"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

Just Not Right On So Many Levels
The Who's "Happy Jack" is being used to sell the new, more grotesque Humvee. I can only shake my head in shame and mutter softly to myself.

Good for Gays, Bad for Dems
While the SCOTUS voiding of the Texas anti-sodomy law is a good thing, I fear that it is a perfect issue for Bush to rally the Republican faithfull for the upcoming election. Karl Rove is probaby hugging himself in glee.

P.S. I may be getting the hang of this punditry thang. After a day of ruminating on the Court's decision this idea bubbled to the top of my mind. Later that night I heard some expert on NPR express the same idea. Being smart is cool.

Harvey Lembeck
He was much more than just "Eric Von Zipper".

North Korea Needs Proofreaders
Though they do seem rather proficient in Dreamweaver and Fireworks.

Wet Work
Working partly on information from the highest Iraqi captured so far, Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti, Special Operations forces attacked a convoy of several vehicles to stop what they believed were high-level fugitives linked to the fallen Iraqi government.
The special commando team, known as Task Force 20, was joined in the convoy operation by an AC-130 gunship and other air support that attacked the vehicles along a known escape and smuggling route near the western city of Qaim, an official told the Associated Press.
At some point in the operation, the convoy of a half-dozen vehicles was in a compound at the village of Dhib, where they were bombed and an undisclosed number of houses or other buildings were destroyed, officials said on condition of not being identified by name. A few of the vehicles moved out of the compound and were believed to be trying to head for the Syrian border. They, too, were struck.

Silly me, I thought the idea was to capture these "high-level fugitives" so they could tell us about those missing WMDs or maybe even face trial. Not to mention that we obviously are clueless about who was in that convoy. For all we know we just unleashed an AC-130 gunship on Abid's ex-wife.

Does it bother anyone else that the Jeep ad for the next "Lara Croft" movie is out way before any ad for the actual film?

Fun Fun Fun
The Economic Limits of the Empire
...The threat I'm talking about is economic. Like the British Empire in the years after World War I, the American Empire is marching toward global domination on increasingly shaky financial legs:

* The American economy now depends on a rising tide of cheap imported goods to sustain acceptable levels of economic growth and domestic consumption.

* Because of this dependence, the trade deficit - the gap between what America exports and imports -- has reached truly gargantuan levels. This trend is unsustainable.

* To pay for its import habit, America has to attract approximately $1.5 billion a day from foreign lenders and investors. This means foreign capital - and capitalists - are becoming increasingly essential to the smooth functioning of the U.S. economy.

* But foreign investors are becoming increasingly reluctant to invest in U.S. assets. To cover the shortfall between what America needs to borrow and what private investors are willing to lend, foreign central banks (the counterparts to our Federal Reserve) have stepped in to fill the gap.

* As a result of these trends, foreign governments are accumulating a growing ownership stake in the U.S. national debt. In fact, they now own more Treasury debt than the Federal Reserve itself. But their willingness to continue subsidizing our import habit in this fashion is unclear.

The strain of increased defense budgets, combined with the looming demographic burdens of retirement and health-care spending, make the longer-term picture even gloomier. A debt crisis looms. The Republican fiscal train wreck - product of the stubborn supply side fantasy that federal taxes can be cut without reducing federal spending - has only brought the day of reckoning closer.

Via The Early Days of a Better Nation

English-language blogs from around the world.
Via MemeFirst

Useless Knowledge
This explains what David Cronenberg is doing in the "Friday the 13th" slasher flick "Jason X".

And I'm Elvis
"A third of the American public believes U.S. forces have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, according to a recent poll. Twenty-two percent said Iraq actually used chemical or biological weapons."
Via Fark

Painful it is
Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones makes David Lynch's "Dune" look like the "Maltese Falcon". Or should I say "sound"?. I've heard better dialogue from intrigued terriers.

Filtered Through Meat
Surrealistic 404 page (hit refresh for fresh, moist goodness)

But George Was So Sure
"U.S. military units assigned to track down Iraqi weapons of mass destruction have run out of places to look and are getting time off or being assigned to other duties, even as pressure mounts on President Bush to explain why no banned arms have been found.

After nearly three months of fruitless searches, weapons hunters say they are now waiting for a large team of Pentagon intelligence experts to take over the effort, relying more on leads from interviews and documents.

"It doesn't appear there are any more targets at this time," said Lt. Col. Keith Harrington, whose team has been cut by more than 30 percent. "We're hanging around with no missions in the foreseeable future."

Over the past week, his and several other teams have been taken off assignment completely. Rather than visit suspected weapons sites, they are brushing up on target practice and catching up on letters home." Link
Via Looka!

More on Less Missing
Making Light has a lovely and comprehensive posting on the Iraqi Museum looting fuss.

Preventing Blowback
I keep seeing the commercials for "Scare Tactics", the show where elaborate frightening practical jokes are played on unsuspecting people. It occurs to me that there must be somebody on the production staff whose job it is to make sure that victims are proper fodder. I can see one of these stunts falling apart real fast if one of the patsies had a cellphone. And things could get real nasty if they had armed service or martial arts training. And they better be damn sure nobody is packing heat.

Baron Harkonnen Says WMDs Will Be Found
Baron Vladimir Harkonnen today reiterated his insistence that Arrakis possesses worms of mass destruction, despite growing skepticism that proof of WMDs will ever be found. "We know for a fact that they have worms," Vladimir said in a statement to the Emperor, "but it will take time to uncover them, as they are likely hidden deep underground." Rival houses, however, have stepped up their criticism of Harkonnen, accusing the House of exaggerating the threat of WMDs to justify "Operation Arrakis Freedom," the March 20 Harkonnen-led invasion of the desert planet..... More

A Good Thing
"So, there's the picture: 100,000-plus priceless items looted either under the very noses of the Yanks, or by the Yanks themselves. And the only problem with it is that it's nonsense. It isn't true. It's made up. It's bollocks.

Not all of it, of course. There was some looting and damage to a small number of galleries and storerooms, and that is grievous enough. But over the past six weeks it has gradually become clear that most of the objects which had been on display in the museum galleries were removed before the war. Some of the most valuable went into bank vaults, where they were discovered last week. Eight thousand more have been found in 179 boxes hidden "in a secret vault". And several of the larger and most remarked items seem to have been spirited away long before the Americans arrived in Baghdad."

Up Went the Eyebrow
JACKSON: You're wedding is in less than a week and your fiance is off sleeping with some other guy!
BLAMB: Technically, he's an octopus

I beat Metafilter to the Gambian Pouched Rat story! I may be getting the hang of this blog thang. It's the little things in life.

I Feel a Lot More Normal Now
"If there's a global or celebrity-laden event in or near New York, odds are Packer is there, or is trying to be there. He was first in the line to see ground zero when the viewing platform opened at the World Trade Center site Dec. 30. He was the first in line in 1997 to sign the condolence book at the British consulate when Princess Diana died. He slept outside in the snow in Washington last January to be the first in line to greet President George W. Bush after his inauguration.

"This is what I like doing," he said. "You only live once, you might as well make the most of it.""
Packer was mentioned on Metafilter, and I Googled him.

It's Dodgeball Time.
I rocked at dodgeball, couldn't throw worth shit but I could dodge like Jet Li. Last man on my side, three on their's, I get up to the line and taunt them. Bob and weave and keep the hips loose-pretty funky for a 13-year old white boy. It was like bullet-time for real. Collect all the balls in a corner and laugh.
Dodgeball is Back
Via Alt-Log

Wait a Minute...
I like "Blade II". Guillermo Del Toro is a good director, the movie looks marvelous, the fight scenes kick ass (dude) and I always enjoy watching Kristofferson shoot things. But something occurred to me. Wouldn't driving a hopped up 70's Dodge Charger around Prague be kind of conspicuous, even for a big black vampire hunter with a sword?

More on the Weiner/Savage Lawsuits
"The suit charges that by endorsing a boycott of advertisers called for by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the groups are causing Savage financial damage by unjustifiably interfering in his business relationships with program advertisers, specifically by causing Illinois-based Culligan International Company, which makes water filters, to pull its sponsorship from the show.

The suit also charges the defendants with violating the US Copyright Act by rebroadcasting his shows without permission and illegally trading off "The Michael Savage Show" likeness and image to sell merchandise; among other things, the suit describes one of the sites displaying a retouched photo of Savage wearing a KKK hood. The suit also charges the defendants with spreading "false and malicious" information about Savage."
Via Metafilter

What is the Weiner lawsuit against TBTM really about?
"Those who spoke out became fodder for shrieking heads on cable TV and hate radio. On a nightly basis, partisan hacks like Joe Scarborough and Bill O'Reilly vented their outrage that there were those in this country who didn't fall on their knees and pledge life-long fealty to an ex-drunk deserter who was placed in position to wage war on the world by a group of partisans in black robes. And talk radio, unbelievably, was even worse.

The Glenn Becks, Rush Limbaughs and Michael Savages of the world went even further, calling dissenters unpatriotic and Un-American. 'Pro-troop rallies' (which consisted mainly of complaining about those who dared criticize the government) were assembled by Clear Channel Communications, and there were calls from the most hateful fringe to try and imprison dissenters under the Sedition Act (never mind that it was repealed). Pretty perverse - but the festering sewer known as right-wing talk radio somehow found a way to pervert the situation even further.

While Limbaugh and Beck kept the rabble-rousing on a general level, Michael 'Michael Savage' Weiner took things to an absurdly personal level. Weiner's response to a boycott by GLAAD led him to spend hours on his marginally-rated droolfest threatening those who would try to boycott him. In the rush to war, Weiner somehow made the situation all about him , and made threats to go after those who criticized him and make them pay. A Goliath in search of a David, he railed against GLAAD - and then trained his sites on an entirely different target.

Weiner filed suit against 3 small web sites - SavageStupidity.com, MichaelSavageSucks.com, and Take Back The Media.

We should get something straight here - this isn't about any of the charges in the lawsuit. It's not about loss of revenue, it's not about trademark infringement or defamation or damage to Weiner's reputation. It's not about any of these things.

It's about a large corporation attempting to take away the free speech of regular Americans with a point of view. It's about people with deep pockets using money and influence to run roughshod over people who don't agree with them."
Via Booknotes

It Followed Me Home, Can I Keep It?
According to NPR, the monkey pox showing up in the midwest came from Gambian Giant Pouched Rats kept as pets. Now if you are like me (just a little, don't worry) you're saying to yourself "what in the flying baby Buddha is a Gambian Giant Pouched Rat, and why in this world or the next would someone want one as a pet?".
Wonder No More

Cute not-so-little critter

Gilmore v. Ashcroft
Via Metafilter

Bush to the troops in Qatar:
"But one thing is certain: no terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the Iraqi regime is no more."

I'm afraid I'm going to have to call bullshit on this statement.
1: Bush says Iraq has vast quantities of operational Weapons of Mass Destruction.
2: As of this writing, coalition forces have not located these Weapons.
Conclusion: We have no idea where these weapons are. And until they are found (if they are found) there is no reason to know that they aren't in fact in the possession of a terrorist network.

Pleasantly Surprised
I didn't know David Chase not only writes and produces "The Sopranos" but did the same for "The Rockford Files", and he was a story consultant for "The Night Stalker".

Ten killer questions to put to Blair
"1. Did Downing Street ask the joint intelligence committee to add to, or change the wording of, the September dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction?

The dossier contains four references to the claim that Iraq could deploy chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes of an order to do so. A senior British official told the BBC this was one of several claims added against the wishes of intelligence agencies. Adam Ingram, the armed forces minister, admitted the claim was made by an uncorroborated, single, source.

The dossier said Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa - a reference to Niger. Colin Powell, US secretary of state, omitted it from his speech to the UN security council on February 5. "It turned out to be untrue; that happens a lot in the intelligence business," he said this week.

The dossier said aluminum tubes Iraq tried to buy could be for nuclear weapons. The US energy and state departments dismissed the claim. That very month, the US defence intelligence agency concluded: "There is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons.""

No Contest
Tonight on Letterman Tisziji Munoz is sitting in with the band. Spiritual Guitarist, author, and astrologer, Tisziji has played with the likes of McCoy Tyner and Mongo Santamaria. And on Leno we're being treated to "Jaywalking", wherein people on the street are stupid and ignorant.

You See Them too, Don't You?
The Creatures in my Head
Via Metafilter

This is Rich
"Until a Florida judge issued an unusual order last month, Mr. Max's site also contained a long account of his relationship with Ms. Johnson, whom he portrayed, according to court papers, as vapid, promiscuous and an unlikely candidate for membership in the Sobriety Society.
The order, entered by Judge Diana Lewis of Circuit Court in West Palm Beach, forbids Mr. Max to write about Ms. Johnson. It has alarmed experts in First Amendment law, who say that such orders prohibiting future publication, prior restraints, are essentially unknown in American law. Moreover, they say, claims like Ms. Johnson's, for invasion of privacy, have almost never been considered enough to justify prior restraints.
Judge Lewis ruled on May 6, before Mr. Max was notified of the suit and without holding a hearing. She told Mr. Max that he could not use "Katy" on his site. Nor could he use Ms. Johnson's last name, full name or the words "Miss Vermont."
The judge also prohibited Mr. Max from "disclosing any stories, facts or information, notwithstanding its truth, about any intimate or sexual acts engaged in by" Ms. Johnson. That prohibition is not limited to his Web site. Finally, Judge Lewis ordered Mr. Max to sever the virtual remains of his relationship with Ms. Johnson. He is no longer allowed to link to her Web site. The page of Mr. Max's site that used to contain his rambling memoir now has only a reference to the court order.
Ms. Johnson did not respond to telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment. In her lawsuit, Ms. Johnson maintained that Mr. Max had invaded her privacy by publishing accurate information about her and had used her name and picture for commercial purposes."

For your viewing pleasure here's the Google cache of the offending page, and this is the cache of Mr. Max's home page. I suspect the home page is unavailable due to the SlashDot effect. If Miss Vermont's lawyers get creative and somehow compel Google to remove the cache I've copied the page for future reference.

And in the blue corner, Ms. Johnson's homepage in all it's flash-laden glory. I really she makes it as an actress, because IMHO her cartooning is stunningly bad.

This story started with Metafilter, but I found the Googled NYTimes story, the caches, and Ms. Johnson's site all by my lonesome.

I Really Wanted One of These When I was Twelve.
The De Tomaso Pantera>

Sock Monkeys Save The World
"Using my superior education, a PHD in Stuffed Animal Psychology from Austin Community College, I devised a plan that could successfully save the world from this horrible disaster. My solution had its roots in the old adage that says that a million monkeys working at a million typewriters would eventually write a Shakespearean play. It was my hypothesis that if a billion sock monkeys worked on a billion computers, all the faulty code could be re-written before the onset of Y2K."
Via Major FUN's Daily Briefings

Really Badass Scooter
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Kickbike. These things look as if they would be quite interesting on a steep downhill.
Via Major FUN's Daily Briefings

Pitch Perfect
The Onion captures exactly how I feel about Republicans and Professional Sports:
Terrifying Bill Passed During NBA Playoffs
Via Doc Searls Weblog

I Didn't Need to Know That
Gay Porn seems to have colonized the Google search Bad Puppy. That's as far as I'm going with this. Proceed at your own risk.