Saturday, November 05, 2005

Who were you in High School?

All American Kid

Popular but not plastic. Athletic but not a jock. Smart but not a brain.

You were well rounded and well liked in high school.

The bastard of false Aristotelian "logic"...

Rigorous Intuition: Look out, kid:
"'...when an investigator studies something that can be intentionally deceitful...the usual paradigms of science are inadquate.' This school of thought, which recognizes the continuity of contact phenomenon through the ages with entities variously described as fairies, demons, djinn and aliens, is largely at odds with both the skeptics masquerading as debunkers and the true believers in the hard fact of extraterrestrial contact. These two polarities dominate the discourse and present a false dichotomy: either the phenomenon is nothing but hoax and ignorance, or it details ''flesh and blood' humanoids traveling in 'nuts and bolts' flying saucers.'"

IFILM - Shorts: Fast Times at Hero High

Most fan films usually bite, but this trailer was pretty funny...

IFILM - Shorts: Fast Times at Hero High -:
"Superheroes weren't always super. See what they were like in high school in this spoof on Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

Greg Rucka on "Private Wars"

"...I get it all from research. Everything that I say is going on in Uzbekistan – it’s all going on in Uzbekistan. The names have been changed, but I’m not making anything up. Torture is endemic in that country. There are three fontice piece quotes in the novel, and all three are form this year – they’re all about the use of torture and brutality in Uzbekistan. I think the most recent one is from the New York Times in May of this year, so it’s stioll an ongoing problem. The Uzbekistan in the novel is, with only a few names changed, the Uzbekistan in our world. The story is a fiction, but the backdrop for the story is real.

We live in the United States, and we are very, very fortunate. Now matter how down, or frustrated you may be about the state of this country right now; we live in a society that is so far beyond what these people could even imagine. We live in a country where we have freedoms – a lot of these countries in Central Asia, they have no idea. There is so much history, and so much pain, and so much graft, extortion and torture, and it’s just the way things are. It’s the way things were when people’s parents were growing up, and the way things were when their grandparents were growing up, and more than likely, the way things will be when their children are growing up. I mean, the concept of me being able to say, for instance, “I hate George Bush” and not being shot – that’s a fundamental right in this country. I can say that, and I know I’ll wake up tomorrow, and it will be another day, and I’ll go on with my life. There are places in the world where you say the equivalent statement about your rule, and you will be shot, without a doubt, and pretty quickly."

growing up in a culture of fear

apophenia: growing up in a culture of fear: from Columbine to banning of MySpace:
"I'm tired of mass media perpetuating a culture of fear under the scapegoat of informing the public. Nowhere is this more apparent than how they discuss youth culture and use scare tactics to warn parents of the safety risks about the Internet. The choice to perpetually report on the possibility or rare occurrence of kidnapping / stalking / violence because of Internet sociability is not a neutral position - it is a position of power that the media chooses to take because it's a story that sells. There's something innately human about rubbernecking, about looking for fears, about reveling in the possibilities of demise. Mainstream media capitalizes on this, manipulating the public and magnifying the culture of fear. It sells horror films and it sells newspapers.

A few days ago, i started laying out how youth create a public in digital environments because their physical publics are so restricted. Since then, i was utterly horrified to see that some school officials are requiring students to dismantle their MySpace and Xanga accounts or risk suspension. The reason is stated simply in the article: "If this protects one child from being near-abducted or harassed or preyed upon, I make no apologies for this stance." OMG, this is insane.

...The culture of fear is devastating; it is not the same as safety.

...We fear our children. We fear what they might do in collectives. We ban them from public spaces (see "Mall won't allow teens without parents"). We think that we are protecting them, but we're really feeding the media industry and guaranteeing the need for uncountable psychiatrists. Imagine the weight that this places on youth culture. Imagine what it's like to grow up under media scrutiny, parental protectionism and formalist educational systems."

Friday, November 04, 2005

Independent Online Edition > Interviews > Alan Moore

Independent Online Edition > Interviews:
"'Magic and Art are the same,' he affirms. 'Which is why Magic is referred to as The Great Art. They are both technologies of Will, both about pulling rabbits out of hats and creating something where there was nothing.'

..."Books of magic are always written in high metaphor," he explains. "They are about our relationship to consciousness and how we construe it." Consciousness is the hole in rationalism. You cannot reproduce it in a laboratory, which is why some rationalist philosophers like Dan Dennett try to deny the shared experience of knowing that there is a "how" to how we feel. For Moore, magic is a way of breaking the paradigm, of making sense of our lives as we live them."

John Keel

Bray Road Beast: Some Notes on Gadara:
"One of our favorite Fortean writers is John A. Keel. We like him because he's an idea man. Sometimes the stranger the idea, the better.

Keel's an experienced investigator, having talked to thousands of witnesses while getting involved in some of the most famous paranormal events of the 20th Century, from the Mothman sightings to the Hopkinsville Siege of 1955. He's written a string a books, each seemingly weirder than the previous, filled with dark imaginings, paranoia, and the flat out bizarre...

Keel posits that different paranormal beings seen throughout time are really manifestations from the same source. These entities appear to us in accordance with different belief systems. To some, these figures are trickster figures; to others, devils; to others, fairies or aliens or leprechauns. Or gods. Or robots or Men In Black or many other multifarious and sometimes malignant manifestations. They are legion, literally. He calls them Ultraterrestrials.

Ultraterrestrails are beings from the superspectrum, from dimensions or frequencies or energy levels beyond that we can perceive with our limited human perceptions. They exist beyond the three dimensions with which we are familiar.

These entities have the ability to cruise up and down the spectrum, to change their very vibration or wave frequencies, and become manifest to our human senses. As they move through the spectrum, they suddenly materialize into the visible spectrum, and thus we see them. As they continue moving through, they dematerialize out of our spectrum, and we no longer see them. Able to control their frequency, they seemingly wink into existence, or out. Along with their ability to change energy or frequency, they have the ability to take whatever form or appearance they desire.

We have no way of testing this theory. But it's wonky, dances to a good beat, and we are sometimes persuaded of its ability to explain certain repetitious phenomena. However, as occasionally persuasive as this theory is, there is no method of testing the validity of the existence of Ultraterrestrials, and so we cannot fully endorse it, as it's unprovable..."

Why Do You Have So Much Junk? / Oh yes you do. And there are TV shows to prove it. Question is, what are you gonna do about it?

Why Do You Have So Much Junk? / Oh yes you do. And there are TV shows to prove it. Question is, what are you gonna do about it?:
"You have way too much crap.

I'm just guessing. Guessing that right now, in your life, in your closets and in your garage and in your car trunk and in your brain and even in your desk drawer you have way, way too much stuff, far more than any one person or single family needs and, oh my God, have you even seen your closet lately?

Have you seen that riot of old towels and curtain rods and board games you haven't looked at in three years? The old guitar and five pairs of mangy boots and a pile of old T-shirts and two disposable Epson printers and a teetering stack of empty Amazon boxes and four dumbbells and ancient college papers and a power drill and a bunch of old coats and classic porn VHS tapes and an underused Mesa Boogie guitar amp and assorted wrapping paper collected since the Clinton administration? Oh wait, maybe that's my closet.

See, we are in this together. I know how it is. We are, after all, Americans, and therefore we collect excess crap like a Republican collects bad karma and there are now, according to the AP, 50 cities in 17 states that have chapters of Clutterers Anonymous, a 12-step recovery program for people with serious crap-gathering issues, not to mention the proliferation of not one, not two, but fully three TV shows on cable right now (Are there more? There might be even more) that are about getting rid of your excess junk.

...The cure is simple, so graceful that it will make you feel lighter and healthier and good the minute you start, and of course you can start right now and you don't even need any drugs or wine or nudity, though those always, always help.

This is what you do: You throw stuff out. You go through your closets and you fill up garbage bags and you even grab stuff you've clung to for years for no apparent reason, and you haul it all down to Goodwill or Salvation Army or (in the case of San Francisco), leave the usable stuff out in the street overnight and let the urban recycling phenomenon work its magic, as some lucky passerby scores your old futon and the three grungy frying pans you haven't used since 1987.

It is one of the healthiest things you can do. Honest psychologists and good spiritual healers often advise patients with overactive minds and squirrel-like attention spans and problems focusing and problems sleeping, they will tell them not to pop some Ritalin or merely take an herbal tincture and eat more leafy greens, but to go home right now and, yes, clean out your closets. Clear out your clutter. Strip it all to the beautiful essentials and then keep it that way.

They will tell you that one of the fastest way to hot-wire your divine Camaro and reconnect to that feeling of cosmic wholeness is to take stock of your life and take stock of your body and see how much you've really got, and then purge-purge-purge. Get rid. Clean out. Toss old looks, old ways, ties to the past. Empty your drawers. Dump the stuff you're hiding from, that you've been uselessly protecting, that you've been scared to let go because it makes you feel safe and connected and more clearly defined as a human when, in fact, it's doing the exact opposite.

I do not care how cheesy it sounds. I do not care if you scoff and whimper and cling to your pile of old newspapers like Paris Hilton clings to her perturbed little sneer. You gotta make space. For breath, for thought, for perspective, for health. It ups your vibration and frees your mind and helps you tread more lightly on the planet, all while thwarting the snide environmentally unconscious demons of gluttonous neoconservative ignorance. It is the easiest and cheapest therapy you will ever enjoy. Do it now."

"Well rounded people are smooth and dull."
"...Don't become a well-rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a pufferfish. If you want to woo the muse of the odd, don't read Shakespeare. Read Webster's revenge plays. Don't read Homer and Aristotle. Read Herodotus where he's off talking about Egyptian women having public sex with goats. If you want to read about myth don't read Joseph Campbell, read about convulsive religion, read about voodoo and the Millerites and the Munster Anabaptists. There are hundreds of years of extremities, there are vast legacies of mutants. There have always been geeks. There will always be geeks. Become the apotheosis of geek. Learn who your spiritual ancestors were. You didn't come here from nowhere. There are reasons why you're here. Learn those reasons. Learn about the stuff that was buried because it was too experimental or embarrassing or inexplicable or uncomfortable or dangerous..."

Key 23 | Occulture Evolved

Key 23 | Occulture Evolved:
"...So here's my guess: you are different. There have always been some things that separated you from the general consensus... something must've gone wrong with you early on in your upbringing, or is it a matter of genetics? Whatever the reason, some bug, some glitch renders you unable to be satisfied with those bits of common wisdom to which everybody around you seems to subscribe. The righteous simplicity, in politics, of feeling that an elected official can represent and speak for you; the relief of knowing clearly what to feel and what to think; the daring of doing so -- in harmony with the others in your camp, of course; such staples of modern intellectual life are hopelessly lost on you. Instead you insist on picking issues apart by hand, like a child disassembling a toy; you are restless to know what really makes stuff tick, and feverish with the knowledge that what you see is only appearance; that behind it there's something else which in turn is yet something else in disguise, as in an endless series of Matryoshka dolls. You don't seem to care that nobody has the time, in a mediascape of sub-atomized information bits, to go after the true nature of things -- or whatever it is you think you're doing. Seriously, dude. That shit is so last century. Besides, just like everything that can be invented has been invented, all the interpretations of reality that are good for you have been discovered, and they're already being taught in schools -- you only endanger yourself and society by going for strolls in such mindfields.

And what are we to say of your cultural diet of choice! While others realize that life is already too short and nasty to dwell on depressing thoughts, well written though they may be, you simply must go and turn rocks all over the human spirit, right where the deadliest, most hideous creepy crawlies may be hiding. Your friends and neighbors have got to be wondering: what part of 'some things we just weren't meant to know' do you not understand? A classic tragedy is one thing, but the writers you're into are at least weird, and some range all the way to downright scary. Their words lead to strange, ugly places, and open windows onto all the abrasive realities that civilization has worked so hard to cushion us from. People died for your freedom to ignore the uncomfortable, and you deliberately go after it? These are dangerous thoughts you're entertaining, kid, and dangerous thoughts are scientifically proven to lead to dangerous behavior. You know, a bit like gateway drugs.

Then there's the whole business about your so-called spirituality. Uh, did you not get the memo or what? Didn't take that long for the droves of New Agers surrounding you to figure it out: a strong faith in the universe's utter benevolence and frequent saunas in a favorite health spa are next to godliness, nay, they are godliness. What's so complicated about spirituality that would require the kind of excruciating self-examination you put yourself through? What are you, a masochist or something? Don't worry, be happy, already! The cosmos loves you! Also, please stop being a complete downer with that trash about all beliefs being exchangeable and ultimately relative. I'm confused as to which One Truth to believe as it is!..."

The New Yorker: Radical [Aaron McGruder]

The New Yorker: Fact:
"...He told the guests that he’d called Condoleezza Rice, the national-security adviser, a mass murderer to her face; what had they ever done? (The Rice exchange occurred in 2002, at the N.A.A.C.P. Image Awards, where McGruder was given the Chairman’s Award; Rice requested that he write her into his strip.) He recounted a lunch meeting with Fidel Castro. (He had been invited to Cuba by the California congresswoman Barbara Lee, who is one of the few politicians McGruder has praised in “The Boondocks.”) He said that noble failure was not acceptable. But the last straw came when he “dropped the N-word,” as one amused observer recalled. He said—bragged, even—that he’d voted for Nader in 2000. At that point, according to Hamilton Fish, the host of the party, “it got interactive.”

Eric Alterman, a columnist for The Nation, was sitting in the back of the room, next to Joe Wilson, the Ambassador. He shouted out, “Thanks for Bush!” Exactly what happened next is unclear. Alterman recalls that McGruder responded by grabbing his crotch and saying, “Try these nuts.” Jack Newfield, the longtime Village Voice writer, says that McGruder simply dared Alterman to remove him from the podium. When asked about this incident later, McGruder said, “I ain’t no punk. I ain’t gonna let someone shout and not go back at him.”

...“At a certain point, I just got the uncomfortable feeling that this was a bunch of people who were feeling a little too good about themselves,” McGruder said afterward. “These are the big, rich white leftists who are going to carry the fight to George Bush, and the best they can do is blame Nader?”

...“I want to do stuff that has a moral center—stuff that I can be proud of,” he continued. “But I’m not trying to be that guy, the political voice of young black America, because then you have to sort of be a responsible grownup, for lack of a better word. And it’s like—you know, Flip Wilson said this, he said, ‘I reserve the right to be a nigger.’ And I absolutely do, at all times.”

...In tenth grade, he transferred to public school and began, for the first time, really, to hang out with other black people. He listened to a lot of hip-hop music. It was the era of politically conscious rap: Public Enemy, KRS-One (Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone), X-Clan. “All that sort of radical, pro-black-nationalist type of music—it was just a fad, but at fifteen and sixteen you’re very impressionable,” he told me. “It was one of the few times, I think, in black history when as a young person you could be cool and intellectual at the same time.” (McGruder, who is proud to call himself a nerd, no longer thinks of himself as cool. “Most cool niggas I know are broke,” he said.)

...“Somebody has to sort of translate the drums for white folks, and occasionally they call me to try to do it,” McGruder explained. It was a good hustle, the lecture circuit, he said. In the course of three hours—McGruder tends to answer each question with a fifteen-minute monologue—he returned repeatedly to this familiar trope of cynical entrepreneurialism. People like Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly, he said, were hustlers. “It’s like, ‘The more ridiculous shit I say that’s hurtful and hateful and racist, the more you stupid rednecks will buy books,’ ” he said, in a deep, slightly nasal baritone. “I don’t even get mad at them, ’cause I get what it is. I’m in the same game.”

...McGruder’s politics are to the left of Dennis Kucinich, but he retains an old man’s conservative, almost reactionary instinct, which, combined with the mo’-money shtick, gives “The Boondocks” a healthy comic balance. On the page, of course, he is able to separate these competing strands into distinct characters, each of whom comes off as both likable and laughable. The tension is harder to reconcile in real life, when he is by turns idealistic and dead serious (Huey), immature and carefree (Riley), and grumpy and tired (Granddad).

...In “The Boondocks,” post-9/11, Huey was quick to announce that he planned to “stay cynical.” He began calling the F.B.I. to suggest names of terrorist financiers and war criminals worthy of prosecution: Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Henry Kissinger. John Ashcroft appeared on television to explain his new “Turban Surveillance Act,” and the prospect of a congressional “anti-evil” bill, it was suggested, would force Vice-President Cheney into hiding once again. The Daily News banned “The Boondocks” for several weeks. At one point, in the middle of October, McGruder finally relented and put a muzzle on Huey. Adapting an idea from Rock’s lunch-table improvisation, he replaced “The Boondocks” for a week with a new, faux-jingoistic strip, “The Adventures of Flagee and Ribbon.” (Said the ribbon to the flag, “Hey, Flagee, there’s a lot of evil out there.” Replied the flag, “That’s right, Ribbon. Good thing America kicks a lot of *@#!”)

...Last October, McGruder granted Condoleezza Rice’s wish and put her in the strip. In the Monday installment of a weeklong series, Caesar announced that he had a “simple and easy plan to save the world.” On Tuesday, he elaborated: “Maybe if there was a man in the world who Condoleezza truly loved, she wouldn’t be so hell-bent to destroy it.” Huey agreed. “Condoleezza’s just lonely and bitter,” he said. And so on. The boys began composing personal ads: “Female Darth Vader type seeks loving mate to torture”; “High-ranking government employee with sturdy build seeks single black man for intimate relationship. Must enjoy football, Chopin, and carpet bombing.” Huey even anticipated his critics—this is a favorite device of McGruder’s—by observing, “What I really like about this idea is that it isn’t the least bit sexist or chauvinistic.”"

Dean Radin - The Conscious Universe

Dean Radin - The Conscious Universe:
"In science, the acceptance of new ideas follows a predictable, four-stage sequence. In Stage 1, skeptics confidently proclaim that the idea is impossible because it violates the Laws of Science. This stage can last from years to centuries, depending on how much the idea challenges conventional wisdom. In Stage 2, skeptics reluctantly concede that the idea is possible, but it is not very interesting and the claimed effects are extremely weak. Stage 3 begins when the mainstream realizes that the idea is not only important, but its effects are much stronger and more pervasive than previously imagined. Stage 4 is achieved when the same critics who used to disavow any interest in the idea begin to proclaim that they thought of it first. Eventually, no one remembers that the idea was once considered a dangerous heresy.

The idea discussed in this book is in the midst of the most important and the most difficult of the four transitions – from Stage 1 into Stage 2. While the idea itself is ancient, it has taken more than a century to conclusively demonstrate it in accordance with rigorous, scientific standards. This demonstration has accelerated Stage 2 acceptance, and Stage 3 can already be glimpsed on the horizon.

The idea is that those compelling, perplexing and sometimes profound human experiences known as 'psychic phenomena' are real.

This will come as no surprise to most of the world’s population, because the majority already believes in psychic phenomena. But over the past few years, something new has propelled us beyond old debates over personal beliefs. The reality of psychic phenomena is now no longer based solely upon faith, or wishful thinking, or absorbing anecdotes. It is not even based upon the results of a few scientific experiments. Instead, we know that these phenomena exist because of new ways of evaluating massive amounts of scientific evidence collected over a century by scores of researchers.

Psychic, or 'psi' phenomena fall into two general categories. The first is perception of objects or events beyond the range of the ordinary senses. The second is mentally causing action at a distance. In both categories, it seems that intention, the mind’s will, can do things that – according to prevailing scientific theories – it isn’t supposed to be able to do...

Understanding such experiences requires an expanded view of human consciousness. Is the mind merely a mechanistic, information-processing bundle of neurons? Is it a 'computer made of meat' as some cognitive scientists and neuroscientists believe? Or is it something more? The evidence suggests that while many aspects of mental functioning are undoubtedly related to brain structure and electrochemical activity, there is also something else happening, something very interesting.

This is for real?

When discussing the reality of psi phenomena, especially from the scientific perspective, one question always hovers in the background: You mean this is for real? In the midst of all the nonsense and excessive silliness proclaimed in the name of psychic phenomena, the misinformed use of the term parapsychology by self-proclaimed 'paranormal investigators,' the perennial laughing stock of magicians and conjurers … this is for real?

The short answer is, Yes.

A more elaborate answer is, psi has been shown to exist in thousands of experiments. There are disagreements over to how to interpret the evidence, but the fact is that virtually all scientists who have studied the evidence, including the hard-nosed skeptics, now agree that there is something interesting going on that merits serious scientific attention..."

Boondocks may be the best cartoon ever... Comic distortion:
"...Ten-year-old Huey and his gangsta-wannabe younger brother Riley are trying to fight the powers that be in the suburbs. But the 'enemy' — white folks — think Huey's black rage is adorable, their surroundings are exasperatingly vanilla. Meanwhile, the boys' grandfather is having 'relations' with a scantily clad gold-digging hooker who delights in annihilating Riley in PlayStation combat...

Even before the first episode hits living rooms, "The Boondocks" has become the latest in a series of urban-themed comedies to draw fire for what community advocates say is racially offensive humor. Critics are taking issue with the show's liberal use of the N-word, which is said more than 15 times in the pilot episode, and they are planning to take action. Although the word is a staple in the hip-hop culture and rap songs, they charge that it is historically painful and degrading to African Americans, particularly when used in a humorous context.

Concerns may erupt over future installments. One episode, "The Return of the King" in which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. comes out of a 32-year coma and rethinks his "turn the other cheek" philosophy...

Unlike his angry protagonist, McGruder does smile. But despite his outward calm, McGruder has not been shy about letting his inner Huey come out swinging. He has bragged about calling Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a "murderer" to her face."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

objective reality is only consensus subjectivity

Army Embraces MMA for Inaugural Combatives Tournament

Very cool.

Army Embraces MMA for Inaugural Combatives Tournament:
"...Pairs of soldiers grappled on the mats under the watchful eyes of referees. This tournament was essentially the same as any Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament, although the soldiers wore camouflage Battle Dress Uniforms (BDUs) as opposed to gis.

The finals, however, took the competition to a whole new level. The last two soldiers in each weight class wore headgear, shin pads and Vale Tudo gloves, and under rules that allow for open-hand-only strikes to the head they fought for the right to represent the Geronimo Battalion at the first-ever Army-wide combatives tournament in Fort Benning, Georgia, November 4-6.

Modern Army Combatives began in the mid-1990s when the elite battalions of the 75th Ranger Regiment, specifically the 2nd Ranger Battalion, hired Gracie family instructors Royce and Rorion to instruct troops in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

The Rangers absorbed the teachings and became fanatic in their ground fighting, holding Battalion tournaments in which the victors were sent to study at the Gracie Academy in Torrance. The Rangers then began to modify the jiu-jitsu techniques for combat use.

Sergeant First Class Matt Larsen also incorporated several other martial arts into the system such as Muay Thai, wrestling, and Kali. Shortly thereafter, SFC Larsen, literally, wrote the book on Modern Army Combatives: “FM3-25.150,” which was to become official Army hand-to-hand doctrine."

Witness the ever present healing power of religion

You know, in the contest of batshit crazy religious folk I gotta give this one to the Muslims.

Despite the CNN headline of "Christian DVD sparks riot" a more accurate headline might be "Nutty Muslims riot because their God demands savaging of small plastic discs; other religious ideas."

That headline probably wouldn't have made it past the editor though. - Christian DVD sparks riot - Oct 21, 2005:
"Christian DVD sparks riot
Muslims clash with police outside Egyptian church; 1 dead, 90 wounded

Friday, October 21, 2005; Posted: 10:01 p.m. EDT (02:01 GMT)

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (AP) -- One person died and more than 90 were injured as thousands of Muslims rioted outside a Coptic Christian church Friday to denounce a play deemed offensive to Islam. Police responded by beating protesters and firing tear gas into the crowd, officials said..."

"...the greatest crime in fundamentalist Chrisianity is to think."

Of course that's the greatest crime in any fundamentalist structure.

Anyways, that nugget of pretentious wisdom was brought about from my catching a pretty good documentary titled "The God Who Wasn't There".

Like all documentaries are, due to the natural constraints of the medium, it was a little over-simplified, but it's still pretty fascinating if you have any interest in religious history, fundamentalism or belief systems.

Pretty entertaining and funny too.

Favorite bits were the rather brutally insightful takedown/deconstruction of "moderate" Christianity, and the interview with the guy who has a website designed to send emails to family and friends of those taken up in the Rapture. After the Rapture of course.

In case any of the folks you "left behind" are confused.

Well worth the hour or two of your time...

Most likely to enjoy it - Jr - a heathen and blasphemer who will likely be joining me in hell.

Least likely to watch it due to the psychic dissonance that might occur - Gayle

Most likely to wonder why I continue to annoy you all from an entire ocean away - Spence

Website here:

purchase here:

"Holding modern Christianity up to a bright spotlight,
this bold and often hilarious new film asks the
questions few dare to ask.

Your guide through the world of Christendom is former
fundamentalist Brian Flemming, joined by such
luminaries as Jesus Seminar fellow Robert M. Price,
professor Richard Dawkins, author Sam Harris and
historian Richard Carrier.

See the movie the Los Angeles Times calls "provocative
- to put it mildly."

Hold on to your faith. It's in for a bumpy ride."

Mmmmm.... Coffee-beer...

New Scientist Invention: Coffee beer - Breaking News:

A drink somewhere between coffee and beer could soon be on the menu. Nestec, part of the Nestlé empire in Switzerland, has filed patents in every major market round the world on a 'fermented coffee beverage' that pours and foams like beer, but smells of strong coffee and packs a concentrated caffeine kick..."

The Rude Pundit.

The Rude Pundit:
"...There's unequivocal statements conflicting with reality here. If the President says he'll get rid of anyone in the White House 'who had anything to do' with the leak of a covert CIA agent's name, and then he doesn't fire someone who admitted that he leaked the name, that doesn't really leave much wriggle room, right? If the President says that, without a doubt, Saddam Hussein has WMDs and then we learn that, without a doubt, he didn't, that bears some investigation, no? You're either a man of your word or you're just a fuckin' liar, and that simple choice and its simple answer has now bled through to the public at large..."

"But what if the real evil is almost universally worshipped as good?"

Phenomena - Home - Editorial:
"But what if the real evil is almost universally worshipped as good? What if, through centuries of persecution, the mephitic has subdued the majority into a numbed, blind belief of which any questioning incurs retribution?

...The Judeo-Christian God, evil? I hear you cry. Never! He is the God of forgiveness and love!

Nay, reply I – he is the same as Ialdabaoth: an aberrant, abhorrent, genocidal maniac.

But it is the devil that is evil, you retort. And in that, you are wrong. We do not even have to resort to the Gnostic gospels or any other arcane literature to see this. Got a Bible handy?

Jehovah, the self-proclaimed god of the Israelites (and of no other tribe, let’s make that clear), appeared a few thousand years ago, according to the Bible. For the sake of argument, I’ll ignore the fact that his name changes and that he goes from being plural (Elohim) to singular (El), and that his main preoccupation is that his tribe does not worship any other gods, even though he repeatedly states that he, as an Omnipotent Deity, exists alone. No, I’ll skip that and instead compare what the God of Goodness has done, and what the foul Satan (his apparent opposite) has done. Again, for the sake of argument, I’ll not cite the different names and descriptions of the devil as that may confuse the reader into believing that the Bible constantly talks about different entities, or why the Bible’s antagonist is clearly shown to have absolutely no chance of winning.

...Occasionally, it gets just a little confusing as to WHO is the root of all evil. Christians will tell you that it is Satan, but the Bible shows otherwise:

1 Samuel 16:16 And it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.

1 Samuel 18:10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul.

1 Samuel 19:9 And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul

1 Kings 22:23 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.


...Genesis 8,21 And the LORD smelled the sweet savour [Ed – the burning flesh of sacrificed animals]; and the LORD said in His heart: 'I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

Well, except on Judgement Day when He’ll really let His hair down.

Jeremiah 25:33 And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried, they shall be dung upon the ground

So, did the God of happy smiling lovey-dovey-ness keep his word about not smiting anymore? Not really:

# 1 Samuel 6:19 Bodycount 50,070. Method? Smiting. Reason? Looking in the Ark of the Covenant

# Numbers 25:6-9 Bodycount 24,000 Method? Plague. Reason? Mixed marriage

# 2 Chronicles 13:15-18 Bodycount 500,000 Method? Slaughter. Reason? Being Israelites

# 2 Chronicles 28:6-8 Bodycount 120,000, Women & Children slaves 200,000 Method? Slaughter. Reason? Foresaking God.

# 2 Chronicles 14:8-12 Bodycount 1 million. Method? Smiting. Reason? Being Ethiopian

# 1 Corinthians 10:8 Bodycount 23,000 Method? Falling down dead. Reason? Having sex.

# Exodus 32:26-28 Bodycount 3000. Method? Slaughter. Reason? Not being on the Lord’s side

# Numbers 16:35 Bodycount 250. Method? Fire. Reason? I’m sure God had one at the time.

# Numbers 16:44-49 Bodycount 14,700. Method? Plague. Reason? Again…

# Numbers 25:1-9 Bodycount 24,000. Method? Plague. Reason? Whoring around.

# Judges 1:4 Bodycount 10,000. Method? Slaughter. Reason? Genocide.

# Judges 3:28-29 Bodycount 10,000. Method? Slaughter. Reason? Genocide.

The list goes on and on...

...Let’s just have a look at death tolls thus far:

God (excluding everyone and everything he killed in Noah’s time, and everyone and everything he will kill at the end of time): Several million, at least.

Satan: Erm…well….erm, he did tempt someone and he gave Job a few boils. Evil, I tell you. But otherwise that’s a big fat zero for the horned one.

What about tending to the flock? Rewards? Punishments? How do God and the Devil square up? I mean, it’s obvious isn’t it? God’s good, the devil’s bad. Right?


# Abandon God? He’ll kill 90% of the population (Amos 5:1-3)

# Homosexuality? Kill everybody. Raze their cities to the ground (Genesis 19:24-25)

# Make fun of God? Kill everybody (Isaiah 37:1-36))

# Naughty children? Death by stoning (Deuteronomy 21:20-21)

# Obesity? Kill everyone with a plague (Numbers 11:32-33, Psalms 78:31)

# Illegitimate child? Hell for 10 generations afterwards for the innocent child and its offspring, mandatory (Deuteronomy 23:2)

# Promiscuous women? Nose and ears cut off, children taken away, stripped, burned alive (Ezekiel 23:25-27)

# Raping a virgin? Marry the girl (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)

# Break God’s Commandments? Consumption, fever, inflammation, extreme burning, stabbing with sword, blasting, mildew, until death – plus the botch of Egypt, hemorrhoids, scabies, the itch, madness, blindness, and astonishment of heart. (Deuteronomy 28:15-28)

# Complain? Burned to death by Heavenly fire (Numbers 11:1)

# Worship another god? Entire community: Men – death by sword, babies smashed to pieces, women and children ripped apart (Hosea 13:16)


Erm... well nothing, really. He did offer Jesus a nice time-share on the world at one point though (Matthew 4:1-11). Nasty piece of work.

Hopefully, you will have noticed that there’s a pattern forming here. The truth is often hidden in plain view..."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

"Reality occasionally needs a little help"

Fred Reed:
"...Perhaps it is because I have made only unwise choices, thank God, that I am here. Ages ago, setting out into the world, I almost did prudent things and made sensible decisions, but something always stayed my hand. Almost I applied to graduate school in chemistry, almost I became a federal programmer and, in Washington, almost was hit by a bus. Consistently I have taken the wrong turn.

...It was behavior most unwise. I recommend it. Along the way I met the underflow of the world, the freelances and bar owners in Manila and the whores and the ingenious flotsam who lived by their wits in the wilder places of the earth. I became one of them. For this I will be forever grateful.

We who live thus have our critics. They say that we have dark moods, that we drink too much, that we do not behave as we ought... Yet perhaps they do not drink enough. The virtue of vice is everywhere underestimated. Something is wrong with those who are always proper, careful, and as they should be. I would rather talk to a bourbon-swilling correspondent in a bar in Manila, with a cigarette in his hand and a barmaid on his knee, than to the cleverest chemist at Yale, tamer of ketones.

...Some will say that our lives constitute a sordid cohabitation with the ungodly. I hope so. Detritus we are, and detritus we will be. It suits us. The world, the part worth knowing, lives in the alleys. We have known the smoke and dimness of a thousand Asian bars, known them till they run together in the mind, and found the hookers morally preferable to the expensively suited criminals of good society, more engaging than the liars of the press conferences. There is more of life and humanity in the driver of a battered Ford who picks up a hitchhiker in the darkling valleys of Tennessee than in the moral fetor and vanity of Washington.

...We are what we are. We can’t help it. In moments of desperation we have taken jobs in places with names like Federal Computer Week, and sat in horror, muscles tensing in uncontrollable despair, waiting for lunch and a drink or a joint or something to get us through four more hours of federal contracts. I did that. A friend was a mortgage broker for a bit, another tried graduate school. One day it hits: fuggit-I’m-outta-here. We buy a ticket to Mexico City, or Kuala Lumpur, or Istanbul. Decide on the way to the airport. What the hell’s in Mexico City? Find out when we get there. Somebody will know.

The literary among us found that sociopathy is a saleable commodity in the magazine racket. A press card, as a great man said, is a ticket to ride. We spent years patrolling with the Marines in Lebanon, stalking through remote Africa with guerilla bands, being cat-shot from carrier decks. Get to know the cops and you see things you can’t write about, things dark and strange, drug pads with walls moving in roaches. A friend spent weeks in Tibet, at the expense of a television network. It is how we are.

...A strange life, I suppose, for all involved, and not much to show for it. I don’t think we care..."

CIA uses secret prisons abroad: report - Yahoo! News

See, we're the good guys.

Transparency in government. Democracy. Openness. Due process. All that kinda pure and noble and stalwart stuff.

Freedom is on the march, after all.

CIA uses secret prisons abroad: report - Yahoo! News:
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The
CIA has been hiding and interrogating al Qaeda captives at a secret facility in Eastern Europe, part of a covert global prison system that has included sites in eight countries and was set up after the September 11, 2001, attacks, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

...According to the Washington Post, the prisons are referred to as "black sites" in classified U.S. documents and virtually nothing is known about who the detainees are, how they are interrogated or how long they will be held."

"Looking backwards is fine: going backwards isn't." - Warren Ellis

"Very very so-so"

Is the absolute best response I've gotten from a kid at school to the oft repeated question "How are you?"

Very very so-so.

Almost poetic in it's ambivalence.

It rides the cusp of completely not coming down on any position whatsoever.

Political, even.

I will use it now, always.

"How was the play Mrs. Lincoln?"
"Very very so-so."


They all called me mad...

Quitting the Paint Factory:
"I distrust the perpetually busy; always have. The frenetic ones spinning in tight little circles like poisoned rats. The slower ones, grinding away their fourscore and ten in righteousness and pain. They are the soul-eaters.

...In the lifetime that has passed since Calvin Coolidge gave his speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors in which he famously pro­claimed that "the chief business of the American people is business," the do­minion of the ants has grown enormously. Look about: The business of busi­ness is everywhere and inescapable; the song of the buyers and the sellers never stops; the term "workaholic" has been folded up and put away. We have no time for our friends or our families, no time to think or to make a meal. We're moving product, while the soul drowns like a cat in a well.

...Ah, but here's the rub: Idleness is not just a psychological necessity, req­uisite to the construction of a complete human being; it constitutes as well a kind of political space, a space as necessary to the workings of an actual democracy as, say, a free press. How does it do this? By allowing us time to figure out who we are, and what we believe; by allowing us time to consider what is unjust, and what we might do about it. By giving the inner life (in whose precincts we are most ourselves) its due. Which is precisely what makes idle­ness dangerous. All manner of things can grow out of that fallow soil. Not for nothing did our mothers grow suspicious when we had "too much time on our hands." They knew we might be up to something. And not for nothing did we whisper to each other, when we were up to something, "Quick, look busy."

...There is no Sab­bath. It would be glorious to see mankind at leisure for once. It is nothing but work, work, work." Little did he know. Today the roads of commerce, paved and smoothed, reach into every nook and cranny of the republic; there is no place apart, no place where we would be shut of the drone of that damnable traffic. Today we, quite literally, live to work. And it hardly matters what kind of work we do; the process justifies the ends. Indeed, at times it seems there is hardly an occupation, however useless or humiliating or down­right despicable, that cannot at least in part be redeemed by our obsessive dedication to it: "Yes, Ted sold shoulder-held Stingers to folks with no surname, but he worked so hard!"

...Increasingly, it seems to me, our world is dividing into two kinds of things: those that aid work, or at least represent a path to it, and those that don't Things in the first category are good and noble; things in the second aren't. Thus, for example, education is good (as long as we don't have to listen to any of that "end in itself" nonsense) because it will pre­sumably lead to work. Thus playing the piano or swimming the 100-yard backstroke are good things for a fifteen-year-old to do not because they might give her some pleasure but because rumor has it that Princeton is interested in students who can play Chopin or swim quickly on their backs (and a degree from Princeton, as any fool knows, can be readily converted to work).

...Then again, we've been well trained. And the training never stops. In a recent ad in The New York Times Magazine, paid for by an outfit named Wealth and Tax Advisory Services, Inc., an attractive young woman in a dark business suit is shown working at her desk. (She may be at home, though these days the distinction is moot.) On the desk is a cup, a cell phone, and an adding machine. Above her right shoulder, just over the blurred sofa and the blurred landscape on the wall, are the words, "Suc­cessful entrepreneurs work continuously." The text below explains: "The challenge to building wealth is that your finances grow in complexity as your time demands increase.”

The ad is worth disarticulating, it seems to me, if only because some ver­sion of it is beamed into our cerebral cortex a thousand times a day. What's interesting about it is not only what it says but what it so blithely assumes. What it says, crudely enough, is that in order to be successful, we must not only work but work continuously; what it assumes is that time is inversely pro­portional to wealth: our time demands will increase the harder we work and the more successful we become. It's an organic thing; a law, almost. Fish got­ta swim and birds gotta fly, you gotta work like a dog till you die.

...What I am suggesting is that just as the marketplace has co-opted rebel­lion by subordinating politics to fashion, by making anger chic, so it has qui­etly underwritten the idea of leisure, in part by separating it from idleness...

Leisure is permissible, we understand, because it costs money; idleness is not, because it doesn't. Leisure is focused; whatever thinking it requires is absorbed by a certain task: sinking that putt, making that cast, watching that flat-screen TV. Idleness is unconstrained, anarchic. Leisure – particularly if it involves some kind of high-priced technology – is as American as a Fourth of July barbecue. Idleness, on the other hand, has a bad attitude. It doesn't shave; it's not a member of the team; it doesn't play well with others. It thinks too much, as my high school coach used to say. So it has to be ostracized.

...The young, for a time, know better. They balk at the harness. They do not go easy. For a time they are able to see the utter sadness of subordinating all that matters to all that doesn't. Eventually, of course, sitting in their cubi­cle lined with New Yorker cartoons, selling whatever it is they've been asked to sell, most come to see the advantage of enthusiasm. They join the choir and are duly forgiven for their illusions. It's a rite of passage we are all familiar with. The generations before us clear the path; Augustine stands to the left, Freud to the right. We are born into death, and die into life, they mur­mur; civilization will have its discontents. The sign in front of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Work confirms it. And we believe.

All of which leaves only the task of explaining away those few miscreants who out of some inner weakness or perversity either refuse to convert or who go along and then, in their thirty-sixth year in the choir, say, abruptly abandon the faith. Those in the first category are relatively easy to contend with; they are simply losers. Those in the second are a bit more difficult; their apostasy requires something more ….. dramatic. They are considered mad..."

"We do it because nobody ever comes up with anything better."

Joss Whedon's letter to Angel fans:
"We don't go through the Hell of existence - the pain, the drama, the meaninglessness and confusion because it's safe, or simple, or will end happily now or ever after. We do it because nobody ever comes up with anything better.

So enjoy it. I did.

*Signed* Joss Whedon"

Suburban Guerrilla » Wanton Sluts

Suburban Guerrilla » Wanton Sluts:
"I get so tired of the whole abortion debate, because if it were only about that, opponents would be spending a lot more time pushing birth control.

It’s about sex. It always is.

It’s about women who like sex, have it and then have the nerve to not stand up and take their God-given punishment – especially when other people are willing to step up and adopt their little white babies.

It’s about control.

It’s not about spousal rights, either. If it were, men would need their wife’s permission to get a vasectomy.

I wish these angry, repressed people would find something to do with their lives that doesn’t involve sniffing someone else’s sheets. I wish people didn’t think of women and babies as property, and that legislators who can’t seem to keep their own pants zipped didn’t stick their noses in other people’s business.

But gee, that would put the Republican party out of business."

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 2PM Database Testing

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 2PM Database Testing:
"2PM Database Testing

Worker #1: So how is the database server test going?
Junior Manager: Great! That new machine is going like gang bangers!
Worker #2: He, he...'gang bangers'.
Junior Manager: Damn! You know what I meant.
Worker #1: Well...I guess they do work pretty hard.

13571 Commerce Parkway
Richmond, British Columbia

America is a dream founded on dissent.

d r i f t g l a s s: What we talk about...:
"...So looming in the shadows for me is always this: what sort of sub-humans must Republicans be that would allow them to feel such a 100-mile-high rage over Bill Clinton and blowjobs…and feel nothing whatsoever over the myriad high crimes, plunder, graft, lethal cronyism, endless lies and outright treason carried out three inches in front of their noses, in broad daylight, by the highest officials in the United States government?

...They like Order. They like Discipline. They like shiny, martial displays. They are the pecksniffing Leviticans –- rules-crazed Literalists, either ideologically, or Biblically, or both -- who also yearns for a harsh and exacting God to crush anyone who is unlike them…and who will reward them on the basis of how perfectly they obey the commands of the Dear Leader.

So to people that value prostration and loyalty to the Dear Leader above all else, what is the measure of “Right and Wrong” and “True and False”?

And doesn’t that question, when phrased clearly, almost answer itself?

...America is a dream founded on dissent.

On asking hard questions to the men and women who govern us. Of not shutting the fuck up. Of demanding that our civil servants be accountable to you and me. In a Democracy, the citizen is supreme. The government elect disposable and grabbing the government by the lapels and adamantly insisting that they cough up the truth – whatever their party affiliation – is the God given, natural-born right of every, single American.

People who loathe dissent do not deserve to call themselves Americans.

People who smear dissenters do not deserve to call themselves Americans.

People who value a slave’s loyalty over a citizen’s demand for the truth are an embarrassment to real Americans.

People who would burn the Nation down over lies about semen stain’s on one President’s lover’s dress…and yet shrug off and ignore an ocean of innocent blood on another President’s hands have no business calling themselves Americans.

Because anyone who calls willing blindness and the protecting of traitors a virtue, and clarity and honesty a sin, is no American."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"Did you notice something wrong with this comic? That's right. There were no black people in it."

You must go to this link.

Dr McNinja.

He's a doctor who's a ninja.

He fights giant lumberjacks.

And McDonalds.

With a gorilla secretary.

And he knows Batman in his heart.

Go now.

[He also prescribes ninja stars.]

You need this. Trust me.

Rupert Sheldrake

A Reply to Michael Shermer, by Rupert Sheldrake | The Daily Grail:
"In his attack on my work (“Rupert’s Resonance,” Scientific American, November), Michael Shermer asserted that “Skepticism is the default position because the burden of proof is on the believer, not the skeptic.” But who is the believer and who is the skeptic?

I am skeptical of people who believe they know what is possible and what is not. This belief leads to dogmatism, and to the dismissal of ideas and evidence that do not fit in. Genuine skepticism involves an attitude of open-minded enquiry into what we do not understand, and this is the approach I try to follow..."

Your job, should you choose to accept it - " ...face what the world is and face the job of making it better."

Alchemical Braindamage:
"Questions are powerful, because depending on how you shape them, they open up a space your mind is compelled to fill... If you ask... why you're such a fuckup, then your mind will fill that space you opened with something. So be careful. You don't need superhuman intelligence giving you superhumanly accurate reasons why you're a failure in all your relationships, why your job sucks and how you'll failed everyone you ever cared about. It's not much fun, believe me.

On the other hand, if you use them well, they can unlock that holistic right brain integrative function that most of us can't quite get a grasp of. It works in much the same way the use of divination does. Treating symbols as answers does more or less the same thing. Since we've already done that, you might want to try it...

...I quit the old job once I was getting money for massage work, which freed me up to do things that actually meant something to me. I have so much more energy, now thatI don't have to bridge the disconnect between the job I was doing and my purpose in life. That kind of thing drains you a lot.

I have more time to train and study. I worried that there wasn't going to be enough time to do everything, but as my mind got stronger and I felt better, the days went farther and I did more with them.

I eat better, feel better and look better. I'm more relaxed, more flexible and faster than ever. I can read a book each day easily in a couple hours. It's hard work to do so much and finish it all every day, but it's easier than not doing it, you know what I mean?

I'm more confident, now that I don't have to justify not doing everything I'm capable of. I'd rather be exhausted than frustrated and ashamed of myself any day of the week.

I make more money and spend less. Pretty soon I'll have enough to go to japan to train or maybe new jersey and the tracker school. I'm thinking about perhaps buying land the way Ran Prieur did.

...Spend less time thinking about what you're going to do and just do it. Like I said, it is hard work, you know that, but doing it is easier than feeling like shit for not doing it. You know well that getting off your ass is the hardest part.

Be more open and giving with people. Yes, they don't understand where you're coming from. And yes it's not easy explain to them, but you don't have to. You're never going to be a boring person, so quit trying to protect yourself from them. Petty and vindictive people will be petty and vindictive people, the last thing you want is to become just like them. It won't kill you to smile a bit more. Not everyone is a broken robot who needs a shrink. It feels good to help, but it also feels good to be friendly.

Other than that, quit wasting so much time on trivia. Going back to the same websites ten times a day isn't helping anything except to take the edge of your boredom. Practice more instead.

...There's only so much preperation you can do. Risk can only be reduced so far, no matter how much you study and train. Don't fall so in love with skills and knowledge that you hesitiate to give yourself when it's needed.

Don't forget that all you really want is to connect with a larger purpose. At a certain point you have to make a leap of faith and trust that you will either survive it or you won't. But at least you will be where you were meant to be. That's not easy to accept, but it's the truth and you know it."

Doesn't matter if you vote; all that matters is who counts the votes.

The Free Press -- Independent News Media - Election 2004:
"Powerful Government Accountability Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
October 26, 2005 from the Government Accountability Office that has gotten virtually no mainstream media coverage.

...Nearly a year ago, senior Judiciary Committee Democrat John Conyers (D-MI) asked the GAO to investigate electronic voting machines as they were used during the November 2, 2004 presidential election. The request came amidst widespread complaints in Ohio and elsewhere that often shocking irregularities defined their performance.

According to CNN, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee received "more than 57,000 complaints" following Bush's alleged re-election. Many such concerns were memorialized under oath in a series of sworn statements and affidavits in public hearings and investigations conducted in Ohio by the Free Press and other election protection organizations.

The non-partisan GAO report has now found that, "some of [the] concerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes."

The United States is the only major democracy that allows private partisan corporations to secretly count and tabulate the votes with proprietary non-transparent software....

...Among other things, the GAO confirms that:

1. Some electronic voting machines "did not encrypt cast ballots or system audit logs, and it was possible to alter both without being detected." In other words, the GAO now confirms that electronic voting machines provided an open door to flip an entire vote count. More than 800,000 votes were cast in Ohio on electronic voting machines, some seven times Bush's official margin of victory.

2. "It was possible to alter the files that define how a ballot looks and works so that the votes for one candidate could be recorded for a different candidate." Numerous sworn statements and affidavits assert that this did happen in Ohio 2004.

3. "Vendors installed uncertified versions of voting system software at the local level." 3. Falsifying election results without leaving any evidence of such an action by using altered memory cards can easily be done, according to the GAO.

4. The GAO also confirms that access to the voting network was easily compromised because not all digital recording electronic voting systems (DREs) had supervisory functions password-protected, so access to one machine provided access to the whole network. This critical finding confirms that rigging the 2004 vote did not require a "widespread conspiracy" but rather the cooperation of a very small number of operatives with the power to tap into the networked machines and thus change large numbers of votes at will. With 800,000 votes cast on electronic machines in Ohio, flipping the number needed to give Bush 118,775 could be easily done by just one programmer.

5. Access to the voting network was also compromised by repeated use of the same user IDs combined with easily guessed passwords. So even relatively amateur hackers could have gained access to and altered the Ohio vote tallies.

6. The locks protecting access to the system were easily picked and keys were simple to copy, meaning, again, getting into the system was an easy matter.

7. One DRE model was shown to have been networked in such a rudimentary fashion that a power failure on one machine would cause the entire network to fail, re-emphasizing the fragility of the system on which the Presidency of the United States was decided.

8. GAO identified further problems with the security protocols and background screening practices for vendor personnel, confirming still more easy access to the system.

In essence, the GAO study makes it clear that no bank, grocery store or mom & pop chop shop would dare operate its business on a computer system as flimsy, fragile and easily manipulated as the one on which the 2004 election turned.

The GAO documentation flows alongside other crucial realities surrounding the 2004 vote count. For example:

# The exit polls showed Kerry winning in Ohio, until an unexplained last minute shift gave the election to Bush. Similar definitive shifts also occurred in Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico, a virtual statistical impossibility.

# A few weeks prior to the election, an unauthorized former ES&S voting machine company employee, was caught on the ballot-making machine in Auglaize County

# Election officials in Mahoning County now concede that at least 18 machines visibly transferred votes for Kerry to Bush. Voters who pushed Kerry's name saw Bush's name light up, again and again, all day long. Officials claim the problems were quickly solved, but sworn statements and affidavits say otherwise. They confirm similar problems in Franklin County (Columbus). Kerry's margins in both counties were suspiciously low.

# A voting machine in Mahoning County recorded a negative 25 million votes for Kerry. The problem was allegedly fixed.

# In Gahanna Ward 1B, at a fundamentalist church, a so-called "electronic transfer glitch" gave Bush nearly 4000 extra votes when only 638 people voted at that polling place. The tally was allegedly corrected, but remains infamous as the "loaves and fishes" vote count.

# In Franklin County, dozens of voters swore under oath that their vote for Kerry faded away on the DRE without a paper trail.

# In Miami County, at 1:43am after Election Day, with the county's central tabulator reporting 100% of the vote - 19,000 more votes mysteriously arrived; 13,000 were for Bush at the same percentage as prior to the additional votes, a virtual statistical impossibility.

# In Cleveland, large, entirely implausible vote totals turned up for obscure third party candidates in traditional Democratic African-American wards. Vote counts in neighboring wards showed virtually no votes for those candidates, with 90% going instead for Kerry.

# Prior to one of Blackwell's illegitimate "show recounts," technicians from Triad voting machine company showed up unannounced at the Hocking County Board of Elections and removed the computer hard drive.

# In response to official information requests, Shelby and other counties admit to having discarded key records and equipment before any recount could take place.

# In a conference call with Rev. Jackson, Attorney Cliff Arnebeck, Attorney Bob Fitrakis and others, John Kerry confirmed that he lost every precinct in New Mexico that had a touchscreen voting machine. The losses had no correlation with ethnicity, social class or traditional party affiliation---only with the fact that touchscreen machines were used.

# In a public letter, Rep. Conyers has stated that "by and large, when it comes to a voting machine, the average voter is getting a lemon - the Ford Pinto of voting technology. We must demand better."

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 9AM It's Monday, All Day

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 9AM It's Monday, All Day:
"9AM It's Monday, All Day

Co-worker: God, I'm horny. I shouldn't have worn these tennis shoes.

610 Gateway Drive
North Sioux City, South Dakota"

U.S. Military Wants to Own the Weather - Yahoo! News

Figure by the time you hear about it - think SR-71, Stealth, etc - it's already advanced tech.

Bush II has the largest black budget allocation in history.

1 + 1 = making you batshit crazy if you really think about it.

U.S. Military Wants to Own the Weather - Yahoo! News:
"...some blue sky thinkers have already looked into these and other scenarios in 'Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025' – a research paper written by a seven person team of military officers and presented in 1996 as part of a larger study dubbed Air Force 2025.

...Air Force 2025 was a study that complied with a directive from the chief of staff of the Air Force 'to examine the concepts, capabilities, and technologies the United States will require to remain the dominant air and space force in the future.'

"Current technologies that will mature over the next 30 years will offer anyone who has the necessary resources the ability to modify weather patterns and their corresponding effects, at least on the local scale," the authors of the report explained. "Current demographic, economic, and environmental trends will create global stresses that provide the impetus necessary for many countries or groups to turn this weather-modification ability into a capability."

...The report on weather-altering ideas underscored the capacity to harness such power in the not too distant future.

"Assuming that in 2025 our national security strategy includes weather-modification, its use in our national military strategy will naturally follow. Besides the significant benefits an operational capability would provide, another motivation to pursue weather-modification is to deter and counter potential adversaries," the report stated. "The technology is there, waiting for us to pull it all together," the authors noted...

Monday, October 31, 2005

True story, my hand to God...

BREITBART.COM - Just The News:
"A pastor performing a baptism was electrocuted inside his church Sunday morning after grabbing a microphone while partially submerged, a church employee said."

Tiny Razor Cleans Out Leg Arteries - Yahoo! News

Tiny Razor Cleans Out Leg Arteries - Yahoo! News:
"Doctors using a razor the size of a grain of rice are shearing ribbons of yellowish sludge from inside clogged leg arteries. It's the latest therapy for a hard-to-treat disease that slowly chokes off blood flow in millions of people's legs.

...Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, afflicts at least 12 million Americans as their leg arteries stiffen and narrow. Eventually, the lack of blood flow to muscles causes an aching pain while walking, called claudication. In severe cases, patients can hobble no more than a block or two.

Worse, PAD leads to about 150,000 amputations a year as arteries become completely blocked.

More than mobility is at stake: Having PAD increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke sevenfold — if leg arteries are clogged, other blood vessels almost certainly are, too.

Yet trouble walking often is wrongly considered a sign of aging instead of disease, meaning too few patients seek help early.

Clogged legs can be harder to alleviate than clogged heart arteries. Balloons threaded inside arteries, called angioplasty, to push aside the plaque and the use of scaffolding-like metal stents to hold arteries open don't work as well in the legs, where "restenosis" or reblockage with scar tissue or new plaque can occur quickly. The final option is a leg bypass, open surgery to reroute blood flow around the blockages.

Two new technologies offer the hope of better alternatives:

_The tiny razor, called the SilverHawk, is threaded in a catheter through patients' arteries to the blockages. Then the blade emerges and begins shaving; plaque collects in the device's tip for extraction.

In a registry tracking 335 patients for a year so far, 79 percent have needed no further treatment of the shaved-out areas, lead researcher Dr. Roger Gammon of Austin, Texas, announced at a major heart meeting last month. The razor even is credited with saving some particularly severe patients from imminent amputation.

_Cryoplasty is essentially an angioplasty on ice. Doctors inflate the angioplasty balloon with freezing nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas. The cold is thought to inhibit cells in the artery wall from forming scar tissue, as well as make the plaque easier to push aside."

See, it's not a conspiracy... it's just covering up stupidity.

Article Raises Questions About Vietnam War - Yahoo! News:
"...The National Security Agency has been blocking the release of an article by one of its historians that says intelligence officers falsified documents about a disputed attack that was used to escalate the Vietnam War, according to a researcher who has requested the article.

Matthew Aid, who asked for the article under the Freedom of Information Act last year, said it appears that officers at the NSA made honest mistakes in translating interceptions involving the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident. That was a reported North Vietnamese attack on American destroyers that helped lead to President Johnson's escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Rather than correct the mistakes, the 2001 article in the NSA's classified Cryptologic Quarterly says, midlevel officials decided to falsify documents to cover up the errors, according to Aid, who is working on a history of the agency and has talked to a number of current and former government officials about this chapter of American history...."


I recommend, at least once in life, playing Dodgeball with Japanese Elementary students.

Plus, in Japan, they don't play the standard 2-dimensional version in the States... if you get hit you get rotated to the sides and back where you can still throw, pass and get back in the game.

I tell ya, I was moving like a ninja warrior... dipping, dodging, ducking, slipping and sliding... no one could touch me!

That is, until I got a dodgeball in the groin.

My game slowed down substantially after that.

Evolver: An Interview With Daniel Pinchbeck, Part 2 - Pop Occulture

Evolver: An Interview With Daniel Pinchbeck, Part 2 - Pop Occulture:
"...reality bears resemblance to the ideas of the scientist Rupert Sheldrake, who proposes that the “Laws of Nature” are not actually laws but more like “habits” that change and evolve over time, through the creation of new “morphogenetic fields.” We only think they are “laws” because science developed at a time when the model of God was of an immutable and unchanging patriarchal figure...

...the nature of reality is indeed shifting on us. This is happening on many levels at once. Most obviously, it is taking place in material form through accelerated climate change – check out the UN Millenium Eco-Systems Assessment for details. There are about two fish left in the oceans, and Eskimos are going to find it hard to have a snowball fight soon enough. The imminent depletion of energy supply in a Peak Oil crisis is also not a hallucination but something that is going to radically change our lives within the next few years. At the same time, something very peculiar has happened to our political sphere and mainstream media. It is as though they have entered a delusionary and superficial forcefield that allows no room for nuance or integrity or intelligent questioning. I see it as the exhausting or emptying out or forfeiting of an entire form of human consciousness... Gebser foresaw the crisis of anxiety for this form of consciousness, forcing a “mutational break” into a new structure of human consciousness, which he called “integral – aperspectival,” with a different relationship to time, space, psyche, cosmos, and a different model of truth..."

SuicideGirls > Grant Morrison Interview

SuicideGirls > Words > Grant Morrison:
"...DRE: What's the novel about?

GM: It's about an ex-special forces SAS soldier who gets kidnapped and is forced to write the manifesto of a terrorist group. The terrorist group is composed of teenagers who claim to come from outer space [laughs]. It's a bit like 'Children of the Damned' meets 'A Clockwork Orange' and the basic idea is what might happen if children decided to go to war with adults. The hero has to write the account of what happens and I have to write about him writing it...

DRE: You've spoken quite openly about the drugs you've done over the years. I had a teacher years ago that was also a priest and we had an argument over drugs. He said that the same feelings you can reach with drugs you can get to naturally with meditation.

GM: That's not true but I do understand what he's trying to say. Theoretically, you can recreate all states of consciousness just by thinking about them but having tried both meditation and drugs and often both at the same time I'm not sure about this one. It's a bit like saying you can recreate the feeling of a Thanksgiving Dinner using meditation. Maybe you could but why would you? Meditation can take you to some places that some drugs can also take you too but I don't believe meditation can reproduce a full-on acid experience or a high dose mushroom or DMT trip, nor would it be helpful if it did. It can reproduce something like an ecstasy experience. Meditators who claim they can recreate all of these drug states are probably either unfamiliar with the drugs or they're being slightly disingenuous about the whole issue...

DRE: This may be old news but was the controversy over The Matrix films being like The Invisibles blown out of proportion?

GM: It's really simple. The truth of that one is that design staff on The Matrix were given Invisibles collections and told to make the movie look like my books. This is a reported fact. The Wachowskis are comic book creators and fans and were fans of my work, so it's hardly surprising. I was even contacted before the first Matrix movie was released and asked if I would contribute a story to the website.

It's not some baffling 'coincidence' that so much of The Matrix is plot by plot, detail by detail, image by image, lifted from Invisibles so there shouldn't be much controversy. The Wachowskis nicked The Invisibles and everyone in the know is well aware of this fact but of course they're unlikely to come out and say it.

It was just too bad they deviated so far from the Invisibles philosophical template in the second and third movies because they blundered helplessly into boring Catholic theology, proving that they hadn't HAD the 'contact' experience that drove The Invisibles, and they wrecked both 'Reloaded' and 'Revolutions' on the rocks of absolute incomprehension. They should have kept on stealing from me and maybe they would have wound up with something to really be proud of - a movie that could change minds and hearts and worlds.

I love the first Matrix movie which I think is a real work of cinematic genius and very timely but I've now heard from several people who worked on The Matrix and they've all confirmed that they were given Invisibles books as reference. That's how it is. I'm not angry about it anymore, although at one time I was because they made millions from what was basically a Xerox of my work and to be honest, I would be happy with just one million so I didn't have to work thirteen hours of every fucking day, including weekends...

DRE: Why do comics enthrall you so much?

GM: Magic...

DRE: Would you want to direct movies?

GM: Naw, I couldn't be bothered. I hate telling people what to do."

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Rich Senators says "No money for poor people"; promise to soon bathe in their blood, drink champagne... - Rich Senators Defeat Minimum-Wage Hike:
"...U.S. senators -- who draw salaries of $162,100 a year and enjoy a raft of perks -- have rejected a minimum wage hike from $5.15 an hour to $6.25 for blue-collar workers..."

How to Defeat Big Brother and Reclaim Your Freedom

How to Defeat Big Brother and Reclaim Your Freedom:
"...George Orwell's 1984 is the story of a future society where individualism has been eliminated, where propaganda is used to control the masses, and where perpetual war is being waged to maintain the 'peace.' It's a world where false is true and wrong is right, where history is constantly being rewritten to support whatever the regime is currently doing--and where Big Brother watches your every move.

It can be summed up in the word's of one of 1984's characters, O'Brien, when he said:

'If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face--forever.'

But even in the middle of this totalitarian 'utopia,' there is one man--Winston Smith--who dares to question authority, and who seeks a life and love for himself.

The parallels between our modern world and that of George Orwell's 1984 are uncanny. The Ministry of Truth, the Thought Police, the political manipulation of language to distort reality, the hidden censorship of political correctness, and the war on terror as a control mechanism--all echo the themes of 1984.

... In 1984, the ordinary people were completely subjugated because of the state's control over information. The control was total.

In contrast, the internet bypasses the state information control apparatus. On the 'net, one has access to nonofficial news sources and opinions. It is literally impossible to censor the bulk of what goes on online.

The internet also provides a communication medium for other freedom-promoting technologies--like the digital camera. Previously, news images were the sole domain of the professional media. Not any more. Now anyone, anywhere, can upload a photo and have it visible to the whole world in minutes.

In this way, the modern aspiring "total" state has serious competition, because it cannot fully control the flow of information--as was the case in Orwell's 1984.

Even states like China cannot hope to completely control the internet. Oh sure, they try. They block access to the main news site of Ho-hum. They block other specified domains. They are seeking ways to enforce content control on those who host sites. But this is all petty stuff in the face of determined efforts to thwart such control. I know, I've spent many months in China--and I had no problem accessing the many potential "no-go" sites I frequent.

... The computer screen in your home or office is not a one-way propaganda tool. No, it is an interactive tool at your personal disposal. YOU can choose what to read. YOU can choose how to communicate, and with whom. YOU can choose the nature of the relationships your forge. YOU are in the driver's seat."

Conduct Unbecoming - Greg Rucka

Conduct Unbecoming:
"...I'm finding it harder and harder to retreat into the jaded cynicism and self-aware - or at least self-referential - irony that I see in almost all the fellows of my generation.

I know myself well-enough to know that this isn't a post 9/11 realisation, that it's not part of some sappy conflation of flag-waving and posturing leading to a kinder-gentler anything. It may simply be part of the process of growing older, if not just of growing old. Example: I used to watch every episode of OZ religiously; then I had a son, and suddenly prison-gang rape lost its appeal.

Go figure.

I used to work on ambulances. I didn't do it much, and I didn't do it for long, but for a brief period of misspent youth, I was a certified Emergency Medical Technician for the State of New York. I even got to carry a badge and make the lights and sirens go. Great gig, except for the inevitable assault of human suffering. Saw a lot of people in a lot of pain in a lot of ways, but that wasn't what really got to me.

What got to me was the contempt with which my fellow EMTs seemed to hold every patient. According to my fellow medical professionals, most everyone was a liar, or a cheat, or a malingerer, or a junkie, or worse. Racial epithets were common. Racial stereotyping was prevalent. It was relentless. The job was to care and transport the sick and injured, and unless you had a car wrapped around your abdomen, most of the techs I worked with were 100% certain you were faking.

This behaviour is by no means unique to the emergency medical field. I know a handful of cops who act much the same way, and I'm sure that it's prevalent in, for lack of a better word, other 'service' professions. It's primarily, I suppose, a defensive mechanism, a means to insulate, and to foster a more them-versus-us mentality. It doesn't make it excusable, but it perhaps makes it explicable. After all, there are only so many times one can feel compassionate to the same drunk when, night after night, you respond to a call of him lying in his own vomit.

So that's explicable to me. The environment is one of intense pressure, and it leads to compassion fatigue.

Why the hell am I seeing the same thing in comics?

I am unaware of any industry that so actively holds its most ardent fans in as much contempt as comics do to theirs. And more and more, it seems to me that is exactly what we do, and it's not restricted to only the working professionals of the industry. Fans do it as well, actively deriding one another for their passions, actively demeaning themselves for their love of the medium.

It's never wise, and it's certainly not kind, to diminish another's passion. Yet more and more, in both fan-based press and in professional commentary, that is exactly what happens..."