Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ah, it's rich with irony, indeed.

The Agitator » Blog Archive » In Which Leon Lott Offers to Send His SWAT Team to Delaware:
"Drug War Joe Biden’s daughter may have been caught on video snorting cocaine.

Can’t wait for Biden’s press conference on Monday, where he’ll call for all of the draconian laws he has sponsored over the years to be fully enforced against his kid, including the forfeiture of all of her property, and the use of the videotape as probable cause for a Byrne Grant-funded multi-jurisdictional SWAT team to raid her home in the middle of the night. At that point, Biden will call for the local cops will turn her case over to the feds, who, per Biden’s own favored policies over the years, will then liberally apply RICO and conspiracy statutes to find some way, any way, to rope her in on federal drug-related charges so she can then get hit with the applicable federal mandatory minimum prison sentence..."
...the irony is so, so very thick. Have to say I agree totally with the commenter here -
"...I don’t wish any harm to Joe Biden’s daughter. I just wish all non-violent drug possessers would get the light-fingered treatment that she undoubtedly will get."

I don't care how innappropriate it is...

...this makes me laugh.

Watched 3/23 - 28.

Skins - the last two episodes of the season. I think the third series really came into it's own the last few episodes. The actors all started to click, it seemed. Well done, and without the unremitting dysfunction and depression of the early episodes this season.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Sherlock Holmes, bitches. Rock on with your bad self.

Under the Hood and Tales of the Black Freighter - the two mini-documentaries/movies/cut material that'll eventually be cut back into Zack Snyder's interpretation of Watchmen. I really dug the faux TV newshow of Under the Hood. Lot of fun and rather well done.

Kings - Ian McShane is still marvelous to watch, but the actor playing David leaves a little to be desired. The show's got potential, but I don't think it's gonna make it.

MTV Bully Beatdown - Jason Mayhem Miller is hilarious - "[This guy] has the body of a meathead and the personality of a douchebag." The show is just funny.

Heroes - eh, not bad.

Yoga Unveiled - Interesting documentary on the history of yoga. It's weird, I find myself drawn to a lot of the physical and basic neurological aspects of yoga, but the true believers of any stripe are a huge turn off for me. There's a lot of smart stuff in there, but a lot of goofiness too. Interesting how you can trace back modern yoga, as it were, mainly to the students of of Sri Tirumala Krishnamacharya. Worth thinking about that, for good or ill.

Russell Brand in New York City - just too funny.

Reaper - this show cracks me up. Appropriately blasphemy-lite.

Space Race - 4 part documentary/docudrama on the race between the Soviets and the USA into space. Pretty fascinating. Too bad they had to fake that moon landing.

The Mentalist - the show's strength isn't really the procedurals, but the characters. Simon Baker's acting and sense of humor carry the show.

Scrubs - standard Scrubs fare, which is good.

Better Off Ted - this show is weird and quirky. I'm liking it. Interesting to see where it goes.

Life - This season's overarching mystery is picking up. Which is good, since it was dragging a bit. Damian Lewis can still do no wrong. And Adam Arkin was particularly good, and quite funny, in this episode.

South Park - ah, South Park... I don't watch you often, but I can always count on you for some pleasant blasphemy and goofiness - "...it's the jews in some kind of secret jew cave!"

Brian Regan: Epitome of Hyperbole - not bad. Pleasantly diverting.

Breaking Bad - underachieving high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with cancer, decides to start cooking meth to make money to leave for his family. Birth of a "villian." I devoured the entire first season and the first few episodes of the second season this week. It was really, really good. Dark comedy, extremely well crafted scripts and characters, and characters that are complex and hard to get a hold of. Any show where I don't know what's going to happen 3 episodes in advance, I'm a fan of. Great performances as well. Highly recommended.

Aisha Tyler is Lit: Live at the Fillmore - you know, I had only seen Tyler mostly through her acting, and I wasn't expecting much, but this rocked pretty hard. She was funny. I guess I could relate to a lot of those same mid-30s issues she was talking about, but I dug on her timing and delivery too. Worth watching.

Will Ferrell: You're Welcome America - again, I didn't think that Ferrell could maintain his GW Bush as a moron impression for a full one man play, but he pulled it off. Surprisingly well done, funny and even occasionally insightful.

30 Rock and The Office - again, best comedies on network TV. The Office is making some interesting plot moves.

Smallville - after last week's horrible ep, this week's ep had a sense of fun, good characters, nice acting, and some comic-booky goodness. Way to step that game back up geeks.

The Beast - finally revealing some of the past of Swayze's character, clearing up some mysteries. Great episode, with Swayze rocking the acting pretty hard.

Friday Night Lights - still the best drama on TV. Love this show.

Dollhouse - easily the funniest episode of the season. This week's and last week's show are just firing on all cylinders. Too bad they couldn't have had them earlier in the season. When will networks learn to stop fucking with Joss Whedon? Great show, now that it's being allowed to come into its own. Hope it survives into its second season.

Real Time with Bill Maher - Great panel this week - Mos Def, Salman Rushdie and Christopher Hitchens. Mos is always hilarious... though his skepticism came off as too incurious, especially in the overtime. And it kills me how everybody needs to constantly interrupt each other.

Bill Maher had a great new rule this week -
"...and finally, new rule - forget about bringing the troops home from Iraq, we need to bring the troops home from WWII. Can anyone tell me why in 2009 we still have more than 50k troops in Germany and 30K troops in Japan? At some point these people are gonna have to learn to rape themselves...

You know that crazy soldier hiding in the cave... who doesn't know the war is over? That's us... 500,000 personnel... in 150 countries... I'm not saying we're Rome, because Rome had an infrastructure... Americans would never stand for this in reverse... Maybe money is so tight now that we can justify bringing our troops home..."

Jesus didn't even chip in... that bogarting bastard.

Tips for Sandy.

Kinda :)

Profoundly disappointed...

At what a colossal douche Obama is becoming... The prospect that he might actually inject some intelligence into the political process is becoming fainter and fainter. Much more if you click over...

Hit & Run > Obama on Pot: Har Har Har, The Joke's On You! - Reason Magazine:
"At yesterday's super-excellent online intertubes Town Hall meeting, admitted pot user President Barack Obama drew his biggest laugh with his comments about legalizing marijuana:
More than 100,000 questions were submitted, with the idea Obama would answer those that were most popular. But after 3.6 million votes were cast, one of the top questions turned out to be a query on whether legalizing marijuana might stimulate the economy by allowing the government to regulate and tax the drug.

'I don't know what this says about the online audience,' Obama said in the session in the East Room, drawing a laugh from his live audience, which included teachers, nurses and small-business people. 'The answer is no, I don't think that is a good strategy to grow the economy.'
Ha ha ha. Very funny. Not. Especially given two recent developments. First, Obama's Justice Department has backtracked on its pledge not to conduct raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in California and other states that allow such things. Second, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is jawboning Mexico about how the U.S. will stop drug demand, etc. in an effort to decrease violence along the border."

The War on Drugs is No Laughing Matter: It's time for Barack Obama to take legalization seriously - Reason Magazine:

"Alcohol did not create Al Capone's gang violence in the hometown of our current president. Prohibition did.

Marijuana does not create murderous drug cartels in Mexico. America's War on Drugs does.

Surely President Barack Obama, one of the smartest men to inhabit the White House, must understand that truth—even if he chooses to laugh-off those of us who want to get serious about the need to end the social insanity of neo-Prohibition by legalizing marijuana and other psychoactive chemicals.

French essayist Georges Bernanos wrote, "The worst, the most corrupting of lies, are problems poorly stated." It is an outrageous lie, one that corrupts intelligent public policy discourse, when we talk of "drug violence." The official corruption and murderous mayhem in both Mexico and on our side of the border are not a result of dried leafy vegetation and white powder. They are the consequence of a lucrative black market, spawning profits for which bad people are willing to kill and die, directly resulting from federal and state laws that prohibit the sale, use, and possession of drugs...

President Obama promised an end to politics as usual, but he now stands in the way of a long-neglected debate about ending the harm creation of draconian policies which: infringe on individual liberty; rip apart neighbor nations; create government violence against our own people by militarized police forces; cause health harm to the young by forcing psycho-active drugs underground, with no regulation of their content, purity, and strength, or education about how to use them intelligently; promote disrespect for the rule of law, with unequal penalties applied to the rich and to the poor—all factors which have disgracefully transformed the United States of America into the world's number one jailer..."

Hit & Run > More About Obama's Ditchweed-Level Response to That Marijuana Question - Reason Magazine:
"...from John Lingan at Splice Today:

The justifications for legalizing pot are many and varied, from the unbelievable stress that the drug war places on our criminal justice and law enforcement systems to the fact that such policy has done nothing to curb marijuana use over the last decade; more people are going to jail for nonviolent crimes, while production of opium and cannabis have both doubled and the society-wide rate of use has remained at 1998 levels. But more importantly, the economic crisis and the recent escalation of gang violence in Mexico have punctured whatever puritanical groupthink bubble remains in place to prevent this legislation from changing. We literally can't afford to waste money and resources fighting this worthless battle anymore.

Whole thing here."

Education is key.

Does no one in the mainstream realize how insane this is?

Hit & Run > More "Sexting" Nonsense - Reason Magazine:
"A 14-year-old New Jersey girl has been arrested on child pornography charges for posting nude photos of herself to MySpace, bringing us once again into the bizarre realm where not only is it possibly to criminally exploit oneself, but where police and prosecutors valiantly protect children from making bad decisions by arresting them and threatening them with sex offender status.

...Once again, this shouldn't be a law enforcement issue. It's a parent issue. You're doing a hell of a lot more damage by arresting these teens and threatening them with prosecution than passing naked photos between cell phones possibly could."

Friday, March 27, 2009

A day in the life...

Staying in Japan does have its benefits... a special Spring Break munchkin class I went to today. Great, great kids.

First played some games so the kids could earn "money."
From 2009-03-27
And then, shopping! [How very capitalist, yes?]
From 2009-03-27

From 2009-03-27
I myself, served as a member of the mercantile/bourgeoisie class.
From 2009-03-27
Future shop owner/business magnate.
From 2009-03-27

From 2009-03-27
We also forced them to purchase sustenance. Hey, everything costs. :)
From 2009-03-27
But c'mon, how cute are these kids? Honestly?
From 2009-03-27
I lost this particular staring contest. The child is unbeatable.
From 2009-03-27

From 2009-03-27

From 2009-03-27

She will defeat you with her cuteness. Always.
From 2009-03-27

From 2009-03-27
The quiet and soothing hand of education.
From 2009-03-27
See, the child has taken his eyes off of me. This will cost him.
From 2009-03-27
I told you.
From 2009-03-27
All the awesomeness.
From 2009-03-27

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but they're not pissed off enough."- Matt Taibbi breaks down the economy.

Matt Taibbi breaks down the financial crisis better than anyone I've read, in his usual vicious, yet highly readable [and funny as hell] style. Getting far beyond the rhetoric of the left and right [and my own oft read libertarian middle] he goes on and makes clear how credit default swaps, de-regulation lead by Phil Gramm, and the douchebags who work in the financial companies brought us to where we're at.

No oversight, with what amounts to the slickest, high stakes-full of shit con-men in the world at the financial companies, is what brings us up to the present day... The full article is well worth clicking over for and reading... if only to be shocked at amazed at the greed and duplicity.

The Big Takeover : Rolling Stone:
"...all this happened at the end of eight straight years that America devoted to frantically chasing the shadow of a terrorist threat to no avail, eight years spent stopping every citizen at every airport to search every purse, bag, crotch and briefcase for juice boxes and explosive tubes of toothpaste. Yet in the end, our government had no mechanism for searching the balance sheets of companies that held life-or-death power over our society and was unable to spot holes in the national economy the size of Libya (whose entire GDP last year was smaller than AIG's 2008 losses).

So it's time to admit it: We're fools, protagonists in a kind of gruesome comedy about the marriage of greed and stupidity. And the worst part about it is that we're still in denial — we still think this is some kind of unfortunate accident, not something that was created by the group of psychopaths on Wall Street whom we allowed to gang-rape the American Dream.

...People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but they're not pissed off enough. The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d'├ętat. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.

...The best way to understand the financial crisis is to understand the meltdown at AIG. AIG is what happens when short, bald managers of otherwise boring financial bureaucracies start seeing Brad Pitt in the mirror. This is a company that built a giant fortune across more than a century by betting on safety-conscious policyholders — people who wear seat belts and build houses on high ground — and then blew it all in a year or two by turning their entire balance sheet over to a guy who acted like making huge bets with other people's money would make his dick bigger.

That guy — the Patient Zero of the global economic meltdown — was one Joseph Cassano, the head of a tiny, 400-person unit within the company called AIG Financial Products, or AIGFP. Cassano, a pudgy, balding Brooklyn College grad with beady eyes and way too much forehead, cut his teeth in the Eighties working for Mike Milken, the granddaddy of modern Wall Street debt alchemists. Milken, who pioneered the creative use of junk bonds, relied on messianic genius and a whole array of insider schemes to evade detection while wreaking financial disaster. Cassano, by contrast, was just a greedy little turd with a knack for selective accounting who ran his scam right out in the open, thanks to Washington's deregulation of the Wall Street casino...

The mess Cassano created had its roots in an investment boom fueled in part by a relatively new type of financial instrument called a collateralized-debt obligation. A CDO is like a box full of diced-up assets. They can be anything: mortgages, corporate loans, aircraft loans, credit-card loans, even other CDOs. So as X mortgage holder pays his bill, and Y corporate debtor pays his bill, and Z credit-card debtor pays his bill, money flows into the box.

...The problem was, none of this was based on reality. "The banks knew they were selling crap," says a London-based trader from one of the bailed-out companies.

...Cassano's outrageous gamble wouldn't have been possible had he not had the good fortune to take over AIGFP just as Sen. Phil Gramm — a grinning, laissez-faire ideologue from Texas — had finished engineering the most dramatic deregulation of the financial industry since Emperor Hien Tsung invented paper money in 806 A.D. For years, Washington had kept a watchful eye on the nation's banks. Ever since the Great Depression, commercial banks — those that kept money on deposit for individuals and businesses — had not been allowed to double as investment banks, which raise money by issuing and selling securities. The Glass-Steagall Act, passed during the Depression, also prevented banks of any kind from getting into the insurance business.

...So that's the first step in wall street's power grab: making up things like credit-default swaps and collateralized-debt obligations, financial products so complex and inscrutable that ordinary American dumb people — to say nothing of federal regulators and even the CEOs of major corporations like AIG — are too intimidated to even try to understand them. That, combined with wise political investments, enabled the nation's top bankers to effectively scrap any meaningful oversight of the financial industry.

...There are plenty of people who have noticed, in recent years, that when they lost their homes to foreclosure or were forced into bankruptcy because of crippling credit-card debt, no one in the government was there to rescue them. But when Goldman Sachs — a company whose average employee still made more than $350,000 last year, even in the midst of a depression — was suddenly faced with the possibility of losing money on the unregulated insurance deals it bought for its insane housing bets, the government was there in an instant to patch the hole. That's the essence of the bailout: rich bankers bailing out rich bankers, using the taxpayers' credit card.

...What had brought us to the brink of collapse in the first place was this relentless instinct for building ever-larger megacompanies, passing deregulatory measures to gradually feed all the little fish in the sea to an ever-shrinking pool of Bigger Fish. To fix this problem, the government should have slowly liquidated these monster, too-big-to-fail firms and broken them down to smaller, more manageable companies. Instead, federal regulators closed ranks and used an almost completely secret bailout process to double down on the same faulty, merger-happy thinking that got us here in the first place, creating a constellation of megafirms under government control that are even bigger, more unwieldy and more crammed to the gills with systemic risk.

...The most galling thing about this financial crisis is that so many Wall Street types think they actually deserve not only their huge bonuses and lavish lifestyles but the awesome political power their own mistakes have left them in possession of. When challenged, they talk about how hard they work, the 90-hour weeks, the stress, the failed marriages, the hemorrhoids and gallstones they all get before they hit 40.

"But wait a minute," you say to them. "No one ever asked you to stay up all night eight days a week trying to get filthy rich shorting what's left of the American auto industry or selling $600 billion in toxic, irredeemable mortgages to ex-strippers on work release and Taco Bell clerks. Actually, come to think of it, why are we even giving taxpayer money to you people? Why are we not throwing your ass in jail instead?""

I don't watch Family Guy, but this looks funny as hell.

I'm a sucker for a good scifi parody. And with the original cast of STTNG reprising their roles, it has that nice metatextual effect. I may have to check out this episode.

Design your own donut - I have made deliciousness.

Chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and Reese's Peanut Butter Cup shavings... positively decadent.


Absolutely horrible for you. Sure it tastes phenomenal.

Via Create Dunkin's Next Donut: Donut Creator

You figure it out.

I dare you.
From 2009-03-24

A good father/daughter sex-talk,

Double funny because the daughter's name is Sandy.

Whip It Out Comedy: This Is What Happens When Fathers Teach Their Daughters About Sex:
"We don't have a daughter, but if we did we're pretty sure we wouldn't talk to her about sex the way the Dad does in this Groundlings sketch. Then again, we do hope that every woman we meet was given a speech like this by their fathers."

Aisha Tyler is funny as hell, apparently - "nowassitall."

This is way, way funnier than I thought it'd be.

For Sandy - lost scenes from "The Sound of Music."

"Stuckey & Murray present the long lost footage of 'Favorite Things' from 'The Sound of Music'."

On this day...

Well, not this day, per se, but on the same day - Oct 18th... random Googling/Wikipedia'ing shows that Lee Harvey Oswald, Mike Ditka, Thomas "The Hitman" Hearns, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Wynton Marsalis were all born on my birthday. That's some interesting company.

[Hmmm... conspiracies, fighting, martial arts, music... that sounds about right...]

And Jon-Erik Hexum, who I obsessively watched in Voyagers! and Cover Up as a kid [I still remember Holding Out for a Hero was the Cover Up theme song], died after accidentally shooting himself a few days earlier, on October 18, 1984. I remember reading about that a lot at the time, because my Mom was an obsessive buyer of celeb trash mags like The Enquirer and The Star.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Comic book brilliance - Greg Rucka and Cully Hamner answer The Question.

Denny O'Neil's The Question book in the 80s was fundamental to my personal development. And they were all sorts of kick-ass too. Greg Rucka has been carrying on the tradition well, deftly writing Vic Sage/Szasz till his demise, and the adventures of his successor. This looks to be great.

The Song I Can Never Write - Question Everything:
"...now I can talk about the fact that Cully and I are doing the co-feature that will begin running in Detective Comics #854, the Batwoman debut issue, this June. Starting with four eight-page chapters, then expanding to ten-pages an issue, and he's been drawing, and it look incredible, and no, I can't share the pages with you.

But I can share his design work, which certainly gives a nice taste of what's to come."

LEVERAGE Season 2 - "Come at me like a bear!"

LEVERAGE, btw, is dead brilliant.

These are both via writer/exec producer John Rogers esteemable blog - Kung Fu Monkey. Because your monkey can never know enough kung fu.

LEVERAGE Season 2: Things Are Not Going Well



[Sandy, watch this one for the Friends riff. I had to watch 10 seasons. Repeatedly. Watch the video.]

Tracing the real roots of the economic crisis...

Rushkoff makes a lot of good points here, and if you click over he traces the roots of the screwed up modern day economy all the way back to the middle ages, the first corporate charters and local currencies...

But the thing is, this screwed up system is worldwide now... It's not even like the idea of the USSR collapsing in the 80s/90s... it's everywhere now. If it goes, it's not just a temporary blip, it's a worldwide meltdown. For better or worse, it's the system everybody has bought into... gonna be interesting, at least.

LET IT DIE: Rushkoff on the economy | ARTHUR MAGAZINE - WE FOUND THE OTHERS:
"With any luck, the economy will never recover.

European Parliament reveals itself to be useless, perhaps full of functionally retarded people. *slightly updated*

I read this on the Wikipedia and thought "...no way. Somebody's screwing around..."

Nope.

*Updated w/something I meant to write earlier - it's stuff like this that makes me think that all the fascinating conspiracy theories I read about have no merit. These are the people in charge, ostensibly - AND. THEY. ARE. MORONS.*

Mr. Clean - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"In September 2008, the European Parliament deemed Mr. Clean potentially offensive, because his build might imply that cleaning can only be accomplished by a muscular man."

Europe Takes Aim at Sexual Stereotypes in Ads - NYTimes.com:
"The European Parliament has set out to change this. Last week, the legislature voted 504 to 110 to scold advertisers for “sexual stereotyping,” adopting a nonbinding report that seeks to prod the industry to change the way it depicts men and women.

The lawmakers’ ire has many targets, from a print ad for Dolce & Gabbana (which had a woman in spike heels pinned to the ground and surrounded by sweaty men in tight jeans) to Mr. Clean, the 1950s advertising icon whose muscular physique might imply that only a strong man is powerful enough to tackle dirt."

Really? I mean, reaaaaaaaaaally?

Idiots, I swear to god.

THIS HAPPENS.

Overheard in New York | Wednesday One-Liners for "White Harlem":
"Columbia student to another: I didn't mean to get drunk last night, but I stopped by a liquor store on the way home.

--Columbia University"

Signs of the Apocalypse are upon us.

But really, the best part is the paragraph after. Police work I enthusiastically support.

The Joe Rogan Blog » Conduit to the Gaian Mind » Vancouver was fucking amazing:
"The New Kids on the Block are touring again, and according to US Weekly they’re doing quite well. I certainly don’t want to start a panic, but it might be a good time to stock up on water and bullets...

If you ever want to see a direct, tangible affect of the grass culture on the behavior of an area’s population, you don’t need to look any further than Vancouver. It’s direct, it’s obvious and it’s discussed there often. Weed is EVERYWHERE in Vancouver, and the people are some of the nicest folks you’ll ever come across. These were some of the friendliest crowds that I’ve ever performed for, and I’ve never had more people handing me joints after the show. It was ridiculous - to the point where I had to refuse most of it since I can’t fly with it, and there was no way I could smoke it all in 2 days without violating the laws of space time. Taking pictures with folks was hilarious; one guy shakes my hand and palms a joint into it, the next guy stuffs a bag full into my jacket pocket, then the next guy drops another joint in there, one after another – to the point where it felt like a gag in a movie.

I didn’t want to waste all of these precious plants, so I talked to one of the local law enforcement officers and he said I could give it to him and he would donate it to a local charity that provides weed to young people that can’t afford it.

True story."

YES.

I need to freaking tattoo this on my brain.

» » tuesday:
"...one thing I am pretty certain of: what you perceive as doing all you can is usually not all you can do at all. If you believe you are doing everything in your power to achieve a goal and that goal is perhaps lofty but no way impossible to achieve, then the odds are you are not even scratching the surface. Convenience and the reasoning of having the right to be reasonable should be avoided.

...It is so easy to blame bad genetics, impossible work situations, no money, no time, nothing or everything, unless you have real real REAL reasons why you cannot do exactly what you want to obtain a goal, all that is just excuses for not trying hard enough."

Having lived in Virginia, I will attest that yes, it is this damn ridiculous.

And having lived in North Carolina, allow me to add that the Bible Belt + alcohol = moronic hypocrisy.



Via The Agitator » Blog Archive » Virginia’s Booze Laws

I swear, sometimes I think I just read this stuff to be pissed off by the world.

Because, honestly, WTF? I swear, it's like the world is in a conspiracy to make me hate it sometimes.

The Agitator » Blog Archive » Saturday Morning Links:
"Florida man freed after surveillance video shows he did not attack police officers as indicated in police reports, but that the police officers actually rushed him and beat him to the ground. The officers, of course, were long ago cleared of any wrongdoing by one of those extra-thorough, new-professionalism internal investigations."
The Agitator » Blog Archive » American Violet:
"The movie American Violet opens next month, and is based on the real-life experience of Regina Kelly, a waitress wrongly arrested and charged during a disastrous drug sweep in Hearne, Texas back in 2000. Kelly was one of 28 people arrested. Her refusal to accept a plea bargain eventually helped expose that District Attorney John Paschall case for the massive sweep was a sham, based almost entirely on the word of a pathological informant (who also claims he was beaten by police). Paschall promised his informant he’d drop the theft charges pending against him if the informant could produce information that would lead to 20 drug arrests.

Even after his case fell apart and Paschall had no choice to drop the charges against those who hadn’t alread plead guilty, he refused to exonerate anyone, telling the New York Times that of those charged, "I don’t doubt one minute their guilt in dealing drugs.” Paschall is still district attorney...

Like the series of wrongful drug arrests in Tulia, Texas, the Hearne scandal was largely attributable to the federal Byrne Grant program, which not only creates the unaccountable, multi-jurisdictional drug task forces like those responsible for Hearne and Tulia, but then also sets artificial, improper incentives by tying future funding to the number of arrests and drug seizures a task force makes. Oddly enough, the Bush administration actually phased out Byrne Grants. Obama and the Democrats in Congress are bringing them back."


If you click over to the Agitator, you can see his interview with the actual Regina Kelly. Radley Balko, of the Agitator and Reason, is easily the best guy on the 'net, and probably in all of journalism, actually keeping track of these douchebags.

Japan, weird. But not as weird as you might think...

My screwed up back has been met with an equivalent degradation in diet, resulting in my persuing the local 7-11 to see what looks good/new/strange.
From 2009-03-24

Can you see it? Look again...
From 2009-03-24

Not the best picture, apologies, but that's coffee with caramel, butter and salt.

CARAMEL. BUTTER. SALT.

Now, I'd heard of tibetan butter tea, because I've read entirely too much about Tibetan buddhism/mysticism, but butter in coffee? With salt? And caramel?

To the internets!

Apparently, coffee with salt is not unheard of, and used to be used quite a bit to take the bitterness and edge off of bad coffee. I'd bet that the Japanese concept of salt and coffee probably has more to do with Taiwan's recent experience/popularity with it.

Coffee with butter is apparently an old school Singapore way to drink it.

And the godfathers of coffee in Ethiopia also apparently also sometimes use butter, or spiced butter and salt in their coffee.

I've got to say though, the caramel-salt-butter combo appears to be all Japan.

And I'll say this... it was good. You could really taste the richness of the butter, which flowed into the sweetness of the caramel with the slight sharpness of the salt. I would knock it for not being able to really taste the coffee part though.

[You know, given my horrible Japanese, is this even coffee? I assumed... it was with the other coffee drinks, but sometimes they lump the coffees/teas together... You know, I should really study this damn language.]

And yeah, it's not really even butter, caramel or salt, but just the frankenfood-freakshow-artificially-designed-in-a-lab flavors... but they were pretty spot on. The butter flavor in particular.

I really gotta stop eating/drinking this crap though... But if you are gonna indulge in something completely horrible for you... this was tasty.

Okay, so when am I gonna die?

At first I was going to write about how I didn't know why I was even thinking about this, but it really only took a half sec of introspection [useful point, that] to figure it out. What with a pulled something or another in my back this past week and a half/two weeks and not being able to work out at all, I feel old and lethargic and just blah. Combined with the fact that the wife of a co-worker died unexpectedly last week, plus my own natural morbid curiousity...

Anyways, a quick scope of the internets shows that when I was born, my life expectancy was about 68 years. Life expectancy for somebody born in 2005 is 76 years.

Life expectancy/remaining years for a 30 year old, back in 2004, which I just about was, is +47 years, which gives me till about 77.

Middle age is loosely defined as the 3rd quarter of your life, so figure out that's 19 years per quarter [what is this, a freaking basketball game?] and you've got = 0-19,19-38,38-57 and 57-76.

So I've got about 40 years left. And will be middle aged in about a year and a half.

...

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

...

It's Go Time.

"You have to know, not fear, that some day you are going to die. Until you know that and embrace that, you are useless." - Fight Club

Refs: Life Expectancy by Age, 1850–2004 — Infoplease.com

Life Expectancy at Birth by Race and Sex, 1930–2005 — Infoplease.com

Middle age - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Monday, March 23, 2009

Truth.

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The one where I have racist dreams...

Still in the military, having just completed a Russian kettlebell track and field meet, I head over to the ATC tower, having to swim across a river and talk to a guy I knew from college, where my CO is also the President of the U.S. - Barack Obama. The big secret is that Obama has a cocaine processing warehouse on the airfield and is a drug lord. And then I wake up.

Weird night.

[I'm apparently blogging dreams now. How thoroughly useless. Compared to all that other useful blogging... riiiiiight.]

'The System' is damn funny.

I discover, I share. It's what I do. From here - Rosscott, Inc.











How the 2nd coming would really be...


"The Veidt Method."

"The Veidt Method: An Introduction

UNDERSTANDING THE SELF
Both the body and the mind are parts of a biological robot that our immaterial souls inhabit. Like any machines, they can be tuned, improved and made to run more efficiently, as long as one understands the process for doing so. Through meditation and intellectual exercise, we may come to use our minds in ways that we never thought possible. In this first chapter of our manual we will discuss lateral thinking, Zen meditation and the power of dreaming and the subconscious, along with other useful techniques for the advancement of the mind and intellect. Though not a religion, there are powerful spiritual disciplines behind the Veidt Method that must be understood if the student is to proceed.

HEALTH AND THE BODY
In our second chapter, we explore the connection between body and mind, and learn how this helps us to conquer pain and illness without recourse to drugs and medicines. We will show you, step by step, a number of techniques for focusing the mind's healing power upon any ailing part of the body. In relation to this, we also examine how the actions of the body can be used to aid and focus the mind, taking into account Yogic doctrines and martial training.

CREATING A NEW YOU
Our third and longest chapter presents a carefully coordinated series of physical and intellectual exercise systems which, if followed correctly, can turn YOU into a superhuman, fully in charge of your own destiny. All that is required is the desire for perfection and the will to achieve it. No special equipment or other hidden cash extras are necessary. The Veidt Method paves the way for a bright and hopeful future in which anyone can be a hero.

YOU AND THE WORLD
Just as you are a whole organic being, complete unto yourself, so are you also a part of a larger social organism consisting of the people around you, the people you work with and ultimately the whole world. When you yourself are strong and healthy in mind and body, you will want to react in a healthy and positive way to the world around you, changing it for the better if you are able, and improving the lot of both yourself and your fellow man. Our final chapter will help you to understand the organism that is the world and your part in it. You will learn that one can either surrender responsibility for one's action to the rest of the social organism, to be pulled this way and that by society and predominating tension, or that one can take control by flexing the muscles of the will common to us all, affecting our environment positively and responsibly."
- From Watchmen, natch.

I could use a laugh...

And these make me laugh.

All via the now defunct, yet irrepressibly entertaining Monkey Fluids.