"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

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Handy, Nes Pas?
How to say "Oh my god! There's an axe in my head," in various languages
Via Incoming Signals

Iraqi Potporri
Asked why the mission didn't focus on capturing the brothers for intelligence purposes, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez told a news conference there was fear the brothers might have had an escape tunnel.
Troops used bullhorns initially to call the men out, and two unsuccessful sorties into the mansion resulted in the show of fire power after six hours.

If we were so worried the brothers would scamper away why did we ask them to give themselves up via bullhorn? It seems to me that if there was a tunnel they would have used it. If I was worried about a tunnel escape I would have opted for your basic no-knock surprise raid. And it seems likely that the informant who turned the Husseins in was the owner of the house, who would be in a good position to know if there were tunnels built under his own house, and if they were, where they went.

If there are 150,000 American troops in Iraq and we're spending $400,000,000,000 a month on them, that works out to $26,666 a month/soldier, or $952 a day/soldier. And this money is just for the military, not for any of the reconstruction efforts. Just what are we actually spending this money on? It sure isn't salaries.

We've captured something like 36 out of the 55 "deck of cards" high Iraqi mucky-mucks. Noticed how none of them have gone for a plea-bargain deal and ratted out where those pesky WMDs are?

I Am Not a Member of a Satanic Cult
The Modesto Bee reporter who broke the story informs readers that, "Many of the paintings portray sexual activity, and several show pregnant women."

That's true. They also show mermaids and volcanoes, carnivals, dancing bears in a circus, a hot tub, a horse race, a rodeo, a man and a woman playing scrabble, a Chinese couple with a net full of red fish, an octopus and a woman in carnal embrace, an exotic garden in which a guy with his back to the viewer is peeing, strange doings in a motel, a cathedral, a donkey cart with an old man traveling through a mountain pass, skyscrapers under construction, an upside-down Trans-America building, a muralized limousine with carousing passengers, a theater with an audience running amuck, the Big Bad Wolf in a convertible with a flame job, carnivorous flowers, a strange last supper without a Christ in which a monkey consoles a despondent guest and a white angel stares vacantly into space, a Halloween party, a pizza parlor, a tattooed lady, and, on the interior of an enormous concrete valve housing, a lascivious heaven and a teeming hell.

Link-via the BigMoboDaddy (still working on the birthday present, big guy)

Go Gary, Go!
Gary Coleman, Priceless
Los Angeles Times (Registration), Via Looka!

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."
Anatole France, The Red Lily, 1894, chapter 7

If You are Going to Steal, Steal Big
More than a year after the two biggest corporate frauds in U.S. history wiped out billions of dollars in assets and workers' pensions at WorldCom Inc. and Enron Corp., the chief executives who led those companies remain free of criminal charges.

Bernard Ebbers, Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling may never face prosecution, according to former federal prosecutors and securities lawyers.
WorldCom had $103.9 billion in assets when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy July 21, 2002, making it the biggest company to seek court protection in U.S. history. Enron is the second largest. The Houston-based energy trading company had $63.4 billion in assets when it filed for protection Dec. 2, 2001, after restating $586 million in profits.
The bankruptcies wiped out about 35,000 jobs and more than $1 billion in employee pensions. Shareholders and former workers at Enron say they lost $29 billion. Enron's recovery plan will pay creditors less than one-fifth of the estimated $67 billion they're owed, officials said in July.
Via Metafilter

Lessons in How to Lie About Iraq

Brian Eno on the selling of the war:
It takes something as dramatic as the invasion of Iraq to make us look a bit more closely and ask: 'How did we get here?' How exactly did it come about that, in a world of Aids, global warming, 30-plus active wars, several famines, cloning, genetic engineering, and two billion people in poverty, practically the only thing we all talked about for a year was Iraq and Saddam Hussein? Was it really that big a problem? Or were we somehow manipulated into believing the Iraq issue was important and had to be fixed right now - even though a few months before few had mentioned it, and nothing had changed in the interim.
Via Killing Goliath

You Got That Right
Nitpicker considers Bill O'Reilly's defense of Fox's suit against Al Franken:

Wow! That's a lot of bullshit to have to wade through, so let's break it down:

1. Fox obviously doesn't give a damn about "character assassination" or "defamation." They don't mention either of those complaints in their lawsuit, which is entirely about trademark infringement. As much as O'Reilly would like you to believe this is about his being libeled, Fox's lawyers knew better.

2. As Joe Conason asks in Big Lies, the left-leaning "publishing houses" also publish rightwingers, so how could they be call "left-leaning"?

3. O'Reilly actually has no problem with character assassinations or personal attacks.

In defense of (oddly enough) the First Amendment, O'Reilly admitted calling people names. "How many times on this broadcast do I call people pinheads? You know, it's just in basically the discourse, back and forth, the passion," he said (O'Reilly Factor, 5/01/2003).

After Michael Kinsley wrote something about him in Slate, O'Reilly's producer called to see if Kinsley would appear on his show. When informed that Kinsley was on vacation, O'Reilly called him a "coward" on his show for "refusing" to show up. Kinsley did come on the show later and had a great response: "Look, I debated Pat Buchanan for many years on 'Crossfire.' I do not need to be afraid of Bill O'Reilly." (O'Reilly Factor, 3/20/2001)

Despite the fact that Hillary Clinton has never been proven to have done anything wrong, O'Reilly smears her every time he brings up her name. On June 23, he said she had "so many skeletons in the closet, it's Halloween every day." He once wrote that "The problem with Hillary Clinton is that she is putting forth a fašade; she will not define herself as a real person" -- which is a sneaky way of saying she's holding something back, even thought there's no way for O'Reilly to know if that's true or not.

Not to mention he called Al Franken a "vile human being" and, as Bob Minzesheimer pointed out in U.S.A. Today, "the conservative talk show host first decried political commentators who "call people names." Then he called Al Franken , the liberal humorist, an "idiot."

4. As for hurting a business because you disagree with them, isn't that exactly what O'Reilly did to Pepsi by launching a boycott against them after they hired Ludacris?

5. Also, does Bill (and Fox) really welcome "vigorous debate"? When the son of a man killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center disagreed with O'Reilly, Bill told him to "shut up" and told the director to "cut his mike."

6. The idea that O'Reilly and Fox aren't conservative is, well, just stupid. For more than two years O'Reilly's columns were published on Townhall under a heading that read (and still reads) "Conservative Columnists." Did O'Reilly complain, one wonders? He's constantly warning against "raging liberals" or calling them "weasels."

7. And, despite his disgust that Franken could be called a "satirist" he has no problem accepting Ann Coulter's calling liberals traitors as her way of being "funny" and then giving her the advice that she doesnt want to be like "liberal bomb-throwers."

Obviously, as Franken said during his famous argument with O'Reilly, "there's a lot more," but who has the time? The man is clearly intellectually dishonest, at best. At worst, he's a serial liar who can't take a freaking joke -- at least when it's on him. Remember, this is the man who once said how he used to love to rip open the personal lives of the rich and powerful... until things changed. "At the time I didn't think much about it, because I thought the rich and powerful were fair game. But now I'm rich and powerful." What a pinhead.

From the Alabama State Constitution:


Religious freedom.

That no religion shall be established by law; that no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship; nor to pay any tithes, taxes, or other rate for building or repairing any place of worship, or for maintaining any minister or ministry; that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his religious principles.

What the Hell, Gary Coleman for President
Tell Bush to Recall Himself
Republicans in California have initiated a recall against the governor, giving three reasons for their effort:

1. The state's budget has gone from a sizeable surplus to a substantial deficit in a few short years.

2. Gov. Davis did not tell the truth to voters about the state's budget and economic situation.

3. The state's economy remains in dismal shape, and the chief executive of the state is ultimately responsible for it's welfare.

If we apply these standards to a governor, then they must also be applicable to a president.
The next recall effort is long overdue: a Bush recall campaign.
Via Booknotes

Pot Calls Kettle Black, Film at 11
It makes me sick to see intellectually dishonest individuals hide behind the First Amendment to spread propaganda, libel and slander. But this is a growing trend in America, where the exchange of ideas often degenerates into verbal mud wrestling with intent to injure.

So opines Bill O'Reilly. Now if only someone would tattoo this on his forehead.

Via Metafilter

New and Old Toys
I ran across a neat little program called Quat that generates 3D fractals.
3 examples of trippy mathematical taffy pulling:

And of course the old standby The Gimp is always good for something fast and bulbous:

Ignorance or Malice
The US government said today it had neither an exact count nor all the names of hundreds of people captured in Afghanistan over a year ago and now detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.
A panel of appeals court judges hearing the case on Monday expressed shock about the apparent lack of record keeping on a group of hundreds of people, possibly including some children, who have been in custody for 577 days.

"It strikes me as astonishing that the government says they have no idea whether this gentleman is or is not being held," one said. "Don't you even keep records?
The US government, which maintains the people being held are all dangerous individuals with connections to terrorists, has argued that the court does not have jurisdiction to rule on the legal rights of these people, since they are being held on foreign soil, in Cuba, on land that is only leased to the United States.

So we're getting ready to try these individuals before military tribunals and possibly execute them, but we aren't even sure of their names? And we can't even do a simple head count? It's either that or somebody is lying to a federal judge. Why do I get the feeling that if anybody even gets close to serving a habeus corpus those prisoners are going to get shipped off to an even more inaccessible prison?
Via also not found in nature

Gary vs. Mary
Gary Coleman/Mary Carey
Via Metafilter

I want one of these
Awol Bush Action Figure
AWOL Bush Action Figure
Via Billmon/Whiskey Bar

Power Outage Traced to Dim Bulb in White House
Meanwhile, the deregulation bug made it to New York where Republican Governor George Pataki and his industry-picked utility commissioners ripped the lid off electric bills and relieved my old friends at Niagara Mohawk of the expensive obligation to properly fund the maintenance of the grid system.

And the Pataki-Bush Axis of Weasels permitted something that must have former New York governor Roosevelt spinning in his wheelchair in Heaven: They allowed a foreign company, the notoriously incompetent National Grid of England, to buy up NiMo, get rid of 800 workers and pocket most of their wages - producing a bonus for NiMo stockholders approaching $90 million.

Is tonight's black-out a surprise? Heck, no, not to us in the field who've watched Bush's buddies flick the switches across the globe. In Brazil, Houston Industries seized ownership of Rio de Janeiro's electric company. The Texans (aided by their French partners) fired workers, raised prices, cut maintenance expenditures and, CLICK! the juice went out so often the locals now call it, "Rio Dark."

So too the free-market British buckaroos controlling Niagara Mohawk raised prices, slashed staff, cut maintenance and CLICK! -- New York joins Brazil in the Dark Ages.

Via Viridian Design Movement

Very Strange
A Google search for wiki & blosxom crashes my browser (Mozilla 1.4).

Nuking Junk Mail
A little-known Federal law allows individuals to send a Prohibitory Order against companies that are sending unsolicited sexually provocative or erotically arousing mail. The Supreme Court went one step further, allowing individuals to decide what constitutes "erotically arousing" mail. The law makes it illegal for a company to send mail to an individual within thirty days of receiving the Order.

Considering the amount of crap I receive and the sheer gleefull nastiness of this tactic, I might just give this a go.
Via Boing Boing

The Hell with Arnold
"Hello there, this is Gary Coleman," he said in a voice-mail message. "It is 3:30 on Friday. I'm stuck in Friday traffic in my car, getting ready to pull out my hair. But maybe this is something I can fix as governor. ... I am probably the most unqualified person to run for governor, but I'm willing to do it as a goof if you are. But then I need to know something: Whose ass do I kick if I actually win? Because that means I'm gonna have to move up to Sacramento -- the armpit of California -- and administer this state back to some kind of solvency."

Utility Fog endorses Gary Coleman for Governor of California.

Via Boing Boing

Tax Dollars at Work

Nose Squirting Good
The Knowledge for Thirst bills itself as "a beverage-centric website operated by two gentlemen who really enjoy juices and sodas". It's also damn funny.

It was too sweet for me to even finish. There, I said it. I, Kevin F., inventor of the Jellybean-stuffed-Twinkie, could not finish this treacle. BOO, TREACLE!

Remember when you were little, and your dad would come home from work, still completely drunk, and you'd accidentally say something anti-Republican at the dinner table, and he'd pick you up by your hair, bend you backwards over the sink, and scrub strawberry syrup into your tongue with a wire brush? That's totally what Propel reminds me of. I mean, I don't know. It was a bad scene. I thought I'd been making some real progress in therapy you know? Working through a lot of really negative stuff. But now, this whole juice/water thing, I just feel so overwhelmed and like I just can't...can't...

Via Coudal Partners

It's Not Just Republicans
Political observers often have wondered why Democrats, especially liberals, didn't put up more of a fight against the Patriot Act, which passed the Senate with only one dissenting vote. Many thought it was because Dems didn't have the guts to stand up, and were afraid both to look unpatriotic and to risk defeat at the hands of the mighty Bush. But there may be another reason: The Patriot Act enhances major incursions into civil liberties that were sponsored by Bill Clinton in 1994 and 1996, including the setting up of secret courts and the launch of mass deportations.
Via Ghost in the Machine

If I still lived in Pittsburgh I imagine I'd be putting out something much like the perfectly named Pittsblog.

Hearts and Minds
28 July 2003: (The Independent)
Obsessed with capturing Saddam Hussein, American soldiers turned a botched raid on a house in the Mansur district of Baghdad yesterday into a bloodbath, opening fire on scores of Iraqi civilians in a crowded street and killing up to 11, including two children, their mother and crippled father. At least one civilian car caught fire, cremating its occupants.

The vehicle carrying the two children and their mother and father was riddled by bullets as it approached a razor-wired checkpoint outside the house.

Amid the fury generated among the largely middle-class residents of Mansur - by ghastly coincidence, the killings were scarcely 40 metres from the houses in which 16 civilians died when the Americans tried to kill Saddam towards the end of the war in April - whatever political advantages were gained by the killing of Saddam's sons have been squandered. A doctor at the Yarmouk hospital, which received four of the dead, turned on me angrily last night, shouting: "If an American came to my emergency room, maybe I would kill him."
The Americans searched the house completely, very roughly," Sheikh Habib said. "It seems they thought Saddam Hussein was inside." It appears the killings started as the troops were searching the building and as motorists approached the barbed wire which the soldiers had placed without warning across the road. Witnesses said the first car contained at least two men. "The second contained two children about 10, their mother and their father who had been wounded in the Iran-Iraq war - he was a cripple," a local shopkeeper told me. "They all died. The man's legs were cut in half by the bullets," he added. A third car then approached the Americans, who opened fire again. One of the occupants fled, but the other two remained in the vehicle and were killed.

When another car arrived US troops riddled it with more bullets and it burst into flames. It is believed that two people were inside and both were burnt to death. "The Americans didn't try to help the civilians they had shot, not once," a witness said. "They let the car burn and left the bodies where they lay, even the children. It was we who had to take them to the hospitals."

Why do I get the feeling we've taken possession of our very own Palestine, one with 26 million heavily armed and angry inhabitants?
Via Booknotes