Friday, June 30, 2006


Interesting idea. I'm curious to see how it plays out. I certainly support the introduction of a major third party to destroy the two-party duopoly we currently have. We'll see how they do. They've certainly got to get the word out, but of course, they're focused on 2008, not the 2006 midterms.

Isn't a top down approach kind of a lark, though? If there aren't any Unity congressmen, any Unity president is going to have a tough go of it - centrism or no. The other parties simply do not want any competition.

I thought freedom was all about choice. A choice between two pro-corporate parties doesn't seem to be much of a choice at all.


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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Tomorrow is Friday

About time man. Yeesh. I'm looking forward to it, I dunno about you, but it's been a long week. Didn't work too much, but I'm recovering from weeks of stress and busy-ness. It will be nice to chill out a bit.

Hope everyone out there has a great weekend.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Will bloggers change the world?

Good discussion over at PressThink.

I'm not usually one to blow smoke up bloggers' collective ass, but Jay makes some good points. The future is an open vista technologically (you can guess what I think the future holds politically. Alas, Babylon comes to mind) and I just posted about how necessary it is to have a blog the other day. So why am I hesitant? 'Cause I'd rather that Big Media didn't know what's coming. So why am I posting about this at all? Hmm.... good point. Because I can? Because I'm pretty positive no one from the NSA or the New York Times reads this blog? Pick your excuse.

Anyway, blogs aren't even the most important thing. It's the links between people that make us strong. If you are ever in trouble or you need to post something that the MSM won't touch with a 30 foot pole, send it to me. I'm editorially irresponsible. I'll publish any muthafuckin' thing (and cuss about it, around it, during it, and after it). If there's a story out there that needs more exposure, send it to me and a hundred other bloggers. Some of us will publish it and somebody will (hopefully) read about it. We just gotta look out for each other, the same way the rich, elitist upperclass looks after their own.

But let's remember that we don't have Big Media on the ropes. Far from it. So let's not get too cocky, folks. Blogs are cool and they can change the world...but will they? Maybe when Grandma reads blogs instead of watching NBC. Until that day, we're small potatoes.


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New Iron Maiden album: A Matter Of Life And Death

I admit it; I am a total Iron Maiden fan. Ain't nothin' to be ashamed of though, as they totally fucking rock. And they still rule after all these years. Looking at the track list for the new album gave me shivers!
  • Different Worlds (Smith/Harris - 4.17)
  • These Colours Don't Run (Smith/Harris/Dickinson - 6.52)
  • Brighter Than a Thousand Suns (Smith/Harris/Dickinson - 8.44)
  • The Pilgrim (Gers/Harris - 5.07)
  • The Longest Day (Smith/Harris/Dickinson - 7.48)
  • Out Of the Shadows (Dickinson/Harris - 5.36)
  • The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg (Murray/Harris - 7.21)
  • For The Greater Good Of God (Harris - 9.24)
  • Lord Of Light (Smith/Harris/Dickinson - 7.23)
  • The Legacy (Gers/Harris - 9.20)
Fucking right! Up the Irons! Those song names sound really cool, and my God some of those songs are loooong! Gotta love epic Maiden songs; they usually rule. Nothing quite as long as Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which is 13 and a half minutes long, but not bad none the less.

I'm stoked. I hope it's a concept album. I can already see some themes emerging: Light and Darkness, Death and Rebirth, Time and Change....

Looks fucking great. I can't wait. But it looks like I will have to wait until it's released in September.

Maiden Rules!

Update 7-12-06: Here's the album cover!

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Crushing blow

Just got back from my softball game. We won, 18 to 8. It was a pretty solid game; I had a double with 3 RBIs. But on the first play of the game, a guy who was subbing for someone led off with a grounder to third base. Our guy scoops it and throws it to first where I try to catch it, but the throw is wide; way too far out of reach for me to catch. But it hits the runner with a sickening "thwack!" He went down after that and dropped to his knees. We all came running. He had taken a shot to the face, and the third basemen has a gun - it was thrown hard. He had a huge bruise on his left temple, right around the eye. It was swollen an inch off his face in a matter of seconds and it started to turn black. You could see the laces from the ball, etched on his forehead. It was fucked up.

He had to go to the hospital, but he should be okay. He called from the waiting room to check on the score. I'm glad he's okay, but it was freaky as it happened. Not something you ever want to see in a game.

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Fascism Revealed: Hideously anti-liberty flag-burning amendment defeated

I didn't even have a chance to blog about this (and probably blow a gasket in the process), but it seems the flag-burning amendment didn't get the requisite 67 votes in the Senate. It got 66.
A constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration died in a cliffhanger vote in the U.S. Senate Tuesday, one week before Independence Day, one vote short of the support needed to send it to the states for ratification.

The 66-34 vote in favor of the amendment was a single vote short of the two-thirds required. The House surpassed that threshold last year, 286-130.

The proposed amendment, sponsored by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, read: "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."

It represented Congress' response to U.S. Supreme Court rulings in 1989 and 1990 that burning and other desecrations of the flag are protected as free speech by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
I love this logic: Our idiotic, pandering law is unconstitutional, so we'd better change the Constitution!

Oh God, pry me away from the keyboard before I bleed from the sputtering rage that wells up every time I think of the fact that 66 United States Senators are so utterly corrupt that they thought it would be a good idea to take away real, actual freedom to protect an abstract symbol of freedom.

The flag is imaginary. Our freedom is (supposed to be) real!

Don't worry. If you don't understand, Bill Frist will help you figure it out:
"Countless men and women have died defending that flag," said Repulican Majority Leader Bill Frist, closing two days of debate. "It is but a small humble act for us to defend it."
NO, YOU FUCKING IDIOT!!! They didn't die to protect the flag, they died to protect freedom itself! Who gives a shit about the flag; it's a piece of cloth, an abstract symbol of our liberty. But fascist fools like Frist would love to steal that freedom away by routing it somewhere else. In this case, they are trying to give a piece of colored cloth more rights than they would give to a human being.

IT'S AN INANIMATE OBJECT! Our constitutionally-protected freedoms are what's important. The flag is not. We could burn a million flags and not lose one ounce of real freedom. But Frist would rather that we lose our First Amendment free speech rights in a futile attempt to protect a piece of cloth from supposed harm. Fuckwit.

But I don't for a second think that these politicians are that stupid. They know exactly what they're doing. I throw the word "fascist" around a lot on this blog. But this is one of those times when you can see that I'm not exaggerrating at all.

I tried not to get upset about this, but when I see such blatant, hideous, satanic idol-worship, I just get so fucking pissed off I could rip Frist's jugular clean out and use it to wax my boat (if I had a boat).

Our nation is in deep shit. 66 senators just cast a vote for fascism. It passed the House like butter.

We are in deep shit.

God, please save our stupid nation. We are a nation of fascists and idiots, but there are some of us worth saving....Right?

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Rush Limbaugh busted with penis-pills, potentially putting plea in peril

Sorry for the alliterative headline (truly. I am ashamed), but Limbaugh was detained at an airport with some Viagra that was not prescribed to him. This might be a violation of his plea agreement:
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh was detained at Palm Beach International Airport for the possible possession of illegal prescription drugs Monday evening.

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

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents examined the 55-year-old’s luggage after his private plane landed at the airport from the Dominican Republic. The matter was then turned over to the Sheriff’s Office. Investigators seized the drugs - used to treat erectile dysfunction - from Limbaugh.

Limbaugh was detained for about three hours and was let go after cooperating with officials. He could be facing a second-degree misdemeanor violation if the State Attorney’s office presses charges.

Limbaugh entered a plea deal back in April in a previous case where his charge of fraud to conceal information to obtain prescriptions was dropped under the condition he continue undergoing treatment for addiction.
Bad Rush! Going to the Dominican Republic to bang prostitutes deprives our hardworking American prostitutes of a fair shake. They can't compare with those prices. Banging foreign prostitutes costs American jobs!

Oh wait, am I on the wrong scandal here? Er, I mean, ... uhhh..... drugs are bad, mmkay? Naughty Limbaugh!

But, really, am I the only one wondering what he was doing with that bottle of Viagra in the Dominican Republic? It might be none of my business, but it sure is titillating. I wonder if the media will go after it like it so often does when they smell titillation.

I wonder if they like saying "titillate" as much as I do.

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Vernon CA: We own this town! Get out!

Man, what a fucked up little town this Vernon, California is:
It began in January, when eight people took up residence in a boxy commercial building. Within days, three of the newcomers filed petitions to run for City Council, challenging incumbents who have been in office for up to 50 years.

Almost immediately, the challengers began to be followed by private investigators, and utility crews turned off their power. The building they shared was red-tagged by inspectors. Eventually, police and other officials drilled holes in the locks of the property and evicted the office-seekers.

The city accused the newcomers of being part of a takeover plot by Albert Robles, a convicted felon who as treasurer of nearby South Gate nearly bankrupted that city. The eight residents' voter registrations were rescinded, and the incumbents voted to cancel the election and reelect themselves. But a judge ruled that officials had acted illegally and reinstated the election.

Since then, both sides have accused the other of misconduct. Vernon has fewer than 100 residents, but it has seen a 50% surge in its election rolls in recent weeks. Both sides accuse the other of bringing in ringers to vote in Tuesday's election.

On election night, the city clerk abruptly decided not to count the ballots until various legal challenges were settled.
I've read some previous articles about Vernon (population: 91), and it sounds like something out of Dukes of Hazzard or something. The mayor, the whole city council, and all the city jobs in the town are controlled by a single family, the family that founded the town over a hundred years ago. This has led to rampant corruption as a mafia-style government grew up and began looking at outsiders as enemies. From it's founding early last century the town has been a magnet for controversy and corruption:
Its founder, a charismatic Basque immigrant named John Baptiste Leonis, had seen the rapid development of land north and west of downtown Los Angeles. But he saw money to be made in the other direction, on land then held by Chinese and Mexican farmers.

The area had a dirt road running to Los Angeles Harbor and multiple rail lines. So, in 1905, Leonis and two local ranchers incorporated the "exclusively industrial" city, characterized as the first town west of the Mississippi devoted to manufacturing. This remains almost literally true: The city currently has fewer than 100 residents.

A powerful voice on the town's Board of Trustees, Leonis initially promoted activities that other jurisdictions spurned: gambling, prizefighting and drinking. He leased land to a saloon owner who opened the "longest bar in the world." On one side was a boxing stadium; on the other, a baseball stadium.

In the 1920s, thousands of workers began streaming in to work at new factories built by Bethlehem and U.S. Steel, Alcoa Aluminum and at the kill plants along Meat Packers Row.

Leonis was at the center of the financial action, operating the town bank, a large stockyard and a feed mill, and he was already drawing flak from critics who complained that he acted like the king of Vernon.

In 1925, The Times did its first front-page expose of Vernon. The paper quoted one foe as saying of Leonis: "In that town, you do not file papers at the City Hall. You simply hand them to John and he puts them in his pocket. If he is in favor of the proposition, it goes through; if he is opposed, that's the last you hear of it."

Two decades later, a county grand jury launched a wide-ranging corruption probe that led to Leonis, who by then had become mayor, and five other top officials being indicted on charges of voter fraud.

Prosecutors called Leonis a "boss" who ruled like a feudal lord. They also alleged that he lived not in Vernon but in a spacious home in Hancock Park. Charges against Leonis were dropped, but four other people were convicted, including the police and fire chiefs.

By the time Leonis died in 1953, he had amassed an estate reportedly worth $8 million. The inheritance went to his grandson, Leonis Malburg, who as a boy hunted doves with a BB gun at the family stockyards and took his first job as a messenger at his grandfather's bank.

For the last 50 years, Malburg has served on the City Council of Vernon, frequently as mayor.

"Vernon is arguably the oldest continuous political machine in the country," said Mike Davis, a professor of history at UC Irvine and author of several books about Southern California. "There is a continuity of power and rule in this private city that I'm not sure you'll find anywhere else you go in the United States."
This is really amazing. I've seen a lot of movies about "company towns" or towns utterly controlled by a corrupt mayor and they've stayed somewhere back in my subconscious all these years. Isn't it nice to know that it's based in reality? I suppose it's comforting to know I was learning something.

At any rate, it's not a huge deal nationally. It's just a little podunk town with a shitty government and nothing to offer anybody. But I think it's useful as a microcosm for corruption, and the nature of human greed. It seems to evolve naturally, almost inevitably. It grows to a certain size, but after a certain point it starts driving people away. Vernon used to be a lot larger than it is today. If you don't buy into the oligarchy, then you're gonna find life very tough in town. But look at what they rule over: a shitty old town with less than a hundred residents with no geographic or political significance (except corruption) to anyone. Does that bother the lords of the town? Not one bit. They'd rather be master of Vernon than a peasant in Los Angeles.

Looking at how these assholes fight over a shitty nothing-town like Vernon, you've gotta wonder about how desperately people crave the real power of Washington, D.C. The pigs fight over the tax-dollar-trough with an inhuman tenacity, and that should come as no surprise to any of us. It's human nature, or so it seems.

I think it's time to take a look at what we've learned about the human lust for power and remake our government in that image. We need additional controls in place to ensure that another crew like the Bush cabal never rises to power.

...Assuming we can ever manage to get rid of them. I imagine it'll be something like running for mayor of Vernon.

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Bush rips revelation of financial transaction spying story

Dear Leader, fresh from his daily manicure, his daily jog, his daily 3 hour prayer session, his leisurely breakfast and his daily rimjob, got off his ass to yell at the press for bothering to do their job (for once):
President Bush on Monday sharply condemned the disclosure of a program to secretly monitor the financial transactions of suspected terrorists. "The disclosure of this program is disgraceful," he said.

"For people to leak that program and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America," Bush said, jabbing his finger for emphasis. He said the disclosure of the program "makes it harder to win this war on terror."

Meanwhile, hiding in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan, a terrorist foot soldier for Al-Qaeda known as Habib al-Durka al-Alallalli had this to say about the financial records spying story: "Oh my Allah (peace be upon him)! I had no idea that the infidels were watching financial transactions within their own western banking institutions! What a shocker. I guess I will now have to be closing my Wells Fargo account. But what will I do about free checking? Oh, I hope this doesn't affect my credit rating!"

Other terrorists were similarly concerned about the spying revelations. Several expressed concerns about whether their recent orders from The Pottery Barn were tracked. Remarked al-Alallalli, "Between this and the NSA's internet datamining I am pretty sure the infidels know what kind of floral patterns I prefer, making it easy to distinguish my cave from Akbar the goat-herder's. Curse the infidels and their irresistable deals on hand-sewn tufted cushions!!"

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Bush wants line-item veto

The last thing we want to do is give this asshole more power!

Bush said a line-item veto would reduce the incentive for Congress to spend wastefully because lawmakers would be less likely to slip pet projects into large spending bills if they knew they could be held up to public scrutiny.

"A line-item veto would give the president a way to insist on greater discipline in the budget," Bush said.

The measure must still pass the Senate, and that's by no means a certainty.

Democrats generally oppose the measure. And not all Republicans are excited about the idea, although some embrace it as a way to demonstrate election-year resolve to rein in federal spending.

Lawmakers from both parties who have reservations about the line-item veto contend it shifts too much power to the president, allowing him to try to cut projects proposed by his political enemies, or to use the threat of cutting projects in exchange for favorable votes on legislation the White House desires.

Yeah, and I'm sure the White House would never think of using that power against political enemies or as a sort of tit-for-tat! Never! 'Cause this administration is sooooo trustworthy! [/sarcasm]

Wasn't this already declared unconstitutional anyway? I guess the neocons figure they've sufficiently packed the Supreme Court with fascist toadies to get away with this. They might be right, so let's hope it doesn't pass the Senate.

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Specter to write blank check for Bush administration spying

That's basically what's happening here. Specter is determined to please his masters (the neocons, not the American people you silly!) by retroactively making what they did legal:

But Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and other critics contend the program skirted a 1978 law that required the government to get approval from a secretive federal court before Americans could be monitored.

"We're getting close with the discussions with the White House, I think, to having the wiretapping issue submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court," Specter told "Fox New Sunday."

What needs to be done? Looks like there's some behind the scenes clean-up or cover-up going on here. Why not just submit it? Because it wouldn't fly.

The administration has asserted that a post-Sept. 11, 2001, congressional resolution approving the use of military force covered the surveillance of some domestic communications.

Specter has said that the president "does not have a blank check" and he has sought to have administration ask the special court to review the program.

At least not until you write them one, right Arlen? Specter should be using his power as chairman to nail this administration's balls to the wall, but instead he's trying to play both sides and get them out of a serious constitutional jam.

Meanwhile, Rep. Peter King is saying that the New York Times should be prosecuted for daring to reveal the financial records spying program:

King, R-N.Y., said he would write Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urging that the nation's chief law enforcer "begin an investigation and prosecution of The New York Times— the reporters, the editors and the publisher."

"We're at war, and for the Times to release information about secret operations and methods is treasonous," King told The Associated Press.

No, treasonous is destroying Americans' 4th amendment rights for some sort of secret spying program that wasn't approved by the full Congress or by any federal court.

Persecuting the press for revealing abuses of power: Sounds exactly like fascism to me!

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

An Open Letter to Dick Cheney

Awww... poor Dick Cheney is offended.
Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking at a political luncheon in Chicago, denounced the decision to reveal the existence of the financial monitoring program and the earlier-disclosed National Security Agency surveillance program.

"What I find most disturbing about these stories is that some of the news media take it upon themselves to disclose vital national security programs, thereby making it more difficult for us to prevent future attacks against the American people," Cheney said. "That offends me."
You know what? Suck it, Dick. What offends me is illegal spying programs enacted unilaterally by the executive branch with little oversight from Congress and apparently no oversight from the courts. What the hell is going on here, Dick? I think you've got some serious explaining to do. We are ostensibly a democracy and as such you are expected to act in accordance with our principles such as liberty, freedom, government transparency and check and balances. You are ruling as if you and Bush were Kings or co-Emperors. This cannot continue.

We, the people, are very concerned with the way you're running things, Dick. May I call you "dick", Dick? First we find out you're tapping our phones, then our internet, and now our financial transactions? Is there anything you haven't tapped? I suppose you'll be putting microphones in our houses and apartments next, right? We've gotta do whatever it takes to stop dem terr'rists, right? Even if we have to give away all our liberties and live in fear under the thumb of an oppressive government?


You hear me, Dick? NO!

I choose freedom. I choose liberty. I'll take the risk, I accept the possibility of terrorists attacking me or my town. I still choose freedom. Statistically, you're far more likely to die in a car accident than a terrorist attack. I still drive my car all the time. I choose freedom.

You never even asked us. You never even gave us a choice. You just started secretly taking our rights and liberties away. Well, that ends now. You should be impeached and then indicted for your crimes, Dick. You never even considered asking us whether we wanted to surrender those rights; you took them.

Your true colors are showing, Dick. We can see now that you are a fascist. If not in philosophy then certainly in action, you are a fascist and it's time for you to resign because you are clearly not fit to be vice president of the United States.

You may have thought you were doing the best thing for us, you may have assumed that we would want to lose our privacy and our liberty in exchange for an empty promise of safety. That's irrelevant. You were wrong, and you didn't err on the side of liberty. You erred on the side of expediency and dictatorship. We don't live in a dictatorship, Dick. You of all people should know that. But we will if you continue to be so stubborn and aggressive. It's time to resign, Dick.

It's time to face the music: Resign and apologize.


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Friday, June 23, 2006

Blogger kicks Sony's ass; takes songs and cash

Perfect Porridge blogger Greg has finally cracked the spine of the beast. Sony ponied up the tracks and a settlement check!

UPDATE #2 (6/22): Would you believe we got 28,000 hits on this post yesterday? That's a lot of people reading/talking/blogging about Sony and their incompetence. Would you believe that as a result, Sony somehow got their act together to e-mail iTunes settlement codes AND a settlement check the next day? Guess it only took 232 days of persistence and a blog swarm of 8,500 unique user hits to get them moving. Thanks Sony!

This is why everyone needs a blog, people! Do you want a voice? Because without a blog you don't really have one (unless you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company). You can bitch and whine all you want, but without the power of the internet, not many people are going to hear you.

When it's time to take a stand will you be armed with a megaphone or a ballgag?

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Another secret spying program revealed!

Once again, it seems that the Bush Administration is using 9/11 to justify unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of Americans. This time, they're looking at our financial transactions:

Since late 2001, the government of the United States has been running a program that lets intelligence officials search the international banking transactions of thousands of Americans.

Run through the CIA and the U.S. Treasury Department, the program examined financial records from an international banking co-operative known as Swift, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times first reported in their online editions Thursday night.

Swift, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is a Belgium-based service that routes millions of messages from 7,800 financial institutions in more than 200 countries.

Under the program, which was initiated shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. intelligence officials could search Swift's database by entering names, said the New York Times report.

This is a huge coup for the Bushies. They love having access to all this information; it gives them more power and more control, and that's what this is all about: Control. They want to keep tabs on us and make sure we aren't doing anything they don't approve of. Whatever happened to getting a warrant first? Whatever happened to probable cause?

This will be abused. It's just a matter of time if it hasn't happened already. Power corrupts and the more the Bush clan chases after absolute power, the more corrupt they become. They had plenty of power to hunt down terrorists before 9/11, they just didn't use it. They were either asleep at the switch or they let it happen on purpose to bolster their foundering agenda. Bush was not considered a legitimate president by much of the nation on September 10th, 2001.

I swear, the more the Bush administration abuses the memory of 9/11 to gain more and more and more and more power for itself, the more I suspect that they were involved with the crime itself. How can they exploit 9/11 so shamelessly? Isn't it suspicious that they leapt into action so quickly after 9/11 in an attempt to use it to fulfill their wishlist of unconstitutional powers, all assigned to the executive branch? So far, we've got the Patriot Act, the NSA wiretapping scandal and now the data mining of financial records. Am I forgetting a couple? Probably. Regardless, we have to watch these guys, and we have to consider the horrible possibility that we were attacked on 9/11 not just by Osama bin Laden, but also by our own government. It's a horrifying thought, but knowing the Bush administration as I now do, I wouldn't put it past them. They've already dragged us into a war in Iraq that has cost the lives of (hundreds of?) thousands of people.
White House officials quickly defended the program, saying it fell under the president's emergency powers in his administration's war on terror.
Question: Is there anything that doesn't fall under the president's supposed emergency powers? Seems to me that George is busy making himself emperor. You realize that this is how Rome turned from a democracy into an empire, right? Even if Bush has the purest of intentions (he doesn't), this is a dangerous increase in his powers. Alberto Gonzalez basically told Congress that the president can do whatever he likes in a time of war. But that's not what the constitution says. And how does that fit in with the fact that the War on Terrorism is so open-ended that it could go on forever? Doesn't that result in a defacto dictatorship under Gonzalez's interpretation? And wasn't Gonzalez also arguing in favor of torture as a legitimate tool? How long before his administration starts using torture against political opponents? "Trust me," they say. Fuck that. I'd sooner trust the devil himself.

White House officials lobbied the newspapers not to publicize the story, arguing it could jeopardize its effectiveness, said the New York Times. The story first appeared on the websites of the three newspapers on Thursday night.

Bill Keller, the New York Times' executive editor, said the paper carefully considered the Bush administration's argument, but decided it was in the public's best interest to know.

No shit the White House would love to bury this story. Glad to see that they didn't succeed.

This is just one more example of the Bush administrations fascism. They look at Congress the same way a teenage girl looks at a zit in her mirror. It's something to be expunged, hidden, routed around, abused, hated, popped or outright destroyed. The Congress is the only thing standing between us and full blown dictatorship. Only problem is Congress is full of toadies and it's controlled by Republicans who are also, conveniently, fascists. Congress as a whole has an approval rating slightly above rugburn: 23%.

That's a mandate, if I've ever seen one; a mandate for change.

Will Congress act to challenge Bush's usurpation of power? Of course not. That's why we need to vote the bums out in November. But we've got to be mindful of the last couple elections and the fact that they were probably stolen. We cannot let them get away with that again. Do not let them call you a moonbat for insisting on fair elections. The polls clearly show that the people hate what the Republicans have done to the country. We must stand firm. And we can't let the Democrats chicken out as usual, the weak-ass bitches. Neither party stands for us, but we've got a better chance with the Democrats, who are too weak to stand up to... anybody, really. Which means DKos has a shot. I'm not a Democrat, but I wish him the best of luck and I hope he takes control of the party away from the Vichy Democrats who are currently suckling at GW's teat. Fuck party politics. Stand up for AMERICA!!

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Arrests in Miami concerning Sears Tower terror plot

Looks like the FBI nabbed some potential terrorists. I wonder if the Bush administation will argue that we should let them go... that way they can blow up a building and GW's approval ratings will go sky-high again.

I never understood that part. Why did Bush's approval ratings "explode" right after 9/11? Clearly we weren't thinking clearly. The Bush administation was supposed to be on guard, but they failed. And don't get me started on the gaps and distortions in the official story.

This administration has been either evil or incompetent from the get-go. It's time for a change.


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Dick Cheney should be Indicted

I just finished watching the PBS Frontline documentary called The Dark Side, which focuses on Cheney's role in manipulating intelligence to get us to declare war on Iraq. Cheney used intimidation and subtle applications of shadowy force to get his way.
From stories of Iraq buying yellowcake uranium from Niger to claims that 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta had met with an Iraqi agent in Prague, "The Dark Side" dissects the now-familiar assertions that led the nation to war. The program also receounts [sic] the vice president's unprecedented visits to the CIA, where he questioned mid-level analysts on their conclusions. CIA officers who were there at the time say the message was clear: Cheney wanted evidence that Iraq was a threat.

At the center of the administration's case for war was a classified October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate that found evidence of an Iraqi weapons of mass destruction program. But Paul Pillar, one of the report's principal authors, now admits to FRONTLINE that the NIE was written quickly in a highly politicized environment, one in which the decision to go to war had already been made. Pillar also reveals that he regrets participating in writing a subsequent public "white paper" on Iraqi WMD. "What was the purpose of it? The purpose was to strengthen the case for going to war with the American public. Is it proper for the intelligence community to publish papers for that purpose? I don't think so, and I regret having had a role in it," Pillar says.
Dick Cheney should be charged with violating his oath of office, impeached and removed from office. Thereafter he should be indicted for crimes against humanity in both international and national courts and -- if the evidence truly supports it -- convicted and sentenced to prison. I'm sure we can find some other crimes to charge him with as well, but that's the tip of the iceberg. There probably is no crime that really fits what he did. We'll have to create one and name it after him.

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AOL just won't let you quit

Slashdot has a post about how AOL routinely and deliberately tries to screw its customers into continuing with the service, no matter how hard they try to cancel the service. This is news to no one who's ever tried to quit AOL, of course. Just read the comments for more.

I've had the same thing happen to me when I (in desperation) signed up for AOL and then tried to quit. Of course, that was my plan the whole time. I didn't want to pay for AOL so I tried to quit every month and every time they would give me a free month. Every now and then I forgot to cancel, but for the most part I used AOL as a dialup ISP for close to free. That's a little judo technique for you.

When it came time to quit for real, I refused to take any more free months and demanded that they cancel my service. I can be a bit of a hardass, so it wasn't hard for me. But if you're "too nice" and trying to quit AOL you may need to build up a head of steam first. Just wait until you've had a really shitty day and everything is going wrong and you want to tear into somebody. Then just call up AOL and cancel. If you lose your cool, so much the better. Don't let them fuck you. Be firm and demand your rights as a customer and don't take "here's a free month" for an answer!

America Online: where being a jerk is the only way to get them to treat you like a human being.


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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sony Rootkit debacle continues

I never got a chance to blog about this as it was happening, back when my blog was a bitch to update, but I've always felt very strongly that this was a horrible, unforgiveable and unprecedented move on Sony's part. What the fuck were they thinking?!

Who knows, but my man Greg over at Perfect Porridge was infected by the rootkit when he bought a Trey Anastasio CD (his first mistake - haha,... just kidding. I like Trey). This resulted in a reformatted harddrive and lots of emails to Sony support as he winded his way through the settlement process.
It's been 230 days and he still hasn't managed to get Sony to pony up the settlement in iTunes tracks. They're trying to screw him into using Sony Connect, whatever the hell that is. Why should he use Sony's store after Sony screwed him over royally? Head on over to PP and lend Greg some much needed support. Don't give up man!

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AT&T and NSA spying claims corroborated

Salon has a new article about the NSA spying scandal (icky day pass thing required). It adds to earlier reports by whistleblower Mark Klein, and it includes the same type "secret room" that requires top secret access:

The details provided by the two former workers about the Bridgeton room bear the distinctive earmarks of an operation run by the National Security Agency, according to two intelligence experts with extensive knowledge of the NSA and its operations. In addition to the room's high-tech security, those intelligence experts told Salon, the exhaustive vetting process AT&T workers were put through before being granted top-secret security clearance points to the NSA, an agency known as much for its intense secrecy as its technological sophistication.

"It was very hush-hush," said one of the former AT&T workers. "We were told there was going to be some government personnel working in that room. We were told, 'Do not try to speak to them. Do not hamper their work. Do not impede anything that they're doing.'"

The importance of the Bridgeton facility is its role in managing the "common backbone" for all of AT&T's Internet operations. According to one of the former workers, Bridgeton serves as the technical command center from which the company manages all the routers and circuits carrying the company's domestic and international Internet traffic. Therefore, Bridgeton could be instrumental for conducting surveillance or collecting data.
They're listening in on a backbone, so that means they're catching a massive amount of internet traffic. It's no doubt being filtered and entered into a database for later search and retrieval. Scary stuff. The government should not be allowed to do this without explicit congressional approval. But this is George Bush's America, and he's considered to be above the law by his allies. Personally, I think this is either insanity and paranoia or a deliberate step towards dictatorship and totalitarianism.

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Today is the longest day of the year

And it's also the first day of summer, which means that the sun will set very late tonight. But it also means that we're starting our long, slow slide into the abomination of winter. God, how I hate winter. But there are a few months of warmth left before the northern hemisphere freezes over again and frost and snow and death cover the wretched land. Aye, we should embrace these few warm months because the weather generally sucks up here in Minnesota, and winter seems to be longer than the other 3 seasons combined.

Up here in the north we like to say, "Winter is the best 7 months of the year!" (ironically) and then we go back to drinking, shivvering and wishing for a quick death. It's safe to say that I wish I lived somewhere warmer, but MN has it's charms. The mosquitos can't survive in the winter, so at least while you're freezing your ass off and cursing the 23.45 degree tilt of the earth's axis you don't have to worry about wind-borne, blood-sucking, disease-carrying parasites drinking your precious life-juice.

But I don't just let the planet push me around (is a "no spin zone" possible on a planet that spins on it's axis every 24 hours? Discuss.) like some insignificant lifeform living at the pleasure of a spherical host. Nay! I spray CFCs into the air like there's no tomorrow. I drive an SUV big enough to fit a smaller SUV in the back seat (sideways). I light forest fires for no apparent reason! I've developed a tractor beam which slowly pulls the earth closer to the sun with each passing day! That's right; I've encouraged global warming; nay, I created it!! Muhahahaaaaa!! Sweet, sweet warmth; you will be mine!!!! [/insanity]

Okay, I'm kidding, but I really do enjoy global warming. The winters are dramatically milder than they were when I was a kid, and I love it. Of course, there's much less snow so it looks ugly as hell, but at least it doesn't get below zero as much.

Anyway, enough winter-talk. I'm going to enjoy these last few months of warmth and sun before they're gone. Pull yourself away from the computer and get outside if you can.

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Scientology Sucks, part 2

Remember my post about Scientology about 4 posts ago? Well, the website I linked to has been taken down by Scientology's lawyers. All that remains is a copy of the notice they were served with. Fucking pricks.

Luckily, somebody has mirrrored the original post here. Censorship fails again. Also, here's the Digg article about the take down.

I'd like to send a big "fuck you" to the Scientologist leadership. You're just making things worse for yourselves. To prove that, I would like to direct you to yet another site critical of Scientology: YTMND's The Unfunny Truth. Oh, and don't forget

All hail Xenu!... or we'll sue you!!

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Open Source movie -- Elephants Dream

No, it's not a movie about open source software; it's a movie made (almost) completely with open source tools and on an open operating system (Ubuntu Linux). I just downloaded the movie and watched it and it's stunning! The 3D graphics are amazing. These guys have really put some time and effort into creating a realistic world. Check it out for yourself. It's called Elephants Dream.

Using free 3D graphics software called Blender, this crew of open source believers has created a work of art that I didn't know was possible for "nobodies" to make. It looks like a big-studio, Hollywood production. The backgrounds, the character animation, the sound design -- it's all top notch. A wonderful achievement.

It's about 10 minutes long, and I have no idea what the hell is going on plotwise (there are no elephants for one thing), but it looks and sounds gorgeous all the way through. Well worth the download!


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Monday, June 19, 2006

Where's the harm in gay marriage?

Another great article from Rolling Stone, this one on gay marriage and how Republican attempts to split the electorate and rally their base may backfire this time (assuming the election isn't fixed):
Indeed, Bush's attack on same-sex marriage was so transparently political that even the nation's most virulently anti-gay activists recognized the president's insincerity. ''He's some kind of demagogue without any core values whatsoever,'' says the Rev. Fred Phelps, the reactionary, anti-homosexual crusader behind the infamous ''God Hates Fags'' campaign. ''His only dominant value is expediency. He's only doing this because he's losing what core support he had, and anyone with half a brain can see it. He's shameless.''
Being called a shameless demagogue by Fred Phelps? Damn, that's gotta hurt. Of course, it's sorta like being called a "partisan hack" by Tom DeLay, but still!

Personally, I'm shocked that Fred Phelps can speak. I thought he would drool, mostly, and rattle his chains while hissing at anyone who comes near him, rather like Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. I think I'd still rather have dinner with Hannibal.
''The same rhetoric that's being used today against the gay community was used then against interracial couples,'' says Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco mayor who elevated the struggle for marriage equality to the national stage by presiding over nearly 4,000 same-sex weddings in early 2004. ''Nothing has changed. It is the same playbook, and it is as shameful today as it was then.''
Yeah, when people talk about "traditional marriage", what exactly do they mean? 'Cause, traditional marriage, in my book, is arranged marriage, which was commonplace for centuries, and is still the norm in some countries. Is that what they're harkening back to? Or are they saying that men should own their wives like property? 'Cause that's traditional marriage, too. Or maybe they just don't want any black people marrying white women. I suppose they're still bitter about that; which means they're really pissed about two guys marrying each other.

Ah, social conservatives. They're so fun to tweak. Their tiny brains explode at the slightest provocation. Heck, that's half the fun, just watching them fume. It would be much more enjoyable if they stakes weren't so high, however. The views of the social conservatives should not become the law of the land. If they don't like it, it's their problem. Accept responsibility, you whiney little brats. They're so keen on personal responsibility until it's their problem, then all of a sudden we've gotta get the government involved! Hypocrites.
''Homophobia is replacing the set of flag and race issues of a generation ago,'' says Kevin Phillips, the one-time Nixon strategist who coined the term ''Southern Strategy'' to describe the GOP's leverage of racial prejudice to wrest the South from Democratic control. ''It's the last refuge of the scoundrel.''
Basically, that is correct. Just as terrorism has now replaced communism as the new Fear-word, homophobia is the new cultural issue to replace racism. I don't understand these people who insist upon being wrong all the time. Can't you see which way the wind is blowing? Gay rights are the new civil rights. As a straight man, I want to be on the right side of this debate, even if I get called a fag-lover. Of course, there are plenty of racists, even today, but a lot of the old ones are dying off and being replaced with a new generation of kids that listen to hip hop and sees Jim Crow laws as ancient history.

When will everybody be free in America? I'm not interested in freedom just for white males who own land. I'm talking about every single person feeling that they have the freedom to conduct their lives as they see fit, no matter what gender, race or class they belong to. It's a long, hard road, and we're not there yet. But I hope one day we will be.

In a way, maybe we should thank George Bush and his cadre of neo-fascist goons. They are showing the world the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of their entire movement, and every day more people are waking up and saying, "hey, waitaminute -- these guys are assholes! They're not looking out for me; they just want power!"

Just to prove it, what is the right's main argument against gay marriage? That it "destroys the sanctity of marriage," right? Well, instead of a consitutional amendment, what they should do is sue a gay couple in civil court for monetary damages. Let's put the onus on the gay-bashers to come up with a rubric that shows how having a gay couple in town causes actual, measurable financial or emotional harm. Let's see it, bitches: Money talks, and bullshit walks.


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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Scientology is so unbelievably full of shit

Sorry Tom Cruise, but Scientology is just a stupid little cult with an amazingly bizarre creation myth. Check out the linked article for a hilarious Flash animation showing you the real creation myth of Scientology.

You will learn to fear Xenu, you puny thetan!

Isn't it amazing how the creation myth for a religion started by a science fiction author, L. Ron Hubbard, so closely resembles the plotline of a shitty science fiction novel? What an amazing coincidence!

It's a little known fact that Dianetics was actually found crammed up L. Ron Hubbard's ass, all in one piece; it just took 12 years to pry that fucker out.

Until next time, remember to fear the return of Xenu. He can scare the livin' thetans right outa ya! And if John Travolta ever asks if you want to be audited.... RUN!!

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Happy Weekend

Happy weekend, folks. Ain't it great to have some time off from the saltmines? Unless you work on the weekends, that is. In that case, may your earthly overlords grant you mercy and let you off early on this fine summer day. As for me, I'm running around trying to get the things done that I couldn't get done during the week. But tonight we rock. More later.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Inflation is Government Theft for the Benefit of Private Bankers

JustOneMinute links to the latest Krugman article, but I think Kruggers is better at bashing Bush than figuring out why we are in such a hellish situation. We're controlled by creditors. I posted thusly over there:

This is a decent article, but Krugman has to recognize that inflation is basically government theft. The Fed controls how much inflation there is by printing cash and making loans. The fact that there's usually money to be had keeps us out of trouble, but political and economic forces can also cause inflation (oil prices, for example). Even the moderate amount (small by Fed standards) of inflation we've experienced lately is too much because it's so continuous. A few deflationary periods ever now and then wouldn't hurt. There would be less money in circulation, but the cash you did have would become more valuable.

The Fed's insistance of constant boom times has created a boom-bust cycle when we should have a normal up and down cycle. I think it's time we take a look at where the Fed is leading us and ask whether they have people's interest at heart. After all, they are not elected, yet they control our encomony, which is arguably even more important (read: more powerful) than our democracy (such as it is). I think we need to take a long, hard look at the Fed and wonder if we really need it.

Some quotes about the Federal Reserve System:

"From now on, depressions will be scientifically created."
-- Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh Sr. , 1913

"The financial system has been turned over to the Federal Reserve Board. That Board administers the finance system by authority of a purely profiteering group. The system is Private, conducted for the sole purpose of obtaining the greatest possible profits from the use of other people's money" -- Charles A. Lindbergh Sr., 1923

"When you or I write a check there must be sufficient funds in our account to cover the check, but when the Federal Reserve writes a check there is no bank deposit on which that check is drawn. When the Federal Reserve writes a check, it is creating money." -- Boston Federal Reserve Bank

"I have never seen more Senators express discontent with their jobs....I think the major cause is that, deep down in our hearts, we have been accomplices in doing something terrible and unforgivable to our wonderful country. Deep down in our heart, we know that we have given our children a legacy of bankruptcy. We have defrauded our country to get ourselves elected." -- John Danforth (R-Mo)

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. The issuing power (of money) should be taken away from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs." -- Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President.

"If Congress has the right [it doesn't] to issue paper money [currency], it was given to them to be used by...[the government] and not to be delegated to individuals or corporations." -- President Andrew Jackson, Vetoed Bank Bill of 1836

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance." -- James Madison

"The few who understand the system, will either be so interested from it's profits or so dependant on it's favors, that there will be no opposition from that class." -- Rothschild Brothers of London, 1863

"Most Americans have no real understanding of the operation of the international money lenders. The accounts of the Federal Reserve System have never been audited. It operates outside the control of Congress and manipulates the credit of the United States." -- Sen. Barry Goldwater (Rep. AR)

"Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce." -- James A. Garfield, President of the United States

"Banks lend by creating credit. (ledger-entry credit, monetized debt) They create the means of payment out of nothing." -- Ralph M. Hawtrey, Secretary of the British Treasury

"To expose a 15 trillion dollar ripoff of the American people by the stockholders of the 1000 largest corporations over the last 100 years will be a tall order of business." -- Buckminster Fuller

"Every Congressman, every Senator knows precisely what causes inflation...but can't, [won't] support the drastic reforms to stop it [repeal of the Federal Reserve Act] because it could cost him his job." -- Robert A. Heinlein, Expanded Universe

"It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." -- Henry Ford

"The regional Federal Reserve banks are not government agencies. ...but are independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations." -- Lewis vs. United States, 680 F. 2d 1239 9th Circuit 1982

"We have, in this country, one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board. This evil institution has impoverished the people of the United States and has practically bankrupted our government. It has done this through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it." -- Congressman Louis T. McFadden in 1932 (Rep. Pa)

"The Federal Reserve banks are one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever seen. There is not a man within the sound of my voice who does not know that this nation is run by the International bankers." -- Congressman Louis T. McFadden (Rep. Pa)

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Gangs of Australian Youth name themselves after Heavy Metal bands and go on Rampages

This is the most fucked up thing I've ever heard. The gang members have named their gangs after all these heavy metal bands -- like Judas Priest -- and made alliances based upon which bands they thought were good and which weren't, leading to constant gang warfare about who's music is better, along with terrorizing the populace in response to hundreds of years of colonialism.

I can't really describe this, so I'm just gonna quote the (level-headed) article in The Bulletin:

But the Port Keats people were too strong to fully succumb to the church. Autonomous forces survived and, over the past 20 years, gangs have come to steer the under­current of life in the town. “They never sleep,” ­Perdjert says. “They’re always causing problems. ­Everyone stays up till daylight waiting for them to go to sleep. When the daylight comes, that’s when we sleep.”

On October 23, 2002, after a policeman shot dead a Judas Priest gang member in Port Keats, the JPs – who that day had been fighting the Evil Warriors – turned savagely on anyone with links to the Warriors. ­Perdjert felt their wrath due to her marriage to Eugenio Kurungaiyi, the deputy commander of the Evil Warriors.

“They [Judas Priest members] smashed my house, all my property, everything. They trashed my washing machine, my deep freezer, DVD and video machine, TV, table, chairs, everything,” she says. “They burned my clothes, mattresses, blankets. I was there.”

It was anything but a casual going over. Twelve houses were destroyed and eight cars burned. The message was clear: the traditional owners of Port Keats were no longer welcome on their own land. “They smashed everything,” ­Perdjert says. “They smashed the toilet, the sink, the fan, even the power points – everything.”

Six weeks ago, she sneaked back into Port Keats to visit her sick grandmother. But she was quickly found out and Judas Priest gangsters went to her aunt’s home, where she was hiding. ­Perdjert was punched three times in the head. The boys said they were looking for her husband. Her aunt’s house was trashed as punishment for shielding ­Perdjert, who immediately chartered an aircraft back to Wyndham.

The Evil Warriors align themselves musically to the heavy metal bands Pantera, Iced Earth and Testament. Outcrops of graffiti across the Top End testify that Pantera’s Cowboys From Hell album is regarded as a seminal work. Iced Earth, a shock-rock band, has albums called The Dark Saga, Dark Genesis and Burnt Offerings. Testament album titles include Demonic and Signs of Chaos, all of it suggesting the gangs rejoice in concepts forbidden and reviled by the church.

The Judas Priest boys take their name from the leather-and-chain British band. Metallica, the band that screams against injustice over studiously disjointed machine-gun bursts of sound, is also rated highly by JP. Both groups reject the other’s music as crap.

Beneath the two dominant gangs are sub-gangs with names like the Lica (from Metallica) Warriors, Mad Warriors, Fear Factory, Big T (taken from the band Testament), the German Punks, the White Lions and the Cowboys From Hell – a small group of young boys from just up the road at Palumpa. They are variously aligned to the two main groups.

“These smaller gangs,” says a lawyer with experience in the area, “represent the small Port Keats family groupings or clans that aren’t terribly powerful. They form their small gangs almost as a defence against the larger family gangs but inevitably they need to align themselves to the bigger groups.” In a power switch that came after October 2002, when the Evil Warriors lost influence in Port Keats, most of the smaller gangs got onside with Judas Priest as a matter of survival.

Wyndham exile Peter Cumaiyi confirms the lawyer’s assessment. “The reason why they’re in a gang is to protect themselves from other gangs,” he says. While his sons and nephews are members of the Evil ­Warriors, Cumaiyi, 47, insists he is too old to be in the gang – even though, when it comes down to it, he has stood alongside his boys and fought Judas Priest.

This is really weird, eh? Check the article out, man. It's seriously weird. And it gets weirder:

For a start, these are bush kids who don’t speak English well enough to explain themselves. The church sent their parents – like Cumaiyi – to Catholic boarding school in Darwin. But then came the era of self-­determination, which demanded the church move aside so that Aborigines could do things for themselves. What in fact happened was that a whole generation – these very boys – fell into a vacuum. They got to grade six and seven then disappeared into the bush.

They deal with problems the best way they know how – through confrontation, using their clan numbers, or forming allegiances with others, much as their ancestors did. But their life as bush gangsters has bitten back.

So you can actually trace much of this back to the Catholic Church's insistence on "christianizing" the Aboriginal population. Interesting... The Aboriginal youth were probably warned by the church that heavy metal was evil. So naturally, when the church lost control, the youths embraced that which they had been denied. It's very interesting, but it's too bad that it's degenerated into a series of tense, violent, stand-offs with white settlers and each other.

I can assure you that most of the bands mentioned in the article kick ass. I'm sure they would not want to see such destruction in their name. But they understand oppression, as do the gangbangers:

When they first emerged in the 1980s, the gangs were not seen as a threat. Because each gang is tied to one of the region’s 20 clans, or wider family groupings, it was thought the boys had simply updated clan names along contemporary lines. Recent events have forced a reappraisal.

“The music they’re listening to is the music of the oppressed and disadvantaged and these kids really heavily identify,” the lawyer says. “It’s anti-authority, angry, violent and rebellious and these are sentiments a lot of Aboriginal people can identify with. I’m no musicologist but that’s what it seems to be. You just better hope they don’t find Islam.” The lawyer pauses and adds: “I think I’m joking.”

The best way they can explain the love of heavy metal is, in the words of Francis, the “inspiration” it gives them. It needs no beer or ganja to kick it along. He says the music “works” when they are sitting at their out­stations, bored and in search of a shared muse. Most like to be seen wearing Kmart-issue camouflage gear they pick up on occasional trips to Darwin. The militia costume would appear to send the message that the boys are combat-ready at all times.

By and large, Port Keats men have lean, hard-cut physiques, with veins that rope in their biceps and powerful shoulders. The boys are careful to highlight these features in spray-on clothes. The men of Groote Eylandt, off Arnhem Land, and the Walpiri tribesmen of the Tanami enjoy their reputations as hard men. But for the men of Port Keats – nowadays the most jailed people of any NT community – a special respect is reserved.

Blending the symbols of hard-edged western cultures, gang members – perhaps surprisingly – prefer the angry guitar sound of white metal bands to the tempered black ghetto beat. Rap music, they say, is for kids – even though the shot-dead gangster-musician Tupac Shakur is singled out as an affectionate exception.

They reject the idea that the allegedly demonic nature of the metal bands puts them in the Devil’s hand. “We can be Evil Warriors and we can still go to church,” says Gerard Cumaiyi. “We go to church every Sunday here in Wyndham. We are strong believers. It’s that mob [Judas Priest]. They don’t believe. They never go to church.”

Wow. I think these kids need to get into reggae music, mon. Bob Marley, man. They need to get that aggression out. I think they still need the heavy metal. It provides solace in a world of shit. But reggae offers sunshine, even in the depths of oppression and cruelty. As this article makes clear, skin color doesn't matter. Music speaks to you, and sound doesn't have a color.

Shelvey is far from pleased that JP have the upper hand in his town. “All sorts of people in Wadeye are absolutely shit-scared of him getting out,” says an observer. “The Jongmins, as a matter of pride, would say bring it on – but it’s the women and kids generally who are afraid of being caught in the crossfire.”

The Wyndham-based Evil Warriors say they are depending on Shelvey to lead them back to Port Keats. “What the boys are suggesting,” says Gerard Cumaiyi, “is that we need a fair fight with them [Judas Priest] and then there might be peace.” After that, he says it’s over. “We want no more Evil ­Warriors, no more Judas Priest, no more gangs. We’ll settle down with true family.”

Gerard is asked if he hates the boys from Judas Priest. “We don’t hate them,” he says. “They’re the same mob as us – same language, but different country.” “It’s very hard,” says Peter Cumaiyi. “They can be right, we can be right. It’s a seesaw. Who is right? Which way does it go? We just want to be equal.”

Much of it comes down to how young Port Keats men see their place in the world. They have all been through manhood ceremonies and many have known the inside of Berrimah prison. Yet they are so strongly connected to ceremonial business that other communities rely on Port Keats people to guide them through correct ceremonial performance.

It's a cycle of violence, as they say. And not much good comes of it. Can't they get together and put this feud asside? Probably not. The warring gangs each have families where the rule is concentrated, and they get their power through conflict. We should not expect to see an end to this conflict as long as it is so profitable (power-wise) for certain gang families.

The ending is hopeful, however:

Same for the heavy metal gangster culture. These young warriors will fight, will go to jail and will go to jail again for their clans. But they are not beyond reach. There is none of the lethargy among Port Keats people that so demoralises many others. The boys are feared by other communities, seen by the cops as trouble, but are nevertheless warm and intelligent and would surely prefer to be doing more than fighting each other. As such, the heavy metal scene could be read as an attempt to engage in the world beyond their fishbowl existence in a community at the end of a long, dirt road. In a startling admission, it turns out there are Elvis Presley and Hank Williams lovers hiding beneath the furious wall of sound. “Yes, we like angry music,” says Gerard Cumaiyi. “But we also like the crooners.”

Good to know they're finding other good bands and singers. They need to spread their wings and find the good that exists in all kinds of music. Maybe then they can learn to appreciate the good that exists in all kinds of peoples throughout the world.

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Monkey sniff butt!

Here's what this site is all about folks:

That's right folks! Welcome to Electric Monkey Pants! Your source for sophisticated humor.

Monkey sniffs butt!!
Monkey sniffs butt!! Woo!

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Bill Gates steps down as Chief Software Architect

This doesn't mean that Bill Gates is leaving the company; he's just reducing his role. He will stay on as chairman and he will continue to be Microsoft's largest shareholder. But I think this is the beginning of the end.
The man who has come to define the PC revolution has decided to walk away — very slowly — from his creation. Microsoft Chairman William H. Gates III said June 15 that he will give up his day-to-day role at the company in two years to focus on giving his vast riches away through the $29 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Personally, I think this is great news. I've long hated Bill Gates for his sleazy business practices, but I think what he's doing with his foundation is great. If he concentrates his efforts in poverty-stricken areas of the world he can really make a difference. And that will come in handy when it's time to answer for his crimes to the big man upstairs.

I think it's questionable whether he can be redeemed, but I'm willing to give the guy a shot. I think his wife, Melinda, has really had a good influence on him. She may be stealing him away from the boys, but at least it's for a good cause. His dad is quite the philanthropist as well.

It's always nice when a filthy-rich scrooge-type realizes what it's like to be poor, and to have virtually no chance to pull yourself up by your bootstraps because of country-wide chaos beyond your control. If Bill didn't have access to education and enough money to enable him to pursue computers as a hobby would he have even gotten a chance to jump into the software business? I sincerely doubt it. Whenever some free-market, laissez-faire business geek says something about there being a "level playing field" I wanna puke and laugh at the same time. Only a rich person would say that.

In reality, people from poor countries (or even poor people in the U.S.) have vastly limited opportunities compared to the rich. Bill Gates' parents, while not nearly as rich as their son, were quite well-off when they were raising Bill. Not all of us can afford to go to Harvard... or drop out of it for that matter. And Bill's prep school tuition actually cost more than Harvard, and that prep school had a computer -- a rarity in those days. Bill certainly had some advantages. But I give him credit for making the most of those advantages, something not everybody would have done.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

2,500 war dead

The Pentagon revealed today that 2,500 U.S. troops have died in Iraq, along with untold thousands of Iraqi troops and civilians.
In addition, the Pentagon said 18,490 U.S. troops have been wounded in the war, which began in March 2003 with a U.S.-led invasion to topple President Saddam Hussein. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed.
I hope the bloodshed ends soon. Hopefully things will become more stable over there and the violence will recede into memory. But that's just a fool's hope; nothing reasonable, based in reality, gives me that hope. Just a wish.

I don't even know if our continuing occupation of Iraq is best for the Iraqis. Certainly they're better off without Saddam. But are they better off with us? I think leaving could be the best thing. The occupation itself is probably generating much of the violence. I'd be pissed off too if somebody invaded my country to "liberate" me from the tyranny of George Bush. Yes, I hate Bush and he needs to be impeached, but let me take care of it. I don't think we need any foreign help to rid ourselves of this menace. I don't see how we can justify invading Iraq to remove Saddam simply because we don't like him. If all of the Iraqis, unanimously (or close to it), begged us to come in and shoot their troops and take over the government and set up our own government, then fine. But they didn't. So why are we there?

Well, that's a question that Bush needs to answer to the faces of the mothers and fathers of those killed in this conflict, whether American or Iraqi.

Aren't all human lives valuable? Why do they only report the number of Americans killed? Why do they not even bother to keep track of Iraqi casualties?

Probably because the numbers are so high.


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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

New web browser: Flock

I'm trying out the new web browser on the scene, Flock, which is based on Firefox's code base. Flock is different, though, in that it integrates Web 2.0 functionality into the browser itself. That means, blogging, photo-sharing (flickr) and bookmark-sharing ( are included in the browser and are supposedly made easier. I just installed it, so I can't tell you if that's true yet, but I can see how it will make things a little handier. I'll let you know how my little experiment goes. Seems pretty fun at the moment; check it out if you're the early adopter type.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Spread the love in your life

Well, I'm still depressed about Rove, but I'm fuckin' happy now 'cause my softball team won. We won good, too; kicked dey asses 22 to 7. Yeah! We got crushed last week, by a score that's too embarrassing to print. But this game made up the difference.

Anyway, not much goin' on. Had a discussion with somebody and I'm happy with the outcome and our agreement, which I will put into writing. Got plans in the mix, man, and I hope to be moving up in this world, to a more stable position in life.

Speaking of life, I just finished mixing my band's last ad-hoc recordings. Pretty shitty quality but the energy comes through strong, and the musicianship has really been improving all around. We still need another member - if you know someone, get in contact. We're multi-instrumentalists in search of a heavy, melodic vibe.

Yeah, music is my life in a way. I'm always listening to it. This blog would be totally about music if I cared to talk about it, but I think writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Something just doesn't translate. I suppose this could be a gossip rag about certain bands, but it's really not. I might post an MP3 from time to time and see if anybody downloads it. Maybe a podcast format or just a song every now and then, probably from local bands or small-time bands that I'm assuming would want the exposure (most of us would kill to have millions of people downloading our tunes for free over the internet!). I dunno, lemme know if anybody interested.

I probably won't talk about the songs much; just say, "here take this MP3 and listen to it." Then you can bitch about it in the comments. Or rave about it! I've got good taste in music, man. You'll like my stuff; much of it you've never heard, I'll wager. Ah, gather 'round lads and lassies and I will tell of you a story. My friend said that a mutual friend's neighbors told him that the point of classical music, in fact the whole goal of composers since the dawn of the modern era, has been to compose a piece of music so good that it will open a gateway to heaven.

Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Can't guarantee a song that good, but I think every decent songwriter would love to open us a doorway to heaven in your heart for 4 minutes or so. I'm just here to spread the love.


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Luskin: Karl Rove won't be charged in CIA leak case

White House senior adviser Karl Rove has been told by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald that he will not be charged in the CIA leak case, according to Robert Luskin, Rove's lawyer.

"In deference to the pending case, we will not make any further public statements about the subject matter of the investigation," Luskin said in a written statement Tuesday. "We believe that the special counsel's decision should put an end to the baseless speculation about Mr. Rove's conduct."

A grand jury has heard testimony from Rove in five appearances, most recently April 26.

After that appearance, Luskin issued a statement saying, "In connection with this appearance, the special counsel has advised Mr. Rove that he is not a target of the investigation."

Granted, he is a lawyer and so he could be full of shit, but I don't know. What would he have to gain from lying about this? This sucks, I wanted to see Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in chains.

Hopefully this means Fitzgerald is concentrating on Cheney, but I doubt it. I think he's chickened out. Or maybe the evidence just wasn't there, but if a guy has to show up at the grand jury on five different occasions, it doesn't look good. Surprising that Fitzgerald couldn't get him for anything.


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Monday, June 12, 2006

Project for a New American Century closing shop?

Oh, that would be a shame. Couldn't they get us involved in any more pointless wars first? How will we stumble into a sure-to-be-apocalyptic future without their guiding hand? I guess we'll have to make do. On the other hand, virtually all of the founders of the PNAC are now "heavy hitters" in either the Bush administration or the conservative movement at large:

The doors may be closing shortly on the nine-year-old Project for a New American Century, the neoconservative think tank headed by William Kristol , former chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle and now editor of the Weekly Standard, which is must reading for neocon cogitators and agitators.

The PNAC was short on staff -- having perhaps a half-dozen employees -- but very long on heavy hitters. The founders included Richard B. Cheney , Donald H. Rumsfeld , Paul D. Wolfowitz , Jeb Bush , I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby , William J. Bennett, Zalmay Khalilzad and Quayle.

The goal was to continue the Reaganite, muscular approach to projecting American power and "moral clarity" in a post-Cold War world, the group's manifesto said. The targets were liberal drift and conservative isolationism.

Yeah, you'd hate to have people saying we should just stay home and not go out pillaging other countries for blood and oil.

The article says there is a "mission accomplished" vibe at the PNAC. Now that strikes me as one of the most hilariously ironic statements I've heard in a long time. First, it ties to Bush's classic Mission Accomplished banner blunder on the aircraft carrier. Second, it seems that the PNAC was only concerned about getting us into Iraq, not out. How curious. I wonder if it has something to do with the permanent military bases we're building in Iraq?

The PNAC did exactly what they wanted to do. They found "a new Pearl Harbor" just when they needed one (how "fortunate"...) and they twisted the memory of the dead from that event to justify invading Iraq, a pissant country that posed no threat to us. "Mission Accomplished", indeed. The PNAC has succeeded beyond expectations, but the problem is that their success has spelled disaster for the American people. We're stuck in a war that could last decades while a new war against Iran is currently in the planning stages.

Let me lay it on the line and just say this: The Project for a New American Century is a cabal of fascists who are dead-set on creating an American Empire. Guess who would be in charge of this empire?

Empires are not democracies. Look to Rome if you want to know where our civilization will end up.

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ACLU hauls the Bush administration into court

The ACLU is claiming that the NSA wirtapping program is illegal under the Constitution. Silly ACLU; they think we still have a Constitution. What we really is have is a ruling cabal of fascists pretending they believe in freedom:
The parties in the ACLU lawsuit, who include journalists, scholars and lawyers, say the program has hampered their ability to do their jobs because it has made international contacts, such as sources and potential witnesses, wary of sharing information over the phone.

Ann Beeson, the ACLU's associate legal director, said the administration's arguments in defense of the program don't square with the Constitution.

"The framers never intended to give the president the power to ignore the laws of Congress even during wartime and emergencies," she said last week during a conference call with reporters.

She said no state secrets need to be revealed to litigate the case because the administration has already acknowledged the program exists. The Center for Constitutional Rights has filed a similar lawsuit on the eavesdropping in federal court in New York.
Everytime the government uses the old "state secrets" line, democracy dies a little more. "State secrets" is their version of a "Get out of jail free" card. Like the "national security" red herring, it works everytime. I expect this case to dismissed soon.

We no longer live in a Constitutional Republic. Democracy was fun while it lasted.

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Ask a Ninja takes on the Matrix has a new episode (okay, it's over a week old) taking on the Matrix. Pretty funny stuff! Click the play button above to view.


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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Scoble leaves Microsoft

Microsoft's top blogger, Robert Scoble, has decided to leave the company for a tech startup. This is a major blow to Microsoft as Scoble was good at putting a public face on the stubbornly secretive company.

Scoble's blog is considered to be among the A-list of blogs. Obviously, this blog is not even considered to be on the D-list. However, I can still throw tomatoes if I want to (it's good to be a blogger). But unlike Armando the fuckhead Scoble is a pretty decent guy from what I can tell. Sure, he's a bit of a tool, but I think he sincerely believes Microsoft is a good company. As an Apple-user, I can assure you that he is insane, but at least he's a nice guy.

The thing I wonder is: Will Scoble keep his same blog? What kind of deal did he work out with Microsoft when they first hired him? Was it always considered to be his private blog even though he commented about ’softies all the time? Kind of a delicate situation it would appear, but hopefully Scoble thought of this beforehand and made sure the blog was his exclusive domain; otherwise he would lose part of his identity. I guess we’ll have to wait 'til tomorrow for more details.

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Damn I'm exhausted!

I just ran like 10k, and I'm pretty pooped. Been mixing up tracks that we recorded a few weeks ago. It's noisy and of shitty quality, but it's pretty fun and there's some interesting performances. Hope to bust out something solid one of these days. We're getting better and better all the time.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

From Freedom to Fascism in 100 Years or Less!

Meant to post about this yesterday, but Blogger was having some serious problems. So if the blog was missing or there was a post repeated 3 or 4 times yesterday, that was why.

Anyway, director Aaron Russo has a new movie coming out called America: From Freedom to Fascism and it looks absolutely gut-wrenching:
"FOUR STARS (Highest Rating). The scariest goddamn film you'll see this year. It will leave you staggering out of the theatre, slack-jawed and trembling. Makes 'Fahrenheit 9/11' look like 'Bambi.' After watching this movie, your comfy, secure notions about America -- and about what it means to be an American -- will be forever shattered. Producer/director Aaron Russo and the folks at Cinema Libre Studio deserve to be heralded as heroes of a post-modern New American Revolution. This is shocking stuff. You'll be angry, you'll be disgusted, but you may actually break out in a cold sweat and feel a sickness deep in your gut; I would advise movie theatre managers to hand out vomit bags. You may end up needing one." --- Todd David Schwartz, CBS
I can't wait until it's released (in late July I believe). I've been interested in this stuff for years. Not so much the IRS part, but definitely the mysteries of the Federal Reserve.

For those not in the know: In 1913 a huge scam was perpetrated on the American people when Congress gave away it's right to coin money. This power was transferred to the newly created Federal Reserve System. One problem: The Fed is not federal. Whazzat, you say? I'm serious. It was created as a private money-lending institution. So who owns the Federal Reserve? Nobody knows. (Well, presumably the Fed knows, but they're not telling). You can rest assured that you don't.

Beyond that disturbing fact, the problem runs deeper. You see, the Fed creates money out of thin air. The dollar is no longer backed by gold, so any money that is created is just... paper. And most of it is electronic these days anyway. But how can that be?! you ask. Well, Congress gave the Federal Reserve that power when it was created in 1913. This is known as fiat currency because the government simply makes a law (a fiat) and says, "this is the way it is. This paper is worth X, even though there's no precious metal (like gold) backing it. It's worth something because we say it is."

Isn't this a little dangerous? you might wonder. Especially since the Fed is a private entity (that pays no taxes) controlled by unknown persons. You bet it is. Here's what Thomas Jefferson had to say on the matter:
"I sincerely believe the banking institutions having the issuing power of money are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies."
Damn right, Jefferson. So, if you've ever wondered how our supposedly prosperous nation managed to get 8 trillion dollars in debt, now you have your answer. A private bank is loaning our government money that it (the bank) creates out of nothing, and it's loaning our government this money at interest! What a scam!

But who's going to pay this interest that the bankers are charging the government? I'll give you a hint: You are! In 1913 (the same year, at the same time) Congress also created the IRS and the income tax. It started at only 1% of total income, but it has gone up steadily ever since then (as I'm sure you're well aware, especially around April 15th). In any fraud or scam somebody has to get it in the shorts, and in this case it's the American taxpayer who is getting royally screwed.

Of course, the Congress could always cut back on spending. How 'bout you hold your breath until that happens? :-) Not fucking likely, right? Well, that's why the Congress loves the Federal Reserve; it's a bank that let's you go as deep into debt as you could ever want to go! 8 trillion and counting! They never ask for the principle; the interest is enough to keep them fat and wealthy. Congress simply raises the debt ceiling (or is it a basement?) and keeps spending like no tomorrow.

It was said by Alexis de Tocqueville that: "
The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money." Well that day has long since passed. We're like Wile E. Coyote running off a cliff. One of these days we're gonna look down and then we'll start to fall. The horrible reality is that America has been secretly taken over by a fascist cabal of bankers.

Throughout American history, a few brave men have stood up to the bankers (the Federal Reserve is our 3rd central bank; each one was worse than the previous one). They include Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. It seems that the last two may have paid for their courage with their lives.

So, if I have piqued your interest, please see the movie! Make sure you check out the previews on the Freedom to Fascism site. It looks awesome; I can't wait to see it. Let's just hope there's still a country left to save by July. With George Bush (an agent of the bankers) in charge, that's not a sure thing!

I leave you with a quote from banker-extraordinaire Mayer Anselm Rothschild:
"Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws..."

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Blogger Exposed: As a Lawyer!

I just found out about the outing of Armando over at DailyKos. There's a good discussion over at Pandagon.

Personally, I could give a fuck. I've tangled with Armando before and I was shocked to discover that he is the worst kind of internet troll. I thought as a guest blogger he might try to stay above the fray, but no. He jumped in and quickly made an ass of himself in the single discussion I participated in (DKos is good for little more than Bush-bashing. I fucking hate partisans). He resorted to personal attacks right away, belittled and troll-modded people who disagreed with him and generally acted like his shit didn't stink.

I'm shocked to hear he's a lawyer. From what I could see he couldn't argue his way out of a paperbag if you didn't let him use troll methods. Well, he's one more chunk of damage to the reputation of lawyers everywhere, I guess.

I suppose it's too bad he was outed (I didn't know he was anonymous), but it couldn't've happened to a better guy. He's a total prick and I don't believe he'll actually stop posting over at DKos for long. This is just a pity-party for a self-obsessed partisan hack with more arguments than brains.

The thing that pisses me off is that he represents Walmart and presumably other shitty corporations, while he takes Bush to task for being a corporate stooge. What rank hypocrisy! Bush couldn't've done better himself.


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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

So Abu Musab al- has been killed. I don't think this matters much at all. The insurgency is much bigger than one man. We've still got a lot of problems to solve if we're gonna get our soldiers out of that hellhole alive. Hope the Iraqis make it, but I suspect the root of their problems is the occupation itself, despite what Bush might say.

Bring our troops home. Let's get out of Iraq and stay the fuck out of Iran. No more wars of conquest!

Ahh, that's all I got. Read the last post if you want something witty and insightful.


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Class War with a Pink Gun

I happened to read this story about rich girls' Sweet 16 parties in a month-old copy of Time.

The protagonists' excesses alone make for lurid, enjoyably outraged viewing. (Surely one celebrant's decision to dye her poodles pink should have prompted a call to the A.S.P.C.A.) A precocious celebutant makes her entrance via helicopter. A self-proclaimed "divo" (like diva but different) rents out the mall to stage a faux fashion show (prompting a backstage catfight over a limited supply of bustiers). There are hired dancers, a raj-like litter hoisted by hand-picked hotties and an apparent contractual obligation for someone to arrive in a stretch Hummer. I had no idea so many stretch Hummers even existed. No wonder we had to go to war in Iraq.

The series is like an infomercial for class war, and should the revolution come, an episode guide will provide a handy, illustrated list of who should go up against the wall. My Super Sweet 16 had its third-season premiere last week, building up to the broadcast with a drumroll of conspicuous consumption: four two-hour blocks of episodes drawn from the show's previous seasons. To witness such unself-conscious acquisitiveness in one sitting is like eating an entire normal-kid birthday-party sheet cake, wax decorative candles and all. There's the same queasy sense of monochromatic excess because all the shows are alike, from the fake panic that the party may not happen to the scary-sexy dry humping on the dance floor. And no matter what the nominal theme of the party--California beach party, Moulin Rouge, the color pink--each guest of honor is really after only one thing. "I feel famous. I love it," says one. Another: "I definitely felt like I was famous." Yet one more: "I felt like such a star." The teenagers take on all the tics of fame, from tiny dogs to referring to oneself in the third person. We are all Paris Hilton now.

Not all of us, Ana. Not all of us by a long shot.

The pure god-awful greed and selfishness of these teens (and their feel-guilty-about-working-too-much parents) is appalling and disgusting.

You know, rich people and Republicans often accuse people of "waging class warfare" if somebody dares to point out how excessive and venal the rich act, especially their children. That's such a bullshit argument. It's the rich who are waging class warfare, not the poor. The rich are the ones who create poverty (it's called "not sharing" to the Nth degree) by exploiting workers, keeping minimum wage low generally structuring society and government so that it enriches themselves instead of everybody else. Those of us who are in the middle class should feel lucky we live in such a great country, I suppose, but it's really just a comfy version of poverty compared with the awesome wealth of the upper class. I mean, they can buy lear jets. Fucking lear jets, man. That costs more just to maintain in a year than most of us make the whole year.

So if anybody ever accuses you of waging class warfare by pointing out how selfish and nihilistic the rich kids are behaving, tell them to fuck off and get a clue. The rich are the ones who start all of our wars, figurative or otherwise. Not us peasants. We have no power as they like to point out when we try to change things (otherwise, politicians love to assure us that we have the power. Is that why so many of us are working for minimum wage?).

Well fuck Paris Hilton, that shrewish demon slut. We all know how vacuous the rich girls are now. They've been spoiled rotten by the money they never earned, so in a way I'm not jealous of them at all. But it would be nice to have a huge stash of resources to fall back on when times got tough. I'd like to have a house by a lake or river or ocean. But if acting like spoiled little shits is the price, I'll take poverty, thanks. I guess even being rich isn't free.

MTV is such a filthstream of elitist fascism and meta-satanic imagery that I doubt I could ever watch this show for more than 5 minutes. This is how Satan would raise his daughters; so spoiled you can smell her a million miles away. Obviously, the show is fake and staged, but the bullgod-worshipping creditcard-celebrity is real. Just buy happiness, kids!

My parents used to dislike MTV because it had suggestive videos and weird music. Now I hate MTV because it has corporate fascism, wealth-worshipping depraved materialism and shitty, shitty music, when it has music at all, which is during commercials.

I can only assume that the devil himself is the guy running MTV. It's that bad. I'd rather watch the pope take a shit for 12 hours than watch a half hour of MTV. I'd watch the pope thing even if it had praying and a toilet-cam. Now that's fucking gross, right? That's how bad MTV's sex-obsessed materialism grosses me out. It actually makes me feel ill. And not Beastie Boys ill; the bad kind.

Reasons why I don't have a TV, number 3143.

I guess you could ask why I get so upset over materialism and flagrant displays of sickening money-flaunting. Honestly, I don't know. I guess I'm just a spiritual person and so materialism seems like the enemy to me. Especially given my Gnostic outlook.

The weirdist thing to me, though, is the fact that the poor kids will watch these shows religiously. And that's their fault. If you're stupid enough to watch eMpTV, then you deserve to feel bad about yourself. Hell, that's the whole point of MTV.

So why the fuck do they watch it? Cheap thrills, I suppose. Now turn the channel before I vomit.

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Specter accuses Cheney of going behind his back

Arlen Specter does not sound very happy about Cheney's hardball tactics. Cheney has been leaning heavily on various Republican members of the Judiciary Committee in order to get their word that no substansive hearings will be held. Specter, as chairman, does not like that:

In a letter to Cheney that the senator released to the news media, Specter said the vice president had cut him out of discussions with all the other Republicans on his own committee about oversight of the administration's eavesdropping programs, a subject on which Specter has often been at odds with the White House.

The trigger for Specter's anger was a deal Cheney made with the other Republicans on the committee to block testimony from phone companies that reportedly cooperated in providing call records to the National Security Agency.

Specter, who had been considering issuing subpoenas to compel telephone company executives to testify, learned of Cheney's actions only when he went into a closed meeting of the committee's Republicans on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after encountering the vice president at a weekly luncheon of all Senate Republicans.

What's funny to me is how childish Specter seems when talking about how Cheney dissed him by ignoring him at that party last week:

"I was surprised, to say the least, that you sought to influence, really determine, the action of the committee without calling me first, or at least calling me at some point," Specter wrote. "This was especially perplexing since we both attended the Republican senators caucus lunch yesterday and I walked directly in front of you on at least two occasions en route from the buffet to my table."

Awwwwww... isn't that cute? Specter's pissed because Cheney's not talking to him. This is so fucking highschool.

Obviously, I support Specter in this little dustup because Cheney is clearly trying to squash dissent, as he always does. This time he might not be able to stem the tide. Well, we can only hope. It's not like we have any power or say in the matter. This is just a squabble among the elites. The rest of us can only watch.


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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What a joke

This stuff with Ann Coulter insulting the 9/11 victims' wives is a joke. I hesitate to even post about Ann Coulter because she's such an obviously deranged demagogue. Let's face it: she's fucking clownshoes, man.

But on the other hand, she often serves as a mouthpiece for the GOP's sick beliefs. She exists to say the things the rest of the hateful assholes out there wish they could say, thereby bringing their twisted ideas into the mainstream. Her job is to try to move the mainstream to the right. But today, I think people will realize what a fucking prick she really is. Here's what she wrote in her book:
"These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV … reveling in their status as celebrities," she writes. "These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them."

--snipped and flipped--

"I've never seen people enjoy their husbands' deaths so much," she writes in the book.
Why does she hate these 9/11 wives so much? Is there something deeper here? Why even bother insulting them except for the publicity? I guess that certainly could be her only motive (would any of us put it past her?), but I'm suspicious that there's something more going on here. I see her as a mouthpiece for the rightwing, as I said. So is it possible that the GOP is pissed at the 9/11 victims' wives for some reason?

Perhaps they've been asking too many questions about that fateful day...


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Jesus was gay

I don't get this whole thing. Jesus was clearly gay. Here's a historical image of him groping a follower:

Okay, I'm totally joking. But let's not forget that Jesus was a rabble-rousing radical revolutionary. He is usually depicted in Christian imagery as being a bit of a hippy (long hair, beard, sandals, probably smoked weed, etc.). Heck, he was basically the original hippy, preaching nonviolence while evil festered and grew all around him. Instead of being thanked for his wisdom and optimism he was nailed to a cross, much like hippy war protestors were shot in the '60s and '70s (Four dead in Ohio).

How come the people who claim to love Jesus the most seem to act in a way that is directly opposed to everything Jesus stood for?


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Where exactly in the Bible does it say...

Where exactly in the Bible does Jesus say:

"Hate your neighbor, especially if he's a fag."

'Cause I couldn't find that particular verse. Maybe it's just not in my copy. I guess I must not be reading the same Bible that the Republicans in the Senate are reading. From the article I just linked to last post:

"The Republican leadership is asking us to spend time writing bigotry into the Constitution," said Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, which legalized in 2003. "A vote for it is a vote against civil unions, against domestic partnership, against all other efforts for states to treat gays and lesbians fairly under the law."

In response, [Sen. Orrin] Hatch fumed: "Does he really want to suggest that over half of the United States Senate is a crew of bigots?"

Uh, yes, Orrin. That is exactly what he is fucking suggesting, dumbshit. Glad you finally caught on.

So, Orrin, can you point me to the place in the Bible where it says we're supposed to hate and persecute gay people? I'm having a little trouble finding it, you fucking bigoted, pandering piece of donkey shit. Oh, am I swearing to much for you? Fuck off, bitch. Don't lecture me about decorum when you're the one pushing a hateful amendment designed to make a certain class of Americans into second-class citizens. Meanwhile you claim to be Christian (well, Mormon in this case)? Fucking hypocrite slime. What a bunch of fucking bigots!

Christians: is this who you want representing you in Congress? People who HATE with every fiber of their being? People who will systematically, deliberately and consciously try to fuck over the rights of a group of people just because they are different? Does that sound Christian to you? Does that sound American to you?

Don't let these assholes speak for you. I'm not a Christian because I don't want to associate with people like Orrin Hatch and Tom DeLay or the rat-fucking pope either. The decent Christians out there need to speak up -- LOUDER -- and say that these assholes don't represent you or your views. Otherwise, what am I to think? That Christianity, the religion of compassion, has become a twisted and evil shell of its former self, that's what I'm thinking. Speak up, Christians.

Many Christian assholes have a persecution complex wherein they constantly bitch about persecution just because they don't get their way. But then they turn around and try their damndest to persecute others?!!

Ever hear of the Golden Rule, fuckers?

Come on, I know there are still some good Christians out there. SPEAK UP! Speak out against hate! One day you will have to look God in the eye and explain to him why you did nothing.


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Election reform or hateful bigotry -- which would you choose?

Rolling Stone has an interview with Republican DeForest Soaries, the first chair of the federal Election Assistance Commission. He basically claims the EAC was a joke; an agency that was set up so that politicians could say they "did something" about the 2000 election fiasco in Florida.

Soaries goes on to lament the fact that there are no standards about what is acceptable in elections as far as machine failures and waiting times:
Here’s what I found troubling. Look at Ohio. Is a two-hour line appropriate or inappropriate? We don’t have an answer to that question. What we say is that democracy means that you have the right to vote without intimidation and undue burdens. But if you stand in line for six hours, technically, today there is no document, no standard, no law that says that that’s wrong. And the problem is this is six years after Florida 2000! What number of votes is an acceptable number to lose in any race? We don’t have a performance rate for machines. If we discovered that of 10,000 Diebold machines model XYZ, 1,000 break down during the day, is that acceptable or unacceptable? If it were a toaster we could tell you, it were a tire we could tell you. If a certain tire malfunctions a certain number of times then they have a recall.

We have no basis for having a recall of any particular type of voting equipment because there are no standards. And when we do have standards, even these standards are required to be voluntary. So is a one percent error rate good? Is a two percent error rate good? 5,000 votes cast, only 4,000 counted? Is that success or failure?

So when you ask me about Ohio, you can recite to me the worst data that anyone has unearthed in Ohio, I would have to say to you — very technically — so what? What does it violate?

It may violate your sensibilities, it may violate my sensitivities, it may violate someone else’s sense of fair play. But the Secretary of State of Ohio has proven that you can get straight through an election by saying: We broke no law. You see the problem?

That is indeed a problem. It raises the specter of an election that was stolen fair and square! Republicans could say, "Sure we stole the election; but it was all 100% legal!" and they'd only be lying a little bit. I'm sure it wouldn't be 100% legal, but since they were in charge in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004, they were able to make the laws and set (or strip) the standards. This is a classic conundrum in democracy: Who watches the watchers? Who polices the police? Who votes in the election officials that count the votes?

Soaries is right. This system is an embarrassment; a national disgrace.

So what did our elected representatives do today? Did they tackle the problem of election reform? Did they work hard to fix a broken system in time for the 2006 midterm elections?

No. They voted on the gay-marriage amendment.

Useless fucking pieces of shit! The goddamned bigots did nothing but try and split the electorate and rally their base by pushing a hateful, pointless and utterly un-American piece of legislation designed to discriminate against a small and vulnerable group of Americans who have done nothing wrong.

I'm so fucking proud. [/sarcasm]

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3 sick little monkeys screeched back

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Howard Dean and Jesse Jackson speak out on Ohio 2004 Election

Wow. These two are major players in Democratic circles, and they're basically accusing their own party of rolling over and playing dead. Jesse Jackson seems especially pissed:

JJ: Ohio was more thievery than in Florida. I was amazed and astonished in Florida and Ohio about Democrats’ unwillingness to fight back, to fight to the hilt. It’s beyond my capacity to comprehend why you should score a touchdown and not fight for your points to be counted.

RS: So you believe that John Kerry was wrong to have conceded?

JJ: Kerry won in Ohio. And Gore won in Florida. And neither was willing to put it all on the line to demand a full and fair count. I cannot explain the gutless factor. I cannot explain this desire to look presidential and not be president. Kerry gave up and wouldn’t come back to Ohio and fight. Gore gave up and wouldn’t come back to Florida and fight. That’s inexplicable to me. They chose order over justice.

They fucking sold America out, Jesse. It's not just gutlessness, it's treason. Who are these Vichy Democrats anyway? I'm no Democrat (for reasons such as this), but it is extremely disturbing that our only viable opposition party seems to be in bed with the neo-fascist party that's currently in charge. How will we ever achieve change if Democrats are throwing elections? Personally, I think throwing an election is just as bad as stealing an election, so the Democrats and the Republicans are sitting at about the same level on my disgust-o-meter. However, it is nice to see somebody as high up in the party as Howard Dean take a stand on the fraudulent election:

HD: What are we going to do about it? It’s frustrating because we don’t control the levers of power. This is going to be a very critical election in 2006. We’re very aware that there’s huge potential for additional mischief in 2006. We have no doubt that some of the folks who were active in vote suppression will be active again. It’s very, very difficult to deal with it. We just have to keep pushing forward doing the best we can. The real question is why the mainstream media won’t write about this.

RS: You’ve been sounding the alarm on touch-screen voting machines, particularly Diebold machines. Why?

HD: Touch-screen voting machines absolutely cannot be relied upon. Our recommendation was optiscan ballots — where you actually have custody of the actual ballots after the ballots have been passed through the computer. That’s the most reliable system to use. And people should not use the electronic voting machines. Even electronic voting machines with paper trails can be manipulated.

The struggle continues.

Fucking Democrats took a dive and now we have to deal with 4 years of Bush's Mussolini-style fascism. Pelosi is already saying that if the Democrats win in 2006 there won't be any impeachment hearings. So basically, we're already fucked either way. Hopefully things will go better in the Senate, but that's a worry for another day. First, we have to ensure that the 2006 elections are fair, which won't be easy if you consider the last 2 or 3 elections to be fraudulent. How can we ensure our elections are proper if the people in charge cheated their way into office? It's quite the conundrum. I think we need to take to the streets and demand fair elections come hell or high water.

How did America come to this?

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Coingate not mentioned in Salon's article

As a poster on Salon's website mentioned, Manjoo totally avoided the subject of Coingate. Wonder why? Something to do with exposing major Republicans in Ohio as criminals who abused their power in order to get Bush reelected? What's really odd is that Salon has previously covered the issue in depth.
Before the 2004 presidential election, northwest Ohio was one of the most hotly contested regions in the most hotly contested of states. At that time, Republican insider, fundraiser and Bush "Pioneer" Tom Noe presided over George W. Bush's reelection campaign in Lucas County, which encompasses the city of Toledo. Noe, a Toledo coin dealer -- and former chair of the Lucas County Republican Party -- now presides over a Byzantine political scandal involving fraud with state money, political cronyism, alleged kickbacks and a federal investigation of illegal contributions to George W. Bush.

The "Coingate" scandal erupted when the Toledo Blade began reporting on Noe's contracts with the state to invest a total of $50 million in coin speculation -- apparently the only public investment fund of its kind in the country. Noe got the money, ostensibly, as an investment for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation, whose chief executive, James Conrad, recently resigned over the affair. In 1998, when Sen. George Voinovich was governor, Noe set up Capital Coin Fund to buy and sell coins on behalf of the state, with 80 percent of the profits supposedly going back to Ohio. Noe was given $25 million for the fund, and in 2001, he launched Capital Coin Fund II with another $25 million from the bureau.

The problem with Capital Coin, as detailed in the Blade's ongoing investigation, is that it operated with little to no oversight from the Bureau of Workers' Compensation or any other state agency. After weeks of media pressure and public records lawsuits, Noe's attorneys recently admitted that Capital Coin cannot account for $10 million to $12 million -- and this after Noe's repeated insistence that the funds were turning a handsome profit for the state.

It turns out Noe used the funds to invest in several subsidiary coin companies, one of which was run by Mark Chrans, previously convicted of laundering drug money through his own, separate coin business. (Capital Coin severed the relationship with Chrans as a result of $850,000 in bad debt Noe had to write off.) Also in the state's portfolio were other collectibles such as artwork, sports cards and autographs. When an auditor for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation flagged the coin deal in 2000 and cited the lack of oversight, he was ignored, the Blade reported.

This is just an example of the corruption we know about. How will we find out about the corruption we don't know about unless we investigate further into election improprieties?

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0 sick little monkeys screeched back

Salon's take on the 2004 election fraud

According to Farhad Manjoo, the 2004 election was not stolen, even though there was massive disenfranchisement and attempts by Republican leaders to swing the election illegally. Manjoo starts out by accepting the fact that the election, especially Ohio (Manjoo focuses almost exclusively on Ohio), was dirty. Then he starts taking shots at Kennedy:

One has to wonder what, after all of this, Kennedy might have brought to the debate. There could have been an earnest exploration of the issues in order to finally shed some light on the problems we face in elections, and a call to urgently begin repairing our electoral machinery. Voting reforms are forever on the backburner in Congress; even the 2000 election did little to prompt improvements. If only someone with Kennedy's stature would outline this need.

Uh, what are you talking about Farhad? That's exactly what he did. Or didn't you catch the bit where Rolling Stone and RFK Jr. issued a "Call to Investigation"? I blogged about this yesterday. I guess I can forgive Manjoo for not reading my blog, but come on dude; read the sideboxes along with the main story. Of course it seems that Manjoo's interest is in making the needed changes without pointing fingers at the people who made new laws necessary by breaking all the old ones. I'm sure the guilty parties would be very grateful if they could escape consequence, but isn't the best way to ensure fair elections to strongly enforce existing laws so that potential criminals are put off by the risks?

From there, Manjoo's article actually improves somewhat as he offers some clarifications of some of Kennedy's points, but he never even tackles some of RFK's more explosive allegations. There is a large chasm between the two articles and what they try to achieve. By far, RFK's article is the more modest of the two; it doesn't claim to have all of the answers, it's just a compendium of the most egregious incidents of fraud that Kennedy could find. He takes a "throw it at the wall and see what sticks" approach, which is probably what irked Manjoo about it. Manjoo doesn't have time for grey areas or inferences. He's interested in settling this argument in one four-page article. That's bold. That's also stupid. As I mentioned in previous posts, an election is a supremely complicated affair and to state without reservation that you know how millions of people intended to vote, and actually voted, is borderline insane. In spite of this, Manjoo's rebuttal is entitled: Was the 2004 election stolen? No.

Well, there ya go! That clears that up! Whew! All we had to do was ask Manjoo! Hell, why don't we skip the next election in November and just let Manjoo call it.

Okay, I'm being facetious, but I don't like the tone of Manjoo's article. He's using judo techniques that strike me as being very political. He gives a lot of ground only to snatch it back with a powerful accusation, which, upon examination, is not as powerful as his words implied. Manjoo accuses Kennedy of using a straw man, but then proceeds to do the exact same thing later on. Manjoo also sets the bar for proof higher than any person could possibly achieve and then mocks Kennedy for not succeeding:

Certainly you can find some good in Kennedy's report. His section on Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio's right-wing secretary of state, nicely sums up the reasons why people have been suspicious of the voting process in the state. Blackwell, Kennedy notes, "had broad powers to interpret and implement state and federal election laws -- setting standards for everything from the processing of voter registration to the conduct of official recounts." There's no argument that he used those powers for partisan gain. As Kennedy documents, in the months prior to the election, Blackwell issued a series of arbitrary and capricious voting and registration rules that could well have disenfranchised many people in the state.

But to prove Blackwell stole the state for Bush, Kennedy's got to do more than show instances of Blackwell's mischief. He's got to outline where Blackwell's actions could possibly have added up to enough votes to put the wrong man in office. In that, he fails. In the following pages, I match Kennedy's claims with the reality of the 2004 election.

I don't think Kennedy needs to prove the wrong man is sitting in the White House. He just needs to prove the election was fraudulent. That would certainly call into question whether the right man is in the White House, but proving it is not a job for a reporter. It takes a Congressional investigation, a grand jury and a whole team of investigators to even begin to "prove" it. The process would take years. Kennedy is simply trying to jumpstart it (as the "call to investigation" would indicate).

But that's not good enough for Manjoo, who appears to be expecting a smoking gun with Karl Rove's fingerprints on it to have been found in a ballotbox marked "fraudulent votes." What Manjoo fails to understand is that fraud - by it's very nature - is deceptive. You're not supposed to be able to prove it was fraud if it was perpetrated correctly. That's the whole point! But the fact - which Manjoo acknoweldges - that the Republicans perpetrated some fraud and managed to disenfranchise some voters would seem to indicate a pattern of illegal activity. When you have a pattern you can start to deduce motives (pretty obvious in this case) and likely perpetrators (again, obvious). Whether or not the election was stolen is irrelevent: There needs to be an investigation! Where there's smoke, there's fire. We've got a shitload of smoke over Ohio and nobody, except for John Conyers, is bothering to take a closer look. We need to find out if there is more illegal activity than has been discovered thusfar. That's the whole point of an investigation, isn't it? Many investigations are started before there is conclusive evidence that a crime has actually taken place. In this case we already have a series of attempts to rig the election by Republicans throughout the nation, using every dirty trick in the book. And we're not going to even bother investigating? This is bullshit!

Manjoo starts off saying he wants voting reform (and attacking Kennedy for supposedly not wanting it), but by the end he's just picking apart a few of Kennedy's weaker points, one by one. Manjoo doesn't want an investigation; he wants to bury this thing.

Manjoo's supposed rebuttals aren't all that great anyway. Check this one out, wherein Manjoo takes Kennedy to task for saying the voter rolls were unfairly scrubbed:
Scrubbing the voting rolls of people who hadn't voted in prior elections isn't an arbitrary move. It's the law. Here's the relevant section of the Ohio code, 3503.19, which states that a person who "fails to vote in any election during the period of two federal elections" shall have his registration "canceled." To be sure, people who intended to vote and weren't aware of this rule could have been cut from the rolls, and you might say that's unfair. But that's an argument for a better election law, and not proof that the purges were part of a Republican election-theft plot.
If you go to the link that Manjoo provides, you'll notice that 3503.19 was recently revised, and the new code didn't go into effect until May 2nd, 2006....which is just over a month ago. I thought we were talking about the 2004 election, Manjoo. Remember that Ken Blackwell is still Secretary of State. He's going to try and make this next election even more fraudulent... especially since he's running for governor. It's possible that particular code was there beforehand, but it's not entirely clear what was updated, and when. Certainly it could have been the law of the land -- Blackwell would do his best to push that law through the legislature. Even Manjoo doesn't hold Blackwell in very high regard. And he's not afraid to use the race card (a classic for Democrats):
Listen to the chairman of the board of Franklin's election office, an African-American man named William Anthony, who also headed the county's Democratic Party. As I first pointed out in my review of "Fooled Again," any effort to deliberately skew the vote toward Bush in Franklin would have had to involve Anthony -- and he has rejected the charge that he'd do such a thing. "I am a black man. Why would I sit there and disenfranchise voters in my own community?" Anthony told the Columbus Dispatch.
Uh, so what? Ken Blackwell is black. He tried to disenfranchise his whole state, white and black! Certainly Anthony has run into a "race traitor" before. I'm not accusing Anthony of betraying his people, but Blackwell has betrayed not only his people, but all of Ohio, and possibly all of America.
As the MIT political scientists Charles Stewart has pointed out, it's not useful to compare the role of exit polls in Ukraine's 2004 election with exit polls in the U.S race. The two elections, and the two nations, are too different to come to any meaningful conclusion from such a comparison. In Ukraine, one exit poll showed opposition candidate and eventual president Viktor Yushchenko winning 54 percent to 43 percent nationally. Mitofsky's final national poll put Kerry at 51 percent and Bush with 48 percent. Compare this to the actual result, which had Bush at 51 percent and Kerry with 48 percent. The difference is not that significant.
Not that significant? It's the difference between victory and defeat! I know he probably means "statistically significant", but come on! What about the 9.5% difference between some exit polls and the "actual" ballots? He ignores this because it's hard to rebut. He also overstates Kennedy's case for exit polls (although, arguably, so does Kennedy). Kennedy focused on using exit polls to show possible traces of election fraud. They are circumstantial evidence; not conclusive. Manjoo is building straw men like a factory.

Manjoo gets downright bitter when the subject moves to Steven F. Freeman. I wonder why? Something to do with Freeman's credentials eclipsing his own? Well, I'll just leave Manjoo alone for now. He's been grinding this axe for a long time, and hasn't seemed the least bit ready to even consider the possibility of a stolen election in all that time. There's no point in arguing if he won't admit the possibility. I'll admit it's totally possible Bush won fair and square. But I'll also admit that it's possible his team used every trick in the book to steal the election; whether they needed to or not.

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0 sick little monkeys screeched back

Slashdot's redesign -- It's good to be the king

Slashdot's redesign finally went into effect today. Creepy, isn't it? Slowly, the old design will be erased from our memories and replaced with this new, graphic-heavy design. Don't get me wrong; I like it, but it's not that great. I think it captures the spirit of slashdot, and the new way that articles are blockquoted it cool, but I also think it looks a little too "clean."

The cool part of the old design is that it was confusing enough to keep a lot of trolls and noobs away (or at least keep them confused about what the hell the purpose of the site was because it wasn't immediately obvious that it was a community-tech-news-aggregation-blog). I remember when I first started visiting; I had no idea what the fuck was going on. I didn't know that all the stories were submitted. I didn't know they were simply linking to stories all over the net rather than doing proper write-ups (or any actual reporting) of their own. In a way, the old design hid the site's flaws behind a facade of crappy design. Now that facade has been stripped and I daresay that slashdot will have to step it up a notch.

They've added some web 2.0 yumminess, like collapsable nav structures, but that alone will not compete with Digg. I think the biggest problem on the site is the editors who routinely ignore good stories (such as the ones I submit!) and post shitty stories on obscure tech bullshit that nobody cares about. Cheap Printed Official Ubuntu Linux Documentation is exhibit A. Currently the story has 10 posts (and no one has a post modded above +2). An unpopular story rarely gets below 100. I know everybody loves Linux on the site, but do they have to post a story everytime Linus takes a monster dump? Sheesh.

There's lots of good tech-related stories out there, but many of them have the taint of politics, which seems to scare the editors, especially that tool, Zonk. He's just an idiot gamer if you ask me. Of course, I might be bitter 'cause he constantly rejects my stories. But my stories are good, dammit! :-) Ah well, that's why this blog exists. No longer can my inchoate ramblings be squelched by the privations of an idiot gamer. Nay, I will post my worthless thoughts for the world to see if they accidentally stumble across them through a search engine! Yes, it's good to be the king of this castle.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Rolling Stone's Call to Investigation

RS has some good info that's not in the main article, especially the Abramoff connection. He bribed Ney at the behest of his client, Diebold. Diebold aims to control the electronic voting machine market and used their tight relationship with Ohio Sec. of State, Kenneth Blackwell to do it. Read more:
After the Florida fiasco in 2000, Diebold saw an opportunity. To persuade Rep. Bob Ney to promote its machines in a package of election reforms he was drafting called the Help America Vote Act, the company hired two lobbyists with close ties to the Ohio congressman. Diebold paid at least $180,000 to David DiStefano, Ney's former chief of staff. And it shelled out as much as $275,000 to the lobbying firm of the best-connected man on Capitol Hill: Jack Abramoff.

Abramoff has now been convicted of bribing Ney -- but Americans will be paying for the results of Diebold's influence for years. As part of the Help America Vote Act, every precinct in America is now required to install at least one machine accessible to disabled voters -- a mandate that has already fueled the spread of touch-screen technology and cost taxpayers almost $3 billion. ''These vendors have a Halliburton-like hold on the Republican leadership,'' says Rep. John Conyers.

Diebold's influence extends to Ohio, where top Republicans have pushed hard to install the company's machines. Matt Damschroder, the chair of the Franklin County Board of Elections, was fined a month's pay last year for accepting a $10,000 check from Diebold made out to the county GOP in 2004, on the same day the board accepted bids for new voter-registration software. Once he was caught, Damschroder ratted out his friend, Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, telling authorities that a Diebold consultant boasted of funneling $50,000 to Blackwell's ''political interests.''

Blackwell and Diebold deny the transactions ever took place. But in April of last year, after engaging in secret negotiations with the company, Blackwell emerged with the triumphant announcement that he'd reached a deal to equip Ohio with Diebold machines at a cut-rate price. He didn't bother to mention that he had just bought nearly $10,000 in Diebold stock -- a ''mistake'' he now blames on his financial manager. He also neglected to reveal that as part of the deal -- as revealed in a company e-mail to Blackwell -- Diebold insisted he use his influence as secretary of state in a way that would guarantee the company a state monopoly. Blackwell complied by setting such an early cutoff date for counties to select their new machines that other manufacturers would be unable to get their equipment certified in time.
Man, this story has it all. Corruption, bribery, vote-rigging, damaging emails, and pattern of activity that seems to indicate a plan to steal elections.

I tell ya: elected officials are like children. You can't leave'em alone for more than 2 seconds or they start getting in heaps of trouble. Except for elected officials, the trouble is usually dangerous to us rather than themselves.

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0 sick little monkeys screeched back

Seen anybody wearing those red contacts?

I have. We played against his softball team (and lost). His eyes were a little freaky; I thought maybe he'd had a serious eye problem that caused a bunch of blood vessels to burst or something. Turns how he was just wearing these new contact lenses for athletes:
When Camille Walters plays soccer, her normally brown eyes have a spooky red tint. That's because the 15-year-old wears tinted contact lenses that block certain wavelengths of light and help athletes see better.

Oh, and they look cool, too.

"It gives me more confidence because you feel intimidating and bigger and stronger, kind of an ego-booster," said Walters, who plays for Father Ryan, a Catholic high school in Nashville.

Walters and a growing number of other athletes are wearing the MaxSight lenses, which were developed jointly by Nike Inc. and contact lens maker Bausch & Lomb Inc.

The lens - large enough to extend a ring around the iris - comes in two colors: amber and grey-green.

The amber lens is for fast-moving balls sports, such as tennis, baseball, football or soccer. Grey-green is better for blocking glare for runners or helping a golfer read the contour of the ground.

They're pretty creepy. I wonder if they really work. Anybody know?

0 sick little monkeys screeched back

Bush Vampire

Sucking the life out of Lady Liberty.

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5 sick little monkeys screeched back

War of Words with Iran -- Beginning World War IV?

The Iranians are threatening to cutoff oil supplies if they are attacked. Condi Rice responded that we'll "wait and see."
"Well, I think we shouldn't place too much emphasis on a move of this kind; after all Iran is very dependent on oil revenue," Rice told Fox News Sunday.

Asked whether Iranian leaders had already rejected a six-nation diplomatic initiative, by insisting there be no preconditions for new talks on their nuclear program, Rice said Iran had not yet received the proposal and would need time to assess it.

"It's sort of a major crossroads for Iran, and it's perhaps not surprising that they will need a little bit of time to look at it," she told Fox News.

Washington has offered to join European countries in talks with Iran about the nuclear program, but says Iran must first suspend uranium enrichment. Iran has so far said enrichment is a national right.

I like how the precondition for negotiations is for to give us exactly what we've been demanding all along. If they stopped enrichment, what more would there be to negotiate? I don't think Iran is meant to take this proposal very seriously at all. In fact, they are meant to reject it so that they look stubborn and irrational. In reality it's the Americans who are acting strangely. But I guess that all boils down to the fact that we plan to invade Iran soon. Probably within the next year.

Wouldn't it be convenient for the Republicans if Iran were to provoke us somehow, say right before the midterm elections in November? It sure seems like we're trying to goad Iran into doing something stupid, but some have raised the possibility of a false flag attack. That would mean that we'd attack ourselves and then blame it on Iran. It's been an old standby trick for Americans going back decades if not centuries. Still works like a charm.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that. Iran will not be a cakewalk. Iran is much larger than Iraq and their economy has not been crippled by sanctions like Iraq's was. I think it would be insane to attack them, but just because it's insane doesn't mean the neocons won't do it. In fact, it probably increases the odds that they will. They like to keep people off-balance.

If it looks like we're about to go into Iran we need to have massive protests in every American city. We need to shut down commerce and the government by use of strikes, civil disobedience and massive protests. We cannot let this happen. To attack Iran would be to basically start World War III (or World War IV if you count the Cold War as WWIII). Of course, that's assuming it hasn't started already with our invasion of Iraq. It's hard to know what has begun until you're well into it.

Personally, I think the Cold War counts as World War III if you include all of the sub-wars within it, such as Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and stand-offs like the Cuban missile crisis. Conflicts like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Vietnam and Korea were really just proxy-wars, with the USSR and USA each backing a different side in the fight. We were still fighting, but it didn't get too "hot" which might've resulted in the usage of nuclear weapons. The fact that we used all of these proxies is what makes it a global war in my opinion. And certainly, many millions of people died.

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0 sick little monkeys screeched back

It's late and I'm tired

But I shouldn't be. I woke up at like 11 am this morning. How the hell can I be tired already? Must have something to do with disc golfing and then partying for 6 hours plus. Just got back from a friends place; little bonfire and shindig. Fun time, but not enough chicks. Ah well...

Listening to: Dirty Little Girl by Elton John. Damn good song. Very underrated in my opinion. Sooo nasty.

Goodnight everyone. The weekend's ending fast.

0 sick little monkeys screeched back

Friday, June 02, 2006

Stalin's take on this:

"He who casts the votes decides nothing. He who counts the votes decides everything."
-- Joseph Stalin

0 sick little monkeys screeched back

More on Kennedy's Allegations of Voter Fraud

Over at Brad's Blog (get this: it's a blog by a guy named Brad!) David Edwards (okay, now I'm confused) writes about Robert Kennedy Jr.'s appearance on the Tucker Carlson disaster some people call a show.
Tucker Carlson continued an assault on Kennedy and his article throughout the short interview. Kennedy fights for time to respond and does a good job indicting the media (and Tucker) for ignoring a very obvious problem. Tucker responds by saying that if the stolen election were real then it would have been a news story -- as if truth and reality only exists if the media reports on it.

In the end, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., managed to remain poised and believable. This interview alone may have done little to prove to MSNBC's viewers that there is significant evidence of a stolen election -- but the piece did prove one thing to us: Tucker Carlson is a complete ass.
But we already knew that.

I would love to see Tucker Carlson get humiliated again like when Jon Stewart destroyed him on Crossfire, but this is serious business. It's too bad that they didn't have a more substantive discussion, although I doubt Kennedy expected a fair hearing. Still, at least the show aired and people saw it. Hopefully some of them will seek out the Rolling Stone article.

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4 sick little monkeys screeched back

VWB: Voting While Black

Greg Palast has more on the theft of the 2004 election over on his site.
This is a fact: On November 2, 2004, in the State of Ohio, 239,127 votes for President of the United States were dumped, rejected, blocked, lost and left to rot uncounted.

And not just anyone's vote. Dive into the electoral dumpster and these "spoiled" votes have a very dark color indeed.

In another life, I taught statistics. And these statistics stank: the raw data tells us that if you are a Black voter, the chance of you losing your vote to technical errors in voting machinery is 900% higher than if you were a white voter.

Any guesses as to whom those African-Americans chose for president on those junked ballots? Check Ohio's racial demographics, do the numbers, and there it is: Kerry won Ohio. And that, too, is a fact. A fact that could not get reported in the USA.
Pretty much says it all, doesn't it? If you're black, your vote has an incredibly high chance of not being counted. Why? Because black people vote for Democrats almost 90% of the time. Black people are very predictable when it comes to voting and, conversely, Republicans are very predictable when it comes to fraud. They go after the weak and minorities are in a weak position because they're, well, minorities.

Of course, that should not be taken to imply that the Democrats are any better. In fact, the most baffling part of these allegations is how strongly opposed to any additional investigations the Democrats are; despite the fact that they've clearly suffered the most. Kinda makes you wonder... What if the two major parties got together and decided to "trade off" and split their time in power evenly between the two? Sounds pretty dastardly, right? Like a bad movie. But if you know anything about the history of party politics in the USA, it's not such a stretch. The Republicans and Democrats instantly become best friends when it comes to excluding third parties. They've found something they can agree on: Real competition sucks!

Well, it's impossible to know if the allegations are true at this point; hell, all the voter disenfranchisement might not've even been necessary. Maybe people really were stupid enough to vote Bush in again... but I doubt it.

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0 sick little monkeys screeched back

Can't swallow the idea that the election was rigged?

Maybe you've turned your brain off in order to resolve the logical paradox. The story I just linked to investigates political bias in partisans and offers a clear reason not to be a partisan: They're not thinking!
Democrats and Republicans alike are adept at making decisions without letting the facts get in the way, a new study shows.


We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," said Drew Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory University. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts."


The study points to a total lack of reason in political decision-making.

"None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged," Westen said. "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones."

Notably absent were any increases in activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most associated with reasoning.

A "total lack of reason" in politics? No way! :-) Okay, so I saw this one coming. But it's a nice summary of the fact that we do most of our political "thinking" with our emotions and not our logical brains. You'll see a fair amount of emotion on this site, but I try to wait until after I've examined the facts to get emotional about the issues I talk about. It's hard not to feel something when somebody tells you (and offers statistical proof) that our election might've been rigged. But it's important to try and remain impartial until the dust has settled. I have my suspicions, but I cannot say with 100% certainty that it was stolen. There's just to many variables for little-ol'-me to decide after a few hours of thought. I encourage you to keep an open mind and withhold judgment until all the facts are in. That includes dismissing these allegations out of hand.

Please: don't be a partisan hack. Think!

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0 sick little monkeys screeched back Was the 2004 US Presidential Election Stolen?

Proof that Republicans prevented more then 350, 000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted--enough to have put John Kerry in the White House. A fascinating, factually accurate, and well written article.


read more | digg story

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Rolling Stone: 2004 Election was RIGGED!!!

Holy shit! Rolling Stone comes out swinging in this article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Kennedy makes the case for re-examining the 2004 election results in an article stuffed with citations and accusations of impropriety by our Republican overlords.

Was the 2004 election rigged? Consider a few examples:
After carefully examining the evidence, I've become convinced that the president's party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004. Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004(12) -- more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.(13) (See Ohio's Missing Votes) In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots.(14) And that doesn?t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.(15)
This looks bad. I'm still reading the whole article, but I wanted to get this story on the blog. What do you think? Comment below.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Is it time to do away with Limited Liability?

Excellent article and even better discussion over at World Changing. An excerpt:
The seed of the idea is that the limited liability corporation is a government subsidy to risky investments and as such may be partly what drives the reckless attitude of corporations towards the environment. Read on for more details.
He's got a good point, but I think he takes it and runs in the wrong direction with it. Taxing 1% of a shareholder's net worth is not going to cut it. I think the problem is that land is parceled out in little squares, which is such a old-school dumb-human way of thinking about it. The earth is not just a bunch of squares of land stuck together. It's an ecosystem where in each overlapping part interacts with and affects all of the other pieces (directly or indirectly). If you dump toxic waste on your land it also affects me over on my land. That waste seeps into the water supply and affects all of us. Pretending we can isolate land via concepts of private land-ownership is insanely stupid. It's clearly a relic of 18th century thinking.
Unlimited limited liability may, in fact, be a perverse insentive encouraging the economy to continue high risk activities such as unregulated release of GMOs into the environment by subsidising shareholders who assume these risks in their investment strategies.
I can see where the author is coming from here. But the problem is much larger than how he's framed it. And in some ways it's much simpler; corporations can simply bribe (er, "contribute to the re-elections funds of") politicians and make the problem go least for the shareholders and execs. But the rest of us are left to pick up the pieces.

If we want to end corporate corruption/pollution we're going to have to make massive systemic changes. The author says he's not anti-corporate. Well, I am. I think the current system is out of hand completely. Commenter Lorenzo makes some great points about late-stage capitalism, which basically boils down to this: We took out a loan and used Planet Earth as collateral so we could live like kings. Well now the bill is coming due and we don't have another planet to exploit. What do we do?

Hell if I know, but continuing on the same course is not only insane, it's incredibly dangerous.

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Ancient scroll from Greece soon to be decoded

From ABC News:

More than four decades after the Derveni papyrus was found in a 2,400-year-old nobleman's grave in northern Greece, researchers said Thursday they are close to uncovering new text through high-tech digital analysis from the blackened fragments left after the manuscript was burnt on its owner's funeral pyre.

Large sections of the mid-4th century B.C. book a philosophical treatise on ancient religion were read years ago, but never officially published.

Now, archaeologist Polyxeni Veleni believes U.S. imaging and scanning techniques used to decipher the Judas Gospel which portrays Judas not as a sinister betrayer but as Jesus' confidant will considerably expand and clarify that text.

"I believe some 10-20 percent of new text will be added, which however will be of crucial importance," said Veleni, director of the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum, where the manuscript is kept.

"This will fill in many gaps, we will get a better understanding of the sequence and the existing text will become more complete," Veleni told The Associated Press.

The scroll, originally several yards of papyrus rolled around two wooden runners, was found half burnt in 1962. It dates to around 340 B.C., during the reign of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.

"It is the oldest surviving book, if you can use that word for a scroll, in western tradition," Veleni said. "This was a unique find, of exceptional importance."

Sounds pretty sweet. Check out the rest of the story, it's pretty interesting. I didn't know that Anaxagoras was thought to be Socrates' teacher. I hope they can get as much of it decoded as possible.

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New York Has No Monuments?

That's according to Homeland Security, in a document used to justify drastically reduced anti-terrorism spending in the New York.

Strange, I seem to remember a big dust-up in New York City a couple years ago... hmmm...

Isn't this a little odd? They're so quick to bring up 9.11 when it suits them, but they ignore it when they want to as well. Maybe this is some sort of twisted punishment for NY state voting for Kerry last election.

Well, that last thing we would want to do is question the motives of our elected officials, right? 'Cause that would make us the terrorists.

And then they might have to defund our city's anti-terrorism unit. Or something. This whole story makes little sense to me. Hopefully it's just a case of government stupidity/incompetenence at every level. But the government can be surprisingly competent when they want to be.... makes you wonder what they're up to now...


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