Sunday, April 30, 2006

Is Colbert a Republican?

Oh MAN! I'm totally stayin' in the NO! camp. LOL! Colbert goes off at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Thanks to ARB for the link to Peter Daou's Huffington Post, from whence came the above Quicktime link (which you may notice is hosted by Crooks and Liars.)


(His failure to ring in the rapture with trumpets is obviously YOUR failure too.)

I don't know, kill an atheist and chattelize their kids, or something.

But be sure to read this Saturday evening post first thing this Sunday morning, and remember,
Gesus* loves you and, via his great steward, needs your help!
As a true American, you may be asking yourself, given all the success President Bush has enjoyed during his first 63 months in office, what more could we possibly expect from The Second-Greatest President Ever©? In response to that truly, truly stupid question, I point to a bumper sticker I recently saw (and really, is there anything in the whole of human wisdom that can’t be summed up on a decal?) that read, “In case of Rapture, this car will be unoccupied.” Folks, despite all that our dedicated Decider has given us…and he has given us (and by “us,” I mean rich white men like myself) soooo much, he has thus far, I regret to say, failed to let slip the Four Horsemen. His best efforts aside, the sun has yet to be turned as black as sackcloth, and the moon, much to our dismay, has not taken on an acceptable blood-like hue (Revelation 6:12.) And, seriously, in the name of Timothy LaHaye, where are the goddamn trumpets?!? Call me a doubting Thomas…and I’ll kick your ass 2 ways to Sunday if you do…but when I entrusted the unstoppable duo of evangelical Christianity and Republican “can-do” spirit with the stewardship of my beloved country, I expected apocalyptic results!

[Read the rest, patriots!]

* Someone really needs to de-Jew our Lord God's name. Don'tchyathink?

Friday, April 28, 2006


Tell Me About It: Let time tell if nice guy is more than just toast

Dear Carolyn: I met the king of the nice guys recently and started dating him. He is sweet and kind and sensitive; you get the idea. He remembers even the smallest of details about me and never stops surprising me with flowers or cards, etc. He's made himself totally available to me and seems to be hiding nothing. So why, then, am I not attracted to him? Why would I rather be with a jerk who treats me like he couldn't care less, is evasive as hell, hardly ever keeps his word or is always too busy doing something else? I like him sooooo much and I've even been praying to be more attracted to him, but what gives? Why can't I like him the way I do the men I should hate? -- D.C.

Dear D.C.: Look at it this way. If you did like this guy, people would accuse you of falling for the first guy who was nice to you.

I realize it's axiomatic that women aren't attracted to nice guys, but that doesn't mean you aren't. (Or that women aren't, but that's another column.) Could be you're just not attracted to this nice guy.

You also could be acting on a number of mistaken impressions -- confusing danger with chemistry or crushes with lasting attraction. Or, confusing the desire for a mate with being mature enough for one. You could be confusing "sweet and kind and sensitive" with "dry toast."

The only answer is time. Give nice guys time so you can see if sparks develop -- since sparks are essential, but not always there at first sight. Give yourself time to get to know people slowly, or just to grow up; mature women aren't the ones tempted by jerks.

If there's a trick to it -- and how can there be, with something so complex as feelings -- it's in distinguishing actual promise from wishful thinking and false hopes.

Promise is when you're excited to talk to a guy when he calls; an intellectual connection can grow into a physical buzz.

Kidding yourself is when you wish you were excited when he called -- or, at the other extreme, when you're more excited by the fact of the call than by the conversation itself. For better or worse, time takes care of these, too.
There's a minor, but apparently common, annoyance in the lyrics linked by this post's title:


I scoped 4 different Lyric Sites and the ALL had that listed. It's freakin' incredibly wrong.

Find the tune and listen closely. What Axel actually, and quite clearly, says is


I could be wrong, but ... naaaahhhh... It ain't likely on this one. What song are these transcribers listening to?

Well, I s'pose the real reason I'm pickin' that nit, is because I do tend to let my 'motions occlude my reason in matters o' the heart. But, come on! Don't most people? Makes me wish I were more like the guy in an upcoming lyrics post. Not nice. Not nice at all. Appropriate, maybe, but...

{sigh} And I wonder why I'm still single . . .


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Remember for Tomorrow

From the American Progress Action Fund's daily email.
Remember Last September

Today, President Bush will make a quick visit to the Gulf Coast for yet another post-Hurricane Katrina photo-op. Last September, Bush made this pledge to Katrina's victims: "We will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives." Over half a year later, 59 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Bush is handling the recovery and not enough is being done to provide for the storm's victims. "This government will learn the lessons of Hurricane Katrina," Bush promised. Yet, the nation remains unprepared for another natural disaster of Katrina's scale. Even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged recently: "It's going to be really bad by September when we go back and have a one-year review and we realize how much of New Orleans is not fixed as of this coming September."
Republican Senators, misguided and optimistic (???) as they generally are, think trashin' FEMA is the way to go.
[Link] WASHINGTON - Hurricane Katrina turned FEMA into a "symbol of a bumbling bureaucracy" so far beyond repair that it should be scrapped, senators said Thursday. They called for creation of a new disaster relief agency as the next storm season looms on the horizon.
I hate to agree with this White House (and don't in the long run on the issue) but it really is a little bit late in the season to be dismantleing the agency which failed. Especially since it is empirically the people currently ruling from the White House which failed the agency.

We'll see what tomorrow brings on this one, as well.

Time to Switch . . .

from Jack Daniels?

Thanks to some linkage to this post from mi amigo, Bronze Dog (at Rockstar's Ramblings,) I've actually done {GASP!} a little math.

The good (?) news is that Gas is still cheaper than Beer.

Part of my comment o'er yonder.
72oz = 1 Six of Bud Light at 'bout $6. That's barely more than half a gallon so, yes, beer is still far more expensive than gasoline.

Diagram That Sentence!

Songbirds May Be Able to Learn Grammar
AP Science Writer Wed Apr 26, 9:59 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The simplest grammar, long thought to be one of the skills that separate man from beast, can be taught to a common songbird, new research suggests.

Starlings learned to differentiate between a regular birdsong "sentence" and one containing a clause or another sentence of warbling, according to a study in Thursday's journal Nature. It took University of California at San Diego psychology researcher Tim Gentner a month and about 15,000 training attempts, with food as a reward, to get the birds to recognize the most basic of grammar in their own bird language.

Yet what they learned may shake up the field of linguistics.
Noam Chomsky not-withstanding, I've always thought birds, if any other animal, were likely to have some kind of grammar rules. There're just so many variations in birdsong. And that's just what I get from mornings reading and smokin' on the back porch.

I wonder how it'll develope over the coming many many MANY millenia. Probably into nothing like human speech. It's just cool to see the structure "diagrammed" like a human sentence.

Primarily Speaking

Dear Friend,

There's still time for you to sign up to help get out the vote for the May 2 primary.

You can dramatically increase our chances to win this November by helping rally the base for next Tuesday's primary.

We need volunteers this Saturday and next Tuesday to get Democrats to the polls.

Join us at a campaign activity near you:

Click here to get out the vote for Democratic candidates.

Thank you for all that you do.


Sherrod Brown
Candidate for U.S. Senate

Paid for by Friends of Sherrod Brown

This message was sent to

2280 Kresge Dr, Amherst OH 44001
Phone: 1-800-587-4180 or 440-282-3314

I feel just a little bit disingenous posting this, right now.

When I moved to U Heights in August, I had a quite a bit on my mind and have never even considered registering to vote in this town, since I'm planning on moving again in a couple more months. There'll be plenty of time to register for Fall, once I've found a new place this summer.

None-the-less, primary elections do mean
something, so Don't Forget to Vote next week Ohio!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Synergy of Cowpox

a contributor may sandbag some dying a pleiades it's lobo and miscible but retard try emittance ! coffey it cowpox in impresario may synergy
The text from some SPAM message 'bout, I think it was Real Estate, or something...

Just made me laugh out loud, so share it I shall.


I always like stories which bring some relatively recent, but almost completely forgotten, historical information back into the light. While it may not always be the "best" situation for everyone, sometimes, like in this story, dredging up the past, thanks to nicely coordinated coincidence, is simply another stroke of brilliant color restored to the landscape of our species' portrait.

See if you can figure out why I've entitle this post "Fever" before the article explains it. It's kinda sad, but really
cool, and I betchya can.

Happy Humpday!

The Secret of the Pearl Islands
By Sven Röbel

For the past 137 years, a mysterious wreck has emerged at low tide each day on a beach off the coast of Panama. Researchers now know that it's the presumed lost "Sub Marine Explorer," one of the world's first submarines and a vessel that would ultimately kill its German inventor.

The tower was the first thing Jim Delgado saw. Inch by inch, it emerged from the deep-green surf of the Pacific Ocean -- an encrusted piece of black metal covered with barnacles, rust and seaweed, a ghostly apparition slowly rising from the sea.

Delgado was sitting on the roots of an ancient palmetto tree, staring at the water as if transfixed. Aside from the hermit crabs digging in the sand at his feet and the brown pelicans screeching in the treetops, Delgado was alone -- the only human being on this godforsaken island known as San Telmo, somewhere southeast of Panama City.

Low tide came slowly and sluggishly, eventually exposing the mysterious rust-eaten wreck a fisherman had described to Delgado. The man believed it was a Japanese submarine that had been on a mission to attack ships near the Panama Canal during World War II, only to fall prey to the treacherous waters of the Pearl Archipelago.

But the more the tide retreated, the more Delgado -- director of the renowned Vancouver Maritime Museum -- was convinced that the fisherman's story couldn't possibly be true. This thing appearing before his eyes had to be older, much older.

The design reminded the scientist of an "iron cigar," and he instinctively thought of the "Nautilus," that legendary underwater vessel author Jules Verne described in his novel "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." Delgado had devoured the book as a young boy.

But could something like this be possible? Delgado was mesmerized. Years ago, working as a marine archaeologist, he had recovered the wreck of the "General Harrison," a ship from the days of the California gold rush, from San Francisco Bay. He was also involved in the raising of the "H.L. Hunley" from the harbor entrance at Charleston, South Carolina -- the first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship, during the American Civil War in 1864.

And now, on this isolated beach on a tropical island -- during his vacation, no less -- he had apparently happened upon the most spectacular find of his career.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

See those "Golden Arches"?

Does this mean Mickey Dee's is Heaven? Or, um, vice a versa.

Sometimes . . .

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Silly Test Takin'

One more quickie, with thanks to Beep Beep! It's not exactly me, but then, how could it be?
Take the quiz:

You are Godless! You could care less about religion. As far as you're concerned, if you can't see, touch and kick something, it's not real to you. You're day-to-day activities consist of eating, working, sleeping and the occasional Internet or coffee shop debate. Lastly, if anyone chooses to preach at you otherwise, you will either leave or debate them until they finally shut up.

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

More Real

I've no idea how or when I bookmarked this site, but I was lookin' for something upbeat and, voila, this hit the spot.

I'm Young Enough and Old Enough is a nice little essay about, amongst a couple other things, realizing that you're just right, whatever your age.

Now if I can just internalize that message and
Tonya's advice, and quit projecting (and start living!,) I'll be able to feel the love a little more readily.

Okay. It's cartoon time. At least Fox is good for something other than NFC football and shillin' for the Wingnuts.

Duck and Cover!

Whilst gettin' a daily dose of Shakespearian parodisia*, I followed a Tub Thumping link to something equally silly and/but enjoyable.

Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition!

* Paradisiacal parodies. Or something(s) close...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

frickin' if ownlies . . .

Disclaimer: This is not a cry for help. Just some reflectin' I gotta blog.

Doesn't that look like a chunk of grass is falling out of the picture? On the bottom right.
September '81, my Sophmore year as a Lorain Catholic Spartan (and angrily blooming agnostic) where that skinny permed punk was second string Varsity offensive line for about 3 weeks, 'til I twisted my knee on a practice block.

My freshman year started out so goddam good and then I gave up weight lifting after school. Then, since I'd "nothin' better" to do, I started
smokin' grass with kids closer to home, failin' algebra (which was always a struggle anyway, broke up with a girl just to get punked by another. . . All of which made smoking grass even more appealing. DOH!

And all because I hated being myself unless I was good at something AND appreciated for it.


Like most people, I am, of course, good at many things. Those, so far, have simply not happened to include personal credit with banks or women. I hate having to work hard at the former (though I'm
finally findin' the trick of it,) and really don't know how to increase the latter w/o really changing who I am. Really.

Guess I'm just writing this to work it out in my head and be able to kinda take a look and see what everybody sees. Blog's helped with that.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Neural Wiring: Dependant on the Plumbing or Not?

Or maybe it's somehow part of what determines the plumbing.
Robin Lloyd
Special to LiveScience
Thu Apr 20, 10:00 AM ET

Men and women are actually from the same planet, but scientists now have the first strong evidence that the emotional wiring of the sexes is fundamentally different.
It ends by saying that the wiring in the brain is the same, it just uses different programmin' in men's and women's brains. Well, good! But I wonder how goes it for a transvestite? I'm just askin' . . . Are Both sides trying to use the equipment at the same time?

This part, how we're so physiologically similar, is very cool, though not particularly helpful to me right now 'sfar's I can see. But I do love saying am-yg-da-la.

The new study focused on activity in the amygdala, a cluster of neurons found on both sides of the brain and involved for both sexes in hormone and other involuntary functions, as well as emotions and perception. Cahill already knew that the sexes use different sides of their brains to process and store long-term memories, based on his earlier work. He also has shown that a particular drug, Propranolol, can block memory differently in men and women.

Cahill and his co-author Lisa Kilpatrick, scanned the brains of 36 healthy men and 36 healthy women. The subjects were told to relax with their eyes closed during the scan, so that differences between the sexes could be studied at rest rather than during heavy lifting like accessing memories.

The scans also showed that men's and women's amygdalas are polar opposites in terms of connections with other parts of the brain. In men, the right amygdala is more active and shows more connections with other brain regions. In women, the same is true of the left amygdala.

Scientists still have to find out if one's sex also affects the wiring of other regions of the brain. It could be that while men and women have basically the same hardware, it's the software instructions and how they are put to use that makes the sexes seem different.
emotions and perception . . .

So, girls may
indeed be cuter than boys, but that doesn't have much to do with what attracts us to them.

She's got hers. He's got his. Together they gotta make those two lives mesh.
Ostensibly for gene replication though on so many individual levels, reproductive sex is just not in the plan. Non-breeders fill a necessary niche statistically, I'd say.

And it never hurts if they're cute, either. {-;

Thursday, April 20, 2006

UnLocked Lakery

The story starts with a description of the scientists' plans to explore these underground lakes in Antarctica. The idea that these are each home to separately evolved, and closed, ecosystems, once a driving force of biological research is now being found unlikely.

The simple fact that liquid water exists thanks to the planet's internal heat, despite the temp of the atmosphere is still incredibly cool to me.
Satellite data

The latest research was carried out by scientists at the Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc) Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) at UCL, the University of Bristol and University of Cambridge.

They took ultra-precise measurements of a region in East Antarctica - home to some of the oldest, thickest ice on the continent - using radars on the European Space Agency's ERS-2 satellite.

The satellite found synchronous changes in the surface height at several locations hundreds of kilometres apart.

"To find a whole section - 30km (18 miles) by 10km (6 miles) - had dropped vertically was a great surprise," Professor Wingham explained.

"We then found another similar event 300km (186 miles) away, but that bit had increased instead of decreasing.

"We were then left with the problem of explaining what was going on. Movement of water was the only mechanism conceivable."

Read More

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

It's Time

This was perhaps the most compelling part for me.
Senate Hearings on Bush, Now
Carl Bernstein

How much evidence is there to justify such action?

Certainly enough to form a consensus around a national imperative: to learn what this president and his vice president knew and when they knew it; to determine what the Bush administration has done under the guise of national security; and to find out who did what, whether legal or illegal, unconstitutional or merely under the wire, in ignorance or incompetence or with good reason, while the administration barricaded itself behind the most Draconian secrecy and disingenuous information policies of the modern presidential era."
Tip o' the hat to ARB for "leakin'" news of the article.

What an Extended Family . .

This National Geographic story on Out of Africa is amazing. The Greatest Journey combines the data collected from both mtDNA and the Y chromosome and even puts us face to face with ourselves after millenia of separation.

As not-so-well as that actually went, it's interesting to imagine how it could still be better.
With the settling of the Americas, modern humans had conquered most of the planet. When European explorers set sail 700 years ago, the lands they “discovered” were already full of people. The encounters were often wary or violent, but they were the reunions of a close-knit family.

Perhaps the most wonderful of the stories hidden in our genes is that, when unraveled, the tangled knot of our global genetic diversity today leads us all back to a recent yesterday, together in Africa.

Not Gonna Happen . . .

Not unless it tastes great on both Ovaltine and Quisp.

. . .. . .

" . . All of which makes me anxious, at times, unbearably so."
  • Gorillaz

My most listened to album over the last 3 years.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Some Things Bear Repeating

I'll usually say that in some totally different context,

but . . .


Thanks to Orac for remindin' me it's a kinda a holiday, by providing a nice look into the deranged Bunny's off-season activities.

NASA on Earth

NASA To Enhance Video Of People At Fire Scene
Sat Apr 15, 10:03 PM ET

NASA said it'll use technolgy to enhance a video surveillance tape in connection with the Cleveland arson fire that killed four children last week.

Surveillance video from a camera across the street from the fire on East 105th Street shows people who may have crucial information for investigators, but the tape is too grainy to see faces or license plates numbers, NewsChannel5 reported.

Fire investigators believe there could be witnesses out there who could help police figure out who started a fire that killed Aleyshia Hayes, 8, twins Marvin and Markel, 5, and Racheal, 3.

The four were killed in an apartment fire the morning of April 4. They were trapped in a third-floor bedroom and died of smoke inhalation. Investigators ruled Saturday that the fire was intentionally set.

No suspects have been arrested.

It can, and often does, pay back with interest. I hope it will this time.

Why Wouldn't I?

Here's a trailer. You'll have to go to hell to get it.

Tip o' my gamer's cap to pickled punk for gettin' me hooked on SiN about 6 years ago.

(This post brought to you by how bad I suck on HalfLife this morning.)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

What a Bonehead

Okay, my attitude has really got to change.

Your Famous Last Words Will Be:
"We are born crying, live complaining, and die disappointed."

And I've apparently gotta stop wearing lipstick. My face is too bony for it.

So I took the test again:

Your Famous Last Words Will Be:

"I can pass this guy."

Crap. That sounds just as freakin' likely.


H/T to When Ducks Attack

Friday, April 14, 2006

. . Outta the Doubt that Fills Your Mind . .

It's nice to know there really are wonderful people everywhere.

gettin' It back together

Just cuz I'm always building a new life.
Where women build new lives

By Jane Lampman, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Thu Apr 13, 4:00 AM ET

NASHVILLE, TENN. - When the Rev. Becca Stevens began visiting Nashville jails a decade ago, one visit turned into a high school reunion of sorts: One of her former classmates was the police officer at the desk that day, and another was a prostitute behind bars.

Struck by the thought that "all of us could be in another's position," Ms. Stevens, an Episcopal priest, pondered what she could do to make a difference.

In 1997, Stevens founded Magdalene, a two-year residential community for women with a criminal history of prostitution and drug abuse. Conceived as a place of sanctuary and recovery - to provide safety, discipline, and an unconditional love that the women have never known - it has apparently worked wonders.

The community has grown from one to four houses, plus a new beauty-products business where a number of the women work. More than 50 women have turned their lives around - to be "clean," hopeful, and productive.
I want this to be a good thing. That means that we're learning.

And a
little phantasizing really does has its efficacy, 'slong 's you're honest about it, eh.
For the first three months, newcomers are in treatment working on recovery from drugs. Medical and dental care, as well as basic education and computer skills, are provided. In-house programs offer a variety of classes given by volunteers, from life skills and parenting to art, dance, Bible study, and 12-step groups.

Religion is not a required element.

"If you are talking to people who have been in hell, they are on a spiritual path you need to be respectful of," Stevens says. "They are more honest than most people and have a lot to teach. You don't want people to think you have a Bible in your hand and something up your sleeve."

Spoiler Alert!

Sorry folks. I know a lot of you haven't seen the Passion yet. Y'all bein' atheists and all. . .)

Think of this as a public service announcement on What Not To Do
When Ducks Attack, by giving away movie endings.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Jeez. How was I s'posed not to post that?


Take Your Shots at Jesus!

'South Park' Creators Skewer Own Network
By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer 4 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Banned by Comedy Central from showing an image of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, the creators of "South Park" skewered their own network for hypocrisy in the cartoon's most recent episode.

The comedy — in an episode aired during Holy Week for Christians — instead featured an image of Jesus Christ defecating on
President Bush and the American flag.
This story is weird enough, simply because it's Parker and Stone.

But then some nutter from an anti-defamation group gets to chime in on the story, as if he actually knows the definition of hypocrite.
The (fictional) executive decides to strike a blow for free speech and agrees to show it. But at the point where Muhammad is to be seen, the screen is filled with the message: "Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Muhammad on their network."

It is followed shortly by the images of Christ, Bush and the flag.

A frequent "South Park" critic, William Donohue of the anti-defamation group Catholic League, called on Parker and Stone to resign out of principle for being censored.

"The ultimate hypocrite is not Comedy Central — that's their decision not to show the image of Muhammad or not — it's Parker and Stone," he said. "Like little whores, they'll sit there and grab the bucks. They'll sit there and they'll whine and they'll take their shot at Jesus. That's their stock in trade."
Dude may indeed have a right to thoroughly dislike the show, but hypocricy for these two guys is nearly impossible to achieve; they make fun of everything. Personally, I imagine he just likes to call people whores.

His not being able to discern a hypocrite from a mad hatter
must also be why he loves O'Reilly so well.

From Salon:
Things got even uglier during a segment on MSNBC Dec. 8, when William Donahue of the arch-conservative Catholic League insisted, "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, OK? Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes."

Not that there's anything wrong with that either . . .

A little advice . . .

If you give your child a bunny, stick with chocolate

By Rick Zerkel

For the
Dayton Daily News

If your child wants an Easter bunny, consider this: House rabbits can live for more than 10 years.
But, to my knowledge, they ain't very likely to get as big as ol' Peter, there. The pic is actually from a different story of the woes of overpopulation for a village in the northeast of England. That's a nice little read too, come to think of it.

And remember, chocolate
tastes better than fur, but the youngest wee one's are all too likely to try and prove it for themselves.


Collide . . .

Rollin' rollin' rollin'

From Advocates for Self-Government: The Liberator Online.
Zogby Poll: Near-Majority Now Favor Legalizing Marijuana

Nearly half of Americans support amending federal law "to let states legally regulate and tax marijuana the way they do liquor and gambling," according to a national Zogby poll of 1,004 likely voters.

Forty-six percent of respondents say they support allowing states to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. Forty-nine percent opposed the idea, and five percent were undecided.

Even more remarkable, a solid MAJORITY on the east coast (53 percent) and west coast (55 percent) supported the proposal.

"Public support for replacing the illicit marijuana market with a legally regulated, controlled market similar to alcohol -- complete with age restrictions and quality controls -- continues to grow," said Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of NORML, which commissioned the poll. "NORML's challenge is to convert this growing public support into a tangible public policy that no longer criminalizes those adults who use marijuana responsibly."

Respondents' support for marijuana law reform was strongly influenced by age and political affiliation:

* Nearly two-thirds of 18-29 year-olds (65 percent) and half of 50-64 year-olds think federal law should be amended to allow states the option to regulate marijuana.
* However
, majorities of 30-49 year-olds (58 percent) and seniors 65 and older (52 percent) oppose such a change.

* 59 percent who said they were Democrats supported the measure. Only 33 percent of Republicans did. 85 percent of Libertarians supported it, as did 44 percent of Independents.

While the idea of "regulating and taxing" marijuana falls somewhat short of the libertarian ideal -- which would be to simply get the government out of the marijuana market altogether -- it would be a strong move in that direction, and end a major and particularly idiotic part of the Drug War.

Source: NORML news release
(emphasis mine)
age groups in opposition are quite predictable. I don’t mean that in any negative sense. It’s just that they are, in the first case of 30 to 49 year olds, the folk most likely to be raising children and therefore to have quite a rational motivation for keeping marijuana and other social toxins out of their environment.

Folks in the older groups are simply tend to be more conservative in their opinions generally. That’s just the natural development of Homo sapiens for taking fewer, and safer, risks as we age.

The bottom line is that recreational drug usage has got to be considered an individual right if we’re to viscerally and fully understand, as a society, what it means to expect individuals to be responsible for our own lives and actions. Assess folk with fines for breaking laws – including creating a nuisance or contributing to the “delinquency” of minors – just as is done with drivers’ licenses and alcohol consumption. If a person is causing no harm then no one, most especially including the duly elected government, should enforce their own moirés upon them.

Update: Total apologies for that one being one whacked out paragraph all day. MSWord's what I have at work and the Blogger Add-in apparently has some bugs.

Venus Calling

Tense times

During the orbital insertion engine burn, Venus Express’ trajectory took it behind its target planet, meaning that for 10 minutes there were no radio signals available to ground teams. The mission control center went silent as ground teams waited to hear the return of the weak S-band signal from the satellite.

“We were sweating for a few minutes,” said Manfred Warhaut, Venus Express flight operations for the ESA, in a post-orbit arrival press conference.

Applause followed the confirmation that the signal had been acquired anew. But there were 12 more minutes of engine burn that were needed to further slow the satellite's speed and confirm its capture by Venus.

Mission controllers applauded when the signal confirmed that the engine had completed its burn and shut down, making Venus Express the first dedicated orbiter to study its cloudy target since NASA's Magellan mapping probe plunged into the planet's atmosphere in 1994.

Read the Rest

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Buy everything With Integrity

You know, usually I don't get involved in this kind of thing because it's simply, well, just too hard to coordinate. This email made it sound like such coordination of individual efforts would be likely to succed because it focuses on one, particularly monomaniacal oil company; Exxon Mobile.

Snopes has a rational explanation of why the Oil industry is logically setup to bypass any efficacy from a simply individual, public stance. Remember that the Sunoco apartheid related boycott worked a little because governments around the world were exerting pressure on South Africa's leaders as well.

Anyhow, here's a snippet of the email. I really really like the coolishly silly
amiga who sent it to me (She's one of my Boogrrrl's friend's mom.) I hope she reads in my reply that I don't want her to leave me off her mail list. And, I'll tell ya, researchin' this was not just an embarrassing hoot, I was reminded of why I personally avoid Exxon stations: their resistance to diverting even a small part of their R&D focus from fossil fuels.

My boycott may not help anything but me to feel better, but that's the most I can do at this point in my life.
Here! 's the idea: For the rest of this year, DON'T purchase ANY gasoline from the two biggest companies (which now are one*), EXXON and MOBIL. If they are not selling any gas, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit. But to have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of Exxon and Mobil gas buyers.

It's really simple to do!! Now, don't whimp out on me at this point...keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!!

I am sending this note to about thirty people. If each of you send it to,at least, ten more (30 x 10 = 300) ... and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000)...and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumers! If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted!

If it goes one level further, you guessed it..... THREE HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE!!!

* That right there dates the message as old. In case you're as interested as I was, here's about the only thing a couple of quick Google's found on one Kerry Lyle, Director, Research Coordinator

I wonder what he thinks of that email...

Harkin's Petition to Censure

Neither Thersites nor I could tell you how long it's been up there, but Tom Harkin has a petition to Resolve to Censure up on his website. If you're already sure that it's the right and legally responsible thing for the Senate to do, then help yourself and click on over.

In case you're just starting to consider the issue somewhat seriously, here's the text of the petition from Harkin's site.

Dear Senator Harkin:

We, the undersigned, support your principled stand with Senators Russ Feingold and Barbara Boxer in favor of holding President Bush accountable, and we urge you to bring the Resolution of Censure to the floor of the Senate for a vote. The President has brazenly, arrogantly and unapologetically broken the law - the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which prohibits warrantless wiretaps of American citizens. Despite getting caught red-handed, he refuses to stop.

Government must protect Americans' security, and that's why the FISA law allows intelligence services to listen to terrorists' conversations legally - by going to the secret espionage and terrorism court to get a warrant AFTER listening.

We are a nation of laws, not of men. No American is above the law. That most certainly includes the President. If Congress fails to hold him to account through censure, then he will believe that he can continue breaking laws with impunity. This is profoundly dangerous to our democracy.

We admire your courage in standing up to President Bush and saying enough! Now, we urge you to take the next step. We - ordinary Americans deeply concerned for the country we love - ask you to work with your colleagues to support and pass the Resolution of Censure in the Senate.
We really are ostensibly a nation of laws. This President is takin' that to hilt in his less than Clintonian ability to dissemble. He's argued like a lawyer with a loaded shotgun point at the Judge in his refusal to submit his Presidency to its required jurisdiction.

I just finished signing it. Here's my version of the additional comment which you can personalize for the Senator from Iowa.
I've petitioned my own Republican Senators in Ohio and only got a negative response from Sen DeWine. I like him. But he's absolutely in the wrong by supporting this neo-fascist stooge - the worst to hold the Office since the Herbert Hoover.

I can't stomach such blatant disregard for Basic and Undisputed Constitutional guarantees of our privacy as American Citizens.

Please convince your cohorts to initiate George W Bush's immediate Censure so that his following Impeachment in the House will be even easier to ensure.

Thanks Sen Harkin.

PS: While I've not supported your previous Presidential bid, I have (almost) always been grateful for your presence in the United States Congress. (That whole Iraq War vote thing, you understand...)

Can't hurt to remind them what they've done and of the impact which such dicey politics usually can have. I still generally attempt to prop the good when dissin' the bad. As I've said before, no one is completely evil. It's generally decent people who cross those kinds of lines, frequently for reasons which they believe are valuable and worthwhile.

Ignoring our nation's Constitution at every convenient turn is gettin' frighteningly close to glass half full of evil, though. This president really is stooging for something or someone (as a group, presumably.) I've trouble believing he is just as dumb - unintelligent and anti-intellectual - as he so often comes across.

I don't know, I guess ya never know.

Google News

Quickie from work, of course . . .

Talk about an Industry that has limited means to regulate it's self! I love this stuff but parents have really got to take more serious interest in their kids. The more so since not all of us can or will. Hires Official to Oversee Users' Safety
New York Times - 14 hours ago, the social networking Internet site popular with young people that has alarmed some parents and law enforcement officials concerned about sexual predators, announced yesterday that it was hiring a former federal prosecutor to be its first ...
Web site fights predators, sexual content Monsters and
MySpace steals web safety guru Australian IT


mmm hmm. This is how Dubya has notably left many of his projects. Bankrupt and with powerful friends the richer for it.

In UAE, Tales of Paradise Lost

Migrant Workers Creating Splendor Are Abandoned With No Pay

By Anthony Shadid

Washington Post Foreign Service

Wednesday, April 12, 2006; Page A10

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates, April 11 -- A sweltering fog still shrouded the East Coast & Hamriah Co. labor camp when, dressed in the equivalent of their Sunday best, the migrant workers set out after dawn Tuesday. They didn't shower beforehand. Water was cut last year to their shantytown, now abandoned by their employer. They didn't eat breakfast. They have no electricity to cook.

They simply bundled into plastic bags their yellowing court papers, an 18-month chronicle of their attempt to get paid by a now bankrupt company, and began their trek on foot -- six, maybe seven miles -- to the Sharjah Federal Court. They walked out a bent and rusted gate, past a crumbling cinder-block wall and through a sprawling pool of sewage, which splashed over their sandaled feet.

"Either they pay us or send our corpses home," said Imtiaz Ahmed Siddiq, one of the South Asian laborers, who has made the trek to the court more than 50 times since last year. "If they pay us, we'll go home alive. If they don't pay us, we'll go home dead."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Treaty? What Treaty?

Published on Tuesday, April 11, 2006 by
by Haider Rizvi
(Photo: National Science Foundation Atomic Archive)

UNITED NATIONS - Native Americans want U.S. authorities to cancel plans to detonate 700 tons of explosives on what they say is tribal land in Nevada.

The planned explosion, scheduled for June 2 some 90 miles from Las Vegas, is aimed at aiding U.S. efforts to develop ''bunker buster'' weapons capable of penetrating solid rock. Officials have suggested the test would constitute the largest non-nuclear, open-air blast in the test site's history.

Federal officials have described such efforts as essential to the administration of President George W. Bush's self-styled ''war on terror'' but to leaders of the Shoshone, also known as the Newe people, the planned detonation is just the latest in a decades-long history of experiments at the Nevada Test Site to shake the earth and raise a dust cloud.

''We are opposed to any further military testing on our lands,'' said Raymond Yowell, chief of the Western Shoshone National Council.

The site of the latest proposed test sits on the land recognized under the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley as part of the tribe's national territory, Shoshone leaders said, and the U.S. military therefore has no right to use it.

The U.S. government disagreed and has asserted its ownership of the land.

"Without going through a lot of detail, the issue of ownership of the land area occupied by the Nevada Test Site, and for that matter very large sections of Nevada and Utah, is very complex (going back to the Ruby Valley Treaty) and in our eyes has been resolved," said Kevin Rohrer, a spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which operates the test site.

What makes this "dispute" more interesting to me is this story about Native American rights according to International Law. Didn't the US sign some treaties in the '60s?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

International law protects Native American interests

With 29 tribes in Washington and five in Idaho, the Pacific Northwest's Native American communities play an essential part in the region's contemporary political and cultural life. There have been a number of significant policy disputes between the federal government, the states and their Native American populations, most notably involving water rights. Long viewed as strictly domestic matters, these issues now reverberate in international law.

The case of the Dann sisters is a poignant example. Mary (now deceased) and Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone Elders, have long sought access to Western Shoshone ancestral lands, including much of present-day Nevada and extending to parts of Idaho, Utah and California. When denied access by the U.S. courts, the Dann sisters continued their struggle as a matter of international human rights law.

In a strongly worded rebuke to the United States in 2002, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (a body of the Organization of American States) found that the inadequate process afforded the Dann sisters by the U.S. Indian Claims Commission constituted a violation of the protections they were owed under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

Now, in a ruling on March 10 of this year, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has joined the fray. The United Nations claimed to have credible information that calls into question the U.S. government's assertion of federal ownership of nearly 90 percent of Western Shoshone lands. In a landmark ruling, the United Nations expressed concern about the U.S. claim to the land by theory of "gradual encroachment" and urged the United States to "freeze," "desist" and "stop" activities that threaten Western Shoshone ancestral lands. Diplomatic exchanges rarely take such an urgent and stern tone.

(emphasis mine)
How might they
try to adjudicate that here? If you read that carefully, its kind of arguments have sputtered to life and died quickly over and over across the United States for decades.

"Well, sure. We took their land. There weren't enough of 'em to hold US to the treaties..." Just your normal, average American has no problem with this. It's History.

And maybe someday, some time most likely decades hence, the US will figure out how to acknowledge and pay for it. Rationally. Fairly to be hoped, but at the very most, rationally.

If the insane need to develope new bunker buster freakin' nukes weren't such a big and poisonous issue, I'd suggest they wait for the next Administration though. This one has little enough concern for our own, National laws.

As it stands, I'm glad the Shoshone folk are standing up in whatever court they can get.

Feign outrage

This is from my friend, Jack. He's an alternatively educated, white-boy muslim living in the heart of Houston Texas. I'm not sure why .. lol

But it seems to be workin' for him pretty well. Dude's a helluva cool humains idiots.

Love ya Jack. Thanks for letting me post this, man!

Many of my friends and acquaintances think I’m jaded, or a conservative, or that I’ve lost my mind, or that I’m just a jerk who likes to provoke outrage. I don’t think I’m jaded, or conservative, and I certainly don’t think I’ve lost my mind.

During the last presidential election I got fed up with the barrage of forwarded anti-Bush drivel flooding my inbox. I’m apolitical by nature, and I’m in the habit of deleting most forwarded email unread; normally I wouldn’t get wound up about it. However, being a convert to Islam, everything since 9/11 has been on my mind and in my face. My perspective has gotten more global. I’ve searched my soul, re-examined loyalties, and god forbid, formulated a few opinions.

I was understandably curious to see what my friends and acquaintances were thinking and saying about politics. I was sadly disappointed. For the most part what I received and read was mass-forwarded drivel that made little or no point about anything. What I craved was thoughtful debate that went beyond the clichés and ready-made ideologies. What was both intriguing and frustrating was that without exception all the propaganda I received was targeted at an audience that obviously already believed in the message. They were preaching to the converted; talkting to hear the sound of their own voices.

George W. Bush is an evildoer and an idiot and a liar and a redneck and a Bible thumper and a racist and he started and illegal war for oil and didn’t do enough to prevent 9/11 and he skipped out on his military duty and if he get elected again we’re all going to die and go to hell.

When people write this kind of drivel, I wonder if they think they’re helping their cause. Do they think they’re reaching some untapped pool of voters that hasn’t been watching the news for the last decade?

I don’t expect much from our politicians. I expect them to act like politicians. Maybe that is wrong of me. Maybe that is part of the overall problem.

I perceive a massive kinetic force that propels the universe of human affairs. It is the force of 6.5 billion people needed and wanting things; struggling for survival; trying to get ahead; propagating their opinions and beliefs; a many-headed monster out for a joy-ride.

In general, open-mindedness is a rare quality in humans. We readily mistake things such as tolerance or good-will as open-mindedness. It is not. Humans tend to form opinions and cling to them for dear life.

I don’t really understand what’s going on in the world, and I don’t think anyone else does either. That’s largely why I don’t usually vote in presidential elections. That and laziness. I feel it is irresponsible to vote when one doesn’t know what’s going on. I think it’s stupid to vote because of loyalty to a political party. Stupid stupid stupid. Like it means something. I think it’s irresponsible to vote when one is basically clueless about politics and the intricacies of economics. But that’s just me.

I recognize the position that it is a responsibility of every American to vote, and a privilege many have died to procure for us. I do not dismiss it lightly.

I am not a cynic. I have great faith in humanity,

I voted for Ross Perot twice. I was intrigued at what would happen if the two party barrier was breached. And I liked his ears. You hear people all the time say we will never get any where because of the two-party system; then when an opportunity to test the theory came along for the first time in a century, America punked out.

People think a lot of things about me. That I’m jaded. Or just lazy. Or stupid.

I’m an optimist. I like people. I love live. I have great faith in humanity, in spite of the fact that I believe people are basically idiots.

I do believe as much and as truly as anything that we are lulled into self hypnotic trances that project individualized, self justified transparencies onto “reality”; and then we wonder why no one can agree on anything or accomplish anything. Like the Buddhist proverb, we are cups filled to the brim with opinions and there is no room for any new idea.

We pride ourselves on being open minded, but we are not. Actually, being too open minded may go against natural selection, and we may be genetically predisposed to being pigheaded. We’ve already formed our opinions, made our judgments, drawn our lines in the sand. Let’s face it, if the world depended on you and me to run things we’d be completely screwed. Perhaps the business of power mongering is best left to the power mongers.

I’m not so much jaded by the two-party system as I am annoyed at the general public for refusing to think outside the box. It doesn’t matter whether you vote republican or democrat because the world is going to go in the direction it’s going and no one can stop it.

And that’s okay. For me anyway. Like I said, I’m an optimist. I think the world is basically okay, and humanity is basically okay. And though I think a lot of things are inevitable, it doesn’t mean I think we’re all doomed.

There are a lot of things that are more or less beyond anyone’s control. Rather than identify and tackle things that are within the realm of our control or affect, we choose instead to draw ideological lines in the sand and thump our chests.

Here is a concrete example: Crime and Crime Prevention.

Crime prevention is something that lies wholly inside our realm of influence, it is something that could benefit every single American; and it is something we will likely never do anything about. Not really.

Crime is something that effects all of us. All of us have been victims of crime at one time or another, or people we know. Everything we spend money on, a portion of that goes to loss of production. It is the cost of time lost from work, of running the legal system, Insurance, cops, lawyers, courts, prisons, and mountains and mountains of paperwork. I imagine the figures are staggering.

Why should we have to choose between national security and education? Health benefits or better roadways? What if we just cured crime and had plenty of recourses
freed up for everything else.

The hell you say!

I have some ideas about crime prevention, but it doesn’t really matter what my ideas are.

Lets say for the sake of argument someone came up with a viable solution to crime prevention. Lets say it got criminals off the streets more effectively. Lets say it saved tax dollars. Lets say it put less emphasis on punishment as a deterrent. Lets say we significantly reduced the murder rate. and at the same time eliminated the death penalty. Lets say that in order to accomplish this this we must take away all but the most basic human rights from convicted criminals. No physical punishment. No physical hardship, no Thorazine. No lobotomies. No physical torture. Just take away that persons citizenship for the duration of their sentence.

Since everyone who is not a criminal stands to gain from this arrangement, you would think folks would be doing back flips across party lines to get it done.

Suppose a candidate picked up on the idea and championed it. The opposing party would have to oppose it. It doesn’t matter which party is pro and which is con, they’d have to have fight about it, and either side would have plenty of ammo.

If the so-called liberals pushed the idea, the so-called conservatives would argue that the initial outlay of funds would be to large, that there was no evidence to support the idea that the new system would be any better than the old system. They would pander to the emotions of the voters by saying criminals must be punished. Without the death penalty here would no deterrent to murder. Criminals should be made to work, not sit on their asses and suck the public teat. The real problems facing our legal system are frivolous lawsuits (against corporations.) Harsher sentencing. Three strikes. War on drugs. More police on the streets.

Conversely, if a so-called conservative championed the idea, the so-called liberals would howl. They would be against anything that took away a convicts rights or privileges. They would argue that since the legal system, in fact the system itself, was unfair to minorities, that it would amount to racism to actually punish the guilty. They would argue that since society was largely responsible for the criminals choosing a life of crime, society should not blame them, but rather take responsibility for rehabilitating them. Harsh punishment and the death penalty are unethical. Many things are illegal that shouldn’t be, like pot and sodomy, and protesting against the president to his face, and flag burning.

It is ironic and perverse that the poor and disenfranchised are dramatically more likely to be the victims of crime, and have dramatically fewer resources to bounce back from assault and loss of assets.

The world is not the way it is because of the ruling class, it is the way it is because we are idiots.

I saw and heard a poignant description of the current immigrant reform issues last night by Chris Matthews. He pointed out that both sides had legitimate points of view and concerns. He gave a very clear and concise scenario of a win-win resolution to the matter. He pointed out that it would require both sides of the debate coming together to make it happen. He didn’t see a lot of hope of that happening. He also gave very clear and concise descriptions of what exactly would be the stumbling blocks for each party.

Why do politicians cling so stupidly to their party lines? Because that’s what gets them elected. Because the idiot constituency believes that their opinions on gay marriage and prayer in schools and flag burning matter more than actually getting anything accomplished. We don’t care about progress, or solutions, we just want to win damn it.

I have some ideas on what to do about crime. Want to hear them? If so, send me yours first.

Jack Cheiky
Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Jack Cheiky is an idiot with a spellchecker and access to the internet

Feign outrage.