December 2005

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Interesting or Fun Material

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December 28, 2005

Pink Haired Girl!

She's back for a visit after a triumphant first term at UCSD, and I got to buy her her first martini of the trip:


Naturally, it was dirty.

Update:  And here is her robot:


December 27, 2005

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays


Five people were shot to death on Sunday in an apparent murder-suicide at two homes in suburban Fairfax County, outside Washington, D.C., police said.

Last night while trying to fall asleep I heard someone screaming they were going to send someone else home to their mother.  Now that sounds like a threat.

Disinformation About Psy Ops Around the Cover Story Bloggers, Money Now Weapons in Information War.

No shit, sherlock. Here's the subhed:

U.S. Recruits Advocates to the Front, Pays Iraqi TV Stations for Coverage

Don't worry, the wapo is not going to start committing actual journalism about the war now.  The real subhed for this story is "We're Been Licking Pentagon Asshole for Three Years Now; Where's Our Check?".

December 24, 2005

L'etat, Cest Moi

Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. once argued that the nation's top law enforcement official deserves blanket protection from lawsuits when acting in the name of national security, even when those actions involve the illegal wiretapping of American citizens, documents released yesterday show.

As a lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department, Alito said the attorney general must be free to take steps to protect the country from threats such as terrorism and espionage without fear of personal liability. But in a 1984 memo involving a case that dated to the Nixon administration, Alito also cautioned his superiors that the time may not be right to make that argument and urged a more incremental approach.

"I do not question that the Attorney General should have this immunity," Alito wrote. "But for tactical reasons, I would not raise the issue here."

A couple of unrelated points:

One, officials in this country hardly are ever held personally liable for violations of civil liberties and civil rights.  If the local cops beat the crap out of you and break into your house to search it illegally, nothing much happens to them as a matter of law - although they may get fired, which is a political rather than legal outcome.  If they happen to find your heroin stash in the process, then our system's somewhat weak protection is to exclude that evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding against you.  Really, big whoop.  You get broken ribs; the cops usually get a promotion.

Two, nevertheless, Alito sucks and deserves to be denied confirmation for this reason alone, along with the others.

Wish I Could Switch To Cavtel A Couple More Times

Republicans lie. Dog bites man. Verizon fucks people over:

First there was a letter from Verizon to the mayor about the dangers of illegal attachments to utility poles. It warned ''that posting of any signs, banners, Christmas decorations or balloons onto poles without permission is illegal and can be prosecuted as trespassing."

Then the Maryland State Highway Administration got involved. Town officials were informed that most of Lonaconing's poles were only 40 feet tall, instead of the required 45 feet, which would mean the Christmas lights would hang too low over Main Street.

''If a wire is hanging at 15 feet, a truck could snag it. It could snap a pole, and someone could get seriously injured," Verizon spokeswoman Sandra Arnette said. ''We never said the town should not hang the lights. But safety is the first thing."

December 19, 2005

Milo Minderbinder

The Big Blue Blogger:

Cheney says that if they had the authority they already had they could've stopped 9/11, despite doing nothing to do so, and that therefore they need to illegally spy on Americans even though they can legally do so.

December 18, 2005

The Camel's Nose or the Long Pole in the Tent?

The says that Reid Calls for Probe of Domestic Spying by Bush administration:

Bush acknowledged Saturday that since October 2001 he has authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on international phone calls and e-mails of people within the United States without seeking warrants from courts.

And Reid is no fucking hero - he's known about this for months!  Motherfucker.

Who is going to stand up and be a real fucking American at this moment in history?  Not the frightened chestbeaters of the Republican party.  And not the frightened hairsplitters of the Democrats.  No heroes in office, so as usual:  We have to be our own fucking heroes.  That's really what this country is about.  Does anyone get that anymore?  We are our own bosses, we make our own rules, we decide our own fate.  Not the machismo of guns in the glove compartment and ribbons on the tailgate - I mean moral courage.  Real courage.  Dedication to liberty - mine, and the other guy who makes different choices.  That's fucking courage.  Have it?

Probably not.  Too busy watching fucking Entertainment Tonight.

Anyhoo, Mrs. Vader speaks:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday that public disclosure of surveillance programs used to wage the war on terror damages those efforts.

Rice, who was Bush's national security adviser when the program began, acknowledged that she was aware of it.

I  love that - if you know what your government is up to, you are a fucking traitor. 

Condoleezza Rice - a straight-up, no-shit, modern-day fascist.

Rice said that listening to terror leader Osama bin Laden's telephone conversations had been successful until news reports disclosed it and bin Laden stopped using the phone.

Bullshit.  What a fucking lie.  A stupid lie.  Like her "mushroom cloud" crap, Condi is a fucking liar.  Bin Laden was using a phone?  Bullshit.  He knows what our sigint capabilities are, dumbasses, we trained him.  Remember?  He has watched the Israelis blow people's heads off with cell phones.  He doesn't allow anything electronic within miles of him, probably, down to watches and pdas.  Anything that emits can be tracked.  Fuckheads.

Rice could not cite the constitutional and other authority she contended allowed Bush to authorize the domestic spying. However, she said the program had been reviewed by administration lawyers and that congressional leaders had been briefed.

Can't cite what doesn't exist, asshole.  And those the same lawyers who passed on the torture thing?  I can't believe I applied to work with those fucksticks.

"This is a war where intelligence is the long pole in the tent," Rice said on "Meet the Press" on NBC.

What the fuck does that mean?  You need a long pole?  What kind of right-wing dick speak is that?  You can collect intelligence in accordance with the constitution and with the oversight of Congress and the American people, and still ward off terrorists.  And if you miss some, all they can do is kill some number of us, they can't kill what America stands for.  But you shitheads sure can.

Where are the fucking Americans?  Where did they go?

December 14, 2005

Nation of Laws

We had to destroy the country in order to save it, you fucking liberal pussy.

Disaffected Artist

I dreamed I met Jesus.

The meeting was set up by this guy who was both some sort of scholar who studied the life and times of JC and well-known as a good, moral person.  Apparently it was really hard to get a meeting with Christ and it had taken even this guy a long time to line it up. I don't really "do" celebrities, but curiousity got the best of me.

We sat at this wooden table - the scholar's main thing seemed to be making Christ feel at home (or showing off his knowledge, take your pick) by replicating things the way they were in Jesus' day. Both Jesus and the scholar brought bottles of wine, and apparently the tradition when two people met was for them to mix their wine in the glasses.  You were supposed to pretend you couldn't tell who had better wine.  Jesus didn't say much.  He didn't seem like a very happy dude.

December 01, 2005

Turn the Goddamn Thing Off

This has been said elsewhere and better, I am sure, but there is no such thing as "reality TV."

TV is a communication vehicle for certain essential lies.  The two main sorts of lies it transmits are economic and personal.  TV depicts people who are not just consumed with consumption, they are defined by what they consume.  It creates an identity between purchasing things and living.  Watch enough TV and you will, too - which is why it is there.

The personal lies that TV tells are about status and security, and norms of behavior.  The TV world is one in which people are always setting and enforcing norms of obedience and respectability.  Even the antiheroes have to conform to the mold.  An obedient, respectable audience is easy to control. TV breeds Republicans.  TV breeds sheep.  TV is unamerican.

Reality is anathema to TV because life trumps commerce.  Commerce serves life, not the other way around; commerce is almost irrelevant to life.  Only the smallest, meanest minds think money and possessions are the most important thing in life.  Reality is anathema to TV because we're all different and the actual norm we should be living up to is thinking for ourselves.   

People who watch TV all the time are more pathetic and disgusting than crack addicts.  I've lived with both and prefer the crackheads.  Turn the TV off and take the fucking pipe out of your mouth.

November 28, 2005

Longer Needles Needed For Fatter Buttocks - Yahoo! News


Fatter rear ends are causing many drug injections to miss their mark, requiring longer needles to reach buttock muscle, researchers said on Monday.

Standard-sized needles failed to reach the buttock muscle in 23 out of 25 women whose rears were examined after what was supposed to be an intramuscular injection of a drug.

This is so emblematic for me.

November 22, 2005

Oh, Yeah, That's Right - I Have a Blog

I was organizing my bookmarks and came across this Typepad thing.  I clicked to see what it was and the auto-login was still set, and there I saw this here blog I used to post in so much.   Wow, I totally had forgotten about it. 

Just kidding.  But I have been focused on other things lately, some good, some bad, some just different.  I think a return to daily bitching about conservatives will resume soon.

November 08, 2005

Corporate States of America; or, Why Libertarianism is a Joke

Cory Doctorow:

The music industry price-fixed their CDs, focused solely on formulaic hits, refused to license music for downloads, crippled CDs with DRM, and then declared that "piracy" was responsible for its drop in sales.

Now the movie industry is chasing the same rabbit into the same wood-chipper: a raft of summer movies of great and overwhelming crappiness; insulting ads before movies and DVDs; searches and surveillance at cinemas, crippled DRMware technologies like Blu-Ray and DVD-HD; even tens of millions to be spent on a private DRM laboratory to come up with better ways of screwing people who choose not to pirate their media.

In a year or two, when studio revenue is circling the drain, will these execs look to their own greed, thuggishness or contempt for their customers when trying to explain their imminent demise? Be assured that they will not. No, these regulation-loving crybabies will spend the rest of their days whining about "piracy" and never once will any of them dare to think that people stopped going to the cinema because they resented being searched at the door.

Great rant.  It's too bad the U.S. entertainment industry seems to be following the U.S. car industry in sheer willful blindness.

US Condemns Secret Detentions When Other Countries Do It


The United States on Monday condemned military-ruled Myanmar's secret trials and lengthy prison sentences for eight Shan political leaders in a Yangon court last week. ...

[L]eaders of ethnic rebel groups fighting for independence from Myanmar, the former Burma, ... received multiple life sentences, the State Department said. ...

The United States called on Myanmar's military rulers to release Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, Hkun Htun Oo and all other political prisoners "immediately and unconditionally" and allow them full participation in efforts to establish democracy.

A spokesman for the junta was heard to remark, "But they're terrorists" and then chuckle mordantly.

November 07, 2005

Bush Says We Do Not Torture, Opposes Anti-Torture Legislation


President Bush vigorously defended U.S. interrogation practices in the war on terror Monday and lobbied against a congressional drive to outlaw torture. 

"There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans and wants to hurt America again," Bush said. "So you bet we will aggressively pursue them but we will do so under the law."

He declared, "We do not torture."

Over White House opposition, the Senate has passed legislation banning torture.

Doesn't get any clearer than that.

Death of the Fourth Amendment - Thanks to "Freedom-Loving" Republicans

From, The FBI's Secret Scrutiny.

"National security letters," created in the 1970s for espionage and terrorism investigations, originated as narrow exceptions in consumer privacy law, enabling the FBI to review in secret the customer records of suspected foreign agents. The Patriot Act, and Bush administration guidelines for its use, transformed those letters by permitting clandestine scrutiny of U.S. residents and visitors who are not alleged to be terrorists or spies.

The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters -- one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people -- are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.

Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress. The executive branch maintains only statistics, which are incomplete and confined to classified reports. The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot.

The burgeoning use of national security letters coincides with an unannounced decision to deposit all the information they yield into government data banks -- and to share those private records widely, in the federal government and beyond. In late 2003, the Bush administration reversed a long-standing policy requiring agents to destroy their files on innocent American citizens, companies and residents when investigations closed. Late last month, President Bush signed Executive Order 13388, expanding access to those files for "state, local and tribal" governments and for "appropriate private sector entities," which are not defined. ...

Senior FBI officials acknowledged in interviews that the proliferation of national security letters results primarily from the bureau's new authority to collect intimate facts about people who are not suspected of any wrongdoing. Criticized for failure to detect the Sept. 11 plot, the bureau now casts a much wider net, using national security letters to generate leads as well as to pursue them. Casual or unwitting contact with a suspect -- a single telephone call, for example -- may attract the attention of investigators and subject a person to scrutiny about which he never learns. ...

If agents had to wait for grounds to suspect a person of ill intent, said Joseph Billy Jr., the FBI's deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, they would already know what they want to find out with a national security letter. "It's all chicken and egg," he said. "We're trying to determine if someone warrants scrutiny or doesn't."

Billy said he understands that "merely being in a government or FBI database . . . gives everybody, you know, neck hair standing up." Innocent Americans, he said, "should take comfort at least knowing that it is done under a great deal of investigative care, oversight, within the parameters of the law."

He added: "That's not going to satisfy a majority of people, but . . . I've had people say, you know, 'Hey, I don't care, I've done nothing to be concerned about. You can have me in your files and that's that.' Some people take that approach."

(Emphasis supplied.) So now the government routinely investigates innocent people without a warrant.   And the counterargument is that you can trust the FBI and that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.  And the existence of this practice with National Security Letters will be used to argue by analogy that other kinds of investigation do not require a warrant.  Effectively, the GOP has surrendered your right to be free of search and seizure without probable cause.

November 05, 2005

CPB's Tomlinson Latest Corrupt Republican

From Reuters, Ousted broadcasting official subject of inquiry-NYT:

Kenneth Tomlinson, the head of the federal agency that oversees most government broadcasts to foreign countries such as the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, is the subject of an inquiry into possible misuse of federal money and the use of phantom or unqualified employees, The New York Times reported on Saturday. ...

Tomlinson resigned from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board on Thursday after its inspector general concluded a critical investigation into his moves to steer it toward more conservative radio and television programs. He remains a top official of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. ...

The paper cited people involved in the inquiry as saying it involved accusations that Tomlinson was spending federal money for personal purposes, using board money for corporation activities, using board employees to do corporation work and hiring ghost employees or improperly qualified employees. [That almost never happens in this administration - M.] ...

State Department investigators seized records and e-mail from the Broadcasting Board of Governors in recent weeks, the Times reported. And, it said, citing officials, the investigators have shared material with the corporation's inspector general, including e-mail between Tomlinson and Karl Rove, a close friend and top adviser to President George W. Bush.

(Emphasis supplied.) The administration of the worst President ever is now in competition to become the most corrupt ever. 

October 30, 2005

The Best Pizza in Savannah, Georgia

Vinnie VanGoGo's Pizzeria.

That is all. 

October 28, 2005

Hell, I'll Take Charges of Tax Evasion If That's What We Can Get 'Em On



Why Just Libby?

TV analysis is useless.  My question: why did Fitzgerald indict just Libby?  He could have waited until charges against Rove were ready, too.  I see a couple of choices: One, Fitzgerald doesn't think he can charge Rove.  Two, Fitzgerald may be seeking some advantage by going after Libby first, such as flipping Scooter. 

Irve Lewis Libby "The Apprentice", a novel:

Setsuo is a young apprentice at a remote mountain inn in turn-of-the-century Japan, who falls in love at first sight of the beautiful Yukiko, one of a roving band of actors who have come to stay. Trapped at the inn by a blizzard is a larger group of strange travelers. Emotionally wrought by his feelings for Yukiko, Setsuo cannot see that he is getting involved in political skulduggery as he tries to fathom the increasingly odd behavior of the guests. The finding of a corpse and a mysterious small box keep the reader guessing too.

October 23, 2005

Landfall in 15 Hours

Did I mention I am supposed to land in South Florida on Wednesday?

KEY WEST, Fla. - Hurricane Wilma churned toward Florida on Sunday as tens of thousands of residents were ordered to flee from vulnerable islands and coastal areas. Forecasters predicted the storm would pick up speed "like a rocket" after flooding the Mexican coast.

Whatever.  The party will go on.

Global Warming is a Myth

Philadelphia Inquirer:

Tropical Storm Alpha formed yesterday in the Caribbean, setting the record for the most named storms in an Atlantic hurricane season and marking the first time forecasters have had to turn to the Greek alphabet for names.

Big business makes money fucking up the environment and then makes money cleaning up the mess. Thanks, libertarians!

October 22, 2005

Some Good News: Kansas Supreme Court Strikes Anti-Gay Law

Philadelphia Inquirer:

The Kansas Supreme Court yesterday unanimously struck down a state law that punished underage sex more severely if it involved homosexual acts. The court said "moral disapproval" of such conduct was not enough to justify the different treatment.

In a case closely watched by national groups on all sides of the gay-rights debate, the high court said the law "suggests animus toward teenagers who engage in homosexual sex."

Would not suprise me if they cited Romer v. Evans. That one case, with its slightly ridiculous opinion of the court, will have a good long legacy of preventing much unjust stupidity.

October 15, 2005

Darwin Awards

Philadelphia Inquirer  Letters:

The development of a vaccine for avian influenza is totally dependent upon an understanding of natural selection, molecular genetics and evolution. This is in conflict with the theory of intelligent design and thus provides a marvelous opportunity for proponents of that concept to stand up for their beliefs and refuse to be inoculated. They would also be doing their part to make sure that there is enough vaccine for the rest of us.

Richard G. Fried, M.D.

Kimberton, Pa.

October 12, 2005

Unsung Hero Stefan Presser of ACLU Dies

Philadelphia Inquirer:

Stefan Presser had the credentials - degrees from Yale and New York Universities, for example - to make a fortune representing famous and powerful people.

Instead, Presser, who died Friday after a battle with cancer, chose to represent the most powerful ideals in America, even when they were momentarily unpopular.

Presser served 21 years as a lawyer and director of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. He worked hard to defend the rights of prisoners and the powerless, and of protesters (even when he personally disagreed with the content of their protest).


In this time of turnover on the Supreme Court, the meaning of the Constitution is much on everyone's minds. Stefan Presser devoted his career to defending the Bill of Rights and upholding the promise of a more perfect union. He will be missed.

See also here.  I can only wish to accomplish what he did.

Mr. Presser, in my limited experience of him, could best be described as a selfless asshole. I can't say I liked him personally.  That doesn't matter at all. His work is far more important than his personality.  As the Inky said, he could have chosen to be rich in money,  but instead he chose to serve his country by devoting his time and energy to defending the constitution from those who would discard it. 

He was the best kind of lawyer.


October 07, 2005

In Case You Haven't Gotten It In Your Email Fifteen Times Already ...

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, two Brazilian soldiers were killed."

"OH, NO!" the President exclaims with great emotion. "That's terrible!"

His staff sits stunned at his display of emotion and nervously watch as the President sits, head in hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"

(Via Silly Bahraini Girl).

Rove May Be Indicted, So Bomb Scare in New York

God, so fucking obvious.  You know, if you wag the dog that hard, the tail might break off.

October 03, 2005

Sandy Must Be So Pleased

Bush has selected a crony with no prior relevant experience to fill a vitally important job.

That never happens.

September 29, 2005

Isn't There A War On?

A $3,500 bathroom stand with a teeny-tiny refrigerator on top to keep your organic makeup fresh.

(Via Engagdet.)

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