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Polar bears drown as ice shelf melts
December 18, 2005
Will Iredale

SCIENTISTS have for the first time found evidence that polar bears are drowning because climate change is melting the Arctic ice shelf.

The researchers were startled to find bears having to swim up to 60 miles across open sea to find food. They are being forced into the long voyages because the ice floes from which they feed are melting, becoming smaller and drifting farther apart.

Although polar bears are strong swimmers, they are adapted for swimming close to the shore. Their sea journeys leave them them vulnerable to exhaustion, hypothermia or being swamped by waves.

According to the new research, four bear carcases were found floating in one month in a single patch of sea off the north coast of Alaska, where average summer temperatures have increased by 2-3C degrees since 1950s.

The scientists believe such drownings are becoming widespread across the Arctic, an inevitable consequence of the doubling in the past 20 years of the proportion of polar bears having to swim in open seas.

“Mortalities due to offshore swimming may be a relatively important and unaccounted source of natural mortality given the energetic demands placed on individual bears engaged in long-distance swimming,” says the research led by Dr Charles Monnett, marine ecologist at the American government’s Minerals Management Service. “Drowning-related deaths of polar bears may increase in the future if the observed trend of regression of pack ice continues.”

The research, presented to a conference on marine mammals in San Diego, California, last week, comes amid evidence of a decline in numbers of the 22,000 polar bears that live in about 20 sites across the Arctic circle.

In Hudson Bay, Canada, the site of the most southerly polar bears, a study by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the Canadian Wildlife Service to be published next year will show the population fell 22% from 1,194 in 1987 to 935 last year.

New evidence from field researchers working for the World Wildlife Fund in Yakutia, on the northeast coast of Russia, has also shown the region’s first evidence of cannibalism among bears competing for food supplies.

Polar bears live on ice all year round and use it as a platform from which to hunt food and rear their young. They hunt near the edge, where the ice is thinnest, catching seals when they make holes in the ice to breath. They typically eat one seal every four or five days and a single bear can consume 100lb of blubber at one sitting.

As the ice pack retreats north in the summer between June and October, the bears must travel between ice floes to continue hunting in areas such as the shallow water of the continental shelf off the Alaskan coast — one of the most food-rich areas in the Arctic.

However, last summer the ice cap receded about 200 miles further north than the average of two decades ago, forcing the bears to undertake far longer voyages between floes.

“We know short swims up to 15 miles are no problem, and we know that one or two may have swum up to 100 miles. But that is the extent of their ability, and if they are trying to make such a long swim and they encounter rough seas they could get into trouble,” said Steven Amstrup, a research wildlife biologist with the USGS.

The new study, carried out in part of the Beaufort Sea, shows that between 1986 and 2005 just 4% of the bears spotted off the north coast of Alaska were swimming in open waters. Not a single drowning had been documented in the area.

However, last September, when the ice cap had retreated a record 160 miles north of Alaska, 51 bears were spotted, of which 20% were seen in the open sea, swimming as far as 60 miles off shore.

The researchers returned to the vicinity a few days later after a fierce storm and found four dead bears floating in the water. “We estimate that of the order of 40 bears may have been swimming and that many of those probably drowned as a result of rough seas caused by high winds,” said the report.

In their search for food, polar bears are also having to roam further south, rummaging in the dustbins of Canadian homes. Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the explorer who has been to the North Pole seven times, said he had noticed a deterioration in the bears’ ice habitat since his first expedition in 1975.

“Each year there was more water than the time before,” he said. “We used amphibious sledges for the first time in 1986.”

His last expedition was in 2002, when he fell through the ice and lost some of his fingers to frostbite.


Agents’ visit chills UMass Dartmouth senior
By AARON NICODEMUS, Standard-Times staff writer

NEW BEDFORD — A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung’s tome on Communism called “The Little Red Book.”

Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library’s interlibrary loan program.

The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand’s class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents’ home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.

The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a “watch list,” and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further.

“I tell my students to go to the direct source, and so he asked for the official Peking version of the book,” Professor Pontbriand said. “Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring inter-library loans, because that’s what triggered the visit, as I understand it.”

Although The Standard-Times knows the name of the student, he is not coming forward because he fears repercussions should his name become public. He has not spoken to The Standard-Times.

The professors had been asked to comment on a report that President Bush had authorized the National Security Agency to spy on as many as 500 people at any given time since 2002 in this country.

The eavesdropping was apparently done without warrants.

The Little Red Book, is a collection of quotations and speech excerpts from Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung.

In the 1950s and ’60s, during the Cultural Revolution in China, it was required reading. Although there are abridged versions available, the student asked for a version translated directly from the original book.

The student told Professor Pontbriand and Dr. Williams that the Homeland Security agents told him the book was on a “watch list.” They brought the book with them, but did not leave it with the student, the professors said.

Dr. Williams said in his research, he regularly contacts people in Afghanistan, Chechnya and other Muslim hot spots, and suspects that some of his calls are monitored.

“My instinct is that there is a lot more monitoring than we think,” he said.

Dr. Williams said he had been planning to offer a course on terrorism next semester, but is reconsidering, because it might put his students at risk.
“I shudder to think of all the students I’ve had monitoring al-Qaeda Web sites, what the government must think of that,” he said. “Mao Tse-Tung is completely harmless.”


Bush admits he authorised spying

President George W Bush has admitted he authorised secret monitoring of communications within the United States in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks.

The monitoring was of “people with known links to al-Qaeda and related terrorist organisations”, he said.

He said the programme was reviewed every 45 days, and he made clear he did not plan to halt the eavesdropping.

He also rebuked senators who blocked the renewal of his major anti-terror law, the Patriot Act, on Friday.

By preventing the extension of the act, due to expire on 31 December, they had, he said, acted irresponsibly and were endangering the lives of US citizens.

The president, who was visibly angry, also suggested that a New York Times report which had revealed the monitoring on Friday had been irresponsible.

America’s enemies had “learned information they should not have”, he said in his weekly radio address, which was delivered live from the White House after a pre-recorded version was scrapped.

‘Big Brother’

Senators from both Mr Bush’s Republican party and the opposition Democrats expressed concerns about the monitoring programme on Friday.

Senator Arlen Specter, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee , said there was no doubt it was “inappropriate”, adding that Senate hearings would be held early next year as “a very, very high priority”.

“This is Big Brother run amok,” was the reaction of Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy.

Senator Russell Feingold, another Democrat, called it a “shocking revelation” that “ought to send a chill down the spine of every senator and every American”.

But in his address on Saturday, Mr Bush said the programme was “critical to saving American lives”.

The president said some of the 11 September hijackers inside the US had communicated with associates outside before the attacks – but the US had not known that until it was too late.

“The American people expect me to do everything in my power, under our laws and Constitution, to protect them and our civil liberties,” he said.

Monitoring was, he said, a “vital tool in our war against the terrorists”.

He said Congressional leaders had been briefed on the programme, which he has already renewed more than 30 times.

‘Illegal leak’

Mr Bush harshly criticised the leak that had made the programme public.

“Revealing classified information is illegal. It alerts our enemies,” he said.

The New York Times reported on Friday that Mr Bush had signed a secret presidential order following the attacks on 11 September 2001, allowing the National Security Agency to track the international telephone calls and e-mails of hundreds of people without referral to the courts.

Previously, surveillance on American soil was generally limited to foreign embassies.

American law usually requires a secret court, known as a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, to give permission before intelligence officers can conduct surveillance on US soil.


so, spying on americans without warrants is okay, but telling americans that they’re being spied on without warrants is not okay…

i don’t often say this, but WHAT THE FUCK???

has anybody else noticed that this is one of the reasons why we are a separate country, and not an extension of great britain? maybe we should start calling him "king" george, instead of president shrub… 8/


Bush Addresses Patriot Act, NSA Spying
Monday, December 19, 2005
By Liza Porteus

WASHINGTON — President Bush held a year-end news conference on Monday, where he defended the use of a domestic eavesdropping program and called for Democrats to stop their “delaying tactics” and reauthorize the controversial Patriot Act.

Bush called the leak of the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping program, first reported in The New York Times last Thursday, as a “shameful act” disclosed in a time of war. That report said Bush had authorized the NSA to conduct surveillance of e-mails and phone calls of some individuals in the United States without court warrants.

“The fact that we’re discussing this program is helping the enemy,” he said. “This program has targeted those with known links to Al Qaeda.”

But the program will continue, Bush said, adding that he has reauthorized it over 30 times. “And I will continue to do so for so long as our nation faces the continued threat of an enemy that wants to kill our American citizens.”

The Justice Department likely will investigate who leaked information about the NSA program, the president added. A request for that investigation must come from the NSA itself.

The Monday event was Bush’s first full-fledged news conference since October and his ninth of the year. It came just one day after the president spoke to the nation in a prime-time television address from the Oval Office about the war in Iraq, urging patience and declaring that the United States was winning the battle.

On the eavesdropping issue, Bush said “absolutely” he has the legal authority to order such surveillance, and cited Article 2 of the Constitution, which he said gives him the responsibility and authority to deal with an enemy that declares war against the United States. After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Congress also gave him the authority to use force against Al Qaeda, he noted, to tackle an “unconventional enemy,” some of whom lived in U.S. cities and communities while planning attacks.

“We need to recognize that dealing with Al Qaeda is not simply a matter of law enforcement. It requires dealing with an enemy that declared war against the United States of America,” Bush said.

“After Sept. 11, one question my administration had to answer was, how, using the authority I have, how do we effectively detect enemies hiding in our midst and prevent them from striking them again? We know that a two-minute phone conversation from someone linked to Al Qaeda here and to Al Qaeda overseas can cost millions of American lives,” he added, saying some of the Sept. 11 hijackers made several phone calls overseas before the attacks.

He said the Sept. 11 commission – charged with probing the intelligence failures surrounding the attacks four years ago that left 3,000 people dead – said the United States intelligence community needs to better “connect the dots” before the enemy can attack again.

“So, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, I authorized the interception of communication with people with known links to Al Qaeda and people linked to known terror organizations,” Bush said.

Bush: We’re Protecting Civil Liberties
(yeah right… by eliminating them)

The program is reviewed “constantly” to ensure it is effective and not infringing on Americans’ civil liberties, the president added. He also said congressional leaders have been briefed on the program more than a dozen times and denied the accusation that the program is a classic result of “unchecked power” in the executive branch.

He stressed that the program is limited to known Al Qaeda terrorists and for calls made from the United States to somewhere overseas, and vice versa. Calls between two U.S. cities are not monitored, he said, unless an order is granted by a secret court under the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as they always have been, he said.

One of the principal provisions of the Patriot Act permitted the government to gain warrants in cases involving investigations into suspected terrorists in the United States – an expansion of powers previously limited to intelligence cases.

“I can fully understand why members of Congress are expressing concerns about civil liberties, I know that, and I share the same concerns,” Bush said. “I want to make sure the American people understand … we have an obligation to protect you and while we’re doing that, we’re protecting your civil liberties.”

When asked by one reporter if he could give an example of an attack that was thwarted by the eavesdropping program, Bush said: “No, I’m not going to talk about that because it would help give the enemy notification or perhaps signal them methods and uses and sources. We’re not going to do that.”

To highlight the importance of keeping the program details secret, Bush said that before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the U.S. intelligence community was listening to phone conversations with Usama bin Laden. But then details of the intercepts were leaked.

“We were listening to him, he was using a type of cell-phone, or a phone … and somebody put it in a newspaper that this was the type of device he was using to communicate with his team and he changed [phones],” Bush said. “I don’t know how to make the point more clear that anytime we give up … revealing sources, methods and what we use the information for, simply says to the enemy: Change.”

News of the program caused an uproar in Congress last week, and Democrats and Republicans have called for an investigation into it.

“This is just an outrageous power grab,” said Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis. on NBC’s “Today” show. “Nobody, nobody thought when we passed a resolution to invade Afghanistan and to fight the War on Terror … that this was an authorization to allow a wiretapping against the law of the United States.”

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he intends to hold hearings. “They talk about constitutional authority,” Specter said. “There are limits as to what the president can do.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., told FOX News on Monday that there’s “no doubt these intercepts can be crucially important to defending America.”

He noted that after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush said he would use every legal power he could to prevent another attack, and there hasn’t been one attack on U.S. soil in four years. “He certainly acted with legal advice” and the Senate Intelligence Committee was briefed on the issue, he added.

Added Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. “I happen to believe that some of the intercepts since Sept. 11 probably have thwarted, saved some lives … we’re at war. We want to protect our constitutional rights … but we’re at war.”

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Monday that the NSA program had yielded intelligence results that would not have been available otherwise in the War on Terror.

He stressed that it is not a blanket spying program of ordinary Americans but of overseas communications of potential Al Qaeda suspects in the United States.

“This is not a situation of domestic spying,” the attorney general said.

“Our position is that the authorization to use military force which was passed by the Congress shortly after Sept. 11 constitutes that authority,” Gonzales continued. It “does give permission for the president of the United States to engage in this kind of very limited, targeted electronic surveillance against our enemy.”

Gen. Michael Hayden, the deputy national intelligence director who was head of the NSA when the program began, said, “I can say unequivocally we have got information through this program that would not otherwise have been available.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Sunday wrote to her Democratic colleagues, saying she expressed her concerns both verbally and in a classified letter to the administration when she was advised of the NSA activities. She said the administration “made clear” it didn’t think congressional notification or approval was required.

On Saturday, Pelosi, D-Calif., and other Democrats sent a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill, requesting hearings on the issue and the appointment of a panel of outside legal experts to assist during those hearings. She said Rep. Jane Harman, the Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said the administration reversed its decision to brief the committee on the details of the NSA activities to which the President referred in his radio address.

“The refusal to provide the committee with the information necessary to discharge its oversight responsibilities is reminiscent of an administration directive in October 2001, which severely restricted the flow of information from the intelligence community to the House and Senate Intelligence committees,” Pelosi said in the letter.

“We all agree that the president must have the best possible intelligence to protect the American people. That intelligence, however, must be produced in a manner consistent with our Constitution and our laws, and in a manner that reflects our values as a nation to protect the American people and our freedoms.”

Bush on the Patriot Act, Iraq

Bush also blasted those senators who held up reauthorization of 16 expiring provisions of the Patriot Act on Friday. Although those senators who filibustered the reauthorization and prevented a vote on them were in the minority, some Republicans were part of that group.

Critics of the law say they were willing to extend them for three or six months but will not permanently extend them before they can be further studies and to make sure they are not infringing on individuals’ civil liberties.

The provisions under debate, which expire Dec. 31, include: authorization for roving wiretaps, which allow investigators to monitor multiple devices to keep a target from evading detection by switching phones or computers; secret warrants for books, records and other items from businesses, hospitals and organizations such as libraries; expanded abilities to share secret grand jury information with foreign governments; and watching terror suspects longer than other federal laws provide.

The rest of the overall act was made permanent in 2001, when Congress first voted on it.

Saying the Patriot Act has helped tear down legal and bureaucratic barriers to sharing intelligence information between U.S. agencies, Bush noted that many of the senators now filibustering the act voted for it in 2001.

“These senators need to explain why they thought the Patriot Act was a vital tool after the Sept. 11 attacks but now feel it’s no longer necessary,” Bush said, adding that the filibustering lawmakers “must stop their delaying tactics.”

“It is inexcusable for the United States Senate to let the Patriot Act expire,” he added.

The terrorists want to inflict more damage now than they did before Sept. 11, Bush continued, and “Congress has the responsibility to give our intelligence and law enforcement agencies the tools they need to protect the American people.”

He added: “In the War on Terror, we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment.”

On Iraq, Bush again reiterated themes he has voiced in the past two weeks, urging patience with the fledgling democratic progress there.

About 11 million Iraqis went to the polls to cast votes for a 275-member parliament last week. The high turnout and relatively low level of violence during the election marked what many say is a new beginning for Iraq.

“In a nation that once lived by the whims of a brutal dictator, the Iraqi people now enjoy constitutionally-protected freedom and their leaders now derive their powers from the consent of the governed,” Bush said Monday. “The Iraqi people still face many challenges … the formation of the government will take time as the Iraqis work to build consensus.”

He noted that the new government must prioritize the security, reconstruction, economic reform and national uniformity once it assembles.

“The work ahead requires the patience of the Iraqi people and the patience and support of America and our coalition partners,” Bush said.

When asked again whether he would consider some sort of timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal, Bush again refused to give such a timeframe, saying it shouldn’t the political whims of the hour that dictate U.S. military strategy and he will take his cues from military commanders on the ground.

“I can’t think of anything more dispiriting to a kid risking his or her life to see a decision made based on politics,” Bush said.


pointed out that impeachment won’t do any good, because

2. Vice President – Dick Cheney
3. Speaker of the House of Representatives – Dennis Hastert
4. President Pro Tempore of the Senate – Ted Stevens
5. Secretary of State – Condoleeza Rice
6. Secretary of the Treasury – John W. Snow
7. Secretary of Defense – Donald Rumsfeld
8. Attorney General – Alberto “Torture Lawyer” Gonzalez
9. Secretary of the Interior
10. Secretary of Agriculture
11. Secretary of Commerce
12. Secretary of Labor
13. Secretary of Health and Human Services
14. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
15. Secretary of Transportation
16. Secretary of Energy
17. Secretary of Education
18. Secretary of Veterans Affairs

basically we’d have to impeach all those people as well… imagine "president" condoleeza rice, or "president" donald rumsfeld… what we need is another revolution.

i hope bush and his minions are spying on me… BOO! YAH! I AM A TERRORIST AND I AM PLANNING A REVOLUTION! feh on “president” shrubby junior!

284

the president openly admitted to violating the laws of this country and grossly exceeding his constitutional authority in a way that can only be described as despotic. he not only seems proud of this, he threatened those who exposed it with criminal prosecution.

wonderful…

Bush stands ground in bugging furor
Sat, 17 Dec 2005 01:31:02 EST
CBC News

U.S. President George W. Bush has defended his actions in the “war on terror,” amid mounting controversy over allegations that he let intelligence officers eavesdrop without warrants on U.S. soil.

Bush refused to confirm or deny a report in Friday’s New York Times, which said he allowed the National Security Agency to secretly intercept telephone calls and e-mails of American citizens and foreigners within the United States.

The president said it was against policy to discuss continuing intelligence operations.

However, he insisted his administration had stayed within the law while acting to protect Americans since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“I will make this point: that whatever I do to protect the American people – and I have an obligation to do so – that we will uphold the law,” Bush said in an interview broadcast Friday evening on the PBS show The Newshour with Jim Lehrer.

“And decisions made are made understanding we have an obligation to protect the civil liberties of the American people.”

Senator promises to hold inquiry
A number of U.S. legislators demanded a congressional probe of the allegations on Friday.

“There is no doubt that this is inappropriate,” said Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who chairs the Senate judiciary committee.

Specter promised to hold hearings in early 2006.

Senate rejects extension of Patriot Act provisions
The report caused an uproar in the Senate, where legislators were voting on whether to extend controversial eavesdropping provisions of the Patriot Act.

Some Republicans believe the provisions are a necessary part of the act, which is considered a key part of Bush’s “war on terror” and gave authorities greater powers to investigate suspects.

But the Senate rejected the proposals on a procedural vote.

NSA bugged hundreds of people: report
The National Security Agency usually monitors foreign sources and is usually required by law to get a court order before starting surveillance within the United States.

The Times story said the National Security Agency began to track communications of hundreds and perhaps thousands of people in the U.S. without judicial oversight after September 2001.

Citing secret sources, the paper said some NSA officials refused to work on the surveillance because they believed it to be illegal.

Eavesdropping foiled several attack plans: report

But the report also said the program uncovered several plots to launch attacks on the United States.

“This shocking revelation ought to send a chill down the spine of every senator and every American,” Democratic Senator Russell Feingold said.

The Times said it delayed publishing the story for a year to protect continuing investigations, and omitted some information that the White House said could help attackers.


Bush authorized spying against Americans: Paper
Dec. 16, 2005. 12:43 PM
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — A key Republican committee chairman put the administration of President George W. Bush on notice today that his panel would hold hearings into a report that the National Security Agency eavesdropped without warrants on people inside the United States.

Senator Arlen Specter said he would make oversight hearings by his panel next year “a very, very high priority.”

“There is no doubt that this is inappropriate,” said Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Other key bipartisan members of Congress also called on the administration to explain and said a congressional investigation may be necessary.

Senator John McCain appeared annoyed that the first he had heard of such a program was through a New York Times story published today. He said the report was troubling.

Neither Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice nor White House press secretary Scott McClellan, asked about the story earlier today, would confirm or deny that the super-secret NSA had spied on as many as 500 people at any given time since 2002.

That year, following the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush authorized the NSA to monitor the international phone calls and international e-mails of hundreds — perhaps thousands — of people inside the United States, the Times reported.

Before the program began, the NSA typically limited its domestic surveillance to foreign embassies and missions and obtained court orders for such investigations. Overseas, 5,000 to 7,000 people suspected of terrorist ties are monitored at any one time.

“We need to look into that,” McCain told reporters at the White House after a meeting on Iraq with Bush. “Theoretically, I obviously wouldn’t like it. But I don’t know the extent of it and I don’t know enough about it to really make an informed comment. Ask me again in about a week.”

McCain said it’s not clear whether a congressional probe is warranted. He said the topic had not come up in the meeting with Bush.

“We should be informed as to exactly what is going on and then find out whether an investigation is called for,” he said.

Senator Joe Lieberman also said he needed more information.

“Of course I was concerned about the story,” said Lieberman, who also attended the White House Iraq meeting. “I’m going to go back to the office and see if I can find out more about it.”

Other Democrats were more harsh.

“This is Big Brother run amok,” declared Senator Edward Kennedy. “We cannot protect our borders if we cannot protect our ideals.”

Senator Russell Feingold called it a “shocking revelation” that he said “ought to send a chill down the spine of every senator and every American.”

Administration officials reacted to the report by asserting that the president has respected the Constitution while striving to protect the American people.

Rice said Bush has “acted lawfully in every step that he has taken.” And McClellan said Bush “is going to remain fully committed to upholding our Constitution and protect the civil liberties of the American people. And he has done both.”

The report surfaced in an untimely fashion as the administration and its GOP allies on Capitol Hill were fighting to save provisions of the expiring USA Patriot Act that they believe are key tools in the fight against terrorism.

The Times said reporters interviewed nearly a dozen current and former administration officials about the program and granted them anonymity because of the classified nature of the program.

Government officials credited the new program with uncovering several terrorist plots, including one by Iyman Faris, an Ohio trucker who pleaded guilty in 2003 to supporting al-Qaida by planning to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge, the report said.

Faris’ lawyer, David B. Smith, said today that the news puzzled him because none of the evidence against Faris appeared to have come from surveillance, other than officials eavesdropping on his cell phone calls while he was in FBI custody.

Some NSA officials were so concerned about the legality of the program that they refused to participate, the Times said. Questions about the legality of the program led the administration to temporarily suspend it last year and impose new restrictions.

Asked about this on NBC’s Today show, Rice said: “I’m not going to comment on intelligence matters.”

Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the group’s initial reaction to the NSA disclosure was “shock that the administration has gone so far in violating American civil liberties to the extent where it seems to be a violation of federal law.”

Asked about the administration’s contention that the eavesdropping has disrupted terrorist attacks, Fredrickson said the ACLU couldn’t comment until it sees some evidence. “They’ve veiled these powers in secrecy so there’s no way for Congress or any independent organizations to exercise any oversight.”

Earlier this week, the Pentagon said it was reviewing its use of a classified database of information about suspicious people and activity inside the United States after a report by NBC News said the database listed activities of anti-war groups that were not a security threat to Pentagon property or personnel.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said that while it appears that some information may have been left in the database longer than it should have been, it was not clear yet whether mistakes were made. A written statement issued by the department implied — but did not explicitly acknowledge — that some information had been handled improperly.

The administration had briefed congressional leaders about the NSA program and notified the judge in charge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the secret Washington court that handles national security issues.

Aides to National Intelligence Director John Negroponte and West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, refused to comment.

The Times said it delayed publication of the report for a year because the White House said it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny.

The Times said it omitted information from the story that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists.


Is the Pentagon spying on Americans?
Secret database obtained by NBC News tracks ‘suspicious’ domestic groups
Lisa Myers
Senior investigative correspondent

WASHINGTON – A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn’t know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.

A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a “threat” and one of more than 1,500 “suspicious incidents” across the country over a recent 10-month period.

“This peaceful, educationally oriented group being a threat is incredible,” says Evy Grachow, a member of the Florida group called The Truth Project.

“This is incredible,” adds group member Rich Hersh. “It’s an example of paranoia by our government,” he says. “We’re not doing anything illegal.”

The Defense Department document is the first inside look at how the U.S. military has stepped up intelligence collection inside this country since 9/11, which now includes the monitoring of peaceful anti-war and counter-military recruitment groups.

“I think Americans should be concerned that the military, in fact, has reached too far,” says NBC News military analyst Bill Arkin.

The Department of Defense declined repeated requests by NBC News for an interview. A spokesman said that all domestic intelligence information is “properly collected” and involves “protection of Defense Department installations, interests and personnel.” The military has always had a legitimate “force protection” mission inside the U.S. to protect its personnel and facilities from potential violence. But the Pentagon now collects domestic intelligence that goes beyond legitimate concerns about terrorism or protecting U.S. military installations, say critics.

Four dozen anti-war meetings
The DOD database obtained by NBC News includes nearly four dozen anti-war meetings or protests, including some that have taken place far from any military installation, post or recruitment center. One “incident” included in the database is a large anti-war protest at Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles last March that included effigies of President Bush and anti-war protest banners. Another incident mentions a planned protest against military recruiters last December in Boston and a planned protest last April at McDonald’s National Salute to America’s Heroes – a military air and sea show in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The Fort Lauderdale protest was deemed not to be a credible threat and a column in the database concludes: “US group exercising constitutional rights.” Two-hundred and forty-three other incidents in the database were discounted because they had no connection to the Department of Defense – yet they all remained in the database.

The DOD has strict guidelines (.PDF link), adopted in December 1982, that limit the extent to which they can collect and retain information on U.S. citizens.

Still, the DOD database includes at least 20 references to U.S. citizens or U.S. persons. Other documents obtained by NBC News show that the Defense Department is clearly increasing its domestic monitoring activities. One DOD briefing document stamped “secret” concludes: “[W]e have noted increased communication and encouragement between protest groups using the [I]nternet,” but no “significant connection” between incidents, such as “reoccurring instigators at protests” or “vehicle descriptions.”

The increased monitoring disturbs some military observers.

“It means that they’re actually collecting information about who’s at those protests, the descriptions of vehicles at those protests,” says Arkin. “On the domestic level, this is unprecedented,” he says. “I think it’s the beginning of enormous problems and enormous mischief for the military.”

Some former senior DOD intelligence officials share his concern. George Lotz, a 30-year career DOD official and former U.S. Air Force colonel, held the post of Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Oversight from 1998 until his retirement last May. Lotz, who recently began a consulting business to help train and educate intelligence agencies and improve oversight of their collection process, believes some of the information the DOD has been collecting is not justified.

Make sure they are not just going crazy
“Somebody needs to be monitoring to make sure they are just not going crazy and reporting things on U.S. citizens without any kind of reasoning or rationale,” says Lotz. “I demonstrated with Martin Luther King in 1963 in Washington,” he says, “and I certainly didn’t want anybody putting my name on any kind of list. I wasn’t any threat to the government,” he adds.

The military’s penchant for collecting domestic intelligence is disturbing — but familiar — to Christopher Pyle, a former Army intelligence officer.

“Some people never learn,” he says. During the Vietnam War, Pyle blew the whistle on the Defense Department for monitoring and infiltrating anti-war and civil rights protests when he published an article in the Washington Monthly in January 1970.

The public was outraged and a lengthy congressional investigation followed that revealed that the military had conducted investigations on at least 100,000 American citizens. Pyle got more than 100 military agents to testify that they had been ordered to spy on U.S. citizens – many of them anti-war protestors and civil rights advocates. In the wake of the investigations, Pyle helped Congress write a law placing new limits on military spying inside the U.S.

But Pyle, now a professor at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts, says some of the information in the database suggests the military may be dangerously close to repeating its past mistakes.

“The documents tell me that military intelligence is back conducting investigations and maintaining records on civilian political activity. The military made promises that it would not do this again,” he says.

Too much data?
Some Pentagon observers worry that in the effort to thwart the next 9/11, the U.S. military is now collecting too much data, both undermining its own analysis efforts by forcing analysts to wade through a mountain of rubble in order to obtain potentially key nuggets of intelligence and entangling U.S. citizens in the U.S. military’s expanding and quiet collection of domestic threat data.

Two years ago, the Defense Department directed a little known agency, Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, to establish and “maintain a domestic law enforcement database that includes information related to potential terrorist threats directed against the Department of Defense.” Then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz also established a new reporting mechanism known as a TALON or Threat and Local Observation Notice report. TALONs now provide “non-validated domestic threat information” from military units throughout the United States that are collected and retained in a CIFA database. The reports include details on potential surveillance of military bases, stolen vehicles, bomb threats and planned anti-war protests. In the program’s first year, the agency received more than 5,000 TALON reports. The database obtained by NBC News is generated by Counterintelligence Field Activity.

CIFA is becoming the superpower of data mining within the U.S. national security community. Its “operational and analytical records” include “reports of investigation, collection reports, statements of individuals, affidavits, correspondence, and other documentation pertaining to investigative or analytical efforts” by the DOD and other U.S. government agencies to identify terrorist and other threats. Since March 2004, CIFA has awarded at least $33 million in contracts to corporate giants Lockheed Martin, Unisys Corporation, Computer Sciences Corporation and Northrop Grumman to develop databases that comb through classified and unclassified government data, commercial information and Internet chatter to help sniff out terrorists, saboteurs and spies.

One of the CIFA-funded database projects being developed by Northrop Grumman and dubbed “Person Search,” is designed “to provide comprehensive information about people of interest.” It will include the ability to search government as well as commercial databases. Another project, “The Insider Threat Initiative,” intends to “develop systems able to detect, mitigate and investigate insider threats,” as well as the ability to “identify and document normal and abnormal activities and ‘behaviors,'” according to the Computer Sciences Corp. contract. A separate CIFA contract with a small Virginia-based defense contractor seeks to develop methods “to track and monitor activities of suspect individuals.”

“The military has the right to protect its installations, and to protect its recruiting services,” says Pyle. “It does not have the right to maintain extensive files on lawful protests of their recruiting activities, or of their base activities,” he argues.

Lotz agrees.

“The harm in my view is that these people ought to be allowed to demonstrate, to hold a banner, to peacefully assemble whether they agree or disagree with the government’s policies,” the former DOD intelligence official says.

‘Slippery slope’
Bert Tussing, director of Homeland Defense and Security Issues at the U.S. Army War College and a former Marine, says “there is very little that could justify the collection of domestic intelligence by the Unites States military. If we start going down this slippery slope it would be too easy to go back to a place we never want to see again,” he says.

Some of the targets of the U.S. military’s recent collection efforts say they have already gone too far.

“It’s absolute paranoia — at the highest levels of our government,” says Hersh of The Truth Project.

“I mean, we’re based here at the Quaker Meeting House,” says Truth Project member Marie Zwicker, “and several of us are Quakers.”

The Defense Department refused to comment on how it obtained information on the Lake Worth meeting or why it considers a dozen or so anti-war activists a “threat.”


Bush’s unchecked Executive power v. the Founding principles of the U.S.

Underlying all of the excesses and abuses of executive power claimed by the Bush Administration is a theory of absolute, unchecked power vested in the Presidency which literally could not be any more at odds with the central, founding principles of this country.

As this morning’s New York Times analysis put it in describing the rationale behind the Adminstration’s violations of the Foreign Intelligence Security Act, pursuant to which it has been secretly spying on the commuincations of American citizens without judicial warrants:

A single, fiercely debated legal principle lies behind nearly every major initiative in the Bush administration’s war on terror, scholars say: the sweeping assertion of the powers of the presidency.

From the government’s detention of Americans as "enemy combatants" to the just-disclosed eavesdropping in the United States without court warrants, the administration has relied on an unusually expansive interpretation of the president’s authority.

As the Times reports, Bush’s claim to absolute executive power has its origins principally in one document:

a Sept. 25, 2001, memorandum [by the Justice Department’s John Yoo] that said no statute passed by Congress “can place any limits on the president’s determinations as to any terrorist threat, the amount of military force to be used in response, or the method, timing and nature of the response.”

The notion that one of the three branches of our Government can claim power unchecked by the other two branches is precisely what the Founders sought, first and foremost, to preclude. And the fear that a U.S. President would attempt to seize power unchecked by the law or by the other branches – i.e., that the Executive would seize the powers of the British King – was the driving force behind the clear and numerous constitutional limitations placed on Executive power. It is these very limitations which the Bush Administration is claiming that it has the power to disregard because the need for enhanced national security in time of war vests the President with unchecked power.

But that theory of the Executive unconstrained by law is completely repulsive to the founding principles of the country, as well as to the promises made by the Founders in order to extract consent from a monarchy-fearing public to the creation of executive power vested in a single individual. The notion that all of that can be just whimsically tossed aside whenever the nation experiences external threats is as contrary to the country’s founding principles as it is dangerous.

It cannot be said that the Founders were unaware of the potential for national emergencies and external threats. They engaged in a war with the British which was at least as much of an existential threat to the Republic as those posed by 9/11 and related threats of Islamic extremism. Notwithstanding those threats, the Founders, in creating an Executive branch, sought first and foremost to ensure that the President could never wield unchecked powers which would exist above and separate from Congressionally enacted laws.

Among recent Republican Administrations, this theory of the unchecked President is not new. Digby recalls Richard Nixon’s endorsement of it, and the theory came to life in the Iran-Contra scandal, where the Reagan Administration unilaterally deemed it necessary to U.S. national security to arm the Nicaraguan contras and then asserted for itself the power to circumvent the law enacted by the Congress which prohibited exactly that.

But the situation we have now is far more egregious, and far more dangerous, because the Administration is not even bothering to pretend now (as the Reagan Administration at least did) that the Executive acts undertaken really did adhere to Congressional intent, or alternatively, to the extent that such acts violated Congressional mandates, the acts were simply the by-product of overzealous and rogue officials who broke the law without the knowledge or approval of President Reagan.

The Bush Administration’s position now is almost the opposite of that posture, in that the Administration is expressly claiming that the President does have the right to violate laws of Congress because his executive power is absolute and thus cannot be restricted by anything. And rather than applying this theory of unchecked executive power to a single case (as the Reagan Administration did in Iran-contra), the Bush Administration has arrogated unto itself this monarchical power as a general proposition, applicable to each and every issue which can be said to relate, however generally, to this undeclared “war” against terrorism.

This view of the Presidency – which now exists not just in odious theory but in real, live, breathing form vested in George Bush – is precisely what the monarchy-fearing Founders insisted should never occur and, with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution, would never occur.

This absolute power claimed and enthusiastically exercised by George Bush violates not just specific Constitutional limitations, but the core principles of the Constitution: that we are a nation of laws not men; that each branch shall be “co-equal” to the others and checked and limited by the other two; and that the people shall retain ultimate power by vesting in them the right to enact supreme laws through the Congress which shall bind all other citizens, including the President.

That the Bush Administration’s claim to unchecked and supra-legal Executive power is squarely inconsistent with basic constitutional principles is conclusively demonstrated by James Madison’s Federalist No. 48, which is devoted to the principle that liberty cannot be maintained unless each branch remains accountable and subordinate to the others:

It was shown in the last paper that the political apothegm there examined does not require that the legislative, executive, and judiciary departments should be wholly unconnected with each other. I shall undertake, in the next place, to show that unless these departments be so far connected and blended as to give to each a constitutional control over the others, the degree of separation which the maxim requires, as essential to a free government, can never in practice be duly maintained.

Similarly, Madison, in Federalist No. 51, defined the central objective for avoiding tyranny as ensuring that no branch be able to claim for itself powers which are absolute and unchecked by the other branches:

What expedient, then, shall we finally resort, for maintaining in practice the necessary partition of power among the several departments, as laid down in the Constitution? The only answer that can be given is, that as all these exterior provisions are found to be inadequate, the defect must be supplied, by so contriving the interior structure of the government as that its several constituent parts may, by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping each other in their proper places. . . .

In particular, Madison emphasized in Federalist 51 that liberty could be preserved only if the laws enacted by the people through the Congress were supreme and universally binding:

But it is not possible to give to each department an equal power of self-defense. In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates.

Hamilton made the same point in Federalist No. 73. where he emphasized:

“[t]he superior weight and influence of the legislative body in a free government, and the hazard to the Executive in a trial of strength with that body, . . . ”

To the Founders, the defining characteristics of the tyrannical British King was that he possessed precisely those powers which the Constitution prohibits but which the Bush Administration is now claiming it can exercise. From Federalist 70:

In England, the king is a perpetual magistrate; and it is a maxim which has obtained for the sake of the public peace, that he is unaccountable for his administration, and his person sacred.

Based on the fear of such unchecked executive power, Federalist 69 emphasized that unlike the British King, who did possess the absolute power to nullify duly enacted laws , the sole power possessed by the President to negate a law enacted by the Congress — including with regard to matters of national security and war — is the President’s qualified (i.e., override-able) veto power:

Hence it appears that, except as to the concurrent authority of the President in the article of treaties, it would be difficult to determine whether that magistrate would, in the aggregate, possess more or less power than the Governor of New York. And it appears yet more unequivocally, that there is no pretense for the parallel which has been attempted between him and the king of Great Britain. . . .

The one [the American President] would have a qualified negative upon the acts of the legislative body; the other [the British King] has an absolute negative. The one would have a right to command the military and naval forces of the nation; the other, in addition to this right, possesses that of declaring war, and of raising and regulating fleets and armies by his own authority.

An extremely potent demonstration that the Bush Administration’s claim to unchecked Executive Power is fundamentally inconsistent with the most basic constitutional safeguards comes from one of the unlikeliest corners – Antonin Scalia’s dissent in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 124 S.Ct. 2633 (2004):

The proposition that the Executive lacks indefinite wartime detention authority over citizens is consistent with the Founders’ general mistrust of military power permanently at the Executive’s disposal. In the Founders’ view, the "blessings of liberty" were threatened by "those military establishments which must gradually poison its very fountain." The Federalist No. 45, p. 238 (J. Madison). No fewer than 10 issues of the Federalist were devoted in whole or part to allaying fears of oppression from the proposed Constitution’s authorization of standing armies in peacetime.

Many safeguards in the Constitution reflect these concerns. Congress’s authority "or a longer Term than two Years." U. S. Const., Art. 1, §8, cl. 12. Except for the actual command of military forces, all authorization for their maintenance and all explicit authorization for their use is placed in the control of Congress under Article I, rather than the President under Article II.

As Hamilton explained, the President’s military authority would be "much inferior" to that of the British King:

"It would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first general and admiral of the confederacy: while that of the British king extends to the declaring of war, and to the raising and regulating of fleets and armies; all which, by the constitution under consideration, would appertain to the legislature." The Federalist No. 69, p. 357.

A view of the Constitution that gives the Executive authority to use military force rather than the force of law against citizens on American soil flies in the face of the mistrust that engendered these provisions.

Both the Bush Administration’s theory of its own unchecked power and its indiscriminate and aggressive use of that power to violate Congressional law contradicts every constitutional principle created to ensure that we do not live under unchecked Executive tyranny. If the President is allowed to get away with secretly decreeing that he can violate the law and then doing exactly that, then there really are no remaining checks on Executive power — and we have, without hyperbole, arrived at the very definition of tyranny.

The country has, more or less with a quiet complacency, stood by while this Administration imprisoned American citizens with no due process, while the Administration sanctioned torture and then used it to extract “evidence” to justify those detentions, and while the Administration exploited the fear of terrorist acts to bestow onto itself unprecedented powers.

If the naked assertion of absolute power by the Bush Administration — and the use of that power to eavesdrop on American citizens without any judicial review — does not finally prompt the public regardless of partisan allegiance to take a stand against this undiluted claim to real tyrannical power, then it is impossible to imagine what would ever prompt such a stand.

UPDATE: The more one thinks about the fact that the New York Times was aware of this patently illegal behavior for a full year and concealed it from the public because the Administration told it keep quiet, the more disturbing that complicity becomes.


Report: Bush Had More Prewar Intelligence Than Congress
By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 16, 2005; Page A23

A congressional report made public yesterday concluded that President Bush and his inner circle had access to more intelligence and reviewed more sensitive material than what was shared with Congress when it gave Bush the authority to wage war against Iraq.

Democrats said the 14-page report contradicts Bush’s contention that lawmakers saw all the evidence before U.S. troops invaded in March 2003, stating that the president and a small number of advisers “have access to a far greater volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information.”

The report does not cite examples of intelligence Bush reviewed that differed from what Congress saw. If such information is available, the report’s authors do not have access to it. The Bush administration has routinely denied Congress access to documents, saying it would have a chilling effect on deliberations. The report, however, concludes that the Bush administration has been more restrictive than its predecessors in sharing intelligence with Congress.

The White House disputed both charges, noting that Congress often works directly with U.S. intelligence agencies and is privy to an enormous amount of classified information. “In 2004 alone, intelligence agencies provided over 1,000 personal briefings and more than 4,000 intelligence products to the Congress,” an administration official said.

The report, done by the Congressional Research Service at the request of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), comes amid allegations by Democrats that administration officials exaggerated Iraq’s weapons capabilities and terrorism ties and then resisted inquiries into the intelligence failures.

Bush has fiercely rejected those claims. “Some of the most irresponsible comments — about manipulating intelligence — have come from politicians who saw the same intelligence I saw and then voted to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein,” he said this week.

Feinstein, who is on the Senate intelligence committee, disagreed. “The report demonstrates that Congress routinely is denied access to intelligence sources, intelligence collection and analysis,” she said. The intelligence panel met yesterday to discuss the second phase of its investigation into the administration’s handling of prewar assertions. In July 2004, the committee issued the first phase of its bipartisan report, which found the U.S. intelligence community had assembled a flawed and exaggerated assessment of Iraq’s weapons capabilities.

The second phase, which examines the White House’s role, was agreed to in February 2004 but remains incomplete. Last month, Democrats forced the Senate into a rare closed-door session to extract a promise from Republicans to speed up the inquiry. At the time, committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said the report was nearing completion. But yesterday, committee aides said it is unlikely the report will be done before spring.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), a former member of the panel, said the report should not be rushed. But he urged the White House to release more documents to support its claims. “The only way to be is certain is to look at what they saw and what we saw side by side,” he said.


283

skum
this was just too good not to post

i’m up to 00 gauge, which is where i wanted to be before we go to portland, so that i can frighten my in-laws. i have a 00 gauge plug with a pentacle on it which i intend to wear. it’s not that unusual as an earring – certainly less unusual than it could be considering that it’s 00 gauge – and i’m wondering if they’ll even notice it, and if they do notice it, if they’ll say anything to me about it. <evil grin>

the fremont philharmonic had a very productive recording session last night. we started at 5:00 pm and went until well after midnight, and we recorded about 12 songs, which is 8 more than we did the last time we had a recording session… of course the last time we recorded, the composer of the music, the trombone player, and the recording engineer were the same person (which is guaranteed to result in little, if anything good on tape), and we were recording in his bedroom on the hottest day of the year and all of his recording equipment was malfunctioning because of the heat. this time we had a professional recording engineer whose job it was to get as much on tape as possible without regard to what else the rest of the band was doing, which meant that fred was free to be the composer and the trombone player, we were recording in the hale’s palladium, which is a BIG place that has room for an entire symphony orchestra… when it’s not being a beer warehouse… and it was cold enough last night that we had to take a break about every two hours or so and run the heaters so that the microphones wouldn’t freeze. also, the fact that he is a professional recording engineer means that we’re having a CD release party on sunday(!) instead of farting around “mixing” and “mastering” for more than a year before releasing our current CD at the oregon country fair last year. we’re playing for a private party tonight and we’re playing for the fremont solstice feast (it’s official, although i still haven’t gotten written confirmation) on wednesday… although it’s not in fremont this year, it’s somewhere near alaska way off of airport way, in the south part of seattle. weird.

thanks to for this… Panexa is a new “drug” on the market, which is better than the older drugs that it replaces. Panexa is proven to provide more medication to those who take it than any other comparable solution. Panexa is the right choice, the safe choice. The only choice. Panexa – ask your doctor for a reason to take it.


The spirit of Halloween at Christmas
By Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY

The Christmas display in front of Joel Krupnik’s Manhattan brownstone has all the subtlety of a blood-splattered Santa.

Which, in fact, is what it is.

A knife-wielding Santa Claus holds a bloody head outside the home of Mildred Castellanos and Joel Krupnik. “It’s horrible, just terrible,” says neighbor Joe Nuccio, 79. “He’s got Santa Claus with a bloody knife in one hand and a doll’s head suspended in the other. That’s bloody, too.”

Bloody awful, for sure. But Krupnik, who couldn’t be reached Thursday, told the Associated Press it’s all to make this point: Christmas has become too commercial. Others have made similar points in Orlando (a gutted Rudolph dangling from a tree) and Miami (a hanged St. Nick).

And they’ve received similar reviews.

Estelle Farnsworth was so upset by the life-size Santa strung up in her Miami neighborhood that she called police. Santa’s hands were bound behind his back, his feet were tied together, and a noose was around his neck.

Have yourself a gory little Christmas, it seemed to say.

“I was absolutely furious,” says Farnsworth, 65. “Everybody was upset.”

A little girl in the neighborhood thought Santa had morphed into Satan and was going to get her, Farnsworth says.

Police told Farnsworth that desecrating Santa might be in poor taste but that it was constitutionally protected expression.

Like Krupnik, the neighbor who staged Santa’s mock execution wanted to express his dismay with the commercialization of the season, Farnsworth says.

Point taken, she says. But she believes it could have been done more tastefully.

“Why not put up a beautiful manger scene? He could have put up a sign on it that said, ‘This is the reason for the season of Christmas,’ ” she says. “Instead, he just lynched Santa Claus.”

Santa, mercifully, has been taken down in Miami, and Farnsworth’s neighborhood has returned to normal.

“It’s very well decorated now,” she says.

Not so in Nuccio’s neighborhood. Santa still leers at passersby, and Krupnik has a tree “decorated” with the heads of Barbie dolls.

Maybe Krupnik is bothered that Christmas has become too commercial, Nuccio says. “I am, too. All this nonsense about whether you should say ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays.’

“But he shouldn’t have done that to Santa.”


along the same lines, there’s the Animated Singing Santa Hack… have fun. 8)

282

US takes war on terror into Sahara

JASON MOTLAGH
IN ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST

THE United States has set aside $500 million over the next five years to secure a vast new front in its global war on terrorism: the Sahara Desert.

Critics say the region is not the terrorist zone that some senior US military officers assert. They add that heavy-handed military and financial support that reinforces authoritarian regimes in north and west Africa could fuel radicalism where it scarcely exists.

The Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Initiative (TSCTI) was begun in June to provide military expertise, equipment and development aid to nine Saharan countries where lawless swathes of desert are considered fertile ground for militant Muslim groups involved in smuggling and combat training.

“It’s the Wild West all over again,” said Major Holly Silkman, a public affairs officer at US Special Operations Command Europe, which presides over US security and peacekeeping operations in Europe, former Soviet bloc countries and most of Africa.

During the first phase of the programme, dubbed Operation Flintlock, US Special Forces led 3,000 ill-equipped Saharan troops in tactical exercises designed to co-ordinate security more effectively along porous borders and beef-up patrols in ungoverned territories.

Maj Silkman said Africa has become the most important concern of the US European Command (EuCom) because of rampant corruption, drug and human trafficking, poverty and high unemployment, which create a significant “potential for instability”, particularly in the Saharan region, where 50 per cent of the population is younger than 15.

The head of Special Operations Command Europe, Major General Thomas R Csrnko, said he was concerned that al-Qaeda is assessing African groups for “franchising opportunities,” notably the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat – known as GSPC by its initials in French – cited on the US State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organisations.

The Algeria-based GSPC, estimated to have about 300 fighters and said to be linked to al-Qaeda, was accused of kidnapping European tourists in 2003 and has taken responsibility for a spate of attacks in the Sahara this year.

General Csrnko considers the group the main threat to security in the region, and has cited the potential for terrorist camps in the Sahara comparable to those once run by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Eucom officials say there is evidence that 25 per cent of suicide bombers in Iraq are Saharan Africans. Terrorist attacks such as the 11 March, 2004, Madrid train bombings that killed 191 persons have been linked to north African militants.

But some observers say terrorism in the Sahara is little more than a mirage and that a higher-profile US involvement could destabilise the region.

“If anything, the [TSCTI] … will generate terrorism, by which I mean resistance to the overall US presence and strategy,” said Jeremy Keenan, a Sahara specialist at the University of East Anglia.

A report by the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, said that although the Sahara is “not a terrorist hotbed”, repressive governments in the region are using the “war on terror” to tap US largesse and deny civil freedoms.

The report said the regime of Mauritanian President Maaouiya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya – a US ally in west Africa deposed on 3 August in a bloodless coup – used the threat of terrorism to legitimise the denial of human rights.

Mr Keenan said the government of Algeria is an even worse offender, misleading Washington about the GSPC threat to acquire modern weapons and shed its pariah status.

Aside from the 2003 kidnapping issue, US and Algerian authorities have failed to present “indisputable verification of a single act of alleged terrorism in the Sahara”, Mr Keenan said.

“Without the GSPC, the US has no legitimacy for its presence in the region,” he added, noting that an escalating American strategic dependency on African oil requires that the United States bolster its presence in the region.

Maj Silkman, however, said cultivating security, not oil resources, is the prime objective of the TSCTI. She said it is vital that other members of the international community get involved.

“Reducing the threat is not as much about taking direct action as it is in eliminating conditions that allow terrorism to flourish,” she said.

“memes” & links

Androgynous
You scored 53 masculinity and 63 femininity!
You scored high on both masculinity and femininity. You have a strong personality exhibiting characteristics of both traditional sex roles.

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

other other
You scored higher than 30% on masculinity
other other
You scored higher than 58% on femininity

Link: The (Not) Bem Sex Role Inventory Test (because if it were the Bem Sex Role Inventory it would not be on okcupid, because they’re really uptight about copyright issues) written by weirdscience on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

You are Senior Nazi Official
Hans Frank

You are a sellout and a traitor. You would have killed the Fuhrer if you had the chance. You live in the now and justify your actions. You’ll repent shortly before you die but will it be enough?

this may be related to “straight edge” culture, but it’s still something worth considering… i’ve seen a number of people who have gotten various different cosmetic implants, and i’ve been considering getting rhinestone implants surrounding my scar, as well as a scalp tattoo… very definitely something worth considering…

cute overload is a place that actually wants pictures of our… disgustinly, sickeningly, overwelmingly cute little doggie… i’ll have to get on it.


Mice created with human brain cells
PAUL ELIAS
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – Add another creation to the strange scientific menagerie where animal species are being mixed together in ever more exotic combinations. Scientists announced Monday that they had created mice with small amounts of human brain cells in an effort to make realistic models of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

Led by Fred Gage of the Salk Institute in San Diego, the researchers created the mice by injecting about 100,000 human embryonic stem cells per mouse into the brains of 14-day-old rodent embryos.

Those mice were each born with about 0.1 percent of human cells in each of their heads, a trace amount that doesn’t remotely come close to “humanizing” the rodents.

“This illustrate that injecting human stem cells into mouse brains doesn’t restructure the brain,” Gage said.

Still, the work adds to the growing ethical concerns of mixing human and animal cells when it comes to stem cell and cloning research. After all, mice are 97.5 percent genetically identical to humans.

“The worry is if you humanize them too much you cross certain boundaries,” said David Magnus, director of the Stanford Medical Center for Biomedical Ethics. “But I don’t think this research comes even close to that.”

Researchers are nevertheless beginning to bump up against what bioethicists call the “yuck factor.”

Three top cloning researchers, for instance, have applied for a patent that contemplates fusing a complete set of human DNA into animal eggs in order to manufacturer human embryonic stem cells.

One of the patent applicants, Jose Cibelli, first attempted such an experiment in 1998 when he fused cells from his cheek into cow eggs.

“The idea is to hijack the machinery of the egg,” said Cibelli, whose current work at Michigan State University does not involve human material because that would violate state law.

Researchers argue that co-mingling human and animal tissue is vital to ensuring that experimental drugs and new tissue replacement therapies are safe for people.

Others have performed similar experiments with rabbit and chicken eggs while University of California-Irvine researchers have reported making paralyzed rodents walk after injecting them with human nerve cells.

Doctors have transplanted pig valves into human hearts for years, and scientists have injected human cells into lab animals for even longer. But the brain poses an additional level of concern because some envision nightmare scenarios in which a human mind might be trapped in an animal head.

“Human diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, might be amenable to stem cell therapy, and it is conceivable, although unlikely, that an animal’s cognitive abilities could also be affected by such therapy,” a report issued in April by the influential National Academies of Science that sought to draw some ethical research boundaries.

So the report recommended that such work be allowed, but with strict ethical guidelines established.

“Protocols should be reviewed to ensure that they take into account those sorts of possibilities and that they include ethically sensitive plans to manage them if they arise,” the report concluded.

At the same time, the report did endorse research that co-mingles human and animal tissue as vital to ensuring that experimental drugs and new tissue replacement therapies are safe for people.

Gage said the work published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is another step in overcoming one of the biggest technical hurdles confronting stem cell researchers: when exactly to inject the cells into patients.

The results suggest that human embryonic stem cells, once injected into people, will mature into the cells that surround them. No known human has ever received an injection of embryonic stem cells because so little is known about how those cells will mature once inside the body.

For now, Gage said his work is more geared toward understanding disease than to finding a cure.

“It’s a way for us to begin to tease out the way these diseases develop,” Gage said.

Human embryonic stem cells are created in the first days after conception and give rise to all the organs and tissues in the human body. Scientists hope they can someday use stem cells to replace diseased tissue. But many social conservatives, including President Bush, oppose the work because embryos are destroyed during research.

Stem cell researchers argue that mixing human and animal cells is the only way to advance the field because it’s far too risky to experiment on people; so little is known about stem cells.

“The experiments have to be done, which does mean human cells into non-human cells,” said Dr. Evan Snyder, a stem cell researcher at the Burnham Institute in San Diego. “You don’t work out the issues on your child or your grandmother. You want to work this out in an animal first.”

Snyder is injecting human embryonic stem cells into monkeys and is convinced that there’s little danger.

“It’s true that there is a huge amount of similarity, but the difference are huge,” Snyder said. “You will never ever have a little human trapped inside a mouse or monkey’s body.”


growl generally

moe’s purse was stolen from the dog agility arena the other day. she got her credit cards cancelled, but only after whoever stole them tried to use them twice. and the dog agility arena is in a remote enough location that it was very likely one of her students that stole it. she still hasn’t gotten her driver’s license replaced, and social security is being really annoying about the whole thing: they give you a number that you are supposed to use as a formal form of identification, that the local law enforcement drones say you have to be able to prove at a moment’s notice… and then they say that they recommend you not carry your social security card with you (which is exactly the opposite of what the police say), and they don’t take any responsibility for helping you get things sorted out if someone steals it. they say that if someone steals your social security card that you are supposed to “keep an eye” on your social security earnings to see if someone else is reporting earnings, and you are supposed to notify the credit reporting agencies so they won’t just automatically approve credit without “checking with you” first, but you’ve got to do all of this stuff… it’s not something that social security can do for you, despite the fact that they’re the ones that issued the number to you in the first place… 8/ and they won’t issue you a new social security number under any circumstances… as though there are a limited number of combinations or something…

and the guy showed up and opened up my car… $141 dollars later, and $17 for the duplicate keys, i’ve already far overspent for this month…

merry x-mas…

growl…

i managed to lock myself out of my car, and i don’t have an extra key anywhere…

as soon as the locksmith guy comes to let me into my car, the first place i’m going to go is somewhere to have a couple of duplicate keys made, so that this has no chance of happening again.

278

finally some questions from the ask przxqgl anything poll that i posted a few weeks back…

— What is The Meaning of Life?

didn’t you read the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Universe? the answer is 42.

personally, i believe that the real answer is 23, but that’s my personal opinion…

— Are chemtrails real or just something for people who want to believe in a conspiracy that they can see proof of by looking no farther than the sky?

i see them, therefor they are real. personally i believe that they’re caused by high-altitude aircraft of some kind, and have observed such phenomenon, complete with resulting chemtrails, on a number of occasions… but, as with just about everything that i perceive, especially these days, it’s a matter of interpretation.

277

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your livejournal along with your seven songs, then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

1. So – Tom Zé, The Best of Tom Zé
2. Cortina 3 – Tom Zé, The Hips of Tradition
3. Stuck On You – The Residents, The King and Eye
4. Life Would Be Wonderful – The Residents, Demons Dance Alone
5. Tourniquet Of Roses – The Residents, Fingerprince
6. He Also Serves – The Residents, Our Finest Flowers
7. Why Don’t You Like Me? – Frank Zappa, Broadway The Hard Way

1.
2. any other user who is on my friends list who wants to do this, since the last time i tried this i only got one response anyway.

275

girl on the phone: good morning, washington state department of licensing, what can we do for you today?

me: i’d like to change the address on my driver’s license please.

girl: okay, we can help you with that. hold on…

(computer noises in the background)

girl: okay, what can i help you with today?

me (thinking): ???????? WTF?

me: i’d like to change the address on my driver’s license please…

girl: all right, can i have your driver’s license number please?

me: – gives it to her… (what, do you think that i’d just post it where anyone can see it? come on…)

girl: okay, hold on…

(more computer noises in the background)

girl: okay, now could i get your driver’s license number please?

me: ????????????? BLOWN HEAD GASKET

in spite of a bad start, i actually managed to change my address on record. they don’t automatically issue me a new license, but if i wait 15 days, i can order one online.

Should bias be treated as a mental illness?
Patients paralyzed by racism, other prejudices confound therapists

By Shankar Vedantam
The Washington Post
Updated: 3:33 a.m. ET Dec. 10, 2005

The 48-year-old man turned down a job because he feared that a co-worker would be gay. He was upset that gay culture was becoming mainstream and blamed most of his personal, professional and emotional problems on the gay and lesbian movement.

These fixations preoccupied him every day. Articles in magazines about gays made him agitated. He confessed that his fears had left him socially isolated and unemployed for years: A recovering alcoholic, the man even avoided 12-step meetings out of fear he might encounter a gay person.

“He had a fixed delusion about the world,” said Sondra E. Solomon, a psychologist at the University of Vermont who treated the man for two years. “He felt under attack, he felt threatened.”

Mental health practitioners say they regularly confront extreme forms of racism, homophobia and other prejudice in the course of therapy, and that some patients are disabled by these beliefs. As doctors increasingly weigh the effects of race and culture on mental illness, some are asking whether pathological bias ought to be an official psychiatric diagnosis.

‘Ordinary prejudice’ or something more?
Advocates have circulated draft guidelines and have begun to conduct systematic studies. While the proposal is gaining traction, it is still in the early stages of being considered by the professionals who decide on new diagnoses.

If it succeeds, it could have huge ramifications on clinical practice, employment disputes and the criminal justice system. Perpetrators of hate crimes could become candidates for treatment, and physicians would become arbiters of how to distinguish “ordinary prejudice” from pathological bias. Thorny discussions about how mental illnesses are defined would get even more prickly.

Many urge more research, saying they are unsure whether bias can be pathological. Solomon, for instance, is uncomfortable with the idea. But several experts say that psychiatry has been inattentive to the effects of prejudice on mental health and illness.

“Has anyone done a word search for ‘racism’ in DSM-IV? It doesn’t exist,” said Carl C. Bell, a Chicago psychiatrist, referring to psychiatry’s manual of mental disorders. “Has anyone asked, ‘If you have paranoia, do you project your hostility toward other groups?’ The answer is ‘Hell, no!’ ”

The proposed guidelines that California psychologist Edward Dunbar created describe people whose daily functioning is paralyzed by persistent fears and worries about other groups. The guidelines have not been endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM); advocates are mostly seeking support for systematic study.

Fears of a new defense for racism
Darrel A. Regier, director of research at the psychiatric association, said he supports research into whether pathological bias is a disorder. But he said the jury is out on whether a diagnostic classification would add anything useful, given that clinicians already know about disorders in which people rigidly hold onto false beliefs.

“If you are going to put racism into the next edition of DSM, you would have enormous criticism,” Regier said. Critics would ask, ” ‘Are you pathologizing all of life?’ You better be prepared to defend that classification.”

“I think it’s absurd,” said Sally Satel, a psychiatrist and the author of “PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine.” Satel said the diagnosis would allow hate-crime perpetrators to evade responsibility by claiming they suffered from a mental illness. “You could use it as a defense.”

Psychiatrists who advocate a new diagnosis, such as Gary Belkin, deputy chief of psychiatry at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, said social norms play a central role in how all psychiatric disorders are defined. Pedophilia is considered a disorder by psychiatrists, Belkin noted, but that does not keep child molesters from being prosecuted.

“Psychiatrists who are uneasy with including something like this in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual need to get used to the fact that the whole manual reflects social context,” said Belkin, who is planning to launch a study on pathological bias among patients at his hospital. “That is true of depression on down. Pathological bias is no more or less scientific than major depression.”

Some extreme cases of paranoia
Advocates for the new diagnosis also say most candidates for treatment, such as the man Solomon treated, are not criminals or violent offenders. Rather, they are like the young woman in Los Angeles who thought Jews were diseased and would infect her — she carried out compulsive cleansing rituals and hit her head to drive away her obsessions. She realized she needed help but was afraid her therapist would be Jewish, said Dunbar, a Los Angeles psychologist who has amassed several case studies and treated several dozen patients for racial paranoia and other forms of what he considers pathological bias.

Another patient was a waiter so hostile to black people that he flung plates on the table when he served black patrons and got fired from multiple jobs.

A third patient was a Vietnam War veteran who was so fearful of Asians that he avoided social situations where he might meet them, Dunbar said.

“When I see someone who won’t see a physician because they’re Jewish, or who can’t sit in a restaurant because there are Asians, or feels threatened by homosexuals in the workplace, the party line in mental health says, ‘This is not our problem,’ ” the psychologist said. “If it’s not our problem, whose problem is it?”

Paralyzed by fear of others
Opponents say making pathological bias a diagnosis raises the specter of social engineering — brainwashing individuals who do not fit society’s norms. But Dunbar and others say patients with disabling levels of prejudice should be treated for the same reason as are patients with any other disorder: They would feel, live and function better.

“They are delusional,” said Alvin F. Poussaint, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, who has long advocated such a diagnosis. “They imagine people are going to do all kinds of bad things and hurt them, and feel they have to do something to protect themselves.

“When they reach that stage, they are very impaired,” he said. “They can’t work and function; they can’t hold a job. They would benefit from treatment of some type, particularly medication.”

Doctors who treat inmates at the California State Prison outside Sacramento concur: They have diagnosed some forms of racist hatred among inmates and administered antipsychotic drugs.

“We treat racism and homophobia as delusional disorders,” said Shama Chaiken, who later became a divisional chief psychologist for the California Department of Corrections, at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. “Treatment with antipsychotics does work to reduce these prejudices.”

Few immune to some level of bias
Amid a profusion of recent studies into the nature of prejudice, researchers have found that biases are very common. Almost everyone harbors what might be termed “ordinary prejudice,” the research indicates.

Anthony Greenwald, a psychologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, and Mahzarin R. Banaji, a psychologist at Harvard, developed tests for such biases. By measuring the speed with which people make mental associations, the psychologists found that biases affect even those who actively resist them.

“When things are more strongly paired in our minds, we can respond to them more quickly,” Banaji said. “Large numbers of Americans cannot as swiftly make the association between ‘black’ and ‘good’ as they can between ‘white’ and ‘good.’ ”

Similarly, psychologist Margo Monteith at the University of Kentucky in Lexington found that people can have prejudices against groups they know nothing about. She administered a test in which volunteers, under time pressure, had to associate a series of words with either “America” or a fictitious country she called “Marisat.”

Volunteers more easily associated Marisat with such words as “poison,” “death” and “evil,” while associating America with “sunrise,” “paradise” and “loyal.”

“A large part of our self-esteem derives from our group membership,” Monteith said. “To the extent we can feel better about our group relative to other groups, we can feel good about ourselves. It’s likely a built-in mechanism.”

‘100 percent of people are racist’
If biases are so common, many doctors ask, can racism really be a mental illness?

“I don’t think racism is a mental illness, and that’s because 100 percent of people are racist,” said Paul J. Fink, a former president of the American Psychiatric Association. “If you have a diagnostic category that fits 100 percent of people, it’s not a diagnostic category.”

But Poussaint said there is a difference between ordinary prejudice and pathological bias — the same distinction that psychiatrists make between sadness and depression. All people experience sadness, anxiety and fear, but extreme, disabling forms of these emotions are called disorders.

While people with ordinary prejudice try very hard to conceal their biases, Solomon said, her homophobic patient had no embarrassment about his attitude toward gays. Dunbar said people with pathological prejudice often lack filtering capabilities. As a result, he said, they face problems at work and home.

“Everyone is inculcated with stereotypes and biases with cultural issues, but some individuals not only hold beliefs that are very rigid, but they are part of a psychological problem,” Dunbar said.

The psychologist said he has helped such patients with talk therapy, which encourages patients to question the basis for their beliefs, and by steering them toward medications such as antipsychotics.

The woman with the bias against Jews did not overcome her prejudice, Dunbar said, but she learned to control her fear response in social settings. The patient with hostility against African Americans realized his beliefs were “stupid.”

Balancing understanding with information
Solomon discovered she was most effective dealing with the homophobic man when she was nonjudgmental. When he claimed there were more gays and lesbians than ever before, she presented him with data showing there was no such shift.

At those times, she reported in a case study, the patient would say, “I know, I know.” He would recognize that he was not being logical, but then get angry and return to the same patterns of obsession. Solomon did not identify the man because of patient confidentiality.

Standing in the central yard of the maximum-security California State Prison with inmates exercising around her, Chaiken explained how she distinguished pathological bias from ordinary prejudice: A prisoner who belonged to a gang with racist views might express such views to fit in with his gang, but if he continues “yelling racial slurs, assaulting others when it’s clear there is no benefit” after he leaves the gang, the behavior was no longer “adaptive.”

Prison officials declined to identify inmates who had been treated, or make them available for interviews.

Chicago psychiatrist Bell said he has not made up his mind on whether bias can be pathological. But in proposing a research agenda for the next edition of psychiatry’s DSM of mental disorders, Bell and researchers from the Mayo Clinic, McGill University, the University of California at Los Angeles and other academic institutions wrote: “Clinical experience informs us that racism may be a manifestation of a delusional process, a consequence of anxiety, or a feature of an individual’s personality dynamics.”

The psychiatrists said their profession has neglected the issue: “One solution would be to encourage research that seeks to delineate the validity and reliability of racism as a symptom and to investigate the possibility of including it in some diagnostic criteria sets in future editions of DSM.”


yet another way to force people to think the way you want them to… as long as you’re the doctor. i see this as yet another way to keep “terrorists” and other outcasts in line.


Frist Says He’s Ready to Block Filibuster
Sun Dec 11, 8:27 PM ET

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Sunday he is prepared to strip Democrats of their ability to filibuster if they try to stall Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

“The answer is yes,” Frist said when asked if he would act to change Senate procedures to restrict a Democratic filibuster. “Supreme Court justice nominees deserve an up-or-down vote, and it would be absolutely wrong to deny him that.”

Democrats immediately called Frist’s words unhelpful and potentially incendiary. They said Senate Democrats are waiting for the Judiciary Committee to act on Alito’s nomination before they decide what they may do.

“Sen. Frist has thrown down the gauntlet at a time when the country least needs it,” said New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee. “The American people know that checks and balances are an integral part of our government.”

In recent weeks, Senate Democrats have questioned whether Alito, a federal appeals court judge, has the proper judicial temperament and ideology to replace retiring Justice
Sandra Day O’Connor.

Some have said that Alito’s views on issues such as voting rights and abortion could provoke a filibuster unless he allays their concerns about his commitment to civil rights. Alito’s confirmation hearings begin Jan. 9 before the committee.

Frist, R-Tenn., said Alito is qualified for the high court, noting that Alito was confirmed by the Senate for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Sam Alito, who has a modest judicial temperament … is someone who deserves advice and consent by the Senate,” Frist told “Fox News Sunday.”

Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in an interview that senators should be debating Alito’s qualifications on their merits rather than speculating about the possibility of a filibuster.

But, he added, once the committee acts, “all procedural options are on the table. But we are months away from facing these kinds of decisions.”

The filibuster is a parliamentary tactic whereby senators use their right to virtually unlimited debate to block measures, legislation or nominations. It takes 60 votes to stop a filibuster.

Passing a bill or confirming a nominee requires a simple majority — 51 senators if all 100 senators are present. The vice president can break 50-50 ties.

Under Frist’s scenario, the GOP would seek a parliamentary ruling that declares filibusters are not permitted against judicial nominees. That ruling ultimately would go before the full Senate for a vote, with a simple majority required to prevail. Republicans hold 55 seats.

If that plays out, it then would take a majority of senators present to vote to approve a nominee such as Alito.

Such a move carries great risk. Democrats have threatened to retaliate with a fight that could snarl Senate business for months. Also, it could backfire on Republicans if they were to lose majority control of the chamber.


after that, i’m in need of some happy news.

274

Man Apologizes After Fake Wikipedia Post
Mon Dec 12, 8:06 AM ET

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A man who posted false information on an online encyclopedia linking a prominent journalist to the Kennedy assassinations says he was playing a trick on a co-worker.

Brian Chase, 38, ended up resigning from his job and apologizing to John Seigenthaler Sr., the former publisher of the Tennessean newspaper and founding editorial director of USA Today.

“I knew from the news that Mr. Seigenthaler was looking for who did it, and I did it, so I needed to let him know in particular that it wasn’t anyone out to get him, that it was done as a joke that went horribly, horribly wrong,” Chase was quoted as saying in Sunday editions of The Tennessean.

Chase said he didn’t know the free Internet encyclopedia called Wikipedia was used as a serious reference tool.

The biography he posted, which has since been replaced, falsely stated that Seigenthaler was linked to the Kennedy assassinations and had lived in the Soviet Union from 1971 to 1984.

The entry motivated Seigenthaler to write an op-ed piece for USA Today blasting Wikipedia’s credibility. He described himself as a close friend of Robert Kennedy and said he had worked with President Kennedy. He said “the most painful thing was to have them suggest that I was suspected of their assassination.”

Seigenthaler said he doesn’t plan to pursue legal action against Chase.

He also said he doesn’t support more regulations of the Internet, but he said that he fears “Wikipedia is inviting it by its allowing irresponsible vandals to write anything they want about anybody.”

Chase said he created the fake online biography in May as a gag to shock a co-worker who was familiar with the Seigenthaler family. He resigned as an operations manager at a Nashville delivery company as a result of the debacle.


this is primarily for , who posted seigenthaler’s editorial the other day… i don’t support more regulations of the internet either, and i also believe that places like wikipedia are going to see new regulations okayed if their unregistered users keep clogging up internet with spam and other kinds of vandalism, but i also think it’s interesting that this guy actually resigned from his job, which didn’t have anything to do with internet or internet technology (he was an operations manager for a delivery company) as the result of this… it’s a big warning to everyone else who does this kind of thing… get caught and you could lose your job, even if that job has nothing to do with internet.

i forsee a big rise in the rate of unemployed people who have nothing better to do than vandalise internet in the near future…

273

Bush on the Constitution: ‘It’s just a goddamned piece of paper’
By DOUG THOMPSON
Dec 9, 2005, 07:53

Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act.

Several provisions of the act, passed in the shell shocked period immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caused enough anger that liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union had joined forces with prominent conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Bob Barr to oppose renewal.

GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”

“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

I’ve talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution “a goddamned piece of paper.”

And, to the Bush Administration, the Constitution of the United States is little more than toilet paper stained from all the shit that this group of power-mad despots have dumped on the freedoms that “goddamned piece of paper” used to guarantee.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, while still White House counsel, wrote that the “Constitution is an outdated document.”

Put aside, for a moment, political affiliation or personal beliefs. It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent. It doesn’t matter if you support the invasion or Iraq or not. Despite our differences, the Constitution has stood for two centuries as the defining document of our government, the final source to determine – in the end – if something is legal or right.

Every federal official – including the President – who takes an oath of office swears to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says he cringes when someone calls the Constitution a “living document.”

“‘Oh, how I hate the phrase we have—a ‘living document,'” Scalia says. “We now have a Constitution that means whatever we want it to mean. The Constitution is not a living organism, for Pete’s sake.”

As a judge, Scalia says, “I don’t have to prove that the Constitution is perfect; I just have to prove that it’s better than anything else.”

President Bush has proposed seven amendments to the Constitution over the last five years, including a controversial amendment to define marriage as a “union between a man and woman.” Members of Congress have proposed some 11,000 amendments over the last decade, ranging from repeal of the right to bear arms to a Constitutional ban on abortion.

Scalia says the danger of tinkering with the Constitution comes from a loss of rights.

“We can take away rights just as we can grant new ones,” Scalia warns. “Don’t think that it’s a one-way street.”

And don’t buy the White House hype that the USA Patriot Act is a necessary tool to fight terrorism. It is a dangerous law that infringes on the rights of every American citizen and, as one brave aide told President Bush, something that undermines the Constitution of the United States.

But why should Bush care? After all, the Constitution is just “a goddamned piece of paper.”


Dear President Bush; about that "goddamned piece of paper."

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

Let us start out with the fact that the Constitution is actually written on parchment, not paper. A trivial point, I grant you, but one that reveals (along with your inability to correctly pronounce the word “nuclear”) a shocking lack of education in a head of state.

But to get to the point, the Constitution is not the parchment itself, but the ideas written upon it; ideas which form the foundations of our nation, ideas which would carry equal weight if written on stone, glass, metal, or even paper. These ideas are the soul of the nation. They include the recognition that the people of this nation have certain rights, rights which the government does not have the authority to remove. These rights include freedom of speech, to say what we think about the nation at any and all times, to write that opinion down and share it however we choose to. These rights include the freedom to worship as we choose, free from coercion. These rights include the right to privacy, in our homes and businesses, free from government intrusions other than in very specific and well-defined circumstances.

Maybe those rights are inconvenient to you, as such rights are always inconvenient to tyrants, but you are not allowed the choice which rights you will abide by or not. That too is spelled out explicitly in the Constitution.

The Constitution isn’t just a piece of paper or parchment. It’s a contract; the original contract with America. It’s the contract you yourself swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend against all enemies both foreign and domestic. You attached your name to that promise. You swore that oath before a judge of the United States Supreme Court, with your hand on a bible. That isn’t just scenery for the cameras. Swearing an oath before a judge carries legal obligations with that oath, and legal penalties for breaking that oath.

The election process by which you claim authority is defined in that Constitution. And as you claim authority by Constitutional process, so too are you limited by Constitutional process. If you act outside the limits of the Constitution, you are no longer acting as the President, but as a private citizen abusing the powers with which you were trusted. A government that acts outside the Constitution ceases to be the legal government of this land.

The Constitution exists not only to tell the government what it may do, but more importantly what it may not do. You, as the President, are not allowed to declare wars without the US Congress. You, the President, are not allowed to seize people at random and send them off to be tortured. And most of all, you, the President, and not allowed to lie to the people and to the Congress.

Every President before you, including your father, swore that oath to preserve, protect, and defend that Constitution. Millions of Americans died in wars in the firm belief that the form of government describes on that parchment was worth such a sacrifice. To state that the Constitution is just a “dammed piece of paper” is a slap in the face of every American who ever donned the uniform of the military forces of this country.

Go over to Arlington National Cemetery. It’s not that far from where you live. Look at those tombstones. By your statement, you have written across and every one the words, “Died for a goddamned piece of paper.”


at this point, i think impeachment is too good for bush… rather like how i felt about nixon as well… if he has so little regard for his “contract with america” that he’s capable of calling it a “goddamned piece of paper,” – or so little education that he doesn’t know the difference – someone ought to just shoot him now and put all of us out of his misery.

272

the shows went extremely well, in spite of (or, perhaps because of) the chaos and disorganisation involved. we got all of the music cues down for Babes, which is a shame since we probably will not be performing it again. the moisture festival benefit lasted until midnight and had an unexpected, although enjoyable (from my point of view, anyway) “strategic costume failure” on the part of one of the arialistas that resulted in her doing about three-quarters of her act topless. i’m sure mike hale (the owner of the hale’s palladium, where the whole thing was going on, and a notorious “christian” who has said that if the moisture festival features a burlesque night like last year, that we can find another venue for our shows) was mortified, but the audience loved it, and i heard the arialistas talking backstage, afterwards, and from what i understand, it wasn’t even too bad from the performer’s point of view as well. more tonight, and tomorrow night, and, possibly next week, then the winter feast, which we still don’t know whether we’re actually playing or not, but i’ve got it on the schedule anyway.

there’s been some drama here… not about anything on topic for the community (), but because of the fact that i used a swastika as my avatar… 8/ i had some help from the community, and there was further discussion here, but the upshot is that the closet-nazi, swastika-hater – a contradiction in terms if i ever heard of one – still hasn’t emailed me to say why nazis are so despicable that they’re interpretation of the swastika should be paramount, and thus it shouldn’t be used any longer, but the “christian” cross, which is just as despicable is okay for everyday use.

blah! 8/

along the same lines, Reclaim The Swastika is a site which doesn’t have much information, but that which it does have should definitely be paid attention to.
Overcoming Apartheid Education
The Infinite Cat Project
POSSUM FUR NIPPLE WARMERS on ebay – everybody needs at least one pair!

from spreznib, what if we played didjeridus for them?

Israelis to be allowed euthanasia by machine
By Tim Butcher in Jerusalem
(Filed: 08/12/2005)

Machines will perform euthanasia on terminally ill patients in Israel under legislation devised not to offend Jewish law, which forbids people taking human life.

A special timer will be fitted to a patient’s respirator which will sound an alarm 12 hours before turning it off.

Normally, carers would override the alarm and keep the respirator turned on but, if various stringent conditions are met, including the giving of consent by the patient or legal guardian, the alarm would not be overridden.

Similar timing devices, known as Sabbath clocks, are used in the homes of orthodox Jews so that light switches and electrical devices can be turned on during the Sabbath without offending religious strictures.

Parliamentarians reached a solution after discussions with a 58-member panel of medical, religious and philosophical experts.

“The point was that it is wrong, under Jewish law, for a person’s life to be taken by a person but, for a machine, it is acceptable,” a parliamentary spokesman said.

“A man would not be able to shorten human life but a machine can.”

The bill, which was approved at the third and final reading in the Knesset by 22 votes to three with one abstention, will become law next year.

Danny Naveh, the health minister, described the passing of the law as a historic moment, saying: “This is one of the most important laws passed by the Knesset. It represents major moral value for the terminally ill and their families.”

It is expected that elderly Israelis will begin to leave “living wills” in which they stipulate whether they would allow the new euthanasia procedure to apply to them if they were to end up in hospital, dependent on a respirator and suffering from a terminal disease.


271

Babes In The Wood
The Fremont Players & The Fremont Philharmonic
present
BABES IN THE WOOD
A Farsical Musical Comedy For The Whole Family!
Friday, December 9, 2005
7:00 pm

Hale’s Palladium, 4301 Leary Way NW, Seattle
$10 adults and $5 kids/seniors

also, there’s a Moisture Festival Benefit show at the Hale’s Palladium friday and saturday evening. they’re going to be comedie/varieté shows, with a different list of performers every night, and will feature the fremont philharmonic, the zebra kings, the dangerous flares and a variety of bawdy, unseemly fun. leave the kids at home.

270

Pholph’s Scrabble Generator

My Scrabble© Score is: 35.
What is your score? Get it here.


Rat brain flies jet
Seriously
By Robin Lettice
Published Tuesday 7th December 2004 16:01 GMT

Florida scientists have grown a brain in a petri dish and taught it to fly a fighter plane.

Scientists at the university of Florida taught the ‘brain’, which was grown from 25,000 neural cells extracted from a rat embryo, to pilot an F-22 jet simulator. It was taught to control the flight path, even in mock hurricane-strength winds.
Click Here

“When we first hooked them up, the plane ‘crashed’ all the time,” Dr Thomas DeMarse, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Florida, said. “But over time, the neural network slowly adapts as the brain learns to control the pitch and roll of the aircraft. After a while, it produces a nice straight and level trajectory.”

The brain-in-a-dish was DeMarse’ idea. To produce it, 25,000 rat neurones were suspended in a specialised liquid to keep them alive and then laid across a grid of 60 electrodes in a small glass dish.

The cells at first looked like grains of sand under the microscope, but soon began to connect to form what scientists call a “live computation device” (a brain). Electrodes monitor and stimulate neural activity in this network, allowing researchers to study how the brain processes and transfers information.

The scientists hope that their research will lead to hybrid computers with organic components, allowing more flexible and varied means of solving problems.

One potential application is to install living computers in unmanned aircraft for missions too dangerous for humans. It is also hoped that further advances will help in the search for cures for conditions such as epilepsy, The Age reports.

“The algorithms that living computers use are also extremely fault-tolerant,” Dr DeMarse said. “A few neurons die off every day in humans without any noticeable drop in performance, and yet if the same were to happen in a traditional silicon-based computer the results would be catastrophic.”

The US National Science Foundation has awarded the team a $500,000 grant to produce a mathematical model of how the neurons compute.


Mirecki hospitalized after beating
By Ron Knox, Eric Weslander
Originally published 05:37 p.m., December 5, 2005
Updated 06:31 p.m., December 5, 2005

Douglas County sheriff’s deputies are investigating the reported beating of a Kansas University professor who gained recent notoriety for his Internet tirades against Christian fundamentalists.

Kansas University religious studies professor Paul Mirecki reported he was beaten by two men about 6:40 a.m. today on a roadside in rural Douglas County. In a series of interviews late this afternoon, Mirecki said the men who beat him were making references to the controversy that has propelled him into the headlines in recent weeks.

“I didn’t know them, but I’m sure they knew me,” he said.

Mirecki said he was driving to breakfast when he noticed the men tailgating him in a pickup truck.

“I just pulled over hoping they would pass, and then they pulled up real close behind,” he said. “They got out, and I made the mistake of getting out.”

He said the men beat him about the upper body with their fists, and he said he thinks they struck him with a metal object. He was treated and released at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

“I’m mostly shaken up, and I got some bruises and sore spots,” he said.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Officials are classifying the case as an aggravated battery. They wouldn’t say exactly where the incident happened, citing the ongoing investigation

The sheriff’s department is looking for the suspects, described as two white males between ages 30 and 40, one wearing a red visor and wool gloves, and both wearing jeans. They were last seen in a large pickup truck.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 843-TIPS or the sheriff’s office at 841-0007.

Mirecki recently wrote online that he planned to teach intelligent design as mythology in an upcoming course. He wrote it would be a “nice slap” in the “big fat face” of fundamentalists.

The remarks caused an uproar, Mirecki apologized, and KU announced last week the class would be canceled.


Bushes’ ‘holiday’ cards ring hollow for some
Christian conservatives wage war to put religion back into Christmas
By Alan Cooperman
The Washington Post
Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET Dec. 7, 2005

What’s missing from the White House Christmas card? Christmas.

This month, as in every December since he took office, President Bush sent out cards with a generic end-of-the-year message, wishing 1.4 million of his close friends and supporters a happy “holiday season.”

Many people are thrilled to get a White House Christmas card, no matter what the greeting inside. But some conservative Christians are reacting as if Bush stuck coal in their stockings.

“This clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration has suffered a loss of will and that they have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture,” said William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

Bush “claims to be a born-again, evangelical Christian. But he sure doesn’t act like one,” said Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative Web site WorldNetDaily.com. “I threw out my White House card as soon as I got it.”

Religious conservatives are miffed because they have been pressuring stores to advertise Christmas sales rather than “holiday specials” and urging schools to let students out for Christmas vacation rather than for “winter break.” They celebrated when House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) insisted that the sparkling spectacle on the Capitol lawn should be called the Capitol Christmas Tree, not a holiday spruce.

‘Sent to people of all faiths’
Then along comes a generic season’s greeting from the White House, paid for by the Republican National Committee. The cover art is also secular, if not humanist: It shows the presidential pets — two dogs and a cat — frolicking on a snowy White House lawn.

“Certainly President and Mrs. Bush, because of their faith, celebrate Christmas,” said Susan Whitson, Laura Bush’s press secretary. “Their cards in recent years have included best wishes for a holiday season, rather than Christmas wishes, because they are sent to people of all faiths.”

That is the same rationale offered by major retailers for generic holiday catalogues, and it is accepted by groups such as the National Council of Churches. “I think it’s more important to put Christ back into our war planning than into our Christmas cards,” said the council’s general secretary, the Rev. Bob Edgar, a former Democratic congressman.

But the White House’s explanation does not satisfy the groups — which have grown in number in recent years — that believe there is, in the words of the Heritage Foundation, a “war on Christmas” involving an “ever-stronger push toward a neutered ‘holiday’ season so that non-Christians won’t be even the slightest bit offended.”

One of the generals on the pro-Christmas side is Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association in Tupelo, Miss. “Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether this is sinister — it’s the purging of Christ from Christmas — or whether it’s just political correctness run amok,” he said. “I think in the case of the White House, it’s just political correctness.”

Retail boycotts
Wildmon does not give retailers the same benefit of the doubt. This year, he has called for a consumer boycott of Target stores because the chain issued a holiday advertising circular that did not mention Christmas. Last year, he aimed a similar boycott at Macy’s Inc., which averted a repeat this December by proclaiming “Merry Christmas” in its advertising and in-store displays.

“It bothers me that the White House card leaves off any reference to Jesus, while we’ve got Ramadan celebrations in the White House,” Wildmon said. “What’s going on there?”

At the Catholic League, Donohue had just announced a boycott of the Lands’ End catalogue when he received his White House holiday card. True, he said, the Bushes included a verse from Psalm 28, but Psalms are in the Old Testament and do not mention Jesus’ birth.

“They’d better address this, because they’re no better than the retailers who have lost the will to say ‘Merry Christmas,’ ” he said.

Donohue said that Wal-Mart, facing a threatened boycott, added a Christmas page to its Web site and fired a customer relations employee who wrote a letter linking Christmas to “Siberian shamanism.” He was not mollified by a letter from Lands’ End saying it “adopted the ‘holiday’ terminology as a way to comply with one of the basic freedoms granted to all Americans: freedom of religion.”

“Ninety-six percent of Americans celebrate Christmas,” Donohue said. “Spare me the diversity lecture.”

Diversity has been a hallmark of White House greeting cards for some time, according to Mary Evans Seeley of Tampa, Fla., author of “Season’s Greetings From the White House.” The last presidential Christmas card that mentioned Christmas was in 1992. It was sent by George H.W. and Barbara Bush, parents of the current president.

Seeley said the first president to send out true Christmas cards, as opposed to signed photographs or handwritten letters, was Franklin D. Roosevelt. “Merry Christmas From the President and Mrs. Roosevelt,” said his first annual card, in 1933.

Politicization of a holiday
Like many modern touches, the generic New Year’s card was introduced to the White House by John and Jacqueline Kennedy. In 1962, they had Hallmark print 2,000 cards, of which 1,800 cards said “The President and Mrs. Kennedy Wish You a Blessed Christmas” and 200 said “With Best Wishes for a Happy New Year.”

Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson continued that tradition for a couple of years, but it required keeping track of Christian and non-Christian recipients. Beginning in 1966, they wished everyone a “Joyous Christmas,” and no president has attempted the two-card trick since.

Seeley dates the politicization of the White House Christmas card to Richard M. Nixon, who increased the number of recipients tenfold, to 40,000, in his first year. The numbers since have snowballed, hitting 125,000 under Jimmy Carter, topping 400,000 under Bill Clinton and rising to more than a million under the current Bushes, with each president’s political party paying the bill.

The wording, meanwhile, has often flip-flopped. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter put “Merry Christmas” in their 1977 card and then switched to “Holiday Season” for the next three years. Ronald and Nancy Reagan, similarly, began with a “Joyous Christmas” in 1981 and 1982 but doled out generic holiday wishes from 1983 to 1988. The elder President Bush stayed in the “Merry Christmas” spirit all four years, and the Clintons opted for inclusive greetings for all of their eight years.

The current Bush has straddled the divide, offering generic greetings along with an Old Testament verse. To some religious conservatives, that makes all the difference.

“There’s a verse from Scripture in it. I don’t mind that at all, as long as we don’t try to pretend we’re not a nation under God,” said the Rev. Jerry Falwell.


How the ACLU Didn’t Steal Christmas
Published on Tuesday, December 6, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
by Fran Quigley

When the angry phone calls and e-mails started arriving at the office, I knew the holiday season was upon us. A typical message shouted that we at the American Civil Liberties Union affiliate in Indiana are “horrible” and “we should be ashamed of ourselves,” then concluded with an incongruous and agitated “Merry Christmas.”

We get this type of correspondence a lot, mostly in reaction to a well-organized attempt by extremist groups to demonize the ACLU, crush religious diversity and make a few bucks in the process. Sadly, this self-interested effort is being promoted in the guise of defending Christmas.

For example, the Alliance Defense Fund celebrates the season with an “It’s OK to say Merry Christmas” campaign, implying that the ACLU has challenged such holiday greetings. (As part of the effort, you can get a pamphlet and two Christmas pins for $29.)

The Web site, WorldNetDaily, touts a book claiming “a thorough and virulent anti-Christmas campaign is being waged today by liberal activists and ACLU fanatics.” The site’s magazine has suggested there will be ACLU efforts to remove “In God We Trust” from U.S. currency, fire military chaplains and expunge all references to God in America’s founding documents. (Learn more for just $19.95 . . . )

Of course, there is no “Merry Christmas” lawsuit, nor is there any ACLU litigation about U.S. currency, military chaplains, etc. But the facts are not important to these groups, because their real message is this: By protecting the freedom of Muslims, Jews and other non-Christians through preventing government entanglement with religion, the ACLU is somehow infringing on the rights of those with majority religious beliefs.

In truth, it is these Web-site Christians who are taking the Christ out of the season. Nowhere in the Sermon on the Mount did Jesus Christ ask that we celebrate his birth with narrow-mindedness and intolerance, especially for those who are already marginalized and persecuted. Instead, the New Testament — like the Torah and the Quran and countless other sacred texts — commands us to love our neighbor and to comfort the sick and the imprisoned.

That’s what the ACLU does. We live in a country filled with people who are sick and disabled, people who are imprisoned, and people who hunger and thirst for justice. Those people come to our Indiana offices for help at a rate of several hundred a week, usually because they have nowhere else to turn. The least of our brothers and sisters sure aren’t getting any help from the Alliance Defense Fund or WorldNet Daily. So, as often as we can, ACLU secures justice for those folks for whom Jesus worried the most.

As part of our justice mission, we work hard to protect the rights of free religious expression for all people, including Christians. For example, we recently defended the First Amendment rights of a Baptist minister to preach his message on public streets in Southern Indiana. The ACLU intervened on behalf of a Christian valedictorian in a Michigan high school, which agreed to stop censoring religious yearbook entries and supported the rights of Iowa students to distribute Christian literature at their school.

There are many more examples, because the ACLU is committed to preserving the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom for all. We agree with the U.S. Supreme Court’s firm rulings that this freedom means that children who grow up in non-Christian homes should not be made to feel like outsiders in their own community’s courthouse, legislature or public schoolhouse.

To our “Merry Christmas” correspondents and all other Americans, we wish you happy holidays.

Fran Quigley is the executive director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, www.iclu.org

269

We don’t outsource torture, says Bush

December 7, 2005 – 11:04AM

The US is seeking to reassure allies over its handling of terrorism suspects as Germany seeks answers over the treatment of German citizen Khaled el-Masri, who claims he was was jailed by the CIA for five months when mistaken for another man.

The issue arose as US President George Bush said the United States did not secretly move terrorism suspects to foreign countries that torture to obtain information.

In Italy, prosecutors and judges have issued arrest warrants against 22 alleged CIA operatives, accusing them of kidnapping.

The process, known as “rendition”, has come under the spotlight after reports that the CIA was operating secret prisons in Europe for terrorism suspects.

“We do not render to countries that torture, that has been our policy and that policy will remain the same,” Bush told reporters.

In a rare concession to critics of US policy, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice conceded today that Washington may make mistakes in its war against terrorism and promised to put them right if they happened.

But her efforts to present a united front with European allies hit a bump when US officials took issue with comments by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sensitive case of a German national who says he was abducted by the CIA.

Merkel told a joint news conference with Rice in Berlin that the United States had acknowledged it made a mistake in the case of Khaled el-Masri, who says he was flown to Afghanistan by US agents and jailed for five months last year before being freed.

Masri is suing the CIA for wrongful imprisonment but was refused entry to the United States on Saturday.

“I’m pleased to say that we spoke about the individual case, which was accepted by the United States as a mistake…,” Merkel said in response to questions about the Masri case, which has caused a furore in Germany.

But senior US officials, travelling to Romania with Rice on the next leg of her European tour, said Rice had not admitted a US mistake over Masri.

The US government had informed Germany about his detention and release but did not say that was a mistake, one senior administration official told reporters.

The differences marred the first stage of a delicate European mission by Rice, under pressure to respond to allegations that the Central Intelligence Agency has run secret prisons in eastern Europe and covertly transferred terrorist suspects across the continent.

In a sign that she could expect tough questions from other European nations later in the week, Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot told his lower house of parliament that the US response to the allegations had been unsatisfactory.

The answers Rice had given were “not satisfactory” and he expected a “lively discussion with Rice and foreign ministers of NATO member states on Thursday in Brussels”, the Dutch news agency ANP said.

Rice refused to publicly discuss individual cases but acknowledged in general that mistakes could happen.

“Any policy will sometimes result in errors, and when it happens, we will do everything we can to rectify it,” Rice said.

A US civil liberties group on filed a lawsuit on Masri’s behalf today against former CIA director George Tenet and other officials, alleging wrongful imprisonment.

The US official with Rice said Masri was released from an Afghan prison after Washington realised it “no longer had evidence or intelligence to justify his continued detention”.

Asked if the United States had ever had evidence to hold Masri, he declined to comment further.

Rice did not directly address allegations over reports the United States had run secret prisons to hold terrorism suspects in eastern Europe, possibly in Romania and Poland, which Washington has refused to confirm or deny.

But she defended US methods in the struggle against militants.

“If you don’t get to them before they commit their crimes, they will commit mass murder,” she said.

President Bush reiterated that the United States did not torture.

“I don’t talk about secret programs, covert programs, covert activities.

Part of a successful war on terror is for the United States of America to be able to conduct operations, all aimed to protect the American people covertly,” Bush said.

“We abide by the law of the United States, that we do not torture,” he said.

“We will try to do everything we can to protect us within the law.”

– Reuters


and the other side of the argument (which are pages on my own site, so i will refrain from copying them here as well), Delivered Into Hell by US War on Terror and Canadian Sues US for Deporting Him to Syria for Torture. more details at http://www.maherarar.ca/

bush better start getting things right if he wants to remain president for the full term of office…

and if that weren’t enough, let’s get the mentally ill involved in the whole stinking miasma…


Air Marshal Kills Passenger, Citing Threat
By JOHN PAIN, Associated Press Writer

December 7, 2005 at 5:29 PM

MIAMI (AP) – An agitated passenger who claimed to have a bomb in his backpack was shot and killed by a federal air marshal Wednesday after he bolted frantically from a jetliner that was about to take off, officials said. No bomb was found.

The man, identified as Rigoberto Alpizar, a 44-year-old U.S. citizen, was gunned down on a jetway just before the American Airlines plane was about to leave for Orlando, near his home in Maitland.

It was the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks that an air marshal had shot at anyone, Homeland Security Department spokesman Brian Doyle said.

According to a witness, the man frantically ran down the aisle of the Boeing 757, flailing his arms, while his wife tried to explain that he was mentally ill and had not taken his medication.

The passenger indicated there was a bomb in his bag and was confronted by air marshals but ran off the aircraft, Doyle said. The marshals went after him and ordered him to get down on the ground, but he did not comply and was shot when he apparently reached into the bag, Doyle said.

The plane, Flight 924, had arrived in Miami from Medellin, Colombia, just after noon, and the shooting occurred shortly after 2 p.m. as the plane was about to take off for Orlando with the man and 119 other passengers and crew, American spokesman Tim Wagner said. Alpizar had arrived in Miami earlier in the day from Ecuador, authorities said.

After the shooting, investigators spread passengers’ bags on the tarmac and let dogs sniff them for explosives, and bomb squad members blew up at least two bags.

No bomb was found, said James E. Bauer, agent in charge of the Federal Air Marshals field office in Miami. He said there was no reason to believe there was any connection to terrorists.

The concourse where the shooting took place was shut down for a half-hour, but the rest of the airport continued operating, officials said.

Mary Gardner, a passenger aboard the Orlando-bound flight, told WTVJ-TV in Miami that the man ran down the aisle from the rear of the plane. “He was frantic, his arms flailing in the air,” she said. She said a woman followed, shouting, “My husband! My husband!”

Gardner said she heard the woman say her husband was bipolar – a mental illness also known as manic-depression – and had not had his medication.

Gardner said four to five shots were fired. She could not see the shooting.

After the shooting, police boarded the plane and told the passengers to put their hands on their heads, Gardner said.

“It was quite scary,” she told the TV station via a cell phone. “They wouldn’t let you move. They wouldn’t let you get anything out of your bag.”

There were only 33 air marshals at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks. The Bush administration hired thousands more afterward, but the exact number is classified.

268

this is all that’s left of the site that used to be at crosswalkbuttonhacks dot com (it’s not there any more, which is why there’s no link), which was apparently shut down by the FBI, because – you guessed it – the possiblity that terrorists could use the hacks to cross the street whenever they like…

woo.

… although it may be a hoax… someone has mentioned, i’m inclined to think rightly, that “3658 item” list looks a little fishy, combined with the hoaxer’s old standby “the FBI shut down my website,” and not only the fact that the mayor of kansas city is kay barnes, not roger gorman, but there’s no mention of the interview with the kansas city mayor that isn’t related to the spreading meme…

also, today is Krampusnacht – i hope you haven’t been naughty!

Know your xmas elves: Santa vs. The Krampus
Google images: Krampus

Also:
http://www.serve.com/shea/germusa/nikohelp.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Companions_of_Saint_Nicholas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paganism_in_the_Eastern_Alps

i’ve always wondered about the similarity between santa and satan…


Big Five Word Test Results
Extroversion (30%) low which suggests you are very reclusive, quiet, unassertive, and secretive.
Accommodation (44%) moderately low which suggests you are, at times, overly selfish, uncooperative, and difficult at the expense of the well being of others.
Orderliness (15%) very low which suggests you are overly flexible, random, improvised, and fun seeking at the expense too often of structure, reliability, work ethic, and long term accomplishment.
Emotional Stability (58%) moderately high which suggests you are relaxed, calm, secure, and optimistic.
Inquisitiveness (78%) high which suggests you are very intellectual, curious, imaginative but possibly not very practical.

Take Free Big Five Word Choice Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

267

now that they’ve successfully stolen the election with no obvious uprising from the rabble, they’ve decided that they’re going to go one better, and start making anti-american statements to the public media. honestly, if someone had been making left-wing statements as egregious as these right-wing statements are, they would very definitely not be in the positions that these RIGHT WING TERRORISTS are currently.

somebody better do something, soon, otherwise we won’t have a country, or a world, to go home to much longer.

Quotes from the American Taliban

Ann Coulter
“We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.”
“Not all Muslims may be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”
“Being nice to people is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity, as opposed to other religions whose tenets are more along the lines of ‘kill everyone who doesn’t smell bad and doesn’t answer to the name Mohammed'”

Bailey Smith
“With all due respect to those dear people, my friend, God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.”

Beverly LaHaye (Concerned Women for America)
“Yes, religion and politics do mix. America is a nation based on biblical principles. Christian values dominate our government. The test of those values is the Bible. Politicians who do not use the bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office.”

Bob Dornan (Rep. R-CA)
“Don’t use the word ‘gay’ unless it’s an acronym for ‘Got Aids Yet'”

David Barton (Wallbuilders)
“There should be absolutely no ‘Separation of Church and State’ in America.”

David Trosch
“Sodomy is a graver sin than murder. – Unless there is life there can be no murder.”

Fob James (Governor of Alabama)
“Behind this judicial wall of separation there is a tyranny of lies that will fall… I say to you, my friends, let it fall!”
“A good butt-whipping and then a prayer is a wonderful remedy.”

Fred Phelps (Westboro Baptist Church)
“If you got to castrate your miserable self with a piece of rusty barb wire, do it.”
“Hear the word of the LORD, America, fag-enablers are worse than the fags themselves, and will be punished in the everlasting lake of fire!”
“You telling these miserable, Hell-bound, bath house-wallowing, anal-copulating fags that God loves them!? You have bats in the belfry!”
“American Veterans are to blame for the fag takeover of this nation. They have the power in their political lobby to influence the zeitgeist, get the fags out of the military, and back in the closet where they belong!”
“Not only is homosexuality a sin, but anyone who supports fags is just as guilty as they are. You are both worthy of death.”

Gary Bauer (American Values)
“We are engaged in a social, political, and cultural war. There’s a lot of talk in America about pluralism. But the bottom line is somebody’s values will prevail. And the winner gets the right to teach our children what to believe.”

Gary North (Institute for Christian Economics)
“The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church’s public marks of the covenant–baptism and holy communion–must be denied citizenship.”
“This is God’s world, not Satan’s. Christians are the lawful heirs, not non-Christians.”

Gary Potter (Catholics for Christian Political Action)
“When the Christian majority takes over this country, there will be no satanic churches, no more free distribution of pornography, no more talk of rights for homosexuals. After the Christian majority takes control, pluralism will be seen as immoral and evil and the state will not permit anybody the right to practice evil.”

George Bush Sr. (President of the United States)
“I don’t know that atheists should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.”

George W. Bush (President of the United States)
“I don’t think that witchcraft is a religion. I wish the military would rethink this decision.”*
“God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them.”
“Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”
“This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while.”
*Comment about Wiccans in the military

Henry Morris (Institute for Creation Research)
“When science and the Bible differ, science has obviously misinterpreted its data.”

J. B. Stoner (White Supremacist)
“We had lost the fight for the preservation of the white race until God himself intervened in earthly affairs with AIDS to rescue and preserve the white race that he had created…. I praise God all the time for AIDS.”
“AIDS is a racial disease of Jews and Niggers, and fortunately it is wiping out the queers. I guess God hates queers for several reasons. There is one big reason to be against queers and that is because every time some white boy is seduced by a queer into becoming a queer, means his white bloodline has run out.”

James Dobson (Focus on the Family)
“Those who control the access to the minds of children will set the agenda for the future of the nation and the future of the western world.”
“State Universities are breeding grounds, quite literally, for sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV), homosexual behavior, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, alcoholism, and drug abuse.”
“Today’s children… They’re damned. They’re gone.”

James Kennedy (Center for Reclaiming America)
“The Christian community has a golden opportunity to train an army of dedicated teachers who can invade the public school classrooms and use them to influence the nation for Christ.”

James Watt (Secretary of the Interior)
“We don’t have to protect the environment, the Second Coming is at hand.”*
*Secretary of the Interior in the Reagan Admin. Responsible for National Policy regarding the Environment

Jay Grimstead (Coalition on Revival)
“We are to make Bible-obeying disciples of anybody that gets in our way.”

Jerry Falwell
“We’re fighting against humanism, we’re fighting against liberalism…we are fighting against all the systems of Satan that are destroying our nation today… our battle is with Satan himself.”
“AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharoah’s chariotters.”
“The Bible is the inerrant … word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible, without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etc.”
“AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”
“If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being.”

Jesse Helms (Sen. R-NC)
“The New York Times and Washington Post are both infested with homosexuals themselves. Just about every person down there is a homosexual or lesbian.”
“All Latins are volatile people. Hence, I was not surprised at the volatile reaction.”
“Your tax dollars are being used to pay for grade-school classes that teach our children that cannibalism, wife-swapping and murder of infants and the elderly are acceptable behavior.”
“Homosexuals are weak, morally sick wretches.”

Jimmy Swaggart (Jimmy Swaggart Ministries)
“The Media is ruled by Satan. But yet I wonder if many Christians fully understand that. Also, will they believe what the Media says, considering that its aim is to steal, kill, and destroy?”
“Sex education classes in our public schools are promoting incest.”
“Evolution is a bankrupt speculative philosophy, not a scientific fact. Only a spiritually bankrupt society could ever believe it…Only atheists could accept this Satanic theory.”

John Ashcroft (Attorney General)
“Civilized people – Muslims, Christians, and Jews – all understand that the source of freedom and human dignity is the Creator.”

John Whitehead (Rutherford Institute)
“The [Supreme] Court, by seeking to equate Christianity with other religions, merely assaults the one faith. The Court in essence is assailing the true God by democratizing the Christian religion.”

Joseph McCarthy (Sen. R-WI)
“Today we are engaged in a final, all-out battle between Communistic Atheism and Christianity.”

Joseph Morecraft (Chalcedon Presbyterian Church)
“Nobody has the right to worship on this planet any other God than Jehovah. And therefore the state does not have the responsibility to defend anybody’s pseudo-right to worship an idol.”

Joseph Scheidler (Pro-Life Action League)
“I would like to outlaw contraception…contraception is disgusting – people using each other for pleasure.”*
*I get the distinct impression that Mr. Scheidler’s poor wife isn’t guilty of feeling any pleasure…

Kay O’Connor (Kansas Senate Republican)
“I’m an old-fashioned woman. Men should take care of women, and if men were taking care of women today, we wouldn’t have to vote.”

Keith A. Fournier (Catholic Way)
“We need a legal strategy which protects the rights of those of us who hold Christian convictions which will afford us the opportunity to contend once again for the mind of this culture.”

Laura Schlessinger
“I want to coin a phrase here, and I don’t mind help. What would be the communication version of “ethnic cleansing?” Because that’s what in particular the homosexual activists try to do.”

Lester Roloff (Texas Homes for Wayward Youth)
“Better a pink bottom than a black soul.”*
*Roloff opened a chain of homes for “wayward” youth in the state of Texas; he was later jailed in 1973 and again in 1975 for child abuse due to the punitive punishment techniques used in his homes. He would have been finished had he not of been specifically given permision to re-open his homes by, you guested it, Governor George W Bush.

Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin
“George Bush was not elected by a majority of the voters in the United States, he was appointed by God.”

Pat Buchanan (Presidential Candidate)
“Our culture is superior. Our culture is superior because our religion is Christianity and that is the truth that makes men free.”
“There were no politics to polarize us then, to magnify every slight. The “negroes” of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses, playgrounds and churches; and we had ours.”
“Rail as they will about ‘discrimination,’ women are simply not endowed by nature with the same measures of single-minded ambition and the will to succeed in the fiercely competitive world of Western capitalism.”

Pat Robertson (Christian Coalition)
“The Islamic people, the Arabs, were the ones who captured Africans, put them in slavery, and sent them to America as slaves. Why would the people in America want to embrace the religion of slavers.”
“Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It’s no different…More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history.”
“When lawlessness is abroad in the land, the same thing will happen here that happened in Nazi Germany. Many of those people involved with Adolph Hitler were Satanists, many of them were homosexuals – the two things seem to go together.”
“The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.”
“You say you’re supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense, I don’t have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist.”
“I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that’s the way it is, period.”
“[Homosexuals] want to come into churches and disrupt church services and throw blood all around and try to give people AIDS and spit in the face of ministers.”
“[Planned Parenthood] is teaching kids to fornicate, teaching people to have adultery, every kind of bestiality, homosexuality, lesbianism – everything that the Bible condemns.”

Patrick Mahoney (Christian Defense Coalition)
“It is deeply troubling to have an appointed, unelected commission remove an elected official from office [Roy Moore]. The Court of Judiciary has overturned an election and crushed the democratic process through their actions.”*
*Interesting perspective coming from someone who’s President was appointed by a group of “unelected judges”, thus overturning a democratic election.

Paul Cameron
“I think that actually AIDS is a guardian. That is I think it was sent, if you would, about forty years ago, to destroy Western civilization unless we change our sexual ways. So it’s really a Godsend.”
“Homosexuality is a crime against humanity.”
“Causes of homosexuality include: ‘sex with animals'”*
“Unless we get medically lucky, in three or four years, one of the options discussed will be the extermination of homosexuals.”
*Paul Cameron was discharged from the American Psychological Association, the Nebraska Psychological Association, and the American Sociological Association due to his unethical practices and biased research regarding Homosexuals. His “research” has since been discredited by the scientific community; however his work is still referenced by many fundamentalist organizations as credible.

Randall Terry (Operation Rescue)
“I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good…Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called by God to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.”
“Our goal must be simple. We must have a Christian nation built on God’s law, on the ten Commandments. No apologies.”
“I don’t think Christians should use birth control. You consummate your marriage as often as you like – and if you have babies, you have babies.”
“When I, or people like me, are running the country, you’d better flee, because we will find you, we will try you, and we’ll execute you. I mean every word of it. I will make it part of my mission to see to it that they are tried and executed.”*
“There is going to be war, [and Christians may be called to] take up the sword to overthrow the tyrannical regime that oppresses them.”
*It is interesting to note that Randell Terry’s son is Gay

Jerry Vines (Southern Baptist Convention)
“They would have us believe that Islam is just as good as Christianity. Christianity was founded by the virgin-born son of God, Jesus Christ. Islam was founded by Muhammad, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives, the last one of which was a nine-year-old girl.”

Rick Santorum* (Sen. R-PA)
“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [Gay] sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything!”
*Now known as Rick “Santorum” Santorum

Robert Simonds (Citizens for Excellence in Education)
“As the church watches from the sidelines, the ungodly elect atheists and homosexuals to school boards and legislatures to enact policies and laws that destroy our Christian children and discriminate against Christian families.”
“Atheistic secular humanists should be removed from office and Christians should be elected…Government and true Christianity are inseparable.”
“We’ll take away their power and their money. Money comes from students. We’ll break their backs by taking 24 million kids out of the public schools.”

Robert T. Lee (Society for the Practical Establishment of the Ten Commandments)
“Raising your children under Americanism or any other principles other than true Christianity is child abuse.”
“You do not have the right to be wrong, regardless of what any man-made or demonic charter says.”
“Democracy originated in the mind of a rational being who has the deepest hatred for God.”
“Do you realize that the only thing that gives democracy existence is sin? The absence of democracy is perfect obedience to god.”
“The best way to insure the earth is never over populated is for sensible and righteous governments to clear all forms of atheism and heresy.”

Ronald Reagan (President of the United States)
“For the first time ever, everything is in place for the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ.”

Roy Moore (Former Alabama Judge)
“If they want to get the Commandments, they’re going to have to get me first.”*
“Worship With Your Vote”
*Interesting observation of the Radical Right, Judge Roy Moore commits peaceful civil disobedience by refusing to remove the Ten Commandments Monument from the Court. He is considered a Hero. Mayor Gavin Newsom commits peaceful civil disobedience by issuing same-sex marriage licenses. He is considered an Anarchist.

Rush Limbaugh
“Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.”
“If you commit a crime, you’re guilty.”*
“There is only one way to get rid of nuclear weapons… use them”
*Seems logical enough, doesn’t it Rush?

Star Parker (Coalition on Urban Renewal & Education)
“Anybody that believes in separation of church and state needs to leave right now.”

Tony Evans (Promise Keepers)
“The demise of our community and culture is the fault of sissified men who have been overly influenced by women.”

William Rehnquist (Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court)
“The ‘wall of separation between church and state’ is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned.”

Michael Savage (Savage Nation)
“Oh, you’re one of the sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How’s that? Why don’t you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better than to put me down, you piece of garbage. You have got nothing to do today, go eat a sausage and choke on it.”*
*Statement made on live national television

AAAARRRGH!!!

GAO confirms – 2004 Election Was Stolen

Lyn Davis Lear
Sun Dec 4,12:29 AM ET

I had a chance to talk to my hero, Frank Rich, a few months ago about election fraud and he claimed he didn’t know much about it. Perhaps he has his plate full unraveling the administration’s lies about Iraq, but with the midterm elections coming up someone has to take this issue on. I was listening to NPR yesterday and they had some young computer hackers on bragging about how easy, embarrassingly easy, it is to switch votes on the Diebold machines. Bill Clinton once mentioned that India has flawless electronic voting while ours is mired in unaccountability. I hope Frank and other journalists and bloggers of his caliber read this article by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman about the GAO report on the 2004 election. Paul Krugman and the NYTimes editorial board have been good on this issue in the past, but it has been a while since anyone has raised the subject.

The Government Accountability Office is the only government office we have left that is ethical, non-partisan and incorruptible. They investigate and tell it like it is. Thank God for them. This report is very serious and must get more attention. It has taken years for the mainstream press and Congress to finally understand what we in the blogisphere have known since 2000. This administration will distort and cheat about anything and everything to get its way. If this report got the attention it deserves and broke through the static of our 500-channel universe, it could be the coup de grace of the Bush White House.

Powerful Government Accountability Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election finding
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
October 26, 2005

As a legal noose appears to be tightening around the Bush/Cheney/Rove inner circle, a shocking government report shows the floor under the legitimacy of their alleged election to the White House is crumbling.

The latest critical confirmation of key indicators that the election of 2004 was stolen comes in an extremely powerful, penetrating report from the Government Accountability Office that has gotten virtually no mainstream media coverage.

The government’s lead investigative agency is known for its general incorruptibility and its thorough, in-depth analyses. Its concurrence with assertions widely dismissed as “conspiracy theories” adds crucial new weight to the case that Team Bush has no legitimate business being in the White House.

Nearly a year ago, senior Judiciary Committee Democrat John Conyers (D-MI) asked the GAO to investigate electronic voting machines as they were used during the November 2, 2004 presidential election. The request came amidst widespread complaints in Ohio and elsewhere that often shocking irregularities defined their performance.

According to CNN, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee received “more than 57,000 complaints” following Bush’s alleged re-election. Many such concerns were memorialized under oath in a series of sworn statements and affidavits in public hearings and investigations conducted in Ohio by the Free Press and other election protection organizations.

The non-partisan GAO report has now found that, “some of [the] concerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes.”

The United States is the only major democracy that allows private partisan corporations to secretly count and tabulate the votes with proprietary non-transparent software. Rev. Jesse Jackson, among others, has asserted that “public elections must not be conducted on privately-owned machines.” The CEO of one of the most crucial suppliers of electronic voting machines, Warren O’Dell of Diebold, pledged before the 2004 campaign to deliver Ohio and thus the presidency to George W. Bush.

Bush’s official margin of victory in Ohio was just 118,775 votes out of more than 5.6 million cast. Election protection advocates argue that O’Dell’s statement still stands as a clear sign of an effort, apparently successful, to steal the White House.

Among other things, the GAO confirms that:

1. Some electronic voting machines “did not encrypt cast ballots or system audit logs, and it was possible to alter both without being detected.” In other words, the GAO now confirms that electronic voting machines provided an open door to flip an entire vote count. More than 800,000 votes were cast in Ohio on electronic voting machines, some seven times Bush’s official margin of victory.

2. “It was possible to alter the files that define how a ballot looks and works so that the votes for one candidate could be recorded for a different candidate.” Numerous sworn statements and affidavits assert that this did happen in Ohio 2004.

3. “Vendors installed uncertified versions of voting system software at the local level.” 3. Falsifying election results without leaving any evidence of such an action by using altered memory cards can easily be done, according to the GAO.

4. The GAO also confirms that access to the voting network was easily compromised because not all digital recording electronic voting systems (DREs) had supervisory functions password-protected, so access to one machine provided access to the whole network. This critical finding confirms that rigging the 2004 vote did not require a “widespread conspiracy” but rather the cooperation of a very small number of operatives with the power to tap into the networked machines and thus change large numbers of votes at will. With 800,000 votes cast on electronic machines in Ohio, flipping the number needed to give Bush 118,775 could be easily done by just one programmer.

5. Access to the voting network was also compromised by repeated use of the same user IDs combined with easily guessed passwords. So even relatively amateur hackers could have gained access to and altered the Ohio vote tallies.

6. The locks protecting access to the system were easily picked and keys were simple to copy, meaning, again, getting into the system was an easy matter.

7. One DRE model was shown to have been networked in such a rudimentary fashion that a power failure on one machine would cause the entire network to fail, re-emphasizing the fragility of the system on which the Presidency of the United States was decided.

8. GAO identified further problems with the security protocols and background screening practices for vendor personnel, confirming still more easy access to the system.

In essence, the GAO study makes it clear that no bank, grocery store or mom & pop chop shop would dare operate its business on a computer system as flimsy, fragile and easily manipulated as the one on which the 2004 election turned.

The GAO findings are particularly damning when set in the context of an election run in Ohio by a Secretary of State simultaneously working as co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign. Far from what election theft skeptics have long asserted, the GAO findings confirm that the electronic network on which 800,000 Ohio votes were cast was vulnerable enough to allow a a tiny handful of operatives — or less — to turn the whole vote count using personal computers operating on relatively simple software.

The GAO documentation flows alongside other crucial realities surrounding the 2004 vote count. For example:

The exit polls showed Kerry winning in Ohio, until an unexplained last minute shift gave the election to Bush. Similar definitive shifts also occurred in Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico, a virtual statistical impossibility.

A few weeks prior to the election, an unauthorized former ES&S voting machine company employee, was caught on the ballot-making machine in Auglaize County

Election officials in Mahoning County now concede that at least 18 machines visibly transferred votes for Kerry to Bush. Voters who pushed Kerry’s name saw Bush’s name light up, again and again, all day long. Officials claim the problems were quickly solved, but sworn statements and affidavits say otherwise. They confirm similar problems inFranklin County (Columbus). Kerry’s margins in both counties were suspiciously low.

A voting machine in Mahoning County recorded a negative 25 million votes for Kerry. The problem was allegedly fixed.

In Gahanna Ward 1B, at a fundamentalist church, a so-called “electronic transfer glitch” gave Bush nearly 4000 extra votes when only 638 people voted at that polling place. The tally was allegedly corrected, but remains infamous as the “loaves and fishes” vote count.

In Franklin County, dozens of voters swore under oath that their vote for Kerry faded away on the DRE without a paper trail.

In Miami County, at 1:43am after Election Day, with the county’s central tabulator reporting 100% of the vote – 19,000 more votes mysteriously arrived; 13,000 were for Bush at the same percentage as prior to the additional votes, a virtual statistical impossibility.

In Cleveland, large, entirely implausible vote totals turned up for obscure third party candidates in traditional Democratic African-American wards. Vote counts in neighboring wards showed virtually no votes for those candidates, with 90% going instead for Kerry.

Prior to one of Blackwell’s illegitimate “show recounts,” technicians from Triad voting machine company showed up unannounced at the Hocking County Board of Elections and removed the computer hard drive.

In response to official information requests, Shelby and other counties admit to having discarded key records and equipment before any recount could take place.

In a conference call with Rev. Jackson, Attorney Cliff Arnebeck, Attorney Bob Fitrakis and others, John Kerry confirmed that he lost every precinct in New Mexico that had a touchscreen voting machine. The losses had no correlation with ethnicity, social class or traditional party affiliation—only with the fact that touchscreen machines were used.

In a public letter, Rep. Conyers has stated that “by and large, when it comes to a voting machine, the average voter is getting a lemon – the Ford Pinto of voting technology. We must demand better.”

But the GAO report now confirms that electronic voting machines as deployed in 2004 were in fact perfectly engineered to allow a very small number of partisans with minimal computer skills and equipment to shift enough votes to put George W. Bush back in the White House.

Given the growing body of evidence, it appears increasingly clear that’s exactly what happened.

GAO Report

Revised 10/27/05


WHAT TO DO NOW it’s obvious that complaining through "appropriate" channels is going to have no effect whatsoever, so why not make use of the CIA’s own training manual for overthrowing a government. i plan to do just that.

our sacred cause needs to have more men and women join its ranks in order to perform these sabotage tasks. while the original document was intended to facilitate subversion of the nicaraguan government, the techniques may be applied to any other state or ‘military-industrial complex’ with which the individual is aggrieved. not only are some of these activities illegal, but encouraging people to engage in them is also illegal… big FUCKING deal!

265

okay, yesterday i got email from this guy, who had a question about my fëanorian font. from about the third grade until almost all the way through high school i would have loved to have his job, and here he is asking me a question, out of the blue. maybe i’m doing something right after all… i bet he’d like anguish languish

finally, somebody saying something i can agree with about larry the cable guy. generally, when i’m around, the less said the better, but in this case i’m willing to make an exception.


Write 10 things that make you happy, in no particular order. Tag 5 people to do the same.

1. being strange enough that people wonder about me
2. moe
3. explosions… big ones
4. siva, parvati, ganesha, kartikeya, kali
5. playing with the fremont philharmonic
6. making things out of stone, wood and metal
7. high quality incense, murtis, rudraksha, buttons, etc., etc., etc.
8. moe again
9. a variety of weird music all the time
10. plenty of marijuana

1
2
3
4
5


borrowed from who posted it in

So what would our founding fathers think? Dubya claims God put him in office, but what did statesmen of early America have to say?

Thomas Jefferson, (1743-1826) 3rd American president, author, scientist, architect, educator, and diplomat. Deist, avid separationist.

“Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”

“I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.”

“Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies.”

“To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, God, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no God, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by Locke, Tracy, and Stewart. At what age of the Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, this masked atheism, crept in, I do not know. But a heresy it certainly is. Jesus told us indeed that ‘God is a spirit,’ but he has not defined what a spirit is, nor said that it is not matter. And the ancient fathers generally, if not universally, held it to be matter: light and thin indeed, an etherial gas; but still matter.” [letter to John Adams, August 15, 1820]

“Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites.” [Notes on Virginia]

“History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes” [Letter to von Humboldt, 1813].

“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.” [Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823]

“In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own” [Letter to H. Spafford, 1814].

“But a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State.”[in a letter to S. Kercheval, 1810]

“…an amendment was proposed by inserting the words, ‘Jesus Christ…the holy author of our religion,’ which was rejected ‘By a great majority in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and the Infidel of every denomination.'” [ From Jefferson’s biography]

James Madison, (1751-1836) American president and political theorist. Popularly known as the “Father of the Constitution.” More than any other framer he is responsible for the content and form of the First Amendment.

“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.”

“In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.”

“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.” [April 1, 1774]

“…the number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people, have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the State” [Letter to Robert Walsh, Mar. 2, 1819]

“Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together” [Letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822].

John Adams 1735-1826, 2nd President of the United States

“This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.” [ in a letter to Thomas Jefferson]

“The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.”

“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

“Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism cannot confine it.”

“But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed.”

“Have you considered that system of holy lies and pious frauds that has raged and triumphed for 1500 years.”

“The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles.


also, for good measure, there’s a link to the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary (although the barbary states no longer exists), which says, among other things, that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” (Article 11)

all this is in response to those who believe that this is in any way a "christian" nation. 8/


Judge OKs bag searches on NYC subway
Fri Dec 2, 2005 6:35 PM ET170

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge ruled on Friday that police had a constitutional right to randomly search passengers’ bags on the New York City subway to deter terrorist attacks.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman ruled the searches were an effective and appropriate means to fight terrorism, and constituted only a “minimal intrusion” of privacy.

“The risk to public safety of a terrorist bombing of New York City’s subway system is substantial and real,” Berman wrote in his opinion.

“The need for implementing counter-terrorism measures is indisputable, pressing, ongoing and evolving.”

Random bag searches began on July 22 after a second set of bomb attacks on London’s transit system.

In a statement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the ruling, calling bag searches a “reasonable precaution” that police would continue to take.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), which had sued to stop the searches, plans to appeal, Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement. She said the “unprecedented” bag search program violated a basic freedom.

More than 4 million people a day ride the 101-year-old subway system, the nation’s largest.

The NYCLU had sued the city and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in early August, calling the policy of searching thousands of passengers a day without any suspicion of wrongdoing unconstitutional.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits searches without probable cause.

Police had argued random searches were a crucial deterrent to a possible attack.

The frequency of searches increased in October after Bloomberg said the FBI alerted him to a specific threat to the subway system. Searches were later reduced after the federal warning passed without incident.


You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative

100%

Existentialist

94%

Idealist

94%

Postmodernist

88%

Modernist

63%

Fundamentalist

63%

Materialist

63%

Romanticist

63%

What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com

263

bizarre… firefox just crashed again. two times in a month, and i’m starting to wonder if something major might be wrong…

and because of the fact that firefox crashed, i can only remember a few of the multitude of things that i was going to post about tomorrow. brain injury plus faulty software equals… 8/

i learned that elaeocarpus granitrus is latin for rudraksha… now all i’ve got to do is find a picture of the actual tree, and not just a picture of the seeds…

after i went and made a grandiose statement about hinduism’s lack of blasphemy, i was actually called a blasphemer by someone in the community… oh well… it’s slightly more tolerable when it’s a fred phelps clone saying it about me.

for some reason, the fact that they’re building a hindu theme park in haridwar doesn’t worry me anywhere near as much as the fact that jim bakker is back on television, complete with a new wife and everything. i realise it’s all about forgiveness, but didn’t he make a bad enough impression the first time around?

and then there’s


Falwell fighting for holy holiday
He threatens to sue, boycott groups that subvert Christmas

Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Evangelical Christian pastor Jerry Falwell has a message for Americans when it comes to celebrating Christmas this year: You’re either with us, or you’re against us.

Falwell has put the power of his 24,000-member congregation behind the “Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign,” an effort led by the conservative legal organization Liberty Counsel. The group promises to file suit against anyone who spreads what it sees as misinformation about how Christmas can be celebrated in schools and public spaces.

The 8,000 members of the Christian Educators Association International will be the campaign’s “eyes and ears” in the nation’s public schools. They’ll be reporting to 750 Liberty Counsel lawyers who are ready to pounce if, for example, a teacher is muzzled from leading the third-graders in “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

An additional 800 attorneys from another conservative legal group, the Alliance Defense Fund, are standing by as part of a similar effort, the Christmas Project. Its slogan: “Merry Christmas. It’s OK to say it.”

Fanning the Yule log of discontent against what the Liberty Counsel calls “grinches” like the American Civil Liberties Union are evangelical-led organizations including the 150,000-member American Family Association. It has called for a boycott of Target stores next weekend. The chain’s crime, according to the group, is a ban on the use of “Merry Christmas” in stores, an accusation the chain denies.

On his show last week, Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly offered a list of other retailers that he says refuse to use “Merry Christmas” in their store advertising.

In signing on to “Friend or Foe” this month, Falwell urged the 500,000 recipients of his weekly “Falwell Confidential” e-mail to “draw a line in the sand and resist bullying tactics of the ACLU and others who intimidate school and government officials by spreading misinformation about Christmas.”

Standing on the other side of that sand line are religious, liberal and secular organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, whose national director, Abe Foxman, recently bemoaned the religious right’s efforts to “Christianize” America.

“This amped-up effort shows how these groups want to push into the classrooms more,” said Tami Holzman, assistant director of the Anti-Defamation League’s San Francisco office.

“There is no war against Christmas,” said Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “There is no jihad against Christians. There is nothing going on around Christmas except these groups’ incessant fundraising.”

How the season of ho-ho-ho evolved into “Friend or Foe” shows how the nation’s culture wars have pushed into the season of giving. Each side wants its beliefs accurately represented around the nation’s winter hearth — its public schools and government spaces.

And if not, it will sue.

“It’s a sad day in America when you have to retain an attorney to say ‘Merry Christmas,’ ” said Mike Johnson, an Alliance Defense Fund attorney in Louisiana who will push the Christmas cause.

Organizers of the Christmas campaigns say many Christians feel aggrieved by the secularization of the season. They say teachers feel too intimidated to allow students to sing “Silent Night” in school, and they believe cities have every right to place a nativity scene in a public park.

Both activities are constitutionally protected, the Christian groups say, provided that the kids also sing secular songs and the cities put up nonreligious holiday displays as well.

Friends, according to “Friend or Foe” campaign sponsor Liberty Counsel, “do not discriminate against Christmas.” Foes are going to get a letter from one of the pro bono lawyers reminding them that “Christmas is constitutional,” not to mention a federal holiday.

“We’ll try to educate,” said Mat Staver, president of Liberty Counsel. “But if we can’t, we’ll litigate.”

Or boycott. The American Family Association called Thursday for a Thanksgiving weekend shunning of Target stores, saying the chain was refusing to allow the phrase “Merry Christmas” on in-store promotions and advertising.

“I don’t know where they’re coming from,” Target spokeswoman Carolyn Brookter replied. “We have no such policy on Christmas. You can see it in our stores.”

At one local Target, in Colma, most of the in-store advertising offers a generic “Gatherround.” One of the few advertising mentions of the C-word is above a Christmas card rack that says, “Celebrate Christmas.”

That’s not good enough for American Family Association President Tim Wildmon, who wants to see “Merry Christmas” signs displayed prominently “if they expect Christians to come in and buy products during this so-called season.”

And he isn’t worried if they offend people who aren’t Christian.

“They can walk right by the sign,” Wildmon said. “It’s a federal holiday. If someone is upset by that, well, they should know that they are living in a predominantly Christian nation.”

Where’s Wildmon shopping next weekend? “Wal-Mart,” he said.

That chain was briefly the target of a boycott called by the Catholic Rights League after an employee described Christmas in an unflattering way in a company e-mail. The employee has since left and the boycott is off, though the Catholic Rights League still criticizes Wal-Mart for tellings its employees to say, “Happy holidays.”

Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman said the “Happy holidays” greeting is “more inclusive. With 130 million customers walking through the door and 1.3 million employees, it’s safe to say there are a lot of different faiths out there.”

The ACLU and its supporters believe they’re being drawn into a make-believe war. They say they’ve fielded fewer holiday-season conflicts in recent years and that everybody seems to know the rules, except those trying to make a political point.

“People are free to worship in their homes and their houses of worship and if they rent out a hall,” said the ACLU’s Jeremy Gunn, national director of the group’s Freedom of Religion and Belief program. “You have to ask, why do they want to worship in the public schools?

“That they’re doing this in the name of religion is very, very sad,” Gunn said. “It would be one thing if they’re talking about consumerism of the season or something, but they’re not.”

Other groups are actively countering the Christmas campaigns.

The Anti-Defamation League said it would send letters to school administrators nationwide on how to negotiate the “December dilemma,” emphasizing that “schools must be careful not to cross the line between teaching about religious holidays (which is permitted) and celebrating religious holidays (which is not).”

The issue is a dilemma for the Anti-Defamation League, too. It commissioned a poll last month of 800 adults, 57 percent of whom said Christianity was under attack. Among evangelicals, the figure was 76 percent.

“There’s a lot of fear out there,” said Finn Laursen, a retired school administrator who is now executive director of the Christian Educators Association International.

Standing in the middle of the fray are school administrators like Rob Kessler, superintendent of the 24,000-student San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

Kessler said it’s OK, for example, for a teacher to bring a menorah into class. “But what’s not OK is if a teacher would begin lighting candles and saying prayers,” he said. “Then it becomes a religious ceremony. But, honestly, we haven’t seen many instances of this in the last few years.”

The war has even spread to Bob Norris, head of the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York. He lent his organization’s name to the Alliance Defense Fund’s campaign because, he said, “The people who are fighting to save this country are in favor of Christmas.”

Sam Minturn, who heads the California Christmas Tree Association, said his group hadn’t taken a position on the issue. In fact, he doesn’t mind the term “holiday tree” — a phrase that angers some “Friend or Foe” campaigners.

“I don’t care what people call them, as long as they buy them,” said Minturn, who lives in Merced County. “Go ahead and call them a weed.”


the rest of it will have to wait until those particular ideas re-surface in what passes for my brain these days… 8/

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i’d just like to say that as a news source, there’s nothing that even comes close to The Register. yeah, i know that it’s a geek thing, and a british geek thing at that, but there are a lot of other things they offer that don’t have anything to do with technology and are still a lot more on top of what’s actually going on in the world than anything amerikkka has to offer… and their attitude is priceless.

i was browsing along when i came across Intelligent design ‘not science’, says Vatican astronomer, which is almost exactly how i feel about the whole thing, and from there i linked to University of California sued by monkey haters, which is also pretty much exactly how i would respond to such stupid behaviour, and from there i linked to Misconceptions about Evolution, which i actully bookmarked in my “against stupidism” section, specifically to use against the next creationist i come across…

in other news,


Fairies stop developers’ bulldozers in their tracks

By Will Pavia and Chris Windle

VILLAGERS who protested that a new housing estate would “harm the fairies” living in their midst have forced a property company to scrap its building plans and start again.

Marcus Salter, head of Genesis Properties, estimates that the small colony of fairies believed to live beneath a rock in St Fillans, Perthshire, has cost him £15,000. His first notice of the residential sensibilities of the netherworld came as his diggers moved on to a site on the outskirts of the village, which crowns the easterly shore of Loch Earn.

He said: “A neighbour came over shouting, ‘Don’t move that rock. You’ll kill the fairies’.” The rock protruded from the centre of a gently shelving field, edged by the steep slopes of Dundurn mountain, where in the sixth century the Celtic missionary St Fillan set up camp and attempted to convert the Picts from the pagan darkness of superstition.

“Then we got a series of phone calls, saying we were disturbing the fairies. I thought they were joking. It didn’t go down very well,” Mr Salter said.

In fact, even as his firm attempted to work around the rock, they received complaints that the fairies would be “upset”. Mr Salter still believed he was dealing with a vocal minority, but the gears of Perthshire’s planning process were about to be clogged by something that looked suspiciously like fairy dust.

“I went to a meeting of the community council and the concerns cropped up there,” he said. The council was considering lodging a complaint with the planning authority, likely to be the kiss of death for a housing development in a national park. Jeannie Fox, council chairman, said: “I do believe in fairies but I can’t be sure that they live under that rock. I had been told that the rock had historic importance, that kings were crowned upon it.” Her main objection to moving the rock was based on the fact that it had stood on the hillside for so long: a sort of MacFeng Shui that many in the village subscribe to.

“There are a lot of superstitions going about up here and people do believe that things like standing stones and large rocks should never be moved,” she said.

Half a mile into Loch Earn is Neish Island. From there the Neish clan set forth to plunder the surrounding country, retreating each time to their island. Early in the 17th century, the MacNabs retaliated from the next valley, carrying a boat over the mountains, storming the island and slaughtering most of the Neishes.

This summer Betty Neish McInnes, the last of that line in St Fillans, went to her grave — but not before she had imparted the ancient Pict significance of the rock to many of her neighbours.

“A lot of people think the rock had some Pictish meaning,” Mrs Fox said. “It would be extremely unlucky to move it.”

Mr Salter did not just want to move the rock. He wanted to dig it up, cart it to the roadside and brand it with the name of his new neighbourhood.

The Planning Inspectorate has no specific guidelines on fairies but a spokesman said: “Planning guidance states that local customs and beliefs must be taken into account when a developer applies for planning permission.” Mr Salter said: “We had to redesign the entire thing from scratch.”

The new estate will now centre on a small park, in the middle of which stands a curious rock. Work begins next month, if the fairies allow.


finally, there’s pictures of their levees and our levees, which would be amusing if it weren’t so shocking.

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i moved up to a 2-gauge and very quickly discovered that i could probably move up to a 0-gauge within a couple of days, as my 4-gauge hole is stretchy enough that 2-gauge makes practically no difference. i’m probably going to get a 0-gauge plug pretty soon, but not this week.

i got 20 rudraksha malas in the mail today, along with some other items that are going, as “christmas” gifts, to various people, some of whom might actually be reading this, so i won’t say anything more than that.

here is a link to a story about someone whose radical political and queer bumper stickers raised the ire of "christian" vandals to the point where they were destructive enough that the radical political queer’s insurance rates have gone up for the second time this year. the whole idea of "christian" vandalism is enough of an oxymoron that i’m having some difficulty wrapping my admittedly damaged brain around the concept, but that’s beside the point. the police were right up front about the fact that they probably aren’t going to figure out who did this. if they were "christian" bumper stickers which were vandalised by radical, political, queer vandals, i’m positive that the police would be a lot more willing to figure it out. after all, "christians" are fairly difficult to discern, because they are so common, but queer, radical, political vandals are uncommon enough that they stick out and can be picked out of a crowd fairly easily… 8/

reminder that you can ask przxqgl anything… anything at all. i’ll probably even answer…


Iraqi Leaders Call for Pullout Timetable

By SALAH NASRAWI
The Associated Press
Tuesday, November 22, 2005; 12:06 PM

CAIRO, Egypt — Iraqi leaders at a reconciliation conference reached out to the Sunni Arab community by calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces and saying the country’s opposition had a “legitimate right” of resistance.

A day after the communique was finalized by Iraqi Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni leaders, Washington reiterated Tuesday that the United States would stay only as long as it takes to stabilize Iraq.

The communique condemned terrorism but was a clear acknowledgment of the Sunni position that insurgents should not be labeled as terrorists if they don’t target innocent civilians or institutions that provide for the welfare of Iraqis.

The leaders agreed on “calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops according to a timetable, through putting in place an immediate national program to rebuild the armed forces … control the borders and the security situation” and end terror attacks.

The preparatory reconciliation conference, held under the auspices of the Arab League, was attended by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Iraqi Shiite and Kurdish lawmakers as well as leading Sunni politicians.

Sunni leaders have been pressing the Shiite-majority government to agree to a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops. The statement recognized that goal, but did not lay down a specific time _ reflecting instead the government’s stance that Iraqi security forces must be built up first.

On Monday, Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr suggested U.S.-led forces should be able to leave Iraq by the end of next year, saying the one-year extension of the mandate for the multinational force in Iraq by the U.N. Security Council this month could be the last.

“By the middle of next year we will be 75 percent done in building our forces and by the end of next year it will be fully ready,” he told the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera.

On Tuesday, the State Department “the United States supports the ongoing transitional political process in Iraq, and encourages participation by all Iraqis in the political process.”

“President Bush has made our position very clear,” department spokeswoman Julie Reside said. “The coalition remains committed to helping the Iraqi people achieve stability and security as they rebuild their country. We will stay as long as it takes to achieve those goals and no longer.”

Debate in Washington over when to bring troops home turned bitter last week after decorated Vietnam War vet Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., called for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, and estimated a pullout could be complete within six months. Republicans rejected Murtha’s position.

In Egypt, the final communique’s attempt to define terrorism omitted any reference to attacks against U.S. or Iraqi forces. Delegates from across the political and religious spectrum said the omission was intentional. They spoke anonymously, saying they feared retribution.

“Though resistance is a legitimate right for all people, terrorism does not represent resistance. Therefore, we condemn terrorism and acts of violence, killing and kidnapping targeting Iraqi citizens and humanitarian, civil, government institutions, national resources and houses of worships,” the document said.

The final communique also stressed participants’ commitment to Iraq’s unity and called for the release of all “innocent detainees” who have not been convicted. It asked that allegations of torture against prisoners be investigated and those responsible be held accountable.

The statement also demanded “an immediate end to arbitrary raids and arrests without a documented judicial order.”

The communique included no means for implementing its provisions, leaving it unclear what it will mean in reality other than to stand as a symbol of a first step toward bringing the feuding parties together in an agreement in principle.

“We are committed to this statement as far as it is in the best interests of the Iraqi people,” said Harith al-Dhari, leader of the powerful Association of Muslim Scholars, a hard-line Sunni group. He said he had reservations about the document as a whole, and delegates said he had again expressed strong opposition to the concept of federalism enshrined in Iraq’s new constitution.

The gathering was part of a U.S.-backed league attempt to bring the communities closer together and assure Sunni Arab participation in a political process now dominated by Iraq’s Shiite majority and large Kurdish minority.

The conference also decided on broad conditions for selecting delegates to a wider reconciliation gathering in the last week of February or the first week of March in Iraq. It essentially opens the way for all those who are willing to renounce violence against fellow Iraqis.

Shiites had been strongly opposed to participation in the conference by Sunni Arab officials from the regime of Saddam Hussein or from pro-insurgency groups. That objection seemed to have been glossed over in the communique.

The Cairo meeting was marred by differences between participants at times, and at one point Shiite and Kurdish delegates stormed out of a closed session when one of the speakers said they had sold out to the Americans.


Nepal Boy Called Reincarnation of Buddha

By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA
Associated Press Writer

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A teenage boy has been meditating in a Nepalese jungle for six months, and thousands have flocked to see him, with some believing he is the reincarnation of Buddha, police and media said Wednesday.

Ram Bahadur Banjan, 15, sits cross-legged and motionless with eyes closed among the roots of a tree in the jungle of Bara, about 100 miles south of the capital, Katmandu.

He’s supposedly been that way since May 17 – but his followers have been keeping him from public view at night.

A reporter for the Kantipur newspaper, Sujit Mahat, said he spent two days at the site, and that about 10,000 people are believed to visit daily.

Soldiers have been posted in the area for crowd control, officials said.

A makeshift parking lot and cluster of food stalls have sprung up near Banjan’s retreat, an area not previously frequented by visitors.

Many visitors believe Banjan is a reincarnation of Gautama Siddhartha, who was born not far away in southwestern Nepal around 500 B.C. and later became revered as the Buddha, which means Enlightened One.

Others aren’t so sure.

Police inspector Chitra Bahadur Gurung said officers have interviewed the boy’s associates about their claim that Banjan has gone six months without food or drink.

Officers have not directly questioned the boy, who appears deep in meditation and doesn’t speak.

“We have a team … investigating the claim on how anyone can survive for so long without food and water,” Gurung said.

Local officials have also asked the Royal Nepal Academy of Science and Technology in Katmandu to send scientists to examine Banjan.

Mahat said visitors can catch a glimpse of Banjan from a roped-off area about 80 feet away from him between dawn and dusk.

Followers then place a screen in front of him, blocking the view and making it impossible to know what he is doing at night, Mahat said.

“We could not say what happens after dark,” Mahat said. “People only saw what went on in the day, and many believed he was some kind of god.”

Buddhism teaches that right thinking and self-control can enable people to achieve nirvana – a divine state of peace and release from desire. Buddhism has about 325 million followers, mostly in Asia.


Former Canadian Minister Of Defence Asks Canadian Parliament Asked To Hold Hearings On Relations With Alien “Et” Civilizations

Thu Nov 24, 7:00 AM ET

OTTAWA, CANADA (PRWEB) November 24, 2005 — A former Canadian Minister of Defence and Deputy Prime Minister under Pierre Trudeau has joined forces with three Non-governmental organizations to ask the Parliament of Canada to hold public hearings on Exopolitics — relations with “ETs.”

By “ETs,” Mr. Hellyer and these organizations mean ethical, advanced extraterrestrial civilizations that may now be visiting Earth.

On September 25, 2005, in a startling speech at the University of Toronto that caught the attention of mainstream newspapers and magazines, Paul Hellyer, Canada’s Defence Minister from 1963-67 under Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prime Minister Lester Pearson, publicly stated: “UFOs, are as real as the airplanes that fly over your head.”

Mr. Hellyer went on to say, “I’m so concerned about what the consequences might be of starting an intergalactic war, that I just think I had to say something.”

Hellyer revealed, “The secrecy involved in all matters pertaining to the Roswell incident was unparalled. The classification was, from the outset, above top secret, so the vast majority of U.S. officials and politicians, let alone a mere allied minister of defence, were never in-the-loop.”

Hellyer warned, “The United States military are preparing weapons which could be used against the aliens, and they could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning. He stated, “The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide.”

Hellyer’s speech ended with a standing ovation. He said, “The time has come to lift the veil of secrecy, and let the truth emerge, so there can be a real and informed debate, about one of the most important problems facing our planet today.”

Three Non-governmental organizations took Hellyer’s words to heart, and approached Canada’s Parliament in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, to hold public hearings on a possible ET presence, and what Canada should do. The Canadian Senate, which is an appointed body, has held objective, well-regarded hearings and issued reports on controversial issues such as same-sex marriage and medical marijuana,

On October 20, 2005, the Institute for Cooperation in Space requested Canadian Senator Colin Kenny, Senator, Chair of The Senate Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, “schedule public hearings on the Canadian Exopolitics Initiative, so that witnesses such as the Hon. Paul Hellyer, and Canadian-connected high level military-intelligence, NORAD-connected, scientific, and governmental witnesses facilitated by the Disclosure Project and by the Toronto Exopolitics Symposium can present compelling evidence, testimony, and Public Policy recommendations.”

The Non-governmental organizations seeking Parliament hearings include Canada-based Toronto Exopolitics Symposium, which organized the University of Toronto Symposium at which Mr. Hellyer spoke.

The Disclosure Project, a U.S.-based organization that has assembled high level military-intelligence witnesses of a possible ET presence, is also one of the organizations seeking Canadian Parliament hearings.

Vancouver-based Institute for Cooperation in Space (ICIS), whose International Director headed a proposed 1977 Extraterrestrial Communication Study for the White House of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who himself has publicly reported a 1969 Close Encounter of the First Kind with a UFO, filed the original request for Canadian Parliament hearings.

The Canadian Exopolitics Initiative, presented by the organizations to a Senate Committee panel hearing in Winnipeg, Canada, on March 10, 2005, proposes that the Government of Canada undertake a Decade of Contact.

The proposed Decade of Contact is “a 10-year process of formal, funded public education, scientific research, educational curricula development and implementation, strategic planning, community activity, and public outreach concerning our terrestrial society’s full cultural, political, social, legal, and governmental communication and public interest diplomacy with advanced, ethical Off-Planet cultures now visiting Earth.”

Canada has a long history of opposing the basing of weapons in Outer Space. On September 22, 2004 Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin declared to the U.N. General Assembly, “Space is our final frontier. It has always captured our imagination. What a tragedy it would be if space became one big weapons arsenal and the scene of a new arms race.

Martin stated, “In 1967, the United Nations agreed that weapons of mass destruction must not be based in space. The time has come to extend this ban to all weapons…”

In May, 2003, speaking before the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada Lloyd Axworthy, stated “Washington’s offer to Canada is not an invitation to join America under a protective shield, but it presents a global security doctrine that violates Canadian values on many levels.”

Axworthy concluded, “There should be an uncompromising commitment to preventing the placement of weapons in space.”

On February 24, 2005, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin made official Canada’s decision not to take part in the U.S government’s Ballistic Missile Defence program.

Paul Hellyer, who now seeks Canadian Parliament hearings on relations with ETs, on May 15, 2003, stated in Toronto’s Globe & Mail newspaper, “Canada should accept the long-standing invitation of U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio to launch a conference to seek approval of an international treaty to ban weapons in space. That would be a positive Canadian contribution toward a more peaceful world.”

In early November 2005, the Canadian Senate wrote ICIS, indicating the Senate Committee could not hold hearings on ETs in 2005, because of their already crowded schedule.

“That does not deter us,” one spokesperson for the Non-governmental organizations said, “We are going ahead with our request to Prime Minister Paul Martin and the official opposition leaders in the House of Commons now, and we will re-apply with the Senate of Canada in early 2006.

“Time is on the side of open disclosure that there are ethical Extraterrestrial civilizations visiting Earth,” The spokesperson stated. “Our Canadian government needs to openly address these important issues of the possible deployment of weapons in outer war plans against ethical ET societies.”


the following was posted at Weekly World News dot com, so take it with a few grains of salt and a tongue in your cheek…


MINISTER TOUTS ‘JESUS CONDOMS’ TO END TEENAGE SEX

Controversial preacher says teenagers will stop having illicit sex no matter how strong the temptation if parents will make sure they never leave home without one of his trademarked “What Would Jesus Do?” condoms stashed away in their purse or wallet.

“WWJD condoms are a divinely inspired idea and they work like a charm,” says the Rev. Dr. Paul Morehead, whose short-wave radio broadcast from Montgomery, Ala., reaches an estimated 16 million listeners worldwide.

“Don’t tell me about hormones. Don’t talk to me about unbridled appetites of the flesh.

“When a young man and a young woman give in to Satan, when they strip down like animals in the wild and prepare themselves for a lusty round of heavy petting and full-blown sex, what better reminder for them to buck up than a WWJD condom with the image of our Lord and Savior right there on the package, and then, as a fail safe measure, also on the prophylactic itself?

“I’ve tested them with my own teenagers and hardly a weekend passes when one of them doesn’t come back home with a WWJD condom completely unrolled and dangling unused from his or her fingertips or pushed up under the seat of the car as a badge of honor.

“At the very moment their temptation was strongest, they turned back from sin after seeing the boldly-lettered WWJD logo that signifies, ‘Stop! Think! What would Jesus do in this situation?’ ”

Flabbergasted critics couldn’t disagree more.

They say putting Jesus Christ on condoms isn’t just tacky, it’s a sacrilege — and they openly wonder if preacher Morehead hasn’t lost his mind.

“If you give a child a condom, you’re pretty much telling him that sex is O.K. as long as you use protection,” fumes Marcia Kenderly, a born-again Christian with four daughters ranging in age from 13 to 18.

“Rev. Morehead says his own children show him their WWJD condoms as proof that even though they came close to having sex, they didn’t.

“But how can he be sure that instead of having sex with the condom, they didn’t have sex without it? I’m a married adult and I wouldn’t let my husband use one of those things.

“I feel like I’m committing a sin just thinking about it.”

Naysayers aside, Morehead has arranged for a manufacturer to produce 100,000 of the WWJD prophylactics that he plans to sell for $5 a pop over the Internet and through Christian bookstores nationwide.

“All the profits will go to a home I’m building for unwed mothers,” says the preacher. “A home that wouldn’t be needed if those girls had been carrying a WWJD condom.”

Published on: 02/22/2005

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I AM NOT INTERESTED IN:

philately
replica watches
web site design
extramarital sex
debt elimination
making “easy money”
how to cheat casinos
bogus university degrees
refinancing my mortgage
stocks, bonds and equities
penis or breast enlargement
cheap, probably bogus software
advertising using an “opt in” list
advance fee, 419 or lottery scams
collection of delinquent court judgements
anything with a subject line resembling “??”
viagra, cialis, or any other erection medications
“hoodia”, or other weight-control or diet suppliments
medications for which one normally needs a prescription, but with no prescription

ANY BUSINESS OR SERVICE THAT ADVERTISES USING UNSOLICITED EMAIL!!!

I HATE SPAM!

I HATE SPAMMERS!

i don’t know WHO is encouraging these people, but i wish they would STOP!!
ALL SPAMMERS MUST DIE!!

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Report: Bush Talked of Bombing Al-Jazeera

By ROBERT BARR

LONDON – A civil servant has been charged under Britain’s Official Secrets Act for allegedly leaking a government memo that a newspaper said Tuesday suggested that Prime Minister Tony Blair persuaded President Bush not to bomb the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera.

The Daily Mirror reported that Bush spoke of targeting Al-Jazeera’s headquarters in Doha, Qatar, when he met Blair at the White House on April 16, 2004. The Bush administration has regularly accused Al-Jazeera of being nothing more than a mouthpiece for anti-American sentiments.

The Daily Mirror attributed its information to unidentified sources. One source, said to be in the government, was quoted as saying that the alleged threat was “humorous, not serious,” but the newspaper quoted another source as saying that “Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair.”

Blair’s office declined to comment on the report, stressing it never discusses leaked documents.

In Qatar, Al-Jazeera said it was aware of the report, but did not wish to comment.

The White House said it wouldn’t dignify what it called “something so outlandish” with a response.

The document was described as a transcript of a conversation between the two leaders.

Cabinet Office civil servant David Keogh is accused of passing it to Leo O’Connor, who formerly worked for former British lawmaker Tony Clarke. Both Keogh and O’Connor are scheduled to appear at London’s Bow Street Magistrates Court next week.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Keogh was charged with an offense under Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act relating to “a damaging disclosure” by a servant of the Crown of information relating to international relations or information obtained from a state other than the United Kingdom.

O’Connor was charged under Section 5, which relates to receiving and disclosing illegally disclosed information.

According to the newspaper, Clarke returned the memo to Blair’s office. Clarke did not respond to calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Press Association, the British news agency, said Clarke refused to discuss the contents of the document. PA quoted Clarke as saying his priority was to support O’Connor who did “exactly the right thing” in bringing it to his attention.

Peter Kilfoyle, a former defense minister in Blair’s government, called for the document to be made public.

“I think they ought to clarify what exactly happened on this occasion,” he said. “If it was the case that President Bush wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera in what is after all a friendly country, it speaks volumes and it raises questions about subsequent attacks that took place on the press that wasn’t embedded with coalition forces,” the newspaper quoted Kilfoyle as saying.

Sir Menzies Campbell, foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition Liberal Democrats, said Tuesday that, if true, the memo was worrying.

“If true, then this underlines the desperation of the Bush administration as events in
Iraq began to spiral out of control,” he said. “On this occasion, the prime minister may have been successful in averting political disaster, but it shows how dangerous his relationship with President Bush has been.”

Al-Jazeera offices in Iraq and Afghanistan have been hit by U.S. bombs or missiles, but each time the U.S. military said they were not intentionally targeting the broadcaster.

In April 2003, an Al-Jazeera journalist was killed when its Baghdad office was struck during a U.S. bombing campaign. Nabil Khoury, a State Department spokesman in Doha, said the strike was a mistake.

In November 2002, Al-Jazeera’s office in Kabul, Afghanistan, was destroyed by a U.S. missile. None of the crew was at the office at the time. U.S. officials said they believed the target was a terrorist site and did not know it was Al-Jazeera’s office.


so, are we at war with qatar now, or does bushy junior get to bomb whomever he pleases, for whatever reason he wishes, without having to run it by his consitiuents first? 8/


Poll: Bush approval mark at all-time low

Monday, November 14, 2005

Beset with an unpopular war and an American public increasingly less trusting, President Bush faces the lowest approval rating of his presidency, according to a national poll released Monday.

Bush also received his all-time worst marks in three other categories in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. The categories were terrorism, Bush’s trustworthiness and whether the Iraq war was worthwhile.

Bush’s 37 percent overall approval rating was two percentage points below his ranking in an October survey. Both polls had a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Sixty percent of the 1,006 adult Americans interviewed by telephone Friday through Sunday said they disapprove of how Bush is handling his job as president.

The White House has said it doesn’t pay attention to poll numbers and the figures do not affect policy.

“We have a proud record of accomplishment and a positive agenda for the future,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters Wednesday.

“We look forward to continuing to talk about it. I mean, you can get caught up in polls; we don’t. Polls are snapshots in time.”

Bush, who received high marks after the terrorist attacks of 2001, also rated poorly in the new poll for his policy on terrorism. For the first time, less than half — 48 percent — of those surveyed said they approved of how the president was handling the war on terror. Forty-nine percent said they disapprove.

In November 2001, Bush had an 87 percent overall approval mark and an 86 percent rating on terrorism.

Bush has been under fire from Democratic lawmakers for the way his administration made the case to invade Iraq in 2003 and how it has handled the conflict since then.

The president fired back in a speech Monday, accusing Democrats of “playing politics.”

In the new poll, 60 percent said it was not worth going to war in Iraq, while 38 percent said it was worthwhile. The question was asked of about half of those surveyed and had a margin of error of five percentage points. The results marked a decline in support of seven percentage points from two months earlier.

Bush’s lowest approval ratings came on two issues that divide his own Republican Party.

On federal spending, 71 percent disapproved of his performance and 26 percent approved. The approval rating was the same on immigration issues, and the disapproval mark was 65 percent.

Sixty-one percent of respondents disapproved of Bush’s handling of the economy, and 37 percent approved.

The country appears to be split on whether Bush is a strong president and whether or not Americans personally like him.

When asked about his abilities, 49 percent of those surveyed said he was a strong president and 49 percent said he was a weak leader.

About 50 percent of people polled said they disliked Bush, with 6 percent claiming to hate the president.

Bush’s overall approval mark matched the 37 percent rating of newly elected President Clinton in June 1993.

When asked if they trust Bush more than they had Clinton, 48 percent of respondents said they trusted Bush less, while 36 percent said they trusted him more and 15 percent said they trusted Bush the same as Clinton.

For the first time, more than half of the public thinks Bush is not honest and trustworthy — 52 percent to 46 percent.

A week ago, President Bush campaigned for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore, who lost the election a day later to Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine. (Full story)

In the poll, 56 percent of registered voters said they would be likely to vote against a local candidate supported by Bush, while 34 percent said the opposite.

Only 9 percent said their first choice in next year’s elections would be a Republican who supports Bush on almost every major issue.

Forty-six percent said the country would be better off if Congress were controlled by Democrats, while 34 percent backed a GOP majority.

A large majority of Republicans — 80 percent — approve of Bush’s performance, compared with 28 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats. Those results had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Vice President Dick Cheney’s approval rating has dropped 14 points since the start of the year, down from 54 percent in January to 40 percent.

His chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, resigned last month after he was indicted on charges including obstruction of justice and perjury. Libby is accused of lying to investigators and a grand jury investigating the disclosure of the identity of a CIA officer whose husband criticized the White House case for war.

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i want to express my utter shock and outrage at the news that sony, which has laid some pretty big eggs in the past, is at it once again… apparently they included some surreptitious rootkit software in their audio CDs recently, which shows jaw-dropping contempt for their customers, for copyright law (such as it is), for fair trading and for the public interest… they lied about doing it (a sony executive said, in an interview broadcast on National Public Radio that “users don’t know what a rootkit is, and therefore, don’t care”…), lied about which audio CDs were affected (it turns out 100% of their audio CD library is affected), and then released a “rootkit remover” that removes their own rootkit (sort of) – in spite of the fact that they originally claimed it wasn’t there at all – but also trashes your system – windows and mac! boing boing has all the sordid details, but the upshot of the whole thing, so far, is that businesses are starting to outlaw sony-BMG-produced audio CDs in the workplace, if you didn’t take the precaution already, it’s a good idea not to install software from any audio CD, and you’d better be buying your music from somewhere else…

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spam.

ezra has a performance tomorrow at the broadway performance hall. he’s been selected as one of several artists to put on a show at On The Boards next june, for which he’s actually getting paid – paid to produce and direct a new piece of dance, as well as paid to perform it. he and i started out in the same way when we first went to college, but i think he’s got a better handle on how to turn his artwork into a paying job than i ever did. more power to him.

my second appointment with ned the PTSD counsellor was yesterday, but nothing happened except for the fact that i now have a “treatment schedule”. apart from that, i filled out the two forms that he forgot the last time, but had to be filled out by me before my first appointment with him. we talked about computers… 8/ he’s a mac fanatic who has to use a windoesn’t computer because that’s what everyone else uses… apparently he hasn’t heard that within the next year or so, he’ll be able to run the mac operating system on his intel platform. woo. that’s really specifically helpful with my current PTSD/depression. 8/

spam, spam.

moe called at 5:30 to say that she’s going to be home late… 9:30 or later… apparently they have to remove a rock from the innards of a 120 pound dog, who showed up a half-hour before they closed. i suppose that’s what she gets for working on mercer island, where the people have more money than brains, but will jump to get their dog surgery rather than paying attention to what they eat.

i found this article about whether cats are "christian" or not, but then i noticed that it was originally published by the watchtower society, so the emphasis is more on the "quotation marks" than they usually are with articles about “christians”…

spam, spam, spam, spam.

Cheney is vice president for torture
9.02AM, Fri Nov 18 2005

A former CIA director has claimed that torture is condoned and even approved by the Bush government.

The devastating accusations have been made by Admiral Stansfield Turner who labelled Dick Cheney “a vice president for torture”.

He said: “We have crossed the line into dangerous territory”.

The American Senate says torture should be banned – whatever the justification. But President Bush has threatened to veto their ruling.

The former spymaster claims President Bush is not telling the truth when he says that torture is not a method used by the US.

Speaking of Bush’s claims that the US does not use torture, Admiral Turner, who ran the CIA from 1977 to 1981, said: “I do not believe him”.

On Dick Cheney he said “I’m embarrassed the United States has a vice president for torture.

“He condones torture, what else is he?”.

Admiral Turner claims the secret CIA prisons used for torture are known as ‘black sites’, terror suspects are picked up in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

They are flown by CIA-controlled private aircraft to countries where there are secret interrogation centres, operating outside any country’s jurisdiction.

No one will confirm their locations, but there are several possibilities: The Mihail-Kogalniceanu military airbase in Romania is believed by many to be one such facility.

Admiral Turner’s remarks were echoed by Republican Senator John McCain, himself a victim of torture in Vietnam.

He said torturing to get information was immoral, was not effective and encouraged potential enemies to do the same to Americans.

Both Mr Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice have repeatedly stated that torture by US forces is not condoned.


i suppose that’s a little bit of good news (in a strange way) for the canadian guy who was arrested in new york, after 9/11 and, with no word to ottawa that they were deporting a canadian citizen, was deported to syria, specifically for torture… 8/

who are you and what do you look like?

Reply to this entry by posting a picture of yourself in the comments, then post this sentence in your own journal:

You do the Hokey-Kokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about

You put your whole self in,
You put your whole self out;
You put your whole self in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey-Kokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about

(in honour of simon, who teaches everyone that it’s "Hokey-Kokey")

250

after i decided to update, but before i even got to write anything, i was interrupted by spam. i wonder how many times that’s going to happen this evening?

i have a new avatar, which is also a piece of jewelry – approximately life size – which is currently in my ear, but not permanently… it’s only 4 gauge, and i’m shooting for 0 gauge, because there’s a plug at laughing buddha (micro$not and flash required to view) that i really want…

i got email from josh today about Drunk Puppet Night… apparently the venue that we’re used to, the Re-Bar, has been sold, and the new owners are art snobs and apparently don’t go for the kind of art we do, so DPN6 has been put off until late february or early march, and the new venue is in columbia city somewhere… i’ve heard of it, but i’ve never actually been there. and i still want to produce a frank-zappa-related puppet show, but probably not this year.

three more spams… 8/

also, i got email from simon about the upcoming moisture festival benefit, which will feature, among other things, the Fremont Players’ version of Babes In The Wood, and the Fremont Philharmonic. more details as they come in.

U.S. sends signal on value of television
$3 billion planned for viewers to buy digital converters

By William Neikirk
Tribune senior correspondent
Published November 12, 20051

WASHINGTON — While considering slashes in Medicaid and student loan programs, Congress is about to set aside up to $3 billion to help millions of Americans with old non-digital television sets buy converter boxes.

Each converter box is expected to cost the government $40 to $60, but supporters of the legislation don’t want to take any chances of being accused of denying Americans their right to a TV picture when broadcasting goes all digital.

Depending on how much money is allocated, the funding would go to purchase as many as 60 million “set-top” electronic boxes to make it possible for old, broadcast-only TV sets to continue receiving a picture when the broadcasting industry converts to all-digital transmission as soon as the end of 2008. Conservative groups have criticized the proposed expenditure as a giveaway, but the TV provision has received less attention because it is included in deficit-reduction legislation that has generated an uproar in the House for its spending reductions in programs affecting the poor, such as Medicaid and food stamps.

The GOP leadership yanked the budget bill from the floor on Thursday because leaders had failed to gather enough votes to pass it, and its outlook is now uncertain. Some of the House’s spending cuts could be killed to make the bill more palatable, but there is no indication that the television provision is in jeopardy. The Senate has already passed its budget measure.

James Gatusso, a technology expert at the Heritage Foundation, called it “a subsidy for old TV sets,” and not the wisest use of federal money at a time of large deficits.

Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a budget-watchdog group, said that helping poor people buy converter boxes appears justified, but he added: “When the government subsidizes anything, it usually goes to people who don’t need it. I suspect that will be the case here.”

The money would be doled out without regard to income, though families that have broadcast-only sets tend to be poorer, industry officials said.

Both the House and Senate bills would require the industry to convert to all-digital broadcasting by a specific date–on Dec. 31, 2008, in the House bill and April 7, 2009, in the Senate measure. Old analog, or non-digital, sets could not receive a picture unless they are hooked to a cable or satellite system.

These provisions created some controversy, but nowhere near the uproar over proposed cuts in Medicaid, food stamps and student loan programs as well as tax cuts. One reason is that the government would take over the broadcasting spectrum and auction it off to private companies, raising $10 billion to $28 billion.

Rather than risk an uproar by millions of Americans, including an estimated 21 million households that have only non-digital sets, lawmakers decided to pre-empt the complaints with a purchase plan similar to one tried recently in Berlin.

“The potential for consumer outrage over one day waking up and finding out that you are simply incapable of receiving local news, information about a hurricane or tornado alert, or entertainment programs, is enormous,” said Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters.

Some conservative groups have criticized the proposed expenditure as excessive and unnecessary, complaining that it subsidizes old technology and amounts to little more than a government giveaway.

“I think it’s way too much,” said Gatusso, the Heritage Foundation analyst. He said neither bill requires people to reveal whether they have a cable or satellite hookup, and that subsidies would go to people who have extra broadcast-only TVs in bedrooms or dens.

“It certainly has elements of paying a bribe, but oftentimes paying a bribe is the better part of deficit reduction,” countered Barry Bosworth, a Brookings Institution economist. “By making this payment, they [Congress] will free up a spectrum that can be sold for money.”

There is big money to be made in the transition from analog to digital television, Gatusso said, adding that many companies have their eye on buying some of the spectrum so they can offer new wireless and broadband services. That will be the biggest corporate payoff, he said.

But two electronics firms, LG Electronics Inc. (which has Zenith as a subsidiary) and Thomson SA have been selected by the broadcasting industry to develop “high-quality, low-cost” prototype electronic boxes for manufacturers.

Congress has been debating the conversion to all-digital broadcasting for years, and now the industry offers both a digital signal and an analog signal, which has been in use since the first U.S. telecast in the late 1920s. But GOP leaders decided this year that it was time to set a hard date for the conversion, and then soften the financial impact by buying the converters for analog sets.

The House plan authorizes spending $990 million so the government can issue $40 coupons (a $10 co-pay would be required) to buy converter boxes, while the Senate authorizes $3 billion for a purchasing program with unspecified details as to how the money would be distributed. The House bill would limit the number of coupons per household to two.

Wharton said there are 73 million non-digital TV sets in the U.S. not hooked to cable or satellite. About 45 million of these are in 21 million households with no digital or satellite connections, he said, and many of those are low-income people. But Congress rejected limiting the subsidy to low-income families on grounds that it would be too difficult to administer.

Gatusso said the cost estimate has grown dramatically in the past year. When such legislation was considered a year ago, the estimate for buying converter boxes was as low as $100 million, only to jump as high as $3 billion in the Senate bill. “It is just astonishing,” he said. “It really is a classic example of foot-in-the-door spending.”

But Bosworth wasn’t as upset at the spending. “I would argue that it is a small price to pay,” he said, adding that one of the hallmarks of American government is that it “tries to protect the losers instead of picking winners.”

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), one of the GOP moderates who protested provisions in the deficit-reduction act, had high praise for the television subsidy. “The economic development aspects of this bill are vastly understated,” he said.

The spectrum now in the hands of broadcasters will help launch a new wave of wireless and broadband businesses that enable the U.S. to better compete with Asia, he said.


Bush Escalates Bitter Iraq War Debate

By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska – President Bush escalated the bitter debate over the Iraq war on Monday, hurling back at Democratic critics the worries they once expressed that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat to the world.

“They spoke the truth then and they’re speaking politics now,” Bush charged.

Bush went on the attack after Democrats accused the president of manipulating and withholding some pre-war intelligence and misleading Americans about the rationale for war.

“Some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force are now rewriting the past,” Bush said. “They’re playing politics with this issue and they are sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy. That is irresponsible.”

The president spoke to cheering troops at this military base at a refueling stop for Air Force One on the first leg of an eight-day journey to Japan,
South Korea, China and Mongolia.

During the stopover, he also met privately with families of four slain service members.

After a Latin American trip with meager results earlier this month, the administration kept expectations low for Asia.

“I don’t think you’re going to see headline breakthroughs,” National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said on Air Force One. He dashed any prospect that Japan would lift its ban on American beef imports during Bush’s visit and said a dispute with China over trade and currency would remain an issue after the president returns home.

On Sunday, Hadley acknowledged “we were wrong” about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, but he insisted in a CNN interview that the president did not manipulate intelligence or mislead the American people.

Iraq and a host of other problems, from the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina to the indictment of a senior White House official in the CIA leak investigation, have taken a heavy toll on the president. Nearing the end of his fifth year in office, Bush has the lowest approval rating of his presidency and a majority of Americans say Bush is not honest and they disapprove of his handling of foreign policy and the war on terrorism. Heading for Asia, Bush hoped to improve his standing on the world stage.

“Reasonable people can disagree about the conduct of the war but it is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim that we misled them and the American people,” Bush said.

He quoted pre-war remarks by three senior Democrats as evidence of that Democrats had shared the administration’s fears that were the rationale for invading Iraq in 2003. Bush did not name them, but White House counselor Dan Bartlett filled in the blanks.

“There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons.” – Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

“The war against terrorism will not be finished as long as (Saddam Hussein) is in power.” – Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

“Saddam Hussein, in effect, has thumbed his nose at the world community. And I think that the president’s approaching this in the right fashion.” – Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., then the Democratic whip.

“The truth is that investigations of the intelligence on Iraq have concluded that only one person manipulated evidence and misled the world – and that person was Saddam Hussein,” Bush charged.

In the Senate, 29 Democrats voted with 48 Republicans for the war authorization measure in late 2002, including 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Sen.
John Kerry of Massachusetts, and his running mate, John Edwards of North Carolina. Both have recently been harshly critical of Bush’s conduct of the war and its aftermath.

On Capitol Hill, top Democrats stood their ground in claiming Bush misled Congress and the country. “The war in Iraq was and remains one of the great acts of misleading and deception in American history,” Kerry told a news conference.

Bush is expected to get a warmer welcome in Asia than he did earlier this month in Argentina at the Summit of the Americas, where Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez led a protest against U.S. policies and Bush failed to gain support from the 34 nations attending for a hemisphere-wide free trade zone.

Japan, the first stop on Bush’s trip, and Mongolia, the last, are likely to give him the most enthusiastic response, while China and South Korea probably will be cooler but respectful.

In South Korea, Bush also will attend the Asia Pacific Economic Conference summit in Busan, where 21 member states are expected to agree to support global free-trade talks. The summit also is expected to agree to put early-warning and information-sharing systems in place in case of bird flu outbreaks.

“It is good for the president to show up in Asia and say, `We care about Asia,’ because that is in doubt in the region,” said Ed Lincoln, senior fellow in Asia and Economic Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

At Bush’s first stop, in Kyoto, Japan, the president will deliver what aides bill as the speech of the trip on the power of democracy, not only to better individual lives but contribute to the long-term prosperity of nations.


Anger is Good For You

Robin Lloyd
Thu Nov 3,10:00 AM ET

PITTSBURGH – Anger is good for you, as long as you keep it below a boil, according to new psychology research based on face reading.

People who respond to stressful situations with short-term anger or indignation have a sense of control and optimism that lacks in those who respond with fear.

“These are the most exciting data I’ve ever collected,” Carnegie Mellon psychologist Jennifer Lerner told a gathering of science writers here last month.

Lerner harassed 92 UCLA students by having experimenters ask subjects to count backward on camera by 13s starting with an odd number like 6,233, telling them it was an intelligence test and then telling them they weren’t counting fast enough and to speed it up as they went along.

Wrong answers meant subjects had to start all over again.

Another test involved counting backwards by sevens from 9,095.

So angry …

The video cameras caught subjects’ facial expressions during the tests, ranging from deer-in-the-headlights to seriously upset. The researchers identified fear, anger and disgust using a psychologist’s coding system that considers the flexing of particular sets of small muscles in the face.

The researchers also recorded people’s blood pressure, pulse and secretion of a high-stress hormone called cortisol, which can be measured in the saliva and collected with a cotton swab.

The people whose faces showed more fear during the had higher blood pressure and higher levels of the hormone. The findings were the same for men and women.

Lerner previously studied Americans’ emotional response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks two months afterward and found that anger triggers feelings of certainty and control. People who reacted with anger were more optimistic about risk and more likely to favor an aggressive response to terrorism.

Go ahead, get angry

So in maddening situations in which anger or indignation are justified, anger is not a bad idea, the thinking goes. In fact, it’s adaptive, Lerner says, and it’s a healthier response than fear.

Chronic, explosive anger or a hostile outlook on the world is still bad for you, contributing to heart disease and high blood pressure, research shows.

The new research supports the idea that humans have more than one uniform response to stress and that fear and anger provoke different responses from our nervous systems and the parts of our brain, such as the pituitary, that deal with tough situations.

The results were published in a recent issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry.


Jeb Bush leaves open White House bid

Reuters
Sunday, November 13, 2005; 10:31 AM

BERLIN (Reuters) – Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of U.S. President George W. Bush, ruled out running for president in 2008 but left open the possibility of a subsequent bid in an interview with a German magazine published on Sunday.

Jeb Bush, who is scheduled to visit Germany this week, told Focus weekly he had not thought much about running for the office held by his father and older brother except to rule out the next election at the end of George W. Bush’s second term.

“You should never say never. But for the 2008 election, my answer is definitely no,” he said, in comments translated into German by the magazine.

Asked whether his answer meant a later challenge was possible, he said: “Let’s say there’s a vague chance.”

Bush, 52, said he spoke frequently with his brother and visited the White House whenever he was in Washington but he said the two mainly discussed family matters or sport.


i keep thinking that it’s just about over, and today someone reminded me that we’ve got 3 more years of that twerp… and if his brother even thinks about running for the white house it will be a sad day indeed for this country… 8/

so this is what a meme is…

another spam…

and speaking of spam, i’ve seen the “SARE_*” rules in SpamAssassin, but i’ve never known what SARE is… until now

249

i had a few links to record, but then my browser crashed and i lost ’em all… which is fairly strange… i think in all the time i’ve been running linux and firefox, the browser has crashed about 4 times… unlike windoesn’t, which i have to reboot at least once per “session”, because of frobulation and/or crashing behavior. nevertheless…

i don’t know which i like more, nihilist gum or bible gum… of course i actually bought the nihilist gum, because i couldn’t resist their "no flavour" punch line… although it’s faintly mint flavoured in actuality… perhaps it’s left over from manufacture of a different variety of gum.

Robertson: God May Smite Down Town That Voted Out Anti-Evolution School Board
Friday, November 11, 2005

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town Thursday that disaster may strike there because they “voted God out of your city” by ousting school board members who favored teaching intelligent design.

All eight Dover, Pa., school board members up for re-election were defeated Tuesday after trying to introduce “intelligent design” – the belief that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power – as an alternative to the theory of evolution.

“I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God. You just rejected him from your city,” Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “700 Club.”

Eight families had sued the district, claiming the policy violates the constitutional separation of church and state. The federal trial concluded days before Tuesday’s election, but no ruling has been issued.

Later Thursday, Robertson issued a statement saying he was simply trying to point out that “our spiritual actions have consequences.”

“God is tolerant and loving, but we can’t keep sticking our finger in his eye forever,” Robertson said. “If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them.”

Robertson made headlines this summer when he called on his daily show for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

In October 2003, he suggested that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device. He has also said that feminism encourages women to “kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

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Custom Categories
Regressive Imagery Analysis for przxqgl’s journal
Compared to: Everyone

Positive Affect 17.2% 17.2%
Anxiety 36.0% 36.0%
Sadness 32.0% 32.0%
Affection 18.4% 18.4%
Aggression 70.9% 70.9%
Expressive Behavior 21.5% 21.5%
Glory 56.4% 56.4%

What does this mean?
 

Emotions
Regressive Imagery Analysis for przxqgl’s journal
Compared to: Same Age Group

Positive Affect 22.5% 22.5%
Anxiety 38.3% 38.3%
Sadness 36.4% 36.4%
Affection 28.7% 28.7%
Aggression 62.7% 62.7%
Expressive Behavior 27.1% 27.1%
Glory 46.1% 46.1%

What does this mean?
 

247

convert your gas-powered automobile to electric for about $3,000… a new gas powered car can cost upwards of $40k, and it’s guaranteed that “normal” people aren’t going to be able to afford gas in 5 or 10 years… get the jump on the craze, and maybe you’ll be one of the people that can afford gas in 5 or 10 years…


US ‘uses incendiary arms’ in Iraq

WHITE PHOSPHORUS

  • Spontaneously flammable chemical used for battlefield illumination
  • Contact with particles causes burning of skin and flesh
  • Use of incendiary weapons prohibited for attacking civilians (Protocol III of Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons) Protocol III not signed by US

Italian state TV, Rai, has broadcast a documentary accusing the US military of using white phosphorus bombs against civilians in the Iraqi city of Falluja.

Rai says this amounts to the illegal use of chemical arms, though the bombs are considered incendiary devices.

Eyewitnesses and ex-US soldiers say the weapon was used in built-up areas in the insurgent-held city.

The US military denies this, but admits using white phosphorus bombs in Iraq to illuminate battlefields.

Washington is not a signatory of an international treaty restricting the use of white phosphorus devices.

Transmission of the documentary comes a day after the arrival of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani on a five-day official visit to Italy.

It also coincides with the first anniversary of the US-led assault on Falluja, which displaced most of the city’s 300,000 population and left many of its buildings destroyed.

The documentary was shown on Rai’s rolling news channel, with a warning that the some of the footage was disturbing.

The future of the 3,000-strong Italian peacekeeping contingent in Iraq is the subject of a political tug-of-war, says the BBC’s David Willey in Rome.

‘Destroyed evidence’

The documentary begins with formerly classified footage of the Americans using napalm bombs during the Vietnam war.

It then shows a series of photographs from Falluja of corpses with the flesh burnt off but clothes still intact – which it says is consistent with the effects of white phosphorus on humans.

Jeff Englehart, described as a former US soldier who served in Falluja, tells of how he heard orders for white phosphorus to be deployed over military radio – and saw the results.

“Burned bodies, burned women, burned children; white phosphorus kills indiscriminately… When it makes contact with skin, then it’s absolutely irreversible damage, burning flesh to the bone,” he says.

Last December, the US state department issued a denial of what it called “widespread myths” about the use of illegal weapons in Falluja.

“Phosphorus shells are not outlawed. US forces have used them very sparingly in Falluja, for illumination purposes. They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters,” the US statement said.

However, the Rai film also alleges that Washington has systematically attempted to destroy filmed evidence of the alleged use of white phosphorus on civilians in Falluja.

Italian public opinion has been consistently against the war and the Rai documentary can only reinforce calls for a pullout of Italian soldiers as soon as possible, our correspondent says.

Both the Italian government and opposition leaders are talking about a phased withdrawal in 2006.

President Talabani and the US say the continued presence of multi-national forces in Iraq is essential.


Bush Administration Borrows more from Foreign Nations than Previous 42 Presidents Combined

By Congressional Desk
November 3, 2005

Washington, D.C. – President George W. Bush and the current Administration have now borrowed more money from foreign governments and banks than the previous 42 U.S. presidents combined.

Throughout the first 224 years (1776-2000) of our nation’s history, 42 U.S. presidents borrowed a combined $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions according to the U.S. Treasury Department. In the past four years alone (2001-2005), the Bush Administration has borrowed a staggering $1.05 trillion.

“The seriousness of this rapid and increasing financial vulnerability of our country can hardly be overstated,” said Rep. John Tanner (D-TN), a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition and member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “The financial mismanagement of our country by the Bush Administration should be of concern to all Americans, regardless of political persuasion.”

The Blue Dogs have long expressed tremendous concern over mounting U.S. debt and are particularly troubled by our growing dependence on foreign governments to finance our debt. Earlier this year, the Coalition offered a 12 Step Plan to cure our nation’s addiction to deficit spending. The Blue Dog plan required, among other things, that all federal agencies pass clean audits, a balanced budget, and the establishment of a rainy day fund to be used in the event of a natural disaster.

“No American political leadership has ever willfully and deliberately mortgaged our country to foreign interests in the manner we have witnessed over the past four years,” continued Rep. Tanner. “If this recklessness is not stopped, I truly believe our economic freedom as American citizens is in great jeopardy.”


Bush takes jab at Venezuela president
President seeks respite in Panama after pushing trade in Brazil

Monday, November 7, 2005; Posted: 5:30 a.m. EST (10:30 GMT)

PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) — In a clear jab at Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, President Bush called on Latin Americans on Sunday to boldly defend strong democratic institutions and reject any drift back to the days of authoritarian rule.

Bush’s remarks in Brazil came after Chavez, the leftist leader and friend of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, spent the past two days hurling criticism at the United States at the Summit of the Americas in Argentina.

Eyeing three upcoming presidential elections in Latin America, Bush said citizens must choose “between two competing visions” for their future.

One, he said, pursues representative government, integration into the world community and freedom’s transformative power for individuals.

“The other seeks to roll back the democratic progress of the past two decades by playing to fear, pitting neighbor against neighbor and blaming others for their own failures to provide for the people,” he said. “We must make tough decisions today to ensure a better tomorrow.”

Bush also urged Brazil, the continent’s largest economy, to use its considerable regional influence to prod into reality a U.S.-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas. Bush believes such a free-trade zone stretching from Alaska to Argentina would create jobs and lift the region’s 220 million poor to better lives.

That could be a tall order for Brazil.

At the Americas summit, the United States and 28 other countries supported setting a date to restart negotiations on creating the trading bloc. But because Brazil and four other nations preferred to wait for world trade negotiations to take place in December, no agreement was reached on new talks.

So Sunday, Bush appeared determined to move on from the divisions over the FTAA talks and focus on those World Trade Organization negotiations in Hong Kong. The talks are aimed at cutting tariffs worldwide.

In the hope that success in the global talks would invigorate the FTAA’s chances, Bush said he agrees with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva that the United States must drop agriculture subsidies so it is easier for farmers in the developing world to compete.

Bush said the United States promises to reduce and then eliminate those “trade-distorting subsidies” — as long as Europe does the same.

“Only an ambitious reform agenda in agriculture, and manufactured goods, and services can ensure that the benefits of free and fair trade are enjoyed by all people in all countries,” Bush said.

Bush flew from Brazil to Panama, arriving Sunday night for a leisurely visit seen as a respite after the tense trade talks.

Panama stepped up security measures in preparation for Bush’s arrival. But a protest vigil drew less than 200 people on Sunday, on the heels of two days of festive independence-day parades with music and street dancing.

Patrol boats guarded the bay near the Panama Canal and several blocks were closed to traffic in front of a hotel where Bush was scheduled to stay. Several U.S. jet fighters appeared at the Panama City airport, and police were more visible in the capital.

Groups opposing Bush’s visit also planned a protest rally Monday afternoon, while Panamanian authorities extended independence celebrations through Monday in a move to reduce student protests.

Growing mistrust

His five-day trip, which concludes when he leaves Panama Monday, comes as there is growing mistrust in Latin America about the United States.

The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq revived memories of the “gunboat diplomacy” era of U.S.-Latin American relations of a century ago.

There also has been deep concern about the failure to find the weapons of mass destruction that Bush alleged Iraq had. Disclosures of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere added strains.

“I fully understand there’s, at times, a view of America that is, in my opinion, not an accurate view,” Bush said earlier in the day at a roundtable with young Brazilian leaders.

Bush had good reason to make his push for freer trade, a better image for the United States and democracy here.

Brazil has influence with Venezuela and in Bolivia, where the leading candidate in the December 4 presidential election is the founder of the Movement Toward Socialism political party. Evo Morales has pledged to decriminalize the coca crop and end the U.S.-backed drive to end its cultivation.

Chile also holds its presidential elections in December and Brazil has balloting in October 2006.

“Only a generation ago, this was a continent plagued by military dictatorship and civil war,” Bush said. “The successful democracies of the 21st century will not be defined by blood and soil. Successful democracies will be defined by a broader ideal of citizenship — based on shared principles, and shared responsibilities, and respect for all.”

The president’s visit was also expected to cement relations with Silva, the leader of a country that represents a lucrative market for U.S. products that Bush would like to expand.

“We carry on tranquil and mature discussions on specific issues that always come up as part of any partnership on this scale,” Silva said after they met and before they dined on a what Bush called an “unbelievably good” Brazilian barbecue of beef, lamb, ox tail and some cheese.

Silva at first was distrusted by Washington because of his leftist origins. But he surprised many by curbing spending and bringing inflation down to less than 6 percent a year. He also enacted programs to distribute food and boost education among the poor.

Despite their opposing political leanings, the two share personal chemistry.

Bush joked that Silva promised to take him fishing, but not until after he leaves office because the “entourage is a little big to go fishing while I’m president.”

Heavily armed police officers wearing bulletproof vests outnumbered the 150 demonstrators who protested with banners saying “Fora Bush” (Get Out Bush) at the retreat’s entrance.

About 40 students also participated in a sit-in at a local McDonald’s that they called a symbol of U.S. capitalism.

“We will remain here until Bush disappears from the planet or leaves Brazil, whichever comes first,” said one demonstrator, Rosa Marques, a history student at the University of Brasilia.


finally, there are now 20 reasons to abandon christianity, and if that weren’t enough, there’s also a post that i found in that’s actually in ‘s journal, where he expounds on the fact that, apparently, scientists have discovered the secret of life… apparently, the proteins that make up RNA are predisposed to fuse with carbon atoms in the twisted lattice that makes up DNA if the proteins and the carbon (charcoal?) combine with formaldehyde under the correct, and surprisingly common circumstances. if it’s true, then the “christians” and their feeble attempts at arguing the “intelligent design” of the universe will be well and truly squashed… although if experience has taught me anything, it’s that convincing them of that fact will be the most difficult part of the whole deal.

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courtesy of :

Profile of the Sociopath (or the Bush Regime…)

This list summarizes some of the common features of descriptions of the behavior of the Bush Regime, I mean sociopaths.

Glibness and Superficial Charm

Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”

Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

Incapacity for Love

Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet “gets by” by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.

Irresponsibility/Unreliability
Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.

Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.

Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.
Other Related Qualities:

Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
Authoritarian
Secretive
Paranoid
Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
Conventional appearance
Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim’s life
Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim’s affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
Incapable of real human attachment to another
Unable to feel remorse or guilt
Extreme narcissism and grandiose
May state readily that their goal is to rule the world

(The above traits are based on the psychopathy checklists of H. Cleckley and R. Hare.)

NOTE: In the 1830’s this disorder was called “moral insanity.” By 1900 it was changed to “psychopathic personality.” More recently it has been termed “antisocial personality disorder” in the DSM-III and DSM-IV. Some critics have complained that, in the attempt to rely only on ‘objective’ criteria, the DSM has broadened the concept to include too many individuals. The APD category includes people who commit illegal, immoral or self-serving acts for a variety of reasons and are not necessarily psychopaths.

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finally, a meme i can believe in. why? because i know these people… and they really know nerds!

Your score is: Your rating is:
800 171.31%
Additional Scoring Information:
You got an extra 400 points because you are actually running Linux right now. Your environment is:
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.7.10) Gecko/20050716 Firefox/1.0.6
But, you already knew that.

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this and that… created and uploaded more stuff for Hybrid Elephant. got contacted yesterday by the american representative of the Rudra Centre, and Hybrid Elephant is now the washington state representative for the Rudra Centre, which is the largest provider of rudraksha seeds in the world, and also has ratna and a bunch of other things. also recieved, filled, and shipped (!) an incense order today… i really like it when they order stuff that’s in stock and they don’t have to wait around for delivery. 8)

removed the hybrid elephant P.O. box number from two more postal spam lists that it was on from the previous occupant, and i have two more that have to wait until monday, because by the time i checked the box, they were already closed for the weekend. i gather she (ellen or ella alexander) was a “christian” grandmother, or something like it, because since i opened the box, it has gotten literally hundreds of different catalogues for grandmother-like “gifts”, snow-globes, “antique” figurines and other “cute” and/or “biblical” crap. it’s busy enough that if i don’t check the box two or three times a week, it overflows, which is really frustrating, because i have to go through every piece of mail to find the one or two things that are actually addressed to the business.

i moved up two more sizes in my quest to buy a 0-gauge ear-plug. i had an 8-gauge spiral, and i’m at up to a 4-gauge now. also met with ned the ptsd counsellor, finally, for the first time yesterday. he said it would be nice if he could see me again next week, but that next week was already booked, so he’s got me in two weeks. as i suspected, nothing was accomplished, and he forgot a couple of very important forms that i was supposed to have filled out before having seen him, so i have to pretend like the appointment in two weeks is actually the first appointment… and this is after being put off by him for two weeks and getting confused about the actual date for a week… 8/

FBI: Detained Muslims Weren’t Profiled

By WAYNE PARRY
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – Five Muslim football fans were detained and questioned during a game at Giants Stadium because they were congregating near an air duct on a night former President Bush was in the stadium, the FBI said Wednesday.

Some of the Muslims said they did not know they were in a sensitive area, and they complained that they were subjected to racial profiling while they were praying, as their faith requires five times a day.

“I’m as American as apple pie and I’m sitting there and now I’m made to feel like I’m an outsider, for no reason other than I have a long beard or that I prayed,” said Sami Shaban, a 27-year-old Seton Hall Law School student who lives in Piscataway.

At a news conference Wednesday, Shaban said he and four friends had just gotten to the Sept. 19 New York Giants-New Orleans Saints game when they left their seats to pray. Around halftime, 10 security officers and three state troopers approached the men and told them to come with them, Shaban said.

The men were questioned and then were not allowed to return to their seats, but were instead assigned to seats in another section, Shaban said. Three guards stood near them, and escorted them to their cars when they left the stadium, he said.

FBI agent Steven Siegel, a spokesman for the bureau’s FBI office, said the men had aroused suspicion because they were congregating near the main air intake duct. Bush was in the stadium that night as part of a fundraising campaign he and former President Clinton were leading for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

“You had 80,000 people there, Bush 41 was there, and you had a group of gentlemen gathering in an area not normally used by the public right near the main air intake duct for the stadium, and a food preparation facility,” Siegel said. “It was where they were, not what they were doing.”

The site is now fenced off and is no longer accessible to fans.

“We do not profile anyone that comes into our arena, stadium or racetrack on any basis,” said George Zoffinger, president of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates the stadium. “There was no profiling of our customers. I want to make that clear.”

if they weren’t profiled, then how come the site is now fenced off? what if it was a group of “christians” “praying”? if it was such a sensitive area, then why didn’t someone think of that before bushy junior showed up? huh?!?

Cheney Pushes Senate for CIA Exemption

By DAVID ESPO and LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writers

Friday, November 4, 2005

(11-04) 17:10 PST WASHINGTON, (AP) —

Vice President Dick Cheney made an unusual personal appeal to Republican senators this week to allow CIA exemptions to a proposed ban on the torture of terror suspects in U.S. custody, according to participants in a closed-door session.

Cheney told his audience the United States doesn’t engage in torture, these participants added, even though he said the administration needed an exemption from any legislation banning “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment in case the president decided one was necessary to prevent a terrorist attack.

The vice president made his comments at a regular weekly private meeting of Senate Republican senators, according to several lawmakers who attended. Cheney often attends the meetings, a chance for the rank-and-file to discuss legislative strategy, but he rarely speaks.

In this case, the room was cleared of aides before the vice president began his remarks, said by one senator to include a reference to classified material. The officials who disclosed the events spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the confidential nature of the discussion.

“The vice president’s office doesn’t have any comment on a private meeting with members of the Senate,” Steve Schmidt, a spokesman for Cheney, said on Friday.

The vice president drew support from at least one lawmaker, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, while Arizona Sen. John McCain dissented, officials said.

McCain, who was tortured while held as a prisoner during the Vietnam War, is the chief Senate sponsor of an anti-torture provision that has twice cleared the Senate and triggered veto threats from the White House.

Cheney’s decision to speak at the meeting underscored both his role as White House point man on the contentious issue and the importance the administration attaches to it.

The vice president made his appeal at a time Congress is struggling with the torture issue in light of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and allegations of mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The United States houses about 500 detainees at the naval base there, many of them captured in Afghanistan.

Additionally, human rights organizations contend the United States turns detainees over to other countries that it knows will use torture to try and extract intelligence information.

Cheney’s appeal came two days before a former senior State Department official claimed in an interview with National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” that he had traced paperwork back to Cheney’s office that he believes led to U.S. troops abusing prisoners in Iraq.

“It was clear to me there that there was a visible audit trail from the vice president’s office through the secretary of defense down to the commanders in the field,” Lawrence Wilkerson, a former colonel who was Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff during President Bush’s first term, said Thursday.

Wilkerson said the view of Cheney’s office was put in “carefully couched” terms but that to a soldier in the field it meant sometimes using interrogation techniques that “were not in accordance with the spirit of the Geneva Conventions and the law of war.” He said he no longer has access to the paperwork.

Cheney spokeswoman Jennifer Mayfield declined to comment on Wilkerson’s remarks.

The Senate recently approved a provision banning the “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. The vote was 90-9, and an identical provision was added to a second measure on a voice vote on Friday.

Comparable House legislation does not include a similar provision, and it is not clear whether anti-torture language will be included in either of two large defense measures Congress hopes to send to Bush’s desk later this year.

The White House initially tried to kill the anti-torture provision while it was pending in the Senate, then switched course to lobby for an exemption in cases of “clandestine counterterrorism operations conducted abroad, with respect to terrorists who are not citizens of the United States.” The president would have to approve the exemption, and Defense Department personnel could not be involved. In addition, any activity would have to be consistent with the Constitution, federal law and U.S. treaty obligations, according to draft changes in the exemption the White House is seeking.

Cheney also has met several times with McCain, including one session that CIA Director Porter Goss attended in a secure room in the Capitol.

grumble, bomb, mutter, president george bush, gripe, kill republicrats, complain… 8/

Mom Admits Killing Child To Rid Her Of Demon
Slain Girl’s Father Faces Judge on Nov. 16

ATLANTA — A woman accused of helping her husband kill their daughter because they believed she was demonic has pleaded guilty to murder.

Valerie Carey, 29, has been sentenced to life in prison for the child’s death at a downtown Atlanta motel last year. She’s agreed to testify against her husband as part of a plea bargain. Investigators said Christopher Carey stabbed the child with a knife until it broke.

Police found 8-year-old Quimani Carey on the floor of a extended stay motel room after finding the couple walking naked down a busy street in freezing temperatures. They were carrying their two other children.

Quimani’s arms had been broken, she had been strangled and she had been stabbed several times, prosecutors said. Authorities said pages from the Bible had been torn out and thrown on the girl’s body. Testimony indicated that the girl’s father believed she was demonic and had been implanted with a chip that sent signals to the planet Jupiter, which would allow the family to be tracked.

The woman pleaded guilty to several charges, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and first- and second-degree cruelty to children. During the court proceeding, testimony indicated that the man and woman both suffered from dual psychosis, a condition in which they both believed and saw each other’s delusions.

Valerie Carey will be eligible for parole after serving a set number of years in the death of her daughter. Quimani was killed Jan. 19, 2004.

Prosecutors said they were told by relatives that the mother had suffered from a history of mental illness.

“We thought the rapture would take the four of us to heaven,” a tearful Valerie Carey said to the judge during sentencing. “But I ended up in jail and a mental hospital. Everything I thought was real in my life proves to be false.”

Prosecutors had recommended life in prison with the possibility of parole for the mother and life in prison with no parole for the father.

Christopher Carey, 31, remains jailed without bond and faces a death penalty trial if he does not agree to a plea deal.

It was not clear how long Valerie Carey would have to serve before she is eligible for parole. The judge ordered that she continue to receive mental counseling while incarcerated.

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today was a computer and web day… it just goes to show how i can not have a job, and still sit in front of this goddamn box for 8 hours straight… i took care of the agility fun web site stuff for diana, which included a schedule rewrite, three new howling league pages and a deletion on the about us page. then i got to playing around with cafepress dot com stuff – which i figured i would have to do right away, since mr. tinachopp has already stolen one of my ideas – so i got hybridelephant up and running and made a bunch of buttons, stickers and magnets, and then i updated the hybrid elephant pages with the new information, and i also updated my livejournal links list

of course, this was all in between bouts of frantically processing spam, which must have taken up at least an hour and a half… i don’t remember whether i’ve said this recently, but SPAM SUCKS… i don’t do business with spammers under any circumstances, and yet there is an overabundant profusion of spam, which leads me to believe that most of you do do business with spammers… i would like to say STOP IT! okay?

home made PVC flame thrower – wonderful… more terrorist plans available on internet. what will they think of next?

news bulletin service for military service members – forget about the new york times, this is where to get the news straight from the front lines.

these people allegedly have a functioning trebuchet, with which they sacrifice vegetables launch pumpkins. more pictures coming, but not soon enough to suit me.

and speaking of vegetable sacrifice, here’s Dr. Dick Chopp, Urologist… keep me away from him… for more reasons than just the fact that his name is Chopp

a completely random collection of pictures of my old girlfriend claire and her husband david who are bicycle enthusiasts.

and, finally, mice can be added to the short list of creatures that sing in the presence of the opposite sex, including songbirds, humpback whales, porpoises, insects and, possibly, bats… and, possibly, human beings… aren’t you glad to know that?

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yesterday was troll-o-ween. it went a lot better than the rehearsals made me think it was going to go. the vegetable sacrifice went extremely well, and there were about 300 people in the crowd by the time i sent the pumpkin on it’s final road to snake destiny. we finished off with an after party that included free beer and pizza, and was still going strong when i left at midnight… and today is deepavali, one of the hindu “christmases”, which is the “festival of lights”…

apart from that, it has been a surprisingly unsatisfactory week so far. yesterday i had to go back to pick up stuff that i had forgotten three times from as far away as 15 miles – stupid brain injury. plus i got a call from farah who accused me of stealing one of their font-matching books – which i did not do… in fact i left my centering ruler there because i realised it wasn’t with the rest of my tools after i left and i didn’t feel like bothering with going back to pick it up… as if they’re going to know how to use a font-matching book anyway… and there’s apparently somebody who has taken it upon themselves to create a cafepress dot com web site selling t-shirts that say “Tina Chopp is God”, but he’s not giving any credit, or any compensation to The Church of Tina Chopp, and now that he’s done it, not only is his cafepress “store” called “tinachopp”, but if i decide to do anything with Tina Chopp on cafepress at this point, he can accuse me of stealing his idea… 8/

today didn’t start out very well either… our roof has a leak, which i discovered this morning – trying to sleep off the partying until midnight and then driving 45 minutes home – and while we can afford to put on a new roof now that we’ve moved, the guy who is going to do it for us is on vacation until friday. while i was hassling around with stuff related to the roof leak i discovered that the lower shed also has a leak, and the lower shed has important stuff like the 2 rows of back seats for moe’s car – which are now wrapped in plastic – and my drill press and band saw, which are now rusty and sitting in our living room until i can find a more permanent home for them – which will not be soon, as about half of the living room and three quarters of the office are still stacked floor to ceiling with boxes that there isn’t enough room to unpack. then there was a threatening phone call from the people who financed moe’s car who are trying to collect october’s payment, which was made online at the beginning of october, but apparently hasn’t appeared on the appropriate desk for who knows what reason. and i’ve been trying to make an appointment to have my car worked on since last friday, but every time i call the guy he says “call back tomorrow”, or “call back monday”, or “call back thursday” and giving me some lame story about how he’s got two cars on the lift and can’t clear them because he can’t get parts, or some goddamn thing like that.

and when moe asked me what’s wrong, and i said that i was depressed because of the way things have been going, she asked me when my appointment with the ptsd counsellor is, as though one appointment with a counsellor is going to solve everything. admittedly, she said that she realised that one appointment wasn’t going to help, and that it would take a long time to get through this, but that just made me feel worse… 8/

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the troll

this is the first year i can recall in which i knew about standard time happening some time before it actually happened. this year, i heard about it last monday and i actually put it on my schedule, so now i know what time it is.

tomorrow is troll-o-ween, otherwise known as the troll’s birthday. also there’s going to be an “Osiris Ranebo Memorial Vegetable Sacrifice” as part of the festivities. be there if you’re in the area, but don’t if you’re not… we don’t want people who are going to come from outside the area and make trouble (like they have done in the past) which will make it more difficult to make arrangements for next year.

239

my appointment with ned, the ptsd counsellor, got postponed again. now it’s next thursday. 8/

thanks to , who pointed me towards people who dream in musicals, now i wonder if there are other people who dream, or hallucinate in operas… because while i was unconscious for 9 days during my injury and subsequent surgery, i had this massively complex hallucination which was an opera that featured a young, idealistic tow-truck driver and a sleazy used car salesman, both of whom were dressed in pure white uniforms, which then transmogrified into a huge chorus of people dressed in red uniforms singing about how brain surgery was similar to automotive repair and featured huge angiogram images projected on the backdrop. it was a clear enough hallucination that i wrote down an outline for the story, including most of the songs…

Ottery St Mary Tar Barrels… if i weren’t already a member of Cirque de Flambé, i would wonder why… as it is, i wonder if there’s any significance to the fact that it’s held on the same day as Guy Fawkes day

Why Does God Hate Amputees? – now if we can just get the “christians” to read it…

Evidence for Intelligent Design – now if we can just get the “christians” to read it…

WHY BUSH IS UNIMPEACHABLE
By Ted Rall Wed Oct 26, 9:18 AM ET

Cracks Appear in the Constitution

NEW YORK–The phone rings with a blocked caller ID but I know who it is. My friend the film critic has just put down the same article I’ve just finished reading, a front-page blockbuster in the New York Daily News. It says that George W. Bush knew about Karl Rove’s scheme to blow CIA agent Valerie Plame’s cover for years, that he was Rove’s partner in treason from the start, that his claims of ignorance were lies. The News article is anonymously sourced but we know it’s 100 percent true because the White House won’t deny that Bush is a traitor.

“So they’ll impeach him now, right?”

My friend asked the same thing in 2001 when recounts proved Bush lost Florida, when the 9/11 fetishist admitted that he’d never even tried to catch Osama, when WMDs failed to turn up in Iraq, and when his malignant neglect killed hundreds of Americans in post-Katrina New Orleans.

“This means impeachment. Right?” Wrong.

Any one of Bush’s crimes towers over the combined wickedness of Nixon and Clinton. And there are so many to choose from! How many times has Bush “made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States” (a key count in the Nixon impeachment)?

Stop laughing, you.

Unfortunately for my friend and the United States, impeachment is a political process, not a legal one. Nixon and Clinton faced Congresses controlled by the other party. Because Bush belongs to the same party as the majorities in the House and Senate, nothing he does can get him impeached.

Our failed Constitutional system means we’re stuck with this disastrous demagogue for three more years. Gloat now, Republican readers, but party loyalty’s stranglehold on impeachment can easily take the form of a complacent Democratic Congress overlooking the misdeeds of a batty Democratic president.

Any safe can be cracked; every system of safeguards breaks down eventually. We can’t get rid of Bush because the Founding Fathers, who were smart enough to think of just about everything, dropped the ball when they drafted the article that provides for presidential impeachment. Because there were no national political parties back in 1787, their otherwise ingenious system of checks and balances failed to account for the possibility that a Congress might choose to overlook a president’s crimes.

Small parties were active on the state and local level during the late 18th century, but James Madison, George Washington and most of the other Founders despised these organizations as harbingers of petty “factionalism” that ought to be banned or severely limited. Washington used the occasion of his 1796 farewell address to decry “the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally. It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration,” he warned. “It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another; foments occasionally riot and insurrection…In governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged.” Voting blocs were the enemy of good government.

In the new republic, Madison wrote in his seminal Federalist No. 10, political arguments should be considered on their own merits. Since candidates for and holders of political office would be judged solely as individuals, Congressmen would focus on the greater good rather than political alliances when weighing whether to impeach a president. Even when parties began to emerge as a national force in 1800, few politicians would have argued that a Democratic-Republican president should be safe from impeachment unless the Federalist Party happened to control Congress.

Another Constitutional breakdown, concerning the separation of powers, occurred in June 2004. More than a year after the Supreme Court decided in Rasul v. Bush that the nearly 600 Muslim men and young boys being held incommunicado at Guantánamo Bay were entitled to have their cases heard by U.S. courts, they remain in cold storage–no lawyers, no court dates. The Bush Administration simply ignored the ruling.

“[Bush’s] Justice Department,” Dahlia Lithwick wrote in Slate, “sees [the ruling] through the sophisticated legal prism known as the Toddler Worldview: Anything one doesn’t wish to accept simply isn’t true.” Because the Founding Fathers never anticipated the possibility that the nation’s chief executive would treat its final judgments with the respect due an out-of-state parking ticket issued to a rental car, the Supreme Court has been rendered as toothless as a gummy bear.

The more you look, the more you’ll find that our Constitution has been subverted to the point of virtual irrelevance. The legislative branch has abdicated its exclusive right to declare war to the president, who was appointed by a federal court that undermined the states’ constitutional right to manage and settle election disputes. Individuals’ protection against unreasonable searches have been trashed, habeas corpus is a joke, and double jeopardy has become routine as those exonerated by criminal court face second trials in civil court. Our system of checks and balances has collapsed, the victim of a citizenry more interested in entertaining distraction than eternal vigilance.

Where evil men rule, law cannot protect those who sleep.

This Is My Life, Rated
Life: 5.9
Mind: 6.3
Body: 5.5
Spirit: 8
Friends/Family: 7.2
Love: 9.1
Finance: 3.1
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

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blaugh… after spending almost an hour crafting this post, for some reason livejournal decided not to post it anyway, and now i’ve got to see if i can craft it again without losing my train of thought… 8/

i’ve decided to moderate the posts in because of the profusion of ads for other communities, encouragement to donate money, secular poetry, artwork, and random blurbs that belong in somebody’s blog, but not in a community about sivaism… i also updated the community information page to reflect this. i did it because i want to be a place where people can come with questions, answers and experiences related to sivaism, without having to sift through a bunch of other stuff. i am not saying this stuff shouldn’t be posted, but it should not be posted in a community about sivaism… i’m definitely not doing this to pick on any individual person…

however , a member of , is now pissed off because i rejected her post about a wall calendar that she is selling on cafepress, which didn’t have word one about siva in it at all… now she claims that the artwork in this calendar is related to sivaite experiences she had in the alps, and she’s dejected because it’s all her fault, i’ve insulted her, all she wants to do is become a rich and famous artist, and i’m standing in her way

admittedly, now that i look at it, most of the random blurbs, secular poetry and so forth were, indeed, coming from , but i’m not doing this specifically to pick on . i suppose i should expect things like this being the moderator of a community – you can’t please everyone, but that’s why she has her own blog – so that if you don’t want to look at random blurbs that don’t concern you, you don’t have to.

now, to more frivolous stuff…

anybody remember TENEX? the first email is 34 years old now, and the @ sign is a common everyday occurance, but there was once when we were not being bombarded by spam on a regular basis. if you want to know who to kill…

this is a floccinaucinihilipilificatious post.

did you know that idi amin played the accordion? did you know that louis farrakhan was a calypso singer? the world is full of bizarre things like this…

manties – i’m not sure whether to be intrigued or disgusted…

jesus monster truck ministries – i’m not sure whether to be intrigued or disgusted…

i gave a button that says “I AM A TERRORIST!” to this person yesterday. she said that her web site wasn’t very exciting, and she was right. if any of the rest of you want buttons, magnets or stickers that say "I AM A TERRORIST!"

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Put what where? 2,000 years of bizarre sex advice

Tight corsets cause nymphomania, orgasms can kill and wasps are a turn-on. John Naish looks at the top sex tips over the ages

Mating. Reproduction. Nothing is more crucial to humanity’s survival, so it would be logical to expect us to have got it sussed early in our evolution. But since the start of civilisation, the fundamentals of human sex — where to put it, how and when — have been absurdly confused by a parade of moralists, pundits and visionaries all claiming to know the magic secrets and only too happy to pass them on at a very reasonable price.

Just as every generation thinks that it invented sex, we also think we invented lovemaking manuals, or at least based them on a few prototypes such as the Kamasutra and Marie Stopes’s 1918 Married Love. But today’s maelstrom of books, videos and DVDs has a far richer, more twisted heritage than that.

The tradition of bestselling love guides goes back to the Ancient Chinese. Our earliest known manuals were first written in 300BC and buried in a family tomb at Mawangdui, in Hunan province. Recent translation reveals the timeless nature of the subjects they tackled.

Written as Cosmo coverlines, they would look like this: Four Seasons of Sex — and Why Autumn is Hot, Hot, Hot; Wild New Positions; Tiger Roving, Gibbon Grabbing and Fish Gobbling; Aphrodisiacs to Keep You Up All Night!Plus Exclusive! Your Love Route to Immortality.

As ever, it was all nonsense: home-made Viagra recipes involved ingredients such as beetle larvae, wasps and dried snails. The books also promised that any man who had sex with a different virgin every night for 100 nights without ejaculating would live for ever (albeit rather uncomfortably).

These odd beginnings set a trend: weird tips from strange authors, many of whom became manual martyrs. Ovid, the Roman poet, advised women on the best positions to suit their bodies in his poem Ars Amatoria. For example: “If you are short, go on top/If you’re conspicuously tall, kneel with your head turned slightly sideways.” The prudish Emperor Augustus banished poor Ovid to a chilly outpost of empire (a small town on the Black Sea in modern Romania).

Medieval European sex advice followed the strait-laced trend: most of it said “don’t”. Pleasure paved Hell’s roads and misogynistic manuals such as De Secretis Mulierum (The Secrets of Women) claimed that females used sex to drain men of their power and that some hid sharp shards of iron inside themselves to injure innocent lovers.

A technological breakthrough in the Renaissance put us back on our lascivious tracks. The printing press enabled publishers to churn out dodgy books faster than the Church authorities could ban them. Readers were treated to gems such as Mrs Isabella Cortes’s handy hint from 1561 that a mixture of quail testicles, large-winged ants, musk and amber was perfect for straightening bent penises. The era also brought us the earliest recorded recommendation of slippers as a sex aid (“Cold feet are a powerful hindrance to coition,” warned Giovanni Sinibaldi in his 1658 book Rare Verities.) But to find history’s oddest advisers, we must look to the Victorians and Edwardians. William Chidley, for example, believed that he could best promote his ideas by walking around in a toga. Chidley, an Australian, advised readers in his 1911 pamphlet The Answer that heavy clothing caused erections, which would lead to sexual overexcitement, illness and death, as well as being “ugly things” of which “we are all ashamed”.

He urged people to live on fruit and nuts and to practise a method of flaccid intercourse apparently based on horses’ sex lives. Yet it wasn’t his ideas that got him repeatedly arrested, but his silk toga, which the authorities thought indecent. After his death, supporters continued propounding his theories into the 1920s.

For the ultimate proof that you don’t need relevant qualifications to become a world expert, we turn to Marie Stopes. She was married and in her late thirties when she wrote one of Britain’s most enduring sex guides, Married Love. But she was also a virgin.

Stopes was inspired by her betrothal to Reginald “Ruggles” Gates, who, she told a divorce court, had failed ever to become “effectively rigid”. When Married Love hit the shelves early in 1918 it outsold the bestselling contemporary novels by a huge margin. By 1925, sales had passed the half-million mark.

Stopes was a fan of Hitler’s eugenics and arrogant enough to offer Rudyard Kipling and George Bernard Shaw advice on writing. Her main sex-manual innovation was a theory that women have a “sex tide” of passion that ebbs and flows on a fortnightly basis — and woe betide the man who didn’t understand this. In case her second husband, the manufacturing magnate Humphrey Verdon Roe, got it wrong, she made him sign a contract releasing her to have sex with other men.

So that’s our sexual forebears, a weird lot with funny ideas. Compared with them we might appear at the zenith of sexual enlightenment. Our age is remarkable for the sheer volume of sex advice being consumed: one woman in four now owns a sex manual, says a survey by the publishers Dorling Kindersley. Everyone from porn stars to the car-manual firm Haynes has one out. Well, I wonder. In 50 years’ time, I foresee the students at a university faculty of s exual semiotics studying the early Twenty-Ohs with the same mirth, incredulity and horror that shake us when we consider our ancestors’ obsessions. Perhaps they will wonder why we bought so many manuals, videos and DVDs but seemed to have so little time or energy left for sex. Maybe they will link our obsession with orgasms to our endless need to go shopping. They might also connect our avid consumption of sex advice to our growing terror of personal embarrassment and “getting it wrong”. They may even have a name for us; perhaps the erotic neurotics.

Put What Where? Over 2,000 Years of Bizarre Sex Advice, by John Naish (HarperElement £9.99), is available from Times Books First at £9.49 p&p free.

Wisdom of the ancients

How to pull
“Pick the woman’s worst feature and then make it appear desirable. Tell an older woman that she looks young. Tell an ugly woman that she looks ‘fascinating’.” Philaenis, papyrus sex manual (2BC)

Go blondes!
“All women are lascivious but auburn blondes the most. A little straight forehead denotes an unbridled appetite in lust.” Giovanni Sinibaldi, Rare Verities: the Cabinet of Venus Unlock’d (1658)

Buns and corsets cause nymphomania
“Constricting the waist by corsets prevents the return of blood to the heart, overloads sexual organs and causes unnatural excitement of the sexual system. The majority of women follow the goddess Fashion and so also wear their hair in a heavy knot. This great pressure on their small brains produces great heat and chronic inflammation of their sexual organs. It is almost impossible that such women should lead other than a life of sexual excess.” Dr John Cowan, The Science of a New Life (1888)

On the other hand . . .
“The majority of women (happily for them) are not very much troubled with sexual feelings of any kind.” Dr William Acton, Functions and Disorders of the Reproductive Organs (1858)

Indian enlargement
“Rub your penis with the bristles of certain insects that live in trees, and then, after rubbing it for ten nights with oils, rub it with the bristles as before. Swelling will be gradually produced. Then lie on a hammock with a hole in it and hang the penis through the hole. Take away the pain from the swelling by using cool concoctions. The swelling lasts for life.” Kamasutra, translated by Sir Richard Burton and F. F. “Bunny” Arbuthnot (1883)

Climaxes can kill
“Fainting, vomiting, involuntary urination, epilepsy and defecation have occurred in young men after first coitus. Lesions of various organs have taken place. In men of mature age the arteries have been unable to resist the high blood pressure and cerebral haemorrhage with paralysis has occurred. In elderly men the excitement of intercourse with young wives or prostitutes has caused death.” Havelock Ellis, Psychology of Sex: a Manual for Students (1933)

How often?
“The ordinary man can safely indulge about four times a month. More than that would be excess for a large majority of civilised men and women.” Lyman B. Sperry, Confidential Talks with Husband and Wife: a Book of Information and Advice for the Married and Marriageable (1900)

Single-handed signs
“Look at the habitual masturbator! See how thin, pale and haggard he appears; how his eyes are sunken; how long and cadaverous is his cast of countenance; how irritable he is and how sluggish, mentally and physically; how afraid he is to meet the eye of his fellow, feel his damp and chilling hand, so characteristic of great vital exhaustion.” Dr Henry Guernsey, Plain Talks on Avoided Subjects (1882)

Never marry these women
“Redheads. Any girl named after a mountain, a tree, a river or a bird. Ones with rough hands or feet. Ones who sigh, laugh or cry at meals. Any girl with inverted nipples, a beard, uneven breasts, flap ears, spindle legs or who is scrawny. Girls whose big toes are disproportionately small. Girls who make the ground shake when they walk past.” Koka Shastra, The Indian Scripture of Koka (12th century)

And, if you can’t find it, don’t worry
“The clitoris, while important, is not nearly as important as many of us have been taught or led to believe.” Edward Podolsky, Sex Technique for Husband and Wife (1947)

But whatever you do …
“Never fool around sexually with a vacuum cleaner.” Dr Alex Comfort, The Joy of Sex (1972)

geeks smoke pot… that’s why they’re geeks.

miscellaneous bits and pieces from the past week or so…

Study turns pot wisdom on head – Lab rats given drug 100 times as strong as pot

By DAWN WALTON
Friday, October 14, 2005

Calgary — Forget the stereotype about dopey potheads. It seems marijuana could be good for your brain.

While other studies have shown that periodic use of marijuana can cause memory loss and impair learning and a host of other health problems down the road, new research suggests the drug could have some benefits when administered regularly in a highly potent form.

Most “drugs of abuse” such as alcohol, heroin, cocaine and nicotine suppress growth of new brain cells. However, researchers found that cannabinoids promoted generation of new neurons in rats’ hippocampuses.

Hippocampuses are the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory, and the study held true for either plant-derived or the synthetic version of cannabinoids.

“This is quite a surprise,” said Xia Zhang, an associate professor with the Neuropsychiatry Research Unit at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

“Chronic use of marijuana may actually improve learning memory when the new neurons in the hippocampus can mature in two or three months,” he added.

The research by Dr. Zhang and a team of international researchers is to be published in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, but their findings are on-line now.

The scientists also noticed that cannabinoids curbed depression and anxiety, which Dr. Zhang says, suggests a correlation between neurogenesis and mood swings. (Or, it at least partly explains the feelings of relaxation and euphoria of a pot-induced high.)

Other scientists have suggested that depression is triggered when too few new brain cells are created in the hippocampus. One researcher of neuropharmacology said he was “puzzled” by the findings.

As enthusiastic as Dr. Zhang is about the potential health benefits, he warns against running out for a toke in a bid to beef up brain power or calm nerves.

The team injected laboratory rats with a synthetic substance called HU-210, which is similar, but 100 times as potent as THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound responsible for giving marijuana users a high.

They found that the rats treated regularly with a high dose of HU-210 — twice a day for 10 days — showed growth of neurons in the hippocampus. The researchers don’t know if pot, which isn’t as pure as the lab-produced version, would have the same effect.

“There’s a big gap between rats and humans,” Dr. Zhang points out.

But there is a lot of interest — and controversy — around the use of cannabinoids to improve human health.

Cannabinoids, such as marijuana and hashish, have been used to address pain, nausea, vomiting, seizures caused by epilepsy, ischemic stroke, cerebral trauma, tumours, multiple sclerosis and a host of other maladies.

There are herbal cannabinoids, which come from the cannabis plant, and the bodies of humans and animals produce endogenous cannabinoids. The substance can also be designed in the lab.

Cannabinoids can trigger the body’s two cannabinoid receptors, which control the activity of various cells in the body.

One receptor, known as CB1, is found primarily in the brain. The other receptor, CB2, was thought to be found only in the immune system.

However, in a separate study to be published today in the journal Science, a group of international researchers have located the CB2 receptor in the brain stems of rats, mice and ferrets.

The brain stem is responsible for basic body function such as breathing and the gastrointestinal tract. If stimulated in a certain way, CB2 could be harnessed to eliminate the nausea and vomiting associated with post-operative analgesics or cancer and AIDS treatments, according to the researchers.

“Ultimately, new therapies could be developed as a result of these findings,” said Keith Sharkey, a gastrointestinal neuroscientist at the University of Calgary, lead author of the study.

(Scientists are trying to find ways to block CB1 as a way to decrease food cravings and limit dependence on tobacco.)

When asked whether his findings explain why some swear by pot as a way to avoid the queasy feeling of a hangover, Dr. Sharkey paused and replied: “It does not explain the effects of smoked or inhaled or ingested substances.”

and, almost exactly the same article from UPI:

Marijuana may spur new brain cells

By STEVE MITCHELL
Senior Medical Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) — Scientists said Thursday that marijuana appears to promote the development of new brain cells in rats and have anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects, a finding that could have an impact on the national debate over medical uses of the drug.

Other illegal and legal drugs, including opiates, alcohol, nicotine and cocaine, have been shown to suppress the formation of new brain cells when used chronically, but marijuana’s effect on that process was uncertain.

Now, a team led by Xia Zhang of the department of psychiatry at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon may have found evidence the drug spurs new brain cells to form in a region of the brain called the hippocampus, and this in turn reduces anxiety and depression.

Marijuana appears “to be the only illicit drug whose capacity to produce increased … neurons is positively correlated with its (anti-anxiety) and anti-depressant-like effects,” Zhang and colleagues wrote in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The paper was posted online Thursday.

In the study, rats were given injections of HU210 — a synthesized version of a cannabinoid chemical found in marijuana — twice per day for 10 days.

Zhang told United Press International this would be “a high dose” of smoked marijuana, but he added he is not certain how many equivalent joints it would take or whether patients now using the drug typically would be getting this much HU210.

Although HU210 was injected, Zhang said there would be no difference if it was obtained by smoking marijuana.

The rats showed evidence of new neurons in the hippocampus dentate gyrus, a region of the brain that plays a role in developing memories.

Zhang’s team suspected the new brain cells also might be associated with a reduction in anxiety and depression, because previous studies had indicated medications used to treat anxiety and depression achieve their effect this way.

To find out, they treated rats with HU210 for 10 days and then tested them one month later. When placed in a new environment, the rats were quicker to eat their food than rats that did not receive the compound, which suggested there was a reduction in anxiety behaviors.

Another group of rats treated with HU210 showed a reduction in the duration of immobility in a forced swimming test, which is an indication the compound had an anti-depressant effect.

Asked how he thought the findings might impact the debate over using marijuana to treat medical conditions, Zhang said, “Our results indicate cannabinoids could be used for the treatment of anxiety and depression.”

He added that his view is “marijuana should be used as alcohol or nicotine,” noting “it has been used for treating various diseases for years in other countries.”

Last June the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 that the federal ban on marijuana supersedes the laws of certain states that allow the substance to be used for medicinal purposes, such as the treatment of pain, nausea in cancer patients and glaucoma. Eleven states have passed laws legalizing marijuana use by patients with a doctor’s approval, including California, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

The Bush administration, through the Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Agency, began conducting raids in California in 2001 on patients using marijuana. Two of those arrested by the DEA — Angel Raich, who suffers from brain cancer, and Diane Monson, who used the drug to help alleviate chronic back pain — sued Attorney General John Ashcroft, requesting a court order to be allowed to grow and smoke marijuana, which led to the Supreme Court decision.

Paul Armentano, senior policy analyst with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told UPI he thought the findings “would have a positive impact on moving forward this debate, because it is giving … a scientific explanation that further supports long-observed anecdotal evidence, and further lends itself to the notion that marijuana, unlike so many other prescription drugs and controlled substances, appears to have incredibly low toxicity and as a result lacks potential harm to the brain that many of these drugs have.”

The DEA Web site, however, contends that “marijuana is a dangerous, addictive drug that poses significant health threats to users,” including cancer and impaired mental functioning.

Armentano said this is a distortion of what scientific studies actually show. Studies in animals indicate marijuana actually may protect against many forms of cancer, rather than cause the disease, he said. In addition, studies in marijuana smokers have found little evidence of cognitive deficits, and even when they do, the defects disappear if the person stops smoking for 30 days.

Tri-Lamb Material
69% Nerd, 43% Geek, 65% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd and Dork, earning you the coveted title of: Tri-Lamb Material.

The classic, “80’s” nerd, you are what most people think of when they think “nerd,” largely due to 80’s movies like Revenge of the Nerds and TV shows like Head of the Class. You’re exceptionally bright and smart, and partly because of that have never quite fit in with your peers or social groups. Perhaps you’re realized, or will someday, that it is possible to retain all of the things that you like about being brilliant and still make peace with the social cliques around you. Or maybe you won’t–it’s really not necessary. As the brothers of Lambda Lambda Lambda discovered, you’re fine just the way you are and can take pride in that. I mean, who wants to be like Ogre, right!?

Congratulations!

THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

other other
You scored higher than 70% on nerdiness
other other
You scored higher than 77% on geekosity
other free online dating
You scored higher than 97% on dork points

Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos.

You Are Likely an Only Child
At your darkest moments, you feel frustrated.
At work and school, you do best when you’re organizing.
When you love someone, you tend to worry about them.

In friendship, you are emotional and sympathetic.
Your ideal careers are: radio announcer, finance, teaching, ministry, and management.
You will leave your mark on the world with organizational leadership, maybe as the author of self-help books.

nope, i’m the oldest of four kids…

there’s another project that goes along with the performance of ORGAN2/ASLSP, sort of, which is The Clock of The Long Now, a mechanical clock that is designed to run for 10,000 years

finally, Original Pussy Beer… i have in mind specifically when i post this, because he’s a beer conoisseur, but i’m not sure i would go that far myself…

233

now i’m really glad i got fired from minuteman press. they gave me a raise last week, just before i was fired. i got my final check in the mail today, and they raised me .50 cents an hour, so instead of making $11.00 an hour, i was making $11.50 an hour… this is despite the fact that i told them when they hired me originally that i needed to make $14.00 an hour minimum, and from what i understand, other people in the same position at other shops in the area are making between $17.00 and $21.00 an hour. if i was still working there, there would definitely be some mighty complaining being done, and i’d probably quit simply because of that, if they hadn’t already fired me. they were complaining about how my mistakes were costing them money, but i get the impression that if they’re paying that little, they should expect to get work from their employees that matches.

232

i saw dr. kim yesterday. the first thing she did was recommend medications. she only did a cursory physical exam and she doesn’t even know me at all.

when i said i wasn’t interested, she tried really hard to convince me, but honestly, the more she tried to convince me, the more i was convinced that i don’t need medications… especially since she said that if my home situation and my work situation was the way i wanted it, that i probably wouldn’t need medications… i figure that if i have a choice between living the way i want, or taking drugs, i’ll choose living the way i want every time and if the only other option is taking drugs that i wouldn’t need otherwise then i’ll decide not to take them anyway. i’d rather be depressed than take drugs i don’t need.

i’ve got an appointment with ned, the ptsd counsellor, tomorrow… 8/

WWJD

Ok listen up you ass jockeys because I’m only going to say this once. If I thought I’d have you morons putting idols of me nailed to a goddamned cross up all over the place, I would’ve requested something more aesthetically pleasing. You think I like coming down to earth disguised as a nubile co-ed and seeing reminders of how I died everywhere?

Newsflash: I didn’t die for your sins. I died because some so-called friend of mine ratted me out. That is no big deal. Happens all the time. But man, it fucking hurt up there. And it was hot, too.

But what’s with this nonsense about the bible? Quit fooling yourselves. It is a PARABLE, a story meant to tell you how to live your life. If you believe the earth was created in seven days, I have a freaking bridge to sell you in Manhattan. Asshat.

It’s true: I am a republican. But only because I support state’s rights above federal involvement, not because I think this bullshit in my name is more right than what Vishnu’s got cooking up across the sea. Those whacky bastards are blue and have many arms, did you know that? Fucking crazy!

Do me a favor. People who live in glass trailers shouldn’t throw stones. So please stop heaving rocks in my name, or I’ll come down there and put my neener up to your dome and pop a cap (I’ve been hangin’ with Tupac recently, he’s sweet).

And stop asking what I would do. Daddy gave you free will for a fucking reason, you fucking nutcase. Use it.

But since you keep asking: What would I do? Man, I’d bang your sister, that’s what. But she has crabs. A burning bush, so to speak.

Ok you lot, put that in your pipe and smoke it – this is my word.

Ps – I am currently incarnated as a handsome, virile young man. If you seek to repent, kneel before me. But only if you are an attractive woman who owns black stiletto boots that go up to your knees (and you’re willing to leave them on).

A Message claiming to be from John Cleese (but isn’t)…

sigh… how come when i am mailed something funny it turns out to be fake?

oh well, i’ll post it anyway.


In light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (excepting Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new prime minister, Tony Blair, will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary

2. Then look up aluminum, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘favour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix ‘ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘ise’. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up vocabulary).

3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “like” and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the elimination of -ize. You will relearn your original national anthem, God Save The Queen.

4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you’re not adult enough to sort hings out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you’re not grown up enough to handle a gun. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler.

A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

6. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will star tdriving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

7. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) – roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.

8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

9. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.

11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full Kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.

13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.

14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your co-operation.

229

satrigunny
my friend

in spite of the fact that i’m probably a lot happier not working for that bunch of morons any longer, i’m really depressed. on the other hand, now that i’m not working, i got in touch with moe’s friend kim, the social worker, who re-scheduled my appointment with dr. kim (no relation) for monday, and an appointment to see ned the ptsd counsellor on thursday, so that’s supposedly a good thing, but i’ll believe it when i see it…

malcat is moving to LA, which means that he’s selling his house on delridge. i went over there this morning to cut a hole in the front wall of his downstairs apartment so that he could have a pest inspection before selling the house. it was supposed to be a 24×24 hole, but it ended up being a 24×48 hole because half of it, the first part of the hole, had a whole bunch of studs and house-exterior on the outside which prevented me from going all the way through… which, of course, wasn’t apparent until after i had already cut through the sheetrock… fortunately, mal’s moving, and he told me that any problems would, by definition, not be my fault regardless of what i did, so i’m relieved about that.

UNICEF bombs the Smurfs in fund-raising campaign for ex-child soldiers – “The people of Belgium have been left reeling by the first adult-only episode of the Smurfs, in which the blue-skinned cartoon characters’ village is annihilated by warplanes… The animation was approved by the family of the Smurfs’ late creator, ‘Peyo’.”

articles about intellectual property issues by negativland, which was the upshot of a discussion in which favourably compared my music to that of negativland…

i’ve been a fan of them for a long time, but ®™ark has a bunch of projects that make me really wonder who pays them to do this kind of shit. really. it sounds like a lot of fun, but being a corporate saboteur doesn’t sound like a way to pay the bills…

Near Impossible
Your life has been 66% difficult.
Dear Lord. Based on your family, money, political context, and personal situation — during the important years of your development — it appears your life was NEAR IMPOSSIBLE. What does this mean?

Well, the “difficulty” of your life is a measure of how rough you had it. In your case it appears the dice were thrown snakeeyes — so much went wrong during your development years that it’s become hard to succeed.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:

other other
You scored higher than 96% on difficult

Link: The How Difficult Is Your Life Test written by chicken_pot_pie on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

228

well, the question i posed at the end of this entry has been answered. the answer is 21 weeks and 6 days.

i got fired today. there were a bunch of jobs that got screwed up because the artwork either wasn’t there at all and i had to create it – which i did incorrectly because of the fact that they only had old, incorrect samples to go by and they were unwilling to send the job to the customer for proofreading because it was a reprint of a job that had been printed before, regardless of the fact that it was over a year since we printed the job the last time – or the artwork was there, but it was incorrect from the beginning and, being as how that was the only artwork that was there for those particular jobs, i assumed that it was the correct artwork, even though it had been superceded before i got there, and for some reason the new artwork had been deleted and the old artwork had been saved – all before i even started working there – but because these jobs got screwed up "on my watch" so to speak, even though they were screwed up before i even started working there, i got blamed for their screwups… and as a result, majid went on a flaming, part-farsi (or whatever language it is that he speaks) tirade, made up a whole bunch of completely arbitrary "rules" which wouldn’t really affect anything except majid’s state of mind (or lack thereof), but would only make my job that much more difficult if i actually followed them, and said that if i couldn’t abide by them, that i was fired…

so, i’m fired now.

part of me is relieved that i don’t have to go to work and work with that crew of blithering idiots any more, but part of me is wondering how long it will be before i’m living in a motorhome somewhere, or worse…

and yet another part of me is just waiting to see, now that i’ve got the network a lot more organised than it was before i got there, how long it will be before they’ve totally fucked everything up and come whimpering to me asking me to fix some thing or another that i was able to get to work, but now that i’m gone they can’t figure it out any longer… i wonder how much i would charge to fix said screwup then…

227

OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE PUBLIC RITUAL VEGETABLE SACRIFICE

for the common era year (sorry) of 2005

at

eXit-38

which can be found by going here

it will be held on SPROOGLE (the closest sunday to the second tudesday of the month) which, this year, falls on

9 October, 2005, (tomorrow)

at 1:00 pm

cross posted to , ,

225

Johnny Jetpack Propulsion Laboratories is my friend nathan arnold and various other folks (including me). their scheduled launch of Johnny Jetpack was unexpectedly cancelled by the tight-assed seattle city council member david della, park superintendent ken bounds and virginia swanson, special event coordinator for the city of seattle. complaints and harassment are in order.

the new avatar is courtesy of who is, apparently, no relation to Andrew Looney: Activist or The Official Monster Raving Loony Party, although both are ideas well worth considering.

October 7, 2005
Recruiters and Thugs on Campus – Why Do We Hate Our Freedom?

By WILL YOUMANS

The predatory tactics used by military recruiters to lure in youth from our schools and universities feed on desperation by offering dreams of cash for college, marketable skills, a signing bonus, and promises of cushy desk jobs. “Green card” soldiers fight for the hope of citizenship. Recruiters have been known to deceive by offering that which they cannot guarantee.

The recruiters, as a tangent, are doing little more that what George W. Bush did. They both invent reasons to persuade us to kill and die. Where the recruiters paint visions of a better life for the recruits, Bush offered us the opportunity to defend ourselves from weapons of mass destruction. Then, after the proof could not be found in the pudding, he shifted it to establishing the first democratic domino in the region. Later, it became about taking on Al-Qaeda in Iraq. This shifting logic is the equivalent of the shifts a new recruit experiences when he or she enlists. Instead of training as a medic in sunny Florida as promised, the bright-eyed recruit ends up on the front lines in sunny Iraq.

Obviously, then, this is more than just about the dishonesty of quota and bonus-driven recruiters, this is about the politics of the war these recruitment efforts are part of. Thus, military recruiters are predictably becoming the lightening rod for the anger of the betrayed public. On schools and universities, student activists who confront recruiters are facing expulsion, arrest, and other attacks.

Thanks to the Solomon Act universities lose some government funding if they deny recruiters access to our future leaders. Those student-activists trying to boot the recruiters off campus face more than the Department of Defense, they have a budget-obsessed university administration to work against. The danger is that they will prioritize free money from the government over free speech for the students.

Before we can talk about whether campus recruiters should leave, we have to make sure there can be a debate. At George Mason University, specifically, the students have to fight for the freedom of speech just to protest the presence of the recruiters. Last Thursday, Tariq Khan, a student there who served for four years in the Air Force, simply stood inside the student center with a handful of pamphlets and a small sign taped on his chest. He shared on the sign his personal experiences with the recruiters: they lie. It said, “Recruiters lie. Don’t be deceived.”

Khan just stood there, mostly silent. He offered his literature to anyone who asked for it. Before he knew it, a ROTC student and his side-kick, a lumpy right-winger, were yelling at him. With foam coming out of their mouths, they called him a “pussy.” They talked with enthusiasm about the thrill of getting to kill Iraqis. The ROTC student grew angry with Khan’s calm demeanor. Several people tried to intervene by joining the debate. Finally, the ROTC student grabbed the sign and ripped it. Khan calmly began to write another notebook paper-sized sign.

Campus security arrived and told Khan he was violating school policy by being there. Instead of arresting the ROTC student for assault and the willful destruction of property, the officer sought to remove Khan for “tabling” outside of the area where tabling is permitted. Khan did not even have a table with him.

Khan refused to leave, believing the Constitution protected his right to just stand there. The officer began to handcuff him. Khan did not resist, but he did not comply. He saw it rightfully as an unjustified arrest. Soon, some freedom-loving students were chanting “kick his ass,” and a few actually helped the officer subdue Khan. Though he was non-violent the entire time, they caused him several injuries. A witness saw the officer “putting him in a headlock, choking him, and then proceeding to throw him against the stage.” He was later charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct.

I wonder if the recruiters who reeled in Khan fresh out of high school fed him the fancy talk about defending our freedom–the same freedom that got him a gash on his forehead. They probably just told him about the great marketable skills he would learn, and all the money he would get for college. Instead, they had him cleaning bathrooms and doing menial labor–the type of work that requires no skills and no plans for comfortable living. And the money his four years of service brings him is not quite enough to pay for four years of college.

We could blame the officer for acting improperly, like we could fault Lyndie England and other bad apples. Clearly, the problem here is a policy framework that criminalizes free speech and those who practice it. If universities want to benefit from recruiters telling students about the freedoms they have to fight for, at least let those freedoms be practiced on campus. Otherwise, students might just realize that the biggest threat to freedom is not foreign enemies, but those claiming to protect them.

Please sign this petition calling on the university to drop the charges: http://fawcettweb.com/peace/

Will Youmans has a blog: www.kabobfest.com.

Pinky
You scored 28% sweetness, 51% intelligence, 42% rage, and 61% lunacy!
You are Pinky! When a little bit of brains meets a lot of wacky, they’re sure to find you there. Try not to hurt anyone, though!

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

other other
You scored higher than 20% on sweetness
other other
You scored higher than 40% on intelligence
other other
You scored higher than 99% on rage
other other
You scored higher than 80% on lunacy

Link: The Which Animaniac are you? Test written by AuroraStarlite on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

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Wal-Mart Turns in Student’s Anti-Bush Photo, Secret Service Investigates Him
By Matthew Rothschild
October 4, 2005

Selina Jarvis is the chair of the social studies department at Currituck County High School in North Carolina, and she is not used to having the Secret Service question her or one of her students.

But that’s what happened on September 20.

Jarvis had assigned her senior civics and economics class “to take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights,” she says. One student “had taken a photo of George Bush out of a magazine and tacked the picture to a wall with a red thumb tack through his head. Then he made a thumb’s down sign with his own hand next to the President’s picture, and he had a photo taken of that, and he pasted it on a poster.”

According to Jarvis, the student, who remains anonymous, was just doing his assignment, illustrating the right to dissent.

But over at the Kitty Hawk Wal-Mart, where the student took his film to be developed, this right is evidently suspect.

An employee in that Wal-Mart photo department called the Kitty Hawk police on the student. And the Kitty Hawk police turned the matter over to the Secret Service.

On Tuesday, September 20, the Secret Service came to Currituck High. “At 1:35, the student came to me and told me that the Secret Service had taken his poster,” Jarvis says. “I didn’t believe him at first. But they had come into my room when I wasn’t there and had taken his poster, which was in a stack with all the others.”

She says the student was upset.

“He was nervous, he was scared, and his parents were out of town on business,” says Jarvis.

She, too, had to talk to the Secret Service.

“Halfway through my afternoon class, the assistant principal got me out of class and took me to the office conference room,” she says. “Two men from the Secret Service were there. They asked me what I knew about the student. I told them he was a great kid, that he was in the homecoming court, and that he’d never been in any trouble.”

Then they got down to his poster.

“They asked me, didn’t I think that it was suspicious,” she recalls. “I said no, it was a Bill of Rights project!”

At the end of the meeting, they told her the incident “would be interpreted by the U.S. attorney, who would decide whether the student could be indicted,” she says.

The student was not indicted, and the Secret Service did not pursue the case further.

“I blame Wal-Mart more than anybody,” she says. “I was really disgusted with them. But everyone was using poor judgment, from Wal-Mart up to the Secret Service.”

A person in the photo department at the Wal-Mart in Kitty Hawk said, “You have to call either the home office or the authorities to get any information about that.”

Jacquie Young, a spokesperson for Wal-Mart at company headquarters, did not provide comment within a 24-hour period.

Sharon Davenport of the Kitty Hawk Police Department said, “We just handed it over” to the Secret Service. “No investigative report was filed.”

Jonathan Scherry, spokesman for the Secret Service in Washington, D.C., said, “We certainly respect artistic freedom, but we also have the responsibility to look into incidents when necessary. In this case, it was brought to our attention from a private citizen, a photo lab employee.”

Jarvis uses one word to describe the whole incident: “ridiculous.”

George Bush is the anti-christ

another massoud-ism…

today massoud asked me if i knew of any way to make a “snapshot” on a windows machine. turns out he meant a “screen shot” but that still doesn’t take away from the fact that he was sitting in front of a windows machine when he asked me this, had been for at least 45 minutes, had been staring directly at the keyboard, and had somehow missed the key that says “PRINT SCREEN” right in front of him…

222

today there were two jobs that needed to be reprinted because of chaos. the fact that i got yelled at because of other peoples’ stupidity is the upshot of the whole deal, but this is how it went down. on job #1, there were two parts, a “shell” or masthead that gets printed in two colours, and an “imprint”, which gets printed on the shell. they wanted 20,000 shells, but only 1000 imprints, which means that they’ll be using the shell for jobs in the future as well. the last time we printed this particular file (the shell, not the imprint) was over a year ago, well before i started working there, and when i went to find it, as i generally expect with documents that haven’t been printed for a year or more, it wasn’t in the right place on the network… in fact it was the only file i could find like it on the network anywhere, and it was in a folder that was originally labeled “trash” when i first started, but that’s a separate issue entirely. i used that file and updated it with a new work order number. i do it this way because i’ve been bitten in the ass by files that weren’t in the right place on the network, so i re-created them – from defective prints and/or other incorrect information – and caused even more chaos than there was already, so i have gotten into the habit of using old files for jobs that are being reprinted so that won’t happen as much.

so we printed the 20,000 shell masters, and the 1000 imprints… then we discover that the address on the masthead is the wrong address.

the file which i found in the folder labeled “trash”, the only file like it anywhere on the network, had the old address on it!

why the hell they decided to save that file, and not the one with the new, correct address on it, is so far beyond me that it boggles the mind.

the other job is a similar story: i created 2 new business cards from an old file that i found on the network, which was the correct file, but for some reason, out of two columns of cards, one column was off center – not enough that i could see it when it was on the computer, nor enough that it was perceptible to greg, but when it came to cutting the cards they were off center enough that the whole job has to be reprinted.

naturally, it was discovered that both jobs had to be reprinted around the same time, which, coincidentally, was also the time when majid was alone in the shop with me and greg… and majid lost it. he yelled at me, and what he yelled made sense in that they were english words that made sense together in a sentence, but that sentence had absolutely nothing to do with the problem. what he yelled at me was “i want all jobs to print as .pdfs from now on. no more printing native files, convert everything to .pdf before printing it.” the only thing that converting every job to a .pdf before printing would do is add an extra, unnecessary and sometimes impossible task to the job. he also spent quite a bit of time yelling at greg as well, but i didn’t pay much attention to that because i was busy fixing the screwed up files (which i did, and had new plates output in about half an hour), and then he stormed out of the shop and was gone until after lunch, and just before i left for the day – at 2:30, because of lack of work.

i’ve collected a huge quantity of files that would have been lost, because they were in the folder which had been labeled “trash” and if it weren’t for the fact that i was warned by my immediate predecessor to not do so, i would have thrown it away without even looking in it. why they decided to keep the old masthead artwork – which i had to change, convert to .eps and re-import into the “shell” document before producing new plates, and why they decided to keep a file full of business cards that were off center without fixing them is pure, unadulterated stupidity, yelling at me is adding rudeness and yelling something that doesn’t address the problem is the PRIMARY reason why i HAVE TO get out of there. have to, have to, have to, HAVE TO, HAVE TO!!!!

if it weren’t for my injury, i don’t know whether i’d be able to take it or not, but since my injury there is NO WAY i can take this level of stupidity.

in other news, a favourite subject for spammers is also local, and you don’t have to deal with spammers to get one…

MiltonMessages dot com is a strange, but oddly compelling way to advertise… i wonder what i could get away with…

flee past’s ape elf

thanks to

funny cartoon about christian cannibals

Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible
By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has published a teaching document instructing the faithful that some parts of the Bible are not actually true.

The Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are warning their five million worshippers, as well as any others drawn to the study of scripture, that they should not expect “total accuracy” from the Bible.

“We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision,” they say in The Gift of Scripture.

The document is timely, coming as it does amid the rise of the religious Right, in particular in the US.

Some Christians want a literal interpretation of the story of creation, as told in Genesis, taught alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution in schools, believing “intelligent design” to be an equally plausible theory of how the world began.

But the first 11 chapters of Genesis, in which two different and at times conflicting stories of creation are told, are among those that this country’s Catholic bishops insist cannot be “historical”. At most, they say, they may contain “historical traces”.

The document shows how far the Catholic Church has come since the 17th century, when Galileo was condemned as a heretic for flouting a near-universal belief in the divine inspiration of the Bible by advocating the Copernican view of the solar system. Only a century ago, Pope Pius X condemned Modernist Catholic scholars who adapted historical-critical methods of analysing ancient literature to the Bible.

In the document, the bishops acknowledge their debt to biblical scholars. They say the Bible must be approached in the knowledge that it is “God’s word expressed in human language” and that proper acknowledgement should be given both to the word of God and its human dimensions.

They say the Church must offer the gospel in ways “appropriate to changing times, intelligible and attractive to our contemporaries”.

The Bible is true in passages relating to human salvation, they say, but continue: “We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other, secular matters.”

They go on to condemn fundamentalism for its “intransigent intolerance” and to warn of “significant dangers” involved in a fundamentalist approach.

“Such an approach is dangerous, for example, when people of one nation or group see in the Bible a mandate for their own superiority, and even consider themselves permitted by the Bible to use violence against others.”

Of the notorious anti-Jewish curse in Matthew 27:25, “His blood be on us and on our children”, a passage used to justify centuries of anti-Semitism, the bishops say these and other words must never be used again as a pretext to treat Jewish people with contempt. Describing this passage as an example of dramatic exaggeration, the bishops say they have had “tragic consequences” in encouraging hatred and persecution. “The attitudes and language of first-century quarrels between Jews and Jewish Christians should never again be emulated in relations between Jews and Christians.”

As examples of passages not to be taken literally, the bishops cite the early chapters of Genesis, comparing them with early creation legends from other cultures, especially from the ancient East. The bishops say it is clear that the primary purpose of these chapters was to provide religious teaching and that they could not be described as historical writing.

Similarly, they refute the apocalyptic prophecies of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible, in which the writer describes the work of the risen Jesus, the death of the Beast and the wedding feast of Christ the Lamb.

The bishops say: “Such symbolic language must be respected for what it is, and is not to be interpreted literally. We should not expect to discover in this book details about the end of the world, about how many will be saved and about when the end will come.”

In their foreword to the teaching document, the two most senior Catholics of the land, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, and Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh, explain its context.

They say people today are searching for what is worthwhile, what has real value, what can be trusted and what is really true.

The new teaching has been issued as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Dei Verbum, the Second Vatican Council document explaining the place of Scripture in revelation. In the past 40 years, Catholics have learnt more than ever before to cherish the Bible. “We have rediscovered the Bible as a precious treasure, both ancient and ever new.”

A Christian charity is sending a film about the Christmas story to every primary school in Britain after hearing of a young boy who asked his teacher why Mary and Joseph had named their baby after a swear word. The Breakout Trust raised £200,000 to make the 30-minute animated film, It’s a Boy. Steve Legg, head of the charity, said: “There are over 12 million children in the UK and only 756,000 of them go to church regularly.

That leaves a staggering number who are probably not receiving basic Christian teaching.”

BELIEVE IT OR NOT

UNTRUE

Genesis ii, 21-22

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man

Genesis iii, 16

God said to the woman [after she was beguiled by the serpent]: “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Matthew xxvii, 25

The words of the crowd: “His blood be on us and on our children.”

Revelation xix,20

And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone.

TRUE

Exodus iii, 14

God reveals himself to Moses as: “I am who I am.”

Leviticus xxvi,12

“I will be your God, and you shall be my people.”

Exodus xx,1-17

The Ten Commandments

Matthew v,7

The Sermon on the Mount

Mark viii,29

Peter declares Jesus to be the Christ

Luke i

The Virgin Birth

John xx,28

Proof of bodily resurrection

and, conversely, have you taken the Geocentrism Challenge

CAI will write a check for $1,000 to the first person who can prove that the earth revolves around the sun. (If you lose, then we ask that you make a donation to the apostolate of CAI). Obviously, we at CAI don’t think anyone CAN prove it, and thus we can offer such a generous reward. In fact, we may up the ante in the near future.

You can submit your “proofs” to our e-mail address [email protected]. We will then offer a response. Both your “proof” and our response will be posted on the CAI science page at our website. If you do not want your actual name listed, we will change your name, but your contents will be posted. If you do not want either your name or your contents posted, then you are not eligible for a reply from CAI nor the $1,000 reward. CAI will be the sole judge of whether you have successfully proven your case. But since CAI is built on its reputation of honesty and truthfulness, rest assured that if you do indeed prove your case, you will be rewarded the money.

Now a word of caution. By “proof” we mean that your explanations must be direct, observable, physical, natural, repeatable, unambiguous and comprehensive. We don’t want hearsay, popular opinion, “expert” testimony, majority vote, personal conviction, organizational rulings, superficial analogies, appeals to “simplicity,” “apologies” to Galileo, or any other indirect means of persuasion which do not qualify as scientific proof.

The $1,000 Challenge will go on indefinitely. So, if you’re up for the challenge, take your best shot!

Some may be tempted to say, “Oh this silly. Everyone knows the earth goes around the sun. What is CAI trying to prove, anyway?! What difference does it make?” Well here’s the long and short answer to that question. It directly effects how you view God, Scripture, the Church and Modern Man.

* It effects your view of Modern Man because if he is wrong about the two teachings he has proposed as fundamental to modern knowledge (Evolution and Heliocentrism) this suggests that many other things man believes about the world are suspect of falsehood. As we know, modern man has continually used the Copernican model and its variant forms (Galileo, Kepler, et al) in an effort to weaken both the authority of Scripture and the authority of the Church to hold them accountable for the way they live their lives. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: “We don’t have to take the Bible literally because, as we all know, the sun doesn’t go around the earth, but Scripture says it does. So why should I trust the Bible?”

If Scripture can be dismissed by claiming that it is mostly a collection of myths and fables from ignorant and primitive people; and if the Church can be faulted for siding with an aberrant view of cosmology; then modern man thinks he has found the ultimate excuse for relieving himself of being bound by either Scripture or the Church.

That is not all. If one examines the so-called “scientific proofs” for either Evolution or Heliocentrism, the proofs simply do not exist. Yet modern man, so desperate to find his excuses, has turned mere theories into “facts,” and has thereby convinced the world that IT, not the Church or Scripture, is the king of truth.

* It effects your view of the Church because if it can be proven that, after the Church clung so tenaciously to the view that the sun revolves around the earth, but that now the Church finally has to admit she was wrong about one of its more authoritative teachings in the seventeenth century, this does not bode well for convincing modern man to abide by the Church’s official teaching on ANY issue. Unfortunately, this is precisely the attitude we have seen from modern man. Man, because he has convinced himself that his “science” has turned Scripture into superstitious myths and fables; and the Church into a mere purveyor of the same; has become so cock-sure of himself in the little world he has created, that he not only has no need for God, he has attacked, and thinks he has destroyed, the very foundations of that belief. The modern Church, because she has been weak in fighting this issue, and indeed, ever since the days of George Terrell and Teilhard de Chardin has been infiltrated by free-thinking evolutionists, it totters to-and-fro, in one instance apologizing and condoning, and in other instances drawing back and distancing itself, resulting in no sure-footing for the world to rest upon. Meanwhile, a recent poll of young people in Europe reveals that 47% of them attribute their spiritual apathy to the difference between the theological and scientific explanations for the origin of the world. As for the Church’s previous condemnations of Copernicanism and Galileo, here are the facts: The Inquisition of 1615 in Rome declared the position of Galileo to be “scientifically false, and anti-Scriptural or heretical, and that he must renounce it” (Catholic Encyclopedia, vol 6, p. 344). Following this was a decree from the Congregation of the Index on March 5, 1616, prohibiting various heretical works, and among them were those advocating the Copernican system. As for the Pope at that time, Paul V, “there is no doubt that he fully approved the decision, having presided at the session of the Inquisition, wherein the matter was discussed and decided” (Ibid, p. 344). To Galileo’s dismay, the next Pope, Urban VIII, would not annul the judgment of the Inquisition. The Encyclopedia concludes: “That both these pontiffs [Paul V and Urban VIII] were convinced anti-Copernicans cannot be doubted, nor that they believed the Copernican system to be unscriptural and desired its suppression. The question is, however, whether either of them condemned the doctrine ex cathedra. This, it is clear, they never did” (Ibid, p. 345). So despite what anyone says, the Catholic Church has never endorsed the Copernican theory and no pope has ever annulled the decrees of Paul V or Urban VIII. The only thing the Church has done is apologized for the treatment of Galileo in a 1992 address by John Paul II to the Pontifical Academy of Science.

* It effects your view of Scripture. Scripture is very clear that the earth is stationary and that the sun, moon and stars revolve around it. (By the way, in case you’re wondering, “flat-earthers” are not accepted here, since Scripture does not teach a flat earth, nor did the Fathers teach it). If there was only one or two places where the Geocentric teaching appeared in Scripture, one might have the license to say that those passages were just incidental and really didn’t reflect the teaching of Scripture at large. But the fact is that Geocentrism permeates Scripture. Here are some of the more salient passages (Sirach 43:2-5; 43:9-10; 46:4; Psalm 19:5-7; 104:5; 104:19; 119:90; Ecclesiastes 1:5; 2 Kings 20:9-11; 2 Chronicles 32:24; Isaiah 38:7-8; Joshua 10:12-14; Judges 5:31; Job 9:7; Habakkuk 3:11; (1 Esdras 4:12); James 1:12). I could list many more, but I think these will suffice.

Now, of course, someone will immediately object: “Well, we don’t have to interpret these passages literally.” Says who? The Church has made no dogmatic teaching saying that we don’t have to take these Scriptures literally. In fact, Leo XIII taught in Providentissimus Deus (1893) that, in the first instance, Scripture MUST be interpreted literally, unless there is some compelling reason to interpret it otherwise.

In fact, I find it quite puzzling that Catholics, who would die for a literal interpretation of the Scripture “This is my body” in Matthew 26:26; or “unless a man is born of water and the Spirit” in John 3:5; or “upon this rock I will build my church” in Matthew 16:18; or “he who sins you shall forgive they are forgiven” in John 20:23, suddenly become so anti-literal when even clearer passages (i.e., those teaching Geocentrism) permeate Scripture. A common epithet foisted upon Catholics who disbelieve in Evolution and Heliocentrism is that they have “a Protestant mind-set,” based on the prevailing opinion that some Protestants are known to read the Bible more literally. Yet isn’t it ironic that to the Protestant mind it is the CATHOLIC who maintains the crassly literal interpretation of Scripture when, for example, passages such as Matthew 26:26 are interpreted by the Catholic Church to mean that we actually eat Jesus’ body — something absolutely repulsive to Protestants.

So it seems that the issues before us are not those revolving around whether one is Catholic or Protestant; rather, it’s a matter of which Scriptures someone decides to interpret literally and which he decides not to interpret literally. Of course, that polarity leaves the whole thing wide open for discussion, which is precisely what we are seeking to do at CAI (except the passages that have been dogmatized by the Church).

* Finally, it also effects your view of God because God says that, even though for Him all things are possible (Matt 19:26), there is one thing that is absolutely impossible for Him: and that is to lie (Titus 1:2). Again, if we are to base our understanding of a passage, such as Matthew 26:26, on the precise literal meaning of Jesus’ words because we believe that He actually said what He meant and could not lie to us, then why do some people find it so easy to read the above passages which speak about a stationary earth and a moving sun as mere figures of speech? The only reason is that people believe science has proven that the earth goes around the sun. If they are right then, of course, we would have to interpret those passages figuratively.

But the $64,000 question is: Are they right? Mind you, this cannot simply be a case of saying that the Heliocentric model works. Mathematically speaking, as several astronomers have told me, one could make Jupiter the center of the universe and work out a mathematical model in which all the motions of the heavenly bodies are accounted for, but a mathematical model is not necessarily reality (which is precisely the problem with modern science, since much of it is mere mathematical hypothesis, not necessarily physical reality).

The main question they have to answer is: Can it be proven, by direct and irrefutable scientific evidence, that the Heliocentric system is the ONLY viable system to understand the universe. I can safely tell you that the answer to that question is an unqualified NO, and thus I don’t make the “CAI $1000 Challenge” lightly. Even the more astute heliocentric physicists have admitted as much. As the famous physicist Hans Reichenbach has said: “Here lies one of the reasons which led the scientists to accept the Copernican system, even though it must be conceded that, from the modern standpoint, practically identical results could be obtained by means of a somewhat revised Ptolemaic system” (From Copernicus to Einstein, p. 18). Hence, even if there is a possibility that the Heliocentric system is wrong and the Geocentric right, then it would behoove Scriptural exegetes to reserve their opinion on the passages of Scripture which teach Geocentrism, for science has not proven their case against them.

By the same token, did the Church seek advice and counsel from science when she, after interpreting Matthew 26:26, took a dogmatic stand on its literal meaning? Of course not, for science had nothing to offer in the way of irrefutable proof that Transubstantiation could not occur. In the same way, science has no irrefutable proof that the earth revolves around the sun, and this, in my opinion, demands a literal interpretation of the Geocentric passages in Scripture. If someday science can prove, irrefutably, that the earth indeed goes around the sun, then we will understand all those passages figuratively, but not until that time; and it is my opinion that we will NEVER have to do so.

If someone wants to argue that the Catholic Church takes Matthew 26:26 literally because the Tradition of the Church as far back as the early Fathers binds us to do so; well, the same can be said about Geocentrism, since all of the Fathers, without exception, were Geocentrists, even in the face of several Greek astronomers (Aristarchus of Samos; Heraclides of Pontus) who were already advocating Heliocentrism one thousand years before Copernicus.

So, if you’re so inclined, take your best shot! We’re laying our reputation on the line in order to bring this vital truth to the world, and we at CAI have the courage to do so.

Robert Sungenis
Catholic Apologetics International
May 7, 2002

sounds like these people need the flat earth society

221

another short day… i left at 11:30 this morning because i finished up all the work there was to do, and they said they wouldn’t have any more until at least tomorrow. massoud is back, but so far there has been no change in the network, apart from the fact that the colour and black and white composite printers are working intermittently. i’ve discovered that the really old mac – the tower without USB – actually has more RAM than the newer old mac – the imac – which means that there are a few jobs that i can work on on the imac, but if i want to send the job for plates i have to do it from the tower because otherwise it prints the fonts incorrectly in spite of the fact that the right fonts are activated.

indirectly courtesy My Free Implants for women and men…

courtesy Chinese chimpanzee quits smoking after 16 years… now the question i have is who started the chipanzee smoking in the first place?

interesting geeky things to do with google that aren’t your everyday googlewhacks. (i think i got this from , but i’m not sure…)

Hydra Banner
You’re a hydra. You have many different outlooks on life, and know how to utilize each one to make the best of any situation. Others may mistake this for hypocrisy or even insanity, but you know yourself better than that. Indecision is your greatest flaw. Your alignment tends slightly towards *evil*.
What mythical beast are you? brought to you by Quizilla

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it seems like just the other day there were so many links on my desktop that i had to update in order to clear them off, and there’s already a whole pile of new links, and i have to update again.

i finally got in touch with moe’s friend kim, who set me up with a counsellor to help me deal with PTSD, and she re-encouraged me to apply for SSI disability again, despite the fact that they’ve already turned me down twice. she says they always deny everyone three times. i wonder how the people who really can’t work end up getting through the whole thing. also she says that they start accumulating money for you starting the first time you apply, so when they do actually accept your application you get a large lump sum that’s all the accumulated money from the first time you applied… and it’s already been two and a half years since the first time i applied… if i apply again, and again (emphasis on "if"), i’m going to buy a computer or something with my first check… although it would be a good thing for me to consider, because i can work while on disability, and there’s free health care coverage which i don’t currently have. of course i’ve never actually needed health care coverage, except for that one time… but half a million in medical bills for 2 months of brain surgery and hospital care is a pretty big exception…

work is work… massoud had to go back to iran for something or another, and he left the network in a workable, but different and not entirely put together state. there’s no word when he’s going to be back. i left at noon yesterday, and at 3:45 today because there wasn’t anything for me to do. also i spent a whole bunch of time doing bindery and cutting jobs because there was no typesetting. majid has been being really nice to me, but he’s been arguing with greg when he thinks i’m not listening. today greg said that he couldn’t do a job because of restrictions caused by the press, and majid said that he was tired of hearing greg’s excuses and he would be hiring a new press operator soon, and training them himself… <shudder> the mere thought of having to break in a new press operator, especially one who has been "trained" by majid, is enough to make me want to quit now.

tomorrow i’m running sound for the hurricane survivors’ benefit concert.


Societies worse off ‘when they have God on their side’
By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.

According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.

The study counters the view of believers that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society.

It compares the social peformance of relatively secular countries, such as Britain, with the US, where the majority believes in a creator rather than the theory of evolution. Many conservative evangelicals in the US consider Darwinism to be a social evil, believing that it inspires atheism and amorality.

Many liberal Christians and believers of other faiths hold that religious belief is socially beneficial, believing that it helps to lower rates of violent crime, murder, suicide, sexual promiscuity and abortion. The benefits of religious belief to a society have been described as its “spiritual capital”. But the study claims that the devotion of many in the US may actually contribute to its ills.

The paper, published in the Journal of Religion and Society, a US academic journal, reports: “Many Americans agree that their churchgoing nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example for an increasingly sceptical world.

“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.

“The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.”

Gregory Paul, the author of the study and a social scientist, used data from the International Social Survey Programme, Gallup and other research bodies to reach his conclusions.

He compared social indicators such as murder rates, abortion, suicide and teenage pregnancy.

The study concluded that the US was the world’s only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional. Mr Paul said that rates of gonorrhoea in adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries. The US also suffered from “ uniquely high” adolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, and adolescent abortion rates, the study suggested.

Mr Paul said: “The study shows that England, despite the social ills it has, is actually performing a good deal better than the USA in most indicators, even though it is now a much less religious nation than America.”

He said that the disparity was even greater when the US was compared with other countries, including France, Japan and the Scandinavian countries. These nations had been the most successful in reducing murder rates, early mortality, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion, he added.

Mr Paul delayed releasing the study until now because of Hurricane Katrina. He said that the evidence accumulated by a number of different studies suggested that religion might actually contribute to social ills. “I suspect that Europeans are increasingly repelled by the poor societal performance of the Christian states,” he added.

He said that most Western nations would become more religious only if the theory of evolution could be overturned and the existence of God scientifically proven. Likewise, the theory of evolution would not enjoy majority support in the US unless there was a marked decline in religious belief, Mr Paul said.

“The non-religious, proevolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator.

“The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted.”


Rep. DeLay Calls Indictment ‘Baseless’

By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – A Texas grand jury on Wednesday indicted Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates on charges of conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, forcing the House majority leader to temporarily relinquish his post. A defiant DeLay insisted he was innocent and called the prosecutor a “partisan fanatic.”

“I have done nothing wrong. … I am innocent,” DeLay told a Capitol Hill news conference during which he criticized the Texas prosecutor, Ronnie Earle, repeatedly. DeLay said the charges amounted to “one of the weakest and most baseless indictments in American history.”

In Austin, Earle told reporters, “Our job is to prosecute abuses of power and to bring those abuses to the public.” He has noted previously that he has prosecuted many Democrats in the past.

Republicans at the Capitol selected Rep. Roy Blunt (news, bio, voting record), R-Mo., the current Republican whip — No. 3 in the leadership ranks — to fill the vacancy temporarily.

Reps. David Dreier of California, the chairman of the House Rules Committee, and Eric Cantor of Virginia, the chief deputy whip, will assist Blunt with some of the majority leader duties.

Republicans expressed their backing for DeLay, the first House leader to be indicted in office in at least a century.

“He will fight this and we give him our utmost support,” said Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois following a private GOP meeting.

DeLay said he was certain the indictment would be dismissed and shrugged off the charges as a “political witch hunt” designed to drive a wedge in the Republican ranks.

“If the Democrats think we’re going to go crawl in a hole and not accomplish our agenda, I wish they could have been a fly on the wall” of the closed-door meeting, DeLay said after the session.

The indictment accused DeLay, 58, of a conspiracy to violate Texas election law, which prohibits the use of corporate donations to advocate the election or defeat of political candidates. Prosecutors say the alleged scheme worked in a roundabout way, with the donations going to a DeLay-founded political committee, then to the Republican National Committee and eventually to GOP candidates in Texas.

The indictment stems from a plan DeLay helped set in motion in 2001 to help Republicans win control of the Texas House in the 2002 elections for the first time since Reconstruction.

Indicted with DeLay were two of his associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay’s national political committee.

The grand jury’s foreman, William Gibson, told The Associated Press that Earle didn’t pressure members one way or the other. “Ronnie Earle didn’t indict him. The grand jury indicted him,” Gibson told The Associated Press in an interview at his home.

Gibson, 76, a retired sheriff’s deputy in Austin, said of DeLay: “He’s probably doing a good job. I don’t have anything against him. Just something happened.”

The Texas Republican temporarily stepped down from the No. 2 leadership post that he had held since 2002, as required by House rules.

Blunt said he was confident DeLay would be cleared of the allegations and return to his leadership job.

Criminal conspiracy is a state felony punishable by six months to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

At the White House, press secretary Scott McClellan said the president still considered DeLay — a fellow Texan — a friend and an effective leader in Congress.

“Congressman DeLay is a good ally, a leader who we have worked closely with to get things done for the American people,” McClellan said. “I think the president’s view is that we need to let the legal process work.”

The indictment puts the Republicans — who control the White House, Senate and House — on the defensive. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., also is fending off questions of ethical improprieties. And less than a week ago, a former White House official was arrested in the investigation of Jack Abramoff, a high-powered lobbyist and fundraiser.

The indictment accused DeLay of a conspiracy to “knowingly make a political contribution” in violation of Texas law outlawing corporate contributions. It alleged that DeLay’s Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee accepted $155,000 from companies, including Sears Roebuck, and placed the money in an account.

The PAC then wrote a $190,000 check to an arm of the Republican National Committee and provided the committee a document with the names of Texas State House candidates and the amounts they were supposed to received in donations, the indictment said.

The indictment included a copy of the check.

The charge against the second-ranking, and most assertive Republican leader came on the final day of the grand jury’s term. It followed earlier indictments of a state political action committee founded by DeLay and three of his political associates.

DeLay’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said he preferred a trial as soon as possible, at least by the end of the year. Asked when DeLay would turn himself in, DeGuerin said, “I’m going to keep from having Tom DeLay taken down in handcuffs, photographed and fingerprinted. That’s uncalled for.”

The grand jury action is expected to have immediate consequences in the House, where DeLay is largely responsible for winning passage of the Republican legislative program.

Democrats have kept up a crescendo of criticism of DeLay’s ethics, citing three times last year that the House ethics committee admonished DeLay for his conduct.

“The criminal indictment of Majority Leader Tom Delay is the latest example that Republicans in Congress are plagued by a culture of corruption at the expense of the American people,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Democratic chairman Howard Dean cited the problems of DeLay, Frist and Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff at the center of questions about the leak of a CIA operative’s name.

“The Republican leadership in Washington is now spending more time answering questions about ethical misconduct than doing the people’s business,” Dean said.

At the White House, McClellan bristled at a question about Democratic claims that Republicans have grown arrogant in their use of power after years of controlling the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.

McClellan said the Republican Party has made policy that has improved the lives of Americans, and the White House stands by that record.

DeLay retains his seat representing Texas’ 22nd congressional district, suburbs southwest of Houston.

As a sign of loyalty to DeLay after the grand jury returned indictments against three of his associates, House Republicans last November repealed a rule requiring any of their leaders to step aside if indicted. The rule was reinstituted in January after lawmakers returned to Washington from the holidays fearing the repeal might create a backlash from voters.

Associated Press Writers Kelly Shannon and April Castro in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.

Do Unnatural Acts Cause Natural Disasters? Or; Why Pat Robertson’s an Idiot

Reclaim The Swastika

on a different note, sledgehammer-operated keyboard

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it’s 10:20 pm and moe’s not home yet. she’s usually home by this time, and she’s not answering her cell… i hope everything’s okay… (it is… it’s now 10:40 pm and she just walked in)

so i started my job in may. shortly after i started, we did a job for pagliacci pizza which was a 2 colour, 2 sided take out menu. majid said that we’ve done this before, and i should set it up 4-up on 11×17, work and turn so that we can save a plate, so that’s what i did. the next day there’s a big fight between greg, the press operator and majid which goes on for most of the morning. the fight is over the paper that majid bought for the pagliacci job. it’s recycled glossy stock, which builds up way more static than non-recycled gloss (although that and the fact that it’s recycled are the ONLY differences), and thus it sticks together and won’t run smoothly through the press… which makes it practically impossible to print an 11×17 job. after reprinting the job twice over the next 4 days, finally majid decides that we can print the job if he cuts the paper in half and i re-set the job 2-up rather than 4 up… which makes three plates rather than two.

the next time we did the job, around the end of june, i would have expected majid to have learned that either he not buy recycled paper or he should charge more for the job if it is to be printed on recycled paper. i would have expected majid to have learned that if he bought recycled paper, that the job shoudn’t be set 4-up work and turn, despite the fact that it saves a plate… and i have a brain injury for god’s sake! but no… the same fight happened between greg and majid – although we only had to reprint the job once this time before he figured it out this time…

the next time we did the job, around the middle of august, it was the same deal: 11×17 4-up, recycled paper, big fight between greg and majid that takes most of the morning, two reprints of the job…

we just got the job in again today… guess how he wants me to set it up? 11×17 4-up. i ask him what paper he’s bought for the job. recycled gloss.

8-/

either he’s INCREDIBLY stupid, or something else is going on that i’m not aware of…

my new mantra is going to be “i want to quit my job, i want to quit my job, i want to quit my job…”

UPDATE i’m running sound for the hurricane survivors’ benefit concert at the Hale’s Palladium saturday. appearing will be Jamais Trop Tard, The Canote Brothers and Les Femmes d’Enfer at 3:00 pm, and The Honky Tonk Revue, How’s Bayou, The Rolling Blackouts, The Dangerous Flares and Jo Miller at 8:00 pm. come down to 4301 Leary Way NW for sausages, gumbo, red beans and rice, beer, and more music than you can shake a stick at. $15 suggested donation.

… all at the same time… 8)

here is a mirror of the page you get when you’re in the united arab emirates and you try to access a url that is somehow in violation of whatever kind of rules they have about such things in the united arab emirates… you realise, of course, that as well as seeing this web page, if you’re in the united arab emirates, the caliph of securing internet from horny anti-islamic bastards like you now has your IP address and there’s a chance that, if whatever site it was that you were trying to look at is heinous enough, you’ll be getting a visit from the goon squad of the ministry of securing internet from horny anti-islamic bastards like you… rather like they want to turn the US into eventually…

waveland is what the kingdom of heaven will look like… and, you know, i think it probably is…

Me: well shit… a conversation with God.. and an unplanned, but entirely welcome invitation to join ‘s Great Evolution Debate.

more fun with God

the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists™ of which i would probably be a member if i actually had luxuriant flowing hair… and was a scientist…

they filmed a giant squid!! for real!!

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i’m stuck in my office because moe’s current netflix movie is one that i really don’t want to see, which is "The Ring 2"… 8/

on the other hand, that means that i get to listen to my new CD, which is the overture to Kolas Breugnon, Second and Third Piano Concerti, and The Commedians, by Dmitry Kablevsky. i got it because it has the commedians on it, but once i had it i realised that i have played kolas breugnon as well, so it’s even more cool… and i’d be willing to bet that even the most non-musical among you have heard at least one piece of music on this CD: the 2nd movement of the commedians – Galop – is one of those pieces of music that have numerous saturday morning cartoons based around it.

the mac is finally reformatted… i bit the bullet and moved to the machine with no USB for 2 days while i wiped and reformatted the newer of the old macs, but now it’s running a lot more smoothly, and it doesn’t take 20 minutes to boot up… i don’t know what was on the disk, but for some reason, when you rebooted the machine, it took about 15 minutes of a flashing blue world icon before it even started the boot sequence, and then it flashed the “i can’t find the system” icon for another 5 minutes or so before it actually found the system and booted up… i low level formatted the drive and reinstalled the operating system and it still happened, but then i zapped the PRAM and that did it, which leads me to believe that some time in the unknown past, somebody who didn’t know what they were doiing had access to a system-level utility that allowed just anyone to set the esoteric and unknowable settings in the PRAM, which they did, before conveniently deleting whatever utility it was. in any event, it doesn’t do that any more. i really like having ATM on my machines, because it means that i can have all the fonts in a central location, and use the same font files for every workstation. all i had to do was connect to the network and upload the font archive and i was up and running.

massoud has been "doing things" to the network… i’m not sure of everything he’s doing, but the black and white and colour composite printers alternately work a lot faster, or they don’t work at all, but they don’t tell you they’re not working, they just don’t work. i’m not sure if i like it or not. also he’s rigging up an exchange server (gag)…

i took the price list for pipes off of the hybrid elephant site today because i don’t know when i’m going to get my workshop set up, and i’ve gotten three inquires about them in the past month… great… just when i start to attract some paying customers i have to shut down the most lucrative part of my business because i don’t have room to set up my workshop… 8/

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this is the
OFFICIAL ANNOUCEMENT OF THE
PUBLIC RITUAL VEGETABLE SACRIFICE
9 October, 2005, 1:00 pm, eXit-38

now last year, i was _THE ONLY PERSON_ to show up for the public ritual vegetable sacrifice, so unless you have extenuating circumstances that prevent your attending (with the exception of those Tinites who live in other states) i expect to see you in attendance, otherwise bad things could happen… like a cancellation of future vegetable sacrifices all together. you have been warned.

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First let me say that I love my country and all that it has…or had…to offer. But my love for my country is an adult relationship type of love. That means that even though I love her, I understand that she is not perfect. I also understand that she has problems, and I do what I can to help her work thru them.

I also understand that when she gets sick, she needs me there even more than usual. But this particular form of sickness is the kind that she will have to admit to first before anyone is able to truly help her.

It is a sickness that is somewhat akin to an addiction. That is something I know plenty about. I was a Chicago Cubs fan for many years…

America’s Battered Wife Syndrome

by Gail Thomas

Dear America,

As a friend of the family I can’t sit back and watch you do this to yourself without saying something. Consider this a long distance intervention.

Your man is no good. He treats you like crap, lies to you, abuses you, bullies you, exploits you, takes your money. As a friend I want to tell you that you deserve better. You deserve a person that treats you with respect, cares about your welfare, and your children’s welfare, but that’s not George and it never will be.

Do you tell yourself that he’ll stop, or that it won’t get worse? He won’t ever stop, every insult, injury and death he has caused are a line that once crossed will never be uncrossed. Forget the dream. You will never have the American dream with George. You have to forget about what might have been, what George might have been, and realise that at the end of the day you are what you do, and look at George’s track record…

Notice how he’s alienated all your friends? Who can blame them, they can’t understand why you stay with him when he treats you like shit and embarrasses you in front of everybody. The more his public behaviour overshadows yours, the more doubt creeps over them, they wonder if they knew you as well as they thought they did. You seem to have changed – if you condone his behaviour- and your silence can create the impression that you do. People are more inclined to take things at face value when they feel alienated. Your friends remember the good times you had together, the heroic battles you fought together, all of the intricate interweavings between their families and yours through time and space. Do you even recognise yourself anymore America? He is a drunken, coke-addled loser and he always will be, you should kick him out of your house today before he can destroy any more members of your family, your history, your culture, before he decimates your bank account so irretrievably that China and Saudi Arabia repossess all your stuff.

YOU CAN DO BETTER! You are an amazing country, beautiful, interesting, funny, positively glamorous, you wouldn’t stay single for five minutes, you know that suitors would be competing for your affections and any one of them would be ten times better than George. And how can you stand his god-awful Stepford’s answer to Marie-Antoinette mother, piping up with another casual atrocity every time she opens her mouth.

Because of George and his friends global warming is now upon us – I know what it has cost your family already, combined with George’s complete uselessness and indifference in a crisis. It would probably now be possible for a mathematician to calculate exactly how much of all of our futures we are losing for every minute you stay with that sick, twisted, idiot.

I see you doing what everyone in your position does – you end up looking to the perpetrator for comfort because theres no one else left, and look at how he reacts for Christ’s sake, look at what he did to New Orleans, and you should know that yet again he did it in front of all of your friends, all of us saw nothing happening whilst thousands died, all of us heard Ray Negen and the president of Jefferson Parish (I must heard him 30+ times now and I still cry every time) and all of us heard George’s bloody mother. We have been trying to help and he won’t let us. We are all appalled and aghast, it breaks our hearts to see him hurting you like this, and you not fighting back, you just take it and take it as it slowly spirals down into the pits of hell. What will it take America, will you let him kill you before you’ll kick him out? This is not rhetoric America, he is killing you every day you stay with him. If I had described your relationship with George to you back when you were still with Bill you never would have believed me. He degrades you in little increments, every day he erodes your assets as well as your dignity, your reputation, your legacy and your life America.

All of our TV crews were rescuing survivors as they filmed the devastation because there was nobody else there to help them, all of us saw the victims being treated like some sudden new insurgency, with suspicion and hostility. Those poor people, the heart & soul of New Orleans, the very people whose culture and history made New Orleans beloved around the world, He just left your brothers and sisters to die. Can you really continue in your relationship with George after this? There is a degree at which cognitive dissonance becomes outright delusion. He is a maniac, he is destroying your life, please, please leave him, just leave him, only you have the power to make it stop.

He is selling out your family business, if you let him continue like this how are you going to live? How are you going to feed your children, what happens if you get ill? Everything he has ever touched has turned to shit, he puts any idiot that’ll kiss his ass into positions of power and New Orleans is the result. Kick him out America! Do it today! I know it feels like you would be leaping into a void, but I promise you, you will be leaping out of one. Your friends will come back as soon as they see you are back to your old self, they really miss you. I know that less than 36% of your heart is still in it. Go with the 67% of you, that 36% is just that vestigial, primitive part of the brain that clings to the familiar no matter how badly the familiar sucks.

It all comes down to you, America. I know no-one likes other people passing comment on their relationships but this is an extreme situation. You are in very real danger, he is hurting you everyday and he is hurting us, your friends as well. But only you can make it stop. We are all rooting for you, although we don’t get to talk to you very often anymore, because he cuts us off from you. We are on your side, we will all be over the moon the day you finally kick him out. You know he really should be thrown in jail for the things he has done to you. Him and all of his gangster friends.

Please, please, do it America, you know I am right. If not for yourself then do it for your brothers and sisters and children. Do it before he kills any more of your family or anyone else’s. We are all really worried for your welfare.

Your friend,

Gail

Gail Thomas is am a British/ Australian dual national living in Sydney with her American partner. Her website is 12thharmonic.com

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i don’t really feel like updating, but it’s been a week and i’ve got so many links on my desktop that things are getting crowded… 8/

massoud, majid’s brother, the so-called "networking expert", had a question for me today. he was "buying a server system for a company" (God knows who, although i think i have a fairly good idea, and God help whoever it is) and wanted to know what X and O stood for…

i shook off my first inclination, which was to say that X was kisses and O was hugs (although it took longer for me to shake it off than it would have before my injury) and asked him to show me what he was talking about. he took me to his laptop, where he showed me the following, which i have reproduced simply with HTML:

  Windows 2000 Windows ME Windows XP
some server code O O X
some other server code O X X

if he doesn’t know what X and O stand for, i wonder if he knows what ETH0 stands for… 8/

today pete, the other "graphic artist", asked what "operating system" i was using on the PC. i told him that PC has windows 2000 on it, but it was my impression that it and XP were enough alike that it was pretty difficult to get lost. he poked around for a few more minutes and then asked me how to get to web mail… so i showed him that web mail was already started, through firefox, which i chose from the task bar. he was somewhat taken aback and said that he had never used "those extra toolbars" (which come with firefox, not the OS) before…

he’s like my mother-in-law… doesn’t know the difference between an application and the operating system.

we’re running out of room on the web mail server, and majid’s only "solution" has been to install yet another email client to download the messages from a month ago, which he’s too anal to delete. we have three years worth of email in various places on the network because "there are times in this industry when people decide they’re not going to pay for work… we have to protect ourselves…"

we did a business card for a guy who has an office in bellevue and an office in england. the most recent set of changes came in via email this morning, which i printed and added to the job box. the email said that after a change in the phone number, they approved the job to print so that someone could pick up the finished cards on friday. i made the change and output plates for the job. later on, majid yelled at me because the phone number was different from the one on the proof copy that he found inside the box… but he hadn’t seen the change, or the new proof copy, which were stapled together and paper clipped to the work order on the outside of the job box, right in front of him!!!

i worked late today. we were doing 5 business cards for a company whose business card layout was 8 up, in spite of the fact that it could be 10 up, but majid has said that he doesn’t want me to mess around with files that already exist, and this one already existed 8 up, so i left it alone, just duplicated the layers necessary to typeset new business cards. so now the business cards have been approved to print and majid says that the layout is wrong… these cards don’t bleed, so they can be printed 10 up, so i stay late to make the changes, despite the fact that our press operator is going to be gone until monday…

meanwhile, majid, massoud and "mike the idiot" were all in my (very small and cramped) office space trying to get one of mike-the-idiot’s reformatted PCs to work – it won’t boot at all, it just keeps cycling between the POST and trying to load windoesn’t, but never quite gets there. massoud is digging through the guts of the computer on the floor while majid and mike-the-idiot have a conversation about macs and me in farsi. i don’t understand a word of farsi, but i understand when both majid and mike-the-idiot say things like "typesetter" and "graphic artist" and "bruce", all of which they are both saying with great regularity. at one point i get the very strong impression that mike-the-idiot was saying something along the lines of "majid, you’re the business owner… if you say no more macs, use windows, bruce will have to accept it, otherwise he won’t have a job."

now mind you, i don’t understand a word of farsi, so i could be way off base here, but even still… i’m in the room here guys, doing stupid stuff that you didn’t want done originally, but then changed your mind about. if you’re going to have a conversation about me, at least be polite enough take it in the other room, or have it in a language i understand! and for that matter, i hope he does say "no more macs, use windoesn’t" because that will give me the excuse i need to quit right then and there. i’d love to see his face as i punch out and walk away with no notice…

bush incompetence

in other news, the fremont philharmonic is playing at the wallingford wurst festival from noon until 1:15 pm, saturday. be there or be oblong.

here’s something strange… i’ve been nominated for the 8 Hunks of Hanukkah, whatever that means… go vote, or something…

moe and i went and saw The Bobs perform at the triple door last saturday. i’m still getting over seeing dan bob instead of joe bob, but moe has been a fan for almost 20 years, and she’s seen a lot more bobs come and go than i have. it was cool to see matthew bob after the show, because i work with him now, and he’s famous… 8) somebody in charge of mailing things from the bobs’ mailing list sent me a copy of the 20/20 CD, which was entirely unexpected (i already have one copy of it), but cool in a confusing sort of way.

amusing cthulhu license plate… i wonder how they got it past the virginia DMV?

bush asks condaleeza rice if he can go potty during a meeting of the UN security council…

U.S. CONCENTRATION CAMPS – FEMA AND THE REX 84 PROGRAM

Physician who told Cheney to go Fuck Himself Lost his Home in Katrina, Detained, Cuffed by Cheney’s M-16-carrying Goons

"We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did." quoth Rep. Baker of Baton Rouge

bushy george declared a state of emergency in louisianna before hurricane katrina hit… but he didn’t declare a state of emergency in the parishes that were hardest hit by hurricane katrina until it was all over… WTF?!?

Bush Not Aware That His Own FEMA Director No Longer Works For Him – maybe you know something i don’t… 8/

Halliburton Gets Contract To Pry Gold Fillings From New Orleans Corpses’ Teeth – which sounds a lot more shocking if you don’t realise that it’s from The Onion… 8)

i wonder why i haven’t heard of jeezis-is-lord dot com before? maybe it’s because "THIS WEBSITE IS BEING SYSTEMATICALLY BANNED!"… or maybe it’s just boring and predictable.

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this morning i was listening to the radio on the way to work and i happened to hear the fab faux perform “Tomorrow Never Knows”, and an interesting thing happened to me. i actually heard the lyrics in a new way, and instead of going to work thinking that today was going to be a repeat of yesterday, where nothing would get done and i would become even more frustrated with my state as a wage slave, i went into work having “layed down all thought, surrendered to the void” “that you may see the meaning of within”… and i noticed that exactly the same things happened to me today whether i felt that way or not, but because i “surrendered thought” before going to work, i found that majid’s idiocy, which is getting worse and worse as time goes on, didn’t affect me at all…

yes, majid wants me to use a G3 PowerPC that doesn’t have any USB ports while i’m reformatting my G3 imac – in between working on all the jobs that have been piling up for the past week while we battle with a computer network that doesn’t network – which would be good enough if it weren’t for the fact that it has a screen that’s too dark, but he hasn’t made any noises about going to indesign, especially since all of the jobs are located on the network and for some unknown reason, indesign wants things to be local otherwise “bad things”™ happen – crashing with occasional loss of data and/or network – to indesign… but you know, so what? he’s bound and determined to do what he wants to do, regardless of how mind-numbingly stupid it is, regardless of how much i complain, so why should i care? he doesn’t pay me enough to care, so i’m just going to stop.

meanwhile, this is ganesha chaturti, so happy ganesha chaturti everyone!

from the “christians”, another reason not to be “christian”: "god’s" mercy evident in katrina’s wake. meanwhile, senator landrieu implores president to "relieve unmitigated suffering;" end FEMA’s "abject failures".

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i really need to find a better job. this one sucks SO BAD

the mac on my desk, a charcoal G3 imac from about 1999, is dying. majid just recently bought a new mac, one of those cool LCD monitors that has no box, just a mouse and keyboard that plug into the back, and a slot to put in CDs and stuff, but i don’t know whether he can install Os9.x on it, much less whether he wants to… and, of course, the colour printer and the black and white printer are both old enough that the manufacturers don’t make drivers for OsX, and have no intention of doing so, so the new mac is pretty much useless at this point. we also have a PowerPC G3 desktop box, which is likely going to end up on my desk when the one that’s there now finally bites the dust, but that hasn’t happened yet because there’s still software to be installed, printers to be connected to and the little minor detail that IT DOESN’T HAVE USB, which means that i have to put up with an obnoxious mouse with a ball that doesn’t work well at all, or use my optical mouse without installing the USB-only drivers for it, which means that i’ll get none of the “extra features” like one-button copy and paste, or three functioning buttons, that are the main reason why i use it.

and majid’s brother, massoud, has finally shown up – majid promised me that he’d be here on the 18th of august – but instead of being a networking expert, as majid had lead me to believe, so far he’s done nothing but sit around and poke through web sites and help majid bring in two “new” monitors that he bought “reconditioned” at best-buy (for $80 apiece), and then help majid carry one of them out again the same day because it caught fire when he turned it on…

and that’s not to mention the fact that i’ve got a huge pile of jobs that have been stacking up for the past 3 days while i battle with the computer to keep it alive, which majid and farah are getting more and more uptight about, but not uptight enough to do anything OTHER than blame the guy who is supposed to be doing them, but instead is doing a job he should be getting paid 5 times as much for so that he can do the job eventually…

and when i actually am able to work on a job, one of the more recent ones has been to make a PDF from a freehand file that we’re sending to "mike-the-idiot" (who doesn’t even support macs at all), but i can’t do it because for some reason the PDF comes out with no background, in spite of the fact that it clearly has a background in freehand… which frustrates the hell out of me, and makes me look like an idiot, even though i’m sure anybody who tried it would have similar difficulties.

and when i complain about jobs that get changed without customer approval “because that’s what they’ve always had before” (in spite of the fact that it’s not what they proofed, and not what we have a signed release to print from the customer, and, when the job is printed – incorrectly – the customer rightly refuses to pay for), i get told that i’d better get used to using indesign and windows, because that’s the direction we’re going to go, and if i don’t like it, my resignation is welcome on majid’s desk at any time…

WAGE SLAVERY SUCKS!

also, more i am a terrorist links:
Bush’s Answer to Crisis: Don’t Buy Gas
Taxpayers Foot Bill for Bush’s Gas Guzzling Trips
Bush’s Approval Ratings At All-Time Low

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a few things that i’ve got collected during the past week or so:

boingboing gets copied by ken schram, but gets no credit, probably because they’re boingboing…

i found out what happened to joe bob, had a couple of performing groups i work with get mentioned in a round about way, and read an article by richard bob about auditioning a new bob…

more bush being bush, when he has ample opportunities to act like a president, instead he’s cussing, being rude and flipping people off.

much chaos at work, but i’m too tired to complain. to say that i want to quit would be an understatement. i’ll probably update more tomorrow.

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i wonder why people always have to blame someone else when they cause a problem. example: i got the following note on the windshield of my car the other day:

Thanks! due to your idiot parking skills, i needed a can opener to get in my car – you left less than 6″ room between cars.

when i parked, i parked dead in the center of the parking space, with plenty of room on either side. there was a car on the driver’s side, which i parked with enough room for the driver (me) to exit normally, without squeezing. on the other side, there was nobody. no car was parked on the passenger side of my car when i parked. when i returned. the car that was parked on the driver’s side of my car was still there, and there was a car parked on the passenger’s side of my car, which had not been there when i parked, but was parked dead in the center of the parking space, with plenty of room to open the doors, so i’ve got to assume that the note was left by someone who parked crooked in the passenger’s side space and couldn’t get out, and they blamed me for their parking job.

why they decided to blame me is beyond my ability to figure out, but it’s a good thing they left before i got back, because if i had seen who wrote the note, i probably would have given them something to complain about… like a key down the side of their car, or a nice big door dent… 8/

i couldn’t resist…

via , posted this rant in

Sermon for August 25, 2005
‘Listen up, you Christo-Fascist bullies’

——————————————————————————–
You Apostles Of Perpetual Psychosis — It’s High Time Somebody Called You Out.

Listen up,… every last one of you Apostles of Perpetual Psychosis — it’s time that you were called out.

The time is long past due the rest of us ceased our cowering and stood up to you Christo-fascists bullies. The hour has come round that we look you straight in your bulging, true believer eyes, and told you that we’ve had it with your smugness, with your blood-drenched crusades, with your victim mentality — and with the madness begot by this cracked-brain belief system of yours, which all began (according to your sacred delusions) more than two thousand years ago, when, at the behest of a wicked cabal, a mob of mammon-worshipping, blood-lusting rabble went on a cosmic killing-spree and murdered your god.

First off, let’s get one thing straight: No one ever killed anyone’s god (not Jews, nor Romans, nor Geeks playing Dungeons and Dragons) — Although it’s time somebody nailed you, you collection of conflated failures at Christian martyrdom, to a metaphysical cross of reality.

It’s high time someone told you outright that you must be suffering from holy water on the brain, if you think we can’t see you for what you are: a klavern of counterfeit prophets waxing psychotic for other cretinous hypocrites. Also, you can cease playing the persecuted party, whenever someone stands up to you — because we’re no longer buying that ploy. Remember, you’re the ones who threw the first, epitaphic stones. It was you who labeled us a mob of Hell-bound, Satan-pimping sodomist … Although — as much fun as that sounds — I must ask you, where do you get the unmitigated gall to make such insane claims? When did the golden light of the sun abandon its position in the eastern horizon and begin rising, each morning, from out of your silly, neo-Iron Age asses?

And tell me this, you medievalist simps, you delusional, retrograde dip-shits — how is it possible that you became privy to such timeless truths — that the mind of the “One True God” is available to you, and that God’s words and wishes resonate through yawning millennia to be understood only by you — and you alone?

Looking back on the rise of you Christo-fascist bastards, I’m mortified as to how it came to be socially and politically acceptable for you to bandy such vicious and demented assertions in the public arena, without them meeting with the derision they deserve … And don’t bother going into one of your pat victim-swoons over being called on it, because when you go so far as to claim that you alone have been bestowed with the secrets of boundless creation — and that anyone who chooses not to buy into your version of events will be condemned to the torments of eternal damnation — then you can bet your fatuous asses that your asinine assertions will be ridiculed. What in the blue blazes did you expect, for us simply to fall to our collective knees before you?

Yet, I fear that’s exactly what you expect from us.

Could I suggest an alternative idea? Would you simply let the rest of us be? Would it be possible for you to keep your life-defying delusions to yourself — keep them within the airless confines of your bigotry-riddled churches and the cramped quarters of your own minds?

If that’s the way you choose to spend the passing hours of this finite life, it’s fine by me. But when you start your habitual proselytizing, then you should be prepared to be told that a great many of us think your cosmological conceptions are a steaming pile of behemoth dung.

And, while we’re on the subject, for the longest time, I’ve been wanting to tell you this: If Jesus died for my pathetic sins — then he flat-out overreacted.

What makes this situation all the more unsettling is you believe these creepy, death-enamored myths are literally true. Instead, I suggest you try the following: Rather than attempting to commune with Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the Holy Ghost (or Casper the Friendly Ghost) or the Lucky Charms Leprechaun — why don’t you attempt to channel the departed spirits of Voltaire or H.L. Mencken? There will be no otherworldly conjuring (or con jobs) required to perform this miracle: simply go to the public library and check out their books.

Once there, you might want to stop by the science section, as well, where you could happen upon a few delusion-decimating tidbits such as the following: While your bible tells you that the earth is a shade over seven thousand years old, the actual figure is (approximately) 4.6 billion years. How do you account for the slight discrepancy of say … 4,599,993,000 years? And that number is derived when calculated against the approximated age of the earth — not that of the universe, which is estimated to be between ten to twenty billion years old. You can do the math on that one, all you reality-challenged Children of the Lord.

And those aren’t the only things in your bible that just don’t add up. In your Book of Joshua (10:13) it is stated that God commanded the sun to stand still in the sky … Really now? Pardon me … but how is it possible that this omniscient god of yours, who you believe created the earth and heavens, all by his divine lonesome, didn’t realize the simple fact that the sun doesn’t revolve around the earth?

Furthermore, he was apparently ignorant of numerous smaller details as well, such as, wherein Matthew (13: 32) he identified mustard seeds as “[…] the smallest of seeds.” How can it be that the creator of the universe could have had such an embarrassing lapse of basic knowledge on the subject of botany?

And what about the many other lapses in logic (flights of fantasy that are insane by any standard, with the exception of the sublime logic found in the idiom of cartoons) such as the one about the fellow who survived, for three days and three nights, in the stomach of a monstrous fish (Jonah 1:17) — and what was up with that wacky, talking donkey in Numbers (22:28)? We’re in Looney Tunes territory now, all you highly suggestible Idiots of God. Plus, in a cartoon universe, such as the one described in the Book of Exodus, why didn’t The All-Mighty, instead of leveling plagues and pestilence upon the guilty and innocent alike in Egypt, simply, drop an ACME anvil down from heaven on the head of Pharaoh and been done with it?

Which brings up the subject of the deplorable cruelty of your deity of choice. Ergo, isn’t this a lovely, little passage from Deuteronomy (32:23-25)? “I will spend mine arrows upon them … The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.”

Then there is this lovely bit of divinely inspired baby killing and faith-based rape from Isaiah (13:9,15-18): “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger … Every one that is found shall be thrust through … Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes… and their wives ravished. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them…. [T]hey shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.”

Worse, your striving to make these pathological ravings manifest have resulted in tragic consequences. As is the case with your current, genocidal adventure in Iraq, where you believed the vengeful ghosts of the Crusades could be dispatched, dissolved in the beatific light flaring from the bombs that your holy (armchair) warrior, Commander and Chief ordered dropped from Kabul to Bagdad … In your madness, you believed you could make the citadels of the New Jerusalem manifest in Mesopotamia. Upon every bomb detonation, you were certain that the heathen hordes cowered before your righteous fury, that ghost and demon would flee back to Hell, and the wicked would trembled before your sacred fury. Now, of course, that all worked out just like you saw it in your head beforehand — didn’t it?

As we speak, your Armies of the Lord (who more closely reassemble a collection of economic conscripts) wince and stumble, blinded by blown blood and squalls of searing sand … The desert wind taunts you true believers; your visions of conquest evaporate, as the pitiless sun glares down upon the folly of yet another legion of hubristic Crusaders, who came to free the heathen hordes from their brutish ignorance — by way of relieving them of the confusing burden of their untapped wealth.

Of course, the only small recompense you ask from these monumental ingrates is unfettered access to their oil. And the only reason for that is: a purpose as exalted as yours requires a great amount of energy to sustain its radiant glory; such a selfless enterprise of holiness demands a few rewards for the long suffering Christian martyrs on the home front — because American’s God-kissed flocks of pious consumers must be permitted to sit, in perpetuity, high above the roadways of the land, serene within their over-sized pick-up trucks, SUVs, and RVs — their junk food-bloated countenances must never be darkened by want, doubt, nor self-reproach.

In accordance with this self-referential lunacy, you sermonized that Satan’s earthly emissaries, such as Hugo Chávez, should be righteously slaughtered — because he and his ilk scheme to deprive American drivers of their God-given right to the oil, which, inconveniently, happens to be located beneath lands belonging to inconsequential people. Those brown-skin, oil hoarding wretches, down in Venezuela and their false idol-clutching counterparts in Iraq, Iran, and Syria, must be taught that God, seated upon his golden throne, scorns the sight of their iniquitous ways. The Kingdom of the Lord stands before us, you proclaim … If we listen closely, we can hear the voice of God above as he counts his money. Furthermore, the era of George W. Bush has brought a new revelation: If America’s plutocratic class had even more blood money — then the Baby Jesus would smile.

The Reverend Pat Robertson, Mary Fowler — and every last one of you Apostles of Perpetual Psychosis — listen up. Given the self-evident fact that your beliefs bring little relief to your own troubled souls and have, on the whole, served to engender tragedy worldwide, don’t you think it’s time you gave it a rest for while. In other words, this is a polite way of suggesting to you that you shut your pie-in-the-sky hole and take stock of the things you’re saying — because your utterances are becoming sicker and sadder, by the hour.

If not, you could, at least, in the words, of Tom Waits, “Come down off the cross — we can use the wood.”

by Phil Rockstroh, a self-described auto-didactic, gasbag monologist, is a poet, lyricist, and philosopher bard, exiled to the island of Manhattan. He may be contacted at: [email protected].

and

Posted 8/22/2005 11:01 PM Updated 8/23/2005 1:46 PM
By Gene Puskar, AP

Pat Robertson calls for assassination of Hugo Chavez
VIRGINIA BEACH (AP) — Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested on-air that American operatives assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to stop his country from becoming “a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism.” ‘We have the ability to take him (Chavez) out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability,’ Robertson said.

“We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability,” Robertson said Monday on the Christian Broadcast Network’s The 700 Club.

“We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator,” he continued. “It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.”

Chavez has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of President Bush, accusing the United States of conspiring to topple his government and possibly backing plots to assassinate him. U.S. officials have called the accusations ridiculous.

“You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it,” Robertson said. “It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war … and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.”

Robertson, 75, founder of the Christian Coalition of America and a former presidential candidate, accused the United States of failing to act when Chavez was briefly overthrown in 2002.

Electronic pages and a message to a Robertson spokeswoman were not immediately returned Monday evening.

Venezuela is the fifth largest oil exporter and a major supplier of oil to the United States. The CIA estimates that U.S. markets absorb almost 59% of Venezuela’s total exports.

Venezuela’s government has demanded in the past that the United States crack down on Cuban and Venezuelan “terrorists” in Florida who they say are conspiring against Chavez.

Robertson has made controversial statements in the past. In October 2003, he suggested that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device. He has also said that feminism encourages women to “kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

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so i called the "free" counselling service, but after waiting on hold for a half an hour to speak to a receptionist to make an appointment with someone who is supposedly going to recommend that i see this "free" counsellor, i had to go back to work, so i never got ahywhere. i called the person who recommended this service to me, a friend of moe’s who said it was "an honour" to help me, but she’s on vacation until 11 september, so it doesn’t look like i’m going to get anywhere for a while. i suppose it would be easier if i didn’t have to have a job, but the people who have control over my life say that i’m not eligible to recieve disability benefits because of my work and how much i earn… which makes no sense whatsoever, because i originally applied for disability benefits last december, before i got my job, and i was unemployed for nine months before that, and i’ve only had sporadic employment since my injury… but these people, who don’t know me, are in charge of my life, and they say it is so, so it must be so. it’s a good thing i’m not as depressed as i was a couple of weeks ago, because if i were, there’s a good chance that i’d be suicidal by now.

part of the reason i’d probably be suicidal is because of the fact that there’s still no solution in sight concerning my lack of workshop space. moe and i had a "discussion" about it earlier in the week, but what it came down to was that moe wants me to be looking for something more like a shed than a workshop. she suggested a 10×10 foot metal shed with a ceiling that slopes from 8 feet to 6 feet, with no floor, insulation or electricity, which would be almost useless, and when it wasn’t completely useless it would be a major annoyance. we got into a fight because she couldn’t understand why it would be almost completely useless as a workshop, and i was unable to say why it would be because of the fact that, for some reason probably having to do with my injury, i can’t express myself in the way that i used to. before my injury, i’m sure i would have had plenty of explanations for her, but now all i can do is gesture, make unintelligible noises and cry… and mostly the crying is because i know what i want to say, but i am unable to find the words to say it. all i can say is that something is going to have to happen soon, otherwise i am definitely headed for another bout of extreme depression, for which there is no solution in sight.

i managed to make it through one whole week without writing any complaints about majid and his computer idiocy, but that’s primarily because of the fact that his computer idiocy has been limited to his personal computers, and not the ones that i have to use. there’s a pretty good chance that he’s got the sober virus, or something like it, on at least two of his personal computers, but that’s probably because he hasn’t run virus scans on them since before i started working for him. i’m holding my breath, waiting for his virus to latch onto my windoesn’t machine, at which point i’m going to demand a 300% pay raise to do computer and network troubleshooting for him as well as typesetting.

also, it’s been another week of nothing but spam, and that in copious quantities. it’s a "good thing" the government passed the CAN-SPAM act last year… my spam quotient has risen by almost 50%, i hate to think what it would be like if CAN-SPAM hadn’t passed… 8/

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i wonder how i ever managed to get into the rehab center when i did… if i were trying to get in as an inpatient now, i’d be out of luck. i called them today at the recommendation of the doctor who treated me when i was an inpatient, 2 years ago. after being transferred four times, each by a person who said something along the lines of "we can’t help you at this number, but let me transfer you to a number where there are people who can help you", essentially what it comes down to is that if i don’t have any insurance, they can’t help me… so, my options at this point are 1) forget about counselling and deal with the depression as best i can on my own, or 2) accept counselling from the people who provide it for free as a service to the "down-and-out", winos, drug addicts, derilicts and other ne’er-do-wells. i’m sure the second option is full of well meaning people who will very likely help me somewhat, but i can’t help thinking that i’d get much better counselling, and much better treatment in general if i had insurance…

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one step closer to normalcy… i now have an ethernet hub installed, which means that i now have a network: i can share information on one machine and access it from another machine. i also have internet access from all machines. this may sound ordinary, but it’s not. i’m still surrounded by boxes, i don’t have all of the shelves installed, i don’t have a workshop space set up, i don’t even know where i’m going to put my workshop, i still hate my job, don’t get paid enough and i have no insurance(!!)

so i’ve got internet access from all of my computers… whoopee… 8/

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Bodhisattva
By the GODS! You scored 99%!
You’re probably a pretty chill person. We are here and that is that. You realize some truths about reality and existence – and you are comfortable with your place in the world. For the most part, you have no objections to being who and what you are. Congratulations, you’re probably a re-incarnated enlightened master. You should found your own school of higher learning or spiritual mastery.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on beliefs

Link: The Existentialist Mumbo Jumbo Test written by ariesfire79 on Ok Cupid

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well, i’m still going to search out some kind of treatment for what might be PTSD, but things are a lot better today… today majid got the very clear and definite message that indesign, whether for windows or mac, is probably not going to be the best decision for our shop, and i didn’t even have to do anything. first, it turns out that both the black and white laser printer slash copier, and the colour laser printer slash copier, both of which are machines that cost multiple thousands of dollars to replace, are old enough that the manufacturers don’t make drivers for either windows XP, or mac osX, and have no plans to make them in the future… second, for some unknown reason – but apparently confirmed by adobe tech support – indesign CS2 wants documents that you are working on to be local, and not on the network… if it’s on the network, something bad happens to indesign, and it shuts itself off with no warning… precipitously… to be specific, it crashes, and not very gracefully. previous versions of indesign apparently don’t do that (i’ve tried it with indesign CS and 1.5 on both mac and windows and have had no problems opening documents over the network), and all of the documents that we work on are on the network… and quark works over the network with no problems… i REALLY wanted to say "i told you so" to majid, but i somehow kept my mouth shut… he was fuming… he spent 4 hours on the phone with tech support and he just bought the software, so now is definitely the time to find major flaws in it… hee hee…

also, i went over to gunnar’s today after work, and he got me really stoned, so i’m feeling a lot better than i have for a while…

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i’ve been feeling REALLY depressed recently. it seems as though my life is getting exponentially more difficult on a daily basis, and i simply don’t have the energy to keep up any longer. i live in a tiny house that only has enough space for me to unpack about a quarter of the stuff that i currently own, and the rest of it, and most of moe’s stuff as well, is stacked around me in boxes, in the bedroom, in the dining room, in the living room, in what passes for my office (which was supposed to be my workshop as well, but there isn’t enough room), and in both of our unheated, uninsulated sheds outside. in one of the sheds – the more waterproof of the two, but that’s not saying much – i have three or four stacks of boxes that contain books and papers and suchlike, and my drill press and band saw (along with a bunch of other stuff), and i’m afraid that if i don’t move them to a less damp environment pretty soon (thank god for the relatively dry weather we’ve been having so far), they’re going to be a growing mass of mold and rust by the time i finally get around to doing anything about it.

and the reason i live in a house that is not big enough is that i was unemployed for 9 months immediatly prior to my moving here, and then when it was settled that we were going to move here, i got a job, so now i have to work 9 hours a day, plus at least an hour and a half commute each way (and that’s if moe gets off work on time, which she frequently doesn’t), and when i get home i’m SO EXHAUSTED that i barely have enough energy to take a shower, much less do the myriad of other things that have to be done, like mowing the lawn, or unpacking boxes, or dealing with incense orders…

then there’s the fear that i’m soon going to be living in a place that could very easily turn into one of those places… you know, the ones that have boxes of moldy books, and piles of dirty dishes, and dirty laundry, and animal filth everywhere, and nobody who cares enough to do anything about it, and you wonder how it is that people can actually live that way…

then there’s my job itself… to say that i hate my job is a simple, but understated way of putting it. specifically, i hate that my bosses have so much control over me and what i do for 9 hours a day, five days a week, and yet they know practically nothing about the nuts and bolts of the business they are in. i hate the fact that when i get frustrated, i have even more difficulty than usual in talking, when it’s essential that i be able to communicate clearly and effectively, especially when i get frustrated. i hate that i have an easier time showing people something than i do telling them about it, especially when those people are my bosses, and they have very little time to be shown things that don’t really concern them anyway. i hate that i am the only native english speaker in the shop (greg doesn’t count, because, although he was born in the united states, he’s black and from new orleans, so he might as well be a non-english speaker), and even when i am not frustrated, simply saying something is frequently a challenge. i could go on for days…

i have my computers sort of set up, but i can only use one of them at a time, because i haven’t had the energy, time or space to attach them to the ethernet hub that i bought last weekend. i have to make an invoice for dr. howard for the business cards i made for him four months ago, but i can’t, because that’s on the other computer. i have an incense order that’s been sitting on top of a stack of boxes, half filled, for a month and a half, and there’s no telling when i’m going to get around to ordering the rest of the incense so that i can fill it. i’ve got to take out the trash and the recycling – AGAIN – for all the good it’s going to do. i eat lunch because i get a lunch break, but i have not eaten breakfast or dinner for a long time (a month and a half?), because there’s no food, and even if there was, i’d have to cook it before i could eat, and then i’d have to clean up afterwards, and i just don’t have enough energy to commit to doing that. i’ve got to take a shower (for some reason, after my injury, my sweat stinks even more than it used to). and somewhere in there i’ve got to get enough sleep to make it through another day just like it tomorrow… which NEVER happens…

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The Fremont Philharmonic The Fremont Philharmonic
The Fremont Philharmonic, 050807 – The last performance of Cirque de Flambe in Seattle.
back row, left to right: Kiki (Robin) Hood, human theremin, percussion, Alan Friedman, drums, Kim Porto, flute, salamandir, tuba, popgun, dangerous substances, Pam McRae, clarinet, Stuart Zobel, guitar, Jeremy Reinhold, baritone horn, composer, Fred Hawkinson, trombone, composer. front row, left to right: Sasha Malinsky, drums, John Cornicello, keyboards, photography.

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utter exhaustion…

really, i’ve had a rough week with majid and his PC/indesign fantasies, which are getting more unrealistic and more idiotically single-minded as time goes on – apparently his friend mike, who owns a minuteman press in downtown seattle, said that he made the decision to go with PC and indesign two years ago, when indesign was first released, and hasn’t regretted it… but he’s not a designer or a typographer, he’s a business owner, and there’s a good bet that if you asked his designer(s), you’d get an entirely different response… and it is my guess that he would experience less overall chaos if he made the decision to go with any platform and application combination and stuck with it for any length of time – but that still doesn’t mean that he’s getting things done the most efficiently, or the right way. alhthough he hasn’t fired me yet, i’m officially looking for a new job, because he probably will eventually, and if he doesn’t i’m going to walk out on him as soon as i can… 8/

my right arm has been more than ordinarily tired, to the point where i actually have to look at it before i can get it to do anything… like typing… this has already taken about twice as long as it would have ordinarily, because of misspellings and backspacing and extra spaces and suchlike… it looks like more acupuncture is in my future. my next appointment is next saturday, just before chris goes to bali for his honeymoon… i’m hoping he’ll pick me up a pair of gongs while he’s there.

and that’s not to mention the cirque performances, which are going extremely well, although it looks like tonight will be the last night we ever perform in seattle, because the mayor has decided to raise the rates for our safety permits from $800 for six nights to $866 per night (which we can’t afford)… hell we’re lucky to make $800 in six nights… so the probability that we’re going to start performing on the road has just increased exponentially.

now i have to go and get some "stuff" which will make my continued survival more bearable, and an ethernet hub, so that i can have all of my computers online, rather than the lame one-at-a-time feature that i’ve currently got… and then i’ve got another cirque performance which will get out around 1:00 am, whereupon i’ve got to go home and sleep so that i can get up and get ready for work at 5:30… oy! 8/

197

yet another review of the cirque de flambé show… now this is more like it… although it’s not as good a review if you’re not in the band, but i’m in the band, so this is an excellent review…

Friday, August 5, 2005

Flambe’s latest gig passes silliness torch

By Misha Berson

Seattle Times theater critic

Cirque de Flambe’s “In the Shadow of the Giant” will be at Magnuson Park from today through Sunday, featuring a variety of flaming and incendiary devices.

Uh-oh. The goony clown’s pants are on fire.

And — whoopsie-daisy — the fabulous Mademoiselle Mimi’s tres petite dog Fifi didn’t quite make it through that flaming hoop intact. She’s just a furry little pile of ash now.

All this can mean only one thing: The circus is back in town. Or, more specifically, Cirque de Flambe, the Fremont-based pyromaniac troupe, is at it again in Magnuson Park.

If you’ve never been to a Cirque de Flambe show, here are the basics of their latest blazing pratfalls show, “In the Shadow of the Giant.”

There is a ringmaster/authority figure clomping around the parking lot/playing area on stilts, whom the rest of the anarchic characters love to hate.

There is an enthusiastic live band (the rather grandly named Fremont Philharmonic), which specializes in deranged oompah and snake-charmer music. There is a large contingent of brave and blasé firemongers, The Flaming Fromaggios, who do a lot of juggling and other fiery shticks.

And, as the ringmaster emphasizes, the audience must “suffer the little clowns, because they know not what they do” — wisecracking, firecracking clowns, whose express purpose in life is to burn things up and be annoying.

If this sounds an awful lot like previous Cirque de Flambe productions, it’s no misfire. (Hey, they’re not trying to reinvent the Roman candle in every show.)

The experience is, as ever, funky, silly and funny — if your idea of fun is watching a Tin Man-style robot get attacked with blazing bazookas.

Some bits are cool, some get boring. Many are stupid beyond belief. But every now and then there is a truly dazzling act in the cheerfully ragged and strangely lovable extravaganza.

Such as? Take the double-Dutch rope-jumping bit. How do they jump around those fiery strands of rope without getting scorched? And though it goes on forever, the flaming-hips routine, with flaring hula hoops, is quite impressive.

Kids in the audience are reminded more than once not to try this sort of stuff at home.

And there’s a safety crew on hand at all times, in case a fiery stunt gets carried too far.

Sitting on bring-your-own chairs or blankets, however, you won’t find much cause for worry. Just remember to dress warmly (the breeze off Lake Washington was very chilly the night I attended). Pack your own snacks along with the comfy seating. And don’t forget to bring the kids — anybody’s kids.

Children just lap up Cirque de Flambe. Think about it: It’s like their wildest dream come true. A whole bunch of people playing with matches (as well as lighters, dynamite, cherry bombs and other incendiary devices) — and getting away with it.

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another review of the cirque performance from the weekly (weakly?), from someone who is not as critical as joe adcock, but i personally feel that joe’s review was better… oh well…

Fire?
Shadow has a little spark.

by Lynn Jacobson

Seattle’s friendly band of firebugs, Cirque de Flambé, is back with a 90-minute revue of pyrotechnical circus acts performed in a lakeside parking lot in Magnuson Park. Directed by Burning Man vet Maque DaVis, In the Shadow of the Giant (ends Sun., Aug. 7; 206-770-7602) is framed as a sort of showdown between a tyrannical ringmaster and his mischievous clowns.

Aside from a few tasteless bimbo jokes, the show is perfect for school-aged kids on summer vacation. First, there’s the thrill of staying up late (it starts at 9:30 p.m.); then, the excitement of periodic explosions, flaming jump ropes, and fire leaping out of performers’ mouths. And what kid wouldn’t love to see two clowns running around with sparks shooting out of their butts?

Children are also more likely than adults to forgive the show’s amateurish aspects: numerous dropped props, in expert physical humor, and clunkily ad-libbed lines. According to Cirque’s Web site (www.cirquedeflambe.com), it’s an all-volunteer circus, and, to be blunt, it shows. Many of the cast members are no doubt graduates of Cirque’s Fremont-based workshops—enthusiastic, but still learning their trade. If you go expecting to see performances on a level with what you’ve seen at Cirque du Soleil or Big Apple Circus, you’ll be disappointed. Of course, the ticket prices ($10 children, $20 adults) are about a third of what you’d pay for entry-level Soleil tickets, so it’s a fair deal.

No denying the show is a feat of organization and engineering. The onstage cast numbers over two dozen, and on Sunday night, there looked to be at least that many people offstage handling fire effects and safety. The brassy Fremont Philharmonic, led by Fred Hawkinson on trombone, oom-pah-pahed bravely throughout, despite high winds off the lake and clouds of gnats attracted to the lights. And the audience, half of whom forgot their lawn chairs and blankets, sat gamely on the cement, huddling against the chill. None of this mattered a whit to the kids, who were transfixed, fireworks in their eyes.

195

a review of the cirque show by a person who reportedly hates shows like that… it’s not universally good, but if i didn’t know anything about either the show or the reviewer, i’d be tempted to go and see it anyway…

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Cirque de Flambe’s antics can be blazing amazing

By JOE ADCOCK
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER THEATER CRITIC

Playing with fire combines risk and thrills. In the case of Cirque de Flambe — “flaming circus” in permissive French — the risk is self-indulgent sloppiness. The thrills derive from uniquely sensational feats of skill and daring.

Some of the Cirque’s 27 performers juggle fire. Others swing it around on ropes and bars. Some play jump rope (even double Dutch) with flaming ropes. Others spin flaming hula hoops. Providing non-pyrotechnical thrills is Primary Element: three clever acrobats who twine and combine like rubbery Lego pieces. Their accomplishments involve extraordinary strength, flexibility and balance.

For a literally blazing finale, the cast members whirl exploding fireworks up and down and around and around.

The 10-member Fremont Philharmonic, masters of fluctuating rhythms, supplies admirable musical backup. Sometimes the tunes are subtle and insinuating. At other times they are swingy and nostalgic.

The Cirque has been a Seattle institution for eight years. The current production is called “In the Shadow of the Giant.”

A dozen clowns play out the archetypal clown thing: one, the giant, tries futilely to impose order. The rest succeed in creating chaos. The whip-cracking ringmaster, on stilts, fawns on the glamorous skilled performers. He bullies and denigrates his fellow zanies. His rebellious minions retaliate with weapons ranging from a 1940s foundation garment (worn by a buxom “nurse”) to a chainsaw (watch out for those stilts).

The clowning often involves failed pyrotechnics. The stunts are not uniformly ingenious or funny. Whether they are amusing, they do go on and on. A clown with his pants on fire or a blazing stuffed toy dog are among the striking but unduly extended bits.

It is easy, however, to feel affectionate indulgence toward the Cirque. The lame stuff is harmless. And the effective stuff is amazing.

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1 + 2 = WASHINGTON (Reuters) – which FBI director Robert Mueller is underneath the fire in the congress Wednesday regarding a growth unreviewed delay of insertions of the monitoring and other problems come, which disturbed above-mentioned the legislators the efforts, in order to prevent the terrorism attacks. The does not have the senators with a judicial hearing of the committee the FBI made for enough the old problems with its computer science system and its foreign language also said vertaalprogramma to confirm to improve. Pennsylvania Sen republican. Phantom of the ears (message bio the choice report), has the president of committee noticed that to FBI $170 million for a new missed computer science system and its change spent three years, up to the year 2009 the completely operational to be now built. It in demand had to be the new technology on, like the FBI no other attack to prevent knew how. The general supervisor of the section of the law had the delay unreviewed audiocounterterrorismmateriaal said the FBI ‘ S more than doubled at 8.354 o’clock 4,086 in April 2004. The legislators have nearly four the lack at the FBI, year after 11 sieve said… 2001 the rerouted airplane attacks, its capacity could disturb, in order to prevent another terrorist attack. Mueller defends the FBI ‘ S efforts and the complaints by the commissioners rejected themselves the FBI against the change shifted and moved too slowly, was says of the speed and of the important change width. “now and then the agreement also to try the connections over a motor vehicle as that hurtles with 70 miles per hour underneath the road to change” it said to me. After 11 did not find the attack researchers from September was on more rem the lead into successfully been the too following not FBI, which could have prevented to reroute deadly for Mueller spurring to confirm in order the important restructuring of the agency in functioning. Sen. , a democrat of Vermont, the numerous problems said Patrick Leahy (message, bio, the choice report) continuing to devastate around the FBI ‘ S vertaalprogramma. “the number of hours of unreviewed tegen terrorismeaudio rises first. The insertions tegen terrorisme is so importantly, there it ring “it said. Other problems contain the FBI, which requires the 16 average months, in order contracttaalkundige and a FBI the offices of the territory, all data of the intelligence of the insertions of audio similar not it succeed in 24 hours again to examine, Leahy above-mentioned to rent. Other commissioners quoted the difficulties in the renting research translators and. The Glenn fine of the supervisor of the section of the law permitted generally that criticism had to order, the FBI on a number as the promotion of its computer science system to obligate fast and to improve the training of more intelligence analysts, the translation and the strange linguistic material and the conversion in the FBI to prevent very importantly examines the management positions again.

yeah, i’d say an attack on the FBI’s level of incompetence is entirely warranted…

193

so there’s been this job floating around the shop for the past couple of weeks. it’s not high priority, or, rather, it wasn’t high priority until today, and it was one of those jobs that, when i originally looked at it 2 weeks ago, i said would have to be redone from scratch before it would print, and majid disagreed with me, so i said he could do it… so today, majid says that he can’t get it to colour separate – it’s only two colours to begin with, yellow and black – and when he can get close, it doesn’t print correctly. he wants me to recreate the document…

o-kay…

it was originally an illustrator file, saved as an .eps and placed in indesign. i imported the original illustrator file into freehand and almost immediately discovered that part of the reason why it wouldn’t print correctly is because it was made out of three individual sections, layed over a solid background, where it had to be one contiguous section in order to avoid some extremely arcane and rather nasty bizarreness in the postscript code required to draw that particular figure, that causes it to print out strangely… as it had been doing.

so i made a new layer, and traced around the logo, so that i had my one contiguous section, and then recreated the rest of the logo, saved it as a colour separated .eps, and had colour separations out of quark for him inside of 40 minutes, as well as finishing two other jobs at the same time.

majid was in awe.

if he gets a new version of indesign without also getting a new version of quark, then he’s a bigger fool than he appears to be, and it’s guaranteed that i will not be working for him very long.

192

okay, if i understand this correctly, if you click here, you will be taken to a gallery of some of my pictures from the oregon country fair… but i’m not sure if i understand it correctly or not, so if you’re not taken there, i would appreciate it if you would tell me, so that i can fix it.

191

update:

cirque de flambé performs "In The Shadow of The Giant" next weekend (the last weekend in july) and the weekend after that (the first weekend of august) at sand point-magnuson park, friday, saturday and sunday, 9:30 pm curtain. bring yer own seating and be prepared to watch things blow up and people get set on fire – quality family entertainment for $20 ($10 for under 13). tickets here.

majid is going to, theoretically, have two new computers next week, but i’m not sure how, or if i get to say anything about what they are, or what software goes on them, or anything like that, in spite of the fact that i’m sure going to be expected to operate them as efficiently as possible in the shortest period of time possible… but all this is still in theory, as he has been threatening to do this for the past month, and has yet to do anything like it. compound that with the fact that, for some mysterious reason, when i installed service pack 4 on windows 2000 friday, something broke, or something that was broken is now fixed, or something like that, and the result was that i got 40-some emails from as much as 2 weeks ago, AND farah’s email client, which is on a completely different computer that’s running windows XP and hasn’t been working right for a week or so, suddenly was fixed as well. of course, this is all my fault, because i am now the person with the most knowledge about computers, and particularly email, in the office, but it’s windoesn’t, which means that i know practically nothing. when everything had cooled down (after it was discovered that we lost 2 customers as the result of not having our email work correctly) they asked me what we could do to prevent such a thing from happening in the future, and were not happy when i my response was to say that we should move away from so much reliance on microsoft for things that are essential to the business, like email… oh well… so much for being the person in the office with the most knowledge about computers. good thing i’m only a typesetter. i’ll let him pay someone else three times as much to tell him the same thing, ’cause i don’t care.

two more incense orders are ready to ship, and i’ve got one incomplete order, and one order that i’ve not even started on left to order. the one i haven’t even started on is the one who ordered 6 sixteen-inch tubes of sandalwood, and i’ve recently taken all of the sixteen-inch tubes off the site, because they’re difficult to ship, so i’ve got to decide what i’m going to do with the last customer. plus i’ve got an order for a ganesha murti that’s going to be arriving next week some time. also i’ve got a bunch of new products to add to the site as well; some new murtis, and rudraksha malas (with crystals and without). unfortunately it’s probably going to have to wait until at least after the cirque de flambé performances before i do anything about it.


a man, a horse, sex, death, and nobody wants to talk about it… what’s the deal here anyway? and it’s in enumclaw for christ’s sake!
didn’t they realise that extending daylight savings time didn’t really save energy after all back in the ’70s?

190

i’ve got 5 incense orders, 4 of which are partially complete, and they along with the remaining one will be entirely complete when the package i’m expecting tomorrow or monday arrives. i’ve also got an order for a niruta ganapati murti that i’m going to have to order on monday, because the supplier is only open monday through thursday. i’ve also recently got an inquiry about a pipe, but i basically put the guy on hold, because i don’t have my shop set up yet… and i’m not sure i will, because i’m coming to the conclusion that there isn’t enough room for me and hybrid elephant in this tiny office. i wrangled around and put up my steel shelves, and immediately filled them up with no appreciable space cleared, and i’ve still got a drill press and a band saw and half of the shed full of stuff that hasn’t been unloaded yet. i’m thinking that there’s an office building down the hill that has a sign up that says “cheap rent” that i should look in to, but i’ve got to run the idea past moe before i actually do anything about it.

meanwhile, i’m still a wage slave. today is friday, so i get a brief respite from wage slavery, but i’m still gonna go back to work on monday. i finally finished whittling down the pile of 15-20 jobs that sprang up while i was away. majid is threatening to buy a new mac and then buy adobe creative suite, which includes indesign, and then not buy real typesetting software, and his reason is “because more people use indesign and windows”… which is true, but that doesn’t mean that we have to follow the crowd of people who don’t know any better into the jaws of chaos by accepting a standard of quality that is less than 100%. and besides, adobe has sweetheart deals for local folks, which is why more people use it locally, but from what i understand, the farther you get away from seattle, the more quark-like the world of printing becomes… and who can blame them for using software that works, rather than software that has terminal microsoft disease? unfortunately majid knows little enough about computers that he’s likely to listen to the advice of someone he knows (who also knows nothing about computers) rather than a person (me) with 20 years’ experience in the printing industry, who has been using the computer for typesetting almost ever since it was first available for such things. 8/

189

finally…

my computer broke a couple of weeks ago. it was working when i left for work, and when i got home, it wasn’t, and it wouldn’t restart. after fucking around with it for a couple days, i discovered that it was probably the power supply that had failed, but i didn’t have the time to determine if it was for sure or not, and i had to go play with the hippies for 4 days, so i didn’t get around to actually doing something about it until today. i actually took my computer somewhere, bear computers, and they fixed it for me while i was at work. now my main linux computer works again, which is good because windows, which was taking the place of linux (sort of) during the interim, seems to have developed a disagreement with the monitor – something linux doesn’t do – so i’m thinking something may be wrong with the video card, or whatever laptops have instead of video cards. thrill-a-minute… i get one computer working and another one breaks. i wonder if it will ever end?

the oregon country fair is over for another year – my second year attending, and tonight is the second anniversary of my injury. the hippie ineptitute factor seems to have attacked someone else this year. stuart and i drove to portland wednesday night, and proceded to veneta on thursday morning, i had no problems getting registered, we drove in to chela mela meadow(!) and unpacked the car in record time – i finished setting up camp around 1:30. i still had to wait in line about an hour and a half to get the priveledge of paying the hippie $5 to cut my wrist band off and make a laminated card out of it (the wristbands remind me too much of being in the hospital, and besides, the laminated card is a “collectors item”), but all in all, OCF was excellent. we played at the ritz sunday night, i actually took 5 one-hour saunas in 4 days, and left feeling cleaner than i came. it rained on saturday, but we were more prepared for the rain than we were in vancouver, so it wasn’t that bad, and besides, our stage – the “morningwood odditorium” – was one of the few venues that was covered, and so we got the people who were looking for shelter from the rain right when we were starting our shows. i latched on to the end of one of the parades featuring “The Fighting Instruments of Karma”, a group from seattle(!) which features a sousaphone player who has a really beautiful silver sousaphone, and took a whole bunch of pictures of people taking pictures, which i’m going to post in one form or another once i get my mac working. i got my little sivalingam “wrapped” in silver by a craftsman, so now i’m a “lingayat”, or a “person who wears a miniature sivalingam around their neck”, something i’ve wanted for quite a while. we did a burlesque show friday night that was so well recieved that we did another one on sunday night, after the ritz. hacki was there, who is a clown from germany that was part of the moisture festival, and his acts were sheer genius. it was also really cool to hang out with him backstage and smoke pot. i didn’t even remember that i had a computer until i came home…

of course, i came home and was suddenly struck with how much work there is to do… i still have a couple rooms full of boxes that need to be unpacked, i still have no shelves in the office, so i’ve got nowhere to unpack those boxes anyway, i’ve got 4 incense orders and a murti that i’ve got to order for customers, i’ve got to get the post office box and the billing address for hybrid elephant changed in reality and on the web site, but i still need an ethernet hub so that i can have more than one computer on at once…

and then there’s my job… sigh… i REALLY HATE being a wage slave… i returned to work on tuesday, and majid was frantic because “internet went down on thursday”, the day i left, and majid couldn’t figure out how to get it working again until monday – apparently earthlink changed something and it required that majid reboot his ethernet router – but he couldn’t figure out why his email wasn’t working… he wanted me to reboot the router, and unplug the router and connect the computer directly to internet, and a bunch of other useless tasks, and didn’t think that it was something wrong with outlook at all, until i looked at the server settings and discovered that his outgoing email server was set to 127.0.0.1… and then there was the job that i had sent to proof just before i left, which returned with an approval while i was gone. majid said he looked for the file, but couldn’t find it, so he ended up reproducing the file based on a scan of the file that i had sent out, except that it was wrong, and he couldn’t figure out how to fix it. i found the file in about 2 minutes, determined that he actually hadn’t looked for it – because its name included the work order number, which is how i found it – fixed the problem that majid had introduced by scanning the document and had plates ready for it in about 5 minutes… there were several other jobs like that, which were problems because majid doesn’t know what he’s doing, which i fixed almost immediately… but this is only wednesday! it feels like it should be thursday, because of all the screwups, chaos and hassle i’ve had to deal with since returning, combined with the fact that i REALLY didn’t want the oregon country fair to end just yet anyway…

meanwhile, my physical birthday was monday, big deal, and the cirque de flambe performances at sand point/magnuson park start in 19 days.

188

i’ve got to take a shower and shave my head, then i’ve got to start a load of laundry before bed. tomorrow i’ve got to get up extra early, because i’m not carpooling to work, so i’ve got to leave at 6:45 instead of 7:30. after a full day of work, i’ve got to come home and finish packing, then i’m going to the oregon country fair for the weekend. i’ll be returning on monday, which is my physical birthday (i’m going to be 45… wow!). then three days later (next thursday) is the 2 year anniversary of my brain injury.

my computer is dead, and i don’t know when it is going to be fixed. the problem is most likely either with the power switch on the front of the case, or the power supply itself, but i won’t know until i return from OCF, and probably not even then. it turns out there are no studs, or at least no discernable studs in the interior walls of this house, which doesn’t surprise me too much given it’s vintage, but it makes putting up shelves in the office a problem, and until i get shelves up, i essentially don’t have an office, which is not a good thing.

curse!

my primary machine, my linux computer, is broken. it was working fine on thursday morning when i was getting ready for work, and it was down and wouldn’t start when i got home. it may be just the power switch, but it may be worse… and, of course, i won’t have any time to do anyting about it for at least a week, because of barbecue, work, OCF, and a myriad of other things.

meanwhile, i’m almost caught up with the orders that came in during the time when we were moving, and i’ve got two new orders in the past two days… that’s good, i guess…

You Are 20% American
You’re as American as Key Lime Tofu Pie
Otherwise known as un-American!
You belong in Cairo or Paris…
Get out fast – before you end up in Gitmo!

186

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR COMPUTER FILE FOR PRINTING

we use both Mac and Windows operating systems with equal facility, so there’s no reason to prepare files specially for one or the other.

PAGE LAYOUT FILE FORMATS PREFERRED

quark xpress 4, 5
indesign CS2
freehand 7, 8, 9, 10
pagemaker 5, 6, 7
illustrator 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

acrobat 4, 5, 6 – files must be saved at a high resolution (“for printing”)

acrobat files that are meant to be printed on the press (instead of digitally) should be colour separated where necessary. if they’re not colour separated, we CAN NOT print them on the press.

we MIGHT be able to accept other page layout file formats as long as one of the above applications can open it.

we CAN accept microsoft word and microsoft publisher files, but we reserve the right to re-set the files using industry standard page layout applications if they give us problems. we CAN NOT get colour separated files from microsoft word.

if your file uses a particular font, please advise us of this when the file is delivered to us and be prepared to deliver the font files if necessary. we have a lot of fonts, so usually this is not necessary, but if you want a particular font and we don’t have it, your document WILL NOT print with the font you want unless it is provided to us.

GRAPHIC FILE FORMATS PREFERRED

native format files we can accept:

freehand 7, 8, 9, 10 – line art, greyscale, spot colour, CMYK
illustrator 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – line art, greyscale, spot colour, CMYK
photoshop 4, 5, 6, 7 – line art, greyscale, CMYK
The GIMP – line art, greyscale, spot colour, CMYK
corel draw – line art, greyscale, spot colour, CMYK

CMYK stands for Cyan Magenta Yellow blacK. it is the way that files that are in “full colour” are printed. RGB stands for Red Green Blue, which is the way files that are in “full colour” are displayed on a computer screen. CMYK is an “additive” colour mode, whereas RGB is a “subtractive” colour mode. since printing is a process of “adding” ink to create a printed document, RGB is not an option, because it is not possible to take away ink once it is layed down. ALL FILES WHICH ARE IN A COLOUR MODE OTHER THAN CMYK WILL BE CONVERTED TO CMYK BEFORE PRINTING.

we MIGHT be able to accept other native file formats as long as one of the above applications can open it.

we CAN scan hi-res printed graphics. they will be turned into bilevel (one colour) .tif files, greyscale .eps files or CMYK .eps files, unless we receive specific instructions to do otherwise.

we CAN also accept the following graphic file formats

.jpg
.png
– MUST be 600dpi resolution or higher. colour files will be printed as greyscale, or as CMYK.
.gif

these file formats, plus scans, will most likely be converted into one of the following file formats, which are also acceptable:

.tif – one colour, no greyscale (line art only), 600dpi resolution or higher
.eps – CMYK, greyscale, or spot colour (if it’s set up for spot colour), 600dpi resolution or higher

dpi stands for Dots Per Inch. it is the industry standard measurement for the resolution of a printed graphic. it corresponds with ppi, which stands for Pixels Per Inch, which is the industry standard measurement for the resolution of a graphic on a computer display.

graphic files that are lower than 600dpi resolution will print, but they will look grainy and not at all like they look on your computer screen. this is because your computer screen is 72dpi resolution, regardless of what your screen resolution (ppi) is. the rule of thumb when it comes to creating graphics for printing is “bigger is better”. we can always make something smaller if necessary, but making things bigger is guaranteed to make the printing customer dissatisfied.

we CAN accept other graphic file formats, but we will probably convert them to either .tif or .eps before printing.

if your document contains graphics, you MUST include the source file for the graphic as well as the actual document, if you want your finished, printed document to contain graphics. if they’re not there, we WILL contact you to get them before we print your document, which wastes time and makes a tight deadline harder to keep.

CLEAN UP THE FILE! don’t leave unused graphics or bits of type on the pasteboard, but outside of the printing area of the document. also, don’t include layers that are “invisible” in the document that you wish to print. doing this leads to wasted time finding the links and fonts that are not used. the only things that should be in the file are things that are going to print. if it’s not going to print, then leave it out of the file all together.

where possible, make sure that the “paper size” of the document is the size of paper you want the finished print to look like. exceptions to this would be business cards that print on a “master” or imprints on already printed postcards.

where possible, put crop marks, registration marks, bleeds and so forth on a separate layer. they’re good for layout and proofing, but they’re not always so ideal when it comes to printing.

if the file was made for use on a macintosh, then you should compress the file before emailing it, because if you don’t, then what we receive on this end is a file that cannot be printed, or rescued for any purposes. please use stuffit compatible with Os9, or zip to compress your files.

185

i am beginning to hate indesign. i don’t really know what it’s like on the mac, but on the PC, we’re running indesign CS version 2, i think (although it could be version 3, for all i know), and it has already screwed up several jobs which i could have done more efficiently, and with fewer mistakes on the mac, using quark… except that for his own perverse reasons, majid insisted that i do the jobs using indesign, and then was surprised when they didn’t come out the way he (and i) expected. of course it’s my fault… it couldn’t possibly be the fact that THE SOFTWARE IS DEFECTIVE!!! it doesn’t matter that mistakes like a text box getting slightly narrower than it was originally set, thus making the text it contains go from one line to two lines, don’t happen when i use the mac and quark – i was supposed to notice that it had happened before the job got printed, and certainly before it was due TODAY

the week has gotten even more chaotic than it was before. i have 2 rehearsals, one yesterday and one tomorrow, plus my job, and when i get home, i still am in the middle of box hell despite my concerted efforts to end it, we’ve got a housewarming party on monday, and now, much to my chagrin, moe has decided that we have to go to portland to see her mother’s brother’s daughter (does that make her a cousin or a niece to moe? i’ve never been able to figure that out…), a person who i know only vaguely, get married – an act which everybody that i know, including moe’s mother, think is the worst possible mistake she could make, what with the fact that she’s just graduated from high school, her intended is in the military and will soon be shipped to iraq, and other "wonderful" things like that. so, instead of busting my ass getting ready (and probably failing, but at least i tried) for the party, i’ve got to go to the wedding of someone i don’t know and act like what she’s doing is the most wonderful thing ever, in spite of the fact that nobody believes it… which means that i will fail to get ready for the party, which will make moe upset… 8P

Microsoft Purchases Evil From Satan

Redmond, WA – Microsoft purchased evil from Satan for $2.7 billion after many months of tough negotiations.

“We’ve been after Satan for some time,” said CEO Steve Ballmer. “Negotiations were tough, but I think both Microsoft and the Prince of Darkness are happy with this deal.”

Microsoft already controls 15% of the evil market, and with this purchase that number nears 100%. The Department of Justice voiced concerns over one corporation controlling so much evil, and launched investigations.

“We feel that there are real opportunities with evil, and that when evil is integrated into our next generation of Windows products consumers will appreciate evil on their desktop,” said Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. “Businesses haven’t been able to fully realize their evil potential. With evil integrated into Office XP, corporations big and small will begin to see enhanced evil productivity.”

“Evil is a real growing market,” market strategist Frank Dresgan of Merrill Lynch explained. “Microsoft is a little late in the game, but even when they enter a market late they still tend to dominate. I think we’ll see the same results with evil.”

“I’ve been dealing with Microsoft for some time,” Lucifer said. “I’ve been at this evil thing for millions of years, and wanted a way out. I considered an IPO, but then Steve-O and Billy came along and told me about their ‘Evil Everywhere’ plan. I just couldn’t refuse.”

Evil was founded by Satan close to the beginning of time. It has been growing steadily ever since, although most of the growth has accelerated in the past five years with the development of the Internet. Satan plans to retire to a small island in the Bahamas and write a column for the local newspaper.

184

tired.

it’s sunday evening. i should be rested and ready to go to work tomorrow, and to go to rehearsal afterwards, but i’m fucking tired… i worked all day yesterday emptying out the POD, and performing at myron and marylin’s wedding until 11:00 last night, and i got up and finished emptying out the POD today (it’s scheduled for pickup tuesday or wednesday) while watching out for the guy from craigslist who came and picked up the refrigerator and the other guy from craigslist who came and picked up the washer and dryer. now i’ve got to put two working television sets on craigslist and see if we can get rid of them as well, because they don’t accept televisions at the transfer station. i’m slowly getting things whipped into shape, but that doesn’t negate the fact that moe has scheduled a housewarming barbecue for july 4th, and approximately 30 people have confirmed that they’re going to be here, so i’d better speed up the whipping if everything is going to be presentable by then.

the oregon country fair is july 8, 9, and 10, a little more than a week away, and i’m not ready for it yet, but that doesn’t matter, because it’s going to happen whether i’m ready for it or not. this year i’m going to spend more time at the ritz.

183

octo-puppy!

i may be making progress towards ending the chaos at work. this morning majid and i were talking about what to do with the computer situation (lack of filing system, problems with the PC, etc.), and he told me that i had convinced him. later on this afternoon, farah asked me why majid had it in for the mac, and i told her that i didn’t know, but i did know that for applications that did what i wanted to do, consistently, i much prefered the mac to the PC, and she said she would “talk to him” about it… in the way that makes me think she’s getting really fed up with the lack of filing systems that my predecessors have foisted off on me, and other suchlike stuff. i’m slowly formulating a file system: i’ve got most things in one of three places, depending on whether it is for a bellevue customer, a woodinville customer, or i’m not sure. there’s still at least five folders called “trash” in various places on the network that contain large quantities of customer files, in alphebetized folders that i’m not sure about… i found a customer file that wasn’t anywhere else on the network, that i needed to complete a job today, in one of those “trash” folders the other day… 8/

today is our 7th wedding anniversary, and if you didn’t know, i married the best, the sweetest, the most caring, the most loving (hoo yeah!), and the most beautiful woman in the whole world… sorry for all you other people who may think that you’re that person (or are married to that person), but you’re wrong: that person is MY wife, I’M married to her, and you can’t have her! 8)

by the way, a six-legged puppy was dumped at a temple in port klang, malaysia, recently… no shit, there’s really a town called port klang – probably reminiscent of all those gamelan orchestras…

also, the world beard and moustache championship inspires me… i may never get to the point of competition myself, but they certainly give a fine example of an ideal to live up to…

i’m getting really fed up with spam… the spammer’s most recent trick is to send me spam to my hybrid elephant email address, that appears to be from my hybrid elephant domain, but which is really from rr.com and contains a virus… fortunately, their virii attack windows only, and as i am a linux and mac user, i laugh at their feeble virus attacks and report the hell out of them anyway, but i have to be very careful not to report myself in the process. it’s irritating that i have to deal with it at all… any business which uses spam for adverising definitely does not have the priveledge of reciving business from me!

182

okay, now that i’ve actually had the chance to sleep, and don’t have to rush away to my job or to a rehearsal, i have the time to update a little…

the vancouver performances were rained out, which i probably could have told you would happen right from the beginning… what were they thinking, scheduling fire performances in the pacific northwest (well, okay, pacific SOUTHwest, because we were in canadada) in may anyway? ultimately, i spent three days and two nights standing around in a parking lot, in the pouring rain, without enough protective clothing, or even a rain coat, waiting for them to make the decision not to perform, combined with bits of frantic scurrying around unloading and loading the truck, trying (more or less successfully) to get the band gear under the canopies so that it wouldn’t get soaked, and rescuing the surrounding temporary fence which had blown over. i did get the chance to go to punjabi market, where i bought 5 music CDs and a kilo of incense (which, miraculously, i managed to keep dry), and we went out to a big chinese dinner the first night, and i had ostrich congee, which was a lot better than i expected, but on the whole, what with the motorhome being my ultimate destination, the whole trip was a wash. they did offer me a per diem, but i told them that the per diem was for when i had actually performed something.

today’s (yes, today’s) performance is for the fremont solstice parade, and i have to leave in about half an hour so that i can find parking reasonably close to where we are going to perform. this year’s scandal/controversy is over the members of a performance group called PURE, People Undergoing Real Experiences, which has been kicked out of the parade because they were going to run a float which was a pirate ship, and have people suspended by body piercings from the pirate ship… and fremont kicked them out of the parade because "they might frighten the children". personally, if the naked bicyclists are okay, then i don’t see what’s wrong with people who are clothed suspending themselves from hooks, but i’m just the tuba player. EDIT: there were a ton of naked bicyclists all throughout the parade – way more than there were last year – and the PURE group actually crashed the parade, but instead of suspensions from their body piercings, they were bound and gagged and carried signs with the international “not” symbol over a hook – thus meeting the parade organisers’ requirements of having no words in their display… also my parents were there, across the street from the stage where the fremont philharmonic played. i saw them, and said hello. they asked how i was doing, several times, and then walked away without saying goodbye. lame.

tomorrow is the fremont street fair, and the first two performances of "Babes in The Wood", which is another traditional british panto whose story, for those of you who don’t know, is a cross between robin hood and hansel & gretel, only it’s set in medieval england (so they’re "trevor" and "abigail" instead). sasha is friar tuck ("allow me to introduce myself… i’m fire truck. no, wait, i’m trier… er… i’d better be careful, there are kids present…"), but sasha is going to amsterdam and israel, so bradley is his "understudy", with the emphasis on "under"… he’s not the best, but he was the director for last year’s "jack and the bean stalk" and he works cheap.

this year’s performances of babes in the wood are directed by matthew stull, otherwise known as matthew bob, much to the chagrin of moe, who has expressed her extreme jealousy that i get to work with one of the bobs when she introduced me to the bobs music just a few years ago, whereas she’s been a FOB (friend of the bobs) for over 20 years.

whew, we’ve finally got internet at home… things will be back to more-or-less normal soon…

180

things are relatively quiet for a change. the only people in the shop are me and the press operator, greg. farah is at woodinville and majid went off with some guy who spoke persian (or farsi or something that majid also spoke, but that i don’t) and who said he was a buddhist (he asked me if i was jewish, people keep doing that, i wonder why?). i’m caught up, which i get the impression didn’t happen too often before i started… however we’ve got one job which is a full colour, two sided postcard from a senior care company which didn’t know how to spell “alzeimers” or “atmosfere” and wanted us (well, me) to “design a postcard” around a microsoft word document which was a copy-and-paste job from their web site, with no graphics… so i wonder if we’re even going to get paid for this one.

we still don’t have internet at home… as i suspected would happen, when i called wednesday and the guy said that the order was “expedited” and someone would be calling me within 48 hours, it didn’t happen. we did get an automated call at 7:30 am, saturday (grumble, mutter) which said that our DSL service had been hooked up and was available as of 6th june, which it was, only our provider was not drizzle, like we requested, but MSN, which we specifically did NOT request, but when moe tried to hook up her computer last night, it still didn’t work. as of 8:00 am this morning, any further delay in getting our internet hooked up is going to cost someone at qwest $120 an hour for my loss of business.

getting shelves put up, and with the exception of internet, got the computers all hooked up and ready to go. ordered 2 boxes full of boxes from uline for incense storage, so now i don’t have to keep all my incense for sale in milk crates. things are settling in slowly.

179

well, it’s just about over. we finally moved into the house on tuesday of last week, and the phone was hooked up on friday last week, but we still don’t have internet, and who knows when we will have it, because of qwest, so i get to update between jobs. things are going as well as can be expected at work, despite the fact that my bosses are without a doubt the stupidest business owners on the planet – when someone makes an order, they recieve a proof copy, which is exactly the same as it will look when it comes off of the press. then it is their job to proofread it to make sure everything is the way it should be, the spelling is all correct, the typesetting and layout is correct and so forth… except that with farah and majid, they only require the customer to proofread for spelling, and only on the stuff that has changed… the customer is not required to proofread for typesetting or design on jobs that are being reprinted. that, combined with the fact that they have absolutely no backups of any kind, and only a rudimentary filing system makes it practically impossible for me to get any job right the first time, and it means that if the customer doesn’t like what we have printed for them, for any reason, we have to reprint it again (and, potentially, repeatedly) for free, until we get it right. it’s a wonder they have stayed in business this long… also, because of the fact that their customers have not had to take responsibility for their mistakes, they subsequently have developed a long list of extremely spoiled customers who go out of their way to make sure that their jobs are done "right" regardless of what kind of garbage they submitted, and if it’s not done right, guess whose fault it is?

i wonder how long it will be until i get fired…

178

whooy… not much time: new job is going okay, in spite of the fact that majid and farrah know practically nothing about computers, but still insist that i use a PC and indesign for the work, in spite of the fact that it would be more accurate more of the time if i did it on a mac with quark instead… but they’re the bosses, so it’s time for some subtle education on my part, which i’m not sure if i’m ready for it or not. still don’t know when we’re going to close on the house, but presumably it should be this week some time… we hope… fingers crossed… meantime, living in a 30 foot motorhome in juanita (the owner said bothell, but it’s really juanita, regardless of what the owner says), which is small, but tolerable as long as we know it’s not forever. later.

177

today may be the last time i update until we get moved into our new house. but we still don’t know when that will be, because we still don’t know the closing date. moe has told her mom that it’s going to be the 17th, but that’s more to make her mom feel good than anything else, because we really don’t know. meanwhile, i’ve got a cirque de flambé performance on the 20th through the 23rd, and i start a NEW JOB (!!!!!) on wednesday the 11th, at which time we’re going to be staying with some friends (tom and wanda, people that moe knows through dog agility) in a 35 foot motorhome in butt-hell. anyway, i’ll try to update again sooner, but there’s no telling when or how, so it’s kinda up in the air.

176

good news/bad news…

bad news is that we’ve still not found out the closing date on our new house, which means that we’re going to have to spend a week or two living in a 35 foot motorhome in bothell (known by the people who live there as “butt-hell”). and there’s still the remote possibility that the financing won’t go through at all, which will mean a “slightly longer” stay in “butt-hell”…

good news is that i (finally) got a job. i start wednesday at minuteman press in bellevue, on 130th, very close to where i used to work when i worked at software dot com, before it got swallowed by openwave.

by the way, happy no pants day… and regardless of what some people think, i’m wearing my oh-so-trendy utilikilt and wondering why i don’t wear it more often. next we should think about having a no pants month… 8)

175

i got a “new” car yesterday – i hope it lasts a little bit longer than the last one, which was the only one to break the tradition – it’s a 96 mazda protegé (maintaining my tradition of never owning a car that is newer than 10 years old) that was a rental car in washington and oregon before i got it (which knowledge came to me from carfax), but the title has been lost, which means i can’t legally transfer my license plates that say GANESHA until after i’ve applied for a new title, and there’s no guarantee that’s going to happen before i go to canadada on the 20th, so i’m still planning on going with someone else… and i still don’t know who that is yet. 8/

another attempt to clear out my desktop:

Miss Jumbo Queen - a tuba player!

Jumbo Queen says fat is beautiful

Mon May 2, 2005, 12:56 PM ET

NAKHON PATHOM, Thailand (Reuters) – In an era of chiseled supermodels and bizarre weight-loss diets a Thai beauty contest celebrated women with a bit of flesh Sunday when heavy-weight contestants battled for the Miss Jumbo Queen crown.

The annual contest, which aims to raise awareness and money for Thailand’s dwindling elephant population, allows full-sized women weighing over 176 pounds to show weight-conscious Thais that big is beautiful.

This year, 24 women participated in the contest at the Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo, 38 miles west of the capital Bangkok.

“I want to show people that just because I’m fat doesn’t mean I’m any less beautiful or talented,” said 18-year-old winner, Tarnrarin Chansawang, who weighed in at 242 pounds.

Tarnrarin, a bubbly business student and tuba player from Bangkok, took home several prizes, including a Jumbo-sized trophy and $50,000 baht ($1,270).

Judges also looked at other talents of the contestants who mesmerized hundreds of spectators with raunchy dance numbers and revealing costumes.

In keeping with Jumbo tradition, a side award for Miss Jumbo Universe went to university student Thanchanok Mekkeaw for weighing in as the heaviest competitor in the pageant at 400 pounds.


Girl, 13, argues right to abortion – Judge asked to reverse decision by state guardian

By John Coté
Staff Writer
Posted April 30 2005

“Why can’t I make my own decision?”

That was the blunt question to a judge from a pregnant 13-year-old girl ensnared in a Palm Beach County court fight over whether she can have an abortion.

“I don’t know,” Circuit Judge Ronald Alvarez replied, according to a recording of the closed hearing obtained Friday.

“You don’t know?” replied the girl, who is a ward of the state. “Aren’t you the judge?”

Against a backdrop of state and federal efforts to pass a parental notification law for teen abortions, the exchange was typical of L.G.’s pluck as she argued that she had the right and capability to make her own decision, despite a move by the Department of Children & Families to seek a judge’s permission for her abortion.

“I think if I want to make the decision, it’s my business and I can do that,” she told the judge.

The DCF is the teen’s legal guardian after she was taken away from her parents for abuse or neglect. State law allows minors to have abortions without notifying their guardians. Experts say the law extends to wards of the state, raising the question of why this girl’s decision has ended up before a judge.
DCF Secretary Luci Hadi requested a judge’s ruling, according to a department statement released Friday. DCF attorneys filed an emergency motion Tuesday morning, the same day L.G.’s caseworker was prepared to take her to a clinic for the abortion.

“The Department of Children and Families has the custodial responsibility to do what is in the best interest of the child,” the department said.

Alvarez had ordered a psychological evaluation to determine L.G.’s mental condition and whether she would be harmed by terminating the pregnancy or giving birth.

The case is now before the 4th District Court of Appeal where it has been fast-tracked after attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union filed an emergency appeal Wednesday, arguing that neither the judge nor DCF should be involved in L.G.’s decision.

While delaying any ruling until the appeals court decides, Alvarez held a hearing Thursday to weigh arguments.

DCF attorney Jeffrey Gillen said he was concerned L.G. was more likely to suffer “detrimental effects” if she underwent an abortion because she had psychiatric or behavioral problems in the past.

L.G., who told Alvarez she had run away at least five times from her youth shelter, maintained, “It would make no sense to have the baby.”

“I don’t think I should have the baby because I’m 13, I’m in a shelter and I can’t get a job,” the girl said as Alvarez and her guardian ad litem, assigned to shepherd her in the legal system, questioned her.

L.G. laid out different reasons for wanting an abortion.

“DCF would take the baby anyway,” she said, but later added: “If I do have it, I’m not going to let them take it.”

She also questioned the health risk of carrying the fetus to term.

“Since you guys are supposedly here for the best interest of me, then wouldn’t you all look at that fact that it’d be more dangerous for me to have the baby than to have an abortion?” she asked. Alvarez called that “a good point.”

Dr. Ethelene Jones, an expert in obstetrics and gynecology, testified earlier in the hearing that abortions are “definitely” safer than full term pregnancies for girls L.G.’s age.

“At her age and at her stage of gestation … her risk of death from an abortion procedure is about 1 in 34,000,” said Jones, who has held positions at Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. “The risk of death in pregnancy is about 1 in 10,000.”

L.G. said her caseworker had taken her on three visits to clinics, and risks and alternatives to abortion were discussed.

Lynn Hargrove, the court-appointed psychologist, testified L.G. had a “mild mood disorder” but did not have “a significant psychotic or delusional thought process” that would interfere with rational decision making.

J.G. is 14 weeks pregnant, witnesses testified, which would indicate she became pregnant after she ran away from a group home in late January and was missing for a month.

She had sex with “a boy” but refused to disclose his name to Alvarez saying: “That’s not really necessary.”

The judge blasted the DCF, saying the agency never asked the court to issue an order to take the child into custody after her most recent disappearance.
“To say that I am angry at that would be an understatement,” Alvarez said. “To rush into this court on an emergency basis because this child is pregnant and wants an abortion, I don’t know where our priorities in life are. The priority should have been to make certain that an order to take her into custody was issued as soon as possible, and that she was found and taken off of the streets or wherever she was. But nobody cared.”

Munoz said DCF immediately notified law enforcement in Pinellas County when the girl ran away Jan. 29.

Munoz declined to specify what agency was notified, saying that could compromise L.G.’s privacy rights by leading to information about where she was living.

“As we do in all instances when a child runs away from their placement, we immediately notify law enforcement, submit a report into the Missing Child Tracker System, and notify other state agencies as appropriate,” the agency said in statement Friday.

John Coté can be reached at [email protected] or 561-832-6550.

i think it’s about time we rethink this: california has always been "the nuttiest state in the union", but i think it’s time for that honour to be passed on to florida…


archie mcphee has band-aids, but they’re not what they appear… they’re actually band-aids! weird!

here is an audio CD that i want… anybody interested in buying it for me?

somebody took my idea of writing grafitti in the moss on buildings to it’s logical conclusion… writing grafitti with moss… and beer! but i’m not sure that the beer couldn’t be substituted for some other moist product that isn’t beer, so that the beer could be consumed by the person writing the grafitti…

aaahhh, grafitti and mind altering substances – the beginnings of a religion!

also, 6th may is no pants day… wearing my kilt is a necessity!

173

i applied for my passport (!) so i can go to canadada (!) today. i went at 8:30 this morning, but the office doesn’t open until 10:00, so i took the paperwork and returned home. tried again at 11:00, and actually got in the door this time, but the lady said the name on my birth certificate doesn’t match the name on my driver’s license – well DUH! – and no, my social security card is not enough for the department of clownland security folks, they’ve got to actually see the paperwork, which is buried in one box, presumably in the back of the POD, and they won’t accept my paperwork without it. so i go back home, unpack the whole POD, digging through every box, because i don’t know which one i put it in, freak out, find it, and go back at 12:30… but the person who accepted the application is not the person who has to see the stuff, and according to the person who accepts the application, i won’t actually get the passport and supporting paperwork back for 5 to 6 weeks, unless i want to pay an extra $60 so they will "expedite" it back to me in 2 weeks (meaning that she put it in an express mail folder instead of in the regular mail). finally i raise my right hand and say "yes" when she asks me if all of the information is correct to the best of my knowledge. now the US department of state has my birth certificate and my certificate of name-change, which means that if, for some "god-knows-what" reason i’ve got to prove my identity to someone, i can’t do it… presumably they’re going to mail it all back to me, but with everything else in an uproar, there’s no telling what is going to happen.

we still don’t know whether we’ve got financing for our new house yet, and probably won’t until after the 10th, which is when we have to move out of our current place. the real estate agent says not to worry, but he doesn’t know who he’s talking to here… i’m an expert at worrying… and it’s worse, because i keep wondering what will happen when we’ve moved out of our current place, and then discover that the financing for the new house didn’t go the way we all want it to go, and we end up without a house. everybody says that won’t happen, but i say "why won’t it happen" and so far nobody has an answer to that question. and it’s even more worse because, since my injury, i’ve been worrying about everything a lot more than i used to.

EDIT: i’m fairly sure that this entry by wasn’t meant for me, but i’m not sure… and even if it wasn’t, it’s strangely appropriate to my current condition…

172

the house is definitely looking like we’re moving at this point: the basement and the back bedroom are empty, the garage is my “staging area” for moving stuff into the pod, so it has been cleared out, but currently has a whole bunch of stuff that has been packed but not moved yet in it, the office has one wall that needs to be finished, but everything else is out, the living room is about half finished, i’m taking ezra’s last bit of stuff to him this afternoon. what remains is the bedroom and kitchen (which get packed at the same time, according to moe’s “secret patented method for moving”), and the computer stuff, which actually gets packed last, because that way they get unpacked first.

we have to move out of our current house by the 10th of may, but we don’t know when we’re going to find out when we can move in to our new house yet, because the financing is still up in the air. the stress is getting palpable.

combine that with the fact that the cirque de flambé has an “international” show (in vancouver, canadada) to do at the end of may, and i haven’t even tried to get into canadada since the fiasco eight years ago which happened because of the fact that my “criminal record” (i was convicted of shoplifting 20 cents worth of candy from a bulk candy bin at the grocery store 15 years earlier) had been expunged and i didn’t know that it mattered… so i ended up having to pay $350 CN (which i didn’t have) for a “humanitarian discretionary entry” in order to get into the country, because it was either that, or forfeit a week’s vacation (which cost significantly more than $350 CN)… i’ll have to remember all my paperwork from that… and i still don’t know whether they’re going to want a passport, or if they’ll just accept my birth certificate and driver’s license… and the fact that i still don’t have a car, so i’ll be relying on someone else to transport me and my stuff.

plus, the only email i have recieved for about 2 weeks (apart from various legitimate mailing-list banter which doesn’t involve me) has been spam… and spam has been REALLY bad the past few days. i’m feeling discouraged and depressed because the only people who want to be in contact with me are ones who are trying to scam me in some way.

I am:
-19%
Republican.

“The Marxists are too reactionary for you. With people like you around, America collectively thanks God for John Ashcroft.”

Are You A Republican?

DAMN straight!

other links:
boom… really!
hallucinogen myths put to rest – see? all the drugs i took in college may have actually been good for me, like i’ve been saying all along!

170

we are moving some time after 7 may and before 15 may, but we’re not sure of the exact date yet. the basement and the back bedroom are completely clean, i’ve gotten rid of the old futon bunk bed and taken three pickup loads to the dump. i’ve still got the stair climber, the old recliner, an inflatable boat, a box of books and 3 bicycles that need to be donated. all that’s left is the remainder of the garage, the remainder of the office, remainder of the living room, the kitchen and the bedroom, but the last vestiges of the office (the computers) are probably going to be saved until the last possible moment, because they have to be hooked up at the new place first. also, the kitchen is mostly packed already, it’s just a matter of actually putting stuff in boxes. supposedly ezra’s going to come by on friday and pick up the rest of his stuff, but i’m going to see if i can’t arrange to meet him sometime and just take it to him, because it’s getting in the way currently.

the Cirque de Flambé has performances in vancouver bc, the 21st and 22nd. at this point i still don’t have a car, so i’m planning on car-pooling with someone, but i don’t know who yet.

Which famous photographer are you?

Joel-Peter Witkin: Known for photographing human spectacles including hermaphrodites, dwarfs, amputees, androgynes, carcasses, people with odd physical capabilities & fetishists

“When I produce a photograph that totally satisfies, a part of me actually dies. And I think that death is an aspect of myself being burned away or dissolved, because that part of what I had to work out is taken care of.”

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

American Cities That Best Fit You:

60% San Francisco
60% Seattle
55% Honolulu
50% Atlanta
50% Las Vegas

i guess it’s a good thing i live in seattle, huh?

Bravehearts in Kilts Against Trouser Tyranny
Vurngicgxef of vmiosgjle jfpoeijd ajbva eemri – which is what i feel like all the time… 8/
it’s the quilt!
our new house which is actually a glorified trailer

NOT for the squeamish!
do NOT click here!
Don’t say i didn’t warn you!

but it’s kinda cool in a weird sort of way

in other news

adobe develops microsoft disease… time to start moving away from adobe applications now, especially on the mac… time to have an Os9.x machine on which you can run freehand, and a W2K machine on which you can run homesite. oh well. competiton was overrated anyway: microsoft has already proved that it’s possible to dominate the market, tell the consumers what they want, and spam them into oblivion, and nobody will care, so why can’t adobe do the same thing?

links that should make the Democrat in everyone cringe…

first, there’s "senator" frist, who defended his effort to strip democrats of their ability to block votes on "president" shrub junior’s court nominees… the filibuster is one of democracy’s last ditch measures to make sure that people aren’t subjected to government which is not by, for, and of the people. the essential criminalisation of things like the filibuster and protection from self-incrimination should make everyone sit up and take notice!

then, when they’re through trying to take away another vestige of the democracy that failed, they decide that you’re not paying enough in taxes, that one fifth, or more, of your income isn’t enough, and they have to have more of your hard earned cash to support the massive war effort waste of environmental resources sweetheart deals with places like enron and halliburton… um… er… things that aren’t evil in one way or another…

i am a terrorist! if something isn’t done to rescue our own people right here at home, from the stupidity of our own government, SOON you’re all going to wish that it had!

Frist Defends Effort to End Filibusters

Sunday, April 24, 2005

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was telling conservatives on Sunday that judges deserve “respect, not retaliation,” no matter how they rule, and he defended his effort to strip Democrats of their ability to block votes on President Bush’s court nominees.

“I don’t think it’s radical to ask senators to vote. I don’t think it’s radical to expect senators to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities,” said Frist, whom Democrats have accused of engaging in “radical Republican” politics.

A potential candidate for the White House in 2008, the Tennessee Republican made no overt mention of religion in a brief address taped for a rally Sunday evening in Louisville, Ky., according to a text of his remarks released before the event.

Instead, Frist seemed intent on steering clear of the views expressed by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and other conservatives in and out of Congress who have urged investigations and even possible impeachment of judges they describe as activists.

“Our judiciary must be independent, impartial and fair,” Frist said in his taped remarks.

“When we think judicial decisions are outside mainstream American values, we will say so. But we must also be clear that the balance of power among all three branches requires respect — not retaliation. I won’t go along with that,” Frist said.

The event, organized by the conservative Family Research Council, was being held in a church and was to be broadcast around the country. Fliers for “Justice Sunday — Stopping The Filibuster Against People of Faith” said the filibuster, a tactic used by the minority party to stall debate and sometimes scuttle votes on presidential nominees, is “being used against people of faith.”

The No. 2 Democrat in the Senate said on Sunday that the Constitution prohibits a religious test for a person to be appointed to a public office.

“What’s happening today with the Family Research Council is wrong,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told “Fox News Sunday.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaking on the same show, said the Family Research Council should not question whether Democrats are people of faith or religious bigots.

“I don’t think that helps the country and I don’t think it’s fair,” Graham said.

For months, Frist has threatened to take action that would shut down the Democrats’ practice of subjecting a small number of judicial appointees to filibusters. Barring a last-minute compromise, a showdown is expected this spring or summer.

While a majority of the Senate is sufficient to confirm a judge, it takes 60 votes under Senate rules to overcome a filibuster and force a final vote.

Rather than change the rules directly, Frist and other Republicans have threatened to seek an internal Senate ruling that would declare that filibusters are not permitted against judicial nominees.

Because such a ruling can be enforced by majority vote, and Republicans have 55 seats in the 100-member Senate, GOP leaders have said they expect to prevail if they put the issue to the test.

Democrats blocked 10 appointments in Bush’s first term. The president has renominated seven of the 10 since he won re-election, and Democrats have threatened to filibuster them again.

Republicans pushed two of the nominees — including Texas Supreme Court Judge Priscilla Owen — from the Senate Judiciary Committee last week on party-line votes.

In his remarks, Frist singled out Owen for praise, possibly indicating she will become the test case for the expected showdown.

“She has received praise from both parties,” he said of Owen, nominated for a seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Justice Owen has also been a leader for providing free legal services to the poor. And she has worked to soften the impact of legal proceedings on children of divorcing parents,” Frist said.

Frist said that “even though a majority of senators support her, she has been denied an up-or-down vote on the floor of the Senate. … Justice Owen deserves better. She deserves a vote.”

In his remarks, Frist noted that some Republicans are opposed to ending judicial filibusters, fearing that they may someday want to use the same tactics against appointments made by a Democratic president.

“That may be true. But if what Democrats are doing is wrong today, it won’t be right for Republicans to do the same thing tomorrow,” he said.

Frist also said that the Democrats’ filibuster against Bush’s nominees was the first time ever that “a judicial nominee with majority support had been denied an up-or-down vote.”

Republicans held a Senate majority for six of President Clinton’s eight years in office and frequently prevented votes on his court appointments by bottling them up in the committee, knowing the nominees would be confirmed if allowed to go to a vote by the full Senate.

One nominee, Richard Paez, a district court judge when he was nominated, waited more than four years before being confirmed to the appeals court.

Frist’s comments on the independence of judges follow DeLay’s campaign against the federal courts since judges refused to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube.

After the death of the brain-damaged Florida woman, despite swift congressional passage of a law giving federal judges jurisdiction to review her case, DeLay said, “The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior.” He later apologized, saying he had spoken in an “inartful” way.

Commission Says Too Many Tax Breaks Exist

Sunday, April 24, 2005

By MARY DALRYMPLE, AP Tax Writer

WASHINGTON – As taxpayers recover from finishing their annual filing chores, a presidential commission studying the tax laws has reached the conclusion that there are just too many deductions and credits.

Three credits and a deduction help taxpayers cut college costs. Special urban and rural tax zones encourage investment and job creation. Dozens of other tax benefits help families raise children and save for retirement, encourage adoption, nudge drivers toward hybrid cars and push businesses to invest in new equipment.

“We have lost sight of the fact that the fundamental purpose of our tax system is to raise revenues to fund government,” according to President Bush’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform.

The commission’s chairman, former Florida Sen. Connie Mack, said its nine members have been surprised at the number of tax deductions and credits.

“It wasn’t until we really had the opportunity to listen to so many different people talk about so many different aspects of the code that it really sunk in about how much and how often the code is being used these days to either create incentives or disincentives for either investment or behavior,” Mack said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The White House budget office ranks the cost of a deduction for businesses that provide health insurance to employees as the top tax break, worth $126 billion next year. Also high on the list are the popular mortgage interest deduction, a capital gains break for home sales, a deduction for charitable contributions and the child tax credit.

The list includes many tiny tax breaks. Among them are ones that encourage biodiesel fuel, help the elderly and disabled, make interest on educational bonds tax-free and allow teachers to deduct the cost of school supplies.

The problem comes when taxpayers try to decipher the rules that govern those credits and deductions. The tax breaks often overlap and typically come with pages of instructions and qualifications.

“It was clearly stated that the level of complication has become so great that in many cases it ends up deterring the activity that you’re trying to encourage,” Mack said.

Bush has asked the panel to preserve tax breaks that promote homeownership and charitable giving.

Tax breaks started proliferating in the 1990s for two reasons, said Eugene Steuerle, a former Treasury Department official and co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

“There’s always been this political reward for claiming to do something new rather than merely cleaning up or slightly expanding something that already exists,” Steuerle said.

Lawmakers want to brand their own education tax breaks, for example, which means there are multiple deductions, credits and special savings accounts instead of one tax break everyone can use.

Tax breaks also provide benefits without creating a government spending program. But the proliferation of tax breaks end up costing the public because they mean lawmakers cannot lower income tax rates, Steuerle said.

“They make it look like smaller government, when in fact it’s actually bigger government,” he said.

The tax breaks amount to billions of dollars.

Tax benefits that provide indirect subsidies to homeowners add up to more than the entire budget of the Housing and Urban Development Department.

The earned income tax credit for low wage workers is bigger than any welfare program, including food stamps.

The tax break for businesses that provide health insurance is growing faster than almost all other domestic programs.

Some critics say no one tracks the tax breaks to find out if they succeed in promoting the behavior lawmakers want to encourage. Limitations often mean that some breaks are not available to wealthier taxpayers or poorer ones.

“It is worth noting that the deductions are of little or no benefit to the 40 percent of taxpayers who don’t owe taxes,” Fred Goldberg Jr., a former Internal Revenue Service commissioner, told the presidential panel.

Would taxpayers give up some of those deductions and credits to make the whole system simpler? Not likely.

“Anytime you’ve got a benefit, wherever it happens to be, whether it’s spending or taxes, people don’t want to give them up,” Mack said.

This summer, the panel plans to recommend ways to make the tax laws simpler and fairer.

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windoesn’t is acting up again. the 1.03 update for firefox is out, but when i ran the update, it stalls out starting just before it loads my “homepage” (which is a html file on my local network): the menus won’t work, although there’s a “double-click to check for updates” button in the wrong place on the toolbar which does work (although, as i expected, it doesn’t find any updates, because there aren’t any) and the only thing that does work is the “X” box in the upper right corner which quits the program. i checked the task manager and there’s only one firefox process, which goes away when i quit (which is what i expect), and i uninstalled, cleaned out the registry of every occurrance of “firefox” and then re-installed 1.02, but it still gave me the same problems when i got 1.02 installed, which leads me to believe that something in the windoesn’t operating system is getting in the way, but not in a way that i’ve been able to figure out. i’ve updated and run 2 different virus/spyware/malware deteciton programs with no results, and linux version of 1.03 works without a problem (which i expect), but it’s kind of irritating when i have to post things on the web before checking their validation, because my validator on windows is dependent on a local version of firefox… 8/

EDIT: it’s fixed, and linux, which broke afer the first posting of this message, is fixed as well. apparently something was not called correctly when i installed my extensions, and starting it up in safe mode, disabling and uninstalling, then re-installing the extensions fixed it for both platforms.

this was borrowed from who borrowed it from : “this is the meme where you throw some lyrics into Babelfish and translate them into Dutch and French and German and Yakian Discordian and then post three hints as to what the song is and people have to guess it.”

i’m actually going to do a number of these, but this one is, in my opinion, terrifically easy if you know my musical tastes at all:

It is a song regarding the vegetable, it is you regularly, it real for and holds effective calls the any vegetable.
The call it the name.
Mention today, if you receive from the course.
Calls are good any vegetable and the chances, which will answer the vegetable at you!

1) it is a song by my favourite artist.
2) it is a song which invokes a deity for which i have an affinity.

jeez, do i really need to post three? okay…

3) it is the song that the Tinite High Priest sings before a special yearly celebration.

from

stone key
You are a stone key, and you unlock old and magical
secrets. What you have to offer is powerful and
difficult for many to understand, but
invaluable to the few who can truly grasp it.
Give the things you have carefully and
wisely, because not everyone will use them for
good.

What sort of key are you and what do you unlock?
brought to you by Quizilla

Exploding toads baffle German experts

BERLIN (AFP) – Hundreds of toads have met a bizarre and sinister end in Germany in recent days, it was reported: they exploded.

According to reports from animal welfare workers and veterinarians as many as a thousand of the amphibians have perished after their bodies swelled to bursting point and their entrails were propelled for up to a metre (three feet).

It is like “a science fiction film”, according to Werner Smolnik of a nature protection society in the northern city of Hamburg, where the phenomenon of the exploding toad has been observed.

“You see the animals crawling on the ground, swelling and then exploding.”

He said the bodies of the toads expanded to three and a half times their normal size.

“I have never seen such a thing,” said veterinarian Otto Horst. So bad has the death toll been that the lake in the Altona district of Hamburg has been dubbed “the pond of death.”

Access to it has been sealed off and every night a biologist visits it between 2:00 and 3:00 am, which appears to be peak time for batrachians to go bang.

Explanations include an unknown virus, a fungus that has infected the water, or crows, which in an echo of the Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Birds”, attack the toads, literally scaring them to death.

166

habemas papam… white smoke and a new nazi… benedict XVI, for whatever that’s worth…

also, i’m sure nobody else will remember this (it’s odd what you remember and what you forget as the result of a brain injury), but bob larson’s old talk show line – 1-800-821-TALK (8255) – has turned into a toll-free pornography line. i couldn’t have wished for a more appropriate outcome. by the way, if any of you do know what i’m talking about, ralph ewggleigh (otherwise known as “wraith ugly”, the “witch” who bob ranted at incessantly for the first few years he was on the radio, who then “committed suicide” only to be “resurrected” by the Church of Tina Chopp), can now be reached at ugly at fuckthatshit dot org…

although i am not responsible for what happens if you send him spam…

one of the advantages of cleaning house in preparation for moving
who is she?
does anybody know who this person is?
her picture was amongst a bunch of otherwise tossable paper junk
i just don’t know who it is, or why i’ve got it…

165

Motorola v60i/v60s phones and chargers
Collectible Mother Goose Cookie Jar
Christmas Bear and Gifts Cookie Jar

by the way, that’s stuff i’m selling, not stuff that i want… just to be clear about it.

it’s official… we sold our house today, which means that we are moving at the end of the month. it’s remotely possible that we actually will be moving into the "glorified trailer" near star lake, but we won’t know for sure until monday. meanwhile i made a button that says “IN WALLA WE TRUST” for someone named ariel who lives on mercer island, and i’ve filled three incense orders and i’ve got another one sitting on my desk which i’m going to have to order one of the three items that they ordered, but that should be fairly easy.

How much is enough?!
A Social Justice Quiz
Twenty Questions By BILL QUIGLEY

1. In 1968 the minimum wage was $1.60 per hour. How much would the minimum wage be today if it had kept pace with inflation?

2. In 1965, CEOs in major companies made 24 times more than the average worker. In 2003, CEOs earned how many times more than the average worker?

3. The US is composed of 3,066 counties. In how many of the nation’s 3,066 counties can someone who works full-time and earns the federal minimum wage afford to pay rent and utilities on a one-bedroom apartment?

4. How much must the typical US worker must earn per hour hour if they dedicate 30% of their income to housing costs.

5. How many million workers in the US earn poverty-level wages of less than $8.20 an hour?

6. What are Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Tennessee?

7. What are Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia?

8. In 2001, the average financial wealth for black householders was about what % of the average for white households?

9. The median financial wealth for blacks is how much of the corresponding figure for whites?

10. Over the entire 28 year history of the Berlin Wall, 287 people perished trying to cross it. In the ten years since the Clinton administration implemented the current U.S. border strategy with Mexico, how many people have died trying to cross?

11. Where does the US rank worldwide in the imprisonment of its citizens?

12. In 2004, the direct reported US military budget was how much for each second of the year?

13. In 2003, the US military budget was how many times larger than the Chinese budget, the second largest spender?

14. In 2003, the US military budget was how many times as large as the combined spending of the seven so-called “rogue” states (Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria)?

15. The difference in income per head between the richest nation and the poorest nation in 1750 was about 5 to 1. Today the difference between the richest nation and the poorest nation is what?

16. Of the 6.2 billion people in the world today, how many live on less than $1 per day, and how many live on less than $2 per day?

17. The richest 1% in the world receive as much income as what percentage of the poorest?

18. The Congress under President Bush has been more generous in helping poor countries than under President Clinton. In 2003, the US increased official development assistance to poor countries by one-fifth. Where does the US contribution rank in the top 22 countries in proportion to our economy?

19. Americans give how much per day in government assistance to poor countries?

20. Americans spend how much on soft drinks each day?

ANSWERS

1. The minimum wage would be $8.70 today if it had kept pace with inflation. Brennan Center, NYU Law School, November 3, 2004.

2. In 1965, CEOs in major companies made 24 times more than the average worker. In 2003, CEOs earned 185 times more than the average worker. “Wages” in State of Working America 2004-2005, Economic Policy Institute, www.epinet.org

3. In four of the nation’s 3,066 counties can someone who works full-time and earns the federal minimum wage afford to pay rent and utilities on a one-bedroom apartment. New York Times, “Study Finds Gap in Wages and Housing Costs,” December 25, 2004.

4. In fact, the typical US worker must earn $15.37 an hour if they dedicate 30% of their income to housing costs. New York Times, “Study Finds Gap in Wages and Housing Costs,” December 24, 2004.

5. How many people in the US earn poverty-level wages of less than $8.20 an hour? More than 30 million workers. William Quigley, ENDING POVERTY AS WE KNOW IT: Guaranteeing A Right to A Job at a Living Wage, 24 (Temple 2003).

6. What are Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Tennessee? The total population of these states represents the number of people in the US living below the official poverty line. William Quigley, ENDING POVERTY AS WE KNOW IT: Guaranteeing A Right to A Job at a Living Wage, 23-24 (Temple 2003).

7. What are Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia? The total populations of these state populations must be added to the states above if you count all the people below 125% of the official poverty line, a total of 22 states. William Quigley, ENDING POVERTY AS WE KNOW IT: Guaranteeing A Right to A Job at a Living Wage, 23-24 (Temple 2003).

8. In 2001, the average financial wealth for black householders was about 12% of the average for white households. “Minorities,” in State of Working America 2004-2005, Economic Policy Institute, www.epinet.org

9. The median financial wealth for blacks was $1,100, less than 3% of the corresponding figure for whites. “Minorities,” in State of Working America 2004-2005, Economic Policy Institute, www.epinet.org

10. Over the entire 28 year history of the Berlin Wall, 287 people perished trying to cross it. In the ten years since the Clinton administration implemented the current U.S. border strategy with Mexico, more than 2,500 people have died trying to cross. Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego. Marc Cooper, “On the Border of Hypocrisy,” December 5, 2003, LA Weekly.

11. Where does the US rank worldwide in the imprisonment of its citizens? First. The US imprisons over 700 persons per 100,000. Russia is second with 584. Sentencing Project, Facts About Prisons and Prisoners. www.sentencingproject.org

12. In 2004, the direct reported US military budget was over $399 billion, $12,000 a second. www.globalissues.org

13. In 2003, the US military budget was more than 8 times larger than the Chinese budget, the second largest spender. www.globalissues.org

14. The US military budget was more than 29 times as large as the combined spending of the seven “rogue” states (Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria). Even if you add China and Russiaís military spending to that of the seven potential enemies, all nine nations together spent $116.2 billion, 27% of the U.S. military budget. The US military budget is more than the combined spending of the next twenty three nations. www.globalissues.org

15. The difference in income per head between the richest nation and the poorest nation in 1750 was about 5 to 1. Today the difference between the richest nation, Switzerland, and the poorest nation, Mozambique, is about 400 to 1. (David S. Landes, THE WEALTH AND POVERTY OF NATIONS, xx, W.W. Norton 1998).

16. Of the 6.2 billion people in the world today, 1.2 billion live on less than $1 per day, 2.8 billion live on less than $2 per day. 2002 UN Human Development Report.

17. The richest 1% in the world receive as much income as the poorest 57%. 2002 UN Human Development Report.

18. The Congress under President Bush has been more generous in helping poor countries than under President Clinton. In 2003, the US increased official development assistance to poor countries by one-fifth. Where does the US contribution rank in the top 22 countries in proportion to our economy? Last. Nicholas D. Kristof, “Land of Penny Pinchers,” New York Times, January 5, 2005.

19. Americans on average give how much per day in government assistance to poor countries? 15 cents. Nicholas D. Kristof, “Land of Penny Pinchers,” New York Times, January 5, 2005.

20. Americans spend how much on soft drinks each day? 60 cents. Nicholas D. Kristof, “Land of Penny Pinchers,” New York Times, January 5, 2005.

“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing” oriented society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.” Martin Luther King, Jr., “A Time to Break Silence,” April 4, 1967.

Bill Quigley is a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He can be reached at [email protected]

Computer-generated gibberish submitted, accepted at scientific conference… hah! they’ve finally created a computer program that generates believable enough gibberish that even scientists are fooled. now it’s about time for people to realise that computers can do a lot more than that, and start thinking about how to change society for the better!
Fresh-air breathing device and method with a twist… don’t say i didn’t warn you!
police in great britain scan license plates from a helicopter… i would say "dude, where’s my country", but it’s not my country… dude, where’s my world!

164

so we’re not going to be living at the end of a gravel road that is off another gravel road near star lake, because of the fact that we can’t get financing for the “trailer” in spite of the fact that the people who are in charge of our current mortgage said they would loan us money… we’ve recinded our offer, and our real estate agent (who should have known that this was going to happen) says he’ll be able to get our earnest money back, but if not we’re going to make him eat it, because he should have known that this was going to happen, but lead us down the garden path anyway. meanwhile, we’ve found another house which looks about right, although we haven’t seen it yet… we’re going to see it tomorrow, so hopefully it will work out. our current house is still in the process… the buyer’s agent was going to meet with the buyers this evening, after they get off work, so we still don’t know anything for sure.

HAH FUCKING HAH!!!

US-CERT Technical Cyber Security Alert TA05-102A — Multiple Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows Components

Overview

Microsoft has released a Security Bulletin Summary for April, 2005. This summary includes several bulletins that address vulnerabilities in various Windows applications and components. Exploitation of some vulnerabilities can result in the remote execution of arbitrary code by a remote attacker. Details of the vulnerabilities and their impacts are provided below.

I. Description

The list below provides a mapping between Microsoft’s Security Bulletins and the related US-CERT Vulnerability Notes. More information related to the vulnerabilities is available in these documents.

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS05-020: Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (890923)

VU#774338 Microsoft Internet Explorer DHTML objects contain a race condition

VU#756122 Microsoft Internet Explorer URL validation routine contains a buffer overflow

VU#222050 Microsoft Internet Explorer Content Advisor contains a buffer overflow

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS05-02: Vulnerability in Exchange Server Could Allow Remote Code Execution (894549)

VU#275193 Microsoft Exchange Server contains unchecked buffer in SMTP extended verb handling

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS05-022: Vulnerability in MSN Messenger Could Lead to Remote Code Execution (896597)

VU#633446 Microsoft MSN Messenger GIF processing buffer overflow

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS05-019: Vulnerabilities in TCP/IP Could Allow Remote Code Execution and Denial of Service (893066)

VU#233754 Microsoft Windows does not adequately validate IP packets

II. Impact

Exploitation of these vulnerabilities may permit a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable Windows system, or cause a denial-of-service condition.

III. Solution

Apply a patch.

Microsoft has provided the patches for these vulnerabilities in the Security Bulletins and on Windows Update.

161

good news/bad news… and since there’s nobody to choose which comes first, you get my choice, and i’m not sure which is which.

we’ve had two offers on our house, and despite that, we continue to have to let total strangers walk around and “preview” the house, because the offers are not finalised yet: one of them was an investor who had bunches of money he was willing to throw at us with no contingencies or prerequisites, but he suddenly developed some “family emergency” or something like that, which made him have to leave for europe, so he withdrew the offer. the other one is from a family who is buying their first house, and their offer comes with some things that make us question whether they are actually going to get what they are asking for, and may end up not going through at all because they may want us to spend money to fix things – which is why we’re selling in the first place: we don’t have enough money to pay the mortgage, let alone fix things that they may want to have fixed before they’ll actually give us money.

however, the owner of the house we want to buy wants to sell to us, and has basically said that she’s ready to move at the end of april, so we’d be able to move in around the 1st of may… except that when the people who finance our mortgage, who have already approved a new mortgage based solely on moe’s income, found out that the “house” is actually a “glorified trailer”, they changed their minds and now say that they won’t lend us money unless we put up 30% of the cost of the “trailer” as a down payment. apparently the house is a “single-wide”, which are the most frequently defaulted-on mortgages of any out there, and despite the fact that we have great credit, they say that a “single-wide” is more like a car (or, more specifically, a trailer) than a house, and they’re afraid we’ll move it somewhere else (as if)… so they’re willing to loan us money to buy the “single-wide” if we’re willing to put down 30% to start with, but not at all if it is to be a “no down payment” mortgage, which is what we can afford… and if we recind our offer at this point, we’ll lose our earnest money, which we can’t afford to do.

SUCK!

the whole thing has put enough stress on moe that i’m starting to worry about her, along with all of the other things i’ve got to worry about. 8P

oh, yeah… the moisture festival is done for another year. i’m told that we won’t have to wait until next year to “get moist” again, but nothing apart from that.

My japanese name is 福田明 (bright happy rice field).
Take your real japanese name generator! today!
Created with Rum and Monkey‘s Name Generator Generator.

apparently kids in japan play a game called kancho, which involves “kids clasping their hands together, sticking out their first fingers, and shoving them up your butt”… here’s a link to the whole story for the morbidly curious, as well as a link to the JET Programme, for those who want to go and find out for themselves whether it’s really true or not.

Leftist Hatred Behind Pie-Throwing Thugs… “Pie-throwing thugs attacking conservative speakers on college campuses are motivated by left-wing hatred…” or they could just be getting totally fed up with doing things according to the rules and getting shot down, overridden, and out-“voted” at every attempt. hrmph!

160

oh, all right, i’ll update my journal, in spite of the fact that the same things are going on now that were going on a week ago (stress over not having a job, stress about moving to an as-yet-unknown place, stress about my car’s deteriorating condition, moisture festival performances, etc.), if for no other reason than to get the mass of links off of my desktop.

the moisture festival is in the middle of it’s second week of performances, and everything is going amazingly well, although as disorganised as ever. apparently hobbit wrote to someone at the moisture festival back in february, but nobody responded. oh well, better luck next time, ‘eh? there’s a review of the moisture festival, and a whole bunch of pictures taken at the moisture festival by john cornicello, who is the fremont philharmonic’s keyboard player, but there’s only one of me. we’ll have to fix that…

salamandir at the moisture festival, 050406
please note, what you can see of the hat was given to me by
now that i’ve got the photo on a server which doesn’t prevent me from linking to graphics of my own face… grumble, grumble…

through not very much poking around i found my father’s web site. the last time i talked to him, i called to ask for a copy of my birth certificate, about a month ago. he said he would send it to me, and then hung up with no further comment. that was the first time i spoke to him since my injury, almost 2 years ago, and i’ve not been in contact with him and the rest of my "family-of-origin" for maybe 3 years before that. i wish i could have expected more from him, but he’s been that way for close to 20 years, so i don’t know why i should expect anything else from him. he sent me a certified letter with the original of my birth certificate (!), but it was addressed to my old name, which i haven’t used for more than 20 years.

along the same lines, i found another species of salamander on the web, Aneides flavipunctatus, whose name i like almost as much as Ambystoma tigrinum (the Tiger salamander, which is a "Mole salamander" according to the family name, but which isn’t listed at wildherps.com).

turning the corner, there’s an article i rather liked about the "chaliban" – the "christian" taliban which is slowly and insidiously taking over this country – which has been hypocritical enough to allow the government to pull the plug on a 6-month-old baby with a fatal form of dwarfism (over his mother’s objections), and hypocritical enough to allow tom delay to pull the plug on his own terminally-ill father, but hypocritial enough to rush in and repeatedly try to deny michael schiavo’s attempts to pull the plug on his brain-damaged, used-to-be human wife, terri… similarly, there is now evidence that a good deal of the information that "we" used to "justify" going to war with iraq came from a drunken liardude… where’s my country?

more linky-links…

Pope Joan – myth, or what?
huitlacoche is a south american "delicacy" made from corn smutEDIT: the original article, with more pictures, can be seen at The Sneeze – not for the squeamish or weak of heart… don’t say i didn’t warn you… i mean it!
here are a number of articles by Swami Abhedananda about jesus and "churchianity", which i have bookmarked for future reference.
the robo-urinal, which is bizarre enough that they included a picture of it, to assuage any skepticism…


thanks to

reefer "madness" – or, more accurately, reefer sarcasm. they’re grasping at straws here…
DON’T SAY CLICK HERE, and other dangerous words that i’ve been warning people about for years now… but people still ask me to use it anyway, which really frustrates me…

there, now i’ve updated. satisfied?

159

well, we’re officially moving… soon… but we still don’t know where yet. there’s a 2 bedroom manufactured home (read "glorified trailer") near star lake, or one of those small lakes in auburn (i’m not sure exactly which lake it is) that we’ve made an offer on, but we haven’t heard anything yet. in spite of that, we put the house on the market yesterday and we’ve already got a bunch of calls. i’ve been busting ass cleaning up and doing yard work…

and doing moisture festival performances, which are going really well, in spite of the fact that they’re somewhat disorganised. everybody’s going on when they’re supposed to go on, but when they’re supposed to go on is sort of transitory, and doesn’t get decided upon until right before the show, and in some cases (like last night) they change the order halfway through the show… plus they claim (for example) that there are sound effects for the thunder/lightning/rain effect at the beginning of the show that are on mini-disc, but the sound person (who isn’t me, because i’m in the band, more on this later) doesn’t know anything about it, and doesn’t have a mini-disc player that they can plug into the board anyway… so minutes before the show, john and i are running around trying to find hacki’s son myron to see if he has a mini-disc player (which he doesn’t), and yelling across a crowded performance hall to the sound person telling her that i will do the sound effects "manually" with a thunder drum and a metal sheet… and then, when it came time to do it, they skipped over that part without telling me, so i was all set and they began the next number and i was standing there holding my "props" looking like a fool… and it wasn’t even april fool’s day! i said earlier that i would also be running lights and sound, but this won’t be possible because i’m in the band, which has got to be available during every performance, at a moment’s notice, to go on and "cover", in case something goes wrong… plus it is a big enough performance this year (!) that sound and lights are actually two positions and the sound person, by necessity, can’t run lights as well.

anyway, for those of you in the boston area, MIT is giving a day-long workshop called regarding evil that i’d really like to attend if it weren’t on the wrong side of the country, and along the same lines, now that there’s more than one of us saying things like this, perhaps there’s a slight bit greater a probability that we won’t blow ourselves up before we can actually save the planet, Death was arrested and charged with theft from a cemetary in (where else) san francisco (i’ll let you figure that one out), and now there is further proof that people are Tinites whether they like it or not!

Lots More War!

I Want You!

The Gang Of Four

1st Amendment?

Back From Iraq
images by Jim Kirwan

this is an advertisement???
this is an advertisement? for what??

more advertising by the same artist
more "advertising" by the same artist… what is he advertising, anyway??

finally, thanks to , iCopulate for all those lonely iPods out there… i’m pretty sure the west has too much money, and too much time on their hands.

158

terri schiavo died a few minutes ago… now the battle is for where and what manner she will be buried. michael says she will be cremated and buried in pennsylvania, the parents want her not cremated and buried in florida…

can’t they leave well enough alone????

announcing the 2nd annual Moisture Festival

http://www.moisturefestival.com/

The 2005 Moisture Festival, A springtime celebration of comedie and varieté featuring Fyodor Karamazov, Du Caniveaux, The Fremont Players, Zebra Kings, Lelavision, Kevin Joyce, Martha Enson, PK Dwyer, Godfrey Daniels, Dangerous Flares, Artis the Spoonman, Flordigan Can Can Girls, Dr. Calamari and Acrophilia, Berlin’s Hacki Ginda, Avner the Eccentric. Tom Noddy the Bubble Guy, Rhys Thomas Jugglemania, Buttrock Suites, Magical Mystical Michael, Circus Contraption, The Aerialistas, Canote Brothers, Henrik Bothe, Baby Gramps, The Peculiárs, Amanda Starr, Widow Twankey, Cirque de Flambé, Christian Swenson, Savannah Fuentes, The Fremont Philharmonic, Janet McAlpin’s Madame X, Frank Olivier plus Late Night Burlesque! with Indigo Blue, Wade Madsen Ultra, and More!

Dates: March 30 – April 10th

Location: Hale’s Palladium, 4301 Leary Way NW, Seattle, WA

Ticketing Information:
Kids: $5.00
Matinee show: $10.00
Evening show: $15.00
Late show: $10.00
Fri. and Sat. night shows: $20.00

156

Nihilist
Congratulations! You scored 45!
You are quite existentially aware. However, you deny your connection to what is around you and those you stand in relation to. You feel what is around you is chaos and randomness. In order to respond to this you feel it is most important to explore your own power. You are quite individual but likely more pessimistic.
My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 99% on awareness

Link: The Existential Awareness Test written by badbestfriend on Ok Cupid

155

amusing, in a scary sort of way when you think about it, the Furry Home Page (thanks to ) at Furry Elementary School, in sandusky, ohio… and the reason it’s scary is because if you look at it with anything other than internet exploder (which i do by default, since micro$nooze doesn’t make IE for linux, and even if they did, i wouldn’t use it anyway), it looks like shit… it looks like it was made by a 5 year old who doesn’t know anything about HTML, because it doesn’t validate… but instead of making sure it’s compliant with industry standards for such things, instead, the perkins school district, whose ultimate purpose is "Excellence in education for all", makes it everyone else’s fault on their "technology" page, by saying that if you use firefox (which, while good, is the only alternative they offer, ignoring mozilla, or safari, or konqueror, or galeon, or…), "some web sites, including those of Perkins Local Schools and NOECA, may not appear as the web designer intended, and some dynamic content may not function correctly."

wull yeah, if the "web designer" has a pole up his ass and can’t write HTML because he relies on micro$hit to do all of the important stuff for him because he doesn’t understand how to do it himself, yeah, i can see how that might happen…

i wonder how much money micro$not has thrown at the perkins school district… i wonder if there are any computer users who run mac or linux systems in the perkins school district… if i was in sandusky, ohio, i would have some words with the school district’s network administrator, or their "webmaster" or whoever he is – i’d email him, but there appears to be no email address for Philip Alldredge – and if that didn’t work, i’d consider moving to another school district just on principle.

154

my LJ style changed again… i wonder how long it’s going to be before somebody does something about it?

changes from component to generator, changes from english to danish, changes from purple to blue…

153

i don’t have much to say, but i’ve got a lot to say about it…

about terri schiavo… just about as much has been said about the case as can be, but i’d like to add my two cents. much as the "CULTure of life" would like to ignore the fact, people actually don’t grow new brains… and that’s exactly what terri schiavo would have to do in order to be anything other than a persistent vegetable for the rest of her natural-born days, i don’t care how many "sounds" you hear coming out of her!! to illustrate this, here is a graphic:

Terri's brain, healthy brain

the dark areas on the left are places where there used to be brain material, but are now spinal fluid… i don’t care how much wishing and believing the parents do, i don’t care how much they wish that they heard her say "i want to live", their daughter simply won’t grow back even a fraction of that brain material. she’s a vegetable! QUIT APPEALING THE DECISIONS OF PEOPLE WHO KNOW MORE THAN YOU AND LET HER DIE, FOR GOD’S SAKE!!

more links that express my views pretty well…

kaboom!

if you want to stop the government from doing "cat" scans without your knowledge, then you’ve got to see Pet Foil Hat Technology… some people will buy anything…

and then, we have the "Art Outlives Politics" section of the post, which includes the recent actions by banksy, and Will SpongeBob Make You Gay?, yet another attempt by the religious right to control anything that might prove to make people realise how insidiously stupid the religious right is…

finally, we have art imitating life… or life imitating art?

oh, by the way, The 2nd Annual Moisture Festival starts next week…

152

okay, this is getting really annoying… my LJ style changed again! without me doing anything to it… i don’t know what is going on, but among other things, i changed my password, just in case.

151

i’m distressed and depressed, so i don’t feel like updating that often. i’m still here, and things are still as good as can be expected, considering that i’ve experienced a brain injury and been unemployed for almost 9 months, and there’s a good chance that we’re going to have to move pretty soon, which means that i may have to go another year or more before i actually get a chance to have the poppies that i successfully planted earlier this year actually grow to maturity in my yard… and i won’t have the multicoloured roses all over the yard… oh, yeah, i can plant more, but then i’ve got to wait for them to grow, which won’t be this year, and probably won’t be next year either. there’s so much more about this that i could say, but that’s what i’m thinking about right now. i’m not particularly disappointed at leaving our current location, it’s just that i don’t know where we’re going to end up yet… and the last time this sort of thing happened in my life was shortly before (as in a couple of years before) i broke up with ruth. and i can already hear moe saying that she’s NOT ruth, but old habits die hard (even if what i’ve been experiencing recently can’t exactly be described as a "habit")… and i have the added "bonus" of having my injury now, so if we did break up (for God-knows what reason), i’d be even more out of it than i was the last time. thus distress and depression.

according to ezra (who talked with her last week) katharyn is out of the state loony bin in steilacoom. apparently she was transferred to some regional care-center in bellingham, but as she has basically told her care-givers not to give any information about her to anyone, including ezra, and as she still maintains to ezra that she was "kidnapped" (in spite of the fact that she is now a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic), ezra has been unable to find out an awful lot more than that.

i’ve noticed that, about every 2 weeks or so, something gets messed up on the livejournal server such that my livejournal style gets changed from it’s current "component" style to "generator" style, which is definitely undesireable, and means that i’ve had to learn all of the nuances of the "component" style so that when it changes i can change it back as soon as possible. i would prefer it if it didn’t happen at all, but at least i’ve been able to learn all of the twiddly little details enough that i can tell almost immediately when it’s about to change, and change it back again fairly quickly.

okay, ezra has this goal of putting up 100,000 stickers that have this stylised picture of a bald man with the words "the bald man is watching you", similar to the picture shown here. this is a story that he told me about one recent expedition to help realise this goal. he says he was out putting up stickers recently in pioneer square, and there was a person standing outside of an art gallery smoking a cigarette who saw him and inquired if he was the one responsible for the stickers (which he is). she said that she is a member of a nationwide group of people who have been subjected to "testing" by the U.S. government, which she’s not supposed to talk about (<ding ding> wacko alert going off…). she said that in seattlle, there’s a guy named frank, who is paid by the government to make sure that members of this group who have been subjected to this "testing" actually don’t talk about it, and, coincidentally, he looks exactly like the bald man. now this is a person who, previously, didn’t know about ezra, or who was responsible for the bald man, but she said that she had a friend who lives in seattle, who is also a part of this group of people who have had this "testing" done to them, and this friend of hers had drawn a picture of this woman (her name is lynn) punching this guy named frank. she showed it to ezra, and he said that indeed, it looks almost exactly like the bald man. i said that, if it were happening to me, it would either inspire me to put up more stickers, or it would scare me enough that i would stop putting them up all together, with my particular preference being towards the former, and he agreed that he felt the same way. at that point, we got to talking about internet domains and suchlike, and there’s a good chance that the bald man is going to end up with a domain which people can go to, to find out more information (such as it is) about the bald man.

there’s a site which has, among other things, an article about starting a revolution (which is stuff i’ve been saying for 30 years), and an article about how to arm ourselves once that revolution has begun. and this site has chocolate deities and an interesting story about ganesha. here’s a funny story about the cats and the roomba. then, of course, there’s nice-tits.org which is 100% work safe, oddly enough. finally there’s 13 (more) things that do not make sense, if you needed some extra things that make you go hmmm…

150

i’ve noticed that on some (but not all, which is what makes it weird) of my livejournal pages, instead of my name being "?????????", which is what i would expect, it is "महà¥?श्वरदस", which leads me to believe that the FPI character set is not making it on to all of the pages. does anyone else notice that, or is it just me?

149

pipe & runes

it’s amazing what i can do when i’m depressed…

You scored as Chaotic Good. A Chaotic Good person is someone who has little intrinsic respect for laws or authority, seeing them as insufficient to sustain what’s right. These people work according to their own moral compass which, while good, is not necessarily always aligned with that of society. Despite their chaotic tendancies, these people are good at heart.

Chaotic Good

85%

Neutral Good

75%

Lawful Good

65%

Chaotic Neutral

50%

True Neutral

45%

Lawful Evil

20%

Neutral Evil

15%

Chaotic Evil

5%

Lawful Neutral

5%

What is your Alignment?
created with QuizFarm.com

148

yesterday was π day in the united states (3/14), but it won’t be π day until 22 july (22/7) in the rest of the world.

(courtesy of some guy i used to work with)

I thought we were all sufficiently geeky to see the significance of today, 3/14.

If 3/14 isn’t enough, look at the rest of the schedule: 3/14, at 1:59, for 26 minutes. That’s 3/14 1:59 26′. Or, smooshed together, 31415926.

The 22/7 part was especially obscure, it was supposed to be a joke about how 22/7ths (3.1428571428571428571428571428571…) is an excellent approximation for Pi (3.1415926535…), and thefore 22/7 (July 22nd for those European metric chaps) is an approximation for Pi day (3/14). There’s a good lesson for engineers in this, as 22/7ths is a “good enough” version of Pi for all but the most demanding applications, despite being a (literally) infinitely less complex expression than Pi. Something for us to keep in mind to temper the natural tendency to “overengineer” solutions.

More resources on Pi and Pi Day:

Pi Day Mission Statement
Pi Day openly promotes the celebration of mathematics education, the collective enjoyment of mathematics, and the ageless, multicultural interest in pi. Educators, students, and parents are encouraged to join together in a variety of public activities, expressing in imaginative ways, their passion for the longstanding creative nature of mathematics.

http://www.mobot.org/education/megsl/pi.html
http://www.exploratorium.edu/learning_studio/pi/
http://www.cecm.sfu.ca/pi/pi.html
http://archive.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Edu/RSE/RSEorange/buttons.html
http://www.joyofpi.com/pifacts.html

2006 is the 300th anniversary of Pi, in that the first recorded use of the Pi symbol to represent this ratio was in a book in 1706, so maybe we’ll have a bigger celebration next year. Any maybe a real blowout in 2020 (314 years after publication)?

now you know.

i’m not sure what is happening but it’s probably not going to be entirely good. we only have $1000, and we need $2600 this month. i’m not sure what’s going to happen, but we’ve already shut off our cable service, and moe is working on finding us a cheaper cell phone provider… we’ve also talked about selling the house, and the new car, and moe’s new computer, but that’s all we’ve done, and at this point i don’t know how much of it is going to actually happen. i’ve also applied (again) for disability benefits, in spite of the fact that i already applied once and was denied… because i understand that they deny everybody the first time around in hopes that we’ll get discouraged and look for help somewhere else, but i’m desperate at this point: i’ve already applied for 14 jobs this week, and i don’t have any hopes of hearing back from anyone, because i haven’t heard back from anyone in 8 months.

meanwhile, somebody sent me a check, so now i have to go make a pipe. it’s a good thing i have a whole bunch of creative outlets (i’ve made 3 more sets of runes since sunday, and i’m now the sound effects coordinator – read "funny noise maker" – for the cirque and the players), otherwise i’d really be going nuts.

i wonder if has seen this… if not, it seems like an appropriate link for him.

blatantly stolen from … without even responding to the one he posted (although i probably will eventually)

1) Does my username suit me?
2) Is my journal’s title cryptic or descriptive? What do you think it means?
3) Does my journal expand your knowledge of me?
4) Do you think my bio describes me well?
5) Which of my interests surprises you the least?
6) Which of my interests surprises you the most?
7) Which of my interests needs explaining?
8) Which of my userpics suits me best?
9) Which of my userpics suits me least?
10) Which of my userpics needs explaining?

146

yay! cirque du soleil has dropped their appeal, which means that now we have "successfully defended our trademark" in court. now, if they sue in civil court (which they still have the opportunity to do), we would very likely win, and at that point, macque said that we would very likely countersue for damages, harrassment and whatever else he could think of… at which point we could very likely own cirque du soleil! we’re gearing up for a very busy year, which includes shows in canada in may, three weeks of shows in seattle, and a show in reno in august or september, along with the fremont players’ shows at the moisture festival, the oregon country fair and other places, and all of the stuff that the phil is doing as well. also, nathan is coming back!! which means we have johnny jetpack to look forward to this season as well… WOO HOO!

Top 10 advantages of being a member of a circus family:
10. The bearded lady will always save your ass in a bar fight.
9. Being able to tell the teacher, “The lion ate my homework.”
8. You never get yelled at for dangling your sister from high places.
7. You can run off and join corporate America.
6. If you get tired of Beppo the Mime’s snoring – you can just close your eyes.
5. No matter how many of you there are in the family, you can rest assured you will all fit into the family Volkswagen.
4. Watching Mom kiss dad goodbye every morning before she loads him into the cannon and fires him off to work.
3. All Spandex laundry loads
2. Buying Elephant-Chow is cheaper with the circus discount.
1. When your rebelious kids run away… they end up in medical school.

in other news, i suppose i should have been more skeptical from the very beginning, but now there is a conflicting version of the details surrounding the capture of saddam hussain, which makes a lot more sense than the "official" version. also, remembering all those arguments made 1,500 deaths ago is one way of saying "i told you this was going to happen", especially when i told you this was going to happen before any of those deaths occurred! maybe i’m psychic, but somehow i doubt that’s going to make a lot of difference. and the muslim community in spain has finally issued a fatwa against osama bin laden, as if it is really necessary to do so to show the rest of the world that islam condemns attacks on innocent people… and, again, i seriously doubt that it’s going to make an awful lot of difference anyway. 8/

145

busy-ness…

i took my car in to have the valve cover gaskets replaced, so now it doesn’t spit oil and smoke as much. but it still generates a funny smell from time to time, so i took it in again. this time he said that i have to have a whole bunch of seals and an O-ring replaced, and he said that it would be the easiest to replace by doing all of them at the same time as i get my timing belt replaced. the seals and O-ring are apparently not that expensive of themselves, but the cost comes with the labour, and it is multiplied exponentially if i have them replaced separately. it’s my impression that hahn replaced the timing belt a little more than a year ago, shortly before i actually bought the car, so i don’t think i have to replace the timing belt yet, but that brings up two other issues, which are 1) if hahn replaced the timing belt, did he also replace the seals and O-ring, and if so, why have they failed already, and 2) honestly, i don’t have the funds to replace all of these parts at this point, so what happens if i drive it anyway? the guy said i shouldn’t drive it that much, and if i do, i should check my oil every day, but i’m paranoid.

while i was waiting for the diagnosis of my car, my cell phone rang (i have it set so that it plays the theme from "Uncle Meat" by frank zappa), and the salesperson on the other end (i know it was a salesperson because they started the "conversation" by assuring me that it wasn’t a sales call) said that "president" bush needed my help… riiiiiight… obviously they have no clue who they’re talking to. looking back on on the situation now, i wish i would have said something witty and acerbic, but as it is, i said forget it, and hung up.

in the past 3 weeks i’ve made 3 orders from om imports, and i’m getting pretty close to having "enough" incense again, but not quite. i just ordered 6 different auroshikha fragrances, 2 tulasi fragrances, a hem fragrance, and 2 tapestries. also, i got email from the guy at glow industries, checking up on me to see if i got the catalogue he sent… but i’m still not sure whether i want to represent them with hybrid elephant or not… however moe suggested that i probably could carry some of the more questionable items at The Church of Tina Chopp, and when i pointed out that the church isn’t really set up to sell stuff, she said "why not? every other church does it…" which got me to thinking about what it would take to set up something for the church… more thought is required.

thanks to , i have links to the biscut-eating dummy, boobies, more boobies, and furries from japan, and, thanks to i have another in my long list of reasons why i am a terrorist, Senator Byrd is correct to equate Bush with Hitler… too bad bringing hitler into it will do more to make the religious right see us as lunatics, but it can’t be helped, especially when they’re right for a change.


English Genius
You scored 93% Beginner, 93% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 83% Expert!

You did so extremely well, even I can’t find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don’t. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you’re not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 36% on Beginner
You scored higher than 27% on Intermediate
You scored higher than 33% on Advanced
You scored higher than 90% on Expert

Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on Ok Cupid

You are mildly left-hemisphere dominant while showing a slight preference for auditory processing. This overall combination seems to indicate a well-working blend of logic and judgment and organization, with sufficient intuition, perception and creativity to balance that dominance.

You will at times experience conflict between how you feel and what you think which will generally be resolved in favor of what you think. You will find yourself interested in the practical applications of whatever material you have learned or whatever situation you face and will retain the ability to refine whatever knowledge you possess or aspects of whatever position you are in.

By and large, you will orient yourself toward intellectual activities and structure. Though not rigid, you will schedule yourself, plan, and focus on routine and continuity of operations, rather than on changes and disruptions.

When changes or disruptions occur, you are likely to consider first how to ensure that such disruptions do The same balance is reflected in your sensory preference. You will tend to be reflective and measured in your interaction style. For the most part, you will be considered objective without being cold and goal-oriented while retaining the capacity to listen to others.

Preferentially you learn by listening and maintaining significant internal dialogues with yourself. Nevertheless, you have sufficient visualization capabilities to benefit from using graphs, charts, doodles, or even body movement to enhance your comprehension and memory.

To the extent that you are even implicitly aware of your hemispheric dominance and sensory style, you will feel most comfortable in those arenas which emphasize verbal skills and logic. Teaching, law, and science are those that stand out among the professions, along with technical sales and management.

Brain Hemisphere Dominance Quiz

ooooohh-kay… i suppose the fact that i had an injury to my left hemisphere does nothing to influence that… or, maybe (as kitty pointed out) now i have enough room to grow more brains than most people have…


144

i got my first order of more than $50 yesterday. somebody from sammamish, which is right up the road from me, so to speak. too bad i have to charge them sales tax, but i don’t think it matters that much. he ordered auroshikha rose, sandalwood, jasmine, frankincense, and myrrh, all of which i am getting (hopefully) in a shipment tomorrow. now all that needs to happen is that there needs to be more people like him. check it out!

i got a dealer’s catalogue from "Glow Industries" (no link, ’cause they don’t have a web site!), which, according to reliable sources (the indian representative for Sital, somebody ironically named "Guru"), is the US outlet for Sital brand incense. they have been trying to get me to check out their catalogue for at least a year (through the use of spam, which is why it hasn’t been working), and i finally gave in and ordered a catalogue from them to get them off my back. apparently they either are not the US outlet for Sital any longer, or they don’t have Sital products in their catalogue, but i’m not sure which. they have a lot of "body jewelry", but no indication of whether it is made with surgical steel or not. they push the fact that they are suppliers of "Satya Sai Baba" nag champa incense, but they are apparently unaware of the fact that i don’t carry sai baba incense because of the fact that everyone who sells incense carries sai baba incense, and it’s really not that good anyway, compared to the champa fragrances i do carry. they also carry a whole bunch of products that make me wonder whether i really want to represent them or not… things like "tobacco accessories" including "hand-blown glass pipes", "cigarette" rolling machines, and "grundge-off", and "adult toys" including dildos, vibrators, pocket pussies, and Ms. Pinky (after whom the frank zappa song is named).

i have another "random" (i know it’s random ’cause the computer printed form letter they sent me says so) job search log review tomorrow. just so that everyone knows ahead of time, i have four job contacts on my log for the date in question (12th february), which is one more than the minimum required, but i’ve been averaging 8 to 10 job contacts per week (this week i have 10 job contacts, and it’s only monday). i still find it somewhat hard to believe that somebody is getting paid, by the state, to check my job contacts to see if i actually made them or not, and to "recommend job search activities" to me (which, so far, has been one recommendation for a job that was posted 6 weeks previously – meaning that by the time i got the recommendation they had already hired somebody else). WAGE SLAVERY SUCKS!!

You scored as Hinduism. Your views are most similar to those of… Hinduism! Consider becoming Hindu, if you aren’t already.

Hinduism

90%

Satanism

85%

Paganism

70%

Islam

50%

Christianity

40%

Atheism

40%

Judaism

20%

Which is the right religion for you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Belief-O-Matic
Your Results:
The top score on the list below represents the faith that Belief-O-Matic, in its less than infinite wisdom, thinks most closely matches your beliefs. However, even a score of 100% does not mean that your views are all shared by this faith, or vice versa.

Belief-O-Matic then lists another 26 faiths in order of how much they have in common with your professed beliefs. The higher a faith appears on this list, the more closely it aligns with your thinking.

How did the Belief-O-Matic do? Discuss your results on our message boards.

1.  Hinduism (100%)
2.  Mahayana Buddhism (84%)
3.  Jainism (79%)
4.  Neo-Pagan (76%)
5.  Unitarian Universalism (75%)
6.  Theravada Buddhism (67%)
7.  New Age (64%)
8.  Sikhism (64%)
9.  Liberal Quakers (59%)
10.  New Thought (53%)
11.  Scientology (50%)
12.  Bahá’í Faith (49%)
13.  Reform Judaism (47%)
14.  Taoism (46%)
15.  Orthodox Judaism (43%)
16.  Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (42%)
17.  Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (39%)
18.  Orthodox Quaker (39%)
19.  Islam (35%)
20.  Secular Humanism (33%)
21.  Seventh Day Adventist (29%)
22.  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (21%)
23.  Eastern Orthodox (20%)
24.  Roman Catholic (20%)
25.  Nontheist (19%)
26.  Mainline to Conservative Christian Protestants (18%)
27.  Jehovah’s Witness (17%)

both of these are easily predictable, although the second one is somewhat more comprehensive… but scientology? secular humanism?? mormons?? jehovah’s witnesses??? and my beliefs are more compatible (which isn’t saying that much) with a non-theist than with "mainline to conservative christian/protestant" or with jehovah’s witnesses, despite the fact that i chose "most important" in response to the question about how important the section on worship is compared to the other sections.

i originally followed this link because it contained the term "Fire Vortex", but it turns out that the whole page deserves a lot more perusal than just the fire vortex link… but i’m going to have to change computers to be able to listen to the whole thing, because my main (linux) computer doesn’t have any sound hardware. on the other hand, this link doesn’t require sound hardware, but i still wouldn’t recommend it unless either you or your partner are masochists.

143

unrelated linky links:

Chavez Says Washington Plots His Murder, U.S. Denies – uh… yeah. "We have enough evidence… If anything happens to me, the person responsible will be the president of the United States"… and if they were planning chavez’ assasination, do you think they would cop to it? i think not.

Judge: Schwarzenegger Delayed Nurse Laws – let’s elect him president next… can we please? that way we can suffer even more when we get wounded in the (inevitable) war and have to wait in line because there aren’t enough nurses to go around because the government is doing "new studies" to make sure that the nurse to patient ratio isn’t too great…

Subaru at Top in Quality Survey – why did i include this? because i drive a subaru, that’s why!

142

ezra performed in this year’s BFA Dance program this evening at the Broadway Performance Hall. it went really well. ezra was the solo dancer in the first piece. of course, i really liked the piece that used Knee 5 from Einstine On The Beach (an opera by philip glass that drove my parents up the wall), and there was one where the sound score started with a bunch of sounds from the audience – people coughing and rustling papers, along with a couple of people with photo flash units (after having been specifically told that, in order to protect the safety of the dancers, no flash photography would be allowed made it really obvious to me that it was part of the performance, but apparently not everyone is so observant, as the people next to me started making "uh-oh" noises). it was a really good show, and of course, was all the better because my kid was in it.

here is a good article about anarchy with which i totally agree, so if you’re a department of clownland security mole you should take note: i don’t often classify myself politically (although i am a terrorist). also, there’s a bloticle (blog article?) about "birth control" for republicans that is along the lines of something that might actually work. i’m big on karma too… kinda strange mixture, but it works for me.

Which Animaniacs Character are You?

You are… unique to say the least. Though the events around you often seem complex, even convoluted, you tend to drift off into your own world. It’s nicer there. People tend to think you’re joking, even when you think you’re being serious. Though, seriousness is taxing for you. You’d rather play all the time than do boring work of any type, and perhaps that’s why inane dribble tends to issue forth from your mouth.

ZORT!

moe did this meme as well… hers was… wait for it…

Pesto the pigeon???

oh well, what did i expect?

oh, by the way, the cirque de flambé got written up in Exhibitor Magazine… W00t! also i’ve gotten two orders with the new shopping cart, and i haven’t been doing anything different, which i think is a good sign. i ordered a whole pile of incense which came today, and another huge pile which is scheduled to be delivered on tuesday. check it out!

141

i’ve had a set of original dubé juggling clubs for about 25 years, i bought them from jack bosco, of the bosco boys (the juggling team before the flying karamazov brothers started happening). before my injury i either really liked them, or really hated them (depending on how much juggling i was doing), because they were extra heavy, and had lead tape wound around the handles.

recently there have been a series of workshops for the cirque and other folks (those who are now in charge say that we have to have workshops that are open to the public in order to keep our 401C3 tax exempt status, but i’ve never heard of it before, and we were 401C3 tax exempt for 4 years before those who are now in charge showed up, so i don’t know if i really believe them or not). the workshop that was given this week was on club swinging, and the big bois with poise were supposed to show up for it because there is a lot of similarity between spinning poi and swinging clubs, and at this point just about anything would help, so i went. because of the fact that tim “fyodor karamazov” (the instructor of the workshop) had requested that if we had clubs of any variety, to bring them, i dug out my dubé clubs (which i haven’t touched since my injury).

i would expect that clubs, whether they are for juggling or swinging, would be sturdy, and resist breaking. as i said, i’ve had this set of dubé clubs for 25 years, and i have juggled (and, thus, dropped) them a lot during that time, so i was quite surprised when, in the first five minutes of the workshop, i dropped, and broke two of my set of three clubs!

dubé has a warranty on all their products for the lifetime of the original owner… but i bought them from jack bosco, so i’m not the original owner… but i bought them 25 years ago, so not only do i not have the receipt any more, but i sort of wonder if anybody will notice that i’m not the original owner or not. what i am sure of is that they don’t make this variety of clubs any more.

i guess i’m going to find out…

140

Home taping is killing music... and it's illegal!

does anybody else remember these? they used to put emblems like this on LPs (those things on which people bought music before compact disks) to dissuade people from copying them onto cassettes (which people used to make music more portable before the ipod). did anybody else believe them? apparently not, because music is still being converted from one format to another with great abandon, despite the fact that "it’s illegal", and as far as i have been able to tell, music isn’t dead… at least not yet. along the same lines, i modified my master license application so that now, $20 later, i own the trade name Rent-A-Geek, but i found out that there are two other businesses in king county that also use that name, not to mention the one in philadelphia, the one in maine, and a few other places i found thanks to a $6 business name search… so now i’ve got to consider getting the name trademarked, so that nobody else can use it, because if i don’t then someone else may do the same thing, and despite the fact that i’ve been doing business under that name for 10 years, i may not be able to use it any longer. if anything is killing the creative person’s ability to do business, it’s that kind of thing.

how much inside is another example of a guy who, if he’s making enough money doing things like that (which may or may not actually be happening), then there’s a good chance that i can do it too… on the other hand, he could be making enough money at it by being in the primary business of nepotism, i’m not sure.

DISTIM THE FRAMMISGOSHES!

mahasivaratri is next tuesday. happy mahasivaratri everyone.

139

welcome wireheads… i wonder how long it will be until this form of "therapy" turns into a recreational pastime… it also gives new, more sinister meaning to the fact that THERAPIST and THE RAPIST are spelled exactly the same way.

apparently there’s a local radio station in philidelpha which has been running advertisements for a business which has a very similar name to one of my DBA aliases, Rent-A-Geek, so this is for the people who have been calling me today: i have been doing business as Rent-A-Geek for 10 years, and before that for 10 years i did business as Hire-A-Geek, which was an offshoot of a business that a friend of mine ran called Hire-A-Punk, which goes all the way back to the mid-1970s. other people may do business as rent-a-geek, but they aren’t the original, i am. if you want tech support in philadelphia, you’re welcome to email me, or call me on the phone, but if you are using software that i am not familiar with, and/or have a system that requires major, hands-on surgery, either pay to fly me to philidelphia (or wherever you are) or you’re going to strike out trying to get help from me.

now, time for a trade name search and another master license application.

138

another neuropsychological evaluation is completed. last week was the psycological tests, this week was the neurological tests, so they were doing things like blindfolding me and then giving me different shaped blocks and watching me fumble around trying to find the correct holes for them to fit into, or holding my hand behind a screen and drawing on my fingertips and then asking me to identify what they drew. they had a list of four numbers, 1 through 4, and a stack of 60 cards which had one to four different coloured shapes, and they asked me to categorise them, but they kept changing the rules about how they were categorised, so that when i categorised them incorrectly they could evaluate my ability to figure out that the rules had changed and how long it took me to figure out what the new rules were. it wasn’t anywhere near as mentally taxing as the last time, and it was also two hours less time than the first one. now i have to wait until my "counsellor" from DVR (who i have never met) gets around to scheduling a feedback appointment, at which point i get to go and meet him and the neuropsychologist to figure out what to do next.

meanwhile, i’ve been scheduled for yet another "random" job search log review, which i gather will be exactly like the last time. i find it rather odd, and somewhat suspicious that in all the times i’ve applied for unemployment in the past, i have never been subjected to these "random" occurrences, and now, for some reason, i’ve managed to get 2 of them in three months. it makes me wonder who is saying what that is negative about my job search, and why they are saying it… because nothing is going on, except for the fact that i am looking for work and not finding any, like 10% of the rest of the population of this state… and it’s the reason why i’m having a neuropsychological evaluation for the DVR, and that sort of thing. i suppose it’s probably typical, and i’ll probably come to expect this kind of thing eventually, but at this point it’s more bizarre than anything else.

and speaking of bizarre, somebody did a college-level project on MIDI-hamster control, which is about as bizarre as they come. i suppose it’s useful in that the guy learned about different ways to control a synthesizer, and i’m sure nobody else has done a project like this, but still… weird!

and then there’s the medicare toad test (thanks to and the annals of improbable research) which is even more bizarre, but only because the toad actually scored higher than the medicare customer service representatives… they’d probably come up with some reason to pay the toad less, as well.

137

10 things that i have done that you probably haven’t:

1. climbed a 150 foot sheer “sea-stack” on the water side, with no equipment
2. performed in the kennedy center and on the white house steps in 1976
3. rode, as a passenger, through the longest freight (not passenger) train tunnel in the world, three times in a two-week period
5. crossed the deception pass bridge below the street level, twice
6. made several months worth of long distance calls using william f. buckley’s credit card
7. passed myself off (successfully) as a “witch” in front a group of over 300 “christians” who would have killed a witch, given the chance
8. been “initiated” in four of the world’s major religions (Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam)
9. survived a medical conditon which results in death or severe brain damage 75% of the time
10. had an 8th hole cut in my skull

136

here’s what i looked like on july 21, after having the big clot seen in yesterday’s animation removed.

i made this animation half the size, but i extended the display time on the last 4 frames, so you can see my craniotomy and the swastika-shaped plate in my skull.

bizarre…

i learn something new every day. today it was that the CD that they gave me at the hospital that has all the pictures of my brain has even more pictures of my brain than i imagined possible… there are movies of my brain in varying stages of repair… this, for example, which is what i looked like on july 14th, 2003…

my brain

tomorrow i’m going to put together one from later on, when i have the pins and clips in place… that is really interesting!

134

You scored as Green.

Anarchism

100%

Green

100%

Socialist

75%

Democrat

67%

Communism

58%

Republican

33%

Nazi

0%

Fascism

0%

What Political Party Do Your Beliefs Put You In?
created with QuizFarm.com

thanks to :

and furries.

a lot of new stuff on hybrid elephant, but not much of it is visible… the main thing is the ability to accept credit cards and the shopping cart, which is thanks to paypal. there’s actually less content, but only until i get the buddhist and egyptian statues scanned and written up.

133

hunter s. thompson died yesterday. admittedly, i’m not as familiar with his work as i could be, i haven’t read any of his books and i’ve only read a few of his articles, but i get the very strong impression that if it weren’t for hunter thompson, i would be a very different person today, so i’ve got a lot of respect for the man, in spite of the fact that i don’t know that much about him. i’ve complained in comments in other people’s journals about this, but now it’s time for me to complain in my own journal about the fact that all the cool people have been dying recently – jimmy smith, shirley chisholm, HST – and none of the people who deserve to die have been dying for a long time. it’s time we did something to change this. any suggestions?

okay, drunk puppet night was invited to invade portland saturday night, and it was REALLY cool. it took place in the portland center for the performing arts, winningstad stage, which unlike the rebar, the jewelbox and new city theatres, and other places where i’ve been performing recently, is a real theatre, complete with 300 hanging lights, 100 more lights that are in storage in back (just in case), a computerised lighting board, and enough microphones that each act had their own mic, which had it’s level set before the theatre opened and then was simply muted until it was needed. there was only one major screwup, when i couldn’t get the CD for one of the acts, a shadow puppet show called "Eat", to start (it would play for the first couple of seconds and then stop automatically), and when i finally got it running i realised that the volume was turned down, so i had to start it all over again, but it was relatively minor compared to some of the things that went wrong at the rebar. not only that, but i got my name on the program as the "lighting and sound designer", so it’s going to look really good on my resume. after the show we went to dinner at bistro montage, which was nice, although rather crowded which surprised me given that we got there about 1:00 in the morning. the food was good and i got an aluminium foil snail in which my leftovers were wrapped.

i’m kind of disappointed though, because i’ve put a lot of energy into coming up with ideas for the puppet show based on a frank zappa song, and when i mentioned it to josh, without any further discussion, he said "not in my puppet show production". it makes me think that i probably should confirm that i can actually do the show before i get involved any further in planning. it also makes me feel like, if i can’t do the show based on frank zappa music, then i might just as well not do any puppet show at all for drunk puppet night, and at that point i would also think about not doing lights for it as well… so i guess maybe i should talk with josh about the potential reality of the show before going any further.

on my way out of portland yesterday, i was requested by moe to "drop by" her mother’s house, because she had something for her, but they didn’t (or wouldn’t, i was never able to tell exactly which) tell me what it was that i’d be picking up. so i got marginal directions for how to get to monique’s mother’s house from where i was staying, and actually made it to monique’s mother’s house after only getting lost once… because they changed the freeway signs on the I205 offramp near clackamas town center (they don’t say that any more, which is what threw me). however, i only got lost once, and it was only for about 15 blocks, until i realised that i actually knew where i was anyway. in fact, there was a moment, before i got on the freeway, where i was travelling away from downtown on hawthorne, and i could have turned right on 39th, instead of left, and i think i would have been able to get there anyway, even without the marginal directions. i know that, before my injury, i wouldn’t have had any problems with this, and i’m glad to see that this ability has been retained afterwards, even if it is more instinctive than conscious at this point. it makes me feel as though i’ve probably got a lot of knowledge that is more instinctive than anything else at this point, and i’ve just got to trigger the instincts for it to come out.

one of ezra’s friends from cornish bought a building in old fairhaven (don’t ask me how a college student buys an entire building in a historic business district… i am not even sure i want to know), and renovated it as a performance space and "dance club" – which is something i think bellingham has needed for a while now. ezra was in charge of the first performance in the space, which happened last night, and actually performed himself, as well.

131

i worked all day yesterday and succeeded in putting a "shopping cart" that works on the incense portion of Hybrid Elephant. i’m probably going to do the same thing, eventually, to the other parts of the site as well, but it was a lot of work, i want to make sure that it’s done correctly, and i’m going to portland for a knock-off "drunk puppet night" tomorrow so i don’t have enough time to spend 14 hours straight on it (like i did yesterday). depending on how it works i will probably add it next week some time.

in fact, "drunk puppet night" is interfering with my ability to attend the crazylands ten year reunion… i finally get reconnected after at least 3 years of being in a splatted state and not being able to get anyone’s attention because so few people log in these days, just in time for the 10 year reunion, and it turns out to be on the same day, at the same time as DPN. according to nexus, who should know since it’s his machine, the last time i logged in was in august of 2003, which is impossible for me to have done, because i was in the hospital in august of 2003… nevertheless, nexus said that i was logged in, idling, not responding to says and being automatically logged back in when i timed out (which, in spite of everything else, doesn’t sound like me), and had been that way for a couple of months, so he splatted me. of course, i didn’t know anything about this, because i was in the hospital, and by the time i actually tried to login again, i had already been splatted. according to what i recall, which is hazy at best, about the time i quit openwave, greg and i were having a disagreement about something relatively trivial, like idling in my locked room, or something like that, and he dragged me (which is not a "permanent" condition) and i never went back until i tried to login after my injury and couldn’t. you can tell that i’m a true SPOD (Superior People Online Daily) because even after my injury this kind of thing concernes me: somebody guessed my crazylands password? well, it wasn’t too difficult, but the first thing i did when i was un-splatted was to change it to something more secure.

here’s an oral history by phil ager, who was the dean of fairhaven college when i was a student there.

129

i got my "dealer’s package" from the label company, so now i have to figure out how to add stickers to the Hybrid Elephant web site. it’s pretty competitive (500 stickers retail 8.5 cents per 2" diameter sticker, plus whatever i charge for the artwork, or submit your own artwork for a "discount", and that’s just for 2" diameter circles… there are a lot more different shapes and sizes) but i’m not sure how i can advertise them on the site… it’s clear that i can’t sell individual stickers…

i went and got fitted for a tuxedo yesterday, and i should be able to pick it up today. one of the clowns in the cirque de flambe worked out a deal with the tux shop where he was able to order a whole pile of "defective" tuxedos and sell them to us for around $50 each… now all i have to do is figure out what i do that requires a tuxedo. the "defect" in mine is a teensy pulled thread in the right arm of the jacket, that i would never have even noticed if there weren’t a circle around it drawn with chalk, so for $50, there’s a good chance that i’ll be able to figure out something.

we’re gearing up for the moisture festival already, which is at the end of next month. kim still hasn’t figured out whether she wants to do tech stuff or not, but i got email last night that seems to indicate that i could do the entire show if i wanted to… but i’m not sure how i’d be able to manage actually performing on stage and doing sound and lights at the same time, so i don’t think i’ll be doing that. apart from that, however, i’m open to doing any or all of the rest of the shows.

if this guy is able to make money, then there’s bound to be a way for me to make money… there just has to be… maybe i could make t-shirts and sell them to unsuspecting japanese people…

by the way… this is a great song. it has been ever since it first came out, and i’ve never heard it on the radio… which is, perhaps, one of the reasons why it’s so great.

127

whoo boy… it’s been a tough day. i got up at my normal “work” time, i.e. when moe got up, around 6:30 am or so, and took the bus downtown, to avoid having to pay for for 5 hours of parking, because i had an appointment for a neuropsychological examination… except that as the bus was pulling into downtown, i realised that i had neglected to print out the address of where i was supposed to be. so i called moe at work, but she couldn’t find a phonebook listing for the doctor, and i wasn’t even sure of the doctor’s name anyway. i was vaguely remembering that it was somewhere near broadway and madison, but there are all different kinds of medical offices in that neighborhood, and i didn’t know the correct address… but i managed to figure it out, with the help of the old lady information person at swedish hospital.

then, i actually had one half of my neuropsychological evaluation (the other half is going to be another 5 hours on friday next week), which literally wore me out mentally. they had me listening to lists of letters and numbers and then telling how many numbers in the list, or listing them back, with the numbers in numerical order and the letters in alphabetical order… or repeating them back, only in reverse order… they had me read a list of nonsense words like zoop and prefqua… they told me three short, and relatively meaningless stories (one about a woman named thompson from south boston who reported to the police that she was robbed of $56, that she has 4 children, and the rent was due, one about a guy named joe garcia from san francisco, who was getting dressed to go out when the TV program he was watching was interrupted by a weather bulletin concerning a storm, and the third was meaningless enough that i don’t remember what it was about at all), and then asked me to repeat them back, as close as i could get to verbatim, 2 hours later… which didn’t happen… and the math questions! i’m not very good at math anyway, even before my injury… but they asked me questions that i wouldn’t have known before my injury: probability questions, the area of an irregular polygon and that sort of thing. there were also questions for which i knew the answers, like “what does the aphorism ‘shallow streams are noisy’ actually mean?”, and questions which i new the answers to, but i didn’t know how to describe them… aphasia questions, like what is the definition of “fortitude”, and questions which i don’t really know the answers to anyway, like “why do we have to pay taxes?” they had me duplicate designs with 9 blocks, including the final design which didn’t actually show the individual blocks, so i had to figure out which way the entire 9-block set as a whole was oriented, as well as figuring out how to duplicate the design… but i did that one, unlike the exact same test that they gave me when i was in the hospital.

then i had an hour-long interview with the phd neruropsychologist (he’s a doctor, but not an MD), where i had to tell him all of the ways i felt my injury had changed me, and also went into my relationship with my parents, and the fact that i spent 15 years in counselling. i thought about mentioning what i’ve heard about AS, but i know that would just complicate things even more, and i’m also aware of the fact that a professional (who it’s not happening to) has a vastly different opinion than a person who actually has a "qualitative" impairment about what, exactly, is a "qualitative" impairment, so i decided to keep my mouth shut for the moment.

so, after 5 hours of tests and an interview, i was spit out of the medical system again, and left to find my way home on the bus. before i left downtown seattle, i checked my seattle PO box (two pieces of actual junk mail and two pieces of mail addressed to others, one to box 368, and one for the architect who hasn’t had that box for 10 years). naturally i was a quarter short on both the bus from downtown seattle to renton, and the bus from renton to home, in spite of the fact that i bought coffee (that and a cookie were all i’ve had to eat today) on the way. when i got home, i turned around and went out again, this time in my car, to check my renton PO box (one piece of junk mail that was a duplicate of the two i got in seattle, plus a catalogue for stuff that i never have ordered (and probably never will), and a CD backup copy of WinRAR). also i went and bought my sweetie ob-flowers and ob-chocolates. obviously, i celebrate valentines day, but then again, i’m not culturally hindu. maybe things would be different if i were culturally hindu, but then i wouldn’t be who i am, so i can’t really say what would happen. also, there’s this article about pornography not having it’s beginnings at the same time as the photographic process, but it’s not really news to me, because i am hindu, and familiar with things like angkor wat.

i found another possibility for a Drunk Puppet Night performance, that’s not based on a frank zappa song! it’s called "They’re Made of Meat" and unlike my idea for the frank zappa song (which hasn’t yet been codified), this should be really easy.

uh oh… dude, where’s my country?

126

i went to the post office yesterday, and to my surprise, i received two huge boxes. when i got them home, i discovered that you can, indeed, order huge quantities of priority mail flat rate boxes for no charge… i.e. free. now all i have to do is figure out what the priority mail flat rate fee is, and i’ll be in business, so to speak.

at the same time, somebody has to make those boxes. if they’re free, they can’t be getting paid too much, which makes me wonder why there is a waiting list for DVR. if they’re willing to pay the people who manufacture the postal service boxes nothing, then why can’t the also pay the DVR people nothing as well, and make them do their jobs anyway? or is it because the DVR people are smart enough to not work when there isn’t enough money, and the people who manufacture boxes are… what? prisoners? slaves?

there’s something severely wrong with the whole system.

take "christians" for example… not being content to rouse rabble in their own country regarding same-sex marriage, there are an increasing number of right-wing "christian" americans who have been calling the canadian government, petitioning against the civil marriage act… and, to their credit, for the most part the canadian government has been telling them to shut up. you’d think that any intelligent life-form (i’m not sure they’re actually human) would get the idea.

okay, it has come to my attention that i haven’t explained my "handle" here, . let’s change that, shall we? in the book The Magic of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, one of the characters, a boy named Kiki Aru discovered a "magic word" that would transform anything into anything else. according to the book, the word was "pyrzqxgl". unfortunately, this word was outlawed by royal edict, and thus, even though we have a transliteration of the letters in the word, nobody now knows how to pronounce it… i’ve been working on a few theories, but i get the very strong impression that it’s actually transliterated incorrectly: the word isn’t "pyrzqxgl" or "peerz-kwux-gull", it’s more like , or "pirzix-quiggle"… but, obviously, that’s not exactly right either. i’ve been told that "pruh-zuks-ka-gull" is also not correct. i’ve been through a number of handles in various places on internet, including mahiswaradas on crazylands, tesla on batcave, resort, and a few others, and MrBlint on several other talkers, MUDs and MOOs. i’m not as likely to interact with people in live situations on internet as much these days, because my injury has made it difficult to type anything like fast enough to keep up, even taking frobulation into account.

The First Vienna Vegetable Orchestra is very definitely interesting. i’d have bought their CDs already, but i’ve got to figure out the conversion rate for euros. along the same lines, there’s Odd Music, a gallery of weird instruments, including one of my favourites, the contrabass sax.

finally, this could be just the beginning of more worse things to come. "collapse in blood circulation" huh… what makes a person experience that? well, getting shot or tortured, having a heart attack, experiencing a head trauma…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 3, 2005
Contact: Nancy Aldrich, Artistic Director
(503) 284-7562

* *
Tears of Joy Theatre /SATURDAY NIGHT SHOWCASE /presents:
*/Monkey Wrench Puppet Lab/*
*NOT FOR KIDS!*
*Strong language-Adult Content*
*Saturday February 19, at 8:00pm*
* *

*WINNINGSTAD THEATRE, 1111 SW BROADWAY, PORTLAND, OR*
Individual tickets: $12 – $15 plus service charges
Box Office: (503) 248-0557 or (360) 695-0477
www.tojt.com

Monkey Wrench Puppet Lab* brings some of the best of “Drunk Puppet Nite” from Seattle. It is subversive, ugly, ridiculous, sublime, controversial,
lovely, righteously political, literary and definitely NOT FOR KIDS.

Tears of Joy Theatre’s SATURDAY NIGHT SHOWCASE presents*/ Monkey Wrench Puppet Lab/*, for one night only, Saturday, February 19 at 8:00pm at the Dolores Winningstad Theatre in Downtown Portland. Tickets are $12 – $15 and can be purchased by calling the box office at (503) 248-0557.

The members of the*/ Monkey Wrench Puppet Lab/* are the originators of the annual /Drunk Puppet Nite/ in Seattle and are pleased to bring their special blend of puppet lunacy to Portland this February. */Monkey Wrench Puppet Lab/* will present a collection of their best professional pieces of puppet theatre. These performances are sometimes dark, crude, lewd, occasionally silly, and will haunt and entertain adult audiences who are brave enough to attend.

Monkey Wrench will descend upon Portland’s Winningstad Theatre, hot on the heels of a sold out run of Drunk Puppet Nite in Seattle’s Re-Bar. Among the selections they will bring are: “Henry Box Brown,” the true story of an American slave who mails himself to freedom, “Barney and Betty Hill,” the story of an alien abduction from the 1950’s, “Eat,” a love story with a horrific ending, “Homage a Lola Flores,” an exquisite flamenco performance, “The Sexual Life of Plants,” “We all Fall Down” and “Primitive Instincts.”

———————————————————————-

*/Monkey Wrench Puppet Lab/*, a cluster of Seattle area puppeteers, are working to expand the public definition of puppetry and performance by joining artistic excellence with a special blend of the surprising and the bizarre. The Lab uses live music, experienced actors, and puppets of all kinds to re-invent performance in their daring productions. These productions include _Frankenocchio_, _Halfpenny Opera_ and _The Mermaid Who Broke My F***ing Heart_.

Photographs available by request

Kris Bluett Woolen
[email protected]
Tears of Joy Theatre
PO Box 1029 Vancouver WA 98666
www.tojt.com (503) 248-0557 or (360) 695-0477

125

something is wonky with spam assassin and spamcop. for years, i’ve been subscribed to the disinformation newsletter, and it’s been getting delivered to my disinformation mailbox on my computer without problems… until about a month or so ago. apparently they’re putting something, i’m still baffled as to exactly what, that spam assassin is identifying as "disguised porn". i figured that if i whitelisted it, it would solve the problem, but it still goes to my spam mailbox instead of where it’s supposed to go. i’m about ready to chalk another one up to demons, because i can’t think of anything else that i could do to fix the problem.

i found a message on alt.brain that was someone raving about deaf children who spontaneously developed a sign language, which could have been very interesting… but then i looked at the place which hosts the article, world science, and i realised that i’d seen this before… someone else used an article from this source to "prove" some point or another, whereupon another person warned him against believing anyone that says that alien TV is a reality… just goes to show you: don’t believe everything you read on internet.

124

After reviewing your application for vocational rehabilitation services and information about your disability, I have determined that you are eligible for services. Your eligibility is based on a determination that:

1. You have a physical or mental impairment;
2. The imairment hinders your ability to prepare for, get, or keep a job that matches your abilities and capabilities; and
3. You require vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, get, or keep a job.

Due to limited funds, there is currently a waiting list for services. By law, when DVR cannot serve everyone who is eligible, it must establish an order for selecting individuals from the waiting list. The order must give priority to individuals with the most significant disabilities first, individuals with significant disablilities second, and individuals with disabilities third.

By reviewing records about your disability, I have established your priority category. You will be placed on the waiting list for this category by the date you signed the applicatiojn for DVR services. The results of this review are as follows:

Priority Category #3 – Individual with a disability
Date of Application: 12/03/2004

Your priority classification is provisional pending more current medical information. A neuropsychological examination will be arranged for you.

—–

so, "president" shrub junior has proposed a new budget for the coming year that includes cutting back on health care for poorer and middle-class americans, and a huge increase in military spending that doesn’t even include the "operations" in iraq and afganistan (which will be addressed in a separate, special budget request), erases scores of programs, slices medicaid and disabled housing but still worsens the federal deficits by $42 billion over the next five years, and scientists now working on a whole new generation of nuclear weapons… their way of thinking totally escapes me: a "safe" nuclear weapon?? but at the same time, they don’t have enough money to help me, a person whose brain exploded, because i’m "not disabled enough" to suit the guy who made the determination… i’d like to see him live through the same brain injury…

i suppose that if i were more affected by my injury, i’d have a greater chance of getting assistance, but if i were more affected by my injury, the possibility of getting meaningful, creative work would be significantly reduced… i’ve worked in "sheltered workshops" before, which primarily employ severely handicapped adults, and i would rather be a vegetable or outright dead than i would to work in a place like that as anything other than a "normal" person.

123

moe has to teach for 9 hours today, without a break… she’s got her four regular classes, plus she’s taking over for another teacher this week. she left the house at 6:30 this morning, and today’s sunday… she really needs a break.

despite the fact that it comes from another blog, and has no actual basis in any reality that i’m familiar with, i like the idea of Tao Shielding. it’s definitly worth thinking about, if nothing else, and may actually work its way into my own mythology in some way or another.

hey… check this out… the state of new york may actually allow same-sex marriages, despite complaints from "christians" and other republicans. it’s a good idea that has waited too long to come out of hiding… and who knows? it may actually have some effect nationally as well.

and the next time you enjoy a piece of chocolate, remember that it very likely came from here.

122

i updated my journal’s style yesterday. it’s different, and i’m not sure how to get it more like i want, but it’s close enough that i’ll let it be for a while.

i was just accosted by a spider. apparently it dropped from the ceiling, but i didn’t see it until it landed on the edge of my glasses… just within my range of vision, but too close for me to actually see. fortunately i didn’t freak out and squish it, but it took me a minute or so to locate it and transport it safely to the cat tree, where i’m sure one of the cats will squish it if they bother to wake up.

pliny’s birthday was yesterday, and the fleamont thrillharmonic played a lot more time than we originally arranged for when we first made the engagement… pliny’s two other bands didn’t show, and it turns out that at least two other phil members are vaguely assocaiated with various people who it turns out (not too surprisingly) are also friends of pliny’s, so we stayed and played two extra sets, plus we got a potential gig playing for pliny’s cousin ben’s wedding, and another potential gig playing for fricker’s follies at the rendezvous. it turns out that i know both of the owners of the rendezvous, so the probability that we are going to get more gigs from this is relatively high. also, i spoke with "professor" don ehlen, who promised to hook me up with someone who can give me some advice about painting my car (you thought i’d forgotten about that, didn’t you).

along the same lines, the phil is playing at the late night cabaret this evening. i’d invite you all to come, but most of you are out of state, and i don’t think i’ve got enough extra space to put you all up for the night.

you would think that people who run linux would be aware of the fact that most computer virii are directed towards windoesn’t, but apparently there are people who actually attempt, with a certain amount of success, to get windows virii to run on linux, just to see what they will do. it doesn’t seem to have much of a point to me. what they will do is obvious: you will get infected, and potentially infect others, which is Not A Good Thing™.

and speaking of "Not A Good Thing™", you would think that she would be safe from accusations of pirating music, but no… just another example of why the whole system needs to be defenestrated.

i had to include this link because it’s not only someone doing interesting artistic things with macintosh computers, but it’s someone doing interesting artistic things with antique macintosh computers! i’d like to see someone do the same thing with windoesn’t computers that are that old… wait… windoesn’t didn’t even exist in those days. ahhh, those really were the days…

a few days ago i commented about how "doctor" james dobson was ranting about spongebob squarepants’ attempts to make people more accepting of homosexuals. it appears that he and his ilk are at it again… only this time it’s a lot more apparent that they’re lying about just about everything in order to raise a stink. maybe if we ignore them, they really will go away.

and finally, i leave you with The Cuddly Menace… good night, sleep tight… don’t let the bedbugs… um…

121

today is pliny’s 40th birthday. it’s strange to think that i have known pliny since he was 14. he really hasn’t changed, except that his ideas are more mature. the fremont phil is playing at his birthday party at the rendezvous grotto this evening. tomorrow, the fremont phil is playing at the new city theatre for the late night cabaret. it’s also presumably when i am going to collect whatever money (at least $20.50, for the buttons) i am owed for drunk puppet night.

i was recently contacted by aaron c, who had a potential job for me at schemalogic, which is the place i contracted for last year. they are still privately funded, and going from one handout to the next, but this year they no longer have fred-the-netgod working for them, so i was initially a good deal more skeptical about them than i was the last time around. i went and interviewed with andrew, who remembered me from the last time, and everything sounded like i was supposed to start last week… but last week came and went with no word about it, so i called aaron last friday to find out if he had heard anything. he said he hadn’t, and he would get back to me. well, i called him again today, and there’s apparently no more job, because the guy who interviewed me wasn’t clear about exactly how the testing should be done initially. so, there’s no job any more. it’s not like it surprises me that much, and, as i said before, i’m a good deal more skeptical about them than i was in december of 2003, right after my injury and getting fired from minuteman press… and it is exactly the reason why i’m not really sure that i want to be a professional computer geek anyway, unless it’s working for myself, and doing other things as well.

speaking of which, i used to work for micro$haft, and i still have friends who work in the macintosh business unit, so i was a little (emphasis on little) amused when i saw this thing in wired about how ipods are a “career-limiting move”… when i worked there, it was common knowledge that billg had a mac on his desktop, so i have no doubt that he’s currently got an ipod. whether he is discreet about it or not, i assume, is for other people to determine…

and if this guy was in a “christian” church, he would have been arrested for sexual abuse of a child with no further warning, but because he’s jewish… ??? there is definitely something wrong with the world.

eminentise the eschaton.

120

i bought a colour printer yesterday. nothing fancy, just a deskjet 3845, but it’s pretty much exactly what i needed for making colour buttons, and it does an awesome job. unlike “jobs” i’ve had in the past, where one printer is replaced by another one, i’ve actually got both printers on the network at this point… which is to say, mac os 9 sees one printer, mac os 10 sees two printers, linux sees two printers but can only print to one of them (the local one, i don’t know why), and windoesn’t sees… do you have to guess?

that’s right, windoesn’t see any printers at all… ✻✼✽✾✿ windoesn’t anyway.

Pokemon causes cancerWhat I Heard about Iraq

119

drunk puppet night ended last night. we had a "cast party" at the six arms, on capitol hill, but i spent 40 minutes driving around looking for a parking place before i found one, which made it almost midnight by the time i got there, so i basically just showed up for long enough to give the CDs of peoples’ music back to josh and then went home. today i went to a housewarming party/rehearsal for the fremont phil at john’s new house, where i learned that i’ve been recruited to run lights and sound for the moisture festival, which is actually a paying gig. according to what i now understand, there are actually a fair number of “lights-and-sound” gigs out there, if you just know who to ask, and one of the people i talked to last night knows one of the people to ask, so things are not looking as dismal as before.

Microsoft dominance poses security risk is not a joke, despite it’s similarity to the other link i posted last time. it’s enough of not-a-joke that the report’s appearance cost the author of the report, dan geer, his job – not because of the fact that it’s not true, but because of the fact that it “wasn’t approved” by his employer, a microsoft affiliate called @stake. it’s exactly this kind of thing that is one of the primary reasons why i do not want a job as a computer geek.

i just installed a bit torrent client on windows, because of a deal at kiddierecords.com in which they’re posting mp3s of a new kiddie record a week for the year of 2005. i may actually get all of them, but for sure i’m going to get the tales of uncle remus, which i actually had as a kid, and gerald mcboing-boing, which is next week’s bit torrent. let’s hear it for sound-scavangers, which is how i learned about all of this stuff. if nothing else, the kiddie records are going to make outrageous sound sources.

here is an article about the things you can’t say, why you can’t say them, and why there are several good ideas about why to say them anyway, one of which is humour. along those lines, the news from central ohio is that a "Hebron pastor is charged with abuse"… i suppose the fact that he was the associate pastor of the "Licking Baptist Church" wasn’t warning enough. of course, this has absolutely no bearing on myself, as i live in washington, but i couldn’t resist posting the thing about the "Licking Baptist Church" associate pastor.

118

drunk puppet night is going amazingly well, and this is it’s final week of production. i sold 31 buttons since last week. ezra is supposedly coming to tonight’s performance, which reminds me, i need to call annette. the next thing is pliny’s 40th birthday at the rendezvous, followed by the late night cabaret at the new city theatre, then the art sharing in bellingham (possibly), followed by winningstad theatre in portland. i’m not sure how much, if anything, these things will pay, but moe sez if they don’t pay anything, then we’re going to have about $200 until she gets paid again… typical wage slavery.

there’s a new(?) meme out there, which is "What Hindu God or Goddess are you like?" i’m not going to post my response, because it’s entirely predictable (in fact, all of the answers are pretty predictable, although i doubt that it includes deities like balaji, jagannath or nagaraj), but here it is for any of you who might be interested. there’s also this:

You are LAWRENCE OBI. You are Bank Manager of Zenith Bank Lagos, Nigeria. You will share with me 30% of the $26.5 million that BARRY KELLY who died with a WILL left in your bank.  You put the money in two trunks and want me to claim the money.
Which Nigerian spammer are You?

and this:

Who’s been commenting in your journal?

1 66 comments 27.16% of total
2 19 comments 7.82% of total
3 16 comments 6.58% of total
4 11 comments 4.53% of total
5 10 comments 4.12% of total
6 5 comments 2.06% of total
7 5 comments 2.06% of total
8 3 comments 1.23% of total
9 3 comments 1.23% of total
10 2 comments 0.82% of total
11 2 comments 0.82% of total
12 2 comments 0.82% of total
13 1 comments 0.41% of total
14 1 comments 0.41% of total
15 1 comments 0.41% of total
16 1 comments 0.41% of total
17 1 comments 0.41% of total
18 1 comments 0.41% of total
19 1 comments 0.41% of total

These statistics were generated using the LJ Stats Web Interface by . Original idea from ‘s LJ Comment Stats Wizard.

it’s no wonder i’m suspicious of these things… there is NO … 8/

here is a place in the netherlands that makes 3 dimentional models of subjects which were once the subjects of historical painters like hieronymous bosch, salvador dali, and m.c. escher.


Maneki Neku

i’ve been playing around with the idea that the tanuki (an animal similar to the maneki neku) is one of my "totem animals", and i’ve made an icon out of one, for those of you who haven’t noticed.


Tanuki

a tanuki is a real animal, Canis Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinus, or "japanese raccoon dog", but it is also an animal from japanese folklore which has magical powers of transformation, likes to fuck, and is perpetually broke, which isn’t that desireable, but it describes me fairly well. along the same lines, scientists have recently succeeded in creating the first animal human hybrids, or chimeras. the first question that springs to mind is where are the "christians"? they’re usually all over things like this, trying to get them banned or something. the second question is, of course, should things like this be banned? interesting as it may be, it’s just a matter of time before someone rampaging through the human genome like a bull in a china shop will permanently break something and then where will we be?

Microsoft’s AntiSpyware Tool Removes Internet Explorer – i saw this and my first response was to burst out laughing… but then i realised that this is internet, and there’s a good chance that it’s a joke (particularly since this is posted on the same server)… but even if it is, it’s a good joke!

here’s a DVD that i want. anyone want to buy it for me?

Tuesday January 25, 09:52 AM
British Hindus fight to reclaim swastika
By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) – Hindus have launched a campaign to “reclaim” the swastika from its Nazi past and reinstate the 5,000-year-old emblem as a symbol of good luck.

They were stung into action when European parliamentarians called for a Europe-wide ban on Nazi insignia after Prince Harry provoked international outrage by wearing a swastika armband and Nazi costume at a party.

“What we have decided to do is to reclaim the swastika,” said Ramesh Kallidai, secretary-general of the Hindu Forum representing 700,000 Hindus in Britain.
He said of the Hindu religious symbol purloined by Adolf Hitler for his National Socialist Party: “It has been used for 5,000 years to promote life. It brings good luck and wards off evil.”

Ever sensitive to the concerns of millions of Jews who suffered the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust, he told Reuters: “For Hindus, the misuse of the swastika is as repulsive as it is to everyone else.

“It’s like saying the Ku Klux Klan is burning crosses so let’s ban the use of crosses worldwide.”

Pictures beamed worldwide of the queen’s grandson wearing the Nazi uniform at a costume party prompted deputies in the European parliament to call for a ban on Nazi insignia, an idea that the European Commission said was worth considering.

“The Hindu Forum was inundated with calls over the proposed ban,” said Kallidai. “If it came into force, that would mean if Hindus use the swastika for religious purposes as they have done for 5,000 years, they risk breaking the law.”

First came a media campaign to put their case. Then Hindus pressed parliament to debate the issue and lobbied deputies both in London and Strasbourg to support them.

Next comes a major conference in London and public awareness workshops across Britain.

“We have already spoken to the Board of Deputies of British Jews and want to have a dialogue with them. Everyone must understand that the swastika has nothing to do with hatred and is purely for worship.”

A spokesman for the Jewish Board told Reuters: “We respect the Hindu Forum’s desire to take back the Swastika but our line of caution is that Neo-Nazis and racists continue to use the Swastika as a potent symbol of hatred.”

To the millions who suffered in World War Two, the swastika is a loathed emblem of hatred, racism and xenophobia.

But to Hindus, it is a revered symbol, derived from the Sanskrit “svastika” and meaning “Good to be.”

“In Gujarat, when a baby has its first haircut, a swastika is painted on the top of its head to ward off evil. You find it on the door of the house as a good luck charm. It appears on wedding cards and holy paintings,” Kallidai said.

But he fears it will be a tough battle eradicating the swastika’s nightmare image.

“It is a very uphill climb because a 5,000-year-old symbol became associated 65 years ago with hatred, destruction and xenophobia,” said Kallidai. “This could take a number of years.”

115

i have to file for unenjoyment “benefits” every week, on sunday. during the week, i keep a record of all of the places i’ve looked for work (which averages around 7 or 8 places a week), and then, on sunday, i call and answer a bunch of questions for an automated machine which then dispenses my meager check in the mail each week… except that this week, it quit working. so i called the “telecenter” early this morning, which is where you call when you’re having a problem, and talked to the guy who said that apparently two weeks ago the machine didn’t accept my claim for some unknown reason… which is odd, because i got no indication from this machine that anything was different than any of the other hundreds of times i’ve called and successfully filed my claim. because of this foul up my claim was cancelled as of thursday last week, and has to be re-opened, which means that both this week and next week i’ve got to be out there looking for work, but i don’t get benefits… and this is because of nothing i have done wrong, but because there was a screwup somewhere in olympia. the guy said that they can’t even tell what went wrong, because they deleted my answers for that week on saturday. they hold on to the answers for 2 weeks, and then they’re purged from the system… but if that’s the case, how could they tell that i had been overpayed one week, back in october, and actually sent me a computer printout of my responses to the computerised questions, back when my check was almost $400, over a year ago?

grumble, mutter, bomb, george w. bush, mutter, republicrats, democretins, grumble…

114

week two of drunk puppet night ended last night. it went surprisingly well considering that the producer and director of the show was in washington DC with his giant puppets. the house was packed, which is very good, and i sold 14 buttons, which isn’t outstanding, but it’s something. reminder for all you people in the seattle area: only one more week of drunk puppet night, then you’ll have to wait until next year.

"doctor" james dobson speaks out against spongebob squarepants, even when he’s wrong. this strikes me as being very similar to when bob larson spoke out against boy george… if he wants to discourage people from being influenced by spongebob, the worst thing he could do is to speak out against him. any attempt to "speak out" is just as good as saying "here’s something at which i think you should take a closer look". and what is he talking about? "doctor" dobson is concerned that spongebob is "being exploited by an organization that’s determined to promote the acceptance of homosexuality among our nation’s youth." in other words, spongebob is a terrorist. why don’t these "christians" learn from history? it’s as though they don’t really care about "christianity" as much as they care about getting their own name out there, and making a few bucks.

along the same lines, but in a completely different direction, there’s a web site that encourages people to make their dog’s pile of shit into a political statement. not only is it warning about the dangers of "bush-think," it’s a biohazard warning label, so people will be more aware of where they’re stepping. it’s especially good when you’re out collecting dog shit you’ve run out of little pooper-scooper bags. as an aside, it’s instructive to realise that The Book of Dog Shit is number six on the google results page when you search for Dog Shit… just goes to show that the religion of Tina Chopp has more influence than you realise.

113

guess what? yesterday was “inauguration day” and i didn’t do anything except go to the first performance of the second weeks run of DPN, which went very well indeed, despite the fact that the producer and director of the show is in washington DC with his giant puppets this week. i mean, really… i didn’t vote for the man, and in general, i think that he’s the most innately stupid president that this country has ever had, so why bother celebrating his inauguration, or even protesting it? all of the other people who did protest it (i heard that there were around 400,000 protesters downtown yesterday) just end up making the stupid people who voted for him think that they’re having another party, so why bother? “The most efficacious method of dealing with deviancy is to ignore, to the furthest point of our tolerance, those items which we find offensive.” — Ilbert Geis. if enough americans ignore the president, maybe he’ll go away… and maybe he’ll go away more quickly than the 4 years it would ordinarily take… and if not, then the fact that i have ignored him will make it that much better when we actually elect a president with two brain cells to rub together.

i found this site, which goes a long way towards describing what’s going on here, but that still doesn’t make it any less amusing… and i still think these japanese are crazy.

today is moe’s birthday, but i don’t think her birthday present is going to arrive in time, so i’ll just have to wait. as it is, i’ve got her three presents, one of which she asked for, one of which isn’t actually good until 5th february, and one of which hasn’t arrived yet. if i’m lucky, the postman should deliver it today, but if not… well, her official “birthday party” isn’t until sunday, so i may have a reprieve until then. she’s off getting her drivers’ license renewed at the moment.

hey look… they’re starting to take this whole phenomenon seriously. maybe now they’ll develop the idea that ethics are for everyone… at the same time, it makes me wonder what’s next. thanks to Bunger Mulkin! i now know what happens when you drive a truck under an overpass that is slightly lower than the truck’s maximum height… you wake up the neighbors, but apparently, you don’t notice yourself… i bet this guy had a bunch of explaining to do when he got back to the budget rent-a-truck office. also, again, thanks to Bunger Mulkin!, i know where to go to get a tinfoil hat for my entire house… oy!

i got this really outrageous recording the other day from Toast And Jam. according to the liner notes, the artists used “music you dislike to create music you like”. it’s an interesting method, and one which i am going to have to try myself, but that doesn’t make the music on this recording less outstanding. if i were still a radio broadcaster, i would recommend that everyone go out and buy this recording. excellent!

112

nicked from

scan my interest list and pick out the one that seems the most odd to you.
i’ll explain it
to the best of my ability, since i will be the first to admit that some of my interests are, indeed, quite odd.
then you post this in your journal so other people can ask you about your interests.
… then we can all be one big happy family with nobody like this hanging around screwing things up for the rest of us.

here’s an article i rather liked about audio luddites and their effects on seattle, and (thanks to ) i don’t know what this is, but i think i want one… babelfish translates the text as “Luxurious edition desk-top type of interior accessory “suicide bombing button”. Installing in the reception table, and on etc. the foot warmer please enjoy. As for function this as a switch completely being not to be, please note.”

i finally got buttons updated (my prices were 20 years old!) and added to the hybrid elephant site, and i’ve got about 150 left to make for (at the old price). i also had an interview at snowdogs, which was rather interesting. the guy said that he had a resume for me from 2001 and wanted “up to date” information, in spite of the fact that i have communicated with people at snowdogs as recently as april of 2004. he didn’t actually have anything for me, but if the information they’ve got in their database is from 2001, i wonder what they’re actually doing in their big fancy office in belltown anyway… sitting on their thumbs? i told him that i’m still available, but in the long run i’m not available for positions in the computer industry. he said he would look for testing positions for me, and we left it at that.

111

i know, more-or-less, what’s going on here and here, but it still leaves me wondering what the hell is going on. these japanese are crazy…

an interview with the bobs on dr. demento last week (part 1 and part 2), which isn’t as good sound quality as all that, but most of it is just words with no actual singing, so it’s bearable, and amusing.

109

drunk puppet night just finished it’s first week’s run, and it’s shaping up to be an excellent show. josh was saying last night that i am the number one best tech person he’s ever worked with. i suspect that it’s because i’m also an artist and i understand what it’s like to be up on stage performing with tech people who just want a list of cues and don’t even bother to follow the script. i’m responsible for providing music for pre- and post-show, but josh has stipulated that there will be no frank zappa (which i don’t really understand, but he’s the boss), so i’ve developed an idea for next year’s DPN, which is a puppet show based on the zappa song called “Mr. Green Genes”… magnificent! i told josh about my idea, and he encouraged me, saying that he’s really looking for puppet shows that push his buttons. jill and her new boyfriend, rick, came up to see the show, and stayed overnight at my house. among other things, jill told me that she’s going through the legal steps to have “officer” lee’s adoption annulled, which is definitely several steps in the right direction.

i’ve recently realised that my button making machine is a good way to suppliment my income, so i’ve been making buttons for the past few days. hybrid elephant is really wonderful that way… i come up with a new money making scheme, and all i have to do is post it on hybrid elephant to see if it will really work. i haven’t posted the buttons on the site yet, because i’ve been too busy making buttons, but as soon as i have a free half-hour or so, it’s going up there. along the same lines, i got a call from aaron c. on friday that he has a potential “job” for which they’re interested in interviewing me… and it’s at schemalogic… i don’t really know what to expect, though, because in the little more than a year since my last contract there, they have laid off or fired almost the entire crew and hired new people. at the same time, aaron said that my name was the only one that came up while they were discussing how to procede with the project that they would have me working on, so it probably won’t be that bad.

i’m starting to get really fed up with the cirque web team. this woman named Q has taken it upon herself to take over just about everything from macque, which could be a good thing except that she seems to think that this makes her in charge of everything, which it doesn’t. i put up a trial site based on what we already had on the web, just to get the ball rolling, and her response was to say that she would prefer a “more modern” design… in spite of the fact that the web as it exists now has only been in existance for a little more than 10 years. she bases this preference mainly on the fact that she has a degree in communications, and has been requested to sit in on initial consultations with clients in a corporate setting, but she’s been a member of the cirque for only a year, and there are other people with more seniority both in the cirque and on the net, who are just as qualified as her to be making decisions. if nothing else, regardless of what kind of degrees she’s got, she’s a very poor communicator, and that’s not just from a web-site perspective (she taught the poi class i took last summer, and she couldn’t understand how my brain injury makes poi difficult for me). i’m ready to quit the team, even as it is just getting started, which is not a good sign. i’m probably going to stick with it for a while, just to see if things get better, but i’m not holding my breath.

i finally got infected. i searched for viruses last friday, and i came up with two on my windoesn’t machine… i don’t really understand exactly how i got infected, because i don’t install software, i don’t do email on this machine, and i’m very careful about the links i click, but they’ve found a way in somewhere. it’s just more fuel for the rant that is posted here. so i went to the symantec web site, because they’re one of the biggest manufacturers of AV software for windoesn’t, and paid for a downloaded version of antivirus 2005, which, i then discovered, doesn’t work on my operating system, which is W2K server. as far as i can tell, there’s no way to tell from their web site that AV2005 doesn’t work with server operating systems, and, as far as i can tell, they don’t make an AV system that works with W2K server… so i called (and spent over an hour waiting on hold) and gave them my story, and the guy said that i would get a refund. i then went to the mcafee web site (because they’re another big one), and paid for another antivirus program (which i made sure would work on my system before i bought it), which should be delivered by UPS tomorrow. then i got an email from symantec telling me how to download their software (which i had already done, which is how i discovered it won’t work), so i called again (and waited another half hour or so on hold) to complain, and they said that if i had already downloaded their software i would either have to pay for it, or fill out a “letter of destruction”, proclaiming that if i didn’t really destroy their software i’m subject to a massive fine or something. they gave me a link to find the letter of destruction, which i found and filled out, and i thought the matter was settled… then, yesterday, i got another email from symantec, saying that the software i had “ordered” wasn’t available, and had to be back ordered. so i called again (and waited on hold for about 45 minutes), and the guy said that i hadn’t filled out the letter of destruction, which i said i had… i also complained about the fact that they don’t say that it won’t work with W2K server, there’s no phone number posted ANYWHERE on their web site, and that when i did finally get their phone number, i had to wait on hold for an extremely long time, and i felt as though for as little time i had spent actually dealing with them that i had been the recipient of extremely poor customer service, and that i was going to go with mcafee because of it… so he sent me another link to the letter of destruction, which was the same as the first one, which i filled out again, and hopefully this time they’ll get the message. the moral of the story: use linux.

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Monkey Wrench Puppet Lab presents Drunk Puppet Nite #5!

At The Re-Bar
1114 Howell St. at Boren Ave., Seattle

Thursday, Friday & Saturday.
January 13-15; 20-22; 27-29.

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

Tickets $15
Thurs. Jan 20 pay-what-you-can

For info and reservations call Monkey Wrench Puppet Lab (206) 675-4500
http://www.monkeywrenchpuppetlab.org

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the 5th Drunk Puppet Nite!

Once again, Monkey Wrench Puppet Lab is hosting Drunk Puppet Nite at Seattle’s Re-Bar. Drunk Puppet Nite is an evening of puppetry from beyond the pale; a chance for 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.

The truth is, no one knows what to expect from Drunk Puppet Nite. Over these three weekends, our puppeteers have no boundaries. Performers include Clay Martin; Matt Fontaine & Tamara Paris; members of Circus Contraption, Cry of the Rooster, Islewilde, Tears of Joy; Thistle Theater and all of your Monkey Wrench favorites! 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 Fucking Heart, Halfpenny Opera and the upcoming Dracula.

For more information call Monkey Wrench at (206) 675-4500.

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moe left at 7:12 am, which meant that i had to wake up at 4:30 to take her to the airport. she’s scheduled to be in san francisco at around 9:00 am, then she leaves SF at noon, and isn’t scheduled to land in orlando until 8:00 pm… which always throws me. the fact that a four hour flight actually takes 8 hours because of shifting time zones is boggling to me. at least i’m not having to live through it. i hope she comes home soon. i already miss her…

digging around in the garage, i found this, printed in “old fashioned” type on computer paper:

Ye anciente obscure weirdnesse spelle

Assemble magickkal tools: magickkal knife, magickkal dagger, magickkal sword, scissors, whip, chains & rubber candles. Lock yourself in a closet and face Pittsburgh. Pour water in a paper bag; add salt, pepper, two cloves garlic, one ripe tomato. Bake at 358 degrees.

Chant: “I excersise thee, O sprites of Walter, casting out yuckies and grossness. Kiss my nose.”

Walk in triangles pouring the mixture on your feet. Pound on a bell. Cast the circle out the window and jump after it. Light 6 candles with a burning sock. Face the 4 quarters and revoke the incrementals. Sprinkle incense in your hair and light it. Fill your pockets with sand and dance naked on the roof. Recite the Middle Pillow, visualise Gro-Lites down your spine and goose the first entity to cross the circle.

Point your magickkal twanger, froggie, drink the spirits, uncast of thousands and collapse in a stupor. Fly to Cleveland and debauch. Repeat twice a day for life.

WARNING: On peril of risk to body & soul, be utterly certain that you prefckqua or a plage of foul marmots will grossly and then eat up your favourite. Tear or burn along the line.

EDIT: she called from san francisco at about 10:30. apparently they disembarked at the international gates, which is on the opposite end of the airport from where she is leaving from, and she had to go through the department of clownland security checkpoint again before being allowed to procede to her departure gate. it’s a good thing she had a 2 hour layover before she had to depart, she said that people who had another flight to catch in 30 minutes were screwed.

105

moe is going to orlando for a week, and she’s leaving tomorrow. this has something to do with continuing education that is required to maintain her license, but it ultimately means that i get to stay at home for a week and be depressed because i can’t find a job, while my wife goes off gallivanting halfway around the world to further her already impressive career. not that i don’t want her to go, it’s just that i’d be a good deal happier about it if i were going with her, even if it would mean that i get to sit around in a hotel room for a week while moe attends her symposium on organisms that grow inside dead animals and how to tell them apart. i’ve actually got a friend in orlando that i haven’t seen for a very long time (1975), and if i were there, i could be out looking for him, because i don’t know if the address i have is any good or not, while moe is in class, and there’s a good chance that she won’t have much time herself, so it’s a good bet that i won’t find out if he really lives there or not until much later… not to mention the fact that it means a week of sleeping by myself. i suppose it’s partial payment for her missing a month of sleeping with me while i was having my injury.

i got a reminder that it’s time to pay my annual combined excise tax but honestly, i don’t remember even using any annual combined excises during the past year, so i’m not sure i have to pay anything.

jill may be coming up next week for drunk puppet night, and if she does, i’m going to invite her to stay here, because that way she won’t have to face a four hour drive home at midnight, or whenever it’s over. something seems wrong about inviting the woman i fantasised about when i was 17 to spend the night in my guest bedroom when i’m 45, but what the hell… it’s only one night, moe will be home from orlando, and that way she won’t have to pay for a hotel… besides, i’m not 17 any more.

103

the mars rover spirit has been on mars for a year now. pretty good considering that it was only intended to last for 90 days, and there’s no spare batteries. too bad we’re so hung up on the war in iraq and afghanistan to pay any attention. the internet is shit is a rant by someone who is disappointed that McNewspaper isn’t the happening thing any more, but their basic premise is still sound. the more geeky it gets, the less shit-like it becomes, but on the whole i tend to agree. at the same time, if it weren’t for internet, i would never have found out about eric doeringer who makes illegal objects as art. if he is able to make a living at it, then i should be able to pull it off as well…

102

shirley chisholm died saturday. i mention this only because i have seen no other mention of it on internet. admittedly, i haven’t been paying that much attention, but at the same time, i would have hoped that she was enough of a hero to everyone else that more would have been said about her death. i should have known better…

TINA CHOPP IS GOD!

In the year 2005 I resolve to:
Proclaim Tina Chopp is God!

Get your resolution here

TINA CHOPP IS GOD!
PRAISE HER OR DIE!

i went to 47° 58′ 23.7″ n, 122° 31′ 20.1″ w today. it was the first day in over a year that we have taken the dogs to the beach, because of various injuries (mine, then the dog’s knees), and only the second time we have ever been to the double bluff off-leash area, but paddy and magick both remembered it and were making all kinds of noise by the time we actually got parked. i imagine that if i give it the right information, the device that i’ve got that gave me the coordinates above could tell me exactly how far away from home i was, but i haven’t figured out what information that is or how to give it to the machine yet.

98

i recently commented in someone’s journal, and got banned from commenting as a result, because i had the audacity to disagree with the person when they said i am clueless and brainwashed… i may be clueless about his specific situation, but if he’s going to be that negative about a comment in his journal, and ban me with essentially no warning, then i don’t think i want him as a friend anyway… this is exactly the reason i was hesitant about taking up this "hobby" to begin with. so far i think i’ve done pretty well at staying clear of "drama", and i don’t want to start up with it now. enough said.

weed
You are WEED.

What Drug Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

it seems vaguely appropriate until you realise that by changing one answer (no prizes for guessing which one) results in extacy, which i have never tried.

if you like coil (which i do), you can download all 197mb of "Full Cold Moon", a tribute album dedicated to the memory of jhonn balance, from here.

xmas was full of driving and in-laws, which is to say, somewhat boring, and somewhat scary, but way better than it would have been at my parents’ house. i didn’t get what i wanted

but i got something almost as cool

and, as i predicted, around 100,000 innocent civilians were killed within 24 hours of xmas… but the fact that it was because of natural causes doesn’t matter, because the tamil tigers have refused even to talk with the sri lankan government, in spite of the fact that one of the provinces hardest hit by the tsunamis is under their control. no word on what’s happening in iraq or afghanistan, but i assume that it’s bushiness as usual.

drunk puppet night begins in a couple of weeks. as far as i know, we get one rehearsal before it starts, which is better than none at all, but considering that we’ve got at least 20 different acts which occur more or less randomly over a 3 week run, it should be interesting, to say the least.

the web site for the cirque doesn’t have an initial meeting scheduled yet, but it probably will within the next week. if it doesn’t, then i’m going to schedule one myself, because the work really needs to be started.

MEH!

dominionism
dominionism
satanic christians
jesus was a loser
the poor

i’m so fucking frustrated with the whole thing that i can’t even type straight… which means that this is taking even longer than it would otherwise. of course, once it’s typed nobody will recognise that, which is even more frustrating.

for those who can’t be bothered to actually read more than one web site, dominionism is a “militant post-millennial eschatology which pictures the seizure of earthly power by the church as the only means through which the world can be rescued”… and, by logical extension, if that earthly power isn’t seized by the church, then the world will continue it’s “downward spiral” into chaos, madness, and, potentially, islam. no matter that the world will continue to exist, it will be so emmeshed in evil and hatred (which means “no war” and “equality for everyone”) that we won’t be able to get anything done…

meanwhile, donny rumsfeld is under scrutiny for not caring enough about the troops that are already over there “fighting for freedom” that he’s not providing them with adequate body armour, and signing letters of condolence to families of troops killed with a “rubber stamp” (“but there’s so many of them, and i’ve got so many more important things to do”), more prisoner abuse has surfaced, which the government says will be “thoroughly investigated” (meaning they’re trying extra hard to sweep it under the rug as quickly as possible, in the hope that if it’s “investigated” quickly enough, nobody will notice that these muslim “terrorists” that are being abused are just as human as the rest of us), and the president’s approval rating has fallen below 50% one month after his election – THE FIRST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY to have that happen.

meanwhile, there are still homeless people around the world, there are still sick people who don’t have any way of paying for necessary medications and hospitalisation, there are still orphaned children with nobody to take care of them, there are still people who don’t have any means of supporting themselves and nobody seems to care about these things. they (YOU) are so caught up in the “war on” terror, or drugs, or whatever, and they (YOU) are so caught up in their materialistic fanasies that they (YOU) don’t even seem to notice these things at all. ALL of these things could be adequately addressed by application of 10% of the current budget that’s being spent, instead, on war in iraq, war in afghanistan, war on drugs, war on terrorism… in short, WAR!

one thing is for sure… there won’t be a “christmas truce” this year (like there was in world war I). i wonder how many innocent civilians will be killed on christmas because “terrorists” hate our “freedom”? i wonder if it’s even possible any more for individual people to say “that’s enough,” to go and make friends with the “enemy,” and dispense with war all together. it’s too bad that it wasn’t more permanent 100 years ago, because if it were, we’d be looking at a totally different society today. one in which there are no homeless, sick, orphaned, out of work people anywhere!

i had a performance last night. before my performance, i went out to buy a single present for a family member. it took me an hour and a half to drive less than 10 miles to and from (thus making me late for my performance), because of people who are hung up on the wrong message. they can’t seem to get it through their heads that they WON’T HAVE this kind of “xmas” much longer because it will all come crashing down around them when the “war” on terror finally comes to their doorstep.

my whole life i’ve heard the “peace on earth, good will towards mankind” message, but, oddly enough, i’ve only heard this kind of message around xmas time… the rest of the year, it seems like the message is “peace and good will to people who are “christian” and to hell with everyone else” (or, as one LJ user put it, “christmas is a time for giving and loving and snow and happiness and if you don’t stop trying to ruin it i am going to kick your ass”). it’s kind of amusing, in a sick and twisted sort of way. like the people who say it are just parroting what their parents have parroted to them. nobody pays attention when someone refuses to go back into combat because it’s combat, in spite of the fact that there have been at least two such cases in the past year… as long as it’s not xmas, almost everybody is either willing to go, or votes for the guy who lied to get us into the war in the first place, while people like me are left wondering where our next mortgage payment is coming from.

i could write for hours, but i’ve got to go to my “random” job search log review, a lovely conflagration in which i sit and listen to information i’ve heard at least three times before, being read from powerpoint slides (with trendy, eye-catching “clip art”) for an hour and a half, and then spend another half an hour waiting in line to have some flunky at the unenjoyment office check to make sure i’ve really been keeping track of the jobs i said i applied for (i know it’s “random”, because it says so on the computer printed form letter they mailed to me), otherwise i won’t be getting any more unemployment benefits… a lovely way to be looking at “xmas”… 8/

i hope everyone has a “merry xmas”.

95

from here, but since it may not stay up as long as i’d like…


Bhutan Bans Smoking in World First
Fri Dec 17, 6:04 AM ET

GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) – The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan banned smoking in public and tobacco sales on Friday, the first country in the world to do so.

The ban by the reclusive, predominantly Buddhist state follows a decision by its national legislature in July to curb smoking to promote national well-being.

“A total ban on the sale and smoking of tobaccos has been imposed in the country from December 17,” said Lily Wangchuk, a spokeswoman at Bhutan’s embassy in New Delhi.

“It is for the well-being of the people, to protect the environment and preserve our culture,” she told Reuters.

People who cannot kick the habit can import tobacco for personal use, but at a 100 percent tax. They can only smoke indoors in the privacy of their homes.

Shops and businesses defying the ban face fines starting at $225, a steep amount by Bhutan’s standards, and repeat violators would risk losing commercial licenses.

Bhutanese officials said only an estimated one percent of the country’s 700,000 people smoked or used tobacco. The loss to tobacco businesses was not immediately known.

Bhutan, sandwiched between India and China, is governed by a monarchy which believes in tight controls.

The tiny country, home to breathtaking mountains and scenic valleys, restricts foreign tourists to avoid the erosion of its culture. Television was banned until 1999 for the same reason.

The ban was not expected to be opposed, one commentator said.

“People won’t go against the order because they follow what the monarchy says,” said Kinley Dorji, editor of Kuensel, Bhutan’s only newspaper.

But residents of Samdrup Jhongkhar, a Bhutanese town near the Indian border, were not so sure. They said smokers were upset by the ban and predicted that cigarettes would be smuggled in from India.

“I will now have to pay more to smoke. It will become a luxury,” said Prem Dorji, a Samdrup Jhongkhar resident. “Common people will be worst hit as they won’t be able to give up the habit easily and will be forced to pay exorbitant prices.”


i wonder what it would take to emigrate to bhutan. from what i understand, they’re not particularly fond of “foreigners”, but neither am i (speaking of “foreign” thought patterns: the war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on intellectualism, etc.). it’s a buddhist monarchy, too, wh