"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

Seattle WTO Aftereffects

"But I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about something else. I want to talk about the darker legacy of the WTO protests, the second major change they set in motion. I’d like to talk about what people in power, not social justice activists, learned from the WTO protests. And how and why the WTO became a turning point for the increased militarization of public space during the last ten years."

I hate to sound pushy, but this is a must-read.

The WTO Effect

Glenn Greewald on Obama's Civil Liberties Record

"So, to recap: we have indefinite detention, military commissions, Blackwater assassination squads, escalation in Afghanistan, extreme secrecy to shield executive lawbreaking from judicial review, renditions, and denials of habeas corpus. These are not policies Obama has failed yet to uproot; they are policies he has explicitly advocated and affirmatively embraced as his own." emphasis mine

Greg Craig and Obama's worsening civil liberties record


Britain Begins Iraq War Inquiry

"Military commanders are expected to tell the inquiry into the Iraq war, which opens on Tuesday, that the invasion was ill-conceived and that preparations were sabotaged by Tony Blair's government's attempts to mislead the public.

They were so shocked by the lack of preparation for the aftermath of the invasion that they believe members of the British and US governments at the time could be prosecuted for war crimes by breaching the duty outlined in the Geneva convention to safeguard civilians in a conflict, the Guardian has been told.

The lengths the Blair government took to conceal the invasion plan and the extent of military commanders' anger at what they call the government's "appalling" failures emerged as Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry's chairman, promised to produce a "full and insightful" account of how Britain was drawn into the conflict.

Fresh evidence has emerged about how Blair misled MPs by claiming in 2002 that the goal was "disarmament, not regime change". Documents show the government wanted to hide its true intentions by informing only "very small numbers" of officials."

Stay healthy George, I don't want you choking on a pretzel before you get your day in court.

Leaked documents reveal No 10 cover-up over Iraq invasion

Why Do They Hate the Constitution?

"The ACLU (with which I consult) not only defends the most elemental American liberties (e.g., the State cannot imprison people without charging and convicting them of a crime), but also renders Al Qaeda's demonization-dependent recruitment efforts against the West far less effective.  By stark contast, the Constitution-hating, warmongering and tyrannical template embraced by The Weekly Standard is precisely what Al Qaeda needs -- and desires --  in order to thrive.  The more the U.S. is represented by the warmongering and anti-due process face of Bill Kristol, the better it is for Al Qaeda; the more it adheres to the liberties and rights guaranteed by the Constitution and defended by the ACLU, the weaker Al Qaeda becomes.  Kristolian neocons want and need a strong Al Qaeda in order to justify the array of wars and civil liberties erosions they crave, and everything they advocate is designed to achieve that goal -- or, at the very least, guarantees that outcome.  

The greatest irony of the last decade is that the very people who most despise core American principles and do more than anyone to fuel Islamic extremism have anointed themselves the arbiters of American patriotism and protectors of American security.  The reality is that it is this very movement which simultaneously advances definitively un-American political values and strengthens anti-American Islamic radicals -- both by design and by effect.  The Weekly Standard's due-process-hating manifesto this morning is a vivid exhibit for how that has worked."

The Weekly Standard's ACLU smear indicts only itself

Craig Ferguson Late Late Show Lipsinc Openings



Craig Ferguson 7/8/9A Late Late Show WHITE beginning (YouTube)
Craig Ferguson's WONDERFUL Night! (YouTube)
Lifted Wholesale from The Hal Blog II

Phineas and Ferb Song: "I'm Me"

Lyrics:

I can do it, I can run, I can hunt you down.
You can try, but you can't stop me 'cause I'm gaining ground.
I'm light on my feet and I'm quick to the punch.
I had a heavy breakfast, but a real light lunch.
I'm a raging bonfire, a cherry bomb, I'm me.

I'm rough-and-tumble, I'm the one to beat,
I'm a fresh coat of blacktop burnin' up your feet.
I've got a poisonous sting, when I rain I pour.
I'm the best of the best, I'm the soup du jour.

I'm smooth as glass, and I'm sharp as a tack, I'm me.
I'm the last and best stick of gum in the pack, I'm me.

I'm a strong woman, fast-talking, big-bad-dog walking,
High falutin', drum-beatin', foot stompin', corn-poppin',
Speeding locomotive that just won't stop!
I'm a hot apple pie with a cherry on top!

I'm a crowd pleasin', head spinnin',
Winnin' in the ninth inning,
Whip-lashing, record-smashin',
Black-tie party crashing!

Cyclone of fun, I'm an army of one!
I'm strawberry sprinkles on a hot cross bun!

I'm a big haymaker in a title fight.
I'm a cute black kitten with a nasty bite.
I'm an action double-feature on a Friday night!

I'm me!
I'm me!
I'm me!
I'm me!
I'm me!

    Bonus Quotes:

  • Baljeet: "I'm rethinking having you as my wall of meat"
  • Phineas: "Hey Ferb, you've got to try this, I can't feel my brain"
I'm Me - Phineas and Ferb (YouTube)
I'm Me (Phineas and Ferb Wiki)

Lost: New Fishbiscuitland Post
CONNECTING THE DOTS

Days of the Dead
day of the dead skull covered in marigolds

"From October 31st through November 2nd, a number of festivals, holidays and solemnities take place, all loosely related and revolving around remembrance of the dead. Halloween, Samhain, All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day, the Day of the Dead and other festivals trace their origins back to Celtic, Aztec, Roman and Christian traditions. Halloween is largely a secular observation these days, All Souls and All Saints remain mainly Catholic observations, and the Day of the Dead is still largely a Latin American tradition, its roots in Mexico's Aztec heritage. Collected here are photographs over the past week from the varied observations of the Days of the Dead around the world."

Days of the Dead @ The Big Picture


Vampire Hedgehog
Thankfully, no sign of earthworm minions.

hedgehog in 
vampire halloween costume cute

I Vant To Zuck Your Mealwormz



Still Getting Away With Torture

"Yesterday, the Second Circuit -- by a vote of 7-4 -- agreed with the government and dismissed Arar's case in its entirety. It held that even if the government violated Arar's Constitutional rights as well as statutes banning participation in torture, he still has no right to sue for what was done to him. Why? Because "providing a damages remedy against senior officials who implement an extraordinary rendition policy would enmesh the courts ineluctably in an assessment of the validity of the rationale of that policy and its implementation in this particular case, matters that directly affect significant diplomatic and national security concerns" (p. 39). In other words, government officials are free to do anything they want in the national security context -- even violate the law and purposely cause someone to be tortured -- and courts should honor and defer to their actions by refusing to scrutinize them.

Reflecting the type of people who fill our judiciary, the judges in the majority also invented the most morally depraved bureaucratic requirements for Arar to proceed with his case and then claimed he had failed to meet them. Arar did not, for instance, have the names of the individuals who detained and abused him at JFK, which the majority said he must have. As Judge Sack in dissent said of that requirement: it "means government miscreants may avoid [] liability altogether through the simple expedient of wearing hoods while inflicting injury" (p. 27; emphasis added).

The commentary about this case from Harper's Scott Horton perfectly captures the depravity of what our Government has done -- and continues to do -- to Arar. His analysis should be read in its entirety, and he concludes with this:

When the history of the Second Circuit is written, the Arar decision will have a prominent place. It offers all the historical foresight of Dred Scott, in which the Court rallied to the cause of slavery, and all the commitment to constitutional principle of the Slaughter-House Cases, in which the Fourteenth Amendment was eviscerated. The Court that once affirmed that those who torture are the “enemies of all mankind” now tells us that U.S. government officials can torture without worry, because the security of our state might some day depend upon it.

I want to add one principal point to all of this. This is precisely how the character of a country becomes fundamentally degraded when it becomes a state in permanent war. So continuous are the inhumane and brutal acts of government leaders that the citizens completely lose the capacity for moral outrage and horror. The permanent claims of existential threats from an endless array of enemies means that secrecy is paramount, accountability is deemed a luxury, and National Security trumps every other consideration -- even including basic liberties and the rule of law. Worst of all, the President takes on the attributes of a protector-deity who can and must never be questioned lest we prevent him from keeping us safe."

A court decision that reflects what type of country the U.S. is


Helpless Before the Cute
vera french bulldog puppy cute

Vera the French Bulldog



Cuteness
rescued bobcat and doe friends

"A wildfire in Santa Barbara, California last month helped forge some unlikely bonds. Rescued from the Jesusita Fire, a 3-week old bobcat kitten and 3 day old fawn became fast friends. The animal rescue in California brought predator and prey together. But these babies simply took comfort in each other's company, snuggling under a desk at a dispatch office for hours."

Oct 30, 2009: Fire Survivors