Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ah, suburban living...

Posthuman Blues:
"Suburbs, where brains go to die, ultimately snuffed out like so many porchlights, carried away like bags of garbage. Boring, identical houses produce boring, identical minds. These places are a mistake, a particularly loathsome eyesore on the American cultural trajectory. Whether they consciously realize it or not, humans require spontaneity, playfulness, novelty."

David Cross V The Cable Guy - Comedy Gold

Bob and David - It's Official!:
"I cut my teeth in the south and my first road gigs ever were in Augusta, Charleston, Baton Rouge, and Louisville. I remember them very well, specifically because of the audience. I remember thinking (occasionally, not all the time) 'what a bunch of dumb redneck, easily entertained, ignorant motherfuckers. I can't believe the stupid shit they think is funny.' So, yes, I do know your audience, and they suck. And they're simple. And please don't mistake this as coming from a place of bitterness because I didn't 'make it' there or, I'm not as successful as you because that's not it at all. Since I was a kid I've always been a little over sensitive to the glorification and rewarding of dumb. The 'salt of the earth, regular, every day folk' (or lowest common denominator) who see the world, and the people like me in it, as on some sort of secular mission to take away their flag lapels and plaster-of-paris jesus television adornments strike me as childishly paranoid.

...But for now, let's "Gittle-R-Ding-Dong-Done!"

Okay, here's what I said in the RS interview: "He's good at what he does. It's a lot of anti-gay, racist humor -- which people like in America - all couched in 'I'm telling it like it is.' He's in the right place at the right time for that gee-shucks, proud-to-be-a-redneck, I'm-just-a-straight-shooter-multimillionaire-in-cutoff-flannel, selling-ring tones-act. That's where we are as a nation now. We're in a state of vague American values and anti-intellectual pride."

...It's kinda like you're this guy who speaks for all these poor, unfortunate souls out there who wear shirts with blue collars on them, work hard all day to put food on the table for their family (unlike people who wear shirts with white collars or wear scrubs or t-shirts or dresses or costumes that consist of flannel shirts with the sleeves cut-off and old trucker hats) and pray to the American Flag of Jesus to protect them from the evils of muslims, queers, illegal immigrants, and the liberal jews who run Hollywood and the media. I guess one could say that you're "telling it like it is". And considering the vast amount of over-simplification you employ to describe with sweeping generalizations, all of America and the World that "don't make no sense to you", as well as your lack of sensitivity, and second grade grammar, one might be led to think that you are somewhat proud of not appearing (or being) too intellectual. Combine that with your sucker appeal to the knee-jerk white Christian patriot in us all who would much rather hear 87 fart jokes than hear a joke in which the President (the current one, not the last one) or the Pope, or Born-Again Christians, or Lee Greenwood get called on their shit for being the hypocrites that they are, and I think we've got a winner!

About being Anti-Gay. I honestly take that back. I do not think that you are anti-gay, I didn't choose those words wisely. Your stuff isn't necessarily anti-gay but rather stupid and easy. "Madder than a queer with lock jaw on Valentines Day." That's not that funny, I don't care who you are. It's just sooo easy. I mean, over half the planet sucks dick so why gays? Why not truck stop whores, or Hollywood Starlets or housewives? Because when you say "queer" you get an easy laugh. End of story.

...Then you say, "...this (the personal attack) was different because David basically hammered my fans in that RS article by implying that they were ignorant. He crossed the line when he railed against them, so I had to tell ya what I felt about that. He can hammer me all he wants, but when he screwed with my fans, it was time for me to say something." Aww, that's so sweet and egregious. I can't stand that fan ass kissing bullshit. You and Dane Cook ought to get together and have a "my-fan's-are-the-greatest-people-on-earth-and-that's-why-I-do-this" off. You could both sell a shit load of merch too.

...And if you really, truly want to respect your fans, lower your ticket price as well as the price of your ubiquitous merchandise. I'm sure all those hard-working Americans could use the extra money now that the budgets are being cut drastically from Transportation, Education, Health and Human Services, HUD, Dept of the Interior, EPA, Farm Service Agency, FEMA, Agricultural, FDA, VA, FDA, FHA, National Center for Environmental Health, and numerous other departments and agencies that they might directly rely on for help. All so that we can pay off this massive tax cut during "war" time that we're all getting (them not so much though). Oh well, that's just one of those "political" things that I think about occasionally."

Toy, thy name is awesomeness...

USB Powered Air Darts - Marks & Spencer:
"Powered by your mac or pc, you'll have hours of flying fun with these USB air darts. Let the mission begin!

* Control the aim and the firing mechanism of the darts via your computer mouse
* Cylindrical base
* 3 darts
* USB powered
* Software included"

Mortal Kombat V Street Fighter

Totally made for JM and Jr:

"What you’re striving for is independence, not success. People think that’s the same thing and it’s not. You want liberty, not freedom. " :: View topic - THE AST INTERVIEW: PATTON OSWALT:
"I remember -- I didn’t perceive this until years and years later when I was in my 20s -- but I remember liking Mickey Mouse and Goofy, and thinking, “Oh, those guys are cool,” but I remember laughing at Bugs Bunny and Daffy. And I didn’t realize what I was being taught until years later, which is that everyone loves Mickey Mouse, but he’s not funny. Bugs Bunny is a prick, and he’s so funny. And Daffy’s a prick. They’re all douchebags. So it was this great primer… I think a lot of the comedy that came out of my generation, if you look at the kind of shows we created, if you look at stuff like Larry Sanders and The Office and Seinfeld, all the really good shows are just about pricks. And all of Albert Brooks’s stuff is about fuckin’ pricks, ‘cause I think they grew up realizing that, yeah, everyone loves Mickey Mouse, but he’s boring. I’d rather be a douchebag and make people laugh. was just because those were those summers where I was working in these office jobs and I was getting offers… You know, the headhunters would come through college -- I was in college on a partial scholarship -- so these guys would come in, and the kind of life they were outlining to me seemed… The better they made it sound, the more horrifying it sounded to me, and they didn’t realize they were making it sound horrifying. They would go, “Oh, it’s great, I mean, I uh, I have a sports car that I work on. That’s what I really love. And you work 50 weeks a year, you get your two week vacation, you can scam a couple of sick weeks, you know, and I get time to travel a little bit…” And I was thinking, “Fifty weeks a year you’re going to the same room and you’re…” There’s nothing wrong with having a job, but for fifty weeks a year you’re doing someone else’s work, and it’s something that like -- I’m sure there are people that were lawyers that were excited about doing law, but these guys were just like, “I’m just gonna go in and help these guys do what they love to do.” Don’t you want to open your own little garage and pay people to do the boring shit so you can really work on…? You know what I mean?

...I just remember guys in San Francisco getting pissed off when Margaret Cho got her sitcom. And then someone pointed out, “Yeah, but uh, what Asian female role is she stealing from you that you were up for?” The only kind of success that bothers me is the kind of comedian who gets success that then, instead of enriching the field, it taints the field for everyone. Like someone like a Denis Leary, who -- I know this is an example that everyone points to, but it’s not only the thievery that bothers me, it’s that he skewed everyone’s vision of what edgy and dark was, so that when someone truly edgy and dark like a Bill Hicks came along, they would go, “Oh he’s just mean and gross. You know [who’s] edgy? Denis Leary, ‘cause everyone can agree on it.” Well then that’s… You’ve missed the fuckin’ point. That always bothered me.

...I just hate people that go, “Well, I wouldn’t have done that.” Yeah, ‘cause you didn’t. “I wouldn’t have done it that way.” Well you didn’t do it period so shut the fuck up. Where’s your better movie? Where’s your better TV show? You know?

...Okay, what I have to do now is readjust my standard of living so that I can live on seven thousand dollars a year, so I can only do this.” So I would literally, I learned all these tricks, like the bars to go to that you’d buy a single drink and then there’s a free buffet, or how to arrange carpools and split expenses, or how to like, “Okay I’ll just go and buy three pairs of jeans, eight black T-shirts, a sturdy pair of boots and that’ll be my stage uniform.” Button-up shirt over it, boom, there ya go. Learn how to live on nothing. Get books at the library. Get movies from the library. Just stuff like that. Swap stuff with people. And not be so focused on buying a million CDs or a million videotapes, because I don’t need a lot of stuff right now. What I need to do is to get on stage and not have to owe anyone any fuckin’ money, ‘cause once you start owing shit then you’re fucked: “Well, I’ll just take a job now.” The minute you go, “I’ll just take a job” it fucks you.

...I. Hate. Needy. Comedy. Ninety percent of comedy films, ninety percent of sitcoms, are the neediest, most desperate, please God, what can we do to make you laugh? Please, anything, what do you want? Whereas all the movies and TV shows that become classics and become huge favorites are the ones that are like, “Hey, we’re glad you’re watching, but let’s remember who’s here for who. We’ve got some stuff going that we really like and we think you’re gonna like it, too.”

...I hope all of you reading this are granted the gift I was given in the summer of ‘92 -- watching everything you believe to be true un-fucking-proven right before your eyes. I hope you get to face a blank page and no way back. There’s nothing more liberating, nothing more instantly evolving than to be proven wrong.

...I remember, one of the jokes I wanted to do, this woman said, “Yeah, I don’t about that.”

I said, “Can I not say that on television?”

And she says, “Oh, I just think it’s gross.”

I said, “Well, no offense -- I don’t want to get combative -- but I don’t care how you feel about it. Can I say it?”

“Well you can say it, I just don’t know why you’d want to.”

“Moving on.” I don’t know why we’re having this discussion. This is my one-hour special. It’s not called “Your Feelings.” If I do a show called “Your Feelings” then you can totally give me that note.

...isoS: My mom has a magnet on her fridge that says, “Yoga for the rest of your life.” She’s kind of a pseudo-hippie. Maybe your magnet should just say, “Comedy for the rest of your life.”

PO: [laughs] I have one of a little ceramic bagel with googly eyes saying, “What’s not to like, buhbie?” Maybe that’s not the same thing. "

Friday, December 02, 2005

Philip K Dick makes my head hurt. In a good way.

Grey Lodge Occult Review :: Issue #10 :: If You Find This World Bad... :::
"Perhaps the pre-Socratic philosophers were correct; the cosmos is one vast entity that thinks. It may in fact do nothing but think. In that case either what we call the universe is merely a form of disguise that it takes, or it somehow is the universe -- some variation on this pantheistic view, my favorite being that it cunningly mimics the world that we experience daily, and we remain none the wiser. This is the view of the oldest religion of India, and to some extent it was the view of Spinoza and Alfred North Whitehead, the concept of an immanent God, God within the universe, not transcendent above it and therefore not part of it. The Sufi saying [by Rumi] 'The workman is invisible within the workshop' applies here, with workshop as universe and workman as God. But this still expresses the theistic notion that the universe is something that God created; whereas I am saying, perhaps God created nothing but merely is. And we spend our lives within him or her or it, wondering constantly where he or she or it can be found.

I enjoyed thinking along these lines for several years. God is as near at hand as the trash in the gutter -- God is the trash in the gutter, to speak more precisely. But then one day a wicked thought entered my mind -- wicked because it undermined my marvelous pantheistic monism of which I was so proud. What if -- and here you will see how at least this particular SF writer gets his plots -- what if there exists a plurality of universes arranged along a sort of lateral axis, which is to say at right angles to the flow of linear time? I must admit that upon thinking this I found I had conjured up a terrific absurdity: ten thousand bodies of God arranged like so many suits hanging in some enormous closet, with God either wearing them all at once or going selectively back and forth among them, saying to himself, "I think today I'll wear the one in which Germany and Japan won World War II" and then adding, half to himself, "And tomorrow I'll wear that nice one in which Napoleon defeated the British; that's one of my best."

This does seem absurd, and it certainly seems to reveal the basic idea as nonsense. But suppose we recast this "closet full of different suits of clothes" just a little and say, "What if God tries out a suit of clothes and then, for reasons best known to him, changes his mind?" Decides, using this metaphor, that the suit of clothes that he possesses or wears is not the one he wants. . . in which case the aforementioned closet full of suits of clothes is a sort of progressive sequence of worlds, picked up, used for a time, and then discarded in favor of an improved one? We might ask at this point, "How would the suddenly discarded suit of clothes -- the suddenly abandoned universe -- feel? What would it experience?" And, for us even more importantly, what change, if any, would the life forms living in that universe experience? Because I have a secret hunch that this exact thing does indeed happen; and I have a keen additional insight that the endless trillions of life forms involved would suppose -- incorrectly -- that they had experienced nothing, that no change had taken place. They, as elements of the new suit of clothes, would incorrectly imagine that they had always been worn -- always been as they now were, with complete memories by which to prove the correctness of their subjective impressions."

"I wanted to make a great movie. And I think I did that."

Yes sir, he sure did...

Interview : Joss Whedon - MoviesOnline:
"The Dude: In all seriousness, I loved the movie. I thought it was great, the best movie I've seen all year... Why doesn't the rest of the world agree with me?

Joss Whedon: I don't think they disagree with you. It wasn't a horrible bomb. Yes it did struggle. It's a question of how do you market a film that doesn't have any stars. Or a film that's just not one thing, that is generally diverse. Ultimately, I'm enormously surprised that people came out and saw it. That's what matters.

The Dude: I'm not trying to paint a negative picture, here, sorry.

Joss Whedon: Believe me, there's negativity. I wanted it to be a huge hit. Endless sequels, and everyone in it becomes famous. But first and foremost, I wanted to make a great movie. And I think I did that."

"Wait, you mean it ain't going well?"

Daily Kos: Cheers and Jeers: Rum and Coke FRIDAY!:

BREAKING!! Top Ten New President Bush Strategies For Victory in Iraq...

10. Make an even larger 'Mission Accomplished' sign

9. Encourage Iraqis to settle their feud like Dave and Oprah

8. Put that go-getter Michael Brown in charge

7. Launch slogan, 'It's not Iraq, it's Weraq'

6. Just do whatever he did when he captured Osama

5. A little more vacation time at the ranch to clear his head

4. Pack on a quick 30 pounds and trade places with Jeb

3. Wait, you mean it ain't going well?

2. Boost morale by doing his hilarious 'Locked Door' gag

1. Place Saddam back in power and tell him, 'It's your problem now, dude'

---Late Show with David Letterman"

National ID - Another Useless Security Idea

Doesn't it make you all warm and tingly the government wants to track you all over the place?

Op Ed: IDs and the Illusion of Security:
"In recent years there has been an increased use of identification checks as a security measure. Airlines always demand photo IDs, and hotels increasingly do so. They're often required for admittance into government buildings, and sometimes even hospitals. Everywhere, it seems, someone is checking IDs. The ostensible reason is that ID checks make us all safer, but that's just not so. In most cases, identification has very little to do with security.

Let's debunk the myths:

First, verifying that someone has a photo ID is a completely useless security measure. All the Sept. 11 terrorists had photo IDs. Some of the IDs were real. Some were fake. Some were real IDs in fake names, bought from a crooked DMV employee in Virginia for $1,000 each. Fake driver's licenses for all 50 states, good enough to fool anyone who isn't paying close attention, are available on the Internet. Or if you don't want to buy IDs online, just ask any teenager where to get a fake ID.

Harder-to-forge IDs only help marginally, because the problem is not making sure the ID is valid. This is the second myth of ID checks: that identification combined with profiling can be an indicator of intention."

"I imagine this makes the ghost of Burl Ives just about as mad as fuck. " - SHORTS - SIXTEEN SERIOUS QUESTIONS RAISED BY RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER!:
"Forty years ago, Burl Ives, who lent his voice and a lot more of his image than you'd think to the Talking Snowman was a big star. Now nobody remembers hits like 'The Big Rock Candy Mountain' (a song that is actually about Hobos dying of malnutrition, exposure and alcoholism) or 'The Ugly Bug Ball' (which is actually about unattractive bugs gathering to dance) or his Oscar winning turn as 'Big Daddy' in 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'. All anyone remembers about Burl Ives is that he is the talking snowman and they don't even know he was really Burl Ives. I imagine this makes the ghost of Burl Ives just about as mad as fuck. "

...'probably the CIA.'

How our governments use terrorism to control us:
"Ali Mohamed, an Egyptian intelligence officer, was fired in 1984 because of his religious extremism. In spite of this and in spite of the fact that his name was on the State Department's terrorist watch list, he was granted a visa to enter the US and became a US citizen. By 1986 he was a sergeant in the US Army and an instructor at the elite Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg. While in this position Mohamed travelled to Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden, and he assisted with the training of al-Qaeda operatives both in Afghanistan and in the US. His immediate supervisors at Fort Bragg were duly alarmed by these illegal activities, and reported them up the chain of command. When their reports failed to produce any action, not even an official debriefing of Mohamed upon his return from Afghanistan, at least one of his supervisors, Lt. Col. Robert Anderson, concluded that Mohamed had been acting as part of an operation sanctioned by an American intelligence agency, 'probably the CIA.'

...The role of the Pentagon in airlifting the Mujahedeen terrorists into Bosnia and Kosovo between 1992 to 1995 has been well documented and widely reported in the European and Canadian media, but almost completely ignored in the United States. However, the geopolitical advantages of breaking the former sovereign nation of Yugoslavia into a patchwork of NATO protectorates, under the firm control of the United States, did not go unnoted. New Republic editors Jacob Heilbrunn and Michael Lind celebrated the event in a New York Times article titled "The Third American Empire" published on January 2, 1996:

"Instead of seeing Bosnia as the eastern frontier of NATO, we should view the Balkans as the western frontier of America's rapidly expanding sphere of influence in the Middle East . . . The regions once ruled by the Ottoman Turks show signs of becoming the heart of a third American empire . . . The main purpose of NATO countries, for the foreseeable future, will be to serve as staging areas for American wars in the Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf."

...But what about the September 11 attacks themselves? Were they "blowback," i.e., unintended domestic consequences of foreign covert operations, or were they an integral part of the Strategy of Tension? Based in part on an analysis of intelligence warnings of the attacks, and on the absence of any air defence response, Ahmed strongly endorses the latter view. He reviews the dozens of very specific foreign and domestic intelligence warnings of terrorist attacks in the United States using airliners that came in the months leading up to the attacks. These in turn led to warnings issued by American intelligence to Pentagon officials, and to others, including author Salman Rushdie and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, to cancel all flight plans on the day of September 11, 2001. Meanwhile, no action whatsoever was taken to warn or to protect the American public.

Ahmed points out that the responsible authorities at the Pentagon and the Federal Aviation Administration have produced several profoundly contradictory accounts of their own actions on that day -- each subsequent story seemingly an attempt to remedy the shortcomings of a previous one. And still no remotely satisfactory account of the failure to intercept even one of the four hijacked airliners has been produced. Under ordinary circumstances, interception of wayward aircraft by military fighters would have been absolutely routine; such interceptions occurred at least 56 times in the calendar year prior to September 11, 2001. Ahmed points out that the attacks were allowed to proceed "entirely unhindered for over one and one half hours in the most restricted airspace in the world." He finds the idea that this was due to negligence beyond belief. Instead he argues that there must have been a deliberate stand-down of the air defence system managed by senior national security officials including the vice president and the secretary of defense."

Airline Security: Logic, common-sense need not apply.

Wired News: Airline Security a Waste of Cash:
"They're bizarre lists: people -- names and aliases -- who are too dangerous to be allowed to fly under any circumstance, yet so innocent that they cannot be arrested, even under the draconian provisions of the Patriot Act. The Selectee list contains an equal number of travelers who must be searched extensively before they're allowed to fly. Who are these people, anyway?

The truth is, nobody knows. The lists come from the Terrorist Screening Database, a hodgepodge compiled in haste from a variety of sources, with no clear rules about who should be on it or how to get off it. "

Soulless Clone Zombies. Plus, God as a gumball machine.

The Dilbert Blog: Cloning:
"I always wonder who gets to decide what’s immoral when it comes to brand new things that aren’t anything like old things that we all agree on. It’s exactly this sort of question that makes me unfit to hold any kind of elected office. I always lean toward the practical approach that doesn’t make a good sound bite. For example, my political platform would include “Let’s make a few human clones just to see if any of them become soulless zombies intent on eating our flesh before descending to the bowels of Hell.” See what I mean? It makes a crappy bumper sticker.

The big question with clones is how they get their souls, assuming souls exist. If God gives them brand new souls, then they aren’t actually clones at all. They’d be fundamentally different. But it also makes God more of a soul gumball machine than the omnipotent creator of the universe. The scientist who makes the clone would, in effect, be controlling God by making him pinch out another soul to inhabit the clone. That’s disturbing on many levels, not the least of which is the way I phrased it." » The Apparat Programme: 8

Good music. Follow the link. » The Apparat Programme: 8:
"The Apparat Programme
broadcast at ninety-six kilobits per second in broadband
8: no rhyme, no reason
no future, no hope, merry fucking xmas" » Just Like Christmas » Just Like Christmas:
"“I ate the reindeer,” I told the children. “And Santa’s in Abu Ghraib with a hood over his head and a dog in his ass.”

After a while, I had to shout to make myself heard over the noise.

“What did you expect? Guy with a big beard breaks into your house at night to leave suspicious packages. Only a matter of time before he crashed that sleigh into an office block. Think about it. Man in a red suit who knows if you’ve been naughty or nice? He’s Satan. Santa, Satan. Anagram, see? And reindeer tastes good. I’ve saved you from Santa bin Laden, you little bastards.”

I leered at the squalling infants. “You know, I think there might have been a little glowing red nose on top of the pot of reindeer I had last night. We’ll have the rest of his terrorist cell at the North Pole in no time. Lots of people with beards and funny hats. You know what that means. And they’re all real short. Boys with false beards, I bet you. Terrorist paedophile cell.”

A man with a audio bud in his ear came up to where I was sitting.

“I think it’s time to leave now, Mr President,” he whispered."

He's quite the Christian. I especially like the loving way in which he bombs people.

Rigorous Intuition: "And your little dog, too":
"Bush's piety and vulgarity is not the straightforward hypocricy of a Nixon. He contains both, and undoubtedly more we can't see, within a painfully fractured personality. Describing Bush's first meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, The Globe and Mail's Lawrence Martin wrote that 'the Canadian side, while aware of the president's penchant for religiosity, had been expecting to talk more about softwood lumber than the Ten Commandments. The Canadians didn't expect the morality play. Nor did they expect that, almost in the same breath, Mr. Bush would be filling the air with the f-word and other saucy expletives of the type that would surely leave the Lord perturbed.'

Disturbingly, and further suggestive of a generational sickness, Bush's sexual vulgarity appears to have a parental component. Asked at the Republican Convention in 1988 [the second convention at which Omaha's Larry King - paedophile, pimp, Satanist and Bush confidant - had been invited to sing the national anthem] 'When you're not talking politics, what do you and [your father] talk about?' He replied, 'Pussy.'"

Nothing Is True… - Pop Occulture

Nothing Is True… - Pop Occulture:
"Who says there isn’t any absolute truth though? Why can’t everything be an absolute truth?"

"My goal is to cut government... down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." - Grover Norquist

d r i f t g l a s s: Anti-Gummint Party Sycophant Wonders,:
"For the last thirty years, in order to gain control over the levers of power, the Party of God has raised a steady, fanatical war not against some particular policy, but against the legitimacy of government and of civil and secular society itself.

A war against tolerance... against peace... against human rights... against civil rights... against labor... against women... against children... against the Prince of Peace (hat-tip to Jimmy Carter for that one.)... against kindness and commonwealth.

A war against every authentic American value we have.

And it has been that alliance of thieves, con men, Armageddonists and bigots that call themselves the Republican Party – BoBo’s Party -- that has waged this war, carefully, deliberately and each in single-minded pursuit of its own particular and despicable agenda.

Hey, asshat, didn’t you get the memo?

Destroying our faith in institutions? Undermining our confidence in our ability to unite and solve out common problems?

That. Was. The. Fucking. Plan. Asshole.

Because there was no other way for theocrats and thugs to take over the United State than for them to rip the throat out of the whole idea of what the United States and pee on it as it bled to death. All while apologists for those selfsame rat-bastards -- like BoBo -- “look with alarm” at the prostrate nation bleeding out, scratching their fat asses and wondering aloud, “Lawd have mercy! Whoever could have done such a thing?!”

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Strategy for Victory! Really. Not just more meaningless platitudes. C'mon, we mean it this time!

American Samizdat: Rebel Scum Since 2001:
"With trembling fingers, I manipulated my trackball and downloaded the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq. I was eager for this information, because to this point, I have been unable to tell what 'victory in Iraq' actually means...

So I downloaded the pdf and read all 35 pages. I think I finally understand the message, and I can summarize it for you briefly...

Winning in Iraq is extremely important. To lose in Iraq means utter catastrophe. Most of the people we need to fight are Iraqis who don't want us there, but they'll get used to us with time. Iraq wants us to force them to want our flavor of freedom. Our goal is to win.

Well, that cleared everything up for me."

The Impossibility of Nation Building

TAPPED: November 2005 Archives:
"Iraq can't both be a sovereign country and have its long-term policies determined in Washington. What if Iraq doesn't want to be a partner in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction? How is Iraq supposed to be united if Iraq's Kurdish population doesn't want it to be united? How are we supposed to force Iraq's rulers to govern the country 'justly?' And most of all, what about having 100,000+ soldiers and Marines running around the country hunting down bands of insurgent fighters is supposed to achieve any of this? There's a glaring disconnect between the goals of this enterprise, which all have to do with the nature of Iraqi politics and society, and the means at our disposal, which all have to do with killing people and blowing stuff up."

Parental Rights

"Sometimes I wish the level of debate in our elite national publications could exceed, ever so slightly, the level of late night freshman dorm conversations. When he writes [the father should] 'have a say in whether to keep a baby' what he actually means is 'decide what a woman does with her uterus.' It would be nice if there were some intermediate position, but biology dictates that there just isn't. Either you have the baby or you don't. Someone has the right to make that decision for themselves or they don't. And, of course, he eventually makes that clear. He doesn't mean 'have a say.' He means 'decide.'"

Marines kick ass

How is it that the guy trained to kill the other guy has the most morality?

Wait, that answers the question right there.

Daily Kos: Look The Other Way:
"The nation's top military man, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, said American troops in Iraq have a duty to intercede and stop abuse of prisoners by Iraqi security personnel.

. . . 'It is the absolute responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it,' [General Pace] said.

Rumsfeld interjected: 'I don't think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it's to report it.'

But Pace meant what he said. 'If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it,' he said, firmly."

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Soldiers and Reporters

Fred Reed:
"Much email comes my way, from military folk both current and retired, assuring me that the press consists of leftist commy anti-American liberal tree-hugging cowardly backstabbers who probably like the French and would date Jane Fonda. It is an old song. Having spent decades covering the armed forces, I have seen much of the Pentagon and the press. Things are a tad more complex. A few thoughts:

The military, particularly the officer corps, wants not reporting but cheerleading. The very idea of an uncontrolled press is repugnant. Thus officers try to keep reporters away from enlisted men, who are less political and tend to say things that, while true, are not policy. Thus the edgy, wary hostility in the presence of reporters. The truth of what a reporter writes doesn’t matter to them, only whether it is “positive.”

...The military believes that the press should be part of the team. Its job should be not to report but to support. “Are they Americans, or aren’t they?” To see what the command thinks the press should be, read a base newspaper. It will be a cross between a PR handout and a Weekly Reader.

...Further, soldiers with exceptions are insular, reporters greatly less so. Consider. A kid who goes to West Point lives for four years, in formative late adolescence, with relentless military indoctrination. This is not in all respects bad. It tends to produce a personally honest, public-spirited, responsible man who makes an admirable citizen. These same men can run a carrier battle group, as difficult and impressive a thing as I have ever seen done, and they can do it only because they obey, make sacrifices, and respect the group.

The young cadet then goes to Fort Hood, say, for three years in which he is almost exclusively in the company of other soldiers. Next, three years in an armored division in Germany (the rotations may have changed) during which he is again constantly with soldiers and, since GIs don’t learn languages, unable to communicate with Germans other than bartenders. The Army is his entire existence. By the time he is thirty he is deeply imbued with a bird-politics leftwing vs. rightwing view of things. He is by no means stupid—the academies get bright students—but he is simple-minded. He believes profoundly that one is either on the team or one is with the enemy.

...The two groups live in sharply differing mental worlds. While reporters are more insular than they should be, they are much less so than the military. They see a broader slice of the world and rub shoulders with more kinds of people. The overseas correspondents see more wars than do soldiers. The result is a certain cosmopolitanism which, whether good or bad, is much at odds with the clarity of the military’s outlook.

For example, many in Washington who actually know how the press works (the military actually doesn’t) believe that the press supports the war in Iraq, has until recently given the White House a free ride, and has been adroitly controlled by the government. I agree. If newspapers had been against the war, they would have published countless photos of gut-shot soldiers who will never get a date, paraplegics doomed to a life on a slab, and more Abu Ghraib photos (which they have.) Soldiers don’t know this. In any event, anything but unqualified support is treason.

...More than most professions, the military lives in a world defined by idealism. Being a dentist does not carry an ideology with it. Being a soldier does. The dedicated soldier thinks in terms of honor, valor, loyalty, sacrifice, and heroism, of righting wrong and defeating evil, of proving himself in combat, of glory and exaltation and defending the fatherland. The reporter sees the dead lying in the street, the flies crawling in shattered craniums, the bombed-out cities for year after year without change. He hears this described as progress. To him it is pure bullshit.

Maybe, maybe not. But it is how he thinks.

Journalists are not idealists. Cynical, weary of being lied to, having seen the fraud and self-interest that underlie, as they come to see it, almost everything, they regard the soldiery as a riverboat gambler might regard the Boy Scouts. The soldiery regard the press as a Boy Scout might regard a riverboat gambler. Different mental worlds..."

Monday, November 28, 2005


d r i f t g l a s s: Vacation photo from the 2004 RNC?:
"So are comparisons between Bush and Hitler fair? No, and I have tried to avoid making such. He’s a Cult of Personality fascist right down to the soles of his faux cowboy shit-kickers, but he is much more struck from the moldy, banana republic dictator mold."

College for everyone?

Suburban Guerrilla » Buried in Debt:
"Growing student debt, fast-shrinking student aid and few well-paying jobs upon graduation – why are we urging kids to go to college?


1. james richardson Says:
November 28th, 2005 at 7:22 am

because we hate change.

because our children are our egos.

because americans are supposed to spend their lives in debt.

because a small job market will require every edge a student can get.

because the Heritage Foundation is hiring.

ok… that’s about as witty as i get at this hour."

The Phantom Time Hypothesis

Damn Interesting » The Phantom Time Hypothesis:
"When Dr. Hans-Ulrich Niemitz introduces his paper on the 'phantom time hypothesis,' he kindly asks his readers to be patient, benevolent, and open to radically new ideas, because his claims are highly unconventional. This is because his paper is suggesting three difficult-to-believe propositions: 1) Hundreds of years ago, our calendar was polluted with 297 years which never occurred; 2) this is not the year 2005, but rather 1708; and 3) The purveyors of this hypothesis are not crackpots.

The Phantom Time Hypothesis suggests that the early Middle Ages (614-911 A.D.) never happened, but were added to the calendar long ago either by accident, by misinterpretation of documents, or by deliberate falsification by calendar conspirators. This would mean that all artifacts ascribed to those three centuries belong to other periods, and that all events thought to have occurred during that same period occurred at other times, or are outright fabrications. For instance, a man named Heribert Illig (pictured), one of the leading proponents of the theory, believes that Charlemagne was a fictional character. But what evidence is this outlandish theory based upon?"

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 2PM Deliver Invoices to Probation Office

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 2PM Deliver Invoices to Probation Office:
"2PM Deliver Invoices to Probation Office

Secretary: There was a black man who lived in my county. He was the only one. We called him Nigger Jim.
Co-worker: What?
Secretary: Oh, it was okay. He called himself that. He was retarded.
Co-worker: Where is he now?
Secretary: Prison.

130 East Main Street
Canton, Georgia"

Conscious Evolution

Breaking Open the Head:
"Only through an intensive effort of conscious evolution – what he called 'self-remembering' – was it possible for an individual to escape being eaten by the moon. 'The liberation that comes with the growth of mental powers and faculties is liberation from the moon.' He argued that humanity was not truly conscious, that mans’ actions were entirely mechanical: 'Everything ‘happens,’ he cannot ‘do’ anything. He is a machine controlled by accidental shocks from outside.' The influences of the other planets determined wars, revolutions, technological breakthroughs, and environmental catastrophes on the earth’s surface. In his system, social progress is an illusion: 'Everything is just the same as it was thousands, and tens of thousands, of years ago.'"

Self Causing

Dilbert Cause and Effect

Chaoism and underlying belief structures

An Exploration of Dark Paganism: Library: Chaoism & Chaos Magic - A Personal View:
"...if you want a one-line definition with which most Chaoists would probably not disagree, then I offer the following. Chaoists usually accept the meta-belief that belief is a tool for achieving effects; it is not an end in itself.

It is easy to see how other people and cultures are the victims of their own beliefs. The horrors of Islam and the ghastly state of politics in sub-Saharan Africa, are obvious examples, but we rarely pause to consider the extent to which we are the victims of our own beliefs, and the ability we have to modify them if we wish.

It is perhaps worth considering the recent history of belief in Western cultures before mounting an attack on the very foundations of the contemporary world view. For about a millennia and a half the existence of "God" was an incontrovertible fact of life in Christendom. It was never questioned or thought to be questionable. Hideous wars and persecutions were conducted to support one interpretation of deity against another. Learned men wrote thousands of books of theology debating points which seem utterly tedious and idiotic to us now, but the central question of the existence of "God" was never considered. Yet now, the belief in "God" as the author of most of what goes on in the world has been almost completely abandoned...

We can laugh looking back on it now, but I assert that we now live under a collective obsession which is even more powerful and will appear equally limiting and ridiculous to future historians.

Since the eighteenth century European enlightenment, a belief has grown to the point where it is now so all-pervasive, and so fundamental a part of the Western world view, that one is generally considered mad if one questions it. This is a belief that has proved so powerful and useful that virtually everyone in the Western world accept it without question. Even those who try to maintain a belief in "God" tend to place more actual faith in this new belief for most practical purposes. I am about to reveal what this fundamental contemporary belief is. Most of you will think it is so obvious a fact that it can, hardly be called a belief. That, however, is a measure of its extraordinary power over us. Most of you will think me a madman or a fool to even question it. Few of you will be able to imagine what it would be like not to believe it, or that it would be possible to replace it with something else. Here it is: the dominant belief in all Western Cultures is that this universe runs on material causality and is thus comprehensible to reason. Virtually everyone also maintains a secondary belief that contradicts this - the belief that they have something called free will, although they are unable to specify what this is - but I will deal with that later.

We spend billions every year indoctrinating our young with the primary belief in material causality in our schools. Our language, our logic, and most of our machines, are built largely upon this belief. We regard it as more reliable than "God".

...The main thrust of my Chaoism is against the doctrine of material causality and secondarily against most of the nonsense that passes for modern psychology.

Anyway, now I have to firstly try and convince you that there is something seriously wrong with material causality, and that there is something that could supersede it as a belief...

Before attempting a frontal assault on material causality I shall backtrack a little to gather ammunition. Few people noticed that in the 1930`s a serious crack was discovered in the fabric of material causality which, on the grounds of faith alone, was supposed to cover everything. This crack was called Quantum Physics, and it was pre-eminently Niels Bohr who, with his Copenhagen Interpretation, poked a finger into the crack and pried open a wrap to reveal a different reality.

Basically Bohr showed that this reality is better modeled by a description of non-material causality operating probabilistically not deterministically. This may sound tame at first, but the implications for our everyday view of the world and for our theories of magic are awesome. It brought to an end the era of the clockwork universe paradigm which began over two hundred years ago and which almost everyone still believes in their guts, even if they cannot formulate it precisely. I urge magicians everywhere to give thanks by drinking what is probably the best lager in the world, for it was the Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen that supported Bohr and his colleagues while they did the physics.

The majority of straight scientists find quantum physics as distasteful as a priest would find witch-craft. If they have to use it they prefer not to think about the implications. Even Einstein, who started quantum physics going but made his major contribution in Relativity, felt repelled by its implications, on ground of scientific faith and residual Judaic belief, and wasted much of his later life campaigning fruitlessly against it.

Quantum physics says to me that not only is magic possible in a world that is infinitely Chaotic than we thought, but that magic is central to the functioning of this universe. This is a magical universe not a clockwork one. Causal materialist beliefs were a liberating and refreshing breath of fresh air after a millennia and a half of monotheism, but now, at their zenith, they have become tyranny. Relativity and the fundamental physics associated with it are probably close to a final refinement of the causal materialist paradigm, and as such they now seem a terrible prison. For all practical purposes they confine us to this planet forever and rule out magic from our lives. Quantum physics, which I believe currently to be basically an investigation of the magical phenomena underlying the reality most people have perceived as non-magical for the last two hundred years, shows us a way out.

It may be some time before any significant portion of humanity learns to believe the new paradigm in their guts and live accordingly, but eventually they will. Until then it is bound to sound like discombobulating gobbledygook or tarted-up intellectualism to most people.

I would like to mention my other favorite iconoclasm in passing without explanation. I reject the conventional view of post-monotheistic Western psychology that we are individual unitary beings possessing free will. I prefer the description that we are colonial beings composed of multiple personalities; although generally unafflicted with the selective amnesia which is the hallmark of this otherwise omnipresent condition. And that secondly there is no such thing as free will; although we have the capacity to act randomly, or perhaps one should say more precisely stochastically, and the propensity to identify with whatever we find ourselves doing as a result.

All the gods and goddesses are within us and non-materially about us as well, in the form of non-local information.

I consider that all events occur basically by magic; the apparent causality investigated by classical science is merely the more statistically reliable end of a spectrum whose other end is complete Chaos..."

See, we're helping them...

Telegraph | News | 'Trophy' video exposes private security contractors shooting up Iraqi drivers:
"A 'trophy' video appearing to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two investigations after it was posted on the internet, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

The video has sparked concern that private security companies, which are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq, could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis."

Intellectual Property and Copyright Infringement

"Yglesias writes something which everyone needs to understand:
Record companies and their movie studio allies have managed to convince a shockingly large swathe of opinion that the purpose of intellectual property law is to prevent copyright infringement. In fact, the purpose is to advance the general welfare of society.

but judging by the number of people who seem to take issue with this in his comments obviously a lot of people don't. Let's go to the constitution:
Clause 8:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

The key phrases being 'to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts' and ' securing for limited Times.' A lot of the commenters seem to side with Disney et al who, after having made tons of money ripping off fairy tales without paying any royalties, seem to think that copyright law should extend out to time infinity."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

See, regime change was important because Sadaam was bad and we made it better. Or not. You know, either way...

The Observer | International | Abuse worse than under Saddam, says Iraqi leader:
"Human rights abuses in Iraq are now as bad as they were under Saddam Hussein and are even in danger of eclipsing his record, according to the country's first Prime Minister after the fall of Saddam's regime.

'People are doing the same as [in] Saddam's time and worse,' Ayad Allawi told The Observer. 'It is an appropriate comparison. People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things.'

In a damning and wide-ranging indictment of Iraq's escalating human rights catastrophe, Allawi accused fellow Shias in the government of being responsible for death squads and secret torture centres. The brutality of elements in the new security forces rivals that of Saddam's secret police, he said.

...'We are hearing about secret police, secret bunkers where people are being interrogated,' he added. 'A lot of Iraqis are being tortured or killed in the course of interrogations. We are even witnessing Sharia courts based on Islamic law that are trying people and executing them.'"

Snatching pebbles is passe'

Inside Bay Area - Inside Bay Area Search Results:
"The ancient Greeks worshipped it. Sigmund Freud said women envy it. And on Tuesday, a man pulled a truck with it.

Yes, you read that right.

He pulled a truck with his penis.

Grandmaster Tu Jin-Sheng, best known for his Iron Crotch, attached himself not once, but twice, to a rental moving truck and pulled it several yards across a parking lot in Fremont. In lace-up leather boots and a black tank top, the 50-year-old tied a strip of blue fabric around the base of his penis and testicles and tugged to make sure it was on tight. An assistant kicked him hard between the legs before he lashed himself to the vehicle."

How odd... I agree with something in the Bible...

Grits for Breakfast: Requiring corroboration for eyewitness testimony might have saved Ruben Cantu:
"What can be done to stop the government from convicting and even executing the wrong people? Blogger Clayton Cramer suggested a great reform proposal in the wake of last week's report by the Houston Chronicle that Texas likely executed Ruben Cantu in 1993 for a crime he didn't commit. Writes Cramer:

At one time, a number of states required two eyewitnesses to a murder before the state could impose the death penalty. Why?

Because America was a Bible-believing nation at the time of the Revolution, and reformed many of its criminal statutes in that era to conform to the Bible. Numbers 35:30 says:

Anyone who kills a person is to be put to death as a murderer only on the testimony of witnesses. But no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.

Even though I disapprove of the death penalty, using the Bible's standard on this would certainly have prevented the execution of Ruben Cantu for a crime that he apparently did not commit.

Liberals, unfortunately, would never tolerate writing a law with Biblical input today.

That's a terrific idea, and I think Cramer might be surprised at what liberals can tolerate. The reason a two-witness rule would have difficulty being enacted isn't because 'liberals' oppose it, but because prosecutors and police unions would throw the loudest hissy fit you've ever heard. Trust me on this one -- I know from experience.

After the scandals arose surrounding the Tulia drug stings, the ACLU, NAACP, and LULAC teamed up with ministers and victims families from the group Tulia Friends of Justice to help pass a bill requiring corroboration for undercover testimony in drug cases. (The original bill would have required corroboration for any undercover testimony, but the final, passed legislation required it only for confidential informants or 'snitches,' not police officers.) Still, it has had a big impact.

The biblical requirement for corroboration was very much a part of the debate surrounding the Tulia legislation, a message carried door to door at the Texas Legislature in 2001 by Reverends Charles Kiker and Alan Bean from Tulia Friends of Justice. (I've still got a copy of the flyer they distributed with a headline reading, 'The Bible and the ACLU Agree: Require Corroboration for Drug Sting Testimony.')

In fact, as Rev. Kiker would be quick to point out, the corroboration requirement in Mosaic law is more extensive than what Cramer cites. In Leviticus 19:15 we're told that all accusations of crime must be corroborated: 'One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' Jesus (Matthew 18:16) and the Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 13: 1 and 1 Timothy 5:19) both affirmed this tradition for New Testament believers."

Military surveillance of Americans. Saying "Big Brother" gets a little redundant after a while...

Pentagon Expanding Its Domestic Surveillance Activity:
"'We are deputizing the military to spy on law-abiding Americans in America. This is a huge leap without even a [congressional] hearing,' Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a recent interview."

Just lovely.

David Price: How US Anthropologists Planned "Race-Specific" Weapons Against the Japanese:
"...describe one 1943 OSS document, the 'Preliminary Report on Japanese Anthropology,' which which reveals that World War II-era anthropologists were recommending culture- and race-specific means of killing Japanese soldiers and civilians. This report sought to determine if there were 'physical characteristics in which the Japanese differ from others in such a way as to make these differences significant from the point of view of carrying on the war'. The person who write this report remains remains classified, but a list of scholars consulted by OSS includes anthropologists such as Clyde Kluckhohn, Fred Hulse, Duncan Strong, Ernest Hooton, C. M. Davenport, Wesley Dupertuis, and Morris Steggerda."


A Vegan Strength Coach Gives Some Tips on Vegetarian Strength Training - Mike Mahler's Aggressive Strength:
"The Basics
Contrary to what many people believe, it is certainly possible to get bigger and stronger on a vegetarian diet. Like any other diet, the key is to ensure that you are getting adequate calories and a balance of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. To be clear, I follow a vegan diet for ethical reasons not because I think that it is a superior diet. If I had access to organic raw milk and organic eggs in which I knew for sure that the cows and chickens were treated well, I would consume milk and eggs. In my mother's native home of India, cows are a sacred animal because of the milk that they provide. Milk and yogurt have been staples of the Indian diet for centuries and along with ghee are considerd very nutritious and great for well being, health, and strength. Perhaps, some day I will own a farm in Montana and take care of some cows and chickens ;-) Until then, I will avoid dairy and eggs and other forms of animal products. I am adamantly against factory farming and think that it is very cruel to animals. How would you feel if you lived in a cage your entire life and could not enjoy the most basic pleasures that most of us take for granted? I encourage you to educate yourself about factory farming and to go out of your way to get organic eggs and dairy products...

Many vegetarians and people in general make the mistake of getting too many calories from starchy carbohydrates and overly processed foods. Moreover, many vegetarians de-emphazise the importance of protein in the diet. While I do not think that you need 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight like many of the fitness magazines recommend, you do need more than 5-10% of your diet coming from protein. 25-30% is a good number to shoot for if gaining muscle is your goal. Some great sources of vegetarian protein include: black beans, pinto peans, lentils, split peas, kidney beans, navy beans,pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, almonds, cashews, peanut butter, almond butter, 'hemp bread',and for protein powders I like pea protein isolate and rice protein.

Next, do not make the mistake of following a super low fat diet if you are an athlete. Comsume healthy fats such as almonds, flaxseed oil, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, and coconut oil to ensure that you are getting the health benefits of fat in your diet. Super low fat diets will cause your energy to plummet and your skin to dry up. Coconut oil is the only form of saturated oil for vegetarians which is necessary for healthy joints and well being. Try eating a baby coconut each day. Drink the water and use a spoon to eat the 'fleshy' part of the coconut. Or try adding some coconut oil to shakes. Rotate your Essential Fatty Acid oils each month. One month, try flaxseed oil, the next hempseed oil, then Udo's Choice Oil, and Pumpkin seed oil. You will be amazed at how much better you feel with a good amount of fat in your diet. Low fat diets suck! Especially for athletes.

Finally, get most of your carbs from fruits and veggies, and the rest from healthy grains such as: quinoa and oats. Avoid rice (all forms) pasta, and processed cereals if you want to lose fat and avoid the 'buldge' that many high carb eaters have. The skinny fat look is not a good one to emulate so strive for balance at each meal."