Thursday, October 21, 2010

Indeed - "...if I were a member of a group fighting for equal treatment, the right to go off to die in the pet war of whoever is currently occupying the White House would pretty low on my list of priorities."

Why DADT? | The Agitator:
"But I’d think if I were a member of a group fighting for equal treatment, the right to go off to die in the pet war of whoever is currently occupying the White House would pretty low on my list of priorities.

...I guess my point is that there has been a lot of political capital spent on getting DADT repealed, and it seems to me that while the resulting benefit would be symbolic and obviously important to the gay servicemen and women who would be able to serve without being required to lie about who they are, the population of people directly effected seems to be comparably small..."

"...the first trial into the therapeutic potential of Ecstasy for victims of PTSD... showed the drug to be remarkably effective..."

Death holds no sting: new studies on effects of psychedelics - Boing Boing:
"On 19 July 2010 the prestigious Journal of Psychopharmacology reported the results of the first randomized controlled trial into the therapeutic potential of the 'party drug' Ecstasy for victims of post-traumatic stress disorder. The trial showed the drug to be remarkably effective in treating PTSD...

Also around the end of August 2010, Charles Grob MD, a professor of psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, reported the results of administering psilocybin -- the active ingredient in magic mushrooms -- to patients suffering from terminal cancers. Grob found that the drug induced a "peaceful and blissful" state of oneness with oneself and the cosmos and notes: "these spiritually oriented altered states ... potentially allow patients to have an abrupt shift of consciousness from being scared about dying and feeling their life is over ... It was quite remarkable to me to see changes in these people who were very anxious and in distress and to see how they got better."

...The twenty year hiatus was ended in 1990 by Rick Strassman MD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, who conducted a DEA-approved study administering the powerful hallucinogen DMT (dimethyltryptamine) to human volunteers. At the end of the study, five years later, nearly all the volunteers reported that the DMT sessions had been amongst the most profound experiences of their lives. Intriguingly around 80 per cent also reported that DMT had transported their consciousness to seamlessly convincing parallel realms where they encountered and received teachings from intelligent non-human beings. In a number of cases the beings (sometimes construed as "aliens", sometimes as "spirits", sometimes as "angels", sometimes even as "elves" or fairies") stated they were pleased the volunteers had discovered "this technology" -- i.e. DMT -- since they would now be able to communicate with them more easily!

Strassman admits to being "baffled and nonplussed" during his DMT research by the: "surprising and remarkable consistencies among volunteers' reports of contact with nonmaterial beings ... [in an] 'alien' realm ... or high-technology room. The highly-intelligent beings of this 'other' world are interested in the subject, seemingly ready for his or her arrival and wasting no time in 'getting to work' ... They ... communicated with the volunteers, attempting to convey information by gestures, telepathy, or visual images. The purpose of contact was uncertain, but several subjects felt a benevolent attempt on the beings' part to improve us individually or as a race."

One of the reasons that Strassman eventually stopped his research in 1995 was because he "could not comfortably accept, nor incorporate the remarkably high frequency of being contact." That, however, was precisely what interested me about his discoveries..."

"LEVERAGE: Team - Smile" - can't wait for Dec to get here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Sherlock Holmes: The Boys are Back in Town."

Nice bit of Sherlockiana.
"However different they are each time they return some things never change. Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, and a few friends, using footage from The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939, Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984, Jeremy Brett and David Burke), Basil the Great Mouse Detective (1986, Disney), Sherlock Holmes (2009, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law) and Sherlock (2010, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman)."
Via The Baker Street Blog: "It Must Be Very Familiar to You" [EMPT]

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"For many people, the reason that they're idiots is... that they got into a terrible pattern very early in life..." - Joe Rogan on Dumb People & Negative Energy

"...and they have become a dumb fuck... And they live with a bunch of other dumb fucks and they get a bunch of this negative energy all the time... all your energy is being diverted towards conflicts... that's why it's so important to not have negative people in your life... It's very difficult to learn how to be a person... You need to have time to think and pay attention... when you have shitheads in your life... when you do that, you will fuck yourself...  That is an energy vampire..."

And this got put to video. Win.
"And if you attach yourself and your mind to any ideology, you're gonna be on a road, and that road may or may not lead you in a good direction, but you're gonna stay on that fucking road if you're attached to an ideology. And it could be a terrible road... regardless of rational thinking... They adapted a predetermined pattern of behavior that makes life so much more simpler. And that's what every fucking religion is... The problem is no one knows. You CAN NOT know... But when you start yelling and ranting that other people have to follow your lead or the fucking world's gonna end... I know you're full of shit and you know you're full of shit... nonsense that helps scared, lonely, sad people who lock on to that nonsense so they feel like they're a part of something. I mean that's what it is, it preys on people who's lives fucking suck. So it's all nuts. It's not like "your shit's cool" and "my shit's not." And it's not that yoga's the answer or fucking mushrooms are the answer, there's just questions... What is the the best way to live your life? There's gotta be ways you can be putting forth the most positive energy... the right path to be a healthy, happy person is all the shit we already know how to do... the first thing is to [what] makes them healthy... step two - be cool to people... be as nice as you can... what else? Do what you wanna do with your life..."

Bonus:  "We need something..."

Ayahuasca tourism makes the NYTimes.

Read a wealth of the ayahuasca/DMT/psychedelic literature... including the classic Mckenna stuff, Strassman on DMT, Pinchbeck's Breaking Open the Head. I'd do this in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself.

The best reason ever [simply] articulated imho was in Warren Ellis' [sadly yet to be completed] Doktor Sleepless - 
Q: "What do you think you're going to learn?"
A: "How to permanently change my mind.  Because the one I've got isn't big enough."

In Ecuador’s Rain Forest, Indigenous People and Inner Life -
"All appeared normal, until after what seemed like 20 minutes it no longer did. A montage of images emerged from the darkness — neon crystals, a lion. Soon my body dissolved into the surroundings, swallowed by a sea of energy. Unmoored and disoriented, I was adrift in a more expansive reality.

This brought a greater awareness, and I began to perceive things that had been imperceptible, like a low-frequency vibration permeating the environment. The hum of the universe? My thoughts drifted between visions. I imagined myself basking in the sun on the flanks of the volcano Chimborazo. I saw images from childhood and of random friends back home, all presented like scenes from the narrative of my life. Then my father appeared, seated in a chair before me, like a ghost. For several minutes we exchanged the sentiments that I had regretted not expressing before he died: What a life we shared, we both seemed to say. I looked down and noticed I was sobbing, and when I looked back up, he was gone."

The Thin Blue Line - "America's Most Successful Stop Snitchin' Campaign."

Yep, this.

America's Most Successful Stop Snitchin' Campaign - Reason Magazine:
"The most disturbing aspect of these stories is not that there are bad cops in Kansas City, New York, and Albuquerque. It's not even that other cops covered for them, or that police unions have institutionalized the protection of bad cops. The most disturbing part of these cases is that the cover-up and retaliation extend all the way to the top of the chain of command—and that so far there has been no action, or even condemnation, from the elected officials who are supposed to hold police leaders accountable."

It's not what you believe, it's just belief.

You want the good news, or the bad news? - Page 2 - SFGate:
"Behold yet another study revealing how fervent, deep faith improves survival rates of liver transplant patients -- or, more broadly, how intense faith in, well, anything at all, can help heal whatever may ail you.

Nothing new, really. Dovetails with the famed placebo effect, proven a million ways from Sunday: If you really, truly believe something will work, that something will heal and nurture and help fix you, it will. Well, sometimes. A little. Power of positive thinking, baby. You gotta have faith. You gotta believe. You gotta want to get better. I mean, of course.

It works with vitamins. It works with all antidepressant drugs. It works with sugar pills. It works with magic dolphins and spirit guides, chakra cleansings and bowing to Mecca 3,000 times a day. Of course it works with giant Christian God. Hell, that's why we invented her in the first place, right?."

"Proving once again that pot ruins lives. Not because of the drug itself, but because of what the government will do to you if they catch you with it."

On getting kids to rat out their pot-smoking parents.  Wonder if Officer Friendly mentioned they'd be torn out their homes and thrown into the Family Services system over misdemeanor levels of marijuana possession.  Hm... probably not.

D.A.R.E.: Ripping Families Apart Since 1983 | The Agitator

Truth - "You gotta double check, as you age, as you move through, as you settle into certain habits and rhythms..."

Forgive me I do not like The Arcade Fire - Page 2 - SFGate:
"This is the thing: You gotta double check, as you age, as you move through, as you settle into certain habits and rhythms, that you're not blocking out fresh, invigorating information simply because it doesn't fit with what you're comfortable with, what you're used to, the way you think it's supposed to be.

I find it sort of mandatory, in other words, to defy the onset of the ugly conservative mindset, increasingly inflexible and limited, unable or unwilling to be pleasantly surprised, revitalized, renovated. This way pain lies. This way intolerance lies. This way curmudgeonry and angst, mistrust and Fox News. I have no need to fit in with the skateboard crowd. I have plenty desire to avoid turning myopic and bitter."

Drug decriminalization in Portugal, the War on [some] Drug [users] and the War on [some] Terror[ists].

Much more, worth reading, at both links.

The Wars on Drugs and Terror: mirror images - Glenn Greenwald -
"I have an Op-Ed in Politico today (a phrase I never expected to write)(a phrase I never expected to write) on the resounding success of drug decriminalization in Portugal and how that empirical data should affect the California debate. That Op-Ed is based on the comprehensive report I wrote for the Cato Institute after conducting research in Portugal in late 2008, documenting how decriminalization has single-handedly enabled that country to manage, control and even reduce the problems associated with drug usage far more effectively than other nations (i.e., other EU states and the U.S.) which continue to criminalize drugs.

I’m convinced that drug prohibition, and especially the "War on Drugs" which enables it, is going to be one of those policies which, decades from now, future generations will be completely unable to understand how we could have tolerated. So irrational and empirically false are the justifications for drug prohibition, and so costly is the War waged in its name, that it is difficult to imagine a more counter-productive policy than this (that's why public opinion is inexorably realizing this despite decades of Drug War propaganda and the absence of any real advocacy for decriminalization on the part of national political leaders). In that regard, and in virtually every other, the War on Drugs is a mirror image of the War on Terror: sustained with the same deceitful propaganda, driven by many of the same motives, prosecuted with similar templates, and destructive in many of the same ways.

The similarities are obvious. Both wars rely upon cartoon depictions of Scary Villains (The Drug Kingpin, Mexican Cartels, the Terrorist Mastermind) to keep the population in a state of heightened fear and thus blind them to rational discourse. But both wars are not only complete failures in eradicating those villains, but they both do more to empower those very villains than any other single cause -- the War on Drugs by ensuring that cartels’ profits from the illegal drug trade remain sky-high, and the War on Terror by ensuring more and more support and recruits for anti-American extremists. And both, separately and together, endlessly erode basic American liberties by convincing a frightened public that they can Stay Safe only if they cede more and more power to the state. Many of the civil liberties erosions from the War on Terror have their genesis in the War on Drugs..."

Modern Drunkard's "86 Rules of Boozing." - #24 is my favorite, w/#45 a close second.

Full list at the link.  Selected excellence below.

Modern Drunkard Magazine:
"24. After your sixth drink, do not look at yourself in the mirror. It will shake your confidence.

31. If you have been roommates with someone more than six months, you may drink all their beer, even if it's hidden, as long as you leave them one.

45. It's okay to drink alone.

82. There’s nothing wrong with drinking before noon. Especially if you’re supposed to be at work."

Man up!

Texts From Last Night:
"(702): It's a line of coke at 10 a.m. kind of Saturday. Don't be a pussy about life."

Inception Remix!

Cuteness Chaser!

Richard Pryor FTW.

"I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Do not wait for the Last Judgment. It takes place every day." - Camus

"Spinach is like sex..." - Actually, true.

Seems a wildly inappropriate simile, but still true.

Overheard in New York | "Starving Children in Ethiopia Don't Even Have Wednesday One-Liners!":
"NYU student to another: Spinach is like sex: if you were forced to have it as a child, you wouldn't enjoy it as an adult.

--University Place & 12th St"

Kind of awesome.

"And the angel said to him..."

Ignoring the 10th Amendment, reality, sanity, & common-sense.

Holder promises to enforce U.S. drug laws if Prop. 19 passes -
"Stepping up the Obama administration's opposition to Proposition 19, the nation's top law enforcement official promised to 'vigorously enforce' federal drug laws against Californians who grow or sell marijuana for recreational use even if voters pass the legalization measure."

After the JET Programme - "Use Your Skills."

For truth.  [Still miss Japan tho']

Via Use Your Skills

Truth - it's right behind you! [Always get more than one pic.]

"Another Study Shows Widespread Prosecutorial Misconduct, Little Sanction | The Agitator"

Little galls me more than abuse of authority.

Another Study Shows Widespread Prosecutorial Misconduct, Little Sanction | The Agitator:
"...prosecutors are almost never sanctioned for misconduct, even egregious violations that lead to wrongful convictions."

Missed this/times are a changin' - "Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam."

BRAC is still going on, apparently.

The Associated Press: Historic Oahu military bases now a joint base:
"Two historic Oahu military bases have formally merged.

Naval Base Pearl Harbor and Hickam Air Force Base on Friday finished their consolidation to become one installation.

They're among 26 installations across the country that are combining to become 12 joint bases as the military strives to become more efficient."

"Have you seen this wizard?"

Now that's just funny.

Chris Evans, who's playing the new Captain America, is apparently just a super nice guy.

Bit of a long story, but he goes out of his way to make a little kid's day.  Just awesome. Click over to read through - CAPTAIN AMERICA: Chris "Nice Guy" Evans Takes Time out from Shooting CATFA to Answer a Fan

Text Wisdom. Bonus points for hailing from the 919 area code.

Texts From Last Night:
"(919): I'm going to write a letter. It's going to say, Dear Every Girl Ever: Take some goddam initiative and wake me up with a blowjob and I will eat out of your hand. Love, Every Guy Ever"

Of course - "New Documents Show Bush Administration Planned War in Iraq Well Before 9/11..."

New Documents Show Bush Administration Planned War in Iraq Well Before 9/11/2001 | Crooks and Liars:
"Newly declassified documents published at the National Security Archive prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the Bush administration planned to topple Saddam Hussein and invade Iraq as early as January, 2001, and were making strategic plans and resource allocations as early as November, 2001.

9/11 changed everything... some things... remarkably little, surprisingly.

Many, many links herein worth reading, some better than others, of course.  Critical thinking *ON* and sally forth - Did 9/11 Really "Change Everything"? → Washington's Blog

Take the red pill, go down the rabbit hole, etc, etc...

Framing isn't everything, but it is quite a bit.

Schneier on Security: Me on Cyberwar:
"[if we] frame this discussion as a war discussion, then what you do when there's a threat of war is you call in the military and you get military solutions. You get lockdown; you get an enemy that needs to be subdued. If you think about these threats in terms of crime, you get police solutions. And as we have this debate, not just on stage, but in the country, the way we frame it, the way we talk about it; the way the headlines read, determine what sort of solutions we want, make us feel better. And so the threat of cyberwar is being grossly exaggerated and I think it's being done for a reason."

Well played. He must be a Jesuit.

Suddenly liking Alton Brown even more.

'Cause that's just funny.  Iron Chef America GO!
Food Star Alton Brown Talks Sustainability - :: the latest in green gossip: "The fun-loving host is worried that food shows popularity have contributed to the obesity problem in America and explains, ”I’ve struggled with weight all my life, and probably always will. But I was on my most recent book tour I was shocked by the number of overweight families,” he says. “People would come up to me and say, ‘Oh, we love the Food Network.’ Well, no (expletive); did you eat the TV? There’s only four of you and you can’t ride in an elevator together. I’ll probably make fat people angry, but we need, as a culture, to be ashamed. It’s not “… healthy.”"

Obama as bad as worse than Bush on civil liberties, state secrets, executive power.

You know, most are up in arms over economic issues, but I have to say it's the civil liberties, torture, assassination, executive power & state secrets issues that have most profoundly disappointed me. Shame on me for buying some of the rhetoric on hope/change/ending the wars/closing Gitmo/etc.

Glenn Greenwald -
"At this point, I didn't believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record. In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki's father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration late last night,according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims. That's not surprising: both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality. But what's most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is "state secrets": in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are "state secrets," and thus no court may adjudicate their legality."
Tyranny | The Agitator:
"There are no mitigating factors, here. Obama is arguing the executive has the power to execute American citizens without a trial, without even so much as an airing of the charges against them, and that it can do so in complete secrecy, with no oversight from any court, and that the families of the executed have no legal recourse."
Sullivan's defense of presidential assassinations - Glenn Greenwald -
"During the Bush-era torture debates, I was never able to get past my initial incredulity that we were even having a 'debate' over whether the President has the authority to torture people. Andrew Sullivan has responded to some of the questions I posed about his defense of Obama's assassination program, and I realize now that throughout this whole assassination debate, specific legal and factual issues aside, my overarching reaction is quite similar: I actually can't believe that there is even a 'debate' over whether an American President -- without a shred of due process or oversight -- has the power to compile hit lists of American citizens whom he orders the CIA to kill far away from any battlefield. The notion that the President has such an unconstrained, unchecked power is such a blatant distortion of everything our political system is supposed to be -- such a pure embodiment of the very definition of tyrannical power -- that, no matter how many times I see it, it's still hard for me to believe there are people willing to expressly defend it."
Assassinations Done Wrong - Reason Magazine:
"At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I just wonder: If a president—any president—has the authority to order the assassination of a U.S. citizen without oversight, what exactly can't a president do?

Now, as a matter of foreign policy, I am quite comfortable when Islamic extremists, militants, and terrorists meet their atomized ends through the work of unmanned flying contraptions operated remotely by the U.S. government.

Then again, I can also unequivocally state that the thought of an American citizen's being placed on one of these terrorist hit lists without due process of law or any oversight is one that I find disconcerting.

My unease over the case of Anwar Awlaki—an American citizen penciled in for targeted assassination by the Obama administration—isn't based on any conspiratorial daydreams about Barack Obama's wanting to randomly knock off citizens. There is no doubt, in fact, that Awlaki is a despicable character, a member of radical Islamic networks, dangerous, and deserving of a gruesome fate.

In other words, the administration has a straightforward case to make. Yet when Awlaki's father asked a court to enjoin the president from killing his despicable son, the administration asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the case by invoking "state secrets."

With that, the Obama administration argued that the president should be empowered to order the execution of a U.S. citizen—outside a war zone and without exhibiting an imminent threat to other citizens—without any oversight from the judicial or legislative branch of government. And by using the protection-of-state-secrets argument, the administration is also asserting that the public has no right to know why."