Sun-Feb 29 2004
Bowling & Philosophy
Parmenides originally crafted the Bowling Pin of Athens in 460 BC as part of a 10-piece set for his pupil Zeno to be used as part of Zeno's dissertation on the non-existence of motion. Unfortunately, during the presentation -- and much to the shock of the audience -- the ball hurled at the pins actually left Zeno's hand and careened into the pins, knocking all 10 down. Simultaneously, Zeno's thesis was discredited and the game of bowling was invented. The large chi ('X') Zeno scribbled on his papyrus in frustration would later become synonymous with the strike.
Via Other Crap
How to make pruno
REMEMBER TO FEEL THE HATE.
1. Toss the oranges into the Ziploc bag.
2. Open the can of fruit cocktail and dump it into the bag, along with your own emotional cocktail of nihilism, depression and crippling boredom.
3. Mash them furiously, feeling the anger of being unjustly sentenced to hellish bourgeois existence of cable television and suburban shopping malls.
4. Squeeze in a state of frenzied self-involvement.
Via The Null Device
I like wit
Lovett is excessively self-effacing. Miller said, "Lyle, a friend of mine called the other day and asked me, 'If you're in the record store, and you're going to buy only one Lyle Lovett record, which one do you get?' I said I didn't know, I'd ask you."
"Willie Nelson," Lovett said. "'Red Headed Stranger.'"
I feel a little better knowing there are Lyle Lovetts walking the earth.
Via The Minor Fall, The Major Lift
Ralph Nader Requests Secret Service Protection
By law, a candidate is eligible for Federal protection if a series of standards are met, including public prominence as measured by polls and fund raising. Or, as in Nader's case, if 63 million registered Democrats want to kill him.
Via Follow Me Here
Innocent yet imprisoned
Pentagon officials have confirmed that Guantanamo detainees may still be kept in detention, even if they are found not guilty by a military tribunal.
Via The Sideshow
I'd be happy to
The phrase that keeps coming to mind is "Outsource Bush"
Via The Sideshow
Sat-Feb 28 2004
Oh, that explains everything
What do you believe same-sex weddings -- how do they actually threaten the institution of marriage, in general? And also, are you concerned at all about being considered on the wrong side of the civil rights issue?
PRESIDENT BUSH: This is a -- yes, this is a difficult issue here for a lot of people in America.
I believed it was important to act because the institution of marriage was being changed by
courts. And it's an issue that's very sensitive. And the voice of the people needs to be
heard, and the constitutional process was the best way to do such.
I believe that marriage has served society well, and I believe it is important to affirm that,
that marriage between a man and a woman is the ideal. And the job of the President is to drive
policy toward the ideal. This is a sensitive debate and it is important that people hold true to their beliefs without condemning anybody else. And so, therefore, I call upon all sides in the debate to conduct themselves with dignity and honor and respect.
But this is a debate that the nation must have. And the people's voice must be heard in the
That's it? That's why we need to amend the Constitution? I've heard better arguments for
going mud wrestling. Hey, if gays threaten marriage, maybe in some nebulous, unquantified,
and unexplained way they'll also cause the downfall of home and business ownership. Maybe
we should require them to wear pink triangles so we can make sure society adheres to the ideal.
Sun-Feb 22 2004
Apathy, with a faint hint of hostility
I could really care less how many carbs my refreshing alcoholic beverage has.
Behold the power of Cheesus
International distributor of premium quality, religious-themed cheese sculptures
Via Everlasting Blort
Fri-Feb 20 2004
Panic in the streets, cats and dogs-living together
And no question became so clear, so obvious, as the one being asked by same-sex-marriage advocates around the world: What, really, is so wrong about this? What is the horrible threat about two adults who love each other so intensely, so purely, that they're willing to commit to a lifetime of being together and sleeping together and arguing over who controls the remote? And what government body dares to claim a right to legislate against it?
It is a question no group, no homophobic senator, no piece of antigay legislation, no BushCo stump speech, no Bible-humping pastor has been able to answer with any clarity or conviction.
They can only mumble about immorality and quote some vague Scripture about sodomy that makes them all tingly, as wary biblical scholars all over the world roll their eyes and point to a thousand proofs that demonstrate, over and over again, how the Bible is basically a reinterpreted regurgitated piece of classic patriarchal misogynistic mythmaking that says exactly what the church rewrote it to say.
But I might have part of an answer. From what I can glean from some of my hate mail and the general conservative outcry, here is what the homophobes fear about same-sex marriage: bestiality.
That is, they are utterly terrified that same-sex marriage is a slippery slope of permissive debauchery that will lead to the utter breakdown of social rules and sexual mores, to people being allowed to marry their dogs, or their own dead grandmothers, or chairs, or three hairy men from Miami Beach.
In short, to the neocon Right, a nation that allows gays to marry is a nation with no boundaries and no condoms and where all sorts of illicit disgusting behaviors will soon be legal and be forced upon them, a horrific tribal wasteland full of leeches and flying bugs and scary sex acts they only read about in chat rooms and their beloved "Left Behind" series of cute apocalypse-porn books.
You know, just like how giving blacks the right to own their own land meant we had to give the same rights to house plants and power tools, or how granting women the right to vote meant it was a slippery slope until we gave suffrage to feral cats and sea slugs and rusty hubcaps.
Thu-Feb 19 2004
We don't need no stinkin' science
The Bush administration has distorted scientific fact leading to policy decisions on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear weaponry, a group of about 60 scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, an independent organization, also issued a 37-page report, "Scientific Integrity in Policymaking," detailing the accusations. The statement and the report both accuse the Bush administration of distorting and suppressing findings that contradict administration policies, stacking panels with like-minded and underqualified scientists with ties to industry, and eliminating some advisory committees altogether.
The scientists listed various policy issues as being unfairly influenced by the administration, including those concerning climate change, mercury emissions, reproductive health, lead poisoning in children, workplace safety and nuclear weapons. New regulations and laws are necessary to fix the situation, the statement says.
"We found a serious pattern of undermining science by the Bush administration, and it crosses disciplines, whether it's global climate change or reproductive health or mercury in the food chain or forestry -- the list goes on and on," said Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Wed-Feb 18 2004
Words thats bug me
Problematic-When did every jughead on radio/tv decide to stop calling things "a problem"?
Now they have to be Mister (or Mrs) Multisyllabic Vocabulary. I think if you meet any
flesh-and-blood people who use "problematic" you can assume they are a dickhead.
On the evening of the 21st of May, 2000, Dudley Hiibel stepped out of his red 1988 GMC pick-up truck and lit a cigarette. The pick-up was parked on the side of Grass Valley Road, a rural stretch of asphalt that leads out of the mining town of Winnemucca into the rural cattle ranching area where Dudley lives and farms.
The pick-up had been driven by Dudley's 17 year-old daughter Mimi, with whom Dudley had been having an argument over a boy Dudley didn't approve of that she'd been seeing in town. Mimi got mad at her dad and punched him in the shoulder. They continued shouting at one another as they drove back to to the ranch, and Mimi eventually pulled over the truck after her dad said he wanted out.
That's what Dudley Hiibel was doing that May evening in 2000: standing on the side of Grass Valley Road smoking a cigarette, his elbow resting on the rolled-down passenger window, talking with his daughter.
Then the police arrived.
Deputy Lee Dove of the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department came on the scene - siren a-wailing - in response to a domestic violence report. Someone saw Mimi arguing with her dad and thought it had come to blows. The witness said that he saw "a man with a black cowboy hat" who "slugged the female". Dove was there to investigate the report.
Everything that happened next is all on videotape... you be the judge.
If you think that the first thing Deputy Dove would do on the scene would be to make sure the 'slugged female' was all right, you would be wrong. Deputy Dove never asked or even looked at Mimi until she had been thrown to the ground face-first and handcuffed.
But that comes later in the story.
Rather than investigate the complaint, Deputy Dove (who has been cited at least twice for misconduct on the job) instead began to demand Dudley Hiibel show his ID. Eleven times Dove demanded Dudley show 'his papers'. Dudley asked a simple question: why?
"Because I'm investigating", said Dove.
"Investigating what?" Dudley asked.
"I'm investigating an investigation" was Dove's non-reply.
Eleven times Dove demanded Dudley's ID. And when the Deputy decided Dudley wasn't "going to cooperate", he cuffed, then tossed him in the back of his patrol car.
One Citizen's Rights Violated; One More To Go
Meanwhile, Dudley's daughter was watching the encounter between her dad and the Law from the cab of the pick-up truck. You can hear her screaming "Nooo" as her father is being handcuffed.
Another policeman, a Nevada state trooper by the name of Merschel, was on the scene and was holding the door of the pick-up truck shut so that Mimi couldn't get out. Screaming, she finally forced the door open only to be thrown face down into the hard dirt by the side of the road by Trooper Merschel.
The video is almost too painful to watch at this point. A second trooper climbs on top of Mimi and he and Trooper Merschel brutally pin 17 year-old Mimi to the ground and slap on the cuffs.
With Dudley Hiibel arrested for refusing to show ID and his daughter Mimi beaten and in handcuffs, Deputy Lee Dove now comes over to talk to Mimi and 'investigate'.
Dudley Hiibel was charged with Domestic Battery, Battery, Acts Which Constitute Domestic Violence, and Obstructing/Delaying A Peace Officer. As there was no battery or domestic violence involved, the only charge that was left was Delaying A Peace Officer. By refusing to show Deputy Lee Dove his ID, Dudley was fined $250.00 . He's appealling it all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
It is this very charge that is now coming before the U.S. Supreme Court on the 22nd of March. The question before the Court is this: Did Dudley's refusal to show ID give Deputy Dove the probable cause needed to arrest him? Or is it the Constitutional right of every American to just say 'no' when asked o produce 'the papers'?
Mimi Hiibel was hauled-off to juvenile detention and charged with resisting arrest. In court, her father asked the judge a simple question: what charge was Mimi arrested for resisting? The case was dismissed.
Via Boing Boing
Mon-Feb 09 2004
Don't look behind the curtain
Politics as usual was working like God's wristwatch in Iowa, where the RNC and various Republican PAC's outspent many of the Democratic candidates on negative TV ads aimed exclusively at Dean. But more damaging, in my opinion, was the remarkably open bias that the traditional media seemed to display against Howard Dean in their presentation of the news itself. I don't watch much television, but what little I've seen in the last month indicated to me that Dean was being systematically slimed.
Then we had the yawp heard round the world. Dean gave a valedictory to his supporters in Iowa that was no more feverish, in my opinion, than many rally exhortations I've heard over the years, even from such sober fellows as Dick Cheney. Countless football coaches deliver such yells every fall week and yet are lionized by their fans. But, according to the big media, Dean's "yee-haaa" was the sound of political hara-kari. You would have thought they'd caught Dean in bed with either a live man or a dead woman. They belabored him for his shout as though he'd done something truly heinous, like, say, leading America into a major war under false pretenses, or robbing the poor to feed the rich, or dramatically curtailing civil liberties.
All the networks ran the tape like scenes from a terrorist attack, to the accompaniment of much tsk-tsking and head-shaking. Every pundit of any consequence proclaimed it Dean's last howl. But, as I say, I couldn't see what was so bad about it. Prior to this, Dean had seemed a little too tightly-wrapped for my tastes. I was heartened to see him display any emotion beyond justified indignation. But if you have a signal that can be heard everywhere and you transmit often enough the news that someone is crazy, just about everyone will start believing it, whatever the evidence.
So the empire struck back and it struck back hard, grinding the Dean point off our attack, leaving us with a field that consists of a nice guy who may have been in Washington long enough to dissolve his spine, two crypto-Republicans, a New Age mystic with a bad haircut, the champion of Tawana Brawley, and a sweetly telegenic southerner, about whom no one seems to know much of anything.
Some of us believe that another four years of the Bush Administration might turn America into something so oligarchical that it will make Mexico look like Sweden, so broke that the dollar will buy less than the Hungarian pengo, surveillant enough to make East Germany look like a good start, and puritanical enough to make Cotton Mather feel at home. Some of us want a president who is straight about his real reasons for sending our kids off to die and kill other kids, a government that is of, for, and by more people than will fit on the Forbes list, and a military that isn't simply a private security force for the Fortune 500. We want to give our grandchildren something more than a crushing debt and a country too stripped of resources and opportunities to pay it off. The stakes seem high to us.
When you're discussing the wedding over Thanksgiving turkey with your grandparents, skip the part about the two straight chicks who made out on the dance floor.
TRY SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY
I just washed down a Pepto Bismol tablet with champagne.
FIGHT THE POWER
Things you don't expect to hear from your eight-year-old niece, "It's the cops. Act natural."
Driving along, Jeff and I note a vanity plate on the car in front of us:
Jeff: AGENT XXX
Me: Stripper car.
Jeff: "I do porn for the government."
Lifted wholesale from the highly recommended Mighty Girl
Save me from the 'detrimental' musicians
Five Cuban acts nominated for Grammy Awards, including Ibrahim Ferrer of the Buena Vista Social Club, have been denied U.S. visas needed to attend Sunday's ceremony in Los Angeles, a top Culture Ministry official said Thursday.
"Something as noble as music is being converted into a policy against Cuba,'' Vice Minister of Culture Abel Acosta told a news conference.
Surrounded by some of the Cuban musicians nominated for awards, including Ferrer, Acosta showed journalists the letters from the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, denying their visa requests.
The letters cited a section of U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Law that says the president can deny entry to foreigners when their visit is deemed "detrimental to the interests of the United States.''
Sun-Feb 08 2004
Save me from the evil librarians
DES MOINES, Iowa -- In what may be the first subpoena of its kind in decades, a federal judge has ordered a university to turn over records about a gathering of anti-war activists.
In addition to the subpoena of Drake University, subpoenas were served this past week on four of the activists who attended a Nov. 15 forum at the school, ordering them to appear before a grand jury Tuesday, the protesters said.
Federal prosecutors refuse to comment on the subpoenas.
In addition to records about who attended the forum, the subpoena orders the university to divulge all records relating to the local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, a New York-based legal activist organization that sponsored the forum.
The group, once targeted for alleged ties to communism in the 1950s, announced Friday it will ask a federal court to quash the subpoena on Monday.
"The law is clear that the use of the grand jury to investigate protected political activities or to intimidate protesters exceeds its authority," guild President Michael Ayers said in a statement.
Representatives of the Lawyer's Guild and the American Civil Liberties Union said they had not heard of such a subpoena being served on any U.S. university in decades.
Those served subpoenas include the leader of the Catholic Peace Ministry, the former coordinator of the Iowa Peace Network, a member of the Catholic Worker House, and an anti-war activist who visited Iraq in 2002.
Sat-Feb 07 2004
Sun-Feb 01 2004