Saturday, February 23, 2008

'Drug czars are stupid, throw rocks at them'

'Drug czars are stupid, throw rocks at them'

Wow, it's like looking at my life.

Via Sinfest, as per usual.

Protests don't count unless somebody is inconvenienced. That's why it's called a protest.

Ah, the youthful optimism of still thinking it makes a difference...

The Field » Texas Early Voting Wave as Reaction to Systemic Disenfranchisement:
"Texas Republicans have worked overtime to make it harder for key Democratic voting groups to vote and be represented fairly. The redistricting games they’ve played are infamous. And for the Prairie View A&M University precincts, they put the early-polling place more than seven miles from the school.

So what did the students in this video do? They shut down the highway as they marched seven miles to cast their votes on the first day of early voting."

Where were you when I was in college? Huh?

Joe Francis's Spidey Sense Is Tingling

College girl #1: You're a total slut in college. I love it.
College girl #2: I know! I didn't get to be one in high school -- I'm making up for lost slut time.

--Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

via Overheard at the Beach, Feb 23, 2008

Well, you could... though it might have profound theological implications.

Jesus: How the Fuck Did That Rumor Get Started?

Girl #1: So, what's your idea of the perfect guy?
Girl #2: Oh, I know what she'll say! Jesus.
Girl #3, blushing: She's right.
Girl #1, rolling eyes: Ugh! But you can't go down on Jesus... can you?
Overheard by: J-Bake-Oh
via Overheard Everywhere, Feb 23, 2008

A candidate I think we can all believe in.

Campaign ad for Republican Congressman Richard Martin (R-Ohio).

"Hello! Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior has delivered you to my site. Now let his spirit fill you and watch me answering questions about Republican policy at home or abroad. I hope my patriotism will show you that the best Christians are always from a gated community. I am grateful for my years as a civil servant because I’m now leveraging it in the private sector and the money is pouring in.

As CEO of Ohio Petroleum and Synthetics, I guided the stock to an all-time high before I left. It wasn’t easy to leave, but based on the advice of my wife, my children and the FBI, I knew it was time to go. When my golden parachute landed, I had quadrupled the share price*.

Do I regret secretly dumping in the Ohio river? No sir. May I remind you there was a drought and I was merely “contributing” in an attempt to raise water levels, and didn’t want to call attention to my patriotism. Jesus wouldn’t have. This act of charity was spun by the liberal media and the hysterical mothers of some very, very, slightly deformed children."

They would love Japan.

Does a Shih Tzu Really Count?

Chick, breaking long silence: Look! An Asian!
Everyone on bus, in unison: Yay!

High school bus
Englewood, Colorado
via Overheard Everywhere, Feb 22, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Obama really IS like Kennedy.

Except they tried harder to kill Kennedy in Dallas. Maybe this was just a dry run?

I kid.

Reminds me of nothing so much as the old Eddie Murphy bit where, as the first black President, he has to give his State of the Union speech while constantly dipping and ducking around the stage... so no one can get a bead on him. | 02/21/2008 | Police concerned about order to stop weapons screening at Obama rally:
"DALLAS -- Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

...Doors opened to the public at 10 a.m., and for the first hour security officers scanned each person who came in and checked their belongings in a process that kept movement of the long lines at a crawl. Then, about 11 a.m., an order came down to allow the people in without being checked.

Several Dallas police officers said it worried them that the arena was packed with people who got in without even a cursory inspection."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"The Last Lecture" is the best hour of video I've watched in a long time...

The first vid is about 9 minutes long and from ABC news... The second vid is the full lecture - about an hour long. If it sounds at all like something you're interested in, or you need a shot of Grade A pure optimism in your life, I can't recommend it highly enough.

Randy Pausch - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Randy Pausch (born Randolph Frederick Pausch on October 23, 1960) is a Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In September 2006, he was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer. He pursued a very aggressive cancer treatment that included major surgery and experimental chemotherapy; however in August of 2007 he was told that the cancer had metastasized to his liver and spleen. He then started palliative chemotherapy intended to extend his life as long as possible, which was then estimated to be three to six months. He remains vigorous and active six months later (February 2008.)

"Last Lecture"

Pausch delivered his "Last Public Lecture", entitled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams", at CMU on September 18, 2007. This talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical "final talk", i.e., "what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?"

...During the lecture, Pausch was upbeat and humorous, alternating between wisecracks, insights on computer science and engineering education, advice on building multi-disciplinary collaborations, working in groups and interacting with other people, offering inspirational life lessons, and performing push-ups on stage.


Forget WWII... with this, Germany may conquer the world.

Honor system wine-bars in Berlin: drink all night, pay what you think you owe - Boing Boing:
"J├╝rgen Stumpf's Berlin wine-bars in the gentrifying neighborhoods of Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte run on the honor system: show up, drink wine, and pay what you think you owe on the way out the door."

Thugs, zombies and Merlin.

Clap If You Believe in Wednesday One-Liners

Thug: You know what, nigga? I think all them zombies are racist mothafuckahs. You notice they always eat the brotha first? What are we, covered in mothafuckin' chocolate? Do I look like a fondue fountain? That's some bullshit.

--189th & Bathgate

Overheard by: Lyle

Hobo, in false British accent: Of all the dimensions in the universe, I had to end up in this one! New York -- filthy, dirty, grimy. Greatest city in the world? Bah! I could have been fighting dragons with Merlin, but no! I had to end up here!

--6 train

via Overheard in New York, Feb 20, 2008


Balloon Juice:
"...This morning brings the news that the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, has launched a new website where they are announcing how they are officially preparing to make the case that the rules of the Democratic nomination process should be changed.


Don’t like the rules- change them. Isn’t that precisely what has been wrong with the criminal Bush administration the past eight years?"


I eagerly await Montana's secession and the 2nd American Civil War.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Montana: Wrong Heller Decision Would Violate Its Compact with the United States:
"An interesting wrinkle in the gun-rights controversy: Various Montana politicians have signed a resolution arguing that anything other than an individual-right interpretation of the Second Amendment (at issue in the forthcoming Supreme Court case Heller v. D.C.) would violate the compact between Montana and the U.S.

...THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the undersigned members of the 60th Montana Legislature as follows:

1. That any form of "collective rights" holding by the Court in Heller will offend the Compact; and.........4. Montana reserves all usual rights and remedies under historic contract law if its Compact should be violated by any "collective rights" holding in Heller."


Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Exoneration in Michigan:
"An Ingham County prosecutor and a detective knew before trial that video evidence showed Claude McCollum was in another building when a Lansing Community College professor was killed, according to a state police report obtained by the Lansing State Journal.

Still, prosecutors went ahead with the case, and McCollum was tried and convicted of murder."

Choose your friends wisely.

Translation: I'm About to Start Crying

Jock #1: Dude, that bitch broke my heart.
Jock #2, eating a burrito: I know, man. You were always so unhappy, and I wanted to, like, slap you around and make you happy.
Jock #1, singing softly and staring blankly at the ground: I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you...
Jock #2: Look, man, we boys, aight? But when you start singing cheesy-ass love songs to a chick that cheated on you, gave you an STD, and shit on top of your car because she's crazier than a fucking monkey on crack with a banana up its ass, something's wrong with you, and maybe we shouldn't hang out anymore.

University of Washington
Seattle, Washington

Overheard by: Sam

via Overheard Everywhere, Feb 21, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

GW Bush is #1!

At sucking, apparently.

Lowest Presidential Approval Rating Ever.

In other bad news, 1 in 5 morons still think he's swell.

The National Economy:
"Among all Americans, 19% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 77% disapprove. "

Attytood: Worse than Watergate: Bush scores lowest presidential approval rating EVER!:
"Here's a pretty good compilation of [historical low] poll numbers from Roper. To summarize the highlights:

Clinton low: 36 percent, May 1993 (early missteps like Zoe Baird)

George H.W. Bush low: 29 percent, August 1992 (recession)

Reagan low: 35 percent, January 1983 (recession)

Carter low: 28 percent, July 1979 (high gas prices)

Ford low: 37 percent, January 1975 (economy, Nixon pardon)

Nixon low: 23 percent, January 1974 (Watergate)

Johnson low: 35 percent, August 1968 (Vietnam)

Lowest ever? That would be Harry Truman during the Korean War, in February 1952, at 22 percent."

" can‘t sue over being secretly wiretapped because you can‘t prove you were secretly wiretapped because it‘s a secret. "

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Feb. 19 - Countdown with Keith Olbermann -
"... the [Supreme] court refused to hear the case of ACLU V. NSA, the National Security Agency. The agency Mr. Bush had wiretapped Americans without court warrants, in violation of U.S. law, including the FISA act, specifically designed to curb government intrusions into Americans‘ privacy. The ACLU also asking in vain for the high court to issue a ruling definitely affirming and I‘m not really dumbing this down by a lot - The president of the country is not allowed to break the law - The Supreme Court denies to do so. That means a lower court dismissal of this stands... I‘m joined now by Jonathan Turley, professional of constitutional law at George Washington University. Thank you again for your time tonight, sir.


OLBERMANN: That is the gist of it, right? I mean you can‘t sue over being secretly wiretapped because you can‘t prove you were secretly wiretapped because it‘s a secret.

TURLEY: That is it in every ridiculous detail. And unfortunately, that is a standard that is not unique. Why courts continue to use it is a very good question because they have the ability, if they really wanted to, to force the government to make some minimal showing, even under seal that would allow plaintiffs to get a ruling on the merits..."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I've finally figured it out... "Gambatte" REALLY means "Suck it up."

It came to me in a flash just the other day, as I said "Gambatte" to yet another person for what seemed to be the millionth time since I've been in Japan... what it really means.

Gambaremasu, literally, translates as 'to persevere' or 'to endure.' But it's used hundreds of times a day - gambare, gambatte, gambaremasu - over and over, time and again. It, along with 'kawaii' [cute] can, in many ways, sum up the whole Japanese ethos.

Since, in English, we don't go around wishing endurance and perseverance on one another, it's colloquially translated, usually, as 'Do your best!' or 'Good Luck.'

But what it really means, in English, is "suck it up." That oh so encouraging phrase that most likely originated in the military* and crossed over to civilian life at some point.

Now, every time I hear "Gambatte" I hear "Suck it up."
This will be difficult, don't complain, work harder.
Yep, that's Japan.

*Sources differ on the origin of the idiom "suck it up." Some sources place its origin in the military in the 1930s where "suck up your gut [and stick out your chest]" became "suck it up." Others say it started in military aviation, where, at high altitudes, if you vomited into your oxygen mask, you had to "suck it up" in order to maintain airflow.

Options in Schools.

"Vikki Reyes has had it with Locke High, the school her daughters attend in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. She walked in on class one day and recalls “the place was just like a zoo!” Students had taken control, while the teacher sat quietly with a book.

Frank Wells has also had it with Locke High. When he became principal he says gangs ruled the campus. He tried to turn things around but ran into a “brick wall” of resistance from the school district and teachers union.

Locke seemed destined to languish in high crime and low test scores until Wells, Reyes, and many reform-minded teachers joined with a maverick named Steve Barr in an attempt to break free from the status quo. Their battle is just one example of the charter school education revolt that’s erupting across the nation."

...and I support this message.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Why I [sometimes] hate people, religion and the South. Pretty much in that order.

The thing that kills, just absolutely kills, is that these are nice folks. Dumb and scary and a little insane, but nice.

I'd say humanity has jumped the shark, but the ill informed and religio-kooky have always with will probably always be with us.

"God and Politics in Lynchburg, Tennessee"

Reminds me of nothing so much as the quote from the great Blazing Saddles -
"You've got to remember that these are just simple [people.] These are people of the land. The common clay... You know... morons."

Via - Crooks and Liars » Why We Do What We Do:
"It never fails that every day, someone will leave a comment asking us why we spend so much time watching news shows and pointing out Republican framing and other types of media bias.

This is why."

"Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone!" - The Japanese Educational System About to Get Crazier.

Japanese Education–Now With Even MORE School Baked Right In! : Japan Probe:
"The Japanese Education Ministry announced Friday that starting in 2011, they are increasing the number of class hours for elementary and junior high school kids for the first time in 40 years...

Students will now be taking an extra 10 percent of Japanese, foreign language and social studies. There will be a super-sized portion of 22% more math and 33% more science. Kids will now need to learn 1,200 English words, up from 900. Even more kanji will need to be learned. And the 30% of the content of the textbooks that was cut in 1998 will be making a heralded comeback."

You know, I've got Jr High School kids who put in a full day at school, 2-3 hours of club and sports activities, and then another 3 hours of juku/cram school everyday from Monday to Friday. On Saturdays and Sundays there's more clubs and sports and 8 hours a day of cram school. I've got smart, good kids who can't stay awake in class. I've got a significant # of JR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS who have GRAY hair, for God's sake.

So, give them MORE to do? I swear, one day this country is gonna have a massive national nervous breakdown.

I love my job, and I love the kids... but the system? Jesus God Above, I wish they'd get a clue.

"I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I'll kill you all."

That just may the most awesome quote ever.

We must get out of the Middle East no matter what, CIA vet says:
"...plenty of writers and political analysts have described this campaign's historic miscalculations. Few have done so more lethally than Michael Scheuer, a 22-year veteran of the CIA who held the unique distinction of directing the agency's Osama bin Laden unit, until he took early retirement in 2004.

As befits someone of his background, Scheuer's arguments are hyper-practical, almost coldblooded. To foster what he calls a new America First policy, he believes the United States should stop intervening in trouble spots around the world - even if this means watching hordes of innocents being slaughtered, women's rights being trampled and Middle Eastern oil going to other countries. This has led many experts to call Scheuer... an irresponsible isolationist. Scheuer doesn't care.

...To Scheuer, as long as the United States is not threatened, other nations' wars are their own responsibility; all we should do is help the survivors get back on their feet.

There is a logic to Scheuer's worldview, beyond American self-interest. It's similar to the approach taken in Iraq (of all places) by the highly respected Marine Maj. Gen. James Mattis. After the 2003 invasion, Mattis, according to Thomas Ricks in his book, "Fiasco," visited Iraqi leaders in every area where he had troops. "I come in peace," Mattis told them. "I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f- with me, I'll kill you all." This is tough love, international style.

...Scheuer argues, the United States must concentrate, full bore, on finding alternatives to foreign oil... Because of that dependent relationship, he writes, "it is foreigners who will decide when the United States goes to war, and to add insult to injury, today's political environment tends to label Americans who object to this reality as less than loyal."

...U.S. leaders continue to follow al Qaeda's playbook, the central (non-satirical) principles of which are: "Bleed America to bankruptcy" and "Spread out American forces.""

See if you can find the key parts of the following paragraph.

And The Happiest Place On Earth Is..., Morley Safer On Why The Danes Are Considered The Happiest People On Earth - CBS News:
"Over the past 30 years, in survey after survey, this nation of five and a half million people, the land that produced Hans Christian Andersen, the people who consume herring by the ton, consistently beat the rest of the world in the happiness stakes. It's hard to figure: the weather is only so-so,
they are heavy drinkers and smokers,
their neighbors, the Norwegians, are richer, and their other neighbors, the Swedes, are healthier."

As for other reasons, how about:
"...there's a very highly developed body language... Asked if it might be shyness, Dorset says, 'I don't know, it's considered a right by Danish people not to be talked to.'

...For example: they have no student loans hanging over their heads. All education is free in Denmark, right on through university. And students can take as long as they like to complete their studies.

...Denmark also provides free health care, subsidized child care and elder care, a social safety net spread the length and breadth of the country.

...the average work week is 37 hours, and workers get six weeks of vacation."

If only it weren't so cold. More at the link.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

You know, I can't wait to see this.

View Askew NewsBites™ | News Askew:
"Last week, Silverman surprised her boyfriend, Jimmy Kimmel, on his show with a music video called “I’m [Bleep]ing Matt Damon,” featuring Silverman and the “Bourne Identity” star singing together about their faux affair. Now Kimmel is striking back with a song called “I’m [bleep]ing Ben Affleck.” Our source told us the video for this song, set to the theme of “We Are the World,” will star Affleck, Robin Williams, Don Cheadle, Harrison Ford, Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz."

The “I’m [Bleep]ing Matt Damon” vid is here.

Visit the link and you can help a fine young member of the JET Programme with their charity work in India over Spring Break.

Good hearted [fellow Fukutsu City] JET Programme participant, Kathy Peng, will be one of four JETs heading to India over spring break to do a goodness. Help out her, and them, and folks in need, if you can.

JET March 2008:
"The southeastern coastal village of Kothasatram / Indiranagar was devastated by the 2004 Asian Tsunami. Because of their untouchable status, the Dalit people living in this village have received little to no assistance from the Indian government or other organization following this disaster. Ravi Kumar and The Association of Relief Volunteers (ARV) created the Building Communities program just after the Tsunami as a means to bring emergency relief as well as sustained support to the Dalit people of these two struggling villages.

From March 26-30, 2008, the March 2008 JET Volunteers will venture to India to help in the re-construction of KI Village by building upon the progress made by previous volunteers.

During previous work camps, groups broke ground, laid foundations and built the walls of nearly 45 family homes up to the roof level in KI Village. Our goal for the March 2008 Work Camp is to finish building the walls and even start the roofs of as many houses as possible. To that end we plan to raise US$2,000 by March 25, 2008.


To help us raise funds and raise houses please consider making an online donation. Your contributions will directly benefit The ARV KI Housing Campaign, for which we will be volunteering. Be sure to designate The JET March 2008 ARV Work Camp on the donation page. Thank you."

Which WATCHMEN Superhero Are You?

Watchmen, of course, the seminal 1986 comic book series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Soon to be a major motion picture, directed by Zack Snyder [best known for directing the Dawn of the Dead remake, and the action/adventure Battle of Thermopylae film 300.]

WATCHMEN Profile Inventory (WPI):
"Which WATCHMEN Superhero Are You?



You're a real "do-gooder," aren't you?

Law enforcement can use you!

Either that or be a "bagger" at the supermarket.

You're just swell.


Hollis J. Mason (1916-1985) was the first Nite Owl and a member of the Minutemen...

Starting out as a NYC policeman in 1938, he was inspired by Action Comics' Superman and the real life exploits of Hooded Justice to take up the life of a vigilante. Operating in New York City, Nite Owl was an "old school" crimefighter, stopping colorful criminals and going on to fight Axis operatives during World War II. Nite Owl was a "stand up guy"-- old-fashioned and idealistic--but not impractical or perverted...

Nite Owl retired from vigilantism in May 1962 and wrote his memoir, Under the Hood...

QUOTATION: "Real life is messy, inconsistent, and it's seldom when anything ever really gets resolved."

Sinfest explains FISA and the government.

Bonus points for the Will Smith and NWA hat tips.

It's Snuggly! The Security Bear!

Here to explain FISA!

The Spies Who Loves You!