Friday, February 26, 2010
"The Electronic Frontier Foundation has forced the Pentagon to release over 800 pages of classified material documenting 'possibly illegal' spying during the Bush administration. The heavily redacted documents include details of a spying program against Planned Parenthood and white supremacist groups in the runup to the Atlanta Olympics, as well as spying on Alaskans for Peace and Justice, an anti-recruiting group, civilian cell phone conversations, and other breaches of spying laws."
Pretty funny. *update* I think this is via http://thisishistorictimes.com/ - Credit where it's due, etc. Found it on a message board, meself.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Thornton's Guerilla_Blog - Carving Nature at the Joints:
"...many religious people will call full stop, and they will play the faith card. The faith card is simply this; it is a matter of faith. And on that note, all possibility of mature dialogue is ended. And that is the moment of admission by them, that there is no evidence for the particular proposition being espoused.
All of us within the world of the rational, reality-based community have a fundamental, and unmistakable responsibility when this happens. It is on us to explain to them, that the faith card simply cannot be allowed in adult conversation...
The moment we allow a belief without evidence, “faith”, to be entered into the public dialogue, is the moment we concede all the advances of the enlightenment, and negligently allow the forces of barbarism and superstition the fuel needed to drag us kicking and screaming back into the dark ages of ignorance, and human stupidity...
As we speak there are Christian pastors and missionaries in Africa that are actively preaching the ‘sin’ of condom use, in areas that are ravaged by AIDS. There are religious groups in various states that are preparing petitions to ban gay and lesbian Americans from being able to marry each other. There are suicide bombers strapping on explosive vests, in the belief that they will have an amazing sex life post death. And there are millions of women unable to go to school, and forced to wear bee-keeper suits, all because of faith based beliefs which hold no more basis in factual reality then does the idea that Earth rests on the back of a turtle. And because it is all being done in the name of some “faith”, we as rational human beings are supposed to render the topic off limits in terms of criticism, satire, and the reason based debate that we would apply to every other field of human knowledge?
When we really think about this we should all realize, that it is truly demented."
The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition. - By Deborah Blum - Slate Magazine:
"Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.
Although mostly forgotten today, the "chemist's war of Prohibition" remains one of the strangest and most deadly decisions in American law-enforcement history."
Texts From Last Night:
Hookers taste better with whip cream
Maybe we ought to get some pennicillin too
Texts From Last Night:
I love Japanese schoolgirls with short skirts riding bikes on windy days.
You're never coming back, are you?"
Texts From Last Night:
I love having hate sex."
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
"Donald Clouston, was walking with a grocery bag in each arm when the boy approached him with a large knife.
The boy said, 'Old man, give me your wallet or I'll cut you,' Bair said. The man told the boy he was a veteran who fought in two wars and had been threatened with knives and bayonets, Bair said.
Clouston then put his bags on the ground and told the boy that if he stepped closer he would be sorry. When the boy stepped closer, the man kicked him in the groin, knocking him to the sidewalk, Bair said. The Army paratrooper picked up his grocery bags and walked home, leaving the boy doubled over, Bair said.
The man reported the attempted robbery to police 45 minutes later."
Monday, February 22, 2010
Friday Night Lights is just awesome. Best drama on TV.
30 Rock - "You are truly the Picasso of loneliness." - "I learned to talk to gorillas when I worked for GE Medical... 'We're - going - to - test - poisons - on - you.'" - "She was on Maxim's 'I'd Rape That 100.'"
Leverage - "My name is Nate Ford, and I am a thief." Truly outstanding season finale.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
"...the job of families is to keep you in line with the rest of the family, in a predestined path that is good for the family. And your job is to create your own path."
"More than a hundred retired New York Police Department captains and higher-ranking officers said in a survey that the intense pressure to produce annual crime reductions led some supervisors and precinct commanders to manipulate crime statistics, according to two criminologists studying the department.The retired members of the force reported that they were aware over the years of instances of “ethically inappropriate” changes to complaints of crimes in the seven categories measured by the department’s signature CompStat program, according to a summary of the results of the survey and interviews with the researchers who conducted it."
"What began as a routine report before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday ended with Bernanke passionately disavowing the entire concept of currency, and negating in an instant the very foundation of the world's largest economy.
"Though raising interest rates is unlikely at the moment, the Fed will of course act appropriately if we…if we…" said Bernanke, who then paused for a moment, looked down at his prepared statement, and shook his head in utter disbelief. "You know what? It doesn't matter. None of this—this so-called 'money'—really matters at all."
"It's just an illusion," a wide-eyed Bernanke added as he removed bills from his wallet and slowly spread them out before him. "Just look at it: Meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them. Worthless."
According to witnesses, Finance Committee members sat in thunderstruck silence for several moments until Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) finally shouted out, "Oh my God, he's right. It's all a mirage. All of it—the money, our whole economy—it's all a lie!"
..."I've spent 25 years in this room yelling 'Buy, buy! Sell, sell!' and for what?" longtime trader Michael Palermo said. "All I've done is move arbitrary designations of wealth from one column to another, wasting my life chasing this unattainable hallucination of wealth."
"What a cruel cosmic joke," he added. "I'm going home to hug my daughter."
Sources at the White House said President Obama was "still trying to get his head around all this" and was in seclusion with his coin collection, muttering "it's just metal, it's just metal" over and over again.
...Likewise, the real estate industry has all but vanished, with mortgage lenders seeing no reason to stop people from reclaiming their foreclosed-upon homes.
"I don't even know what we were thinking in the first place," said former banker Nathan Collins of Brandon, MS, as he jimmyed open a door to allow a single mother and her five children to move back into their house. "A bunch of people sign a bunch of papers, and now this family has no place to live? That's just plain ludicrous."
The realization that money is nothing more than an elaborate head game seems to have penetrated the entire country: In Wilmington, DE, for instance, a collection agent reportedly broke down in joyful sobs when he informed a woman on the other end of the phone that he had absolutely no reason to harass her anymore, as her Discover Card debt was no longer comprehensible..."
"North Carolina's state-run innocence commission—the only state-run innocence agency in the country—has found its first exoneration.It was the first case won by the commission, which was established in 2006 after a wave of embarrassing wrongful convictions in North Carolina..."
"The Superintendant of the Lower Merion School District -- where parents have initiated a class action suit over the covert use of students' laptops to surveil them in school and at home -- has sent a letter to parents with more information about the spying. The school admits that there was spyware installed on students laptops that allowed for remote, covert activation of their webcams..."
"The nation's Homeland Security officers lost nearly 200 guns in bowling alleys, public restrooms, unlocked cars and other unsecure areas, with some ending up in the hands of felons. The problem, outlined in a new federal report, has prompted disciplinary actions and extra training.
Most of the misplaced weapons — including handguns, shotguns and military rifles — were never found. 'Most losses occurred because officers did not properly secure firearms,' says the Homeland Security inspector general report."
"A woman who read one of my essays on introversion said that when she explained her introversion to her family, her brother said, 'We didn't know you were an introvert. We thought you were just a bitch."
"...The two get confused because they both are related to socializing-but lack of interest in socializing is very clearly not the same as fearing it."
"As introverts in an extroverted world, we frequently must justify our reluctance to participate in activities that make extroverts giddy with delight. They can't believe that things that make them tingle either leave us cold or fill us with horror. They assure us that really, if we just get over ourselves and try, we'll have a grand time."
"Buck up, introverts. It's party season and chances are very good that you'll have to attend at least one or two over the next few weeks. We need to steel our spines and plan our approach.
Those of us who drink alcohol probably use it to help us loosen up for social events. And most us probably have, at one party or another, loosened up a little more than we would have liked. You know what happens next: morning-after regrets, perhaps a headache, or worse, depending on how loose we got."
"Let's clear up another misconception about introverts: As a rule, we're not antisocial, we don't hate people, we're not even necessarily bored by them, as one reader suggested here.
I'm bored by boring people. I'm bored by long stories about people I don't know, by hollow chit-chat, by anyone whose idea of conversation is a monologue."
"Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice? ...If so, do you tell this person he is "too serious," or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out? ...If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands—and that you aren't caring for him properly... Introverts are not necessarily shy. Shy people are anxious or frightened or self-excoriating in social settings; introverts generally are not. Introverts are also not misanthropic, though some of us do go along with Sartre as far as to say "Hell is other people at breakfast." Rather, introverts are people who find other people tiring.
"...the view that the government should censor the speech of people who do business in the form of corporations is rooted in the idea that free speech is an instrumental good that serves "democracy." That is the Progressivist interpretation that sees "democracy" as the central value of the Constitution, and sees individual liberty as a privilege that is created by the government in order to promote "democracy."
This is the opposite of the view of the Constitution's authors: they believed that the fundamental constitutional value wasliberty, and that democracy existed only to serve liberty. That's why the first sentence of the Constitution declares that liberty is a "Blessing," and why the Constitution goes on to impose serious limits on democracy. In their view, speech is protected because individuals have the right to express themselves--not because speech has a relationship to democracy. Obviously they understood that free expression was good for democratic decision-making, but their primary concern was protecting the rights of individuals, not with preserving some vague conception of "democratic society.""
"Philadelphia TSA screeners forced the developmentally delayed, four-year-old son of a Camden, PA police officer to remove his leg-braces and wobble through a checkpoint, despite the fact that their procedure calls for such a case to be handled through a swabbing in a private room. When the police officer complained, the supervising TSA screener turned around and walked away. Then a Philadelphia police officer asked what was wrong and 'suggested he calm down and enjoy his vacation.'"
"A federal magistrate today ruled that a former Florida high school student suspended after creating a Facebook page to diss her teacher should receive constitutional protectionunder the First Amendment. The name of the page? "Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I've ever met.""
"Oh lord. Oh lord. I can’t stand it. Somebody get me a drink.
Recently I saw an interview with General McChrystal...
The guy was Westy, I thought. They’ve dug him up and added animatronics. He had the same statistics, drew the same comforting graphs showing the same progress in pacification, the same decline in Bad Things and rise in Good Things. Yes, he thought, we really should stop killing so many civilians, but we would stop. We were going to help the Afghans...
So now we are invading Marjah, a city, to build schools and hospitals. Schools and hospitals are characteristically built with heavy artillery. As soon as we have destroyed the place, they will love us and see the virtues of the American Way. (The first thing we did was to blow up a house, killing twelve civilians including the mandatory contingent of children. If that’s not a hearts-and-minds move, I can’t imagine what could be...)
The strategy makes perfect sense, really. I mean, if Afghans killed your tyke, wouldn’t that make you want to adopt their form of government, and let them improve your life? It would me.
All of this is so eerily familiar. Westmoreland, the Ghost of McChrystal Past, was also a pacifier of hamlets. Kill their kids, give them five hundred bucks and a lollipop in compensation. Explain voting. What a plan.
Sez me, officers should not be allowed to try to think...
Protestant Reader’s Digestism doesn’t transfer to Kandahar. “We’re here to help you” suggests to most of the world, “run like hell.” The sense of righteousness among field-grade officers is strong. They are doing God’s work. It doesn’t occur to them—can’t occur to them—that devout Moslems don’t want any Christians at all in their country, much less Christians who kick in doors and humiliate their women. The colonels think they are trying to extirpate evil, and that six robotic-looking alien troops hand-cuffing a man in front of his family is a small price to pay for democracy...
What McMoreland doesn’t get is that people just don’t like being invaded. Yes, yes, it’s for their own good. We, of course, will determine what constitutes their own good.
Such is the ingratitude of these people, and their lack of respect for borders, that we find ourselves forced to expand the war into Cambod—Pakistan, I meant. Pakistan. And so the Predators fly..."