Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bush, Blaire and Condi Work on Their Iran Plan

RANT ALERT


Problem is, Iran is playin' a slightly more complicated game than this bunch is.

From the World Peace Herald:
[Link] Nadim Shehadi, associate fellow on Chatham House's Middle East Program and one of the report's authors, said: "While the U.S. has been playing poker in the region, Iran has been playing chess. Iran is playing a longer, cleverer game and has been far more successful at winning hearts and minds."
One of the most disgusting and masochistic habits enjoyed by a large swathe of Americans, is poo-pooing people who think outside their own little box of experience. I'll not claim it's unique to my countryfolk, but I've grown up around its practice and, despite the goodness in their hearts and their loyalty to family and - for the most part - friends, there are far too many folk willing to belittle the use of their natural faculty of intelligence whenever it goes against their personal knowledge of "how things oughtta be."

That mindset gets us Pat Robertsons, Jimmy Swaggerts, David Koresh's galore. It gave us Ronnie Reagan and Georgie W Bush in the whitehouse. And it's not limited to the "ignorant" masses, either. Dick Nixon was brilliant, but paranoid. Jimmy Carter was accomplished and wise, but foolishly allowed the festering Islamic Revolution to reach its Apex in Iran because he thought the Iranian people Loved their Shah; the man who was America's quasi-capitalist, puppet dictator in that country.

Folks, ain't
none of us playing with a FULL deck o' cards on every occasion. Sometimes, as in the case of the "War on Terror", our leaders are still playing games with lives, whilst those whom they - and frequently me as well - have denounced as evil are fighting for their right to exist on the same planet and to do so with their fully deserved right to Sovereignty unmolested by people for whom their way of life is anathema.

We've got to wake up our neighbors and families and friends to the fact that We Are NOT the World. We are one small and amazingly wonderful, productive and creative portion of a much larger whole. We have been guarentied since birth, opportunities not afforded to most of the planet's people; the rights to Life, Liberty and the
pursuit of happiness, and these rights are being ever so slowly threatened by the people whom we, in our frightened and devout ignorance, have promoted to positions of leadership and responsibility.

This Preznit's poll numbers are the lowest for the longest period of time of nearly anyone who's held that magnificent office in the past century. Perhaps my fellow Americans are learning. Perhaps they can't help it; what with the results of their 2004 election day Terror finally eating away at their bank accounts and their prospects not looking much better, even while they see their elected leaders giving out one Tax Break after another to the Wealthiest of their fellow citizens.

Perhaps the old saw that it's better to learn by doing is finally starting prove true in politics as well.


I'm not exactly counting on it to stick though. Any monkey can grind a tune, or peel a banana. It takes only an average human intelligence to know what to do with what is right in front of you. It takes the ability to acknowledge and understand facts which aren't presently slamming into one's skull in order to really see the bigger picture; the one which includes Everyone, even those with whom we have next to nothing in common.


Until we get a majority of folks in this country who can do that, we will continue to slide back towards the Financial Mediocrity which awaits us.


Talk about "haves" and "have nots". . . How many millionaires do
you hang around with?




Monday, August 28, 2006

Launch Postponed


Ahhhh... Wish it was that simple. Then they could just pick it up again tomorrow.
Storm grounds space shuttle Atlantis
By Irene Klotz Mon Aug 28, 8:38 AM ET

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) -
NASA on Monday said it plans to pull the space shuttle Atlantis off its seaside Florida launch pad and return the ship to a protective hangar due to concerns about encroaching Tropical Storm Ernesto.

The move will postpone for an uncertain period of time this week's planned launch of Atlantis on a mission considered vital to the future of the

International Space Station.

The launch originally had been set for Sunday. It was rescheduled for Tuesday due to concerns about possible damage from a lightning bolt that hit the shuttle's launch pad on Friday.


Ernesto, which could regain hurricane strength before making its expected landfall in south Florida late on Tuesday or early Wednesday, triggered the decision to call off Tuesday's launch attempt, public affairs officials at the U.S. space agency said on Monday.
[... the rest of the story]
Looks like it's gonna be at least a few more days since they're actually puttin' Atlantis back in the garage, so to speak.

Ernesto doesn't look like much of a Hurricane, so lets hope this is the worst of the damage this storm will cause.

Alternative Communication

The Poetry Man has posted a couple of extremely moving musical clips in the last couple days. While I've always dug Kristofferson's rumblin' tones, but this one is more my speed.

As I commented on the site, Capitalism works, so we need to work it responsibly.




Click here to comment!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Don't Read This

Ahhh... whatever... {-;

I don't
really think this is exactly what I need. If you don't know what it's like to want things you don't wanna want, you ain't gonna have any idea what the hekk I'm talkin' 'bout though.

Sorry... Bad attitude kinda week.

[Link]"This is the first time we can show you can erase long-term memories this way," Sacktor said.

Sacktor and his collaborators worked on rats trained to avoid a shock zone on a rotating platform. If they received an injection of a chemical dubbed ZIP into the hippocampus one day to one month after they learned to keep away from the shock zone, they no longer shunned it.

"It doesn't have an effect on short-term memory, and afterward they can continue to store long-term memories," Sacktor said.

Bear and his colleagues experimented in rats trained to avoid a shock zone in a darkened area of a box. Using an electrode array that enabled Bear and his collaborators to listen in on many places in the hippocampus at the same time, they eavesdropped on the hard-to-detect synaptic strengthening take place.

"This same process might be hijacked in psychiatric diseases, such as anxiety disorders and even depression," Bear said. "What is cool is that we know how to reverse some of the changes we measure after learning, which suggests the possibility of new treatments."

(emphasis mine)

I had some a-hole psychiatrists pull the old ECT on me 4 years ago when I'd "given up" and gone into Lakewood Hospital Psych care, rather than mopin' around the place feeling worser than the worst cuz I couldn't pull the trigger, so to speak. It did nothing that a good trip couldn't do, and lasted barely a few days longer as well. None the less, I avoid "self-medicating" for the most part. Mostly cuz they add financial stresses I just don't need, and I don't notice any big difference when I'm on a binge.


What I'm getting at is that I understand nutters, and folks who cling to ideas - despite their insanity - because those somehow make them feel a little better.


I've been trying to get off this stupid road since High School, and occasionally manage to get "normal" for a few years at a time. There
has always been somethin' to bring me back to this track though, and as usual, I'm sick of it. I'm not stupid. I'm simply more muthaf***in' messed up than muthaf***in' snakes on a muthaf***in' plane.

But I'm not givin' up, eh.


Even if a helluvalotta folks wish people like me just would already.


Now for Plan B


FDA Approves Plan B's Over-the-Counter Sale
No Prescription Will Be Required for Women 18 or Older

By Rob Stein

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, August 25, 2006; Page A04


By the end of the year, American women will be able to walk into any pharmacy and buy emergency contraceptive pills without a prescription as a result of a Food and Drug Administration decision announced yesterday.


The decision means women will not have to go to a doctor first as long as they can prove they are 18 or older to a pharmacist, who will keep the drugs behind a counter. Younger teenagers will still need a prescription, and the pills will not be sold at gas stations, convenience stores or other outlets that do not have pharmacists.


The approval marks the first time a hormonal contraceptive will be broadly available in the United States without a prescription. The pills, which will be sold as Plan B, will probably cost about $25 to $40 per dose, and men will also be able to buy them.
The article is loaded with hair-brained dissenters, including some numbskull in Congress who thinks the availability will actually encourage more young women to have sex.

Uhh... How many times must we have disassemble
that strawman?

{sighh}


The worst part is all the folks whinin' "bad science! bad science!" No. It's good science; the kind which ignores your silly religious arguments and acknowledges that, hey guess what?, young people
Will Have Sex No Matter What You Say!

This act will prevent unwanted pregnancies and the drug has extremely low hormone-related side-effects, so the decision is a good thing, not only for the individuals who may now avail themselves of it, but for a society which still doesn't realize that it's growth must be consciously moderated by its members, lest more draconian
State impelled actions (like China has needed to use) are absolutely required some decades down the line.

Sex is good. Have some. Do it responsibly and no one gets hurt. Raise YOUR children responsibly, and they'll know that when their time comes to experiment.

So it has always been.


So shall it always be.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Eight is Enough, eh...

Well now, after all the hooplah and recent discussion as to how many more planets we might be gonna have, the International Astronomical Union went and did the rational thing.

Pluto is no longer
called a planet. Now it's a Dwarf Planet.


[
Link] Astronomers have labored without a universal definition of a planet since well before the time of Copernicus, who proved that the Earth revolves around the sun, and the experts gathered in Prague burst into applause when the guidelines were passed.

Predictably, Pluto's demotion provoked plenty of wistful nostalgia.

"It's disappointing in a way, and confusing," said Patricia Tombaugh, the 93-year-old widow of Pluto discoverer Clyde Tombaugh.

"I don't know just how you handle it. It kind of sounds like I just lost my job," she said from Las Cruces, N.M. "But I understand science is not something that just sits there. It goes on. Clyde finally said before he died, 'It's there. Whatever it is. It is there.'"

The decision by the IAU, the official arbiter of heavenly objects, restricts membership in the elite cosmic club to the eight classical planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Pluto and objects like it will be known as "dwarf planets," which raised some thorny questions about semantics: If a raincoat is still a coat, and a cell phone is still a phone, why isn't a dwarf planet still a planet?

Big whoop.

Well, yah. It
is a big deal and, despite some folks' disgust, it seems to make perfect sense to me.
[Link] NASA said Pluto's downgrade would not affect its $700 million New Horizons spacecraft mission, which this year began a 9 1/2-year journey to the oddball object to unearth more of its secrets.

But mission head Alan Stern said he was "embarrassed" by Pluto's undoing and predicted that Thursday's vote would not end the debate. Although 2,500 astronomers from 75 nations attended the conference, only about 300 showed up to vote.

"It's a sloppy definition. It's bad science," he said. "It ain't over."

Science corrects scientists, otherwise they're either not good scientists or, like I'd guess about Mr. (Dr.?) Stern, they're overly concerned with the language; most probably for political reasons.

The solar system hasn't changed at all. We're just naming its inhabitants more precisely now. Though I'm not sure from what's posted if those names are still goin' to include plutons, or if the Dwarf Planet designation replaces that as well.

Good night.

Project Implicit: Gun Laws Preference



This one didn't
really surprise me, but it is kind of misleading. Gun Rights, like every other type, require Gun Control. How we end up instituting those controls is where it starts to get fuzzy.

The US Constitution makes it clear that we've got to work hard to maintain our rights, and it gives an excellent frame on which we can continue fine-tuning our society. Gun Rights are one means of preventing our Leaders from going too far "for our safety and protection."

Wiretaps and Tax Breaks for the most wealthy amongst us are for Whose
safety and protection, Georgie???

Liberty and Justice for All.


Good stuff has its bad side, eh.

How to Hit On a Creationist Cutie

Dance Like A Monkey!!!




Thanks to an email from mi 'migo, the PickledPunk.


And note his note:

Keep your eyes peeled for various appearances of deities, including
FSM and his noodly appendage.
It's great to see the New York Dolls are back and swingin' as ever. And a brief in Rolling Stone says the new guitarist is the dude from Hanoi Rocks! Excellent fit!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

War: We All Know What It's Good For...

Profits for a select - and who cares how freakin' hard-working they are?! - few.

All that hard work is focused on development of technology that is only intended to make it easier for people to kill others of our own species. If these people are such great businessfolk, and such models of human productivity and ingenuity, then they will also thrive in industry which doesn't result in and require the deaths of thousands.


It's a fundamental morality of Life issue. One which is given lip-service by the current Administration, but which is refuted by almost every action they and a large percentage of our Congress folk actually produce.


From the
Seattlepi.

Pentagon contractors' congressional allies routinely defeat or bury in committee initiatives that could curtail war profiteering. This June, for example, all 55 Senate Republicans voted to kill an amendment strengthening laws governing waste, fraud and abuse in defense (43 of 45 Democrats voted for it).

In his farewell address, (President) Eisenhower called for "an alert and knowledgeable citizenry" to stand up to the military industrial complex. Isn't it time to heed his call and demand that our representatives rein in the war profiteers?

(emphasis mine)

The authors start off the essay with a little pop-quiz; the answer to which you may also find less than surprising.

Check it out.

The Silly Side of "Idiots"

I frequently read the Guardian and sometimes BBC News.

Here's a
different BBC which the last half-hour or so has made me to decide to sidebar right off the bat.
[Link] Well, I do take a lot of things seriously and do a lot of fussing and bitching, but why should I take myself seriously? Hell, no one else does. God is omnipresent, not omnipotent*, there are all kinds of shit here that I can’t make right, so I balance it out with humor and accepting that I’m an idiot in evolution. That because you are all part of the all, that you are all idiots in evolution. Some of us are just better idiots is all.
* I've thought that before, but've never heard/read it anywhere. Of course, I'm atheist on the whole thing but, being raised goddily, it makes sense to think of things in those terms sometimes. I see that as meaning that the natural rules of this Universe are responsible for everything having a probabilitiy. That isn't what makes thing likely to actually happen though.

Takes a little thought and emprical observations to figure that out.

Anyhow, i
t's nice that I don't have to agree with every detail in order to appreciate the point being made.

How boring would
that be!

Oh kay... I'm off to work.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Zen?

Pity the poor windshield wiper, for its Sisyphean labors will never attain the status of myth.

Ahhh...
c'est la vie, eh...

:
:
:
:
:
From
Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Tom Robbins

"Is Bush an Idiot?"

Apparently such is what the folks in Scarborough Country are finally allowing themselves to wonder aloud.

Folks around the world, but especially here in the US, really want an empirical answer to this question. The evidence suggests that yes, depending upon how you define idiot, our Commander in Chief, the Chief Executive of the United States of America, is indeed, not playing with a full deck o' cards.


WaPo's Eugene Robinson wraps up his own thoughts on the topic with a nod to the Preznit's at least
nominal ability to ascertain actual reality.

[Link] In his news conference, the Decider did make a couple of nods to objective reality. He admitted in plain language that Iraq had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks and possessed no weapons of mass destruction -- in other words, that his rationale for this elective, preemptive war had no substance. And he acknowledged a certain occasional exasperation.

"Frustrated? Sometimes I'm frustrated. Rarely surprised," the president said. "Sometimes I'm happy. This is -- but war is not a time of joy. These aren't joyous times."

No, they're not.

Not for anyone whose head ain't up their accountant's arse at any rate. Arms Dealers and Oilmen are amongst the very few for whom these last several years have been filled with the Happy Happy, Joy Joy which Dubya is finally acknowledging is in short supply politically.

All of which is why
I'm pushing the September 1, Impeachnet event.

We're bloggers; other than voting and writing LttEs and our Congressfolk, our posts are the best ways for us to communicate to the world, not to forget all those random DOJ visitors on our sitemeters and stats' pages. {-;



Addendum: I just read James Wolcott's take on the Scarboroughers conumdrum.
It's the burning question failing to divide America.

Is Bush an idiot?

Is water wet?

Is Colin Farrell stubbly?

Wolcott rocks!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Take Part in the Call for Constitutional Integrity

I've been leaving a link in some of my comments on some of the more political of the blogs I frequent. It's to a site which has a novel idea for political bloggers and website owners everywhere in the United States.

On September first, about two months prior to the coming November elections, why not join in converting your Blog or other website's facade into a Call for Impeachment? The message has a stark and matter-of-fact message and using the code provided by Impeach.net, your blog will look like this for as long as you choose to leave it so.

The Impeach.net folks supply the code, but a friend in the 'sphere asked if I might supply some brief and relative clear instructions on how to actually implement it. Following these few steps should get your blog decked out in the dark and serious message which our current Presidential Administration is in dire need of getting: The Constitution may only be changed by Amendment; NOT by Presidential decree.


For Blogger.com bloggers, these directions should work as well for you as they have for me. Peacechick Mary, who checked them for me, says they worked as advertised for her, so go for it!


1) Goto your Blogger Home and click on the icon to Change Settings next to your blog's name. It looks like a little blue geer.

2)
There are Four Tabs across the top of the page. Click on the tab labeled Template.

3) In order to ensure that your current Template is not lost or mutilated, here are instructions for saving it to a file on your Local Hard drive.

(These instructions are specifically for MS Windows users. If you're using a Mac, the same procedure will work if you use the appropriate Mac Keys. I don't know what those are though. If you're using Linux, you probably don't need these instructions anyhow, but they will work with Open Office on any OS. {-; )

A) Launch your word processor application, whether it be Word, WordPerfect, Wordpad or Notepad doesn't matter. As long as you use the .txt format when saving the new document. Now go back to the Blogger Template page in your web browser.

B) Click anywhere inside the template and hit Ctrl A (select all). This will highlight your template. Then click Ctrl C. This will copy the selected text to the windows clipboard.

C) Go back to your new document and click Ctrl V to paste your old template into it. Remember to save it as a .txt file. This will prevent any of the current code in your template from being lost or mistranslated.

Don't close the document yet. If you're just testing to see if this works, you'll want to reverse these steps in order to restore your original template. You'll want to do that after you've left the Impeach.net template up as long as you like as well. Having lost or screwed up my templates in the past (how'dya think I KNOW how to do all this! lol) I always go through the procedure a couple of times, in order to make sure that I've done it right and haven't lost all the hard work I've put into modifying my blog to look how I like it.

4) Go back to the Impeach.net source code page and select all (Ctrl A in Windows) then copy it ( Ctrl C) it to the clipboard.

I find it helps to note at least SOME of the words you are copying, in order to ensure that you've actually copied them after the checking the next step.

5) Go back to your blogger Template page - where the entire template should still be highlighted - and paste (Ctrl V) the Impeach txt over your old template.

a) If your template code is not all highlighted, hit Ctrl A again to make it so. THEN paste the Impeach code over it.

b) At the very bottom of the new template, you'll see this line:
"<"!-- ENTER YOUR OWN SITE LINK BELOW --">"

*<*a href="#">Enter Site*<*/a>
In place of the # sign, in between the " ", enter a website where you would like this piece of code to lead.

ex: http://www.google.com/search?q=failure&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hl=en-US&client=firefox-a


This example leads to the Google Search on "failure" which is topped by President Bush's biography on WhiteHouse.Gov. Any site which says something you think worth sharing on the this important will due nicely. Impeach.net even supplies the link for the After Downing Street website, which would be highly appropriate as well.

6) Scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the Preview button. That will launch your blog in a new browser (or in a new Tab if you're using a Tabbed browser like Firefox or IE 7.)


Your entire blog should now be nothing more than a black background with the word Impeach in the middle, followed by a large blue dot. There will also be two links at the bottom of the page.


If it doesn't look this way, feel free to email me (bainsmac AT gmail DOT com) and I'll try and help out.


If it looks like it's supposed to look, well then, you're good to go for September 1, 2006!


NOW you'll want to reverse the above procedures in order to return your blog to normal until that date. Or not. Is totally up to you.


I'm hoping this event gives our Congressional candidates get a strong and clear message that the current Congress has failed in its duties as a balance to the Executive branch, and that we cannot in good conscience either accept or condone such behaviour; not if we value that which makes Our form of Democracy such an enduring and efficacious means of government.


Peace all! Have fun and good luck!!!


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Xena and Gabrielle


These blobs o' light look tighter than the TV twosome.

Thanks to AIF for the tip.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ceres Is In The House


I just figured I'd post this pic, which is parodied in the previous post, because

A) I really dig it

B) So much so that it's my current wallpaper

C) Comparison shows the 'toon to be fairly well done, actually

D) Repeat option A)


Oh yah... I might as well mention, case yer curious, 2003 UB313 is tentatively being called Xena. I've no idea if that will hold, but kinda hope it does. I mean, why not?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Are You Confused? I'm Not Confused. Are You Confused?



I don't really see anything all that confusing about this development.


Is the Earth the same kind of satellite as Neptune?


Is Venus the same as Jupiter?


No?


Ok. Then
why are they all called planets? No big deal. I think it's cool that the scientific community has finally decided to do something about satellitic nomeclatura.

Talk about bias though. I dig the toon enough to post it, but my immediate reaction was to get defensive about it's jab at "science". It struck me as being written by some cynical cat who's lacking an understanding of the situation, and just thinks kids should be given the simplest possible explanations available.


The more answers we get, the more questions we have, so that
it
always gets harder, even as we get better at figurin' it out.

RAmen

****

Totally shiftin' gears...

My bro just called with an invite to the Browns -v- Lions preseason matchup down at Cleveland Stadium!

FOOTBALL! You Bet!!!1!1!!

Have a groovin' evenin' folks. I know I will.

More Implicit Association Test Results por moi

I really dig this test, so am gonna post the rest of my results after taking the rest of 'em.

These are the 2nd and 3rd tests I've taken. So far so good on the one hand. On the other, one of the big-time reasons I'm taking them is to figure out why it's so hard for me to get motivated to do stuff that I hate doing.

People say "just do it" and that'd be great. Now if I could just turn off my emotions without shuttin' off my ability to reason at the same time...

The first one is no surprise.





The second suggests that I've a Moderate Preference for Jewery? Hhmmm..


I wonder if it's because I was totally In Love with my 3rd grade teacher, a beautiful Polish Catholic girl, and she freaked all of Catholic school kids out by marrying a nice Jewish boy. Could be, eh...

More to come...

What A Reading Room!

Stopping by Kevin Wolf's the other day, I found that he and a couple other guys whom I consider "real writers with blogs" have joined in a group blog. First looks show it's already a place I'll both love and fear visiting!

lol! {sigh}

Neddy Jingo and Lance Mannion are involved, and those are to blogs which (and that pain in my shoulder is building as I write this) both compell and repel me because of the quality of their posts. The problem is simply that I'm intimidated because they do so well what I aspire to do; write!

It's obvious to me, as I write this, that I'm gettin' all discombobulated about what I'm trying to say, so I'll just push on and point out how I know that my convolutions of thought and feeling are more about me than anything these good folk put into the blogosphere.

What I want, I fear. What I fear, I
run from!

The only way I've stayed remotely sane with this affliction is by challenging it repeatedly, and blogging even when it's only to post some supreme silliness, and if it's triggered by a visit to another blog, leaving that one open in a Firefox tab, so that I can return to it when I've done something constructive to get my selfconfidance back up to a level where I can read them without goin' all
waah waah waahh.. poor me. Why can't I write like that?

Okidoke.


Check out
Anecdotal Antidote for yourself. It has just introduced me to several more writers who will be challenging me to be a better person myself.

Ya got any extra Xanax lying around,
Anita?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Biased Views

We've all got our natural biases. It's a side-effect of learning what we like and dislike, a way to subconsciously maintain clues to those preferences in order that we aren't constantly wondering what next we really want to do. Socially, bias most likely helped keep our ancestors safe from the unknown. It's an adjunct of implicitly learning what will harm you so that you know it without having to get burned or stung or poisoned over and over until some such event finally kills you.

Of course, as our species has grown, we've managed to tame an extraordinary amount of the environment in which we exist day to day. Most of the dangers we face now are those which we've created ourselves, as a civilization. We've also created Laws and Rules which protect us all so that our biases are really more relevant, not as survival instincts, but more as I described initially; preferences.

I read about this project and Mahzarin Banaji in the
June '06 issue of Scientific American, and have been meaning to give it a try ever since. It's definitely a part of ourselves we need to understand better if we're to avoid blowing up our planet.
[Link] Even in people with genuinely egalitarian views, Banaji and her colleagues find that bias is ordinary and ingrained and remains active outside our awareness. When the team realized the power of unconscious attitudes in everyday decision making, she says, "we knew the right thing was to take this to the public." On an IAT Web site (implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/), users can try 14 measures--to find out whether they automatically favor young over old, for instance, or prefer thin to overweight. Ten new sections include country-specific IATs, such as Muslim-Hindu and Pakistan-India associations.
On a less dramatic or consequential stage, this particular test reminded me of Blue Girl's recent request for non-biased assistance in understanding the pros and cons of her use of Netscape as a browser. (
BTW, hope you feel better soon, BG!)

I didn't want to think I may have steered her wrong (though she received plenty of excellent - and interesting - opinions...) and I think these results have got my back in that regard.





I'm hoping I produce similar results on the rest of them. I'll definitely post them, regardless of whether or not they support my biased view of myself as an openminded and tolerant kinda guy. Don't get me wrong. I don't think that I'm not biased! I just always try hard to overcome those because I've grown up being hurt by such crap, and have hurt others as well. What I really need to work on most, seems to be overcoming a bizarre bias against my own best interests. THAT's the really tough ticket for me.

Of course, vis-a-vie Microsoft, things like the Gates' Foundation and Bill G's recent comments at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto are the kind of stuff that help alleviate some of my bias against Microsoft, despite its predatory and destructive style of operating in the marketplace. So maybe I won't show as well in most of the other tests as I did here.

We'll see.

Here's a
link for more info on Project Implicit, and the SciAm article is highly rec'd as well. Click the pic to take the test yourself. You may be surprised by the results. Even if your bias tells you otherwise.

Growing the Internets: Wordpress.com's First Birthday

Obviously, I'm a Blogger user, and despite some hairy moments and several lost templates (mostly my own fault,) I have totally loved the opportunity which Blogger has given me to be "out there" and publish both my serious considerations about our silly species, as well as some of the craziest inanities I'd never thought I'd have the sack to share in public.

The reason I mention the Wordpress.com anniversary is that
Babbler posted on't, so I took a look and was actually quite moved by the heartfelt essay of thanks to Wordpress by one of its users; a blogger name of Lorelle.

Here's the bit I found the most eloquent.

is more than just a free blogging service. It’s foundation lies even deeper than the WordPress collection of php code driven blog management software. It’s foundation is built upon the honest belief that everyone has a right to have a free voice - and that their voice has a right to be freely heard.

No matter how much we want “pretty” in a WordPress Theme, no matter how much we wish the sidebar were on the left instead of the right, or want to add Flickr galleries to our sidebars or posts, insert video or music files into our posts, tag posts, change header art, or wrap text around pictures, it’s all about the stories we share, the memories we recall, pictures we show off, opinions we rattle off, our screams and shouts, our whines and moans, tears openly shed, questions asked, answers challenged, and words we write.

The whole post reminded me of how happy I am that there are people like the staff at Blogger.com and Wordpress.com (and, though I think it's not free, TypePad, cuz a few of my favorite bloggers on there) who put in so much effort to provide such an awesome Low Cost means of making the Internets perhaps the most egalitarian social construct yet to be created.

So Happy Anniversary Wordpress.com. Let Freedom Blog!

Terrorist Plot Foiled


Police arrest vicious proto-terrorist before any damage done

Can't be too careful these days, can we now folks...

{shakin'head'n'winkin'}

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Porn Search Provides Unexpected Resolution

Okay, it was actually a Science Blogs search which took me to Grrl Scientist's place in hopes of some uhh, revealing research*. Yeah... That's the ticket!



The "resolution" part is that I absolutely hate how much I Love the original song. This way I get the melody and feeling without being dragged down by the sincere
pathos which this ver parodies.

And I can still relate!!!@!$~ LO!L




* Bronze Dog posted a hilarious atheistical You Tube he'd found on Pharyngula, so I really was just seeing what the science bloggers were finding interesting in Tubeland.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Feagler Rocks

Sorry, but I'm feeling lazy tonight. Bummed too, cuz I just ate a steak and it did nothing for me.

Well, alright.. It filled me up. But I totally forgot teh sweet potatoe*, so it just left me kinda wanting.

Anyhow, Dick's good. Umm, Feagler, I mean. It's a quick read and accurate take, as is often the case from this Cleveland quasi-curmedgeon.


Via Common Dreams
Published on Monday, August 14, 2006 by the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio)

Badges Outdoing Bombs, Bullets
by Dick Feagler

The war on terror is a cop's war. It's not a soldier's war.

Every time the cops have been tested, they've come through. Every time an army has been sent in to make things better, things get worse.


It was cops and secret cops who saved airplanes from blowing up over the Atlantic. This war is a crime war - the kind of war cops and supercops deal with best.


We got this war wrong almost from the beginning. And it's still horribly wrong today.


We ought to be on a cop manhunt for thugs. The crime against us was the Twin Towers. And Osama bin Laden was public enemy No. 1.


At first we went after him. America was united then. It was Osama we wanted, dead or alive.


Nobody opposed our effort. Five years ago, America spoke with one voice. We wanted to go get him and drag him back and try him and shoot him. But he gave us the slip.


What we should have done then was keep boring in. We knew where bin Laden was hiding. He was in that bleak, mountainous region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. I guess he still is. So the cops or the supercops - our precision Delta Force - should have gone to find him.


There certainly was no indication he was anywhere near Iraq. Iraq would have viewed him as too hot to handle. But, lacking any proof that Iraq had attacked America, we attacked Iraq. And loused up what was left of the manhunt.


And now we're stuck in Iraq. Stuck in a civil war. And for no good reason. Our presence there screws up the hunt for justice. We have made bin Laden stronger. We have further inflamed the whole Middle East. We are working against ourselves.


We have lost what small clout we had in the region. Instead of breathing life on a wistful ember of Rose Garden diplomacy, we blew it out.


Our Middle East policy, always fragile, has been trampled beneath the boots of our reluctant Army. We are, once again, in the wrong place for the wrong reason at the wrong time. With a new generation of boobs to lead us.


Either the commander in chief is a fool (which is possible) or, led blindly by his acolytes, he thirsted for a full-scale Armageddon in the Mideast - a crusade he thought would be easily won.


By now, he must know that nothing is won easily in the Mideast. By now, he must know that we are losing. Iraq was never ours to win.


But he's too stubborn to pull out. Yet. Sooner or later, he's going to have to. But when it comes to ending the killing, everything takes too long. There are always too many people on Capitol Hill who won't admit their mistakes. Even if they are written in blood.


It's never their blood.


There was no reason on Earth to fight a soldier's war in Iraq. The war on terror is a cop's war. It's a war against organized crime.


And ever since the crumbling of the towers, the cops have performed magnificently. Right up to and including the busts in Britain that may have prevented thugs and terrorists from using their favorite weapons of mass destruction, airliners.


It seems to me that the American war on terror is a failure. We went into Iraq and kicked over an anthill. And now, we're trying to save face while we look for the exit. We look bad. We should.


The only connection between the Iraq war and the war on terror is that the Iraq war - Bush's war - is making things worse.


The cops are the heroes who never get credit. This week, they should. They are our homeland security. And always have been.


© Copyright 2006 The Plain Dealer


* Godz I miss the innocuous idiot VPs, like Ford and Quayle.

Just a Flesh Wound

I linked to it in a comment, but this one warants its own post.

Hey AIF man, my favorite t-shirt has a pic o' yo on it! Well, of this guy anyhow...
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Monday, August 14, 2006

Was YWHY Smokin' the Ganja???

Who Art Thou?

Thanks again to Aif for one worth takin'.

This one actually appears more precise - believe it or not - than some of the personality profiles I've taken.

our distinct personality, The Dreamer-Minstrel might be found in most of the thriving kingdoms of the time. You can always see the "Silver Lining" to every dark and dreary cloud. Look at the bright side is your motto and understanding why everything happens for the best is your goal. You are the positive optimist of the world who provides the hope for all humankind. There is nothing so terrible that you can not find some good within it. On the positive side, you are spontaneous, charismatic, idealistic and empathic. On the negative side, you may be a sentimental dreamer who is emotionally impractical. Interestingly, your preference is just as applicable in today's corporate kingdoms.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Celebration of the Left





Left Handed folks, that is.

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I had a wee bit o' fun with it by sending
this Egreeting to m' Boo Grrl.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Obsessive complusive cat flushing the toilet

I wonder if this cat is learnin' anything he'll be able to use in college... Or later in life, 'tany rate.

Hat tip to Jackman, once again. {-;

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fighting What Good Fight?

This columnist points to the problems inherent in fighting terrorists who cross national boundaries and lack a central geographical base.

I think that his ideas add more
fuel to the call for the West to reevaluate our dependence on Middle East oil. Thus, I've reproduced the column in full.

So, like, enjoy. {-;

Friday, August 11, 2006

U.S. wages war on a concept

ROBERT SPRACKLAND
GUEST COLUMNIST

On Sept. 11, 2001, religious fanatics hijacked four commercial jets and crashed them in the most egregious acts of war against the United States' mainland since the British burned Washington, D.C., in 1814. No perpetrator was an Iraqi, but the White House had decided Iraq was a locus of anti-American terrorism. While journalists dutifully presented each administration justification against Saddam Hussein, the lynchpin of condemnation became the effervescent weapons of mass destruction.

The administration has drawn lines between nations that are "with us, or with the terrorists." An Axis of Evil was defined, in which one nation was invaded and cast into a civil war, while two others hastened to develop nuclear weapons capabilities. Afghanistan was occupied, Iran joined the Axis and all hell broke out in the Middle East as Israel slammed at Hezbollah. And still there are claims that all is still hopeful on the roadmap to peace.

How can there be any progress in a war in which there are no contiguous elements? The U.S. is not waging war against Iraq, or Baathists, or even Muslims. It is not fighting a place or entity but a concept -- "terrorism." What enemy can be more of a phantom, impossible to kill or contain, than an idea? That is why dictators so enjoy a good book burning -- books contain ideas.

The government, when queried about when troops will come home and the war will end, repetitively answers "we will stay the course until we defeat terrorists." Yet the methods employed to attack terrorists provides precisely the feeding ground to produce their replacements. Worse, the largely artificial lines of nationhood drawn in the sands of the Middle East quickly blow away in the hot winds of fanatical Islam. Terrorists do not wear a national uniform, but come dressed as civilians.

Wars against ideas never achieve victory. China may have overthrown its 2,200-year tradition of emperors, but it is still an empire led by a hereditary aristocracy; the United States failed miserably in its wars against drugs, poverty and alcohol, but admitted defeat only when it repealed Prohibition. And although the Third Reich is a memory, Nazism is still among us. Were the goal of World War II to destroy the Nazis, it would still be fought today.

So I ask the president: How will we know when we have defeated terrorism? If it is outlawed by all the Middle Eastern nations, it will still exist, as do slavery and drug dealers. What will it take to recall U.S. troops, admit that this is a foe that armies are not meant to fight, and that the idea of fighting "terrorism" is as poor an idea as any that led to the debacle ongoing in the Middle East?

Regarding troops, Tennyson eloquently wrote: "Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do & die." Those of us at home must hold government accountable and demand to know why. It may not be the most important way to support the troops, but after three years of war it certainly seems we should get answers. Question one is "How do you defeat a phantom menace?

Robert Sprackland lives in Seattle.

We Don't Pay Enough For Gas . .


. . or the lives lost in our quest for more.


The opening of this post was written yesterday morning, then banished to the save as draft list, because I
know how rediculously difficult it is to even consider such massive changes of attitude in the West's view of our Civilization and Rights vis-a-vie commerce, business and industrial development.

Another Op-Ed
came out this morning which has reinvigorated my desire to post because it supports my contentions and comes from a source which is comprised of exactly the kind of powerful group whom I have said need to be the ones to lead the change.

As a very brief caveat; I don't discuss the non-Oil reasons for supporting Israel, but I believe they are many. I just don't see anything which makes
US involvement in the Middle East an acceptable phenomenon at our current level of dependence.
A Price of Fighting Terrorism
By David Bernstein
Thursday, August 10, 2006; Page A23

When much of the world initially supported Israel's right to defend itself against the Hezbollah attacks, I wondered how long the international backing would last. Would Israel be given enough time to push Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon and cripple the terrorist organization before the world lost patience?


Alas, the international support lasted a mere two weeks. With the unfortunate but inevitable loss of life, calls for a cease-fire have reached a fevered pitch, threatening to end the operation before Israel's basic military objectives have been met and before an adequate international force can be mobilized and placed on the ground.
It's hard to not agree with Bernstein's take in its essentials. Innocents will inevitably pay with their lives whenever two groups decide that murderous violence is their best, or only, alternative. Despite his disingenous comparison the Nazi phenomenon of World War II (neither Israel nor Hezbollah are trying to controll the entirety of the Industrial world,) it is true that the powerful nations can't merely look away and condemn those are shedding blood. We have too much indirect culpability in the bloodletting.

The problem is, once again, a matter of intelligence. Hezbollah is funded and backed by Iran and Syria and neither of those nations is accepting responsibility for reigning it in. Israel simply
can no longer fight a winning war against the fingers (Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda) of the body (Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia) of Islamic terrorism throughout the world.

These are the 3 most powerful Islamic States, and the first two openly support the destruction of Israel, whilst the last, Saudi Arabia, violently supports religious extremism via it's endorsement of the inequality of peoples based upon both their sex and their religion. Without, at this point, going into the West's own culpability by virtue of its dependence on Middle East oil, these are the three states MOST responsible for the violence in Lebanon.


If we ignore our "need" for their oil and started paying - we as citizens of the West - the resultant cost of our fuel and products as they should be, we would NEED TO adjust our
way of life to be more respectful of others Right to Exist.

If "property" so damned important as the movers and shakers of the West make it out to be (and, quite frankly, I'm in agreement that it is) and Democracy is the ultimate expression of a Society's will, then we should ignore the unelected leaders of Saudi Arabia and the UA Emirates, and pay heed to the fundamentalist fanatics who revile our intrusions upon their civilizations. We should trade them their independence from our influence for Israel's Undeniable Right to Exist.


Our
comfort is not worth the thousands upon thousands of lost lives. Our pride in our accomplishments as an industrial and commercial civilization is in NO WAY worth the human lives lost by those who don't see how progressive and advantageous is technological development.

Because they have far more direct experience in the region, as well as vastly more credibility on the issues of Free Enterprise and the West's Oil Addiction, I'm going to post a majority of their piece without comment.


From the Washington Post online

Are We Ready for the Next Oil Shock?

By Frederick W. Smith and P.X. Kelley
Friday, August 11, 2006; Page A19

Could a mere 4 percent shortfall in daily oil supply propel the price of a barrel to more than $120 in a matter of days? That's what some oil market experts are saying, and if they're correct, we face the very real possibility of an oil shock wave that could send our economy reeling. Such a rapid rise in fuel costs would have profound effects that could severely threaten the foundation of America's economic prosperity.
My recent move is in no small part a matter of dealing with the fact of higher gas prices. With the other things pulling at my paycheck - some of which I could certainly do without, others I find necessary for my own happiness and (what little) peace of mind I have - I decided I could no longer afford to buy a tank of gas every single week. The move will essentially halve my gas requirements, saving me, at current prices, about $70 each monthl; about the cost of the new "Coach" I so seriously need.

The authors give a helpful refresher on the economics of world oil production and consumption, and how the costs of our military efforts to ensure access to that oil are not only skyrocketing, they are actually driving the prices higher by making oil producing regions even more dangerous places, requiring even more efforts
of some kind to prevent losing access to the resource entirely.

Here are their main Calls to Action. They are aimed at Government and Business Leaders but, in Democratic Societies, such leaders are only motivated by the greatest number of people - because together, the masses of the middle class and poor have more power to change who the Political are than do the few though phenomenally wealthy Business Leaders.


We've got to understand and support our most affluent in A LOT of ways. They lead us forward and have worked hard and efficaciously towards
our having more comfortable and interesting lives in an evolving world of technology and culture. We simply can't let them lead us all to everyone's demise by virtue of their right to take as much remuneration for their efforts as they decide their efforts are worth.
[Link] Considering the potentially devastating impact of an oil crisis, the time has come for new voices, especially those of business leaders and retired national security officials, to join the call for meaningful government action to reduce projected U.S. oil consumption. Our respective personal experiences -- running a global transportation and logistics company and spearheading the establishment of an independent U.S. Central Command in the Middle East -- convince us that America's extreme dependence on oil is an unacceptable threat to national security and prosperity.

During the coming months, we will be co-chairing the Energy Security Leadership Council, a new and intensive effort by business executives and retired military officers to advance a national energy strategy for reducing U.S. oil dependence. Although drawn from very different backgrounds, the members of the council are united in the belief that a fundamental shift in energy policy can prevent an unprecedented economic and national security calamity.


As President Bush and members of Congress construct a strategy for energy security, several central principles should guide them:


·
The most substantial, rapid and cost-effective gains are almost certain to be achieved by making our transportation system more fuel-efficient. To be sure, the search for increased oil, natural gas and alternative energy supplies merits support, as do strategies for controlling industrial demand. But the transportation sector relies on oil for 97 percent of its energy needs and accounts for 68 percent of total U.S. oil consumption. With the right incentives, America's engineers and businesses could soon provide better vehicle technologies, a more efficient movement of goods and many other smart solutions. Substantially reducing demand in the transportation sector would help ensure availability of affordable supplies for critical industrial, commercial and consumer needs.


·
Pure market economics will never solve this problem. Markets do not account for the hidden and indirect costs of oil dependence. Businesses focused on the highest return on investment are not always in a position to implement new solutions, many of which depend on technologies and fuels that cannot currently compete with the marginal cost of producing a barrel of oil. Most important of all, the marketplace alone will not act preemptively to mitigate the enormous damage that would be inflicted by a sudden, serious and sustained price increase.


·
Government leadership is absolutely necessary. Many of the most promising solutions on both the demand and supply sides will require decades to mature. Government proposals should align the interests of businesses and individuals with society's goals; for example, tax credits and similar incentives must allow businesses to recover investments and engage in essential long-range planning, and they must account for the high implicit discount rates that consumers apply to future savings. While recent legislation has pointed us in the right direction, bolder action must be taken.


Whatever the eventual shape of a credible energy security plan, significant public and private resources will be required to put policy into practice. The government needs to do more than just provide funds, though; it must sustain a strategic energy policy even if oil prices drop in the medium term. This is only fitting given the size and nature of the threat. Indeed, if it means condemning the country to another decade of energy dependence, the possible return of $50 oil should be no less frightening than the prospect of an oil shock wave.


Frederick W. Smith is chairman, president and chief executive of FedEx Corp. P. X. Kelley, a retired general, was commandant of the Marine Corps and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Ronald Reagan. They are co-chairmen of the Energy Security Leadership Council, a project of Securing America's Future Energy.


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I forgot to change the post date from yesterday, when I started it, to today. Done, now.