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« December 2005 | Main | February 2006 »

January 30, 2006

It comes down to whatever they feel like at the time

Paul O'Brien:

The 198, nominally, are the total number of confirmed mutant survivors worldwide. Thematically, it's meant to be a symbolic number adopted by the survivors. In reality, it's somewhat compromised by the incoherent way Marvel have gone about this aspect of the plot. On the one hand we've got people saying the number of mutants has been cut from hundreds of thousands, or even millions, down to 198. On the other hand we've got other books saying that it's 90% of mutants. You can't have it both ways. And really, how hard is it to write a two-paragraph memo, e-mail it to everyone, and make sure everyone's on the same page?

This sort of thing really annoys me, because it's not just trivial continuity where discrepancies are understandable. It's the frigging premise of the entire direction of the line. Details are important in fantasy universes because it's the details that create verisimilitude and make these worlds believable. That's at the heart of virtually every successful fantasy world. You've got to get this stuff right, and it baffles me that Marvel can't even seem to work out a coherent line on their central concepts, let alone their foreground details.


By fnord12 | January 30, 2006, 1:49 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



Like quoting Axl Rose for tips on keeping the band together.

Firedoglake:

"The bloggers and online donors represent an important resource for the party, but they are not representative of the majority you need to win elections," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "The trick will be to harness their energy and their money without looking like you are a captive of the activist left."
I'm going to let James field this one (from the comments):
If your name is accompanied by the words "Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign," then you deserve a warm glass of shut-the-hell-up.

It's like quoting Axl Rose for tips on keeping the band together.


By fnord12 | January 30, 2006, 10:42 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 27, 2006

More Proof That Evolution Doesn't Exist

Door-to-door tattoos, anyone?


By min | January 27, 2006, 1:57 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



Feedback Loop

"hi, fnord, how are you?"
"pretty good, how are you doing?"
"oh, i'm alright, how about yourself?"
"pretty good!"

...don't talk to me.


By fnord12 | January 27, 2006, 11:51 AM | My stupid life | Comments (5) | Link



Despite All the Beans...

...vegans are still emitting out less carbons than you meat-eaters.

An average burger man (that is, not the outsize variety) emits the equivalent of 1.5 tonnes more CO2 every year than the standard vegan.

And don't think switching to a hybrid gets you off the hook either.

By comparison, were you to trade in your conventional gas-guzzler for a state of the art Prius hybrid, your CO2 savings would amount to little more than one tonne per year.

By min | January 27, 2006, 8:43 AM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (1) | Link



January 26, 2006

We really want you to hate us.

Went to look up some tablature, clicked on the link and got this:

This tab or lyric has been removed over possible copyright infringement. We are currently looking into methods to display this tab or lyric that abide by copyright laws. Click here to learn more about the situation and voice your opinion.

The link leads to a forum full of angry musicians, and a link to this BBC article:.

The US Music Publishers' Association (MPA), which represents sheet music companies, will launch its first campaign against such sites in 2006.

MPA president Lauren Keiser said he wanted site owners to be jailed.

He said unlicensed guitar tabs and song scores were widely available on the internet but were "completely illegal".

Mr Keiser said he did not just want to shut websites and impose fines, saying if authorities can "throw in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective".

Mr. Lauren Keiser goes on to whine about the Xerox machine as well, and says he's doing it for the poor struggling artists, who get .00000001% of the sale of any sheet music, if it even exists.

Why is our system set up to protect these archaic industries?


By fnord12 | January 26, 2006, 8:51 AM | Liberal Outrage & Music | Comments (3) | Link



January 25, 2006

Chomsky's back

Haven't heard from him in a while, but he's got an article on Counterpunch. Warning: It's Chomsky, so it's long.


By fnord12 | January 25, 2006, 1:04 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



Letter to John Kerry

From Simbaud, King of Zembla


By fnord12 | January 25, 2006, 1:02 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



We are your rulers and you will bow to Our will

The end of unalienable rights.


By fnord12 | January 25, 2006, 1:01 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Bush's New Wiretapping Defense Untrue

Who would have guessed? Read this analysis of the Administration's latest excuse for breaking the law.

So, in June, 2002, the Administration refused to support elimination of the very barrier ("probable cause") which Gen. Hayden claimed yesterday necessitated the circumvention of FISA. In doing so, the Administration identified two independent reasons for opposing this amendment. One reason was that the Justice Department was not aware of any problems which the Administration was having in getting the warrants it needed under FISA.

[snip]

The second concern the Administration expressed with DeWine's amendment was that it was quite possibly unconstitutional...

Eventually, they'll just have to come out and say, "Look, we are your rulers and you will bow to our will" because these excuses are pretty lame.


By min | January 25, 2006, 12:02 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Marvel Comics December Sales analysis

I love these things by Paul O'Brien, which makes me the worst sort of geek.

On Hudlin's Black Panther, for example:

Once you take the crossovers out of account, it's clear that this book is still in decline and shows no signs of levelling out. To put it politely, there is little sign of Marvel's faith in Reginald Hudlin being reciprocated by the audience. The book has managed to blow almost 60% of its starting readership already, and that's not exactly promising.

By fnord12 | January 25, 2006, 11:35 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



Dynasty

min has brought this up, but i've never seen anyone on the internet say it before. Doesn't the politician pool already look like an exclusive rich people's club without having to alternate between two specific families?

(Of course, since we don't like the politics of either of 'em, so it's easy for us to talk.)


By fnord12 | January 25, 2006, 11:11 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 24, 2006

Top Ten Mistakes of the Bush Administration in Reacting to Al-Qaeda

Juan Cole.


By fnord12 | January 24, 2006, 5:14 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 23, 2006

A Special Friendship

Michael Moore's response to the Chris Matthews "Osama bin Laden sounds like Michael Moore" comment.


By fnord12 | January 23, 2006, 4:56 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 20, 2006

And Still the Democrats Manage to Flounder

Given all this help from the Bush camp, it's amazing to see that the Democrats stll can't seem to turn things to their advantage. But, really, who can blame them for freezing in the face of such formidable Mickey Mouse lawyering:

On the crucial issue of whether the president was required to have a FISA court approval, Gonzales said Thursday that the 1978 law created an exception for electronic surveillance "authorized by statute."

[snip]

But Turley [a George Washington University law professor --min] said that an "authorized-by-statute" exception simply meant that Congress had the authority to pass another law modifying FISA. It has not.

Turley noted that a case cited as precedent in the Justice Department paper involved the right of elementary and middle schools to search for drugs and other paraphernalia without permission.

"That is hardly a case on which to base national security policy," he said.

[emphasis mine]

Ofc, as we all know, law school does not teach you about laws. It teaches you about making shit up to suit your fancy.


By min | January 20, 2006, 1:52 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Another Reason to Switch to Google

We originally started using Google to search the web because it's free of ads, unlike Yahoo. Now it seems that Google's the only one willing to protect our privacy while the other companies are tripping over themselves to give it away.

Yahoo has admitted that it granted the US Government access to its search engine's databases this summer, as a battle develops over the right to privacy in cyberspace.

Google, by contrast, promised last night to fight vigorously the Bush Administration's demand to know what millions of people have been looking up on the internet.

UPDATE:  Might be time to invest in some stock.


By min | January 20, 2006, 1:31 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 19, 2006

Science Stuffs


Image: Franco Vairani/MIT Deparment of Architecture

MIT engineers and architects came up with a design for a stackable car for use in cities. The idea is that at major train and bus stations, these cars will be stacked much like shopping carts are stacked at the supermarket. Anyone needing a car can just walk up and take one to get them to their destination. When you're done, i guess you just return it to one of the stacking locations. Again to reference supermarkets, much like the "Return Carts Here" corrals. GM is slated to build the first prototype. And why not? Their company is sinking under the weight of their SUV line. Why not try a different tactic? Pure genius. Who woulda thunk it?

Now that they've come up with an idea to cut down on pollution in the cities, an investigation shows that cutting air pollution may actually cause global temperatures to increase.

Higher levels of aerosols lead to the formation of brighter clouds made up of smaller water droplets, which reflect still more of the sun's warming radiation. Cutting down on aerosols by improving air quality means that the Earth will in future be less shielded against the sun's rays.

Future climate disasters will not be so much of a concern to people who can't dance as they will be less likely to find a mate and reproduce anyway. Unless they are the type to be afraid of dying and opt for genetic manipulation to slow down their aging. In that case, they'll likely be around when the earth becomes a giant ocean. Didn't you people watch Resident Evil? Don't you remember what happened when their scientists figured out a way to slow down the aging process? Hey, i've got a great idea! Let's not worry about curing cancer or AIDS or anything. Instead, we can make zombies! Yay!


By min | January 19, 2006, 1:15 PM | Science | Comments (0) | Link



*Snort!*

Wah ha ha ha!


By fnord12 | January 19, 2006, 12:40 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 18, 2006

Re-Runs

Dean Baker:

The latest news about Iran should be very scary to anyone old enough to remember the 2002 elections. Those who lived in that distant time will remember a president slumping in the polls in the wake of a sinking economy and an accounting scandal that centered on his Texas buddies at Enron. Recognizing the seriousness of the situation, President Bush's team began raising the warning about Saddam Hussein and his WMDs. The Democratic leadership, showing the combination of courage and foresight that has made them legendary, supported Bush's drive to war. The argument was that if they just voted for the war resolution, they could then turn public debate to domestic issues. Three and a half years later, we're still waiting.

By fnord12 | January 18, 2006, 4:08 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



If it's not true, it should be

Sexual healin'


By fnord12 | January 18, 2006, 2:07 PM | Science | Comments (0) | Link



Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey

A vampire is running for governor of Minnesota:

Honesty is very seldom heard nowadays, especially from a politician. So, I am going to break from political tradition. My name is Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey, Ph.D., L.D.D.D. I am a Satanic Dark Priest, Sanguinarian Vampyre and a Hecate Witch. My Magikal Path name is: Lord Ares.

I despise and hate the Christian God the Father. He is my enemy.

Here's a news article:

"The common misconception is that (vampires) are 100 percent evil, that they do not have any caring in them -- that they kind of, like, prowl in the night seeking their meals, and that's not true," Sharkey explained.

Voters have nothing to fear from him, he says -- only bad guys such as murders, rapists and terrorists, whom he promises to personally execute on the State Capitol lawn.

"I think after the first impaling, it will send a message to terrorists not to attack my people," Sharkey said.


By fnord12 | January 18, 2006, 1:29 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link



January 17, 2006

Inheritance

If you haven't yet, go check out Mike's Mixed Meteor site. He's put up one of his classic songs, Inheritance, featuring some great King Crimson-inspired drums and some nice keyboards that alternate between manic fusion and creepy psychedelia.


By fnord12 | January 17, 2006, 1:15 PM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



January 16, 2006

Making stuff up

Reginald Hudlin is the current writer for the Black Panther. Marvel got him as part of their effort to recruit writers from other ("legitimate"?) mediums. While this has given us Joss Whedon's X-Men and J. Michael Straczynskicynskicy's Spider-Man, it's also given us Ron Zimmerman's Punisher. Interestingly enough, Whedon had previously done Buffy and Straczynskicynskicy did Babylon-5, both critically acclaimed shows of interest to comic book readers. Zimmerman... was a writer for the Howard Stern show. And Hudlin brought us House Party, which was apparently the high point of his career, according to AllMovie Guide:

Hudlin's third film, the Samuel L. Jackson comedy-satire The Great White Hype, may have drawn only mediocre reviews, but it still managed to score better than his next effort, the abysmal Saturday Night Live character feature The Ladies Man, which immediately tanked at the box office. His 2002 comedy Serving Sara didn't fare much better...

So anyway, now this genius is writing Black Panther, previously one of the best books Marvel was publishing. Under Christopher Priest, it was funny, had complex, involved plots, and made much use of Marvel's rich history. Under Hudlin... not so much. There are huge continuity issues, including a complete re-writing of the Black Panther's origin with no explanation, and total out of the blue changes to other characters as well (for example, Radioactive Man, one of the few Chinese characters in the Marvel Universe, and a current member of the Thunderbolts, is now Russian with a totally new backstory). His explanation?

The answer is what you said earlier. I"m making it up. Basically, that's what this gig is. Making up stuff.

I've been reading comics longer than all of you. I remember when there wasn't a Superboy. Then there was. Then there wasn't. Now there kind of is. The Kents were dead, now they're alive. Iron Man used to have been injured in Viet Nam.

All that cool stuff in BATMAN: YEAR ONE? Wasn't in Bob Kane's original story. The basic beats are the same, but it's different.

Priest made stuff up. Most people here liked what he made up. I"m making stuff up too. If you don't like it, that's okay, but don't get freaked out that I'm making up stuff, 'cause that's the job.

Note that the majority of his examples are pre-Crisis DC.

Continuity is important in any type of sequential story telling. Imagine if, in the beginning of Return of the Jedi, Han Solo was walking around with no explanation, and Chewbacca was suddenly a jawa. But continuity is what makes comic books, especially Marvel comics, unique. The current trend of throwing out continuity whenever it doesn't suit a "star" writer's needs threatens that. At the very least, it threatens my interest in it, as well as the interest of a lot of other 30 year old geeks. And we're basically their audience at this point, whether they like it or not. At $3+ a book, kids are better off with video games.


By fnord12 | January 16, 2006, 4:57 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link



Bad Marvel Movie Night

Why the hell wasn't Nick Fury: Agent of Shield part of our Bad Marvel Movie night?


By min | January 16, 2006, 12:20 PM | Comics & Movies | Comments (6) | Link



January 15, 2006

1/13/06

Children on the streets. They looked pretty neglected. And hungry. They were supposed to belong to that couple who recently moved into town. Clearly the kids are just a cover to make them appear "normal". The couple isn't human. They are posing as realtors. Showing a house to people. At the same time, it's the house they're living in. Undercover as her assistant. The kids are used for their energy which she needs to survive. I don't know how I defeated them. I think i would pretend to put the kids in the house but didn't actually. So she lost power. All I know is suddenly, the house is mine. And all these people are over sitting at the round kitchen table. We all live here now. Renovated the house. Knocked down a wall to make the entryway and hallway to the kitchen more open. There's something i forgot from the old place. I'll be right back. Sounds of fighting as soon as i close the front door. I peek in the window. One of my friends has turned into something - a demon or something. I rush back in and start attacking him/it. Kick to the gut. Knock him down. Fall on him using my elbow to jab him in the stomach. I've seen that in wrassling. More pummeling. I think i won. The demon stops possessing my friend. I look over to another friend still sitting at the table. Behind her is another her, except this one is ghoulish. She turns around and freaks out. That will be her when she's dead.


By min | January 15, 2006, 1:42 PM | My Dreams | Comments (2) | Link



FeTO

I think the consensus on this is "Ew."


By min | January 15, 2006, 12:47 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



January 13, 2006

The Broken Triangle

Go read in full:

The NSA scandal and the Alito confirmation hearings are just two more examples of the left's broken triangle and of the isolation of the progressive netroots. A flurry of activity among bloggers, online activists, and advocacy groups is met with ponderously inept strategizing by the Democratic leadership and relentless -- and insidious -- repetition by the media of pro-GOP narratives and soundbites.

By fnord12 | January 13, 2006, 4:32 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Stirring Up Trouble

The woman moderator, who said she was from Maryland, wanted very much to talk about immigrants. The participants already had discussed any issues they were concerned about, except the war in Iraq. There would be no talk about Iraq, the woman said. But up to that point, no one had mentioned immigration, much to the annoyance of the moderator. So she prodded the group to complain about immigrants.

"I haven't heard anybody talk about immigration," Peoples, an independent, recalls her saying. "Anybody have a problem with the illegal aliens coming in?"

The group's response to the question was "a deafening silence," Peoples says. But the woman pushed harder, listing some of the complaints she said she had heard in other states where she had conducted focus groups. Still, no one obliged her. Instead, Peoples mentioned the immigrant workers in a nearby town, praising them for how hard they seem to work.

Not the correct answer. Someone was paying money for this. They wanted problems.

"She shut me off," Peoples recalls. "Then she said, 'Aren't you having problems here?' "

Link.


By fnord12 | January 13, 2006, 3:32 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



It won't be easy.

Looks like there are some major continuity problems surrounding Spider-Woman in recent Alias, Avengers, Elektra, and Spider-Woman comics. The sad part is, all the stories were written by the same writer.


By fnord12 | January 13, 2006, 1:24 PM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link



And Now, The Dog and Pony Show

I have two problems with the hearings for Supreme Court nominees. Three if you count the fact that the nominee doesn't have to actually answer any questions and they give just about everybody who makes it as far as the hearings to get a pass. But why beat that dead horse again?

1) Why is it that abortion is the only major issue they bring up? Constantly. It's all talk about Roe vs. Wade. Granted, it's important. And it's the hot button issue the evangelicals used to convince the Catholics to join forces (this despite the fact that Catholics are against the death penalty and evangelicals love nothing more than a good execution, with or without due process). But, really, it's not the only case that's going to come before the Supreme Court. We need to know the nominee's opinions on race, separation of church and state, socio-economic issues, corporate power versus an individual's rights. We need them to explain any dubious actions they've made in the past or court rulings or opinions that are questionable or exhibit a pattern of thinking that may be undesirable in a Supreme Court Justice. In light of recent discoveries, the Senate Judiciary Committee ought to have questioned Alito very carefully about his opinions on presidential power, not to mention Alito's membership in CAP. Roe vs. Wade should be a part of that, but it shouldn't be the one and only thing on which we base his suitability. Ofc, this nominee's non-answer to every question posed to him pretty much negates the hearing in general. In a society that claims to be so democratic and fair and free, how is it possible that a member of an organization against allowing minorities and women into a college is even a viable candidate for the Supreme Court?

2) Why does every new Justice have to be the same as the one who just left? Society is ever changing. The Supreme Court needs to change and adapt, as well. The new candidate is always compared to the one they're replacing as if they're not just filling an open position, but are actually being casted for a role that's already been written. It's extremely annoying. And it's only the democrats who are playing by these rules. The neo-cons are constantly trying to push the Court further right. In their attempt to appease everyone and maintain the status quo, the democrats are actually allowing the center to inch further and further right. Just look at the make-up of the court now. Clarence Thomas. Antonin Scalia. John Roberts. O'Connor was supposed to be the center, the tie-breaker, and if her venomous hate of the democrats is anything to go by, she's no centrist. You can't even hope that when one of the "liberal" Justices retires, they have the courtesy to do it when there's a democratic administration. Knowing the democrats, they'd just muck it up anyhow and nominate some neo-con in democrats clothing which the Right will fuss about but take since it works to their advantage. At this rate, the status quo will be kept so well, segragation will be legal again.


By min | January 13, 2006, 9:46 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



I Gots Me the Sugar Diabetes

Hey, everybody! It's Diabetes Week at the New York Times! Yay!!!!!

All week the front page has had some article about this diabetes thing and how it's becoming an epidemic in NY. They talk about it like it's some new disease that's suddenly attacking the city. It's really odd. Diabetes has been around for a long time and it's been a big problem for a long time. It's just getting worse. Mebbe it's like their refusal to recognize global warming. The geniuses at the NYT don't know something's going on until it's reached astronomical proportions.

It's not Diabetes Month, either. I checked. That's in November. So i don't know what the deal is. They even ran an article about how the health care system doesn't care much about prevention since the money is in the treatment. I couldn't believe it. Isn't the NYT supposed to keep stuff like that quiet? They're not going to make their pharmaceutical friends very happy. I suppose we should be glad of this brief moment of lucidity at the NYT. Or, we can be completely cynical and figure they're doing anything they can to distract people and take up space that ought to go to discussing Alito's dubious judicial background and his stint as a proud member of CAP.

Also, Wei, fyi:

Asians, especially those from Far Eastern nations like China, Korea and Japan, are acutely susceptible to Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease and the subject of this series. They develop it at far lower weights than people of other races, studies show; at any weight, they are 60 percent more likely to get the disease than whites.

By min | January 13, 2006, 8:38 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 12, 2006

Almost done ripping off the King of Zembla...

My bunch of posts today were all from his blog.

Various sources are reporting that Mrs. Samuel Alito broke into tears today because cruel Senate Democrats refused to believe her husband's risible claims of amnesia regarding his membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton.

The Mrs. may buy his absent-minded professor act, but then she was thick enough to marry a member of a group that opposed the admission of women to Princeton. And even if she fell for his protestations of innocence, the nominee himself must have known that the details of his long, sordid history of racism and sexism would come to light during the hearings. If Samuel Alito possessed the merest shred of decency -- much less chivalry -- he would withdraw his name from consideration immediately, to spare his poor, naive, morbidly sensitive wife the prospect of further embarrassment.

Don't you agree?


By fnord12 | January 12, 2006, 9:18 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Athiests are the second largest religious group in America

At 14%, after 79% for Christians, and 5% for "non-Christians". That's not the point of the
article, of course.


By fnord12 | January 12, 2006, 9:18 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (5) | Link



Oooh a really long article about the politics of small town America.

If this doesn't excite my imaginary audience, nothing will.
I guess this is the key passage:

So we will either see that Americans, religious or not, get educated equally so they won't be suckered by political and religious hucksters. If not, then we must accept that uneducated people interpret politics in an uninformed and emotional manner, and accept the consequences. America can no longer withstand the political naivete of this ignored white class.

And if you haven't read this yet, it's a good follow-up:



As far as I could tell, the problem wasn't the word "issue"; it was a fundamental lack of understanding of what constituted the broad category of the "political." The undecideds I spoke to didn't seem to have any intuitive grasp of what kinds of grievances qualify as political grievances. Often, once I would engage undecided voters, they would list concerns, such as the rising cost of health care; but when I would tell them that Kerry had a plan to lower health-care premiums, they would respond in disbelief - not in disbelief that he had a plan, but that the cost of health care was a political issue. It was as if you were telling them that Kerry was promising to extend summer into December.


By fnord12 | January 12, 2006, 9:17 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



In case Jim Kunstler's predictions weren't bad enough

http://informeddissent.org/2006/01/water-water-everywhere.html

Alarmed by an accelerating loss of ice in the Arctic Ocean, scientists are striving to understand why the speedup is happening and what it means for humankind.

If present trends continue, as seems likely, the sea surrounding the North Pole will be completely free of ice in the summertime within the lifetime of a child born today. The loss could point the way to radical changes in the Earth's climate and weather systems. . . .


By fnord12 | January 12, 2006, 9:16 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 11, 2006

The old "Canada has two MRIs" thing

Canada may not have the best healthcare system in the world but it is one of the fairest and their citizens are happier with theirs than we are with ours. The best thing about it is that the people in charge of it are the government, not private corporations, so if people are unhappy with it they can actually do something about it by holding their politicians accountable. 15 or so years ago, Canada did have a lack of MRI machines, and they fixed it:

Canada had a total of 147 MRI scanners in January 2003 compared to 30 in 1993, an increase of nearly 400%.
...
The 2001 Statistics Canada Health Services Access Survey found that about half of Canadians aged 15 and older who reported receiving a non-emergency CT, MRI, or angiography waited three weeks or less. Most (55%) waited less than a month.
...
One of the most common arguments presented against the adoption of a single payer system in the United States is that there are unacceptable queues or delays for services in any universal, government funded program. Perhaps the most frequent example given is the unacceptable delays in diagnostic imaging in Canada due to the fact that they do not have enough CT or MRI scanners to meet their needs. This report reveals that, in the past decade, great progress has been made by Canada in addressing this problem.
...
Canada's access to imaging is not bad and is improving dramatically. Contrast that to imaging in the United States. We have the capacity, but the uninsured and many of the under-insured cannot afford CT or MRI scans. Tens of millions of Americans are not even allowed a place in the queue.

Which system is better: a lower cost system that recognizes a capacity problem and takes measures to resolve that, or a higher cost system that has adequate capacity but nevertheless engages in wholesale rationing based on ability to pay?

Check out this FAQ and the rest of the PNHP site for more info/propaganda.


By fnord12 | January 11, 2006, 10:26 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (5) | Link



Get the Tussin

I always hated cough syrup cause it tastes disgusting and for years just flatly refused to take it no matter how much i coughed. Now i say "plllllllllttttttttttttttttthhhhhhh!!!" to all of you people who kept insisting i take cough medicine, because apparently, they don't work anyway.

The dose of drugs in over-the-counter cough syrups are generally too low to be effective or contain combinations of drugs that have never been proven to treat coughs, said Dr. Richard Irwin, chairman of a cough guidelines committee for the American College of Chest Physicians.

"Some of the products contain medications that have no chance of working at all," Irwin said.


By min | January 11, 2006, 3:14 PM | Science | Comments (7) | Link



At least they can do Circus Maximus

When you have to have a list of games that will be backwards compatible on the new Xbox, you've already lost my interest. Without looking too hard, i see that Kung Fu Chaos and D&D Heroesaren't on there (yet, i guess?). I also don't like the sound of this: "Note: A software emulator is required for each original Xbox game you play on your Xbox 360 console". I'm not sure what that means (an emulator on a console?), but i know it means i'm not just firing the games i want to play up without additional nuisance.

Found the list via Penny Arcade, who say:

The issue is that playing old games isn't what I use backwards compatibility for. I know there are "peeps" who need constant Halo 2 infusions, but I don't look back - I think of the original Xbox as a damned place, a Sodom and/or Gomorrah. What I need is a technology that will ease the middle period, while the old box is still a viable development target at retail. My audio/visual shelf is already a treacherous, high-stakes game of Jenga as it is. There's no physical space for some Goddamn artifact up there.

Not for me. I need to be able to play all the old games. In fact, for the past few days, i've been thinking it's about time i started re-playing Battle of Olympus. We have piles of video game consoles by our TV, too, and that's why we need backwards compatibility. I won't be happy until there is one system that will play all our games with no hassle. In fact, let's make that our next priority. Before they release one more Madden football game, the video game industry is hereby required to create an uber-compatible system.



By fnord12 | January 11, 2006, 1:01 PM | Video Games | Comments (2) | Link



The state of Iraq

From Juan Cole:

"I am an American currently working in Baghdad for a news organization. I've been here numerous times over the past 15 years.

The current security situation here has gotten much worse since the elections. We had a security briefing yesterday right after a fellow journalist was abducted. Besides the usual reminders to keep a low profile and going over our own unique security measures and procedures as to what to do in any given scenario we were told that there's a high probability of all out civil war.

Iraq has been in a low level civil war since the end of 2003 that has been increasing in intensity ever since, but now our security team is telling us that should all-out war break out most, if not all of us, may have to be evacuated to safety in a nearby country. Instead of the scores of Iraqis dying each day as do now, thousands a day could perish. Most Sunnis have given up hope of getting adequate representation in the new Iraqi government and radical elements in the Shiite parties want to exact revenge on the Sunni for supporting Saddam over the years. Shiite death squads roam the city at night (in police and army uniform no less) dragging all the male members of a Sunni family out into the street and executing them in front of their women folk. Sunni insurgents (not in uniform) do the same to Shiite families in areas claimed as theirs.

The Sunni insurgents, it seems, are now determined to bring the new government to its knees by cutting off fuel supplies to Baghdad. The city's supply of gasoline nearly dried up last week and local authorities literally shut the city down by banning all privately owned vehicles from the streets. They claimed it was to help hunt down the kidnappers of the Interior Minister's sister but the real reason seems to be to reduce the demand for gas until supplies could be replenished. Electricity in most Baghdad neighborhoods has now been further reduced to as low as 1 hour per day. The black market rate for fuel for generators has doubled again and in many areas even that has run out. At this rate the city will go dark by the end of the month. Iraqi troops are reluctant to escort fuel trucks into Baghdad and American troops have their hands full escorting their own convoys.

Most US casualties are a result of trying to protect US military supplies. You can forget about the US military escorting civilian fuel convoys. So it all comes down to the Iraq army's ability to get fuel into Baghdad and I don't have much confidence they will succeed."


By fnord12 | January 11, 2006, 11:20 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Is it believable?

Neocons Considered Planting WMD Evidence in Iraq?


By fnord12 | January 11, 2006, 11:14 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



More Jams

Some more jams are posted in the Skelly Gang section. One's a nice guitar duet between me and Carlos with an asian pentatonic flavor, one's a pretty together psychedelic thing marred by someone inexplicably playing Frere Jacques in the wrong key, and there's two other jams as well.

Also check out Mike's Mixed Meteor page for some of his new stuff including the very cool Moog Action.


By fnord12 | January 11, 2006, 8:51 AM | Music | Comments (2) | Link



January 10, 2006

Predictions from the future. Predictions bound to come true.

My favorite peak oil apocalyptic prophet makes his predictions for 2006.

Among them:


  • Gas at $4+ a gallon, and oil at $100 a barrel
  • Collapse of the housing bubble and subsequent decline of first the US and then the world economy.
  • Dow Jones at 4000
  • US Government takeover of the Airline industry
  • General Motors and Ford go out of business
  • War with Mexico

... and much more!


By fnord12 | January 10, 2006, 1:40 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Gilberto Gil

Former Latin American musician of the 60s and 70s, now turned Minister of Culture for Brazil is helping to lead the fight against the concept of intellectual property. I appreciate that they're going to stop paying for expensive licenses to use Microsoft products and will instead be using open-source software. I also appreciate that they are forcing pharmaceuticals to offer drugs at a discounted rate considering the percentage of poor in Brazil. Ofc, some would point out that if they were thumbing their noses at Human Rights Watch or Greenpeace, i prolly would appreciate it less. The difference here is that by these actions, the government is trying to do something for the people instead of kowtowing to the corporations. I think that's a significant difference. Ever since corporations were allowed to be considered persons in this country, they've taken advantage of the system to increase their profit margins. All men are created equal but rich men and big corporations are more equal than the rest.

A similar mischievousness seems to have explained the government's response when an official accused Microsoft of behaving like a drug dealer in handing out free software to make customers dependent on its products. Microsoft Brazil sued, but the administration simply ignored the case, and the company eventually withdrew it. "But this is not demagoguery," Gil insists, if you accuse him of just being provocative. "This is pedagogy."

By min | January 10, 2006, 12:54 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Am i bugging you? I don't mean to bug you...

Thanks to this new law, it's now illegal to annoy people on the internet without revealing your real name. So i guess i'd better fess up, because i know i'm annoying.

I am... Umberto Eco!

Min, when are you going to come clean?


By fnord12 | January 10, 2006, 12:35 PM | Liberal Outrage & My stupid life | Comments (0) | Link



"Choose Your Music" Challenge

Every once in a while, Rod would challenge those in our group to choose which albums they'd bring if they could only have a finite number of them. Well, the Guardian put up the 89 albums they feel are essential to anybody's collection. I have to disagree with some of their choices. A) heavy metal as an entire genre was purposely left out b) nobody needs to own the Sound of Music soundtrack. Also, I've done just fine without Emminem or Elvis Presley, thanks. It's not all terrible. They list Roxy Music and the Gorillaz. Go check it out yourself.


By min | January 10, 2006, 12:05 PM | Music | Comments (3) | Link



Who is stranger than Dr. Strange?

I will say no more. You'll have to click on the link.


By fnord12 | January 10, 2006, 8:51 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



January 7, 2006

WalMart: Working Hard to Trod on the Downtrodden

So i already hate Wal-Mart because they treat their employees poorly and they put local stores out of business. Now they're breaking a serious personal law. They're wasting food. And they're screwing the poor to do it.

January 6, 2006: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the nation's largest food retailer, said Thursday it will no longer donate nearly-expired or expired food to local groups feeding the hungry.

Instead, that food will be thrown away, a move several Sacramento charities consider wasteful.


By min | January 7, 2006, 11:09 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 6, 2006

Right to Privacy?

In addition to the illegal wiretapping the NSA has been performing, the illustrious Dept. of Homeland Security has been reading our mail.

He has had an ongoing correspondence by snail mail with a former professor of history at the University of the Philippines, where Goodman had taught on three separate occasions.

[...]

He won't release the name of the former professor in the Philippines, but says she is in her mid-80s and hardly a security risk. "This is a very devout Catholic woman who goes to 6:00 mass every evening, and I don't know what they would be interested in her for," he says. "She hasn't written about anything in years."

This is the best bit:

"The bottom of the envelope had been slashed open and then retaped with green tape," says Goodman. "And it said, 'Opened by Border Protection' in great big letters. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security seal is on it, too."

You know you're in trouble when they aren't even trying to be stealthy about how they're spying on you.

(Thanks to Rose for the link)


By min | January 6, 2006, 2:51 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Skrull Burgers

HISTORY: (Fantastic Four I#2-BTS)-After the Fantastic Four's first encounter with and defeat of the Skrulls, Reed Richards hypnotized the four invaders to turn themselves into cows, and to believe that they really were cows. He left them in a field in King's Crossing, Vermont.

(Avengers I#89-97-BTS)-During the Kree/Skrull War, the Skrulls regained their memories and impersonated some of original Avengers, in an effort to force them to disband. Another of the Skrulls took the form of H. Warren Craddock, who was running for office. The Craddock-skrull was slain after being exposed.

(SKK#2(fb)-BTS)-The remaining three former cow-Skrulls were handed over to the Alien Activities Commission, who forced them to become cows again. This time, however, they sent the Skrulls to the slaughterhouse, along with the rest of the beef. The Skrulls were slaughtered and mixed with other, real beef, meat and distributed across the country. In the form of hamburgers, the Skrull meat was consumed by an unknown number of Americans. Some of the people who ate the beef proved immune to the Skrull DNA. Some died horrible deaths. A small number, were "infected" and developed metamorphic powers, along with progressive and terminal neurologic disease.

The Skrull Kill Krew's viral affliction, Skrullovoria Induced Skrullophobia (SIS), perhaps better known as Mad Skrull-Cow Disease (MSCD), differs from the natives of King's Crossing (where the Skrulls lived briefly as cows), who drank the milk from Skrulls, and suffered from Pseudo-Milk Induced Skrullophilia (PMIS). Sufferers of PMIS (not to be confused with PMS, although the two are not mutually exclusive), also gained shape-changing powers, but rather than wanting to kill the Skrulls, they took on Skrull personality traits, such as xenophobia and military-type organization. This was documented in Fantastic Four I Annual#17.


By fnord12 | January 6, 2006, 2:30 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



Blogging: the New Punk?

Jane at firedoglake puts forth a comparison: today's blogosphere is akin to the 70s punk movement. She's prolly right about this being our salad days. We may eventually get so bogged down by everybody putting up a blog that the pool of informed and well-written sites will become diluted and lose the feeling that this is where you go if you want to be "in the know". But i think that the blog "culture" won't so much end as it will move on to become something else. People will still have ideas and insights that they want to get out there. Cultural movements wax and wane; they need a catalyst to get them going. Most people just want to live their daily lives, go about their business. So, naturally, at the end of a movement, a period of complacency is bound to follow. Eventually, people get sick of what is bred from the complacency and we're back on the upswing. The medium may not be in the shape of the blogosphere, but it will be something. I can even imagine that instead of moving away from the blog, the blog will just get better. One day we could be getting information Spider Jerusalem style like in Transmetropolitan. So, don't despair, Jane. There will be the new new punk to look forward to.


By min | January 6, 2006, 9:51 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



The Abuse Team is here to help

We got an email from our hosting service's Abuse Team, threatening to beat us with sticks if we didn't remove all the mp3s from our site. When i explained that these were in fact our mp3s, the Abuse Coordinator wrote back saying sorry, it was just their automated bots getting a little too ambitious. But think about that for a second. The record industry has these hosting providers so scared that they've got them monitoring and harassing their own customers in the RIAA's interests. We pay our providers, so they are supposed to be looking out for our interests, not the record companies'. I guess that sounds a lot like telling a cop "i pay your salary", but really, it's one thing to respond to a complaint. It's another to have our sites monitored for unacceptable file formats.

The record industry needs to give up. First of all, we've been swapping music since the invention of cassette tapes, which is when they first started claiming the industry would collapse if it didn't stop. (I still have my Dead Kennedys In God We Trust, Inc. EP. "The record industry says home taping is killing the music business. We left side B blank so you can help.") But if they really want to do something about it, how about lowering prices, putting out a lot less crap, and paying your artists more? I'm a lot more likely to care about ripping off a struggling artist than i am Sony Records.


By fnord12 | January 6, 2006, 4:19 AM | Liberal Outrage & Music & My stupid life | Comments (0) | Link



Sheep O' Death

Growing up we lived behind Jason Masters' farm, and one day they got some sheep. But these weren't regular sheep. They didn't bleat or baah. They howled like tortured souls from beyond the grave. And if you climbed over the fence to play in the Masters' woods, they would hunt you down and terrorize you. I never got a good look at them, partially because i was running for my life and partially because their shadowy bodies only semi-existed in the mortal world, but if i was ever able to see them i'm sure they would have looked just like this picture that Mike sent me. With no explanation, i might add. I think it's meant to be a threat.


By fnord12 | January 6, 2006, 4:09 AM | My stupid life | Comments (2) | Link



Evan's Groove

Evan's Groove is a band that about a year ago posted an ad on Craig's List looking for a guitarist. They stopped talking to me when i sent them my samples - no hard feelings (i just pretend that that they were so overwhelmed with managing their issues that they didn't have time to get back to me, since i saw a few weeks later that they were also posting an ad looking for a keyboardist and now it looks like they've merged with some other band to fill in their ranks (uh-huh, whatever, i just suck)). But they are definitely an interesting band and i keep an eye on their website and thought i should share. Their site is incredibly crappy and hard to navigate (full of pop-ups and drop-down selectors), but it's worth it to get to their music to check them out (some of their songs are a little too happy-pappy for me, but most are very good). When i was talking to them, they said they basically get lumped into the "jam band" category but if you listen to them you'll see that their songs are pretty coordinated and that from show to show they play the same songs the same ways, so i don't think they really qualify as "jam band", and they don't either. They're just a pretty cool instrumental guitar oriented band (a little singing sometimes, but it's harmless). So go check them out.

As an aside, "jam band" has connotations of Grateful Dead and Phish to a lot of people. The Grateful Dead was officially the most boring band ever to grace the planet (note i said "most boring", not "crappiest"), and i haven't heard much Phish but what i have heard sounded similar (the (semi) exception being Oysterhead, which was the guitarist from Phish, bassist Les Claypool from Primus, and Stewart Copland on drums from the Police. That's a great album, but i don't think it's typical of Phish's sound). But if anyone knows differently, and there is some stuff out there that sounds like Evan's Groove, let me know cause i can use some more music this.


By fnord12 | January 6, 2006, 3:56 AM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



Godzilla: Save The Earth

Rose got us Godzilla: Save The Earth as a christmas gift, which we didn't get to open until yesterday because Wei ruined christmas. It's essentially the same game as Destroy All Monsters Melee with better graphics and some new characters, including the great Jet Jaguar, and Mothra as a playable character (in the previous game, Mothra was just a power-up. In this game Battra is the power-up). It also has some new characters from the new movies... eh. But they still haven't put in a "classic" Godzilla. There's Godzilla 90s and Godzilla 2000, and Space Godzilla, and two Mecha-Godzillas, but no goofy, friendly faced Godzilla from the 70s films that everybody (ok, me, min, and Ana, because the rest of you have no souls) loves. So that's a little disappointing. But overall it's a fun game.

Ok, now for the video game rant part: I'm really sick of video games where half the damn game starts off locked up. Out of 18 characters, only 6 were selectable when we loaded it up, and only 4 battlefields out of around 20. The Rocky game we bought was even worse - you couldn't even select Mr. T or Drago to start with. These are games that you should be able to just pop in when friends are over and play for a while and then forget about. What always ends up happening is i spend the time to unlock all the characters, and then whenever we play i've gotten so good at the game from unlocking everything that no one wants else wants to play. This started, i think, back with one of the Street Fighters and the Marvel Super Heroes fighting game where there were one or two hidden characters, and i guess the idea of having something secret in the game was popular so they ran the idea into the ground. It's like when you buy a CD and it says on the back that track 16 is the bonus "Hidden" track Stupid Idea, except at least with the CD you can still play the damn song without jumping through hoops. Enough already. This game gets a pass because we were able to find a code online that unlocks everything, but no such luck for Rocky (Or Mario Super Strikers, but at least in that game you can play 4 players and still unlock the extras.) .


By fnord12 | January 6, 2006, 3:36 AM | Godzilla & Video Games | Comments (0) | Link



Note to self:

No more drinking 2 cans of Dr. Pepper before bedtime. Yr just lucky you don't have to go to work tomorrow.


By fnord12 | January 6, 2006, 3:34 AM | My stupid life | Comments (0) | Link



January 4, 2006

Some new music

Been busy on my vacation. I did some much needed touch up work on Why? and added two short songs to my solo project page: Post-Headache Immortal and Cubicle. Also added some new Skelly Gang jams: Well Again and Flootie, Tootie. I'm not on Flootie but it's very interesting and features Carlos on a native american pentatonic flute. Check em all out.


By fnord12 | January 4, 2006, 2:02 PM | Music | Comments (0) | Link



Bought Some Comics

More like me and Wayne went on a shopping spree. I need another week off to read them.


By fnord12 | January 4, 2006, 1:48 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link



Gigan Will Eat You

I was very happy to find a Gigan toy at Toys R Us. Usually Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidora get all the hype, but Gigan is my favorite.


By fnord12 | January 4, 2006, 1:46 PM | Godzilla | Comments (0) | Link



The Return of Chaps?

At least in Maryland, anyway.

McNealy's attorneys appealed the verdict, arguing that indecent exposure in Maryland constitutes the willful public display of a person's "private parts" -- which, they argued, do not include a person's buttocks.

(You can all thank Wei for the link)


By min | January 4, 2006, 12:16 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Nothing Suspicious Going On Here, Officer

So, all this time Abramoff's been investigated, nobody in the Bush camp said "Hey, we took contributions from this guy. Maybe we should give that money back or something." But now that Abramoff has pleaded guilty and agreed to testify, all of a sudden they remember they got this dirty money and are quickly trying to unload it. What better way to wipe your slate clean than to donate the money to charity? "Oh, no, Mr. Prosecutor, sir. We didn't do anything wrong. See? We gave that money to charity as soon as we saw our guy was going down." It's the political version of saying your Hail Marys.


By min | January 4, 2006, 10:42 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Make It Legal!

In the face of Bush authorizing illegal wiretaps and stating he would pick and choose what parts of signed bills he will follow, it seems unnecessary for him to try to push the Patriot Act through. As Dictator-in-Chief, Bush believes he can do whatever he wants regardless of the law. So, why not relax and go back to his brush clearing instead of holding staged events? Mebbe he wants to make illegal wiretaps legal so he can retroactively apply that to himself just in case the Democrats find their spines and go for an impeachment in 2006.


By min | January 4, 2006, 9:32 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Monopoly

Here in the States, when we talk about monopolies and corporations, it usually follows that the corporations have too much influence over government policies, thus benefiting corporate ends. We rarely talk about the flipside which is the government exerting its political power over a corporation to serve its political ends. Whilst King George works to turn us into an empire, Russia, it seems, never let go.

Russia's state-owned gas company Gazprom cut the supply of gas to Ukraine after the latter refused to pay the new price Russia is charging Kiev: a rise from 50$ to 230$ per 1,000 cubic metres of gas.

[...]

"...Konstantin Kosachev, Chair of the Duma's Foreign Relations Committee, put it succinctly when he said the other day that no deal would be reached before Ukraine has its parliamentary election in March. [...] Russia has made it plain it wants [control over] Ukraine's gas transporting system. Then, Gazprom says, the prices will go down."

Putin's play to influence the Ukrainian parliamentary elections is just another example of the Russian leader testing his reach. They didn't succeed in quietly poisoning Victor Yushchenko, so now they'll try for the old fashioned squeeze tactic. As this article describes, the Russian owned gas company Gazprom controls 25% of the world's oil reserves. This could mean serious trouble for the EU, at the least, especially since the reluctance to admit an energy crisis is imminent has stunted development of alternative energy resources.


By min | January 4, 2006, 9:00 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



January 3, 2006

Name The Hedgehog

Click on the hedgehog picture at the top. Just do it!


By min | January 3, 2006, 11:02 PM | My stupid life | Comments (0) | Link



Bigger Is Not Better

So, for those of you who couldn't figure out on your own that a vehicle prone to flipping over might not be safer, afterall, here's a study for ya.


By min | January 3, 2006, 12:31 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Can You Say "Dictatorship"?

I have no words for this piece of unbelievableness.

Bush signed the Defense Dept supplementary authorization on Friday (note the timing), adding a little statement about how he intends to interpret several of its provisions out of existence, including the requirement that Congressional committees be informed in advance of any future spying programs, and the McCain amendment against torture, citing in each case "the President's constitutional authority as Commander in Chief." He says he might choose to inform Congress about programs "as a matter of comity," just being neighborly-like, but then again he might not.

By min | January 3, 2006, 11:19 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



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