"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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Lee Perry Explains It All
That's not a hat, it's a tiny spaceship.
Via Dub.com

Phrase of the Week
Ontological Violence

Obama's Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy

Via Digg

Justice After Bush

"GG: Let's talk about high-level officials, then. If you're George Bush, or you're Dick Cheney, or you're Don Rumsfeld, and a prosecutor comes to you and says, "we think that what you did here broke the law." They reply, "well, I'm not a lawyer, and I asked the Office of Legal Counsel whether or not I could do this, and they said I could." How do you get around that?

SH: I don't read the Military Commissions Act as really offering them any defense at all. It's a defense of superior orders, not a defense of reliance on opinion of counsel. But even if we deal with the reliance on opinion of counsel issue -- and I should start by saying that this is the issue, the issue of accountability of those who made the policy decisions of torture, and then gave authority at the highest level for the actual application of torture in individual cases. They're arguing -- and we see Michael Mukasey running around saying this -- that they were entitled to rely on the memoranda that were issued by the Department of Justice; those memoranda constitute a golden shield.

Well, I think we can start with one point. Does the Department of Justice believe that you have an absolute right to rely on legal opinions in engaging in criminal conduct, that this presents some sort of shield? The answer is no. The Department of Justice prosecutes, has a pending prosecution right now against a lawyer who issued an opinion and the Justice Department in that case has said, quite appropriately, "oh, it all depends on the facts and circumstances of the opinion." If you were wrong, and your arguments aren't in good faith, and the facts suggested that some after the fact application, or you were aware of facts that you should have reflected in your opinion, then we can prosecute you, and of course at the end of World War II, we did prosecute, the US did prosecute lawyers who gave opinions that look remarkably like the opinions which were issued by John Yoo and Jay Bybee.

So, this argument of reliance on counsel's opinions doesn't hold water, and these opinions are utterly worthless. I mean, they've been decried by the dean of Yale Law School as the worst legal opinions, the most incompetent legal opinions he's ever seen. I'd say, any lawyer, any ordinary practicing lawyer who looks at these opinions immediately recognizes they're not competent, they're rendered in bad faith, and no one really is entitled to rely on them. Moreover, when all the facts are brought out about how these opinions were issued, we're going to discover that the decision had already been made to torture, that the opinions were rendered after the fact as an exercise to provide ground cover. As a CYA exercise. And that, as a matter of law, it's extremely clear that these opinions cannot be used for that purpose."

Salon Radio: Scott Horton on war crimes prosecutions

Good News
Robots That Hunt in Packs
Via Warren Ellis

So It's Finally Come This
lol blimp DRGBLZ
Via Warren Ellis

I'll be so glad when my Symantec/Norton subscription runs out. It's annoying enough that Windows isn't ready to rock even though the desktop has loaded, I also have to wait 10-20 minutes for LiveUpdate's processes to stop hogging 70% of the CPU. What the hell are they doing?

Chock Full of Zombie Goodness
I availed myself of the Left 4 Dead demo. It's a hoot - you can even fight off hordes of the undead/infected alongside Barack Obama.

Dear Mr. Darwin,
Why do Rhinoceros have terrible eyesight? More to the point, why haven't they evolved better eyesight? Come to think of it, why hasn't everything evolved better eyesight?

P.S. The collective noun for a group of rhinoceros is "crash".

Lost - Season 5 Start Date

Wed, Jan 21, 2009

8 pm: Recap Show
9 pm: "Because You Left"
10 pm: "The Lie"

Utility Fog Blog has passed 250,000 hits. I attribute this more to persistence than popularity.

Center, Schmenter - I Want Change

Charlie Stross has a shopping list, and I like it:

  1. Shut down Gitmo. Try any of the inmates who face outstanding changes in front of a civilian court. Release (and if necessary, pay compensation to) those who are categorically not guilty of anything and who were swept up by mistake. Grant political asylum to the Chinese muslims and any others who are (a) not accused of anything and (b) can't return to their homes for fear of persecution.
  2. The whole torture thing? You know what needs to be done, and there's a lot of it - from reverting US interrogation practices to pre-2000 norms, to identifying those who ordered harsh measures and determining whether grounds exist for prosecution, to seeking and compensating the victims of torture. Oh, and end extraordinary rendition and wiretapping without warrants.
  3. Dismantle the DHS - it is an out of control bureaucratic Frankenstein's monster. Separate divisions can go back to doing what they did before they were stitched together. Leave in place communications channels between such divisions so they can share data, but destroy the unitary chain of command. You don't need a Gestapo.
  4. Ratify the Kyoto Treaty, and/or put the wheels in motion to participate in international talks aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
  5. Start a public Congressional enquiry into the systematic injection of politically partisan appointees in the civil service and judiciary over the past 8 years, with specific reference to politically biased prosecutors and judges, administrators in scientific agencies (NASA, NIH, Environment, and others), and election officers.
  6. Find three young, energetic, liberal supreme court justices to replace the elderly, terminally ill supreme court justices who are going to retire as soon as they can do so without handing the supreme court to Scalia on a plate.
  7. Start a public Congressional enquiry into election practices, with the objective of moving towards a bill (or if necessary draft constitutional amendment) setting out acceptable standards for the conduct of elections.
  8. Start a public enquiry into the misuse of intelligence agency resources in the run-up to 9/11 and the conduct of the war on terrorism since 9/11. Remit to include the allegations of collusion between Saddam's regime and Al Qaida, and the embarrassing question of why the USA has been unable to find Osama bin Laden for the past seven years.
  9. Start talking to the Russians about (a) gas and oil security (this includes South Ossetia), (b) Ballistic Missile Defense (and their allergy to it), (c) NATO expansion, and (d) any other grievances that must be aired in order to stop Cold War 2.0 from escalating. One cold war was quite enough, thank you (I still remember the nightmares).
  10. Start talking to the whole of the G11 - no, leaving Spain (the world's 8th largest economy) out in the cold because Dubya is having a snit at the socialist PM is not acceptable - about a global plan for rebooting the planetary economy without overheating the money markets or triggering further energy spikes. An exercise in multilateralism and soft power that will (a) achieve something useful and (b) start to convince the rest of the world that sanity has resumed.

After 8 years I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around what having responsible adults in charge will mean. Is it just me, or did anyone else think that that the Republicans acted like they'd watched Delta Force too many times?

Spread the meme: Post-Bush Accountability

Election Night in Seattle

The last part of this video has a drag queen leading the crowd in the National Anthem.
You can go away now, Ms. Palin.

Every time it starts to sink in I get a little verklempt.

I for one, welcome our new black, muslim, marxist overlords.

Obama Dance Party in the streets of Seattle
Raw Video | Celebration in Seattle
Via The Stranger

Lost - Season 5 Promo

Slightly better quality Season 5 Promo and Screencaps

    First Six Episode Titles

  • Episode 5.01 - Because You Left
  • Episode 5.02 - The Lie
  • Episode 5.03 - Jughead
  • Episode 5.04 - The Little Prince
  • Episode 5.05 - This Place is Death
  • Episode 5.06 - The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham

More Promo Screencaps

And try to wrap your head around this: Daniel at the entrance to an unimploded Swan Station being greeted by someone in a biohazard suit:
lost abc season 5 promo daniel swan hatch biohazard suit
Flashback, Time-Travel, or something else?