"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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Mini-Review
Rented Underworld
1: Another wierd color-filtered flick-everything is either grey or red/pink/flesh
2: If only they had spent 1/10th of the money used for art direction on a more intelligent script.
3: Gotta love those endless clips of ammo.
4: Kate Beckinsale is one tasty rubber-clad crumpet.

Save the Children, Win Valuble Prizes
Can you feel John Ashcroft's hot, predatory breath bearing down on your life and your box of vibrators and your adult DVD collection and snatching away your copy of "Weapons of A-- Destruction #2" and smacking you across the face with a Bible, all before skipping off to the dungeon to feed the flying monkeys?

Because while 9/11 and the process of gleefully decimating your civil liberties via the USA Patriot Act may have delayed him a few years, Ashcroft & Co. is back on the anti-porn warpath, hell-bent on slashing and burning its way through the porn industry like a priest through an all-male boarding school -- oh wait, bad analogy -- like a hot knife through butter -- nope, not that, either -- like a Halliburton exec through Baghdad -- there, that's more like it -- as the U.S. Justice Department sets its sights on punishing the sex industry and eradicating porn and making the world safe for uptight danceless ultra-pious nondrinking white men once and for all.
...
And why? Why now? Because it's an election year, silly. And the Christian Right that put BushCo in office is still pissy about the Texas sodomy thing and the same-sex-marriage thing and the fact that more than 1 million radiant unstoppable women marched in D.C. just a few days back, demanding that BushCo and his pious Christian lizards back the hell away from their reproductive rights, or else.
...
But here is the ironic kicker: Comcast. Disney. Viacom. All the big conservative pro-Bush media conglomerates and CEOs who just so happen to be making a fortune selling hardcore porn, via video rights and chat rooms and cable subscriptions, to Americans of every gender and political party and religious affiliation and state legislature.

And these execs, they have friends. In high, conservative places. And guess what they all value far more than sanctimonious religious puling and Ashcroft's antisex crusade? Hint: It's green and rhymes with "honey," and politicians worship it like sharks crave whale gristle.

Upshot: Your porn is safe. Mostly. Ashcroft will file his suits and blare out his headlines and make many loud Bible-thumping sounds, the politicians will scowl and the never-ending cry will continue to wail right through November: "Who -- pray, who -- will save the children?" (My God but children need a lot of saving these days, don't they? The poor dears. It's amazing they're not all depressed and rebellious and forced by their parents to become addicted to prescription meds. Oh wait).

It is, of course, all one big vote-getting sham, with Ashcroft as the earnest, scowling dupe. And it will all be over soon enough. After November, "the children" will become an instant afterthought. The election will be over and the antiporn battle cry will subside and the politicians can get back to doing what they do best: patriotic, flag-wavin', well-lubed hypocrisy.
Link

Ambition
The killers, in fact, laughed at petty school shooters. They bragged about dwarfing the carnage of the Oklahoma City bombing and originally scheduled their bloody performance for its anniversary. Klebold boasted on video about inflicting "the most deaths in U.S. history." Columbine was intended not primarily as a shooting at all, but as a bombing on a massive scale. If they hadn't been so bad at wiring the timers, the propane bombs they set in the cafeteria would have wiped out 600 people. After those bombs went off, they planned to gun down fleeing survivors. An explosive third act would follow, when their cars, packed with still more bombs, would rip through still more crowds, presumably of survivors, rescue workers, and reporters. The climax would be captured on live television. It wasn't just "fame" they were after?Agent Fuselier bristles at that trivializing term?they were gunning for devastating infamy on the historical scale of an Attila the Hun. Their vision was to create a nightmare so devastating and apocalyptic that the entire world would shudder at their power.
Link
Via Factovision

Long But Good
The Howling Wilderness of Pseudoconservatism
Via The Sideshow

Out My nose, shooting, the milk is
www.johnkerryisadouchebagbutimvotingforhimanyway.com
Via The Big Mobodaddy

God Help Murka
But then there's Dubya. He is, apparently, immune. He is perfect and flawless and without the slightest taint of guilt or error, and, despite looking like a bowl of Jell-O salad in a universe of divine tiramisu, he is, apparently, an angel of purity and light. It's true.

For here is Dubya, mumbling his way through another shockingly insulting news conference just recently, screwing up both his face and his intelligence data (again) and still a-huntin' for nonexistent WMDs in Libyan turkey farms (?) as reporter after reporter asks him, point blank, why he won't simply come clean.
Link

This is making us safer?
Some Iraqi nuclear facilities appear to be unguarded, and radioactive materials are being taken out of the country, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency reported after reviewing satellite images and equipment that has turned up in European scrapyards.

The International Atomic Energy Agency sent a letter to U.S. officials three weeks ago informing them of the findings. The information was also sent to the U.N. Security Council in a letter from its director, Mohamed ElBaradei, that was circulated Thursday.

The IAEA is waiting for a reply from the United States, which is leading the coalition administering Iraq, officials said.

The United Sattes has virtually cut off information-sharing with the IAEA since invading Iraq in March 2002 on the premise that the country was hiding weapons of mass destruction.

No such weapons have been found, and arms control officials now worry the war and its chaotic aftermath may have increased chances that terrorists could get their hands on materials used for unconventional weapons or that civilians may be unknowingly exposed to radioactive materials.

According to ElBaradei's letter, satellite imagery shows ``extensive removal of equipment and in some instances, removal of entire buildings,'' in Iraq.

In addition, ``large quanitities of scrap, some of it contaminated, have been transfered out of Iraq from sites'' previously monitored by the IAEA.
Link
Via Talking Points Memo

Time Saving
Finally, a faster way to tie shoelaces.
Via Follow Me Here

Today's Word
Jopok

Kindly Old Men
One by one, the 14 men, looking kindly, sitting politely as if engaged in simple conversation at a coffee shop, detail their experiences.

First up is a former officer, Yoshio Tsuchiya, who in a letter of contrition and apology written to the Chinese government, admitted killing 328 people and arrested, tortured and imprisoned nearly 2,000 Chinese citizens. Tsuchiya explains Japan's policy of 'Strict Disposal', better known as unprovoked genocide: "We rounded up suspicious-looking Chinese and executed them in the back of the head. Doing this proved your loyalty to the emperor, and brought you great honor as an MP".
Link

Repurposing
Bushshit
Make Your Own Bush/Cheney Campaign Poster

The original Sloganator at the Bush re-election site requires Acrobat, may only work with IE, and in general is wonky. A number of people have cooked up there own, more usable, poster makers. Have Fun.

Damn right I am
Click to take the quiz!
Click here to find out which asian action superstar you are

You are Chow Yun Fat. you are a charming and devilishly attractive person. On one side you are strong, wise, cool and calm.
But on the other side you enjoy chaos, bullets, guns, explosions, blondes and have a knack for killing people.
You're primary colors of dress are grey and black. You like the expensive stuff.

Messy
A group of tech celebs gathered on Capitol Hill this week to brief Congressional aides on how Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can, and probably will, make a complete mess of the Internet in about a year's time.

At issue are likely revisions to the 1996 Telecommunications Act and FCC regulations, which, thus far, have managed to do scant violence to the Net. Unfortunately, changes now being contemplated, urged by telecomms and media behemoths and their lobbyists, may soon alter that happy state of affairs. Broadband users are particularly at risk, because they enjoy little of the consumer choice available to dialup users. One can connect to a phone line and reach any of hundreds of dialup ISPs. Broadband users have no such luxury. The deregulation scam

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, who fought FCC Chairman Michael Powell's effort to ease regulations preventing the colonization of America's airwaves and print media by a handful of cartels, understands the crucial difference between deregulation and freedom.

"Entrenched interests are already jockeying to constrain the openness that has been the Internet's defining hallmark, and they are lobbying the FCC to aid and abet them," Copps declared.

"They claim all they are advocating is a deregulated environment where the market can reign supreme. But in reality, they are seeking government help to allow a few companies to turn the Internet from a place of competition and innovation, into an oligopoly. Power over the Internet would then reside with the network owners, who could use choke-point power to constrain consumer choices, limit sources of news and information and entertainment, undermine competitors, and quash disruptive new technologies."

The Internet must remain device and technology neutral, and open, Copps warned. To illustrate, he pointed out that 35 years ago the phone company restricted the devices that could be attached and confined them to its own kit, using the excuse of ensuring quality of service. And then the FCC created a right of attachment, allowing consumers to hook up any device to the network so long as it caused no harm, and spawned dramatic growth in scores of industries. A similar regulation is needed for broadband Internet access, he hinted.
Take away people's free internet pr0n and there could be trouble.
Link
Via Follow Me Here

Hardly Working
This is Bush's 33rd visit to his ranch since becoming president. He has spent all or part of 233 days on his Texas ranch since taking office, according to a tally by CBS News. Adding his 78 visits to Camp David and his five visits to Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush has spent all or part of 500 days in office at one of his three retreats, or more than 40 percent of his presidency.
You know, combined with his inability to speak coherently, this might lead people to think GWB is nothing but a figurehead.
Link
or, if you can't get through the Washington Post's login page: Link2
Via Daily Kos

etymology
Honcho comes from Japanese and probably entered English during occupation.

No Confidence
Does anyone else think OPEC raising oil prices (for no apparent reason) is them basically voting for Kerry?

All disasters, all the time
In a sign that this may all be genetic Dad has passed along the incredibly detailed CBS News Disaster Links page.

"This is no way to run a government"

I was going to just post the good parts, but it's all good parts.
Floor Statement of Sen. Daschle on the Abuse of Government Power

Mr. President, last week I spoke about the White House's reaction to Richard Clarke's testimony before the 9-11 Commission. I am compelled to rise again today, because the people around the President are systematically abusing the powers and prerogatives of government.

We all need to reflect seriously on what's going on. Not in anger and not in partisanship, but in keeping with our responsibilities as Senators and with an abiding respect for the fundamental values of our democracy.

Richard Clarke did something extraordinary when he testified before the 9-11 Commission last week. He didn't try to escape blame, as so many routinely do. Instead, he accepted his share of responsibility and offered his perceptions about what happened in the months and years leading up to September 11.

We can and should debate the facts and interpretations Clarke has offered. But there can be no doubt that he has risked enormous damage to his reputation and professional future to hold both himself and our government accountable.

The retaliation from those around the President has been fierce. Mr. Clarke's personal motives have been questioned and his honesty challenged. He has even been accused, right here on the Senate floor, of perjury. Not one shred of proof was given, but that wasn't the point. The point was to have the perjury accusation on television and in the newspapers. The point was to damage Mr. Clarke in any way possible.

This is wrong-and it's not the first time it's happened.

When Senator McCain ran for President, the Bush campaign smeared him and his family with vicious, false attacks. When Max Cleland ran for reelection to this Senate, his patriotism was attacked. He was accused of not caring about protecting our nation -- a man who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam, accused of being indifferent to America's national security. That was such an ugly lie, it's still hard to fathom almost two years later.

There are some things that simply ought not be done - even in politics. Too many people around the President seem not to understand that, and that line has been crossed. When Ambassador Joe Wilson told the truth about the Administration's misleading claims about Iraq, Niger, and uranium, the people around the President didn't respond with facts. Instead, they publicly disclosed that Ambassador Wilson's wife was a deep-cover CIA agent. In doing so, they undermined America's national security and put politics first. They also may well have put the lives of Ambassador Wilson's wife, and her sources, in danger.

When former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill revealed that the White House was thinking about an Iraq War in its first weeks in office, his former colleagues in the Bush Administration ridiculed him from morning to night, and even subjected him to a fruitless federal investigation.

When Larry Lindsay, one of President Bush's former top economic advisors, and General Eric Shinseki, the former Army Chief of Staff, spoke honestly about the amount of money and the number of troops the war would demand, they learned the hard way that the White House doesn't tolerate candor.

This is not "politics as usual." In nearly all of these cases, it's not Democrats who are being attacked.

Senator McCain and Secretary O'Neill are prominent Republicans, and Richard Clarke, Larry Lindsay, Joe Wilson, and Eric Shinseki all worked for Republican Administrations.

The common denominator is that these government officials said things the White House didn't want said.

The response from those around the President was retribution and character assassination -- a 21st Century twist to the strategy of "shooting the messenger."

If it takes intimidation to keep inconvenient facts from the American people, the people around the President don't hesitate. Richard Foster, the chief actuary for Medicare, found that out. He was told he'd be fired if he told the truth about the cost of the Administration's prescription drug plan.

This is no way to run a government.

The White House and its supporters should not be using the power of government to try to conceal facts from the American people or to reshape history in an effort to portray themselves in the best light.

They should not be threatening the reputations and livelihoods of people simply for asking ? or answering ? questions. They should seek to put all information about past decisions on the table for evaluation so that the best possible decisions can be made for the nation's future.

In Mr. Clarke's case, clear and troubling double standards are being applied.

Last year, when the Administration was being criticized for the President's misleading statement about Niger and uranium, the White House unexpectedly declassified portions of the National Intelligence Estimate. When the Administration wants to bolster its public case, there is little that appears too sensitive to be declassified.

Now, people around the President want to release parts of Mr. Clarke's earlier testimony in 2002. According to news reports, the CIA is already working on declassifying that testimony ? at the Administration's request.

And last week several documents were declassified literally overnight, not in an effort to provide information on a pressing policy matter to the American people, but in an apparent effort to discredit a public servant who gave 30 years of service to his American government.

I'll support declassifying Mr. Clarke's testimony before the Joint Inquiry, but the Administration shouldn't be selective. Consistent with our need to protect sources and methods, we should declassify his entire testimony.

And to make sure that the American people have access to the full record as they consider this question, we should also declassify his January 25 memo to Dr. Rice, the September 4, 2001 National Security Directive dealing with terrorism, Dr. Rice's testimony to the 9-11 Commission, the still-classified 28 pages from the House-Senate inquiry relating to Saudi Arabia, and a list of the dates and topics of all National Security Council meetings before September 4, 2001.

I hope this new interest in openness will also include the Vice President's Energy and Terrorism Task Forces. While much, if not all, of what these task forces discussed was unclassified, their proceedings have not been shared with the public.

There also seems to be a double standard when it comes to investigations.

In recent days leading congressional Republicans are now calling for an investigation into Mr. Clarke. As I mentioned earlier, Secretary O'Neill was also subjected to an investigation. Clarke and O'Neill sought legal and classification review of any information in their books before they were published.

Nonetheless, our colleagues tell us these two should be investigated, at the same time there has been no Senate investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity as a deep cover CIA agent; no thorough investigation into whether leading Administration officials misrepresented the intelligence regarding threats posed by Iraq; no Senate hearings into the threat the chief Medicare Actuary faced for trying to do his job; and no Senate investigation into the reports of continued overcharging by Halliburton for its work in Iraq.

There is a clear double standard when it comes to investigating or releasing information, and that's just is not right. The American people deserve more from their leaders.

We're seeing it again now in the shifting reasons the White House has given for Dr. Rice's refusal to testify under oath and publicly before the 9-11 Commission.

The people around the President first said it would be unprecedented for Dr. Rice to testify. But thanks to the Congressional Research Service, we now know that previous sitting National Security Advisors have testified before Congress.

Now the people around the President are saying that Dr. Rice can't testify because it would violate an important constitutional principle: the separation of powers.

We will soon face this debate again when it comes time for President Bush and Vice President Cheney to meet with the 9-11 Commission. I believe they should lift the limitations they have placed on their cooperation with the Commission and be willing to appear before the entire Commission for as much time as the Commission deems productive.

The all-out assault on Richard Clarke has gone on for more than a week now. Mr. Clarke has been accused of "profiteering" and possible perjury. It is time for this to stop.

The Commission should declassify Mr. Clarke's earlier testimony. All of it. Not just the parts the White House wants. And Dr. Rice should testify before the 9-11 Commission, and she should be under oath and in public.

The American people deserve to know the truth -- the full truth -- about what happened in the years and months leading up to September 11.

Senator McCain, Senator Cleland, Secretary O'Neill, Ambassador Wilson, General Shinseki, Richard Foster, Richard Clarke, Larry Lindsay ... when will the character assassination, retribution, and intimidation end?

When will we say enough is enough?

The September 11 families - and our entire country - deserve better. Our democracy depends on it. And our nation's future security depends on it.
Link
Via Beyond the Beyond