Saturday, March 04, 2006

"This is a nation of self-made people, where you know a man by his actions. Just, sometimes, those actions prove him a fuckwit. Sorry."

Kung Fu Monkey: Farm Fetish:
"ANDERSON: We stopped by the Lebanon [Kansas -- ed.] hotspot, Ladow's Market, where one local told us Hollywood just can't relate to a farming way of life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've never been back in here to know what it's like to actually have to make a living doing this.

You know what, Unidentified Male? You're right. I don't know what it's like to have to make a living farming. NOBODY DOES.

For chrissake, only 17% of Americans live in rural settings anymore. Only 2 million of those people work on farms or ranches (USDA figures). Hell, only ten percent of the average farm family's income even comes from farming anymore (did you know that? I didn't. Funky). The median age of the United States is 37. I am more than willing to point out that the agriculture industry is a crucial, nay vital part of the American economic infrastructure generating a sizable amount of the GDP. But why in the name of John Deere's Blood-Soaked Wood-Chipper Gears, every time I hear a news report on what 'real Americans' think do I wind up watching some farmer in their fifties and sixties bitch as they survey the blasted plains landscape behind them, and not only that, somehow their cultural observations are assumed to have more relevance than anyone else's?

This is only half-rant. The honest question is, what in the American character keeps us returning to this completely false self-image? Seriously, how did we get to a point where this report may as well have started: 'Hi there, Carol, we're about to talk to people twenty years older than the average American living a lifestyle less than one in five average Americans live ... to find out what the average American thinks' and somehow nobody blinks an eye?

There are four times as many Americans living in urban than rural areas. There are four times as many people sucking back coffee in New York city alone than make a living farming. According to the Burea of Labor, there are just as many people employed in Architecture and Engineering as farming, hell, 3 million people working in Computer and Mathematical jobs. But when one of these "What does America think about culture" pieces comes on, do I ever see a mid-30's software engineer onscreen bitching about having to download BitTorrents of "The IT Crowd"? Fuck and no.

Four million people in the US play World of Warcraft. And yet, do I ever hear:

ANDERSON: We stopped by the gates of Ogrimmar in Durotar, on the east coast of Kalimdor, where one local told us Hollywood just can't relate to the level-grinding life.

UNIDENTIFIED ORC: They've never been back here, questing Razormane or Drygulch Ravine, y'know ... or farming for Peacebloom and Silverleaf. They're out of touch.

No. No I do not.

...the rural life is an incredibly rewarding way of life. They should be very proud of the fact they have held on to this great tradition of commerce and, one might argue service, in the face of corporate farming. But that life is not holy, it does not bless one with special insight into the intent of the Framers of the goddam Consitution or what America "should" be like.

...I am just, I guess, well and truly tired of being told what "Middle America" wants, when Middle America is my age and lives in a goddam city, just like I have for my entire life."

Fafblog brings the funny

Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog.:
"A Zogby poll released this week shows that 72% of U.S. troops in Iraq want America to pull out of the war within a year or less, bringing Giblets to only one conclusion: America's troops are undermining America's troops! The only solution is for the army to detain itself for providing aid and comfort to the enemy."

"Make the Future"

Comic Book Resources - Comic Book News, Reviews and Commentary - Updated Daily!:
"If you're going to do something, put your whole heart in it. Don't make excuses. Be the best juggler that can recite pi. Be the best slam poet you can be. Brainbomb the people around you with little cannon shots of your own. Stimulate people to think and act and to achieve.

Be that thing. Make the future."

Friday, March 03, 2006

Two Capitalisms

Two Capitalisms:
"Two capitalisms stopped in a snowy wood; one took the path less traveled by, and that made all the difference. China is taking the capitalism-plus-communism road. Russia and the US are taking the capitalism-plus-oligarchy road. And India is somewhere in- between.

And democracy, real democracy? A government of the people, by the people, and for the people? Well, that is perishing from the earth.

A friend from Shanghai was in town the other day, and when the conversation turned to poverty in Vermont, she leaned in earnestly and asked, "And how is your government planning to fix this?"

For me, it was one of those "Aha!" moments. I suddenly realized that we no longer have a government interested in fixing things. In fact, we no longer have a government interested in doing, well, any of the things that governments are expected to do.

Our government is not interested in supporting a medical system that works for all Americans. Instead, it is interested in supporting a healthy health insurance industry. The American people? Let them die in the road if they can't afford doctors and medications.

Our government is not interested in protecting our infrastructure. It has no vast budget for fixing roads, bridges, airports, and mass transit. It is not interested in improving security at our borders or at our ports and airports, cleaning up our ever-more-toxic air and polluted water, building better schools, or housing the mentally ill and impoverished.

Our government has no interest in protecting the natural world in which we live. Despite all evidence about global warming and environmental destruction, it denies their existence in the name of corporate profits.

Our government is not interested in protecting the freedoms our country has fought for and enjoyed for hundreds of years. Instead, it spies on us in the streets, taps our phones, subpoenas journalists' notes, puts journalists in jail, prevents demonstrations anywhere near the president, tries to clamp down on the Internet, demonizes trial lawyers to protect corporate profits, demonizes the press to curb its ability to investigate government corruption, and puts on the bench judges who protect - in ways that defy common sense - corporations' rights to buy the government of their choosing.

Our government is not interested in protecting the economic wealth and well-being of America and its people. It sends billions of our hard-earned tax dollars down the rat hole of Iraq, sends our jobs abroad to countries with cheap labor, produces nothing, strip-mines whatever leftover resources it can get its hands on, borrows like a drunken sailor, sells off pieces of America to its friends abroad, does nothing to end its currency freefall, discourages savings and encourages usury - that would be Visa and MasterCard to you.

Our government is not interested in protecting us from our enemies. It started this mad war in Iraq which has, predictably, turned that country into a training center for terrorists and spiraled it down to the brink of civil war. Its torture and concentration camps have inflamed the entire Muslim world against us. It supports dictators and sells them arms. It is developing a "crisis" in Iran that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.

...For about forty years, from the 1930s to the 1970s, there were intelligent reins on capitalism. American political philosophy could be summed up as "the greatest good for the greatest number." Ordinary people worked hard, made money, bought houses and educated their children. The middle class grew strong. Creativity in business as well as in the arts unleashed great energy and created great wealth. The country grew rich and strong.

But then things changed. Since the election of Ronald Reagan, we've seen a total turnaround. We've gone from the idea of a government in service to the public interests to a government in service to the wealthy interests. "Greed is good" has become the mantra. If you have money, America is the greatest country on earth. But most of us are struggling just to pay our monthly bills. "We don't care about the future," we hear the rich braying. "We don't care about the greatest good for the greatest number. We don't care about the environment. We don't care about you. We've got ours - you go to hell." It's the song, the ethos of our time."

"S. Dakota Slaps Up Its Women "

S. Dakota Slaps Up Its Women / Another state you should never visit passes an appalling abortion ban, because they hate you:
"Your state, apparently run be pallid sexless demagogic men who think they know something of God and morality but know only ignominy and the smell of sulfur and death in their nightmares, thinks you are irresponsible dumb-ass meat, unable to handle your own decisions, your own body, your sex. Your state's leaders and your Republican governor, Mike Rounds, wish to treat you like meaningless, voiceless chattel. Get out now. You already know why.

For everyone else reading this, here is the nauseating news: South Dakota, in case you missed it amid the reports of increasingly violent civil war in Iraq, the Dubai ports fiasco and Bush's record-low approval ratings across the board, has just passed a sweeping anti-abortion measure that completely bans the procedure in almost all cases -- including rape, including incest, including if you were, for some ungodly reason, accidentally knocked up by South Dakota neocon anti-choicers like Republican and bill sponsor Rep. Roger W. Hunt, these baggy slabs of pallid manhood who wouldn't know true female sexual pleasure from a hole in a mattress. Or is that being too kind?

...Here's a fascinating aspect: Most women are stunned by this news. Most women not living in one of the few remaining prehistoric red states cannot believe their ears, eyes, souls. I've told a number of my youngish female friends of this hideous development and they all respond the same way: stunned silence, then "You can't be serious," then this ashen "Oh my God" feeling of utter horror, followed by, "Does anyone else know this? Why isn't this making bigger headlines? Where the hell is Oprah?" Etc.

See, modern women under 40, they simply don't accept it. They have no conception of a world in which they don't have complete control over their flesh, their reproductive rights, their sexuality. For most women of this generation, reproductive choice is simply a fundamental, incontrovertible human right, obvious and ironclad and indisputable, and so to hear that it's being deeply threatened in this back-ass BushCo world is so foreign, so surreal, it induces an immediate cringing recoil, like watching Tom Cruise stick his tongue in Katie Holmes' face, like watching flies feed, like seeing Dick Cheney naked. It simply does not compute. "


There's nothing quite like 2 fifteen year old white girls from the Netherlands lip synching Aretha Franklin.

[Pretty funny tho']

This week in the Republican Agenda

d r i f t g l a s s: Embracing Your Inner "Poon Nazi":
"This is a week that has produced, in quick succession, a bill to all-but-ban the right to choose in the People’s Republic of Mississippi, a Republican Supreme Court that has ruled that anti-choice mobs have the right to terrorize women and girls when they visit their doctors, and the revelation of a mash note from Sam Ailto’s to wingnut Mullah James Dobson that made Harriet Myers' paean to her Big Swingin’ Dick of a President look positively…actuarial…by comparison.

So if anyone had any doubt about who really runs the Republican Party, put them to bed without supper.

The Confederate Right has always been led by weak, flaccid, little men who cower behind John Law and Judge Lynch and beg them to protect their inadequate manhood and freeze-dried egos from the predations of vibrators, strong women and every Black Man who every lived. They have had a hard-on for re-institutionalizing the Divine Right of White Men to treat woman and brown people as chattel since the traitor army of GOP v 1.0 surrendered at Appomattox"

Nicely said

No Touch Monkey!:
"I'm a people person. The skulls I keep on my mantle are nothing but a tribute to the love and adoration I have for them."

I agree

The Dilbert Blog: Penn and Teller:
"Over the years I have developed a seemingly reliable set of filters for deciding who to believe. For example, I distrust all science that is produced by people with an economic interest in the result. I know I’m in the minority on that view, so there’s no need to tell me again."

I do not contradict myself.

Okay, I do.

You Are 76% Open Minded

You are so open minded that your brain may have fallen out!
Well, not really. But you may be confused on where you stand.
You don't have a judgemental bone in your body, and you're very accepting.
You enjoy the best of every life philosophy, even if you sometimes contradict yourself.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Communist China is Awesome

These guys are funny.

Comic Book-y Goodness

Greg Rucka writing the Question. If I wasn't already sold, I would be now.

Comic Book Resources - CBR News - The Comic Wire:
"After the INFINITE CRISIS and before One Year Later, the DCU spent a year without Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. A year in which those heroes were needed more than ever as the fate of the world hung in the balance. Who stood up in their absence? And who sat out?

The story of DC's most eventful year ever can now be told as four of the hottest writers in comics — Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid — deliver an unprecedented weekly tale of death, danger, romance, intergalactic terror and the never-ending, universal meaning of heroism.


52: A year without Superman; a year without Batman; a year without Wonder Woman...but not a year without heroes."

BBC NEWS corrects its dumbness.

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Newsnight | A bit of BitTorrent bother:
"First though, an apology. File sharing is not theft. It has never been theft. Anyone who says it is theft is wrong and has unthinkingly absorbed too many Recording Industry Association of America press releases. We know that script line was wrong. It was a mistake. We're very, very sorry.

If copyright infringement was theft then I'd be in jail every time I accidentally used football pix on Newsnight without putting 'Pictures from Sky Sport' in the top left corner of the screen. And I'm not. So it isn't. So you can stop telling us if you like. We hear you.

Now we've got that out the way, let us ask you a question. Why is it that every time the media starts to talk about the internet they feel compelled to bang on about paedophiles and terrorists and generally come over like a cross between Joe McCarthy and the Childcatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?

Well here's one answer - it sells copy. Another answer is that we're totally scared of new media, because new media is railways and we're canals, and you all just know how that's going to end.

So we seek to equate the internet with all bad things to scare you off it. At some corporate freudian level, there's some truth to that accusation."

"Simply because a person is given a badge, a gun, and the authority to enforce the law by the state does not make that person a moral agent."

Who Polices the Police? by Aaron Ginn:
"I have a cousin who works for the Mesa, Arizona Police Department. In October of 2002, Dan Lovelace, an officer who works for the Chandler, Arizona Police Department gunned down a woman who attempted to pass a fake prescription at a local Walgreens. Lovelace claimed the woman attempted to run him down as she sped away from the scene, and he shot her in self-defense. Forensic and eyewitness evidence contradicted his testimony. Despite this, Lovelace was acquitted of all charges against him.

At the time, I asked my cousin what he thought of the verdict. He simply stated that he would never question a fellow officer in the line of duty. 'And besides, she was a felon. A drughead,' he exclaimed. In his view, an officer should never be questioned. His (or her) authority is absolute out in the field. From what I’ve been able to discern, this attitude is systemic in police officers. The force is a fraternity. They stick together and watch each others’ backs.

I recalled this exchange in light of an undercover investigation conducted by a Miami local news crew that aired last month in which an investigator attempted to perform a seemingly simple task: to obtain a form to file a complaint against a police officer. The investigator went to 38 separate departments in South Florida in an attempt to obtain such a form. He walked out of 35 of them empty-handed. But the worst part of the story was the reactions he received from several officers when he asked for the form. Some of the reactions included asking for his personal information in a threatening manner, threatened citations, lewd comments about his wife, asking if he was on medications, etc. One officer went so far as to chase the man out of the office and down the street, at one point putting his hand on his gun in a threatening manner."

Choose Your Own Adventure! Via: Something Awful

Something Awful:
"When you were younger, you loved those Choose Your Own Adventure books. Yeah, I know you did. I did, too."

I love Grant Morrison

In a manly, healthy way, of course.

Welcome To Dynamic Forces:
"These days, I get up, check e-mails, and scan my three or four favourite websites to see if there’s any good gossip. Then I work out in the gym, just like my hero, big Bruce Wayne, go running up ’n’ down the hill in all weathers, meditate, have breakfast and read the tabloids. After that, I mess around and do biz with Kristan, or we go for lunch or whatever. All the while I’m organising plots and solving story problems in my head.

Finally, I get to work in the afternoon and I write. I build up a good head of creative steam in the early evening, which is when I tend to do my best work, then I carry on into the night and the wee small hours of morning if need be, pausing only for food, or to watch a top notch DVD, or Celebrity Big Brother (deceased). I like to be surrounded by the sounds of nature while I work, which means birds, waves, trees, and pop music. Currently I’m listening to Ladytron, The Go! Team, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Lady Sov, The Like, sandpipers, owls, redwoods, oriental spruces, rain, and frame-rattling winds, over and over again. But mostly I’m inspired by the Arctic Monkeys, and the songs thereof. Fresh-faced 19 year old lads who know the score. Now That’s What I Call Music!

That’s the typical DAY. Other days are different.

...I was inspired as a teenager by the ‘Chaos Magic’ current and, after some early successes, I got seriously into the possibilities of what I was playing with and spent pretty much every day from 1981 to 2001, experimenting very successfully with magical techniques from a multitude of different traditions, until, finally I gained enough personal experience and practical know-how to develop my own style, which I called Pop Mag!c. THE INVISIBLES comic remains the central grimoire of Pop Mag!c for the time being, at least until I finish the Pop Mag!c manual.

Following my initiation into a state of consciousness which some magicians describe as ‘Crossing The Abyss’, I now ‘practise’ something I like to call Blank Magic, which I relate to the Buddhist concept of Shunyata, or Emptiness – an idea explored at length in THE FILTH, the bible of Transcendental Materialism. I still perform rituals, make spells, and summon angels, gods and demons regularly as well.

As for the second part of your question – the stories in ALL STAR SUPERMAN can be clearly seen as hymns to Apollonian solar energies and are part of a wider solar cycle of rituals I’ve been performing for the last two years. Frank Quitely and I are downloading Superman qualities if you like, summoning Superman into visible appearance. Why, you may ask, would we summon a sun god into our lives in the form of a cartoon strongman ?

Well, O my brothers, serious contemplation of Superman, daily meditation on his attributes, and, of course, reading his incredible new adventures in ALL STAR SUPERMAN will ACTUALLY make you a more rational, attractive, and positive person! And don’t forget, these qualities may actually become fashionable as we approach the end of a difficult decade and crawl out of that nasty little year Saturn-Pluto alignment that started in 2001.

The blindingly obvious. To everybody except the Rah-Rah White House Cheerleaders.

"BOB GARFIELD: When you read criticism of the press in general, that it is somehow so fixated on bad news that it doesn't report the good, that it's essentially suppressing the good news out of Iraq, what do you all say to one another? How do you react?

FARNAZ FASSIHI: I can just say that if there were five car bombs going off in New York and 50 people kidnapped a day, I'm sure that metro reporters would be writing those stories and not talking about the school that was painted."

Loyal Republicans - One Perspective

d r i f t g l a s s: The Alexander Butterfield Moment:
"Now you have unimpeachable proof that when Dubya saw hammer coming down on the conspicuously black and conspicuously poor City of New Orleans -- and when he was told in no uncertain terms, days in advance, what kind of Hell on Earth was heading our way, he did what any good Klansman would do.

Turned his back, went on vacation, knocked back a few, and lied about it later.

Knowing that you Loyal Republicans would have his back if it ever got out.

Knowing that you Loyal Republicans already didn’t give a shit about the fact that this is the most deeply paranoid, deeply secretive Administration memory.

Knowing that you Loyal Republicans already didn’t give a shit that they classify the paper trail behind every fucking crime they commit – from Cheney and his fellow plutocrats carving up the oil market and calling it “energy policy”, to hiding behind the secrecy clause of the FISA law to keep the few Senators who knew the truth quiet, to how many meetings the President was at with Jack Abramoff -- behind the wall of national security or “We don’t talk about…” and then scream traitor whenever someone dares to ask why they keep breaking the law.

Knowing that you Loyal Republicans already don’t give a shit that these are people that would use a Marine Honor Guard to bury and protect every steaming pile of VP droppings each time Dick Cheney takes a fresh dump on the Constitution…and yet without batting an eye will leak national security secrets like an 90-year-old condom whenever it suits their partisan agenda.

Knowing that you Loyal Republicans don’t give a shit about torture or murder, or the lies that landed us in Iraq or the lies that keep us there.

So knowing that you Loyal Republicans despise every part of this country that doesn’t have your stink on it, and you Loyal Republicans couldn’t give a damn if Dubya killed a billion ay-rabs as long as it kept the prices at the pump"

The Dilbert Blog: Am I a Libertarian?

The Dilbert Blog: Am I a Libertarian?:
"Frankly, I’m suspicious of anyone who has a strong opinion on a complicated issue. But when it comes to social questions, those are usually simple. I take sides with whatever viewpoint is good for me personally."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

My favorite JET Journal/Blog/Thingee: "I Am a Japanese School Teacher"

Wherein he manages to sum up the essential feelings towards the "too cool - pants around my knees cause I think I'm Jay-Z - can't be bothered to ever do any work or be respectful at all - sannensei boys which grow like weeds...

"Outpost Nine :: Editorials :: I Am a Japanese School Teacher:
"Being a bastard sannensei boy, he wouldn't know English even if English were to somehow personify itself, and then run up and kick him in the nuts."

If you follow the link you also get a marvelous tale of how one pervy kid worked his favorite porn stars into an English skit. I kid you not.

Japan is something else...

Fantastic MMA Inspiration HL

Japanese Matrix Ping Pong

This is awesome

Sociopathic inablity to recognize that which didn't fit their preconceptions.

But of course, they never could have known.


KR Washington Bureau | 02/28/2006 | Intelligence agencies warned about growing local insurgency in late 2003:
"U.S. intelligence agencies repeatedly warned the White House beginning more than two years ago that the insurgency in Iraq had deep local roots, was likely to worsen and could lead to civil war, according to former senior intelligence officials who helped craft the reports.

Among the warnings, Knight Ridder has learned, was a major study, called a National Intelligence Estimate, completed in October 2003 that concluded that the insurgency was fueled by local conditions - not foreign terrorists- and drew strength from deep grievances, including the presence of U.S. troops.

The existence of the top-secret document, which was the subject of a bitter three-month debate among U.S. intelligence agencies, has not been previously disclosed to a wide public audience.

The reports received a cool reception from Bush administration policymakers at the White House and the office of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, according to the former officials, who discussed them publicly for the first time.

Robert Hutchings, the chairman of the National Intelligence Council from 2003 to 2005, said the October 2003 study was part of a "steady stream" of dozens of intelligence reports warning Bush and his top lieutenants that the insurgency was intensifying and expanding.

"Frankly, senior officials simply weren't ready to pay attention to analysis that didn't conform to their own optimistic scenarios," Hutchings said in a telephone interview. "

So I wonder if this makes Republicans think that 72% of troops are French-loving, enemy-sympathizin' surrender monkeys?

...since I'm not quite sure how the Conservative mindset works.

Zogby International:
"An overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and nearly one in four say the troops should leave immediately, a new Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey shows."

"People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character." - Ralph Waldo Emerson


Whitley Strieber's Unknown Country:
"Robin Lloyd writes in LiveScience that scientists can tell us how to lead a happy life, but most people don't pay attention and insist on being miserable instead.

Polls do show that Americans are no happier today than they were 50 years ago, despite the fact that most of us have a better quality of life. 10% percent of adult women 4% of adult men take antidepressants. Researcher David Lykken says 50% of happiness is genetic, based on how much serotonin you have naturally.

Part of this has to do with a branch of quantum physics called Fisher Information, which postulates that we create our own reality...

One reason Olympic athletes compete is that physical activity takes them to a trance-like state that raises their serotonin levels. Musicians like to practice for the same reason.

Psychologist Ed Diener says that people with close friendships are the happiest and that, not surprisingly, happiness consists of giving rather than receiving."

Focus determines outcome

The Lazy Way to Success:
"One of the greatest generators of success that we all possess is our attention. That’s because what we put our attention on grows stronger. Attention is like the sun; it illuminates and stimulates. Also like the sun, attention is not selective. We are the ones who need to choose where to direct it...

The choice is ours. If we put our attention of a problem, the problem will grow stronger. If we put our attention on some possible negative outcome that has yet to occur, we increase the likelihood of that result coming to fruition. It is vastly more intelligent to put our attention on finding a solution.

Using our attention wisely is the essence of self-empowerment. We should only focus our attention on those core values and processes that nourish our lives.

...Fear is one of the greatest enemies to progress. It puts attention on what you do not want. It takes the focus away from the desired goal.

If we think of defeat, that’s what we get. We must just pick something great to do and do it and never think of failure at all, for as we think now, that is what we will get."

Evolution 101

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 11AM Beta Testing:
"Director: We simply can't idiot-proof everything. Sometimes the idiots just have to suffer and die.
Co-worker: I think that's called 'evolution'."

The Dilbert Blog: Strange Laws

The Dilbert Blog: Strange Laws:
"There are a lot of laws that don’t make sense to me. For example, if I were king, I’d make attempted suicide punishable by death. That’s a win-win scenario.

...I’m also confused as to why potentially dangerous drugs are illegal. I assume the reasoning is that it will keep people from hurting themselves. The penalty for attempting to hurt yourself is that you are sent to prison where a guy named Chainsaw punches out your front teeth and rents you to the Aryan Brotherhood for parties. After about 15 years of that, you’ll think twice about trying to hurt yourself."

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Doug Rushkoff speaks wise.

LA SPIRALE - an eZine for the Digital Mutants !:
"...the idea is that instead of subscribing to a particular narrative (usually written by someone else) we can write the human story, together. This puts people into the current moment, rather than distracting them with false goals of awakening or 'success,' however they might define it.

...I do feel that this core aspect of Judaism - found the original texts and practices - was very influential on me, and did fuel much of my inquisitive spirit. I'm not afraid to ask questions, even if it means questioning the most fundamental assumptions on which my belief systems are built. And this, of course, is the real reason Jews have been so persecuted throughout the ages. Most societies do not consider this urge very productive or healthy. And this sort of constant searching certainly is an obstacle to the maintenance of a state based on a static myth.

...I value any technique that helps a person realize that the way things are put together is quite arbitrary. By creating our own magickal icons, we come to better understand the way a Nike swoosh might work on the psyche, or on the culture. By creating our own value systems, we might come to better understand how money works, or what gives a group the authority to create common currency. By working with language - even mutilating it - we can come to understand some of the biases built into it."

Democrats are political cowards. - Molly Ivins: Not. backing. Hillary. - Jan 20, 2006:
"What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do 'whatever it takes' to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?"

"The Case for Impeachment" -- one could only hope

The Case for Impeachment (
"The Conyers report doesn't lack for further instances of the administration's misconduct, all of them noted in the press over the last three years—misuse of government funds, violation of the Geneva Conventions, holding without trial and subjecting to torture individuals arbitrarily designated as “enemy combatants,” etc.—but conspiracy to commit fraud would seem reason enough to warrant the President's impeachment. Before reading the report, I wouldn't have expected to find myself thinking that such a course of action was either likely or possible; after reading the report, I don't know why we would run the risk of not impeaching the man. We have before us in the White House a thief who steals the country's good name and reputation for his private interest and personal use; a liar who seeks to instill in the American people a state of fear; a televangelist who engages the United States in a never-ending crusade against all the world's evil, a wastrel who squanders a vast sum of the nation's wealth on what turns out to be a recruiting drive certain to multiply the host of our enemies. In a word, a criminal—known to be armed and shown to be dangerous. Under the three-strike rule available to the courts in California, judges sentence people to life in jail for having stolen from Wal-Mart a set of golf clubs or a child's tricycle. Who then calls strikes on President Bush, and how many more does he get before being sent down on waivers to one of the Texas Prison Leagues?"

Political Communication 101

Kung Fu Monkey: Ain't Redux:
"I'm not talking about 'being all things to all people,' or framing in order to trick people into agreeing with you. My point is simply this -- learning effective message control and disseminaton, or what in the olden days we called 'rhetoric' wasn't too low for Socrates, wasn't too low for Thomas Jefferson, and we should stop turning up our noses at it and calling it 'selling out.'

My point is not in how to fool rubes into agreeing with you. My point is that often, when communicating our ideas to other people, we do not stop and think of the best way to make clear that we already share the same ideas. I used to mention in passing about how Canada had single-payer health care. Always got a few 'socialism' catcalls from the audience. But as soon as I said 'It's wrong for you to lose your house if your kid gets cancer', you could feel the audience swing, sometimes burst into applause. For that group, at least, a little meme-seed had been planted. I could have gone on about bed/patient ratios and per capita expenses to my heart's content. But that wasn't relevant to my audience.

Learn to Say Ain't isn't about being something you're not, or all things to all people. (and if that's how you read it, you were really just looking for something to disagree with in order to reinforce your own beliefs. Sorry.) what Boats taught me back then is that we all have common ground, and if you want to communicate your idea clearly, you need to start with the common ground of your audience and then get them to meet you halfway. It's about boiling your idea down to what really matters. This is not about lying -- this is about telling the truth in a more effective manner."

Bottom Line: Nobody's happy you guys were idiots.

d r i f t g l a s s: We’re All Liberals Now.:
" is at times like these that this little exchange from “Broadcast News” comes unbidden to mind:

Paul Moore: It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room.

Jane Craig: No. It's awful.

That, at bottom, is what stupid people, drunks and Fundies never grasp: That it is in no way delightful to be the one who sees the disaster hulking out of the darkness.

The analysts who were screaming into the fucktard void of the Bush White House that they needed to wake up and pay attention to al Qaeda and Bin Laden before 9/11 aren’t glad they were right.

The scientists who have been warning us of Global Warming and have been blown off for years as tree-huggy egg-heads because the facts were inconvenient to the Oil Junta that runs America aren’t pleased that the ice caps are melting.

Those who were begging for help before and after Katrina as the Bicycle Chief rode in circles and Heckofajob Brownie worried about the roll of his cuffs aren’t doing smug happy-dances about the death of New Orleans.

The list just goes on and on and on, but the song remains the same. Stupid, venal people amply warned that they were driving us all off yet another cliff.

Stupid, venal people shrieking that everyone else is a traitor and that they didn’t need no smarty-pants liberals telling ‘em how to drive.

Squealing, “Hey, we won, so shut the fuck up.”

Then wheeeeee! Off the cliff we go-go-go…

Then the Bad Thing happens.

Then…crickets and tumbleweed and an airless, freaked-out silence from the Right like unto a mime having a panic attack lying face down in the dust on the dark side of the Moon.

Followed by a spongy, squishy sound made by millions of baffled brows beetling in that damp confusion that the s-l-o-w children get when confronted -- yet again -- with overwhelming evidence of the consequences of their reckless, arrogant moronity.

Followed by a return to their default, factory setting of running in hysterical circles and wildly blaming Evil Liberals or the French or Bill Clinton or feminists or queers for the blood on their own hands and the dead on their own watch.

“We didn’t knooooow!” they wail, as we roll in wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of evidence that they damned well did know.

“No one could have predicted...,” they whine, as we chopper in ton after ton of proof that Iraq/Katrina/9-11/Global Warming/North Korea/Iran/Every-other-fucking-thing were all quite predictable, and had been foreseen, but their Dear Leader had simply chosen to ignore the inconvenient mile-high, DayGlo warning signs on his way to and from vacation.

‘Cause they won, which means 2+2 no longer equals four Mr. Fancypants liberal.

So they’ll sprint in diminishing circles until the Limbaugh Chip in their tiny heads is reseated by a licensed GOP thrall tech, and which point they’ll blink owlishly for a moment or two, and have that Very Special Republican “Memento” Moment when they forget every single thing that has actually happened in the last thirty years and go right back to being furious at Liberals…for…something.

At which point they take what’s left of the country and hand it right back to the same boobs and hucksters and sociopaths that wrecking it in the first place, and tell everybody to Shut The Hell Up, ‘cause nobody wants to hear from no God Damned negative, critical know-it-all’s yappin' about who did what to who and who drove whose country into oblivion.

It is the same pathetic, shirker's anthem sung by every irresponsible drunk I have ever known."

This just sounds like my worst nightmare come true.

'Pizza pope' builds a Catholic heaven - Sunday Times - Times Online:
"A former marine who was raised by nuns and made a fortune selling pizza has embarked on a £230m plan to build the first town in America to be run according to strict Catholic principles.

Abortions, pornography and contraceptives will be banned in the new Florida town of Ave Maria, which has begun to take shape on former vegetable farms 90 miles northwest of Miami.

Tom Monaghan, the founder of the Domino’s Pizza chain, has stirred protests from civil rights activists by declaring that Ave Maria’s pharmacies will not be allowed to sell condoms or birth control pills. The town’s cable television network will carry no X-rated channels.

The town will be centred around a 100ft tall oratory and the first Catholic university to be built in America for 40 years. The university’s president, Nicholas J Healy, has said future students should “help rebuild the city of God” in a country suffering from “catastrophic cultural collapse”."

I find the best stuff on » Dan Curtis Johnson On His Plan To Escape Sudden Murder Attempts:
"If, someday, some giant murderous dude has picked me up completely off the ground by my throat and is strangling the life out of me, instead of fighting him I’m just going to get my pants off and start masturbating furiously. Because, if I’m gonna die anyway, that whole Michael Hutchence suffocation-orgasm thing is supposed to be pretty amazing and maybe– just MAYBE– the giant murderous dude will be freaked out enough to let go of me and I can get the hell away.

“With no pants on, sure, but you take what you can get"

I'm actually pleasantly surprised I passed.
[Though I wish they'd tell me which one I missed.]

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!

Well this is just ridiculous.

You know, I don't even smoke, but this is retarded.

Banning cigs while you drive by in a huge, noxious fume emitting vehicle?

Are you kidding me?

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Australia mulls car smoking ban:
"Authorities in Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, are to consider banning smoking in cars."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Moving to the Beat of a Midlife Funk

You gotta check out the vid at the article.

Moving to the Beat of a Midlife Funk:
"Four middle-aged, white guys find a new way to handle a mid-life funk -- form a hip-hop dance troupe."

This is gonna be geeky greatness.

Comic Book Resources - CBR News - The Comic Wire:
"“Batman” and “Detective Comics” will have an 8-issue arc written by James Robinson, after which “Batman” will be written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Andy Kubert, and “Detective Comics” by acclaimed TV writer Paul Dini and drawn by Rags Morales."

"But they're better off without Saddam, no matter what!"


Independent Online Edition > Middle East:
"Hundreds of Iraqis are being tortured to death or summarily executed every month in Baghdad alone by death squads working from the Ministry of the Interior, the United Nations' outgoing human rights chief in Iraq has revealed.

John Pace, who left Baghdad two weeks ago, told The Independent on Sunday that up to three-quarters of the corpses stacked in the city's mortuary show evidence of gunshot wounds to the head or injuries caused by drill-bits or burning cigarettes. Much of the killing, he said, was carried out by Shia Muslim groups under the control of the Ministry of the Interior.

Much of the statistical information provided to Mr Pace and his team comes from the Baghdad Medico-Legal Institute, which is located next to the city's mortuary. He said figures show that last July the morgue alone received 1,100 bodies, about 900 of which bore evidence of torture or summary execution. The pattern prevailed throughout the year until December, when the number dropped to 780 bodies, about 400 of which had gunshot or torture wounds."

The International Fight League

A Mixed Martial Arts league co-founded my Gareb Shamus, publisher of Wizard, Toyfare and other comic-geek related fields...

My two worlds are colliding.

It's madness.

[But should be interesting.] - The International Fight League...for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts:
"Sometime in April 2006, the first four IFL fight teams will be unveiled at the organization’s inaugural event. Each team will consist of five fighters, one from each weight division represented in the league (lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight) and one coach.

On the first night of action, one team will vie against another, with ten fights taking place between two separate brackets. Each fight consists of 3/3 minute rounds and takes place back-to-back for non-stop action. The two winning teams (those that grasp at least 3 of their 5 fights) will square off six-eight weeks later and the first IFL championship team will be decided. Individual winners whose teams did not advance may also be invited back to compete in individual fights."

Pride Results

Dig on Coleman, Nogueira, Kosaka and Overeem. Overeem over Kharitonov I didn't expect, but I like him, maybe he'll be a stronger HVY than a MDW.

Between Rounds:
"# Mark Hunt defeats Yosuke Nishijima by third-round TKO (1:18)
# Mark Coleman defeats Mauricio “Shogun” Rua by first-round referee stoppage due to suspected broken arm (0:49)
# Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defeats Kiyoshi Tamura by first-round submission (arm bar, 2:24)
# Josh Barnett defeats Kazuhiro Nakamura by first-round submission (rear naked choke, 8:10)
# Alistair Overeem defeats Sergei Kharitonov by first-round TKO (5:13)
# Tsuyoshi Kosaka defeats Mario Sperry by first-round TKO (1:20)
# Fabricio Werdum defeats Jon Olav Einemo by unanimous decision
# Quentin “Rampage” Jackson defeats Dong Sik Yoon by unanimous decision
# Roman Zentsov defeats Pedro Rizzo by first-round knockout (0:25) "