Thursday, March 31, 2005

viaBlondeSense: STACKED

Yes that's the title of the new Fox TV show coming out this May. It stars Pamela Anderson as a woman who works at a bookstore. Once again, Fox comes up with good, solid, family values television for the masses.

Oh Ye Ghods and Little Fishes!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Poem of the Day

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place

New and Selected Poems: Volume One
New and Selected Poems: Volume One

Sunday, March 27, 2005

from The Village Voice via This Is Shit:Bram Stoker's Dubya

Today's Los Angeles Times unearths the story of Tom DeLay's father, who was in a serious accident--and when doctors told the then young Congressman and his family that the elder DeLay would 'basically be a vegetable' (as the Congressman's aunt told the L.A. daily), the family took the decision to withhold life-extending care from the father and let him die quickly. In the Schiavo case, of course, Congressman DeLay has denounced the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube as 'an act of barbarism.' But that's not what he felt 16 years ago when he told the doctors not to put his father on dialysis to prevent kidney failure.

The paper reported today: 'There was no point to even really talking about it,' Maxine DeLay, the congressman's 81-year-old mother, recalled in an interview last week. 'There was no way he (Charles) wanted to live like that. Tom knew, we all knew, his father wouldn't have wanted to live that way.' Moreover, reports the L.A.T., 'The preliminary decision to withhold dialysis and other treatments fell to Maxine along with Randall and her daughter Tena -- and, his mother, said, 'Tom went along.' He raised no objection, she said.'

Like Terri Schiavo, the elder DeLay didn't take the precaution of leaving a living will either -- he apparently trusted the good judgement of his family, just like Terri trusted her husband to do the right thing and fulfill her wishes.

Oh my loaves and little fishes. DeLay is a hypocrite? Who would have thought it?

I don't downgrade the tragedy of his father's death. But to have had that lesson in humility as a part of his life and to then act as he has during the Schiavo mess only points out even more strongly what an evil little fuck of a scum-sucking toad-raping needle-dicked phlegm wad Tom DeLay really is.

Either that or he's been huffing bug bomb in his basement in a vain attempt to recapture his glory days as an exterminator.
via Whiskey Bar: Outside Agitators

One of the more sinister back stories to the Terri Schiavo drama is the return to the limelight of anti-abortion activist and Christian supremacist ideologue Randall Terry.

Given his history, you might think the Schindler family would have looked for a more reputable spokesman. I mean, if Terry isn't on the uttermost radical fringe of the anti-abortion movement, he is at least on the outer edge of the part that isn't in federal prison yet. In most cases, having as your public face a zpokesman who likes to encourage his audiences to 'let the hate wash over you,' isn't usually a winning PR move.

But this isn't most cases, and the Schindlers figured out some time ago that what they needed wasn't a smooth operator -- someone who could make nice with the media droids -- but a firebreathing agitator, one with the chops to turn their case into a cause celeb on the right.

Billmon on Randall Terry and the uses of extremism. Again we are reminded how much we've missed his unique voice during his recent fafiation.
via Alas, a blog: A roundup of Recent Feminist Blogging

If you’re not pissed off, then try following some of these links

» Damn, but Amanda is brilliant. Check out her discussion of the politics of the anti-single-motherhood hysteria:”Divorce and electing not to marry are the feminist equivalent of unionizing and going on strike.”

» And while you’re at it, check out Trish’s debunking (for the nth time) of the claim that social science shows that “fatherlessness” means the sky is falling.


Increase your rage with some truly fine writing. Recommended.
Bill Clinton Daily Diary

In-depth analysis of current events, personal stories and humor

Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Books and Music
When I woke up this morning I felt something had changed. I felt good, really good. I had no trouble breathing for the first time, since the surgery. I lifted my blanket and put my left leg on the floor. I sleep on the left side of the bed, because the right side is nearer to the door and since Hillary is the one working irregular hours sometimes well into the night, we thought it might be better, if she took that side instead of having to walk all around the bed in the dark.

An incredibly well done romp along the edges of authenticity in the postmodern age. Clinton to a 'T" with some weirdness thrown in to inspire doubt. This is either the real stuff or someone's inspired hoax.
Poem Of the Day

An Inventory of the Furniture in Dr. Priestley's Study
by Anna Lætitia Barbaul

A map of every country known,
With not a foot of land his own.
A list of folks that kicked a dust
On this poor globe, from Ptol. the First;
He hopes,–indeed it is but fair,–
Some day to get a corner there.
A group of all the British kings,
Fair emblem! on a packthread swings.
The Fathers, ranged in goodly row,
A decent, venerable show,
Writ a great while ago, they tell us,
And many an inch o'ertop their fellows.
A Juvenal to hunt for mottos;
And Ovid's tales of nymphs and grottos.
The meek-robed lawyers, all in white;
Pure as the lamb,–at least, to sight.
A shelf of bottles, jar and phial,
By which the rogues he can defy all,–
All filled with lightning keen and genuine,
And many a little imp he'll pen you in;
Which, like Le Sage's sprite, let out,
Among the neighbors makes a rout;
Brings down the lightning on their houses,
And kills their geese, and frights their spouses.
A rare thermometer, by which
He settles, to the nicest pitch,
The just degrees of heat, to raise
Sermons, or politics, or plays.
Papers and books, a strange mixed olio,
From shilling touch to pompous folio;
Answer, remark, reply, rejoinder,
Fresh from the mint, all stamped and coined here;
Like new-made glass, set by to cool,
Before it bears the workman's tool.
A blotted proof-sheet, wet from Bowling.
–"How can a man his anger hold in?"–
Forgotten rimes, and college themes,
Worm-eaten plans, and embryo schemes;–
A mass of heterogenous matter,
A chaos dark, nor land nor water;–
New books, like new-born infants, stand,
Waiting the printer's clothing hand;–
Others, a motley ragged brood,
Their limbs unfashioned all, and rude,
Like Cadmus' half-formed men appear;
One rears a helm, one lifts a spear,
And feet were lopped and fingers torn
Before their fellow limbs were born;
A leg began to kick and sprawl
Before the head was seen at all,
Which quiet as a mushroom lay
Till crumbling hillocks gave it way;
And all, like controversial writing,
Were born with teeth, and sprung up fighting.
"But what is this," I hear you cry,
"Which saucily provokes my eye?"–
A thing unknown, without a name,
Born of the air, and doomed to flame.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

via Particles: "Oh my God! There's an axe in my head."

in various languages–

The Web's #1 Axe In My Head Page

A few relevant examples:

Assyrian: iliya pashum ina reshimi bashu

Celtic: Mo Dhia! Ta' tua sa mo cheann.

English, OldE: Wa min God! Se æx on min heafod is!

Greek, AncientG: O Thee! Echo ten labrida en te mou kephale!

Japanese: ahh, kamisama! watashi no atama ni ono ga arimasu.

Klingon: toH, HIvqa' Qun'a'wIj! nachwIjDaq 'obmaQ tu'lu'!

Latin: Deus Meus! Securis in capite meo est.

Sanskrit: He mama deva! Asti mama murdhni parasuh!

Zau Ta-folin (Sauron's Black Speech of Mordor):
Afar Lugbúrz! at sapat kok-ishi.
Afar vadokanuk, At sapat kok-ishi!

Who said the internet has no practical value? I know that this information will be useful to me on many occasions in the future. I hope it is to you as well.
Thank You So Much Jon Stewart.

"The Culture of Strife", The Schiavo tragedy and the mess on Cable TV.

Is there anyone on TV more sane than Jon Stewart? And is that a comment on American media or what?
Poem of the Day

Unentitled by Loyal F Ramsey

Enigmatic Smile
Sent to torture me,
Frightening my poor feeble self
Into scurrying round in tight circles of restless failure.
Thin Cigarette held in cruel lips,
Tearing the flesh,
Rending the small catastrophe of my life
Into shreds without a word.

If only I had imagined a different self,
I cry,
If only the truth of me held some
But with a single glance she has found me out.

Soon I will be crying with the other dogs
At the pile of death and memory,
Tearing apart all pretense of remembrance,
Howling that only the immediate has any validity,

Discarding a past that was the only safety
To which my soul could aspire.

from Blind Eyes The Holy Fool Press
copyright 2003 by Loyal F Ramsey

Friday, March 25, 2005

from Y.P.R.: A Style Guide for Blog Parodists

January 4, 1860

Welcome to the blog I'm blogging,
Me, the warrior Hiawatha.
One with love and one with nature,
Though my internet provider
Doesn't work by force of nature—
Doesn't work at all, some mornings.
To peruse the morning headlines:
Have you seen the latest story
That the Gichee-Goomee newsmen
Never bother with reporting
Due to all their leftwing bias?
Hiawatha hates their bias
And their use of forged smoke-signals!
Turn instead to Hiawatha,
He will tell you what's transpiring,
Funded by his mom Nokomis
And the Sacred-belt foundation!

Posted by: longfellowsbitch at 1:06 a.m.
Comments: (0) Syllables per line: (8)
via the blogosphere: Is it once again time for the Hippocratic Oath?
How's it go again? Oh yes, "Frist, do no harm" that's it, right?
from YPT: Long Lost Lyrics to Bolero Found

Musicologists had thought that the lyrics were lost when Ravel's ex-wife burned his library in an fit of anger. They were thrilled recently to discover that a copy of the lyrics had in fact survived, hidden in the files of his divorce attorney.
via Native Americans Criticize Bush's Silence

Response to School Shooting Is Contrasted With President's Intervention in Schiavo Case

MINNEAPOLIS, March 24 -- Native Americans across the country -- including tribal leaders, academics and rank-and-file tribe members -- voiced anger and frustration Thursday that President Bush has responded to the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history with silence.

Three days after 16-year-old Jeff Weise killed nine members of his Red Lake tribe before taking his own life, grief-stricken American Indians complained that the White House has offered little in the way of sympathy for the tribe situated in the uppermost region of Minnesota.

"From all over the world we are getting letters of condolence, the Red Cross has come, but the so-called Great White Father in Washington hasn't said or done a thing," said Clyde Bellecourt, a Chippewa Indian who is the founder and national director of the American Indian Movement here. "When people's children are murdered and others are in the hospital hanging on to life, he should be the first one to offer his condolences. . . . If this was a white community, I don't think he'd have any problem doing that."

Weise's victims included his grandfather and five teenagers; seven other students were wounded, and two of them remain in serious condition in a hospital in Fargo, N.D.
Says it All, Doesn't It

"The case is full of great ironies. A large part of Terri's hospice costs are paid by Medicaid, a program that the administration and conservatives in Congress would sharply reduce. Some of her other expenses have been covered by the million-dollar proceeds of a malpractice suit - the kind of suit that President Bush has fought to scale back."

- NPR commentator Daniel Schorr.
Poem of the Day

The Sun Rising by John Donne

Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school-boys and sour prentices,
Go tell Court-huntsmen that the King will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Thy beams so reverend and strong
Why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long.
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and to-morrow late tell me,
Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou left'st them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday.
And thou shalt hear, "All here in one bed lay."

She's all states, and all princes I;
Nothing else is;
Princes do but play us; compar'd to this,
All honour's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou sun art half as happy as we,
In that the world's contracted thus;
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy centre is, these walls, thy sphere

Thursday, March 24, 2005

from Michael Berube Online: Advance directives

I don’t know if anyone is talking about “advance directives” or “living wills” or the right to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment lately, but just in case anyone is, I thought it might help to confuse things beyond measure if I pointed out that

(a) some courts have insisted that advance directives have to be quite detailed with regard to specific levels of care and specific states of injury or illness;

(b) advance directives give courts and guardians guidelines for honoring patient autonomy– most importantly, an individual’s right to refuse treatment– but, of course, cannot account for the possibility that an individual might change his or her mind about refusing treatment after becoming ill or injured (and that such an individual might be incapable of saying so); thus, there is a possibility that the ideal of patient “autonomy” can be invoked both to honor the advance directive and to set it aside in favor of the argument that a patient’s radically changed circumstances, due to illness or injury, might have induced him or her to reassess his or her desires about treatment;

(c) the difficulties of entertaining the possibility that a person might “change her mind” about her advance directive become even more impossibly complex when the person’s mindedness is precisely what’s in question, as in cases of dementia, mental illness, or injuries and illnesses that leave a person conscious but incompetent; and

(d) adults with intellectual disabilities may not be competent to execute advance directives in the first place.

I’ll be more specific.

Once again, Prof. Berebe frames a central issue in a clear and compelling fashion. Do not assume that your basic 'this is what I want honey' conversation with your SO will be sufficient. Follow the legal requirements in your state to the letter to insure that your wishes will be obeyed. Make your living will as specific as possible. And take time explain your wishes to close friends and family who might object to your desires on religious or personal grounds.
from Whiskey Bar: My Back Pages

Billmon on blogging, writing, and the futility of fighting knowing liars with the known truth. A sad and brilliant analysis of the post election zeitgeist of the liberal blogoshere.

Since I reopened Whiskey Bar back in January, huge numbers of readers – well, OK, one or two – have asked me why I’m not “writing” anymore. Or, to be more precise, why I’m not “writing” posts in the customary first person singular – i.e., talking directly to the readers, instead of weaving together other people’s words and pictures, with the odd detour into the completely fictional (well, semi-fictional) futures of people like Paul Wolfowitz and Jeb Bush.

It’s a reasonable question, even though it may not have a reasonable answer. But I’ve got some spare time on my hands today, and since I don’t really care to gawk at the grand finale to the Terri Schiavo media freak circus (unless Jeb Bush bites the head off a chicken, I think the rest of the show is going to be an anti-climax anyway), I thought I’d take a crack at explaining – or at least describing – what drove me away from blogging last summer, why I came back, and why I’ve been keeping my natural tendency to rant so firmly in check these past few months.

Those of you who have only recently discovered this blog (I’m looking in your direction, Mr. Horowitz) almost certainly will want to skip this post – it’s going to be very long and boring and not very funny and also excessively introspective (but I repeat myself.) However, I thought some of the barflies – those loyal customers who have been patronizing this joint since the glory days when Whiskey Bar still had comments – might want to know what’s being going on inside my own fluid-filled cranial cavity these past few months. So this round is for them.

Lost At Sea

What happened, roughly, is this: Last summer I got off a boat after a week of intensive Internet detox therapy, and decided there weren’t enough good reasons to keep the bar open – and more than enough reasons, both personal and professional, to shut it down, at least for a good long while.
from Slate: To Err on the Side of Life

from LA Weekly:The Bad Doctor

Bill Frist's long record of corporate vices
by Doug Ireland

While TV gushed last week over the Republicans' new Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, intervening in a traffic accident, portraying the former heart surgeon as a "Good Samaritan," in truth the GOP has simply replaced a racist with a corporate crook.

Frist was born rich, and got richer -- thanks to massive criminal fraud by the family business. The basis of the Frist family fortune is HCA Inc. (Hospital Corporation of America), the largest for-profit hospital chain in the country, which was founded by Frist's father and brother. And, just as Karl Rove was engineering the scuttling of Trent Lott and the elevation of Frist, the Bush Justice Department suddenly ended a near-decadelong federal investigation into how HCA for years had defrauded Medicaid, Medicare and Tricare (the federal program that covers the military and their families), giving the greedy health-care behemoth's executives a sweetheart settlement that kept them out of the can.

The government's case was that HCA kept two sets of books and fraudulently overbilled the government. The deal meant that HCA agreed to pay the government $631 million for its lucrative scams which, on top of previous fines, brought the total government penalties against the health-care conglomerate to a whopping $1.7 billion, the largest fraud settlement in history, breaking the old record set by Drexel Burnham.

The deal also meant that HCA can continue to participate in Medicare. And, as part of the Bushies' deal shutting down what Deputy Assistant FBI Director Thomas Kubic called "one of the FBI's highest-priority white-collar crime investigations," no criminal charges were brought against the top HCA execs who presided over the illegal bilking of federal programs designed to aid the poor -- and that includes Senator Frist's brother, Thomas, HCA's former CEO (and current director), who's been described by Forbes magazine as "one of the richest men in America," with a personal fortune estimated at close to $2 billion.

What did HCA do? It inflated its expenses and billed the government for the overrun; it billed the government for services ineligible for reimbursement (like advertising and marketing costs). HCA violated both law and medical ethics when, as Forbes put it, "the company increased Medicare billings by exaggerating the seriousness of the illnesses they were treating. It also granted doctors partnerships in company hospitals as a kickback for the doctors referring patients to HCA. In addition, it gave doctors loans that were never expected to be paid back, free rent, free office furniture, and free drugs from hospital pharmacies.

Gee, Bill Frist comes from a family of thieves. It must be an absolute requirement for GOP leadership these days.
via Direland from Inside Higher Ed: To Honor a Boycott or Not?

To Honor a Boycott or Not?

Philosophers have had plenty to debate in advance of this week’s meeting of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association.

The meeting is at San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis Hotel, which is currently subject to a boycott organized by labor groups upset over pay and working conditions. Some scholars have advocated moving the meeting to another location, as the Organization of American Historians recently did.

But the leaders of the philosophy group — in a letter posted on a Cornell philosopher’s Web site — said that a poll of program participants found that most did not want to relocate the meeting to San Jose or another location. The letter noted that large academic meetings are typically set up well in advance, and that many meeting participants had made plans that would be difficult and expensive to change. The letter also acknowledged that moving the meeting at this late date could create serious financial difficulties for the association.

And progressives wonder why ordinary working folk think the intellectual left hasn't a clue? Shameful. Utterly shameful.
from Get Your War On: YES! YES! YES!

I'm amending my Living Will even as we speak!
from The New York Times: Maureen Dowd: DeLay, Deny and Demagogue

Oh my God, we really are in a theocracy.

Are the Republicans so obsessed with maintaining control over all branches of government, and are the Democrats so emasculated about not having any power, that they are willing to turn the nation into a wholly owned subsidiary of the church?

The more dogma-driven activists, self-perpetuating pols and ratings-crazed broadcast media prattle about 'faith,' the less we honor the credo that a person's relationship with God should remain a private matter.

As the Bush White House desperately maneuvers in Iraq to prevent the new government from being run according to the dictates of religious fundamentalists, it desperately maneuvers here to pander to religious fundamentalists who want to dictate how the government should be run.
Poem of the Day

We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar

WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!
from Newswise:Cardiac Deaths Peak in Sleep Hours for Patients with Sleep Apnea

The 20 million Americans who have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are more likely to die suddenly of cardiac causes between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. than during the other 16 hours of the day combined, according to findings of a Mayo Clinic study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This increased risk among patients with OSA is even more striking because it comes when cardiac deaths in the general population are at their low point.

“The cardiac death peak for the general population comes just after waking, from six to noon, which for several reasons is the most vulnerable time for the heart and blood vessels.” says Virend Somers, M.D.,PhD., the Mayo Clinic cardiologist who directed the study. “Almost twice as many people die of cardiac causes then, as compared to the midnight to 6 a.m. period. But for patients with obstructive sleep apnea, the peaks were reversed; more than twice as many cardiac deaths came during the sleeping hours.”

Apoor Gami, M.D., lead author of the study, examined the death certificates of 112 Minnesota residents who had sleep studies at the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorder Center between 1987 and 2003 and who died suddenly of cardiac causes. More than half (54 percent) of the 78 OSA patients died between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., while only 24 percent of the 34 cardiac deaths among non-OSA patients occurred during that period.

OSA is a collapse – like a wet paper straw – of the airway during sleep. It causes the person to stop breathing momentarily, as many as 60 times per hour. This significantly lowers oxygen levels in the bloodstream, elevates nighttime blood pressure and causes heart rhythm disturbances. Dr. Gami pointed out that about
a fifth of North American adults have sleep apnea; most remain undiagnosed.

Snoring is often a symptom, as is inability to stay awake during the day. The standard treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a mask worn at night to keep the airway open.

Dr. Gami says the team’s findings not only show that patients with OSA are at much higher risk of cardiac death during sleep; they also indicate that the 6 a.m.-noon peak of cardiac deaths in the general population is even higher for those who don’t have sleep apnea. “Because so many people have sleep apnea and are more likely to die suddenly during sleep, the early waking hours are even more dangerous for the rest than we had previously realized,” Dr. Gami explains. “We clearly have two distinct populations, with opposite times of highest cardiac death risk.”

Dr. Somers cautioned that the study could not determine whether OSA raises the overall risk of sudden cardiac death, or whether it simply shifts the risk to the sleeping hours. The researchers also could not tell whether CPAP devices reduced the nocturnal death risk because records of whether they had been used in the days before sudden death were unavailable. Previous studies have proven CPAP effective in OSA symptom relief and in raising nighttime oxygen levels in the blood, however.

“At the very least, the study may help us better understand why people should die in their sleep at all. We now know that persons with sleep apnea have a peak in sudden cardiac death risk at a time when the general population is relatively protected,” Dr. Somers concludes. “Because so many are undiagnosed, we should increase our efforts to identify them and provide the appropriate advice and treatment.
via BBC NEWS | Americas : Top US court rejects Schiavo plea

The US Supreme Court has refused to intervene in the case of brain-damaged woman Terri Schiavo.

Mrs Schiavo's parents had asked the top US court to order her feeding tube reinserted after it was removed by court order last week.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly refused to rule on the case of Mrs Schiavo, 41, who has been reliant on artificial feeding for 15 years.

Mrs Schiavo's husband wanted her tube removed, saying it was her own wish.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

from New Scientist:Remains of ancient Egyptian seafaring ships discovered

The first remains of ancient Egyptian seagoing ships ever to be recovered have been found in two caves on Egypt's Red Sea coast, according to a team at Boston University in the US.

The team also found fragments of pottery at the site, which could help resolve controversies about the extent of ancient Egyptian trade voyages. But details of the newly disclosed finds remain sketchy.

Kathryn Bard, who co-led the dig with Italian archaeologists in December 2004, has revealed to the Boston University weekly community newsletter that the team found a range of items - including timbers and riggings - inside the man-made caves, located at the coastal Pharaonic site of Wadi Gawasis.

According to the report, pottery in the caves could date at least some of the artefacts to a famous 15th century BC naval expedition by Queen Hatshepsut to the mysterious, incense-producing land of Punt. This voyage is depicted in detailed reliefs on Queen Hatshepsut's temple on the west bank of the Nile, near modern-day Luxor.
from Syaffolee: Tangled Bank #24

Welcome to the twenty-fourth edition of Tangled Bank and boy, do we have a live one! There's everything from visual perception to DNA repair and evolution to salamanders. The sheer variety of science articles and links surely live up to this weblog carnival's title.

As I was contemplating on how to order the submitted entries, it struck me how boundary-less science really is. Aristotle, the 'father of biology,' may have been fond of categorizing everything, but disciplines don't exist separately in a vacuum. Things meld and mix to become something that is both like the previous things as well as something completely new. I suppose one could put things up in neat little rows like an unimaginative librarian, but subjects are more like moldable forms than cubbyholes.
from Fresh scandal over old bones

Inside Liang Bua cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, the bones of the hobbit rested undisturbed for 18,000 years.

But no longer.

In what is being called a true case of scientific skullduggery, the remains of the newly discovered human species have suffered irreparable damage since entering the care of paleontologists.

The damage to the bones of this diminutive being — named Homo floresiensis and nicknamed hobbit by scientists — is so extensive that it will limit scholarly research on the species, say members of the Indonesian Center for Archaeology-based discovery team.

Considered the most important discovery in human origins in five decades, the remains are marred by broken jaws and smashed bones.

"The equivalent in the world of art would be somebody slashing the Mona Lisa and then trying to fix it with chewing gum," says paleontologist Tim White of the University of California-Berkeley, who was not on the discovery team.
from SFGate: Why Does God Hate Caribou?

Why Does God Hate Caribou?
Drill for oil and screw Alaska's wildlife? Why, sure, all part of the imminent Rapture!

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

God wants oil. This is the message. This is the belief. God wants more oil and also uranium and coal and iron and nuclear waste and whatever the hell else we want to pump into or out of this godforsaken lump of floating space rock. Word to the GOP.

In other words, God wants us, if the happily bleak and decidedly nasty interpretation of Bible verse currently extolled by the rabid evangelical mind-set now mauling the American political and social landscape is to be believed, to use up the Earth however we see fit and stomp all over this pointless ecological blob with our macho SUVs and manly tanks and badass army boots because it's all just one giant disposable sandbox o' fun anyway, right?

Hey, it's all part of the Master Plan to destroy the Earth and smite our enemies and hasten the arrival of the Rapture. Didn't you know?

We are all merely waiting until the Big Battle happens in Israel, the bloody clash between the True Believers and the Antichrist Heathens, to be followed immediately by Jesus gliding down on gilded wings made of fine Egyptian cotton and cheap American flags and wearing kickass robes of fire and ready to suck the true believers up to heaven through a giant Crazy Straw and wipe the whole goddamn secular slate clean. Right?
from The Tampa Tribune via Blondsense: Tom DeLay Awards Badge Of Honor

Published: Mar 23, 2005

You had to know the Terri Schiavo kerfuffle was moving into the mother of all parallel universes when congressman Tom DeLay, who is so ethically challenged he makes Al Swearengen of ``Deadwood'' look like a Ramada Inn night clerk, started weighing in on morality.

It was the Bumpkin of the Brazos who suggested Michael Schiavo, who has been the guardian of his vegetative wife for 15 years, had abused Terri Schiavo.

``I don't have a lot of respect for a man who has treated a woman this way,'' preened the poster child for Ethics Committee investigations. ``What kind of man is he?''

Well, for starters, not having the ``respect'' of some cheesy, opportunistic demagogue who makes Tammany Hall look like the College of Cardinals is really a badge of honor for Michael Schiavo.
from frogsdong:The horror...horror

I arrived in Washington, D.C. yesterday morning. As I stepped from my car in the parking lot, I was surprised to see so few people, and the few I did see were holding handkerchiefs to their faces. Some were moaning, some were crying. Something was seriously wrong here.

I had first noticed the smell as I to the ramp onto the Beltway, at first a faint underlayment of odor, like a musical theme in a symphony where the piccolo introduces the melody beneath the bassoons, but then growing stronger. It reminded me of something I had smelled many years before on a trip to the northern woods. I vaguely remembered that trip twenty years previous. I was doing a little backpacking near the Canadian border, leaving civilization behind and enjoying the solitude and the quiet. I remembered the smell, too, but I couldn't remember what caused it. It was rank, acrid, and penetrating, an ugly foulness in the nose. It had been strong that day among the birch and pine, but it was nothing compared to this. It was the same smell, but this time it seemed to have infiltrated the entire city, like a precursor of evil, a taste of a coming darkness.

So brilliant it hurts.. Today's MUST read.
via Whiskey Bar: Hillary Rodham DeLay

Hillary Rodham DeLay
Mr. DeLay complained that "the other side" had figured out how "to defeat the conservative movement," by waging personal attacks, linking with liberal organizations and persuading the national news media to report the story. He charged that "the whole syndicate" was "a huge nationwide concerted effort to destroy everything we believe in."

New York Times
How Family's Cause Reached the Halls of Congress
March 22, 2005

"Look at the very people who are involved in this. They have popped up in other settings. The great story here for anybody willing to find it, write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president."

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Today Show
January 27, 1998

Curse you, Billmon! This image will haunt my dreams.
from Frontline via Steve Gilliards's news blog Why Is Texas #1 in Executions?

"There are many legal and cultural explanations for why Texas executes far more people than any other state and is doing so at a pace that has no parallel in the modern era of the death penalty in the U.S. What follows is a summary of the analyses.

Texas has become ground zero for capital punishment. Between 1976 (when the Supreme Court lifted its prohibition on the death penalty) and 1998 Texas executed 167 people. Next in rank was Virginia which executed 60 during the same period.

Why do capital murder cases proceed through the Texas state court system with a speed unimaginable in other parts of the country? Brent Newton, in an article entitled 'Capital Punishment: Texas Could Learn a Lot from Florida,'[1] argues that there are three procedures unique to the state's judicial system that enable it to execute convicted murderers with astonishing frequency:

1. Texas' appellate judges are elected to office and hence serve according to the pleasure of the public. Not surprisingly, they require a record of toughness on criminals in order to win re-election. Also, there are many indications that elected appellate judges generally are of a lesser quality than their appointed counterparts in other states. Newton even claims that these elected judges do not carefully consider the complexities of each specific death penalty case"

It appears that I may have been giving Bush too much blame for the lack of executive clemencies issued during his term as governor of Texas. Apparently most petitions do not survive the screening process before reaching the governor's desk. Of course, I sincerely doubt that it would have made much difference in any case. Dubya didn't approve any of the few petitions that survived the process.
Poem of the Day

A Description of Contrary Passions by Thomas Wyatt

I find no peace and all my war is done,
I fear and hope, I burn and freeze like ice,
I fly above the wind, yet can I not arise,
And nought I have and all the world I seson;
That loseth nor locketh holdeth me in prison;
And holdeth me not; yet can I scape nowise,
Nor letteth me live nor die at my devise,
And yet of death it giveth me occasion.
Without eyen I see; and without tongue I plain:
I desire to perish, and yet I ask health;
I love another: and thus I hate myself;
I feed me in sorrow; and laugh in all my pain:
Likewise displeaseth me both death and life,
And my delight is causer of this strife.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie

An Effective, Low-Cost Solution To Combating Mind-Control

This site is dedicated to spreading the word about the Aluminum* Foil Deflector Beanie and how it can help the average human. Here you will find a description of AFDBs, how to make and use them, and general information about related subjects. I hope that you find the AFDB Homepage to be an important source of AFDB know-how and advocacy.

What Is An AFDB?
An Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie (AFDB) is a type of headwear that can shield your brain from most electromagnetic psychotronic mind control carriers. AFDBs are inexpensive (even free if you don't mind scrounging for thrown-out aluminium foil) and can be constructed by anyone with at least the dexterity of a chimp (maybe bonobo). This cheap and unobtrusive form of mind control protection offers real security to the masses. Not only do they protect against incoming signals, but they also block most forms of brain scanning and mind reading, keeping the secrets in your head truly secret. AFDBs are safe and operate automatically. All you do is make it and wear it and you're good to go! Plus, AFDBs are stylish and comfortable.

What are you waiting for? Make one today!

BEWARE OF COMMERCIAL AFDBS: Since you should trust no one, always construct your AFDB yourself to avoid the risk of subversion and mental enslavement. Sometimes, AFDBs will be sold on places like eBay. Do not purchase these pre-made AFDBs, even if the seller seems trustworthy. They may contain backdoors, pinholes, integrated psychotronic circuitry or other methods that actually promote mind control.

In these days of modern times, when you can't tell the AC's from the DC's you owe it to yourself to get all the protection you can. You may, for instance, become aware that your cat is taking far too much interest in your blog. Or that Alberto 'El Torquemada' Gonzelez has been dropping by entirely too frequently to ask you out for 'coffee'. You may simply be off your nut. But in any case, be ready. Be strong. Be safe. Pet Pillows

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In This Episode, Professor Berube Hands Chairman Dave His Head. Will the Chairman Ever Be Able to Find It Again?

from Michael Berube Online: Networking

Hi again, Horowitz fans! This fierce and shallow blog is sorry it's taken so long (in blog days) to get back to David's one-short-step-from-rabid attack on me last week, but I perversely decided to finish rewriting three chapters of Liberal Arts instead, and just last night I sent it off to my editor. Finally! There is much rejoicing in this house. But, David, it's not like I haven't been thinking about you, dear - in fact, if you like, you can consider Liberal Arts a 90,000-word reply directed to you, and to you alone.

All right, then. If you're ready, so am I.

Welcome to the Renard News Channel, David Horowitz! Let's see what you have to say for yourself today.

Professor Michael Berube is one of many fierce and shallow critics of our new database-- DiscoverTheNetwork, which is a comprehensive guide to the political left. In a recent attack on our site (on March 2) he reveals once again the intellectual laziness of the left when it comes to engaging opponents in, well, intellectual argument. On the other hand, tenured radicals like Berube have lifetime jobs and captive audiences, so what is their incentive not to be lazy?

That's kind of mean, David, and entre nous, mean people are one of my biggest turn-offs. Really, you have to get over your bitterness and resentment of academe. It's not healthy! People who have their very own, right-wing-foundation-subsidized media empires, base salaries of $175,000, and speaking fees in the five figures really shouldn't complain so much about the working conditions of teachers. Besides, everyone knows I am not lazy. And you, especially, should know better: after all, I've now read more of your recent work than anyone who doesn't work for you. Here I am doing all the hard work of picking apart your latest, most appalling attempt to smear liberals and progressives, and you call me - mindless.- Where is the gratitude? Where is the love?
from ALAonline via Jesus' General:El Segundo Finds Authors Too Un-American for Its Library

Authors Agatha Christie and Jack London will not be honored by having their names on two new reading rooms at the El Segundo (Calif.) Public Library, thanks to the city council’s rejection of the library’s choices. At a March 15 meeting, council members objected to Agatha Christie because she was British and to native Californian Jack London because he was a socialist at one time.

“I’m a great fan of Agatha Christie. Murder mystery novels is what I read. But she’s a British citizen,” Councilman John Gaines said in the March 18 Los Angeles Times. “And I’m also a great fan of Jack London. I read all his books as a kid. But quite frankly, he was a world-renowned communist.”

The two authors had been proposed for naming two small reading rooms recently constructed with a $321,000 city grant. Library Director Debra Brighton said she was surprised by the council’s rejection, adding that the names were endorsed by library staff, trustees, and Friends who had chosen them from a list of 25 that included Jane Austen, Pearl Buck, and Ernest Hemingway. She noted that London had denounced socialism “in the latter part of his years,” and that Christie’s books have been “only outsold by the Bible and Shakespeare.”

Councilman Jim Boulgarides said the city’s objection was “silly” and advised Brighton to run background checks the next time. “My colleagues decided we needed a political and nationality litmus test,” he said in the March 18 Torrance Daily Breeze. “I didn’t think that was necessary.”

The still-to-be-named rooms are scheduled for dedication March 25.

Jesus' General's ever so slightly satirical response:

John Gaines, Mayor Pro Tem
City of El Segundo

Dear Mr. Gaines,

It's not often that the people are blessed with an elected official with the balls to take on foreigners and communists. The citizens of El Segundo are lucky to have you.

Councilpersons in most towns would have granted their library's request to name rooms after internationalist lackies like Agatha Christie and Jack London, but not you. Instead, you told the librarian that in El Segundo, library rooms aren't named after limeys and pinkos.

I trust that you called in the Red Guard of the Glorious Conservative Christian Cultural Revolution after you made your decision. The subversive librarian must be paraded down Main Street in a dunce cap and subjected to criticism. It's the only way to warn other possible liberal-roaders that we will not allow their kind to interfere with the achievement of Our Leader's glorious vision for America. As Our Leader once said, "By making the right choices, we can make the right choice for our future."

Heterosexually yours,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot
from Informed Comment: The Schiavo Case and the Islamization of the Republican Party

Juan Cole: The cynical use by the US Republican Party of the Terri Schiavo case repeats, whether deliberately or accidentally, the tactics of Muslim fundamentalists and theocrats in places like Egypt and Pakistan. These tactics involve a disturbing tendency to make private, intimate decisions matters of public interest and then to bring the courts and the legislature to bear on them. President George W. Bush and Republican congressional leaders like Tom Delay have taken us one step closer to theocracy on the Muslim Brotherhood model. (more)
via Just a Bump in the Beltway: He Dances

'This has nothing to do with the sanctity of life'
The Rev. John Paris, professor of bioethics, says Terri Schiavo has the moral and legal right to die, and only the Christian right is keeping her alive.

Why is the case bizarre?

In most cases, the court has a theory, you have an appellate review, and that's the end. But this case, the parents keep coming back with new issues -- every time that they lose, they come in with a new issue. We want to reexamine the case. We believe she's competent. We need new medical tests being done. We think she's been abused. We want child protective services to intervene. Finally, Judge George Greer denied them all. He said. 'Look, we have had court-appointed neutral physicians examine this patient. You don't believe the findings of the doctors but the finding of the doctors have been accepted by the court as factual.' There have been six reviews by the appellate court."
from The LATimes: Life, Death and Cynical Grandstanding by Robert Scheer

I cannot remember a time when Congress and the president have acted with more egregious political opportunism and shameless trafficking in human misery than last weekend, leaping into the 15-year-long Terri Schiavo saga at the last possible moment as grandstanding defenders of the defenseless.

Although Schiavo's relatives on both sides of the issue are assuredly acting in good faith, national politicians certainly are not."

The always on target Robert Scheer gets right to the heart of things once again.
All Things Bright and Rapturous

Rapture Ready is the place to go for all your pre-Rapture and Rapture needs and pre-needs, lots of links to rapture 'theorists' and of course, the ever useful Rapture Index which scientifically chronicles the world's headlong rush to the Rapture. Have your Rapture kit ready at home and in your car. Don't be caught unprepared. After all, Jesus is watching.
via the St. Petersburg Times:

Michael Schiavo: 'Come down, President Bush'

By WILLIAM R. LEVESQUE, Times Staff Writer
Published March 20, 2005

PINELLAS PARK - Angered by the latest political developments in Washington, Michael Schiavo said Saturday that it isn't just the Florida governor who should visit his wife to learn about the case.

Jeb Bush's brother, President Bush, should visit Terri Schiavo, too, he said.

'Come down, President Bush,' Schiavo said in a telephone interview. 'Come talk to me. Meet my wife. Talk to my wife and see if you get an answer. Ask her to lift her arm to shake your hand. She won't do it.'

She won't, Schiavo said, because she can't.

He made a similar offer to the governor last week, saying lawmakers interferring in his wife's life know nothing about the case. So far, Gov. Bush hasn't responded to the offer.

President Bush has indicated he will sign any federal legislation to keep Terri Schiavo alive.

Weary after an emotional visit with his wife, Schiavo said he is astonished that politicians want to interfere in such a private matter.

'Instead of worrying about my wife, who was granted her wishes by the state courts the past seven years, they should worry about the pedophiles killing young girls,' Schiavo said, referring to a local case. 'Why doesn't Congress worry about people not having health insurance? Or the budget? Let's talk about all the children who don't have homes.'

He said U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who is leading a charge to extend Terri Schiavo's life, is a 'little slithering snake' pandering for votes.

'To make comments that Terri would want to live, how do they know?' Schiavo said of the members of Congress who want to keep his wife alive.

'Have they ever met her?' Schiavo said. 'What color are her eyes? What's her middle name? What's her favorite color? They don't have any clue who Terri is. They should all be ashamed of themselves.'

Schiavo said he was going to stay at his wife's side through the entire ordeal and said he wouldn't back down in his fight to have her wishes carried out.

'Terri died 15 years ago,' Schiavo said, referring to the collapse and cardiac arrest that doctors say virtually destroyed her brain. 'It's time for her to be with the Lord like she wanted to be."
Bug Bomber DeLay's Ethical Standards

via AlterNet: DeLay's Dirty Dozen
Think Progress. Posted March 16, 2005.

A scandalous round-up of Tom DeLay's flagrant trespasses against decency.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been a busy man these last few years. Whether bribing congressmen, threatening political opponents, vacationing with lobbyists, or gutting House ethics rules, it's been hard to keep up with all the Hammer's activities. Here are 12 recent highlights from DeLay's illustrious career:
via Bishop Apologizes For Denying Funeral To Gay Bar Owner

Bishop Apologizes For Denying Funeral To Gay Bar Owner
Friends, Family Express Relief, Surprise

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego diocese has issued a written apology to the family of John McCusker, a gay man recently denied a funeral for having businesses 'inconsistent with Catholic teaching.'

In a letter to McCusker's family, Bishop Richard H. Brom said, 'I deeply regret that denying a Catholic funeral to John McCusker at the Immaculata has resulted in his unjust condemnation and I apologize to the family for the anguish this has caused. To help rectify the situation, in so far as it can be, I will preside at a mass for the family, in memory of John, at the Immaculata.'

The statement represented a distinct departure from the tone of another letter issued last week, in which Brom said McCusker was being denied a Catholic funeral to 'avoid public scandal.' The church cited the fact that porn stars from X-rated videos were scheduled to appear at McCusker's clubs. McCusker, 31, owned Club Montage, which offered both gay and straight nights, and Rebar in North Park.

The denial of sacraments was an emotional issue for McCusker's family and touched a nerve in the gay and lesbian community. While McCusker was a graduate of the University of San Diego and his family had wanted to hold his funeral services there, they were forced to hold them instead at an Episcopal church. The controversy touched off a flurry of phone calls and complaints to the diocese, NBC 7/39 reported.

A meeting in Hillcrest Monday night was intended as a strategizing session to elicit an apology from the diocese. The fact that an apology had already been issued became apparent, however, when McCusker's mother stood up to read the bishop's letter.

McCusker's friends and relatives said they were satisfied with the apology, and surprised.

'I think a lot of people came in here with a lot of anger,' said Patrick Trotter. 'We were going to do something, hopefully something dignified. We were going to protest and then he apologized and we couldn't have asked for anything better.'

McCusker died on Sunday of congestive heart failure, according to his family."

Well, will the wonders never cease? Someone in the Catholic Church leadership still possesses some decency. I wonder how far up the hierarchy this had to go before enough pressure was brought on Bishop Brom to change his mind.
via the net: Comment on Bush, the Life Giver

Rev. G. SIMON HARAK of War
A Jesuit priest and author of the books "Virtuous Passions" and "Nonviolence for the Third Millennium,"
Harak is anti-militarism coordinator of the War Resisters League.

He said today: "One of the first things we learn is that the more universal your ethical principles are, the more moral force they have. I hear of Bush's flying back to D.C. to sign the Schiavo bill, and I think of him flying back from his first presidential campaign to sign the death warrants of Texas prisoners. I think of Bush signing a bill in Texas to cut off funds for life support for people who want their children to live, but can't afford it. I hear of the government's concern for this individual, tragic case, and I think of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children whom we diseased and starved to death during sanctions, and now the hundred thousand more Iraqis who have died in this invasion and occupation. How universal, how convincing, is the concern?"
Poem of the Day

31 by Catullus

Paene insularum, Sirmio, Insularumque
ocelle, quascumque in liquentibus stagnis
marique vasto fert uterque neptunus,
quam te libenter quamque laetus inviso,
vix mi ipse credens Thyniam atque Bithynos
liquisse campos et videre te in tuto.
O quid solutis est beatius curis,
cum mens onus reponit, ac peregrino
labore fessi venimus larem ad nostrum,
desideratoque acquiescimus lecto?
Hoc est quod unum est pro laboribus tantis.
Salve, o venusta Sirmio, atque ero gaude
gaudente; vosque, o Lydiae lacus undae,
ridete quidquid est dome cachinnorum.

Of the penninsula of the almost island, Sirmio,
the jewel of the islands and the almost islands,
whatever island either Neptune
carries on lakes or on the vast sea,
how willingly and with what happiness I look upon
hardly myself believing that I have abandonded Thynia
and the Bithyninan fields, and that I see you in one piece
O what is a greater source of happiness, worries having been removed
when the mind puts aside its burden and when we come
tired by foreign work to our household gods
we rest in our having been longed for bed?
This is the one thing that is worth so much work
Hello, o charming Sirmio, and rejoice with the
rejoicing master; and you, O lydian waves of the lake
laugh whatever of laughter is at home.
via Rox Populi: Living Wills

Many have already weighed-in on the L'Affaire du Schiavo. Today, I've been a bit despondent, lamenting the immense cruelty required to allow this circus to continue, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans think the Federal government has no business getting involved. I used to think that the leadership of the Republican Party was mostly made of good people who simply had a different worldview. Well, no more. Culture of Life, indeed.

I'm not sure I can add much to the debate, except to reinforce the notion that unless you want parasites and sycophants to play kick-the-can with your withering, brain-dead body, you should have a Living Will. If you don't have one, stop right now and check out the U.S. Living Will Registry. According to their website, "each state has its own law, and sometimes, its own form." It took me less than 10 minutes to read the instructions for DC/Maryland/Virginia and fill out mine.
U.S. Living Will Registry

The horror of the Schiavo case highlights the need for everyone to discuss their health care choices, choose a decision-maker, and prepare an advance directive. Please, please, if you have not already done so, do so as soon as possible. I would not like to personally know the next family 'Roach Farm' DeLay and his Merry Band decide to save.

Monday, March 21, 2005

from Majikthise: The F Word

The brilliant and sadly missed Tristero returns with this savage commentary on the real agenda behind the Congressional interference in the ongoing trainwreck that is the Schiavo case. If this stands, not a single one of us will ever again be free of the threat of direct intervention by the government into any phase of our lives. A sad, sad day.

Well, it happened.

On March 21, 2005 12:44 am, the extremists in charge of the US Government showed the world that when they don't like a law or a legally valid court decision - ANY law, ANY court decision, for ANY reason, no matter how carefully adjudicated - they are prepared to rip it up. There is a word for this.

The word is fascism.

As of early this morning, America can no longer maintain the slightest shadow of an illusion that it is a Republic with a flexible and somewhat benign, albeit hegemonic and imperialist, stance towards the world while enjoying a modicum of democratically established liberties for its citizens. Today, my fellow Americans, we woke up in a new United States, a fascist America in which a citizen's rights and liberties are inscribed not in a set of laws but are entirely subject to the whims of the extremists running the Federal legislative and executive branches. A fascist America which barely tries to disguise either its thirst for oil or its demands that all countries must kowtow to its leaders' demands.

from Tristero: The F Word - Day Two

via Majikthise: Read the comments inspired by his article.

from Blondsense, pissed off patricia has a Bitchin' Big Time discussing the politics of it all

from Lawyers, Guns & Money: Scott Lemieux on the constitutional ramifications.

from Abstract Appeal: an indepth history of the legal aspects of the case

from Majiklthise: a thorough debunking of much of the willful propaganda being spread by the right to life allies of the Schindler family (Terri's parents)

via an article discussing the funding sources for the endless legal maneuvering in the Schiavo case

from Rivka at Respectful of Otters: Terri Schiavo, Part I: The Medical Post, a good scientific discussion of the medical issues in the case

from Rivka at Respectful of Otters: Terri Schiavo, Part II: The Ethical Post, a good scientific discussion of the complex ethical issues in the case

from Alas A Blog: this CT image of Terri Schiavo's brain in comparison to a normal brain.

I hesitate to publish these images. I’ve decided I’m going to, because the physical condition of Terri Schiavo’s brain is essential to any serious discussion of Terri Schiavo’s condition. By including these images, I don’t intend any disrespect to Terri Schaivo whatsoever.
On the left is a CT scan of Terri Schiavo’s brain (source). On the right, for comparison’s sake, is a CT scan of a healthy human brain.
As I understand it - and goodness knows, I’m no doctor - the sparsely detailed dark areas in Terri’s CT scan (both the large dark area in the center and the smaller dark areas around the edges) are where Terri’s brain has been replaced with brain fluid. To quote myself: The conclusion the court came to is that, based on medical testimony and Terri’s CAT scan, her cerebral cortex has basically turned to liquid. The cerebral cortex is the seat of all our higher brain functions. Without a cerebral cortex, it is impossible for a human being to experience thought, emotions, consciousness, pain, pleasure, or anything at all; nor, barring a miracle, is it possible for a patient lacking a cerebral cortex to recover.
Comments to Alas A Blog on the post


from The Rude Pundit: A no-holds barred series of posts on Terri's Law

3/22/2005 Conservatives Drowning In Their Own Bile:
The Terri Schiavo carnival of unending doom continues, and 'conservative' pundits are going nutzoid trying to out-empathize each other and condemn the opposition. It's one of those sad, funny sights, like a morbidly obese guy at a hot dog eating contest, shoving those weiners into his engorged cheeks, his bloated gut undulating as he swallows. The image itself is funny, but it's just pathetic 'cause we know that fat fuck is gonna shovel that shit in until his heart just gives out. And, Christ, the size of the coffin we're gonna need when that happens. (more)

3/21/2005 A Quorum of Savages: Notes from the Debate of the Deluded:
You haven't lived until you've heard Tom DeLay, choked with emotion, trying to erase his image as a vile, unethical sleazebag from the national view, talking about Terry Schiavo: "Mr. Speaker, after 4 days of words, the best of them uttered in prayer, now comes the time for action. I say again, the legal and political issues may be complicated, but the moral ones are not. A young woman in Florida is being dehydrated and starved to death. For 58 long hours, her mouth has been parched and her hunger pangs have been throbbing. If we do not act, she will die of thirst. However helpless, Mr. Speaker, she is alive. She is still one of us. And this cannot stand. . . .Terri Schiavo has survived her Passion weekend, and she has not been forsaken. No more words, Mr. Speaker. She is waiting. The Members are here. The hour has come.(more)

Briefly Noted: "Unanimous" Senate Vote on Schiavo Bill:
So, like, the AP story, the CNN story, the Fox "News" story and others all say that the Senate "unanimously" passed the thank-Christ-we're-not-talking-about-Social-Security Terry Schiavo bill.

Technically, this is true. But all these articles fail to mention what the Miami Herald does distinctly note: "Only three members were on the floor and the bill's prime sponsor, Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, served as presiding officer."

And those three members proudly raised their voices, and yes, technically the bill passed unanimously, just as technically Terry Schiavo is still "alive."

More on this nightmare later today.

3/18/2005 Terry Schiavo Must Die:
The time has come for the inevitable end of this story, this miserable lot of the last fifteen years for Terry Schiavo. Brain-damaged and rubber-boned, barely human anymore, Schiavo has the indignity of having her nerve-reflex smile paraded out every time the moment comes close for her to have to sink or swim, to learn quickly to feed herself or starve. She is the unfortunate child of narcissistic parents who have pathetically deluded themselves into believing that, at some point, the rock that rolls around in her head will once again become a brain. She sadly lives in a culture so driven mad by religion that people will gather and pray for her to go on "living" (if by "living," you mean "devolving into a gelatinous mound with a nerve-reflex smile"). Anyone even barely touched by the rationality that is supposed to mark us as the most advanced creatures on the planet know this to be true: She must die.(more)

And special thanks for the pointer to Sideshow, Avedon Carol's essential reality based blog.
via Circadia: The beneficial powers of darkness

Artificial light illuminates our lives, allowing us to work or play through the night. But, we toy with our body clocks at severe risk to our wellbeing

For many of us, night has become day. We work, travel, shop, exercise and socialize in hours that used to be reserved for relaxation and sleep. Time is a limited resource and, to make full use of it, the night has been illuminated and occupied. Even when we do sleep, street lamps and security lights pierce the darkness.

But our freedom from the natural constraints of day and night may have come at a price. According to a growing band of scientists and doctors, many of us are no longer getting enough darkness in our lives. The theory is based on a simple premise. Our biological rhythms evolved in a time before artificial light, to take advantage of both bright days and dark nights. By succumbing to the temptations of 24-hour living, and ignoring or reducing our natural dark time, we could be putting our health at risk. (more)
via BoingBoing: Drug took Stevenson face to face with Hyde

THE Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was written by Robert Louis Stevenson under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug similar to LSD, according to new research.

Doctors believe the Scots author wrote the classic exploration of good and evil while being treated with a derivative of ergot, a potentially deadly hallucinogenic fungus. (more)
Landover Baptist | Where the Worthwhile Worship. Unsaved Unwelcome.

Sweet Jesus, I Love these guys!
via Tild ~: Return of She-blogger

'Nuff said!
Poem of the Day
Sonnet VII by John Keats

O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep,—
Nature's observatory—when the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
'Mongst boughs pavillion'd where the deer's swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell.
But though I'll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refin'd,
Is my soul's pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

via Big Brass Blog: Fascism 101

Reporting for the BBC, Greg Palast reports (via Skippy) that the Bush administration made plans for Iraq’s oil…before 9/11 even happened. And while that should certainly put to bed any further dismissals of “No War for Oil”-chanting anti-war demonstrators as touting little more than radical Lefty hyperbole and the accusations against bloggers who suggest the Iraq War was about oil of promoting unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, I have bigger fish to fry at the moment (emphasis mine):more

Shakespeare's Sister goes on to discuss Palast's article and to draw out the strong pattern of corporatist corruption that marks the Bush administration. Well done.
from SignOn Dangerous Visions

Harlan Ellison is fearless, and a fearless writer
By Arthur Salm

'I place ethics and courage way way above everything else'

He's shouting again, but that's just Harlan.


Author and life-force Harlan Ellison, 70, is seated in his art-deco/curio-shop kitchen calling out to his wife, Susan. His voice carries well, and it has to: The Ellison residence, once a simple tract house in the hills overlooking the San Fernando Valley, has over the years rambled up and out.

It now comprises a bewildering warren of rooms – some of them accessible through intricately carved wooden Hobbit doors just a few feet high – that contain, among, many, many, many other strange and marvelous things, dozens of framed movie posters ("Die Monster Die," "The Brides of Fu Manchu," "The Mummy"), hundreds of classic cartoon-and comic-strip-character juice glasses (a small room off the kitchen is devoted to them), at least that many pipes, a pool table somewhere beneath neat stacks of magazines, a skittles table (Ellison demonstrates the game with glee) and enough geegaws (e.g., Goofy figurines) to populate a one-tenth scale theme park. (more)

Recent profile of Harlan Ellison. Aside from crediting Harlan with single handedly rescuing SF from the so-called schlock of sixties, it's nicely done.
via Buck Hill: Two Profiles the King of The Rapture, Tim LaHaye

from Rolling Stone: Reverend Doomsday: According to Tim LaHaye, the Apocalypse is now
By Robert Dreyfuss

It might seem unlikely that the commander in chief would take his marching orders directly from on high -- unless you understand the views of the Rev. Timothy LaHaye, one of the most influential leaders of the Christian right, and a man who played a quiet but pivotal role in putting George W. Bush in the White House. If you know LaHaye at all, it's for his series of best-selling apocalyptic novels. You've seen the Left Behind novels everywhere: aboard airplanes, at the beach, in massive displays at Wal-Mart. In the nine years since the publication of the first novel, the series has sold 60 million copies. Next to the authors of the Bible itself, who didn't get royalties, LaHaye is Christianity's biggest publishing success ever. (more)

from Harpers: The Apocalypse Will Be Televised By Gene Lyons

But when a Man’s Fancy gets astride on his Reason, when Imagination is at Cuffs with the Senses, and common Understanding, as well as common Sense, is Kickt out of Doors; the first Proselyte he makes, is Himself, and when that is once compass’d, the Difficulty is not so great in bringing over others; a strong Delusion always operating from without, as vigorously as from within.

—Jonathan Swift,
A Tale of a Tub

After living in the Bible Belt for more than thirty years, I’ve learned several things about our fundamentalist Christian brethren: First, theirs is an embattled faith, which requires an ever evolving list of enemies to keep its focus. It includes Satan worshipers one year, “secular humanists” the next. Panic over backward masking on phonograph records yields to fears that supermarket bar codes harbor the Mark of the Beast. Some years back, Procter & Gamble was forced to deny widespread rumors that a moon-and-stars logo on boxes of soapsuds symbolized corporate diabolism. More recently, purging school libraries of Harry Potter’s witchcraft has emerged as a cause. As if the real world weren’t scary enough, chimerical threats must be found. It often appears that no form of occultism is too arcane or preposterous to provoke alarm.(more)

As a long time SF fan and a recovering born again (I escaped over 40 years ago at age 13), I find LaHaye's work particularly frightening. I well remember the intense psychological anguish brought on by the tales of the horror of the apocalypse. During "Revival Meetings" the fear in the air was almost physical. This almost unbelievably intense communal pressure was then granted instant relief by the offering of an opportunity for the group acceptance of "Christ into our hearts". Classic brainwashing at its best.

This effect is the reverse of the feeling of wonder that comes from reading a really good SF or fantasy tale for the first time. Our participation in this willful suspension of disbelief results in an endorphin buzz engendered by the expansion of horizon and imagination. It is participatory, not manipulatory. It is one of release, not capture.

Tim LaHaye's cleverness lies in adapting this experience to the promotion of end times mythology. The horror of the apocalypse so earnestly desired by his readers is given a softer edge thanks to those same readers' identification with the hero figures in action. See, she thinks that will be me, smiting the Lord's enemies. We will prevail.

It is all accomplished by a set of characters who would give a bad name to any grade of cardboard and would certainly be an insult to the concept of stereotyping. Motivations need not be questioned. Suspense need not be built. And as to the plotting, well, that's already been done for us in Revelations and elsewhere anyhow.

Sadly, LeHaye's writing does not even rise to the level of third rate hackdom. But it doesn't have to. All his readers are searching for is confirmation of known truths in any case.

The Final Volume of the Left Behind series will arrive in June. I wonder if they're trying to tell us something.
from Sam's Archive: How to Destroy the Earth

Destroying the Earth is harder than you may have been led to believe.

You've seen the action movies where the bad guy threatens to destroy the Earth. You've heard people on the news claiming that the next nuclear war or cutting down rainforests or persisting in releasing hideous quantities of pollution into the atmosphere threatens to end the world.


The Earth was built to last. It is a 4,550,000,000-year-old, 5,973,600,000,000,000,000,000-tonne ball of iron. It has taken more devastating asteroid hits in its lifetime than you've had hot dinners, and lo, it still orbits merrily. So my first piece of advice to you, dear would-be Earth-destroyer, is: do NOT think this will be easy.

This is not a guide for wusses whose aim is merely to wipe out humanity. I (Sam Hughes) can in no way guarantee the complete extinction of the human race via any of these methods, real or imaginary. Humanity is wily and resourceful, and many of the methods outlined below will take many years to even become available, let alone implement, by which time mankind may well have spread to other planets; indeed, other star systems. If total human genocide is your ultimate goal, you are reading the wrong document. There are far more efficient ways of doing this, many which are available and feasible RIGHT NOW. Nor is this a guide for those wanting to annihilate everything from single-celled life upwards, render Earth uninhabitable or simply conquer it. These are trivial goals in comparison.

This is a guide for those who do not want the Earth to be there anymore.
Mission statement

For the purposes of what I hope to be a technically and scientifically accurate document, I will define our goal thus: by any means necessary, to render the Earth into a form in which it may no longer be considered a planet. Such forms include, but are most definitely not limited to: two or more planets; any number of smaller asteroids; a quantum singularity; a dust cloud.

Hah, at last good practical information. Mad they called me. Fools, I'll Destroy Them All! BWA-HA-HA-HAAA!
Poem Of the Day

A Bird Came Down The Walk by Emily Dickinson

A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad,--
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
He stirred his velvet head

Like one in danger; cautious,
I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home

Than oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
Leap, splashless, as they swim.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

via The Map Room: A Post-Invasion Map of Baghdad

Swissinfo has a story about a Swiss cartographer who’s put out a post-occupation, up-to-date map of Baghdad. The map is an update of a 2002 edition, but now includes such landmarks as bombed-out infrastructure and other changes since the invasion

Rohweder, who has never been to Baghdad, based the latest version on his 2002 edition and on satellite photos and images. But he needed a co-worker on site to do the fieldwork.

The page is mostly in German, but the maps look quite usable. Nice bit of work.
via remembering rebecca

Steven Levy wonders why the blogosphere is dominated by men. I confess that I'm frustrated that anyone has taken Levy's column seriously. Men do not dominate the blogosphere. Levy might legitimately have asked "Why does the media point almost exclusively to weblogs created by men", or "Why do the male bloggers most often referenced by media, primarily reference weblogs maintained by other men?" But neither of those situations has anything to do with the composition of the blogosphere. There are whole clusters composed of women linking mainly to other women, and lots of mixed blogrolls, besides. Truth is, whichever weblog you first find will lead you to other, similar, weblogs (all of which link to others like them) and from that you will come to a completely erroneous conclusion about the composition of the weblog universe.

She continues with an astute series of observations that totally invert the question.

As does Chris Clarke in this bit of serious whimsy X marks the chromosome on Creek Running North.

And Pinko Feminist Hellcat has her say here.

The whole issue is clearly a you get it or you don't sort of thing. And as most of us with the weaker Y chromosome have discovered, somethings truly are beyond our limited frame of understanding. As Lovin' Spoonful have it "It's like tryin' to tell a stranger 'bout rock-n-roll."
from North Country Times: San Diego diocese denies funeral rites to gay man who owned bar and dance club

And this would be the milk of human kindness you've been telling me about, Father? The love of the church for the least of the flock. It's so nice to see Christian charity in action during such a difficult time for the departed's family and friends. Aren't you people the ones who granted even Benito Mussolini the last rites and burial in consecrated ground? Jesus would be so proud of you fellows.
via Chaos Theory: Food for thought.

Original Post
Comments from Chaos Theory
My blatherings in response

1. write every day.
(Or close enough, anyway. Assuming I'm home on the weekends and anyone else is posting on the weekends.)
I'M TRYING, OK GET OFF MY CASE! Sheesh, disappear from the blogosphere for a mere 8 months and all you hear are complaints. The idea.

2. if you think you're a good writer, write twice a day.
I not going to let that stop me from multiple posts. Sorry to disappoint you all

3. don't be afraid to do anything. in fact if you're afraid of something, do it. then do it again. and again.
Superb advice. Now to actually do it

4. cuss like a sailor.
Fuck yes!

5. don't tell your mom, your work, your friends, the people you want to date, or the people you want to work for about your blog. if they find out and you'd rather they didn't read it, ask them nicely to grant you your privacy.
(At this point I don't really...though a few have known in the past. I don't think any of them cared about this site though.
There won't be anything here they haven't already heard straight out of my mouth.

6. have comments. don't be upset if no one writes in your comments for a long time. eventually they'll write in there. if people start acting mean in your comments, ask them to stop, they probably will.
Hell, even comments from wingnuts, freepers and other assorted nutjobs give me a thrill.

7. have an email address clearly displayed on your blog. sometimes people want to tell you that you rock in private.
(Okay, I don't do that one, but I have my reasons for this- random retards used to write me, and I don't want to encourage that behavior. The smart people can actually find where the hell my e-mail is mentioned on this thing and use it if they want, but I don't want to make it easy.)
My email link is in plain view, if you look for it.

8. Don't worry very much about the design of your blog. image is a fakeout.
To a point. But for pity's sake, make it easy for your readers to actually read. No blue on black, please.

9. use Blogger. it's easy, it's free; and because they are owned by Google, your blog will get spidered better, you will show up in more search results, and more people will end up at your blog. besides, all the other blogging software & alternatives pretty much suck.
(I beg to differ. Besides, Blogger tends to cock up a fair amount, or so I see on others' blogs.)
I like Blogger, but I'm cheap and not all that interested in being fancy

10. use spellcheck unless you're completely totally keeping it real. but even then you might want to use it if you think you wrote something really good.
(Actually, I just spell right the first time. I won a spelling bee once. Hee.)
I spel reel goud to, but please USE THE SPELLCHECKER.

11. say exactly what you want to say no matter what it looks like on the screen. then say something else. then keep going. and when you're done, re-read it, and edit it and hit publish and forget about it.
This one is gonna be hard to learn for me. I suffer badly from rewrite-itis, often till the piece is dead and lifeless on the floor.

12. link like crazy. link anyone who links you, link your favorites, link your friends. dont be a prude. linking is what separates bloggers from apes. and especially link if you're trying to prove a point and someone else said it first. it lends credibility even if you're full of shit.
(I have reasons for not sticking a direct "links to everyone" blogroll on this site directly so everyone can find me via their stats. If you post something particularly good, you get a direct link, but I don't do direct "this blog is kewl" sidebar stuff. Go check the bloglines or the nibelung links on the left if you really want to know where to go.)
Learning this one as we speak. Gotta do it all the time. Yes sir. Will do it.Right away. Yess sir.

13. if you haven't written about sex, religion, and politics in a week you're probably playing it too safe, which means you probably fucked up on #5, in which case start a second blog and keep your big mouth shut about it this time.
Do I write about anything else? Well, maybe aliens stalking the halls of Congress but that's politics, religion, AND sex, right?

14. remember: nobody cares which N*synch member you are, what State you are, which Party of Five kid you are, or which Weezer song you are. the second you put one of those things on your blog you need to delete your blog and try out for the marching band. Similarly, nobody gives a shit what the weather is like in your town, nobody wants you to change their cursor into a butterfly, nobody wants to vote on whether your blog is hot or not, and nobody gives a rat ass what song you're listening to. write something Real for you, about you, every day.
(Guilty! (mp3 link there) I even did a weather bitch today! But at least I try to only post funny test results.)
Get a grip. Be silly! Not everything in life is as serious as a case of anal warts. Let us have some fun here. But writing something real everyday is absolutely right.

15. Don't be afraid if you think something has been said before. it has. and better. big whoop. say it anyway using your own words as honestly as you can. just let it out.
This is a major problem for me. I'm always wrestling big time with this one.

16. get Site Meter and make it available for everyone to see. if you're embarrassed that not a lot of people are clicking over to your page, dont be embarrassed by the number, be embarrassed that you actually give a crap about hits to your gay blog. it really is just a blog. and hits really dont mean anything. you want Site Meter, though, to see who is linking you so you can thank them and so you can link them back. Similarly, use Technorati, but don't obsess. write.
(No thanks. I really don't want to know how many people view the site. I know, I'm the only person who doesn't want to know this, but dammit, knowing exactly how many view the place would either make me depressed or give me stage fright, and I LIKE not knowing, thank you.)

17. people like pictures. use them. save them to your own server. or use Blogger's free service. if you dont know how to do it, learn. also get a Buzznet account. several things will happen once you start blogging, one of them is you will learn new things. That's a good thing.
(Okay, now I'm feeling cranky that the picture button isn't working, because I would be posting MORE pictures right NOW instead of responding to this...)
Working on it. Jaysoos, one more damn thing to do....

18. before you hit Save as Draft or Publish Post, select all and copy your masterpiece. you are using a computer and the internet, shit can happen. no need to lose a good post.

19. push the envelope in what you're writing about and how you're saying it. be more and more honest. get to the root of things. start at the root of things and get deeper. dig. think out loud. keep typing. keep going. eventually you'll find a little treasure chest. every time you blog this can happen if you let it.
Check back in six months.

20. change your style. mimic people. write beautiful lies. dream in public. kiss and tell. finger and tell. cry scream fight sing fuck and don't be afraid to be funny. the easiest thing to do is whine when you write. Don't be lazy. audblog at least once a week.
(Er... I don't get what the heck he's talking about for half of these. But I don't audblog here because I tried it while on vacation on another site and people told me they had NO idea what I'd been saying. Apparently I talk too fast. So there won't be audblogs here.)
Most of this is great, standard writing mantra stuff. But I have no interest at all in the concept of audblogs. I blather too much verbally as it is.

21. write open letters. make lists. call people out on their bullshit. lead by example. invent and reinvent yourself. start by writing about what happened to you today. for example today i told a hot girl how wonderfully hot she is.
(Today I went to the gym for a really long time. Fascinating, eh?)
Gee, I have a swell cat. Does that count?

22. when in doubt review something. There's not enough reviews on blogs. review a movie you just saw, a tv show, a cd, a kiss you just got, a restaurant, a hike you just took, anything.
(Always fun.)
Coming soon to a blog near you...Reviews...And the crowd goes wild.

23. constantly write about the town that you live in.
Oh yes, My Precious, we'll show them, won't we. Teach them to be mean to us, will we, Have they got anything in their pocketses?

24. out yourself. tell your secrets. you can always delete them later.
(Ever hear of web archive and Google cache? I think not.)
HAH! So much as fart on the interthingie and it will echo down the Hall of Ages.

25. Don't use your real name. Don't write about your work unless you don't care about getting fired.
(Well, I don't use my last name on here. My first name is practically Jane Doe in sheer genericness, so who gives a damn. And I don't write about my job here 'cause there wouldn't be much to say.)
I do use my own first name 'cause everyone knows me by my middle name. Thanks Mom and Dad.

26. Don't be afraid to come across as an asswipe. own your asswipeness.
(No problem there.)
I am such a spectacular special asswipe that I revel in the glory of it

27. nobody likes poems. Don't put your poems on your blog. not even if they're incredible. especially if they're incredible. odds are they're not incredible. bad poems are funny sometimes though, so fine, put your dumb poems on there. whatever.
(No need to worry.)
WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! Commit wanton versification. It won't make you go blind. Leave poetry everywhere. Revel in it.

28. tell us about your friends.
(Eh, not so much.)
Why, then you'll just want some for yourself.

29. Don't apologize about not blogging. nobody cares. just start blogging again.
See #1.

30. read tons of blogs and leave nice comments.
(Got that down.)
Another hard one. I'm a lurker. Read LOTS of blogs. Don't leave comments. Imposter syndrome strikes again.