Saturday, January 31, 2009
2 - I'm 36 years old and still am not entirely clear on who I am or who I want to be when I "grow up."
3 - Marriage is simultaneously the most gratifying, fulfilling, frustrating and difficult thing I've ever been a part of. I do know that I am a *much* better and psychologically much, much healthier person because of my wife. Thank you Sandy. I don't say that enough.
4 - Being the youngest of three boys, in hindsight, probably continues to have much more effect on me than I realize. At the very least, hardly ever winning at anything you compete in growing up, from Atari to driveway basketball, is sure to fuck with your head. As does trying to live up to the reputations and expectations of two highly achieving superjock older brothers.
5 - I spent the first 26 years of my life, to a large degree,trying to fulfill the expectations and gain the approval of others. From making good grades to playing football to going to the Naval Academy to joining the Marine Corps, I can see now, despite the good and the coolness I drew out those situations and experiences - which were admittedly very, very cool at times - that the reason I did them is because I just wanted the people I loved to love me back. That is a fucked up thing to realize after 26 years.
6 - I'm often just really disappointed by the people and the world. They should be better. They really, really should.
7 - I think Bill Hicks was a bodhisattva, George Carlin was a saint and Joe Rogan is a prophet. And Robert Anton Wilson was the greatest philosopher of the 20th Century.
8 - I have extremely mixed feelings about having kids. On the one hand, I thoroughly enjoy and delight in playing with kids, both at my job at elementary school and in Jr High. They are filled with joy and wonder and awesomeness. On the other hand, looking at it honestly, I feel like I'm too selfish to have kids. I don't think I could live the life I have if I had had kids. And when I think about kids of my own I usually find myself thinking of how they'd limit my options. And how it seems to me that when people have kids they abandon their own growth, dreams and development "for the children." And I honestly think and fear about what kind of permanent and scarring emotional damage I might inadvertently and irreparably cause to a child. I feel like I'm constantly struggling on where to go with this decision.
9 - I don't think there is any one right way for people to live. And I think that the vast majority of the world's problems are caused by people who think they know what other people should be doing with their lives and how other people should be living.
10 - I ignored most of these "25 things about me" things, until Aki did one. The way Jr always talked about Aki as an uber-cool older brother made me respect him a lot - even though I've only met the man all of twice. And hell, if he could write one of these things up, I can too. The opinions of my friends apparently means a lot to me. I don't know yet if that's a good or a bad thing.
11 - I thought I'd breeze through these. Now I think, writing this, I'm writing TMI and turning into a big, whiny, navel-gazing, introspective girl. [And now, apparently, I'm sexist as well.]
12 - I wish I could go back in time, do just about everything different, be a completely different person and have lots and lots of different experiences, but still end up exactly where I am now. I also know these kinds of regrets and thinking back are nothing but wasted time and emotions.
13 - I live in my head too much. I think too much. I read too much. I surf the internet too much.
14 - I know I'm too negative and cynical and need to work on being more optimistic. The great thing about my job is that I get to suck up and enjoy all the youthful optimism, cheer and joy of my kids. My job really does rock.
15 - Knowing that I spent a lot of my life trying to meet the expectations of others, these days I'm a lot more inclined to tell you to fuck off and that I couldn't possibly care what you think. This does not make me a hit at parties.
16 - From 15 - Obviously, my people skills suck.
17 - Despite 4 years at the Naval Academy and 5 years in the Marine Corps, the concept of patriotism doesn't make any sense to me AT ALL. The idea of loyalty to some imaginary lines drawn on a map, based on an accident of birth, where people got tired of fighting, strikes me as insane. Idealistically and naively I get that people are loyal to the ideals of a nation, but the fact of the matter is that no military is deployed based on the ideals of a nation - and are instead are expected to fight due to matters of political expediency and geopolitical influence. One of the many reasons I left the military is that it seems insane to kill and die based on the whims and decisions and venal and ridiculous politicians.
18 - Finding out a few years ago I have family - close family - I've never met and never even knew about makes me feel angry, deceived and cheated, and convinces me more and more that my childhood was filled with lies and deception. And affirms that the ideas of friends and "chosen families" are more influential than blood.
19 - Almost everything in my life can be tracked back to comic books. The box under my older brother's bed and the used bookstore my dad used to take me to. Batman takes me to Bruce Lee, Sherlock Holmes and Harry Houdini. Which matches a lifelong interest in martial arts, critical and analytical thinking, deception and psychology. Dennis O'Neil's 'The Question', Frank Miller's 'The Dark Knight Returns' and Alan Moore's 'Watchmen' takes me into existentialism, metaphysics, zen and philosophy. Warren Ellis takes me to Hunter S. Thompson and transhumanism. To some degree I still want to be the comic book characters I read about as a kid.
20 - Over the last 10 years my diet has run the gamut from vegetarianism to lacto-ovo to pesco to low carb to paleo to omnivore. I understand and agree with the ideas of vegetarianism as an ethical choice, but think, more and more, that vegetarianism isn't an evolutionarily viable option. Nor a healthy one.
21 - Since getting out of the military my fitness and health level has rollercoastered all over the damn place as I've had to reconfigure and break down the difference between coercion and discipline [discipline comes from within.] Finally, about 10 months ago I finally hit my own rock-bottom. Since then I've lost about 22lbs and finally feel like I'm back on the path of moving towards the person I want to be.
22 - I think I tend towards an addictive personality. Be it information/the internet, food, alcohol or sugar, I find myself needing to be aware of that fact.
23 - I sometimes feel obsessed with pithy aphorisms, saying, quotations and truisms. I think there's wisdom in them most people don't pay attention to. My two current favorites are - "I don't believe anything. Since we all create our habitual reality-tunnels, either consciously and intelligently or unconsciously and mechanically, I prefer to create... the happiest, funniest, and most romantic reality-tunnel consistent with the signals my brain apprehends. I feel sorry for people who persistently organize experience into sad, dreary and hopeless reality tunnels, and try to show them how to break the bad habit, but I don't feel any masochistic duty to share their misery... My goal is to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism... not agnosticism about God alone, but agnosticism about everything." - Robert Anton Wilson AND "It is always about you and your body... It's how you see yourself, and as a result, how you see the rest of the world. The body dictates everything. It's where it all starts. What you can make it do. What you can make it endure. How quick you can be. How precise. How quiet, and strong, and flexible and still... It is at the heart of eveything you do, and you must be able to trust it absolutely..." - Critical Space, Greg Rucka
24 - I am clearly, when it comes to writing, a long winded motherfucker. Which is a marked contrast to how little I verbally express myself.
25 - I think organized religion is bullshit. I get why people gravitate towards it for a sense of community or purpose, but even the most cursory examination of history or comparative theology can show you it's nonsense, if you're even half willing to critically examine your own social conditioning. Even if you grant that in its origins most faiths have a kernel of decency and goodness, when you look at history, it's all pretty immediately perverted into tools of control, power and destruction.
I have a hard time dealing with religious folks. Abandoning critical thought and introspection for the comfort of dogma, groupthink and faith strikes me as a profoundly cowardly way to live.
I don't doubt people have incredibly moving spiritual experiences. I just think they're shaped by your own personal psychology and culture and like anything else, your religion and your experiences say more about you than it does about the true nature of spirituality or god.
Personally, I blame Catholicism and Christianity for for infusing and permeating my childhood psychology with deep seated notions of fear, shame, punishment and guilt. And I think what religion does to kids is tantamount to child abuse if anything is. Filling impressionable children's heads with images of a vengeful god that will burn you in the painful fires of hell for all of time and eternity [but he loves you!] if you don't worship him and do what he says is so amazingly fucked up it leaves me without words.
But I'm not nearly arrogant enough to say that no god exists. In fact, I'd lay odds that that there is a transcendental aspect to reality.
Burton Richardson, probably the best martial arts instructor I've had the pleasure of being trained by.
BJJ phenom and trainer [and Joe Rogan buddy] Eddie Bravo on Burton Richardson.
Good on Burton... he apparently wrote, produced and directed an independent film. Check the trailer.
"This recipe is the Bacon Explosion, modestly called by its inventors “the BBQ Sausage Recipe of all Recipes.”
The instructions for constructing this massive torpedo-shaped amalgamation of two pounds of bacon woven through and around two pounds of sausage and slathered in barbecue sauce first appeared last month on the Web site of a team of Kansas City competition barbecuers."
The recipe can be found here - http://www.bbqaddicts.com/bacon-explosion.html
T-Nation.com | An Interview with Dave Tate:
"Look, any dog will bite if you fucking kick it hard enough. You've got to be willing to fix your attitude and get your shit tuned in. You've got to be around people with the same attitude that you want to cultivate. If you start hanging out with successful people, you're more inclined to be successful.
If you see guys busting their ass, straining and pushing against weights you didn't think they could move, it's going to teach you a lesson. You're going to find out that you're a lot stronger than you think you are once you stop being a pussy. I think you can learn attitude. Everyone's got it in them.
And everybody's emotional strength falls on different levels. Just because one guy is psyched up and has a look of intensity doesn't necessarily mean that the other guy next to him who looks like he's falling asleep isn't internally just as driven as the first guy. That's where people get a lot of this confused.
Attitude is contagious, right? But it's also the fucking plague. So if you get a guy in there who's working against the group, who won't shut up or is asking stupid questions, you need to get rid of the dipshit and move on.
I have two speeds: blast and dust...
The Strength and Resolve of a Five-Year-Old Kid
I've volunteered in my son's kindergarten class most of the year, and it's been a great time. I was there yesterday, walking down the hallway listening to the morning announcements. I heard something about a fire and donations for the family.
So I go to the classroom and I'm sitting there not even thinking about it. At the beginning of reading time, the teacher brings up one of the kids in the class. Well, it's the kid who just lost everything in the fire over the weekend. You could tell the kid wasn't in the highest of spirits.
The teacher's explaining to the class that the important thing was that nobody was hurt. She's doing exactly what she should do because the kids have questions, you know?
"Did you lose your clothes?" "Did you lose your toys?"
He starts talking about how one of his cats ran off because it was scared of the fire, and his two dogs are now in heaven. And it's just killing this kid to sit up there and talk about it.
All of a sudden these little kids start saying things like, "You can have some of my clothes" and "you can have my dog" and "you can stay at my house." Every single kid in this class is willing to give this kid their toys. He looks up and says that everything's fine and he has everything he needs right in front of him.
I had to get up and fucking walk out of the room.
All these kids know the most important things in life are friends and family. And I'm standing in the hallway and it just dawns on me. Where did we get so fucked up? Because we're really starting off okay. It was one of the most inspiring moments I've had in my entire life, seeing the strength and resolve of a five-year-old kid."
Achieve Your Health Goals - Lose Weight, Get Ripped, Stay Motivated | Mark's Daily Apple:
"Get Real Meat
Eat real, actual meat. You want a slab of beef untouched by preservatives, by antibiotics, by hormones, and by soy feed. You want a whole roasted chicken so you can crack open the bones and suck the marrow. Eat clean, wild fish and pick out the rib bones. Most importantly, don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that greasy little Slim Jim you picked up at the gas station on the way home from work that oozes slimy nitrites with every bite is real meat. Nor are, for that matter, the treated cold cuts, the bargain bin bacon that miraculously survives for months in your fridge, and that pepperoni you pick off your spouse’s pizza. Get real meat, folks.
Get Real Vegetables
Don’t eat corn (on the cob, popped, or otherwise prepared – it’s actually a grain!), potatoes (although sweet potatoes and yams are decent in moderation), vegetable tempura (don’t let that flaky, crispy batter fool you), or veggie chips (the chubby vegetarian’s best friend)... Instead, load up on the stuff that you know to be good. Broccoli, greens of all kinds, cauliflower (mash it up for a superior potato substitute), carrots (hold the cake), peppers, tomatoes (real ones), squash, and eggplant (among numerous others) work quite well.
Get Real Fruit
And get realistic amounts of it. Fruit was a luxury for Grok, a seasonal delicacy. He wasn’t slurping sherbet-based smoothies every morning, nor was he munching on apples engineered for maximum sugar content. When you eat fruit try to stick to organic. Rather than drink juice or smoothies (albeit, a better choice), try to eat whole fruits...
Get Real Nuts
Lose the peanuts, the candy-coated almonds, the caramel-fudge-encrusted macadamia nuts, those clusters of candy and nuts masquerading as healthy snacks (they may have exotic spices like anise and cayenne, but they’re still covered in a fine sheen of syrup). Eat real nuts and seeds instead: almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp. And please – do not eat those dried crispy soybeans.
Get Real Fat
... you need to get real sources of good fat in your diet. Avoid the processed, hydrogenated (partially or totally), trans garbage. You should be eating real animal fat (lard, tallow), olive oil and fats from avocados, eggs, nuts, seeds, and good cuts of meat (eat that crispy chicken skin!). If you’ve bought into the widespread ridiculous fear of fat in favor of artificial vegetable oils, margarines, and other disgusting lab creations, you need to get real.
Get Real About Grains
CW likes to tout grains as “the staff of life” – the foundation for the human diet. Deep down, you know better. You know that the best alternative to grains is eating real food our bodies were designed to eat. Meat, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and fats are highly superior to grains, and they don’t require loads of processing, heating, pressing, fermenting, soaking, or any other tampering just to be digestible. Get real about the Primal Blueprint, stay off the grains for a few months, and you’ll forget all about your former masters..."
He also keeps a hell of an interesting blog on the background of the war in Uganda here -Behind the Scenes: "Unknown Soldier"
And it wouldn't be me if I didn't note/point out the fact that the war in Uganda is another mindless, cruel and bloody clusterfuck brought to you by the healing powers of religion.
Newsarama.com : The New Face of War: Dysart on Unknown Soldier:
"NRAMA: ...this new Unknown Soldier hears advice and complex military tactical information.. but he's just a doctor. The big question is 'where is this information coming from?'. What's behind the secret?
JD: To me that’s not really the big question. I mean we are all a lie to some degree. So Moses turned out to be a really big lie, oh well. Why or how he’s a lie is just a matter of plot mechanics. For me, what causes the voice isn’t the big question. The big question is how much of Moses’ actions are made by personal choice and how much are coming from an unknown source? Where is free will in all of this and where is socialization, or programming or even pre-determinism? That’s what’s interesting to me.
NRAMA: An interesting turn for this book is the fact that from the outset, the identity of the Unknown Soldier is known to us. If he's known, what is the unknown here?
JD: The title doesn’t necessarily suggest that the “unknown” will be kept from the reader. It’s more about what the characters themselves do not know. The voice in Moses is an unknown soldier to him. Moses, in turn, becomes an unknown soldier to the Acholi people. Kony is an unknown soldier to the world. And this war is an unknown war. So there are lots of unknowns here. On top of it all, there’s also the notion of the Unknown Soldier that was put forth in the 1950’s Finnish novel of the same title, meaning the unknown plight of the common soldier during the timeless act of war. I think that’s part of our play on the title as well.
NRAMA: This title has a big history in comics, although your incarnation is new. How does this book tie in with the previous Unknown Soldier stories?
JD: That’s a surprise for the readers to find out. Although the astute among you have probably already got a pretty strong lock on it at this point.
NRAMA: One issue I saw brought up early on was the role of religion – specifically Christianity. Will religion play a bigger role as the series progresses?
JD: Christianity is a huge thing in Uganda and a defining aspect of this war. The British conquered with the bible before they conquered with the gun. Christianity is so pervasive that many American evangelicals and faith healers tour there often and fill whole soccer stadiums. Most of them charging, what to a Ugandan can be a great deal of money, to - I feel - prey on their belief.
NRAMA: In the Vertigo column "On The Edge", you describe yourself as an off-again on-again pacifist. Where does that thin line between the two lie for you, and how does it relate to this book?
JD: Truth is, I’m not a pacifist. I don’t identify myself as that any more. I was once. And I do still see violence as the absolute last resort. I, for instance, do not agree with Moses’ actions in this book. The use of violence calls for great care as it virtually always causes more problems then it solves. Kill a man and you make an enemy of his whole family. Kill a people and you make an enemy of the world. So, not even speaking morally, just pragmatically, violence should only be used as an absolute final means of problem solving. The question is, who decides when all the other avenues of negotiation and problem solving have been fully exhausted? That question is mankind’s perpetual struggle. And that’s a lot of what I hope this book is about."
Inspiration/Motivation - Bodybuilding.com - Female Transformation Of The Week - Female Transformation Of The Week - Francina Segbefia!:
"Name: Francina SegbefiaBodybuilding.com - Over 40 Transformation Of The Week - Over 40 Transformation Of The Week - Matthew Eubanks!:
Weight: 155 lbs
Body Fat: 29%
Weight: 125 lbs
Body Fat: 15%"
"Name: Matthew EubanksT-Nation.com | Look at These Breasts:
Weight: 218 lbs
Body Fat: 26%
Weight: 192 lbs
Body Fat: 5%"
"...[she said] 'I don't look like the girls pictured on sites like that. I'm not going to get a facelift. I'm not going to get my breasts done. I'm into the martial arts, and they teach that aging is a natural and beautiful thing.'
I started to hoist myself onto my high horse, but thought better of it and sat back down on my medium-sized horse and attempted a diplomatic approach. I started to ramble on about how most people aspire to the physical ideals in many of the photos. That's what motivates them. What's the alternative — that people shoot for mediocrity? Sure we depict physical ideals, but if they bother her she should ignore the images and just benefit from the information we provide.Furthermore, what's 'natural'? Do you shave your legs or arms or use deodorant? That's not natural, either. Do you wash your karate gi in one them-there new-fangled washing machine gizmos, or do you go to the riverbank and scrub it with rocks and natural sponges?
Anyhow, our conversation got me to thinking how this kind of thinking is pervasive in the training world. There isn't any faction, it seems, that it isn't plain pissy about all the other factions. The bodybuilders don't like the power lifters because they're fat bastards. The powerlifters don't like the bodybuilders because they're weak, narcissistic, and maybe even borderline gay.
Olympic lifters don't like powerlifters because their lifts don't require as much athleticism and they dislike the bodybuilders because they're weak, narcissistic, and maybe even borderline gay.
Female bodybuilders don't like Figure competitors because they're smallish in comparison and for some weird reason refuse to grow angry 3-inch clitorises. Figure competitors don't like Fitness competitors because all that bouncing around on stage is just a little too close to what the girls at Bada Bing are doing and they'd prefer the schism — and not so much their legs, thank you — to be a little wider.
Strongwoman competitors are disdainful of Figure and Fitness competitors because the poor little things just don't hoist enough weight, sniff, and they wear high-heels during competition instead of smelly Chucks.
The HIT guys don't like anybody except the occasional other HIT guy because HIT is the only true way to train and all non-believers are going to die and be sent straight to the fiery gym in H-E-double hockey sticks.
The CrossFit guys don't like anybody who uses any equipment that can be found outside a park or, I don't know, a petting zoo or cemetery, where tombstones can be used as impromptu pulling sleds.
And the assorted bodybuilders and powerlifters and strength athletes dislike the CrossFit people because, well, all that endurance and grace the CrossFit guys exhibit in their assorted Sally, Alice, and Shakira exercise routines makes them all jealous because those graceful guys might just qualify for a role in the next off-Broadway production of Guys and Dolls and by God, the bodybuilders and powerlifters and strength athletes know they can't do that!
...And female martial artists, I guess, don't like Figure competitors that have large breasts because large breasts make it hard for karate boy or girl to plunge their fist through the big-breasted opponent's chest cavity and remove their still beating heart. Why, you'd likely remove your fist to find that you just pulled out an implant instead of the still-beating heart and boy would that be embarrassing....
It's all arrogance of a type. Close-mindedness so complete, mental prisons so tight, we don't even know we're locked up...
But that ain't right. You've got to fight the default setting......Back in the day, the only difference between powerlifters and bodybuilders was what they ate. The bodybuilders obsessed about protein while powerlifters didn't. Bodybuilders chose egg-white omelets while powerlifters chose flapjacks. Other than that, they lifted the same weights. They worked out at the same place. There was some element of camaraderie.
Not so much anymore. Anyone with a different philosophy or goal is an asshole, is misguided, or just hasn't seen the heavenly light yet. The truth is, we're all freaks and there's plenty of room in our circus... all this bickering between sects is counterproductive. So's the arrogance.
You know who gets to be arrogant in this life? The guy who won a gold medal in the Olympic Decathlon and who was also awarded the Nobel Prize for both Literature and Medicine. To my knowledge, that guy doesn't exist, or at least he's not hanging around with someone as ordinary as me. If he does exist, he's got my permission to be as arrogant and pompous and self-righteous as he likes.
The rest of us should probably cut each other some slack..."
The cool thing about the internet is when you come across something that mirrors exactly what you think...
"Can we stop this nonsense where every time a snowflake lands on Al Gore, we laugh about how it proves he’s wrong about global warming?
There’s lots not to like about Al Gore. And while I’m generally convinced that the earth is getting warmer, I’m also skeptical that (1) it’s entirely man-made, (2) there’s much we can do it about, (3) even if we could marginally offset it, it would be worth the enormous costs, (4) anyone really knows what the consequences of it will be..."
Friday, January 30, 2009
"Helio Gracie, the father of Gracie jiu-jitsu, is dead at the age of 95. Gracie passed in his sleep early Thursday in Itaipaiva, Rio de Janeiro, after he had been admitted to a local hospital a few days prior for stomach problems.
...Gracie was involved in two legendary fights. He lost to Masahiko Kimura -- a man who outweighed him by some 40 pounds -- in 1951 when Carlos threw in the towel after Kimura broke Gracie’s arm with the shoulder lock that now bears his name. Four years later, Gracie fought former student Valdemar Santana for nearly four hours before losing.
His impact on the sport of mixed martial arts was profound. His son, Rorion, was credited with developing the concept that became the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and another of his sons, Royce, won the first two UFC tournaments in 1993 and 1994. Two other sons, Rickson and Royler, also competed in MMA."
"Female coworker, after cutting in line to get her lunch: What happened to 'ladies first'?
Male coworker: The womens' rights movement.
San Francisco, California
Overheard by: amanda"
Thursday, January 29, 2009
"I am shocked, shocked!, to learn that evangelical gay-basher Ted Haggard was not only patronizing a beefy gay masseuse, but was also seeing an 18-year-old boy, and that his church tried to cover it all up by paying for the kid’s college tuition. The number of moral crusaders who in private engage in the very practices they condemn is well beyond the point of laughable hypocrisy now. It seems downright pathological. There seems to be a real correlation between the vehemence and vociferousness with which a public figure rails against “sexual deviants,” and the likelihood that that person is himself engaged in the same behavior. Someone should write their dissertation on this."
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Inspiration - 54 freaking years old... Awesome - Who is Mark? | Mark's Daily Apple:
"In a nutshell:
- fresh, organic, unprocessed food - no junk!
- daily activity - whether it’s the gym or a walk along the beach, it all counts
- plenty of quality sleep
- plenty of water, no soda or sweetened drinks
- antioxidants galore - the key to limiting stress
- a good fish-oil supplement
- essential fats, reckless amounts of vegetables, and lean, clean protein
- time for fun - don’t take anything too seriously - ethical behavior - because what goes around comes around
- taking responsibility for yourself and your life - openness to new things and ideas
What is your bottom line?
Easy! I am nothing short of outraged by the mass-marketing of deadly drugs, surgery, and lifestyles that do nothing more than destroy people’s lives. I believe humans have a right to something better - if we demand it."
"Guido, getting his hair cut, in a thick Staten Island accent: Show me where it says in the Holy Bible that you can't bang your stepsister.
--Staten Island Barber Shop
Overheard by: Snewsboy
Girl to guy: And then he cheated on me with his male and female cousin.
--9th & 21st, Chelsea
Guy on phone: You should tell him next time he should keep his dick in his sister.
--72nd & Central Park West"
Overheard in New York | Wednesday One-Linered...With Children:
"Old Jewish woman to very nervous Asian 25-year-old bride to be: Honey, I've been married 53 years. The secret to a great marriage? Give him lots of sex. Lots of good sex.
Overheard by: Tanya
Five-year-old boy to teacher about five-year-old girl next to him: We're going to get married. (to five-year-old girl) What's your name again?
--61st & Amsterdam"
"Eroding the Exclusionary Rule" - Continuing the diminishment of civil liberties and moving ever closer to, yeah, I'll say it - a police state.
FOXNews.com - Eroding the Exclusionary Rule - Opinion:
"In the recent Supreme Court case Herring v. United States, the majority determined that courts may not throw out evidence in cases where the police may have violated a suspect's Fourth Amendment rights due to "isolated negligence." The case represents further erosion of the exclusionary rule, a doctrine dating back to 1914 (with some weaker antecedents in English law) holding that evidence obtained through unconstitutional police procedures can't be used against a defendant at trial.
Conservatives have long despised the exclusionary rule, arguing that it protects the guilty (by disallowing evidence of their guilt at trial) and does little to protect the innocent (those who've done nothing wrong aren't going to be prosecuted). There's some merit to those arguments. It is an imperfect remedy to search and seizure violations.
The problem is that right now, it's really the only remedy. If police officers can make a case against someone using evidence they obtained illegally, what's to stop them from disregarding the Fourth Amendment entirely?
...The more direct hurdle to the use of lawsuits to halt police misconduct is that as government employees, the police have qualified immunity from such suits. They're effectively shielded from liability — even if they've done something unlawful — unless you can show they've violated "clearly established law," as determined by a reasonable person.
...If you take away the exclusionary rule and you make it increasingly difficult to sue police officers for search and seizure violations, the Fourth Amendment carries all the literal weight of the parchment on which it's written. Without an enforcement mechanism, it's meaningless.
Some — most notably Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia — have argued that the Exclusionary Rule is no longer necessary, because there's a "new professionalism" that's been sweeping police departments over the last 20 or so years. Scalia first made that argument in the 2006 case Hudson v. Michigan. He may be right that police today are more cognizant of civil liberties than they were in the 1950s or 1960s. But "better" doesn't necessarily equate to "acceptable." The "Blue Wall of Silence" — the code by which police officers refuse to testify against one another — hasn't exactly broken down. In just the last year, police departments in Atlanta, Oakland, and Chesapeake, Va., have come under fire for taking shortcuts on search warrants, including outright lying.
Dr. Sam Walker, one criminologist Scalia referenced in his Hudson opinion, actually took to the pages of the L.A. Times to denounce how Scalia had interpreted his work.
...In response to the Court's ruling in Herring, University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds proposed a grand bargain to the law-and-order crowd: He'd give up the exclusionary rule, if they'd work with him to get rid of qualified immunity.
It's not a bad deal. In fact, it would be a good idea to get rid of qualified immunity for all government employees. They idea that getting a government paycheck somehow inoculates you from liability should you harm someone while on the job is antithetical to the principle of equality under the law. If anything, the government should be held to a higher standard.
I'd add, though, that opening police officers up to lawsuits probably isn't enough. There's an interesting dichotomy on the right when it comes to the police. The same philosophy that distrusts the government when it manifests itself as bureaucrats and regulators (a sentiment I share) seems to put an unhealthy amount of trust in the government employees we call police officers. The sentiment among many on the right is that the police need less supervision, less watch-dogging, and less second-guessing than other government employees. This is particularly odd given that, compared to your average bureaucrat, police officers are entrusted with an extraordinary amount of power, at least when it comes to the power they wield over the people with whom they come into contact. They are as susceptible to the same trappings of power as any scorned EPA regulator or grudge-bearing city council member, only they're also entrusted with the power to detain, use force, and kill.
My point is not that police officers on an individual level are terrible people, or more prone to misbehavior than your typical government employee or your typical citizen. The problem comes when the weaknesses that are in all of us are coupled with a license to use force, authority, and the sense that one is above the law. Philip Zimbardo's famous Stanford prison experiments showed that it doesn't matter who you put in that position, the results can be disastrous without the proper controls. We can't do anything about the first element, and the second and third are by definition part of policing. It's that last one that we can change.
To make matters worse, for the last 30 years politicians have trumpeted a "get tough on crime" message that has resulted in measuring police departments and prosecutors primarily by how many people they're able to arrest and toss in jail. There's a huge push for arrests, and a de-emphasis on civil liberties. It isn't difficult to see the sorts of incentives that sets up.
If we're going to get rid of the exclusionary rule, it needs to be replaced not only with alternative punitive measures, but also with a wholesale change in mindset that emphasizes the "keeping the peace" approach to policing, as opposed to merely racking up arrest statistics.
I don't see either happening any time soon."
Fred On Everything:
"The practical question regarding Israel’s recent invasion of Gaza is not “Who is right?” but “Can Israel last?”
As I write, Israel is using a military designed to fight hostile countries to fight a hostile population. In the modern world, this has seldom worked. To defeat a country you destroy its military and capture its territory. But Gaza has little military to destroy, no tanks or aircraft, and Israel already owns its territory. The IDF can invade but, afterward, the population will still be there, and still be hostile. Stabbing jello doesn’t buy you much.
Israel remains a small state in a region that intensely doesn’t want it. The rights and wrongs change nothing...
Israel today is not the country once dreamed, in which Heidelberg professors escaped from Europe would work the soil with their hands on kibbutzim and play chess and the violin at night. It looks more like what the professors fled. Brutal conflicts breed brutal people. Atrocities engender counter- atrocities, extremists come to the fore, and military solutions seem the only solutions.
Where is this going? How long can it continue? Another fifty years? A hundred? Say I, either the country finds peace with its neighbors or it goes the way of the Crusader Kingdom. We can stipulate that the Israelis are the world’s best people, or the worst. It doesn’t matter. You can die in the right as easily as in the wrong.
The Israelis appear to be trapping themselves in their own policies. They continue their annexation of the West Bank. The settlements are now so numerous and so populous that dismantling them is probably politically impossible for any Israeli government, which rules out a two-state solution. To control a large hostile population, you need harsh methods, which keep the population hostile. Arabs outbreed the Israelis, so that a proportionately declining number of Israelis rule a slowly rising tide of Arabs. Think: South Africa. How is this going to work? For how long?
Israel also has a large internal minority of Arabs. These also outbreed the Jews. If this continues and the internal Arabs can vote, Israel will one day become an Islamic state. Sooner or later, the question will be: Democratic, or Jewish?
...Since Israelis do not yearn to get in touch with their inner Moslem, the choices will be disenfranchisement or ethnic cleansing. Disenfranchisement would, again, leave a diminishing proportion of Jews ruling more and more Moslems. Think: Alabama in 1930.
...Today, the Bomb is Israel’s trump card. If, say, Syria attacked and (improbably) began to win, its cities would turn to green glass, and Damascus knows it. Thus Israel is in exactly zero danger of conventional defeat. But if Arab countries had nuclear weapons, the trump card would lose its value. You have to be very careful about bombing countries that can vaporize your cities."
I also read their explanation that I think they sent back describing the game, and, despite having played the game, I couldn't exactly follow it. To be fair, I think it might be actually describing an older, more traditional version of the game, but it's not one I've ever played.
So, anyways, I spent 5 minutes in Paint and another 10 in Google Docs to knock out a description of the way the kids have taught me how to play. I don't know that this is THE way to play, but it's how we do it round here in Tsuyazaki.
And I figured I'd post it up because, surprisingly, Googling "Japanese dodgeball rules" didn't get me any hits that I could find in the first couple pages that clearly and simply explained it. So, here's my stab at it, if anyone else needs it.
Japanese Dodgeball Rules
2 teams, in this example, Team A and Team B.
Captains are decided and choose up teams. Who goes first is usually decided by rock-paper-scissors. Winner gets first pick, loser usually gets the ball first. Though sometimes they rock-paper-scissors again for the ball.
Team A plays both in the large area A and in the boundary area A1 - the color blue on the picture. [And B plays in both B and B1 - the red.] Usually only two or three students start the game in A1 and B1, depending on the number of students playing.
Gameplay: In this example we'll say a player in A has the ball. They can either throw and try to hit a player in B or pass the ball over the heads/around/through the players in B to their teamates in A1. If A throws it at a player in B and hits them, the struck player in B must move to B1. A player in A1 can also throw at a player in B or pass back to A, however they rarely pass to the players in A because if a player throws the ball from A1 and hits a player in B, that frees the thrower from A1 [they return to A] and the player in B who is struck has to go to B1. In this way the players are constantly rotating from A to A1 and from B to B1. This makes the game much longer and less cutthroat than the American version [emphasizing teamwork, cooperation and all sorts of other Japanese-y traits.] You can 'win' by eliminating all the players from either A or B. Though it takes a lot longer and usually only happens when there's a few players. So you can end up playing for a good 20-30m without a clear winner or finish. That's what the school bell is for.
Random rules - you can catch any ball thrown at you, with no penalty for the for the thrower or the catcher. Any shots to the face/head don't count and the player stays in A or B. I know this only because I've hit too many kids in the head. Not a lot of body mass to aim for on those midgets. And the last one I can think of is that the players in A and B are stuck there, but the players in A1 and B1 can run for a loose ball. But the boundaries and halfway lines [areas A1 and B1] are considered to extend indefinitely, so if a loose ball passes into "their" area, only players from that team can retrieve it. In other words, for example, a player from A1 can't cross the center line into B1 to retrieve a loose ball.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
My comedic motivation of the day.
My kick-ass/tough-love/take-no-prisoners motivation of the day.
» » Pretty basic and simple to get lean and stay lean:
"So you want to get lean and stay lean. It’s simple: just stop eating crap! Stop talking yourself into cheat meals benefit you or that those cookies are ok. There is no such thing as comfort eating in my book. Don’t be naive, you think you’ll be happier with that junk in your trunk? Heck no! Deal with it and stop complaining! Listen, we all know we were conditioned by society and our parents to stick something sweet into our mouth whenever we felt down, but that was then, now is different. be a grown up, be responsible for your actions!
Yeah, food is wonderful and yummy. That’s why fat people get fat! You are no different! It’s not unfair that you cannot eat and get away with it. Yes, there are people who do, but you are not one of them apparently.
Nobody is born with a lean and muscular physique. It takes dedication. You either have it or you get it. Cannot buy it just like you cannot buy love!
I get it, you are feeling like you’re starving, but check yourself in the mirror and take a good look. I am sure you’ve got some pounds indicating you are just fine! Low blood sugar, feeling jittery, no energy? Welcome to the club, it’s the price you pay!
...Just accept or change your goals!
...Stop complaining and just DO.
...Just go work your ass off and you will be fine!"
"Mother to young son: What did you learn in church today?
Son: I told you.
Mother: What was it again?
Son: That when you play tic-tac-toe it's best to pick the middle square.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Today was supposed to be Yoga X, so I subbed in X Stretch. X Stretch is honestly what I had expected the Yoga wkout to be, kind of relaxing and slightly strenuous. In reality, the Yoga wkout is just brutal. So I'm gonna keep subbing out X Stretch this round. Surprisingly, today was the first time my feet were able to hit the deck in plow pose, and today was also the first time I was able to [briefly] pull off bow pose. So hey, progress.
I also needed to work out some tension, so I also did 3 sets [10/6/6] of single arm dumbbell snatches. Throwing weights around is soothing.
2.5L water, 2 meals
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Speaking of, as it's the midway point of the whole P90X program, while I'm making progress, it's really slow, and I'm clearly gonna have to do more than one cycle to be able to hang/get up to snuff... so from now to the end of this first cycle I'm gonna sub in the X Stretch for the Yoga X. Yoga X is actually probably the most brutal of the workouts for me. And 90m mid-week is just, honestly, too inconvenient. And I guess it's worthwhile knowing, right now, how much I'm willing to push it.
Friday I managed to knock out Legs&Back [still tore up and sore today]... 2 meals and 2L water. I really have to start getting more water.
And then today and yesterday... man, weekends are a bitch. I had every intention of getting one wkout in this weekend. But between snow and cold and laundry and blah, blah, blah, excuse, excuse, excuse... it just didn't happen. Which I feel crappy about.
But well, this past week while I missed two wkouts, I did hit 4. So I guess I really should try to focus more on what I did well than what I didn't. I have a tendency to beat myself up for my "failings" [I blame my upbringing. And the Catholic Church. And the World.] But, figure, I did mostly okay this week. And next week I'm going to try to do better.
Bodybuilding.com - Over 40 Transformation Of The Week - Over 40 Transformation Of The Week - Judith Corbett!:
"Name: Judith Corbett
Weight: 177 lbs
Weight: 150 lbs
Bodybuilding.com - Female Transformation Of The Week - Female Transformation Of The Week - Vanessa Bailey!:
"Name: Vanessa Bailey
Weight: 180 lbs
Body Fat: 28%
Weight: 130 lbs
Body Fat: 10%"
T-Nation.com | Seven Keys to a Successful Body Transformation:
"...Sure, most of us add some muscle, lose some fat, get stronger, feel better. Nothing wrong with that. But very few make those head-turning, 'holy shit!' transformations.
So what are the secrets of those who do succeed?
...I asked one question: "What do people who make successful physical transformations all have in common?"
Here's what they told me.
#1: They Become Assholes ... for a While
When you turn on the TV and come across a show about weight loss, you'll see a lot of crying, hugging, and syrupy-sweet one-liners about having a positive attitude.
Well, fuck that. In the real world, successful people get pissed off.
..."People who get angry and fed up with being out of shape always have the most amazing, lasting transformations," says Olesya Novik, a trainer and editor of our sister site, Figure Athlete. "They feel like they've got nothing left to lose, so they push themselves to extremes and keep coming back for more."
...how does a self-pitying whiner deal with discomfort? He quits. How does a guy who's willing to be an asshole deal with it? He gets ticked and fights through it. And he wins.
Anger isn't the only socially unacceptable personality trait that comes into play. "Significant change comes with getting a little selfish," says John Berardi, Ph.D. "That doesn't have to be a bad thing, although some of your friends and family may think so."
Even if it feels weird to set aside time for yourself and your own self-improvement, it's the only way to pull it off, Berardi adds. "You have to get a little selfish and take some of your time back." That allows you to avoid distraction while focusing so intensely on a single goal.
Another dickish trait common to physique success stories is a certain sense of superiority. You don't have to hold the weak-willed people around you in contempt, but it helps to remind yourself that you're stronger and more determined than people who skip workouts and succumb to the siren call of Dunkin Donuts.
...Take-home lesson: Positive changes often occur with the use of a negative attitude. Being an angry, self-centered asshole with a superiority complex helps body transformers reach their goals. Just be sure to cut that shit out when you're done.
#2: They Surround Themselves with Like-Minded People
"Your results and expectations are directly related to those people with whom you spend your time," says Dave Tate, a successful powerlifter, entrepreneur, coach, and transformer...
"You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with," says Charles Poliquin. If you're trying to lose fat, then hanging around sedentary junk-food junkies isn't going to work. They're more likely to bring you down than you are to bring them up...
#3: They Set Specific Goals, With a Deadline to Reach Them...
#4: They Keep Logs...
#5: They Choose a Plan and Stick to It..
Too often, those who want to build muscle and lose fat develop "programming ADD." They adopt a training program or a diet, do it for a couple of weeks, then jump ship as soon as something new comes along. And something new always comes along.
The truth is, the new program probably isn't better. It's just different. Those who win are often those who adopt a plan of action and repeat it until their goal is reached...
#6: They Train Brutally Hard
People who don't achieve their physique goals often underestimate the time and effort it takes to change their body. They're inundated with commercials on TV promising amazing results in only 20 minutes, three times per week. Inevitably, the model using whatever gadget is being advertised is in phenomenal shape.
The implication, of course, is that the model developed his or her physique with the gadget, training just 60 minutes a week. Which, as we all know, is horseshit.
"People who make successful body transformations work out intensely at least six days a week," says Cassandra Forsythe, an author and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Connecticut...
#7: They Pre-Plan Their Meals...
...More Actions for Body Transformation
Chad Waterbury: "They eat fat. Fat is the most underrated and misunderstood nutrient. You need at least one-third of your calories to come from it..."
Alwyn Cosgrove: "Reduced-carb diets seem to outperform any other dietary manipulation..."
Olesya Novik: "People who are most successful allow for minor setbacks. Most people who convince themselves that they'll be 100 percent dedicated and will lose at least two pounds a week for four months usually end up dropping the whole program as soon as they step on the scale and see that it only moved a half-pound down. Those who're patient with themselves, set smaller goals, and actually expect to have a bad day once in a while end up ahead because they're never disappointed enough to quit."
...Success leaves clues. Follow them."
"Woman with migraine: Help me! I'm dying! I'm dying!
Triage nurse: Alright ma'am, just calm down and tell me what the problem is.
Woman with migraine: I'm fucking dying, what are you, stupid?
Triage nurse: Well, as soon as you develop some signs or symptoms other than being obnoxious, we'll talk.
--NYU Medical Center ER
Overheard by: Turn their ankles"
Cases in point, which brought this stunningly obvious realization to a head recently - I'd gotten to page 400 on Carter Beats the Devil when it struck me I just didn't really like it all that much. Parts of it were interesting, but I kept reading because I dig on period pieces, and I love early 20th century magic. But I found myself bored reading this, waiting for it to get interesting, and thinking it was too long by half. And it took me to page 400 to put it down and quit it. Same with James Ellroy's Destination: Morgue. I loved American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand and I liked Black Dahlia, but Destination: Morgue bored the hell out of me. Can't even tell you why, I just didn't dig it. All the harder to put down because it's a series of short stories and I'd keep reading in hopes I'd really dig the next one.
And finally, I'd read the first book in the Science in the Capital series - Forty Signs of Rain - and was about 100 pages into the second when I realized I just didn't like them all that much. It was hard to quit reading because I'd heard great things about the author, the books were loaned to me by Mike, with whom I generally agree with taste-wise, and the books did show occasional flashes of really interesting and cool stuff. Just not enough to keep me reading.
Anyways, on to what I have read of late...
The Keeper of the Flame―A Story of the Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima by Mari Kaigo. A short book about the Hiroshima Flame Monument in Hoshino, Fukuoka, Japan. Like a lot of work in Japan about the war, it treads that really fine line between being very thoughtful and moving and almost, well, fetishizing its "victimhood." Still, a fascinating tale.
Peace Flames & Beacons Around the World:
"2002 - Hiroshima Flame Monument, Hoshino, Fukuoka Prefecture, Kyushu Island (Japan). 'Image shows Takudou Yamamoto displaying a flame that has been burning continuously since the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and was brought to the western Japanese village of Hoshino by his father Tatsuo, who kept it personally for more than two decades.'"
Mastering Your Hidden Self: Guide to the Huna Way by Serge King. I'm of two minds on Huna... On one hand I totally agree with some of the underlying concepts of it's metaphysical approach. On the other hand, it bugs me that a lot of it puts itself out as a native Hawaiian, when it actually probably owes a lot more to the New Thought movement of the 19th century. A lot of good stuff in the book but my favorite work on Huna is still Fundamentals of Hawaiian Mysticism by Charlotte Berney.
Super Power Breathing for Energy by Paul and Patricia Bragg. Some good breathing exercises here. And lots of old school health advice. Some nonsense as well, imho, but the good outweighs the bad.
JLA/Avengers by Kurt Busiek and George Perez. Straight up slam-bang superhero goodness. Good story by Busiek, outstanding work by Perez on art.
"The most powerful characters in two universes collide as DC's premier super-heroes meet Marvel's. Collected in a gorgeous two-volume oversized slipcased hardcover is perhaps the most eagerly anticipated and memorable crossover of all time, as the Justice League of America unites with The Avengers. Superman, Batman, and the other members of the JLA join forces with Captain America, Iron Man, and the many other Avengers to fight a threat so immense it threatens two entire dimensions."
The Boys, Vol 2: Get Some and Vol 3: Good for the Soul by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. Brilliantly subversively and wickedly funny superhero... well, parody isn't the right word, because like with Preacher before it [also by Ennis], beneath the [hilarious] obscenity and perversion is the soul of very moving story, with characters you really do grow to care about.
"In a world where costumed heroes soar through the sky and masked vigilantes prowl the night, someone's got to make sure the "supes" don't get out of line. And someone will. Billy Butcher, Wee Hughies, Mother's Milk, The Frenchman and the Female are The Boys: a CIA-backed team of very dangerous people, each one dedicated to the struggle against the most dangerous force on Earth-superpower. Some superheroes have to be watched. Some have to be controlled. And some of them-sometimes need to be taken out of the picture. That's when you call in The Boys."
Black Summer by Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp. John Horus, one of the world's only 8 superheroes, holds a press conference, covered in blood, and announces "Ten minutes ago, I executed the President of the United States and the Vice President. And several of their advisors." The awesome increases from there. Great book.
"Warren Ellis' eight-issue opus of masked hero revolution, Black Summer, perfectly complimented by the stunning and explosive art of the genius Juan Jose Ryp, is nothing less than a sequential masterpiece! The world goes black in this epic story of super-powered heroes and villains. The story begins when the political situation in the United States becomes more than Horus can stand, and he moves to take matters into his own hands. Unfortunately, not all of his team-mates are quite so eager to throw the world into chaos, and an epic conflict ensues. With Horus and the rest of the surviving Guns facing off against the military and each other, no one is safe as the bodies start to fall."
The Question Vol 3: Epitaph for a Hero by Dennis O'Neil and Denys Cowan. Continued reprints of the seminal, both in the medium, and for me personally, series from about 20 years ago. Philosophical, fun, thought provoking and engaging.
"The Question, the faceless, morally conflicted avenger based in corrupt Hub City! A martial arts master, The Question delved into Eastern philosophy as he battled crime and the crooked politicians of his hometown... . In this volume, The Question is captured while on the trail of paramilitary fanatics!"
I don't imagine I'll pursue teaching in the states. Actually, I know I won't. I have thought about it, moreso in the early days of being in Japan, when I kind of realized I was getting a kick out of it. But even the most cursory of research into the American educational system these days is rife with bureaucratic regulations and nonsense of the highest order. There's at least as much bureaucratic nonsense here, of a slightly different sort, but by virtue of my position here - not to mention the language barrier and the somewhat, ummm, racial, expectations of foreigners in Japan - I'm effectively removed from 99.9 percent of it, of which the net result is awesomeness.
Plus, here I get all the good parts of teaching - the teaching and connecting with kids parts - while having little to no responsibility at all for things like discipline and grading. Shoot, the sheer amount of rough housing, wrestling and judo I play with the elementary and Jr high kids would be enough to get me barred from most schools in the US. And while the slightly conformist nature of Japanese culture still can rub me the wrong way, in schools - it, um, works to my advantage. So my powers of denial deem that an acceptable trade-off.
And while I've not any teacher experience in the states to compare with, there's so little disciplinary difficulty here... regular disciplinary issues are things like dyed hair and short skirts. Maybe sleeping or being a little noisy. I mean, come on. And schools and teachers are still deferred to by parents in Japan, not the - obviously - other way around in the states. Where insane and irresponsible parents hamstring the educational system in the US with their sense of entitlement, leaving teachers and administrations living in fear of the inevitable lawsuit. At least that was my impression as the husband of a high school teacher for a few years. And from reading too much on the internets.
As an aside, there's actually a rise in this kind of parental behavior here in Japan, called "Monster Parent" - so much so that it achieved the pinnacle of Japanese culture last year - The TV Drama.
Monster Parent - DramaWiki:
"Monster parents-a neologism that denotes parents who repeatedly make unreasonable demands to their children’s school and prevent it from functioning normally. Takamura Itsuki is the ace lawyer of a major law firm. One day, she is assigned on a case requested by a school board, and learns of the existence of 'monster parents.' She meets a parent who wants the school to fire a teacher with a dialect for fear that he may exert bad influence on her child, a parent who insists that her son get a regular position on the soccer team, a parent who refuses to pay the lunch fee because it doesn’t taste good and so on. She is, at first, reluctant about this case, but gradually becomes determined to solve the problems. --Fuji TV"
Conservative Japanese, of course, blame this type of Monster Parent behavior on "foreign" influence. Sigh.
Opinion: Bush and Big Government - WSJ.com:
"Now that George W. Bush has finally left office, here's a challenge to a nation famous for its proud tradition of invention: Can somebody invent a machine capable of fully measuring the disaster that was the Bush presidency?
...In a way that was inconceivable when he took office, Mr. Bush -- the advance man for the "ownership society," smaller and more trustworthy government, and a humble foreign policy -- increased the size and scope of the federal government to unprecedented levels. At the same time, he constantly flashed signs of secrecy, duplicity, ineffectiveness and outright incompetence.
...The most basic Bush numbers are damning. If increases in government spending matter, then Mr. Bush is worse than any president in recent history. During his first four years in office -- a period during which his party controlled Congress -- he added a whopping $345 billion (in constant dollars) to the federal budget. The only other presidential term that comes close? Mr. Bush's second term. As of November 2008, he had added at least an additional $287 billion on top of that (and the months since then will add significantly to the bill). To put that in perspective, consider that the spendthrift LBJ added a mere $223 billion in total additional outlays in his one full term.
...If spending under Mr. Bush was a disaster, regulation was even worse. The number of pages in the Federal Registry is a rough proxy for the swollen expanse of the regulatory state. In 2001, some 64,438 pages of regulations were added to it. In 2007, more than 78,000 new pages were added.
...The Iraq war has lasted longer than any American conflict except for Vietnam and has cost more than any shooting match except for World War II.
...Mr. Bush's legacy is thus a bizarro version of Ronald Reagan's. Reagan entered office declaring that government was not the solution to our problems, it was the problem. Ironically, he demonstrated that government could do some important things right -- he helped tame inflation and masterfully drew the Cold War to a nonviolent triumph for the Free World. By contrast, Mr. Bush has massively expanded the government along with the sense that government is incompetent.
That is no small accomplishment -- and its pernicious effects will last long after Mr. Bush has moved back to Texas, and President Obama has announced that his stimulus package, originally tagged at $750 billion and already up to $825 billion, will cost $1 trillion or more. Mr. Bush has cleared the way for President Obama to intervene more and more in the economy and every other aspect of American life.
...George W. Bush has certainly taught us that government really can't be trusted to be very effective, or open, or smart. He has also taught us that government can always get bigger on every level and every way. It's a sad lesson that we'll be learning for many years to come."