***ers to eternity. And I said
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah They should have known they were f***ing with a Marine
Video clip here. Note the hooting and hollering when the little girl gets shot in the head. Our boys in uniform sure seem to be a great bunch! Go America!
It would be easy to read this and say, "Haw! Our Prez is a fucking idiot! He only believes shit that he sees on tv!" (Who am I kidding? We can say he's a fucking idiot at any time and on any occasion.)
But as an optimist, I think that this illustrates two very promising developments:
The Prez watches PBS. Maybe he'll catch a rerun of one of those Frontlines where they talk about how his administration has fucked everything up.
The Prez changed his mind. I don't think that the importance of this can be overstated. This isn't some bullshit, "Whoops, I shouldn't have said, 'Bring it on.' But Rumsfeld, you're doing a heck of a job." He had one opinion, completely changed his opinion, and this change led to positive action. This is awesome. I think this is a very hopeful sign. I don't really have a lot of hope, but hey, it's something.
We should encourage shit like this. With a little positive reinforcement, maybe he'll continue to change some of his fucked up policies.
They're teasing the Torchwood spin-off the same way they did the Bad Wolf thing last season. It's kind of pointless, since there's no mystery behind Torchwood like there was with Bad Wolf. I wasn't a great fan of the way they resolved that last season, but wondering what the hell was going on with all the "Bad Wolf" references definitely kept me engaged, and helped tie together for me what was largely a season of one episode stories.
I once saw a personal ad in the back of a local weekly that ended with, "Minbari preferred, Bajoran ok." I figure as long as I'm not that far gone, any geekiness on my part is well within normal tolerances. That guy must be a real horror show.
A little off topic World Cup action: What the fuck is happening in the USA v. Italy match? The referee has gone ape-shit crazy.
Watching the World Cup in a country that is playing in it (and actually cares) is a sublime experience. Sitting and eating dinner in Krakow's main square, the Rynek Główny, the largest central city square in Europe, watching red-and-white flag-draped fans slowly increase in number as the time crept closer to 21:00, the time when Poland would finally beat down an elderly German team, the fans breaking into spontaneous chanting and song, almost makes this old cynic want to wax lyrical.
Every bar and pub we visited was filled, to the brim, only obstructed views remaining of the giant projection televisions, a sea of red and white everywhere. Everyone is watching so intently that you really can't hear much chat; instead, gasps of agony, cheering and applause at a particularly good tackle, an indignant roar when a German trips a Pole and the referee bites his whistle.
As a third-party onlooker, the eternal question: who to root for? Ironically, though I know German better than any other non-English language, I've never really liked Germans. And the Poles I've met have been universally cordial and smiley, although my family's combined Polish is worse than atrocious. They are wonderful hosts.
And it didn't hurt that earlier in the day, we had visited the Auschwitz complex of mass-murder camps, originally opened by the Germans to murder Polish prisoners of war.
After seeing that? I was, needless to say, rooting for Poland.
It was all for naught, however; in the 90th minute of a game with two forty-five minute halves (and some little extra time afterwards, to account for injuries and penalties), a German player sent the ball across the field, directly in front of the central Polish goal, and another German player dextrously struck it, with his head (!), past the Polish goalkeeper, into the net. The Polish team had battled fiercely for their draw, and failed. A crushing loss.*
More on my Auschwitz trip soon, as soon as I can empty my digital camera of the scarring, scarring photographs.
In response to Rove's cowardly and reprehensible attack on Kerry and Murtha, one of Kerry's spokesmen said this:
"The closest Karl Rove ever came to combat," said Kerry spokesman David Wade, "was these last months spent worrying his cellmates might rough him up in prison. This porcine political operative can't cut and run from the truth any longer."
As much as I enjoy that quote, it does make me wonder why neither Kerry nor any of his spokespeople said shit like that during the '04 election when it would have mattered. Why didn't he say some badass macho shit like that when he was getting Swift-boated?
There used to be a sport in England, called "bullbaiting," in which several dogs would tease or attack a bull. Hubbard appropriated this term for a quite different purpose. "Bullbaiting" in Scientology refers to the Training Routine (drill) in which one person tries to provoke another to react while the person being provoked attempts to maintain a perfect, unblinking stare.
A joint resolution referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) calls for the withdrawal of all American military forces from Iraq by Dec. 31. Boxer's "redeployment" bill cites in its preamble a January poll finding that 64% of Iraqis believe that crime and violent attacks will decrease if the U.S. leaves Iraq within six months, 67% believe that their day-to-day security will increase if the U.S. withdraws and 73% believe that factions in parliament will cooperate more if the U.S. withdraws.
I realize that this resolution is going nowhere, but the thought is nice. You go Barbara!
A commie pinko that went undercover to YearlyKos has this to say:
The Kosniks are cultists, and there is, ultimately, nothing more tiresome. They've invested so much, emotionally, in the Democratic Party that it's made them rather shallow and monotonous. All their thinking, all their energy, is bent toward getting people like Massa and Sestak -- and ultimately, Warner or Hillary Clinton -- into office. As the song says:
One, two, three, what're we fighting for?Don't ask me, I don't give a damn...
No doubt they all started with a vision, a generous, humane vision. But the instrument they chose to realize their vision has turned them into its instruments instead.
I sort of believed the hype about Barack Obama when he first came on the national political scene. However, since then he has been less than impressive. He hasn't been terrible; just not that great. David Sirota's article on him didn't do much to change that impression for me. From the article:
Obama will often be a reliable liberal vote, and he can give one hell of a speech. But we should believe him when he downplays our expectations. He says he's "a work in progress," but he's in an institution that tends to stifle greatness. As comic Jon Stewart said, "Everybody thought Barack Obama was going to [inspire people] when he came to Washington, but, you know, the Senate seems like the place where smart people go to die."
First, there was a surreal RV trip through South Dakota. South Dakota? Conservative. Billboard fetuses everwhere. Semi-retarded Republicans running for office based on their self-proclaimed "Christian values."
Now I'm in Krakow. Which is in Poland. Quite a transition. Just watched the US get drubbed by the Czechs in their World Cup opener. You know what's depressing? Watching the game in the Krakow Sheraton, the ostensible center of US money and influence here, and being roundly outcheered by a crowd of Czechs. I'm super-patriotic for like four minutes and I can't even catch a break in an ultra-expensive hotel -- the one the US Embassy said would be the best place to watch the game.
Krakow is rad. Hot chicks and cheap drinks.
I'm back to a regular internet connection so I'll try and post often. Thanks again, Salto co-bloggers!
"Why is coca legal for Coca-Cola but not for native peoples and peasants?" Morales asked members of the European Parliament in a speech last month. Some non-narcotic chemicals extracted from coca are used to flavor the soft drink.
Good question. Answer from the United States, the asshole bully of the world? "Because I said so":
Even though Morales appears to have support from some European Union members to end the ban, he faces a herculean task in convincing the United States. Anne Patterson, assistant secretary of state for international narcotics, says Washington will veto any attempt to amend international law. "The U.S. is not going to support the idea," she said last month on a visit to La Paz, Bolivia.
We suck. I love it whenever Evo and Chavez fuck with us.
One of the things that define the difference between normal, sane people and the Right is their approach to cognitive dissonance.
Cognitions which contradict each other are said to be "dissonant," while cognitions which agree with each other are said to be "consonant." Cognitions which neither agree nor disagree with each other are said to be "irrelevant."
The introduction of new cognition that is dissonant with a currently held cognition creates a state of "dissonance," the magnitude of which relates to the relative importance of the involved cognitions. Dissonance can be reduced either by eliminating dissonant cognitions, or by adding new consonant cognitions. The maximum possible dissonance is equal to the resistance to change of the less resistant cognition; therefore, once dissonance reaches a level that overcomes the resistance of one of the cognitions involved, that cognition will be changed or eliminated, and dissonance will be reduced.
This leads some people who feel dissonance to seek information that will reduce dissonance and avoid information that will increase dissonance. People who are involuntarily exposed to information that increases dissonance are likely to discount that information, either by ignoring it, misinterpreting it, or denying it.
Rational folks can change their minds when presented with contrary evidence. That's the price and privilege that comes with living in the reality based community. Other folks watch FoxNews and shut their eyes to the truth. Then there's those who seem to just fucking revel in the dissonance, like Schoenberg or Webern.
BigD got a call today from his friend, The Buyer. The Buyer was arguing with his father, who is a fan of Bill O'Reilly. Now, don't presume to judge Papa Buyer. All too many of us have older relatives who like to watch the Factor. Anyway, PapaB was convinced that Splotchy O'Liar had served a year or two in the Army. B, an enlightened soul, knew otherwise. I did a quick Google search and backed him up.
Do I smell another American political dynasty? If he follows in his father's footsteps as a doctor, he can only ruin one life at a time. If he becomes a Senator, the only limit is the sky. If he becomes a doctor first, and then runs for Senate, we have nothing to worry about. By that time, global warming, global dimming, and peak oil will have long since destroyed our society.
A 16-year-old Michigan girl who authorities say tricked her parents into getting her a passport and then flew off to the Mideast to be with a West Bank man she met on MySpace.com headed for home on Friday.
U.S. officials in Jordan persuaded her to turn around and go home before she reached the West Bank.
. . .
Katherine disappeared Monday after talking her family into getting her a passport by saying she was going to Canada with friends, sheriff's officials said. She apparently planned to visit a man whose MySpace account describes him as a 25-year-old from Jericho, Undersheriff James Jashinske said.
The FBI traced the teenager to a Wednesday flight from New York's Kennedy Airport to Tel Aviv, Israel. At a scheduled stop in Amman, Jordan, U.S. officials persuaded her to return home, FBI agent Robert Beeckman said.
. . .
I'm not sure how I feel about this girl. On the one hand, it takes some chutzpa and sophistication for a 16 year old mid-western girl to sneak away from home and make it to the Mideast to meet a man in the West Bank. On the other hand, she seems kind of fucking crazy and/or naive.
I'm also sort of impressed about the power of persuasion the person from Jericho must have had, although I kind of wonder about his or her motives. Maybe the "25 year old from Jericho" was just a nice guy with innocent plans for this 16 year old girl he lured from half way around the world...
"The Princeton University Art of Science Competition is a celebration of the aesthetics of research and the ways in which science and engineering inform art and vise [sic] versa." A salto reader pointed out the release of this year's winners. No doubt, many of these entries are pretty. However, artistically, the scientists' submissions reek of amateur photography. Take, for example, the artist's statement about the third place prize, "Easter Bonnet",
A laser pulse melted a tiny piece of metal on a silicon chip, resulting in an unexpected shape that looks like a very, very small Easter bonnet. An unintended dust particle serves as a decorative flower on its top. The size of the bonnet in this photo, measured from left to right, is about 45 micrometers, half the diameter of a human hair.
The artists participating in this event seem to also suffer from similar dilettantism. Take the artist's statement about the the first place prize, "Mitosis",
By superimposing images of mitosis and cell division on mass-produced floral fabric, this painting speaks generally of growth. It also extends the notion to encapsulate unregulated growth, and as the fabric pattern reveals, it could extend infinitely. Thus this could be conceived of as a sort of tumor. The floral pattern and the coloration of this piece are also reminiscent of feminine qualities, which opens up the door for dialogue about conceptions of growth. Utilizing elements of modern art, such as a grid, emboldened to an organic state, this piece is very much within a contemporary time frame while being simultaneously timeless.
Now, I'll be the first to commend the students for doing something besides sitting on the couch drinking wine and watching Wings. But it seems that science has more in common with design than the messy cauldron of photography, painting, and film. Take, for instance, the interplay between Tufte and Feynman.
For all I know, William Jefferson is innocent. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know a fuckin' thing about a fuckin' thing. I'm sure there's plenty of good reasons to keep $90,000 in cash in your freezer. And a video that appears to be him taking bribes could be a misunderstanding. But as Steve Gilliard has been saying, it's time to take yourself out for the good of the party. Staying in office doesn't help anyone, probably not even Jefferson himself. Retire, and if you're found not guilty, you'll have plenty of money to live on for the rest of your life.
A new weapon in the war on drugs: biological warfare
Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) and Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) want the USA to use eye-eating biological weapons that can lead to blindness to terrorize coca growers in countries like Columbia. Do we really want terrorists like Souder and Burton running amok in our country like al-Zarqawi was in Iraq? Or do we need to take a principled stand here?
O-Dub has the right idea here. I have always thought that It was repulsive. I don't believe for a second that It believes the shit that It spews. I despise the fact that It is on television and in the newspapers as if It were a normal human being respectfully expressing rational opinions. This attention seeking trash should be denied the media coverage that It so desperately craves. I like that Oliver Willis refuses to refer to It by name. And like him, I will never waste time writing another post about It again.
Before leaving Amman, I had asked the high-level Jordanian intelligence official with whom I met whether al-Zarqawi, in his view, was a potential challenger to Osama bin Laden.
“Not at all,” he replied. “Zarqawi had the ambition to become what he has, but whatever happens, even if he becomes the most popular figure in Iraq, he can never go against the symbolism that bin Laden represents. If Zarqawi is captured or killed tomorrow, the Iraqi insurgency will go on. There is no such thing as ‘Zarqawism.’ What Zarqawi is will die with him. Bin Laden, on the other hand, is an ideological thinker. He created the concept of al-Qaeda and all of its offshoots. He feels he’s achieved his goal.” He paused for a moment, then said, “Osama bin Laden is like Karl Marx. Both created an ideology. Marxism still flourished well after Marx’s death. And whether bin Laden is killed, or simply dies of natural causes, al-Qaedaism will survive him.”
Y'know, BigD tries to be a good person. I really do. I have my vices, like anyone else, but I'm not out fuckin' people over and being a prick. But maybe I should be. Because that seems to be the way to get ahead. Or at least get a $500 bonus and praise from your boss.
Alright, here is yet another post dealing with Kos, but I couldn't resist because he touches on a good point:
Traditional "libertarianism" holds that government is evil and thus must be minimized. Any and all government intrusion is bad. While practical libertarians (as opposed to those who waste their votes on the Libertarian Party) have traditionally aligned themselves with the Republicans, it's clear that the modern GOP has no qualms about trampling on personal liberties. Heck, it's become their raison d' etre.
The problem with this form of libertarianism is that it assumes that only two forces can infringe on liberty -- the government and other individuals.
The Libertarian Democrat understands that there is a third danger to personal liberty -- the corporation. The Lib Dem (in the US context, not the UK political party) understands that corporations, left unchecked, can be huge dangers to our personal liberties. (emphasis added)
Lib Dems are not hostile to government like traditional libertarians. But unlike the liberal Democrats of old times (now all but extinct), the Lib Dem doesn't believe government is the solution for everything. But it sure as heck is effective in checking the power of corporations.
In other words, government can protect our liberties from those who would infringe upon them -- corporations and other individuals.
Why don't more libertarians get that point? The government is not the only source of evil. Corporations can, and do, curtail personal liberty at least as much as the government. It seems like an obvious point, but it isn't made often enough.
As noted here, yesterday Kos called Angelides an "inept mud-slinger" that could barely get him to the polls. Today he said that Angelides represented the "real democrat" and "true progressive" in the race, and that Angelides illustrates the "rise of people-powered politics." I suppose that yesterday's dim view and today's positive view are not necessarily contradictory, but the change in attitude seems a bit drastic and weird.
I hope today's version of Kos is right about Angelides.
The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.
Just four months after joining the Supreme Court, Samuel Alito Jr. on Monday joined the club of jurists who have been targets of Justice Antonin Scalia's wrath.
Alito wrote Zedner v. United States for a unanimous Court on Monday, siding with a criminal defendant in a dispute over interpretation of the Speedy Trial Act. But Scalia, while joining the decision, wrote a concurrence criticizing Alito for citing the legislative history of the statute, which Scalia believes is irrelevant.
"Because the use of legislative history is illegitimate and ill advised in the interpretation of any statute -- and especially a statute that is clear on its face -- I do not join this portion of the Court's opinion," Scalia wrote.
The side spat is a small but significant sign of Alito's independence from Scalia, whom many presumed would be a consistent conservative ally and friend.
In the drafting process, Alito could easily have mollified Scalia by deleting the paragraph that invoked legislative history. In interpreting acts of Congress, Scalia has vocally criticized reliance on legislative history -- congressional floor statements, committee reports, and the like -- in his 20 years on the Court, preferring instead to go strictly by the words of the statute. But the fact that Alito left the paragraph in, and Scalia felt moved to object to it, revealed at least some daylight between the two.
Alito's use of legislative history places him closer to the camp of moderate-liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, who last year warned in his book "Active Liberty" of "the danger that lurks where judges rely too heavily on text."
Asians can't help but notice the dearth of Asians in popular media. When you do see Asians in the media, you kinda perk up and pay attention. "Hey, it's an Asian guy!" And then you just watch and wait. Wait for them tofuckitup. You usually don't have to wait long, and they'll fuck it up almost every time. If you're lucky, there will be a gong as the Asian person enters, so you know not to waste too much time watching the shit.
DC Comics is introducing a group of Chinese superheroes called The Great Ten. It looks to have gone off the rails right at the concept phase, the comic equivalent of the entering gong. Here's a preview by Angry Asian Man:
Celestial Archer, who has ties to Chinese mythology
Ghost Fox Killer, an emissary from a dwindling colony, whose task is to kill evil men
Mother of Champions, who can give birth to a litter of 25 super-soldiers about every three days
Accomplished Perfect Physician, who uses sound to cure cancer and promote healing
Thundermind, who, um, looks like Buddha
Socialist Red Guardsman, who used his solar powers to carry out the Cultural Revolution
Immortal Man in Darkness, who gives off dark, swirling vapors (kind of like SARS, or bird flu?)
August General, who is known for preventing the Shaolin Robots from enforcing a return to imperial rule
At first I thought it was a joke, but it's for real. It's a Chinese superteam comprised of a mythical archer, a mystic killer, a cancer curer, a Buddha, a Socialist robo-suit man, a dark vapor guy, and—my favorite—a woman who literally gives birth to more Chinese men. Not only does it sound stupid, the character names and designs are ridiculous as well. It's a whole team of Chinese stereotypes! Someone actually thought this was a good idea. Can't wait to see where they take this.
Ugh. An Asian superhero who's power is that he's a doctor? Unlike Phil, I can wait to see where they take this. I can happily wait quite a while.
While I agree that the character's names are also fucked up, I can't dwell on them too much. I belong to a profession that has included people named Learned Hand and August Hand. (Coincidentally enough, the Hand brothers each presided over cases with which any comics fan should have at least passing familiarity.)
Last weekend, rail commuters in Toronto were befuddled by hacked in-car electronic displays that, instead of traffic and advertising notices, repeated "Stephen Harper Eats Babies" every three seconds. You may not know that Stephen Harper is the Prime Minister of Canada.
Two items of interest here for marketers: this message repeated, on at least five different displays, for THREE days before being removed.
"Commuter Gerry Nicholls said he thought he was hallucinating as he relaxed in his seat for the 35-minute GO train ride between Toronto and his Oakville home. ...
"No one seemed to be reacting to it," ... "I kept waiting for the kicker,'' he said. "I thought, there's got to be something to this. It's a joke, it's an ad for baby food or something like that. It just kept going over and over again and I realized that this is something that could be pretty serious.
"I wasn't even sure when I got off the train. Was I hallucinating?"
I heard somebody that appeared to be a tweeker talking about Morgellons a while back. I assumed it was just the lack of sleep and speed talking, but after reading this article in The Chronicle it appears she wasn't totally full of shit:
The Bay Area might be home to a small cluster of a horrifying and as-yet-incurable disease that leaves patients with open sores all over their bodies and strange, unidentifiable objects poking out of their skin.
Or not. It's possible that this mystery disease is all in their heads.
The disease is called Morgellons, and no one knows what causes it or if it's even real.
It doesn't help convince disbelieving doctors that many sufferers complain of hard-to-believe symptoms. One San Francisco woman describes "tiny green shrimp"* that come from her face, and she said she saw a fly pop out of her right eye. Even doctors and patients who believe Morgellons exists cringe at such reports.
"There really are physical symptoms that occur in people who are not crazy, although once they have it, it usually makes them pretty crazy," said San Francisco Lyme disease specialist Dr. Raphael Stricker, who has seen several patients with Morgellons symptoms.
"These people, I feel terrible for them. They're suffering a ghastly disease, and no one will believe them, no one will help them, and in fact, everyone tells them they're crazy," Savely said. "If any one of these people came to me alone, I might have been skeptical of their stories. But when you have more than 100 people, and their stories are identical, that's impressive."
Stricker said he has studied samples under a microscope, and they look like cellulose fibers, which typically would be found in plant material.
"When you see it, it's very hard to explain away. These patients have something that's really not delusional," Stricker said.
Still, plenty of doctors disagree.
Many Morgellons symptoms -- the feeling of something crawling beneath the skin, the open sores, even patients' conviction that they are absolutely infested with a parasite -- can be attributed to delusional parasitosis, doctors say. The sores are self-inflicted, caused when people scratch at a spot they think is infected, they say. ..."It's probably just a group of patients who haven't gotten the appropriate treatment, and they're calling it Morgellons."
*If I ever have tiny green shrimp coming out of my face, I give everyone reading this permission to kill me. Please do.
I still don't know who I'm going to vote for between the two. Kos is not very excited about either one of them:
Democrats will also choose between two inept mud-slingers to face Arnold Schwarzenegger -- Steve Westly and Phil Angelides. It's taking everything I have to head to the polls after I'm done with my morning blogging.
I have to admit I am somewhat ignorant about Angelides and Westly. Most of what I know is from their negative ads, and even that information is fairly useless (e.g., Westly has been photographed hugging Arnold a few times---booooh, hisssss!). This is a last minute request, but is there anybody out there that can help convince me one way or the other?
Foreseeing the push against bittorrent sites, BBC News helpfully informed us last year that file sharers should switch from bittorrent to eDonkey. I must admit that I have never used it, but it looks like the best eDonkey client out there is Shareaza. Of course, eDonkey use has its own problems.
They're just driving innovation in a direction that they don't want it to go. In time, they won't be able to catch file sharers. Then they'll be sorry they didn't embrace the technology and figure out a way to turn a buck on it, eh?
Clearly, Jesus would not save this false idol, symbol of the United States. He would instead save this tribute to him and his dad and Space Ghost, or Patrick Swayze, or whatever.
Now that I think about it, Republicans would probably rather Lady Liberty be blow'd up. It would give them another "Start a War Free" card. And they would love to be able to forget about this shit:
Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
The conservative bias of tradtional news outlets is not anything new. But am I wrong, or is this the most blatant non-Fox News attack ever? Changing an already misleading hit piece so that it's even more misleading and hittier? This reminds me of a story from the Onion. Is it really that hard to refrain from writing misleading stories (can't really call it "news" anymore) that the effort just wears you down? Someone got tired of pretending and said, "Ah, fuck it. Let's say Harry Reid killed and raped Natalee Holloway, in that order."
So what happens now? The vast majority of people who read these lies will never see TPM, TPMmuckraker, Americablog, or any of the other blogs that have exposed the truth here. When a source like the AP goes FauxNews on us, puts this shit in every paper in the U.S., what the fuck are we supposed to do?
And this is a much better solution than bringing the troops home, or supplying enough troops and equipment, or providing psychological treatment and taking them off duty before they snap. I hope that whoever got the idea for these classes gets a medal or something, because it's such a simple and elegant solution and is sure to solve all our problems in Iraq.
"German artist Martin Kippenberger once proposed a subway system for the entire world, connecting Los Angeles to Helsinki, Tokyo to Rome, Münster to Dawson City. Greek islands, Canadian towns, Swiss lakes, pharaonic tombs – there would be entrances everywhere."