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Good reads
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
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The Temple of Ultor
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October 31, 2005
See Scotty. See Scotty dodge. Dodge, Scotty, dodge.
Give him credit for trying, I guess. Scottie McClellan comes out this morning and opens the press briefing by talking about Bush meeting with a Burmese peace activist and the Alito nomination, then asks for questions. First question:
Q Some Democrats say that the President should apologize for the role of some administration officials in the unmasking of the name of a CIA undercover operative. What's the White House reaction to that?
He tries the usual "investigation in progress" blahblahblah, but the press (bless their little ink-stained hearts) isn't buying it:
Q Let me just follow up on an aspect of this and try it again here. On October 7, 2003, you were asked about a couple of the key players here, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, as well as another administration official who has not figured in the investigation, so far as we know. And you said the following, "There are unsubstantiated accusations that are made, and that's exactly what happened in the case of these three individuals," including Rove and Libby. "They're good individuals, they're important members of our White House team, and that's why I spoke with them, so that I could come back to you and say that they were not involved." You were wrong then, weren't you?

MR. McCLELLAN: David, it's not a question of whether or not I'd like to talk more about this. I think I've indicated to you all that I'd be glad to talk about this once this process is complete, and I look forward to that opportunity. But, again, we have been directed by the White House Counsel's Office not to discuss this matter or respond to questions about it.

Q That was a public representation that was made to the American people.

MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on. We can have this conversation, but let me respond.

Q No, no, no, because it's such an artful dodge. Whether there's a question of legality --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I disagree with you.

Q Whether there's a question of legality, we know for a fact that there was involvement. We know that Karl Rove, based on what he and his lawyer have said, did have a conversation about somebody who Patrick Fitzgerald said was a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. We know that Scooter Libby also had conversations.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think that's accurate.

Q So aside from the question of legality here, you were wrong, weren't you?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, David, if I were to get into commenting from this podium while this legal proceeding continues, I might be prejudicing the opportunity for there to be a fair and impartial trial. And I'm just not going to do that. I know very --

Q You speak for the President. Your credibility and his credibility is not on criminal trial. But it may very well be on trial with the American public, don't you agree?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm very confident in the relationship that we have in this room, and the trust that has been established between us. This relationship --

Q See those cameras? It's not about us. It's about what the American people --

MR. McCLELLAN: This relationship is built on trust, and you know very well that I have worked hard to earn the trust of the people in this room, and I think I've earned it --

Q Is the President -- let me just follow up on one more thing.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and I think I've earned it with the American people.

Q Does the President think that Karl Rove did anything wrong?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think it would be good for you to allow me the opportunity to respond to your questions without jumping in. I'm glad to do that. I look forward to the opportunity --

Q I haven't heard a response.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, no, I have been responding to you, David, and there's no need -- you're a good reporter, there's no need to be rude or disrespectful. We can have a conversation and respond to these questions, if you'll just give me the opportunity to respond. I'm glad to do that.

We need to let this legal process continue. The special counsel indicated the other day that it is ongoing. And that's what we're going to do from this White House. That's the policy that we have set for quite some time now.

Q In the year 2000, the President said the following: "In my administration, we will ask not only what is legal, but what is right; not just what the lawyers allow, but what the public deserves." Doesn't the American public deserve some answers from this President about the role of his Vice President in this story and what he knew and when he knew it, and how he feels about the conduct of his administration?

After that, Scottie manages to get into full filibuster mode.
October 28, 2005
Beware of goat!
Did you know that each year, over 6000 people in the US are traumatized by goats? If a child is traumatized by a goat before age five, he/she is five times more likely to become some form of social deviant. But you can help.
Friday Random Ten
  1. A Bird That Whistles - Joni Mitchell Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm
  2. It's Over - Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories Tails
  3. Penguins - Lyle Lovett I Love Everybody
  4. It'll Get Much Worse - Paul K and the Weathermen SxSW 2005 Showcase
  5. Firing Up the Sunset Gun - Animal Logic Animal Logic
  6. Blue Collar Butterfly - The Oktober Butterfly SxSW 2005 Showcase
  7. Back to You - Matthew Sweet Blue Sky on Mars
  8. The Longships - Enya Watermark
  9. Lover Lay Down - Dave Matthews Band Under the Table and Dreaming
  10. R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. - John Mellencamp Scarecrow
October 27, 2005
Congrats to the Sox...
...White, that is. It's somehow appropriate, after all the close games they've played this year, that the clinching game was 1-0. The Astros fought hard all four games, but came up just short each time.

That said, I don't expect the Chisox to repeat, at least not so easily. They had an outstanding record in 1-run games this year, and that's almost always luck; over the long run, teams are about .500 in 1-run games, so I expect some regression to the mean for them next year.

But for now, enjoy it, White Sox fans. I know how you feel. Hmmm...last year the Red Sox won for the first time since 1918, this year the White Sox won for the first time since 1917, who won in 1916....? Why, the Red Sox! They beat the Brooklyn Robins, no less. So let me be the first to name them the early favorite for 2006. And Cubs fans...don't worry, your turn is coming in 2014!

October 26, 2005
I, for one, welcome our strangely whiskered feline overlords
Japan is....strange. The Daiichi Hanyu hotel chain is offering complete Hello Kitty-themed weddings, including "Hello Kitty" and "Dear Daniel" character escorts for the ceremony.

October 25, 2005
The cholesterol is strong with this one...

Yep, that's ol' Anakin his own bad self, carved out of several hundred pounds of butter at the Tulsa State Fair. Yoda also there is, hmmm.

A study in contrasts.
2000 dead US soldiers in Iraq. No, there's nothing "special" about 2000. The 2000th grieving mother, son, brother, or spouse isn't any more special than the 1999th, or the 43rd, or the 1274th. But sometimes you have to stop and look at how the drip...drip...drip of one here, 3 there has accumulated.

Imagine a well-dressed Marine coming up the walk to knock on the door of a house, the bearer of bad news. Imagine that happening once per second. It would take over a half an hour.

Imagine giving each dead soldier a minute of silence. After you'd spent an entire day, you'd have over 9 hours left to go.

Imagine spending a day remembering the sacrifice of each dead soldier. You'd be finished on July 21. 2008.

October 24, 2005
Another Bush Milestone
The public debt has now reached $8,000,000,000,000 (that's 8 trillion dollars). 1/4 of that increase has come since Bush was elected.
Remember when they called him "The CEO President"?
They must have hoped we'd forget that all the other companies he'd run had failed.
The government's roll-out of its $40-billion-a-year Medicare prescription drug plan has hit another snag.

People trained to help seniors figure out which plan to choose under the new program said they don't have the pricing information they need and seniors are scratching their heads in confusion.

Earlier this week, Dr. Mark McClellan, head of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, launched a prescription drug plan finder designed to help those on Medicare plug in specific financial information and prescription needs so they can determine which plans are best for them. The tool is available on www.medicare.gov and is also used by those trained to counsel seniors.

But a crucial piece of data -- pricing information on the drugs -- is still not available...

Funny, that's not how I see it.
The further adventures of Christian Exodus, the fundamentalist group who want to take over South Carolina, secede, and form a theocracy. Money quote:
"Historically, Southerners do have a states' rights mentality," he said. "Christians in the North are experiencing the most liberalism, or you could say persecution."
The organization claims about 1,000 members, but only managed to draw 50 to their first conference last week.
October 23, 2005
Happy Birthday, Universe!
According to Bishop Ussher, God created the Universe October 23, 4004BC, in six days. So have a party!
October 21, 2005
New Music from the US
From WGBH, here's a directory of a variety of pieces from American composers that you can download and play. The only downside is that they're in RealPlayer format instead of mp3. It's nowhere near complete, but it is an eclectic sampling from composers as varied as John Adams, Robert Ashley, Milton Babbitt, Burt Bacharach, John Cage, Aaron Copland, Charles Ives, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Edgard Varese (among others). They have one of my favorite modern pieces, Riley's In C, which I highly recommend if you are fond of minimalist music.
Cracking, Gromit!
If you're a Wallace and Gromit fan, you'll definitely want to check out the Aardman Animation site with a batch of ads and shorts done by the lads.
How rich are you?
In looking at the Trumps, Gateses, and Buffetts of the world it's easy to forget how well off, relatively speaking, most of us in the US really are. For instance, I'm the 40,315,565th richest person in the world! Of course, for some perspective, that puts me in the 99.329th percentile worldwide. How rich are you?
October 20, 2005
The food fills you up - if you can keep it down.
Did you ever wonder what people who do restaurant reviews for guides like the Zagat say about really awful places? Check out the "outtakes" that didn't make the guide.....
I have a birthday coming up soon....
And who wouldn't want a Homer Simpson/DaVinci fountain pen for their birthday?

October 19, 2005
I'd pay to see that....
Yep. Here's a debate between a scientist and a creationist that I'd gladly pay to see.
Quoth the raven, "Get off me, you lummox!"
This is psycho in the very best way. And the illustrations are what make it truly wonderful.

And really, what parent hasn't wanted to do unspeakable things to that Sam I Am after the thousandth or so reading?

October 18, 2005
I'm still a sucker for a good list.
This time, how about the 100 oldest .com domains? Sherman, set the wayback machine for 1985.
  1. On March 15, Symbolics became the very first .com domain. I was a bit surprised to discover that they're still around; I recall them as being the folks who put out computers especially to run programs written in LISP, a language that was significantly more important than it ever was popular.
  2. Five weeks later, Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (now BBN Technologies) became #2. I'm actually rather surprised they weren't #1, because they developed a lot of the original software that powered the Internet.
  3. The same day, Thinking Machines Corp became #3. Their domain, think.com, now seems to be owned by Oracle. Like Symbolics, Thinking Machines was heavily into the LISP and AI world.
  4. July 11. MCC.COM becomes domain #4. It belongs to Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation of Austin, TX, about which I know nothing else. If you know, chime in in the comments, please.
  5. September 30. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Now a small part of their once-bitter rival HP, Digital Equipment Corporation registered DEC.COM to become domain #5. My favorite DEC joke: Q: What does "DEC" stand for? A: Didn't Expect Compaq. Second favorite DEC joke: There used to be Compaq and Digital, but now there's just Comical. I can tell those, because I can read octal and know how to toggle in the bootstrap loader on a PDP-8.
  6. November 7. Defense contractor and aerospace firm Northrop Technologies (now Northrop Grumman) registers NORTHROP.COM.
  7. January 9, 1986. Xerox (XEROX.COM) once wanted to be a serious computer company. It's pretty weird to think that the whole Ethernet thing was originally started by DEC, Xerox, and Intel.
  8. January 17. SRI (originally Stanford Research Institute) registers SRI.COM. Somehow, they don't think this was important enough to list it with their other innovations. Go figure.
  9. March 3. Hewlett-Packard (HP.COM) joins the party.
  10. March 5. Bell Labs (BELLCORE.COM) dives in. It's really strange to remember that people were at one point really worried that AT&T/Bell Labs were going to dominate the world of computing the way they did the world of telephony. My, how things do change.
  11. March 19. A twofer. Sun Microsystems (SUN.COM) and International Business Machines (IBM.COM) hit on the same day. Kind of appropriate, since they seem to be the two main Unix vendors beating on each other at this point.
  12. March 25. Another interesting pairing. Intel (INTEL.COM) and Texas Instruments (TI.COM).
Lots of fun stuff in there for geek history geeks. I remember when Ungermann-Bass (#18, UB.COM) was a really big deal in networking. Interactive Systems Corp (#20, ISC.COM) once owned Unix. Apple didn't get in until #64, in February 1987. But they beat Cisco, #73.
At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BellCore was not Bell Labs! It was the part of Bell Labs that got ripped away from AT&T and given to the baby bells as part of the settlment of the anti-trust case. AT&T kept the Bell Labs name and most of the researchers. BellCore got the engineers who specialized in technical issues faced by the local phone companies (such as how to assign phone numbers.)

At 2:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compaq (now HP) ate a lot of DEC, but not all. Intel got the rest.

Heh. My former employer is one of those tied for #42. Now, I generally liked working there, but never, ever thought it was the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: Item #5. It depends 7300 0040 for LAP6Dial or 7710 7747 for OS/8. :)

Then again you could always just boot FOCAL at 0077 0010.

'Nuff Said

I like the "Ham Sandwich" part
Wonkette invites everyone to play "Indictment Bingo". You can get your own card. I like the concept of the "ham sandwich" as the freebie square at the center.
Really? No spin?
NewsMax is reporting that Bill O'Reilly may retire. He's also hired bodyguards to protect him. After spending several years talking like a real tough guy, he shows his colors as just another bully who needs a gang to feel safe.
October 17, 2005
I'm a sucker for a good list
Time magazine book critics list their choices for 100 top English language novels from 1923 to the present. It's an interesting list. I'm sure it will generate howls from various quarters because of its inclusion of several science fiction novels and even one graphic novel. I've read.... I'm not at all certain that I wouldn't have taken V for Vendetta over Watchmen, and I certainly don't understand how Thomas Wolfe (either You Can't Go Home Again or Look Homeward, Angel) were omitted. And I still contend, having read a significant quantity of Salinger, that Catcher in the Rye is my least favorite of his writing. As usual, I have major pangs of "I really ought to get around to reading that" as I look through the list, especially in this case for The Big Sleep, The Great Gatsby, On the Road, and The Grapes of Wrath. Great Zarquon, how can I do so much reading and not be better read than this?
At 1:23 AM, Anonymous Terri said...

As we continue homeschooling, I expect you will end up reading a fairly large portion of the ones you've missed. You're a computer geek, not an English major.

At 8:45 PM, Blogger K.M.B said...

nice list of books,

I think animal farm & 1984 have had made more sense to me since my move back to saudi arabia.

The Potemkin Presidency, chapter II
You really can't make this stuff up:
THEY'RE saying the President, spending inordinate time working on handling his multiple problems of Iraq, Supreme Court, Karl Rove, gas prices, sliding polls, economy, has begun rehearsing answers to questions that might come up at a press conference. More importantly, he's even watching reruns of "West Wing."
OK, so it's from a gossip column. Still, it's sad that it seems fairly plausible.
A table for the ancient ones
This is Just. Plain. Cool.

Now that's appropriate.
Jimmy Doohan's ashes will be shot into space in accord with his last wishes.

One has to ask what sort of God would take Doohan and leave Bill Shatner to win an Emmy, though.

October 16, 2005
Constitution, then what?
Early reports are that the Iraq Constitution looks likely to pass, though there are dissenting voices:
"I believe they will rig the results and announce the success of the referendum, but our monitors reported to us that more than 80 percent of the voters in three governorates have said no to this draft," Saleh Mutlaq, a spokesman for the Sunnis' National Dialogue Council, told reporters at a news conference; Iraq's provinces are formally called governorates. "This constitution is a menace to the unity and stability of Iraq, and we shall have no legal or legitimate means in order to defeat it."
It is acknowledged that the Constitution will fail overwhelmingly in two provinces: Salahuddin, with an 81 percent "no" vote, and solidly Sunni Anbar, where an even larger no total was expected. It is expected to fail also in Diyala and Nineveh provinces, though by less than 2/3. Failing by 2/3 majorities in any three provinces would cause the entire vote to fail.

But supposing the Constitution passes (which I expect it will, even if Fat Tony Scalia has to cast the deciding vote), what then? Will US troops start coming home? Will insurgent attacks begin to drop off? Will the Iraqi government begin to have sovereignty in fact, not just in name? Will the price of gas start dropping?

I'm dubious on all counts. Whether that's cynical or just realistic remains to be seen.

Gotta do something to get those ratings up, I guess.
Neal Boortz, a C-list (on a good day) right-wing radio blatherbox, had an...interesting...take on how we should handle any future situations like Katrina:
Well, hell, yes, we should save the rich people first. You know, they're the ones that are responsible for this prosperity. I mean, you go out there and you look at this vast sea of evacuees, OK? You want to get an economy going in some city? Well, who you gonna take back? The people who own businesses? Or the people that sit around waiting to get their minimum wage job, work 'til Friday, get a paycheck and then not show up again until the following Wednesday? Come on. Just put a little logical thought into this, folks.
Logical? Ummmm....je quoi que....no.
October 15, 2005
Available at the NC state fair!
Why does the South have a higher rate of heart problems than the rest of the country? Two words: fried strawberries. You can also get fried apple cobbler, fried pina colada strips, and fried banana pudding bites.
Judy Miller spent six months in jail to protect a source, and now she says she can't remember who it was? That strains credulity the same way a sumo wrestler stretches a Speedo.
October 14, 2005
Friday Random Ten
Revenge of the Homeowner
What would you do if your local zoning board told you you couldn't put up a zinc-covered observatory in your backyard because - among other things - it "didn't look colonial" enough? If you're Jonathan Rothberg, you build a Stonehenge-like circle that marks the beginnings of seasons and your children's birthdays. Without consulting the zoning board. Because, after all, it's a work of art!

October 13, 2005
No, nothing by the Captain and Tennille...
WXPN Philadelphia (a most cool station, BTW) had listeners vote for their top albums of all time. And now they're running down the count of the top 885 albums (yeah, their frequency is 88.5). They have everything up to #45 listed on their site as I'm writing this. It's kind of interesting looking at how many albums on the list I own (or have owned): So that's 149 out of 810. 18%. Not bad, I suppose. It's a good list, well worth taking shopping.
October 12, 2005
Why he was my guy...
Howard Dean has a lot of good ideas about how to reorganize and revitalize the Democratic party. He's a bright guy, and he doesn't have any problems taking good ideas from all sorts of places.
Card vs. Rove for all the marbles?
Howard Fineman and Chris Matthews actually get down to brass tacks on Hardball.
HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That‘s the point of the lance of this whole thing.

Right now, my sense, in reporting this, Chris, is that the Bush family, political family, is at war with itself inside the White House. My sense is, it‘s—it‘s—it‘s—it‘s Andy Card, the chief of staff, and his people against Karl Rove, the brain.


FINEMAN: And that runs through a whole lot of things, whether it‘s Harriet Miers or Katrina. But it all starts with Iraq.

And some submerged, but now emerging divisions within the administration over why we went into that war, how we went into that war and what was done to sell it. There are people are out for Karl Rove inside that White House, which makes his situation even more perilous.

My understanding, from talking to somebody quite close to this investigation, is that they think there are going to be indictments and possibly Karl Rove could be among them, if not for the act of the leaking information about Valerie Plame, then perhaps for perjury, because he‘s now testified four times.

And there are conflicts between what Matt Cooper told the grand jury and what Rove evidently told the jury himself. And Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, is an absolute stickler for detail who has no political axe to grind here, other than keeping his own credibility. Having put Judy Miller in jail, having gone to the lengths he had, my understand is, he has got some people here, not only Rove, but perhaps Scooter Libby, the vice president‘s chief of staff.

MATTHEWS: I also get the sense he reads the law book. He doesn‘t care about the politics.


FINEMAN: That‘s what I meant. That‘s what I meant. He doesn‘t care about the politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, you just raised a curtain-raiser for me. I didn‘t even know this.

You believe that the fight between those who may be headed toward indictment, the vice president‘s chief of staff, Karl Rove, there is a war between them and the people who are going to survive them, Andy Card, etcetera.


Science the way you wish it was...
The Table of Condiments that Periodically Go Bad.
Um, ooops?
“In two appearances before the federal grand jury investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative’s name, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, did not disclose a crucial conversation that he had with New York Times reporter Judith Miller in June 2003 about the operative, Valerie Plame.”
I hope Scooter looks good in orange.
When is a blind trust not so blind?
When it's run by your brother.
Outside the blind trusts he created to avoid a conflict of interest, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist earned tens of thousands of dollars from stock in a family-founded hospital chain largely controlled by his brother, documents show.
October 10, 2005
Bush v. Gore, Iraqi style?
The US is trying to negotiate changes to the Iraqi Constitution. Yes, it was already voted on by the legislature. Yes, it's less than a week until the ratification vote. Yes, they've already printed up the Constitution and distributed it across the country. Doesn't matter. To paraphrase Leona Helmsley, rules are for the little people.
Sleepers, Wake!
People are finally starting to realize that not only is Bush incompetent, but he's been a regular Incompetence Mary, spreading it throughout the government. According to an AP/Ipsos poll, only 52% of Americans are "[C]onfident the federal government can respond effectively to a terror attack", down from 78% on August 21, pre-Katrina.
Helen of Troy revisited
Oh, my. There's a new book out that focuses on what we know about Helen of Troy, and concludes that she was probably
...a powerful Bronze Age princess, living in the Greek city-state of Sparta around 1250BC. Basing her argument on extensive archaeological research, as well as surviving friezes from the period, Hughes conjures a picture of Helen as a dominant woman who would have worn a handful of snake-like strands of hair over an otherwise shaven, and perhaps brightly dyed, head. Her breasts would almost certainly have been exposed to reinforce her power and sexuality, and she would have been a fit, trained fighter.
October 09, 2005
Wonder if God knows who's speaking for him these days...
Yeah, it's Pat Robertson at it again, saying that "recent natural disasters around the world point to the end of the world and the imminent return of Jesus Christ."
What's a "nanaca"?
This is....a very strange game. And I have a hard time putting it down. I have no clue whatsoever about the source of the name, though I read that the characters in the game were taken from a Japanese manga, which I have no trouble believing. My best score is a bit over 11000m, BTW.
Porn is in the eye of the beholder.
Looks like the guy running the site where he was offering memberships to look at naked women to people who sent in graphic pictures of war dead from Iraq is in trouble. Over the naked people, not the graphic violence. What a country.
At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Tod Rice said...

Excellent, that was really well explained and helpful

October 07, 2005
The return of hockey...
Or "ocqui", as we used to call it in college. I understand the NHL has changed the rules around to "open up the offense" a bit more. I think the NBA-style three-point line is a good idea, as is the option to go for two after a made goal. But really, guys, I don't think that sudden-death curling is going to catch on as a way for deciding tie games.

Half seriously, I don't understand why they don't just make a goal count 3 points or something. That would give the impression of "higher scoring games", and I bet a whole lot of people would buy it. After all, there's the same amount of scoring in a 4-3 hockey game as in a 28-21 football game, but I bet most people wouldn't guess that if you asked them about it.

Friday Random Ten
What's on my amaroK playlist?
  1. The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet - OK, I have a weakness for the 80s. Musically, at least. 4/10
  2. Rosemary - The Grateful Dead - Not one of their better efforts. 3/10
  3. Elvis is Everywhere - Mojo Nixon - Elvis is in Joan Rivers, but he's trying to get out! 8/10
  4. Come On (Part III) - Stevie Ray Vaughn - What a loss to the blues world he was. 7/10
  5. Pieces of the Night - Gin Blossoms - 6/10
  6. Shaking Hands (Soldier's Joy) - Michelle Shocked - A really nice tune from her second album. 7/10
  7. Angel Face - Joan Osborne - Man, the list is just full of "second string" songs from good albums today. 5/10
  8. All I Need - Michael Franks - And now for something completely different.... 6/10
  9. Pick It Up (And Put It In Your Pocket) - Stan Ridgeway - Ridgeway is quirky, funny, and very underrated. 8/10
  10. Over It - Matthew Sweet - Another highly underrated musician. I keep thinking this is what you'd get if Brian Wilson had grown up in Detroit instead of Southern California. Minus the silly car songs. 8/10
October 06, 2005
Just who's the religious fanatic here?
You know, even if he does actually believe this, I never thought he'd be stupid enough to say it to this audience.
President George W. Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals.
Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

Abu Mazen was at the same meeting and recounts how President Bush told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."

Man. I used to think the religious right was Bush's base. Apparently he thinks it's the Big Guy himself.
Coming Soon to a City Near You....
Let's be clear. The Kelo decision didn't mandate that cities use eminent domain for all sorts of things, it just said they could. Some are, some aren't. Say hello to Riviera Beach, FL.

Riviera Beach is a town that's on the north side of West Palm Beach, FL, population 29,884. The median household income there is $32,111 (2000). 68% of the population is black. And they want to use eminent domain to move 20% of their population and build a billion-dollar yacht club/waterfront housing complex. To "bring jobs" to the city. Well, you know, I guess they'll need lots of waiters and janitors at the yacht club.

I honestly don't know whether to laugh or cry.
The Creation Evidence Museum. Just sort of sends chills up and down your spine, doesn't it? And don't go thinking those chills evolved or anything! God put those chills there! And where there are chills, there's chilluns. (That's "children" to those of you unfortunate enough to have grown up north of Baltimore.) And the museum just looooooves children. So much that they have a special "Creation exploration" section, just filled with remarkable information.
Other humans that lived after Adam and Eve but before the Flood were different as well. They grew larger just like the animals. The Bible says there were giants in the Earth (Gen 6: 4). Dr. Baugh has found fossilized human footprints that are 16” long near the museum. Other fossilized human footprints that are even larger have been found all over the world.
You didn't know that, did you? Admit it, now. And why were things so different?
First of all, before the Flood, the Earth had more atmospheric pressure.
And it's so cool! Before the Flood, no one needed sunscreen!
But before the Flood, there was a canopy of water that stretched around the entire Earth like a huge bubble. The sun rays had to go through that canopy and the other layers of our sky before it could reach Earth. The canopy was colored magenta or pink and it blocked the bad rays of the sun but only let in the sun rays that would be helpful for our body. Humans, therefore, did not have to worry about getting sunburn.
Wow! How cool is that?

You know, it really frightens me to think that there are people who take this stuff seriously. Go check it out. Some of his stuff about dinosaurs is just roll-in-the-floor funny.

Love in the Swamps
It's the age-old story: Python meets gator. Python swallows gator. Python bursts open trying to digest gator. Sigh.
Now this is anti-American.
I don't agree with John McCain on everything. Not very much, in fact. But one thing I do think he has absolutely correct is this: we should follow the Geneva Conventions and treat prisoners humanely not because of what they are, but because of what we are. So when he, former Secretary of the Navy John Warner, and former JAG Lindsey Graham -- Republicans all -- wanted to attach language to a military spending bill that would prohibit the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" against anyone in U.S. government custody, regardless of where they are held, I thought it was a great idea. Of course, President Bush threatened to veto the bill, illustrating how no matter how low you set expectations for him, he'll always exceed them.

Well, the bill came to a vote in the Senate. And passed. 90-9. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) didn't vote. He's busy campaigning for Governor of NJ. Nine Senators - nine Republican Senators - voted against the bill. Who are these slime, the nuttiest of the wingnuts, the ignoble nine who think we shouldn't behave better than people we consider barbarians?

Man, what is it with Oklahoma? How did they manage to get two Senators who are card-carrying members of the Extreme Right Wing with Counter-Rotating Eyeballs and Screechy Voices?

Take a bow, gentlemen. You have given your votes in service to making America a disgrace in the eyes of the world.

What's that whooooosh?
Louis Michaud, a Canadian engineer, believes he's found a way to create artificial vortexes (think "mini-hurricane") using the atmosphere as a "heat engine" to generate power. The idea is similar to what's called a "solar chimney", where air at the bottom of a column is heated by the sun and can only escape through the top of the chimney, drawing in more air at the bottom as it rises. Power can be pulled out by putting a turbine on the intakes. Michaud's idea turns this into a vortex, operating very much like a hurricane does.
This vortex would be produced inside a large cylindrical wall, 200 metres in diameter and 100 metres tall. Warm air at ground level enters via tangential inlets around the base of the wall. Steam is also injected to get the vortex started. Once established, the heat content of the air at ground level is enough to keep the vortex going. As the air rises, it expands and cools, and water vapour condenses, releasing even more heat. This is, in fact, what powers a hurricane, which can be thought of as a heat engine that takes in warm, humid air at its base, releases cold, watery air at the top of the troposphere, about 12 kilometres up, and liberates a vast amount of energy in the process. (Just as water requires heat to make it boil, it releases heat as it condenses back into a liquid.)
It sounds pretty cool, and he estimates that a 200m diameter vortex could produce 200 MW (yeah, that's megawatts) of power. I have to wonder, though....what's the failure mode? And what's it going to do to weather patterns in the surrounding area?
October 05, 2005
Down the hatch!
OK, this is pretty funky. It's a shot glass that lets you take your booze and your chaser. You pour the chaser into the bottom chamber, then use a gadget that comes with it to pour the (lighter) booze into the upper chamber, then BAM! There's also a larger one for use with beer/liquor drinks, like boilermakers.
Salmon Thirty Salmon
I think we definitely need more cool painted airliners. I can just see it now:
October 04, 2005
Go, Roy!
Judge Roy Moore has decided to run for Governor of Alabama. That sound you hear is Democrats everywhere giving a small cheer.
October 03, 2005
Severe Reality Impairment
They're having a real phenomenon in Dover, PA, where the courts are being asked to decide whether "Intelligent Design" should be taught in their schools. And the crew on the ID side of the suit seem to be operating in some alternate reality.
The trial presents a particular challenge for the journalists from science magazines. In the courtroom hallway during a break last week, Celeste Biever, a reporter for NewScientist, was interviewing a courtroom regular, a bearded local pastor who says he considers evolution a lie.

"You want half-bird, half-fish?" she asked, drawing a dotted line on her notepad.

"Yeah, why not," the pastor said.

Later, out of the pastor's hearing, Ms. Biever said with fascination, "He thinks evolution is a bird turning into a fish turning into a rabbit" - one straight line of common descent, instead of a tree with common roots.

No wonder they think evolution is nonsense: they have an image of evolution that would have to be significantly improved to be a caricature.
"They're babblers," said the pastor, the Rev. Jim Grove, who leads a 40-member independent Baptist church outside of Dover. "The more Ph.D.'s you get, it seems like the further away from God you get."
The Dover school board is being supported in their endeavor by Thomas More Law Center, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to providing legal representation to Christians, and its chief counsel, Richard Thompson. Here's what he had to say:
"I do feel that even though Christians are 86 percent of the population, they have become second-class citizens."
I can't even begin to think of how one would hold a rational discussion with someone who is so utterly detached from reality. These people are scary.
At 3:02 PM, Blogger Goody said...

I get those arguments all the time. My favourite is, "God made the fossils to test your faith."
Not really anywhere to go with that line of reasoning (and the snarky retort about taking faith into a lab and testing it goes right over their heads).

Ah, synergy
3M makes a lot of things. Duct tape, for example. Adhesive bandages, for another. Two great things that...go great together? Sure, why not!
At 2:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well about flipping time! After all, if Duct Tape is such a miracle, such strong proof that ancient astronauts landed here, thousands of years ago, then why not make bandages from it?

Oh I remember! Because it will remove your epidermis when peeled off of muscle and bone.


At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Ultor said...

Well, they're not actually making the bandages from duct tape. They're just making them look like duct tape, so Manly Men won't be embarrassed to be seen wearing them.

October 02, 2005
Bring the troops home.
Even the generals are now saying that the US presence in Iraq is helping fuel the insurgency.
The generals' comments reflect an evolving outlook that senior military officials and even Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld have articulated in recent months. The battle against Iraqi insurgents will not be won by the U.S. military [emphasis mine], they have said, and the insurgency will persist long after U.S. troops have left.

"If [the insurgency] does go on for four, eight, 10, 12, 15 years, whatever … it is going to be a problem for the people of Iraq," Rumsfeld said in June.

"They're going to have to cope with that insurgency over time. They are ultimately going to be the ones who win over that insurgency."

It even seems to have gotten through to Captain Oblivious, who seems to have discovered the advantages of nuance:
The generals' words also represent a less ambitious definition of military success than what President Bush has put forth in recent statements.

At his ranch near Crawford, Texas, in August, Bush said that "when the mission of defeating the terrorists in Iraq is complete, our troops will come home."

More recently, Bush has offered a more nuanced view of success, emphasizing the importance of training Iraqi troops as part of the U.S. mission to defeat the insurgents.

A dose of reality: we're not succeeding at training Iraqi troops (recently the number of Iraqi battalions considered "ready to operate independently" was revised from 3 to 1. That's "one battalion", as in "somewhere between 300 and 1000 troops". In over two years we've been occupying the country. We're not going to defeat the insurgency on our own. We're not going to successfully install a puppet government. And we're not going to stop terrorists from operating in Iraq. Not without a much bigger commitment of troops and a plan for a long-term occupation government, at least.

So let's bring the troops home. Haven't enough Americans been killed there in the service of lies, bad judgement, and worse planning?

Empty Braincase Award
This has to go to the folks at Boeing and/or Bell Helicopter who thought it was a good idea to produce and run an ad showing US soldiers rappelling down from an Osprey aircraft onto a mosque.
At 3:50 PM, Blogger P-BS-Watcher said...

If it offends CAIR, we must be on to something good. Let's run with it. See http://pbswatch.blogspot.com