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Thursday, June 29, 2006
What is going on out there?

So the Supreme Court ruled against the administration in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. Looks like those of us who said that they couldn't just toss out the Geneva Conventions when they found them inconvenient were right. Just like we were about the WMD. And the yellowcake. And the "mobile biological labs". And Saddam not being involved in 9/11.

But man, it seems like the entire right wing has just gone completely, utterly, totally around the bend today. To wit:

The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler (no link, he doesn't deserve the traffic) seems to have been the first to call for the assassination of the USSC.

Five activist tyrants in black robes have just decided that terrorists are entitled to protections under the Geneva Conventions in spite of said Conventions specifically saying that they aren't.
In other words: It doesn't matter what laws and conventions actually say, all that matters is what unelected fascists in black robes want them to say.
The Supreme Whores are in dire need of Intervention by Lynch Mob™.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, the American Caliphate Litigating Unit call the Supreme Whores' surrender to al-Qaeda a victory for the Rule of Law. Shariah law, maybe. The ACLU, proudly embracing everything that might aid terrorists in bringing about another 9/11. Hang them.

How nice. What is it with these fuckwits and their incessant harping on "unelected" judges? Don't they realize that (a) they have to be confirmed by elected representatives, and (b) they are a key part of the system set forth by the framers of the Constitution? To hear them talk, you'd think that an independent judiciary was invented by FDR or something.

I've been hearing people say that applying the Geneva Conventions to the detainees will result in the military adopting a "take no prisoners" approach on the battlefield. Well, that's not only barbaric beyond anything we've seen so far, but it's also a violation of the Geneva Conventions (and, coincidentally, a violation of the War Crimes Act).

Trent Lott joined the idiot brigades on Neil Cavuto's show, announcing that the decision was ridiculous and outrageous before admitting that, well, he hadn't actually read the whole thing yet. At least he didn't suggest killing anybody.

Also on Cavuto: Ann Coulter (and really, isn't just having her on your show at this point evidence that you've gone completely batshit crazy?) said that[Y]ou just expect Democrats to side with al Qaeda before admitting that, like Trent Lott, she hasn't read the decision yet. I mean, why bother? It's not like their comments are actually based on the content of the decision, anyway, so it's good that they're dropping the pretense.

Putting in a strong effort on the "just plain fascist" front is the whole Fox "News" crew:

On the June 29 broadcast of Fox News Radio's Brian & The Judge, co-host Brian Kilmeade, who also co-hosts Fox News' Fox & Friends, suggested that the U.S. government should "put up the Office of Censorship," in the wake of reports in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal detailing a Treasury Department program designed to monitor international financial transactions for terrorist activity. Similarly, during the June 29 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host E.D. Hill wondered if it would be appropriate for the U.S. government to create an "Office of Censorship."

But I think that today's winner on American Idiot has to be Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote in his dissent of Justice Stevens' unfamiliarity with the realities of warfare. John Paul Stevens served in the US Navy from 1942 to 1945, and was awarded a Bronze Star. Clarence Thomas has no military record.

I couldn't put it any better than Duncan Black did:In a just world, Thomas would resign in shame and spend the rest of his life tending to the needs of disabled Vets.
We don't live in a just world.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006
With talent on loan from Pfizer...?

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh was detained at Palm Beach International Airport for the possible possession of illegal prescription drugs Monday evening.

Limbaugh was returning on a flight from the Dominican Republic when customs officials found a Viagra prescription that did not bear his name. Instead, the bottle of pills had the names of two doctors on it according to the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office.

So says CBS4 News from West Palm Beach.

I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for this, and we'll hear it as soon as he's thought it up.

Monday, June 26, 2006
Rx: mrfl mrf 2x dallen freeble

So Washington state has now passed a law banning doctors from writing prescriptions in cursive. Guys, it's 2006. Why are they writing the blooming things by hand at all? I want my prescription emailed (securely) from the doctor's office to the pharmacy and waiting there for me to pick up.

It's working just as planned. Right?

I'm sure the Benevolent Bush Administration knew exactly what it was doing when they insisted that the government not be able to negotiate prices with drug manufacturers as part of the Medicare Part D boondoggle. Right? I mean, we do have "The CEO President", right? Harvard MBA? Must know what he's doing, eh?

Prices of the most widely used prescription drugs rose sharply in this year's first quarter, just as the new Medicare drug coverage program was going into effect, according to separate studies issued yesterday by two large consumer advocacy groups.

AARP, which represents older Americans, said prices charged by drug makers for brand-name pharmaceuticals jumped 3.9 percent, four times the general inflation rate during the first three months of this year and the largest quarterly price increase in six years.

Price increases for some of the most popular brand-name drugs were much steeper; the sleeping pill Ambien was up 13.3 percent, and the best-selling cholesterol drug, Lipitor, was up 4.7 to 6.5 percent, depending on dosage.

Over all, AARP said, higher prices mean that the cost of providing brand-name drugs to the typical older American, who takes four prescription medicines daily, rose by nearly $240 on average over the 12-month period that ended on March 31.

Bush delenda est.

Sunday, June 25, 2006
You can be a professional with Unix!
low-EMF UNIX hair dryers

Just the thing for drying your hair before putting on your tin foil hat! Korean manufacturer UNIX Electronics (and I'd love to know the story behind that name) now has a line of "low-EMF" hair dryers. I love the warning at the bottom of the page:

Effect of Electromagnetic Wave on the Human Body?
It causes Leukemia, Lymph Cancer, Brain Cancer, Central Nerve Cancer, Breat Cancer, Dementia, Abortion, Delivery a deformed baby. All the countries define the Electromagnetic Wave as environmental pollutionand report the damage occasions.

And yes, that's exactly as it appears in the original. And remember, You can be a professional with Unix!

Saturday, June 24, 2006
He hit the trifecta.

Insane, incompetent, and arrogant. That's our Rumsfeld.

When two investigators from the DoD's office of the Inspector General asked him to take an oath before testifying to them, he said "I find it strange". Why were they talking to him? Oh, just a little matter of nearly wasting $30 billion leasing new tanker aircraft from Boeing that the Pentagon's own experts said weren't needed.

And what did dear Rummy testify? Largely about how little attention he pays to procurement.

The issue is relevant because a series of reports, including others by the inspector general and by the Government Accountability Office, indicate that five years into the Bush administration, the department's system of buying new weapons is broken and dysfunctional.

DOD is simply not positioned to deliver high-quality products in a timely and cost-effective fashion, the comptroller general of the United States, David M. Walker, said in a little-noticed April 5 critique. The Pentagon, he said, has a long-standing track record of over-promising and un-delivering with virtual impunity.


Rumsfeld is a former business executive and White House official who published a set of Rumsfeld's Rules that include the injunction: Be precise – a lack of precision is dangerous. But when investigators asked him whether he had approved the Boeing tanker lease in May 2003 -- despite widespread violations of Pentagon and government-wide procurement rules along the way -- Rumsfeld said: I don't remember approving it. But I certainly don't remember not approving it, if you will.

The only rational conclusion is that a significant part of his job just isn't important to the Secretary.

Save the country. Impeach them all. Do it now.

Friday, June 23, 2006
You have six months until the next solstice....
Stonehenge watch

This is pretty cool. You position the watch using the handy built-in compass and then use the micro-Stonehenge to tell the time. And, just like the Druids, you can use it to tell the summer and winter solstices. $39.99 from ThinkGeek

Thursday, June 22, 2006
Useful lawn care tips:

NEVER use a weed whacker in the nude. You know, I'd never before thought that would be a necessary bit of advice. This is really funny, though, in a good Dave Barry sort of way.

Small, unmarked bills....

It's the Web 2.0 way to say "I have photos of you with various farm animals.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Can't afford a Ferrari?

Knit one.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006
It's 100 miles to Chicago....

Entertainment Weekly lists the top 10 movie car chases. I think they get it pretty right, but I'd swap #1 and #2 (though both are amazing). And I don't know how they left out Gumball Rally or The Italian Job (the original one). I'd certainly take those over Terminator or (gak) Charlie's Angels.

But hey, you can't complain too much about any list that includes Death Race 2000

Now, off to Netflix. Yeah, you. Go. You know you want to.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Ever wonder how to tell whether that jar in the back of the fridge has become a science fair project without actually (shudder) opening it?


Timestrips to the rescue! These gadgets use capillary action to draw a liquid across the scale at a known rate to provide a handy visual use-by indicator. There are professional versions of these used for tracking in commercial kitches, and Nestle is going to bring them out on one of their consumer products later this year.

Saturday, June 17, 2006
People who Just Don't Get It.

Today's entry: Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA). Rep. Westmoreland went on the Colbert Report. He's co-sponsoring a bill to have the Ten Commandments posted in the House and Senate. Colbert asked him to name the Ten Commandments. He got three. That didn't keep him from putting a photo of himself and Colbert on his web site.

Nothing to see here.

The Pentagon takes care of this Friday's Document Dump, releasing a report on "incidents" involving Iraqi prisoners and US special forces in 2003-2004. The "incidents" included feeding detainees only bread and water for 17 days, using "unapproved interrogation techniques" such as sleep deprivation and loud music, and stripping at least one prisoner. Nothing to worry about, though. These things were "wrong but not illegal" and "reflected inadequate resources and lack of oversight and proper guidance rather than deliberate abuse."

Maybe it's just me, but I thought that part of the whole idea behind how the military is organized is that there were people who are responsible for oversight.

Friday, June 16, 2006
Damn. There goes another boggle-o-meter

Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA) somehow is able to find food, despite being a strong contender for Stupidest Man Alive. In a debate with his Democratic opponent Joe Sestak, he said this about Iraq: I think the jury is still out on WMD. And he's the vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee!

And Republicans want us to trust them on national security? I'd sooner trust Wakko, Yakko, and Dot.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Saying Good Things about a Yankee

I'm a diehard Red Sox fan, but I have to give props to some individual Yankees from time to time. Bernie Williams, for instance. I watched him play in AA when the Yanks' farm team was in Albany, and I've always thought he was a class act. And Jorge Posada.

Posada's son has Craniosynostosis, which is a condition where the seams between the bones that make up the skull fuse prematurely. He's had several operations for the condition. Posada has established a foundation to help other families with children suffering from that condition, and he's written a children's book (available in English and Spanish) with all proceeds going to the foundation.

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars for spotting this.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006
More cool video...

Again, thanks to old buddy Steve for finding these classic Mike Jittlov stop-motion animation shorts on YouTube: The Wizard of Speed and Time, Time Tripper, and Swing Shift. They may not look like much in this age of CGI, but around 1980 they were the shiznit.

Monday, June 12, 2006
Spin your name!
spinny fan

This is cool. The fan has two "sticks" of LEDs that you can program to display messages as the fan spins. I like it.

Sunday, June 11, 2006
What can you do with a street sign?

How about making it blend in with the surroundings?

No, really. Lots of cool street art here.

So, you still don't believe me?

cool sign
They just lie.

Especially when it's about Bill Clinton. This time it's Rush Limbaugh claiming that Clinton's approval ratings were "down in the 20s" at one point and that he had "parallel poll results" to Bush in his second term.

The reality? Clinton's low was 36%, and was above 58% the entire year of 1998, which corresponds to this year in Bush's Presidency

Why do they lie? Might as well ask why a fish swims, or a frog hops. They just do, even when there's no reason to. And when they do have a reason to, like this, they get some real whoppers in.

Hat tip to MediaMatters, always a worthwhile read.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I love science geek cartoons.

Pavlov's squid
Friday, June 09, 2006
I want this floor.
puzzle floor

I've put down a couple of floating laminate wood floors in our house, and they're pretty nice. But boring. This, on the other hand, is really cool. They make up and send you a floor that goes together like a jigsaw puzzle. If your room is moderately large, they'll even laser engrave an image of your choosing onto the pieces for free.

At $15/square foot, though, cool doesn't come cheaply.

Thursday, June 08, 2006
Things I Just. Don't. Understand.

The Congressional Black Caucus is standing behind Rep William Jefferson (D-LA). Look, they have him on videotape taking bribes. He's crooked as a dog's hind leg. Get him out of there. Guys, you're not helping him by doing this, you're only hurting your own credibility.

Things I Just. Don't. Understand.

The Congressional Black Caucus is standing behind Rep William Jefferson (D-LA). Look, they have him on videotape taking bribes. He's crooked as a dog's hind leg. Get him out of there. Guys, you're not helping him by doing this, you're only hurting your own credibility.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Zarqawi, RIP

And make no mistake. Getting him out of the way is a good thing. He was a really nasty character, and while I'd rather see him on trial than on a slab, either is preferable to continuing to run his terror operation.

That said, I think it's very likely that his importance to al Qaeda has been consistently exaggerated by the Bush administration and that his removal will have a much lower-than-expected effect on the insurgency as a whole. Remember, Zarqawi was not an Iraqi. At best, he was like a mob capo brought in from another city to run part of an operation.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Kill the Messenger

That's a terrific song by John Wesley Harding, and it also seems to be one of the primary stocks in trade of right wing pundits. This time, it's Tony Blankley, editorial page editor for the Washington Times talking about Haditha:

The point it that this is going to be used, and is already being used by the opponents of the president, domestically and abroad, as a blood libel not just against these young -- these young men but against the military service and against the country. I've always been on one show -- I've already been on one show this week where they were tarring the entire honor of the American men in uniform -- of women in uniform. It's going to be -- Pat's correct -- it's going to be a propaganda catastrophe for the Unites States. And the over-reporting of it by a gleeful media is more damaging to the country than any other single fact.

No, Tony, the commission of the crime is more damaging to the country than any other single fact. And it would be nice if all these people who claim to be worried about America's image in the world would work on getting the policymakers to stop doing things that hurt America's image instead of trying to keep the reporting of it under wraps and/or pretending that the reporters are the ones doing the damage.

And, of course, these things never appear in just one place. Noted drug fiend Rush Limbaugh chimes in:

This Haditha story, this Haditha incident, whatever, this is it folks, this is the final big push on behalf of the Democratic Party, the American left, and the Drive-By Media to destroy our effort to win the war in Iraq. That's what Haditha represents -- and they are going about it gleefully. They are ecstatic about it... Folks, let me just put it in graphic terms. It is going to be a gang rape. There is going to be a gang rape by the Democratic Party, the American left and the Drive-By Media, to finally take us out in the war against Iraq. Make no bones about it.

No outrage about the killing of innocent people, no. Just about the reporting of the killing. Disgusting.

Catholics (Jews, Muslims) need not apply.

Here's a bit of good news. A federal judge ruled yesterday that Charles Colson's Prison Fellowship Ministries and the state of Iowa violated the Constitution by setting up a government-funded program to rehabilitate prison inmates by immersing them in Christianity.

Expect the usual howling about how they're being repressed from the evangelicals, but the facts are that the program was not only heavily Christian, but heavily slanted to Colson's flavor of evangelical Protestantism. The program was full of denigration of Catholicism, including asking Catholic participants not to read from their version of the Bible, to be wary of pronouncements of church officials such as bishops, cardinals, popes, and even included a Spiritual checklist of groups to be wary of. Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, Unitarianism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, New Age, Buddhism, Bahaism and Native American faiths all made the roster.

This may not be what Bush really means when he talks about faith-based initiatives, but it's what the people who support him on the religious right mean. And there's no place in America for the government to be supporting this kind of program.

Tip o'the chapeau to No More Mister Nice Blog.

Let's Mess With Texas

Really, don't they deserve it? Not all of them, I guess, but certainly the idiots at the Texas GOP convention.

Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell offered a greeting to delegates to the Republican convention. "It's great to be back in the holy land," the Fort Worth native said to the cheers of the party faithful....

The party platform, adopted Saturday, declares "America is a Christian nation" and affirms that "God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom."

"We pledge to exert our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and dispel the myth of the separation of church and state," it says.

And this isn't some random college professor that nobody had ever heard of. It's the platform of the Republican Party in one of our largest states.

Monday, June 05, 2006
Well, that's going to win lots of hearts and minds.

If somebody had told you in 1998 that within ten years the US would be seriously considering dropping a significant section of the Geneva Conventions from the Army field manual, you'd probably have said they were crazy. One of the things I hate about this Administration is how often you end up sounding like a tinfoil-hat crazy just talking about what they're doing.

The particular section is Common Article 3, which applies to all detainees – not just POWs – and forbids "humiliating and degrading treatment".

I can't believe these people. Even if you take the most positive view and say "we wouldn't treat people like that", there are now a lot of people in the world who have seen the Abu Ghraib photos and certainly do believe we would treat people like that, and omitting this section from the field manual is going to convince them that Abu Ghraib is a model for future operations, not an aberration.

Saturday, June 03, 2006
It must be music day.

From the 80s to now. The SxSW festival, like last year, is making lots of music from bands performing at the festival available online. No matter what your taste, there's probably some stuff there you'll like. I'm just starting to wade through it myself.

Aaaaah! It's the 80s!

There seems to be a sudden surge in interest in cultural artifacts (how's that for putting it diplomatically) from the 80s. I find this both extremely entertaining and horrifying.

Starting with the downright weird: a good friend of mine from college found this, and gave it to a mutual friend who posted it. Found at YouTube. The Dog Police were contestants in one of the MTV Basement Tapes competitions. I don't think they won, but they should have.

Now that you're warmed up....links to a couple of hundred 80s videos.

The Good

The Bad

The Weird

And that just got through the D's. Lots of good and goo here. Don't miss this one - Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, White Lines. Directed by Spike Lee and starring a very young Lawrence Fishburne.

I also stumbled across this oddity recently, with more 80s videos and somewhat snarky commentary.

Friday, June 02, 2006
Friday Random Ten
  1. The Sad Tale of the Farmer's Wife, by Annabouboula (Greek Fire)
  2. Kopykat, by Primm (SxSW 2005 Showcase)
  3. 135, by Two Cow Garage (SxSW 2005 Showcase)
  4. Take the Long Way, by Po Girl (SxSW 2005 Showcase)
  5. Dealin' With the Deal, by The Swiftys (SxSW 2005 Showcase)
  6. Gina, by Tribal Nation (SxSW 2005 Showcase)
  7. Day-O Tripper, by Really Interesting Audio Adventures (Sounds for the Sun-Set)
  8. Genius of Love, by Tom Tom Club (Tom Tom Club)
  9. Nothing to You, by Two Gallants (SxSW 2005 Showcase)
  10. I Decide, by What Made Milwaukee Famous (SxSW 2005 Showcase)
Thursday, June 01, 2006
I, for one, welcome our alien cephalopod overlords.

It's clearly something in the collective unconscious. Why else would there be so many pulp magazine covers featuring octopuses (or octopoid aliens)?

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