Friday, August 24, 2007

Political Cognitive Dissonace.

If not outright lying bullshit.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Death by Altruism:
"I was struck by the ease with which Gaffney could transition between the incompatible arguments of 'we need to stay in Iraq because the Iraqi people need us,' and 'we're fighting Al-Qaeda over there so we don't have to fight them over here.'

President Bush also often makes both of these arguments, usually in the same speech. Imagine how this sounds to the average Iraqi. 'America is fighting this war for your freedom and safety. Also, we're drawing all the world's worst terrorists into your backyard so they blow up your markets and police stations, and steer clear of ours.'"

I don't care what you say, that's just funny.

Overheard in the Office | You Play Helen Reddy, That's What You Get:
"Male coworker: All I hear is, 'Yap, yap, yap, I'm cold, yap, yap, yap, I'm a woman.

Gainesville, Florida Overheard by: Erin"

Touring Fukutsu with the new ALT.

Spent the morning taking a tour around Fukutsu, guided by esteemable supervisor Terashima-san, ostensibly to show the new ALT Teresa the area.

Beats working.

Here in our first photo, 4th year Jet Vet Kathy plays superstar to my paparazzi.

Followed by the obligatory visit to Miyajidake Shrine, what has to be my ninth or tenth visit, to once more plead with the heathen gods of Japan for a pleasant rice harvest. Or an ipod. Or something. As always, the largest ceremonial shrine rope in Japan presides.

After that, onwards to picturesque Ainsinosato Park.

Where we climbed the stairs of death.

Awfully nice view though.

From the hip, no-look, shot... which turned out awfully well, if I do say so myself. Makes it look as if the always cheerful Terashima just decided to pop his head out.

On the way back from the park, I convinced them to stop by a fertility shrine that one of the English teachers delighted in showing me a while back [Hi Akemi!]

Yes, children, that is a giant phallus.

Welcome to a world of no Judeo-Christian sexual hangups.

[We'll leave the Japanese hentai tentacle porn hangups for another time, yes?]

[No, I'm not joking.]

Out of nowhere, Kathy decides to break out "the Raj."

Okay, there was no "Raj."

And sadly, Kathy is probably too young to even get that joke. I don't care... syndicated afternoon episodes of What's Happening!!! molded my impressionable young mind.

Teresa, above, doing what can only be described as "frolicking" in the ocean.

After the beach and a couple other places we headed to "Sea Monster" in the Tsuyazaki side of Fukutsu for lunch with some American style burger fixins'.

For the visually impaired, that's a "Girls Wanted: No Experience Necessary" hat, unironically providing "America" style decor. Plus Bob Marley on the restaurant's music system. Good times.

And both Terashima-san and I engaged in eating the "Monster Burger" namesake of the restaurant. Clearly I picked the wrong week to try and eat healthier.

Beautiful cross cultural communication and bonding. Leading, of course, to obesity and heightened cholesterol. Gambaremashita!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dumb Cops, Bad Cops. *Updated*

Canadian cops admit to posing as protesters, commit further lying douchebaggery. Unbelievable.

Boing Boing: Canadian cops admit staging own provocateurs at protest:
"Police in Quebec have admitted that the people in the YouTube video linked yesterday on BoingBoing were their officers. However, the press release says... "The police officers were located by the demonstrators when they refused to launch projectiles." Now that version of events is very clearly contradicted by the video, which shows demonstrators telling the officers to put the rock down, not to launch it."


Cops dressed as "protesters", carrying rocks, prevented from inciting violence by the real protesters.

Protecting and serving. Just not the people.

Torontoist: Bon Cop, Bad Cop:
"Earlier this evening, The Star reported on what might somehow rank as one of the strangest videos on YouTube. Recorded on Monday afternoon at the protests in Montebello, the video shows the tail end of a confrontation between Dave Coles (president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada) and three masked men who seem hell-bent on riling up him, his fellow protestors ("old guys, grandmothers, grandfathers"), and the line of riot-ready police.

For a minute or so, it's just Coles being a good samaritan, trying to stop a potentially violent confrontation and demanding that one of the men who picks up a rock put it down. It's already extremely tense by the time that someone starts pointing at the masked protestors and chanting "policier!" Coles demands that the men take off their masks, and the majority of the crowd join him––some even reach for the bandannas themselves––and accuse the masked men of being cops, police provocateurs hired to start a riot. When Coles actually looks at one of the men dead-on and says, "you're a police officer," the masked men all freeze, seemingly dumb-struck. And then they kind of start being aggressive again, until a little over two minutes in, when there's the weirdest police takedown you'll probably ever see.

The video is a strange thing to watch: there's absolutely nothing beyond circumstantial evidence and hearsay to suggest that the masked men are cops, but the whole thing just feels so off. Notably, this is not the first report of provocateurs from the protests: The Harper Index has several other equally strange stories, while The Star's article mentions (among other tidbits of accusatios) matching "yellow triangles" on several alleged provocateurs' boots that match those on boots that police officers were wearing. (Those triangles, by the way, almost certainly denote Canadian Standards Association–approved footwear for "light industrial work environments"––because, really, if you intend to fight cops in riot gear, you're gonna want toe and puncture protection.)"



ideaGasms - Newsletters:
"Perception is often PROJECTION...

WORRY will actually draw in exactly what you don't want.

...Do you have many "What if" thoughts?

You are identified with your mind, which is projecting itself
into an imaginary future situation and creating fear.

There is no way that you can cope with such a situation because
it does not exist.

It's a mental phantom.

You can stop this health-and-life-corroding insanity simply
by acknowledging the present moment.

Become aware of your breathing, feel the air flowing in and
out of your body. Feel your inner energy field.

All that you ever have to deal with, cope with in real life
- as opposed to imaginary mind projections - is THIS MOMENT.

So ask yourself what "problems" do you have right now?

Not next year, tomorrow, or 5 minutes from now. What is wrong
with this moment?

You can always cope with the Now, but you can never cope with
the future - nor do you have to. The answer, the strength, the
right action, or the right resource will be there when you need
it, not before, not after."

(Credit: Eckhart Tolle)"

"Is Sugar More Addictive Than Cocaine?"

So the obesity causing insulin skyrocketing teeth rotting sugar is worse than coke? That sounds about right. I'll stick to screwing up my brain chemistry with artificial sweeteners, thanks.

Is Sugar More Addictive Than Cocaine? - Articles:
"According to a new research study, refined sugar is far more addictive than cocaine -- one of the most addictive and harmful substances currently known. An astonishing 94 percent of rats who were allowed to choose mutually-exclusively between sugar water and cocaine, chose sugar. Even rats who were addicted to cocaine quickly switched their preference to sugar, once it was offered as a choice. The rats were also more willing to work for sugar than for cocaine."

As poet and scholar Ice-T once opined...

"Freedom of Speech? That's some motherfucking bullshit."

Excerpts from the White House manual on dealing with protesters.

White House Manual Details How to Deal With Protesters -
"...any event must be open only to those with tickets tightly controlled by organizers. Those entering must be screened in case they are hiding secret signs. Any anti-Bush demonstrators who manage to get in anyway should be shouted down by 'rally squads' stationed in strategic locations. And if that does not work, they should be thrown out.

But that does not mean the White House is against dissent -- just so long as the president does not see it. In fact, the manual outlines a specific system for those who disagree with the president to voice their views. It directs the White House advance staff to ask local police "to designate a protest area where demonstrators can be placed, preferably not in the view of the event site or motorcade route."

The "Presidential Advance Manual," dated October 2002 with the stamp "Sensitive -- Do Not Copy," was released under subpoena to the American Civil Liberties Union as part of a lawsuit filed on behalf of two people arrested for refusing to cover their anti-Bush T-shirts at a Fourth of July speech at the West Virginia State Capitol in 2004. The techniques described have become familiar over the 6 1/2 years of Bush's presidency, but the manual makes it clear how organized the anti-protest policy really is.

...The manual offers advance staffers and volunteers who help set up presidential events guidelines for assembling crowds. Those invited into a VIP section on or near the stage, for instance, must be " extremely supportive of the Administration," it says. While the Secret Service screens audiences only for possible threats, the manual says, volunteers should examine people before they reach security checkpoints and look out for signs. Make sure to look for "folded cloth signs," it advises.

To counter any demonstrators who do get in, advance teams are told to create "rally squads" of volunteers with large hand-held signs, placards or banners with "favorable messages." Squads should be placed in strategic locations and "at least one squad should be 'roaming' throughout the perimeter of the event to look for potential problems," the manual says.

...Advance teams are advised not to worry if protesters are not visible to the president or cameras: "If it is determined that the media will not see or hear them and that they pose no potential disruption to the event, they can be ignored. On the other hand, if the group is carrying signs, trying to shout down the President, or has the potential to cause some greater disruption to the event, action needs to be taken immediately to minimize the demonstrator's effect.""

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

She WHUPS his ass.

Funny. And skilled.

Fightlinker » Blog Archive » Girls 1, Guys 0

Must start reading Casanova.

GQ Editor's Blog:
"In Fraction's mind-altering comic book series Casanova, which recently returned from hiatus, the man in the suit is Casanova Quinn, a Bond-meets-Jagger rake with chiaroscuro cheekbones and a complicated job description. He's been plucked from his own dimension, where he's nominally a bad guy, and coerced into impersonating the Casanova Quinn of another dimension, who's ostensibly a good guy. It's part of an ongoing clash between rival spy agencies W.A.S.T.E. and E.M.P.I.R.E., and if those acronyms make you think of Thomas Pynchon spec-scripting The Man from U.N.C.L.E., you're starting to get the idea...

Look, spy shows should have tremendous, tremendous costume and wig budgets. That's the thing that Alias got right. Like, let's put the hot girl in the latex dress. Yes. The answer to that is always yes. On 24, there's no room for Mary-Lynn Rajskub to put on a dominatrix outfit. Also, Alias had the genius move of hiding all the secret hideouts inside of nightclubs. You're never gonna look in a nightclub for the death-laser! Jack Bauer's out stabbing guys in the kneecaps, but he should really be at the S&M nightclub, because that's where the real deal happens. That's where the space laser is. And that's what I want to see.

...One of my favorite, favorite, favorite pieces of storytelling advice came from Billy Wilder, who said "Don't talk down to your audience. Let them put two and two together, they'll love you forever." And he's absolutely right. I hate hand-holding. I hate when somebody thinks it's a good idea to stop the story and make sure the people in the slow seats got it. It compromises everything, and it insults the intelligence of the people who've followed you, and given you their time and attention. So I always try to make it a mission to make any audience I've been blessed with a co-conspirator. "Come along with me, let's see where this goes. And I believe you're smart enough to figure this out, 'cause I'm smart enough to write it, and surely you're brighter than me.""

Ah, suburbia.

Overheard in the Office | It's Only Partially about the Kids:
"Hockey dad: If this snow keeps up, there won't be any hot-tubbing with the hockey MILFs tonight.

Bachelor: Hockey MILFs?

Hockey dad: You better believe it.

Highways 24 and 401 Cambridge, Ontario Canadia"

Economic dissatisfaction.

Crooks and Liars » Why so many are unsatisfied with the economy:
"...Bush and his allies frequently say, “Look at GDP and unemployment rates! You guys should be thrilled! What kind of idiots are you people?” Maybe news like this will help conservatives better understand the widespread discontent.
Americans earned a smaller average income in 2005 than in 2000, the fifth consecutive year that they had to make ends meet with less money than at the peak of the last economic expansion, new government data shows. […]

The combined income of all Americans in 2005 was slightly larger than it was in 2000, but because more people were dividing up the national income pie, the average remained smaller. […]

Police corruption and "snitchin'."

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > On Snitchin':
"At an ACLU conference on drug informants in Atlanta last March, I was taken aback when a rapper named Immortal Technique said (as Cam'ron would echo later in the Cooper interview) he wouldn't cooperate with the police under any circumstances, even if, for example, he'd witnessed an innocent old woman in his neighborhood get murdered. I still find that idea repugnant, of course. But what I think of it isn't really the point. The point is that that sentiment is out there, and there are real, troubling reasons why it's gaining momentum—reasons other than 'those black people are just lawless heathens.' The same guy, Immortal Technique, repeated the comment a bit later in the conference, then added some food for thought: 'Isn't the police 'blue wall of silence' the most successful stop snitchin' campaign in history?'" Interview With a Former LAPD Narcotics Officer: Comments:
"RB: Do you think what happened with Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta--where the cops invented an informant out of whole cloth in order to obtain a search warrant--was an anomaly? Or do you think that kind of thing is common?
Doddridge: Oh, it happens everywhere. There's tremendous pressure to 'climb the ladder' after you make a drug bust. You want to get up that ladder before word hits the street, and the higher-up guys you're after know that you're on to them. That leads to the temptation to take shortcuts. What happened in Atlanta goes on all over the country.

...RB: At what point in your career did you conclude that the drug war wasn't working?

Doddridge: About halfway through. We had just hauled this young woman off in handcuffs, mostly for helping her boyfriend. She was going to lose her kids, her house, her future. And it hit me--all of this is for what? What are we doing here? We arrest one drug dealer, and two take his place. I watched while we ransacked parents' homes because their kids were dealing. I saw the looks on their faces, knowing that their kid's future was over, and they were probably going to lose their home. This thing [the drug war] was ripping apart the fabric of our communities.

RB: One aspect of the drug war I've spent quite a bit of time researching is the militarization of police, the increasing use of SWAT teams. A common response I get from cops is that SWAT teams make warrant service safer. Do you agree with that?

Doddridge: Laughs. Oh, no. Of course not. SWAT teams are trained to deal with dangerous people. When you bring a SWAT team to serve a drug warrant, a drug offender, you're escalating the situation, not de-escalating it. One thing you have to understand: Cops love action. They crave action. You have thousands of these SWAT teams across the country, now. You've got these guys in some small town in Idaho with nothing better to do just looking at each other. "What do we do with this warrant? Well, might as well give it to the SWAT team." It isn't necessary.

RB: Police groups say that drug dealers are armed to the teeth. Heavily-armed, military-style SWAT teams are necessary to counter this high-powered weaponry.

Doddridge: I've heard that. And it's just not true. In 21 years at LAPD, I never once saw any assault weapons on a drug raid. Drug dealers prefer handguns, which are easier to conceal. Occasionally you'll find a shotgun. But having a bunch of high-powered weaponry around is just too much trouble for them. It's too much for them to worry about."

Reason Magazine - Stop Abusing Snitchin':
"Late last month, the House Judiciary Committee held hearings on the death of the Kathryn Johnston, the 92-year-old Atlanta woman killed by police during a November 2006 drug raid on her home.

Johnston died when she mistook a team of narcotics officers for criminal intruders. When the police broke down her door, she met them with an old pistol. They opened fire, and killed her.

A subsequent investigation revealed that the entire chain of events up to and shortly after Johnston's death were beset with lies, planted evidence, and cover-up on the part of the narcotics cops. They fabricated an imaginary informant to get the search warrant for Ms. Johnston's home. They planted evidence on a convicted felon, arrested him, then let him off in exchange for his tip—which he made up from whole cloth—that they'd find drugs in Ms. Johnston's house.

When they realized their mistake, they then tried to portray an innocent old woman as a drug dealer. They planted marijuana in Ms. Johnston's basement while she lay handcuffed and bleeding on the floor.

More investigation revealed that this kind of behavior wasn't aberrant, but common among narcotics officers in the Atlanta Police Department. Police Chief Richard Pennington eventually dismissed or reassigned the entire narcotics division of the APD.

What came out at the hearings investigating Kathryn Johnston's death was even more disturbing.

In one eye-popping exchange, two congressmen—one Democrat and one Republican—confronted Wayne Murphy, the assistant director of the FBI Directorate of Intelligence about the way the FBI uses drug informants. Rep. Dan Lundgren, R-Calif., and Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass., told Murphy they were troubled by reports that the FBI had looked the other way while some of its drug informants participated in violent crimes, and that the agency then failed to notify local authorities, leaving many of those crimes unsolved.

Lundgren and Delahunt said they were also troubled by reports that in order to protect the identity of its informants, the FBI had withheld exculpatory evidence from criminal trials, resulting in innocent people going to prison.

This is worth repeating. The FBI has determined that in some cases, it's better to let innocent people be assaulted, murdered, or wrongly sent to prison than to halt a drug investigation involving one of its confidential informants.

Could Murphy assure the U.S. Congress, Delahunt and Lundgren asked, that the FBI has since instituted policies to ensure that kind of thing never happens again?

Murphy hemmed and hawed, but ultimately said that he could not make any such assurance."

Science and heresy.

"FREEMAN DYSON is professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton. His professional interests are in mathematics and astronomy. Among his many books are Disturbing the Universe, Infinite in All Directions Origins of Life, From Eros to Gaia, Imagined Worlds, The Sun, the Genome, and the Internet, and most recently Many Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe.

...As a scientist I do not have much faith in predictions. Science is organized unpredictability. The best scientists like to arrange things in an experiment to be as unpredictable as possible, and then they do the experiment to see what will happen... I am proud to be a heretic. The world always needs heretics to challenge the prevailing orthodoxies. Since I am heretic, I am accustomed to being in the minority. If I could persuade everyone to agree with me, I would not be a heretic.

...My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak. But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.

There is no doubt that parts of the world are getting warmer, but the warming is not global. I am not saying that the warming does not cause problems. Obviously it does. Obviously we should be trying to understand it better. I am saying that the problems are grossly exaggerated. They take away money and attention from other problems that are more urgent and more important, such as poverty and infectious disease and public education and public health [Hi Cindi.], and the preservation of living creatures on land and in the oceans, not to mention easy problems such as the timely construction of adequate dikes around the city of New Orleans.

...When I listen to the public debates about climate change, I am impressed by the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations and the superficiality of our theories. Many of the basic processes of planetary ecology are poorly understood. They must be better understood before we can reach an accurate diagnosis of the present condition of our planet. When we are trying to take care of a planet, just as when we are taking care of a human patient, diseases must be diagnosed before they can be cured. We need to observe and measure what is going on in the biosphere, rather than relying on computer models.

...To conclude this piece I come to my third and last heresy. My third heresy says that the United States has less than a century left of its turn as top nation. Since the modern nation-state was invented around the year 1500, a succession of countries have taken turns at being top nation, first Spain, then France, Britain, America. Each turn lasted about 150 years. Ours began in 1920, so it should end about 2070. The reason why each top nation’s turn comes to an end is that the top nation becomes over-extended, militarily, economically and politically. Greater and greater efforts are required to maintain the number one position. Finally the over-extension becomes so extreme that the structure collapses. Already we can see in the American posture today some clear symptoms of over-extension. Who will be the next top nation? China is the obvious candidate. After that it might be India or Brazil. We should be asking ourselves, not how to live in an America-dominated world, but how to prepare for a world that is not America-dominated. That may be the most important problem for the next generation of Americans to solve. How does a people that thinks of itself as number one yield gracefully to become number two?

[Excerpted from Many Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe (Page Barbour Lectures) by Freeman Dyson, University of Virgina Press, 2007.] "

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Your obsolete business model is not my fu'&%ing problem."

Can't stop the signal.

» SuprNova: The Legend Returns Today:
"The legendary BitTorrent site“SuprNova” will return today, courtesy of The Pirate Bay. Not surprisingly, the new and improved SuprNova has a special message to the copyright police: “You are the past and the forgotten, we are the Internet and the future".

... "This is how it works. Whatever you sink, we build back up. Whomever you sue, ten new pirates are recruited. Wherever you go, we are already ahead of you. You are the past and the forgotten, we are the internet and the future.”"

Those just look cool.

Incredibly uncomfortable probably, but still cool. » Blog Archive » Eellko Moorer

One of the most useful flowcharts ever.

pebkac thoughts :: useful flowchart (foul language)

Hat tip BoingBoing.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Why reading comic books makes life more interesting.

The Absorbascon: Sunburn Beach:
"I went to the beach yesterday. I did all the normal things you do when you go to the beach. I swam in the ocean. I tried to activate my water-breathing genes. I attempted to communicate aquatelepathically. 'Cuz ya never know. What? Oh, like you never tried saying 'Shazam!', just in case. Turns out, I wasn't able to summon fish, but while squunching my forehead trying to emanate concentric circles, I was able to summon a giant wave that nearly knocked me on my ass, which I suppose is a start."

Institute of General Semantics: 13 Common Symptoms

Language creates your reality. Know it, love it, live it. Great summary of the basics of semantics.

Institute of General Semantics: 13 Common Symptoms:
"To varying degrees, we are prone to commit these, and other, language behaviors that reflect inappropriate evaluations, i.e., our language 'maps' do not properly reflect what we 'know' about the territories of our external, and internal, 'worlds':

1. We fail to differentiate facts (verifiable, historical observations/events) from inferences, assumptions, premises, beliefs, etc.

2. We try to force two-valued, either-or, black-white, etc., distinctions on events and situations which more appropriately ought to be thought of in terms of gradations, i.e., relative to other points along a spectrum rather than absolutely one or the other.

3. We fail to account for multiple causes for any particular event, both in dimension of breadth (what other factors affected the result?) and sequence (what caused "the cause"?); we tend to simplistically focus on seeking 'the' (singular) cause.

4. We fail to recognize the uniqueness of our own experiences; we forget that almost every statement - to include descriptions, judgments, opinions, etc. - we make could be prefaced, or appended, by "to me".

5. We fall victim to the false-to-facts structural flaw of the subject/predicate grammatical form, particularly with respect to unaware use of the "is" of identity and predication; "That boy is a discipline problem." "The rose is red." The form implies a factual relationship between the subject and predicate, as though the label ("discipline problem") and color ("red") were actually properties or qualities 'in' the subjects, rather than descriptions reflecting the evaluations made by the speaker.

6. We objectify processes or high order abstractions as things, or nouns, and speak about them as though they have properties similar to 'real', non-verbal 'things'; the weather, the economy, the handling of the crisis, truth, honesty, justice, security, privacy, etc.

7. We tend to look more for similarities than we do differences; within a group (or a label for a group) we assume similarities that do not necessarily exist and fail to see the individual differences: let's get a 'woman's perspective', look at it from the 'black point of view'; all liberals are this way; all conservatives believe ….

8. We fail to account for the fact that every 'thing' - including every person - changes over time; we should not expect that Bob2002 has the same priorities, attitudes, interests, policies, fears, expectations, etc., as did Bob1982.

9. We talk in absolute, all-inclusive terms that do not reflect the facts of our limited experiences; we cannot experience 'all' or 'everything' of 'anything'. Avoid unaware and inappropriate use of absolute terms (exact same, never, always, all, none, absolutely, without exception) and remember the etc. - more can always be said.

10. We ought to acknowledge that whatever we 'know,' 'believe', or 'assume' is derived from incomplete information, therefore we ought to hold our conclusions, judgments, beliefs, and assumptions rather tentatively, subject to revision should subsequent 'facts' or events indicate.

11. We often confuse the subject noun (actor) and the object noun (recipient of the action). When we say things like, "She hurt my feelings," and "He was mean to me," we assign the 'action', or the feelings of 'hurt' and 'mean' to someone else, instead of accepting that we generated the feelings. Catch yourself when you say, "It makes me _______" – what is "it" and what does "it" do when "it" "makes"?

12. We avoid taking responsibility for our own evaluations, judgments, and opinions, when we: 1) generalize "you" when you mean "I" (How did it feel to hit the winning shot? "Well, you've got so much going on that you can't think about it, you just have to go on your instincts."); and 2) attribute to some undefined "it" ("It just shows you that it's never too late for it to teach you a lesson.").

13. Avoid perpetuating inappropriate 'magical thinking' notions such as myths, superstitions, jinxes, etc.; e.g. 13 is an unlucky number. Remember that words can influence people who can alter 'real things,' but that words alone cannot alter 'real things.' Keep in mind the principle that the cumulative effects of a simple thing can, over time, become significant. "

Cheney 1994: Invading Baghdad Would Create Quagmire C-SPAN

No shit.

Wow, it's like he really knew what would happen 13 years ago, and then conveniently lied and ignored all the very problems he predicted in order to fight an optional war under false pretenses.

As for the "It's all different and 911 changed everything!" crowd [besides the fact that no, just because your head was buried in the sand doesn't mean that the world actually changed], even if you grant that argument, it doesn't change the fact that the quagmire and complications they knew would ensue were whitewashed and obfuscated with tales of being greeted as liberators, oil paying for the war and 'outta there in six months' bullshit.

YouTube - Cheney '94: Invading Baghdad Would Create Quagmire C-SPAN:
"In this interview from April 15th, 1994, Dick Cheney reveals the reasons why invading Baghdad and toppling Saddam Hussein wouldn't be a great idea. He also stipulates that 'not very many' American soldiers' lives were worth losing to take out Saddam during the Gulf War. SOURCE: This clip was originally aired on C-SPAN3 [History] on the evening of Thursday, August 9th."

I am a bright fame of heart, mind and spirit!

Eh, maybe not. Still, kinda neat.

Pugh is from Hugh, which is from "hug." Somewhere, Sandy is laughing.

Behind the Name: View Name: Robert:

Gender: Masculine

Usage: English, French, Scandinavian, German, Czech, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Romanian

Other Scripts: Роберт (Russian)

Pronounced: RAH-burt (English), ro-BER (French), RO-bert (German), RAW-bert (Polish), RO-byert (Russian) [key]
Means "bright fame", derived from the Germanic elements hrod "fame" and beraht "bright". The Normans introduced this name to Britain. It belonged to three kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce who restored the independence of Scotland from England in the 14th century. The author Robert Browning and poets Robert Burns and Robert Frost are famous literary bearers of this name. Also, Robert E. Lee was the commander of the Confederate army during the American Civil War.


The name Pugh can be traced to the ancient Celtic culture of Wales. Initially the name was from the personal name Hugh.



Gender: Masculine

Usage: English

Pronounced: HYOO [key]
From Germanic hug, meaning "heart, mind, or spirit". This name is also used as the Anglicized form of the Gaelic names AODH, ÙISDEAN, and EOGHAN. Hugh Capet was a 10th-century king of France who founded the Capetian dynasty. Saint Hugh of Lincoln was a 12th-century bishop known for his charity. This was also the name of kings of Cyprus and the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem."

Blowback and real security threats.

Kung Fu Monkey: 'Fugees:
"For the empathy dead, let me simply point out that a couple million homeless refugee kids living in poverty with (right or wrong) vague memories of America destroying his country = lots and lots of radical fundamentalist recruiting fodder. The word for the decade will be 'blowback', folks. Learn it. Love it.

...A far greater threat to our security are "hollowed-out" states and failed states than "rogue" states. And we went in and hollowed out Iraq like a frikkin' jack-o-lantern. Or I suppose one could argue that the Rumsfeld Doctrine and Bush Administration just kind of carelessly let it be hollowed out rather than actually wielding the scoop. I don't think that implies a lot of moral high ground.

Rule #421 for the 21st Century: Do not topple governments without assuming that the worst case scenario is, indeed, what will occur."

Choice. Attitude.

One of those stories that you see all over the place. Still, bears repeating and reminding. For me, leastways.

John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, "I don't get it!

You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

He replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood."

Each time some thing bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes, it is," he said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood."

You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life.

I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw him about six months after the accident.

When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter," he replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

He continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said John. "She asked if I was allergic to anything 'Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity'."

Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything."

Why Conspiracy?

Boing Boing: Essay: The Conspiracy Boom, by Jay Kinney:
"...To what then might we attribute this upsurge in debunkery? At the risk of peddling a conspiracy theory of my own, I think the sources are several, though interrelated.

The first is the fact that, for two generations now, we have been treated to a succession of events that have incrementally chipped away at the facade of governmental credibility. On the one hand we had the series of assassinations in the '60s that blew away our best and brightest -- all courtesy of a curious crop of "lone nuts." The official inquiries fell short of satisfying many questions, and one stream of skepticism was set in motion.

Compounding that was the string of incidents, from the Pentagon Papers to Watergate to Iran/Contra to the Monica affair to the missing WMDs, which cumulatively suggested that we were being lied to as a matter of course. The last six years of prevarication emanating from the White House have only reaffirmed the common perception that the official story is probably just that -- a story.

A related loss of faith in the intelligence community has taken its toll as well. The Cold War fed the popular myth that our good spies were protecting us from their bad spies - epitomized in the romantic lunacy of James Bond. But the revelation in the '70s of the FBI's Cointelpro abuses, and of CIA programs like MK-ULTRA using unsuspecting citizens as guinea pigs, led many to the conclusion that our protectors were really our tormentors.

Then there's the omnipresent Fear Factor. 9/11 was certainly unnerving, but most of the fear that has been propagated over the last six years has come from our own leaders. Constantly augmented fear generates paranoia. A stressed-out populace is more likely to embrace scenarios that validate its darkest fears, as a way to ease the tension. Why harbor resentment against bin Laden, who's off in a remote cave somewhere, when it is much more satisfying to resent the powers close to home who make us remove our shoes at airports, restrict toiletries to three ounces or less, and make us ditch all dangerous weapons such as nail clippers and Habeas Corpus?

...Finally, there's everyone's favorite scapegoat: the Internet. We've now had twenty years of ever-increasing numbers of folks networking, trading rumors, comparing notes, and posting research online, as well as Googling everything under the sun. This has created a boom in connecting the dots, whether the dots were meant to be connected or not. It has also goosed the speed with which memes can be propagated and assumptions widely accepted. But you knew that already."

Your tax dollars at work.

80K payout because the White House is full of douchebags who don't understand the Bill of Rights and freedom of speech.


ABC News: Feds Pay $80,000 Over Anti-Bush T-Shirts:
"A couple arrested at a rally after refusing to cover T-shirts that bore anti-President Bush slogans settled their lawsuit against the federal government for $80,000, the American Civil Liberties Union announced Thursday. Nicole and Jeffery Rank of Corpus Christi, Texas, were handcuffed and removed from the July 4, 2004, rally at the state Capitol, where Bush gave a speech. A judge dismissed trespassing charges against them, and an order closing the case was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Charleston."

God is quite the mystery, innit he?