Saturday, October 06, 2007

Reality and history interfere with the "Jack Bauer should be real - torture's teh awesome!" meme.

Fort Hunt's Quiet Men Break Silence on WWII -
"...The group of World War II veterans kept a military code and the decorum of their generation, telling virtually no one of their top-secret work interrogating Nazi prisoners of war at Fort Hunt.

When about two dozen veterans got together yesterday for the first time since the 1940s, many of the proud men lamented the chasm between the way they conducted interrogations during the war and the harsh measures used today in questioning terrorism suspects.

Back then, they and their commanders wrestled with the morality of bugging prisoners' cells with listening devices. They felt bad about censoring letters. They took prisoners out for steak dinners to soften them up. They played games with them.

"We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture," said Henry Kolm, 90, an MIT physicist who had been assigned to play chess in Germany with Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess.

Blunt criticism of modern enemy interrogations was a common refrain at the ceremonies held beside the Potomac River near Alexandria. Across the river, President Bush defended his administration's methods of detaining and questioning terrorism suspects during an Oval Office appearance.

Several of the veterans, all men in their 80s and 90s, denounced the controversial techniques. And when the time came for them to accept honors from the Army's Freedom Team Salute, one veteran refused, citing his opposition to the war in Iraq and procedures that have been used at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

"I feel like the military is using us to say, 'We did spooky stuff then, so it's okay to do it now,' " said Arno Mayer, 81, a professor of European history at Princeton University.

...The interrogators had standards that remain a source of pride and honor.

"During the many interrogations, I never laid hands on anyone," said George Frenkel, 87, of Kensington. "We extracted information in a battle of the wits. I'm proud to say I never compromised my humanity."

Via Balloon Juice.

Well, that seems a bit much.

Man douses women with bleach to whitewash memories of awful marriage - Mainichi Daily News:
"A Tokyo man who admitted to splattering about 50 women with bleach over the past five years to help him overcome the loneliness he felt after his marriage failed was arrested Saturday, police said."

Soldier investigating financials in Afghanistan found dead with single gunshot to the head.

Crooks and Liars » GI to her family: Ask many questions if I die:
"Ciara Durkin was home on leave last month and expressed a concern to her family in Quincy: If something happens to me in Afghanistan, don’t let it go without an investigation.

Durkin, 30, a specialist with a Massachusetts National Guard finance battalion, was found dead last week near a church at the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. She had been shot once in the head, the Army says.

Fiona Canavan, Durkin’s older sister, said today that when her sister was home three weeks ago, she told family members that she had come across some things that concerned her and had raised objections to others at the base.

‘‘She was in the finance unit and she said, ‘I discovered some things I don’t like and I made some enemies because of it.’ Then she said, in her light-hearted way, ‘If anything happens to me, you guys make sure it gets investigated,”’ Canavan said. ‘‘But at the time we thought it was said more as a joke.”[..]"

I can feel my memory improving by the second...

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > That Which Does Not Kill Brain Cells Only Makes Them Stronger?:
"You may be hard-pressed to recall events after a night of binge drinking, but a new report suggests that low to moderate alcohol consumption may actually enhance memory."

Well... who isn't, really?

Orangutan aroused by blonde and tattooed women - Boing Boing

Friday, October 05, 2007

"For sure, I've got a little more chimp in me than the average Chinese dude."

Joe Rogan speaks truth on gay radio, about getting baked onstage, hairy butts, and the fact that Asians are more evolved due to their alien DNA.


Via Sinfest.

Times, they are a changin'. [In Japan.]

And this is a good thing.

Korean Woman Wins Discrimination Damages in Japan : Japan Probe:
"A Kyoto court ruled partially in favor of a Korean woman who sued a Japanese landlord for refusing to rent a room to her. A Kyoto district court ruled that refusing to rent a room to a person due to her nationality is illegal and ordered the landlord to pay the woman W8.65 million (US$1=W916) in compensation.

Courts have taken a dim view of refusal to let rooms to foreigners since an Osaka court in 1993 ruled this went against the constitutional stipulation of equality before the law. But in reality, Japanese homeowners often reject foreign tenants citing differences in the lifestyle and customs."

Only in Japan.

Seriously, only in Japan.

Japan bureaucrats chided for shirking work, editing Wikipedia - Mainichi Daily News:
"Japan's Agriculture Ministry reprimanded six bureaucrats for shirking their duties after an internal probe found they spent work hours contributing to Wikipedia -- including 260 entries about cartoon robots."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Nun humor for the win!

The Rapture of Being Alive

Via Thornton's Guerilla_Blog.

Drapetomania - The Psychiatry of Slave Runnin'.

Boy, it's a good thing OUR science is always beyond such wrong headedness.


Drapetomania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Drapetomania was a psychiatric diagnosis proposed in 1851 by physician Samuel A. Cartwright, of the Louisiana Medical Association, to explain the tendency of black slaves to flee captivity."

First, they came for the alchemists...

Absurd, ridiculous, infuriating and ultimately... more than a little sad. Paramilitary Raid of the Day: Comments:
"Ariel Alonso and Jonathan Conrad were two lonely men who developed an interest in alchemy. After meeting on the Internet, the two men shared a home in Henry, Virginia, where they practiced amateur chemistry, producing various elixirs that they then sold on their website. Cooky? Sure. But not criminal. Conrad, in his 50s, was into alternative medicine, and generated most of the income from the venture. Alonso, in his 70s, was bit more eccentric -- he dabbled in metallurgy. The two had invested thousands of dollars in the lab, but were able to make a decent living from their web business.

On October 13, 2003, local authorities paid a visit to the home, where they saw the men's chemistry equipment... For reasons still unclear, a "field test" tested positve (there seem to be lots of false positives with these narcotics field tests). The DEA would later admit that test was only "equivocally" positive.

So later the same day, DEA agents raided the men's home. The raiding officers devastated the lab, shattering thousands of dollars in equipment, and arrested the men on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine. The two spent 18 days in jail.

Unfortunately for the drug cops, more extensive lab tests later revealed no sign of methamphetamine, nor of any of the chemicals used to make it. In fact, there were no signs of any illicit substances at all. The two men were released.

Despite their innocence, the DEA refused to compensate Alonso and Conrad for the damage drug agents did to their lab. With no source of income and lots of credit card debt used to buy the lab, Conrad moved in with a relative in North Carolina. Alonso had no family, and so moved back into the home, where he lived on Social Security. When his furnace broke, he had no money to repair it, and had to use his stove for heat. He eventually contracted lung cancer, and died in a low-income nursing home in September 2004."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Multi-tasking not always a good thing, clearly.

Lede Of The Day by
"“…a Saratoga County woman is accused of prostituting herself and then snorting cocaine from the stomach of her newborn son while breast-feeding him…”"

Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen Observations.

Read Brad Warner's book Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, & the Truth about Reality last year and it was one of the most entertaining and enlightening [see that right there? clever wordplay AND irony...] books on zen I'd read in a while. Was reading his blog at for a while, but stopped a bit back 'cause it wasn't clicking for me. He's got some great stuff up there and at his Suicide Girls column.

SuicideGirls > News > Culture > Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen: Myanmar? Didn't Even KNOW Her!:
"...Were I to speak to one of the guys who keep sending me these bulk e-mails, I might say, "Turn off your TV. Close your newpaper. Disconnect your internet for a few hours." What you read in newspapers and blogs and what you see on TV is not reality. It's third hand reports of confused misunderstandings of situations you can never truly grasp because they are forever beyond your capacity to know them. A photo or video only shows you what went on in front of the camera -- if it truly shows even that -- and ignores the universe that contributes to and influences the events you're seeing. It's a lie. Those things are not real. But your reaction to them is. Be very careful.

...All of the problems in the world, from Myanmar to Iraq to Iran and wherever else start from exactly the same place. You. I’m not trying to be poetic here either. It’s really, literally all your fault. One of the hardest ideas in Buddhism for most folks to wrap their craniums around is the idea that even problems that seem to be absolutely positively beyond any shadow of a doubt out there -- like the nasty shit going down in Myanmar -- are, in fact, very much internal problems. The connection between you and all of humanity and the rest of the universe is incredibly intimate. It’s so close you can’t see it anymore than you can look directly into your own eyeballs. Yet it’s even more real than your own eyeballs.

When I talk about this stuff sometimes people think I’m advocating complacency. Like I’m saying, “Myanmar is way far away dude. Don’t sweat it.” But that’s not it at all. The real Myanmar is right here. You just think it’s out there. And by imagining it to be far, far away you’ve placed it in the realm of things you can’t possibly really deal with and you avoid taking the action that's truly necessary.

The most truly compassionate thing you can do for the world is to work on yourself. That is your interface with everything. That’s where it all begins.
This is how you start to fix what’s wrong with the world. The ripples you send out never dissipate completely..."

That's the second thing I've read in as many weeks that says the same thing - everything is inside you... everything is your internal "problem." Oddly, the other book saying this had zero to do with Buddhism. Weird. Odd. Synchronistic.

SuicideGirls > News > Culture > Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen: Magic E-Mail and Other Miracles:
"...Every day I’m exposed to all kinds of examples of the kindness of the Universe that I am at a complete loss to know how to explain. Like a couple months ago when I found out I’d been lucky the right front wheel of my car didn’t fly off while I was driving since the weird rattling noise I’d been putting off having checked out was due to it being literally held on by one very loose bolt. It’s gotten to where, even when bad things happen I try to view them as examples of the kindness of the Universe that I just haven’t come around to getting the point of yet.

This isn’t always easy to do, mind you. But I try. When I have trouble adopting the right point of view I remember a story I read about Shunryu Suzuki, the author of the great book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. He had been diagnosed with Hepatitis. This was doubly troubling to him because he liked to eat ice cream with one of his students. The doctors told him to stop doing this, lest she contract the disease. A while later, the diagnosis was revised. Suzuki had cancer and it was likely terminal. When he told his student she didn’t understand why he was so happy about it. Then Suzuki said, “Don’t you see? This means we can share ice cream again!”

...I just accept the fact that there are things beyond intellectual comprehension, that no matter how hard I, or anyone else, tries to work certain things out, they’re never going to make sense. In fact, I’d go further and say that no matter how hard anyone tries to work anything out it’ll never make sense completely. Our brains are super duper sharp. But we’re not infinitely smart. None of us.

...Yet pretty much all of our philosophies and religions fail to accept this startlingly obvious fact. For all their talk of being “spiritual” most religions are really just deeply intellectual. Some go further into the realm of intellect than others, yet fail to ever break out of the mental prisons they build for themselves. Unfortunately, even most of the meditative practices I’ve encountered go no further than engaging the brain’s power of imagination to create astounding fantasies. Our own dreams of Enlightenment can be made to seem so real and so beautiful their seductive power is nearly impossible to resist. Get a whole bunch of people believing in the same Enlightenment fantasy and you’ve got yourself a pretty powerful movement. But it don’t mean a damned thing.

My favorite depiction of the Buddha is the one where he’s meditating and his hand is touching the ground. This symbolizes his grounding himself in reality. We may not know just what reality is, but we know it’s real, and so we have to stay with it no matter how pretty our dreams might be."

Reminds me of this -
"In fact, you have no knowledge of where anything is or what anything is or how it came to be. Life is a mystery. My ignorance is based on this understanding. Your understanding is based on ignorance. This is why I am a humorous fool, and you are a serious jackass."
- Socrates to Dan, Way of the Peaceful Warrior.

Appearances are everything.

This actually makes perfect sense...

...I think that means I've been in Japan too long.

The thin line between geek/otaku and very, very screwed up individual.

Body Parts in Belgium Linked to Death Note - Anime News Network:
"...two identical messages linked to the Death Note manga were left near severed body parts that were discovered Friday afternoon in the forest of Belgium's Duden Park. According to the newspaper, the two paper sheets both say "Watashi wa Kira dess," an apparent misspelling of the Japanese phrase "Watashi wa Kira desu," or "I am Kira (Killer)." This is a catchphrase from writer Tsugumi Ooba and artist Takeshi Obata's Death Note suspense manga series..."

Via Japan Probe.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

YouTube - SNL Digital Short - "Iran So Far" [*Fixed/Updated*]

* Weirdly, the copy I had up before was actually posted online by NBC, but now it's no longer up. Here's another copy.*

Up there with "Lazy Sunday." Hilarious.

Andy Samberg and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad together at last, in this SNL Digital Short with Adam Levine (Maroon 5)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Oh you wacky, murderous Catholics.

It's no Inquisition or Crusades, but they'll be able to kill a good number with this particular bit of wisdom.

Archibishop of Mozambique: condoms and HIV cocktails will give you AIDS - Boing Boing:
"Maputo Archbishop Francisco Chimoio, the head of the Catholic Church in Mozambique, has been spreading fatal lies about condoms and anti-virals: he claims that condoms and life-saving drugs have been infected with HIV in order to kill Africans."

See kids, condoms are from the Devil!

Only in North Carolina.

Man wants shared custody of other man's leg - Boing Boing:
"Three years ago, John Wood's leg was amputated after it was injured in a plane crash. He kept the leg and dried it so it could be someday buried with him. Eventually the limb ended up in a barbecue smoker in a storage facility. After Wood stopped paying rent on the storage space, the items were sold off. Shannon Whisnant of Maiden, North Carolina bought the smoker and, unknowingly, the desiccated limb. This week, Wood is coming to Maiden to pick up the leg but Whisnant wants to keep it."

I love working in those kinds of places.

There's also a libertarian/government joke to be made there somewhere too...

Overheard in the Office | It's Really More about Whether You Bring in Good Snacks:
"Supervisor: Why do you want to do this?

Mid-level worker: Because no one else is, and it needs to be done.

Supervisor: No one cares how hard you work! This isn't that kind of place!

State government building Connecticut"

"War Made Easy - How Presidents and Pundits Keeps Spinning Us To Death"

Looks interesting...

The monthly reading list for Sep 07

Relatively light month of reading...

I re-read Greg Rucka's Critical Space in anticipation of the release of his new book Patriot Acts. Rucka's easily one of my favorite thriller writers and Critical Space is one of the top thrillers I've read in the past few years. I've re-read it probably two or three times. Space and Acts are the 5th and 6th books in his Atticus Kodiak series, but they're still kicking all kinds of ass. Great plots with even better character beats. No one is safe. People screw up and make bad decisions. The writing is tight.

In Critical Space, Kodiak is hired to protect an unusual client... one of the world's top ten assassins, who's being hunted by another one of The Ten.

In Patriot Acts, Kodiak hunts down the killer of one of his best friends, all while being framed for crimes he didn't commit.

Great reads, well worth the time and money. I devoured Patriot Acts in the space of a day. One of those "can't put it down" type books.

Death's Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm by William Bass and Jon Jefferson. A non-fiction memoir of William Bass, forensic anthropologist famous for starting the Body Farm. Great read.
"In this memoir, Bass, a premier forensic anthropologist, recounts how a life spent studying dead bodies led to the creation of "The Anthropolgy Research Facility" (aka the Body Farm), a plot of land near the University of Tennessee Medical Center where Bass and his colleagues monitor the decomposition of human corpses in various environments. The book is structured around the 1981 creation of the Body Farm, and the early chapters focus on some of Bass's trickier cases to demonstrate his need for more information about the science of forensics. The later chapters take a closer look at how the scientific analysis of Body Farm corpses has helped Bass and other anthropologists solve some of the toughest and most bizarre cases of their distinguished careers... - Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc."

I also re-read a couple graphic novels - Action Philosophers Giant-Size Thing Vol. 1 and Action Philosophers Giant-Size Thing, Vol. 2 by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey.

Short, hysterically funny romps through various intellectual and philosophical disciplines, in comic book form. Can't beat that. Fun and smart. And useful for helping to remember that philosophers are just a buncha guys and gals as full of crap as everybody else.
"Not so much in the spirit of Classic Comics, but more in the spirit of extremely intelligent kids set on making fun of everything, this collection of Action Philosophers! issues 1–3 is a zany sendup of philosophers, with the occasional mystic thrown in. Van Lente has clearly done his research, and Dunlavey draws it in a blocky, 1950s meets punk-rock style. Starting with Plato, they illuminate the theories, problems and implications of 12 thinkers. Ayn Rand fails as a screen writer in Hollywood, creates objectivism then flits between reason and temper tantrums (did you know Alan Greenspan was a follower?). Freud and Jung duke it out while a Freudian "passive mother" presents her penis-envying daughter with a dildo. Thomas Jefferson sleeps with Sally Hemings in the "All-Sex Special" section, which also features Saint Augustine. (Auggie ogles a hot Roman babe and declares, "Give me chastity and continence... just not now!") The twist is that, while demonstrating that the lives of philosophers make great tabloid fodder, the comics get the theories right. Totally irreverent and manically imaginative, it's perfect for any bright college kid who likes being a pain in the neck. - Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved."

"...Employing a hyperbolic comedic voice and over-the-top gag-style cartooning, Van Lente and Dunlavey examine the history of philosophy one wild-and-crazy thinker at a time. Sections like "Hate the French" include chapters on Descartes, Sartre and Derrida, all cleverly explicated for the general reader. Descartes's section, of course, begins as blank panels, as the philosopher applies his rigorous doubting to the world around him. And Derrida's deconstruction results in the comic book itself breaking down. Derrida is also represented as "The Deconstructionator" complete with gun and sunglasses, while Karl Marx emerges as a grandfatherly type who takes kids on a magic carpet ride "into the wonderful splendiferous world of commodities!" None of this satire interferes with the content of the work-in fact, it's enhanced. By taking a lighthearted, often silly approach to serious work, this funny, insightful series manages to make difficult theories easily understood, and knotty thinkers like Ludwig Wittgenstein and Thomas Aquinas emerge as, if not easy reading, at least friendly thinkers. (Dec.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- Publisher's Weekly"

Finally, last year at one of the JET meetings I picked up a small book called The Heart of Phi Phi's Children. They were selling it to raise money for charity, and I'm always a sucker for that kinda thing. I think it started from being given the small little milk carton-banks for Unicef back in Catholic Elementary School. But anyway, I finally sat down and read through it in my spare time, and... well, it'll just crush your heart if you've got anything at all resembling a soul. It's the stories of children who lived through the huge Tsunami at the end of 2004.

'The Heart of Phi Phi's Children' is the follow up to the best selling book; 'The Children of Phi Phi Island'.
The book this time tells the story of 11 children who lost one or both of their parents when the tsunami struck the island of Phi Phi in Thailand's Andaman Sea.
This book will help 11 orphans of the tsunami to succeed in life by offering them the possibility to go to school, but it will also contribute to the Children of Phi Phi Island project.
The book 'The Children of Phi Phi Island' is a collection of real life stories concentrating on the terrible tsunami that hit Phi Phi Island on the 26th December 2004. These stories are written by children, they tell their accounts of the day, they give us an insight into their fears, worries, and losses, but they also speak on a positive note about their joys of Phi Phi life, their school, their friends and family. All of the stories are accompanied by a drawing. These drawings tell a story in themselves, the child's innermost thoughts, expressed with crayon.
"Please live with hope."

I tried to find some weblinks or something where you could still purchase the book or make a donation, but all I could find were the links above. I can only hope that it's hard to find a way to donate because they're all doing relatively okay. I should've bought another copy of the book. Or something.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sandy brings wisdom to the masses.

On Saturday Sandy gave a presentation at the city sponsored adult continuing education seminar about cultural differences between America and Japan.

Below, you can see Sandy's unwitting victims, just before she struck.

I'd never actually seen Sandy in her natural environment, teaching, so that was actually kind of cool.

Topics covered included everything from the gun culture and crime in America to the cost of standard household appliances.

The thing that got the biggest "Eeeeeeh...?" from the Japanese audience? I kid you not, the picture of an American mail box and the description of how you can get the postman to stop and pick up your mail if you raise the red flag. It's always the little things.

In these photos Sandy conducts her "Japan-America Taste Test" with chocolate, Coca-Cola and Doritos.

What she doesn't want you to know is that, in the tradition of the finest Japanese game shows, if our competitors made the wrong choice, they got tased.

True story.

Katsuura Shogakko Undokai [Sports Day/Festival].

Last weekend was Katsuura shogakko's sports festival, where I managed to score yet another sunburn on top of my pate. You'd think by Sept we'd get some cooler weather, but no, up in the 90's still. Damn you Global Warming!! Or something like that. Where's the abnormally high temperatures when I need you, like in February, I ask you?

The march-on of the kids always reminds me of nothing so much as the military parades I had to take part in. Which makes sense since I was told that sports festivals in Japan may have been first introduced here by the British military many years ago. It does strike me as remarkably similar to a parade and military style field meet.

Only 50-something kids in the whole school... always fun to go to. The kids are pretty awesome.

All hail to the vice principal!

Followed by the synchronized warm ups.

Always Synchronize! This is the key to Japan, I think.

Then came the tug of war.

And then, a relay race that involved carrying about large, malformed dummies bearing an odd resemblance to Super Mario.

In Japan, it's been determined that fitting punishment for failing to jump and SYNCHRONIZE with your fellow classmates is getting smacked in the shins with a bamboo pole being run directly at you at high speeds. Makes em tough.

And then the parents get in on the act.

Costumes optional, but clearly encouraged.

The parental units fall before the power of the eventual winners of the push-a-metal-circle-with-a-stick-of-bamboo relay... the mighty Jr High School students!

Teams Red and White continue with their diabolical meeting... planning the destruction of their respective enemies.

Also, getting water and tea from their sippy cups and thermoses.

Careful examination of the picture above will reveal an English teacher beginning her swift run to glory. [Hi Akemi!]



More relays!

Never ending relays!

Only in Japan could you conceivably WIN a race by seeing who could send the whale to his death at the end of the fishing pole in the sky.

"Who can kill the whale first? You win!"

Japan cracks me up sometimes.

Synchronized dancing! [Have I mentioned synchronized?]

The adorable little cutie below kept wandering about. Much to the amusement of the adults, myself included... Like monkeys with shiny things, we all just stared and smiled at her adventures, which included walking, bouncing up and down, and falling down. Adorable. And no, I still don't have any interest in having one of my own yet.

Followed by running. More running! More relays!

Then I served as a ringer in the tug of war for the Niyama neighborhood [Akemi - the English teacher - and I worked out a clever cover story where I was her adopted half brother, if anyone were to question our bonafides.] Powered by gaijin strength and several grandpas we defeated all enemies, to emerge victorious, complete with certificates and intricately decorated beer cans.

One thing we can all agree on, I'm sure, is that this... ...this is not a good face.

There's always a handful of my Jr High kids who show up too, alums there to root on their younger brothers and sisters... good kids.

Remainder of pics here:

Crazy sexed up nuns!

Historically speaking.

Exponentially funnier because my aunt is a nun.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Get Me To a Nunnery:
"In the 1400s, the skyrocketing cost of dowries meant that many of the city's noblest families were obliged to place their teenage daughters, regardless of their wishes, in convents. Few of these developed a spiritual calling. It was openly accepted that the top convents were a "safety valve" for Venice's surplus of well-born single women, who could go on to enjoy a level of sexual freedom unique for the time.

The nunneries were run like luxury boutique hotels. Novices were given duplicate keys so they could come and go as they pleased from their palatial apartments, which were filled with artwork and overlooked the Grand Canal. Wearing the most fashionable, low-cut dresses, they would entertain male visitors with wine-fuelled banquets, then invite their beaux to spend the night in their rooms. They took romantic gondola rides with admirers to private picnics on the islands of the Venice Lagoon, and went on poetic moonlit walks in the secluded gardens. The most passionate eloped -- presumably with men who were not obsessed with dowries. The mature-age abbesses rode the city in luxury carriages with their pet dogs and oversaw their girls' activities with a maternal eye. If a nun fell pregnant, she would simply give birth in the privacy of the convent and the pass the child off as an orphan abandoned on the doorstep."

Tell them apart?


A good Eucharist joke is worth it's weight in gold, I tell ya.

Our war of last resort.

Of course.

Crooks and Liars » Saddam Wanted Out, Bush Lied About It:
"On March 17, 2003 President Bush issued the warning: “Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing ,” yet now thanks to a transcript leaked to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, we learn that more than three weeks prior to that Bush had told former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar that “The Egyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein. It seems he’s indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he’s allowed to take $1 billion …” When confronted about the leaked transcript yesterday, Whitehouse spokeswoman Dana Perino did not dispute its accuracy."

The ordinary American.

"I want you to imagine yourself as an ordinary American...

You don't have a passport. You've never been outside the continental United States. You think Hollywood is liberal. You distrust anyone who isn't Christian. Your kids are making bombs in the basement while you watch reality on TV. You think there were WMD's in Iraq and you think North Korea could nuke Hoboken. Yes?"

- From Thunderbolts #112, Marvel Comics, written by Warren Ellis.