Monday, May 31, 2004

can i get a resounding "DUH"???

The False Controversy of Stem Cells

"A difficult issue is one in which you hold two or more conflicting values. Stem cells are not a difficult issue: either you think a microscopic embryo has the same human rights as you and I, or you don't. Do you believe that a woman who gets an abortion should be prosecuted for murder, just like a mother who hires a professional killer to off her teenage son? Are you picketing around fertility clinics, which kill hundreds of thousands of unborn children — if that's what you believe a 5-day-old embryo to be — just like abortion clinics do? If so, you are entitled to oppose stem-cell research. If not, please get out of the way."

from eschaton.

friday 5!!

okay, so it's monday WHAT OF IT?

this week's question from laura:

I have a confession to make: I actually like watching those lame, cliche-filled success-story films. You know the ones I mean - girl works her way off the streets and ends up studying in Harvard; boy wants to dance his own steps; girl wants to sing but her mother forbids it. Yeah. Hallmark channel material. Add a pot of ice cream and a box of tissues and I'm all set for the evening. Now that I revealed my darkest secret, what are your five most uncool passions?

hmmm. i'm not sure i have too many passions that are conventionally "uncool" that aren't at the same time considered completely normal by most of my friends.

but maybe that says more about the company i keep than anything else. :)

1. the Jossverse. anything that Joss Whedon has had at least partial control of the creative production of. buffy the vampire slayer. angel. firefly. serenity. that sorta thing. i dunno how it all got started, just that i started watching BtVS just to mock a beloved friend, and now, years later, here i am, crying over the WB's murder of angel. huh.

2. plants. i yearn to know at all times exactly what flora species surround me. on a trip to midland this weekend (yes, to meet the SO's parents! yeep!), i brought along not one, but TWO books on texas plants. and utilized them approx. every 2 miles along the way. was really mad i'd left my woody plants book behind in austin. see, these things, i gotta know. i dunno why. cataloguing my surroundings is a Very Good Thing.

3. speaking of, the aforementioned dutcher.

4. music. buying new music, listening to music, playing music for myself, performing music for others. i'm all about the music, man, and i go about constantly with a song in my head, a whistled tune under my breath.

crap, the last two are pretty damned cool passions, aren't they? hmmm. well, i'll have to do better...

5. space exploration/colonization/etc. novels. man, i just can't get enough of the greg bear, the octavia butler, just finished kim stanley robinson's red mars, and can't WAIT to get green mars and blue mars. if they're *out there,* i just can't get enough. corollary: space movies. Men in Black? bring it on!!!

need a timekiller?

You Must Choose

oh, it's addictive.

and a good memorial day to you...

'Easy Company' Veteran to Accompany Kerry to WWII Memorial Opening

"Saturday May 29, Joseph Lesniewski, one of the original ‘Band of Brothers’ from the ‘Easy Company’ of the 101st Airborne Division will join presidential candidate John Kerry at the official opening of the WWII memorial.  A member of the ‘Greatest Generation,’ like Kerry’s own father, Lesniewski served the United States in WWII. 

Lesniewski, a decorated war hero, is one of the 18 living paratroopers from original 147 members of Easy Company.  He was trained by the Office of Strategic Studies (OSS) and was part of the heroic and immortalized 506th Regiment depicted in the Stephen Ambrose novel Band of Brothers.  Lesniewski “jumped” into enemy territory on D-Day during the invasion of Normandy, earning numerous medals including the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

Speaking about his own generation of soldiers Lesniewski said, “We [World War II veterans] are more patriotic than anybody ever was.  I was in combat for 235 days- you don’t have to tell me about patriotism.  I believe George Bush is messing things up with this war, the economy and with America’s veterans.”

Kerry and Lesniewski, both combat veterans, met for the first time in May at an airport landing in Erie, PA.  In Pennsylvania and across the country, Veterans for Kerry are working to turn out veterans to vote for John Kerry.  “We have a lot of people here in Pennsylvania that feel the same way as me.  We are working day and night to get John Kerry elected because he is the only candidate with a plan to address the concerns of America’s military families and veterans.” 


Veterans across the country, disappointed with George Bush’s broken promises to take care of America’s military families, are organizing for John Kerry in unprecedented numbers.  They are conducting vet-to-vet phone banks, veteran visibilities and internet operations in forty-five states across the country on behalf of John Kerry for President."

Saturday, May 29, 2004

short movie madness!

chill out with MOTORCYCLE KITTENS!!!

weebl and bob go to *P*ikea...

and of course, treerats!

(all require sound for full effect)

Dr. Wen Ho Lee, WMD, and the New York Times.


Why al-Qaeda Thrives

the best part: "...If, indeed, there is a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda, it may not be the kind the Bush campaign is likely to dwell on. The same day the President spoke, the prestigious International Institute for Strategic Studies released its annual survey that found, among other things, that far from dealing a blow to al-Qaeda and making the U.S. and its allies safer, the Iraq invasion has in fact substantially strengthened bin Laden's network and increased the danger of attacks in the West. And the London-based IISS is not some Bush-bashing antiwar think tank; it hosted the president's keynote address during his embattled visit to the British late last year.

The IISS reported that al-Qaeda's recruitment and fundraising efforts had been given a major boost by the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It estimated that bin Laden's network today commands some 18,000 men, of which about 1,000 are currently inside Iraq. After almost three years of President Bush's war on terror, the IISS offered the following assessment of the movement's prospects: "Although half of al-Qaeda's 30 senior leaders and perhaps 2,000 rank-and-file members have been killed or captured, a rump leadership is still intact and more than 18,000 potential terrorists are still at large, with recruitment accelerating on account of Iraq."..."

oh, goody.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

MSNBC - Where's the best place to live in America?: "Los Alamos offers the best quality of life anywhere in America."

huh. it is the most beautiful place in the universe, to me, at least. interesting.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

DID Rumsfeld ban camera phones in Iraq??

no. in fact, it's probably not possible.

original satire source.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | What have we done? Susan Sontag on the Abu Ghraib images

" For the meaning of these pictures is not just that these acts were performed, but that their perpetrators had no sense that there was anything wrong in what the pictures show. Even more appalling, since the pictures were meant to be circulated and seen by many people, it was all fun. And this idea of fun is, alas, more and more --- contrary to what Mr. Bush is telling the world --- part of "the true nature and heart of America.""

Shock and awe were what our military promised the Iraqis who resisted their American liberators. And shock and the awful are what these photographs announce to the world that the Americans have delivered: a pattern of criminal behavior in open defiance and contempt of international humanitarian conventions. Soldiers now pose, thumbs up, before the atrocities they commit, and send off the pictures to their buddies and family. Should we be entirely surprised? Ours is a society in which secrets of private life that, formerly, you would have given nearly anything to conceal you now clamor to be invited on a television show to reveal. What is illustrated by these photographs is as much the culture of shamelessness as the reigning admiration for unapologetic brutality. The notion that "apologies" or professions of "disgust" and "abhorrence" by the president and the secretary of defense are a sufficient response to the systematic torture of prisoners revealed at Abu Ghraib is an insult to one's historical and moral sense. The torture of prisoners is not an aberration. It is a direct consequence of the with-us-or-against-us ideology of world struggle with which the Bush administration has sought to change, charge radically, the international stance of the United States and to recast many domestic institutions and prerogatives. The Bush administration has committed the country to a pseudo-religious doctrine of war, endless war --- for "the war on terror" is nothing less than that. What has happened in the new, international carceral empire run by the United States military goes beyond even the notorious procedures in France's Devil's Island and Soviet Russia's Gulag system, which in the case of the French penal island had, first, both trials and sentences, and in the case of the Russian prison empire a charge of some kind and a sentence for a specific number of years. Endless war is taken to justify endless incarcerations --- without charges, without the release of prisoners' names or any access to family members and lawyers, without trials, without sentences. Those held in the extra-legal American penal empire are "detainees"; "prisoners," a newly obsolete word, might suggest that they have the rights accorded by international law and the laws of all civilized countries. This "Global War on Terror" (GWOT) --- into which both the justifiable invasion of Afghanistan and the unwinnable folly in Iraq have been folded by Pentagon decree ---inevitably leads to the dehumanizing of anyone declared by the Bush administration to be a possible terrorist: a definition that is not up for debate and is usually made in secret. The charges against most of the people detained in the prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan being non-existent --- the International Committee of the Red Cross reports that seventy to ninety percent of those being held seem to have committed no crime other than simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught up in some sweep of "suspects" --- the principal justification for holding them is "interrogation." Interrogation about what? About anything. Whatever the detainee might know. If interrogation is the point of detaining prisoners indefinitely, then physical coercion, humiliation, and torture become inevitable. Remember: we are not talking about that rarest of situations, the "ticking time-bomb" scenario, which is sometimes used as a limiting case that justifies torture of prisoners who have knowledge of an imminent attack. This is general or non-specific information-gathering authorized by American military and civilian administrators to learn more of a shadowy empire of evildoers about which Americans know virtually nothing, in countries about which they are singularly ignorant: in principle, any "information" at all might be useful. An interrogation that produced no information (whatever information might consist of) would count as a failure. All the more justification for preparing prisoners to talk. Softening them up, stressing them out --- these are the usual euphemisms for the bestial practices that have become rampant in American prisons where "suspected terrorists" are being held. Unfortunately, it seems, more than a few got "too stressed out" and died. The pictures will not go away. That is the nature of the digital world in which we live. Indeed, it seems they were necessary to get America's leaders to acknowledge that they had a problem on their hands."

i have no comment. sontag loves her words, loves her hyperbole, but her point is solid. what have we come to?

are we doves or lions? doves, evidently.

interesting and thought-provoking guest editorial from William R. Polk over at juan cole: Thoughts On Torture.

the essay goes into the *why* of such hideous practices throughout human history...the nazi concentration camps, the french algerian prisons, abu ghraib, etc. also offers some hope for how to combat this seemingly inherent tendency on the part of those with absolute power to so mercilessly torture those with absolutely no power: transparency (more on this from The Register...)

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | US intelligence fears Iran duped hawks into Iraq war

"Larry Johnson, a former senior counter-terrorist official at the state department, said: "When the story ultimately comes out we'll see that Iran has run one of the most masterful intelligence operations in history. They persuaded the US and Britain to dispose of its greatest enemy."

SURELY the world's greatest superpower really hasn't been duped THIS badly...? and by one of their self-proclaimed "Axis of Evil?"

this might be fuckin' hilarious if it weren't so fuckin' sad.

ahhhh...Mark Morford strikes again!

Bush: Dumb Like A Bullet

"When last we left our sneering caped crusaders, Rummy had testified under oath that he didn't really know who ordered what at Abu "Tortures 'R' Us" Ghraib prison, and George "Wha Happun?" Bush was mumbling into his hand puppet about how he was utterly shocked and appalled and was blaming the whole thing on "a coupla bad apples" and gul-dangit, he warn't gunna stan' fer it.

And while he still loved Rumsfeld like a drunken frat brother and swore Rummy was doing a "superb job" and stood by him 'til death or impeachment they do part, something must be done and some heads were gonna roll and it would definitely be some sad pregnant trailer-park chick from West Virginia ha-ha snicker.

What a difference a couple weeks make. Now word is emerging like ugly greased lightning that not only did Rummy himself order the Abu Ghraib tortures, but it was also a long-standing super-secret plan based on ultra-vile (and morally repugnant) interrogation techniques already employed in Afghanistan.

Not only that, but the plan was authorized across the board, from the Pentagon to the National Security Council to the CIA and then on up the ladder to where Bush his own dumbstruck self was fully informed and fully aware of the general plan to make a sad mockery of the "quaint" and "obsolete" Geneva Convention.


You gotta admit, maybe Bush isn't all that stupid after all. Maybe he's not the smirking aww-shucks born-again simpleton he constantly appears to be, the one who sits back and lets his henchmen do all the dirty work and all the complex thinking while he lets Condi Rice massage his ego and fill him in at the ranch while taking more vacation time than any other president in history.

Or, rather, maybe Dubya really is that stupid, just not in the ways anyone really imagined. Maybe Bush is stupid in a way that is far worse, and far more dangerous for the health of this planet, than mere inarticulate, nonintellectual, semiliterate Texas cow-pie bumbling.

It is, in short, the stupidity of the indignant and the self-righteous, of the morally arrogant, of someone whose power base is threatened and yet who is still blindly forcing America down this nightmare path, even when all signs and all leaders and all U.N. councils and all weapons investigators and all flagrant U.S.-sanctioned rapes and tortures are veritably screaming in his face that it is a mistake of increasingly epic, treacherous proportions.

And so maybe, ultimately, it all comes back to us. Maybe it is the majority of people in this flag-wavin', happily deluded, fear-drenched country who can't believe it could happen, who simply, you know, "misunderestimated" just how poisonous Bush's savage brand of stupidity really is. "

here we go, here's the entire text of bush's speech yesterday, from the guardian.

and i'm coopting the following commentary from Onager over at Peoplesforum, as he's much better at it than i.

"Some highlights:

1. He's still telling the lie that the Taliban hung out in Iraq:

"Our terrorist enemies...seek to impose Taliban-like rule country by country across the greater Middle East.

They seek the total control of every person in mind and soul; a harsh society in which women are voiceless and brutalized..."

Sounds just like the GOP/Fundie platform.

2. As close to an admission of error as we will ever get:

"The swift removal of Saddam Hussein's regime last spring had an unintended affect. Instead of being killed or captured on the battlefield, some of Saddam's elite guards shed their uniforms and melted into the civilian population."

Oh. You mean, just like every real military expert TOLD you they would do? Amazing!

"These elements of Saddam's repressive regime and secret police have reorganized, rearmed and adopted sophisticated terrorist tactics."

Including those elements currently on our payroll.

3. He enjoyed using his favorite word about 900 times:

"The return of tyranny to Iraq would be an unprecedented terrorist victory and a cause for killers to rejoice. It would also embolden the terrorists, leading to more bombings, more beheadings and more murders of the innocent around the world.

"The rise of a free and self-governing Iraq will deny terrorists a base of operation, discredit their narrow ideology and give momentum to reformers across the region. This will be a decisive blow to terrorism at the heart of its power and a victory for the security of America and the civilized world."

Iraq wasn't a terrorist base of operation until you made it one, dickhead.

4. This is probably the most ominous line. Right out of the PNAC script:

"We believe that when all Middle Eastern peoples are finally allowed to live and think and work and worship as free men and women, they will reclaim the greatness of their own heritage. And when that day comes, the bitterness and burning hatreds that feed terrorism will fade and die away."

In other words, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel."

...that light, maybe it's actually an oncoming train?

yesterday at his press conference, Our Dear President unveiled his 5-point plan for finishing up the Iraq Fiasco...unfortunately, i've been unable to quickly find a news source that actually details what those five points may be. they probably come down to 1. make sure we get as much oil outta the country as we can, 2. hand over the keys to saddam's old Republican Palace on our way out, 3. make sure the oil infrastructure is safe, 4. kill a few more insurgents, and 5. get as much oil outta the country as we can before we leave.

sound about right?

at any rate, retired General Anthony Zinni's outlined our major mistakes in Iraq. he's also got ideas for getting out of there that preserve the integrity and honor of both the US and the Iraqis, ideas that might just work. if anyone listens to him.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

it's over. now what?

nice writeup of angel finale: Angel fights to the bleak, bitter end

and another tidbit: interview with Joss Whedon in TV Guide.

"For Whedon, what makes the end even harder is that he'd already conceived a terrific premise for Angel's sixth year. "When you buck the system, and do your best to make it collapse," he teases, "what if it does? The next season would have been some serious chaos." Now, that sounds like a story that deserves to be told someday."

first we quit paying him $300,000/month, now we're raiding his home and threatening him?


"[Iraqi National Congress Spokesman] Qanbar said Bremer ordered the raid in retaliation because Chalibi -- who is head of finance for the Iraqi Governing Council -- is pushing for an investigation of billions of dollars missing from the Oil for Food program administered by the U.N. before the Iraq war and because of his insistence on full soveriegnty for Iraq."

juan cole has a buncha good stuff on chalabi and why his role in the Iraqi National Congress might have been whack from the beginning.

oops, looks like history's managed to judge george w. bush before he was actually dead...

Historians vs. George W. Bush

...Of 415 historians who expressed a view of President Bush's administration to this point as a success or failure, 338 classified it as a failure and 77 as a success. (Moreover, it seems likely that at least eight of those who said it is a success were being sarcastic, since seven said Bush's presidency is only the best since Clinton's and one named Millard Fillmore.) Twelve percent of all the historians who responded rate the current presidency the worst in all of American history, not too far behind the 19 percent who see it at this point as an overall success.


A few examples will serve to provide the flavor of such condemnations. "Although previous presidents have led the nation into ill-advised wars, no predecessor managed to turn America into an unprovoked aggressor. No predecessor so thoroughly managed to confirm the impressions of those who already hated America. No predecessor so effectively convinced such a wide range of world opinion that America is an imperialist threat to world peace. I don 't think that you can do much worse than that."

"Bush is horrendous; there is no comparison with previous presidents, most of whom have been bad."

"George W. Bush's presidency is the pernicious enemy of American freedom, compassion, and community; of world peace; and of life itself as it has evolved for millennia on large sections of the planet. The worst president ever? Let history judge him."

Wednesday, May 19, 2004


yes, true believers, the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy movie website is up!!!

go check it out! and press that big red button all ya want. all sorts of interesting things happen when you do...

...famous last words...

EDIT: oh, and check out martin freeman's website entries on the subject. did i mention i love martin freeman? he's my secret boyfriend. i'm not sure he knows this, but, eh. i don't care. he still is.

offical movie site link from adam, who rocks, thanks!

hey, this is pretty cool...

where are we getting stiffed on gas prices in austin? you can find out at this website: Austin Gas Prices - Helping Austin, Texas and area residents find low gasoline prices. if you're not in austin, nor texas, but still in the US, you can find gas prices for your area by starting at gasbuddy.com, btw.

(we don't have it as bad as SOME parts of the country yet, looks like prices today range from $1.77 at Sam's Club and Costco all the way up to $1.95 at the Shell @ Howard and 35! yeesh. hopefully, noone'll want to inch over that $2.00 mark anytime soon...)

sweet. now we'll know where to go for the best prices! this'll tide us over until our good president calls up OPEC and jawbones 'em into increasing production so that prices can get back to normal, like he promised he would. oughta happen any second now, i mean, he PROMISED.


and in the world of NOT!politics...

Entangled clouds raise hope of teleportation


"Clouds of trillions of atoms have for the first time been linked by quantum "entanglement" - that spooky, almost telepathic link between distant particles. The feat opens new possibilities for quantum communication systems and sci-fi-style teleporting of objects from one place to another.


"The experiment shows that it is possible to create entanglement with macroscopic objects, and to do it using just laser light - which means one can do it even when the objects are separated by substantial distances," says the team leader, Eugene Polzik. "We've also shown that the state can persist for a long time, even at room temperature."

"Now that the experiment has been done, it should be relatively simple to entangle more than two atomic samples, or to teleport states of atomic samples," says Ignacio Cirac, a physicist at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. "

< /saving up for own home-teleportation device>

Intel Staffer Cites Abu Ghraib Cover-Up

"Dozens of soldiers -- other than the seven military police reservists who have been charged -- were involved in the abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, and there is an effort under way in the Army to hide it, a key witness in the investigation told ABCNEWS. ..."


although interesting to see this come out in the open. sorta.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

ding dong...

CBS 2: Martha's TV Show Heading For Hiatus

NEW YORK (AP) "With its star facing a possible prison sentence, the 'Martha Stewart Living' television show will be put on hiatus after the current season winds up, the show's producers announced Tuesday.


Production of the award-winning syndicated television show, distributed by King World Productions, will continue for the remainder of the 11th season, through September.

'I am deeply sorry that it has become necessary for the show to go on hiatus until my personal legal situation is resolved,' Stewart said. 'I hope to resume our close collaboration just as soon as I am able to do so.'


Stewart had resigned as chairman and CEO last June after being indicted. She is expected to be sentenced June 17, and faces 10 to 16 months in prison.


'Despite the current challenges, we are fully focused on developing for our loyal audiences new and special programming that is consistent with our unique 'how-to' style and high quality of television,' said Heidi Diamond, president of the company's television division. "

nah. Martha Stewart's show every morning at 9AM is what kept me sane during my time of unemployment, much as it might be embarrassing to admit this. plus, ken lay? skilling? ebbers? where the fuck are they?

yeah. personal accountability, my ass. she was a handy scapegoat, being female and successful and (god forbid) bitchy and all.

best of luck in the clink, martha!

so we've cut off Chalabi. hmmmm.

Krugman nails it again

The Wastrel Son

"He was a stock character in 19th-century fiction: the wastrel son who runs up gambling debts in the belief that his wealthy family, concerned for its prestige, will have no choice but to pay off his creditors. In the novels such characters always come to a bad end. Either they bring ruin to their families, or they eventually find themselves disowned.

George Bush reminds me of those characters %u2014 and not just because of his early career, in which friends of the family repeatedly bailed out his failing business ventures. Now that he sits in the White House, he's still counting on other people to settle his debts %u2014 not to protect the reputation of his family, but to protect the reputation of the country.

One by one, our erstwhile allies are disowning us; they don't want an unstable, anti-Western Iraq any more than we do, but they have concluded that President Bush is incorrigible. Spain has washed its hands of our problems, Italy is edging toward the door, and Britain will join the rush for the exit soon enough, with or without Tony Blair.

At home, however, Mr. Bush's protectors are not yet ready to make the break.


...the tone of the cover letter Mr. Bush sent with last week's budget request can best be described as contemptuous: it's up to Congress to "ensure that our men and women in uniform continue to have the resources they need when they need them." This from an administration that, by rejecting warnings from military professionals, ensured that our men and women in uniform didn't have remotely enough resources to do the job.

The budget request itself was almost a caricature of the administration's "just trust us" approach to governing.

It ran to less than a page, with no supporting information. Of the $25 billion, $5 billion is purely a slush fund, to be used at the secretary of defense's discretion. The rest is allocated to specific branches of the military, but with the proviso that the administration can reallocate the money at will as long as it notifies the appropriate committees.

Senators are balking for the moment, but everyone knows that they'll give in, after demanding, at most, cosmetic changes. Once again, Mr. Bush has put Congress in a bind: it was his decision to put American forces in harm's way, but if members of Congress fail to give him the money he demands, he'll blame them for letting down the troops.

As long as political figures aren't willing to disown Mr. Bush's debt -- the impossible situation in which he has placed America's soldiers -- there isn't much they can do.

So how will it all end? The cries of "stay the course" are getting fainter, while the calls for a quick exit are growing. In other words, it seems increasingly likely that the nation will end up disowning Mr. Bush and his debts.

That will mean settling for an outcome in Iraq that, however we spin it, will look a lot like defeat -- and the nation's prestige will be damaged by that outcome. But lost prestige is better than ruin.

(NYT op-ed, use salon/tabletalk for login/password or www.bugmetnot.com)

the latest from the Darling New Neighbors!!!

hello fellow sojourners of rock,

on tuesday, Darling New Neighbors begin our flurry leading up to HOTWETDEEPSOUTH 2004 in early july, when we unleash the DNN power on tour through the Southeast. over the next few weeks, we'll be bringing out all kinds of new numbers, sequined outfits, choreographed dance moves & hilarious new jokes as we warm up our performance engines for such crucial rocknroll speedways as jackson, ms (also athens, ga, and greensboro, nc).

tuesday (tomorrow!), may 18, at room 710
10:30 darling new neighbors shows team spirit
followed by: gays in the military, basic shapes, stanley roy williamson

NEXT big fabulous:
friday, may 28, at trophy's (on south congress) with neighbor friends: casting couch, the butchers, and underwater sleep project

it is what it sounds like.

UPCOMING key event in your Summer 2004 Social Calendar:
**DNN BigTent Fundraiser**
saturday, june 26, an afternoon thang
(location & times tba)
expect: a panoply of entertainments, hare-brained schemes and games in celebration of helping DNN raise funds for HOTWETDEEPSOUTH 2004 (i.e. some tiny portion of the $4/gal. gas on the east coast).

other highlights:
1. last-minute engagement at the hole in the wall (sunday, may 30)
2. vroom vroom at the harley outlet on south I-35 during Republic of TX Bike Rally(june 4-- also ELIZABETH'S BIRTHDAY)
3. kinks hoot night at carousel lounge (july 3)

hope to see you!
elizabeth, amy & jessica

melissa's latest column is up at austinmama.com! go read it!!! NOW!


Take the quiz: "Which Random Irish Gaelic Phrase Are You? "

Ta mo bhriste tri thine
Ta mo bhriste tri thine - 'My trousers are on fire.'You're a few bricks short of a load, aren't you? You're probably not allowed to use sharp objects and you should be locked in a rubber room. With Rubber rats. Rubber rats? I hate rubber rats. They drive me crazy. Crazy? I was crazy once. They put me in a rubber room. With rubber rats. Rubber rats? I hate rubber rats...

Monday, May 17, 2004

Nick Berg's Killing: 50 Fishy Circumstances, Contradictory Claims, and Videotape Anomalies || kuro5hin.org

hmmm. worth a look - discrepancies surrounding Nick Berg's circumstances, his being in Iraq, his capture, his execution. WTF?

thanks, maggie, for the link!

oh man.

the black-and-white kitten in the center of this photo is the one that my mom's friends have, are willing to hold for me for a few months (until i can get to NM to pick him up)...

(i think i may let this kitten go to one of the many other folks clamoring for sweet teeny kitties...there are plenty of animal shelters here with plenty of kittens needing homes. even black and white sweeties.

but still...look how adorable! awwww...)

civil rights, revisited

some great photos of today's nupital doings in massachusetts!


...and another first-person account

from eschaton.

how high the responsibility?

Seymour Hersh's indictment of the Pentagon and its handling of Abu Ghraib. This goes far higher and deeper than some "isolated incidents" concocted by a bunch of bored reservists.

from wilyone over at peoplesforum's BHoRC threads...

Friday, May 14, 2004

happy mothers' day! ?

incredible story and photos of a recent attack by orcas on a female gray whale and her calf in Monterrey Bay, California, on Mothers' Day, no less!

*spoiler alert*

the mother whale successfully fights off and outruns the big mean orcas...these are not yucky photos. just amazing photos.

a tool for time-wasting...

Pandaf Golf

not a bad little game...

what does this say about my blog? what does this say about the average search engine user?

damn, and i didn't even link to the berg beheading video!

last bunch of search engine hits for this site:

when biscuits go wrong tab joel veitch  
hippo girl guitar tab veitch  
"dana lee smith"  
hair salon's draft agenda  
Agence France Presse sea cows December 3 2003  
asperger's husband infidelity  
"neal pollack" eurotrash  
the shining reenacted by bunnies  
bought the wrong bananas tabs  
ruta maya 2004 sxsw schedule  
american civillian beheaded  
SuicideGirls and paul-feig  
"darling new neighbors"  
laugh about it now  
american civillian beheaded  
american civillian beheaded  
american civillian beheaded  

panda rathergood mango when biscuits go wrong biscuits  
beheaded american civillian  

Berg already dead when executed? i surely hope so.

from andante.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

sometimes it's the little things that can make or break a life.

$3 worth of pens. think about it. what's it worth to you? $3. a big mac combo. think about it.

of justification by faith and works


just a little god'll do ya...

okay, so i've sworn off religion, but i still think there might, just might, be somethin' to some of it. there ARE still people out there who i'd actually consider real honest-to-goodness christians, for instance. and it's surely nice to see that progressive christianity finally has a good home...check out FaithfulAmerica.org to see the teachings of jesus christ in action, rather than just in words.

this takes off, them pharisees won't know what hit 'em!

Study Says Bush used 27 different rationales for war in Iraq

count 'em yourself!

'course, one of my coworkers thinks it's just all a war against Islam. and is proud of what our administration is wrecaking.

i cry for my country.

some interestin' readin'.

With trembling fingers: "Iraq is an epic train wreck, and there's not a single American citizen who's going to walk away unscathed."

"Just Trust Us" part II

Don Emilo Fulci proves to be Terrorist Threat Worthy of Governmental Conniptions ...

...and then turns out to have been only a character in a video game.

a SCARY character!

but still, fictitious.

boy o boy, homeland security sure is in good hands!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

"you want the truth? you can't handle the truth!"

Mark Morford: Genital Torture For Dummies / Hey, it's a war -- what did you expect, flowers and bunnies and hopscotch in the Baghdad streets?

Sydney Hersh: Chain of Command: How the Department of Defense mishandled the disaster at Abu Ghraib.

interesting article. and very sad. whatever happened to "WE'RE the good guys"???

we're in the big-time now...

what was that you said? "bring it on?" sure thing!

In case you somehow hadn't heard...Al Qaeda Leader Beheads U.S. Civilian in Iraq -Web Site

"DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq (news - web sites) beheaded an American civilian and vowed more killings in revenge for the 'Satanic degradation' of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers, an Islamist Web site said on Tuesday."

and...andante on "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," and what it means for Us/Them.

Tilda Swinton to play the White Witch in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

also, "The film will begin shooting next month in Wellington, New Zealand at the same studios where most of the special effects for The Lord Of The Rings trilogy were shot."


civilian surveillance?

Boing Boing: Pixel-counting can un-redact government docs

A Luxembourgian/Irish security research team have presented a paper on a technique for identifying words that have been blacked out of documents, as when government docs are published with big strikethroughs over the bits that are sensitive to national security. The technique doesn't work on monospace fonts like Courier, but the State Department's recent font guidelines require that all docs be published in Times New Roman, which decodes like a charm.
hey found the number of pixels that had been blacked out in the sentence: "An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told an xxxxxxxx service at the same time that Bin Ladin was planning to exploit the operative's access to the U.S. to mount a terrorist strike." They then used a computer to determine the pixel length of words in the dictionary when written in the Arial font.
The program rejected all of the words that were not within three pixels of the length of the word that was probably under the blacked-out area in the document.

The software then reduced the number of possible words to just seven from 1,530 by using semantic guidelines, including the grammatical context. The researchers selected the word "Egyptian" from the seven possible words...

Also, from a more detailed description of what the company, Gemplus, performed to get this, check this link from Cryptome with a translated article from LeMonde and another from NYTimes: Cryptologists decipher a term censored in a CIA "memo" to George Bush. It also picks an ironic and embarrassing detail regarding one of our allies in the Coalition of the Willing...

Undoubtedly analysis of the CIA "memo" does not reveal the true "secret source," David Naccache recognizes. But the method systematizes research. In another "memo," it revealed that civilian helicopters militarized by the Iraqis had been bought in South Korea. And nothing prevents automated application of this technique with all declassified documents, in which it could reveal "isolated words, even groups of two or three words," in the opinion of the critics.

thanks to YoungFreud at peoplesforum for the links!

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Krugman: "Just Trust Us."

"To their credit, some supporters of the administration are speaking out. "This is about system failure," said Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina. But do Mr. Graham, John McCain and other appalled lawmakers understand their own role in that failure? By deferring to the administration at every step, by blocking every effort to make officials accountable, they set the nation up for this disaster. You can't prevent any serious inquiry into why George Bush led us to war to eliminate W.M.D. that didn't exist and to punish Saddam for imaginary ties to Al Qaeda, then express shock when Mr. Bush's administration fails to follow the rules on other matters.

Meanwhile, Abu Ghraib will remain in use, under its new commander: General Miller of Guantánamo. Donald Rumsfeld has "accepted responsibility" — an action that apparently does not mean paying any price at all. And Dick Cheney says, "Don Rumsfeld is the best secretary of defense the United States has ever had. . . . People should get off his case and let him do his job." In other words: Just trust us."

whoa! blogger's all weird!!

and, let's hope, improved.

at any rate,

sixth season for Angel at NBC?

Angel Sixth Season Is In Negotiation With NBC - From Buffy.nu - From NBC - 2004-05-11th

"From an inside source at NBC :

"It has come to our attention that there has been a vast public interest to see a return of this series. A forthcoming series is in negotiation, and NBC will go ahead with a sixth season if the public response is strong enough." ""

but then of course, an update,

"EDIT 2:00 PM
We think more and more that this news is a fake because NBC will announce his schedule May 17th and Angel staff/crew are no more available, we will try to investigate further. We are sorry in advance if we all have been fooled. "

not that i understand exactly what the edit is trying to say...but one can always hope, eh?

Monday, May 10, 2004

Red Cross reports "up to 90 percent of Iraqi detainees [at Abu Ghraib] were arrested by mistake."

so they were being tortured by American soldiers for no particular reason!?!?!

iraq: i'm so sorry. we suck, sometimes.

Friday, May 07, 2004

heeeere's johnny!

the shining in 30 seconds, reenacted by bunnies.

also? the exorcist, also with bunnies.

from jon.

friday five! on a friday, even!

this week's question from rob.

it’s a ‘time travel’ one.

if you could travel forward in time and meet yourself for a drink or a coffee somewhere, what are the five things you’d ask yourself about how your life turned out?

1. how's the ol' love-life doing? did it last? man, i hope so. and will do everything within my power to ensure that it lasts forever.

2. and the musical career? how'd that work out for ya? i ain't doin' so bad. i'm havin' fun. maybe someday i'll earn some money at it, to boot!

3. was it WORTH bidding on that pink no-name bass on ebay that one time? yes, this is what i've been thinking about all day, as i've got my eye on one. can't decide whether or not to bid on a fixer-upper. it's so PRETTY, though...

4. how are you handling fortune and fame? hey, i can dream, can't i?

5. do you still live in the US? did it all go to pot like you feared and then you had to move to scandanavia in order to continue life as a free woman, or did the bush regime get overthrown and everything go back to sane, boring normalness? yes, i'm scared. beginning to get REALLY scared. this country's starting to SUCK, and it will suck even worse if this downward spiral continues accelerating at its current rate...

other friday fivers listed over there to the right, like usual...

Tiny robot walker made from DNA

Scientists have created a microscopic walking robot using only the building blocks of life: DNA.

The tiny walker is only 10 nanometres long and has been described as a major step forward in nanotechnology.
A New York University team created the robot using DNA legs that move along a footpath, which is also based on DNA.
The legs move by detaching themselves from the footpath, moving along it and then reattaching themselves, New Scientist reports.
DNA is an ideal material to build the robot from, because DNA chains easily pair up.

from rob

another op-ed

Anthony Lewis: A President Beyond the Law

from the tail end of the piece:

"In all these matters, there is a pervasive attitude: that to follow the law is to be weak in the face of terrorism. But commitment to law is not a weakness. It has been the great strength of the United States from the beginning. Our leaders depart from that commitment at their peril, and ours, for a reason that Justice Louis D. Brandeis memorably expressed 75 years ago.

'Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher,' he wrote. 'For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself.'"

Krugman in the NYT on The Oil Crunch and The Future.

Those who expected big economic benefits from the war were, of course, utterly wrong about how things would go in Iraq. But the disastrous occupation is only part of the reason that oil is getting more expensive; the other, which will last even if we somehow find a way out of the quagmire, is the intensifying competition for a limited world oil supply.

the photo that launched 1,000 fanfics...

and i so apologize for this in advance, but...


for further discussion of men wearing skirts yet maintaining manliness vs. men wearing skirts and coming off awfully girly, see this discussion. WARNING: brad pitt hilarity abounds.

from the illustrious jenniferb, who, alas, has no link!

Thursday, May 06, 2004

by the way, sorry about the gap in posting. busy, busy, busy! for one thing, me an' my new band anything but prettier have a big show to get ready for (which is what the beautiful flyer a few posts down is all about). may 21. the vibe. 10 PM. be there.

but today my lawyer advised me that i'd better get blogging. he didn't mention an "or else," but i figured that was implicit in his demand.

i hope things like the bananaphone make him happy.

Salon.com News | Kerry pledges $30B to boost teacher pay

wow. wouldn't that be nice?!

Colton, California -- Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry pledged Thursday to channel $30 billion over 10 years to improve teacher pay as well as raise teaching standards, including bonuses of up to $5,000 for those who teach math and science or work in high-need schools.

there is a time for everything under the sun...

but now probably ain't the time for this one, y'see...

Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 4, 2004

Postponement of Release of “Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2003-2004”

The release of “Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2003-2004” scheduled for May 5, 2004 has been postponed for technical reasons that have held up completion of the report. We will announce a new date for the release of the report once it reaches the final stage of printing.


Released on May 4, 2004

yep. probably a good thing to hold off for a while.

from andante.

maybe it's time to stop digging? isn't the hole big enough?

bush finally apologizes today after EVEN MORE iraq prison abuse photos surface.

"This administration needs to undertake a total overhaul of its Iraq policy; otherwise, it is courting a total disaster for us all."

thomas friedman, calling for rumsfeld's resignation, among other drastic measures, in order to restore honor and authority to the United States.

would ya like a side of scape with that goat?

Rumsfeld Chastised by President for His Handling of Iraq Scandal (NYT article)

In his interviews on Wednesday with Arab television networks, Mr. Bush said that he learned the graphic details of the abuse case only when they were broadcast last Wednesday on the CBS program "60 Minutes II." It was then, one White House official said, that Mr. Bush also saw the photographs documenting the abuse. "When you see the pictures," the official said, "it takes on a proportion of gravity that would require a much more extreme response than the way it was being handled."

Another White House official said, "The president was not satisfied or happy about the way he was informed about the pictures, and he did talk to Secretary Rumsfeld about it."

and then of course, poor colin gets his digs in...

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who has often been at odds with Mr. Rumsfeld, went so far on Tuesday night as to talk about the prison abuse scandal in the context of the My Lai massacre of hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese men, women and children by American troops, a historical reference that was not in the White House talking points that sought to stem the damage from the scandal.

and of course, no responsibility lies with our mr. bush...

Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser, has told one Bush adviser that he believes that it will take a generation for the United States to live this scandal down in the Arab world, and that one of the dangers of basing a campaign on national security and foreign policy is that events can be beyond the president's control.

(not that i'm saying it DOES, it's just that wow. they really take EVERY possible opportunity to point out that NOPE NOT W'S FAULT, NOPE, NOT THIS TIME, NOT EVER!!! NO WAY, NO HOW!)

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


edit: hope that fixed it!

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Friday 5 goodness

adam's provided the Friday 5 question this week:

I was recently involved in an online discussion of Role Playing Games, and one participant began rhapsodizing about the latest Final Fantasy game for the Playstation 2. The rest of the participants in this discussion were old-school, pencil-and-paper gamers, and the sneer in response to that one guy's description of a video game as an RPG was similar to the reaction you'd get for bringing a bottle of "Night Train" to a wine tasting.

So here's what I want to know, my Sinful Little Monkeys: What are the Top 5 things you're snobbish about? What things make you curl your lip, look down your nose and say, "Really! We don't do that here!" 

1. bad grammar and spelling in a professional setting. when a coworker releases to the public documents or letters with simply hideous syntax and spelling, i feel like i'm gonna bust a nerve. just let someone copy edit that, PLEASE!!

2. stirrup pants. 'nuff said. also, jeans with tennis shoes. NOW I MUST ADD that the sneakers/jeans combo only riles me up when *I'M* wearing them. i don't notice on other people. usually. it's wearing SHORTS with tennis shoes at inappropriate times that REALLY gets on my nerves with other folk.

3. religious intolerance of any stripe. people who look down on others for their religious beliefs AND people who look at the heathens and believe they're going straight to hell, all of ya's, i think you're all just WRONG and, hell, TACKY. this sort of attitude simply reeks of bigotry, whichever direction the hatred flows.

4. crap genre novels. for me, this includes romance, "top-40" fiction (tom clancy, anyone?), all that trash. 'course, some might find my sci-fi/douglas adams/terry pratchett tastes to fall into this category, but they would be WRONG.

5. crap genre music. let's see, "new" country, pop hip-hop, "top-40" britney/cristina/justin/creed/nickelback crap, all that sorta stuff, it's just silly and pointless and soulless. one should be listening ONLY to quality music where the musicians are indeed saying something important with their lives/music/lyrics. and yes, anyone who has a problem with erasure IS SIMPLY WRONG.

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