"If you understood everything I said, you'd be me" - Miles Davis
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." - Bertrand Russell
"Take away the right to say fuck and you take away the right to say fuck the government." - Lenny Bruce
"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!" - Homer Simpson

Utility Fog Banner

Cathy Rogers, media executive, TV host, rock keyboardist, and former medical student. The British accent doesn't hurt either.

Usa Patriot Act: One Year Later
"The USA PATRIOT Act stands for "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism." It was enacted by Congress virtually without significant debate, without detailed committee reports, without a conference committee, and with little floor commentary. Submitted just several days after the September 11 (2001) attacks, it was rushed through Congress at lightning speed for a statute of its size and complexity. It passed the House on October 24, 2001 by a vote of 357 to 66, and passed the Senate the next day, October 25, 2002, by a vote of 98 to 1. It was signed into law by President Bush the following day, October 26, and is now the law of the land.

The PATRIOT Act contains more than 150 sections. It is divided into ten separate Titles and is hundreds of pages long. The powers it grants to federal investigative agencies are unprecedented and reach everything from voice mail to consumer reports to banking records. It is highly doubtful that a statute as extensive as this could have been written from scratch while at the same time moving through Congress in a mere 45 days. Consider that the Homeland Security Act, considerably less extensive than the PATRIOT Act, is still bogged down in Congress after months, in limbo due to wrangling between the White House and the Senate over certain aspects such as internal structure and employee protections. The PATRIOT Act received no such attention yet its effects are tremendously more wide ranging."
Via Red Rock Mailing List

It's Kind of Sad
I saw "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" with sister and assorted kids. I read the first Harry Potter and enjoyed it: they're clever and lively kid's books with enough wit to engage an adult. But the movies are limp, sad things. As I left the theatre I realized the only character that I cared about was the doleful computer-generated house elf.

Knowledge Good
Megavote is a Yahoo service that lets you know how your congress-people are voting, how to contact them, and what they'll be considering in the future.
Via Kiruba

Who needs Terrorists?
"According to one document, a staff briefing paper for recently confirmed EPA enforcement director John Suarez, cleanup of the old military ranges "has the potential to be the largest environmental cleanup program ever to be implemented in the United States":

There are an estimated 16,000 military ranges containing unexploded ordnance contaminating up to 40 million acres of land, an area larger than Florida;

Many of these sites have already been converted to civilian uses; and

Defense Department cleanups violate both civilian and Pentagon regulations and are plagued by "ill-advised short cuts to limit costs.""

But wait-it gets better:

"More than half of the surveyed sites "indicated that chemical or biological weapons were found or suspected on their ranges.""

What does it mean?
So why is the Cordelia/Faith slash-fic-list 3 times larger than any other pairing?

Squashing Spam
I've found that filtering email that has "not spam", "not a spam", "to be removed", or "remove me" in the body of the message works wonders.

As if, or Re: Microsoft Network
The day I want or need a metaphorical geek in a blue leotard and butterfly wings "guarding" me from the evils of the world is the day I try to give a speeding bus a head butt.

Texas: Guns good, Dildos bad
"It's illegal to "wholesale promote" obscene materials or devices. Texas statute says an obscene device is a simulated sexual organ or an item designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs. The law allows investigators to assume that anyone with six or more of the items is intending to promote them."
So, 5 dildos=no problem. 6 dildos=felony
I had no idea the stimulation of human genital organs was so dangerous. The left-wing media must be covering up all the stimulation related deaths. I eagerly await the upcoming "War on Dildos".
Via Metafilter

Crimes Plotted in Windowless Rooms
"War, to the increasing exclusion of everything else, is the only thing that America collectively cares about anymore. We don't manufacture much of anything; just war. We don't concern ourselves with education; just war. We don't attend to the 40 million Americans without health coverage; just war. We don't focus on the 30 million American children living in poverty; just war. We don't support the arts; just war. Even though a multitude of human needs were in existence prior to September 11, and have only increased since then, we continue to direct our attention and our resources into what we do best: war. Just war."
Via Wood's Lot

10 Worst Things About Quitting Your Weblog

1. No forum in which to share important views on 80's big hair bands

2. Miss the sense of community that can only come from isolated, embittered loners venting their rage

3. Forced to use your real name in conversations, instead of a cool weblog pseudonym like "A-Tard"

4. The realization that no one outside of the weblog community is interested in your opinion of disc 3 of the Buffy first season DVD set

5. No longer able to make snide comments about people via veiled references in weblog entries...like certain people who shall remain nameless

6. Have to spend work day actually working instead of posting to blog

7. Witty, articulate satire of popular culture loses savor when spoken to empty room

8. Miss the friendships formed from people stumbling upon your site looking for "olsen+twins+enema+pony"

9. Can no longer pick up chicks via cute pseudo-Japanese comic strip designed to impress bored twentysomething females

10. Having to share your most intimate thoughts and feelings with "friends" and "loved ones" instead of anonymous strangers
Via Asian Bastard

I like dogs
Cheer yourself up, go take a gander at Sophie-she's a cutie.

That's one bad case of hubris
"President Bush: "I do not need to explain why I say things. -- That's the interesting thing about being the President. -- Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation.""
Pretty blasphemous talk for a born-again christian.

Plucky Sculpting
A working harpsichord made out of Lego.

Thimerosal Update
Q Daily News has more on the mercury/vaccines/autism issue.

Homeland Security=covering Eli Lilly's ass
P.L.A. considers the question "...what does preventing parents of autistic kids from suing drug companies that put poison in vaccines have to do with Homeland Security?"
Via The Sideshow

All I want for Xmas is for the Democrats to get some balls.

In case you're curious
Here's the full text (all 480+ pages worth) of the Homeland Security Bill.
Via Metafilter

Words fail me
By way of my friend John M.-a very sexy Thanksgiving.

"Meetings with Dead People"
I have a theory after reviewing my tape of the 11/11/02 Buffy.
I think all the dead people were manifestations of Big Bad, even Joyce.
I wouldn't be surprised if the biting Spike is a doppleganger too.

Oh no, I'm not paranoid
Was Wellstone Murdered?
Terror on the Hill
Via Abuddhas Memes

Safire on Homeland Security
I would post a quote from this, but I'm too nauseaus from
just thinking about it.
Via Boing Boing

This will require research
I'm gonna have to watch the tape of last night's Buffy before I can get any idea what the hell happened. So, until I have something coherent to say, I leave you with a arcane line from the post-Adam dream episode.
"I'm going to be a fireman when the floods roll back"

2 things I learned today:
1: Don't park your car over the only drain for a big parking lot. If the drain is covered with leaves and it rains hard, your car becomes really hard to get to without getting your feet really, really wet.

2: If I get knocked back on my heels after you drive by with your windows rolled up on a windy day I think you have way too much perfume on. There might even be an explosion risk.

Gosh, I feel so much safer now
"Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans"

"As the director of the effort, Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter, has described the system in Pentagon documents and in speeches, it will provide intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials with instant access to information from Internet mail and calling records to credit card and banking transactions and travel documents, without a search warrant."
"Before taking the position at the Pentagon, Admiral Poindexter, who was convicted in 1990 for his role in the Iran-contra affair, had worked as a contractor on one of the projects he now controls. Admiral Poindexter's conviction was reversed in 1991 by a federal appeals court because he had been granted immunity for his testimony before Congress about the case."
Via the Metafilter

In Honor of Halloween, the Insides of People
Dream Anatomy
Via the Viridian mailing list.

Come on Already
It's out in paper and hardback in England, so when the heck is Alastair Reynold's "Redemption Ark" coming out here? I've re-read "Revelation Space" twice now and I think I'm ready.

Design an Evil Clown
Of course, to some people, all Clowns are evil.
Via Boing Boing