It's no Transformers (ugh!) but it's certainly Bay-esque:
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Now I've stated since the very beginning of this blog that I'm pro-gun ownership but there are so many crazy wingnuts out there that blanket gun ownership rights, as legal and valid as I find them, still just scare the ever-loving shit out of me. Max Blumenthal went to a gun show in California and emerged with the following report and subsequent video:
This auction was conducted in Northern California; these people are my (relative) neighbors. The fact that they believe the garbage being spouted by Beck and others is just one more reason to keep at least one eye and ear trained on them:
Fueled by the screeds of radio hosts Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, and the lesser-known but increasingly influential online conspiracist Alex Jones, many gun-show attendees I spoke to were convinced Obama planned to usher in a Marxist dictatorship. They warned that the president’s power grab would only begin with mass gun seizures. “If Obama takes away our guns,” a young, .45 pistol-toting man from Reno told me, “it’s just a step into trying to take away everything else.”
Indeed, in their minds, average Americans opposed to the Obama agenda would be herded into FEMA-run concentration camps by a volunteer army of glassy-eyed liberal college graduates. “When they start imprisoning Americans, and people start seeing that we’re the enemy, then that’ll make it hot,” predicted one Antioch-based young man sporting a button for former Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul. “People talk about a revolution,” the young man continued, “an armed revolution. I think police crackdowns on individuals will tip the scales.”
More than a few gun dealers and attendees echoed the young man’s seeming enthusiasm for armed revolt. One Contra Costa, California-based gun dealer named Rich predicted during an otherwise casual off-camera conversation that “some nut” would assassinate Obama within one year of any Democratic attempt at gun-control legislation. While the prospect of organized right-wing violence against the federal government seems far-fetched at this point, the paranoid rhetoric I documented suggests the militia movement that organized against President Bill Clinton’s policies during the 1990s could experience a dramatic resurgence by mobilizing resentment against Obama.
So I was reading an anthropological article the other day about moral relativism and female genital mutilation and it got me thinking, not so much about either of those topics but rather the titular one: male genital mutilation, or more commonly circumcision. Full disclosure (and probably much more than most readers here require): I myself am circumcised. I (thankfully) have no recollection of the procedure and am (also thankfully) quite happy with the results.
In the course of researching this topic prior to writing this post I have found out that there are any number of pretty nutty religious and/or cultural beliefs that are regularly carried out in this regard with very little logical and scientific backing, i. e. dipping the amputated foreskin in brandy and eating it, going to the trouble to bury the discarded flesh, etc. The facts that the practice does reduce the chances of general infection and the spread of HIV are also not largely in question by any major, sufficiently educated, industrialized society.
I guess my main problem with this practice (as I said, I am very happy with my own equipment and for those who are not regular readers, you'll find that I'm quite obviously neither Jewish nor Muslim) is that I was not given the choice. I know, I know, I'm happy with the results so why should I be upset, right? And I'm not, really. I hold no ill will towards either of my parents for making this decision for me but there is just some part of me that hates having decisions made on my behalf and without my consent, even if I do eventually approve of the outcome. Perhaps I have some control issues (I do).
I guess the reason I'm bringing the topic up is this: I don't have any children (that I know of, *wink*wink*) but if I did I would seriously weigh whether to go ahead with circumcising my son yet I'm fairly certain that I would eventually choose to go the circumcision route, for most of the reasons that I've detailed above. My main stumbling block? What if he's later upset with me for making this fairly unnecessary decision to amputate a piece of his body well before he's able to choose for himself if he wants the procedure to be done?
I mean, if I were upset that I had been circumcised as an infant I wouldn't buy any bullshit "Well, my god told me to do it" answer from my parents, much less the more truthful "Well, I like my cock that way so I just figured that you would too" one that I'd be obliged to provide. For all those reading who aren't guys, what your junk looks like and how it is shaped is a fairly big deal for us. Who am I to make that decision for my theoretical boy without his input? Maybe I'm wrong to hold this opinion but I believe that children are denied several rights that they deserve in American society (and to a greater extent, around the world), this being just one of them.
So I guess my question to the guys reading these words is best stated thusly: what are your views on this subject? Am I wrong to worry about making this decision for my perhaps future son? Do the practical aspects and cultural mores outweigh the individual rights concerning this procedure? Should my own religious beliefs (or lack thereof) be given a special measure of significance? And more personally, are you either upset or glad or neither that the decision was or wasn't made for you by your parents, for whatever reasons? As I've already said, I pretty much know how I'll decide this issue (absent any feedback from my equally theoretical wife, of course) but other perspectives and viewpoints from readers are, as always, welcome. Please expound at any length (no pun intended) in the comments section.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the comic book character Wolverine, as well as to promote his upcoming origins flick, Marvel is issuing a number of titles with variations done in the style of some of the world's greatest artists.
The painting above is by Jason Chan in the style of Belgian surrealist René Magritte. Others include Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Edvard Munch and Roy Lichtenstein. Modern takes on a classic comic character, using even more classic artistic styles. That's culture, bub.
Thriller was the first album I ever bought as a kid (yeah, it was on cassette tape) so I've always had an affinity for the King of Pop's music and performances. His bizarre personal life and pedophiliac tendencies however, not so much:
All I want is his hat from the Smooth Criminal video. That's all.
Did you know that if you rearrange the letters in George Soros' name it spells out "Satan's Groin"? It's true (it's totally not true):
Professor P. Z. Myers correctly sums up why the Republican party is currently floundering:
Don Larsen, a Springville delegate, offered the resolution, titled "Resolution opposing the Hate America anti-Christian Open Borders cabal," warning delegates that an "invisible government" comprised of left-wing foundations was pumping money into the Democratic Party to push for looser immigration laws and anti-family legislation.
Larsen said Democrats get most of the votes cast by illegal immigrants and people in dysfunctional families.
But it's not the Democrats who are behind this strategy, Larsen said. It's the devil.
"Satan's ultimate goal is to destroy the family," Larsen said, "and these people are playing a leading part in it."
Larsen's resolution contained quotes from the New Testament on the battle between good and evil. The copy of the resolution handed to delegates stated it "fulfills scriptural prophecies about our times."
I am impressed that they Utah GOP actually managed to reject the resolution … but it was for entirely pragmatic reasons. They said it would cost them Latino votes if they openly professed that Satan was shipping immigrants to America. They didn't say that that was crazy or wrong, just that it might hurt their image with Latinos.Of course the Democrats have the same problem when it comes to the problems of enforcing our Southern border and they appear just as self-serving and craven as a result, but thankfully not nearly as shit house crazy.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Republican Senator Arlen Specter announced today that he's switching his political affiliation to that of the Democratic party, bringing them to within one vote of the filibuster-proof 60 they'll need to counter Republican obstructionism in that body. The latest word is that future-Senator Al Franken is still several months of court battles away from providing the crucial 60th vote however.
Predictably, in typical vengeful right-wing fashion Specter's former party has cut him loose with nary a positive word, just for voting his conscience and trying to faithfully represent his constituency. And the party of Reagan becomes even more narrow-minded and moves ever rightward. Prepare for the ubiquitous round of right-wing "good riddance's" in 3, 2, 1...go.
"I realize that postage stamps are not issued, these days, with the same serious intent as when they featured George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and so on. But really--the Simpsons? This stamp series will be issued on May 7...
I'm probably one of the last people in America who has never seen an episode of The Simpsons. I've heard it's a funny show. But is this really the sort of achievement that we should use postage stamps to commemorate?" -John Hinderaker, Powerline.com
How to announce to the entire world that you're an out of touch, humorless, right-wing douche: trash talk one of the funniest, smartest, longest-running shows on television, and then admit that you've never even watched it. This is why right-wing attempts at comedy die such quick and spectacular deaths...
Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a big Kevin Smith fan, from the time that I first saw his self-financed, indie flick Clerks at my college's Memorial Student Center film series to laughing my ass off at the so incredibly over the top, inside joke laden Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. He's the original independent director that made it big in Hollywood and yet still never lost his call a spade a spade, everyman qualities.
Now many of you may not remember, or have probably never even heard, that he was attached to a Superman vehicle a while back. In this video he talks about the long and arduous journey he took through Hollywood executive groupthink hell to finally not remake Superman in the late-nineties. If you watch this make sure you watch it all the way to the end, you won't be disappointed. And if this is all true (I have no reason to believe that it isn't) I'm really glad that I do not work in that town:
I find it deeply disturbing that the people who are chiefly in charge of bringing some of the greatest comic book characters who have ever existed to life on the big screen are so woefully ignorant of even the most basic details and qualities of said characters. "Wait, who's Kal-El?" Jesus...
Monday, April 27, 2009
As much as I love Hugh Hefner's Girls Next Door I regret that I did not have this picture on hand at the time to post for International Pillow Fight Day. If I was a millionaire I would totally make this happen. Many times.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I know the posts have been a bit sparse lately but it couldn't be helped. I've been busy with too many non-virtual things to list here and yes, spending time at the bar with friends has been prevalent amongst them. The posting will pick up again soon, I promise.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Bakon Vodka is a superior quality potato vodka with a savory bacon flavor. It’s clean, crisp, and delicious. This is the only vodka you’ll ever want to use to make a Bloody Mary, and it's a complementary element of both sweet and savory drinks.Breakfasts, sandwiches, mayonnaise (which I absolutely abhor) is all fine with me but when you apply this particular meat fetish to martinis you've completely crossed the line with me. No question, pal.
Bakon Vodka is also a great Bar-B-Q companion. Use it in a marinade or sip it chilled with a steak. Check out our recipes section for more ideas.
Friday, April 24, 2009
These look pretty tasty but I'd wager that they'll make your wallet fairly greasy:
We start with 100% beef jerky, and SEAR your contact information into it with a 150 WATT CO2 LASER.Does anything get much more kick-ass than meat and lasers? No, nothing.
Screw die-cutting. Forget about foil, popups, or UV spot lamination. THESE business cards have two ingredients:
MEAT AND LASERS.
Unlike other business cards, MEAT CARDS will retain value after the econopocalypse. Hoard and barter your calorie-rich, life-sustaining cards.
"What's truly revealing about the torture people is that we can list dozens of historical examples of how torture was prosecuted by American officials -- be it following World War II or the Spanish-American war and so forth -- literally dozens of factual definitions that waterboarding and other techniques are torture and how they're basically ineffective. Facts and details torn from history books and official government documents.
Yet their counterargument is torn from a fictional TV series. And so 24 is supposed to trump facts and history." -Bob Cesca, Bob Cesca's Awesome Blog! Go!
Making goddamn sense about American interrogation policy...
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I can't believe this has been out for ten years and I'm just now hearing about it:
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. The following speech, revealed in 1999, was prepared by Nixon's then speechwriter, William Safire, to be used in the event of a disaster that would maroon the astronauts on the moon:This makes me suspect that they must have had some method for ending their lives on board the lunar lander. I would guess suicide pills or some other kind of poison; a gun would be impractical in space. Chilling.
Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.
These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.
They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.
In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.
In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.
Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man's search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.
For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.
I assume that they were going with some kind of 2001: A Space Odyssey thing here but it just comes off as being really, really awkwardly gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that:
"Put your toasty torpedo in me, Scott. Do it sexy..."
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Today is Earth Day, so please try to refrain from dumping that used motor oil into the gutter or hunting too many humpback whales for the officially designated 24 hour period. Hey, we all have to do our part.
President Obama apparently made quite an impression on some Turks:
The Turks loooove Obama so much, they've gone and made an Obama celebration video, with 3-D font and hot dancing chicks and everything. Or maybe they're just hoping to make everyone forget about that totally WTF blackface reporter fiasco from a week ago. “Welcome to Presidency” should be Obama's new slogan.This is all kinds of terrible awesome:
This would be like having your own little computerized butler prepare you for your day while you shave:
The SmartFaucet from iHouse has adjustable flow, an internal heating coil to provide hot water faster, and LEDs that change color based on temperature. That’s all very nice. But it also has a little camera with face recognition software that will automatically adjust the water to the exact temperature and pressure that you like. And, the integrated touchscreen displays weather information, your personal calendar, and you can even somehow use it to check email.As I grow older it's becoming more and more likely that fully-integrated, computerized households may not be widely available within my lifetime, or at least within the time that I'll still be young and tech-savvy enough to make very good use of them. It would be quite the irony if all these cool, futuristic technologies I've been watching and reading about my entire life only come to pass when I'm a drooling old fossil with very little capacity or will to learn anything new. I'll be yelling at the smart-alecky toaster and boring kids with stories about the analog faucets we used when I was boy. Wow, that's bleak. I'm gonna have a Bloody Mary.
I know it’s cool, but I mean, seriously, email? On a touchscreen on a water faucet? Overkill. What isn’t overkill is iHouse’s cell phone controlled bathtub, which will prepare the perfect bath for you with a single phone call. Brilliant.
All of this stuff is, of course, expensive enough that I can’t tell you how expensive it is.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Ronald McDonald meets Point Break, frozen in time. This Philips TV commercial is way cool and just as beautiful:
[Update: A drunk and high after-observation: it's like a genuine Rockwell nightmare, frozen in both time and all three dimensions.]
From Oliver Willis:
In National Review, Jonah Goldberg writes that liberals were laughing at the teabagging protesters because their signs were crude and unprofessional and after all conservatives don’t have time for that sort of thing.
Well I should note two things about that.
1) We’re laughing at you because you guys hold up signs calling Obama a fascist and a non-citizen.
2) Conservative organizations like the Young America’s Foundation were, in fact, handing out professionally made signage:
A certain percentage of this effort was indeed "grassroots" but a certain percentage of it also was not, and admitting that would be a good start towards being taken more seriously as a political movement.
That wascally savior:
On Good Friday (OLD, LATE, BLOW ME GW!) Jesus revealed himself in the form of a half-eaten Kit Kat bar. Because, well, the son of God hates Twix. As you can see in those deliciously crispy layers, the Lord's face looks eerily similar to that on the shroud of Turin (Sunday school, son, TA-DOW!). However, the divine bar is not without it's hell-burning naysayers.I'm convinced. I mean, what are the odds that this is just a coincidence of light and nougat, right? Darth Vader, my ass.Other witnesses were less impressed. "It looks more like Darth Vader," said one.
I was watching the original Terminator movie last night and I had a question about the production (I can't recall it now) but it led to my looking the movie up on Wikipedia. That's where I found this previously unknown piece of trivia:
Cameron originally envisioned the Terminator as a small, unremarkable man, giving it the ability to blend in more easily. As a result, his first choice for the part was Lance Henriksen. O. J. Simpson was on the shortlist but Cameron did not think that "such a nice guy could be a ruthless killer".Yeah, that's right: O. J. Kind of puts that next decade in perspective, huh?
Monday, April 20, 2009
As an outspoken advocate of the medicinal and recreational benefits of cannabis I have to admit that today completely slipped by me until a friend made me aware of it but to be honest I've never really been big on the whole "420" culture and everything that goes along with it. I think that it's incredibly juvenile while trivializing and undermining the entire legalization effort. Having said that, happy 420 everyone! Smoke it if you've got it.
[Update: Watch tonight's episode of Family Guy. Brian eventually sells out but it speaks the truth about this country's ludicrous drug war.]
[Update II: My good buddy BD sent me this link from a related story on NPR which fictionally visualizes the country a few years after cannabis legalization. A few thoughts:
1. Just as with alcohol, I think that 21 is too old. 18 year olds can drive cars, vote, sign contracts, be tried as adults and die in wars. Let's be fair.
2. Willie Nelson and other people of a certain status in this country may not "worry about going to jail anymore for smoking it" but with 860,000 arrests every year many other Americans still do.
3. If you're spending more time doing anything other than going to class or work, that's most likely a problem.
4. Emergency room admissions are not tracked by the individual drugs involved. In other words if someone drinks a twelve pack of beers, snorts an 8-ball of cocaine, shoots up veins full of heroine and smokes a bit of cannabis before visiting the hospital the medical records read "MARIJUANA" and the government dutifully records it amongst their statistics.
5. I would hire any lawyer named "Goldstein". Just saying.]
One can only hope that this Christmas picture was taken ironically but judging from the apparent effort put forth it's most likely a sincere reflection of these people and their everyday lives. Which also makes it extraordinarily scary. They let these people vote, you know...
This comparison seems to explain my inherent aversion to this narcissistic application:
… at the risk of unilaterally offending 14 million people, I need to say this: If Twitter were a person, it would be an emotionally unstable person. It would be that person we avoid at parties and whose calls we don’t pick up. It would be the person whose willingness to confide in us at first seems intriguing and flattering but eventually makes us feel kind of gross because the friendship is unearned and the confidence is unjustified. The human incarnation of Twitter, in other words, is the person we all feel sorry for, the person we suspect might be a bit mentally ill, the tragic oversharer.I suppose that this will come off as a bit harsh but I absolutely can not stand people like this. They have zero capacity for viewing the world in any way that does not impact or apply directly to themselves; they are emotional leeches. I realize that many people have problems well out of their control that lead to this kind of restricted perspective but I just can not get past their oblivious self-centeredness.
It's hard for me to imagine having such a high opinion of yourself that you would expect other people to closely follow a rapid-burst narrative on the banalities of your day. We all wait in line at Starbucks, it's not an activity that needs to be called attention to or communicated to others. This is why I don't Twitter, and also why I mock the twits who do.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Is anyone surprised by this one?:
Al Capone's jail cell, Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia. High-level gangsters retained amazing power even inside maximum-security penitentiaries. Visiting Frank Costello in prison in the 1950s, lawyer Edward Bennett Williams mentioned that he'd been unable to get tickets to My Fair Lady that evening. "Mr. Williams," the Luciano boss upbraided him, "You should have told me. Maybe I could have helped." Williams thought no more about it and returned to his hotel, where shortly there was a knock at the door. A broad-shouldered man handed Williams four tickets to that evening's performance and silently walked away.Whenever I watch the movie Goodfellas I always want to go to prison to live the high life...Then I watch the movie American Me and I totally reverse myself..
I have to say that I think these are a really good idea:
The Rotterdam Zoo is giving away cardboard glasses that make it appear that you're looking off to one side; these are gorilla-viewing glasses, meant to avoid incidents in which gorillas attack visitors for making eye contact with them. The glasses' introduction follows an attack on a woman by an escaped gorilla; the specs are sponsored by a local health-insurance company."You lookin' at me? You lookin' at me?! I don't see any other gorillas around here so you must be lookin' at me!" Of course those on the political right will just accuse the zoo officials of appeasing the gorilla terrorists but what can you do?
Saturday, April 18, 2009
This anti-gay marriage ad by the Illinois Family Institute really outdoes the National Organization for Marriage ad currently being discussed across the political blogosphere. Oh my god, acceptance?! Who do these fucking queers think they are?:
I love the line about gays always having to be the best dressed in television portrayals (Really? Shocker!) rather than being the most likely candidates for suicide. I wonder where each of those incredibly unrealistic stereotypes arise. Go Christians! Oppress those gays, cause they deserve it! Dirty sinners...
[Update: The Colbert Coalition's anti-gay marriage ad trumps any parody of the NOM ad I've yet seen:
This video of Ryan Leech performing various beautiful stunts on his bike put me in the mind of a parkour video that I posted over a year ago on this site. First, the bike:
Now, the parkour flashback:
Pretty sweet shit on both counts, huh?
Friday, April 17, 2009
From The Swash Zone:
Our current national debt is currently $11 trillion dollars. Deficit spending by three, successive Republican administrations accounts for $9 trillion of the total … a whopping 82%. Yet, Republicans want to pin their transgressions on Democrats, and specifically the Obama administration, in an attempt to derail important legislation designed to fix our economy.As I've said before, this tea party "movement" has no intellectually honest objectives or goals beyond giving pissed off conservatives a public forum made up of like-minded people for venting their anger and frustration over losing the last two elections. These people don't represent America but rather a howling minority that seems intent on vilifying the Obama administration's every word and deed for the next 4-8 years. I'd like to think that this group will eventually run out of steam at some point but hate mixed with ignorance can be a potent fuel.
Now this is how you tea bag, baby:
[Update: The Daily Show's John Oliver uncovers the awful truth that the Obama administration is apparently worse than the oppressive British government we rebelled against after our first tea party (the actual grassroots one) and he's not happy about it:
"The fact that some parts of the Declaration and/or Constitution are not in conflict with verses in the Bible does not mean that the Bible was the source. This is especially important when -- as in the case of the Declaration and the Constitution -- the authors claim other sources, but do not claim the Bible as a source!
In a May 8, 1825 letter to Henry Lee, Jefferson identifies his sources for the Declaration's principles. He names as sources: Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, and (Algernon) Sidney -- he does not mention the Bible. Then again, the terminology in the Declaration is not specifically Christian -- or even biblical, with the exception of "Creator." The term "providence" is never used of God in the Bible, nor are "nature's God" or "Supreme Judge of the world" ever used in the Bible.
In the hundreds of pages comprising Madison's notes on the constitutional convention (and those of the others who kept notes), there is no mention of biblical passages/verses in the debates/discussions on the various parts and principles of the Constitution. They mention Rome, Sparta, German confederacies, Montesquieu, and a number of other sources -- but no Scripture verses.
In The Federalist Papers, there is no mention of biblical sources for any of the Constitution's principles, either -- one would think they could squeeze them in among the 85 essays if they were, indeed, the sources; especially since the audience was common men who were familiar with, and had respect for, the Bible. The word "God" is used twice -- and one of those is a reference to the pagan gods of ancient Greece. "Almighty" is used twice and "providence" three times -- but neither is ever used in connection with any constitutional principle or influence. The Bible is not mentioned." -Dr. Gregg Frazer, Positive Liberty
I expect this information to have zero effect on those who scream endlessly about our having been founded as a "Christian nation" but it's still good to know.
Many tea baggers are extremely upset about our current economic situation but it remains unclear what exactly they're upset about. From Bob Cesca:
The one lady struggling in earnest to make sense of how spending ended the Great Depression is just too priceless. You can almost see the gears in her head grinding and sputtering as she attempted to grasp the historical reality.
I agree with the views of many of these people that we need more responsible governance by our leaders, I just question their motives and timing after the last eight years of Republican government largess. Am I wrong here?
I've just arrived home for the night (yes, I wrote this post last night; I hate to shatter the illusion that I get up early every day to write this stuff but it's true) so I haven't had time to sufficiently sift through the memos about torture authorized by the Bush administration that were released by President Barack Obama yesterday so I'll just cut and paste what I consider some relevant initial thoughts.
This comment by Kevin Drum (via Andrew Sullivan) says much of what I assume that I will have to say about these documents at a later date:
Reading the OLC torture memos is enough to make you ill. The techniques in question are plainly and instinctively abhorrent by any common sense definition, and the authors of the memos obviously know it. But somehow they have to conclude otherwise, so they write page after mind-numbing page of sterile legal language designed to justify authorizing it anyway. It's not torture if the victim survives it intact. It's not against the law if it takes place outside the United States. Waterboarding is OK as long as it isn't performed more than twice in a 24-hour period. Sleep deprivation of shackled prisoners for seven days at a time is permissible as long as the victim's diaper is changed frequently. And on and on and on.Yes, this is torture, committed by our own government in the eve of the 21st century. This is what we tried Nazi soldiers who "were just following orders" for at Nuremberg, it's why we to this day vilify the vile acts of the Khmer Rouge and it's why we were justified (if not the reason initially given, of course) for invading Iraq and subsequently executing Saddam Hussein. And to let these inhumane acts be committed against other human beings and go unanswered by our own government would be an act of judicial cowardice for this proud country.
Do they know this is torture? Of course they do.
As an aside, here is the reaction of my neoconservative counterpart Donald Douglas to the release of these documents detailing the extra-legal acts of our government:
I must admit, though, having "insects placed in a confinement box" with a remorseless terrorist jihadi killer is absolutely inhumane. God, that's worse the [sic] waterboarding - the horrors!People like this seem so sure of other's guilt and their own righteousness, don't they? And a few quotes of the day by, again, Andrew Sullivan (is it any wonder why I love reading this man's blog?):
"You would like to place Zubaydah in a cramped confinement box with an insect. You have informed us that he appears to have a fear of insects. In particular, you would like to tell Zubaydah that you intend to place a stinging insect into the box with him," - Jay Bybee, judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.Now perhaps Zubaydah well deserved this sort of treatment but without at least a cursory administrative trial, how are we to know? Of course to people like Douglas, just saying that, "Well, he's been incarcerated as a terrorist so naturally he deserves whatever is done to him" is a satisfactory answer but I'm of the opinion that the United States of America should have standards that are a bit more stringent than those of black-or-white world-view simpletons. I promise to follow up with more on this as I have time.
"‘The worst thing in the world,’ said O’Brien, ‘varies from individual to individual. It may be burial alive, or death by fire, or by drowning, or by impalement, or fifty other deaths. There are cases where it is some quite trivial thing, not even fatal,’" - George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty Four.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
"The mayor will have to hash this out with public health officials. It's the mayor's job to weed out bad legislation. And to be blunt, this sounds pretty bad." -Nathan Ballard, spokesperson for Mayor Gavin Newsom's office on a proposal that would make San Francisco the first city in the nation to sell and distribute medical marijuana.
I managed a medical cannabis dispensary in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood for a while a few years back. The city's government was one of the most responsive and open-minded I dealt with during my time working in that rarefied field.
I favor a scorched-earth policy myself but at least keep it neat, ladies:
I also find it interesting that as uptight as the British are portrayed when it comes to all things sexual they consistently allow ads like this one to air, whereas many Americans would be going apeshit over something like this appearing on our televisions because "the children" could see it.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
This thing is just creepy as hell:
Aquarium staff have unearthed a 'giant sea' worm that was attacking coral reef and prize fish.Barry?
The 4ft long monster, named Barry, had launched a sustained attack on the reef in a display tank at Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium over recent months...
After staking out the display for several weeks, the last resort was to completely dismantle it, rock by rock.
Halfway through the process the predator was revealed as a four-foot polychaete worm.
The tropical worm is capable of inflicting permanent numbness on humans with its sting.
...we laid traps but they got ripped apart in the night. 'That worm must have obliterated the traps. The bait was full of hooks which he must have just digested.'
A short video on the complexities of our current tax system put out by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank:
I'm personally against both a fair tax and a flat tax system because I believe that they both unfairly shift the tax burden onto the poorer elements of society. A progressive system like the one we currently use can work, we just need to get rid of most of the redundant regulations and loopholes that have swelled the tax code of late.
Remember also that one of the reasons our current system is so complicated is because of corporate entities and their endless attempts to work around legislation intended to make them pay their fair share. How can the average American be expected to do his or her part while watching the nation's largest businesses callously incorporating through a Cayman Islands PO box to avoid doing their's? I'm all for reforming the tax codes but it needs to start with the largest earners first before we work our way down the income ladder.
I stayed up pretty late last night finishing my "I hate taxes but I love raping puppies!" sign to hold up when I insidiously infiltrate my local conservative tea bagging party/protest. That's the plan we all decided on in our super-secret liberal meeting, right? Well, that's what every right-wing blog has led me to conspiratorially believe so I'm rolling with it.
Seriously, I give this whole silly "grassroots movement" a few days to die down once it's finished and then these wingnuts are going to be right back where they started: powerless, pissed off, out of touch with most of America and wholly bereft of ideas. Meanwhile, is Obama still killing pirates? Yeah? Sweet, dude.
A simple little website with a marketing tie-in to the latest flick in the series that lets you add terminator battle damage to your own face (I added the former Mr. Olympia body and post-apocalyptic nightmare background myself). I'll be back...blogging...after I eat breakfast. Hasta la vista, baby.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
"If you are planning simultaneous tea bagging all throughout the country, you're going to need a Dick Armey."-David Shuster
If nothing else of usefulness or interest comes out of all this talk of the Republican tea parties tomorrow at least we were able to enjoy weeks of genitalia-related jokes and puns by pretty much every newscaster under the sun:
I'm still fairly incredulous that the grassroots (yeah, right) organizers of these events have been so ignorant of the cultural reference everyone else has been laughing about. I told you pop culture matters.
[Update: Here's an early taste of the Tea Party Mob:
You can learn the truth about Obama's birth certificate here. On a side note, how many of these wingnuts do you think know that John McCain was born in Panama? It's true.]
I wonder if Bonzo ever had to go before the HUAC:
Ronald Reagan's acting career hit a lull in the late 1940s. Despite parts in minor films such as The Voice of the Turtle and That Hagen Girl, he became increasingly preoccupied with his more important role during Hollywood's "Red Scare" as head of the Screen Actors Guild. It was revealed last week that the future President played another role as well: as a secret FBI informant, code name T-10. According to an article published in the San Jose Mercury News, documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act indicate that Reagan and his first wife, Actress Jane Wyman, provided federal agents with the names of actors they believed were Communist sympathizers.Now I realize that this was a different time for America and I'm not attempting to vilify Reagan's entire political career with this information but it's certainly nothing to be proud of. Don't expect this dose of reality to change the views of any Reagan-fetishists out there either.
(Time via Boing Boing)
Monday, April 13, 2009
This pilot performing at an air show loses a wing and amazingly is able to pull off a perfect landing. Sully doesn't have anything on this guy:
[Update: It has been brought to my attention that this is a digitally manipulated viral video, and I become just a bit more cynical. Is nothing cool on the Internets real?]
An extremely well-worded if a bit too long treatise on what it means to be open-minded:
While I'm told on a consistent basis that I have an accent (Australia, and not coincidentally, frequently New Zealand; who knew that I'm a Kiwi?) I suspect that I would be taken a lot more seriously if I had an English accent. Just saying.
Welcome to all TYWKIWDBI readers. I love Minnesotastan's site and am very happy to be amongst his newly formed blogroll (for the uninformed, he's a 2008 weblog awards finalist). Please feel free to have a look around Brain Rage, and thanks Stan.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
This is as sad as it is chilling:
A 44-year-old Florida woman went with her 20-year-old son to a shooting range. While he was firing, she took her revolver, aimed directly and intentionally at the back of his head, and killed him. She then placed the gun in her mouth and killed herself.I'm looking for the blood-thirsty Muslim who's obviously responsible for this fanatical religious honor killing but I'm having a bit of trouble identifying him. Am I missing something here or what?
That this was no accident is evident from the recordings and written suicide notes she left behind:"I don't want anybody following me. I don't want anyone going to hell. I want everyone to go into heaven. I want everyone to turn to God, and stick with God."Sad, scary, and disturbing.
"God made me a queen and I failed. I'm a fallen angel. He turned me into the anti-Christ."
"I have to die and go to Hell so there can be a thousand years of peace on Earth."
"I couldn't kill myself and leave Mitchell behind. I had to send my son to heaven and myself to Hell."
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Professor PZ Myers over at Pharyngula puts up a great post which features columnist Christopher Hitchens playing a seemingly loaded game of religious "What if?" with an evangelical radio show host named Todd Friel whom Hitch spiritually and intellectually pwns the hell out of.
Part 2 (the audio ends halfway through this clip):
This exemplifies everything I love about Hitchens: he displays a razor sharp intellect combined with an unapologetic disdain for hacks like Friel and the religious premises he tries to force on others. I don't mind admitting that I would be intimidated as hell if I ever had to debate this man in public.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Honestly, I’ve had a crush on Bob Ross ever since I was a little girl. It was something in the way he stroked the canvas and talked in that ever soothing voice about happy little trees and clouds. He mesmerized me in every way he could. Now he’s gone, and it becomes harder and harder to find his shows on TV. Even PBS seems to turn its back to the man who invented hotel room painting.I used to watch this guy all the time as a kid. He painted beautiful landscapes with a minimum of effort and his voice was indeed more soothing than watching the Golf Channel; you can watch his old shows here.
But we are in the internet age now and love everything retro. To my surprise and disbelief I found a Bob Ross channel on Yubby.com dedicated to Bob Ross and filled with all sorts of his happy little videos. Finally there is bliss in my life again. Even more important: I found a great video collection to fall asleep to!
Show your disapproval for the Obama administration's supposed incredibly irresponsible spending over the last three months (and most definitely not for the Bush administration's well-documented incredibly irresponsible spending over the last eight goddamn years) by showing up on a random street corner in your town with a bunch of other conservative hypocrites this April 15th for a good old-fashioned American teabagging party (I hear tell that Thomas Jefferson's balls were extra vinegary).
Our forefathers teabagged the British to protest taxation without representation while these modern protests are against the obviously equal sin of returning the 36% tax rate for the richest Americans to the Clinton era rate of *shudder* 39%. The right-wing outrage is understandably virulent:
[Update: Andrew Sullivan adds this observation:
...I guess I should be happy at this phenomenon. And I would be if it had any intellectual honesty, any positive proposals, and any recognizable point. What it looks like to me is some kind of amorphous, generalized rage on the part of those who were used to running the country and now don't feel part of the culture at all. But the only word for that is: tantrum.The saddest thing is that on April 16th these people are going to find themselves in the exact same spot they're in now, with no new ideas and no competent leadership. And the trek through the political wilderness continues...]
These are not tea-parties. They are tea-tantrums. And the adolescent, unserious hysteria is a function not of a movement regrouping and refinding itself. It's a function of a movement's intellectual collapse and a party's fast-accelerating nervous breakdown.
[Update II: Here's a taste of the tea party rhetoric we can look forward to on April 15th (skip to 2:00 for the good crazy):
"Burn the books!" Jesus...]
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Per my post from yesterday in which I predicted that "Texas is a long ways away from establishing marriage equality for its gay citizens" comes this map from The Scroll Blog using data from statistician Nate Silver predicting when states will vote down bans on gay marriage. By "long ways away" I was thinking longer than a decade (more like as long as it takes everyone over fifty in the state to die) but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Jeremy Barker at Popped Culture has compiled 101 satirical versions of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, covering everything from the Justice League to the Folsom Street Fair to the Church of Scientology.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
"There is a rising tide of pink fascism in this country, and it comes as a result of the election of Barack Hussein Obama. Obama has signaled that during his reign it will be acceptable to impose gay marriage on the people of the United States. He's being very cleverly used as a tool of the gay puppet masters. He is personally masculine, has a beautiful family and was used by the gay mafia to convince real American families that they should support him.
And now that Obama the Trojan horse has been taken inside the gates, so to speak, the contagion from within his administration is spreading throughout the country. One state at a time seems to be falling. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, California is teetering on the brink. Will Texas be next? Will Obama say that in order to make up for the oppression caused by slavery that the Deep South will now have to accept gay marriage under duress? Is this a sexual reconstruction of the entire country? Don't ask, because Obama won't tell," - Michael Savage, WorldNet Daily
Two things: 1) I'm predicting right now that Texas is a long ways away from establishing marriage equality for its gay citizens, and 2) yes, that's a real, undoctored photo of the guy decrying gay marriage rights wearing a white suit and hat whilst holding a fluffy little dog in San Francisco. Nosce te ipsum.
Jon Stewart breaks down the right's recent "government tyranny" paranoia much better and much funnier than I've ever been able to (but in my defence, I have no writing staff):
That was close at the end there. He almost let the black cat out of the bag...
Made almost a quarter of a century ago and one of the defining movies of my generation, but what have the actors been up to lately? Short answer: many of them just got old and fat. Longer answer: check the link.