Archive for August, 2006

I don’t have much time for commentary, but this article speaks for itself. It’s a great one. Here are some excerpts:

Anderson says that even the small talk was difficult to tolerate. “I hate Iraqis,” he quotes his peers as saying. “I hate these damn Muslims.” At first he was puzzled by such talk. “After a while I started to understand. I started to feel the hatred myself. My friends were dying. What am I here for? We went to fight for our country; now we’re just fighting to stay alive.” In addition to taking shrapnel from a roadside bomb – the injury that earned him the Purple Heart – Anderson says he often found himself in firefights. But it was work at a checkpoint that made him seriously question his role. He was guarding the “backside” of a street checkpoint in Baghdad, he says. If a car passed a certain point without stopping, the guards were supposed to open fire.

“A car comes through and it stops in front of my position. Sparks are coming from the car from bad brakes. All the soldiers are yelling. It’s in my vicinity, so it’s my responsibility. I didn’t fire. A superior goes, ‘Why didn’t you fire? You were supposed to fire.’ I said, ‘It was a family!’ At this time it had stopped. You could see the children in the back seat. I said, ‘I did the right thing.’ He’s like, ‘No, you didn’t. It’s procedure to fire. If you don’t do it next time, you’re punished.’”

Wow, thanks, Commander Psychopath. A soldier’s gotta follow orders, but there comes a time when he needs to refuse to take an unjust order. Every soldier is supposed to have a moral compass to guide him, whatever his CO might say. It’s a last line of defense against tyranny, something Germany didn’t have in Hitler’s time. The right to refuse to take an illegal order is a fundamental human right.

We was going along the Euphrates river,” says Joshua Key, detailing a recurring nightmare that features a scene he stumbled into shortly after the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003. “It’s a road right in the city of Ramadi. We turned a sharp right and all I seen was decapitated bodies. The heads laying over here and the bodies over there and US troops in between them. I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God, what in the hell happened here? What’s caused this? Why in the hell did this happen?’ We get out and somebody was screaming, ‘We f***ing lost it here!’ I’m thinking, ‘Oh yes, somebody definitely lost it here.’” Key says he was ordered to look for evidence of a firefight, for something to explain what had happened to the beheaded Iraqis. “I look around just for a few seconds and I don’t see anything.”

Then he witnessed the sight that still triggers the nightmares. “I see two soldiers kicking the heads around like soccer balls. I just shut my mouth, walked back, got inside the tank, shut the door, and thought, ‘I can’t be no part of this. This is crazy. I came here to fight and be prepared for war, but this is outrageous.’”

He’s convinced that there was no firefight.

Uh…. I don’t know what to say about this. Is this winning hearts and minds?

There are psychopaths in every army. The problem with war is that it allows them to do what they really want instead of pretending to be a normal human being instead of a monster. War hurts everyone, but I think it hurts good men more. A psychopath is more likely to enjoy war. Clearly the guys playing soccer with severed heads are having a good time…. which makes me wonder what the fuck is wrong with their souls.

Key seems still in shock at the utter senselessness of it all. “Why did it happen and what was the cause for it? When I asked that question, I was told, basically, ‘You didn’t see anything, you know?’ Nobody asked no questions.” Assigned to raid houses, Key was soon appalled by the job. “I mean, yeah, they’re screaming and hollering out their lungs. It’s traumatic on both parts because you’ve got somebody yelling at you, which might be a woman. You’re yelling back at her, telling her to get on the ground or get out of the house. She don’t know what you’re saying and vice versa. It got to me. We’re the ones sending their husbands or their children off, and when you do that, it gets even more traumatic because then they’re distraught. Of course, you can’t comfort them because you don’t know what to say.”

While the residents are restrained, the search progresses. “Oh, you completely destroy the home – completely destroy it,” he says. “If there’s like cabinets or something that’s locked, you kick them in. The soldiers take what they want. Completely ransack it.” He estimates that he participated in about 100 raids. “I never found anything in a home. You might find one AK-47, but that’s for personal use. But I never once found the big caches of weapons they supposed were there. I never once found members of the Ba’ath party, terrorists, insurgents. We never found any of that.”

It goes on like this.

What the hell are we doing over there?

I think the people who support this war need to remember what war does to the souls, minds and bodies of the soldiers who have to fight it. When you send a soldier to fight and die in combat, you’d better have a damn good reason to do so. That’s the deal — they defend our country with everything they’ve got and we don’t send them into harm’s way unless we’re positive it needs to be done.

I get the feeling that we’re in Iraq because somehow their country ended up ontop of our oil. Maybe we should be up-front with the troops and tell them why they’re really there, instead of feeding them all this “spreading democracy” bullshit. There’s lots of places that don’t have democracy. We just happened to invade one that has a shitload of oil. Go figure.

I don’t blame the soldiers for wanting to believe the democracy lie while they’re over there — whatever gets you through. But when they come back home and start to count the cost, they soon discover that there’s a lot that doesn’t add up.

According to Kiplinger’s, the Cheneys, who may be worth close to $100 million, have invested the vast majority of their wealth overseas, in markets that do not fluctuate based on the U.S. dollar. Cheney’s money is not in a blind trust.


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From Digg, as an FYI.

Here I am betting on a good economy and Cheney (the supposed patriot) is putting all his money in safe European investments?! What does he know that we don’t?

A new study reveals that taller people are smarter

As a tall person, I wholeheartedly endorse the findings in this study.

“As early as age three — before schooling has had a chance to play a role — and throughout childhood, taller children perform significantly better on cognitive tests,” wrote Anne Case and Christina Paxson of Princeton University in a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Oh man, I have some short friends who would loooove to hear about this. :-)

“As adults, taller individuals are more likely to select into higher paying occupations that require more advanced verbal and numerical skills and greater intelligence, for which they earn handsome returns,” wrote the researchers.

For both men and women in the United States and the United Kingdom, a height advantage of four inches equated with a 10 percent increase in wages.

But the researchers said the differences in performance crop up long before the tall people enter the job force. Prenatal care and the time between birth and the age of 3 are critical periods for determining future cognitive ability and height.

Since I’m 6′ 3″ I should ask for a raise! Of course, 4 inches is a lot of height for a 10% increase in salary. Man, if that’s the case, I wish I was 7′ 3″! Hahaha! Kidding of course; I know a guy who’s over 7 feet tall, and it doesn’t seem like that much fun. Sure, he has no problem seeing the stage at concerts, but anybody behind him is probably plotting his literal downfall.

It’s a short person’s world out there. I have to duck a lot. When I was looking for houses I had to pass on a couple simply because the top floor was only 6 feet high, leaving me a few inches too tall to stand up straight. Many of the houses I looked at were over 100 years old, which may have something to do with it. People must’ve been midgets back then! Well, as the study makes clear, a lot of my height advantage has to do with good nutrition, especially during the first 3 years.

You can find the full paper here.

Thank God it's the weekend

This will probably be the most insightful blog post yer gonna get… which is to say “not very.” I’m just glad it’s the weekend and I finally have some time to relax. I’m going to a party later on tonight, so I’ll be incommunicado.

Gearing up for the big move. I know I haven’t talked about it much on the blog, but I’m closing soon. Less than a week away! Pretty fuckin’ freaky, but it’s also very exciting. As such, blogging may be slower and sporatic for the next week or two. I’ll try to post anything interesting that comes my way, but don’t expect much commentary. You’ll have to imagine what my rants and obscene blatherings would’ve been.

Shit, as I type, I’m remembering things I need to do…

I’ve never understood how the people who claim to be fighting the terrorists (Bush & co.) are the same ones who urge us to give up our civil liberties in order to do so.

I mean, I understand why Bush argues that: He’s evil, he hates freedom and wants to turn America into a dictatorship. What I don’t understand is why anybody actually falls for it. How stupid do you have to be?

I don’t give a FUCK how many people the terrorists kill. I’m not giving up even one of my rights. Not a single one. Or else the terrorists win. (And if you’ve been reading this blog you should know who the real terrorists are… the same people arguing we should give up our liberties).

There’s a new article in Wired that lays it down quite well:

The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics.

The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

And we’re doing exactly what the terrorists want.

It’s very simple: The goal of terrorism is terror. If you feel afraid — terrified — after a terrorist attack, then the terrorists have done their job. Don’t let them win! Don’t give in to fear.

I know it’s hard to stare death, destruction and suffering in the face and laugh, but you must do it in order to stay free. And what scares me much more than death is the idea of living in slavery/tyranny.

We can’t allow the terrorists to dictate the rules of the game or they will win. We’ve got to be rational about this: You’re much more likely to die in a car crash than a terrorist attack. By a factor of 10+. Yet, do we hesitate to jump in a car and drive? You’ve mastered your fear when it comes to driving — master your fear when it comes to living! Don’t live in fear of death or terrorism. We can’t give in to fear or the terrorists win. It’s that simple.

The next time somebody tells you we should give up rights and liberties so that we can better defend against the terrorist threat, ask yourself: Whose side is he on? Isn’t he playing into the terrorists’ hands? Isn’t the terrorists’ goal to make us afraid and to trick us into acting on that fear?

Fear is the mind-killer. It won’t be easy, but we must overcome our fear if we want to survive as a society. We can’t let the terrorists push us around. It might seem sick, greeting a terrorist attack with a yawn, but that’s what we have to do.

You know what pisses off a terrorist more than anything? Being ignored.

Seriously. They’re already resigned to death. There’s not much you can do to hurt them… except ignore them. They really hate that. Then they died for nothing!

Terrorism: It only works if you let it work on you. You have the power to make terrorism useless. Don’t give in to fear!

Star Wars Last Supper

Click on it for a larger view. Yes, that’s Luke as Jesus. Mmm…. sooo blasphemous. I love it!

The artist is clearly a talented guy.

I’m glad that he used Leia in Mary Magdalen’s spot — I’m convinced that The Da Vinci Code is right and that it’s a chick! No way is that a male apostle.

The Florida company which makes implanted RFID chips is lobbying the US government to stick them under the skin of 1.4 million US soldiers. According to the DC Examiner, VeriChip is hoping to convince the Pentagon to allow them to insert the chips under the skin of the right arms of military personnel instead of the traditional dog tags.

Very creepy shit. Unfortunately, this is the type of thing the Bush administration loves. They would love to have real-time tracking of every soldier under their command. That would make war even more like a video game than it already is.

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I’m not from Texas, but I’m throwing my political weight (think: feather) behind Kinky Friedman. He’s running for guv this year if ya didn’t know, and he’s actually picking up some decent poll numbers (around 20% last I checked) as he campaigns around Texas.

Now Kinky, who is running as an indepedent, has chosen Willie Nelson as his energy czar:

Friedman said the country singer/songwriter and benefactor of biodiesel was a natural choice to lead a state energy department or commission, which he wants to create. He also said Nelson “would never have his hand in Texas’ pocket.”

“My plan is to appoint the best people I can find, get out of the way and let them work … people whose only agenda is to do the right thing for the people of Texas,” Friedman told the Fort Worth Rotary Club. “… I really believe that musicians can better run this state than politicians.”

A Texas biodiesel supplier partnered with Nelson to develop the BioWillie brand of the clean-burning fuel for truckers. It is made from used vegetable oils or soybeans and is blended with diesel, and does not require modification to diesel engines.

Hell yeah! Now this is a campaign I can get behind! Willie Nelson is cool. Kinky is the perfect governor for a state that’s been churning out nothing but Bush cronies for decades. It’s time to either elect Kinky or get yer ass kicked out of the union, Texas!

Kinky is right. Musicians would be better at running any state than politicans. Look how infested with politicians we are currently — where has it gotten us? Now, some might say I’m biased as a musician myself, but I’m not running for anything, and I don’t live in Texas. I just see Kinky as being the best man for the job.

Kinky’s a funny guy, but he has real plans for the state; not just jokes:

Friedman, who unveiled his energy plan Thursday, said he plans to have 35,000 school buses running on biodiesel fuel, as well as his own vehicle. He said as it catches on, some 7 percent or 8 percent of Texans will be trying biodiesel, resulting in lower prices at gas stations because of supply and demand.

“What you’re going to see is Texas finally leading the way instead of following behind all the time, being first in something besides executions, toll roads and property taxes,” he said.

I think it’s a great idea to start using more biodiesel. The oil-lobby has owned Texas for years — it’s time to take Texas back from this entrenched special interest groups!

Here in Minnesota we elected Jesse Ventura back in ’98. He actually did a good job — I just used the light-rail system the other day. That was a plan that had been around awhile, but nobody really pushed it through. Jesse helped make it a reality.

Of course, Jesse got attacked on all sides. All the fucking useless partisan pieces of shit made sure to write in every day about how awful Jesse was — mostly because he wasn’t kowtowing to their preferred special interest. Fuck those partisan shitbags. I HATE partisan politics. I prefer independents. The Democrats and Republicans suddenly become best buddies when facing off against an independent.

There’s really only one political party: The Corporate Party. Democrats and Republicans are simply different factions within the One Party. Our only hope for true representation (i.e. candidates who aren’t corporate servants) is electing independent and third party candidates. In MN, that means Peter Hutchinson. I’m not sure I’ll vote for him; he’s not as fun as Kinky, but at least he’s not a Corporate-crat.

Kinky for president!

Sometimes I wonder why I even blog. Rigorous Intuition is so fuckin’ good that it makes all other blogs out there look like crap. Still, I ramble on.

As usual, Jeff Wells has some great insights into the crime and some new information that I’d never heard before. If you’re interested in the disturbing truth and the horrifying implications, head on over to Rigorous Intution.

Jeff also found this excellent resource for the investigtation. Here’s a sampling:

In his August 6, 1998 resignation letter, Boulder Detective Steve Thomas openly accused then police chief Tom Koby and other officials of sabotaging the case: “During the investigation detectives would discover, collect, and bring evidence to the district attorney’s office, only to have it summarily dismissed or rationalized as insignificant. The most elementary of investigative efforts, such as obtaining telephone and credit card records, were met without support, search warrants denied. The significant opinions of national experts were casually dismissed or ignored by the district attorney’s office, even the experienced FBI were waved aside.” Thomas was ordered not to question certain witnesses, “and all but dissuaded from pursuing particular investigative efforts. Polygraphs were acceptable for some subjects, but others seemed immune from such requests. Innocent people were not “cleared”, publicly or otherwise, even when it was unmistakably the right thing to do, as reputations and lives were destroyed. Some in the district attorney’s office, to this day, pursue weak, defenseless, and innocent people in shameless tactics that one couldn’t believe more bizarre if it were made up.”

The more I look into this case, the more it seems like a child-sex ring was involved, and that the investigation was headed off because some powerful people were involved. John Mark Karr’s “confession” seems more suspect by the minute. What’s he playing at?

Certainly, he’s not innocent. He is a pedophile. But is he really guilty of this particular crime? Maybe he was part of the child-sex ring. Maybe he’s just a convenient patsy.

The more I look into this case, the more things look bad for the Ramseys. It almost seems like they offered their daughter up as a sacrifice to the rich and powerful in order to gain more status for themselves. I hope that’s not the case, but she was found in their own home. What kind of Christmas party was that?

These cops apparently don’t want this guy to fill out a form. He tries to get the form but is told to wait for a supervisor. Then the cops slam his head against the plexiglass as they arrest him for refusing to bug off. As the video makes clear, the cops violated their own regulations concerning the distribution of said form.

The town in question? The ironically-named Independence, Missouri. Glad I don’t live there.

Support Justice! Fuck police brutality! For more information, visit PoliceAbuse.org.

Amazing solo-acoustic cover of Outkast’s Hey Ya

It’s an awesome cover. Check it out:

Andre 3000 just shit his pants.

Dude’s name is Mat Weddle. He’s in a band called Obadiah Parker. I hope to see Mat and Andre 3000 perform this song together on stage. What say we try to arrange that via the power of the internet?

Awesome Flash flick: Animator vs Animation

This guy has been using Flash way too long:


Animator vs. Animation by *alanbecker on deviantART