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January 31, 2007


Newsweek (found via This Modern World):

Does President Bush have it in for the press corps? Touring a Caterpillar factory in Peoria, Ill., the Commander in Chief got behind the wheel of a giant tractor and played chicken with a few wayward reporters. Wearing a pair of stylish safety glasses--at least more stylish than most safety glasses--Bush got a mini-tour of the factory before delivering remarks on the economy. "I would suggest moving back," Bush said as he climbed into the cab of a massive D-10 tractor. "I'm about to crank this sucker up." As the engine roared to life, White House staffers tried to steer the press corps to safety, but when the tractor lurched forward, they too were forced to scramble for safety."Get out of the way!" a news photographer yelled. "I think he might run us over!" said another. White House aides tried to herd the reporters the right way without getting run over themselves. Even the Secret Service got involved, as one agent began yelling at reporters to get clear of the tractor. Watching the chaos below, Bush looked out the tractor's window and laughed, steering the massive machine into the spot where most of the press corps had been positioned. The episode lasted about a minute, and Bush was still laughing when he pulled to a stop. He gave reporters a thumbs-up. "If you've never driven a D-10, it's the coolest experience," Bush said afterward. Yeah, almost as much fun as seeing your life flash before your eyes.

By fnord12 | January 31, 2007, 4:06 PM | Liberal Outrage & Ummm... Other? | Comments (6) | Link

Is Captain Marvel key to the end of Civil War?

This weekend i read The Return, which brings the long dead Captain Marvel into the Marvel Universe via a dimensional warp from the past. Based on the Mark Gruenwald rules of time travel, which states that whenever you travel backward or forward in time you actually create an alternate dimension (thus eliminating all those messy paradoxes of people changing the past or learning their future), this isn't the "real" Captain Marvel so it's not really a "return".

It was a really bad comic, poorly written, poorly paced, and leaving you with a real feeling of "what's the point?", and i assumed it was just a throw-away time filler because Civil War is running so late. But then after reading a few things on the newsgroups, i remembered that Nitro, the villain whose explosion started the Civil War, was also the man who (inadvertantly) killed Captain Marvel by exposing him to the toxins that gave him cancer.

Now, if you ignore the Gruenwald time travel rules, you could easily imagine a Civil War "reboot" that involves Captain Marvel learning about Nitro giving him cancer and/or starting the Civil War, and when he travels back in time to stop Nitro once and for all, he stops the events that cause Civil War. This would be incredibly lame and judging from the post-Civil War projects that are coming out it doesn't seem likely, but it could be an "out" if fan reaction to the new status quo is very bad.

By fnord12 | January 31, 2007, 1:37 PM | Comics | Comments (10) | Link

People Like to Smoke Crack, Too

It's enjoyable and there's not an alternative product.

The Altria Group, better known as Philip-Morris, is "spinning off" the Kraft portion of the business to shareholders cause they feel that it's really just a drag on their profits.

"Something that is forgotten in all of this is people like to smoke," said David Adelman, a Morgan Stanley analyst, noting that U.S. tobacco stocks have beaten the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index in each of the last six years. "It's enjoyable and there's not an alternative product."

He added: "If frozen dinners get too expensive, people will try something else. That's not true with cigarettes -- you are not up at night worried about that product that is going to make cigarettes obsolete."

One might point out that the reason for this is that cigarettes are addictive. Like crack. Or heroin. Or that other socially acceptable drug - alcohol. So, yeah, i can see how a flunctuation in price might not affect tobacco sales. It's good to capitalize on someone's illness. Afterall, even if you don't, someone else will. You might as well get in on it. At least you donate money to the local charity every christmas.

Now, just because their legally addictive product is doing well all around the world doesn't mean Philip-Morris is resting on its laurels. No, no. They continue to work hard to bring you new and innovative waves to get your nicotine fix.

It also hopes eventually to lure consumers with new tobacco products, including a small tea-bag-like pouch that is smoke- free, spit-free and tucks into the cheek.

And so that you can get an idea of the mentality of the people involved,

"The exciting part for me," said Bonnie Herzog, an analyst at Citigroup, "is that tobacco use today will evolve. It's unlikely that there will ever be a 100 percent safe cigarette, but we feel that a reduced-risk cigarette is on the horizon."

Dear Bonnie. You're an idiot and conscienceless. I hope you don't pass on your genetic material. Enjoy your wealth, you dosey cow.

By min | January 31, 2007, 9:14 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

January 30, 2007

So Very True

Penny Arcade:

You should know that at the mere mention of Mario Party, be it the Eighth Version or any other entry, Gabriel begins to curse and sweat. He is philosophically opposed to what he perceives as the series' communist ideals: between the game's aggressively random nature and its deep-seated compulsion to reward mediocrity, he hardly feels like he's playing a "game" at all. Rather, he feels as though he is flipping a coin via some elaborate, unaccountable mechanism - a single coin that takes an hour to flip. It is his belief that there are other things he could be doing.

For example (and this is just something I came up with off the top of my head) he could be playing a game where his input is correlated with the outcome. In some way.

By fnord12 | January 30, 2007, 5:05 PM | Video Games | Comments (1) | Link

Civil War II

The Super-Hero Registration Act comes to Earth and learns about the human condition.

By fnord12 | January 30, 2007, 4:28 PM | Comics| Link

Bush To End Regulatory Tyranny

Stolen directly from today's TPMmuckraker who stole it...

From The New York Times:

"In an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bush said that each agency must have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to regulated industries. The White House will thus have a gatekeeper in each agency to analyze the costs and the benefits of new rules and to make sure the agencies carry out the president's priorities."

That's right, each agency (like, for instance, the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration) will now have a politically appointed babysitter to make sure that regulations aren't too onerous for corporations. In fact, the directive ensures that regulation is the absolute last resort: "in deciding whether to issue regulations, federal agencies must identify 'the specific market failure' or problem that justifies government intervention."

"Business groups welcomed the executive order," the Times notes, in a terrific understatement.

By min | January 30, 2007, 1:30 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Pink Sheet room, please.

Daily Howler:

MATTHEWS SCANS THE LOBBY: To help you grasp the soul of your "press corps," let's return to the charity event we glancingly described in October 2005. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/24/05. Scroll down to "Culture Corner.") The emcee that night was Kathleen Matthews, then of Washington's Channel 7. On the way out of the Mayflower Hotel, we saw her husband, TV talker Chris Matthews, chatting with DC journo Mark Plotkin. We don't know Plotkin, but we know Chris a tad. So we decided to stop for a chat rather than walking on by.

"Tough crowd tonight," we thoughtfully said. Chris then offered us a look at the odd soul of the Washington press corps. His eyes stared past ours, scanning the Mayflower's block-long lobby in a classic thousand-yard stare. "I just saw the most incredible prostitute," he weirdly said. (Instead of "prostitute," he may have said "hooker.")

To Plotkin's credit - again, we don't know him - he seemed to be just as surprised as we were by Chris' oddball comment. But Chris wasn't through with his weird discussion; his eyes continued to scan the long hall as he said something like, "Yeah, you have to ask for the 'pink sheet' rooms when you check in." (Not an exact quote.) At no point did Plotkin seem to think that this was a recognizable topic. For ourselves, we'd have to say it was the strangest thing any man has ever said to us. No, it simply isn't our experience that men make such weird comments to other men - much less, to men whom they barely know. Men like Matthews apparently think that this is standard male discussion. (We googled and Nexised "pink sheet" the next day. We found no usage which conformed to what Chris had said.)

By fnord12 | January 30, 2007, 1:28 PM | Liberal Outrage & Ummm... Other?| Link


I blame the brain hemorrhaging.

A high school lunch period was disrupted Monday by a greased, naked student who ran around screaming and flailing his arms until police twice used a stun gun on him, authorities said.

Taylor Killian, 18, had rubbed his body with grapeseed oil to keep from being caught, and got up after the first time he was shocked to continue running toward a group of frightened students huddled in a corner at Westerville North High School, Lt. Jeff Gaylor said.

"That prank went a little farther than he intended, I guess," Gaylor said.


And, no, i didn't get this from the Oddly Enoughs this time. I was on a respectable site. TPM. So there. :P

By min | January 30, 2007, 1:25 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

My Brain Bleeds for You

Vaginal birth increases the risk of brain haemorrhage in newborns, a new study suggests. But it is unclear if the early bleeding causes problems with subsequent child development, so natural births should not be eschewed in favour of caesarean sections, experts warn.


I would have preferred if they said caesareans decrease the risk of brain haemorrhaging because stated this way, it makes it sound like vaginal births are the new thing. "This new way of giving birth is actually riskier than the good ol' caesarean."

Also, they're saying how this bleeding of the brain could be leading to developmental problems. Well, considering how many babies were born vaginally since the dawn of time, i'm thinking it can't be new problems that are just now occurring. Not that we shouldn't try to prevent brain haemorrhaging. I'm sure less bleeding of the brain can only be a good thing. Ofc, now that this has been discovered, it explains why so many people are afflicted with stupid.

Who's surprised that squeezing a baby's head thru a tiny canal (no matter how much stretching there is) might actually cause a tiny bit of damage? Duh.

That's all.

By min | January 30, 2007, 12:56 PM | Science| Link

The Police, Again

Or is it gonna be "Sting & the Police"? Hmm....

Previously rumored and now publicly confirmed, The Police are going to get together to open for the Grammy Awards. They're also planning on doing a world tour. How many shows do you think they'll get thru before they break up again? And do you think any trips to the emergency room will precipitate the break up or do you think they'll manage to refrain from beating the crap out of each other in frustration?

By min | January 30, 2007, 12:51 PM | Music | Comments (1) | Link

Feingold Taking a Stance

Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin is leading a hearing today in the Judiciary Committee about a topic that makes many of his fellow Democrats squirm: using the power of the purse to bring an end to the Iraq war.

For all the harsh criticism against President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq, most Democrats blanch at the notion of cutting funding for new troops. Not Mr. Feingold, who believes his party has been too timid on this front. This is how Mr. Feingold opened the hearing:

"There is little doubt that decisive action from the Congress is needed. Despite the results of the election, and two months of study and supposed consultation -- during which experts and members of Congress from across the political spectrum argued for a new policy -- the president has decided to escalate the war. When asked whether he would persist in this policy despite congressional opposition, he replied: 'Frankly, that's not their responsibility.'

Last week Vice President Cheney was asked whether the non-binding resolution passed by the Foreign Relations Committee that will soon be considered by the full Senate would deter the President from escalating the war. He replied: 'It's not going to stop us.'"


This coincides with Bush being the "decider" and Cheney's statement that he's the VP and you're not. I love snappy comebacks.

I'm happy to see someone actually making a tough stance. I just fear that instead of getting behind this in a united front, the Dems instead will try to distance themselves from the "radical". Hey, guys, it's not high school anymore. You don't have to impress the popular kids and shun the "nerds".

I really really really hope they get the marketing to work for them on this one. Feingold has already stated that this will not affect the troops' supplies and salaries. It will only prevent more deployment of soldiers. They really need to push that meme because the neo-con PR machine is already in place and very good and dealing out misinformation to the willfully misinformed. The Democrats need to put up a united front on this with no holdouts on their side and they need to make sure they work the media machine. Fast. As i was told, even if you have the superior product, you can lose out because the inferior product had the better marketing. 8 years of Bush is a harsh price to pay for poor marketing decisions. Have they learned their lesson? Are we cutting thru the bozone* layer? I have no high expectations, but i would like to be pleasantly surprised.

Edwards has already introduced legislation to do the same. That's 2. And one of them running for president. Hope this lights a fire under the fence straddlers.


*bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating.

By min | January 30, 2007, 12:33 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Good Enough

Bridge the Gap, a non-profit org specializing in nuclear safety issues, sent a proposal to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 2004 to toughen up their security measures and to build steel cages around nuclear reactors in an effort to deflect the impact of a plane. The NRC's response?

NRC officials said the requested precautions are not needed because reactors already have ``adequate protection'' against attacks by airliners.
...enhanced firefighting and evacuation procedures put in place after 2001 are sufficient to deal with potential releases of radiation from fires and explosions. NRC officials said protections against air attack -- fighter planes and anti-aircraft weapons -- are the primary responsibility of other federal organizations, such as the military.

Now, i haven't read Bridge the Gap's proposals nor do i know anything about nuclear power plant safety. Mebbe their proposal is completely wacky and impractical. Mebbe steel cages is not going to do squat against a jetliner. How should i know?

I just want to point out that the NRC's response is not exactly reassuring. It boils down to "good enough" and "not our responsibility". I guess none of the NRC officials live near a nuclear reactor so it doesn't really matter much to them either way. Thanks guys. Good lookin' out.

By min | January 30, 2007, 12:24 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

January 29, 2007

Service Announcement

I am obligated to publish this link that Wanyas forwarded to me so that all in my D&D coven group know what they have gotten themselves into:

William Schnoebelen, author of several books and articles on occult witchcraft, says this is a suitable comparison. Since D&D is rooted in magic, Schnoebelen describes magic as a "kind of spiritual lust...It is, however subtle, an itch for power. Magic, at its root, is about power and about rebellion. It is about not liking how God runs the universe and thinking you can do a better job yourself."

"This is not just chess, football or bridge. This is a game that envelops the player in an entirely different fantasy world in which the power of magic and violence is pervasive. It is a game with a distinct and seductive spiritual worldview that is diametrically opposed to the Bible.

"Yes, sorcery appears in the Bible. But it is NEVER in the context of a good thing to do. It is always presented as something dangerous and utterly contrary to the will of God," says Schnoebelen.

Click the link to learn how the goal of D&D is "to see who could obtain the most erotic pleasure."

And as a bonus, there's a link on the bottom of the page where you can learn about Wicca, Satan's little white lie.

By fnord12 | January 29, 2007, 6:39 PM | D&D | Comments (2) | Link

From TV to Movie

Name actors and actresses who started off in TV and moved on to achieve movie success. For example, Bruce Willis from TV's Moonlighting, Johnny Depp from 21 Jump Street, Tom Hanks from Bosom Buddies, etc. Comediens and musicians do not qualify (e.g., Adam Sandler, Will Smith, etc.) because it's possible their movie career was helped by their success in this other category.

They must have at least been a main character in some TV series before moving on to movie stardom. So Brad Pitt's 2 appearances on Growing Pains would not count as being "in TV". Movie success would constitute having a minimum of 3, non-serial movies that were well-received by the public. In other words, a "successful" movie. For this reason, a Jennifer Aniston or a Sarah Michelle Gellar might not make the list, even though they have been in several movies. However, feel free to argue for your choices.

We reserve the right to reject anyone you can think of based on random judgements and lack of familiarity with either the person or their body of work.

I've already started you off with three. Now you may begin.

By min | January 29, 2007, 1:26 PM | Movies & TeeVee | Comments (25) | Link

The Kaiser Network

I don't know who they are or what they do. But they're they Kaiser Network, ferchrissakes. The Kaiser.

By min | January 29, 2007, 1:20 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Anti-depressant Leads to Suicides

Seems to me that if an anti-depressant can lead to someone committing suicide, it's not a very good anti-depressant, is it?

GlaxoSmithKline is going to get slammed on a British expose for withholding the results of their clinical trials, advertising the drug as safe for children when the test results showed otherwise.

GSK was forced to reveal its confidential internal archives after many families in the US had sued the company over the death of their children due to consuming the drug. Karen Barth Menzies, whose firm represents one of the families, said that GSK continued to say that the drug was safe for children even when results proved the contrary.
When Panorama reporter Shelley Jofre searched the confidential archives, she was shocked to find many of the letters that she had sent to Dr Ryan [a child psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh who was the co-author on GSK's study] asking about the safety of the drug among children. Dr Ryan had simply forwarded the mails to GSK officials asking for suggestions for the replies.

Jofre also found an email in which a public relations executive for GSK clearly said that the drug was not effective among children. "Originally we had planned to do extensive media relations surrounding this study until we actually viewed the results. Essentially the study did not really show it was effective in treating adolescent depression, which is not something we want to publicize", the email read.

Meanwhile a spokesman for GSK said that his company denies of any wrongdoing...GSK utterly rejects any suggestion that it has improperly withheld drug trial information", he said.

That's right. They very properly withheld the drug trial information, following the guidelilnes listed in the Pharmaceutical Drug-Pusher's Handbook: A Guide to Successfully Selling Your Merchandise to the Public. It's always worked well for their drugs in the past, and every pharmaceutical corporation swears by it.

By min | January 29, 2007, 12:50 PM | Science| Link

Battle Royale

If you're anything like me, there's nothing you like more than watching Japanese teenagers kill each other. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of opportunities to see things like that. Sure you could probably kidnap a few kids and arrange something yourself, but that's frowned upon by the law in most states. Luckily, director Kinji Fukasaku feels your pain and created Battle Royale just for you. While it has the flimsiest plot this side of a Godzilla/porn movie*, it's got Japanese teenagers killing each other. And that's really all you need. And best of all, the sequel is already at the top of the queue.

*Next time you're visiting, ask to see my fine collection of Godzilla porn movies.

By fnord12 | January 29, 2007, 9:12 AM | Movies | Comments (4) | Link

Free Woody

Looks like there's a Woody Woodpecker DVD set on its way this summer (if you can trust internet message boards):

Jerry: I have just convinced them to at least try to put out a Woody Woodpecker and friends DVD the right way, uncut, restored and, not only that, I've gone even further than I thought I would with them. It's going to come out in summer, in June, actually in July and it's going to have like the first forty-five Woody Woodpeckers, which are the good ones, you know, all the 1940s ones where he's really crazy. And then we're going to have these classic four Tex Avery cartoons that Avery did in the 50s are going to be on here. We're going to have some 1930s Oswalds and Pooch the Pup and we're going to have some of the 1940s Swing Symphony cartoons. So it's going to be a real rounded package. It's going to have about seventy-five cartoons on it and it's--I was totally programmed that if they never put out anything again, then all the ones I really want them to restore and to make available will be there and I think everyone will go with me on that, I think you'll trust me on that, that these are the ones you really want.

But you shoud go sign the Woody Woodpecker on DVD petition just to be safe.

By fnord12 | January 29, 2007, 9:09 AM | TeeVee| Link

January 26, 2007

Voted to eliminate the minimum wage:


Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lott (R-MS)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Sununu (R-NH)
Thomas (R-WY)

By fnord12 | January 26, 2007, 12:42 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Even Crack Dealers Care About the Constitution

As Josh Marshall put it.

An Arkansas lawyer has risen to challenge the law which allows the administration to circumvent Senate approval when installing new U.S. Attorneys.

On behalf of his client, an alleged crack cocaine dealer who's accused of killing a man he'd robbed to prevent him from talking to the police, Little Rock lawyer John Hall has challenged the appointment of Timothy Griffin, the recently-appointed U.S. Attorney for eastern Arkansas with close ties to the White House.

Meanwhile in the Senate, Schumer (D-NY) is moving to have a Judiciary Committee hearing on the firings and appointments of Attorney Generals by Gonzalez and Feinstein (D-CA) (along with Specter, R-PA) is working to get a bill thru to close this loophole. Ofc, Specter was responsible for the loophole being there in the first place, but i guess he gets points for cleaning up his mess.

By min | January 26, 2007, 12:34 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Manufacturing Consent

From Dana Milbank at the Washington Post:

Memo to Tim Russert: Dick Cheney thinks he controls you.

This delicious morsel about the "Meet the Press" host and the vice president was part of the extensive dish Cathie Martin served up yesterday when the former Cheney communications director took the stand in the perjury trial of former Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Flashed on the courtroom computer screens were her notes from 2004 about how Cheney could respond to allegations that the Bush administration had played fast and loose with evidence of Iraq's nuclear ambitions. Option 1: "MTP-VP," she wrote, then listed the pros and cons of a vice presidential appearance on the Sunday show. Under "pro," she wrote: "control message."

"I suggested we put the vice president on 'Meet the Press,' which was a tactic we often used," Martin testified. "It's our best format."

(Kos comments:

"How embarrassing for Russert. He's been shown the fool. A mere puppet.

How will he respond?")

More from the Post:

But the trial has already pulled back the curtain on the White House's PR techniques and confirmed some of the darkest suspicions of the reporters upon whom they are used. Relatively junior White House aides run roughshod over members of the president's Cabinet. Bush aides charged with speaking to the public and the media are kept out of the loop on some of the most important issues. And bad news is dumped before the weekend for the sole purpose of burying it.

With a candor that is frowned upon at the White House, Martin explained the use of late-Friday statements. "Fewer people pay attention to it late on Friday," she said. "Fewer people pay attention when it's reported on Saturday."

By fnord12 | January 26, 2007, 8:55 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Make it so

From Americablog:

In an interview, Pelosi also said she was puzzled by what she considered the president's minimalist explanation for his confidence in the new surge of 21,500 U.S. troops that he has presented as the crux of a new "way forward" for U.S. forces in Iraq.

"He's tried this two times - it's failed twice," the California Democrat said. "I asked him at the White House, 'Mr. President, why do you think this time it's going to work?' And he said, 'Because I told them it had to.' "

Asked if the president had elaborated, she added that he simply said, " 'I told them that they had to.' That was the end of it. That's the way it is."

Transcript, including punchline:

PELOSI: He's tried this two times - it's failed twice. I asked him at the White House, 'Mr. President, why do you think this time it's going to work?'

BUSH: Because I told them it had to.

PELOSI: Why didn't you tell them that the other two times?

By fnord12 | January 26, 2007, 8:51 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

January 25, 2007

I know what's best for you, so shut up.


The thrust of Cheney's views - in urging the president to ignore politics and maintain a tough course on Iraq - surfaced in an interview he gave last weekend to Chris Wallace of Fox News. Wallace noted that Iraq was a big issue in the November elections, and that exit polls showed only 17 percent of voters supported sending in more troops. What followed was this remarkable exchange:

Q: "By taking the policy you have, haven't you, Mr. Vice President, ignored the expressed will of the American people in the November election?"

The vice president: "Well, Chris, this president, and I don't think any president worth his salt can afford to make decisions of this magnitude according to the polls. The polls change."

Q: "This was an election, sir."

The vice president: "Polls change day by day, week by week."

By fnord12 | January 25, 2007, 12:31 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Very good

Obama supports universal health care. Throw a major project to overhaul mass transportation in this country and maybe the democrats can become the party of ideas.

By fnord12 | January 25, 2007, 11:47 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (3) | Link

No Habeas Corpus For You

Spored sent this lovely little pick-me-up. Attorney General Gonzalez manages to stun the Senate Judiciary Committee with his interpretation of the Constitution.

"The Constitution doesn't say every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas,'' Gonzales told Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.
Gonzales acknowledged that the Constitution declares "habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless ... in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.'' But he insisted that "there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution.''

Specter was incredulous, asking how the Constitution could bar the suspension of a right that didn't exist...

Habeas corpus is an extremely important right for us to have. We're pretty much screwed if they decide we don't automatically have such a right. One law prof quoted puts it pretty plainly.

"This is the key protection that people have if they're held in violation of the law,'' said Erwin Chemerinsky, a Duke University law professor who has criticized the administration's actions on civil liberties. "If there's no habeas corpus, and if the government wants to pick you or me off the street and hold us indefinitely, how do we get our release?''[emphasis mine]

This type of "logic" doesn't just affect habeas corpus. Many of the fundamental rights we hold dear aren't directly stated. They're all bestowed by wording saying it can't be taken away. For instance, the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now apply Gonzalez's version of reasoning to that. See the problem?

The only positive thing that occurred was Specter's exchange with Gonzalez.

Gonzales: There is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution. There's a prohibition against taking it away. ...

Specter: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. The Constitution says you can't take it away except in cases of rebellion or invasion. Doesn't that mean you have the right of habeas corpus unless there's an invasion or rebellion?

Gonzales: I meant by that comment, the Constitution doesn't say every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas. Doesn't say that. It simply says the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except...

Specter: You may be treading on your interdiction and violating common sense, Mr. Attorney General.

By min | January 25, 2007, 11:00 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds*

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.

There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same.

And there's doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school.

And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

*currently used on the Showtime series Weeds, which may or may not actually be kinda good. the jury's still out on that one. i just want points for the actors i recognized.

By min | January 25, 2007, 9:17 AM | Music| Link

Somewhere between cute and freaky-weird

(found on some message board in someone's way-too-big signature)

By fnord12 | January 25, 2007, 9:15 AM | Ummm... Other?| Link

January 24, 2007

Marvel Sales for December

P O'B's analysis up on The Beat.

By fnord12 | January 24, 2007, 5:25 PM | Comics| Link

Good. It's a Majority.

We bring democracy. Democracy good.

Iraq's parliament is at a total standstill.

Nearly every session since November has been adjourned because as few as 65 members made it to work, even as they and the absentees earned salaries and benefits worth about $120,000.
Deals on important legislation, most recently the oil law, now take place largely out of public view, with Parliament -- when it meets -- rubber-stamping the final decisions. As a result, officials said, vital legislation involving the budget, provincial elections and amendments to the Constitution remain trapped in a legislative process that processes nearly nothing. American officials long hoped that Parliament could help foster dialogue between Iraq's increasingly fractured ethnic and religious groups, but that has not happened, either.

They might be earning $120k, but safety is such a huge issue that the salary barely pays for the guards hired by members to protect them. One guy says he has 40 bodyguards and the money only covers 20.

The speaker of the parliament is thinking of trying to clamp down on the rampant absenteeism.

Mr. Mashhadani said Parliament would soon start fining members $400 for every missed session and replace the absentees if they fail to attend a minimum amount of the time.

He hit a slight snag on that, though. He needs a quorum in order to pass the proposal.

By min | January 24, 2007, 10:22 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

January 23, 2007

There won't be any gas left by 2017

So we'll make that goal, easy.

By fnord12 | January 23, 2007, 3:50 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link


schadenfreude [shahd-n-froi-duh] -noun- satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune.

By min | January 23, 2007, 2:56 PM | Good Words | Comments (1) | Link

End the war from the comfort of your own home

Sign up. It's 15 bucks a month. You won't even notice that it's gone.

Tonight, George W. Bush will use the State of the Union to push his outrageous plan for escalation in Iraq.

So we're launching our own massive escalation. More pressure on Congress, more voices calling on Democrats to stand up to the president, more Americans opposed to the war.

It'll cost about $90,000 per month for the resources required - including skilled staff organizers deployed around the country. If 6,000 of us chip in $15 a month, we can do it. Can you give $15 a month to end the war?

By fnord12 | January 23, 2007, 11:46 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

January 22, 2007

Alright, i've had it

I challenge all of you to a knife fight. One on one or all at a time. Let's go! No one licks me in a knife fight.

By fnord12 | January 22, 2007, 1:44 PM | My stupid life | Comments (6) | Link

January 19, 2007

No really, it's called the Constitution

I appreciate Mr. Freedom Fries trying to make amends, but don't we already have something for this?:

THE IRAN QUESTION. It's unclear if this will go anywhere, but it's still worth noting: Ari Berman tells us about new legislation introduced today that would require President Bush to gain congressional approval for any military action against Iran. Good for Walter "Freedom Fries" Jones, who's pushing the bill.

Follow up from the article Tapped links to:

"Our constitution states that--while the Commander in Chief has the power to conduct wars--only Congress has the power to authorize war," Jones said at a press conference today. "It's time for Congress to meet its Constitutional responsibility...This legislation makes it crystal clear that no previous resolution passed by Congress authorizes such a use of force [against Iran]."

Such a basic expression of the separation of powers should be obvious. But with the Bush Administration, one never knows. So H.J. Res 14 spells it out. "This resolution says a strong message that Congress won't stand idly by and it won't get railroaded into another war that will only make America and the world less safe," said Rep. Marty Meehan. "A lot of people in Congress are fearful that this war will expand," added Rep. Ron Paul. Containing an expansion of the war, said Rep. Neil Abercrombie, is "the most important issue this Congress will face aside from Iraq."

They're basically pushing through a law that says "You have to follow the Constitution". (Of course Bush can still do whatever he wants after the law is passed, with the proper signing statement.)

I'm not feeling secure about the whole democratic process today.

By fnord12 | January 19, 2007, 2:52 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

My hobbies are not like your hobbies.

You know you're doing things right when you're slogging through comments like this:

Okay, WI?* (v2) 33, which diverged with UXM* 137, established that Rachel Summers was conceived during UXM 132. This is assuming temporal parallelism, but Rachel was noted as being nine months old during the events of Secret Wars I, which means that they took place eighteen months after Kitty joined the team.

Yeah, but assuming temporal parallelism gets you into all kinds of trouble.

*What If?
**Uncanny X-Men

By fnord12 | January 19, 2007, 2:44 PM | Comics| Link


Rutgers came out with a paper called Life Without Children. It's about how fewer married couples have children. It talks about how society has changed, how the perception of parenthood has changed in our culture, and how more old people are having sex.

Besides feeling vindicated, I found some things in the paper to be quite interesting.

Increasingly, Americans see the years spent in active child rearing as a grueling experience, imposing financial burdens, onerous responsibilities, emotional stress, and strains on marital happiness.
Troublingly, too, married couples now see children as an obstacle to their marital happiness. According to one recent review of over 90 studies of marital satisfaction, married parents report lower quality relationships than married couples without children. Psychological problems are also plaguing parents. A study of 13,000 U.S. adults finds that parents are more likely to be depressed than nonparents. In his study of parenthood, historian Peter Stearns makes an even broader claim: the defining characteristic of contemporary American parenthood, he writes, is anxiety.

I feel this is all totally right. Kids are stressful and hard work. The possibility for cuteness doesn't really outweigh all of that, imo. Plus, they often look like worms or shrunken old people for the first couple of months right after they're born. Even after the first couple of months when they stop being shrivelled, they might still not be cute. Some kids, just like some people, are destined to be fugly. I think most people are shallow enough to care.

Also, considering my personality, there's just no way i couldn't be disappointed in my child. I have been told by one or two people that i have a somewhat exacting nature. No sense in raising a kid with some sort of neurosis. That would just be mean.

What's more, contemporary motherhood now threatens contemporary marriage. Most Americans today don't marry in order to have children. They marry in order to have an enduring relationship of love, friendship and emotional intimacy. Achieving this new marital ideal takes high levels of time, attention and vigilance. Like new babies, contemporary marriages have to be nurtured and coddled in order to thrive. The problem is that once a real baby comes along, the time, the effort and energy that goes into nurturing the relationship goes into nurturing the infant. As a result, marriages can become less happy and satisfying during the child-rearing years.

It was all working perfectly fine when people didn't expect to be happy in their marriage. Young people today are spoiled by their romantic ideals. They need to grow up and be more realistic. Marriage is supposed to be miserable. That's why you have kids. So you don't have time to dwell on how miserable you are. And when the kids move out, you're supposed to drop dead.

Until very recently, the adult life course was thought to consist of two stages: parenthood and old age. Parenthood dominated the larger share of one's adult life. Old age occupied the lesser share. The years surrounding these two stages were transitional. Life before children was a brief time between the end of formal schooling and the beginning of marriage and family life. Likewise, life after children marked the end of productive adulthood and the beginning of a descent into enfeebled old age.

Today's older generation is not complying. They aren't getting enfeebled and dead fast enough. They're actually having lives. And sex.

"The years of life after children are not only more numerous. They are also healthier. It's no longer the case that the emptying of the nest is followed soon after by the arrival of the rocking chair, much less the hearse. After the children leave home, many adults will have decades of vitality before they begin to experience debilitating health problems."

"Sex is now part of the fun and freedom of the early adult years before children. Similarly, sex has become part of the pleasures of life after children. Many of today's parents are entering the empty nest years with subscriptions to Match.com, prescriptions for Viagra and hopes for hot new romances."

Jazmine's response to that last bit was predictably "Ew."

Finally, high levels of educational attainment contribute to childlessness. Women who hold four-year college degrees are more likely to be childless than women with lower levels of educational attainment.

Apparently, the Mormons in Utah were right all along. Women should be kept ignorant so that they'll spend their time churning out babies like god intended, dammit! This whole education thing is messing things up.

You know, my parents might kick themselves if they knew about that last bit. To think, all that pushing for me to do well in school has contributed to their current lack of grandparent status. Hmm.

I thought about printing this paper out and handing out copies to my relatives, but fnord12 said, "They don't care, they want babies! Your happiness has nothing to do with it". He's almost right. They do want babies. But they do care about my happiness. It's just that they're convinced that it's tied inexorably to babies. Mostly, so there'll be someone to take care of your enfeebled, old self.

Also, i hear that another benefit of having kids is you can ask them to record things off the cable for you. Very convincing argument. My mom almost had me with that one. So close.

By min | January 19, 2007, 12:01 PM | My stupid life | Comments (12) | Link

Social Security Panic....again

Just in time for another attempt to privatise social security.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the U S government may face a "fiscal crisis" in the coming decades if it fails to deal with the rising costs of retirement and medical benefits for the aging population.
Under Congressional Budget Office projections, the ratio of federal debt held by the public to gross domestic product will rise to about 100 percent in 2030 and "grow exponentially after that," from about 37 percent now, Bernanke said.


There's clearly only one solution. The Logan's Run solution. It's not like most of us care about the elderly anyway. The freak us out with their obvious mortality.

By min | January 19, 2007, 9:49 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

Cigarettes Made More Addictive Deliberately?

A Harvard study concluding that cigarette makers have for years deliberately increased nicotine levels in cigarettes to make them more addictive led to renewed calls Thursday for greater federal oversight of the industry.


Gee, i find that so hard to believe. Why would the cigarette companies do such a thing?

Needless to say, Phillip Morris took issue with the study.

By min | January 19, 2007, 9:44 AM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (4) | Link

Ronnie James Dio Lyric of the Week

It's like broken glass
You get cut before you see it

By fnord12 | January 19, 2007, 9:21 AM | Music | Comments (4) | Link

Spirit of Cooperation

I suppose i can hold out hope that they just got it wrong in the translation, but i'm not that optimistic. It's so pathetic that our government can make these statements in earnest without the weight of their hypocrisy crushing them into flat pancakes. China shot down one of their old weather satellites about a week ago. Here is the "intelligent" response our nation is so famous for.

AP quoted analysts as saying that China's weather satellites would travel at about the same altitude as U.S. spy satellites, so the test represented an indirect threat to the U.S. defense system.

"The United States believes China's development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of cooperation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area," AP quoted National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe as saying.

"We and other countries have expressed our concern to the Chinese," he said.
[emphasis mine]

Ok. I don't know if i should laugh or cry in shame. We're going to go and give a lecture about civility and cooperation while in the same breath discuss the satellites we have in orbit to spy on other countries? I'm sure this was reported with absolutely no hint of irony. WTF is wrong with you people?

It gets better. Read on.

AP said President Bush signed an order last October asserting the United States' right to deny adversaries access to space for hostile purposes. As part of the first revision of U.S. space policy in nearly 10 years, the policy also said the U.S. would oppose the development of treaties or other restrictions that seek to prohibit or limit U.S. access to or use of space.

There's nothing more effective for making friends and gaining respect than saying "You're my bitch". Gotta love the "do as i say, not as i do" policy this administration adheres to.

AP said that what drove China to act now remains a mystery.

AP should get its head out of its butt. Mebbe what drove China to "act now" is the sad fact that the United States is being run by a bunch of lunatics and fascists whose diplomatic approach entails such well thought out strategies as "Glass 'em" and "You're either with us or against us" so they figured they ought to be prepared. Or mebbe they were tired of being spied on.

By min | January 19, 2007, 8:35 AM | Liberal Outrage & Science| Link

January 18, 2007

I work hard on this blog. Why can't the troops put just as much effort into their jobs?


And although they all praised the troops before they dissed the troops, we're also starting to see some in the pro-war crowd place the blame for the coming defeat on the troops themselves. Here's NRO's Michael Ledeen slagging the soldiers last week:
Note that an increase in embeds [U.S. troops embedding in Iraqi military units] doesn't necessarily require an increase in overall troop strength. We've got lots of soldiers sitting on megabases all over Iraq. They should be out and about, some of them embedded, others just moving around, tracking the terrorists, hunting them down. I don't know how many guys and gals are sitting in air-conditioned quarters and drinking designer coffee, but it's a substantial number. Enough of that.

Could you imagine the reaction from Ledeen's pals at Pajamas Media if Markos Moulitsas (or God forbid, John Kerry) had said exactly the same thing in the exactly the same context? It would have been a pure shitstorm of indignation. Roger Simon would have written a cute little post about liberal reactionaries that incorporated a Buddy Holly song, Charles Johnson would have cited it as inconvertible proof of the worldwide conspiracy between Islam and The Left to enslave us all using the Vulcan Mindmeld, Glenn Reynolds would have sputtered something about Markos (and/or Kerry) hating America and the troops, while Michelle Malkin synthesized it all into a really stupid post of fifteen or so very small words.

By fnord12 | January 18, 2007, 4:24 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Are you ready to rock???!???

I just want everyone to know that my ipod is currently the hard rock capital of the world. You want Motley Crue? Def Leppard? Judas Priest? Dio? Ratt? Hell, do you want Accept and Manowar? I am rocking all of that.

And i'm a better person for it. Now get your balls to the wall and be my lover tonight. Ummm, or something.

By fnord12 | January 18, 2007, 1:58 PM | Music | Comments (7) | Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

So What by Ministry

"You have had all that money can give you, but that wasn't
enough. You became a thrill-seeker. Kill for the thrill.
(assassin) This thrill-seeking became the one great thing in
your life, planning one thrill on another until the murder. Kill
for the love of killing. (guilty) Kill for the thrill. The
thrill-seeker comes from all walks of life. He comes from the
home, a home where the parents are too busy to treat their children
with respect."

Die! Die! Die! Die!
Scum-suckers! Debility divulged!
Anal fuck-fest, thrill Olympics
Savage scourge supply and sanctify
So what? So what?
So what? So what?
Die! Die! Die! Die!

Die! Die! Die! Die!
You said it!
Sedatives supplied become laxatives
My eyes shit out lies
I only kill to know I'm alive
So what? So what?
So what? So what?
Die! Die! Die! Die!

"Kill for the thrill. (assassin) Some people think newspapers
exaggerate juvenile crime. All that is defined mostly to the
large cities, juvenile delinquency is underlined. Thus parents
think something is going wrong with the environment. Adults
create the world, children live it. Juvenile delinquency is
always rooted in adult delinquency. And in this process, parents
play the key role when children grow up among adults who refuse
to recognize anything that is fine and good, or worthy of

Die! Die! Die! Die!
So what, it's your own problem to learn to live with
Destroy us, or make us slaves
We don't care, it's not our fault that we were born too late
A screaming headache on the promised age
Killing time is appropriate
To make a mess and fuck all the rest, we say, we say
So what? So what?
So what? So what?

Now that I know what it's like,
I'll kill them all if I like
Only time will decide
No one listened to reason,
it's too late and I'm ready to fight
So what? Now I'm ready to fight!
I'm ready to fight! [x4]
Fight! [x4]
So What? [x6]

By fnord12 | January 18, 2007, 7:54 AM | Music| Link


The gas station attendant told me to have a nice weekend. It must be Friday.

By fnord12 | January 18, 2007, 7:53 AM | My stupid life | Comments (2) | Link

January 17, 2007

Worse Than Ballitus

Some radio station hosted a contest where they gave contestants water to drink and whoever held their pee the longest, won a Wii.

Well, a 28-yr old ended up dead from water intoxication because of it.

Contestants were first given eight-ounce (225-millilitre) bottles to drink without going to the toilet. After eight rounds, contestants drank 16-ounce (0.5 litre) bottles.

Ms Strange may have drunk nearly two gallons (7.5 litres), witnesses said.


One of Ms Strange's work colleagues, Laura Rios, said: "She said to one of our supervisors that she was on her way home and her head was hurting her real bad.

"She was crying and that was the last that anyone had heard from her."

Drinking too much water can eventually cause the brain to swell, stopping it regulating vital functions such as breathing, and causing death.

She only came in second.

By min | January 17, 2007, 1:34 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (4) | Link

Doomsday Approacheth

First off, there's a Doomsday Clock??

Second, the scientists in charge of it have decided that the current situation in the world merits moving the minute hand 2 minutes closer to midnight. Great.

The Nobel laureate scientist Stephen Hawking today warned that the world is on the brink of a second nuclear age and a period of unprecedented climate change.

The University of Cambridge mathematician's comments came as the time on the doomsday clock, which counts down to nuclear Armageddon, was moved two minutes closer to midnight, reflecting concerns among scientists over the rise of new nuclear powers.

Climate change was also increasing the threat of catastrophic damage to the planet, academics at the Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists (BAS) said.

How do they determine how many minutes to move the clock? What is the scale they're using? I'd like to see some of that math.

This is all very nice and symbolic and everything, but is the best this group of scientists, which includes 18 Nobel laureates, can do is move the hand on some clock and put a picture of it on a magazine? That's so sad and totally useless. It makes me think of a group of sad, bent old men working together to push a giant minute hand on a huge clock deep in a pit while the rest of the world ignores or jeers at them.

By min | January 17, 2007, 1:13 PM | Science | Comments (4) | Link

We're number 53! We're number 53!

Alright! We have the 53rd most free press in the world! Take that, islamofascists! Democracies and open societies will always prevail!


The United States (53rd) has fallen nine places since last year, after being in 17th position in the first year of the Index, in 2002. Relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of "national security" to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his "war on terrorism." The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 US states, refuse to recognise the media's right not to reveal its sources, even threatens journalists whose investigations have no connection at all with terrorism.

Freelance journalist and blogger Josh Wolf was imprisoned when he refused to hand over his video archives. Sudanese cameraman Sami al-Haj, who works for the pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera, has been held without trial since June 2002 at the US military base at Guantanamo, and Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been held by US authorities in Iraq since April this year.

By fnord12 | January 17, 2007, 9:53 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link


In an article i was reading yesterday, it was mentioned in passing that we've spent more money on the Iraq invasion so far than has ever been spent on researching a cure for cancer.

And amazingly, we have less to show for it. At least our cancer research hasn't made cancer worse (unless you count mammograms).

*I was going to do a title that did something with cancer cells vs. terrorist cells but i couldn't think of anything good and the Iraq invasion had nothing to do with terrorism anyway.

By fnord12 | January 17, 2007, 9:46 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

January 16, 2007

That wasn't exactly the top question on my mind.


SCOTT PELLEY: Do you think you owe the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job?
BUSH: That we didn't do a better job or they didn't do a better job?
PELLEY: Well, that the United States did not do a better job in providing security after the invasion.
BUSH: Not at all. I am proud of the efforts we did. We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude, and I believe most Iraqis express that. I mean, the people understand that we've endured great sacrifice to help them. That's the problem here in America. They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that's significant enough in Iraq.
PELLEY: Americans wonder whether . . .
BUSH: Yeah, they wonder whether or not the Iraqis are willing to do hard work.

By fnord12 | January 16, 2007, 12:38 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

January 11, 2007

It was never about the oil


Iraq's massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days.

The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.

The huge potential prizes for Western firms will give ammunition to critics who say the Iraq war was fought for oil. They point to statements such as one from Vice-President Dick Cheney, who said in 1999, while he was still chief executive of the oil services company Halliburton, that the world would need an additional 50 million barrels of oil a day by 2010. "So where is the oil going to come from?... The Middle East, with two-thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies," he said.

Here's a good line (You have to appreciate British snark):

Oil industry executives and analysts say the law, which would permit Western companies to pocket up to three-quarters of profits in the early years, is the only way to get Iraq's oil industry back on its feet after years of sanctions, war and loss of expertise.

Yep, oil industry executives say this is the only way to help the Iraqis. They're doing this for the Iraqi people's own good.

Opponents say Iraq, where oil accounts for 95 per cent of the economy, is being forced to surrender an unacceptable degree of sovereignty.

Proposing the parliamentary motion for war in 2003, Tony Blair denied the "false claim" that "we want to seize" Iraq's oil revenues. He said the money should be put into a trust fund, run by the UN, for the Iraqis, but the idea came to nothing. The same year Colin Powell, then Secretary of State, said: "It cost a great deal of money to prosecute this war. But the oil of the Iraqi people belongs to the Iraqi people; it is their wealth, it will be used for their benefit. So we did not do it for oil."

I think they've been waiting for things to "settle down" over there but that's not happening and they see that their time is running out so they're just gonna open things up now. Of course, since things aren't "settled down", these oil companies will need protection in order to extract the oil. They have two choices: 1) Hire private armies, bringing us even closer to a dystopian future where corporations are more powerful than governments or 2) Let the US army protect them, which puts our troops in the line of fire so that oil executives can have their profits (oh wait, that's been going on for years).

By fnord12 | January 11, 2007, 1:18 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

The First 100 Hours

Oh god yes let the Republicans filibuster a minimum wage increase.

By fnord12 | January 11, 2007, 1:07 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

The Canadians Are Spying On Us

Or mebbe it's the French. Or the Russians. Or the Chinese. Actually, it's prolly not the Canadians. Yeah. Prolly not them.

Link c/o nsxt290.

In a U.S. government warning high on the creepiness scale, the Defense Department cautioned its American contractors over what it described as a new espionage threat: Canadian coins with tiny radio frequency transmitters hidden inside.

The government said the mysterious coins were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors traveled through Canada.

ntelligence and technology experts said such transmitters, if they exist, could be used to surreptitiously track the movements of people carrying the spy coins.

The U.S. report doesn't suggest who might be tracking American defense contractors or why. It also doesn't describe how the Pentagon discovered the ruse, how the transmitters might function or even which Canadian currency contained them.


The government insists the incidents happened, and the risk was genuine.
[emphasis mine]

What an odd thing to say.
"I swear. REALLY. It's all true. All of it."
As if the government would ever make something up. Pshaw.

Experts said hiding tracking technology inside coins is fraught with risks because the spy's target might inadvertently give away the coin or spend it buying coffee or a newspaper.
"It wouldn't seem to be the best place to put something like that; you'd want to put it in something that wouldn't be left behind or spent," said Jeff Richelson, a researcher and author of books about the CIA and its gadgets. "It doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense."

But then again, a coin would be something that wouldn't seem suspicious in the least to find in your stuff.

By min | January 11, 2007, 9:47 AM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (1) | Link


"George W. Bush spoke with all the confidence of a perp in a police lineup. I first interviewed the guy in 1987 and began covering his political rise in 1993, and I have never seen him, in public or private, look less convincing, less sure of himself, less cocky. With his knitted brow and stricken features, he looked, well, scared. Not surprising since what he was doing in the White House library was announcing the escalation of an unpopular war." - Howard Fineman, MSNBC
[--emphasis mine]


Personally, i can't stand looking at the guy, let alone listening to him make a speech for over an hour (i'm assuming it was over an hour. i know it takes him at least that long to say "uh.....fluff buh?"), so i appreciate it when others take one for the team and not only sacrifice their time to sit there while Bush talks, but actually pay attention to the words coming out of his mouth. Thank you.

By min | January 11, 2007, 9:21 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

Age of Greed by Killing Joke

Ten percent of the land
Is the hand that pulls the strings
Be the privileged few (to have to own to hold)
Power over the people yes yes
Power over people
Be the privileged few to have to own to hold
Money property assets before lives
Green gestures of a dying planet
An endless debate only too late
An appetite for gluttony
The only way is up the only way is up
But when you are up you have to try and stay there
So you stamp and cheat on people
Champagne breakfasts (rewards for the killing)
And a fast waist bulging
Indulging, in what you call good living
But most of all there is too much fat on your heart - pig
A lifestyle of cholesterol
Cross collateralized cholesterol
Saving what's left from profit margin
For what?
I'll tell you what for
For some irrelevant conscience easing charity - Why?
Just to justify! Just to justify!
Look at this utopia
A society based on solid foundations
Educate our children - educate them well
To feather the nest and fuck the rest
(Yes yes feather the nest and fuck the rest)
The waste expands
(As your waist expands)
While others stand at the back of the queue
I mean you
Still the same old security
For your creature comforts
Exchanging the hours of your life
For the cash you've already spent
Eating rubbish so you can pay the rent
Table wine once a week if you're lucky
In comparison
Privatise the people's lives
Be part of the company (or fade!)
The appliance of science to privatise their lives
Water is our business
Electricity is our business
Gas is our business
Lives are our business
Business is our business
Your money - my time
Your stinking industrial bathwater - my wine
Imbalance induces hate
How will you fill the gap
Between the endless buffet
And the scraps of food I have
I feel hate I feel hate
I feel hate I feel hate
(Don't be afraid to show your hate, hate!)
You just treat me like a commodity
You didn't know I couldn't even afford to feed my family
I just want to kill
I just want to take a gun
And put it to your head
And pull the trigger

By fnord12 | January 11, 2007, 9:12 AM | Music| Link

Cancer Research

I don't follow it at all, so mebbe this sort of thing is common. But it just seems odd to me to read about two discoveries related to treating cancer happening so close together. I'm paranoid that way. Get over it. So, earlier this week was the guy who figured out how to filter cancer cells out of the blood. Now this:

Researchers discovered that a large protein, which forms a protective shield around cancer cells and prevents them from causing secondary tumours, is attacked by a small protein that exists in the blood.
Dr Lu-Gang Yu, from the University's School of Clinical Sciences, explains: "MUC1 on the cell surface prevents the cancer cells from attaching to the blood vessel wall which causes secondary tumours. We have discovered that a small protein called galectin-3, attacks MUC1 and breaks up its protective shield, forcing large areas of the cancer cell to become exposed. The exposed areas of the cell allow the cancer to attach to the blood vessel wall. The cancer cells then eventually penetrate the blood wall to form tumours at secondary sites.

What the hell's going on? What's with the surge in discoveries of late? Or have i just been missing all the other ones since talk about proteins and vessel walls is hardly an exciting topic? Or mebbe they have to get this problem off the table to make way for the next big bringer of death. I am the Bringer of Good Cheer.

Cancer's been a big problem for a long time. The American Cancer Society prolly gets tons of money donated to them for research and still they haven't been able to come up with a cure. My paranoid side says this is because more money can be made from treating cancer than it can from curing cancer. There hasn't really been a cure for anything discovered since polio in 1955. What the hell are they doing with all that research money? Redecorating?

Mebbe next week i'll read about the discovery of a way to protect MUC1 from galectin-3 and how the filter can be used to capture cancer cells and coat them in MUC1. I can't wait.

By min | January 11, 2007, 8:55 AM | Science| Link

January 10, 2007


Yesterday my cat Jimi died. He was almost 16 years old which means he had been around for half my life.

Today i am sad and feeling old.

By fnord12 | January 10, 2007, 10:03 AM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link

January 9, 2007

All The Wrong People Owning Guns

Two high school students got shot in Vegas by someone suffering from road rage.

"This was not a school shooting. It was a road rage incident that occurred a couple of blocks from the school and just happened to end at the high school," Montoya said.

Montoya said the shooter and a student at the school nearly collided at a nearby gas station and the two drivers exchanged angry words. The shooter then followed the student to Western High School, outside downtown Las Vegas.

"The suspect followed the car as it went into the high school parking lot and fired 4-7 shots, hitting one of the student passengers and an unrelated female who happened to be in the parking lot at the time," Montoya said.

Too bad the guy wasn't equipped with a taser instead. I hear "they save lives by reducing the use of firearms." Except for the part where some people have died after a taser was used on them.

The gun has however been at the centre of fresh controversy this weekend over the death of a man in Florida after police used a Taser to subdue him.

Its use by police in the UK has also sparked debate. Late last year a man in the north of the country died three days after being shot with a Taser.


Amnesty International has long campaigned against the use of Tasers, arguing they have been linked to more than 150 deaths in the USA and Canada since 2001.


Mebbe in addition to a criminal background check, they should make people who want weapons to go through a mental health check. I'm pretty sure i don't want you having a gun or a taser if you're crazy even if you never committed a crime before.

Actually, i'm pretty sure most people are crazy and stupid, so mebbe none of you should have weapons. If the government can make you wear seatbelts for your own good, they should also keep you from having firearms for the same reason.

By min | January 9, 2007, 2:11 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link

January 8, 2007

Cancer Cell Filter

Scientist came up with a way to filter cancer cells and stem cells out of blood. He has figured out what types of proteins attract cancer cells and stem cells. By coating tubes with a particular protein and running blood through the tube, they can get those cells to stick to the walls and either give them a trigger to destroy themselves or harvest them.

This procedure can be done in vivo (in the body) or in vitro (outside). The thinking is that such a device could be implanted in the body prior to surgery to remove a tumor because the surgery usually causes cancer cells to be released into the body. The filter could then capture and destroy the cancer cells instead of allowing them to flow thru the body, causing metastasis - cancer cells spreading from the primary location to a seconary location and forming a new tumor.

So, how much do you want to bet that if this new discovery really works as well as they say, it will be sparingly used and will cost an atrocious amount and your insurance company won't touch it? Wouldn't want to really find a way to keep cancer from getting bad. That would cut into the pharmaceuticals' profit margins.

By min | January 8, 2007, 3:17 PM | Science| Link

January 5, 2007

Pillow Angel

This 9-year old girl has a mental disability that leaves her with the mental ability of a 3-month old. She can't walk. She can't talk. She can't feed herself. Her parents decided to have her given hormones to limit her height and weight and had her uterus and breast buds removed. They said that they did this so she can have a better life. Her perpetual child-like size will definitely make it easier for them to care for her as she gets older. And without a uterus, no worries about menstruation or pregnancy should she get assaulted.

Their decision has caused a debate about the ethics of it. What i'm wondering is did they know before she was born that she would have this mental condition and if so, why did they carry the pregnancy to term? Not everybody likes the idea of abortion, but what kind of life is this girl having? Even if she wasn't given hormones and still had her uterus and breasts, what kind of life could she have? Is this better? Is this right?

But mebbe it's not something you can know ahead of time. And then her parents have to make the best of the situation. Gone are the days of Vikings where a weak child could be left outside and not have it considered inhumane, and murder besides. In a cold and practical light, how can they not make decisions that would make it easier for them to care for her? They seem to be committed to caring for her for the rest of their lives. Considering the health care system and what it takes for people to care for a disabled family member, can you really blame them for their decision?

The extent of my knowledge of this case is what i've read in a couple of articles that basically report the same thing. So if there's other info, i'd like to know. With just the info i have now, i'm not ready to condemn her parents on a breach of ethics.

By min | January 5, 2007, 3:32 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (3) | Link

Marvel Sales Analysis!

Paul O'Brien's November Marvel sales analysis.

By fnord12 | January 5, 2007, 3:28 PM | Comics| Link

People scare me


Among other predictions for the U.S. in 2007:

_35 percent predict the military draft will be reinstated.

_35 percent predict a cure for cancer will be found.

_25 percent anticipate the second coming of Jesus Christ.

_19 percent think scientists are likely to find evidence of extraterrestrial life.

By fnord12 | January 5, 2007, 3:14 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Bush Reading Your Mail

What the hell is the deal with these "signing statements" anyway? Why the hell is he allowed to get away with that crap?

In signing the postal legislation last month, Mr. Bush said that its restrictions on opening mail should be construed "in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent permissible, with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances, such as to protect human life and safety against hazardous materials, and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection."

The law generally prohibits opening first class mail without a warrant unless "there is credible evidence that a package contains a bomb or other dangerous material." I guess Bush and Co. are taking "dangerous material" to mean "foreign intelligence". Or anti-Bush propaganda. Or pro-choice propaganda. Or propaganda on keeping schools and government secular. At least Mussolini made sure the trains were on time.

By min | January 5, 2007, 1:42 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Hiya kids!

I'm sorry this image is so big, but i don't have photoshop at work anymore*.

*Not that i post on my blog while i'm at work, ofc.

By fnord12 | January 5, 2007, 11:11 AM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link

January 4, 2007

Random Lyrics Thursday

At My Job by the Dead Kennedys

If your machine might slip a gear
Push this button to help it clear
Your time card says your name's Joe
But we'll call you 6-3-0

I'm working at my job
I'm so happy
More boring by the day
But they pay me
All that time spent going to school
Just to end up following rules

Now it's time to take a break
Don't stray too far or you'll be late
Thank you for your service and a long career
Glad you gave us your best years

By fnord12 | January 4, 2007, 8:53 AM | Music| Link

January 3, 2007

Pears and Dirty Sinks

I wore a long red dress. My hair was long again. I might have also worn pants. My parents and sister were there along with my dad's family. It was a banquet, a ceremony. Had to wash my pear in the dirty sink. Had to wait for the woman on crutches and the other with both legs in casts to get through the door first. I wanted to hold the door open for them, but it was filthy and i didn't want to touch it. Then it was a high school ceremony. A tournament. Dodgeball. Look at the pretty colors.

By min | January 3, 2007, 3:33 PM | My Dreams| Link

Morning Death Report

You guys are a bunch of slackers. I'm gone for a week and not one of you thinks to let me know Ford kicked it. That, plus they hanged Saddam. Who else died that i don't know about?

By the by, didn't anyone think it might be in poor taste to dress the "executioners" up in ski masks so that they looked just like the rebels/terrorists running around kidnapping and beheading people? Just a thought.

By min | January 3, 2007, 3:28 PM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link

January 2, 2007

Cranky old man

Does it say more about me or the video game industry that the only games i keep getting excited about as i flip through the video game magazine i got suckered into subscribing to turn out to be coming out for the portable systems? And then i'm terribly disappointed when it turns out i can only play the game on a 2 inch screen.

P.S. I know the answer.

By fnord12 | January 2, 2007, 5:18 PM | Video Games | Comments (3) | Link

The dangers of home schooling

Learn about "lightening" and how it works on this home schooling science page.

By fnord12 | January 2, 2007, 5:16 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link


We are up and running once again through absolutely no effort on our part. Our webhost ICDSoft was experiencing some technical difficulties in Boston. Fucking Boston. They fixed it. Obliviously. Unfortunately for you, it's past time for me to go home so you shall have no delicious tidbits to keep you occupied for the rest of the day unless fnord12 is feeling generous. Ah well. Sucks for you. Have some rum punch.

By min | January 2, 2007, 4:11 PM | My stupid life| Link

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