Saturday, November 19, 2005

Equality isn't all it's cracked up to be - Relationship dynamics takes all kinds...

Equality isn't all it's cracked up to be:
"There is nothing particularly good about equality per se, because what one person might like, another might hate – it might be better for person A to get X and person B to get Y – both might be happier with that then if A and B both have Z. What people mean when they advocate equality – or rather, what they should mean – is that there should be consent.

To judge whether or not there is consent, you can't just look at the form of a relationship or an interaction and get a reliable answer. For some people positively want a relationship which to the outside world looks unequal and quite possible non-consensual."

The problem isn't religion, the problem is people.

My friend Kev, with whom I solve the problems of the modern world whilst consuming alcohol, recently advised me to read some of the writings of Andrew Bostom, a conservative author who recently edited the book The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims.

Conservative in nature, prodded by the events of 9/11, he takes the position, quite common these days, that Islam is... well... bad. I think Kev made me read him due to my oversimplification of Kev's position, after our last inebriated discourse, putting words in his mouth that Islam, is, well... bad.

Historically speaking I think the author makes the error of assuming that any war in which Muslims were involved is tantamount to Jihad. That's like calling World War I and II Christian Crusades since the nations that fought them were ostensibly Christian. Wars of conquest that had nothing in particular to do with religion, and more to do with power and greed really don't cut it.

Here's the thing... sure, horrible atrocities have been committed in the name of Islam. I readily grant that. But horrible atrocities have been commited in the name of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and every other -ism you can pick. Fundamentally, any religion, ethos, -ism or philosophy that espouse some form of selection, some form of innate superiority, is prone to abuse.

Because people are, on occasion, amoral, vicious and power-hungry bastards who want to impose their will on others. Religion, philosophy, politics, these are all just excuses to do so.

IMO, all religions tend to be horrible, evil enablers. It's just that now is Islam's time in the spotlight, as it were.

The #1 book cited by most mass-murderers and serial killer? The Bible.

Does that mean the Bible is somehow innately "evil"?

It pains me to admit it, ex-Catholic that I am, but no, it's not. What you choose to emphasize in the Bible determines it's effect on you. And what you choose to emphasize depends on you. It's a vicious cycle of self-reinforcement. But the fault lies not in the religion itself. The religion is just information. How you process that information, what that information means to you determines it's worth.

Religious books of all kinds are such a hodge-podge of conflicting platitudes and ideas that you can find support for any opinion. If you're a Christian you can choose forgiveness and loving your neighbor as yourself or you can stone witches and homosexuals to death while keeping kosher. If you're a Muslim you can strap explosives on you in the name of Jihad or you can instead follow the Koran when it states "There must be no coercion in matters of faith!" (2: 256)and forgo revenge for charity (5: 45) and respect Jews and Christians, the "People of the Book," who worship the same God (29: 46).

Rationalizations, not religion, provide the excuse for violence.

Okay, maybe the rationalization OF religion. I'll grant that. But that's certainly not unique to Islam.

The idea that any particular religion itself is somehow to blame is short-sighted. Ideology of any stripe lends itself to fanaticism and intolerance. Their are millions of people of all faiths who live peaceful, normal lives because their interpretation of that belief-set emphasizes that. But it's the fanaticism and intolerance that's to blame, it's the people who choose that path... The problem isn't religion, the problem is people. Religion is just the excuse.


Now I'm depressed and need a drink.

Hell, you want to "defeat" Islam... carpet bomb them with satellite TV, McDonalds, porn and MTV. That'll do the trick. Or at least relegate religious fanatics preaching austere religious lifestyles to the side, like they've mostly been done in the states...

That about sums it up...

beta58: Everything we are is an illusion:
"I admire that odd admixture of pantheism and existentialism that enables a man to recognize gods and goddesses, while simultaneously wishing they'd fuck off."

Nakahara Chuya

My mate Ry Beville, who's translated several published books of poetry by Japanese author Nakahara Chuya, including Poems of the Goat, just started up a website for the author. Poems, links, discussion forums...

Well worth checking out.

Nakahara Chuya

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Birth of Soft Torture - CIA interrogation techniques—a history

The Birth of Soft Torture - CIA interrogation techniques—a history. By Rebecca Lemov:
"In short order, CIA experts attempted to induce Mindszenty-like effects. An interrogation team consisting of a psychiatrist, a lie-detector expert, and a hypnotist went to work using combinations of the depressant Sodium Amytal and certain stimulants. Tests on four suspected double agents in Tokyo in July 1950 and on 25 North Korean prisoners of war three months later yielded more noteworthy results... Meanwhile, the CIA opened the door to pre-emptive psychosurgery: In a doctor's office in Washington, D.C., one unfortunate man, his name deleted from documents, was lobotomized against his will during an interrogation. By the mid-to-late 1950s, experiments using 'black techniques,' as the agency called them, moved to prisons, hospitals, and other field-testing sites with funding and encouragement from the CIA's Technology and Science Directorate.

...In 1958 and 1959, Cameron went further. With new CIA money behind him, he tried to completely "depattern" 53 patients by combining psychic driving with electroshock therapy and a long-term, drug-induced coma. At the most intensive stage of the treatment, many subjects were no longer able to perform even basic functions. They needed training to eat, use the toilet, or speak. Once the doctor allowed the drugs to wear off and ceased shock treatments, patients slowly relearned how to take care of themselves—and their pretreatment symptoms were said to have disappeared.

So had much of their personalities. Patients emerged from Cameron's ward walking differently, talking differently, acting differently. Wives were more docile, daughters less inclined to histrionics, sons better-behaved. Most had no memory of their treatment or of their previous lives. Sometimes, they forgot they had children. At first, they were grateful to their doctor for his help. Several Cameron patients, however, later said they had severe recurrences of their pretreatment problems and traumatic memories of the treatment itself and together sued the doctor as well as the U.S. and Canadian governments. Their case was quietly settled out of court.

By the late 1950s and early 1960s, CIA experts thought they understood the techniques necessary for "breaking" a person. Under a strict regime of behavioral conditioning, "the possibility of resistance over a very long period may be vanishingly small,"...

At times, this imperative made the agency reckless. As part of the now notorious MK-ULTRA program—"one of the seamiest episodes in American intelligence," according to journalist Seymour Hersh—the CIA set up a safe house in San Francisco where its agents could observe the effects of various drug combinations on human behavior. They were in search of a "truth serum" and thought LSD might be it. Prostitutes were hired to bring unwitting johns back to the house, where the women slipped acid and other strong psychoactive substances into the men's drinks. From behind a one-way mirror, investigators watched, notebooks and martinis in hand. Sometimes the men took the drugs and managed to carry on. Sometimes they babbled or cried. An internal CIA review condemned these high jinks in 1963, but Congress didn't investigate them until 1977, after a post-Watergate crisis of confidence in the agency.

At least officially, the CIA ended its behavioral science program in the mid-1960s"

Random Chuck Norris Fact: Top Thirty Facts

Random Chuck Norris Fact: Top Thirty Facts:
"Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

Rather than being birthed like a normal child, Chuck Norris instead decided to punch his way out of his mother's womb. Shortly thereafter he grew a beard.

Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

Chuck Norris once roundhouse kicked someone so hard that his foot broke the speed of light, went back in time, and killed Amelia Earhart while she was flying over the Pacific Ocean.

Chuck Norris was the fourth Wiseman. He brought baby Jesus the gift of "beard". Jesus wore it proudly to his dying day. The other Wisemen, jealous of Jesus' obvious gift favoritism, used their combined influence to have Chuck omitted from the Bible. Shortly after all three died of roundhouse kick related deaths.

If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris you may be only seconds away from death.

Chuck Norris doesnt shave; he kicks himself in the face. The only thing that can cut Chuck Norris is Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris can make a woman climax by simply pointing at her and saying "booya".

Chuck Norris frequently signs up for beginner karate classes, just so he can "accidentally" beat the shit out of little kids.

Chuck Norris once shot a German plane down with his finger, by yelling, "Bang!"

The original theme song to the Transformers was actually "Chuck Norris--more than meets the eye, Chuck Norris--robot in disguise," and starred Chuck Norris as a Texas Ranger who defended the earth from drug-dealing Decepticons and could turn into a pick-up. This was far too much awesome for a single show, however, so it was divided."

Mr. T Fact: Top Thirty Mr. T Facts

Random Mr. T Fact: Top Thirty Mr. T Facts:
"Despite popular belief, if there is a fool in the woods, and nobody is around to hear his jibba jabba, Mr. T is still able to pity him.

Originally the A-Team was named T-Team and consisted of Mr. T and six of his genetically engineered clones driving around in a van made of pure gold. Producers changed the format after every criminal known to man was killed in the pilot episode.

Mr. T's hair style is actually a complex array of antennas that can triangulate the exact location of any fool in the universe. His gold chains can then transmit pity to those coordinates.

During one of his frequent time-traveling adventures, Mr. T was accosted by a horde of frenzied Olde Englishmen who believed he was "Mr. Tea" and that he was going to supply them with all the tea and crumpets they could possibly desire. With a single blow, Mr. T knocked the entire mob unconscious. To this day, English people still have gnarly-ass teeth.

Mr. T made his van go twice the speed of light because he wanted to prove that quantum physics was a bunch of jibba jabba.

Mr. T invented Asian people, because he thinks they're cute and don't take up much room.

Mr T defines love as the reluctance to murder. If you're still alive, it's because Mr T loves you.

Mr. T was fired from the Psychic Friends Network for always predicting pain.

If at the exact same moment, the same person was pitied by Mr. T and roundhouse kicked by Chuck Norris, the universe would implode."

Random Vin Diesel Fact: Top Thirty Facts

Random Vin Diesel Fact: Top Thirty Facts:
"There is no 'I' in team. There are two 'I's in Vin Diesel. Fuck you, team.

When Vin Diesel was born, the nurse said, "Holy crap! That's Vin Diesel!" Then she had had sex with him. At that point, she was the third girl he had slept with.

In an average living room there are 1,242 objects Vin Diesel could use to kill you, including the room itself.

If you were to lock Vin Diesel in a room with a guitar, a year later you would have the greatest album ever, it would sweep the Grammy's. When asked why he doesn't do this Vin replied "Because Grammy's are for queers." Then he ate a knife to show the seriousness of his response."

Rupert Sheldrake lays the SMACKdown!

Well... you know... as much as a scientist can, leastways...

ISS: Latest News and Events:
"I read your exchange with Michael Shermer with much interest. I agree with both of you about the need for skepticism as a essential part of the scientific process. But media skeptics are not usually part of a constructive scientific debate but rather follow a narrow, negative agenda. Michael claimed that skeptics such as himself are “thoughtful, inquiring, and reflective.” But there is a big gulf between this ideal and what media skeptics actually do, which, as you pointed out, all too often involves condemning open-minded inquiry. Like you, I have been the target of many skeptical attacks, and my experience has been very similar to your own.

Michael ended by trying to rebrand his kind of negative skepticism as positive.

'The skeptical fences are there for a reason - to keep the borderlands of science from shading too far into pseudoscience, non-science, and nonsense… Scientists don’t have the time or resources to shilly-shally with every new idea that comes down the pike. That is what the skeptics do, and as part of the scientific process: this is the power of positive skepticism.' In other words, media skeptics are the self-appointed frontier guards of science, a job for which they think they need no credentials except their fervor.

...It’s easy to be a media skeptic. You get the last word. You can say what you like. You don’t have to spend years doing actual research. And you yourself can remain immune from criticism, because those you criticize have no right of reply.

... The problem seems to be in part that the media feel the need to present a “balanced” view, and this creates an opportunity for negative skeptics to pursue their agenda. Well-funded skeptical advocacy organizations like CSICOP, the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, concentrate their attention on getting their message into the media as often as possible, always with the privilege of the last word. They are very successful. Some TV channels, including National Geographic in its current “Is It Real?” series, have allowed themselves to become mass-market vehicles for organized skepticism.

If the media want to give a balanced view, one simple solution would be to reverse the normal procedure. Ask the skeptics to speak first, saying why they think something like telepathy is impossible, and then let those who have carried out real investigations present actual evidence. Better still, create a level playing field. Allow replies. This would be much more interesting for readers and viewers."

The Way to Live by George Hackenschmidt

Despite the loss to Frank Gotch, Hackenschmidt was one of the best wrestlers and strength athletes at the turn of the century. Follow the link for a scan of his book.

The Way to Live by George Hackenschmidt - Introduction & Chapter I

Bruce Tegnér - Introduction

I remember first reading Tegner's books when I was a kid. There were always copies at the used book store. Probably some of the first martial arts stuff I was exposed to. Follow the link for a couple scans of some of his books...

Bruce Tegnér - Introduction:
"Bruce Tegnér was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1929. Tegnér was literally born into the martial arts as both his mother and father were professional teachers of judo and jujitsu; they began Bruce's instruction in the martial arts when he was two years old.

At the age of twenty-one, after becoming California state judo champion, he gave up competition to devote himself to research, course development, teaching, and teacher-training. In the U.S. armed forces Tegnér trained instructors to teach unarmed combat. He also taught military police and coached sport judo teams. From 1952-1967 he operated his own school in Hollywood, Calif. Among his students were many famous actors.

In 1967 Tegnér gave up his school and his teaching and spent his remaining years writing books on various aspects of the martial arts. His books covered a wide range of martial topics. They included sport training, classical training, and self-defense training.

Despite all that Tegnér did in the martial arts he was never really "accepted" by the martial arts community. Perhaps this is due to his approach. Tegnér's books exposed the many myths that exist in the martial arts, myths that many teachers of the arts would rather play upon in order to profit from or build their status from. He stripped much of this away and delivered a far different message. Tegner recognized that much of what was (and still is) being taught was too rigid, too traditional, too impractical and too sportive.

Tegnér knew that to excel in a sport one must be a good athlete. In order for the average person to protect themselves they don't need to be athletes, they need to learn simple methods. Methods that are easy to learn and easy to apply. The complex teachings of the martial arts are just not practical. So with that in mind it's easy to see why Tegnér would not be too popular with the martial arts crowd."

Key 23 | Occulture Evolved

Key 23 | Occulture Evolved:
"Living your life on a snarling, teeth-gritting vent doesnt necessarily mean that you will be taken seriously as you throw your pearls before many a thankless sow; friends who you selflessly try to introduce to the higher reality of Magick, friends who stare back at you like they just caught you fucking their grandmother in the mouth.

However there are so many different experiences to console yourself with in the hyper realities. I mean, its not all bad, drug induced conversations with the God's who reside over your local Tesco or Wall Mart.

...Magick clears the playing field of a constructed reality from hurt, guilt, love, loss, pleasure. It turns you into a golem that is an impenetrable haven from bullshit. It allows you to find your own guilt, your own love, your own pleasure, your own loss and not the emotions stolen from a second hand archetype from a fake TV show, that the majority of society will use to cut a piece of truth from, so that they will have at least something to wear that they think is their own, even if it's just a haircut that belongs to someone who never even existed. "

A man and his island

How very, very cool.

Playa del Carmen Community News and Info - Playa Maya News - Reishee Sowa - a man and his island:
"It looks like an island, it feels like an island, it has the beautiful vegetation of a tropical island but it just happens to be made of spiraling pop bottles. Who would have known and more importantly who would have thought it possible?

A man named Reishee Sowa that is who. This island is his inspiration, his baby, his dream. With the help of friends met along the way and a lot of hard work his dream has become a reality."

SuicideGirls > Words > Patton Oswalt - The Comedians of Comedy

SuicideGirls > Words > Patton Oswalt - The Comedians of Comedy:
"I also wanted to show how much I really hated the show Last Comic Standing because it took all these really talented comedians and put them in this setting where they reinforce this shitty myth about comedy. That myth is that your career comes down to one set and you've got five minutes, you've got one chance and if you don't reach out and grab it and hit a homerun, your career is over. We wanted to show that a career is a constantly mutating and evolving thing. Please don't believe that fucking gladiatorial myth about standup or about any career. Your career should be part of your life, when you treat comedy like that you're just saying that your life is just a function of your art. That's fucking ridiculous. Your art should be a function of your life; you should have an ongoing life, growth and change. It should not come down to five minutes.

...that’s the thing I hate about reality shows; it’s a forced non-reality. Reality shows are always about people dealing with non-stop excitement and tension, whereas real reality is people trying to make boredom fun and exciting. There’s nothing that’s been planned or scripted or mapped out. Reality shows, by the way, are more planned, scripted and fake than scripted shows."

SuicideGirls > Words > Sarah Silverman

SuicideGirls > Words > Sarah Silverman:
"DRE: What rights are you most looking forward to losing if the new Supreme Court nominee takes his seat?

Sarah: Is there anything left? I guess abortion. That’ll be fun to just have to sneak around to do that, just to put the excitement back into abortion.

...DRE: Have you ever been called to perform at a Jewish event with them knowing you are Jewish but not knowing the exact content of your act?

Sarah: I have had that experience. Jews are usually the best audiences because they let a lot slide. But I was asked to perform at a temple to raise money for a temple in LA. I’m ethnically Jewish but I’m not religious. I have no religion. I’m almost positive there is no God. But I kept telling them that I don’t have a clean version of my act and it’s very racy. They said “Oh they love that. It’s very progressive.’

DRE: What happened?

Sarah: I lost them almost immediately.

DRE: [laughs] Do you remember what joke it was?

Sarah: I don’t remember except that once it starts going bad I go full force. I probably did the Bayer Aspirin one. I did Holocaust jokes. I got nothing except upset groans. I just kept going because there’s that part of me that feels like I should do the time they asked for. When I got off stage one person was clapping. Then I saw that it was my sister.

...DRE: Is there any advice you’d give children?

Sarah: Don’t get AIDS. "

Thursday, November 17, 2005

"The main story here is cooperation," he added. "It's a beautiful thing."

Hippies and Christians, in perfect harmony...

Chicago Tribune | Amid ruin, `a beautiful thing':
"Church volunteers and hippies find common ground in Katrina's wake, collaborating to feed, clothe and comfort a storm-ravaged town

... Located inside a cavernous geodesic dome, the cafe offers three meals a day that are served by the Rainbow Family of Living Light, a scruffy assortment of dreadlocked, tattooed and pierced crew members, most of whom are in their 20s. Guitar and drum music wafts from nearby tents, and the Center for Alternative Living Medicine offers condoms and massages.

A few yards away, the scene at the Waveland Market is quite different. An open-air market (a misnomer because everything is free) that offers everything from laundry detergent and clothing to potato chips, it is run by a neatly groomed staff of evangelical Christians in bright green T-shirts. They are considerably older, and as one might expect, more conservative than the cafe staff.

The New Waveland Cafe and Market is one of the most curious yet inspiring stories to emerge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Located in a devastated town that took the brunt of the storm's fury, the cafe and marketplace are the combined effort of two groups from radically different backgrounds who have come together to help residents of the beleaguered Mississippi coastline."

Experts' Picks for the K-1 World GP '05

K1 GP tomorrow night. Hopefully it'll be on regular Japanese TV tomorrow. If not, the whole living in Japan bit has been somewhat of a waste :)

Personally, I like Semmy Schilt or Ray Sefo. But they meet each other in the first round...

Jerome LeBanner always has the vicious puncher's chance, though his chin is suspect.

Peter Aerts has the experience, but his best years may be behind him.

Defending champ Remy Bonjasky always is a threat, and tactically impressive with the most honed technique.

I'd like to see Semmy take it tho'...

Experts' Picks for the K-1 World GP '05:
"As the countdown continues to the K-1 World Grand Prix '05 Final, speculation is rife regarding who will earn fightsports' most coveted crown.

Set for November 19, the K-1 Final is the culmination of scores of fight events held round the world over the last year. Survivors on the long road from preliminaries to qualifiers to eliminations, the final eight will step into the ring at the Tokyo Dome this Saturday evening knowing they are but three wins away from the richest and most prestigious fightsports title of its kind -- the K-1 World Grand Prix Championship."

How to Deal With an Overbearing Mother -

Yeah, the letter bit... That doesn't always work out so well. Fair warning.

How to Deal With an Overbearing Mother -
"1. Realize there are reasons why your mother is overbearing and that you won't ever be able to change her. The operative word in this eHow is "deal."...

4. Consider writing your mother a letter, detailing how you'd like your relationship to evolve (and which aspects can go extinct like the dinosaurs)."

God's Debris - Free ebook from Dilbert's Scott Adams

Easily one of the most interesting books I've read...

Follow the link and make with the clicky.

God's Debris:
"Get your free—no strings attached—e-book version of God’s Debris in pdf format. Enjoy it yourself or e-mail it to friends. The only restriction is that you enjoy it personally without any commercial use.

...Frankly, this is the hardest book in the world to market. When it first came out in hardcover, booksellers couldn’t decide if it was fiction or nonfiction. Was it philosophy or religion? It’s a religion/science book written by a cartoonist, using hypnosis techniques in the writing. It’s a thought experiment. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever read. How do you sell something that can’t be explained?

... Still, God's Debris is emphatically not for everyone. Although there’s no sex or violence, I don’t recommend it for readers under fourteen unless a parent has screened it. And if you don’t like to have your perceptions challenged, this book isn’t for you. However, if you like a good book-induced buzz now and then, I think you’ll agree that the price was right...


Imagine that you meet a very old man who—you eventually realize—knows literally everything. Imagine that he explains for you the great mysteries of life—quantum physics, evolution, God, gravity, light, psychic phenomenon, and probability—in a way so simple, so novel, and so compelling that it all fits together and makes perfect sense. What does it feel like to suddenly understand everything? God's Debris isn’t the final answer to the Big Questions. But it might be the most compelling vision of reality you will ever read. The thought experiment is this: Try to figure out what’s wrong with the old man’s explanation of reality. Share the book with your smart friends then discuss it later while enjoying a beverage.

Ah, the sweet dream of superpowers... - DNRC:
"Do you ever have moments when you think you may have spontaneously developed a super power? This happens to me a lot. For example, the other day I heard some sounds in the distance and my first thought was I wonder if normal people can hear that? For some reason, I felt as though I had developed super hearing. I'm optimistic that way.

I also spend way too much time staring at objects and trying to make them burst into flames. I realize it's a long shot, but how do your really know unless you try?

I grew up reading Superman and Spider-Man comics, so I take for granted that sooner or later I'll have a freak accident that gives me a super power. It'll hurt when it happens, for sure, but it will be worth it. I just hope it's not a crappy super power, such as the ability to add long columns of numbers in my head, or the power to eat an unlimited amount of eggs. I want the kind where I can kill people and impress people and ultimately kill the people who refuse to be impressed. And the witnesses too, of course."

More Jesus'ifyin

More of that holy and benign Christian love and compassion.

They will gladly torture and kill your body to save your soul. Never forget that. » EVERYTHING’S DARKSIDED: Women Forced To Eat Shit By Mad Christians:
"“They beat us with a bible and said we were lying and that we are practicing witchcraft. They also fined us for it and forced us to consume human excreta,” said Kapri, one of the victim.

According to police, the four women were tortured as they were accused of practicing sorcery and spreading disease in the village."

What is Faith? - Pop Occulture

What is Faith? - Pop Occulture:
"Faith can be useful.

Imagination moreso."

The Apparat Programme

Warren Ellis does a podcast of indie/web music he dubbed the Apparat Programme. Always interesting... follow the link for podcast signup or direct download... » The Apparat Programme: 6:
"The Apparat Programme
broadcast at ninety-six kilobits per second in broadband
6: there should be explosions and crying
and drunks at the end"

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

What obsolete skill are you?

France Modern (trois fleurs-de-lis)
You are 'French'. In the nineteenth century, it
was the international language of diplomacy.
It is a 'beautiful' language, meaning that it
is really just a low-fidelity copy of Latin.

You know the importance of communicating
'diplomatically', which for you means both
being polite and friendly when necessary and
using sophisticated, vicious sarcasm when
appropriate. Your life is guided by either
existentialism or nihilism, depending on the
weather. You have a certain appreciation for
the finer things in life, which is a diplomatic
way of saying that you are a disgusting
hedonist. Your problem is that French has been
obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla - Iraq officials acknowledge new detainee abuse - Nov 15, 2005

See, we had to overthrow Saddam because he abused his own people, see? - Iraq officials acknowledge new detainee abuse - Nov 15, 2005:
"'I saw signs of physical abuse by brutal beating -- one or two cases were paralyzed, and some cases of skin peeled off various parts of the body,' the official, Hussein Kamal, told CNN."

That damn Magna Carta!

Mainstream judge speaks out | MetaFilter:
"Well, you've got your ordinary redneck Bush voter who wants to roll back the New Deal and take us back to 1920 or so. Then you've got the nitwit religious right, they'd like to undo the Enlightment which gets us back to the 17th century. And then there's the intellectual elite of the Republican Party who want to return to the executive the power that has been 'usurped' by the courts; they'd basically like to revoke the Magna Carta, so now we're talking about people who think the 1200s were the good old days."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

"Orange Méchanique" A Clockwork Orange explanation for the French riots...

Reason: Orange Méchanique: What twentieth-century novel was the leading indicator of the French riots?:
" America, where the national media have never ignored a riot, but the true international template of the French riots has been missed by both the assimilationists and the clash-of-civilizationists. Instead, the model was described more than 40 years ago, in a popular book that has never been fully appreciated as a political prophecy.

What are the distinguishing features of these riots? They are, as Olivier Roy notes in his recent New York Times argument for assimilation, overwhelmingly the work of young, male layabouts who are poor but not particularly uncomfortable. The rioters may be attracted to an extreme version of their parents' religion (although there's been precious little evidence of that), but the central characteristic so far has been a marked disintegration of parental influence.

...So you've got underemployed but well fed kids with plenty of time on their hands, the depraved indifference of a welfare state that usurps the role of parents but provides no useful structure for the youth, a housing-project culture that sees itself (not without reason) as a defenseless ward of the state, politicians who veer between mealy-mouthed coddling of sociopaths and vicious denunciation of people with legitimate grievances, and kids who react to it all with theatrical violence. Clearly, the last century's great prophetic novel was not George Orwell's 1984 but Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange.

...What makes Alex an engaging narrator, though, is not just his linguistic invention or the mordant wit of his observations, but that he harbors no illusions about the world he lives in—an overwhelmed, politically calcified welfare state where teenagers menace the streets when they're not being shuffled between public schools and juvenile detention centers. From page one, Alex recognizes a central fact about the state that provides his food, shelter, schooling, and jail time: The people in charge don't give a crap whether he lives or dies. They don't even care, really, whether he commits crimes. They just want to make sure he doesn't cause them trouble.

Of course, the state has to be seen taking care of business, and Alex regularly bumps up against authority figures whom he views with wry bemusement. He is officially in the charge of a probation officer (or, in one of the book's brilliantly anodyne euphemisms, "Post-Corrective Adviser") named Mr. P.R. Deltoid—"an overworked veck with hundreds on his books." ...As he puts it:

"Just watch it, that's all, yes. We know more than you think, little Alex." Then he said, in a goloss of great suffering, but still rocking away: "What gets into you all? We study the problem and we've been studying it for damn well near a century, yes, but we get no farther with our studies. You've got a good home here, good loving parents, you've got not too bad a brain. Is it some devil that crawls into you?"

You could hear echoes of that despair in recent weeks, as liberals expressed surprise at the burning of public schools and civic centers. After all, why would these crazy kids destroy the very bounty that the state has provided for them? Burgess' supreme insight was that, despite the popularity of the phrase "grinding poverty," poverty in a modern state is almost never grinding. One of my first reactions, when watching the Kubrick movie in high school, was to envy Alex the vast amount of leisure time his truant lifestyle seemed to afford him. What drives the rioters in France may be Islam, it may be a lack of opportunity, or the disrespect of the wider culture, or alienation from the keepers of "Gallic pride" (whatever that is). It's probably some combination of all those things, and a few others. The one thing that definitely isn't driving any of the rioters is an empty stomach.

...there is an even clearer pattern of a welfare structure that sings the praises of the nation while discouraging recipients from feeling any connection to the nation—a one-size-fits-all style of governance that cultivates, if it doesn't actually breed, anti-social behavior. The French government makes a particularly choice target for schadenfreude: With one hand it fails to make cité residents to feel like full citizens (by, for example, ensuring an Arabic-sounding name is not a barrier to a good job), and on the other it enforces fake national unity on pointless matters (by banning headscarves in public schools). But the pattern repeats itself everywhere the state provides for the basic needs of its outsider groups while standing in the way of their pursuit of happiness."

A Clockwork Orange

disinformation | the fallen:
"'It was the sense of this division between well us and sick them that led me to write, in 1960, a short novel called A Clockwork Orange. It is not, in my view, a very good novel . . . But it sincerely presented my abhorrence of the view the view that some people were criminal and others were not. A denial of the universal inheritance of sin is characteristic of Pelagian societies like that of Britain, and it was Britain, about 1960, that respectable people began to murmur about the growth of juvenile delinquency and suggest (that the young criminals) were a somewhat inhuman breed and required inhuman treatment . . . There were irresponsible people who spoke of aversion therapy . . . Society, as ever, was put first. The delinquents were, of course, not quite human beings: they were minors, and had no vote they were very much them as opposed to us, who represented society.'
~ ~ Anthony Burgess"

Self Defense

Women's self defence - Making rapists giggle since 1990:
"Women's self defence has taken off. All manners of crap has presented itself to oprah watching self esteem junkies worldwide. Everything from Tai Bo and Martial Aerobics to classes run by guys who could make you believe you were bruce lee until your ass was owned in the car park.

This shit has got to stop, and I say this out of altruism ... well mostly by the fact that obnoxious women tell me they'd beat me up. If there is one shortcut to getting raped it would have to be confidence. I heard a story of this lady who went into a 'real' martial arts school. She said she'd done self defence (which is a watered down useless pile of horse shit that states any guy will die if you kick him in the balls and that a 40kg woman can put mike tyson on his ass with grappling and judo like throws.) The woman said to the guy 'attack me.' So he threw her pansy ass up against a wall, tore her shirt and pinned her so she couldn't move. I think the guy is in jail now but his message is sound."

How to lose weight

How to lose weight in Easy Steps:
"I'm not a fan of anorexics, but they're good role models for fat people."

Dealing with Social Convention

Mad Sophists Perfect World - What the world would be like if I created it:
"...Social Mores and Traditions. I tire of the fact that calling a christian a dumb shit is 'not the right thing to do.' I'm sick of not being able to say the first thing that comes into my head when I see a pregnant lady. 'Woah, you let a guy insert and ejaculate inside yourself, nice work!'

I tire of the fact that calling your boss a knob jockey is not civilized or acceptable. I especially can't stand the fact that people expect you to be polite and curb your behaviour just because you're talking to an old person who cardiac arrests at the word 'fuck.'"

Apathy and Human Nature

They're Killing Korean Families with Gasses ....... Who had McDonalds?!:
"To me that was a metaphor for life. You can force someone to listen that the world is suffering, but don’t expect it to rate higher in popularity than what they missed out on for lunch."

"The Original Affluent Society"

God is NOT an Asshole:
"The anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, surveying the data on contemporary hunter-gatherers, exploded the Hobbesian myth in an article entitled 'The Original Affluent Society.' They work a lot less than we do, and their work is hard to distinguish from what we regard as play. Sahlins concluded that 'hunters and gatherers work less than we do; and, rather than a continuous travail, the food quest is intemmittent, leisure abundant, and there is a greater amount of sleep in the daytime per capita per year than in any other condition of society.' They worked an average of four hours a day, assuming they were 'working' at all. Their 'labor,' as it appears to us, was skilled labor which exercised their physical and intellectual capacities; unskilled labor on any large scale, as Sahlins says, is impossible except under industrialism. Thus it satisfied Friedrich Schiller's definition of play, the only occasion on which man realizes his complete humanity by giving full 'play' to both sides of his twofold nature, thinking and feeling."


Calvin and Hobbes

Enemy of the State

Capitol Hill Blue: An enemy of the state:
"According to a printout from a computer controlled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice, I am an enemy of the state.

The printout, shown to me recently by a friend who works for Justice, identifies me by a long, multi-digit number, lists my date of birth, place of birth, social security number and contains more than 100 pages documenting what the Bureau and the Bush Administration consider to be my threats to the security of the United States of America.

It lists where I sent to school, the name and address of the first wife that I had been told was dead but who is alive and well and living in Montana, background information on my current wife and details on my service to my country that I haven’t even revealed to my wife or my family.

Although the file finds no criminal activity by me or members of my immediate family, it remains open because I am a “person of interest” who has “written and promoted opinions that are contrary to the government of the United States of America.”

And it will remain active because the government of the United States, under the far-reaching provisions of the USA Patriot Act, can compile and retain such information on any American citizen. That act gives the FBI the authority to collect intimate details about anyone, even those not suspected of any wrongdoing.

...Much of this information was gathered through what we call ‘national security letters,’” he said. “It allows us to gather information from a variety of sources.”

A “national security letter” it turns out, can be issued by any FBI supervisor, without court order or judicial review, to compel libraries, banks, employers and other sources to turn over any and all information they have on American citizens.

The FBI issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year. When one is delivered to a bank, library, employer or other entity, the same federal law that authorizes such letters also prohibits your bank, employer or anyone else from telling you that they received such a letter and were forced to turn over all information on you.

According to my file, the banks where I have both business and checking accounts have been forced to turn over all records of my transactions, as have every company where I have a charge account or credit card. They’ve perused my book borrowing habits from libraries in Arlington and Floyd Counties as well as studied what television shows I watch on the Tivos in my house. They know I belong to the National Rifle Association, the National Press Photographers Association and other professional groups. They know I attend meetings of Alcoholic Anonymous on a regular basis and the file notes that my “pattern of spending” shows no purchase of “alcohol-related products” since the file was opened in 2001.

In the past, when information collected on an American citizen failed to turn up any criminal activity, FBI policy called for such information to be destroyed.

But President George W. Bush in 2003 reversed that long-standing policy and ordered the bureau and other federal agencies to not only keep that information but place it in government databases that can be accessed by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

...When I asked to keep the copy of the file, my friend said “no.” I promised to keep it and the source confidential.

“You can’t,” he said. “You can’t keep anything hidden. Your life is an open book with us and it will be to the day you die.”

After we left lunch and went our separate ways, I wondered how, if my life was under such scrutiny from Uncle Sam, he could meet me for lunch in a public restaurant and not be discovered? So the next day I went to a public phone in an out-of-the-way location and dialed his direct number.

It was disconnected. So I called the central number and asked to speak to him. The woman who answered the phone wanted my name and phone number so he could return the call. I hung up..."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Alchemical Braindamage

Alchemical Braindamage:
"Have fun. And when you start feeling extremely paranoid, just remember: it's not you. It's the nature of the universe. The world is a friendly place. Any problems arise from deranged people who aren't shy about asking for help with their deranged ideas."

There's a glossary of terms... I swear to god, I'm not making this up.

The New Monogamy - Marriage With Benefits:
"Above-the-waist rule
An agreement that any touching above the beltline is fair game.

Body-fluid monogamy
When a couple forgoes the latex with each other but requires it for all outside sexual activity.

Celebrity trading card
As seen on Friends: an imaginary laminated card in your wallet—proof that your partner has given permission for you to sleep with the stars listed.

Secret, extracurricular romantic and/or sexual activity that breaks the rules. So nineties, so lame.

Closed relationship
How some people in open relationships refer to “old-fashioned” monogamy.

Don’t ask, don’t tell
A policy whereby people in a committed relationship may screw around, so long as they are discreet.

Ethical slut
A promiscuous person who strives to approach partners with respect and honesty. (From the 1997 how-to book by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt.)

Fifty-mile rule
You don’t sleep with anyone who lives in your city. (Also the title of a 2002 book by Judith Brandt.)

Make-out party
Events open to the public where semi-nudity and above-the-waist fondling are encouraged.

Open flirting policy
An understanding that flirting is healthy, harmless fun.

Open relationship
A long-term, committed relationship in which the couple explicitly agrees to extracurricular sexual activity, either together or individually.

Party bisexual
A woman or a man who engages in same-sex sex-play after multiple martinis.

Pinch hitter
Someone a couple brings in to spice up their love life, e.g., to watch them have sex or to get together with one-half of the couple while the partner watches.

Physical monogamy
You can look, fantasize, and engage in dirty talk— but no touching.

A philosophy of being involved with multiple long-term, intimate partners.

Having more than one long-term partner but being closed to additions, e.g. trinogamy (see below).

Multiple spouses.

Partner-swapping. Sometimes referred to as “the Lifestyle.”

To be in a committed threesome.

Work boyfriend/girlfriend
A colleague —your lunchmate, IM partner, smoking buddy, etc. No sex, though."

Societal game rules are exactly that - game rules. That being said... kooky.

The New Monogamy - Marriage With Benefits:
"For much of human history, monogamy (or, at least, presumed monogamy) has been the default setting for long-term love. Hack the system, goes the theory, refuse to forsake all others, open the door even a crack—and the whole relationship will crash. Any dissenters have been pathologized as delusional idealists or worse. But now a new generation of couples is employing a kind of homeopathic hypothesis: that a tiny injection of adventure will ward off the urge to stray further—as long as it’s all on the table and up for discussion. (And just as with homeopathy, a healthy percentage of the population considers this premise bunk.)

...The idea of jimmying the lock on monogamy is not new, of course. Even before marriage made the leap from an institution designed to protect property to something a bit more intimate (and in recent decades, with the changes wrought by feminism, to a freely chosen option for women), early American communes like the Oneida Community, founded in 1848, advocated nonpossessive love and “complex” (i.e., nonexclusive) marriage. In the fifties, Kinsey’s researchers swapped spouses. And by the seventies, the more daring members of the divorce-slash-therapy generation were experimenting with the form: key parties, organized swinger communities, and—inspired by the 1972 book Open Marriage, by George and Nena O’Neill—sanctioned slutting around.

It never quite caught on, though, in part because the prospects of extramarital relationships (or even temptations) were so heavily skewed toward men, who had all the freedoms and fewer erotic prohibitions. These days, however, a woman is as likely as a man to attend a sales conference in Des Moines. E-mail, text messaging, and online porn and personals provide both men and women with privacy and virtual intimacy. Both sexes stay single longer, and variety is built into the way they think of their sex lives. The increasingly open gay community has dramatized the fact that there isn’t just one way to be two. Even evolutionary psychologists, once stalwarts of the men-cheat-women-cling school, are questioning whether females are innately monogamous. Perhaps this time around, seventies-style swinging and slutting will actually be feasible—and fair.

Or maybe people will just start talking about it more. Because in its mildest form, managed monogamy is nothing more than the ability to joke about temptation. Our friend Patrick is fond of introducing his wife, Anne, as “my first wife.” Ty and Lynn tease each other about their respective “work girlfriends and boyfriends.” Andrew and his fiancée, Heidi, browse online ads to stimulate role play—imagining three-ways in a manner that is sheerly theoretical, so far. And then there are the popular celebrity lists swapped between partners, like a dirty game of fantasy football.

“My fiancé and I each have a Hump Island,” says Karen, a 30-year-old editor. The idea being, which stars occupy their personal fantasy retreat? “The island has many iterations,” Karen explains. There’s Geriatric Hump Island (“for Robert Redford and Catherine Deneuve”), Lolita Hump Island (“That was for him, before Natalie Portman turned 18—I didn’t invite any young boys”), and Homo Hump Island (“He’s picked Elvis Costello, though I think it’s more of a man crush than an actual attraction”).

...“What’s new here is not that couples are being nonmonogamous,” says Stephanie Coontz, professor of history and family studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and author of Marriage: A History. “It’s that couples are negotiating the terms of their monogamy.” Of course, such negotiations can be as exhausting as cheating ever was; just ask anyone who’s tried to plan a “nontraditional” wedding. There’s something to be said for the well-worn path—it’s like a built-in referee. Sure, you might not agree with his calls, but at least he always has one.

...Many straight couples struggling with these issues look to gay male friends, for whom a more fluid notion of commitment is practically the norm. William, a 34-year-old teacher, has been with his boyfriend, Dan, for more than five years. “We are totally closed for now,” insists William—but it’s not what you’re thinking. “It doesn’t rule out me making out with foreign boys against parked cars when Dan’s out of town.” Ah, semantics.

“Talking about my sexual adventures outside my relationship shocks my straight friends, then titillates them,” says William. “Until finally they recognize the permanence of my relationship and begin to reinterpret it all as healthy and evolved.”

...Never let it be said that these new monogamists don’t know how to articulate their desires. In fact, their loquaciousness goes a long way toward explaining how and why they do it like they do: We’re living in an age of unprecedented emphasis on “communication” in relationships. (Yep, one more thing to blame on your shrink.) Thousands of books detail how couples should communicate their wants/needs/desires/pet peeves to one another. Not happy? Communicate your concerns. Bored with your sex life? Communicate your fantasies. Had an affair? Communicate your fuckup. The result of this communication-bingeing is that negotiation is starting to trump discretion.

...A prior seven-year monogamous relationship had ended when they both cheated. Katie had also recently ended a seven-year relationship when she discovered her boyfriend was fooling around—with both women and men. “It hit me that humans aren’t meant to be with just one person,” she says. “It’s like, you have this best friend, and you want the best for him. So if he’s hot for that chick over there, you want to be like, ‘Yeah, go for it!’ ”

...Call us snobs, but it’s easy to dismiss suburban swingers who show up at orgies with a Tupperware container or Bay Area hippies missing the irony gene. But when a couple like Siege and Katie decry strict monogamy? It makes you wonder, How old-fashioned, socially programmed, and ass-backward am I?

...These two can certainly teach most couples a thing or two about communication: They finish each other’s sentences and tease one another gently about the few times they’ve failed to follow their own simple yet strict rules. (1) The Vampire Rule: If they’re both in the same city, they have to make it back by dawn. (2) The Three-Strikes Rule: All pinch hitters must be interested in befriending both Siege and Katie (and vice versa); however, up to three solo dates are acceptable to warm someone up. (3) The Postcards Rule: If they’re seeing someone else on their own, they must bring home photographic evidence. (4) The Woman-Only Rule: Katie is bisexual, Siege is not—thus, for pinch hitters to meet rule No. 2, they must be female. (5) The Veto Rule: for Katie’s benefit, allowing her to rule out potential home-wreckers. (6) The Safety Rule: What some couples call “body-fluid monogamy,” i.e., always use condoms when having sex with a third . . . or a fourth . . . or a fifth . .

...It’s way too soon to tell if managed monogamy is any more effective than its stringent cousin at keeping couples happy for the long haul. Even if people can do it, that doesn’t guarantee them eternal love: Is the open relationship really about freedom, or is it about competition, wishful thinking, controlling cheating, rebelliousness for the sake of being different, or passive-aggressive punishment?

But then, the same could be said of monogamy, which can derive from equally suspect motives. Maybe it’s not sex that makes or breaks a couple, after all; maybe it’s the couple’s willingness to change their minds about what fidelity means. We met many strictly monogamous couples who have no interest in any kind of openness, ever—a high proportion refused to even discuss the subject, with their partner or us. But, remarkably, we didn’t find a single open (or openish) couple who weren’t amenable to being (more) monogamous in the future. “An open relationship doesn’t just mean you’re open to sex with other people,” says Siege. “It means you’re open to changes in the relationship, too.” - Sarah Silverman Screening Room:
"Silverman, by contrast, has quietly been constructing a persona that's wholly incautious, ascending in the footsteps of Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and Chris Rock.

Her new film, Jesus is Magic, borders on brilliant. She doesn't understand, for example, after being told that she can't say 'chink' on TV, how 'Jews lost control of the media.' 'What kind of a world do we live in where a totally cute white girl can't say chink on network television? It's like the fifties.' She's horrified that her sister has grounded her seven-year-old daughter for coming out as a lesbian. 'No pussy for a week. Right? I mean, to us, as adults, it may not seem like that big a deal, but to a little kid a week is, like, a really long time.' And she can't comprehend how after the 'alleged' holocaust, Jews can still drive German cars. 'It's just so. . .' She pauses to search for right word, touching her forehead with the tip of her finger: 'Gay.'

Her clueless delivery nearly makes you forget that, with this last one, you're laughing at a xenophobic, homophobic, anti-Semitic, Holocaust-questioning one-liner. By piling one inappropriate comment onto another as if they're all a matched set, she succeeds in convincing us that they pretty much are.

At the screening, the woman sitting next to me laughed hysterically at all the jokes about gays, blacks and poor people, and was dead silent through all the jokes about Jews. Do you find people are more willing to laugh at jokes that don't apply to them?

That's hilarious. Yes. Listen, if you don't find Holocaust jokes funny, then they're going to be offensive. She was probably too close to the material, and I can respect that. I would never be like, "Oh, she just doesn't get it." But I'm not going to change it either. I'm sure there's comedy that could offend me but I wouldn't expect someone to change it just because it hit a nerve.

We live in an age where everything's very politically correct, but the motivation to be non-offensive doesn't come from any sort of moral compass. It comes from a fear of losing advertisers, losing consumers, losing money, bad publicity, and all these reasons that I don't care about, reasons that have nothing to do with humanity."

Ten Questions with Sarah Silverman

Sports Hollywood - Ten Questions with Sarah Silverman:
"SportsHollywood: Which do you enjoy more: Getting a basket in front of a crowd or getting a laugh in front of a crowd?

SILVERMAN: They're both great. You can't compare them. What do you like better: cumming on a porn star's back, or watching your first child be born into the world? --See, they're both wonderful.

SportsHollywood: Name five Clippers.


SportsHollywood: What's your favorite sports movie?

SILVERMAN: Brian's Song. I love when James Caan calls Billy Dee Williams a 'nigger,' and Billy Dee laughs his ass off. And then he tells his girlfriend who's also black--I think it was Judy Pace--and she laughs. It shows the truth--that the real meaning of a word is only as powerful or harmless as the emotion behind it. And it's awesome illustration of a friendship without any exposition. Is that a good answer? I'm a jackass.

SportsHollywood: What is the worst sports movie ever made?

SILVERMAN: Schindler's List.

SportsHollywood: Who is your favorite athlete?

SILVERMAN: Muhammad Ali. In his prime he was a funny, smart thinker, untainted by the forces and opinions around him. He's the greatest. And I thought his relationship with Howard Cosell surpassed any in even the best buddy movies."

See, it's okay, because this man is the single innocent whose life has been screwed over by this noble war.

Detainees Deserve Court Trials:
"As the Senate prepared to vote Thursday to abolish the writ of habeas corpus, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jon Kyl were railing about lawyers like me. Filing lawsuits on behalf of the terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. Terrorists! Kyl must have said the word 30 times.

As I listened, I wished the senators could meet my client Adel.

Adel is innocent. I don't mean he claims to be. I mean the military says so. It held a secret tribunal and ruled that he is not al Qaeda, not Taliban, not a terrorist. The whole thing was a mistake: The Pentagon paid $5,000 to a bounty hunter, and it got taken.

The military people reached this conclusion, and they wrote it down on a memo, and then they classified the memo and Adel went from the hearing room back to his prison cell. He is a prisoner today, eight months later. And these facts would still be a secret but for one thing: habeas corpus.

Only habeas corpus got Adel a chance to tell a federal judge what had happened. Only habeas corpus revealed that it wasn't just Adel who was innocent -- it was Abu Bakker and Ahmet and Ayoub and Zakerjain and Sadiq -- all Guantanamo "terrorists" whom the military has found innocent.

Habeas corpus is older than even our Constitution. It is the right to compel the executive to justify itself when it imprisons people. But the Senate voted to abolish it for Adel, in favor of the same "combatant status review tribunal" that has already exonerated him. That secret tribunal didn't have much impact on his life, but Graham says it is good enough.

Adel lives in a small fenced compound 8,000 miles from his home and family. The Defense Department says it is trying to arrange for a country to take him -- some country other than his native communist China, where Muslims like Adel are routinely tortured. It has been saying this for more than two years. But the rest of the world is not rushing to aid the Bush administration, and meanwhile Adel is about to pass his fourth anniversary in a U.S. prison.

He has no visitors save his lawyers. He has no news in his native language, Uighur. He cannot speak to his wife, his children, his parents. When I first met him on July 15, in a grim place they call Camp Echo, his leg was chained to the floor. I brought photographs of his children to another visit, but I had to take them away again. They were "contraband," and he was forbidden to receive them from me.

In a wiser past, we tried Nazi war criminals in the sunlight. Summing up for the prosecution at Nuremberg, Robert Jackson said that "the future will never have to ask, with misgiving: 'What could the Nazis have said in their favor?' History will know that whatever could be said, they were allowed to say. . . . The extraordinary fairness of these hearings is an attribute of our strength."

The world has never doubted the judgment at Nuremberg. But no one will trust the work of these secret tribunals.

Mistakes are made: There will always be Adels. That's where courts come in. They are slow, but they are not beholden to the defense secretary, and in the end they get it right. They know the good guys from the bad guys. Take away the courts and everyone's a bad guy.

The secretary of defense chained Adel, took him to Cuba, imprisoned him and sends teams of lawyers to fight any effort to get his case heard. Now the Senate has voted to lock down his only hope, the courts, and to throw away the key forever. Before they do this, I have a last request on his behalf. I make it to the 49 senators who voted for this amendment."

Anyone who writes "worthless as a midget trying to fuck an Amazon warrior" is OK in my book...

The Rude Pundit:
"Yer pundits like to talk about Americans loving strength, commitment, and shit like that in their leaders. But that's not really entirely true: Americans like things to be concrete. They like practice, not theory. It's why Bush will never, ever recover public support on the Iraq war: it was sold to the U.S. based on a couple of concrete things - WMDs and and Iraq/Al-Qaeda nexus of eeeevil. It is now being waged based on something abstract: spreadin' democracy to freedom lovin' people.

See, you tell your average American that a man with brownish skin who talks a weird moonman language that he wants to blow your shit up, well, what are you gonna do? Say 'No' to blowin' him up first? 'Course not. It's a simple, economical equation: kill or be killed. But when you gotta come back to that average American, that idealized version of a citizen that doesn't really exist, and say, 'Hey, man, our shit wasn't about to be fucked up, but, lookie, we're 'spreadin' democracy' with our troops,' well, you may as well start jackin' off now 'cause you'll be told repeatedly to 'Go fuck yourself.'

Americans hate utopianism. It's one reason why liberalism failed in this nation: for too long, the practical, actual, real things that liberals did got caught up in utopian bullshit that was easily manipulated to sound faux communistic. Without the nukes, without the photos of Hussein and Bin Laden playin' grab ass, the President has had to say, repeatedly, that the Iraq war is about 'building democracy,' and that those who are fighting the U.S. troops there are trying to stop democracy from being built. Ideal Average American thought the troops were there to stop the bad man and his bad bombs.

So what poll numbers indicate is that the vast majority of Americans believe not only that Bush is as worthless as a midget trying to fuck an Amazon warrior, but that Republicans are busy harming America, and they want the Republican agenda stopped. Now. Americans want resistance, active, ongoing resistance to the crazed machinations of the now obviously evil people running things.

The right loves to say any time the Democrats resist or block a Republican bill or nominee or idea, 'Well, Democrats, why don't you tell us what you'd like to do? What's your plan?' That's like a rapist getting kicked in the nuts by his potential victim and then asking her, 'Well, okay, since you don't want to be fucked, what would you like to do?' The only proper response is not for the victim to suggest alternate activities ('Well, rapist, we could play a lively game of whist'), but to say, 'I'd like you to be dead. No, no, even better, I'd like you to be buried alive. In a small coffin. Filled with scorpions. And covered in shit.'

Resistance is an agenda. It's simply explained: hey, the bag of douche Republicans won't even allow Democratic ideas to be debated, so we're gonna filibuster the shit out of these assholes on most of their extreme shit and force compromise or implosion. And if you wanna have new ideas, then get rid of these crazy motherfuckers who want to wreck the country for this strange, endless utopian vision they have that they can't really explain to the rest of us."

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 5PM Hell, Take All Weekend

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 5PM Hell, Take All Weekend:
"5PM Hell, Take All Weekend

Sales: [Diana] is freaking out. What should I tell her?
Consultant: Just tell her to chill.
Sales: Well, how long should I tell her to chill?
Consultant: Until the next episode.

2135 Rimrock Road
Madison, Wisconsin"


Barbelith Underground > Temple > Wu-Tang: The Manual:
""what happens if you start to suspect your whole life is a fiction suit. an eveything just reinforces that for you over an over."

Welcome to interesting times."

Hip Hop as Religion; Personas and Fictionsuits

Barbelith Underground > Temple > Wu-Tang: The Manual:
"Hip-hop is basically a religious movement, an initiatory mystery cult, which has disguised itself, disguised itself so much it has forgotten what it is.

About the fiction suits/self mythologizing, the art of MCing is to a large extent about creating a persona and being possessed by it. Watch MCs eyes when they freestyle, they are on another plane, another level; the eyes remind me of a video I once saw of a haitian ritual.

You rap about fucking lots of girls and before you know it you are. Listening to Ready to Die you realize Biggie asked for it. I read an interview by Johhny Juice (Public Enemy's secret DJ) and he said back in the day, Chuck D used to be very different from Charles Ridenhour (whatever his passport name really is anyway), but in time they fused into a single person. Chuck D was smart about it, I have met him briefly and he is a very humble but very powerful person, very respectful too. He was 27 when he first released an album, most rappers have quit by that age. Most rappers create an irresponsible persona and it comes back and destroys them.

The way MCs pick new names is interesting, it has some roots in the nation of islam (Malcolm X, Clarence 13X, Muhammed Ali etc) and it brings to mind the name one has in an occult order, it is initiatory. Also the name being an authority (Lord Finesse, Grand Wizard Theodore, Professor Griff, Blastmaster KRS1, Big Daddy Kane, etc) can be traced to calypso, reggae and jazz (Lord Kitchener, Prince Buster, King Tubby, Duke Ellington, Count Basie etc) and I understand it as being a detournement of colonialist perceptions of status."

Open Source

:: Douglas Rushkoff - Weblog :::
"It is the real legacy of the open source movement—misunderstood even by many of its participants as solely a way to develop computer operating systems, and underestimated in its potential impact by even its staunchest opponents. As I've come to see it, the deeper cultural agenda is based on three far-reaching assumptions:

1. The systems by which we live are inventions and conventions.
2. The codes underlying those systems can be learned and rewritten.
3. This process best takes place collaboratively.

It's those same three stages of renaissance we've been looking at all along: moving from passivity to gaining a perspective and then to attaining the power of authorship. Finally, the desire to acquire and spend social currency fuels a spirit of collaboration. We play the game by the rules, we learn enough codes to cheat, and ultimately rewrite the game and share our creations with others.

Approaching work this way offers us a path not only to greater innovation, but also to a more cooperative and less painfully competitive style of doing business. Still, it requires that we relearn both our own areas of expertise from the inside out, as well as the way we think of how to share them with others. Luckily, the two go hand in hand."


Basic Nutrition: Dietary Guidelines:
"Dietary Guidelines

1. Eat whole, natural foods.
2. Eat only foods that will spoil, but eat them before they do.
3. Eat naturally-raised meat including fish, seafood, poultry, beef, lamb, game, organ meats and eggs.
4. Eat whole, naturally-produced milk products from pasture-fed cows, preferably raw and/or fermented, such as whole yogurt, cultured butter, whole cheeses and fresh and sour cream.
5. Use only traditional fats and oils including butter and other animal fats, extra virgin olive oil, expeller expressed sesame and flax oil and the tropical oils—coconut and palm.
6. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, in salads and soups, or lightly steamed.
7. Use whole grains and nuts that have been prepared by soaking, sprouting or sour leavening to neutralize phytic acid and other anti-nutrients.
8. Include enzyme-enhanced lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages and condiments in your diet on a regular basis.
9. Prepare homemade meat stocks from the bones of chicken, beef, lamb or fish and use liberally in soups and sauces.
10. Use herb teas and coffee substitutes in moderation.
11. Use filtered water for cooking and drinking.
12. Use unrefined Celtic seasalt and a variety of herbs and spices for food interest and appetite stimulation.
13. Make your own salad dressing using raw vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and expeller expressed flax oil.
14. Use natural sweeteners in moderation, such as raw honey, maple syrup, dehydrated cane sugar juice and stevia powder.
15. Use only unpasteurized wine or beer in strict moderation with meals.
16. Cook only in stainless steel, cast iron, glass or good quality enamel.
17. Use only natural supplements.
18. Get plenty of sleep, exercise and natural light.
19. Think positive thoughts and minimize stress.
20. Practice forgiveness."

Traditional Diet

Basic Nutrition: Characteristics of Traditional Diets:
"Characteristics of Traditional Diets

1. The diets of healthy primitive and nonindustrialized peoples contain no refined or denatured foods such as refined sugar or corn syrup; white flour; canned foods; pasteurized, homogenized, skim or low-fat milk; refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils; protein powders; artificial vitamins or toxic additives and colorings.

2. All traditional cultures consume some sort of animal protein and fat from fish and other seafood; water and land fowl; land animals; eggs; milk and milk products; reptiles; and insects.

3. Primitive diets contain at least four times the calcium and other minerals and TEN times the fat soluble vitamins from animal fats (vitamin A, vitamin D and the Price Factor) as the average American diet.

4. In all traditional cultures, some animal products are eaten raw.

5. Primitive and traditional diets have a high food-enzyme content from raw dairy products, raw meat and fish; raw honey; tropical fruits; cold-pressed oils; wine and unpasteurized beer; and naturally preserved, lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages, meats and condiments.

6. Seeds, grains and nuts are soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened in order to neutralize naturally occuring antinutrients in these foods, such as phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, tannins and complex carbohydrates.

7. Total fat content of traditional diets varies from 30% to 80% but only about 4% of calories come from polyunsaturated oils naturally occurring in grains, pulses, nuts, fish, animal fats and vegetables. The balance of fat calories is in the form of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.

8. Traditional diets contain nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids.

9. All primitive diets contain some salt.

10. Tradtional cultures consume animal bones, usually in the form of gelatin-rich bone broths.

11. Traditional cultures make provisions for the health of future generations by providing special nutrient-rich foods for parents-to-be, pregnant women and growing children; by proper spacing of children; and by teaching the principles of right diet to the young."

Too true.

Kungfu Magazine: Magazine Feature Article:
"When a man can tow a truck with his genitals, that's all anyone ever really remembers about him."

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hey kids. Comics.

Barbelith Interviews: An Interview with Grant Morrison:
"Comics is like poetry... The chord it strikes in people who are attracted to it is so strong it can be impossible to explain to someone who doesn't experience that... It's the virtual world aspect of them. You're actually inside it. When you're really enjoying a comic you're inside the space like nothing else. The way you have control over the time it takes to read it. You've got control over this continuum... to explore that emotion of the comic talking to you, developing it's own language, to control how you read the comic and how you would have certain kind of experiences while you read the comic. So those are ideas ready to be played with: the actual thing in your hand and how the characters react with it."

Holographic Reality

Barbelith Interviews: An Interview with Grant Morrison:
"...So yeah, the virtual world will encroach, especially as simulations get more and more effective and the methods of enjoying simulations get more and more effective, there will be increased crossover. I'm interested to see how it will impact the 'real' world.

...It responds to language, it seems to respond to language which is what magic seems to do - there's some kind of holographic effect between representation and reality for want of a better word.

...there seems to be something in making a representation of reality, causing changes in the representation and then watching the changes occur in the larger scale reality - which makes me think there's a holographic element to the entire universe. Again everything is connected. If you want to use a purely biological idea, based on the biota, the one living organism, then a number of apparently extra normal events could be explained: one little human tendril of the biota thinks of something and the notion is so interesting it zaps through the system and hits another tendril and basically you think telepathy is taking place. That might be why ideas emerge in different heads at the same time. If we are parts of a huge body, that's easily explained."

The Supercontext

Barbelith Interviews: An Interview with Grant Morrison:
"The Supercontext to me is what you get born into when you 'die' - remember at the end that these are just my personal metaphors for something that may be quite different... The Supercontext to me is a fifth-dimensional, informational continuum where things that we don't quite understand go on - higher processes, adult processes. What I felt, when I was undergoing what I call the Alien Abduction Experience in Kathmandhu (which I don't think was anything to do with Aliens or Abduction but we'll call it that for ease of understanding) was that by sheer - nothing to do with mysticism, or abstraction - sheer fact of physical life on Earth and how we exist as processes through time rather than as these segments in time which we are interacting with just now basically; in the most hard headed way, running backwards through the processes, where you come in through that doorway, we both disappear out through the door - you go out after me - you go back into your mother, she goes back into her mother. I mean the whole thing is one structure - it's one thing. What I felt, was that I was looking at a larval form and what I was told, was that I was looking at a larval form of an entity that was adult in the fifth dimension and that these things were growing planets like the Earth as patches, like cabbage patches. So you stick it on a planet, the planet feeds it - it eats the planet to power its growth into adulthood at which point it becomes a full scale living fully formed - like the way a fly is fully formed from larvae - entity of the fifth dimension. So you're dealing with someone whose got this as their belief structure behind all of it. This is why I assume that most processes that occur on earth are working properly.

...I think this thing is growing up and it understands how to grow up. The same as a baby in the womb goes through all the stages of evolution, so to is this entity going through all kinds of growth stages which to us are seen as evolutionary processes. It's just like a tree growth and we're the branches that come off, the literal branches of the living organism - it's very tip. Y'know we're it's tip; probing, communicating, sending signals and sparks across. And I do also believe that the more sparks we send across and the more little fronds that connect and the more it starts to recognise itself for what it is - which is as one living organism, which includes every other organism - again, this is not abstraction, it's not some Buddhist 'make me one with everything' sandwich, it's the actual fuckin' bottom line of physical existence if you run it through time. So I think we should be taking this into account, which is why I can sound a little over-evangelical about this: that we are quite literally a single organism which could well be on its way to maturity."

The nature of identity, role-play, fictionsuits, etc...

Barbelith Interviews: An Interview with Grant Morrison:
"...we are the most surveyed country in the world, we're watching everything we do, so what I'd hoped and I think it may still happen, especially as reality TV makes more outlandish behaviour popular, because the more camera you put on people, the more chaos you create because people start to play up to cameras. Because in actual fact we all want to be seen on Police Camera Action 999; we all want to be on Survivor or Big Brother - so those were the ideas I had about space in the future in The Invisibles. People will actually act out dramas in front of the constant camera eye so the superiors and those who imagine themselves to be superior will be deluded by the multiple identities people will assume. I think it's the best response to the urban environment right now; to assume different identities based on different spaces and different situations you might find yourself in (which can be quite radically different), in the course of a given day in a city. So those were the ideas I was thinking about specifically to do with the urban environment and how to inhabit those environments."

Grant Morrison on the Corporate Memeplex

Barbelith Interviews: An Interview with Grant Morrison:
"I came to it - the ideas out there - obviously you come up with a great idea and somebody else turns up with it two weeks later - but I just thought about it by meditating on Disney. Suddenly I thought, 'What the Hell is Disney?' Walt Disney's dead now but Disney persists as a concept and people who were born after the death of Walt Disney grow up and assume positions within Disney. What are they assuming positions within? It's in this really devotional way too. What makes you grow up to wear a Mickey Mouse head and go round scaring children? Or 'I'm going to end up on the Board of Directors of Disney?' Why, why do these things occur? So I was just seeing them as in the way the Demons in the old Grimoires were seen which was kinda aggregates of power to which people could adhere themselves to or join in cultish fashion so I began to think I could talk to them like that and use ceremonial magic methods to talk to corporations and found there were ways of doing it - that's why I'm wearing a suit - this is my magical garb for this working. That_s why we evoked gmWORD Ltd. They're very powerful, ravenous weird things -corporations, strange to deal with."

Barbelith and Revolution [Truth]

Barbelith and Revolution - Barbelith:
"'Life's not a comic book: if and when the hideous trans-spatial overlords swarm down a breach in the reality grid and start devouring our world like so much overripe fruit, I'll be out in the streets chucking Molotov cocktails at their soulless drone-soldiers, driving them back to Dimension X with automatic weapons and boundless love. But almost everyone on the street, even the one you might think of as an 'oppressor,' is a real human being trying to make a life. I have no desire to blow them up. As for civil unrest: when called-for. If you do it all the time, people will get used to you. Revolution can be inclusive. And it happens, first of all, in the head. Without that, it's just a punch-up, and the bigger guys are going to win.'"

Alan Moore with a bit of perspective...

Catching Up with Alan Moore - 11/8/2005 - Publishers Weekly:
"...Despite his ongoing struggle with corporate American comics and the entertainment industry, Moore remains good-humored for the most part. Asked if he feels prescient given V for Vendetta's story about terrorist bombings throughout London, he says, 'I wouldn't like to claim I was being prescient, but that said, it is pretty clear I have a direct line to God and I know every moment of the future before it happens.'

He also points out that America's current preoccupation with terrorism is nothing new for Brits. If Americans are more worried about dying in an Islamic jihad than a nuclear winter, 'no offense, but that is perhaps more of an American perception than a global one. You have to remember that over here there were teenagers being taken out of cellar bars in separate carrier bags all through the '70s and '80s because of the war in Northern Ireland. In that case, the IRA were largely being supported by donations from America. That was why I was a bit worried when George Bush said he was going to attack people who supported terrorism, I thought, oh my god, Chicago is going to be declared a rogue state and they'll hunt down Teddy Kennedy.'"

It would be cruel to say this guy was too stupid to live. True, but cruel... - Utah's Online Source for Local News & Information Man Jumped From Truck Following Argument:
"(KSL News) Police now say an argument caused a 21-year-old man to jump from a moving truck in South Jordan.

Tyler Poulson was riding with his brothers last night when he became offended by one of them using profanity. Poulson, who recently returned from an LDS mission, threatened to get out of the truck if he continued.

One of the men, not thinking he would, told Poulson to.

Earlier police said the car was going about 35 miles an hour when Poulson opened the door and jumped. He was pronounced dead on scene."

Preach on Lama...

Dalai Lama Gives Talk On Science:
"...the Dalai Lama is known as the reincarnation of a major force for compassion, and his strongest words yesterday were directed at religious people who might lack that trait.

'People who call themselves religious without basic human values like compassion, they are not really religious people,' he told the audience, offering no names. 'They are hypocrites.' The words were unusually critical for a speaker who likes to emphasize the positive and productive."

The God Who Wasn't There

Entertaining documentary. Too brief and occasionally a little juvenile, but worth a watching...

Movie Review: The God Who Wasn't There:
"The earth revolves around the sun. But it wasn't always that way. The sun used to revolve around the earth. It was like that for hundreds of years until it was discovered to be otherwise, and even for a hundred years after that. But ultimately, after much kicking and screaming, the earth did, in fact, begin to revolve around the sun.

Christianity was wrong about the solar system. What if it's wrong about something else too? This movie is about what happened when I went looking for Jesus.

--Brian Flemming, narrator

...Although Paul did write about Jesus at around 60 C.E., The documentary reveals what most Christians don't know about Paul: If Jesus really had lived as a historical human being, nobody told Paul about it. In all of Paul's epistles, (about 80,000 words), he never mentions a historical Jesus! He never heard of Mary, Joseph, a birth in Bethlehem, King Herod, the miracles, ministry, no trial by Jews, or trial by Pontius Pilate. In other words, the man who invented Christianity had no idea that Jesus walked the earth.

...The film reveals that the Christian religion developed in the same way as virtually every previous religion: with a dying and rising savior. Attis, Mithras, Osiris, Dionysus, Hercules, and many other gods predate Jesus and they bear a striking resemblance to him. The similarities include: healing the sick, casting out demons, eating the flesh and blood of the savior, remaining dead for three days, then rising, and lots more."

BBC NEWS | Health | British man 'recovered from HIV'

BBC NEWS | Health | British man 'recovered from HIV':
"Two Sunday newspapers report that Andrew Stimpson, who lives in London, was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 2002 but found to be clear in October 2003.

Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust, which carried out the tests, has asked him to undergo more. Mr Stimpson did not take any medication for HIV.

HIV experts say his case could help to reveal more about the disease."

Hunter S. Thompson, "Kingdom of Fear" 2003

"We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us. No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we'll kill you. Well, shit on that dumbness. George W. Bush does not speak for me or my son or my mother or my friends or the people I respect in this world. We didnt vote for these cheap, greedy little killers who speak for America today and we will not vote for them again in 2002. Or 2004. Or ever. Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush? They are same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American Character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis. And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck them."

-- Hunter S. Thompson, "Kingdom of Fear" 2003