1953-2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Is waterboarding torture?

Read this and you tell me.

1925-2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

They keep breeding

Britney Spears' younger, currently hotter sister Jamie Lynn is pregnant at 16 by her 19-year-old boyfriend, whom she met at church (awww).

Trainwreck, Jr., says she's gonna keep the baby and raise it in Louisiana so that it will have a chance at a normal life. (Good luck, embryonic Spears-sprog.)

Let's all congratulate the round-well-heeled Spears family on their proven fertility.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What a fool believes

The still-vacant Sherri Shepherd let loose with another whopper on "The View".

"I don't think anything predated Christians."

Apparently, the only book this breathtakingly ignorant woman has ever read is the Bible, and then only part of the New Testament, it seems. Perhaps she started reading after that whole "Jesus gets born" part with the manger and the myrrh.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hot and cold

New rule: Matt Drudge has to STFU about combining global warming headlines with others showing how cold it is, especially when there's no connection.

The elephant in the room

Yet another dumbass kid goes on a shooting rampage. WTF is it with these dorks?

They're called hormones, everyone has them, the chick you like hates you, your family disowned you, blah blah blah. Suck it up.

If you still feel in the mood for some murder/suicide, start with yourself, OK slick?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Death!

 Death! Death!

The once-civilized people of the Islamic world have devolved into international pariahs. In the hands of those formerly known for their tolerance, art, literature, and hospitality, this religion has become the plaything of the extremist element.

While Christianity in America is also frequently a tool for the right-wing bigot, violence is thankfully restricted to a relative few. This is the happy difference between Democracy and Theocracy: if all laws derive from God, who is to say they are wrong?

Well, I say they're wrong. They're all wrong. All religions are fictions, and all laws in service to them serve lies and liars for their own unholy and unjust purposes. For those of us of the faithless faction, we wish to be free of the oppressive effects of religion on our daily lives.

But as imperfect as it is, this Republic is a far superior home for me than that of the rabid, teeming mob of the radical Islamicist. It is also a superior home for the thoughtful Muslim, the peaceful Christian, the compassionate Jew, and the citizen atheist.

As the Enlightenment recedes into history, the soul of the world is imperiled, not by the free of thought, but by those free of thoughts.

The disgusting show put on by the bloodthirsty hypocrites of the Sudan serves as a reminder that some societies deserve to flourish, while some deserve to wither on the vine.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sudan update

The elementary school teacher who was charged with blasphemy for allowing her class of 7-year-olds to give the name of Mohammed to a stuffed bear has been sentenced to 15 days in jail and will likely be deported. It could have been worse, and I'm sure she won't feel safe until she's back in the UK.

Meanwhile, here in the states, I sometimes enjoy a bacon-egg-and-cheese biscuit for breakfast. I think I'll start calling it a "Mohammed-egg-and-cheese" (peace be upon it) from now on.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Saudi Arabia is evil. Islamic men are evil.

Well? What would you call it?

A 19-year-old Saudi woman
1. was coerced by an ex-boyfriend to ride with her in his car, which was
2. attacked by men, one of whom held a knife to her throat, and
3. kidnapped her, taking her to a deserted spot, where
4. seven men raped her repeatedly, then dropped her off home, where
5. her brother found out, so he hit her and threatened to kill her, and
6. she twice tried to commit suicide, and
7. when she went to court, she was sentenced to 90 lashes, and
9. when she took her case to the press, her sentence was increased to 200 lashes and 6 months in jail,
all because she was seen riding in a car with a man who was not related to her.

Thanks for protecting her honor.

Monday, November 26, 2007

And the Sudanese were doing so well...

A teacher from the Beatles' old neighborhood has run afoul of the powers that be in that bastion of empathy, the Sudan.

Gillian Gibbons was arrested in Khartoum on the charge of blasphemy. Yes, that's right, blasphemy. I would say something about "in this day and age", but it's still the 7th century over there.

Ms. Gibbons allowed her second-graders to name a teddy bear, and the name that they chose was Mohammed (Britain's second most popular boy's name, behind Jack).

Here's the little scamp:

Not the prophet...as far as I know

Apparently, while the Koran does not specifically forbid images of Allah or Mohammed, there remains some fear that a depiction of Mohammed could lead to idolatry.

So I guess when Muslims threaten to murder Scandinavian cartoonists, or to deliver 40 lashes to elementary school teachers, it's not that any scripture was violated; it's that they don't trust themselves not to get swept away venerating stuffed animals. (Are these the views of grown men, or 9-year-old schoolgirls? Sorry, Sudan, I'll explain: schoolgirls are girls who are allowed to go to school.)

Perhaps giving an animal (albeit an inanimate animal) the name of Mohammed is supposed to be insulting to the Prophet (these Muslims must think he's the weakest, most thin-skinned prophet ever, since their murderous hordes are forever defending him against getting his feelings hurt).

Never mind that an enormous percentage of Muslims are named Mohammed. Surely some of them must be dickheads (a safe bet, I'll wager). How is that not dishonoring the Prophet more than naming a cuddly toy after him?

You do realize that this makes Muslims look like (a) backwards, superstitious fools, and (b) vicious, narrow-minded bullies?

I'll let you get back to your genocide now. Asshats.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Request denied

The Talking Points Memo presents the 2007 list of instances where the Bush Administration refused to provide information reasonably expected from a transparent government.

Bush, clearly pained by the lack of trust in him (or possibly gas), had no comment.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Review: invisibleSHIELD for Blackberry 8310

Set aside at least an hour, book some time at your local clean room, and enjoy.

It will help if you have excellent close-up vision. It will also help if you have vast experience with contact lenses, as you will be applying solution to tiny wiggly pieces of plastic. I realize these traits are probably mutually exclusive, so best of luck.

The instructions are generic. They don't show you which piece goes where. My solution was to apply all the obvious pieces, then figure out the rest from what's left.

It will help if you have experience with puzzles. It will also help if you can tell figure from ground; i.e., which is the shield and which is the leftover junk.

At the end of the hour, I had what looked like a nice new Blackberry Curve inexpertly wrapped in plastic, with millions of microscopic bubbles clinging on for their lives, and not-quite-correctly shaped edge pieces curling up. Oh, and lint, since I didn't book time at the clean room.

Perhaps I should have just gone for the screen protector, and not the "full body armor".

Shieldzone/Zagg advise leaving the phone to cure for about a day. More then.

I need a Guinness.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Writers strike

Writers Guild of America members are expected to strike on Monday.

At issue are the very words that come out of the mouths of America's beloved celebrities, thus threatening the "Circuses" portion of the Bush administration's two-pronged domestic agenda.

Perhaps the lessons of the disastrous writers' strike of the late 1960s may help bring about a swift agreement between the parties.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Soulja Boy: "Crank Dat"

("Crank Dat" by Soulja Boy as interpreted by Greg O'Rear)

I have created a new dance step, which I have modestly named "Soldier Boy", after yours truly.

I would attempt to describe the dance, but (a) you would confuse it with my experiences with a paid escort, and (b) your attempts to approximate my level of competence would be laughable.

Your envy of me may cause you to threaten fisticuffs, but that would be a grave mistake, as I would retaliate with a firearm.

Therefore my advice to you is to enjoy my prowess, whether it be my limber ballroom skills, or my equally laudatory efforts in the boudoir, wherein the natural conclusion of my lovemaking is likely to be quite voluminous.

(Please buy my record, won't you? I suffer from a speech impediment that renders me incapable of pronouncing the second half of nearly every word.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Britney Spears: "Gimme More"

("Gimme More" by Britney Spears, as interpreted by Greg O'Rear)

A telephone message conveys a mock-insult salutation, followed by a confession that Britney feels the desire to dance with the recipient of the call. Her tone of voice and giggle, however, indicate that her use of the word "dance" is a metaphor for sex.

The song begins:

Concurrent with dimmed illumination, I experience a Pavlovian compulsion to behave immodestly with you. So much so, in fact, that even though our dancing grows more erotic, I nevertheless am given to shameless exhibitionism, paparazzi notwithstanding. I imagine that the gaping onlookers are not satisfied by the spectacle, and exhort us to continue our brazen display.

Our gyrations are the focal point of the room, regardless of our location within it. Your dance steps are demanding and unorthodox, but the combination of athleticism and sensuality meets with my approval.

More photographs are taken, and I maintain my belief that the others in the room would not object if we continued unabated--an attitude with which I, given my lack of inhibition, concur.

Surely an orgasm is imminent.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The sniveling Chinese

The poor, sensitive Chinese government got its widdle feelings hurt when the US President met with the Dalai Lama in advance of the latter's receipt of the Congressional Gold Medal.

Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet

Yang Jiechi, the Chinese Foreign Minister, was quoted as saying, "We solemnly demand that the U.S. cancel the extremely wrong arrangements. It seriously violates the norm of international relations and seriously wounded the feelings of the Chinese people and interfered with China's internal affairs."

Suck on this, Hu Jintao

Never mind that Communist China invaded Tibet in 1951, and that 8 years later the Dalai Lama fled for his life.

I'm pretty sure China's textile slaves can produce enough hankies to dab the Party's collective (no pun intended) eyes and blow their noses. Sometimes a good cry is just what the doctor ordered.

Hey, China: go get yourselves a big carton of ice cream, climb into your jammies, and rent "Beaches", bitches.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Judgment to Rush

Drudge is reporting that Republican Congressman Jack Kingston has issued a resolution into the House of Representatives in support of Rush Limbaugh re the latter's comments about "phony soldiers".

The ass-kissing resolution reads like a commercial for Limbaugh (keywords: relentless, tireless, support, morale, solemn).

I've seen this Kingston character on "Real Time with Bill Maher". He's an empty-headed party-line-toeing dork who apparently has nothing better to do in Congress than light Limbaugh's big fat cigar.

That's OK, I guess. The House voted 341-79 last week to say how much they hated MoveOn.org's attack on General Petraeus/BetrayUs.

Might as well waste some more time on things that don't matter while the sun sets on the American Empire.

Who didn't see this coming?

Well, the Burmese military junta has exterminated its dissident clergy.

Thousands of monks were imprisoned and/or slaughtered by the troops in Myanmar, who want to hold onto their power because...because of all the...the great and wonderful...I don't know why they want it, but they have it.

Meanwhile, the UN did nothing whatsoever, which I believe is in their charter: "1. Do nothing whatsoever."

Lapse

Northeast Louisiana's News-Star reports on an apparent lapse in judgment at the Alma J. Brown Elementary School at Grambling State University.

Kindergarten and first grade students were given a lesson in the history of racism and its relationship to the Jena Six incident, which the children were presumably "protesting". The kids--some wearing chains and shackles--were made to march around their playground, and one little girl was given an up-close-and-personal introduction to lynching.

I can only imagine the hue and cry over the outrageous insensitivity, had any white people been actively involved. They would have been castigated by "the Reverend" Al Sharpton faster than you can say "Imus".

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Vacancy on "The View"

(Thanks to the Huffington Post for this.)

Sherri Shepherd is apparently a new host for morning hen-fest "The View". She had already said she didn't "believe in evolution, period." Then she gave her views on another scientific
puzzler:
The vacant Sherri Shepherd

The next day, she offered an explanation for her breathtaking ignorance:

The still-vacant Sherri Shepherd

So either this co-host of a television show is extremely ill-informed, or she gets discombobulated when someone asks her a question on TV.

I wonder how much ABC is paying this stupid woman.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Heroes of my alma mater

More super-brave shenanigans from law enforcement, this time from my alma mater, the University of Florida.

21-year-old student Andrew Meyer was at the microphone yesterday confronting guest speaker Senator John Kerry when University police began hauling Meyer away. He repeatedly asked why he was being arrested, but if he was answered, I couldn't hear it on the video.

Kerry ineffectually offered to answer Meyer's question, but the situation continued to escalate until a half-dozen police had the student pinned to the ground and then tasered him.

Yay, brave thugs (two of whom are taking a little compulsory time off).

As in other similar incidents, it looks like the tasering happened after many, many police had their subject pinned to the ground, and were uncomfortable with what he was saying.

Cops don't appear to like it when they are reminded that citizens have rights. It's a more extreme version of the familiar "hand blocking the camera lens" manœuvre favored by the truncheon trade.

Meyer was released today.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's like it's part of the trademark: it isn't "Ramadan" or "the month of Ramadan", but "the holy month of Ramadan." According to Wikipedia, Ramadan is characterized as a month of fasting, charity, and self-accountability, a turning away from worldly affairs to focus on one's personal relationship with God.

Enter Lars Vilks, Swedish cartoonist, who depicted Muhammad's head on the body of a dog.

"We announce in Ramadan, the month of giving, a reward of $100,000 for whoever kills this criminal and infidel," increased to$150,000 if he is "slaughtered...like a sheep." So says the leader of an al-Qaeda group in Iraq. A reward of $50,000 was offered for the editor of the newspaper in which the cartoon was printed. What better time than "the month of giving" to give a reward for a criminal act? Here we go again. Tuesday, September 11, 2007 Again with the mourning... Last year, I took exception to the maudlin celebration of death that accompanied the fifth anniversary of the events of 9/11, down to the moments of silence and the playing of Taps over the intercom at work. Well, it happened again today ("Patriot Day"), Taps included. How long did we commemorate Dec. 7, 1941, with special ceremonies on that day? Did the British whine about particular dates while they were being bombed during WWII? These 9/11 commemorations have now lasted longer than the entire Second World War. A familiar ring "We have adopted a plan, which we have worked out in coöperation with the South Vietnamese, for the complete withdrawal of all US combat ground forces. "As South Vietnamese forces become stronger, the rate of American withdrawal can become greater. "I have not and do not intend to announce the timetable for our program." President Richard Nixon, 3 November 1969 Sunday, September 09, 2007 Britney is the new Anna Nicole Not that I care, but I ran across a clip of Britney Spears' big comeback on tonight's MTV Video Music Awards. With a body I can only describe as "flab-tacular", Britney strolled tentatively around the stage like she was demonstrating a dance routine for elderly strippers. She looked like one of those figure skaters who decides not to go for the higher-degree-of-difficulty moves after all. She's not ready to resume her career. She needs to stop partying with bimbos. She needs to learn how to be a good parent. She needs to get fit and healthy. She needs to wear underwear. She needs someone smart to advise her. She needs Madonna. Saturday, September 08, 2007 Mos Def is an idiot Mos Def was one of the two panelists on Bill Maher's "Real Time" last night. Mos Def is mos' def' an idiot. He thought that the English monarch in power during the time of the American Revolution was "the Queen". He claimed not to believe that men landed on the moon. He claimed to believe in Bigfoot. He played the part of an inarticulate black man railing at whitey. (But he had done his reading on François Dominique Toussaint "Louverture" Bréda enough to claim the Louisiana Purchase for the Black Man [I'm not saying he doesn't have a point here]). The more entertaining points were made by Professor Cornel West, always an animated and passionate figure, but a bit of a loony, and more of a media figure than a professor these days. Maher apparently misspoke at one point: when trying to show solidarity with the Black cause, he stated that he had been on more than one occasion the "honorary white man." Anyway, I like to see the First Amendment exercised regularly, so it was all-in-all a good show. Coffee, tea, or...puritanical humiliation? Curvy commuter Kyla Ebbert was told by a male Southwest Airlines flight attendant that her clothing was too revealing. At first, she was asked to take a later flight, then a compromise was reached where she eventually ended up covering herself with a blanket. So, a "family" company like Southwest is offended by everyday sexuality? Where do they think families come from? And anyway: just because a woman turns (part of) a man to stone doesn't make her a witch. Kyla, you're welcome to fly in my neighborhood any time. Wednesday, September 05, 2007 Lord of Iowa "Iowa, for good reason, for constitutional reasons, for reasons related to the Lord, should be the first caucus and primary." Bill Richardson has taken some heat for the comments he made about Iowa's spot on the political calendar. I'm sure he meant to say, "for reasons related to Lord": Milton E. Lord, that is, director of the University of Iowa libraries from 1930 to 1932. Monday, September 03, 2007 Oswalt acts alone Patton Oswalt is the one comedian most likely to make me actually die laughing. When I saw him opening for Aimee Mann several years ago, I was in danger of sounding like I had whooping cough. Here's a more recent clip. Sunday, September 02, 2007 Keywords: flimsy, entrapment, who cares? This whole Senator Craig story about airport bathroom hookups seems pretty flimsy. Not a word was spoken, yet the cop somehow knew that tapping one's foot in a restroom stall means "I am looking for gay sex," rather than "I hope I finish in time to catch my flight." Now, which one is the gay one? I am usually overjoyed when a conservative, gay-hating, family-values Conservative hypocrite is caught with his pants down, but this story is just odd. 12:00 PM - Cop enters stall, noticing that not all stalls are occupied. 12:13 PM - Cop notices Craig standing outside his stall, fidgeting. Cop implies that Craig had targeted him for sexual mischief. Cop doesn't seem to think that all the stalls could have filled up in the intervening 13 minutes, and that Craig may be fidgeting because he has to go. He reports that Craig looks through the crack between the door and the stall, from three feet away. 12:15 PM - Cop notices person in stall to his left departs, and Craig enters the stall, placing his bag against the door. Cop writes, "My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall." My experience has shown that there aren't too many choices about where to place one's bags in a cramped restroom stall. 12:16 PM - Cop notices that Craig taps his right foot. "I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct." I recognize this as a signal that a person is fidgety, anxious, musical, trying to keep their foot from falling asleep, or Fred Astaire. Cop moves his "foot up and down slowly." He doesn't say whether he does this because he is signaling his interest in gay sex, but by including it in the report, he implies something of the sort, in which case: entrapment, anyone? Eventually, Craig moves his right foot far enough to touch the cop's left foot. According to the cop's report, he doesn't move his foot out of the way, which I would do reflexively if someone encroached in my area of the stall. So why didn't the cop move his foot? 12:17 PM - Craig somehow contorts his body so that he swipes his left hand along the right side of his stall, slightly under the divider, palm up, fingertips showing on the cop's side of the wall. Cop doesn't mention whether this is some sort of signal, based on his vast experience of lewd behavior. 12:19 PM - Cop goes in for the kill by flashing his badge under the stall with his right hand, and pointing with his left hand towards the door. More contortions, apparently. Craig, speaking for the first time, says, "No!" but the cop is insistent, and Craig leaves the stall "without flushing the toilet." How suspicious, apparently, that after four minutes of fidgety behavior, Craig has not yet relieved himself, or not enough to warrant flushing the toilet, or just left in a hurry because a cop ordered him to. The cop again notices that not all the stalls are occupied, proof that Craig had singled him out for lewd behavior. The cop then informs Craig that he is under arrest. The charges? "Interference with Privacy" (for peeking through the crack between the door and the stall from three feet away) and "Disorderly Conduct" (hard to see how the statute applies in this situation). The report doesn't say that Craig ever uttered a word before being shown the badge, and doesn't say that Craig engaged in any lewd behavior. Craig's mistake was in pleading guilty in hopes of making the situation go away. He may have been guilty, and may have intended lewd conduct, but from the police report, I'd say that it would have been pretty easy to get the charges thrown out. Paul Hipp does an excellent audio noir recreation of the police report here. Monday, August 27, 2007 Balls to Afghanistan Hey, kids! Like soccer? Come get your free...ah, crap! Gee, we're really sorry we've managed to offend you again, what with including the flag of Saudi Arabia on a football, a flag that includes a verse from the Koran, complete with the name of Allah! Maybe we still have some of the ones we gave out last year. They might be...crap! Maybe we can put a sticker over the verse on the Saudi flag. Let's see, where is that flag? Oh, yes, it's next to the flags of Denmark and Israel. Crap! Byeee Way-more-loyal-to-Bush-than-to-the-Constitution Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (or AGAG) announced his resignation today. Wait for me, Karl! As a loyal subject and toady of President Bush, he was aces; otherwise, he was criminally incompetent (or just criminal, incompetent). I wouldn't be surprised if there was a pardon in his future. Here's the scenario: In the hours before the inauguration of the next President of the United States in January 2009, Bush pardons everyone who has ever worked for him. Then he resigns. Then Cheney assumes the Presidency. Then Cheney pardons Bush. Game over. Heavy with seed NPR reported on Afghanistan's poppy production figures for 2007, and the Bush administration's efforts to eradicate the crop as part of that failed experiment known as the War on Drugs. Part of the strategy involves trying to convince the poor Afghan farmers to plan alternative crops. Now, I may be wrong, but opium is a necessary component in all sorts of useful medicines. Why don't we just buy out their entire crop and use it to make the needed pharmaceuticals? I'm not the first to think of the idea... Wednesday, August 22, 2007 This is advancement? According to this CNN article, the Atlanta NAACP president doesn't think Michael Vick should be booted from the NFL. Vick is the Atlanta Falcons quarterback who was involved in an illegal dogfighting ring. He's expected to plead guilty; three of his compatriots have already done so, two of whom have stated that Vick participated in the inhumane killing of dogs that were performing below par. The ironically named R.L. White went on to say (twice) that Vick was being persecuted for animal cruelty more vigorously than if he had actually murdered someone. White added that he didn't see what the big deal was with dogfighting, since it's legal to hunt game. White described the public attention to the Vick case using the words "piling on" and "lynching". He hoped that Vick would be rehabilitated and accepted back into the fold without it harming his lucrative career. After all, White said, Vick was responsible for bringing "hours of enjoyment to fans all over this country." Vick being black had nothing to do with the NAACP's support, since they're all about social justice. White said this while seated in front of a placard that read, "Who is your leader, God or Satan?", which was attributed to that fair-minded paragon of social justice, Louis Farrakhan. I have a pretty good idea of how the FOI bois should answer that... "Let's maintain our humanness when we are trying to remedy the whole situation." By all means, let's be humane about this, Mr. White. So, thank you Atlanta NAACP for choosing this particular Colored Person to Advance. ( Wait, is this the R.L. White--the Reverend R.L. White--who recorded gospel music a decade ago? The Reverend R.L. White who recorded an album called "Robots Are Coming"?? *snicker*) Sunday, August 19, 2007 I beg the question I hear far too often the phrase, "...that begs the question..." Begging the question is a logical fallacy wherein one assumes one's conclusion, as in this example: "If these people are guilty and have shown no remorse for their crime, this can only mean that they are bad people, and this strengthens our conviction that they are guilty." But saying something like, "What America needs is universal health coverage, but that begs the question, 'How will we pay for it?'" It doesn't beg the question; it raises it. Being diacritical The diaeresis is a diacritical mark used to indicate that the second vowel in a pair should be pronounced as a separate syllable. Words like naïve and coöperate, and names like Chloë and Zoë are examples. So why is No ël Coward's name spelled Noël, when it's pronounced "Nole"? Wednesday, August 08, 2007 Bounty Steven Levitt blogs about the recent doubling of the bounty on the head of Osama bin Laden from$25 million to $50 million. He wonders about the credibility of the offer, or whether the amounts would mean anything to the expected snitches. Here's my solution: Offer$100 (that's one hundred dollars) to each person who is instrumental in the capture or killing of Osama Bin Laden.

$100 is a much more comprehensible and credible number, and the tipster could be assured of getting paid, even for only tangentially relevant testimony. Or offer an entire village a new school, hospital, water treatment plant, etc. Or, in the spirit of "Ransom!", offer$50 million today, \$49 million tomorrow, and so on until the reward goes to zero.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Another Republican outing

The BBC are reporting on how Donald Rumsfeld blew the cover of the soldier who revealed the infamous photos of the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.

Bob Novak wasn't involved this time.

Dateline NBC: To Catch a...Catcher

It's gotta be embarrassing when an undercover reporter's cover is blown, especially when said reporter was hacked by the hackers she was trying to hack.

But that's what happened to Michelle Madigan when she tried to dig up some dirt on the attendees of DEFCON 2007, a conference devoted to the more "underground" elements of geekiness.

The DEFCON folks were tipped off by their own mole in the Dateline NBC camp. Madigan was reportedly under surveillance by the group from the time she left to attend the conference.

Unfortunately, her ejection from the event reduced the headcount of attractive women by 100%.

1912-2007

1918-2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Perverted (sense of) Justice

As reported by the Associated Press, a woman is suing NBC because of her brother's suicide. Why?
1. The man, Bill Conradt, apparently got involved in an on-line conversation with someone from the Dateline NBC show "To Catch A Predator", who was pretending to be underage.
2. The usual M.O. is for the person to be invited over to a purported minor's home for an evening of entrapment and confrontation, but Conradt didn't show.
3. That didn't stop the cops and the camera crews from hounding Conradt at his home.
4. While the thugs and snoops tramped around his private property, Conradt took his own life.
Won't someone please think of the children? Oh, that's right: there weren't any involved. As usual.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A few paces behind, and out of step

The Guardian are reporting that Condi has been overruled by Cheney in the decision to go to war with Iran before Bush's term ends in 2009.

Yet another black Secretary of State has been outvoted by the bellicose Vice President on the issue of conflict in the Middle East.

I'm sure we can look forward to hearing the following phrases: evil man, threat to stability of the region, weapons of mass destruction, enemy of the US and its allies, etc., not to mention what they'll say about Ahmadinejad.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Devil, you say

OK, so, "The Devil Wears Prada" is not the kind of film I would see at the movie theatre, but it was on HBO-HD, so I watched it, for one reason and one reason only:

In my opinion, Anne Hathaway is the most stunningly beautiful actress in cinema today. Of course, I still love Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, and Nicole Kidman, but...

This is why I own a High Definition TV.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

La Double vie de Véronique

Film: dream-like, meditative
DVD: stunning, definitive
Irène Jacob: poetry, beauty
Music: haunting, evocative

I saw this 1991 film for the first time about ten years ago (thank you, Yelena). It has now been released on a beautiful Criterion Collection DVD. The 2.0 audio track is magnificently detailed.

Miss Jacob won Best Actress at Cannes for her fearlessly committed performance as Weronika/Véronique, and deservedly so. She is in nearly every frame of the film. One cannot help falling/feeling for her.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

More propitiation required

Barking mad, fraudulent, sexually deviant shamans have emerged from their burrows, blinking in the bright sunlight, to explicate the latest rumblings of their petulant storm god.

The Bishop of Bling

The Bishop of Carlisle said that English pro-gay legislation has so angered the Hebrew deity that Yahweh has sent along more floods to uproot thousands from their homes.

And I thought it was just American nutbags who said things like this...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Daily Show vs. "real news"

Rick Rojas posted an op-ed piece on how Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" is providing better journalism than traditional outlets. I've seen comments like this before, and the usual context is how sad it is that traditional media sucks so much that a mere comedy show is a more worthwhile news source.

But it's not just that "The Daily Show" is great by comparison; it's great, period, and the difference is Jon Stewart himself.

What sets "The Daily Show" apart is Stewart's commitment to doing his homework. He's not just being snarky; he's up on the subjects, he reads his guests' books, and he has an equal-opportunity bullshit detector.

Investigative journalism has been on a downward spiral ever since the Reagan administration, when what passed for reporting was not much more than the verbatim regurgitation of Michael Deaver's press releases.

Even were it not so, "The Daily Show" would be valuable not only because it makes important news funny, but because it gets to the point quickly, exposes the hypocrisy, then moves on to the next issue.

Yay, Jon.

The four branches of government

The four branches of the US government are: Executive, Legislative, Judicial, and Cheney. At least, this is what I gather according to the latest pronouncements from the office of the Penguin-in-Chief.

As reported here and elsewhere, a 2003 Executive Order requires all Executive Branch agencies and "any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information" to report on said information.

Cheney said he doesn't have to comply since, as President of the Senate, the Vice President is not part of the Executive Branch.

A quick look at the US government's own informational web site reveals that
"[t]he executive branch of the government is responsible for enforcing the laws of the land. The president, vice president, department heads (cabinet members), and heads of independent agencies carry out this mission."
Dick "futue te ipsum" Cheney is a lawlessness unto himself.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The more things change...

Here's the scene: people are being attacked and enslaved by Muslims. Why?
1. The Koran says that anyone who does not acknowledge their authority are sinners.
2. It's their right and duty to make war upon whoever they can find.
3. It's their right and duty to enslave whoever they can imprison.
4. Every Muslim killed in battle will go to Paradise.
No, this didn't happen recently; it was 1785, and Presidents Adams and Jefferson were dealing with the piracy of the Barbary States.

Read more of Christopher Hitchens' article here.

Infallibility, fallibility, re-infallibility

Some time ago, Joe Kennedy II got a divorce from his wife, and obtained an annulment from the Catholic Church; he subsequently remarried.

Then, his ex-wife decided she didn't like being nullified, so she sought and received a reversal of that decision. In effect, the annulment was annulled.

"First, there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is."

I can't think of any comment to make that's more ridiculous than the facts of the case, so I'll just wonder why someone wants their life to be ruled/ruined by a gang of thugs and child molesters in drag.

Hell's kitchen

I don't really care, but The Independent is reporting about celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and the lawsuits he's been involved in.

I've seen bits and pieces of his "reality" show wherein he abuses his staff. I guess we're supposed to think he's an uncompromising genius or something, but what he really looks like is a major-league asshole.

It's only cooking, for fuck's sake.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Black enough

NAACP publisher Roger Wilkins introduced Barack Obama thus: "I want to tell you a secret from me to you: this man is black enough, I guarantee you!"

That's what Dr. King said, wasn't it? Umm:

"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Oh, that's right; King's speech was inspiring and appealed to what Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature."

Wilkins' comment was sadly revealing bullshit.

I've said it before in a different way, so I'll say it this way:

Bigots who won't vote for Obama primarily because he's black are no more ignorant and wrong than black people who support Obama primarily because he's black.

If Obama does win the Presidency, I won't be too surprised when I hear ill-informed cries of "Unka Tom! Unka Tom!" from those a shade darker than himself.

Monday, June 18, 2007

More Muslim malarkey

In a story reported by The Times Online, a violence-promoting Muslim group (is that redundant?) are offering a bounty for Salman Rushdie's murder, their spokesman adding, "we will bestow kisses on the hands of whomsoever is able to execute this apostate."

The article, written by Ben Hoyle, went on to say, "Pakistan's national assembly earlier unanimously passed a resolution condemning Rushdie's knighthood, which it said would encourage 'contempt' for the Prophet Muhammad."

I hate to break it to Pakistan, but the thing that encourages my contempt for the Prophet Muhammad and his followers is the shameless hate-mongering of the religion of Islam (or "NAMBLA").

Are these just a few bad apples? Not all Muslims are terrorists, or dance in the streets when thousands of American lives are destroyed?

Prove it. Get your shit together. Prosecute your criminals. And get over yourselves: you're offended at everything; how infantile. Grow the fuck up.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sir Salman

Reuters are reporting that Salman Rushdie is on the Queen's birthday honors list. Iran said that a knighthood for Rushdie is an insult to Islam, since Rushdie is one of the most hated figures in the Islamic world (which is quite an achievement in itself, as the Islamic world hates everyone, including itself).

This is just another example of how a religion turns its subjects into anti-intellectual, humorless, self-loathing, sycophantic slaves.

Islam--or "peace through submission"--brings misery, both to its followers and to its enemies. But at least Muslims have only their one god and their one thin-skinned prophet to obey. No, wait, they also have every priest or "scholar" who ever expressed an opinion about how and whom to hate.

Jews have one god, plus kings, priests, and prophets to interpret, while Christians see that and raise you a couple more prophets, followers, and hallucinating misogynistic letter-writers, to say nothing of the Moronic angels and space cadets of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Anyway, Mohammad Ali Hosseini (are all Islamic names some combination of the name of the deity, the prophet, and the prophet's spawn?), spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, said, "Honoring and commending an apostate and hated figure will definitely put the British officials (in a position) of confrontation with Islamic societies."

Oh, is that what does it?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Another good week

1. Useless skank Paris Hilton was ordered back to jail by the judge who sent her there in the first place. It seems that the Sheriff let her out on his own initiative (damned activist Executive Branch), and the judge was not happy. Neither was good-god-is-she-26-years-old Hilton, who shrieked and cried for her mommy. Maybe when she gets out, Hilton, Tara Reid, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spears can share a place.
2. Isaiah Washington was fired from his job on Grey's Anatomy. Good riddance.
3. Wesley Snipes claimed that the IRS are charging him with failing to file his tax returns for six years, not because he didn't pay his taxes, but because he's black. I've heard of being nabbed for "driving while black", but never for "failing to pay one's taxes for six years while black". Good luck with that defense, Wes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Viagra reduces jet lag in hamsters

I'll say it again: Viagra reduces jet lag in hamsters.

Be of good cheer, o rodents of the jet set: with Pfizer's little blue pill, you will be "up for it" in more ways than one.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Gizmodo is reporting on a story that digg.com pulled messages that included a code that would allow someone to break HD-DVD copy protection.

Most of the messages are apparently from a bunch of whiny brats who are trying to cloak as a First Amendment issue their desire to get someone else's intellectual property for free.

"You cannot copyright a number," they cry. Oh, the horror!

Some people work for a living and expect to be paid for it. Or should everything be free?

Whiny brats, when you go to your job at the record store or delivering pizzas, tell your employers they don't have to pay you, because everything should be freeeee.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Cognitive dissonance

1. Richard Gere gives Shilpa Shetty a peck on the cheek in India. The Indians are offended by this lapse in modesty, so they burn Gere in effigy. The people who gave us the Kama Sutra are embarrassed by public displays of affection; who knew? (I offer the neologism "simmolation" as a synonym for burning someone in effigy.)
2. In 1961, the Soviet Union--occupiers of a foreign capital city--build the Berlin Wall. In 1987, as the Cold War is on its last legs, then-President Ronald Reagan says, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" In 2007, the US--occupiers of a foreign capital city--build a wall in Baghdad.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The truffle-sniffing pig of racism

1. The "offensive phrase" ("nappy-headed ho's") uttered by Don Imus is not a big deal. It's not boycott-worthy, and it's not fire-worthy. Maybe Imus should grow up, but so should everybody else. I don't listen to him anyway.
2. The Rutgers women's team did not have their "moment of glory" (didn't they lose?) stolen from them by Imus' comments. If anything, they had it stolen by Al Sharpton's self-imposed role as the truffle-sniffing pig of racism.
3. Oprah's efforts to begin the National Healing are overblown and unnecessary.
4. I like the phrase "the truffle-sniffing pig of racism". The phrase itself is not racist because I'm judging Sharpton on his actions, not the color of his skin.
5. I've never had truffles, but I hear they're good.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Now *that's* acting

Tonight's "Grey's Anatomy" featured a confrontation scene between T.R. Knight and Katherine Heigl in the linen closet. Not a word was spoken; it was excellent.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The good book

At lunch today, my friends and I noticed a small group of young-ish men having Bible study at their table. It was an unusual sight, but nobody really paid them any attention.

I wonder how it would have been different if they had been brown-skinned and were studying the Koran.

Or a group of atheists flipping pages: "That's wrong, that's wrong..."

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Rabbit run, run rabbit, rabbit run by

"Butterfly lazily drinking the sun,
Lavishly sprinkled and painted with gold.
Here in the land of the mist and the lake,
Me and my true love will never grow old."

from "Butterfly" by Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks, and Graham Nash.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

"Date" Line NBC

I'm really tired of smug crusader Chris Hansen and his "\to catch_a predator" series, apparently the only thing on "Dateline NBC" anymore.

It goes without saying that I don't want any harm to come to an actual underage victim, yada yada yada, BUT....

First off, don't these guys have to sign a release form to have their privacy invaded?

Second, the men are charged with an "attempted lewd act on a minor" or something, but the decoys are actually adults pretending to be underage. So where is the "minor" that the "act" was "attempted" on?

Are there any underage girls on the web wanting sex with these older men, or are they all decoys?

Do the guys really think that the girls are 14 or whatever, or do they think it's a young adult being edgy? Does it matter? Does it matter that the decoy is lying?

Hansen made a big deal about one guy who lied about his age to make himself seem younger, but it's OK when the decoy does it?

They also make a big show about a horde of cops lurking around the corner who suddenly run out, guns drawn, all shouting at once, and wrestle some 140-pound guy to the ground. Yay, brave macho dudes.

Some guys on the show have even just driven up, thought better of it, then attempted to drive off when they were apprehended. On what charge? Slowing down a vehicle in front of the fake home of a pretend minor?

Or the cops search the guy's car. Do they have a warrant? I don't see where probable cause has anything to do with it when he's already out of his car.

Hansen uses the transcripts of the chats to damn the men, then reports that they pleaded "not guilty" to the charges. Well, Internet chats aren't delivered under oath, so who knows how much is fantasy and how much is reality?

It's also a little puzzling for the letter of the law to equate a newborn with someone who is 17 years, 364 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds old, calling each a "child". At the stroke of midnight on one's 18th birthday, then, one is assumed to be infused with the wisdom of the universe, but before that, one is a drooling infant, incapable of anything more than instinctual behavior.

Reality is cloudier than that. I'm sure there are some 14-year-olds who are more on the ball than some 24-year-olds, etc. But, to make it easy, the law draws the line at 18 (to vote, have sex, and sign contracts), or 21 (to drink) or 16 (to drive) or 35 (to run for President), or....

Some comments on the show's blog are from fine upstanding citizens who call these guys monsters and otherwise demonize them. Leaving aside the questions of entrapment, aberrant behavior, and consent, it is a form of denial for people to think that the average person does not have some thread of the same feelings running through their being. Everyone has every feeling, just to different degrees. Most of us have filters that, say, prevent us from following through on our murderous feelings during a bout of road rage. Some don't, and they're the dangerous ones. But to adopt an air of moral superiority and vilification is nothing less than hubris.

And finally, why is it that sex offenders must register with authorities, having their names, addresses, and photographs published where all can see? Why not murderers, rapists, thieves and arsonists? Don't we want to protect "our children" from them too?

Oh, right, this is the Puritan country afraid of sex, but in love with violence.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Psst...

Oprah had a show about "The Secret", a book and movie by an Australian TV producer about how to attract your desires. I guess I missed the first show, because what I saw was a follow-up. There were a couple of guys, plus Oprah, congratulating each other on how spiritual acquisitiveness can be.

One fearful audience member wanted to make sure their world-view allowed for a judgmental God. The guest with the ponytail assured her he was being sufficiently Christ-like, but judging was for sissies, and not something for Creators like himself to be concerned about.

I guess "The Secret" is this year's "Da Vinci Code" or "Celestine Prophecy". The "Law of Attraction" says "like attracts like", the opposite of magnetism I guess. It's based on a nearly 100-year-old book about getting rich. Kind of like "The Da Vinci Code" was based on "Holy Blood Holy Grail".

One of the "experts" featured in the movie is John Gray, author of the "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" books. You remember him: he's the relationship guru who's divorced from Barbara DeAngelis, another relationship guru.

Anyway, enjoy "The Secret": strong enough for God, but made for Man.

No offense

The University of Illinois have banned their American Indian mascot of 81 years so as not to offend, well, American Indians (actually, they didn't give a shit about offending anyone, but the NCAA sanctions hurt). "Heritage, not hate," some Illini alumni say. Perhaps they'll replace the Chief with Little Black Sambo.

The Mashpee Wampanoag were formally recognized by the US (after 400 years), thus freeing them up to practice their native cultural heritage, such as alcoholism and casino gambling. Hurray, more suckling from the government teat.

Tim Hardaway, a former professional athlete, shocked everyone by revealing that he is a homophobe. As a result, the NBA said he can't join in any reindeer games. Hardaway was reacting to former player John Amaechi's homosexuality, stating that gays shouldn't be allowed in the locker room. I guess Hardaway is such queer bait that they wouldn't be able to resist his masculine wiles.

Isaiah Washington, another black homophobe, went to gay-hab to ensure his continued presence on a successful TV show, after he had twice offended pretty much everyone on "Grey's Anatomy" by being a dick
(and not in a good way) to cast member TR Knight.

Gay-hab also cured evangelist Ted Haggard of his homosexuality. He will still drink the blood and eat the body of Christ, but not in a gay way. "I'm just like Lot, running away from sodomy--er, Sodom," Haggard might have said. Don't look back, Ted.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rome, season 2

I enjoyed Max Pirkis in the role of Octavian in season 1 of "Rome"; he did a splendid job of communicating the intelligence and savvy of the future Caesar Augustus. Now in season 2, the role is taken by Simon Woods, who is positively lethal.

Woods, who bears a strong resemblance to actor Paul Bettany, continues the same speech patterns set by Pirkis in the role, and his nearly unblinking eyes show a young man absorbing absolutely everything around him.

Great show.

Friday, January 26, 2007

A favorite thing...

Reaching out to pet one of my cats on the back of the head, and watching him stretch his neck to meet my hand.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Is the Congressional Black Caucus racist? (Hint: yes)

In her politico.com column "Black Caucus: Whites Not Allowed", Josephine Hearn reports on the unwritten rule governing membership as Rep. Stephen Cohen (D-TN) experienced it.

Even though Cohen's constituency is predominantly black, and even though the bylaws of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) do not prohibit non-blacks from joining, the Caucus remains exclusively black, as it has done since its founding in 1969.

It seems that "practice" and "preach" are pretty far apart on this subject. I guess it was felt by CBC members that only black people are qualified to address areas of concern to black people.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is a member; perhaps he is only half-qualified.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Music: Old, New, and Newport

The local PBS station showed some highlights of Newport 2006, in superb High Def.

Chris Botti was out first, playing with his trademark graceful fluidity. He was followed by The Bad Plus, a quirky trio full of stop-start tightness that was impressive in its precision, but which did little for me musically (kind of like Rush).

Also on stage were the Robert Glasper Trio. Glasper's piano work was unremarkable, although his pliable arachnidian fingers creeped me out. More remarkable was his drummer, who played like an 800-pound butterfly.

Savion Glover came out and clomped about in his herky-jerky style that called to mind (a) one of those street bums with the squeegees that clean car windshields in police dramas, and (b) Joe Cocker in tap shoes.

Dr. John was in the right place and the wrong key, or maybe I just didn't care. Also present was Angelique Kidjo, a scary looking woman who resembled Grace Jones in a pants suit.

It's too bad they didn't show Dave Brubeck, John Pizzarelli, or Jane Monheit.

Also on my DVR was the Oprah show featuring the wonderful Corinne Bailey Rae. I caught only a glimpse of her a few weeks ago on "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", but I was intrigued. This time I got to see two complete performances and an interview. Rae has "it"; she's unhurried, unaffected, lovely, and sings in her own voice. She can go as far as she wants.