Saturday, December 06, 2008

Busting corrupt cops.

Too funny.

Hit & Run > Gotcha! - Reason Magazine:
"...Barry Cooper, the former drug cop turned pitchman for how-to-beat-the-cops videos. He comes off as more of a huckster than a principled whistle-blower, which I think does the good ideas he stands for (police reform) more harm than good.

But damn. I have to hand it to him. This might be one of the ballsiest moves I've ever seen.
"KopBusters rented a house in Odessa, Texas and began growing two small Christmas trees under a grow light similar to those used for growing marijuana. When faced with a suspected marijuana grow, the police usually use illegal FLIR cameras and/or lie on the search warrant affidavit claiming they have probable cause to raid the house. Instead of conducting a proper investigation which usually leads to no probable cause, the Kops lie on the affidavit claiming a confidential informant saw the plants and/or the police could smell marijuana coming from the suspected house.

The trap was set and less than 24 hours later, the Odessa narcotics unit raided the house only to find KopBuster’s attorney waiting under a system of complex gadgetry and spy cameras that streamed online to the KopBuster’s secret mobile office nearby."
To clarify just a bit, according to Cooper, there was nothing illegal going on the bait house, just two evergreen trees and some grow lamps. There was no probable cause. So a couple of questions come up. First, how did the cops get turned on to the house in the first place? Cooper suspects they were using thermal imaging equipment to detect the grow lamps, a practice the Supreme Court has said is illegal. The second question is, what probable cause did the police put on the affidavit to get a judge to sign off on a search warrant? If there was nothing illegal going on in the house, it's difficult to conceive of a scenario where either the police or one of their informants didn't lie to get a warrant.

...Here's some local media coverage:

"This Is How They Keep Their Marriage Fresh."

Overheard in New York | This Is How They Keep Their Marriage Fresh:
"Hot 20-something blonde: Stop staring at other girls! Do you know how lucky you are to have me? Most men your age would kill to have a girlfriend this hot!
40-something boyfriend: For the last time, you aren't my girlfriend!
Hot 20-something blonde: Oh, don't pull that again. I am so. You don't just get to fuck me in every hole for a year and say I'm not your girlfriend! You are so lucky to have me! You aren't even that rich!
40-something boyfriend: I will pay you $500 to shut the fuck up for the rest of the day.
Hot 20-something girlfriend: Done.

--52nd & 8th"

This would totally work for me.

Overheard Everywhere | See? Was That So Hard, Pancake-Chest?:
"Girl #1: Sometimes I judge you silently in my head.
Girl #2: Yeah, everyone does that. I think people should start saying what they're really thinking. We should all have running monologues about what's going through our heads.
Girl #1: Really?
Girl #2: Yeah. Like, this one time, me and my friend....
Girl #1: I think you're a bitch.

San Jose, California

Overheard by: Robert"

God's Perfect Plan.

Schneier is one of the few voices on security who makes any sense to me.

Schneier on Security: Lessons from Mumbai:
"...Without discounting the awfulness of the events, I have some initial observations:

* Low-tech is very effective. Movie-plot threats -- terrorists with crop dusters, terrorists with biological agents, terrorists targeting our water supplies -- might be what people worry about, but a bunch of trained (we don't really know yet what sort of training they had, but it's clear that they had some) men with guns and grenades is all they needed.

* At the same time, the attacks were surprisingly ineffective. I can't find exact numbers, but it seems there were about 18 terrorists. The latest toll is 195 dead, 235 wounded. That's 11 dead, 13 wounded, per terrorist. As horrible as the reality is, that's much less than you might have thought if you imagined the movie in your head. Reality is different from the movies.

* Even so, terrorism is rare. If a bunch of men with guns and grenades is all they really need, then why isn't this sort of terrorism more common? Why not in the U.S., where it's easy to get hold of weapons? It's because terrorism is very, very rare.

* Specific countermeasures don't help against these attacks. None of the high-priced countermeasures that defend against specific tactics and specific targets made, or would have made, any difference: photo ID checks, confiscating liquids at airports, fingerprinting foreigners at the border, bag screening on public transportation, anything. Even metal detectors and threat warnings didn't do any good...

If there's any lesson in these attacks, it's not to focus too much on the specifics of the attacks. Of course, that's not the way we're programmed to think. We respond to stories, not analysis. I don't mean to be unsympathetic; this tendency is human and these deaths are really tragic. But 18 armed people intent on killing lots of innocents will be able to do just that, and last-line-of-defense countermeasures won't be able to stop them. Intelligence, investigation, and emergency response. We have to find and stop the terrorists before they attack, and deal with the aftermath of the attacks we don't stop. There really is no other way, and I hope that we don't let the tragedy lead us into unwise decisions about how to deal with terrorism."

This will actually solve all your problems.

Bob Newhart rocks.

Highly similar to the wisdom of RAW:
Interviewer: Okay... Since NLP was developed from modeling effective language, that makes sense. Apart from writing skills, have you been playing with it in other ways? Accessing altered states or otherwise changing brains?

RAW: Of course. Chiefly, I use it to relax and stop worrying -- two things I need to work on these days, due to medical problems afflicting people near and dear to me. I use a combination Sufi listening exercise (which gets you into relaxation and near trance) and Bandler's mighty mantra, which you repeat every time you start going back into worry or anxiety. The mantra is slow and spaced and it says to the voice of worry, "Shut the fuck up." After a few tries you get very good at making that damned voice shut the fuck up.

I was not aware this was "American."

Overheard in New York | When I Climax I'll Yell Out, "I Hate Freedom!":
"Girl #1: I don't know about you girls, but I'm fucking something tonight.
Girl #2: Don't you have a boyfriend?
Girl #1: Well, he's not around. Fuck this American bullshit. I'm getting laid.

--Fulton & Naussau

Overheard by: prince"

Truth. - "Basically, it boils down to this- if I wanted to live in accordance to rules as set by your faith, I would join your church...."

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Yeah, But My God Is Bigger Than Your God:
"Here is the deal,folks. No one is saying you can not or should not mention God, but you should be aware by now that I don’t care what your God (or anyone else’s, for that matter) thinks, so you can keep bringing him or her up, but I and others like me will not find it very persuasive. Sure, folks who agree with you and your God may love it, and mentioning God may be cathartic or make you feel good, and you can be satisfied that you are living within the belief system your God demands, but you aren’t being very persuasive (at least not to the folks you are ostensibly trying to persuade).

...If they would at least make an effort to couch their arguments in logic and reason, rather than quoting scripture or providing arguments from their God, we might be able to better find common ground. As it is, tell me a certain public policy should be so because your religious beliefs make anything else a sin, and I will respond with a shrug and work to elect people to do the opposite of what you want.

Basically, it boils down to this- if I wanted to live in accordance to rules as set by your faith, I would join your church. Until then, until you see me sitting two pews over on Sunday morning, just assume that I really don’t care what your God thinks. I don’t want the rules of your faith imposed upon me by the government, just as I do not desire the government telling me to live under the rules of Cardinal Ratzinger, the Church of Latter Day Saints, Sharia law, Wikkan rules, Buddhist tenets, and on and on and on. Nor do I think you should have to lives under laws that force you to adhere to the religious principles of someone else...

...our public policy is not dictated by one religious sect ramming their God down our collective throats.. “Because it is a sin” ain’t cutting it."

Jack Black as Jesus? Win.

"Prop 8 - The Musical" starring Jack Black, John C. Reilly, and many more... from FOD Team, Jack Black, Craig Robinson, John C Reilly, and Rashida Jones

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"Requiem for a Maverick" by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone.

Taibbi is easily becoming one of my favorite political writers. Here he takes on why the McCain campaign failed, the slow slide of American politics into nonsense, and whether it can forge a new role and national identity.

Excerpts: Requiem for a Maverick : Rolling Stone:
"The ironic thing is that the destruction of the Republican Party was a two-part process. Their president, George W. Bush, did most of the work by making virtually every mistake possible in his two terms, reducing the mightiest economy on Earth to the status of a beggar-debtor nation like Pakistan or Zambia. This was fucking up on a scale known only to a select few groups in history, your Romanovs, your Habsburgs, maybe the Han Dynasty, which pissed away a golden age of Chinese history by letting eunuchs take over the state. But John McCain and Sarah Palin made their own unique contribution to the disaster by running perhaps the most incompetent presidential campaign in modern times. They compounded a millionfold Bush's legacy of incompetence by soiling both possible Republican ideological strategies going forward: They killed off Bush-style neoconservatism as well as the more traditional fiscal conservatism McCain himself was once known for by trying to fuse both approaches into one gorgeously incoherent ticket. It was like trying to follow the recipes for Texas 10-alarm chili and a three-layer Black Forest chocolate cake in the same pan at the same time...

...McCain entered this election season being the worst thing that anyone can be, in the eyes of the Rove-school Republicans: Different. Independent. His own man. He exited the campaign on his knees, all his dignity gone, having handed the White House to the hated liberals after spending the last months of the race with numb-nuts Sarah Palin on his arm and Karl Rove's cock in his mouth. Even if you wanted to vote for him, you didn't know who you were voting for. The old McCain? The new McCain? Neither? Both?

...We've dumbed this process up so much over the years, in fact, that it had lately become hard to imagine an American presidential election being anything but an embarrassment to the very word "democracy." By 2004, that once-cherished ideal of political freedom and self-governance that millions of young men and women gave their lives to protect as recently as WWII had been reduced to the level of absurdist comedy. You had a millionaire Yalie in an army jacket taking on a millionaire Yalie in a cowboy hat, fighting tooth and nail for the right to be named the man "middle America most wants to have a beer with" by a gang of Ivy League journalists — a group of people whose closest previous exposure to "middle America" was typically either an episode of Cops or a Von Dutch trucker hat they'd bought for $23 at Urban Outfitters.

In short, it was an utterly degrading bourgeois/ruling-class media deception that "ordinary Americans," if they had any brains at all, ought to have been disgusted by to the point of rebellion. But ordinary Americans, alas, would have been perfectly happy to spend the rest of eternity mesmerized by the endless and endlessly condescending I'd Like to Have a Beer With You sideshow..."

Better than many, still screwed up.

From my cell I scent the reeking soul of US justice | Conrad Black - Times Online:
"...US federal prosecutors, almost all of whom would be disbarred for their antics if they were in Britain or Canada, win more than 90% of their cases thanks to the withering of the constitutional guarantees of due process – that is, the grand jury as an assurance against capricious prosecution, no seizure of property without just compensation, access to counsel, an impartial jury, speedy justice and reasonable bail.

...The system is based on the plea bargain: the barefaced exchange of incriminating testimony for immunity or a reduced sentence. It is intimidation and suborned or extorted perjury, an outright rape of any plausible definition of justice.

The US is now a carceral state that imprisons eight to 12 times more people (2.5m) per capita than the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany or Japan. US justice has become a command economy based on the avarice of private prison companies, a gigantic prison service industry and politically influential correctional officers’ unions that agitate for an unlimited increase in the number of prosecutions and the length of sentences. The entire “war on drugs”, by contrast, is a classic illustration of supply-side economics: a trillion taxpayers’ dollars squandered and 1m small fry imprisoned at a cost of $50 billion a year; as supply of and demand for illegal drugs have increased, prices have fallen and product quality has improved..."

The Change We Can Believe In?

Hit & Run > Posse Comitatus Goes Belly Up - Reason Magazine:
"The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials.

...I predict that while now couched in terms of the necessity for a ready response to a cataclysmic terrorist attack, within five years there will be calls to use these forces for less urgent matters, such as crowd control at political conventions, natural disaster response, border control, and, inevitably, some components of the drug war (looking for marijuana in the national parks, for example).

Here's hoping Obama scales this back. Or if he doesn't, that, with a Democrat in the White House, the Republicans rediscover the way they once got the heebie-jeebies over this stuff."

Headline of the day - "Reports: Mumbai Attackers Took Coke, LSD, and Steroids; Wore Versace; used GPS and VOIP."

Via the mighty Boing Boing

History doesn't repeat, but it does rhyme.

The Lessons of Prohibition: Repeal Day drives home the folly of the Drug War - Reason Magazine:
"This Friday, Dec. 5, is the 75th anniversary of Repeal Day, the day America repealed its disastrous alcohol prohibition.

Prohibition was the pièce de résistance of the early 20th-century progressives' grand social engineering agenda. It failed, of course. Miserably.

It did reduce overall consumption of alcohol in the U.S., but that reduction came largely among those who consumed alcohol responsibly. The actual harm caused by alcohol abuse was made worse, thanks to the economics of prohibitions.

Black market alcohol was of dubious origin, unregulated by market forces. The price premium that attaches to banned substances made the alcohol that made it to consumers more potent and more dangerous. And, of course, organized crime rose and flourished thanks to the new market created by the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act.

So hospitalizations related to alcohol soared. And so did violent crime. Corruption flourished, as law enforcement officials in charge of enforcing prohibition went on the take, from beat cops all the way up to the office of the United States Attorney General. Even the U.S. Senate had a secret, illegal stash of booze for its members and their staffs.

...There's no question that drug prohibition has been every bit the failure alcohol prohibition was. Nearly 40 years after the CSA passed, we have 400,000 people in prison for nonviolent drug crimes; a domestic police force that often looks and acts like an occupying military force; nearly a trillion dollars spent on enforcement, both here and through aggressive interdiction efforts overseas; and urban areas that can resemble war zones. Yet illicit drugs like cocaine and marijuana are as cheap and abundant as they were in 1970. The street price of both drugs has actually dropped—dramatically—since the government began keeping track in the early 1980s.

...As the drug war has failed, the government merely claims more powers to fight it more aggressively.

Eliot Ness and his colleagues raided supply lines, manufacturing hubs, and warehouses, but alcohol consumption was still legal. You didn't have armed-to-the-teeth cops breaking down the doors of private homes the way they do now for people suspected of consensual drug crimes. During prohibition, doctors could prescribe alcohol as medication. Today, federal SWAT teams storm medical marijuana clinics and terrorize their patients, thanks to the Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Gonzales v. Raich, which allowed the federal government to prevent a dying woman from possessing medical marijuana, solely for her own use, to treat the symptoms of her illnesses, even though the voters of California had determined that she should be left alone.

When he first visited the United States in 1921, Albert Einstein wrote of America's ban on booze: "The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law... For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced."

That's as true today as it was then."

Favorite quote today - "When we let external signals take control of the situation, we make poor choices..."

Ostensibly about fiscal and purchasing choices, I was struck how it applies to everything. Constantly responding to your environment instead of authentically figuring out your insides.

Via The Simple Dollar » Internal and External Signals

Training 233-235/P90X 1-3.

I am totally getting my ass handed to me by a late night informerical workout. I don't feel too bad though, as I think a couple of these workouts would've been tough to keep up with even when I was in shape 10 years ago.

Keep showing up, doing my best, then showing up again.

Nutrition - all 3 days, 2.5L water [need more], 5 meals, assorted coffees/diet sodas

PT - 1 - Chest, back, abs... rough.
2 - Plyo... brutal.
3 - Shoulders and arms, but forgot I was supposed to hit abs as well. Catch up w/that today.

Japan laughs at your weakness.

Overheard in New York | Fast Times at Wednesday One-Liners:
"English teacher: I could be charged with child abuse in some states for teaching grammar in 90-degree weather. (student is silent) I'm not going to hit you.

--Brooklyn Tech"

Political odds and ends...

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » The New Look of Union Busting:
"In order for the Republicans to get back to their roots so that they may one day get back in power, they are going to have to become “fiscal conservatives” again. Now granted, looking at the history of Republican rule, they have NEVER been fiscal conservatives, as the vast majority of our national debt, to include the largest annual budget deficits, were all brought to you via Republicans. However, there are a lot of idiots like me out there who don’t pay attention, and think Republicans are fiscally responsible. As such, expect the Republicans to spend the next few years simply saying no to any and all spending. What they are hoping is a couple years of them saying no and the Obama administration spending will allow them to rebuild their favorite fantasy- the GOP as prudent defenders of the taxpayer’s money."

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Why Obama Won:
"Since there still seems to be some bizarre combination of excuse-making, reality dodging, blame-shifting, and general confusion among the right as to why Obama won, let me lay it out real simple for you:

Two Wars
Dow at 8000 when it was up near 14000 a short bit ago
Our financial industry so screwed up that we are spending trillions to rescue ourselves
At the very least, five trillion in national debt over the last eight years
$500 billion deficit
A deep recession for the last year while all Republicans did was say we are not “officially” in a recession.
Rising unemployment
Stagnant wages
Skyrocketing health care costs
$4 dollar a gallon gasoline

...Republicans lost because they were in charge of the country for the better part of the last decade, and their governance has been an unmitigated disaster. This is not rocket science. You can argue that Democrats should share some of the blame for some of the policies, and you would not get any disagreement from me, but that does not change the fact that the Republicans were in charge, and blew it."


A good Jean-Claude Van Damme movie?

Apparently. Haven't had one of those since, say, 1996 or so...

JCVD - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"JCVD is a French meta-action film directed by French-Algerian director Mabrouk El Mechri, and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as himself, a down-and-out action star whose family and career are crumbling around him as he’s caught in the middle of a bank heist in his hometown of Brussels, Belgium.

The film has garnered El Mechri critical acclaim and was screened at the 2008 Rome Film Festival (L'Altro Cinema) and the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival (Midnight Madness).

...The film establishes Jean-Claude Van Damme, who is playing himself in an alternate reality, as an out of luck actor. He's out of money, his agent can't find him a decent production, and the judge in a custody battle is inclined to give custody of his daughter over to his ex-wife. He returns to his childhood home of Brussels: where he’s still considered a national icon.

When he goes into a post office to arrange a wire transfer to his law firm, he finds himself in the middle of a hostage situation. Due to an unfortunate mistake, the police believe Van Damme is responsible for the crime. As the events are played from different perspectives, Van Damme finds himself acting as a hero to protect the hostages, as well as a negotiator as the presumed perpetrator..."

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What I've Read - "The King of Torts" by John Grisham.

Another JET Programme Mid-Year conference bake/book/charity sale pickup. I used to read a buncha the Grisham books, again, usually second hand from my dad. So I picked this one up. [For 100 yen, why not?]

It was... okay, I guess. I'll admit it sucked me in, but honestly I kept reading because it always seemed like it was just on the verge of something really interesting happening. But it never really did. The characters weren't all that likeable, the twists - what there were of them - I kinda saw coming, and I thought the moralizing was kind of heavy handed. The King of Torts: John Grisham: Books:
"Set in the cut-throat world of the public defender's office in Washington DC, The King of Torts touches all the usual bases. Grisham's hero this time is an ambitious young lawyer who is handed a case that initially appears to be nothing more than one of the host of crack cocaine killings that plague the capital. But as he digs deeper, the tentacles of a massive conspiracy begin to appear: a conspiracy that has implications for nothing less than the entire justice system itself...(Kirkus UK)"

Man, sucks to be Native American.

Overheard in New York | Moral Of the Story: Next Time Offer Beads:
"Ghetto bum to Asian: Yo man, let me get yo seat.
Asian guy (calmly): Do I look Native American to you? You can't just come and take shit from me.
Bum: Oh, sorry about that! (he asks person next to him and gets a seat)

--2 Train

Overheard by: Seizure"

...and that's the difference between men and women.

When you've got a point, you've got a point.

Overheard Everywhere | When, Really, They Go Together Like a Wink and Smile:
"Loud 40-something: The government wants to cut down on unplanned pregnancy and decrease abortions, but a dozen condoms is as much as a 12-pack of beer? Hello, middle America is not choosing condoms over beer!

Burlington, Vermont"


Overheard in the Office | Bob in Accounting Is Still Limping from the Incident with the Halloween Cookies:
"Cubicle chick #1: They have free sandwiches today? I will be throwing elbows to be the first for that action.
Cubicle chick #2: You really are a delicate flower.

Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Overheard by: nic_bitch"

I'd do this.

Overheard in New York | Then What's That Kit-Kat Jingle About?:
"Child (walking up stairs out of subway station): Can I take a break? Let's take a break here.
Mother: No.
Child: But my legs hurt, I need to take a break.
Mother: There are no breaks in life.

--Lorimer St. L Station"

Monday, December 01, 2008

Of course-"I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo."

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Things I Did Not Know:
"The intelligence coup that led to killing abu Musab al-Zarqawi did not come from the torture-based methods that had become almost universal at that time. Instead a renegade unit tried handling suspects with respect, a novel approach recommended by the notable terrorist lovers in Israeli intelligence...
"We turned several hard cases, including some foreign fighters, by using our new techniques. A few of them never abandoned the jihadist cause but still gave up critical information. One actually told me, “I thought you would torture me, and when you didn’t, I decided that everything I was told about Americans was wrong. That’s why I decided to cooperate.”

[...] I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners..."

Now that's funny.

And the second one makes a good point.

Via riotclitshave and riotclitshave: by eschewv.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

On your list of things you don't particularly want to hear...

Overheard in New York | That Was the Night I Became a Man:
"Guy #1: Getting old is not cool, man. I walked in on my mom in the shower once, it was gross...her boobs go down to her fucking knees.
Guy #2: No, they don't.
Guy #1: Yeah, what the fuck do you know?
Guy #2: So, remember that party where she got drunk and smoked that salvia?

--14th St"

"...and now you know, the rest of the story."

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

Training 232/P90X [T-1.]

Week off is officially done tonight/tomorrow AM. Took the P90X Fit Test today to make sure I passed the basic mins to kick off the program tomorrow... and I did. When I finish up the 90 days I'll post up the before/after stats.

This week off has been... odd. Not paying attention to what I ate and drank felt weird. Not working out left me feeling restless. I thought eating whatever I was craving would be cathartic, but honestly, even when I indulged, the food didn't really taste as good as I anticipated/remembered. I think watching what I was eating for the last 3 months reset my taste buds a little bit. None of it really tasted good enough to make me want to keep eating that way past this week. And not prepping my meals meant I found myself hungry at odd times and running to the konbini to pick up lunch. Not watching my water intake led me to drink entirely too much coffee instead of water, and left me feeling tired and dehydrated. [Plus I caught a little bit of a cold this past week as well, which didn't help.]

So really, bottom line, I'm glad this "free" week is over, and I'm glad to be getting back to the routine tomorrow.

P90X wkouts [tomorrow - chest, back and abs.] 5 meals a day. 3L water. Hit it as hard as I can for 90 days, and see what happens.