a very good friend of moe’s and mine unexpectedly died yesterday. apparently, his wife, moe’s friend trudy, woke up yesterday morning and found him dead in the kitchen. it was very traumatic for everyone, including me, surprisingly enough, despite the fact that i didn’t know him that well. he was relatively young, healthy and strong, literally had everything a man could want, and yet he’s dead.

i spent all day yesterday in a fog, wondering why him and not me. in spite of the fact that i was terrifically tired, and slept through the night, i woke up in the same fog this morning.


Jesus: Tales from the Crypt
February 23, 2007
by Tim McGirk

Brace yourself. James Cameron, the man who brought you ‘The Titanic’ is back with another blockbuster. This time, the ship he’s sinking is Christianity.

In a new documentary, Producer Cameron and his director, Simcha Jacobovici, make the starting claim that Jesus wasn’t resurrected –the cornerstone of Christian faith– and that his burial cave was discovered near Jerusalem. And, get this, Jesus sired a son with Mary Magdelene.

No, it’s not a re-make of “The Da Vinci Codes’. It’s supposed to be true.

Let’s go back 27 years, when Israeli construction workers were gouging out the foundations for a new building in the industrial park in the Talpiyot, a Jerusalem suburb. of Jerusalem. The earth gave way, revealing a 2,000 year old cave with 10 stone caskets. Archologists were summoned, and the stone caskets carted away for examination. It took 20 years for experts to decipher the names on the ten tombs. They were: Jesua, son of Joseph, Mary, Mary, Mathew, Jofa and Judah, son of Jesua.
Israel’s prominent archeologist Professor Amos Kloner didn’t associate the crypt with the New Testament Jesus. His father, after all, was a humble carpenter who couldn’t afford a luxury crypt for his family. And all were common Jewish names.

There was also this little inconvenience that a few miles away, in the old city of Jerusalem, Christians for centuries had been worshipping the empty tomb of Christ at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Christ’s resurrection, after all, is the main foundation of the faith, proof that a boy born to a carpenter’s wife in a manger is the Son of God.

But film-makers Cameron and Jacobovici claim to have amassed evidence through DNA tests, archeological evidence and Biblical studies, that the 10 coffins belong to Jesus and his family.

Ever the showman, (Why does this remind me of the impresario in another movie,”King Kong”, whose hubris blinds him to the dangers of an angry and very large ape?) Cameron is holding a New York press conference on Monday at which he will reveal three coffins, supposedly those of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother Mary and Mary Magdalene. News about the film, which will be shown soon on Discovery Channel, Britain’s Channel 4, Canada’s Vision, and Israel’s Channel 8, has been a hot blog topic in the Middle East (check out a personal favorite: Israelity Bites) Here in the Holy Land, Biblical Archeology is a dangerous profession. This 90-minute documentary is bound to outrage Christians and stir up a titanic debate between believers and skeptics. Stay tuned.

The myth of Muslim support for terror
The common enemy is violence and terrorism, not Muslims any more than Christians or Jews.
February 23, 2007
By Kenneth Ballen

WASHINGTON – Those who think that Muslim countries and pro-terrorist attitudes go hand-in-hand might be shocked by new polling research: Americans are more approving of terrorist attacks against civilians than any major Muslim country except for Nigeria.

The survey, conducted in December 2006 by the University of Maryland’s prestigious Program on International Public Attitudes, shows that only 46 percent of Americans think that “bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians” are “never justified,” while 24 percent believe these attacks are “often or sometimes justified.”

Contrast those numbers with 2006 polling results from the world’s most-populous Muslim countries – Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. Terror Free Tomorrow, the organization I lead, found that 74 percent of respondents in Indonesia agreed that terrorist attacks are “never justified”; in Pakistan, that figure was 86 percent; in Bangladesh, 81 percent.

Do these findings mean that Americans are closet terrorist sympathizers?

Hardly. Yet, far too often, Americans and other Westerners seem willing to draw that conclusion about Muslims. Public opinion surveys in the United States and Europe show that nearly half of Westerners associate Islam with violence and Muslims with terrorists. Given the many radicals who commit violence in the name of Islam around the world, that’s an understandable polling result.

But these stereotypes, affirmed by simplistic media coverage and many radicals themselves, are not supported by the facts – and they are detrimental to the war on terror. When the West wrongly attributes radical views to all of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, it perpetuates a myth that has the very real effect of marginalizing critical allies in the war on terror.

Indeed, the far-too-frequent stereotyping of Muslims serves only to reinforce the radical appeal of the small minority of Muslims who peddle hatred of the West and others as authentic religious practice.

Terror Free Tomorrow’s 20-plus surveys of Muslim countries in the past two years reveal another surprise: Even among the minority who indicated support for terrorist attacks and Osama bin Laden, most overwhelmingly approved of specific American actions in their own countries. For example, 71 percent of bin Laden supporters in Indonesia and 79 percent in Pakistan said they thought more favorably of the United States as a result of American humanitarian assistance in their countries – not exactly the profile of hard-core terrorist sympathizers. For most people, their professed support of terrorism/bin Laden can be more accurately characterized as a kind of “protest vote” against current US foreign policies, not as a deeply held religious conviction or even an inherently anti- American or anti-Western view.

In truth, the common enemy is violence and terrorism, not Muslims any more than Christians or Jews. Whether recruits to violent causes join gangs in Los Angeles or terrorist cells in Lahore, the enemy is the violence they exalt.

Our surveys show that not only do Muslims reject terrorism as much if not more than Americans, but even those who are sympathetic to radical ideology can be won over by positive American actions that promote goodwill and offer real hope.

America’s goal, in partnership with Muslim public opinion, should be to defeat terrorists by isolating them from their own societies. The most effective policies to achieve that goal are the ones that build on our common humanity. And we can start by recognizing that Muslims throughout the world want peace as much as Americans do.

and yet…

Poll shows U.S. views on Muslim-Americans
Nearly half of those surveyed say some rights should be restricted
Dec. 17, 2004

ITHACA, N.Y. – Nearly half of all Americans believe the U.S. government should restrict the civil liberties of Muslim-Americans, according to a nationwide poll.

The survey conducted by Cornell University also found that Republicans and people who described themselves as highly religious were more apt to support curtailing Muslims’ civil liberties than Democrats or people who are less religious.

Disturbing news
Researchers also found that respondents who paid more attention to television news were more likely to fear terrorist attacks and support limiting the rights of Muslim-Americans.

“It’s sad news. It’s disturbing news. But it’s not unpredictable,” said Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society. “The nation is at war, even if it’s not a traditional war. We just have to remain vigilant and continue to interface.”

The survey found 44 percent favored at least some restrictions on the civil liberties of Muslim Americans. Forty-eight percent said liberties should not be restricted in any way.

The survey showed that 27 percent of respondents supported requiring all Muslim-Americans to register where they lived with the federal government. Twenty-two percent favored racial profiling to identify potential terrorist threats. And 29 percent thought undercover agents should infiltrate Muslim civic and volunteer organizations to keep tabs on their activities and fund-raising.

Cornell student researchers questioned 715 people in the nationwide telephone poll conducted this fall. The margin of error was 3.6 percentage points.

37 percent believe terrorist attack likely
James Shanahan, an associate professor of communications who helped organize the survey, said the results indicate “the need for continued dialogue about issues of civil liberties” in a time of war.

While researchers said they were not surprised by the overall level of support for curtailing civil liberties, they were startled by the correlation with religion and exposure to television news.

“We need to explore why these two very important channels of discourse may nurture fear rather than understanding,” Shanahan said.

According to the survey, 37 percent believe a terrorist attack in the United States is still likely within the next 12 months. In a similar poll conducted by Cornell in November 2002, that number stood at 90 percent.


again, i worked on the moisture festival program all day, but i’m getting somewhere today. i completed the artwork for the cover, which is going to the printer tomorrow. also i had to totally reorganise the layout for the black and white pages: i originally estimated that it was going to be 16 pages, but they’ve got 16 pages of advertising, so i had to make it 24 pages, which means carefully taking apart the 16-page layout and pasting it into the 24-page layout, and then tweaking things until everything fits. now that i’ve actually got a working dummy, i’ve been able to finallise the layout for each page, and discover where i need to make filler. they’ve still got 20 ads to place, but they’re allegedly in my inbox (i haven’t checked mail all day, because i was too busy doing other things), so if everything goes well, there will be a finished program by tomorrow evening, or tuesday at the latest. then it’s just a matter of printing, which i’m making arrangements for, and, if everything goes well, i’ll hand off the artwork to troy, the printer, on wednesday or thereabouts. then there’s the matter of folding, collating and stapling, but that doesn’t happen until the printing is finished, and, to be honest, at that point it’s SEP.



yesterday, i worked most of the day on the program for the Moisture Festival. in spite of the fact that sandy and i agreed a month and a half ago that yesterday would be the last day we would accept materials from advertisers, there were only 6 out of 27 ads in the program. i got an email this morning that said that most of the program ads would be in no later than tuesday, but some of the advertisers hadn’t even been contacted yet.

we’ve got a little more than 3 weeks until the moisture festival starts, and we agreed a month and a half ago that we would have all of the ads by yesterday. plus the person responsible for putting the program together (me) has drunk puppet night performances, fremont philharmonic rehearsals, moisture festival rehearsals, ballard sedentary sousa band rehearsals and banda gozona rehearsals, which have started in the past month and a half.

a month and a half ago, i was eager to do the program, because it would give me something to do, but nobody seemed to be interested in kicking some ass and getting ads to me. now, when i’ve got more than i can handle already, they’re saying “what about the program?” because of the fact that this is very likely the last year i will be involved with the moisture festival (we’re moving to some as-yet-to-be-determined location at the end of the year), i don’t want peoples’ last impression of me to be “he didn’t get the programs for the moisture festival finished in time”, i’m doing them despite the fact that i don’t really have either the time or the energy to do them.

and even if the artwork gets completed next week (as currently hoped-for), there still hasn’t been any sign of money for printing, which i have to have before any printing gets done – currently around $1,000 for 5,000 programs, or $1,500 for 10,000 programs – and i’m not going to be able to do any programs without this money… and that’s not to mention the time to fold, collate and staple 5,000 to 10,000 programs…

meanwhile, drunk puppet night started last night. i’m REALLY glad the fremont phil is only playing the first weekend, because running back and forth from the bandstand to the lighting booth several hundred times during the evening, along with playing and running lights (both of which are surprisingly athletic activites), really takes it out of me, especially when i’ve been dealing with moisture festival program stuff all day.

despite the fact that i was running all night, drunk puppet night went surprisingly well. it’s at least in part because the owners of the venue acutely missed DPN6 last year, and when DPN7 was announced at the rebar this year, many people came to it because of it’s previous reputation.

in spite of that, however, this has got to be one of the tamest drunk puppet nights i have ever seen. there were a few reasonably risqué acts (“Queen Schmooquan” and “Stunt Dick” immediately spring to mind), along with the standard alien abduction/nazi experimentation and people either doing, or having done to them, some horrible nasties, but nothing like the show i was involved in for DPN3, which involved a young boy being eaten alive by a larger-than-life squirrel, or the johnny jetpack propulsion labs production, which was a pair of cattle copulating while falling into a container of liquid nitrogen. there is one show by a guy who has written for south park and spongebob squarepants, “The Passion Of The Hair Plugs” which is excellent, however, and worth the $15 cover charge all on it’s own.

so anyway… back to work on the program. <yawn>


By CAPT Doug Traversa

Just when I think nothing will surprise me, Afghanistan throws me a curve ball. Let me set the stage. Maj Apple, Wali, Hamid (our interpreters) and I were sitting in our office having a Deep Discussion about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Somehow the topic of gays serving in the military came up, and Maj Apple and I both think they will be able to openly serve in the military very soon. (I mention this to set the stage, not to start a debate. Personally, it wouldn’t bother me. If they want to come over and fight for their country, it’s fine with me. Welcome.)

Once this topic came up, Wali asked why people were allowed to be openly gay in our country. We explained that in a free society, people are allowed to do pretty much what they please, as long as they are not hurting others, etc.

“But it is so revolting. A man would shame himself to do this.”

“Wali,” I asked, “What would happen to a man in Afghanistan if he openly declared he was gay?”

“That would never happen,” replied Wali, acting as though that was as likely as the Pope converting to Islam.

“I know. But let’s just pretend. For instance, let’s say a famous TV personality decided he wanted to try to change things here, so he announced on TV that he was gay.”

Wali interrupted. “But that would never happen.”

“Maybe it would. Just tell me what you think would happen.”

“His family would kill him immediately,” he said without batting an eye. Remember, Wali represents moderate, westernized, Islam in Afghanistan.

“Why would you kill someone just for being gay?” I pressed.

“Because my religion says so.” Again, as matter-of-fact as though he was explaining why a rock falls to the ground if you pick it up and then let go.

“Let’s suppose he escaped from his family. What would the government do? Would they arrest him?”


“And would they then kill him?”

“Yes. This is an Islamic Republic. Our religion says to.”

“And if someone wanted to leave Islam and join another religion, they would be executed for that too, right?”


The sad thing is, we could have been talking about football scores or the weather. He was not remotely embarrassed or hesitant in any of this. Hamid, however, was very quiet the whole time. I wonder what was going through his head.

“Well, if you believe all this, why would you want to move to America? We allow people to switch religions if they wish, or believe in nothing at all.”

“Do you have people from different religions marry each other?” he asked.

“Yes, all the time,” replied Maj Apple.

“What do they teach the children?”

“Usually they teach them both religions, and let them decide for themselves,” said Maj Apple.

Wali seemed a bit surprised by this. Steam was starting to come out his ears.

“America is not like Afghanistan,” I continued. “Our government does not tell us what to believe. We are free to believe whatever we wish. That is our greatness. We can say whatever we wish, as long as we aren’t threatening to kill someone or violently overthrow the government. We can get on TV and say we think the government is awful, and no one will arrest us.”

Maj Apple gave a brief explanation of how our country was founded by people who wished to worship in their own way. Once this was done, I asked again, “Do you think you could be happy in America? Muslims can leave the faith there, and no one will kill them.”

“That’s okay, as long as I can worship my way, I don’t mind what others do.”

So there you have it, the incongruity of a man who thinks it is perfectly normal to execute gays and apostates in this country, but doesn’t think it’s a big deal if he’s living in the US. No matter what your views on homosexuality, I doubt any readers of The Sandbox want to execute gays (well, maybe some Taliban reading this trying to gather intel). Same thing with people who leave your particular faith. Would you kill them? (Hopefully that’s a rhetorical question). Yet I live with seemingly normal, pleasant, hard-working people who would think nothing of doing this. This is not an isolated incident either. Other Americans have heard the same thing from their interpreters.

Now take this mindset, set temperature to high, and nuke for ten minutes, and you have some idea of the hatred and violence in the hearts of the men we are fighting against. Do you think diplomacy is going to work?

Do you think you can reason with them?

Be afraid. Be very afraid.


Lafayette judge steps down: Frieling won’t enforce new marijuana law
By Eric Schmidt
February 13, 2007

An associate municipal court judge in Lafayette resigned Monday in protest of stiffer penalties for marijuana possession in the city.

Leonard Frieling, a Boulder criminal-defense lawyer, said he is resigning out of principle after more than eight years as a backup to Lafayette Municipal Judge Roger Buchholz.

“I cannot in good conscience sit on the bench while being unwilling to enforce the municipal ordinances,” Frieling said in a resignation letter to city officials. “Specifically, since you have seen fit to increase the penalty for cannabis possession from a $100 fine (which matches the state penalty) to a $1,000 fine and a year in jail, I find that I am morally and ethically unable to sit as a judge for the city.”

The Lafayette City Council last week passed a first reading of an ordinance increasing the possible penalty for possession of cannabis or drug paraphernalia, which now carries a maximum $100 fine. The change is pending final approval next week.

Frieling said he was willing to enforce the old ordinance despite a personal belief that the war on marijuana is “ridiculous.” He said it makes no sense for cannabis to be illegal for adults who are allowed to drink alcohol, and the proposed penalty in Lafayette would set a bad precedent.

“The state of Colorado has somewhat decriminalized small amounts for personal possession by making it a petty offense with maximum $100 fine,” he said. “I think that it is inappropriate for a municipality that a crime is so much more serious within their city limits than it is statewide.”

Lafayette Mayor Chris Berry said Monday night that he had not seen Frieling’s letter and could not comment on its contents.

Berry said the new pot penalties were among several changes supported by the city’s law enforcement. The idea was to increase the maximum penalty to give judges more discretion when sentencing marijuana offenders under different circumstances, he said.

“My interpretation was that it would be up to the judge,” Berry said. “A sitting judge could still make (the fine) $100.”

Mayor Pro Tem David Strungis — who cast the sole vote against the ordinance — said the police chief and sitting judge showed “no evidence that we have a pandemic of marijuana-possession arrests in Lafayette.”

“My feeling was that punishments have to be within reason, and the punishment has to fit the crime,” Strungis said. “To put someone in jail for a year for less than an ounce of marijuana — I couldn’t justify that.”


four-legged duck

Tiny duckling has rare mutation: 4 legs
February 18, 2007

LONDON – Webbed feet run in Stumpy’s family, but he’s the first to have four of them.

A rare mutation has left the eight-day-old duckling with two nearly full-sized legs behind the two he runs on. Nicky Janaway, a duck farmer in New Forest, Hampshire, 95 miles southwest of London, showed the duckling to reporters Saturday.

“It was absolutely bizarre. I was thinking ‘he’s got too many legs’ and I kept counting ‘one, two, three, four,'” Janaway said.

Stumpy would probably not survive in the wild, but Janaway, who runs the Warrawee Duck Farm in New Forest, says he is doing well.

“He’s eating and surviving so far, and he is running about with those extra legs acting like stabilizers,” Janaway said.

The mutation is rare, but cases have been recorded across the world. One duckling named Jake was born in Queensland, Australia, in 2002 with four legs but died soon after.


Monkey Wrench Puppet Lab presents Drunk Puppet Nite #7!

At Re-Bar 1114 Howell Street at Boren, Seattle

Friday & Saturday. February 23 & 24; March 2 & 3; 9 & 10

Show at 8:00 SHARP; Door open at 7:00 21 and over only w/ID

Tickets $15 at the door; NO reservations!

For info call Monkey Wrench Puppet Lab (206) 528-7799

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the 7th Drunk Puppet Nite! And the talented freaks at Monkey Wrench Puppet Lab are inviting our favorite puppeteers to expose themselves in public!

Monkey Wrench Puppet Lab is once again hosting the outrageous mix of puke, politics, porn, poetry and puppets that we call Drunk Puppet Nite! This is an evening of puppetry from beyond the pale; a chancefor Seattle’s best, and most notorious, puppeteers to expose their ids in public. We dare to enter the nether realms of puppetry. Drunk Puppet Nite is subversive; it’s ugly, it’s ridiculous, it’s sublime, it’s controversial, it’s lovely, it’s righteously political, it’s literary.

This year, by popular demand, we are moving back to the Re-Bar at the base of Capitol Hill. No one knows what to expect from Drunk Puppet Nite. Over these three weekends, our puppeteers have no boundaries. Performers include Queen Shmooquan; Johnny Jetpack; members of Circus Contraption, Cry of the Rooster, Islewilde, Naked Puppets, Tears of Joy, and all of your Monkey Wrench favorites! Musical guests include Miles & Karina and The Fremont Philharmonic! No two evenings are the same.

Monkey Wrench is a cluster of Seattle area puppeteers who are working to expand the public’s definition of puppetry by bringing their blend of the surprising, the bizarre and the artistically excellent to audiences around the Puget Sound. Monkey Wrench is the group responsible for Frankenocchio, The Mermaid who Broke my F*cking Heart, Halfpenny Opera and the upcoming Dracula.

For more information call Monkey Wrench at (206) 528-7799 or email producer Josh Okrent at [email protected]


the four CDs worth of Holy Modal Rounders mp3s that i was waiting for yesterday didn’t come through for some, unknown reason (which is very sad indeed), but the other stuff did.

except some of them were mp3s and some of them were FLAC files, and the only player i have that understands FLAC is on windoesn’t – only this time it’s the only thing that does for a change. is there a way to convert FLAC to mp3, or something that is compatible with my ipod? i realise that FLAC is infinitely preferable (yes, i have ears), but as far as i can tell, i can’t put FLACs in my ipod, and i really would like to take this music with me, rather than having to carry around my windows box for one album…


i stayed awake last night for mahasivaratri. in between bouts of internet activity (i downloaded about 15 CDs worth of music, and there’s four more that are currently downloading with an ETA of about an hour), and another art project that i got started (think multiple, big stencils), i actually spent some time meditating as well, which is the first time i’ve been able to meditate for more than 10 minutes or so since my injury. oddly enough, i don’t feel tired, but my body feels tired: i’m as mentally alert as i am at lunch time pretty much daily, but i’m having extreme difficulty typing, for example, because both my hands are so tired that they’re hitting the wrong letters about 90% of the time. my mind is sort of fuzzy and it takes me longer to form a sentance than it would normally. my vision, especially close up, is extremely blurred…

i can’t decide whether i want to give my body a rest, or whether i want to go for a bike ride… it’s such a gorgeous day… 8)


Research Supports Medicinal Marijuana
AIDS Patients in Controlled Study Had Significant Pain Relief
By Rick Weiss
February 13, 2007

AIDS patients suffering from debilitating nerve pain got as much or more relief by smoking marijuana as they would typically get from prescription drugs — and with fewer side effects — according to a study conducted under rigorously controlled conditions with government-grown pot.

In a five-day study performed in a specially ventilated hospital ward where patients smoked three marijuana cigarettes a day, more than half the participants tallied significant reductions in pain.

By contrast, less than one-quarter of those who smoked “placebo” pot, which had its primary psychoactive ingredients removed, reported benefits, as measured by subjective pain reports and standardized neurological tests.

The White House belittled the study as “a smoke screen,” short on proof of efficacy and flawed because it did not consider the health impacts of inhaling smoke.

But other doctors and advocates of marijuana policy reform said the findings, in today’s issue of the journal Neurology, offer powerful evidence that the Drug Enforcement Administration’s classification of cannabis as having “no currently accepted medical use” is outdated.

“This should be a wake-up call for Congress to hold hearings to investigate the therapeutic use of cannabis and to encourage more research,” said Barbara T. Roberts, a former interim associate deputy director in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, now with Americans for Safe Access, which promotes access to marijuana for therapies and research.

Countless anecdotal reports have suggested that smoking marijuana can help relieve the pain, nausea and muscular spasticity that often accompany cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other ailments. But few well-controlled studies have been conducted.

The new study enrolled 50 AIDS patients with severe foot pain caused by their disease or by the medicines they take.

The team first measured baseline pain, both subjectively (patients ranked their pain on a scale of 1 to 100) and with two standardized tests, one involving a small hot iron held to the skin and another involving hot chili pepper cream.

Then, for five days, patients lit up at 8 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. using a calibrated puff method that calls for inhaling for five seconds, holding one’s breath for 10, then waiting 45 seconds before the next.

The cigarettes were kept frozen and locked in a safe, then thawed and humidified one day before use. Cigarette butts and other debris were collected, weighed and returned to the safe to ensure no diversion for recreational purposes.

Grown on the government’s official pot farm in Mississippi, the drug was about one-quarter the potency of quality street marijuana. The inactive version was chemically cleansed of cannabinoids, the drug’s main active ingredients.

“It smelled like and looked like” normal marijuana, said study leader Donald I. Abrams, a physician at San Francisco General Hospital, where the smoking ward was located. Like the patients, Abrams was not told who had the active pot until the study was over.

Thirteen of 25 patients who smoked the regular marijuana achieved pain reduction of at least 30 percent, compared with six of 25 who smoked placebo pot. The average pain reduction for the real cannabis was 34 percent, compared with17 percent for the placebo.

Opioids and other pills can reduce nerve pain by 20 to 30 percent but can cause drowsiness and confusion, Abrams said. And many patients complain that a prescription version of pot’s main ingredient in pill form does not work for them.

That was true for Diana Dodson, 50, who received an AIDS diagnosis in 1997 after a blood transfusion.

“I have so many layers of pain I can hardly walk,” said Dodson, who was in the new study. Prescription drugs made her feel worse. “But inhaled cannabis works,” she said.

Patients in the study — all of whom had smoked pot previously — reported no notable side effects, though the researchers acknowledged that people unfamiliar with the drug may not fare as well.

Igor Grant, director of the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, which funded the research, said the study was probably the best-designed U.S. test of marijuana’s medical potential in decades. He called the results “highly believable.”

But David Murray, chief scientist at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, called the findings “not particularly persuasive.” The study was relatively small, he said, and it is likely that those who received the real pot were aware of that, introducing a bias of expected efficacy.

“We’re very much supportive of any effort to ameliorate the suffering of AIDS patients,” Murray said. But even if ingredients in marijuana prove useful, he added, they ought to be synthesized in a pill to make dosing more accurate and to minimize lung damage.

Separately, ending a six-year effort, a Massachusetts group learned yesterday that it had won a legal victory against the DEA in its battle for federal permission to grow its own cannabis for federally approved studies, instead of relying on government pot.

In an 87-page opinion, administrative law judge Mary Ellen Bittner ruled that it “would be in the public interest” to allow a University of Massachusetts researcher to cultivate marijuana under contract to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which sponsors medical research on marijuana and other drugs.

The DEA is not obligated to follow the advice of its law judges, but the detailed decision should make it difficult for the agency to balk, said MAPS President Rick Doblin.


Anti-evolution memo stirs controversy
By Jeremy Redmon
February 15, 2007

The Anti-Defamation League is calling on state Rep. Ben Bridges to apologize for a memo distributed under his name that says the teaching of evolution should be banned in public schools because it is a religious deception stemming from an ancient Jewish sect.

Bridges (R-Cleveland) denies having anything to do with the memo. But one of his constituents said he wrote the memo with Bridges’ approval before it was recently distributed to lawmakers in several states, including Texas, California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

“Indisputable evidence — long hidden but now available to everyone — demonstrates conclusively that so-called ‘secular evolution science’ is the Big-Bang 15-billion-year alternate ‘creation scenario’ of the Pharisee Religion,” the memo says. “This scenario is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic ‘holy book’ Kabbala dating back at least two millennia.”

The memo calls on lawmakers to introduce legislation that would end the teaching of evolution in public schools because it is “a deception that is causing incalculable harm to every student and every truth-loving citizen.”

It also directs readers to a Web site www.fixedearth.com, which includes model legislation that calls the Kabbala “a mystic, anti-Christ ‘holy book’ of the Pharisee Sect of Judaism.” The Web site also declares “the earth is not rotating … nor is it going around the sun.”

The Anti-Defamation League says the assertions in the memo border on anti-Semitism.

“Your memo conjures up repugnant images of Judaism used for thousands of years to smear the Jewish people as cult-like and manipulative,” Bill Nigut, the ADL’s Southeast regional director, wrote in an e-mail to Bridges Thursday. “I am shocked and appalled that you would send this anti-Semitic material to colleagues and friends, and call upon you to repudiate and apologize for distributing this highly offensive memo.”

Bridges denied writing or authorizing the memo.

“I did not put it out nor did I know it was going out,” Bridges said. “I’m not defending it or taking up for it.”

The memo directs supporters to call Marshall Hall, president of the Fair Education Foundation Inc., a Cornelia, Ga.-based organization that seeks to show evolution is a myth. Hall said he showed Bridges the text of the memo and got his permission to distribute it.

“I gave him a copy of it months ago,” said Hall, a retired high school teacher. “I had already written this up as an idea to present to him so he could see what it was and what we were thinking.”

Hall said his wife Bonnie has served as Bridges’ campaign manager since 1996.

Bridges acknowledged that he talked to Hall about filing legislation this year that would end the teaching of evolution in Georgia’s public schools. Bridges said the views in the memo belong to Hall, though Bridges said he doesn’t necessarily disagree with them.

“I agree with it more than I would the Big Bang Theory or the Darwin Theory,” Bridges said. “I am convinced that rather than risk teaching a lie why teach anything?”

Bridges sponsored unsuccessful legislation in 2005 that would have required Georgia’s teachers to introduce scientific evidence challenging evolution.

Asked about the ADL’s call for an apology, Bridges said: “I regret that these people have been offended, but I didn’t offend them because I didn’t put the memo out.”

A Texas lawmaker says he is now “willing to apologize” for giving fellow legislators the memo Tuesday, The Dallas Morning News reported today.

“The stuff that causes conflicts between religious beliefs, you know, I’d never be a party to that,” Texas House Appropriations Chairman Warren Chisum told the Morning News Wednesday. “I’m willing to apologize if I’ve offended anyone.”

The newspaper reported Chisum made his comments after he learned the Anti-Defamation League was demanding an apology in a letter to his office.

The National Center for Science Education, an Oakland, Calif.-based organization that defends the teaching of evolution in public schools, said the assertion that evolution is linked to an ancient Jewish sect is “bizarre.”

“Evolution is recognized as a central unifying principle of the biological sciences by the scientific community and the education community,” said Glenn Branch, the center’s deputy director.

The non-moving Earth & anti-evolution web page of The Fair Education Foundation, Inc. – O_o

these people make the NATURE’S HARMONIC SIMULTANEOUS 4-DAY TIME CUBE guy look positively normal…

(by the way, if you hadn’t noticed, both of the web sites above were posted by people who are stark raving lunatics)

but people still believe this crap and think you’re EVIL if you disagree with ’em!! – and they’ve apparently got a guy at the federal level who is responsible for making OUR LAWS who agrees with ’em!!

and people wonder why i’m not sure i wouldn’t be happier dead… 8/

and then, to top it all off…

Christian pediatrician denies child service because parents are tattooed
By Brynn Galindo

BAKERSFIELD – A family is turned away by a local pediatrician, they say because of the way they look.

The doctor said he is just following his beliefs, creating a Christian atmosphere for his patients.

Tasha Childress said it’s discrimination.

She said Dr. Gary Merrill wouldn’t treat her daughter for an ear infection because Tasha, the mother, has tattoos.

The writing is on the wall—literally: “This is a private office. Appearance and behavior standards apply.”

For Dr. Gary Merrill of Christian Medical Services, that means no tattoos, body piercings, and a host of other requirements—all standards Merrill has set based upon his Christian faith.

“She had to go that entire night with her ear infection with no medicine because he has his policy,” Tasha Childress said.

Merrill won’t speak on camera, but said based on his values and beliefs, he has standards that he expects in his office.

He does that, he said, to ensure the patients he does accept have a more comfortable atmosphere.

According to the American Medical Association and other doctors, he reserves that right.

“In the same sense that any other business person has the opportunity to decline service, be it a restaurant if they’re not dressed properly, be it any other type of business,” said Dr. Ronald Morton, Kern County Medical Society.

Morton said certain ethics apply if a person’s life is in danger, but besides that, there is no requirement to serve anyone they don’t approve of.

“I felt totally discriminated against, like I wasn’t good enough to talk to,” Tasha Childress said, “like he didn’t have to give me any reason for not wanting to see my daughter because I have tattoos and piercings.”

17 News found other patients who had a different experience with Merrill.

“I have tattoos, actually, and no, nothing’s ever been said about it,” Brandi Stanley said, Merrill’s patient.

Childress’ insurance company, Health Net of California, who referred her to Merrill, said in a statement: “We provide our customers with a wide breadth of doctors that meet certain medical quality standards … If a customer doesn’t feel comfortable with a particular physician, it is our responsibility to provide that customer with access to another doctor who does meet their needs.”

But that’s not enough for Childress who wants the policy changed immediately and an apology from the doctor for making her feel like an outsider.

“Really, it didn’t matter what he didn’t want to see us for. It isn’t right,” she said.

Merrill said he will continue to enforce the rules he has in place, which even include no chewing gum in his office.

He said if they don’t like his beliefs, they can find another doctor.


through some unknown coincidence, i was invited to check out a college that claire petersky was going to be attending, along with bruce borntraeger. it was more-or-less what i remember a typical college was like, with various buildings and dormitories. there was something bruce, claire and i were involved with that took place in one of the dormitories, but i don’t remember that part. there was one place, next to the dormitory, where there was a building and a parking lot and a huge earth berm with a road on the other side of it, and a gap so that the parking lot could be accessed from the road, and at the end of the berm, just before the gap, there was a concrete sign embedded in the berm, with faded writing that appeared to be german, and i realised that this had been an old WWI-era fort before it was a college. there was a large sailboat on a trailer in the parking lot, and i went up to it and started climbing on it as though i knew what i was doing. i found a derby hat that had somehow been forced down on the mast, so that it was ripped through the crown and resting on the deck. somehow i got it off, and, in spite of the fact that it was twisted out of shape and totally useless as a hat, i put it on my head anyway, and said that it didn’t matter to me that it wasn’t a hat any longer.


Civil Libertarian
You scored 86% Personal Liberty and 48% Economic Liberty!
A civil libertarian believes in little to no government intervention on personal matters and moderate government intervention on economic matters. As the name implies, a Civil Libertarian’s main concern is with civil liberties – personal matters. They tend to be strongly opposed to war, police powers, victimless crimes, and foreign intervention. Civil Libertarians may tend to believe in a social safety net, but to a lesser extent then most leftists. Strong Civil Libertarians are somewhat inclined towards supporting capitalism as an economic system, while others believe in a “mixed” system between different aspects of capitalism and socialism. A civil libertarian strongly believes in protecting personal liberty. They strongly support self-ownership and privacy.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

other other
You scored higher than 99% on Personal
other other
You scored higher than 99% onEconomic

Link: The Politics Test written by brainpolice on OkCupid

Partial List of IP Blocks Used by US “Terrorist Surveillance Program”

The following partial list of IP blocks are routinely used by the US government entities (supported by private contractors) to gain access to, to monitor, and in some cases, to destroy IT networks. Such activity is related to the US “Terrorist Surveillance Program.” Most of the registrants of the blocks listed below are not aware of these activities. Concerned network admins should examine traffic logs closely. A correlation of traffic from several of these IP blocks likely indicates that a network is under surveillance or has had access attempted by the US intelligence community and affiliated entities.

Another thing to note about the program is that access attempts are usually done through Microsoft service ports 1025-1030. Microsoft OS’s allow remote access via these specific ports. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I’ve converted your list to CIDR notation, it’s much more useful this way:

Ex-Agent Ties Firing to CIA Pressure on WMD
By Chitra Ragavan
February 09, 2007

A federal judge has ruled that a CIA agent identified only as “Doe,” allegedly fired after he gathered prewar intelligence showing that Iraq was not developing weapons of mass destruction, can proceed with his lawsuit against the CIA. The judge has ordered both parties to submit discovery requests–evidence they want for their case–to be completed by March 15, according to the CIA agent’s lawyer and a spokesman for the Justice Department, which is defending the CIA in court.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler issued her ruling after what Doe’s attorney, Roy Krieger, described as an extraordinary, secret status conference by telephone this afternoon that lasted nearly a half an hour. So concerned was the CIA about the agent’s identity becoming public that the Justice Department prevailed upon the judge to issue a highly restrictive order regarding press contacts by the agent and Krieger. The order barred them from “requesting, allowing, encouraging, or directing” any members of the media from appearing at Krieger’s office or even within a two-block vicinity of the building where he works or of any other location of the status conference, until two hours after the conference was completed.

Krieger and his client were also barred from notifying the media ahead of time about the status conference or its location. The judge sealed her order until 2 p.m. today.

“They are worried about his photograph being taken or his likeness being sketched,” Krieger told U.S. News, “because if his appearance became public, we are told we will lose one of our most valued assets because [the asset has] been publicly associated with him.”

At the hearing, Krieger said, Justice Department attorney Marcia Tiersky told Kessler the department wanted to file a motion for summary judgment, leading to dismissal of the case, before discovery commenced. In response to Kessler’s request for a basis for summary judgment, according to Krieger and the Justice Department, Tiersky said that the department would produce affidavits in support of the move. But the judge, indicating that she viewed this as a delaying tactic, said she would allow the discovery process to begin.

This is the second setback for the government in this case. In January, Kessler decided on technical grounds that the CIA employee’s lawsuit could not be dismissed. However, the judge did not rule on the agent’s central claim that he was fired because he refused to alter intelligence that contradicted the Bush administration’s central rationale for the war in Iraq. In that earlier ruling, Kessler said that the covert agent could plausibly argue that his firing was based on allegedly false information placed in his personnel file. Krieger said that his client had gathered intelligence from several countries in the Middle East, including Iraq.

The intelligence was picked up as the United States began its push for invading Iraq in 2003. As has been widely reported, the Bush administration has since failed to find any weapons of mass destruction. The CIA agent has alleged in his suit that supervisors told him they would notify President Bush that he had found contradictory information but that they failed to follow through on their promise.

boytaur dot net?? – somwhere between ZOMG and ROTFLMAO…


the big bois with poise took Miss Indigo Blue‘s “tassel twirling” class this evening. it was a little weird, being one of only 4 men in a class full of women who were learning how to apply pasties, and various other things that involved taking off our shirts… but nobody seemed too hung up about it, and now i have my very own set of pasties with tassels, and i can even twirl them in a variety of ways. aren’t you impressed?


i got a new cell phone the other day. i didn’t really need a new cell phone, but the ringer in phone i had was being “intermittent” – sometimes it would ring and sometimes it wouldn’t – which meant that i was constantly missing important calls to let me know about schedule changes and suchlike, and i figured it would be easier to just get a new phone instead of battling with verizon to get the old one fixed, especially since the old one is two years old anyway.

the ringtones are midi files. there are a ton of “get it now” web sites that say that they have “500,000 FREE” ringtones, or something like that, but you have to subscribe (pay) to get the “free” ringtones, and they don’t have any frank zappa ringtones, even if you do subscribe.

however, there are another ton of frank zappa midi sites, that have totally free midi files, that you can download without having to subscribe to anything…

so now my cell phone rings with “Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance”, except for when it’s moe calling, when it rings with “Dirty Love”.

it is still giving me trouble changing “wallpapers” so that i don’t have the obnoxious verizon advertising though, it turns out that the picture i was sending was “the wrong size”, and instead of telling me that it was the wrong size, it was saying “invalid file” when i tried to set it as wallpaper, even though i was able to see it when i downloaded the message, which is a bug, and the “screensaver” won’t turn off (which is very definitely a bug).

also, the “head man” at the verizon store in the mall didn’t know some stuff about the email software that the phone uses, but instead of saying that he didn’t know, he said the technology was different, which i know for a fact (because of the fact that i used to work for openwave, the company that makes the email server software that is used by verizon) is not true… but i didn’t feel like arguing with him, so i left him feeling smug that he didn’t actually have to replace my phone.