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December 30, 2005

Chicago rejects Chavez's help

Chavez has been providing discounted oil to poor areas throughout the US (and Latin America). But the Chicago Transit Authority has rejected the help, deciding to raise transit fares instead. The result?

"I only earn $560 a month and of that, over $200 a month goes to my bus fare," Cox told The NewStandard. "I have a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old who also need to get to school. If they change the prices and take away transfers, there are going to be a lot of days missed. I already see no money at the end of the month."

By fnord12 | December 30, 2005, 12:11 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

If they attack us because they hate our freedom...

...isn't giving up our freedom to protect us from their attacks self-defeating?

President Bush recently confirmed that he has authorized wiretaps against U.S. citizens on at least 30 occasions and said he'll continue doing it. His justification? He, as president -- or is that king? -- has a right to disregard any law, constitutional tenet or congressional mandate to protect the American people.

Is that America's highest goal -- preventing another terrorist attack? Are there no principles of law and liberty more important than this? Who would have remembered Patrick Henry had he written, ``What's wrong with giving up a little liberty if it protects me from death?''

By fnord12 | December 30, 2005, 9:05 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

December 29, 2005

All Politics is Yokel

Daily Howler, discussing Paul Krugman's latest column:

...we'd like to say a word in defense of the yokels Krugman mentions. Yokels go off to work every day, and then they have to take care of their children. They don't have time to analyze every nuance of every policy proclamation. When they hear pure bullroar again and again - and when they never hear it challenged - then only naturally, they'll start to think that the hokum is well-founded.

By fnord12 | December 29, 2005, 1:26 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

There's always someone geekier than you.

A Ghostbusters D&D Special Campaign?

By fnord12 | December 29, 2005, 1:13 PM | D&D| Link

Congrats to the TWU

They fought for their rights for a change, and won. I hope other unions take notice.

By fnord12 | December 29, 2005, 11:49 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Dubbing in extra parts

Listening to the extended outro at the end of Wheels of Confusion by Black Sabbath from Volume 4... It's an awesome bit of music (and it reminds me of some of the music from the second Legend of Zelda game for the NES), but it's also annoying me, for a technical reason. Black Sabbath was a four member band: vocals, bassist, drums, and one guitarist. Incidentally, one of the great things about Black Sabbath is the incredible stuff you can hear the bassist doing during guitar solos. But this part of the song has two guitar parts. Now, it sounds great, so i should probably just shut-up, especially since my own solo music consists of one person and many different parts. I guess from certain groups I expect "studio magic" and from others i expect some level of purity, especially power trios (Black Sabbath is essentially a power trio + vocals). Stupid, i guess, especially when they're making good music regardless. But i wonder how they played it live.

By fnord12 | December 29, 2005, 11:34 AM | Music| Link

TV's most missed series

I guess this is a British survey. Looks like Britain is full of geeks. Maybe we should move there. Go A-Team at #10!

From the BBC:

1. Star Trek
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
3. Friends
4. Fawlty Towers
5. Blake's 7
6. The X-Files
7. Babylon 5
8. Stargate
9. Seinfeld
10. The A-Team

By fnord12 | December 29, 2005, 10:06 AM | TeeVee | Comments (1) | Link

Good article on Chavez


By fnord12 | December 29, 2005, 9:40 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

December 28, 2005

Physics Lesson For Bush & Co.: Cause and Effect

Go read firedoglake's take on the can of worms the NSA's illegal wire tapping has opened.

In a NYTimes article that should come as no surprise to the legal minds in the audience, defense counsel for a number of charged and convicted terrorism suspects are planning to challenge cases based on the latest revelations on the NSA spying domestically. To do less would be malpractice, because many of these defendants were American citizens, so this ought to be no shock to anyone who has spent time as defense counsel in criminal matters.

By min | December 28, 2005, 2:31 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Housing Bubble Again

I've been hearing that the housing bubble is going to crash for about 5 years now, but here they are again.

By fnord12 | December 28, 2005, 12:42 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Chump Freeway

It's always nice on days like today when you're driving to work and you're the only one on the road so there's no traffic... until it dawns on you that the reason you're the only one on the road is because you're the only chump who doesn't have off from work this week.

By fnord12 | December 28, 2005, 10:42 AM | My stupid life| Link

December 27, 2005

Camille Saint-Saens

I recently finished my project of ripping my "100 Greatest Classic CDs" boxset (AKA "Der Klassiks") onto mp3 to listen to on my iPod and i've been enjoying most of it, especially the polyphonic stuff from the Baroque period. But i just wanted to point out one particular piece. The composer is Camille Saint-Saens, who i had never heard of before, and the work is called The Carnival of The Animals. It's Romantic period music, and in my opinion it's up there with The Nutcracker and Pictures at an Exhibition. Not too drify and spacious like a lot of Romantic music. It has a lot of punch and is probably of interest to a modern audience, especially one into progressive or psychedelic music. min was listening to one song and she said (sarastically), "ooh, this song is very... magical." But it is good.

By fnord12 | December 27, 2005, 3:20 PM | Music | Comments (2) | Link

Merry Christmas

On the way to work today, i passed a couple of trucks carrying unsold christmas trees to... wherever unsold christmas trees go. And i thought how very sad for them it must be, to be told your whole life growing up that you were going to be adopted by some family and decorated as the main part of a happy christmas ritual. And in the end, no one wanting you so you get dumped into a truck and taken to some kind of christmas tree grave yard.

By fnord12 | December 27, 2005, 9:36 AM | My stupid life| Link

December 22, 2005

Do I Detect the Whiff of Sour Grapes?

So here's a repost because i had my sources wrong before.


And here's a little tidbit TBogg's got. It's a quote from that dickwad John Derbyshire over at the National Review (the same pervert who lusts after 15 yr old girls):

Did you know that "Overall, 90 percent of public employees enjoy a defined-benefit pension, compared with only 20 percent (and falling) of the private work force"? (Quote from Time magazine, 10/31/05 issue, "Where pensions are golden".)

When you are in your seventies, you will still be schlepping to work every day, so your taxes can fund the Caribbean cruise of some cop, subway motorman, or schoolteacher who retired at 55. How will you feel about that? Mad as hell, that's how. Inevitably, your mad-as-hell-ness will translate into politics sooner or later. Government people--enjoy it while you've got it. It won't last much longer.

Yes, that's right. Pensions are better than 401Ks. So you know what they should do? They should take away the pensions from government employees and give them the same crappy 401Ks they've been pawning off on us private sector employees. This is like Communism and capitalism working together. Instead of, oh, i dunno...fighting to scrap 401K and campaigning for everyone to get a pension they rightly deserve for working most of their adult life at some crappy job, Derbyshire and the rest of the pinheads want to make sure everyone has the same miserable deal and save the executives lots and lots of money. You great big wanker.

By min | December 22, 2005, 10:44 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

You'll take this Christmas from my cold dead hands

From August:

You must click this link.

By fnord12 | December 22, 2005, 10:43 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Weenie Democrats again

From Matt Stoller:

Josh Marshall and Mark Schmitt each predicted that the Social Security failure would haunt Bush, and crack Republican power. That didn't happen. I heard that the filibuster failure would cripple Frist. Nope. Delay's scandal would cause the House to descend into a 'Lord of Flies' style chamber. No. Lying to bring us to war, that would surely crumble his support. Not really. No weapons of mass destruction, come on, that's nuts, the American people wouldn't shrug that off. They did. Bribery in the prescription drug benefit. Eh, boring. The list is practically endless. In fact, at various points, liberal netroots-savvy experienced pundits have predicted that Bush and the right-wing's power was at a critical turning point, and would crack any second now. Reporters are really mad, they'd say, and will go after the President. But it just hasn't happened.

Why not? Many reasons. Go back to Peter's report, and read it. Powerful actors, like the top-down media, will not attack the President unless they think he's weak. But to make the case that he is weak, he must be treated with contempt, and that cannot happen when party leaders like Barack Obama simply refuse to act creatively and risk driving up their disapproval ratings. I ask, for instance, why in speeches is Obama saying that Bush is not a bad man? Why is he saying that Bush loves his country? How does that help us make the case that Bush is a liar and a fraud? It doesn't. It in fact undercuts our case, and the fact is, we are right and he is wrong, and it is important that our case base be made.

Update:Similar sentiment from Peter Daou

By fnord12 | December 22, 2005, 5:20 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Also found on Juan Cole's site:

The obsession with Catholic Workers and Mao is *so* 1950s, and demonstrates that the administration doesn't really care about al-Qaeda and isn't even mainly using the act to combat that sort of terrorism. In fact, with all its powers, it is hard for the Federal government to point to any successful domestic investigation and prosecution of al-Qaeda-type terrorists in the US.

Update: The story about the student getting investigated for requesting a book on Mao was a hoax.

By fnord12 | December 22, 2005, 5:19 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Election troubles everywhere

Earlier this week i congratulated Bolivia on their elections of Evo Morales. Today i read:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking in an interview on CNN, said that if it's confirmed that Morales won the election, ``we will do what we do with every elected government, which is to say that we'll look to the behaviors of the Bolivian government to determine the course of U.S.-Bolivian relations.''

I wonder if Rice is equally concerned with the "behaviors" of the Ethiopian government, or the Columbian government, or the Uzbekistan government or many of our other allies who are known to commit actual atrocities that we could easily stop (as opposed to Morales, whose crime will be nationalizing Boliva's natural gas resources and legalizing growth of cocoa.)

Meanwhile, the much celebrated elections in Iraq seem to be resulting in their predicted outcome. We've essentially handed Iraq to Iran, as expected. Our allies got no votes.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the secular Iraqiya list of Iyad Allawi so far seems only to have 8% of the seats in the new parliament, though that tally may increase slightly when the 230,000 or so votes of expatriates are counted. (I doubt it will increase much). Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress did not get enough votes even to win a single seat, so far.
Cole: I think I pretty much nailed this election last October in this post (scroll down a bit). Note that I was often contradicted by observers on the ground in Iraq, who kept saying they perceived a groundswell for the secular party of Allawi, even in the Shiite-dominated provinces. This allegation never made any sense to me. Michael Rubin of the AEI was predicting 5 percent for Chalabi (the neocon favorite) and 20 percent for Allawi, a prediction that demonstrates that after 2 1/2 years the neocons still just can't understand anything about contemporary Iraq.

R.J. Eskow shreds the Neocon vision of what Iraq would become to pieces. Iraq is going to be pro-Iran, and will not recognize Israel (Muqtada al-Sadr will be part of the ruling coalition!) The 38 Sadrist parliamentarians and the 50 or so Sunni ones will form a powerful bloc calling for immediate US withdrawal from Iraq.

We used to be so good at this sort of thing. Now we can't even keep Latin America under our thumb, let alone invade other countries and install puppets properly.

Speaking of elections, though, here's what's going on in our own country:

Thompson said in a real race between candidates someone could pre-load 50 votes for Candidate A and minus 50 votes for Candidate B, for example. Candidate B would need to receive 100 votes before equaling Candidate A's level at the start of the race. The total number of votes on the machine would equal the number of voters, so election officials wouldn't become suspicious.

"It's self-destroying evidence," he said. "Once ... the machine gets past zero and starts counting forward for Candidate B, there's no record that at one point there were negative votes for Candidate B."

Thompson said a second vulnerability in the cards makes it easy to program the voting machine so that it thinks the card is blank at the start of the race. This is important because before voting begins on Election Day, poll workers print a report of vote totals from each machine to show voters that the machines contain no votes . . . .

By fnord12 | December 22, 2005, 5:19 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Strike Part II

While many of you might be happy that the union is considering asking its workers to go back to work while they continue negotiations with the MTA because now your lives will stop being inconvenienced and you will be able to go to work and go shopping and go to restaurants, consider this paragraph from the New York Times:

Some striking workers hinted they were having second thoughts. They said they live paycheck to paycheck, burdened with mortgages, many with children and ailing relatives to care for. Some said they had begun to wonder if they would be the ones to lose the most.

Left I has this to say about it:

So instead, they are being urged (or, more accurately, demanded) to return to work and forego their fight for a decent pension, so that when they get older, they can be a burden on their children. Capitalism in a nutshell.

By min | December 22, 2005, 3:37 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

If Only I Were Truly This Athletic

Near as i can tell, i must have been part of some rebel force. Weirder still, i'm pretty sure at least some family members were, too. Some indescibable things that involved figuring out which subway train to take happened first. Next thing i know i'm in some sort of auditorium/lecture hall. There was a long wooden desk in the front, the kind you might see at the UN or some other government function. And a blackboard with the sliding panels. The "student" seating were rows of bench seating. I believe we (the 'rebels') had been captured by whoever it was we were rebelling against. They wore the uniforms. You know. Those uniforms you always see the military and government guys wearing in any movie that involves a small band of rebels trying to overthrow an oppressive, militaristic government. Something happened. Either a fight or an explosion or one followed by the other. Next thing i know, we're running. Now, the building was on a hill. there was an inclined path to the left. I chose to run straight across the grass instead of taking the path. Theoretically, once i got to the low wall, i just had a short hop to the ground. So i'm running thru waist high grass. And my sister's right behind me. I jump, look down, and it's like 50 feet to the ground. I somehow have the time to take this in and turn my body around to catch the edge of the wall with my hands all before plummetting to my death. Not only do i perform this miraculous stunt effortlessly, i then proceed to pull myself up.

Let's just state for the record right that i am capable of performing a single pullup. And that's the cheating one. The first one where you hop up. So the chances of me pulling myself up from a hanging position is, hmm, nil. I don't recall any actual hand-to-hand combat. It could have happened. That's a particularly favored scenario of my unconscious mind. In fact, those are the best dreams.

By min | December 22, 2005, 1:17 PM | My Dreams| Link

Stirring up trouble

A few years ago we were at an anti-WTO protest marching towards the Waldorf Hotel where the organization was meeting. We were travelling down our march route based on the permit the protest organizers had acquired from the city. The protest routes are usually long and winding and not very direct due to the permitting, and at one point we were passing a street that led directly to the hotel. There was a middle aged man, walking alone in the march and when we reached that street, he started shouting that we should go down this street instead of following the route. No one listened to him. I've always suspected that he was a cop trying to get the protestors to break the law. This New York Times article is about how NY police have been infiltrating protests.

By fnord12 | December 22, 2005, 1:04 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (3) | Link

Brimming Over With Fuzzy Feelings

I like Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres. I really do. They're out there in impoverished countries, war-torn areas, places that have been hit by a natural disaster providing medical aid to anyone who needs it, regardless of political leaning, race, religion, or creed. Not only do they provide emergency care, but they are also there for the long haul. They run clinics and hospitals and rehabilitation centers. In places where people might not be getting the medical treatment they need because of cultural taboos or financial restrictions, Doctors Without Borders is there. And unlike the American Red Cross, seem to be free of political agendas and motivations and are not out to make a profit.

I just read this article from the Guardian about work they're doing in Burundi, Africa to try to stem the spread of HIV.

Every month more than 100 women overcome the taboos surrounding sexual violence to make their way to the clinic, where the sign outside reads Seruka, or "rise from darkness".

Not only are they trying to prevent the spreading of HIV, they are helping women to overcome the cultural taboo of speaking about rape. They provide a place for these women to turn to in a society that doesn't even have a word for rape. So i'm feeling very warm and fuzzy towards Doctors Without Borders right now. *gush gush*

By min | December 22, 2005, 11:02 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

December 21, 2005

Original Intent

In an article on the recent ruling against "intelligent design", one of the supporters of ID said, "The founders of this country would be astonished at the thought that this simple curriculum change established religion in violation of the Constitution that they drafted."

Let's try and resolve this business about what would astonish the founders.

Let's start with the basics. You often hear "this country was founded on the principals of Christianity". It wasn't. It was founded on the philosophy of the Enlightenment. This was a time period when people were challenging the established religious and political hierarchy. The founding fathers were, for the most part, Deists. They believed in what's called the Clockmaker theory, which is that some supreme being created the world using complex but discoverable scientific laws, and then left his creation alone to work on its own accord. This is hardly Christianity. Check out this site for an explanation of Deism, and this page in particular for some quotes from the founding fathers on religion.

So the fundamentalists have it wrong. "Separation of Chuch and State" was very much on our founders minds, and teaching religion in a science class would have repulsed them. Some of them were in fact scientists, and far from being astonished that religion wouldn't be taught in a science class, this was their intentention.

Now if you want to talk about the original intent of the authors of the constitution, let's talk about the fourteenth amendment and the bizarre notion that corporations are protected as "persons".

By fnord12 | December 21, 2005, 3:16 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Wimped out

So i was in the cafeteria happily eating my sandwich and enjoying (or not) these Alan Moore written WildCATS comics, when one of the loudmouths a few tables over starting yelling at his co-worker because he was upset about the Bush spying thing. He was saying that since Bush only ordered spying on international calls, it was ok. It's not, without FISA oversight, but even besides that, that isn't what was happening. So i got angry, ended my lunch early, came upstairs, and printed this article with the intention of giving it to the guy. But then i wimped out. He was talking about New York Times "propaganda" and how they were wrong to print the original article because what Bush was doing was "top secret" and i figure he's unswayable, but i should have done it anyway. i'm just too much of a weenie.

From the article:

A surveillance program approved by President Bush to conduct eavesdropping without warrants has captured what are purely domestic communications in some cases, despite a requirement by the White House that one end of the intercepted conversations take place on foreign soil, officials say.
Telecommunications experts say the issue points up troubling logistical questions about the program. At a time when communications networks are increasingly globalized, it is sometimes difficult even for the N.S.A. to determine whether someone is inside or outside the United States when making a cellphone call or sending an e-mail message. As a result, people that the security agency may think are outside the United States are actually on American soil.

By fnord12 | December 21, 2005, 12:48 PM | Liberal Outrage & My stupid life| Link

Why resign?

One of the judges on the FISA Court resigned in protest because Bush was bypassing the FISA Court. I don't get that. I can understand resigning from a position where you are asked to support a policy you don't agree with (like if Colin Powell were the hero everyone thinks he is and if he resigned as Sec. State in protest of the invasion of Iraq), but isn't resigning from a Court that Bush feels he doesn't need to report to just giving Bush more power?

By fnord12 | December 21, 2005, 10:00 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

We Got the Schmaltz

They've seen the kind of crap we put on tv. They've heard about the fan fiction books that are essentially trashy "romance" novels with the same names as Austen's characters. They know about it, and they're catering to it. This from the Guardian:

There's nothing like a happy ending, and when the latest film incarnation of Pride and Prejudice hits US screens it will be even happier - by an extra eight minutes. After screen testing, the Jane Austen adaptation has had an extra dose of schmaltz added by the film's producers to suit transatlantic tastes.

In Britain, cinemagoers were treated to the sight of Fitzwilliam Darcy, played by Matthew MacFadyen, and Elizabeth Bennet, played by Keira Knightley, enjoying a chaste kiss. The film ends with Elizabeth's father, played by Donald Sutherland, giving his consent when Darcy asks for Elizabeth's hand in marriage.

But from next week, audiences in the US can look forward to a passionate, moonlit, and very un-Austen embrace between the two characters, with Darcy sighing his wife's name over and over again as they stand in their nightwear on their bedroom balcony.

Executives at the production company changed their mind about the final scene and left the clinch on the cutting room floor. But it was kept in for US audiences, who, a marketing executive suggested, preferred emotion to be laid on thickly.

The decision has infuriated purists and film fans alike, with a petition being launched to have the extra scene included in future DVD releases and Austen fans in the US fulminating over the "banality" of the scene.

By min | December 21, 2005, 8:18 AM | Movies| Link

December 20, 2005

Josh's dream world moves closer to reality

Barbara Boxer, US Senator, has sent a letter to four presidential scholars, asking if Bush can be impeached based on former Nixon lawyer John Dean saying that Bush just admitted to an "impeachable offense."

Now we just have to convince enough of the "acceptable conversation" people (see below) to vote for democrats in 2007, and then give the democrats enough spine to actually impeach Bush and Cheney. And then Nancy Pelosi becomes President.

That's a lot of work just to return to 1998's status quo.

By fnord12 | December 20, 2005, 5:17 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link


Steve Gilliard has some coverage of the MTA/TWU strike in NYC, here, here, and here.

Like i always say with these things, if these guys are "paid too much already" then why are you so terrified when they threaten to go on strike. They're clearly performing a vital service and deserve to be well compensated for it. Paying blue collar workers well is also good for the economy because it ensures there is a middle class (unless you'd like to be more like Bolivia, with a huge gap between the rich and the poor?).

Oh, and if you're working in some cubicle somewhere thinking you're better than these guys because you're a white collar professional...? In real dollars, you're not making any more money than union workers were back in the 50s. But we let unions get weak and wages have been declining since the mid-70s and now you have to pay for 4+ years of college to make that same amount of money. So you should be rooting for these guys, because if they win and it encourages unions to start standing up for themseleves again, and if it encourages more people to unionize, everybody wins. Except maybe Wal-mart.

By fnord12 | December 20, 2005, 4:56 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Walking the line

Congratulations to Bolivia and Evo Morales for continuing the trend of electing anti-neoliberal leftists. Be careful. You'll have to walk the line of resisting the US funded dissent in your country enough that you don't get overthrown but not so much that you turn into a human rights violator like Castro. It won't be easy, and they know it.

By fnord12 | December 20, 2005, 1:31 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

That's Right! I Said Vegan Terrorist!

They were tapping phone lines to protect us from the terrorists. The terrorist vegans and environmentalists and Catholics. It makes you want to say to the Libertarians in the Republican Party ""Suzy Creamcheese, honey, what's got into you?"

By min | December 20, 2005, 1:21 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Why i like Paul O'Brien

Three unrelated snippets:

Chamber may be on the cover, but he's only actually in three pages of the issue. And that's a non-speaking part. Then again, it looks like all Chamber's parts are going to be non-speaking from now on.
That said, one of the things that made Wolverine distinctive in the first place was that he wasn't invulnerable. Instead, he got pretty badly mauled a lot of the time, because he knew the injuries would get better and was prepared to put up with them. This ought to seem rather painful, but there's been a drift over the years either to treat Wolverine's healing factor as an exotic form of invulnerability, or to write him as so spectacularly hard that he doesn't feel the pain.
What if Wolverine was the Punisher? What kind of a story idea is that? If that's all it takes to get a pitch commissioned these days, I should give this writing lark a go. Here's some. What if X-23 was a man? What if Captain America was allergic to cats? What if Daredevil was an accountant? What if Wolverine had a pet monkey... in space? That one's a five-part miniseries.

Of course, you have to respect anyone who is going to devote his life to reviewing comics, MTV videos, and the WWF.

By fnord12 | December 20, 2005, 1:14 PM | Comics| Link

Appropriate Conversations

From Tom Tomorrow:

Audience member: We've got to give the President the flexibility to protect me. I use my cell phone al lthe time and I don't have any problem with the folks listening to the conversations I have because they're appropriate conversations.

By fnord12 | December 20, 2005, 1:12 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

Body Slammin' for The Lord

USA Today (Scroll down):

Ultimate Christian Wrestling is like any other pro-wrestling bout you might see on a Saturday night in rural Georgia," Tapper says. "Except the characters and story lines come to a dramatic climax at the end of the show straight out of the Book of Revelation: At the end of this show, dozens of folks in the audience said they were called to accept Jesus into their hearts. It was quite a thing to behold."

By fnord12 | December 20, 2005, 12:37 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

I Think I've Been Insulted

Just read this from the Guardian:

Tall women are less likely to be broody but more likely to focus on their careers than shorter women, according to a study published by British psychologists today.

Denis Deady at Stirling University and Miriam Law Smith at St Andrew's University believe taller women have higher levels of testosterone during puberty, giving them more masculine traits such as assertiveness.

But the hormone might also influence their attitudes to careers and starting families, they report in the journal Personality and Individual Differences today, based on their research with more than 1,200 women.

So, basically, i'm broody and will have no career. Great. I'll just read some more Margaret Atwood so i can be really depressed.

Addendum: Look, i'm not saying i'm not broody and unambitious, cause i am. I'm just saying it's not very nice to say so, and it's not exactly good news to hear it's because i didn't have enough testosterone during puberty. Like being short wasn't bad enough. At least my shortness gives me the illusion of cuteness. So there!

By min | December 20, 2005, 12:14 PM | Science | Comments (2) | Link

But Saddam was a bad guy

This is what i'm talking about. All the "liberals" who supported Bush's war, and all the conservatives who now apologize for the lack of weapons of mass distruction and ties to terrorists in Iraq, say, "At least we took Saddam out. He was a bad guy and the world is better off without him." Not even getting into the cost of "taking him out" in terms of human lives, instability in the region, international law, our repuation, or the billions of dollars spent, especially in light of the fact that smarter UN Sanctions would have done the trick... there are so many bad guys out there that we could stop just by cutting their purse strings. Here's one example. Anyone in a position of influence (politicians, pundits, journalists) who took Bush at his word that he's interested in getting rid of evil dictators should be fired.

By fnord12 | December 20, 2005, 10:31 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Concerto Disonesto in C minor

Finished up a song last night. (i think. like George Lucas, i reserve the right to endlessly tweak my works.)

It's meant to be something like a baroque string quartet with a trumpet solo, but it doesn't strictly follow baroque quartet rules and it was done on our Yamaha DGX-300 so the sounds aren't as authentic as they would be if i had a Triton (hint, hint, Santa), or, you know, real instruments. Oh and it has drums. So it's called Concerto Disonesto in C minor. Thanks to Rose for help with the italian and the name suggestion.

The mp3 is on our fledgling music section.

By fnord12 | December 20, 2005, 9:57 AM | Music| Link



I have one question for the media. Why is everyone so impressed that Bush is taking responsibility for going into Iraq? Has there ever been any question about that? We know he made the decision. He has made a fetish of taking responsibility for doing it. indeed, we watched him do it in defiance of virtually the whole world and half the country. This is not an admission of a mistake.

Likewise, admitting that there were no WMD is like admitting that the sun came up this morning. It's true, yes, but saying it is not "candor" --- it's stating the obvious.

Saying that the intelligence was wrong is not taking responsibility for getting it wrong. We know it was wrong.

By fnord12 | December 20, 2005, 9:25 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

December 19, 2005

The Silent Majority again

Well, now we know where Junior gets his ideas from (see the total insanity from Bush that min put in our header). But Bush's handlers must be so frustrated. They give him the talking point that Cheney is pushing below, and the best Bush can come up with is that stumbled nonsense.

From ABC Nightline with Terry Moran:

"Moran: Before the war you said Americans would be greeted as liberators here, and yet your own trip here today was undertaken in such secrecy that not even the prime minister of this country knew you were coming, and your movements around are in incredible secrecy and security. Do you ever think about how and why you got it wrong?

"Cheney: I don't think I got it wrong. I think the vast majority of the Iraqi people are grateful for what the U.S. did. I think they believe overwhelmingly that they're better off today than they were when Saddam Hussein ruled."

By fnord12 | December 19, 2005, 4:56 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Thor vs. the X-Men

Wham! Krackathoom!

Thor wins.

By fnord12 | December 19, 2005, 4:30 PM | Comics| Link

The left splits again

The old joke is that you put three leftists in a room and you come out with four splinter groups.

All the "liberal" columnists hate ANSWER because some of the groups in their coalition are marxist. i'm sure that's where this split is coming from too.

By fnord12 | December 19, 2005, 4:28 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

He does it all the time

See? It's nothing new. What, people really thought Cato was a respectable think-tank? Who is that gullible?

The revelation has caused Bandow to resign from Cato. But Ferrara, who is now at the Institute for Policy Innovation, says "I do that all the time," Ferrara says. "I've done that in the past, and I'll do it in the future."

By fnord12 | December 19, 2005, 3:59 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

It's beginning to look a lot like Fitzmas

Of course, relying on an article published only on Counterpunch and Truthout is setting myself up for dashed expectations, but you can't resist a lede like this:

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald met with the grand jury investigating the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson for several hours Friday. Short of a last minute intervention by Rove's attorney, Fitzgerald is expected to ask a grand jury-possibly as soon as next week--the to indict Rove for making false statements to the FBI and Justice Department investigators in October 2003, lawyers close to the case say. Moreover, Fitzgerald is said to believe that there is a possibility Rove either hid or destroyed evidence related to his role in the leak, lawyers close to the case said.

By fnord12 | December 19, 2005, 3:42 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Iron Man vs. the X-Men

Now that we've established Wolverine's power level, we can move on to showing that Iron Man could single-handedly defeat a team of 6 X-Men. By showing this, it should be evident that an Avengers vs. X-Men showdown is a no-brainer.

Let's clear up a few things: Iron Man's armor has been non-magnetic for some time. It was clearly established in an issue of West Coast Avengers when they fought Magneto, but it really had to have been true for some time before that. Iron Man fights so many technologically based foes that someone like MODOK* would have tried shooting a magnetic ray at him years ago. On the other hand, Wolverine and Colossus are very vulnerable to magnetism, and there's nothing they can do about it. Iron Man could easily toss them off the battlefield without even getting close. Iron Man also been immune to mind-control since the issue of the Thunderbolts where Zemo took control of the world. This eliminates obvious choices like bringing in Polaris or Professor X to get rid of IM in one shot. He also absorbs most forms of energy and uses it to super-charge his armor. It is possible to overload his armor this way, but it's not easy, especially in an open battlefield situation where he can just let loose. Cyclops' force beams would still do damage since they are physical, but Havok's solar blasts and Bishop's guns could be absorbed.

I think a fair scenario would be in these sorts of comparisons is: the two sides appear on the battlefield with no time to plan. They see each other, and they must attack. The teams should be typical members, not tailored specifically to defeat their opponent(s). But in this case where the X-Men are so overwhelmed, we can try to balance the situation by not sticking them with members rendered useless based on Iron Man's immunities or by sticking them with characters that are always useless, like Gambit or Jubilee.

So i'm thinking a good team to try and take out Iron Man would be: Storm, Rogue, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, and Iceman.

The X-Men's best bet is to get Iron Man on the ground where Shadowcat can phase through him and disrupt his armor. She can float, but she can't fly fast enough to catch IM. Their best strategy would be for Rogue to absorb Shadowcat's power and fly after him, but Rogue hates using her powers that way and they rarely do things like that except as a last resort. If Cyclops were team leader instead of Storm he may order that move, but I took Storm instead of him based on powers. Cyclops is very vulnerable and Iron Man could take him out very easily, probably before he'd formulated a strategy.

So we have to assume that Iron Man comes in first with a big blast or rocket, and Jean Grey manages to get a force shield up in time. Rogue and Storm fly up and attack. Iceman is running interference and slowing IM down with ice. The goal is to damage and distract Iron Man enough that Nightcrawler can teleport onto him and bring him down for Shadowcat to finish him off. Iron Man can absorb Storm's lightning and power his armor with it, but Storm won't know that at first and that's how she'll begin the attack. She might also figure out that she should cloud up the sky to prevent Iron Man from powering his armor with solar energy, forcing him to run on battery. In the meantime Rogue is the biggest danger. She has Ms. Marvel's powers, putting her in Iron Man's league, power-wise. She tends to lead with her chin, though, and that gives Iron Man a slight edge. If Jean Grey were holding him with telekenisis he'd be in big trouble, but she is still recovering from the initial blast. Storm is just switching from lightning to wind and doesn't want to interfere with Rogue's assault. Rogue charges in and punches Iron man, probably pretty badly, at the same time getting knocked away with a repulsor blast, sending her to the ground, stunned, for a few seconds.

In the meantime Iron Man can either focus on Storm or Jean Grey. It'd be smarter to take out Storm since she is the leader and getting rid of her would mean the X-Men wouldn't be attacking with any great strategy, but Tony is probably annoyed with getting tossed about by Jean's TK by now. He can't get through her forcefields with energy beams or rockets, but he can hit her with sonics or lasers and once he directs his attention to her she is down.

Rogue has recovered and is ready to fight by now, but is a little more cautious, probably looking for a big tree or a rock to attack with. In the meantime Iron Man can release a heatseeker at Storm, freeing himself up long enough to get his armor repaired from Rogue's punch (with nanites, or at least re-routing energy circuits, depending on which armor he is wearing). Iceman rushes to help Storm.

Now Rogue gets her rematch. She begins her attack with her weapon, which Iron Man destroys, leaving him open to her follow up attack. Iron Man takes a few heavy punches, but gets the better of Rogue with a number of powerful blasts. She's hurting bad when Storm and Iceman show up to succor her.

It wasn't worth doing before, but now that Iceman is right in front of him, he gets melted with a microwave beam. Storm, alone and without lightning, is easy prey. Nightcrawler has been waiting for Iron Man to be damaged enough so that it is safe to teleport in and grab him, but things aren't going as planned. While Iron Man is chasing Storm this is going to be his best chance. Most likely he'll go for the back, avoiding the obvious repulsor rays on the chest and appendages, but Iron Man charges his whole body with electricity, frying the elf before he can attack or teleport again. IM then finishes off Storm with no distractions.

Iron Man and Rogue are both damaged but Rogue has lost all her support. The sky is clearing up, no more ice, no TK. She'll probably stay on the ground and throw rocks. If Kitty can get to her in time they can try their desperation strategy, but most likely Iron Man blast Rogue before it gets to that. Iron Man probably can't defeat Kitty as long as she is phased (although he'd definitely give sonics a try and it would probably work), but she can't hurt him either. He's got a villain in his gallery called the Ghost who has similar powers to hers, so he has experience targeting a phased opponent, tagging her when she eventually solidifies.

If Rogue and Shadowcat do merge, Kitty is now passed out, and Rogue is distracted by the mind-meld. She's already beat up while Iron Man has been repairing, and she's flying woozy and distracted. Iron Man wins.

As far as I can see it, that's best case scenario for the X-Men. Replace any of those X-Men with anyone else (except maybe Iceman) and it's an easier fight. Rogue is the most dangerous opponent but she's got mental problems and isn't a very disciplined fighter. Her invulnerability isn't up to repeated energy blasts.

It's not an easy fight for Tony, but he wins in the end. And even if i've taken a few liberties in his favor, this is still the warm up. Throw in any other Avenger, let alone 4 more, and it's over in a hurry.

Rejected X-Men:
Original Team
Cyclops - too vulnerable, and easy enough to let IM's autopilot and radar dodge his shots in the air
Beast - Can't get off the ground to attack physically.
Angel - useless
Archangel - less useless. maybe i should have replaced Iceman with him, but he would interfere with Rogue's attacks

Early Additions
Havok - Iron Man is immune to his attacks.
Polaris - Iron Man is immune to her direct attacks. Throwing metal objects isn't very effective either.

All New, All Different Team
Wolverine - Vulnerable to magnetic rays
Colossus - Vulnerable to magnetic rays
Thunderbird - useless, dead
Banshee - Iron Man is immune to his attacks
Sunfire - Iron Man is immune to his attacks

Fall of the Mutants Team
Psylocke - Iron Man is immune to her psychic attacks. Can't get off the ground to attack physically.
Longshot - A contender to replace Iceman due to the +1s his teammates would get, but essentially useless
Dazzler - Iron Man is immune to her attacks

90s and beyond
Gambit - Useless
Jubilee - Useless
Bishop - Iron Man is immune to his attacks
White Queen - Iron Man is immune to her psychic attacks. Can't get off the ground to attack physically.

Who did i forget?

*Mobile Organism Designed Only for Killing

By fnord12 | December 19, 2005, 2:25 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

What more to say?

[12:47] fnord12: the Washington Post, following an interview with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, reports that the Democratic Party's 2006 election issue agenda "will not include a position on Iraq."
[12:47] min1276: wow.
[12:47] min1276: their stupidity is just incredible

By fnord12 | December 19, 2005, 12:48 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link


Let's establish something basic. Wolverine is a Spider-Man level hero. This isn't to say he isn't a tough guy; Spider-Man is a tough guy. Wolverine is pretty fast (Spidey's faster) and has peak human strength enhanced by adrenaline surges (Whereas Spidey can lift cars). Wolverine is very resilient, with his unbreakable skeleton and his regeneration, but we shouldn't assume that his regeneration means that he's invincible. In D&D, Trolls are considered terrifying because they regenerate 3 hit points per round. That doesn't mean they laugh off attacks; it means that after you finally knock them down you have to make some special effort to keep them down. Wolverine's regeneration is possibly better than a trolls, but not by a ton (Whereas the Hulk once rebuilt himself from a crispy skeleton in about a minute). Wolverine can be hurt, and he can be knocked out. He was knocked out a bunch of times in Secret Wars when he was fighting higher level villians than he was used to with the X-Men.

Wolverine was created in a version of the super soldier program that created Captain America. The point of the super soldier programs were to create an army of better-than-average fighters, but they keep not being able to replicate it so they end up making one better-than-average fighter in each attempt. Wolverine typically fights ninjas and other thug level bad guys. And he kicks their asses, no doubt. But put him up against the type of people the Avengers or the FF go up against and he's out of his league. His archenemy is Sabertooth, who's been trounced by Iron Fist, Daredevil, and the Black Cat. When Spider-Man fought Wolverine, Wolverine won, barely, and mainly because Peter was so thoroughly shocked/traumatized by Wolvie's ferocity (He thought he was dealing with a good guy that he was having a disagreement with so he was pulling his punches. If he were treating Wolverine as a bad guy, the outcome would have been different). Even as a member of the New Avengers (which consists of Iron Man, Sentry, and a bunch of street level fighters), they've fought rogue SHIELD* agents, ninjas, and some X-Men villians. When they went up against the Wrecker, they got beaten silly until Spider-Woman's pheromones kicked in.

Now i know what you're thinking. I hear it all the time. "But Wolverine fights the Hulk." Look, lots of people have fought the Hulk. Few people have ever beaten the Hulk. Wolverine first appeared in Hulk 180-181, where they team up to beat the Wendigo, and then Wolverine sucker punches the Hulk and still can not beat him. Wolverine can barely get Hulk to notice him. In the end, Wolverine can't win and the Hulk gets bored and wanders off. The next time they fight, the Hulk is in his weakened grey state, and the fight is a draw. The next time they fight, Wolverine is bone-clawed, so i won't count the fact that he loses against him. After that, the Hulk is enhanced by Apocalypse, so again we can discount it. There's never been a definitive fight where Wolverine even comes close to standing up to the Hulk.

I know that this will lead to charges that I hate mutants. But the truth is i've always liked Wolverine. He was one of my favorite characters when i was a kid, before he was overexposed in the 90s. Street level characters are much more interesting than the mega powerful ones anyway - that's why i prefer Marvel over DC in the first place. Wolverine fights desperately, gets the crap kicked out of him, and pulls through - barely - in the end. That's what makes him fun to read. In order to set up the same sort of struggle for, oh, let's just pick Iron Man totally at random, you'd have to increase the threat level to the point where it is a world threatening menace every time.

*Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division (or maybe Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage and Logistics Directorate).

By fnord12 | December 19, 2005, 11:11 AM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link

December 18, 2005

I Gof Fomfing Huk In My Mouf

Could someone please explain why i keep having this recurring dream? It starts off with me chewing a huge wad of gum. An uncomfortably huge wad of gum. You know how after a while, gum starts to get stiff? Well, this happens and i try to take the gum out. But it's stuck to my teeth. I can pull some of it out with a little effort, and i can feel it pull a bit on my teeth (usually my molars) as the gum comes unstuck. I'm also able to push some out with my tongue. But i can never remove all of the gum. And it always remains an uncomfortably large amount of gum in my mouth regardless of how much i've already been able to remove. I can't say how long i've experienced this recurring dream, but it's been a long time.

By min | December 18, 2005, 11:15 PM | My Dreams | Comments (5) | Link

Dr Pepper, settled.

Who owns it?

Official Website:

Q: Isn't Dr Pepper/Seven Up owned by a major cola company?
A: No. While Coke and Pepsi are bottling partners that produce and deliver a substantial amount of our soft drink volume to retailers, neither owns DPSU. DPSU is a wholly owned division of London-based Cadbury Schweppes plc.

Also see the Unofficial FAQ, and this CNN article ("But if you're not a fan of either Pepsi or Coke, there actually are several other beverage stocks out there. "), .

By fnord12 | December 18, 2005, 10:04 PM | Liberal Outrage & My stupid life| Link

December 16, 2005

B for Buckethead

Does anyone know why they didn't just get Buckethead to star in V for Vendetta?

By fnord12 | December 16, 2005, 2:00 PM | Movies | Comments (2) | Link

Keeping the bubbas in line

Been meaning to post this as a follow up to a similar post: More examples of how the right overtly exploits religious people.

By fnord12 | December 16, 2005, 1:22 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Are you kidding me?

From Business Week:

"A senior fellow at the Cato Institute resigned from the libertarian think tank on Dec. 15 after admitting that he had accepted payments from indicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff for writing op-ed articles favorable to the positions of some of Abramoff's clients."

This is what they do for a living. Is anyone really shocked by this? Did he really have to resign to keep up the facade?

By fnord12 | December 16, 2005, 1:19 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Oy, My Brain

First it hurts my brain because it's about the evolution vs. ID debate. Mostly, it hurts my brain because this headline doesn't convey what the article seems to be about.

"Judges ask tough questions in evolution sticker case"

It mentions a comment the judge makes regarding the ruling of a lower court judge. That's it. It doesn't really talk about "tough questions". There were no "questions" per se mentioned. And i fail to see the "toughness" of it.

Granted, this particular headline is hardly the worst offender. Usually, headlines during presidential campaigns or about which Bushee is being indicted next are the most misleading. This headline is just inaccurate and prolly designed to be as attention grabbing as possible without outrageously misrepresenting the article's content. Blech.

By min | December 16, 2005, 8:41 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Blair Left Holding the Bag

Italy is sticking with their plan to withdraw their troops. The U.S. is starting to make noise about withdrawing troops over the next year, or at least reducing the number of troops there. Britain, on the other hand, is planning on sending 4,800 troops to Afghanistan to "wipe out the world's most lucrative opium trade and bring democracy, stability and protection to souther Afghanistan." This article points out that it's starting to look like Britain is going to be the chump at the end of it all.

Bush doesn't like to lose, though. And he's completely irrational. So, even if other people's kids are getting killed everyday in Iraq, why should he back down? I suppose it's possible that the rest of Bush & Co. (the ones who aren't totally off their rocker) might either cajole him into accepting it or convince him that he has won. I could believe either tactic possible. They may have to endure some pouting over it all, though.

Ofc, now with his defeat in getting Congress to back down on the torture ban, he might be feeling a bit too petulant at the moment to be cajoled. Well, they've got all year to work on him. All they have to do is make sure they don't allow soldiers to leave when their contract is over. That should buy them some time. If all else fails, they could try distracting him with a horsie.

By min | December 16, 2005, 8:18 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

December 15, 2005

The Government Keeping Us Safer Part II

"the Vipers were a Cobra unit on the GIJoe cartoon as far as i'm concerned." - Rod

Ah, not so, my friend. VIPERs are actually a new unit of air marshalls and undercover law enforcement officials who will be hanging out at mass transit facilities to protect us from the terrorists.

It may just be me, but i think that after the Miami incident mebbe some of us are a bit uncomfortable with the thought of air marshalls flooding the mass transit stations. I'm a bit concerned with what instructions they were given and exactly how much training they have regarding possible bomber situations? I don't know about you, but i sure as hell don't want to get shot in the head while reaching into my coat for a tissue cause the Fuzz thinks i did it in a shady way.

Also, i'm pretty sure i checked the box that said "No, I would like very much to not live in a police state, please."

By min | December 15, 2005, 2:48 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

The Government Keeping Us Safer

At a moment when renewal of the so-called Patriot Act is a hot issue in the Senate, this story about the Pentagon keeping records on peaceful anti-war protestors could not be a better example of why the Patriot Act is a bad idea.

The Palm Beach Post reports on The Truth Project of Lake Worth, Florida, one of the groups considered a threat according to the Talon database. The group consists of about 20 people, including five Quakers and a 79-year old grandmother.

Beware the Quakers. They're a militant bunch. And that grandmother thing? A total front.

By min | December 15, 2005, 12:40 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

To See or Not to See?

What to do about Narnia? I only read the first book in the series, but i enjoyed it. And Wonderworks used to play the television production of it and i liked that quite a bit. So, when i heard they were making a movie, i was kind of excited. Then i recently learned the story is basically a mirror of the Christ myth. I guess i totally missed all that when i was 8. Here is where it starts to get a bit sticky. Not only is it a sort of retelling of the Christ thing (although how using mythical animals and magic does that really boggles my mind), but the release of the movie is being used as a Christian marketing device.

First off, i would say that the Christ myth thing doesn't really bother me. People have a religious belief, they want to use that in their works, that's fine. Second, the movie being used as a marketing tool is not that much of a problem either. At least it's plausible. It's not like when the Christians tried to co-opt the March of the Penguins into a sign that monogamy is so much part of God's design that even lowly penguins know it's the right thing to do. I'm a bit uncomfortable by it, admittedly. Not because i'm afraid of Christianity or Christians. I'm afraid of the people posing as Christians. The ones who prefer selective readings of the Bible, who take passages out of context to support their own ideals, who don't realize the Bible's not literal, and who, in my opinion, need a lesson in reading comprehension.

Here's my real problem. C.S. Lewis' stepson Doug Gresham, the producer of Narnia, is a born-again who believes abortion is "infanticide inspired by Satan". You could, as the Catholics believe, say that abortion is murder. I'd accept that view. But inspired by Satan? That's skipping down the posy-lined path of crazy talk, and i'm not sure i want to help fund speakers of crazy talk by adding to Doug Gresham's movie profits.

So there's the problem. Disney's not so much of a prize, either, but i was mostly willing to accept that they made this movie and go see it anyway. Now i'm not so sure. I'd like to see the movie because i enjoyed the story when i was younger, but Mr. ProducerMan might be one of the scary people. What should i do?

By min | December 15, 2005, 10:11 AM | Movies| Link

December 13, 2005

Wal-Mart: the New Gestapo

As some of you know, I think of WalMart as the devil. They pay their employees poorly, they coerce their employees into working overtime and then try to get out of paying them for it, and they are a megamart that drives out local business. Not to mention the Evangelical (read "politics disguised as religion") policies behind their decisions of what to sell in their stores. Well, here is yet another reason to love WalMart:

One student "had taken a photo of George Bush out of a magazine and tacked the picture to a wall with a red thumb tack through his head. Then he made a thumb's down sign with his own hand next to the President's picture, and he had a photo taken of that, and he pasted it on a poster." An employee in that Wal-Mart photo department [where the student took his film to be developed],called the Kitty Hawk police on the student. And the Kitty Hawk police turned the matter over to the Secret Service.

Thanks to rose for sending the link.

By min | December 13, 2005, 12:01 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

December 9, 2005

The Cake

I don't know what he's talking about. It doesn't look like Jupiter to me.

By min | December 9, 2005, 1:45 PM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link

December 8, 2005


Well, i've been down on the Peter Jackson King Kong movie since it was first announced, and this pretty much confirms my suspicions that it'll be a straight retelling of the original story with updated special effects. Who needs that? The original is great!

By fnord12 | December 8, 2005, 5:20 PM | Godzilla| Link

So You Say You (Do/Don't) Want A Revolution?

The anti-revolution lyrics in the Beatles song Revolution have always seemed odd to me. In this interview, Lennon explains. Sort of.

JL: Ah, sure, 'Revolution' . There were two versions of that song but the underground left only picked up on the one that said 'count me out'. The original version which ends up on the LP said 'count me in' too; I put in both because I wasn't sure. There was a third version that was just abstract, musique concrete, kind of loops and that, people screaming. I thought I was painting in sound a picture of revolution--but I made a mistake, you know. The mistake was that it was anti-revolution.

On the version released as a single I said 'when you talk about destruction you can count me out'. I didn't want to get killed. I didn't really know that much about the Maoists, but I just knew that they seemed to be so few and yet they painted themselves green and stood in front of the police waiting to get picked off. I just thought it was unsubtle, you know. I thought the original Communist revolutionaries coordinated themselves a bit better and didn't go around shouting about it. That was how I felt--I was really asking a question. As someone from the working class I was always interested in Russia and China and everything that related to the working class, even though I was playing the capitalist game.

By fnord12 | December 8, 2005, 5:19 PM | Liberal Outrage & Music| Link

Then what's the point of measuring it?

See our charts? The economy is doing well!

By fnord12 | December 8, 2005, 5:18 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Bangkok Dangerous

This film was great and awful. It's the sort of movie that dredges up all the despair in you and causes it to come pouring out. That's the awful part. The great part is that it could pull you into the characters so much that you sympathize with a main character who is basically an assassin. I'll never watch it again, but if you aren't easily traumatized and you like foreign films, you should rent this one.

By min | December 8, 2005, 9:51 AM | Movies| Link

December 7, 2005

The Year of The Keyboard

Also in Keyboard magazine, they do a retrospective of the past year and decide that this was the year where a bunch of new artists would emerge to inspire a new generation of keyboardists. Who are these new players? Among a bunch of people i admittedly don't know:

  • Tori Amos
  • Dream Theater
  • Nine Inche Nails
  • Depeche Mode

By fnord12 | December 7, 2005, 9:24 PM | Music | Comments (1) | Link

I don't like this

Not at all. You can do what ever you want in the studio, but when it comes to live music, there should be nothing pre-recorded. Electronic performers playing along with obvious loops are one thing, but you shouldn't be sneaking in any enhancements. Behind a curtain??!!!?? C'mon now! (Oh, but i wouldn't mind being the director of a ten-piece funk band.) This is from the free Keyboard magazine i got sent in the mail, so no link:

Hey Mike, I enjoy reading your articles very much. Among other things, I'm the musical director for a ten-piece funk band. We've experimented with backing tracks with mixed results. I see you're on the EWF Live album from '96, and I was curious if there was programming on that tour. You guys seemed so tight I would be a little disappointed if it was pre-recorded. However, I'd love to know to what extent it was. -David.

I was with Earth, Wind & Fire from 1987 through 1997 or so, at first playing keys behind a curtain and doing keyboard tech duties. Then in 1993 they put me on stage. When I first joined them, I was using a Roland MC500, later an Atari computer (1040ST), then finally a Mac IIci using Performer. There were not a whole lot of extra parts being played from the computer on those shows. What was there was mainly enhancement. If the computer died, the show would definitely still go on.
Typically on a song like "Let's Groove" we'd double the bass part with a synth bass, put the 747 jet sound and other effects in the computer, have some percussion loops from the original recording, and double the background singers. On songs like "Reasons", the computer would drop out after the second chorus, and we'd be off the click from there on. We never used any lead vocal tracks, just backgrounds. So, to answer your question, the show was definitely not pre-recorded. The key to making extra tracks really work is having a great drummer like Sonny Emory that can play well with a click.
Honestly, there are only a few bands out there that don't do this to some extent, but nowadays there are defintely not as many bands just playing back everything like there were a few years ago.
Thanks for the kind words!

By | December 7, 2005, 9:04 PM | Music| Link


No matter how aggressive the press gets in challenging Bush on issues where it is now acceptable, i would never have expected them to challenge the official government line that Chavez is anything other than a dictator; a Castro-lite.

QUESTION: Okay. The elections in Venezuela, do you have a reaction to those, please? The overwhelming sweep by Mr. Chavez's party.

MR. ERELI: Yeah. I'd note that the Organization of American States and European Union both have observer missions that were there for these elections. They have yet to make their reports or make their statements, so I'd hold off on any sort of final assessment until conferring with them.

At this point, just to make a couple of remarks. First of all, the abstention rate was very high. Second of all, you know, given that rate of abstention, plus expressions of concerns by prominent Venezuelans, we see -- we would see that this reflects a broad lack of confidence in the impartiality and transparency of the electoral process, which is worth noting. And we would certainly look to Venezuela to address the issues of transparency and impartiality for the benefit of Venezuelan democracy.

QUESTION: Isn't that a bit of a reach? Fifty percent of the people in this country don't vote. You just don't like Venezuela very much.

MR. ERELI: I think the abstention -- there are about 25 percent participated in this.

QUESTION: Well, we don't have a terrific turn out here in this country. You're not going to congratulate the winners or anything like that?

MR. ERELI: Well, again as I said, let's wait to see what the observer missions have to say.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Do you think President Chavez is making any PR progress in this country with the announcement expected tomorrow that now some New York neighborhoods will be taking his discounted heating oil?

MR. ERELI: I'm not in the PR business.

QUESTION: I asked you --

QUESTION: Oh, yes, you are. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Yeah, right.

By fnord12 | December 7, 2005, 12:59 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Nader was right after all

So after Bush got in office everyone was saying "See, there really are differences between Bush and Gore. Nader was crazy." While no one could have predicted Osama Bin Laden's attacks (except for the people who wrote the report "Bin Laden Determined to Attack in the US), which is what allowed Bush to really fly off the handle, his basic point was more or less right. In these past 5 years the majority of Democrats have supported Bush's tax cuts and his wars. But the point is really highlighted by the fact that Gore's running mate is now being considered as Bush's next Secretary of Defense.

By fnord12 | December 7, 2005, 12:50 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

They hate Bendis??!!?

I was bored yesterday so i was reading the marvel newsgroup and i accidentally read a spoiler and now i know who Ronin is.

But boy do the message boards hate Bendis. Oh my god. They hate him. They say he's all style over substance, and that his pacing is terrible. I get the pacing complaint (and sometimes i agree a little) but i don't get the style over substance complaint at all. That was Marvel's problem in the 90s with the Image guys. Bendis's plots are pretty substantial, i think.

They're also complaining because New Avengers was supposed to be like the JLA "back to the big guns" thing that Grant Morrison did. And they're mad because Spider-Woman, Power-Man, Ronin and Sentry don't fall into either "classic avengers" or "marvel big guns" categories.

But Marvel doesn't have any "big guns" the way DC does, except for Spider-Man and the Hulk. They added Spidey, but the Hulk doesn't work well on a team book.

Spider-Woman at least had a cartoon in the 80s and i figure has some recognition.

Other characters that may have some mainstream recognition:

  • Blade had 3 movies. But he's got a very narrow motivation (hunting vampires) and isn't about the join a super-hero team.
  • Daredevil has a movie (and the Elektra spin-off). But they explained in-story why DD isn't going to join the team.
  • The Fantastic Four. A movie and a cartoon in the 90s. They have their own team. *Please* let's not have any of them join the Avengers again.
  • The X-Men. Movies and cartoons. They have their own team. And we got Wolverine, their most popular member.
  • The Punisher. A movie in the 80s and another recently. Like Blade, it would be silly for him to join a team.

So i don't see what other "big names" they could add to the team. I suppose they could try and make the Hulk work, but that's about it.

I'm not really sure why everyone hates Bendis. I didn't realize that they did. He's the best writer Marvel has had in a long time. He's great with dialogue, and he clearly has a love of the marvel universe. He's been putting his New Avengers in all sorts of traditional Marvel scenarios: a super-villian jail breakout, the savage land, a SHIELD and Hydra encounters, and a fight in Japan the Silver Samurai. Classic stuff.

By fnord12 | December 7, 2005, 12:46 PM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link

December 5, 2005

BellSouth Increases Their Power to Suck


By min | December 5, 2005, 11:14 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

December 2, 2005

Salad Days

John Derbyshire of the National Review feels quite secure in revealing his pedophilic tendencies to all the world it seems:

"It is, in fact, a sad truth about human life that beyond our salad days, very few of us are interesting to look at in the buff. Added to that sadness is the very unfair truth that a woman's salad days are shorter than a man's — really, in this precise context, only from about 15 to 20."

By min | December 2, 2005, 8:17 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

She Wasn't Using Her Face Anyway

Face transplants.  Ew.  It's like that scene in Silence of the Lambs when Hannibal puts on that guys face (never saw the movie.  i just know things).  And the brain dead woman "donated" her face, did she?  What did they do?  Stand over her bed and say "Open your eyes for 'no' and close your eyes for 'yes'?"  I tell you what, if her neurons start firing at some point and she does wake up from her vegetative state, she's not going to be too happy.  No, sir.  She certainly won't be saying "Merci."  Oh, wait.  She hasn't got a mouth anymore.  Guess she won't be saying much of anything, then.  Mebbe if we're lucky, she'll "donate" some other stuff, like kidneys or lungs.  It's sure nice of her to use her body keep those bits fresh for us.

By min | December 2, 2005, 7:05 AM | Science| Link

How Could You Not Love This Guy?

"A review of Alito's work on dozens of cases that raised important social issues found that he rarely supports individual-rights claims."

I wasn't using those rights anyway.  Rights are for pinko commies.

By min | December 2, 2005, 6:49 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

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