Saturday, September 16, 2006

The differences between men and women are profound.

What Would Tyler Durden Do?
"The problem is, for girls “rough” means the handsome pirate with the long windswept mane of hair ripping the buttons on her blouse as he holds her captive in a velvet blindfold, for guys it means a donkey punch and calling her a whore."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Don't think about it too much. It'll make you crazy.


Cards from an Illuminati Conspiracy card game first sold in 1995.

In part in inspired by The Illuminatus Trilogy, that fictional conspiracy satire sci-fi comedy written by one of my favorite authors, Robert Anton Wilson back in the early 70's. [A terrorist attack on the Pentagon actually takes place in the book, btw, blowing out one of the walls...]

9/11 'Predicted' by Illuminati Card Game in 1995

Just a coincidence, right? Has to be.... otherwise.... [fair warning, you start down that path, you never really come back.]

Have fun.

Hail Eris.

”Invisible Space Daddy says I should hug you, infidel.”

Esteemed comic book auteur, and one of my fave writers, Warren Ellis continues his breakdown of the new NBC show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and delivers the pull-quote of the month... nay, the year... on all those rational and loving religious consersative types.

Studio 60 looks awesome, btw. But I've dug Sorkin's writing since Sports Night.

STUDIO 60: 2
And who are those occupying powers? Judd Hirsch’s [Who's plays the Exec Producer of an SNL-type show who loses his shit, a la Howard "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" Beale in Network, on live TV. - Rob] rant at the top of STUDIO 60 1.01:

“We’re all being lobotomized by the country’s most influential industry which has thrown in the towel on any endeavor that does not include the courting of 12-year-old boys. And not event the smart 12-year-olds, the stupid ones, the idiots, of which there are plenty thanks in no small part to this network.

“…there’s always been a struggle between art and commerce, but now I’m telling you art is getting its ass kicked, and it’s making us mean, and it’s making us bitchy, and it’s making us cheap punks and that’s not who we are. …We’re eating worms for money, ‘Who Wants to Screw My Sister’, guys are getting killed in a war that’s got theme music and a logo. That remote in your hand is a crack pipe…

“…and it’s not even good pornography. They’re just this side of snuff films, and friends, that’s what’s next ’cause that’s all that’s left. And the two things that make them scared gutless are the FCC and every psycho-religious cult that gets positively horny at the very mention of a boycott. These are the people they’re afraid of, this prissy, feckless, off-the-charts greed-filled whorehouse of a network you’re watching. This thoroughly unpatriotic– ”

What interests me is that Sorkin’s working in a country that takes its television a hell of a lot more seriously than it takes its government. He could catch a lot of flak if he really goes after his theme. And plopping in Harriet Hayes, the WEST WING/Ainsley Hayes (hey!) character there to remind us that middle America is full of good honest downhome sensible conservatives and non-insane people of faith (”Invisible Space Daddy says I should hug you, infidel”), as a shield against knee-jerk rightist criticism just isn’t going to soak it all up.

I’ll be watching STUDIO 60 because Sorkin can write very well, even though the eventual produced pilot is a little slicker than I’d like. The thing that’ll keep me watching is whether or not Sorkin strips the thorns off the rose before he proffers it as his Valentine gift to television.

But the President said we were safer, so really, isn't that all that matters?

Too Much Information

Say what you will about Joseph Stalin, but at least the man ran a top-notch crime control apparatus. Freed of the petty constraints of due process and human rights, the crack investigative team at the KGB ran down leads swiftly and diligently. When they found someone with information, they tortured him, quickly generating accurate information and keeping the authorities ahead of the curve. Stalin's Soviet Union had its problems, to be sure. Bad weather, economic deprivation, a certain absence of political freedom, etc. But the criminal justice system -- that was solid.

Well, no.

It wasn't like that at all. Pervasive surveillance, an absence of due process, and widespread use of torture, shockingly enough, didn't actually create an effective law enforcement system. Instead, you got the madness of the Great Purge. Thousands upon thousands of supposed traitors and saboteurs were arrested and sent away to the GULAG for, essentially, no reason at all...

From the regime's perspective, this arrangement wasn't pointless by any means... And while the widespread deployment of torture didn't generate anything in the way of accurate information, it did generate confessions by the bushel. Confessions were, of course, precisely what Stalin was after, as they validated the existence of the alleged conspiracy that justified the purge. The system worked, after a fashion, but it certainly didn't work as a system for solving crimes or cracking conspiracies. It worked as a component of the dictator's imposition of totalitarian rule on the country.

Which is all just to say that there are two closely related reasons we find the idea of torture depraved. On the one hand, the deliberate infliction of cruelty is simply a depraved act. On the other hand, though, it's simply the sort of thing that only depraved people do -- as an actual investigative technique, it sucks. It's a way of encouraging people to tell interrogators whatever it is the interrogators already happen to believe.

This is why you don't see torture associated with low-crime jurisdictions. You see it associated with brutal dictatorships seeking to cow the population into submission. You see it associated with purges, witch hunts, and inquisitions. Wherever phony confessions are required as an instrument of policy, you'll find your torture chambers.

Under the Bush administration, we've seen much the same thing.
Contrary to what the president claimed last week, torturing Abu Zubaydah hasn't made the country safer from terrorism. Rather, it made the president vaguely safer from public embarrassment. When Zubaydah was captured, Bush proudly claimed it as a crucial win in the war on terrorism. It turned out that he just wasn't very important -- he was kind of crazy, handled minor logistical matters, and didn't know anything about terrorist plots. But that’s not what his interrogators thought, so they tortured him until he told them about plots. The leads were duly tracked down and resulted in . . . nothing.

The brutally obvious for anyone who's been paying attention.

Sadly... that's surprisingly few, apparently.

The Question Never Asked
The question which is never asked is "why?" Why did so many American citizens die on American soil that day? Why would people want to attack us in such a vicious and grandiose fashion?

No answer? That is because the question is never asked. The reason it is never asked is because most Americans are like my father-in-law. When asked yesterday why he thinks people hate us, his response is that he does not care why and does not want to know. Sadly, neither do most Americans.

Certainly the government does not want you to know the answer to that question. That is why it offers up its own canard: "They hate us because we are free." Yet, a simple examination of other nations which are free demonstrates how thread-bare this explanation is. Canada, Switzerland, Austria, New Zealand: they are all free, and they are all free of "the threat." We are back to "why?"

...Of course the easiest source for the answer is to ask the people behind the movement. They are hardly shy, and have on many occasions expressed their motivations for their campaign against this country. Even the Pentagon knows the painful answer to the question of "why?"
"Muslims do not hate ‘our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objection to what they see as our one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states…"

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Motivational Posters I can get behind.

Some of these are just brilliant. Many more at the link, via the crazy bastards at Something Awful .

"You've seen them before, at the doctor's office waiting room or maybe physical therapy, motivational posters promoting Preserverance or Enthusiasm or some other one-word pick-me-up with a witty one-liner underneath that's supposed to make you want to just deadlift the coffee table and ask out the receptionist right there.

You haven't, however, yet seen what a motivation poster would look like for your typical, cunning villain. Knowing full well they probably won't get the girl like the heroes do, they've gotta get the motivation to wear those ridiculous costumes from somewhere..."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


More likely that a cop will kill you than a terrorist gets you. But let's not let the facts get in the way of America's current highly-honed sense of paranoia.

But I'm sure the wars on falling, walking down the street and electricity are on their way.
One Million Ways to Die
With that in mind, here's a handy ranking of the various dangers confronting America, based on the number of mortalities in each category throughout the 11-year period spanning 1995 through 2005 (extrapolated from best available data).

S E V E R E - Driving off the road: 254,419, Falling: 146,542, Accidental poisoning: 140,327

H I G H - Dying from work: 59,730, Walking down the street: 52,000, Accidentally drowning: 38,302

E L E V A T E D - Killed by the flu: 19,415, Dying from a hernia: 16,742,

G U A R D E D - Accidental firing of a gun: 8,536, Electrocution: 5,171,

L O W - Being shot by law enforcement: 3,949, Terrorism: 3,147, Carbon monoxide in products: 1,554

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Essence of Wisdom Distilled [in less than 10 minutes.]

Pretty much all you ever need to know about everything.

You're welcome.

"Who is Robert Anton Wilson?"

"If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about."

Oh, really? Some cognizant responses via ask.metafilter.

"If I'm not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me."

"Because the government gets to define what's wrong, and they keep changing the definition."

"Mind if I make a video of you fucking your wife then?"

"That's not what the Constitution says. You should read it sometime."

"So you trust the government completely? Not just this administration, but all of them? You trusted Nixon?"

"So it doesn't bother you that within the last few years the US has held a few hundred people without charge or access to the courts, and then released them when it decided they'd done nothing wrong?"

"So it doesn't cause you concern that people are released from death row all the time after it's found they've done nothing wrong?"

"In the Maltese Falcon the district attorney tells Sam Spade, "If you have nothing to hide, why are you concerned?", and Sam answers back, "Everyone has something to hide.""

For those who brush those reasons off I tend to ask a few very personal questions... "How much money did you make last year?" "How many sex toys do you own?" "Your wife, does she spit or swallow?" That kind of stuff tends to drive the point home that most people have stuff they'd rather not have everyone know.

"You're right, the government would never make trouble for an innocent person. I'm just going to call the Department of Homeland Security and tell them that you're a terrorist who plans to blow up the White House, okay? I'm sure it'll only take a few minutes to clear up the misunderstanding."

"And all along I thought you were a conservative who didn't trust government, didn't like big government, and believed in limiting the power of the state. When did you change your political philosophy, and why? Does this mean you'll start voting differently, too?"

"No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

"If you've got nothing to hide, why don't you post your credit card statements on the Internet?"