Friday, December 17, 2004

Bah Humbug, Scrooge, The Ghosts Lied to You!

I truly hate this time of year. All the forced jollity, the commercial bonhomme, the insipidness of the music, and the false once-a-year concern for "Christian" values all combine to make me ill. I am filled with so much bile against my fellow humans, I fear for the health of my liver at Xmas time.

I am what I would describe as a secular Taoist, a observer of the lifestyle of Taoism without any belief in the supernatural aspects thereof. I haven't been a Christian for many years now. I left the faith in my teens after an argument over evolution with the minister of my family's church. Can't say that I've missed it much, nor do I spend much time looking over my shoulder for the iron fist of God out to smite my sinful ass.

But the dominant culture of these United States, being largely derived from a candy-ass bizarro version of Protestant Christianity, insists on inflicting this Xmas stuff on me.

If I have to hear the blasted Little Drummer Boy one more time while out shopping for a book I swear that I'll tear out my own eardrums. And who out there can deny that the playing of the Barking Dogs doing Jingle Bells should be a crime punishable under the Geneva Convention? Or that the wanton infliction of 24/7 Xmas music warrants the mass fire bombing of radio stations all across the country? And please, please, won't someone kill Troy before he can skreech again?

And what's with this insanity of every show on TV being some sort of Xmas special, beginning right after Halloween and continuing on for the next 8 weeks? What happened to Chaunukah, Yule, Solstice, and Kwanzaa? Suddenly everyone in in America is expected to be interested in the artificially fixed date of birth of the 'miraculously' conceived child of the God of some of the Americans. It is a puzzle.

I mean the idea of most of the folks on sitcoms commenting on (Ch)Xmas is obscene to begin with. Raymond, whom everyone DOES NOT love, by the way, is even more obnoxious when he remembers that this is the time of year that he's supposed to be nice and for some reason goes out of character and is. Right. Or the folks on Will and Grace will smirkingly remind us to be happy and Gay. It is to retch. Or the kids on South Park will ask Santa NOT to kill Kenny. All in the spirit of the season.

And how many times do we have to save bloody Bedford Falls, find the missing Rudolph, and listen to Bing Crosby dream of a White (preferably segregated) Christmas? Or, horror of horrors, why must we glimpse, even briefly, the spectacle of Jim Carrey in Grinch drag gnawing on every piece of scenery in sight? It's only a short while until we'll have Survivor: Arctic Ice Cap to suffer through as well, I predict.

We also have the all singing all dancing parade of the International Has-Been Pop-Stars Xmas Specials to live through. I daresay that most of them wouldn't know a good old fashioned Christian ethic if the damned thing bit them on the bum. Kenny G playing the love theme from Handel's Messiah. Andy (I Left My Talent in Sheboygan) Williams tottering across the stage and singing I'll Be Home for Christmas.

Now there's a threat that will keep me up nights.

Don't get me wrong. I do know people for whom Christmas is a source of genuine joy and religious wonder. To them I say good for you. Enjoy the season.

My former Mother-in-Law was one such person. It was great to see the happiness Christmas brought to her life. Her faith had not been buried by the excesses of the American Xmas celebration. Yes she bought gifts for everyone, often going to great lengths to find something special, but to her this was just a part of the observance of a day most holy.

Which makes the overall cultural Xmas even more offensive in my eyes.

Give me a good Yule log, a nice drum circle and a ritual sacrifice or two. Ah, that would be a Solstice gift to remember!

Till then thankfully, we have the antics of the killer Robot Santa on Futurama or there would be no hope at all during this season.

Cool Yule to you all.

Blessed Be!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

"'I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority.'
- G.W. Bush, 3/13/02"

Friday, October 01, 2004

Open Question to Mr Bush

You have presided over two of the worst intelligence failures in history, your Secretary of Defense completely failed to plan for the occupation of Iraq, your White House staff committed a federal offense in 'outing' a CIA agent, your budget team lied to the US Congress about the cost of your Medicare bill, can you explain why, Mr. President, has no one lost their job in your administration?
The world is just plain bat shit fucked up wacky.

Bush is a coward, a liar, a business failure, a religious bigot, a lousy parent, a paranoid and people love him.

His family made its wealth by acting as the US bankers for the Nazis.

The guy has either squandered every oportunity or been a failure at every task he's taken on in life.

His daughters are spoiled brat rich kids who counted on their daddy's state cops to let them off on their many little drinking adventures.

He was a legacy admit to Yale and only got out with a 'gentleman's C' because of some suspicious modifications on his transcript.

His daddy used his power to keep him out of Viet Nam service and he couldn't even be bothered to show up to the monthly guard training.

He was an "indifferent" at the Harvard MBA school in the mid 70's. He was a legacy admit there as well.

He ran two oil exploration companies into the ground in West Texas during the 80's. (Money for the businesses came from Dad's CIA cronies.) He probably was involved in at least one instance of serious insider trading violations when he warned a friend to sell out of Hardin the day before an announcement was made of another dry hole.

THINK ABOUT IT. BUSH COULDN"T EVEN FIND OIL IN MIDLAND TEXAS!!!!!

His big business claim to fame is the Texas Rangers deal where a 'family friend' lent him $850,000 for a share in the ball team. The real team management used Bush's name and 'connections' to coerce the town of Arlington into building a stadium for
the team AT PUBLIC EXPENSE. The baseball team didn't even have to pay rent on the stadium for the first 10 years. The taxpayers in this town of 100,000 or so will be paying off the bonds for the next 75 years.

Oh, and the other owners rewarded Bush by buying him out on a basis that had his 2.5% ownership reflecting a 25% actual ownership worth. He walked away with a cool $27 million without having risked dime one in personal resources.

Funny, I seem to recall that one of the charges in Whitewater had to do with the Clintons having a $500,000 business LOSS without any personal financial exposure. Strange. But I digress.

He claims to have been a highly effective governor of Texas. Maybe so. But the Governor of Texas actually has LESS power over state operationsthan the Lt Governor. The Lt Gov manages the executive branch and oversees most legislation and financial/budget bills. The Governer manages the prisons, state cops, judicial appointments, the schools, and some regulatory agencies.

His much touted No Child Left Behind program in Houston was recently outed as a total sham and a disaster for the kids who are forced to be part of it.

His two campaigns for the governor's mansion were models of bigotry, invective and coded racism.

Gov. Bush, as arbitor of pardons, cheerfully (his word) executed over 100 persons, including a mentally challenged man who couldn't even describe his crime at trial, a woman who had been a model prisoner, minister, and manager of rehab programs while on the inside and another mentally challenged man whose only language was French and who had a defense lawyer that neither spoke the language nor could be bothered to stay awake during the trial.

I think of Bush as being the most successful serial killer in US history.

So why are we so surprised he has been such a disaster as president?

Of course, my opinion/research on these matters has no weight or validity since, unlike such noted intellects as Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, or Ann Coulter no one pays me to fart my meaningless unfounded opinions into the collective
media wind.

SHEEESH!!!! And I wonder why I'm being driven mad by all this?!?!?

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Go directly to jail. Do not pass go! Do not have access to the courts. And oh yes, we can torture anyone we want, so there!

But it's ok, They're Republicans.

BE AFRAID OH MY BROTHERS! THIS CAN BE MADE TO APPLY TO ANYONE "The Secretary" DEEMS IT PROPER TO DO SO TO. NO APPEAL, NO OVERSIGHT. JUST BYE BYE.


Write your representative. Though writing to my rep, Republic worm John Peterson hoping for decency is like asking a rattlesnake not to bite you the next time you french kiss it. Might happen, but the experience is gonna be ugly either way


via teresa nielson hayden's Making Light blog http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/

September 30, 2004
Extraordinary rendition

From Obsidian Wings:
The Republican leadership of Congress is attempting to legalize extraordinary rendition. “Extraordinary rendition” is the euphemism we use for sending terrorism suspects to countries that practice torture for interrogation. As one intelligence official described it in the Washington Post, “We don’t kick the sh*t out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the sh*t out of them.”

The best known example of this is the case of Maher Arar. Arar, a Canadian citizen, was deported to Syria from JFK airport. In Syria he was beaten with electrical cables for two weeks, and then imprisoned in an underground cell for the better part of a year. Arar is probably innocent of any connection to terrorism.

As it stands now, “extraordinary rendition” is a clear violation of international law—specifically, the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Degrading and Inhuman Treatment. U.S. law is less clear. We signed and ratified the Convention Against Torture, but we ratified it with some reservations. They might create a loophole that allows us to send a prisoner to Egypt or Syria or Jordan if we get “assurances” that they will not torture a prisoner—even if these assurances are false and we know they are false.

Last month Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Congressman, introduced a bill that would clearly outlaw extraordinary rendition. But Markey only has 22 cosponsors, and now the House leadership is trying to legalize torture outsourcing—and hide it in the bill implementing the 9/11 Commission Report.
These are excerpts from a press release one of Markey’s staffers just emailed me:
The provision Rep. Markey referred to is contained in Section 3032 and 3033 of H.R. 10, the “9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act of 2004,” introduced by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL). The provision would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to issue new regulations to exclude from the protection of the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, any suspected terrorist - thereby allowing them to be deported or transferred to a country that may engage in torture. The provision would put the burden of proof on the person being deported or rendered to establish “by clear and convincing evidence that he or she would be tortured,” would bar the courts from having jurisdiction to review the Secretary’s regulations, and would free the Secretary to deport or remove terrorist suspects to any country in the world at will - even countries other than the person’s home country or the country in which they were born. The provision would also apply retroactively.

This provision was not part of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, and the Commission actually called upon the U.S. to “offer an example of moral leadership in the world, committed to treat people humanely, abide by the rule of law, and be generous and caring to our neighbors.” The Commission noted that “The United States should engage its friends to develop a common coalition approach to the detention and humane treatment of captured terrorists. New principles might draw upon Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions on the law of armed conflict. That article was specifically designed for those cases in which the usual laws of war did not apply. Its minimum standards are generally accepted throughout the world as customary international law.” These standards prohibit the use of torture or other cruel or degrading treatment….

Rep. Markey said, “When the Republicans 9/11 bill is considered in the House, I intend to offer an amendment to strike the torture outsourcing provisions from the Republican bill and replace it with restrictions restoring international law as provided in my bill. It is absolutely disgraceful that the Republican Leadership has decided to load up the 9/11 Commission bill with legislative provisions that would legitimize torture, particularly when the Commission itself called for the U.S to move in exactly the opposite direction.”

There is no possible way for a suspect being detained in secret to prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that he will be tortured if he is deported—especially when he may be deported to a country where has never been, and when the officials who want to deport him serve as judge, jury and executioner, and when there is never any judicial review. This bill will make what happened to Maher Arar perfectly legal, and guarantee that it will happen again.

Markey’s staffer wrote to me that “this bill could be on the House floor as early as next week.”

To everyone: Please, please, please write to your Representative and tell him (or her) to vote against the bill and/or for Markey’s amendment.
Let’s talk about torture. As any professional can tell you, as an intelligence-gathering mechanism, it’s worse than useless.

Consider that commonly invoked scenario where terrorists have planted a nuclear device in a city, scanning for radiation is mysteriously not an option, and you have some prisoners in custody who may or may not know the location of the device. Those who like the idea of torture always ask whether it wouldn’t be justified to torture those prisoners for information.

The practical answer is no, it wouldn’t. Someone who’s being tortured will tell you anything, and they’ll suddenly develop a real talent for figuring out what exactly what you want to hear, and giving it to you in detail. Using intelligence obtained under torture can actually lower your chances of finding that hypothetical device, because all your guys will be out there trying to track down fictional leads invented by your prisoners, instead of working on finding the device via conventional investigative methods.

Remember Abu Ghraib, and the reports that some of the humiliations visited upon the prisoners there are in fact techniques taught to US and UK special forces? (That’s “taught” as in “direct hands-on experience, giving and receiving.”) It’s supposed to prepare them to withstand such treatment if they’re captured.

What I said at the time was that I happened to know that those reports were correct. I also said I wasn’t going to explain how I knew it. That’s still my position.

What I will say is that there’s an aspect of that training that the media didn’t fully understand. As my source explained it, the exercise is a double-blind setup. Having the designated prisoners learn to resist severe interrogation methods is only half of what’s going on. The other half is that the designated interrogators are told in advance that the prisoners have been given certain pieces of target information. Their task is to elicit that information during interrogation.

The trick is that the designated prisoners haven’t been given that info. However, once the exercise is in progress—I gather it’s unpleasantly realistic—they make it up anyway. These are tough guys. They know they’re supposed to be resisting, but they break anyway, because that’s how torture works; and when they do, they start talking.

At the end of the day, the interrogators will have accumulated a mass of realistic-sounding intelligence on the subjects they were told to investigate. At that point they get to find out that the prisoners had no such information, and that none of the intelligence they’ve gathered is valid.

That is, the designated prisoners are learning what torture can do. The designated interrogators are learning what it can’t do, which is elicit reliable information.

There are only two real uses for torture, revenge and intimidation; and in my opinion, revenge can’t be the intended use. It doesn’t work at a distance. Privately torturing someone who’s been held in the United States, and whom you think may have some kind of ties with the other side, is not going to have any deterrent effect on guys in the field in Iraq. They may well take it as permission to torture our guys, but they will not be deterred.

That leaves intimidation. Who’s supposed to be intimidated by this—the guys who’re already in our hands? That’s pointless. They’re plenty intimidated already, as well they should be; and if they aren’t, further threats aren’t likely to move them.

Who remains to be intimidated? Everyone else. The rest of us.

Before this administration, you knew that even if you were completely and utterly framed, even if you had every dirty trick in the book thrown at you, there was a theoretical limit to what they might do to you. You could be slandered, imprisoned, ruined, the works; but you’d still be sort of a human being, and there’d be a chance (however slight) that someone would figure out what had happened to you, and that eventually you might be freed.

That was then, this is now. Bush & Co. have already been holding prisoners incommunicado, without legal counsel, without charges being filed, without anything. Don’t kid yourself that this is all being done to hardened terrorists. So far, the administration’s conviction rate on prosecutions for terrorism has been a big fat zero, even when the prosecution’s had every advantage it could grab; and those are the cases they felt confident enough to take to trial. It’s clear that many of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib were picked up almost at random. What evidence we can glean says the same about Guantanamo. Bush & Co. have gone after their supposed terrorists with all the restraint of kids hunting for Easter eggs.

They aren’t careful, and you aren’t safe. You’re just unprosecuted. Same goes for everyone you care about, and everyone who’s dear to everyone you care about.

That’s where we stand now. Extraordinary rendition takes the last limitations off what can be done to you.

In American English, “being sold down the river” is still one of our favorite ways to say we feel betrayed. The phrase goes back to slavery days. Slaves in the Upper South might be worked hard and treated badly, but on the big cash-crop plantations of the Deep South, they died. Since it was more cost-efficient to replace them than to change the way the plantations were run, the Upper South exported a steady stream of slaves to that market.

This meant that no matter who owned them, or how well they behaved, slaves always lived with the possibility that they or their loved ones could go that route. If their owner needed to cash out, or if they disagreed in any way, or if their growing children just got big enough that they were expensive to feed but profitable to sell, they could go down the river. It had to have colored their every interaction with their white owners: You just watch yourself, because there’s no limit on what might happen to you.

I don’t know about you, but extraordinary rendition intimidates me.

By the way, I can think of one other use for extraordinary rendition. If you’ve kept somebody locked up for a long time on grounds that turn out to be groundless, it’ll be embarrassing to go on keeping them, and even more embarrassing to let them go. But if you ship them off to some hellhole in Syria and they never come back, they cease to be a problem. The same goes for prisoners who are in bad shape, maybe bad enough to die. If they die in Syria, it’s not your fault, and nobody’s going to look real hard at the corpse.

WRITE YOUR CONGRESS CRITTER AT ONCE!


Friday, September 17, 2004

Our quotes for the day---

Today one in four Americans has some kind of mental illness, usually depression. One in four. Watch a basketball game. The odds are at least two of those people on the floor are mentally ill. Look around your house; if everybody else there seems okay, it's you.

"The Earth isn't dying, it's being killed. And those who are killing it have names and addresses." -- Utah Phillips

"Sadly, the average person, when confronted with a choice between a new dinnerware set and the staving off of global warming, will usually opt for the dishes." -- George Monbiot

"How you can win the population for war: At first, the statesman invents cheap lies that impute the guilt of the attacked nation. And each person will be happy over this deceit since it calms the conscience and will refuse to test arguments of the other opinion. And so this statesman will convince us step for step that the war is just and we all will thank God, after this process of grotesque even deceit, that we can sleep better" -- Mark Twain

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." -- George Dubya Bush

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." -- Groucho Marx

"Being a hardcore Christian like the makers of this video must be like having a tube of glue up your nose every single second of your life." -- seanbaby, The Edge Magazine

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of the country." -- Thomas Jefferson

"Things are more like they are today than they have ever been before. "-- President Dwight D. Eisenhower
The Blatt is Back!

Checkout a new fellow blogger and his spot on analysis of the corporatist purchase of the White House.GeorgeWBuy

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Paul Krugman: The Awful Truth Politics/ Iraq/ 2004 Election/ Neocons
Our best liberal columnist reflects on the latest ultra-leftwing critics of Mr. Bush -- Former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill and the Staff at the Army War College.
Linky & Dinky find the DARNdest links! Popular Culture/ Internet/ Weirdness/ Tools
This long running internet newsletter/website is the source for some of our weirdest links here at the Blatt. I've been getting the newsletter for almost three years now. It's the first thing I open whenever I check my emails.
Run by Linky (he's the nice, smart one) and Dinky (he's the bad one, obssessed with Brittany). They search for links of interest. Be sure to sign up for their twice weekly free newsletter. And if you want the REAL hardcore weirdness, join their members only clubhouse.
Choice stuff.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Appetite for Destruction Politics/ Neocons
From The American Conservative magazine comes the clear, well reasoned post on the radicalism of the neoconservative agenda and the danger it places on the survival of the American Experiment.
my cat annie - zefrank.com Pets/ Cats
I'm a sucker for cute animal antics. A swell cat.
Citizens' Association to Blow Up the Moon High Weirdness
CABUM's aim is to destroy the Moon, thereby thwarting its insidiously evil manipulation of the Earth. Tides, madness and lycanthropy are but three lunar weapons. The cruel and inhuman torture of our planet by this extraterrestrial menace must be stopped now.
Nature: Nanoparticles in the brain: Tiny particles enter the brain after being inhaled. Science/ Environment/ Health
The carbon nanoparticles from diesel trucks may accumulate in the brain, a new study shows. This bodes ill for the safety of engineered nanos.
Scientists link deodorants to breast cancer Science/ Environment/ Health
Parabens, used as preservatives in some cosmetics and deodorants, have been shown to pass right through the skin to breast tissue. These chemicals are known at mimic estrogen, which can accelerate breast tumor growth.
AlterNet: Sex and the Democrats Politics/ 2004 Election
Richard Goldstein on the sexual subtext of national politics. Quite good, once you get past the first few quip filled paragraphs.
International Federation of Competitive Eating Popular Culture/ Weirdness
This folks are really, really serious about eating competitions. Ghod are they serious.
CBC News: High heels may reduce arthritis risk: study Health
Well, this result is certainly counterintuitive, isn't it?
CBC News: First anniversary for 'Elvis Priestly' church Popular Culture/ Music/ Weirdness
I'm not making this stuff up, people.
CBC News: U.S. will investigate TV shots of 'secret' papers Politics/ Iraq/ Neocons/ Smoking Gun
Well. So Bush always wanted to attack Saddam. From Day One. Imagine that.
Fancyclopedia I Popular Culture/ Science Fiction/ Fandom/ Reference
The classic guide to fanspeak, compiled by Jack Speer, 2004 WorldCon Fan Guest of Honor. Now on the web thanks to Joe Siclari.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

If "The Lord of the Rings" had been written by someone else .... Popular Culture/ Parody/ Humor
Great concept. Bits of LotR as if written by others, (Stephen Ambrose, Anthony Burgess, Homer, James Joyce,Jack Kerouac, J. D. Salinger, William Carlos Williams for example). Or famous popculture creators (Abbott & Costello, Dave Barry, Bob Dylan, Gilligan's Island, The Rocky Horror Picture Show)
Over 1000 attempts in all. Since it's a site made up of posts from many different writers, the result is uneven but still great fun.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

NYTimes:Op-Ed The Era of Distortion Politics/ Neocons/ Antisemitism
Another blowhard assures those of us who oppose the Neocons that we are in fact just anti-semites in drag. Of course the fact that Francis Fukiyama, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and a bunch of other Neocons aren't Jewish means little. And that the fact of their ethnicity/religiosity is irrelevant to our criticisms apparently means even less. I don't give a rat's ass about Perle's private world. What pisses me off about him are his actions while in his public persona.

It's 'good' to see the 'Neocon equals Jew' campaign doing so well.
NYPost: HOWARD THE COWARD Neocons/ 2004 Election
Col. Ralph Peters, a hack writer of Tom Clancy knockoffs, has equated those of us who support Dr. Dean to Nazi brownshirts.
This is just another step in the not so subtle 'Neocon is code for Jew' campaign.
Read this maddeningly foul bit of bullshit then write to the Post demanding a retraction. My own letter is posted below.
To Whom It Should Concern:
I ask for an immediate apology and retraction of the foul libel committed in your paper by Col. Ralph Peters.
I assure you that as a strong supporter of Howard Dean for President I do not take kindly to being characterized as a "Nazi" and a "brownshirt". I yield to no one in the extent of my abhorrance of the Nazis and in my horror at the Holocaust. I'm also sure that Dr. Dean's wife and children (who are Jewish) find being labled Nazis a trifle disconcerting as well.
Col. Peters is free to disagree with me about my political choices and about my desire for change in our current government. In fact, Col. Peters, to quote Mr. Bush, "bring it on."
He is however not free to call me and millions of other Americans revolting names without being called to account for his boorish behaviour.
Loyal F. Ramsey
Medieval Sourcebook: Full Text Sources Tools/ History/ Literature/ Internet
A most useful site. Texts in the original, often accompanied by a modern English commentary or co-text. Delightful. A poet's treasure trove.
Jesus is everywhere Weirdness
Scam artists or doing the Lord's work? You decide. //snicker//

Monday, January 05, 2004

CBC News:Shatner to release new album Popular Culture/ Weirdness
Oh Dear God, No!
I Can't Take Anymore!!
George Bush, Neocons, SARS, Fake Saddams, Governators, and now
SHATNER IS GOING TO SING AGAIN!!!
I Can't Stand It!!!!

Please Make It Stop. I'll Be Good. I Promise. Please.
//whimper//
Spirit Sends Home 3D Panorama of Mars Science/ Astronomy/ Photography
Today's gosh wow damn spiffy skiffy.
Site R (Raven Rock) - Alternate Joint Communications Center (AJCC) Politics/ Terrorism/ Neocons/ Weirdness
Ever wonder where they take Cheney when he's at that 'undisclosed secure location'? Here it is. Maps, photos, commentary, courtesy of the gang at cryptome.org.
Pepys' Diary Internet/ Blogging
A charming and marvelous idea. Each day's blog entry is the text from the corresponding date in Pepys' Diaries. Heavily hyperlinked and annotated. Just delightful.
Gary Leupp: North Korea for Dummies Politics/ Neocons
A brief primer on the recent history of Korea and the folly of the Neocon refusal to consider the same.
Welcome to the Universe in color Science/ Astronomy/ Photography
Absolutely the most beautiful astrographics I have ever seen. His image of Andromeda is staggeringly wonderful. I replaced my much loved Hubble Pillars of Creation desktop with it and now I don't want to do anything that removes it from the screen. And he did this work with earth based telescopy and patient photoshopping skills. Amazing stuff.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Virginia Pilot: Drug fees for military retirees may be raised ) Politics/ Neocons/ Veterans
I guess Bush wasn't lying when he said the men come first. He certainly never seems to miss a chance to slam another one into their gut. Now he's trying to cut spending by having sick vets pay much more for their medication.
Jimmy Breslin: Politicians' New American Justice Politics/ 2004 Election
Breslin's answer to the uproar over Dr. Dean's suggestion that Osama bin Laden might deserve a trial before we stake him to an anthill, pour honey over his naked body, and televise the fun on the Faux News Channel during prime time. The Idea....
NYTimes: Bush's Budget for 2005 Seeks to Rein In Domestic Costs Politics/ 2004 Election
Key fact: They plan to cut the budget on the backs of the poor, sick veterans, and medical research. This frees up money to continue to loot the government treasury for the Bushies' cronies while not "alienating any key constituencies" during the election run-up.
ChickenJoke.com - Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road? Weirdness
Ahem.
YLE Radio 1: Nuntii Latini Weirdness
Another, much more active latin news site. Includes links to the actual weekly shortwave broadcasts. Oh JOY!
Nuntii Latini Weirdness
A weekly news journal in classical Latin. Ahh, isn't the web wonderful
"End of the World" predictions in our future Paranoia
So full of tasty paranoia. This page lists "Predictions of TEOTWAWKI (The end of the world as we know it)" along with links to the religious or mythological basis for the predictions. Delightful.
Live From Chapel Perilous Popular Culture/ Paranoia
We’re living in Robert Anton Wilson’s world and the Arch Priest of Paranoia is the star of a new documentary about his world.
Magnatune: try before you buy MP3 music. Popular Culture/ Music/ Ecommerce
A noble experiment. A website to sell indie music that's both musician and consumer friendly. Uses the Creative Commons license. Music is of a high quality, tho a quite limited quantity at this point. If I had any music that was at all of a commercial quality, I'd be talking to them.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Boston Globe:The self-critic Intellectual Life
In his latest book, Terry Eggleton proclaims the death of "Theory".
At last, people are noticing that even the flies have left the skeletal remains of this particular body of work.
washingtonpost.com: Japan's Empire of Cool Popular Culture/ Business
Could Japan be challenging America's crown as king of world popular culture?
Environmental Working Group: BodyBurden Science/ Environment/ Paranoia
Hard paranoia inducing facts about the load of chemical garbage we all carry as a result of living in an industrialized world.
TheCapitol.Net: You have two cows. Politics/ Humor
Where do you fall on the bovine scale of government?
NewsHour: John Updike on why he doesn't write science fiction Popular Culture/ Writers
"JEFFREY BROWN: You didn't need grand, epic...

JOHN UPDIKE: I didn't need to write historical epics, no, or science fiction, though I read a lot of science fiction as a kid and rather liked it. But I didn't have the mentality. I also read a lot of mystery novels, and my few attempts to begin a mystery novel fell apart. So I was stuck from my own limits, really, with middle- class... middle-class life, or the mundane, let's call it, and so I was just trying to, story by story, encapsulate some aspect of life as I was experiencing it or observing it. This was a time when the American way of life was coming in for a lot of hard knocks, some of them deserved, but nevertheless I thought that somebody should be bearing witness to the kind of ordinary life that was going on. Under the revolution, under the talk of the revolution, people were living out their lives in families, by and large, growing up with their children, all that kind of thing."
Science: World's most mysterious book may be a hoax: The Voynich manuscript may be elegant gibberish. Science/ Linguistics/ Crytography
Neal Stephenson must be tearing his hair out.
Boston Globe: Century-old math problem may have been solved Science/ mathematics
The Poincare Conjecture may have been solved. If so, the proof promises to revolutionize much of mathematics.
Time Cube Extreme Weirdness
This speaks for itself. Lord knows, I'm not going to try to....
Jihad Unspun: A Clear View On The US War On "Terrorism" Politics/ Peak Oil/ Neocons
Analysis of the potential effects of peak oil on the war on terror and on the 2004 elections. Chilling.
Telegraph: Daemons leap into limelight as Pullman's dark fantasy takes life on stage Popular Culture/ Books/ Theatre
An ambitious staging of Pullman's anti-Christian/ anti-theist trilogy sparks controversy and acclaim in London
BBC: Garlic could provide cancer drug Sciences/ Health
More bad news for vampires.
Topsy Turvy: In neutrons and protons, quarks take wrong turns: Science News Science/ Physics
The world of quantum physics just gets weirder and weirder.
The 'Neocons', American foreign policy and anti-semitism Politics/ Neocons
A well reasoned essay on how to respond to the bullshit that criticism of the Neocons is only coded antisemitism.
Severed arm points to disgruntled diners Daily Weirdness
Haven't they heard of simply undertipping the guy?
Top educator slashes rival's tires Daily Weirdness
Sheesh, and we thought the academic world was cutthroat here.
Peeling apples good for the brain Science/ Weirdness
Seems that doing complex operations like food prep work is good for the mind. Just one more reason to avoid 'will you want fries with that.'
Phelps Plans Protest To Support School That Disciplined 7 Year Old With Two Mothers Politics/ Civil Rights/ Neocons
Haysus Kreestay these people make me ashamed to be human.
Images of Gays Banned From National Parks, Civil Service Group Says Politics/ Civil Rights/ Neocons
Just another example of the lengths the Bushies will go to in their headlong flight down the bigotry rat hole.
'The Studio' Author John Gregory Dunne Dies Popular Culture/ Books