more shaligram spam!

a couple days ago i posted about some unusual spam i have been receiving, which advertises shaligram shilas.

today, i received a comment by an anonymous poster (which was screened, so that you guys can’t see it), the subject line of which was “hello sir“, and contained… you guessed it – spam advertising shaligram shilas.


u can see our site and tell us or call us to

kismat 09323505262 or rajiv 09322646421

that was one of the reasons why i posted a “guest map” yesterday. and, sure enough, there’s a “guest” from india on that map:

Location Time
Bethpage, NY, United States Wed, 31 Jan 2007 13:24:40 -0600
Wharton, NJ, United States Wed, 31 Jan 2007 11:44:45 -0600
Seattle, WA, United States Wed, 31 Jan 2007 11:41:46 -0600
, United Kingdom Wed, 31 Jan 2007 11:19:05 -0600
Seattle, WA, United States Wed, 31 Jan 2007 11:13:08 -0600
Walla Walla, WA, United States Wed, 31 Jan 2007 10:41:36 -0600
Auberry, CA, United States Wed, 31 Jan 2007 08:52:07 -0600
Downsview, ON, Canada Wed, 31 Jan 2007 07:27:20 -0600
Studley, United Kingdom Wed, 31 Jan 2007 06:57:34 -0600
Bombay, India Wed, 31 Jan 2007 02:03:38 -0600
San Leandro, CA, United States Wed, 31 Jan 2007 01:36:12 -0600
Ann Arbor, MI, United States Wed, 31 Jan 2007 00:46:15 -0600
Silver Spring, MD, United States Tue, 30 Jan 2007 23:42:45 -0600
Seattle, WA, United States Tue, 30 Jan 2007 23:36:17 -0600
Redwood City, CA, United States Tue, 30 Jan 2007 22:08:59 -0600
Concord, Australia Tue, 30 Jan 2007 21:42:28 -0600
, United Kingdom Tue, 30 Jan 2007 21:30:44 -0600
Houston, TX, United States Tue, 30 Jan 2007 20:54:46 -0600
Bellingham, WA, United States Tue, 30 Jan 2007 20:32:53 -0600
Universal City, TX, United States Tue, 30 Jan 2007 20:31:00 -0600
, , Canada Tue, 30 Jan 2007 20:27:20 -0600
Marlborough, MA, United States Tue, 30 Jan 2007 20:02:15 -0600
Easthampton, MA, United States Tue, 30 Jan 2007 19:47:55 -0600
Redwood City, CA, United States Tue, 30 Jan 2007 19:41:11 -0600
San Diego, CA, United States Tue, 30 Jan 2007 19:13:44 -0600

this post is specifically directed to that “visitor” from bombay, india:


the way to get people to advertise for the DESTRUCTION OF YOUR BUSINESS is to send them unsolicited email. and for me, personally, the only thing worse than an unsolicited email is an “anonymous” comment advertising your sleaze in my blog! fortunately, i was too smart for that, this time. if you don’t want me to wreak as terrible a vengance as i can think of (giving me your phone numbers and your IP address was a good idea), you’ll take your spam, and your business elsewhere, because I DON’T DO BUSINESS WITH SPAMMERS!


US answer to global warming: smoke and giant space mirrors
January 27, 2007
By David Adam

The US government wants the world’s scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming, the Guardian has learned. It says research into techniques such as giant mirrors in space or reflective dust pumped into the atmosphere would be “important insurance” against rising emissions, and has lobbied for such a strategy to be recommended by a major UN report on climate change, the first part of which will be published on Friday.

The US has also attempted to steer the UN report, prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), away from conclusions that would support a new worldwide climate treaty based on binding targets to reduce emissions – as sought by Tony Blair. It has demanded a draft of the report be changed to emphasise the benefits of voluntary agreements and to include criticisms of the Kyoto Protocol, the existing treaty which the US administration opposes.

The final IPCC report, written by experts from across the world, will underpin international negotiations to devise a new emissions treaty to succeed Kyoto, the first phase of which expires in 2012. World governments were given a draft of the report last year and invited to comment.

The US response, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, says the idea of interfering with sunlight should be included in the summary for policymakers, the prominent chapter at the front of each IPCC report. It says: “Modifying solar radiance may be an important strategy if mitigation of emissions fails. Doing the R&D to estimate the consequences of applying such a strategy is important insurance that should be taken out. This is a very important possibility that should be considered.”

Scientists have previously estimated that reflecting less than 1% of sunlight back into space could compensate for the warming generated by all greenhouse gases emitted since the industrial revolution. Possible techniques include putting a giant screen into orbit, thousands of tiny, shiny balloons, or microscopic sulphate droplets pumped into the high atmosphere to mimic the cooling effects of a volcanic eruption. The IPCC draft said such ideas were “speculative, uncosted and with potential unknown side-effects”.

The US submission is based on the views of dozens of government officials and is accompanied by a letter signed by Harlan Watson, senior climate negotiator at the US state department. It complains the IPCC draft report is “Kyoto-centric” and it wants to include the work of economists who have reported “the degree to which the Kyoto framework is found wanting”. It takes issue with a statement that “one weakness of the [Kyoto] protocol, however, is its non-ratificiation by some significant greenhouse gas emitters” and asks: “Is this the only weakness worth mentioning? Are there others?”

It also insists the wording on the ineffectiveness of voluntary agreements be altered to include “a number of them have had significant impacts” and complains that overall “the report tends to overstate or focus on the negative effects of climate change.” It also wants more emphasis on responsibilities of the developing world.

The IPCC report is made up of three sections. The first, on the science of climate change, will be launched on Friday. Sections on the impact and mitigation of climate change – in which the US wants to include references to the sun-blocking technology – will follow later this year.

The likely contents of the report have been an open secret since the Bush administration posted its draft copy on the internet in April. Next week’s science report will say there is a 90% chance that human activity is warming the planet, and that global average temperatures will rise another 1.5C to 5.8C this century depending on emissions. The US response shows it accepts these statements, but it disagrees with a more tentative conclusion that rising temperatures have made hurricanes more powerful.


Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!

that should make those of you who are paranoid about such things (including myself) go into a paroxysm… 8)

You scored as Otherkin.

You are Otherkin. You identify with otherworldy beings and feel you are truly something other than human. You are only biding your time here until you can return to where you truly belong. You seek others who share your yearnings and spend your time commiserating with those you like and mocking the ones you don’t.







White Lighter


True Alternative






Aimless Eclectic


What Subversive Alternative Paradigm Are You?
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does anybody else get spam advertising shaligram shilas? i don’t believe that they’re actually in business selling shaligram shilas, but that’s what the spam says, and it spamvertises a web site that is shaligram dot com… if they’re really in the business of selling shaligrams i would be very surprised, but i deliberately haven’t looked because i don’t do business with spammers regardless of what their business is, but at the same time… shaligram shilas are sort of specialised, and would only be interesting to a few people… why me?

journey to the center of the universe

today i took the incense part of Hybrid Elephant to the Fremont Sunday Market. next time i’ll dress more appropriately… and wear a warmer hat, ’cause it was COLD today.

despite that fact, i made $57, $22 of which i gave to ganesha, so i came out with $35. not too bad for standing out in the cold all day. next time i’ll bring a chair. the people i saw that i knew weren’t people who read this blog, and they didn’t buy incense, but it didn’t matter because several people that i didn’t know did buy incense, so it all worked out in the end.


Canada compensates man U.S. deported to Syria
January 26, 2007

OTTAWA, Canada (AP) — Canada’s prime minister apologized to Maher Arar on Friday and announced the government would compensate him C$10.5 million (US$8.9 million) for its role in his deportation from the U.S. to Syria, where he was tortured while held in prison for nearly a year.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper again called on the U.S. government to remove the Ottawa telecoms engineer from any of its no-fly or terrorist watchlists and reiterated that Ottawa would keep pressing Washington to clear Arar’s name.

“We think the evidence is absolutely clear and that the United States should in good faith remove Mr. Arar from the list,” Harper told a news conference in Ottawa. “We don’t intend to either change or drop our position.”

The U.S. government has repeatedly insisted it has reasons to leave the 37-year-old on its watchlists. The issue has grown into an unpleasant diplomatic row between the world’s largest trading partners and closest allies.

The Syrian-born Arar, who moved to Canada with his family when he was 17, is the best-known case of rendition, a practice in which the U.S. government sends foreign terror suspects to third countries for interrogation.

Arar thanked the Canadian government at a news conference Friday.

“The struggle to clear my name has been long and hard; my kids have suffered silently and I feel that I owe them a lot,” said Arar, who also thanked Canadians for standing by him. (Watch Arar tell of family’s heartache Video)

“Without the support of the Canadian people, I may never have come home and I would not have been able to stay strong and push for the truth,” he said.

A ‘terrible ordeal’
Arar was detained at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport in 2002 during a stopover on his way home to Canada from a vacation with his family in Tunisia.

He said he was chained and shackled by U.S. authorities for 11 days during interrogation and then flown to Syria, where he was tortured and forced to make false confessions.

He was released 10 months later, with Syrian officials saying they had no reason to hold him further.

“On behalf of the government of Canada, I want to extend a full apology to you and Monia as well as your family for the role played by Canadian officials in the terrible ordeal that you experienced in 2002 and 2003,” Harper said. Arar and his wife, Monia Mazigh, and their young son and daughter now live in Kamloops, British Columbia.

“I sincerely hope that these words and actions will assist you and your family in your efforts to begin a new and hopeful chapter in your lives,” Harper said, adding the compensation package would also pay for his estimated $1 million in legal fees.

Arar was exonerated last September after a two-year public inquiry led by Associate Chief Justice of Ontario Dennis O’Connor.

It found that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police wrongly labeled Arar as an Islamic fundamentalist and passed misleading and inaccurate information to U.S. authorities, which very likely led to Arar’s arrest and deportation.

The report pointed out that Arar’s inability to find work since his return from Syria has had a devastating economic and psychological impact on him and his family.

O’Connor urged the RCMP to usher in a raft of policy changes on information sharing, training and monitoring of security probes. In the aftermath, RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli resigned over his handling of the file.

Cross-border tensions
The U.S. District Court of Appeals last February dismissed Arar’s lawsuit against U.S. government officials, ruling the deportation of the dual Syrian-Canadian citizen was protected on national security grounds. His attorneys with the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights filed an appeal in December.

“We are grateful that the Canadian government has had the humanity to try to right the terrible wrong that was done to Maher,” CCR Attorney Maria LaHood said in a statement Friday. “We still hope the U.S. government will follow Canada’s lead.”

The new Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy, earlier this month publicly scolded U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for refusing to explain why the United States had sent a Canadian citizen to Syria.

“The Canadian government now has taken several steps to accept responsibility for its role in sending Mr. Arar to Syria, where he was tortured,” Leahy said in a statement Friday. “The question remains why, even if there were reasons to consider him suspicious, the U.S. government shipped him to Syria where he was tortured, instead of to Canada for investigation or prosecution.”

He said the U.S. Justice Department intended to respond to his demands next week.

U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, on Wednesday chastised Canadian Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day for continuing to press Washington on the Arar matter.

“It’s a little presumptuous of him to say who the United States can and cannot allow into our country,” Wilkins said.

In a recent letter to Day, U.S. Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff and Gonzales said U.S. files on Arar indicate the decision to keep Arar on watchlists is “appropriate.”

“Our conclusion in this regard is supported by information developed by U.S. law enforcement agencies that is independent of that provided to us by Canada with regard to Mr. Arar,” the letter said, adding that they wished to thank Canada for its cooperation in fighting terrorism.

Arar said his case has forced some Canadians to question their relationship to the United States, noting U.S. authorities declined to participate in Canada’s federal inquiry.

“It’s a question that touches all Canadians,” Arar said. “Can we really trust the Americans to be our partners in the fight against terrorism?”

Garden of Weedin’
Oregon’s medical marijuana growers want to win respect, help the sick…and grow the kindest bud on the planet.
January 24th, 2004

A miniature version of Eden grows in Chris Duback’s deep-Southeast Portland basement. But there is trouble in paradise.

Visitors wouldn’t notice the danger. Everything in this small, white-walled room looks fantastic. The 1,000-watt metal-halide lights and two-headed sets of 100-watt fluorescent bulbs shower 18 marijuana plants with a downpour of artificial light. The blaze makes every shade of green glow with radioactive intensity.

The plants seem happy. This is pampered, boutique dope, rooted in calcium-rich dirt imported from Australia. Their tidy green plastic buckets bear the trademark of Monrovia, a national yuppie-chic garden-supply company. Today, though, this verdant, Zen-tidy cannabis colony faces potentially mortal threats—threats that have nothing to do with cops or prosecutors eager to stamp out Demon Weed. No, Duback’s problems are botanical.

“I’ve got myself a little fungus outbreak there,” Duback says over the soothing whir of an electric dehumidifier. “And—ooh.” He stoops over one plant and gently turns over one serrated leaf. “There’s a little spider mite outbreak here.”

The underside of the leaf is speckled with tiny white spots.

“It’s an ongoing battle,” Duback says. “If I neglected this for 72 hours, I might as well cut my plants down.”

Invaders. Parasites. Bloom cycles. Feeding and watering schedules. Electrical wiring. Security. Airflow. Genetics and crossbreeding. Flavor. Aroma. Potency….

These are the concerns Duback tangles with during the 90-day artificial growing cycle he imposes on his cannabis plants. “It is a wizardry thing,” he says. “That aspect of it is a great motivator. It really does inspire.”

One thing he doesn’t need to worry about is the law, because—at least as far as the state of Oregon is concerned—his little THC factory is as legal as Sunday school. Duback is a registered medical-marijuana grower; he supplies three patients, who help cover his expenses with small donations. Duback is just one of 6,190 growers (sometimes called “caregivers”) who provide Oregon’s more than 12,800 medical-marijuana cardholders with their state-approved medicine.

Oregon voters just said yes to medical marijuana by a landslide in 1998. Today, the otherwise-verboten plant is used to treat a variety of ailments, including AIDS, cancer, spasms, glaucoma and chronic pain. Of course, no pharmacy will sell you an ounce. So the task of growing Oregon’s medical crop falls to independent gardeners like Chris Duback.

Duback happens to be among the best: His marijuana wins prizes at the annual Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards. He is part of a whole new class of Oregon farmer: a sub-subculture of gardening nerds, freelance pharmacologists, pro-legalization activists and good Samaritans. They are openly allowed to grow, study and attempt to perfect the nation’s most illicit crop.

And like other forms of agriculture, medical marijuana cultivation is becoming of interest to Oregon’s political leaders. A bill just introduced in the Legislature would pave the way for a state-run experimental garden, to help the medical-marijuana community solve the drug’s mysteries.

“I’m told there are something like 250 varieties of cannabis, and they all have their special efficacies,” says Sen. Bill Morrisette, the Springfield Democrat sponsoring the as-yet-unnumbered bill. “It would be great for someone to study them.”

Besides the OMC Awards and the legislative attention, a whole array of resources is springing up to serve Oregon’s green thumbs. Growers can enroll in classes (“Making Medical Grade Hashish”), trade tips in online forums and kibbitz at packed monthly meetings in Portland. Gardeners have access to a genetic treasure trove of cannabis strains—distinct varieties, ready for creative crossbreeding—mostly for free.

Meanwhile, firsthand reports suggest that some of the marijuana grown by people like Duback is very, very good indeed. Crops are small and handcrafted; the law’s restrictions keep the profit motive largely out of the picture.

“It’s like the difference between microbrew and Anheuser-Busch,” says one national marijuana-rights activist. “In Oregon, you have individuals or little groups caring for small gardens. The attention to detail creates a better product by far.”

So—are you ready for artisanal weed?

The craft of medical marijuana cultivation is a far-flung subject, but the airy, 5,000-square-foot offices of The Hemp & Cannabis Foundation are a good place to start. The national nonprofit is based just off East Burnside Street in inner Southeast Portland. It provides would-be patients a chance to talk to sympathetic doctors. And it is here that registered growers can take classes like “Advanced Gardening” and “Administering Medical Marijuana Safely.”

Paul Stanford, a soft-spoken 46-year-old, is THCF’s executive director, and one of the George Washingtons of Oregon’s medical-marijuana system. He also helps grow some prize-winning bud.

In 1985, Stanford—an Army vet who went to Olympia’s structure-light Evergreen State College after the service—rented a Portland house, ripped out the floor, broke open the foundation and dug deep trenches for his first indoor crop. He learned his techniques from some legendary local masters. John Sajo, for example, had his signature growing style published in High Times as “the Jaso Method.” An author named Jorge Cervantes lived in Portland while working on the soon-to-be-legendary Indoor Marijuana Horticulture.

“That was my bible,” Stanford says now.

Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, the Northwest was a hotbed of cannabis research and development. “All that work was done by underground pioneers,” Stanford says. “A lot of them found themselves persecuted.”

Stanford himself nearly landed in federal prison for cultivation and possession in the late ’80s. His close-shave trial prompted him to give up gardening, if not pro-hemp activism. Two years after he helped lead the charge for 1998’s historic Measure 68 (see sidebar, page 20), he founded THCF, and it now operates in five states. (According to public records, the nonprofit took in over $350,000 in 2004, mostly by charging fees to patients who see doctors at the foundation’s offices.) The foundation also grows marijuana for about two dozen patients.

The foundation employs a couple of gardeners to tend its crops. One of them, writing under the name The Medicine Man, published a how-to article called “The Pot Whisperer” in the latest issue of High Times. Some of their methods are striking even to a non-gardener.

“A friend of ours has a tortoise,” Stanford says. “A big tortoise. And the manure from that tortoise—it was very productive for these plants.”

Even though humans have grown cannabis since the dawn of agriculture, scientists are only now coming to grips with the dynamic between talking primates and the ugly herb. Not to get all intelligent-design or anything, but we are ideally wired for marijuana use. Our brains are laced with a network of chemical receptors that bond specifically with cannabinoids, the plant’s various psychoactive compounds. (THC is marijuana’s best-known active chemical, but there are others.)

That “special relationship” helps explain why therapeutic uses of marijuana date back thousands of years—and why major pharmaceutical companies are currently racing to invent and market cannabis-based prescription drugs.

Because cannabis plants are either male or female, it’s very easy to create new hybrid strains. In the ’70s, illegal growers crossbred two subspecies, Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa, which diverged thousands of years before. The result was an explosion of more potent, more exotic and more complex new hybrids.

“All of our plants originally come from the black market,” Stanford says. “When the program first started, there was no other source. We wanted to get the best, so we sought out those Afghan strains—the skunky ones. Now, though, the breeding process can take place openly. Caregivers can get together and exchange cuttings. The quality and variety have increased over time.”

It may not be exactly wh at a young Paul Stanford had in mind when he was organizing Reefer Madness screenings at college campuses. But, he says, it’s all pretty remarkable. “This is the first time since cannabis was outlawed in the ’30s that any of this has become possible.”

It is both somewhat disappointing and very telling that during the month I spent reporting this story, nobody offered to get me high.

Oh, my face came within inches of the—what do the kids say?—dankest marijuana I’ve seen or smelled. At December’s Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards, I sat next to a vacuum-seal canister packed with tiny, sample-size Ziploc bags. At one point, I was surrounded by hundreds of people partaking.

But no one—not Chris Duback, not “The Medicine Man,” not “Sister Sativa,” another pot whisperer I met at the awards—tried to “broaden my mind,” so to speak. That highlights a paradox of Oregon’s medical-use laws: They created the most law-abiding marijuana-based subculture ever.

Illegal weed is, of course, mammoth. A December report in the pro-legalization Bulletin of Cannabis Reform estimated U.S.-grown cannabis’s value at $35 billion, which would make it the nation’s largest cash crop. The same report estimated Oregon’s contribution to that total at about $2.6 billion, or more than 7 percent.

The medical growing community, in comparison, is tiny. Growers are allowed to cultivate up to 24 plants for every patient they serve, but only six plants can be mature enough to harvest at a time. Patients technically own the marijuana throughout the growing process. While growers can collect money to cover their expenses and time, the weed itself can’t be bought or sold. In practice, that means medical gardens tend to be frugal, semi-pro operations.

Oregon’s growers want to draw a bright line between themselves and illegal dope farmers. And that’s a challenge—in part because of public perceptions.

“People always want to treat us like we’re a joke, but this isn’t a game,” says Madeline Martinez, executive director of the Oregon chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “People are in pain. If they can’t work through a legitimate system to get what they need, what do they do?”

Martinez herself is both a cardholder and a gardener. At NORML-sponsored events, she maintains a presence that combines den mother, civil-rights firebrand and drill sergeant. She helped steer 2005’s legislative reforms allowing bigger gardens—through Oregon’s Republican-run state House, no less. Now, she and other activists want to push for the proposed state-run experimental garden. (Other legislators and a spokesman for Gov. Ted Kulongoski declined to comment, saying they haven’t yet read Morrisette’s bill, which would direct the state’s Department of Human Services to study the possibility of a garden. Martinez, for one, sees money for such a project coming straight out of the Oregon medical marijuana program itself. Patients must pay fees when they register, and the program runs a six-figure surplus.)

Such ambitions make legitimacy key.

“We make sure everyone follows the rules at our events,” Martinez says. “If someone makes trouble, we call the police. And the police come, walk right through the event, past all this medical marijuana, and throw the people out. We’re above board, and we want to keep it that way.”

The fifth annual Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards were held in December in a drab building next to Portland’s Convention Center. The event was as notable for its banality as its oddity.

Yes, the Awards are the only major non-clandestine cannabis competition in the United States. And yes, 28 different strains were evaluated for flavor, aroma, potency and other qualities, with prizes in every category. The judges—all cardholding patients—filled out elaborate score sheets, complete with Wine Spectator-style comments (“A very pine-like smell…”).

And yes, you could see a Buddhist monk line up behind a NASCAR-dad type in a camo ball cap to buy tickets to a raffle for a glass bong autographed by Tommy Chong.

Mostly, though, the Awards comprised a businesslike tradeshow and buffet banquet. The biggest prizes were reserved for the strains determined to pack the most potent medicinal punch.

The idea is to figure out which strains work best for particular illnesses. Prizewinners are quickly disseminated through the growers’ network.

The festivities also give people whose pride and joy grows in basements and behind high fences a moment of quasi-celebrity. During the tradeshow, I met a man named Bobby B., a towering, gray-haired Vietnam vet. Bobby B. grows Sellwood Thunder, a venerable Portland strain featured in High Times twice. He handed me a business card. A photo on the card’s reverse side showed Bobby posing by a luxurious green bush. The front of the card read: “Look for Bobby B.’s new hybrid, Thunder Jack.”

“I started growing Sellwood Thunder because it was known for being rich, full-bodied herb,” Bobby B. told me. “But most importantly, it had low smell, so it was hard for cops to detect. There would be times that you couldn’t even get a crop in because of law enforcement.

“Now, everything’s changed. I would say we have some of the best growers in the world here in Oregon, doing it legitimately. I still grow the same way I grew 20 years ago. But now I can show people what I do.”

On a cold January afternoon, the Mount Tabor Theater is a DEA agent’s vision of hell.

The dim, cavernous old nightclub on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard is packed with more than 200 medical-marijuana cardholders and growers. (The monthly meeting always draws a capacity crowd.) As soon as the place is full, the front doors are locked. An inferno of joints and pipes erupts. Within minutes, a dense fog of aromatic smoke fills the club’s high, arched ceilings.

The meeting is primarily a networking opportunity. Would-be gardeners hook up with patients in search of suppliers. Old men hobble behind walkers; electric wheelchairs slowly navigate the crowd. Pale, drawn faces suck avidly at pipes. A chair-bound woman rolls past, her hands shaking so badly she can barely slide a tiny baby cannabis plant into a brown paper bag.

A long table holds a veritable bazaar of midget starter plants, free for the taking. Blueberry God sits next to a “Hawaiian/KGB cross.” The strain called Medicine Woman, which won the overall championship at this year’s Awards, is going fast. (Medicine Woman’s developer, a near-legendary Eastern Oregon grower named Dave Verstoppen, gets a huge ovation later.) G13, Mango, Cush, Shibah, Juicy Fruit—the genetic variation on display puts the Westminster Kennel Club in the shade.

A young guy who introduces himself as “Reverend Rob Remedy of the Church of Cognitive Therapy” is passing out a strain called Alien Trainwreck.

“Trainwreck is from Texas,” Reverend Rob explains. “It’s a 50-50 cross between a sativa and an indica. It’s used for pain relief and sleeplessness, Crohn’s disease and other digestive problems. The indica gives a narcotic, drowsy-making effect, so Trainwreck is really good for cancer patients and people with low appetites.

“Now, Cali Mist—that’s the polar opposite. It’s a pure sativa, so it’s really good for anxiety and depression. Sativas in general give a more cerebral, up, happy high.” (Word to the wise: Marijuana is not approved for insomnia, anxiety or depression in Oregon.)

Other states, of course, have approved medical marijuana in various guises. But Oregon’s particular laws encourage this kind of open exchange of information (and plant DNA) in a way other states do not.

“In Washington state, you probably would never see an event like this,” says Dominic Holden, a member of NORML’s national board of directors in town for the meeting. “Under the law there, medical use is just an affirmative defense, so you can still be arrested and have your life ruined, even if you’re acquitted. People would be extremely reluctant to assemble like this. In California, the medical gardens are huge. You don’t see this hands-on feel.”

As the meeting approaches its smoke-choked conclusion, I run into The Medicine Man, full-time gardener for The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation and author of the growing treatise just published by High Times. He’s an intense, focused guy in his 50s.

“I can’t say we’re better or worse than anyone else,” he says of Oregon’s legalized pot whisperers. “But I can say that techniques we’ve developed here have come a long way, and so have the strains. And we’re continually trying to improve.”

Chris Duback keeps his emerald-green Medical Cannabis Awards trophy (he took second overall in 2003) on an end table in his immaculate living room. The ribbon he won this year hangs from the frame of the door between his dining room and kitchen.

Duback supports himself through a jack-of-all-trades career: construction and (yes) gardening jobs, property management, hauling firewood, whatever. To see him in his basement garden, though, is to know that his true calling is encoded in the beguiling chemistry and life cycle of the cannabis plant.

Like other Oregon medical marijuana growers, Duback is proud of helping his patients. He’s happy the law is on his side. Most of all, though, he seems hungry for the horticultural “wizardry” he practices downstairs to be recognized as a contribution to the greater good.

“We’re legitimate in the eyes of the law, but there’s a lack of legitimacy at the dinner table,” he says. “I’ve had people in my life who are like, ‘Oh, there’s this terrible thing about Christopher, and it involves marijuana.’ It really should be, ‘Oh, there’s this great thing about Christopher. And it involves marijuana.'”

Altered States
“A lot of people are involved in some pretty major criminal activity, and they’re using state law to traffic in drugs.” So said a federal Drug Enforcement Agency spokeswoman in the Los Angeles Times last week, after agents raided 11 medical-marijuana “dispensaries” in Los Angeles.

The raids enraged local officials and underscored the political tensions surrounding medical marijuana and the significant differences among states that embrace it.

Twelve states have approved some form of medicinal marijuana use. California was the first in 1996. In Oregon, after two decades of unsuccessful legalization proposals (one would have allowed pot sales at state liquor stores) and fights about just how decriminalized marijuana should be, voters approved medical use by a 55-45 margin in 1998.

The feds don’t recognize any legitimate medical use of marijuana, leading to a cold war of sorts between the DEA, the Food and Drug Administration and the states. The dispute sees occasional hot flashes: In addition to the L.A. raids, a cannabis-advocacy group in Everett, Wash., was busted last week.

Meanwhile, states have very distinct laws. Since voters approved medical marijuana, Oregon has amended its rules to be more specific on how patients and growers must register and how much marijuana can be cultivated and possessed. Other states aren’t as clear, or provide less oversight and protection. Washington, for example, does not maintain a state registry of qualified patients—its law only exempts doctor-certified patients from state prosecution (provided their possession is under a certain limit) if they’re arrested.

In California, large, quasi-commercial dispensaries (or “collectives”) dominate cultivation. Some provide marijuana to hundreds of patients and grow thousands of plants. According to Madeline Martinez of Oregon NORML, California dispensaries often charge high prices (and skirt laws against selling medical marijuana). That’s one reason, she says, for Oregon to create a state-run garden: In addition to testing different strains, a publicly owned garden could guarantee a permanent source of low-cost “medicine.”


i’m taking the incense part of Hybrid Elephant to the fremont sunday market tomorrow. if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and say hi… or something (which means, i suppose, that if you also buy some incense, i wouldn’t mind, but even if you don’t want any incense, it wouldn’t matter as long as you say hi) i don’t know how well it’s going to do, but it can’t hurt to try.


last night i “found” a web site in india that has all kinds of CDs, rudraksha, narmada sivalinga, shaligram shilas and other stuff that i really want to resell on Hybrid Elephant. i put “found” in quotation marks because i have actually had their site bookmarked for a few years, but the part of their site that i have had bookmarked is their “spiritual library”, which is where they have 108 upanishads and a whole bunch of sivaite literature, and i never bothered to click their “spiritual store” link before, because i had no reason to.

i ordered a bunch of stuff to check out their quality, but if it’s anything like i think it is, there’s a good chance that it’s basically a done deal, because the most expensive cd that i ordered was $4.65 for Pradosha Shiva Pooja. not only that, but originally i had some difficulty navigating their site, so i hit the “contact us” link and explained my problem, and this morning i had 2 emails from them saying that the problem was fixed, and offering me other methods to get to the same result. i haven’t gotten that level of customer service from hardly any other web site, particularly one in india, so these people have made a great impression on me. if their delivery is as good as their customer service, i’ll be listening to CDs from india in a week or so.


Bush’s legacy: The president who cried wolf
Bush’s strategy fails because it depends on his credibility
By Keith Olbermann
Jan 11, 2007

Only this president, only in this time, only with this dangerous, even messianic certitude, could answer a country demanding an exit strategy from Iraq, by offering an entrance strategy for Iran.

Only this president could look out over a vista of 3,008 dead and 22,834 wounded in Iraq, and finally say, “Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me” — only to follow that by proposing to repeat the identical mistake … in Iran.

Only this president could extol the “thoughtful recommendations of the Iraq Study Group,” and then take its most far-sighted recommendation — “engage Syria and Iran” — and transform it into “threaten Syria and Iran” — when al-Qaida would like nothing better than for us to threaten Syria, and when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would like nothing better than to be threatened by us.

This is diplomacy by skimming; it is internationalism by drawing pictures of Superman in the margins of the text books; it is a presidency of Cliff Notes.

And to Iran and Syria — and, yes, also to the insurgents in Iraq — we must look like a country run by the equivalent of the drunken pest who gets battered to the floor of the saloon by one punch, then staggers to his feet, and shouts at the other guy’s friends, “Ok, which one of you is next?”

Mr. Bush, the question is no longer “what are you thinking?,” but rather “are you thinking at all?”

“I have made it clear to the prime minister and Iraq’s other leaders that America’s commitment is not open-ended,” you said last night.

And yet — without any authorization from the public, which spoke so loudly and clearly to you in November’s elections — without any consultation with a Congress (in which key members of your own party, including Sens. Sam Brownback, Norm Coleman and Chuck Hagel, are fleeing for higher ground) — without any awareness that you are doing exactly the opposite of what Baker-Hamilton urged you to do — you seem to be ready to make an open-ended commitment (on America’s behalf) to do whatever you want, in Iran.

Our military, Mr. Bush, is already stretched so thin by this bogus adventure in Iraq that even a majority of serving personnel are willing to tell pollsters that they are dissatisfied with your prosecution of the war.

It is so weary that many of the troops you have just consigned to Iraq will be on their second tours or their third tours or their fourth tours — and now you’re going to make them take on Iran and Syria as well?

Who is left to go and fight, sir?

Who are you going to send to “interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria”?

Laura and Barney?

The line is from the movie “Chinatown” and I quote it often: “Middle of a drought,” the mortician chuckles, “and the water commissioner drowns. Only in L.A.!”

Middle of a debate over the lives and deaths of another 21,500 of our citizens in Iraq, and the president wants to saddle up against Iran and Syria.

Maybe that’s the point — to shift the attention away from just how absurd and childish this latest war strategy is, (strategy, that is, for the war already under way, and not the one on deck).

We are going to put 17,500 more troops into Baghdad and 4,000 more into Anbar Province to give the Iraqi government “breathing space.”

In and of itself that is an awful and insulting term.

The lives of 21,500 more Americans endangered, to give “breathing space” to a government that just turned the first and perhaps the most sober act of any democracy — the capital punishment of an ousted dictator — into a vengeance lynching so barbaric and so lacking in the solemnities necessary for credible authority, that it might have offended the Ku Klux Klan of the 19th century.

And what will our men and women in Iraq do?

The ones who will truly live — and die — during what Mr. Bush said last night will be a “year ahead” that “will demand more patience, sacrifice, and resolve”?

They will try to seal Sadr City and other parts of Baghdad where the civil war is worst.

Mr. Bush did not mention that while our people are trying to do that, the factions in the civil war will no longer have to focus on killing each other, but rather they can focus anew on killing our people.

Because last night the president foolishly all but announced that we will be sending these 21,500 poor souls, but no more after that, and if the whole thing fizzles out, we’re going home.

The plan fails militarily.

The plan fails symbolically.

The plan fails politically.

Most importantly, perhaps, Mr. Bush, the plan fails because it still depends on your credibility.

You speak of mistakes and of the responsibility “resting” with you.

But you do not admit to making those mistakes.

And you offer us nothing to justify this clenched fist toward Iran and Syria.

In fact, when you briefed news correspondents off-the-record before the speech, they were told, once again, “if you knew what we knew … if you saw what we saw … ”

“If you knew what we knew” was how we got into this morass in Iraq in the first place.

The problem arose when it turned out that the question wasn’t whether we knew what you knew, but whether you knew what you knew.

You, sir, have become the president who cried wolf.

All that you say about Iraq now could be gospel.

All that you say about Iran and Syria now could be prescient and essential.

We no longer have a clue, sir.

We have heard too many stories.

Many of us are as inclined to believe you just shuffled the director of national intelligence over to the State Department because he thought you were wrong about Iran.

Many of us are as inclined to believe you just put a pilot in charge of ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because he would be truly useful in an air war next door in Iran.

Your assurances, sir, and your demands that we trust you, have lost all shape and texture.

They are now merely fertilizer for conspiracy theories.

They are now fertilizer, indeed.

The pile has been built slowly and with seeming care.

I read this list last night, before the president’s speech, and it bears repeating because its shape and texture are perceptible only in such a context.

Before Mr. Bush was elected, he said nation-building was wrong for America.

Now he says it is vital.

He said he would never put U.S. troops under foreign control.

Last night he promised to embed them in Iraqi units.

He told us about WMD.

Mobile labs.

Secret sources.

Aluminum tubes.


He has told us the war is necessary:

Because Saddam was a material threat.

Because of 9/11.

Because of Osama Bin Laden. Al-Qaida. Terrorism in general.

To liberate Iraq. To spread freedom. To spread Democracy. To prevent terrorism by gas price increases.

Because this was a guy who tried to kill his dad.

Because — 439 words in to the speech last night — he trotted out 9/11 again.

In advocating and prosecuting this war he passed on a chance to get Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

To get Muqtada Al-Sadr. To get Bin Laden.

He sent in fewer troops than the generals told him to. He ordered the Iraqi army disbanded and the Iraqi government “de-Baathified.”

He short-changed Iraqi training. He neglected to plan for widespread looting. He did not anticipate sectarian violence.

He sent in troops without life-saving equipment. He gave jobs to foreign contractors, and not Iraqis. He staffed U.S. positions there, based on partisanship, not professionalism.

He and his government told us: America had prevailed, mission accomplished, the resistance was in its last throes.

He has insisted more troops were not necessary. He has now insisted more troops are necessary.

He has insisted it’s up to the generals, and then removed some of the generals who said more troops would not be necessary.

He has trumpeted the turning points:

The fall of Baghdad, the death of Uday and Qusay, the capture of Saddam. A provisional government, a charter, a constitution, the trial of Saddam. Elections, purple fingers, another government, the death of Saddam.

He has assured us: We would be greeted as liberators — with flowers;

As they stood up, we would stand down. We would stay the course; we were never about “stay the course.”

We would never have to go door-to-door in Baghdad. And, last night, that to gain Iraqis’ trust, we would go door-to-door in Baghdad.

He told us the enemy was al-Qaida, foreign fighters, terrorists, Baathists, and now Iran and Syria.

He told us the war would pay for itself. It would cost $1.7 billion. $100 billion. $400 billion. Half a trillion. Last night’s speech alone cost another $6 billion.

And after all of that, now it is his credibility versus that of generals, diplomats, allies, Democrats, Republicans, the Iraq Study Group, past presidents, voters last November and the majority of the American people.

Oh, and one more to add, tonight: Oceania has always been at war with East Asia.

Mr. Bush, this is madness.

You have lost the military. You have lost the Congress to the Democrats. You have lost most of the Iraqis. You have lost many of the Republicans. You have lost our allies.

You are losing the credibility, not just of your presidency, but more importantly of the office itself.

And most imperatively, you are guaranteeing that more American troops will be losing their lives, and more families their loved ones. You are guaranteeing it!

This becomes your legacy, sir: How many of those you addressed last night as your “fellow citizens” you just sent to their deaths.

And for what, Mr. Bush?

So the next president has to pull the survivors out of Iraq instead of you?

Cheney: Senate Resolution "Won’t Stop Us"
Vice President Says It’s “Hogwash” To Say Bush’s Credibility Is At Stake In Iraq
Jan. 25, 2007

The White House reaction to the Senate resolution opposing President Bush’s decision to send more troops to Iraq came from Vice President Dick Cheney. In a word, he was defiant, saying about the general idea of a resolution, “It won’t stop us.”

“We are moving forward. The Congress has control over the purse strings. They have the right, obviously, if they want, to cut off funding,” Cheney said Wednesday in an occasionally testy CNN interview.

“But in terms of this effort, the president has made his decision. We’ve consulted extensively with them. We’ll continue to consult with the Congress. But the fact of the matter is, we need to get the job done.”

If the president was almost humbly pleading with Congress in Tuesday’s State of the Union address to give his plan a chance, CBS News chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod says the vice president played what has come to be his typical role: the enforcer.

He dismissed suggestions that the Bush administration’s credibility is on the line because of mistakes in Iraq as “hogwash.”

And he railed at critics for not coming up with a plan of their own for Iraq.

“The critics have not suggested a policy — they haven’t put anything in place,” Cheney said. “All they’ve recommended is to redeploy or to withdraw our forces. The fact is, we can complete the task in Iraq. We’re going to do it. We’ve got (Lt. Gen. David) Petraeus — Gen. Petraeus taking over. It is a good strategy. It will work. But we have to have the stomach to finish the task.”

Cheney acknowledged the situation in Iraq was very unstable but said toppling Saddam Hussein had been the right thing to do. He said he trusted Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who he said had demonstrated a willingness to take on lawbreakers regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliations.

The vice president said the biggest mistake the United States has made in the war was underestimating the psychological effect Saddam’s regime had on Iraqi citizens.

“I think we underestimated the extent to which 30 years of Saddam’s rule had really hammered the population, especially the Shia population, into submissiveness,” he said. “It was very hard for them to stand up and take responsibility in part because anybody who had done that in the past had had their heads chopped off.”

Asked about Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts, Cheney said he believes bin Laden is alive, but would not speculate about whether he might be hiding in Afghanistan, Pakistan or along their shared border. “I don’t want to be that precise,” Cheney said.

On other topics, the vice president said he does not think Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York would make a very good president “because she’s a Democrat.”

“I don’t agree with her philosophically and from a policy standpoint,” he said.

Cheney bristled when asked to respond to critics who question his daughter Mary’s decision to have a baby and raise it with her female partner. “I think you’re out of line with that question,” replied Cheney, who said he was delighted about having a sixth grandchild.

Portable Personal Cell Phone Jammer/Blocker


today has been a really depressing day.

i was told that i’m not needed for tech stuff in portland, but only for performances, and that the performances are only going to be two of the three nights of drunk puppet night in portland.

i used up a quarter tank of gas driving up to bellevue to get paper, which it turns out i won’t need until wednesday, and it turns out that i’m going to have to drive up to bellevue again on wednesday to deliver it to the printer. that’s money that i could have spent on the holy vegetable, which i have been totally out of for almost 3 weeks.

if someone wants to get me stoned, i will gladly go pretty much anywhere, but it would be a lot better if i could obtain my own vegetable material, because that way i could potentially get stoned tomorrow as well.

it appears that, once again, there is “something” wrong with the CD-ROM drive on my linux box, which means that, until i determine what it is, and probably replace it again, i’m not going to be able to upgrade my system.

it turns out that i don’t have a rehearsal tonight, which means that i won’t have anywhere to go, or anything to do to take my mind off of how depressed i am until at least wednesday.

it turns out that we might be moving again, but we’re not sure where (the possibility of moving to philadelphia was suggested, but is turning out to be less of a possibility, because the program that moe wants to get into is recently defunct in philadelphia) or when, and if we do have to move somewhere else, i’m not sure what’s going to happen to the business that i have been building for the past 5 years, specifically what’s going to happen to my fifteen 12″x12″x24″ boxes of incense, and i don’t know when and/or if i’m going to be able to unpack and set up a workshop.

i ended up watching television for most of the day, because i don’t have anything else to do, and, because of the fact that i probably won’t have anything else to do tomorrow, the probability that i’m going to end up watching television again tomorrow is very high, and i really dislike watching television.


(this is primarily for .) i just received notification that the meat play is only going to be friday and saturday, and they’ve already got a tech crew so they won’t be needing me in portand for anything other than the meat show. therefore i won’t be there thursday.

(this part is primarily for .) however, they do need a tech crew for seattle, and the fremont philharmonic is scheduled to play the first weekend, so i’m going to be earning my title of “Professional New Age Renaissance Man” in a big way.


for those of you in the area, The Fremont Philharmonic is playing today at Nervous Nellie’s Espresso Company, 1556 NW 56th street in ballard.

also today is moe’s birthday. she’d kill me if i actually posted how old she’s is now, but it’s one of those “momentous” birthdays that signifies “something”. i’ll let you figure it out for yourselves.


now that i’ve actually got a kubuntu disk – i downloaded the kubuntu iso, but for some weird reason, it wouldn’t fit on the 700mb disk that i prepared to burn it on, despite the fact that it was only 690mb, so i ordered a free one from “canonical ltd.” which is located on the isle of man – and a CD drive that actually works, i started it up, and it does, indeed, appear to work a lot better than my current distro… so much so that i am posting this from konqueror on the live CD and noticing that it looks more like i expect it to, and not so cramped and “all over on the left side” like it does where i usually post from. it does have a weird thing where it only lets me login to my LJ once, and after i logout, it won’t let me login again, and it won’t let me login to my email account via the web, and i’ve got to figure out a whole bunch of stuff, like figuring out where my .ics file is located, figuring out where kmail is (it’s probably fairly obvious, but i’m not sure), figuring out how to upgrade without wiping out all my data, and other suchlike stuff.

i’m now in the last stages of deciding whether i really should bite the bullet and upgrade to something more current. any final comments are entirely welcome. i probably won’t actually upgrade until next week, if i decide to, so take your time.


some new stuff to add to the Vegateble Sacrifice page…

Lay Down Your Arms
Why former narcs say the drug war is futile
January 18, 2007
Radley Balko

It’s understandable why when many people first see Howard Wooldridge, they might at first think he’s a crank.

The slender, mustachioed man of middle-age frequently wears a cowboy hat, and has been known to get around town on a horse. He also wears a black shirt with loud, conspicuous lettering on both the front and back. You’d be forgiven to dismiss him as a religious zealot proclaiming the coming apocalypse, or a disciple of Lyndon Larouche.

But look closer. The shirt reads: “COPS SAY LEGALIZE DRUGS: ASK ME WHY.”

And people do.

“I get stopped just about everywhere,” he says. “The shirt works. I have several different for different occasions – I can get my point across in 30 seconds in an elevator, a few minutes in a restaurant, or full-blown speech at a Rotary Club.”

If he doesn’t leave people convinced, he at least leaves them asking the right questions.

So does Norm Stamper, former police chief for the city of Seattle.

“People ask how a former cop could say drugs should be legalized, but it’s precisely because I love police and love police work that I’m saying it. The drug war stops real cops from doing real police work. It’s corrupting. It’s wasteful. And it has wrecked communities.”

Wooldridge and Stamper are featured speakers for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a relatively new but powerfully motivated group of current and former police officers, judges, prosecutors, and politicians who have come out against America’s failed war on drugs.

LEAP was founded in 2002 by Jack Cole, a 26-year veteran of the New Jersey State Police. Cole spent 12 of those years as an undercover narcotics detective. According to his bio, it was his post-retirement struggle with the “emotional residue” left over from his work as a narcotics officer that led him to the realization that the war on drugs has failed.

After forming LEAP, Cole, Wooldridge, and three other founding members hit the public speaking circuit, talking to government classes, Rotary Clubs, and campus organizations. They wrote op-eds for local newspapers, and they debated on radio programs. In just under five years, LEAP now claims more than 6,500 members.

Proponents of drug prohibition tend to dismiss reform groups like NORML or the Drug Policy Alliance as fringe ideologues (politicians seem fond of dismissing the latter group for no other reason than that it gets its funding from George Soros). But when decorated police officers, former police chiefs, and ex-judges and prosecutors speak up, audiences can’t help but take notice.

These aren’t stoners. They’re former public servants, and many risked their lives for a cause they now say is mistaken.

That’s powerful stuff. When a guy tells you he regrets what he’s done for most of his career — and what he could well have died for — his words take on a unique credibility and urgency.

One common characteristic you’ll find in many members of LEAP is guilt. Most of these former officers lug around a weighty burden. Many concede they realized early in their careers that the drug war was a failure, and would always be a failure. They regret now that they didn’t speak up sooner.

Stamper says in LEAP’s promotional video, “Even though I knew that the drug war was harmful financially and psychically and spiritually . . . I should have been saying much more of that, much more strenuously.”

One thing LEAP’s members can attest to that other drug war critics can’t is the drug war’s corrupting influence on police officers.

Tony Ryan, one of LEAP’s newest member and a well-decorated, 36-year Denver police officer recently wrote in an op-ed, “the huge lure of money is always there, either through bribes by drug dealers, or during busts where piles of money are lying around. Corruption of law enforcement was at its highest during alcohol prohibition and we see it now with drug prohibition.”

Any Lexis or Google News search will confirm Ryan’s warning about corruption a dozen times over. That’s not an indictment of police officers. Rather, it’s an indictment of policy that puts police officers in situations where temptation and corruption come begging. But it’s still a difficult argument for someone without law enforcement experience to make. Coming from a retired cop – in fact from dozens of them affiliated with LEAP – it becomes impossible for drug war proponents to ignore.

LEAP’s message is powerful. I’ve now heard or seen four of its speakers’ presentations. They use tales from the front lines to illustrate their broader points on public policy. Their delivery is authentic and gently persuasive, not didactic. They come from all political stripes, from hippy-ish liberals to live-and-let-live libertarians to law-and-order conservatives, the latter having come to the realization that the drug war consists of bad laws that cause much disorder.

For several years now, LEAP has been looking for a debate with the country’s top drug policymakers – anyone from DEA Administrator Karen Tandy to Drug Czar John Walters to powerful prohibition politicians like Indiana Rep. Mark Souder.

So far, they’ve had little luck. That’s too bad. If the drug war is still as important and necessary as our leaders in government say it is, it’s champions should be able to defend it–especially against the law enforcement officers they’ve asked to fight it.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

how the RIAA is like the button-makers of 17th century france

from sound-scavengers:

The question has come up whether a guild master of the weaving industry should be allowed to try an innovation in his product. The verdict: ‘If a cloth weaver intends to process a piece according to his own invention, he must not set it on the loom, but should obtain permission from the judges of the town to employ the number and length of threads that he desires, after the question has been considered by four of the oldest merchants and four of the oldest weavers of the guild.’ One can imagine how many suggestions for change were tolerated.

Shortly after the matter of cloth weaving has been disposed of, the button makers guild raises a cry of outrage; the tailors are beginning to make buttons out of cloth, an unheard-of thing. The government, indignant that an innovation should threaten a settled industry, imposes a fine on the cloth-button makers. But the wardens of the button guild are not yet satisfied. They demand the right to search people’s homes and wardrobes and fine and even arrest them on the streets if they are seen wearing these subversive goods.

Requiring permission to innovate? Feeling entitled to search others’ property? Getting the power to act like law enforcement in order to fine or arrest those who are taking part in activities that challenge your business model? Don’t these all sound quite familiar?

Centuries from now (hopefully much, much sooner), the actions of the RIAA, MPAA and others that match those of the weavers and button-makers of 17th century France will seem just as ridiculous.


mcafee no longer makes virus protection that is compatible with W2K. their recommendation is to “upgrade your computer to WXP” and then buy the latest mcafee product which is compatible with that…

the problem is that i have no intention of “upgrading” a product that i don’t like to a product that i actually despise in order to have the “priveledge” of buying a product that supposedly “protects” me from getting infected.

i’m de-installing mcafee virus scan from my windoesn’t computer at this very moment. i wonder how long it will be until i have to throw my computer away because it is crawling with virii… 8/


i just got notification from the head drunk puppet that we will be performing the meat play in portland on friday and saturday, february 2 & 3, but they still haven’t said yet whether or not they will need someone to run lights and sound.



i woke up this morning with a neck cramp so bad that i can barely look to either side without a good deal of pain… and my acupuncture appointment isn’t until wednesday… and i have to drive an hour in either direction to make it to my rehearsal this evening…



1 Gallon Bubbles
3 quarts plain, clear dishwashing liquid (palmolive…)
8 oz. glycerine
5 to 10 drops oil

you can fill the rest of the jug up with water if you want to, or if it gets too viscous.

They never scream
They never shout
They only twitch
And flail about.

Why does a pygmy
Indulge in polygmy?
His tribal dogma
Frowns on monogma.
Monogma’s a stigma
For any pygma.
If he sticks to monogmy
A pygmy’s a hogmy.

— Ogden Nash

more sketchbook uploads… that’s it for what i have immediately accessible, and this week is probably going to be busy enough that i won’t have time to dig the originals out of the pile, so you’re just going to have to wait.

murdge murdge murdge murdge murdge

why do i have so much time to spend scanning stuff? it’s because we still have all of this goddamn snow everywhere, and i couldn’t get the car up the driveway to load the boxes so that i could go to the fremont sunday market this morning. next sunday is moe’s birthday, so i’m probably not going to get chance to go until sunday the 28th… 8/


Pseudomamma on the foot: An unusual presentation of supernumerary breast tissue
Délio Marques Conde MD, PhD1, Eiji Kashimoto MD1, Renato Zocchio Torresan MD, PhD1, Marcelo Alvarenga MD, PhD2
Dermatology Online Journal: 12 (4): 7

1. Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Hospital Estadual Sumaré, Universidade Estadual de Campinas. [email protected]
2. Department of Pathology, Universidade Estadual de Campinas

A 22-year-old woman sought medical care for a lesion in the plantar region of her left foot, a well-formed nipple surrounded by areola and hair. Microscopic examination of the dermis showed hair follicles, eccrine glands, and sebaceous glands. Fat tissue was noted at the base of the lesion. Clinical and histopathologic findings were consistent with the diagnosis of supernumerary breast tissue, also known as pseudomamma. To our knowledge, this is the first report of supernumerary breast tissue on the foot.

Clinical synopsis
A 22-year-old woman sought medical care due to a lesion in the plantar region of her left foot present since birth. She had no complaints of pain, pruritus, or alterations in volume or color. During her pregnancy or postpartum period, there had been no change in the lesion. Family history for similar conditions was negative.

The woman had the following gynecological and obstetric history: menarche and thelarche beginning at the age of 12; gravida 1, para 1; birth of her first child at the age of 20.

On physical examination, the breasts were symmetrical having no nodes or retractions. In the plantar region of the patient’s left foot, there was a well-formed nipple was surrounded by areola and hair on the surface, measuring 4.0 cm in diameter, with no palpable nodes (Figs. 1 and 2). The remaining physical examination was normal, including the mammary line. Results of the following laboratory tests were normal: complete blood count, fasting serum glucose level, urine exam, electrolytes, serum urea and creatinine. No alterations were found during ultrasound of the lesion and urinary tract.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 1. Pseudomamma on the plantar region of the left foot in a 22 year-old woman.

Figure 2. Close-up of supernumerary nipple surrounded by an obvious areola on the plantar region of the left foot (pseudomamma). Hair is observed on the surface.

The patient underwent an incisional biopsy of the lesion. Histologic findings were squamous epithelium with hyperkeratosis, epithelial hyperplasia without atypia, epithelial cytoplasmic vacuolation, and hyperpigmentation of the epidermal basal membrane. In the dermis there were hair follicles, eccrine glands, and sebaceous glands. Fibrosis and fat tissue were noted at the base of the lesion. No glandular tissue was identified.

Anomalies associated with breast development are not uncommon. Supernumerary nipples, and less frequently supernumerary breasts, are present in about 1-5 percent of the population [1]. Such alterations are more common in women, usually occurring along the embryonic milk line, which extends from the axilla to the groin [1, 2].

Supernumerary breast tissue (SBT) is rarely found beyond the mammary line. However, the back [3], shoulder [4], face [5], and thigh [6] have been described as sites of SBT development. When glandular tissue is present, SBT may be affected by the same disease processes that occur in normally positioned breast tissue [7, 8, 9]. To our knowledge, this is the first report of SBT on the foot.

The classification established by Kajava [10] is based on the presence or absence of nipple, areola and breast glandular tissue, and is divided into eight categories:

  1. Complete breast tissue with glandular tissue, nipple and areola
  2. Glandular tissue and nipple
  3. Glandular tissue and areola
  4. Glandular tissue only
  5. Nipple and areola, and fat tissue that replaces the glandular tissue, also known as pseudomamma
  6. Nipple only, also known as polythelia
  7. Areola only, also known as polythelia areolaris
  8. Patch of hair only, also known as polythelia pilosa

The current case reported is included in the fifth category, i.e., presence of nipple and areola but no glandular tissue. Polythelia and pseudomamma are the two most common forms of SBT [11].
The study of SBT merits special attention because of some aspects. Initially, the patient seeks medical care for cosmetic reasons, expressing desire to have the lesion surgically removed, particularly if it is located in a visible area [5]. The presence of glandular tissue in the lesion should be investigated, because SBT is not exempt from the same diseases and physiologic processes that can affect normally positioned breasts, including the cyclical alterations induced by hormone action [2, 9]. Usually, the presence of glandular tissue is suggested after the onset of puberty, first childbirth, or lactation, at times when a woman may complain of an increase in size, pain and discomfort, as well as milk secretion [2]. In the current case, the patient was asymptomatic, even after pregnancy, suggesting a lack of glandular tissue. However, despite the clinical picture, it was necessary to perform a histologic examination to rule out the presence of glandular tissue.

Another aspect that should be kept in mind is the association between SBT and renal malformations [12, 13, 14]. Some authors describe a close association between both conditions, reporting that patients with SBT should be investigated for the presence of urinary tract malformations [13]. However, other authors found no evidence to support such an association, suggesting that routine investigation for renal anomalies is not indicated in patients with supernumerary nipple [15]. In the present case, ultrasonography of the urinary tract identified no malformations. In fact, there is still uncertainty as to the best approach in these patients.

Apart from renal anomalies, other organ system anomalies have been described in association with SBT, including abnormalities of the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems, as well as hematologic disorders [12, 16, 17]. The limited number of cases makes it difficult to establish these relationships in a clear and definite manner.

Despite the difficulties in establishing relationships between SBT and other diseases, the identification of SBT should draw the attention of the physician to these possible associations and to the occurrence of malignancy, when breast glandular tissue is present. In cases in which it is clinically impossible to rule out the presence of breast glandular tissue, we believe that a histologic examination of the lesion is required.

1. Dixon JM, Mansel RE. ABC of breast diseases. Congenital problems and aberrations of normal breast development and involution. BMJ 1994;309:797-800.

2. Grossl NA. Supernumerary breast tissue: historical perspectives and clinical features. South Med J 2000;93:29-32.

3. Bhatnagar KP, Ramsaroop L, Bhatnagar KP, Satyapal KS, Singh B. Dorsal scapular breast in a woman. Plast Reconstr Surg 2003;112:571-4.

4. Schewach-Millet M, Fisher BK. Supernumerary nipple on the shoulder. Cutis 1976;17:384-5.

5. Koltuksuz U, Aydin E. Supernumerary breast tissue: a case of pseudomamma on the face. J Pediatr Surg 1997;32:1377-8.

6. Boivin S, Segard M, Delaporte E, Cotten H, Piette F, Thomas P. Complete supernumerary breast on the thigh in a male patient. Ann Dermatol Venereol 2001;128:144-6.

7. Shin S, Sheikh S, Allenby A, Rosen P. Invasive secretory (juvenile) carcinoma arising in ectopic breast tissue of the axilla. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2001;125:1372-4.

8. Gendler LS, Joseph KA. Breast cancer of an accessory nipple. N Engl J Med 2005;353:1835.

9. Conde DM, Torresan RZ, Kashimoto E, Carvalho LEC, Cardo Filho C. Fibroadenoma in axillary supernumerary breast: case report. Sao Paulo Med J 2005;123: 253-5.

10. Kajava Y. The proportions of supernumerary nipples in the Finnish population. Duodecim 1915;1:143-70.

11. Newman M. Supernumerary nipples. Am Fam Physician 1988;38:183-8.

12. Pellegrini JR, Wagner RF Jr. Polythelia and associated conditions. Am Fam Physician 1983;28:129-32.

13. Urbani CE, Betti R. Accessory mammary tissue associated with congenital and hereditary nephrourinary malformations. Int J Dermatol 1996;35:349-52.

14. Brown J, Schwartz RA. Supernumerary nipples and renal malformations: a family study. J Cutan Med Surg 2004;8:170-2.

15. Grotto I, Browner-Elhanan K, Mimouni D, Varsano I, Cohen HA, Mimouni M. Occurrence of supernumerary nipples in children with kidney and urinary tract malformations. Pediatr Dermatol 2001;18:291-4.

16. Cohen PR, Kurzrock R. Miscellaneous genodermatoses: Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, familial atypical multiple mole melanoma syndrome, hereditary tylosis, incontinentia pigmenti, and supernumerary nipples. Dermatol Clin 1995;13:211-29.

17. Aslan D, Gursel T, Kaya Z. Supernumerary nipples in children with hematologic disorders. Pediatr Hematol Oncol 2004;21:461-3.


Doomsday clock ticks
Nuke programs push world to ‘perilous period’
January 12, 2007

Warning that the world has entered “the most perilous period since Hiroshima,” the keepers of the famed nuclear Doomsday Clock plan to move it closer to midnight.

The symbolic clock now stands at 7 minutes to midnight, with midnight representing global catastrophe.

Board members of the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists magazine cite nuclear weapons programs in Iran and North Korea, unsecured nuclear materials in Russia and elsewhere and 25,000 nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia, including 2,000 that are ready to launch.

Also, the threat of global warming is helping to revive the nuclear energy industry. Nuclear plants don’t release carbon dioxide believed to cause global warming. But the reactors could increase the risk of nuclear proliferation.

Bulletin officials signaled the change in a media advisory. They plan a joint announcement Wednesday in Washington and London to announce the exact time change.

The Bulletin covers global security issues, especially nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. It was founded after World War II by scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project that produced the first atomic bombs.

Last moved in 2002
The Doomsday Clock first appeared on the Bulletin’s cover in 1947 and has since moved closer or farther from midnight 17 times.

The closest was 2 minutes to midnight in 1953, after the United States and Soviet Union tested thermonuclear bombs. The farthest was 17 minutes to midnight in 1991, after the United States and Soviet Union signed an arms-reduction treaty.

In its most recent movement in 2002, the clock ticked ahead two minutes after little progress was made on global nuclear disarmament and terrorists sought nuclear and biological weapons.


Just look at that face. Jesus.
January 12th, 2007


That’s the face of a desperate man. That’s the face of the fellow who’s taken his family hostage, in the 18th hour of negotiations. He’s sitting in the darkness of the kitchen, hands on his M-16, right across from his terrified wife, children, and the UPS guy who thought he was just delivering a package that day before that face, staring at him from the other end of the M-16, answered the door, asking, “Are you him? Are you the guy!?! Get in here!”

“Please, George, just give yourself up. You’re scaring the kids…” his wife begs.

“Shut up!” George screams. “Shutupshutupshutup! This is NOT how it was supposed to go! They should have LISTENED to me! Now it’s all going straight to HELL!”

“Mister… I got a wife and kids at home too,” says the UPS guy. “Please, they’re worried about me, and I miss them. I…”

George seizes the M-16 and lifts it up, pressing the barrel against the UPS guy’s forehead.

“Don’t TALK! Don’t TALK! You think I’m fooled? You think I don’t know what they’re trying to do through you?” George puts down the gun and walks over to the drawn blinds. He peers through the cracks and sees the police cars, cherry-red and icy blue strobes flickering atop their roofs. He knows they’re out there, ready to burst in and take him back to their secret torture chambers… try to make him talk… rip apart the life he’s built for himself… Them. They. They’re out there.

He can’t let that happen.

“Daddy?” says his daughter. “Daddy, I’m scared.”

“Shshshshshshshhhhhhhh…” he tells her turning to them. He cradles the M-16, massaging it almost, feeling its power, it’s protection, it’s safety. It stopped that one agent, disguised as a cop, during the first hour of the siege. “It’s all right to be scared. It’s smart to be scared. The world is a very scary place. And they’re trying to get you.”

His daughter whimpers.

“Yes, they want to come in here and get you, and your brother, AND YOUR MOTHER, AND ME… AND THEY WANT TO KILL US AND RAPE US AND EAT OUR FLESH AND AGGGGHHHHHH!!!” George runs to the window and lays down a burst of automatic gunfire. The night is seared by the brightness of the muzzle flash, the quietude rent by the harsh barkings of the rifle. The cops outside hit the dirt, the captain barking orders not to engage. “Maybe he’s getting tired. We’ll just have to wait and see.”


George manages to shoot another cop dead as he leans against his squad car.

“Damn, that’s a shame. But I think he’s running out of steam,” says the captain drinking his coffee. “Let’s wait a little more and see.”

Inside, the UPS guy whispers to the woman, “Why won’t the fucking police do something?”

“I don’t know…” she says. “I don’t know. It’s like some nightmare that won’t end. I just keep waking up again and again, and things never get better.”

“Mommy, what’s wrong with Daddy?” asks the little boy.

“Daddy’s very sick, sweetie,” she says. “Daddy is sick in the head. He can’t understand that what he’s doing isn’t very safe or nice. He thinks he’s protecting us, but he’s not.”

“WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN I’M NOT!?!” George says, grabbing her arm and roughly lifting her up. “I DO THIS FOR YOU, DAMMIT! I DO THIS FOR THEM! I’LL BURN THIS HOUSE DOWN TO THE GROUND AND PUT A ROUND INTO EACH OF YOUR HEADS BEFORE I’LL ALLOW THEM TO HARM ONE HAIR ON YOUR HEADS. DAMN, WOMAN!” He throws her down to the floor and goes back to the window. “Hey!” he shouts to the cops. “Where the hell is that pizza I ordered?”

The captain looks startled, and he turns to the lieutenant. “Hey, did the pizza arrive yet?” The lieutenant sadly shakes his head no. “Damn. He’s not gonna like that.”

Talking through the megaphone, the captain says, “Sir, please be patient. We’re doing all we can. In the meantime, how is that electric blanket you requested working out for you?”

“Fine! A little scratchy though…” George screams back.

“Sorry about that,” says the captain. “What about the bouillabaisse? Was it to your liking?”

“IT WAS TOO SALTY!” bellows George. He shoots down another cop. “SEE!?! YOU DID THAT!!! THAT WAS YOU!”

“Sorry, sir. Is there anything else we can do?”

“I want a treadmill in here, stat! And six of those Fabergé eggs so I can smash ’em! Then I want another hostage, a bazooka, and ALL CHARGES DROPPED WHEN I LEAVE HERE!”

“Anything you say, sir. Johnson!” says the captain with a military snap.

“Yes sir?”

“The governor send that pardon yet?”

“He sent three, sir. We won’t be able to touch him after this!”

“Excellent!” the captain chuckled. “He’ll never see it coming… How are we doing with that escape vehicle and unrestricted path to the airport. Are all highways shut down for him?”

“Yessir!” said Johnson, proudly.

“Good! Now, why don’t you run up to the house? Make sure you’re out in the open,” says the captain.

Johnson hesitates.

“Something, Johnson?”

“Well, sir…” Johnson says, stammering. “If I were to do that… He’d be able to shoot me.”


“And I’d die, sir,” says Johnson, a little more forcefully.”


“And I don’t want to die, sir. In fact, I’m not sure why we’re doing this? We have a SWAT team that could extract the suspect within minutes. In fact…” Johnson looks up to see George at the window, fully exposed, sticking out his tongue while waggling his fingers like moose horns from both sides of his head. “Sir, I could take him out right now. I wouldn’t even have to kill him.” Johnson lifts his service revolver and aims. But the captain knocks it from his hands, enraged.

“Dammit, Johnson! What do you think you’re doing?”

“Serving and protecting the community by trying to save people’s lives, sir?”

The captain stared at him long and hard, a measure of disgust in his expression.

“Don’t you understand, Johnson? Haven’t you been listening? HE’S in charge here! HE’S the Decider. Did they teach you NOTHING at the academy?”

“Sir, he’s killed five…”

A shot rings out. A figure in blue falls.

“Six of our men. The neighborhood is being held in a grip of terror. I’ve heard about robberies, kilings, rapes, and more over the radio, but all our units are tied up here. His family… God knows what he’ll do to them if we don’t act soon. I mean, that’s our job, right, sir?”

“Johnson, you’re dismissed…” says the captain with a tired voice.

“Sir, I…” Johnson says.

“I said you were dismissed, lieutenant. Get out of my sight,” says the captain. “You make me sick.”

Johnson begins to say something but sees that it will be fruitless. He takes off his badge and lays it on the hood of the car before walking away.

“OOGA-BOOGA! SURRRRRRRRRGE!!!” screams George from the window. He levels the rifle and takes aim. A shot rings out, and half the captain’s head is sheared off. Johnson rushes to his side.

“Captain! O my captain! What can I do for you?”

“Stay…” says the dying captain. “Stay the course. I have him NOW, by God…”

“Who ordered the pepperoni and garlic pizza?” says the newly arrived pizza delivery dude.

“He’s in there,” says the captain. “Wait…” He reaches for his wallet, withdraws a fifty, and gives it to the pizza dude.

“Keep… the change…” says the captain, smiling with his dying breath.


i just heard it from the “official” source, right from the keyboard of the head drunk puppet, himself: there is going to be a drunk puppet night this year, it is going to be at the rebar in late february and early march, and in portland, in three weeks(!!), as far as i can tell, they will want me to do sound and lights, he is open to the idea of doing the meat play in portland, and they’re probably going to have the fremont philharmonic play for them in portland!


eminentise the eschaton!

1973 War Powers Act:

SEC. 5. (c)
Notwithstanding subsection (b), at any time that United States Armed Forces are engaged in hostilities outside the territory of the United States, its possessions and territories without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization, such forces shall be removed by the President if the Congress so directs by concurrent resolution.

the “democratic” congress could end this war anytime they like by a simple majority vote, yet, they won’t.

this is why i refuse to support them.

meanwhile, which is it, shrubby?

Iraq to give Western companies oil rights
January 8, 2007

The Iraqi government plans to introduce a law that will give Western oil companies rights to the country’s huge oil reserves, a British newspaper says.

The government is drafting a law based on “production sharing agreements [PSAs],” which will allow major oil companies to sign deals of up to 30 years to extract Iraq’s oil, the Independent on Sunday reported.

It said it had been given a copy of the draft law from last July, and the draft has not been changed significantly since then.

Under PSAs, a country retains legal ownership of its oil but gives a share of profits to the international companies that invest in infrastructure and operation of the wells, pipelines and refineries, the newspaper said.

Critics say the agreements will be bad news for Iraq because they guarantee profits to the companies while giving little to the country. With 112 billion barrels, Iraq has the second largest reserves in the world, the U.S. government says.

Platform, a London-based pressure group that seeks to minimize the impact of oil companies, says on its website that Iraq endorsed production-sharing agreements last fall, just as Russia sought to undo a similar deal it signed in the period of turmoil after the Communist regime collapsed.

Citing published Russian reports, Platform said Russia has realized it signed a bad deal to develop a gas project, which allocated the risk to the government and the profit to the private sector.

“Russia realized the mistakes it made by signing PSA contracts only when it was too late. It remains to be seen whether Iraq follows the same course,” the group said in October.

Attack on Iraq motivated by oil?
Platform’s Greg Muttitt said the U.S. government, international oil companies and the International Monetary Fund had been asked to comment on the draft Iraqi legislation, but many members of the Iraqi parliament have not seen it.

The Independent said Iraq may adopt PSA contracts because it is in a weak bargaining position.

The legislation, if passed as in the draft the Independent was given, would stoke claims that the U.S.-led attack on Iraq was motivated by oil.

The U.S. has denied that. For example, in 2003, then Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld called the idea “utter nonsense.”

Speaking to the Arab TV network Al-Jazeera, he said: “We don’t take our forces, and go around the world and try to take other people’s real estate or other people’s resources, their oil. That’s just not what the United States does.”

The Independent said signing PSA deals would be a first for a major oil-exporting country. Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two leading exporters, both control their oil industries tightly through state-owned companies.


To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis.
January 10, 2007

Tonight in Iraq, the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the global war on terror — and our safety here at home. The new strategy I outline tonight will change America’s course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror.

When I addressed you just over a year ago, nearly 12 million Iraqis had cast their ballots for a unified and democratic nation. The elections of 2005 were a stunning achievement. We thought that these elections would bring the Iraqis together, and that as we trained Iraqi security forces we could accomplish our mission with fewer American troops.

But in 2006, the opposite happened. The violence in Iraq — particularly in Baghdad — overwhelmed the political gains the Iraqis had made. Al Qaeda terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq’s elections posed for their cause, and they responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis. They blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam — the Golden Mosque of Samarra — in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq’s Shia population to retaliate. Their strategy worked. Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran, formed death squads. And the result was a vicious cycle of sectarian violence that continues today.

The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people — and it is unacceptable to me. Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.

It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq. So my national security team, military commanders, and diplomats conducted a comprehensive review. We consulted members of Congress from both parties, our allies abroad, and distinguished outside experts. We benefitted from the thoughtful recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan panel led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton. In our discussions, we all agreed that there is no magic formula for success in Iraq. And one message came through loud and clear: Failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States.

The consequences of failure are clear: Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our enemies would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people. On September the 11th, 2001, we saw what a refuge for extremists on the other side of the world could bring to the streets of our own cities. For the safety of our people, America must succeed in Iraq.

The most urgent priority for success in Iraq is security, especially in Baghdad. Eighty percent of Iraq’s sectarian violence occurs within 30 miles of the capital. This violence is splitting Baghdad into sectarian enclaves, and shaking the confidence of all Iraqis. Only Iraqis can end the sectarian violence and secure their people. And their government has put forward an aggressive plan to do it.

Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have. Our military commanders reviewed the new Iraqi plan to ensure that it addressed these mistakes. They report that it does. They also report that this plan can work.

Now let me explain the main elements of this effort: The Iraqi government will appoint a military commander and two deputy commanders for their capital. The Iraqi government will deploy Iraqi Army and National Police brigades across Baghdad’s nine districts. When these forces are fully deployed, there will be 18 Iraqi Army and National Police brigades committed to this effort, along with local police. These Iraqi forces will operate from local police stations — conducting patrols and setting up checkpoints, and going door-to-door to gain the trust of Baghdad residents.

This is a strong commitment. But for it to succeed, our commanders say the Iraqis will need our help. So America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence and bring security to the people of Baghdad. This will require increasing American force levels. So I’ve committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. The vast majority of them — five brigades — will be deployed to Baghdad. These troops will work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations. Our troops will have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs.

Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Well, here are the differences: In earlier operations, Iraqi and American forces cleared many neighborhoods of terrorists and insurgents, but when our forces moved on to other targets, the killers returned. This time, we’ll have the force levels we need to hold the areas that have been cleared. In earlier operations, political and sectarian interference prevented Iraqi and American forces from going into neighborhoods that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence. This time, Iraqi and American forces will have a green light to enter those neighborhoods — and Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated.

I’ve made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq’s other leaders that America’s commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people — and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act. The Prime Minister understands this. Here is what he told his people just last week: “The Baghdad security plan will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of [their] sectarian or political affiliation.”

This new strategy will not yield an immediate end to suicide bombings, assassinations, or IED attacks. Our enemies in Iraq will make every effort to ensure that our television screens are filled with images of death and suffering. Yet over time, we can expect to see Iraqi troops chasing down murderers, fewer brazen acts of terror, and growing trust and cooperation from Baghdad’s residents. When this happens, daily life will improve, Iraqis will gain confidence in their leaders, and the government will have the breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas. Most of Iraq’s Sunni and Shia want to live together in peace — and reducing the violence in Baghdad will help make reconciliation possible.

A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.

To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq’s provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation’s political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq’s constitution.

America will change our approach to help the Iraqi government as it works to meet these benchmarks. In keeping with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, we will increase the embedding of American advisers in Iraqi Army units, and partner a coalition brigade with every Iraqi Army division. We will help the Iraqis build a larger and better-equipped army, and we will accelerate the training of Iraqi forces, which remains the essential U.S. security mission in Iraq. We will give our commanders and civilians greater flexibility to spend funds for economic assistance. We will double the number of provincial reconstruction teams. These teams bring together military and civilian experts to help local Iraqi communities pursue reconciliation, strengthen the moderates, and speed the transition to Iraqi self-reliance. And Secretary Rice will soon appoint a reconstruction coordinator in Baghdad to ensure better results for economic assistance being spent in Iraq.

As we make these changes, we will continue to pursue al Qaeda and foreign fighters. Al Qaeda is still active in Iraq. Its home base is Anbar Province. Al Qaeda has helped make Anbar the most violent area of Iraq outside the capital. A captured al Qaeda document describes the terrorists’ plan to infiltrate and seize control of the province. This would bring al Qaeda closer to its goals of taking down Iraq’s democracy, building a radical Islamic empire, and launching new attacks on the United States at home and abroad.

Our military forces in Anbar are killing and capturing al Qaeda leaders, and they are protecting the local population. Recently, local tribal leaders have begun to show their willingness to take on al Qaeda. And as a result, our commanders believe we have an opportunity to deal a serious blow to the terrorists. So I have given orders to increase American forces in Anbar Province by 4,000 troops. These troops will work with Iraqi and tribal forces to keep up the pressure on the terrorists. America’s men and women in uniform took away al Qaeda’s safe haven in Afghanistan — and we will not allow them to re-establish it in Iraq.

Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We’ll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

We’re also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence-sharing and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region.

We will use America’s full diplomatic resources to rally support for Iraq from nations throughout the Middle East. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States need to understand that an American defeat in Iraq would create a new sanctuary for extremists and a strategic threat to their survival. These nations have a stake in a successful Iraq that is at peace with its neighbors, and they must step up their support for Iraq’s unity government. We endorse the Iraqi government’s call to finalize an International Compact that will bring new economic assistance in exchange for greater economic reform. And on Friday, Secretary Rice will leave for the region, to build support for Iraq and continue the urgent diplomacy required to help bring peace to the Middle East.

The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy, by advancing liberty across a troubled region. It is in the interests of the United States to stand with the brave men and women who are risking their lives to claim their freedom, and to help them as they work to raise up just and hopeful societies across the Middle East.

From Afghanistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian Territories, millions of ordinary people are sick of the violence, and want a future of peace and opportunity for their children. And they are looking at Iraq. They want to know: Will America withdraw and yield the future of that country to the extremists, or will we stand with the Iraqis who have made the choice for freedom?

The changes I have outlined tonight are aimed at ensuring the survival of a young democracy that is fighting for its life in a part of the world of enormous importance to American security. Let me be clear: The terrorists and insurgents in Iraq are without conscience, and they will make the year ahead bloody and violent. Even if our new strategy works exactly as planned, deadly acts of violence will continue — and we must expect more Iraqi and American casualties. The question is whether our new strategy will bring us closer to success. I believe that it will.

Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship. But victory in Iraq will bring something new in the Arab world — a functioning democracy that polices its territory, upholds the rule of law, respects fundamental human liberties, and answers to its people. A democratic Iraq will not be perfect. But it will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them — and it will help bring a future of peace and security for our children and our grandchildren.

This new approach comes after consultations with Congress about the different courses we could take in Iraq. Many are concerned that the Iraqis are becoming too dependent on the United States, and therefore, our policy should focus on protecting Iraq’s borders and hunting down al Qaeda. Their solution is to scale back America’s efforts in Baghdad — or announce the phased withdrawal of our combat forces. We carefully considered these proposals. And we concluded that to step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government, tear the country apart, and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale. Such a scenario would result in our troops being forced to stay in Iraq even longer, and confront an enemy that is even more lethal. If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home.

In the days ahead, my national security team will fully brief Congress on our new strategy. If members have improvements that can be made, we will make them. If circumstances change, we will adjust. Honorable people have different views, and they will voice their criticisms. It is fair to hold our views up to scrutiny. And all involved have a responsibility to explain how the path they propose would be more likely to succeed.

Acting on the good advice of Senator Joe Lieberman and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror. This group will meet regularly with me and my administration; it will help strengthen our relationship with Congress. We can begin by working together to increase the size of the active Army and Marine Corps, so that America has the Armed Forces we need for the 21st century. We also need to examine ways to mobilize talented American civilians to deploy overseas, where they can help build democratic institutions in communities and nations recovering from war and tyranny.

In these dangerous times, the United States is blessed to have extraordinary and selfless men and women willing to step forward and defend us. These young Americans understand that our cause in Iraq is noble and necessary — and that the advance of freedom is the calling of our time. They serve far from their families, who make the quiet sacrifices of lonely holidays and empty chairs at the dinner table. They have watched their comrades give their lives to ensure our liberty. We mourn the loss of every fallen American — and we owe it to them to build a future worthy of their sacrifice.

Fellow citizens: The year ahead will demand more patience, sacrifice, and resolve. It can be tempting to think that America can put aside the burdens of freedom. Yet times of testing reveal the character of a nation. And throughout our history, Americans have always defied the pessimists and seen our faith in freedom redeemed. Now America is engaged in a new struggle that will set the course for a new century. We can, and we will, prevail.

when i find one lie in a speech given by someone who says you should trust him, my inclination is to view with mistrust anything else that person says. shrubby has lied to us so often that it’s a wonder to me that anyone takes him seriously any longer… and yet, here he is, the president of the most powerful country in the world, spearheading our drive towards the eschaton like he thinks it’s going to be a good thing.

in my opinion, the sooner somebody assassinates him, the better.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

     — Abraham Lincoln

You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.

     — George W. Bush


Be careful with WMF files

Over the last 24 hours, we’ve seen three different WMF files carrying the zero-day WMF exploit. We currently detect them as W32/PFV-Exploit .A, .B and .C.

Fellow researchers at Sunbelt have also blogged about this. They have discovered more sites that are carrying malicious WMF files. You might want to block these sites at your firewall while waiting for a Microsoft patch:

   Crackz [dot] ws
   unionseek [dot] com
   www.tfcco [dot] com
   Iframeurl [dot] biz
   beehappyy [dot] biz

And funnily enough, according to WHOIS, domain is owned by a previous president of Soviet Union:

   Registrant Name: Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev
   Registrant Address1: Krasnaya ploshad, 1
   Registrant City: Moscow
   Registrant Postal Code: 176098
   Registrant Country: Russian Federation
   Registrant Country Code: RU

“Krasnaya ploshad” is the Red Square in Moscow…

Do note that it’s really easy to get burned by this exploit if you’re analysing it under Windows. All you need to do is to access an infected web site with IE or view a folder with infected files with the Windows Explorer.

You can get burned even while working in a DOS box! This happened on one of our test machines where we simply used the WGET command-line tool to download a malicious WMF file. That’s it, it was enough to download the file. So how on earth did it have a chance to execute?

The test machine had Google Desktop installed. It seems that Google Desktop creates an index of the metadata of all images too, and it issues an API call to the vulnerable Windows component SHIMGVW.DLL to extract this info. This is enough to invoke the exploit and infect the machine. This all happens in realtime as Google Desktop contains a file system filter and will index new files in realtime.

So, be careful out there. And disable indexing of media files (or get rid of Google Desktop) if you’re handling infected files under Windows.

or just use linux…


i’m taking the incense part of Hybrid Elephant to the Fremont Sunday Market this sunday, which means that i’ve been putting everything into reasonably easy to move containers (15 of them), double-checking my inventory and printing out retail price labels – which lead me to the discovery that i’m down to my last ream of printer paper, and i’ve got to get more soon. i bought a calculator with a print function, and now i have to figure out how to make it print, and program it with the proper numbers so that it will automatically add the correct amount of sales tax. that’s one advantage to doing business over internet that selling locally won’t have: most of my customers are out-of-state, so i don’t have to worry about adding state sales tax.

meanwhile, today is the first fremont philharmonic rehearsal. supposedly we’ve got a gig on the 21st, and we also have to start rehearsing for the moisture festival.


moe left for her annual trip to florida this morning, and left me “in charge” of taking care of 4 dogs, 3 cats and a snake while she gets a 4-day “vacation” and then a week of “continuing education”, which is all paid for by her employer. i got up and took her to the airport, and then drove into seattle for an art car cruise that apparently never happened. i waited around at the swedish cultural center for 45 minutes and mine was the only art car in the parking lot, so i left again. no breakfast, which was supposed to be part of the art car cruise, and i only have a $90 gift card for fred meyer’s to last me until moe gets home again, which is supposed to be the 19th. i’m also almost out of The Holy Vegetable, and likely won’t have the money to buy more for several weeks.

now i’m home. the roof is leaking again, in spite of the tarp that covers most of it. there’s no telling where the water is actually getting in, and even if there were, there’s no way we can afford to get the roof replaced. meanwhile, moe’s employer, the person for whom moe works 6 days a week, 12 hours a day because he “can’t afford” to pay another technician, is living in an extremely rich neighbourhood, in a house that’s two or three times as big as ours, and has invested in a new veterinary clinic in renton at which he has no intention of working, simply because “they needed someone with more money”.

it’s not fair. moe is just as valuable a person as her employer – i am just as valuable a person as moe’s employer – but the only time anyone has ever paid for me to go on vacation was right after i “quit” my computer industry job and had to use up my “paid vacation” time – right before i had my injury, and that’s not even mentioning the fact that i live in a house with a leaking roof.


FBI releases files on late judge
5 January 2007

Newly-released FBI files have given more details on William Rehnquist’s dependence on strong painkillers while he was a US Supreme Court judge.

Mr Rehnquist, who later became chief justice, is said to have been taking up to three times the prescribed dosage.

When he stopped taking Placidyl, he suffered withdrawal symptoms. The records say he tried to escape from hospital in his pyjamas.

Mr Rehnquist died in 2005, after 19 years at the head of the Supreme Court.

The FBI files were prepared in 1986 – years after his problems with the prescription drugs had ended – when Mr Rehnquist was nominated to the post of chief justice.

By then, he had been on the Supreme Court bench for 14 years.

CIA ‘plot’
Mr Rehnquist went into hospital in 1981, after his doctor tried to substitute Placidyl with other prescription drugs.

The judge – who appears to have suffered from chronic back pain and insomnia – had said the new medication was not strong enough, his doctor told the FBI.

The doctor is also reported to have said that Mr Rehnquist had taken Placidyl for about 10 years and that his increased consumption may have coincided with his wife’s treatment for cancer.

The FBI files also reveal that his withdrawal symptoms included imagining that the CIA was plotting against him.

Mr Rehnquist’s problems with painkillers were known around the time he went into hospital, but the FBI files released this week give more details.

They were released in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.

and now, for something completely different,
Geostationary Banana Over Texas

also, more sketchbook scanning


From the unreal, lead me to the Real
From darkness, lead me to Light
From death, lead me to Eternal Life

— Brihad Upanishad 1.3.28

unreal = worldly
Real = Godly
darkness = worldly
Light = Godly (John 8.12)
death = worldly
Eternal Life = Godly (John 6.47)
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying I am the Light of the world: He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life.

— John 8.12

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath Everlasting Life.

— John 6.47

God has created different religions to suit different aspirants, lives, and countries — all doctrines are only so many paths; but a path is by no means God, Himself. Indeed, one can reach God if one follows any of the paths with wholehearted devotion.

— Sri Ramakrisha
who actually did it!


before my injury i kept a sketchbook to sketch in. these days i keep a sketchbook to remember stuff, because if i don’t write it down, i’ll probably forget it. i don’t sketch as much any more because i can’t do it as well, and it frustrates me. the sketchbooks are currently in a box in deep storage, underneath several other boxes, which all got moved the other day because i was looking for a specific book. i found it, and the book i was looking for as well, with a folder full of copies of what i considered to be “the best” of my sketchbooks back in 1990 or so. so i figured i’d scan them, and see if that will motivate me to dive back into the pile of boxes and dig out the actual sketchbooks. here is a link to my sketchbook gallery. there will be more as time goes on, but for now some of my favourites are linked below:

blurdge blurdge blurdge blurdge blurdge
blurdge blurdge blurdge blurdge blurdge

there are also copies of pages with only words on them. instead of scanning them and posting pictures, i will transcribe the words, as i have here.


interview with ryan at chameleon technologies in kirkland today at 10:00 am. i left home at 8:30 and just barely made it, because traffic was still snarled up between renton and blehview. i read through my list of minimum qualifications that a job must have before i will consider doing it, and ryan didn’t kick me out of his office, and, in fact, he suggested a couple of possibilities for once the “holiday season” has settled down a little… which is good, i suppose… but if it screws up my chances of getting disability again i’m gonna be really pissed.


If you wish to escape, the first thing you must realise is that
If you think you are free, you can’t escape!

     — Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff

For absolute control of your life and for destroying prenatal and postnatal root-causes of failure, you must excercise your will in every undertaking, until it shakes off its mortal delusion of being human will and becomes All-Powerful Divine Will. You do not need to acquire this Divine Will, you already posess it in the Image of God within you.

     — Paramhansa Yogananda


my CD-ROM problems now have an interesting twist…

when it comes to IDE devices, i have a 40g hard disk, a zip drive and a CD-ROM on this machine. i have the hard disk connected to the main IDE cable coming from the mother board, and the zip and CD connected to the secondary IDE cable… except that neither the zip drive nor the CD was visible, or mount-able for some as yet unknown reason.

i haven’t used the zip drive since i first installed on the machine (i had some data files that were stored on zips and i wanted them to be more local, since i used them all the time), so i disconnected it…

and, for some unknown reason, the CD-ROM drive suddenly is visible and functioning the way i would expect it to.

as my first computer guru, jim, used to say when i asked him how the computer did something unexplainable: demons!

since i no longer need the zip drive, it will stay disconnected, and i will once again revel in having a CD-ROM drive that works!


okay, i got a “new” (used) CD-RW drive and swapped it out for the old one, and adjusted the BIOS settings so that it showed up. now, when mandrake 9.2 is booting, if i hit “escape” so that i can see all of the text rather than the splash screen, it says “Mount special device: /dev/hdc does not exist”, and when i “su” and do a “mount /dev/hdc /mnt/cdrom”, it says “mount: special device /dev/hdc does not exist”… and when i did a “dmesg|grep cdrom” it didn’t respond at all… 8/

i know there’s got to be some way of doing this, because i originally installed mandrake 9.2 from CD-ROMs. am i really going to have to recompile my kernel in order to do this?