Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Culture of Fear in America, every level from parenting to politics, makes me ill.

Be afraid. Of terrorists. Of the internet. Of sex-offenders. Of drugs. Of Democrats. Of Republicans. Of Global Warming. Of foreigners. Of sex. Of video games. Of pornography. Of strangers. Of free speech. Of everything.

I loathe The Cult of Safety At All Costs very, very much. Almost as much as the cult of But Who Will Think of the Children?

Makes me want to find another world to play in, cause this one seriously needs to cowboy up, stop whining and shut the hell up for awhile.

Let kids outdoors - Los Angeles Times:
"One sunny afternoon as our children played nearby, I asked a neighbor at what age she would allow her son to bicycle around the block by himself.

'I don't think I would ever do that,' she replied. 'The world is a very different place now than it was when we were growing up.'

Did she really think the number of child molesters and kidnappers in the world had increased in the last 20 or 30 years, I asked? "Oh, yes, I think it is increasing. Because of the Internet."

At a PTA meeting, during a discussion of traffic problems around the school campus, I asked what we could do to encourage families to walk or bike to school. Other parents looked at me as if I'd suggested we stuff the children into barrels and roll them into the nearest active volcano. One teacher looked at me in shock. "I wouldn't let my children walk to school alone … would you?"

"Haven't you heard about all of the predators in this area?" asked a father.

"No, I haven't," I said. "I think this is a pretty safe neighborhood."

"You'd be surprised," he replied, lowering his eyebrows. "You should read the Megan's Law website." He continued: "You know how to solve the traffic problem around this school? Get rid of all the predators. Then you won't have any more traffic."

Huh?

Our hyper-anxiety about the safety of children is creating a society in which any outdoor activity that doesn't take place under the supervision of a coach or a "psychomotor activities" mandate from the state is too risky to attempt.

An example: My son's school has a written rule that students in grades K-4 may not ride their bicycles to school. My son and I cheerfully ignore this restriction; I think school rules belong on campus, not off. As we ride together each day, I remember the Huffy Sweet 'n' Sassy I rode to school when I was a kid. Hot pink, with a flowered wicker basket, it stood out among the other bikes parked in the crowded racks, its tall orange safety flag flapping in the breeze.

...Although statistics show that rates of child abduction and sexual abuse have marched steadily downward since the early 1990s, fear of these crimes is at an all-time high. Even the panic-inducing Megan's Law website says stranger abduction is rare and that 90% of child sexual-abuse cases are committed by someone known to the child. Yet we still suffer a crucial disconnect between perception of crime and its statistical reality.

...Meanwhile, as rates of child abduction and abuse move down, rates of Type II diabetes, hypertension and other obesity-related ailments in children move up. That means not all the candy is coming from strangers. Which scenario should provoke more panic: the possibility that your child may become one of the approximately 100 children who are kidnapped by strangers each year, or one of the country's 58 million overweight adults?"

More stupid cruelty in the War on [Some] Drugs.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Colorado Making Way for the Next Peter McWilliams:
"As Harsanyi explains, it's easy to get lost in the details of this case. What's quite clear is that Branson is a very sick man. He isn't and wasn't selling marijuana. At least two doctors feel he needs it. So his apparent crime was to trust the word of a doctor who due to federal law, not state law, couldn't give him her prescription in writing. For this, and for a measly 12 plants, the state of Colorado wants to send him to prison, and possibly kill him."

Via the Denver Post:
Sometimes there's a fine line between consent and coercion.

Jack Branson learned that lesson the hard way in October 2004 when officers from the North Metro Drug Task Force knocked on his door.

Would Branson give consent to these officers to conduct a warrantless search of his home in Thornton?

Well, of course he would consent - especially after, as Branson tells it, the dozen or so armed cops explained, in detail, the needless tragedies that would befall his home if they were forced to go through the trouble of returning with a warrant.

In they went.

The police, naturally, knew exactly what they were looking for and quickly seized about a dozen marijuana plants Branson was growing in the backyard.

Charged with felony cultivation and possession with intent to distribute, the 38-year-old Branson, who is in a 20-year fight with HIV, is now facing a maximum six years in prison.

Branson, who had no previous criminal record, claims that a physician named Dr. Cynthia Firnhaber verbally recommended medical marijuana to him in 2002 to help ease his pain.

"That or pick out a hospice which you'd like to die in," Branson alleges the doctor told him.

Oh, so much safer. You can feel it, right?

Also, I hate these people.

Or.

If you're going to make our lives miserable, at least DO. YOUR. FUCKING. JOB.

Thank you.

Boing Boing: TSA missed 90% of bombs at Denver airport:
"Undercover agents were able to slip bombs and IEDs past the Transport Security Agency checkpoint at Denver airport 90 percent of the time. Last time I was in Denver, the eagle-eyed agent was able to spot and confiscate my toothpaste, and of course, my suitcase arrived damaged, contents filthy, having been pawed at by a TSA goon and then improperly closed. These eagle-eyed guardians of freedom are so obsessed with making sure that we're all sharing our foot-funguses with each other on while our shoes go through the X-ray machine that they can't actually find actual bombs.

It's great that the TSA devotes all its energies to stopping the kind of ridiculous terrorist attacks that don't work, like shoe bombs and moisture bombs. Makes me feel much safer. I sleep better knowing that four-year-olds whose names sound vaguely like some terrorist's possible alias are kept off our planes."

Cute/clever Japanese commercial for the Nintendo DS.

Which I am intimately familiar with, as my wife loves the DS.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Oh Jesus... you so crazy.

Alternatively, this is the actual explanation for the Crusades. And Gulf War II.

Overheard in the Office | No Peace, but a Sword for You, My Friend:
"Coworker on phone: Jesus told me if you come over to fuck you up.

100 Main Street
Cincinnati, Ohio

Overheard by: Jesus Freak"

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, has an interesting new theory.

The Dilbert Blog: The Boner Theory of Economics:
"The Boner Theory of Economics also predicts that in the long run – perhaps in a few hundred years – the military will be 100% gay men. This is the best case scenario for taxpayers because it will keep down costs, and recruiting will be easy.

Recruiter: “We can’t afford to give you body armor, but you’ll be surrounded by young, vital men who are a long way from home. Would you like a tour of the showers?”

Recruit: “Yes, but I can’t stand up right away.”

During the transition to the future all-gay armed forces, things will be awkward for the career soldiers who are hanging in there for a pension. You’ll hear this sort of exchange when they finally retire:

Soldier: “I was deployed in the desert for three years.”

Friend: “Are you gay?”

Soldier: “No, but thank goodness the guy who shared my tent was."

"...you really can't blame the public for starting to believe that they're all crooked."

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > City of Bruised Shoulders:
"So remember the video of the off-duty Chicago SWAT officer beating the mother-grabbin' vocabulary out of a female bartender a third his size?

A second video surfaced last week, this time involving six other off-duty Chicago cops slamming some heads in a bar brawl.

...That was in December. Police officials saw the video of the fight five days after it happened. Yet the brawling cops kept their jobs, positions, and patrols until late last week, when the bartender beatdown video got the media sniffing, leading to the discovery of the video of the December brawl. Four months later, only after another one of his men was caught on tape beating a civilian, Chicago Police Superintendent Philip Cline decided to suspend the six officers involved in the December brawl, noting that he probably "mishandled" their discipline.

"Mishandled" is one way of putting it. "Covered up" is probably more accurate.

...I'll include the obligatory "only a small percentage of cops are bad" disclaimer here. But when the entire department—right up to the chief of police—continues to cover up for the bad seeds, you really can't blame the public for starting to believe that they're all crooked."

thinkArete

Nicely done.

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;"

Way to focus on the important stuff, guys.

And provide more barriers to retention and recruitment.

Cause image is everything, after all.

Marines bans big, garish tattoos:
"Dozens of Marines from at least one installation have been rushing to get new tattoos before a new ban kicks in Sunday.

The Marine Corps is banning Leathernecks from getting any new, extra-large tattoos below the elbow or the knee. The Corps says such tattoos are harmful to its spit-and-polish image."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Why the UFC is awesome.

Starts at the top, apparently.

Fertitta brothers' new bet: Ultimate Fighting Championship - November 1, 2006:
"This would be a particularly awesome time for the Fertitta brothers [owners of Zuffa, the UFC and Pride Worldwide - Rob] to finally disagree. That's because the dispute resolution clause in their ownership contract of the Ultimate Fighting Championship states that 'in order to resolve a Deadlock among the LLC Members, Frank and Lorenzo shall engage in a Sport Jiu-Jitsu match under the rules as set forth herein.'

Those would be three five-minute rounds refereed by UFC president Dana White and 'decided by submission or points.'"

Hat tip Mad Squabbles

I think this might be one of the greatest things I've ever seen.

Seriously.

Peaceful Warrior Blog:
"“Eighty-five times Hoyt has pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he’s not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars — all in the same day.

“Dick has also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? “Go Bruins!” And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, “Dad, I want to do that.”

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described “porker” who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles?

Still, he tried. “Then it was me who was handicapped,” Dick says. “I was sore for two weeks.”

That day changed Rick’s life. “Dad,” he typed, “when we were running, it felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore!”

And that sentence changed Dick’s life.
He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could...

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon , in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters.

Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992 — only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don’t keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A new era in MMA starts now.

Should be fun.

Zuffa-Controlled: DSE Cedes PRIDE to UFC Bosses:
"After revitalizing the struggling Ultimate Fighting Championship, and as a result lifting the sport of mixed martial arts world wide, Lorenzo Fertitta, a Station Casinos magnate alongside his older brother Frank, confirmed the purchase of the PRIDE Fighting Championships from Dream Stage Entertainment Tuesday in Tokyo."


FOX Sports - Boxing - UFC owners buy rival Pride:
"NEW YORK (AP) - The majority owners of Ultimate Fighting Championship have agreed to buy their biggest mixed martial arts rival, Pride Fighting Championships, in a deal that will establish megafights among the outfits' titleholders and possibly attract huge pay-per-view audiences."


Photo Link

I am a Bowling God.



Sandy's enjoying her new games for her DSLite, including a bowling video game, got a jones to go do the real bowling, as, apparently, flicking her wrist with a stylus on a two inch screen, doesn't quite feed the bowling beast she has lurking within.

So, after a layoff of maybe 7 years - last time we were in Japan, maybe? - we once again ventured forth to do battle on the field of pins and alleys.

Conveniently located at a Banana Party Amusement Paradise near you.

Banana. Party.

I don't know, you figure it out.







The bowling, it'll make you crazy.

Check out the mad gleam in our eyes.




I really shouldn't look so happy in the pic below, as I've had to drop down to an 11lb ball, as apparently I'm not as strong as I was when I was 15 years old, throwing a 13lb'er. How fucking sad is that?

And the very first ball I threw? Gutterball.





In Japan, you can get hot fries from vending machines.

From Machines!!!!

Japan Rocks.

Next up, Robot Ninja Assassins.



Bowling shoes the world over are just horrible looking. Guaranteed to cut down on theft, I imagine.

But Japanese bowling shoes? Surprisingly comfortable.





I somehow [OK, not "somehow"... strange looking bald foreigner always gets the kiddies attention...] got my own little cheering section. I'd bowl a strike or a spare and they'd clap and cheer.

It. Was. Awesome.

Little Japanese Kids? Funktastically cute. And I think they helped me bowl better too.



So after DOMINATING Sandy bowling [the kids still got it] with my high game [A 189. After 7 years not touching a bowling ball. I kick ass.], best two out of three and high series score victories, Sandy mauled me playing pool.

And air hockey.

Repeatedly.

So we will not speak of these things.

My pean to Western Civilization.



Cause sometimes sitting on the floor just won't cut it.

And Sandy hogs all the couch area space.

That's right. I said it.

Sandy's Birthday.



For Sandy's birthday we went out to a local vegetarian place for a buffet lunch, and then on the way back, saw a sign selling fresh strawberries. In following the strawberry sign, we came across another sign for fresh tomatoes. Just a little place, right next to the fields and hothouses, selling fresh [sometimes it pays to live out in inaka country] produce for cheap. And the name of the place was Jichan's Tomatoes [Grampa's Tomatoes] and you can read the name on the little slip if you blow up the pic. Too cute. And they threw in a free cabbage! Pays to be the weird looking foreigner.





But we eventually found the strawberries, where you could, get this - pick all you can eat for a certain amount - tabehodai. The catch is you had to pick and eat them there. How awesome. We picked and took ours to go though. Funniest thing was that Sandy had gotten a flyer in the city about picking strawberries, and almost went there for her birthday. But we decided against it because we wanted to take it relatively easy for her b-day. And we ended up picking strawberries anyways.

Sandy, a great lover of the strawberry.

Also, a goofball.





Sandy's gift haul.


Including, god help us all, Judith Krantz DVD's.



And cool Hakata hina dolls from Hisako-san.

Graduation.







The 3rd graders graduated about a week and half ago, and as always, graduation ceremonies were the typical Japanese mix of ceremony, boredom, celebration and tears. It's always nice though, because no matter how many tears are shed [them, not me, of course. I am manly in all things] there's that sense of optimism and hope and "your whole life ahead of you" that somehow lifts up everything a notch. And I ride that for as long as humanly possible.



Yuui, above, was one of Makiko's students that I helped teach when we lived here 7 years ago... and now she's graduating Jr High. At the risk of being corny, I was awfully proud of her, watching her graduate.





This kid was, um... not the best student. But he was a good Judo player, so that necessitated hamming it up for the camera.



I don't know what we were doing here, but he seemed enthused. Go with the flow...



The kids prepare for their final walk out of the school...





And here they come, led by homeroom and PE teacher Shirake Sensei...



And there they go. Gambatte! Ometetou! Even you yanki kids...

There's more pics, mostly of me and the kids making the peace sign for the camera again and again... Click on the box below and you can see them all, if you're so inclined.

2007-03-18

Optimism and Sociopathy.

Been watching the British drama Skins, and enjoying it. It mixes the right blend of optimism and sociopathy that encapsulates teen life.

But when the end of the first season ended with an impromptu musical number, completely out of synch with anything they've done this season, I believe they may have made me a fan for life. TV that's willing to do the weird, and do it well, it's a rare and wonderful thing.



Skins (TV series) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Skins is focused around the lives of a group of teenage friends who live in Bristol. The drama is meant to represent the daily lives of adolescents. The group includes a gay character; an attractive and popular boy; his girlfriend; a drug-taking Muslim; a girl with an eating disorder; a boy who is desperate to lose his virginity; an intelligent and privileged girl and a party animal in love with his teacher."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Get thee behind me factual information!


Fred On Everything:
"Consider the presidential wars. I get combative email informing me that Moslems are savage, barbaric, crafty, and patient, biding their time through the centuries to spit in apple pie, put Mom in a seraglio, and sodomize Boy Scouts—that they have spread by the sword, live by the sword, and lust to convert us all to Islam and sell us prayer rugs. The Gates of Vienna, 1453, all that.

Perhaps. There follows a list of Christian countries I can think of that have been conquered by Moslems since the Industrial Revolution:

On the other hand, to the best of my admittedly weak historical understanding, the following Islamic countries have been conquered by Christians: Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Chad, Pakistan, Bangla Desh, Libya, Indonesia, Yemen, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Kyrgyz, Kazakhstan, Somalia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan, to name a few. On various occasions Christians have tried to conquer Afghanistan, but with no better luck than they deserved.

Since 1500, Christians also conquered all of North, South, and Central America, most of Southeast Asia, India, Australia, Nepal, Africa, China for practical purposes, and so on. I am not sure the record is altogether on the side of Christians in terms of inherent pacifism.



...A drawback of getting older is that one has a sense of seeing the same bad movie over and over. We always fight demons. Like the Moslems, the Russians also were patient and barbaric, as were, and will be again, the Chinese when they come online as the next enemy. The Japanese too were primordially evil, committing such atrocities as the Rape of Nanking until nuclear terror bombing returned them to civilization’s fold. The only good Indian was a dead Indian. Etcetera."

It's out of your control. Art and copyright. And everything.

Writing in the free world | Salon Books:
"If you make stuff, it is not yours to command its destiny in the world. God help you, you should be grateful if it has one. It's fantastic if anyone cares. Every artist should be constantly reminding themselves how lucky they are if people are even bothering in the first place.

...I don't think 50 or 100 years after my death, someone should still have say over what someone makes of this stuff. It certainly doesn't follow. As Lawrence Lessig likes to point out, you can't provide incentive to a dead creator to make more art by offering him a copyright."

Superheroes, written in the style of...

Brilliantly funny concept. Literary comic book mash up. Comics characters written in the style of famous writers... challenge thrown out by one blogger, picked up by about a dozen.

Lurking Rhythmically: Batman, as written by Chuck Palahniuk:
"Stabbing into the sky like a mile-long phosphorescent penis is the Bat-Signal, my emblem embossed across the clouds like a serial killer's trophy mark. 'Fetishistic' isn't the right word, but it's the closest that comes to mind.

I am Bruce's rampaging ego.

The Batmobile rips through Gotham's steel canyons, belching smoke as thick as my rage and and black as my mood, my foot permanently against the firewall. More speed, more power, more penetration of the murky streets. I have an erection as hard as iron and I can't satisfy it, so my Batmobile becomes my penis, plowing through moist and cloying alleys like a turbine-powered dildo.

It's always "a" dildo, though. Never "my" dildo."

Worth clicking over and reading in full, if only so you can see how skillfully the phrase "Bukkake of Justice" can be effectively worked into writing.

Same writer did the also impressive Iron Man, as written by William Gibson:
He swallowed a handful of Etinol, the large white pentagonal pills bitter in his mouth before being washed down by the taste of Goldschl├Ąger.

The smart drugs took effect almost immediately, 3000 milligrams of genetically-tailored Acetylcholine blasting through his nervous system like a hot desert wind through Martian box canyons. Blood flow to his brain improved, ATP production increased, oxygen and iron in his blood bound with greater efficiency.

...Theoretical armor, he had first called it, because armor that never took a hit was useless weight. Better, he thought, to have a suit that existed only in mathematical theory until such time as he actually needed it, and then only in the sections where it was needed. The quantum nature of being in a state of existence-yet-nonexistence until it was observed to be necessary was what gave it its final name. "Fly," he said, or at least thought he said, and decided that boot jets were necessary.

GRAVITON EMITTERS ACTUALIZED.

Though I've got to say, my favorite is probably Jimmy: The True Story of a Teenage Journalist by Kevin Church over at BeaucoupKevin.com.



Go to any of the links to find more mashup awsomeness.

What large multimedia corporations can't seem to grasp.


Or they do grasp it, and just don't care. I, for one, think Sheriff Andy would be profoundly disappointed.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > CBS Nixes Mayberry Civics Lesson:
"Last January, I posted a YouTube clip taken from The Andy Griffith Show. It was a charming bit where Sheriff Taylor explains to Opie that it's illegal to eavesdrop on conversations between criminal defendants and their lawyers, and how in a free society any conviction resulting from such tactics does more harm than good.

The clip has since been pulled from YouTube after complaints from CBS Broadcasting.

I see this as a huge problem with copyright law. The Mayberry video wasn't posted so users could 'steal' clips from the Andy Griffith Show that they otherwise would have purchased. Its presence on YouTube wasn't going to prevent anyone who would have otherwise bought the DVD of the show from doing so. Rather, it was posted to make a political point; either to allude to a time when civil liberties were more than mere formalities, or to poke fun of those naive enough to actually believe what Andy Taylor was lecturing Opie about.

I'd argue that a pretty substantial portion of the copyrighted material uploaded to YouTube serves the same or a similar purpose. It's splicing together clips from different sources, excerpting clips, or otherwise mashing different forms of media to make a point. That point can be something grand as the wholesale erosion of our civil liberties, or something a bit more mundane, like the fact that Carlos Mencia steals his jokes."

Speaking of joke-thief Mencia, here you can watch him steal from the late Sam Kinison...



...and incredibly, Bill Cosby Himself.

Yes. A million times, yes.


Finishing the Game - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Finishing The Game is a 2007 comedy which focuses on Bruce Lee's final movie Game Of Death. Lee died prior to finishing the movie, having shot only approximately 30 minutes of film. However, the rest of the film was finished using a Bruce Lee double. Finishing The Game is a comedy which satirizes the production of Lee's final film. The film was directed by Justin Lin, the director of the films Better Luck Tomorrow, Annapolis, and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift."

The Flintstones cigarette commercial.

There's something so right about this, and so wrong at the same time.

Awesome though.

Courtney Love, perhaps surprisingly, kicks all sorts of ass.


I don't even really dig her music, but she lays the lucid and compelling smackdown for something like 6 pages describing how record distributors [labels] completely screw over musicians, and how to NOT FEAR THE FUTURE! [goddamit.] Great essay showing the scummy side of the record industry. But my favorite bit was this, even though it's not really in keeping with the overarching theme of the article...

Courtney Love does the math - Salon:
"When I agreed to allow a large cola company to promote a live show, I couldn't have been more miserable. They screwed up every single thing imaginable. The venue was empty but sold out. There were thousands of people outside who wanted to be there, trying to get tickets. And there were the empty seats the company had purchased for a lump sum and failed to market because they were clueless about music.

...On top of all this, I felt embarrassed to be an advertising agent for a product that I'd never let my daughter use. Plus they were a condescending bunch of little guys. They treated me like I was an ungrateful little bitch who should be groveling for the experience to play for their damn soda.

I ended up playing without my shirt on and ordering a six-pack of the rival cola onstage. Also lots of unwholesome cursing and nudity occurred. This way I knew that no matter how tempting the cash was, they'd never do business with me again.


If you want some little obedient slave content provider, then fine. But I think most musicians don't want to be responsible for your clean-cut, wholesome, all-American, sugar corrosive cancer-causing, all white people, no women allowed sodapop images.

Nor, on the converse, do we want to be responsible for your vice-inducing, liver-rotting, child-labor-law-violating, all white people, no-women-allowed booze images.

So as a defiant moody artist worth my salt, I've got to think of something else. Tampax, maybe."

It's raining 300 men! Hallellujah!

Gotta love the remix.

Well said.

Boing Boing: DMCA's author says the DMCA is a failure, blames record industry:
"If they add value, they'll survive. If the market doesn't support them, they'll go broke. The point of copyright is to support creativity, not Fortune 100 entertainment giants."

Eleven Precepts for Reality Manipulation

Well put.

www.myspace.com/jasonlouv:
"0. Nothing comes from nothing.
1. All surroundings are evolving.
2. You are what you perceive. The dream and the dreamer are another dreamer's dream.
3. Change the environment to change the self. Change the self to change the environment.
4. Many games, many players. One player, one game.
5. In a mirror(ing) universe, all actions have an equal and mirrored reaction.
6. Infinite love is the only truth. Manifest reality is a predictable mathematical equation for distracting consciousness into believing it exists and thereby constraining it.
7. Be excellent to each other.
8. All is gradient manifestation of one substance. Change a part to change the whole.
9. Individuality is insanity.
10. Everything suffers all the time.
11. Sex, death and taxes."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Shocking! Alcohol, tobacco worse than pot and ecstasy. Who knew?

Except, of course, anybody who bothers to learn anything about it.

Alcohol, tobacco worse than pot, ecstasy: study:
"New landmark research concludes that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than some illegal drugs like marijuana or ecstasy and should be classified as such in legal systems, according to a new British study.

In research published Friday in The Lancet, Professor David Nutt of Britain's Bristol University and colleagues proposed a new framework for the classification of harmful substances, based on the actual risks posed to society. Their ranking listed alcohol and tobacco among the top 10 most dangerous substances.

Nutt and colleagues used three factors to determine the harm associated with any drug: the physical harm to the user, the drug's potential for addiction, and the impact on society of the drug's use.

The researchers asked two groups of experts — psychiatrists specializing in addiction and legal or police officials with scientific or medical expertise — to assign scores to 20 different drugs, including heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, and LSD.

Heroin and cocaine were ranked most dangerous, followed by barbiturates and street methadone. Alcohol was the fifth-most harmful drug and tobacco the ninth most harmful. Cannabis came in 11th, and near the bottom of the list was ecstasy."

"...the whole point of the goddam country"

Just lost on some people, apparently.

Kung Fu Monkey: The Colbert Strap-On ... of JUSTICE!:
"You know, I've been staying out of this one, but White House spokesman Tony Snow said this morning...
The executive branch is under no compulsion to testify to Congress, because Congress in fact doesn't have oversight ability.
Come on. I mean ... come onnnnn. They're not even pretending to give a shit how the government works anymore. Remember when Rule of Law made us different from other countries? Remember when it was the whole point of the goddam country?"

Drunken off duty cop beats female bartender less than half his size.

"An off-duty police officer in street clothes was caught on video by a bar surveillance camera beating up a female bartender half his size, authorities said.

Anthony Abbate, a 12-year veteran of the Chicago force, was charged with aggravated battery and placed on leave pending an internal investigation in the attack Feb. 19 as several bystanders watched, department spokeswoman Monique Bond said Wednesday. She said Abbate is expected to be fired.

The video from Jessie's Short Stop Inn Tavern, shows the 250-pound Abbate shouting at the 115-pound bartender, then walking behind the bar and punching, kicking and throwing her to the ground."

Ah, just how I remember being a kid.

Hilarious.

Shouts & Murmurs: The Wisdom of Children: Humor: The New Yorker:
"I. A Conversation at the Grownup Table, as Imagined at the Kids’ Table

MOM: Pass the wine, please. I want to become crazy.
DAD: O.K.
GRANDMOTHER: Did you see the politics? It made me angry.
DAD: Me, too. When it was over, I had sex.
UNCLE: I’m having sex right now.
DAD: We all are.
MOM: Let’s talk about which kid I like the best.
DAD: (laughing) You know, but you won’t tell.
MOM: If they ask me again, I might tell.
FRIEND FROM WORK: Hey, guess what! My voice is pretty loud!
DAD: (laughing) There are actual monsters in the world, but when my kids ask I pretend like there aren’t.
MOM: I’m angry! I’m angry all of a sudden!
DAD: I’m angry, too! We’re angry at each other!
MOM: Now everything is fine.
DAD: We just saw the PG-13 movie. It was so good.
MOM: There was a big sex.
FRIEND FROM WORK: I am the loudest! I am the loudest!
(Everybody laughs.)
MOM: I had a lot of wine, and now I’m crazy!
GRANDFATHER: Hey, do you guys know what God looks like?
ALL: Yes.
GRANDFATHER: Don’t tell the kids."

Rushkoff on Old Testament death cults and hacking reality.

As always, Rushkoff brings some fascinating interpretation.

Broken Frontier | The Portal for Quality Comics Coverage!:
"...what we're fighting for in the Bible and today is life itself. That's what Torah is really about: life vs. non-life. Pharaoh is head of a death cult, and the escaped slaves are attempting to create a life cult. An open source 'religion,' if you will, where humans write the laws by which they live. And they keep changing the laws to make them more ethical, more life-affirming, as time goes by.

Today, the most life-threatening gods take the form of currency. Money is not real; it's really not. It's created by a central bank, and based in nothing at all but a number. There's no "value" like gold or silver attached to it. Yet thousands are dying for money right now. Iraq isn't about oil—it's about a currency system that depends on artificial scarcity. That's why we can't use a replenishable energy source. We don't know how to make a "market" for it. And this very dependence on scarcity is Joseph's invention in the Bible. It's what gets the Hebrews enslaved.

That's why I thought the Bible could be such a powerful document for our time. But most everyone who says they read it actually don't. They just listen to preachers. So the Bible remains relatively undiscovered in this country, where it could be really useful.



...I think the ultimate hack of reality is to realize it hasn’t been "intended" to be anything. There's no creator. Just creation myths. If you want the world to be created differently, then go write a new myth. If you want the world to work differently, then change the laws, or whatever is in the way. Nothing is sacred. Only the stuff that people are afraid of need the protection of sanctity.

Reality hacking can be as simple as changing a one-way highway into a two-way street, so that less kids get run over and more stores can be developed on either side. Create a neighborhood out of a former highway. That's good enough for me.

Or create your own local currency. Get people to use it instead of dollars in your community, and watch Wal-Mart go out of business. Easy as that, if you realize it's possible. But most of us don't, and so we suffer and maybe pray a little for things to be changed for us."