"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

Web Geekery
I installed the Greasemonkey and Platypus extensions to Firefox. Right off the bat I was able to modify Bloglines so that the frames are resizable. No more (or at least a lot less) text running off past the side of the frame. Now I'm wondering if I could set it so the text wraps around, because that would be a lot more elegant.

Aha!

Jesus was a zombie poster

Via WarrenEllis.Com

Serious Pomp Action
phil spectors giant hair

I am in total awe of Phil Spector's hair.
Via WarrenEllis.Com

Say What?

From a WB promo for a new show: "From the daring mind of Ashton Kutcher"

Oh crap, he's getting paid to think?!

But We're The Good Guys
What Is Torture? :An interactive primer on American interrogation.
Comprehensive
Via Q Daily News

Science
"n contrast, intelligent-design theorists invoke shadowy entities that conveniently have whatever unconstrained abilities are needed to solve the mystery at hand. Rather than expanding scientific inquiry, such answers shut it down. (How does one disprove the existence of omnipotent intelligences?)

Intelligent design offers few answers. For instance, when and how did a designing intelligence intervene in life's history? By creating the first DNA? The first cell? The first human? Was every species designed, or just a few early ones? Proponents of intelligent-design theory frequently decline to be pinned down on these points. They do not even make real attempts to reconcile their disparate ideas about intelligent design. Instead they pursue argument by exclusion--that is, they belittle evolutionary explanations as far-fetched or incomplete and then imply that only design-based alternatives remain.

Logically, this is misleading: even if one naturalistic explanation is flawed, it does not mean that all are. Moreover, it does not make one intelligent-design theory more reasonable than another. Listeners are essentially left to fill in the blanks for themselves, and some will undoubtedly do so by substituting their religious beliefs for scientific ideas.

Time and again, science has shown that methodological naturalism can push back ignorance, finding increasingly detailed and informative answers to mysteries that once seemed impenetrable: the nature of light, the causes of disease, how the brain works. Evolution is doing the same with the riddle of how the living world took shape. Creationism, by any name, adds nothing of intellectual value to the effort. "
15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense
Via Q Daily News

Oops
Amy, if you read this post, I've fixed the link to my art.

floater computer art
"Floater" art

I Have Issues
I liked the "Alias" season finale (zombies!), but I'm still puzzled by Elena (or Yelena) Devevko's motive, or lack thereof. Just why is she trying to turn 400 million people all over the world into raving, homicidal maniacs? She doesn't get paid, she doesn't get to rule the world, she doesn't even become the queen of the zombies. If she just wants to destroy everything I think we deserve some supervillain exposition.

Genius

I can only hope to someday rant as well as Kung Fu Monkey:
"This administration -- the guys who threw out the Geneva Convention (fact - and proudly, just ask the AG); sends prisoners to countries so they can be tortured (factitty fact fact); and put into place policies which led to images of Muslim men, 70-90% of whom were innocent according to the Department of Defense, being electroshocked , dog attacked, and bound naked, these images being spread worldwide -- these guys claim Newsweek is damaging America's image abroad? Newsweek?

Gee, any of you idiots bitching about Newsweek stop to think why the Afghan people even believed this? It's not like the plate was set for this to be credible behaviour.

Abdul: Mumar, my friend, even though I was innocent, they tortured me, stripped me naked, waterboarded me, had dogs attack me, and shocked my nuts!
Mumar: I heard they also desecrated the Qu'ran.
Abdul: Please! How could you believe such a thing?
Mumar: ... Dude, they shocked your nuts.
Abdul: So? They have taken cultural sensitivity courses. They would never cross that line!
Mumar: I am filled with shame at jumping to unwarranted conclusions.

Did Newsweek fuck up? Of course. They single-sourced a story. Although I'm a little hazy about how this causality of blame works:

1.) Newsweek hears from government official about Qu'ran abuse.
2.) Newsweek, knowing this is controversial, gives the story to another government official for confirmation.
3.) This government official does not correct that item.
4.) Newsweek publishes story with a single detail which has been reported multiple times in other newspapers.
5.) Afghanistan, already a tinderbox because of the incompetence of even more government officials who botched the reconstruction, erupts. Into riots which, according to someone who is probably smarter than I, oh, say, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are actually related to the ongoing reconciliation process more than the article.
6.) Government officials bemoan Newsweek's carelessness.

Of course, nobody cared when the media single-sourced stories on, say, WMD's or whether the occupation would go smoothly. But we're sharper now.

According to the autopsy, what finally pushed Irony over the edge was this:

Larry DiRita, the spokesman for the Pentagon, actually had the NUTSACK to say, of the original source "People are dead because of what this sonuvabitch said. How could he be credible now?"

He actually had the big brass stones, standing there atop Iraq with no WMD's, no links to al-queda, and no links to 9-11 ... he had the unholy testicular power to stand on the corpses of 1600 dead American soldiers, 15,000 wounded American soldiers, tens of thousands of probably-dead-but-we-don't-count-them-because-they're-brown innocent bystander Iraquis and claim the moral high ground on credibility?

I am actually beyond humor. I'm in awe.

So let me see if I understand this.

-- Osama bin Ladin, Zaquari, and Omar are still strolling around ...
-- the Taliban is making a comeback. The Taliban, a group which after 9/11 which should have been so thoroughly vaporized in such a horrifyingly white-smoting-light-of-righteous-violence that even now a mere random combination of the syllables "Tal"," i", and "ban" should cause grown men to wet themselves at the unspeakable memory of their fate, they apparently have a sign-up sheet going in Pakistan like a fucking office softball team ...
-- Afghanistan's a destabilized hellhole.
-- Iraq, according to even the most optimistic of planners, will chew up American troops for at least five more years ...
-- Iraq is an insurgent war hell because (whether you agreed with the reasons for the original war or not) nobody planned for the occupation, based on the rosy beliefs of a few "government officials" ...
-- We have, demonstrably, statistically, one of the worst health care systems of the industrialized world ...
-- Tax cuts have put this country in the hole to the Chinese ...
-- North Korea and Iran are about to go nuclear ...
-- the government's now declared that pensions are fair game for the corporate fucking-off train, possibly stranding 36 million hard-working day-job Americans ...

... and they've got everyone screaming about Newsweek. That's ... just unspeakably beautiful. It's brilliant. That's Lex Luthor brilliant. It's so magnificently evil, I wish I'd done it, just to be able to say I pulled something like that off. When you manipulate public opinion like that so shamelessly, with such breathless artistry, you should seriously be doing it from inside a giant rampaging robot head. It's the only context that makes any sense.

We are officially in post-modern politics in the US.

Really, congrats to everyone who gives a rat's ass about this. I can't wait until the day, standing in the flaming ruins of America's impending economic collapse, watching as Third World countries race past us in technology, education and power, our populace grown disaffected and violently cynical over repeated betrayals and trivializations of the great governmental process, the day when I can turn to my trusty gyrocopter pal and -- raising my voice over the inconvenient weeping of another mother whose kid has died in Iraq -- say "Hey, remember when Newsweek single-sourced a story?"

Boy, that'll be the kicker right there."


Dogs Are Good

I love Dogblog. Two Samples:

2 happy dogs
The Bandanna Brothers here just want everyone who visits this place to feel right at home, especially if every visitor's home contains two really happy dogs who want to play catch so bad they're practically giving off sparks.

ready to go dog
This guy is ready. He's ready for his game. He's got his ball and he's just waiting for his owner to come back outside and they are going to wreck some shit. He's got his ball, and he is prepared. Without that collar on, he is so streamlined, he's beyond motion. He makes a greased-up otter look like a manatee's fat, cough-syrup-addicted momma in steel-belted army boots. This right here is the truest thing that has ever been said anywhere on the internet. I know this.

Funniest Thing I Read Today
"Britney's overprotective bodyguard and her Gaysian hairdresser should immediately be signed up for their own reality show, in which they crisscross the country in an RV and assist small-town sheriffs in solving petty crimes. Make it happen, UPN."
I would watch it, at least once.
Link


We Kept The Receipts
"The United States administration turned a blind eye to extensive sanctions-busting in the prewar sale of Iraqi oil, according to a new Senate investigation.

A report released last night by Democratic staff on a Senate investigations committee presents documentary evidence that the Bush administration was made aware of illegal oil sales and kickbacks paid to the Saddam Hussein regime but did nothing to stop them.

The scale of the shipments involved dwarfs those previously alleged by the Senate committee against UN staff and European politicians like the British MP, George Galloway, and the former French minister, Charles Pasqua.

In fact, the Senate report found that US oil purchases accounted for 52% of the kickbacks paid to the regime in return for sales of cheap oil - more than the rest of the world put together.

"The United States was not only aware of Iraqi oil sales which violated UN sanctions and provided the bulk of the illicit money Saddam Hussein obtained from circumventing UN sanctions," the report said. "On occasion, the United States actually facilitated the illicit oil sales."
Link
Via Metafilter

I Love A Good Rant

MP George Galloway testifies before Senate sub-committee on investigations
"Now, senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq, which killed a million Iraqis, most of them children. Most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis, With the misfortune to be born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq.

And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies. I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims, did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to Al Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11, 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.

Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong. And 100,000 people have paid with their lives, 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac, who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we're in today.

Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth. Have a look at the real oil- for-food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months, when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Halliburton and the other American corporations that stole Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer. Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where. Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it. Have a look at the real scandal, breaking in the newspapers today. Revealed in the (INAUDIBLE) testimony in this committee, that the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians; the real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own government. "
Link
Via Metafilter

A British editorial, wherein the author likes the speech, but not the speaker:
"They were at it again, amazingly enough, in the US Senate's Dirksen Building on Capitol Hill in Washington last week. Clearly, the sub-committee on investigations, chaired by Republican senator Norm Coleman, thought they had a live one.

True, they had not promoted their claims as a serious body by declaring that George Galloway had been given backhanders, in the form of Saddam's oil vouchers, before even questioning the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow. True, there was a slight problem over allegations that American firms had been involved in sanctions-busting. Granted, issues had arisen over $8.8 billion spirited out of Iraq since the American occupation. But Galloway? Was there an easier target?
.....
There must be a better word than stupid, but it will have to do for Norm and his colleagues. If the indignant Brit wanted his day on the hill, they thought, why not? Big mistake.

Someone forgot to brief them on the fact that Galloway is possessed of the rhetorical gifts of an Edwardian grandee. Someone also forgot, or didn't care, about all the demonstrable stupidity that produced the excuses for the Iraq war. Stupid is as stupid does.

Galloway took them to pieces. It was, by any measure, an extraordinary display. Norm looked like a man stunned to discover what free speech can do when you let the genie out of the bottle. The senator even seemed bemused that Galloway could speak easily and at length without notes. The quantity of facts overwhelmed the stately self-regard of America's temple to democracy.

How many times had Donald Rumsfeld greeted Saddam, and for what purpose? How many infants died under sanctions and during the war? What body condemned a man without a hearing? Where were the Americans when the MP was picketing the Iraqi embassy? Who accepted the evidence of a prisoner - Taha Yassin Ramadan, former Iraqi vice-president - locked up in Abu Ghraib and facing a possible death sentence? What were dossiers worth when they contained basic errors and echoed proven forgeries? Where were all the millions Galloway was supposed to have made?

The committee landed a blow or two when the MP tried to deal with his relationship with Fawaz Zureikat, the Jordanian who did a lot of business in Saddam's Iraq and donated 375,000 to the Mariam charity appeal, established by Galloway in 1998 for the sake of a four-year-old girl sick with leukaemia. The charity became a vehicle for protests against sanctions. Would Mr Galloway be troubled by the thought that Zureikat's wealth came from illegal oil deals? Mr Galloway was not unequivocal.

By that time, it hardly mattered. Norm had granted the MP the finest soap box on the planet, thoroughly underestimated his witness, and had apparently forgotten all the inconvenient truths about the assault on Iraq. It was a triumph for Galloway. So why wasn't I cheering?

I've been wondering about that for more than a couple of years. How can you be alienated by someone with whom you agree 90% of the time, and on this topic 99% of the time? Galloway has been vindicated in courtrooms so often the US Senate must have seemed like a refresher course. His performance last week made the likes of Christopher Hitchens - "The media are there to ask difficult questions, not to act as an echo chamber for frauds like Galloway" - seem like pathetic hypocrites. Hitchens hasn't asked a difficult question, of himself or anyone else, since 9/11. So why demur over Norm's tormentor?

There's a simple test. Would I vote for George Galloway? Not in this lifetime. I hope he continues to be innocent of every charge ever laid against him, but if the MP for Bethnal and Bow is the future of socialism, I'd rather get the history books out and start again. I detest the egotism that only sees the world in the shaving mirror. And I can't shake the suspicion that a remarkable moment on Capitol Hill had rather more to do with George Galloway than with any cause he invoked."


Sneaky

How to make your own fake fingerprints.
Via Boing Boing!

In Every Dream Blog A Heartbreak

Why Roxy Music still matters.
Via The Big Mobodaddy and Google Alerts

Photographs By Izzy
sashas tongue

branches by Izzy

flower by Izzy

Bonnie
dog bonnie

This is Bonnie. She's a bookstore dog. To her I'm not making deliveries, I'm the nice man who drops by 3 times a week to pet her and call her "sweetie". This is the look I get when I have to leave.

Lost

Alright! A frigging beached ship. You know it's got to be a pirate ship. Arr Mateys, there be pirates ahoy!

Crafty

How to brew beer in a coffee pot
Via Bifurcated Rivets

Blogito Ergo Sum

You scored as Existentialist. Existentialism emphasizes human capability. There is no greater power interfering with life and thus it is up to us to make things happen. Sometimes considered a negative and depressing world view, your optimism towards human accomplishment is immense. Mankind is condemned to be free and must accept the responsibility.

Existentialist

75%

Materialist

69%

Cultural Creative

63%

Idealist

63%

Postmodernist

63%

Modernist

56%

Romanticist

44%

Fundamentalist

19%

What is Your World View? (corrected...hopefully)
created with QuizFarm.com
Link
Via Adventures of Accordian Guy...

You Big Kidder

Rumsfeld on the Newsweek/Koran Desecretion mess:
"People lost their lives, people are dead and that's unfortunate,
......
People need to be very careful about what they say, just as they need to be careful about what they do"
Yup, people need to be careful. Like being careful to not mislead the country into an unnecessary war or not doing proper planning for the war's aftermath. People shouldn't do things like that, because then people could get killed.
Link

And why should those crazy Muslims even believe we would even do such a thing?:

"Contrary to White House spin, the allegations of religious desecration at Guantanamo published by Newsweek on May 9, 2005, are common among ex-prisoners and have been widely reported outside the United States. Several former detainees at the Guantanamo and Bagram prisons have reported instances of their handlers sitting or standing on the Koran, throwing or kicking it in toilets, and urinating on it. Prior to the Newsweek article, the New York Times reported a Guantanamo insider asserting that the commander of the facility was compelled by prisoner protests to address the problem and issue an apology.

One such incident (during which the Koran was allegedly thrown in a pile and stepped on) prompted a hunger strike among Guantanamo detainees in March 2002. Regarding this, the New York Times in a May 1, 2005, article interviewed a former detainee, Nasser Nijer Naser al-Mutairi, who said the protest ended with a senior officer delivering an apology to the entire camp. And the Times reports: "A former interrogator at Guantanamo, in an interview with the Times, confirmed the accounts of the hunger strikes, including the public expression of regret over the treatment of the Korans." (Neil A. Lewis and Eric Schmitt, "Inquiry Finds Abuses at Guantanamo Bay," New York Times, May 1, 2005.)

The hunger strike and apology story is also confirmed by another former detainee, Shafiq Rasul, interviewed by the UK Guardian in 2003 (James Meek, "The People the Law Forgot," Dec. 3, 2003). It was also confirmed by former prisoner Jamal al-Harith in an interview with the Daily Mirror (Rosa Prince and Gary Jones, "My Hell in Camp X-Ray," Daily Mirror, March 12, 2004).

The toilet incident was reported in the Washington Post in a 2003 interview with a former detainee from Afghanistan:

"Ehsannullah, 29, said American soldiers who initially questioned him in Kandahar before shipping him to Guantanamo hit him and taunted him by dumping the Koran in a toilet. 'It was a very bad situation for us,' said Ehsannullah, who comes from the home region of the Taliban leader, Mohammad Omar. 'We cried so much and shouted, "Please do not do that to the Holy Koran."' (Marc Kaufman and April Witt, "Out of Legal Limbo, Some Tell of Mistreatment," Washington Post, March 26, 2003.)

Also citing the toilet incident is testimony by Asif Iqbal, a former Guantanamo detainee who was released to British custody in March 2004 and subsequently freed without charge:

"The behavior of the guards towards our religious practices as well as the Koran was also, in my view, designed to cause us as much distress as possible. They would kick the Koran, throw it into the toilet, and generally disrespect it." (Center for Constitutional Rights [.pdf], Aug. 4, 2004.)"

Link

Just In Time For The Apocalypse

THe Picture Of Everything
Via WFMU's Beware Of The Blog

Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression
"1. Dummy up. If it's not reported, if it's not news, it didn't happen.

2. Wax indignant. This is also known as the "how dare you?" gambit.

3. Characterize the charges as "rumors" or, better yet, "wild rumors." If, in spite of the news blackout, the public is still able to learn about the suspicious facts, it can only be through "rumors." (If they tend to believe the "rumors" it must be because they are simply "paranoid" or "hysterical.")

4. Knock down straw men. Deal only with the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Even better, create your own straw men. Make up wild rumors and give them lead play when you appear to debunk all the charges, real and fanciful alike.

5. Call the skeptics names like "conspiracy theorist," "nut," "ranter," "kook," "crackpot," and of course, "rumor monger." Be sure, too, to use heavily loaded verbs and adjectives when characterizing their charges and defending the "more reasonable" government and its defenders. You must then carefully avoid fair and open debate with any of the people you have thus maligned. For insurance, set up your own "skeptics" to shoot down.

6. Impugn motives. Attempt to marginalize the critics by suggesting strongly that they are not really interested in the truth but are simply pursuing a partisan political agenda or are out to make money (compared to over-compensated adherents to the government line who, presumably, are not).

7. Invoke authority. Here the controlled press and the sham opposition can be very useful.

8. Dismiss the charges as "old news."

9. Come half-clean. This is also known as "confession and avoidance" or "taking the limited hangout route." This way, you create the impression of candor and honesty while you admit only to relatively harmless, less-than-criminal "mistakes." This stratagem often requires the embrace of a fall-back position quite different from the one originally taken. With effective damage control, the fall-back position need only be peddled by stooge skeptics to carefully limited markets.

10. Characterize the crimes as impossibly complex and the truth as ultimately unknowable.

11. Reason backward, using the deductive method with a vengeance. With thoroughly rigorous deduction, troublesome evidence is irrelevant. For example: We have a completely free press. If they know of evidence that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) had prior knowledge of the Oklahoma City bombing they would have reported it. They haven't reported it, so there was no prior knowledge by the BATF. Another variation on this theme involves the likelihood of a conspiracy leaker and a press that would report the leak.

12. Require the skeptics to solve the crime completely. For example: If Vince Foster was murdered, who did it and why?

13. Change the subject. This technique includes creating and/or publicizing distractions.

14. Scantly report incriminating facts, and then make nothing of them. This is sometimes referred to as "bump and run" reporting.

15. Baldly and brazenly lie. A favorite way of doing this is to attribute the "facts" furnished the public to a plausible-sounding, but anonymous, source.

16. Expanding further on numbers 4 and 5, have your own stooges "expose" scandals and champion popular causes. Their job is to pre-empt real opponents and to play 99-yard football. A variation is to pay rich people for the job who will pretend to spend their own money.

17. Flood the Internet with agents. This is the answer to the question, "What could possibly motivate a person to spend hour upon hour on Internet news groups defending the government and/or the press and harassing genuine critics?" Don't the authorities have defenders enough in all the newspapers, magazines, radio, and television? One would think refusing to print critical letters and screening out serious callers or dumping them from radio talk shows would be control enough, but, obviously, it is not."
Link
Via Linkfilter

Cute
cute kitten
The Daily Kitten publishes a new kitten picture every day at 3.07pm GMT.
Via Robot Wisdom

Chain Reaction

Alan Moore interviews Brian Eno
Via Metafilter

Tunage

Tofu Hut has a HUGE list of MP3 blogs.

I Want One

Solar Death Ray
Via The Viridian Mailing List

Unimpressed
Once again I'm taken aback by the excellent programming on the American Movie Classics cable channel. I'm sure cinephiles everywhere are glued to tonight's broadcast of the sensitively nuanced Chuck Norris back-to-Vietnam-yet-AGAIN shoot-and-chop-'em-up "Braddock: Missing In Action 3".

Here Comes The Coup
" Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that foreign oil companies working in the country must pay taxes he insists they owe the country, or else leave the country.
....
Chavez said that they must be charged retroactively.

The government will charge "everything they owe retroactively, along with the interests of what they didn't pay," he said.

"It's not possible that an oil company can come here, pay 1 percent royalty and not pay income tax, and still declare losses," he said."
Link
Via The Sideshow

Iraq
"* Rumsfeld's eagerness to use Iraq as a test bed for his transformation of the military was a disaster. While the US handled stage one capably, his indifferent to disorder set the stage for stage two.

* Leaving open the ammo dumps set the bed for the resistance. The Iraqi resistance is the most lavishly equipped in history. Every unit well armed with modern weapons.

*Poor planning left the US without their Third World auxillary armies to provide basic security. Without the large Pakistani and Nigerian units to patrol towns and provide basic area denial, US units have had to do two jobs, security and quick reaction.

* Disbanding the Army set the stage for the resistance to have trained people running it. These men didn't learn war from textbooks. The senior folks learned in combat and passed those lessons down

* US forces have adapted to tactics only to have those tactics shift.

* The Iraqis have minimized the use of helicopter units and limited them to observation and attack.

* The Iraqi resistance has also limited the use of the roadnet. Without convoys, resupply is impposible. This control is so dominant that US units now get some supplies by air.

* They have also thoroughly penetrated US assets in Iraq. No Iraqi unit can move without the guerrilas eventually finding out.

* US units are unable to leave their bases except on patrol. During the Vietnam War, Americans could frequent bars and live in the cities. No American can live in Iraq without security at the risk of kidnapping and death.

* The lack of infantry leaves the US unable to sustain military successes when they do occur. The scarest military resource is not armor, but trained combat infantry. Sure, you can send artillerymen out on patrol and get tankers on foot. But infantry is irreplacable for guerrilla warfare.

Every day, US forces go out, take casualities and go back to their bases, trying to survive yet another attack that night. The US, in two years, have lost lives and material, but gained little. There is not one area the US can say that guerrillas cannot operate. And that is the most important fact. After two years and 1500 dead, the guerrillas control the highway to the airport, Baghdad's main drags and the country's highways.

This is not winning."
Link
Via Unfutz

Oh Shit
"Climate change researchers have detected the first signs of a slowdown in the Gulf Stream - the mighty ocean current that keeps Britain and Europe from freezing.

They have found that one of the 'engines' driving the Gulf Stream - the sinking of supercooled water in the Greenland Sea - has weakened to less than a quarter of its former strength.

The weakening, apparently caused by global warming, could herald big changes in the current over the next few years or decades. Paradoxically, it could lead to Britain and northwestern and Europe undergoing a sharp drop in temperatures.
...
Such a change could have a severe impact on Britain, which lies on the same latitude as Siberia and ought to be much colder. The Gulf Stream transports 27,000 times more heat to British shores than all the nation's power supplies could provide, warming Britain by 5-8C.

Wadhams and his colleagues believe, however, that just such changes could be well under way. They predict that the slowing of the Gulf Stream is likely to be accompanied by other effects, such as the complete summer melting of the Arctic ice cap by as early as 2020 and almost certainly by 2080. This would spell disaster for Arctic wildlife such as the polar bear, which could face extinction."
Say goodnight Gracie Link
Mirror
Via Post-Atomic

Good Stuff
"'I've written repeatedly about how the entire club experience is a sham -- a show put on for you, by us, for the sole purpose of separating you from your money as expeditiously and efficiently as we can suck it out of your pockets. Trust me, you're not cool. We're all so thoroughly jaded by this business that we legitimately dislike you as soon as you strut through our doors. You prance past in your silk shirt, give me your ultracool handshake and slip me a twenty, and you won't get five paces into the VIP room before I'm rolling my eyes at Johnny and shaking my head in disgust. We're selling you a dream, albeit an unhealthy, distorted, delusional one bereft of any redeeming value whatsoever, rotting from the inside out. The bouncers don't like you, those gorgeous female bartenders think you're a tool, and we all want 4 AM to come around as quickly and painlessly as possible so we can get our little envelopes full of cash and go the fuck home."
I never would have thought I would be as interested in the musings of a NYC bouncer. But this guy has great stories, and he can damn well write.
Clublife

F****** Brilliant
"Open Letter to Anyone Who Gives a Shit About Justice
by Ajai Raj

I'm writing this in response to the spectacle that occurred in the LBJ Library on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005, when Ann Coulter, a diabolical, ignorant, but nevertheless charismatic right-wing pundit, came to speak at the University of Texas at Austin. Ms. Coulter--yes, Ms, I'd personally think such a vocal female conservative would be making Bubba a meat loaf instead of addressing a politically-minded collegiate audience, but whatever--is the author of relentlessly mendacious anti-liberal books, such as Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right and Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism. She's famous for having an ass that stores so many lies it makes clown-car designers envious. Like her or not (and if you do, I'm surprised you can read) she's a Big Fucking Deal.

The title of the Daily Texan front-page story covering Ms. Coulter's speech was "Arrest Made at Coulter Speech." You could also have caught it on CBS or in the Austin-American Statesman. The general idea is that some jackass made a scene, and Ann Coulter was also there.

I am Ajai Raj, and I am a jackass.

In his article, which I enjoyed and commend him for, Mr. Sampath quoted the former president of the Student Events Center, the organization which arranged the event. He wrote:

"The person had been disruptive the entire event," said Matt Hardigree, former Student Events Center president. "He took the opportunity to say something lewd and offensive and then made masturbatory gestures as he exited."

And what do I have to say in rebuttal? Not a goddamn thing."

It gets better (and worse) from there
Link
Via Metafilter

Extra! Action!
"The Extra Action Marching Band exists in a world between traditional marching band and ecstatic turmoil. This generously-portioned, smartly-attired group of up to 40 performers include a hypnotic drum corps, a smoking horn section, a bullhorn virtuoso, an aggressively friendly pep squadron, and a sultry flag team who, although not famous for their good taste, know how to work the crowd into a high state of horny hilarity with their graceful, in-your-face stunts and dizzying routines. Together the group delivers a deliriously engaging show with an emphasis on torrid rhythm, spontaneous and unrestrained expression, thunderous upheaval, and remote-controlling the collective ass of crowds everywhere. Extra Action: a frightfully charming parade happening anytime, anyplace, anticipated or not! No venue too large or too small."
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"In the past the band have been heavily inspired by Eastern European brass bands, though their current set features renditions of the entire first Black Sabbath album, with guest megaphone vocals by the scatologically inclined performance artist Extreme Elvis. "We see it as tying together three forces of evil: idol worship, cult worsip, and musical worship," says Tommy, one of the lead drummers. "
Trust San Francisco to mutate the marching band into something I would actually enjoy
Link


Papers Please
"Congressional passage of the "Real ID" legislation is now all but a done deal, House and Senate conferees having agreed to inclusion of language in an appropriations bill that is all but certain to pass.

The name "Real ID" is, if anything, too modest. Despite deep public opposition over the years to a national identity card, and Congress's unwillingness to even consider the idea directly, our security agencies have now gotten what they want as proponents have succeeded in pushing through Congress a National ID-in-disguise.

The "Real ID" Act is indeed a real (national) ID. Although individual states' driver's licenses may continue to exhibit cosmetic differences, they will now contain a standardized set of information collected by all 50 states, which means that underneath each state's pretty designs they are really a single standardized national card - backed up not only by biometrics, but also by a standardized "machine-readable zone" and by a national database of ID information. Local DMV offices may continue to appear to be state offices, but they will now become agents acting on behalf of the federal government, charged with issuing a national identity document without which one will be unable to function in America.

National database creates powerful tracking tool. Real ID requires the states to link their databases together for the mutual sharing of data from these IDs. This is, in effect, a single seamless national database, available to all the states and to the federal government. (The fact that the database is a distributed one, maintained on interconnected servers in the separate states, makes no difference.)

National database creates security risks. The creation of a single interlinked database creates a one-stop shop for identity thieves and terrorists who want to assume an American's identity. The security problems with creating concentrated databases has recently been demonstrated by the rampant number of data breaches in recent months in which information held by commercial database companies has fallen into the hands of identity thieves or others. The government's record at information security is little better and that is especially true at state Motor Vehicle Departments that have routinely been the targets of both insider and outsider fraud and just plain larceny.

The "machine-readable zone" paves the way for private-sector piggybacking. Our new IDs will have to make their data available through a "common machine-readable technology." That will make it easy for anybody in private industry to snap up the data on these IDs. Bars swiping licenses to collect personal data on customers will be just the tip of the iceberg as every retailer in America learns to grab that data and sell it to Choicepoint for a dime. It won't matter whether the states and federal government protect the data - it will be harvested by the private sector, which will keep it in a parallel database not subject even to the limited privacy rules in effect for the government.

This national ID card will make observation of citizens easy but won't do much about terrorism. The fact is, identity-based security is not an effective way to stop terrorism. ID documents do not reveal anything about evil intent - and even if they did, determined terrorists will always be able to obtain fraudulent documents (either counterfeit or real documents bought from corrupt officials).

Negotiated rulemaking. Among the any unfortunate effects of this legislation is that it pre-empts another process for considering standardized driver's licenses that was far superior. That process (set in motion by the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004) included a "negotiated rulemaking" among interested parties - including the states and civil liberties groups - to create standards. Instead, the worst form of rules is being imposed, with the details to be worked out by security officials at DHS instead of through balanced negotiations among affected parties.

"Your papers, please." In the days after 9/11, President Bush and others proclaimed that we must not let the terrorists change American life. It is now clear that - despite its lack of effectiveness against actual terrorism - we have allowed our security agencies push us into making a deep, far-reaching change to the character of American life.

Barry Steinhardt

Director Technology and Liberty Project
American Civil Liberties Union "
Link on Bruce Sterling's Blog
Background at Politech
House approves Real ID Act;One Democrat's Objections

Keep The US Out Of My Computer (And Tivo)
" In a unanimous decision, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out the broadcast flag, the FCC rule that would have crippled digital television receivers starting July 1. The ruling came in ALA v. FCC, a challenge brought by Public Knowledge, EFF, Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the American Association of Law Libraries, the Medical Library Association, and the Special Libraries Association.

The court ruled, as petitioners argued, that the FCC lacks the authority to regulate what happens inside your TV or computer once it has received a broadcast signal. The broadcast flag rule would have required all signal demodulators to "recognize and give effect to" a broadcast flag, forcing them not to record or output an unencrypted high-def digital signal if the flag were set. This technology mandate, set to take effect July 1, would have stopped the manufacture of open hardware that has enabled us to build our own digital television recorders.

This is extraordinary victory for fair use and innovation."
This is very good news.
Link


My Corner Office
homeless computer repairman
Only the finest computer hardware is good enough to produce Ultility Fog Blog.

Rare & Unreleased

Bootleg Browser
Via Salon

Eureka 2

I've succeeded in creating a page using Bash-CGI that gives links to all blog posts that have comments. It's really neat to create a program that generates HTML on the fly. I'm wondering what else I could do with this.

Chucklehead
"Benton Harbor Superintendent Paula Dawning cited the song's allegedly raunchy lyrics in ordering the McCord Middle School band not to perform it in Saturday's Grand Floral Parade, held as part of the Blossomtime Festival.
In a letter sent home with McCord students, Dawning said "Louie Louie" was not appropriate for Benton Harbor students to play while representing the district - even though the marching band wasn't going to sing it."
When "Louie Louie" is outlawed, only outlaws will have "Louie Louie". This story could only get dumber if Paula thought the song might turn kids gay. That sound you hear is my eyes rolling violently.
Link
Via Boing Boing!

Mocean
"As an interactive installation, Mocean invites members of the audience to touch, stir and play with water in a clear tank. The movement of the water is translated into movement of air in a large array of 19th-century organ pipes suspended above the water. The sound of the organ pipes envelops the person stirring up the water, its movement echoing the waves and ripples in the tank."
As soon as I read about this I instantly thought "it needs goldfish", or those funky Japanese Koi fish. "Wanna come on over and listen to my aquarium play the organ?"
Link
Via createdigitalmusic.com

Eureka
The one thing my comments system ( Pollxn ) lacks is a way to let me know if someone has posted a comment. I can check via ftp but that's inelegant and it doesn't provide a way to read the comment or the associated post. So I've written a Bash-CGI page to do the looking for me. The next step is to do some parsing so that the links open the blog post.

Hee
bush starts wars stencil

end destruction sign
Via The Wooster Collective

Oh, Really?
"Talking tough, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice informed North Korea on Monday the United States is able to defend itself and its allies against nuclear and missile threats.

Responding to reports that North Korea launched a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan on Sunday, Rice said, "I don't think there should be any doubt about our ability to deter whatever the North Koreans are up to." "
1: Clearly we can't deter them from making and testing missles, or making nuclear weapons.
2: Deterrence only works against someone rational. The North Koreans aren't dumb, but if you look up "loose cannon" in the dictionary you see this:
Kim Jong Il

Link


Wackjob
"Federal judges are a more serious threat to America than Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 terrorists, the Rev. Pat Robertson claimed yesterday.

"Over 100 years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings," Robertson said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

"I think we have controlled Al Qaeda," the 700 Club host said, but warned of "erosion at home" and said judges were creating a "tyranny of oligarchy."

Confronted by Stephanopoulos on his claims that an out-of-control liberal judiciary is the worst threat America has faced in 400 years - worse than Nazi Germany, Japan and the Civil War - Robertson didn't back down.

"Yes, I really believe that," he said. "I think they are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together.""
Pat, Pat, Pat-If anyone is a member of an oligarchy it's you. And destroying out nation's fabric (like the separation of Church and State) is your big thing. I can see where you might be worried: secular humanism must be a very dangerous and infectious meme if republican appointed federal judges are drinking the kool-aid. You better be careful, you might be next. And what do have against people with beards?
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Housekeeping

The News, Search/Reference, Science-Fiction, and Strange links pages have been cleaned of dead links, updated with new links, and redesigned. Woohoo!

Hard Boiled

San Francisco locations from "Bullitt," then and now. Via Incoming Signals

Panopticon
"The number of secret court-authorized wiretaps across the country surged by 19 percent last year, according to court records which also showed that not a single application was denied."
No worries, because we all know the government never makes mistakes.
Link
Via Metafilter