Politics, Sex, Religion, and all those impolite Human Conversations...

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Location: Oaksterdam, California

Friday, July 30, 2004

John Kerry Did Not Exactly Vote for the War!

Every time I turn on the news I hear about how John Kerry voted for the war and then didn't vote to fund it. Even if you repeat it enough times that does not make it true.

John Kerry did not vote for the war. To be precise, there was never a vote in Congress for invading Iraq exactly. Rather there was a vote to give Bush the authority to attack Iraq if, after using all diplomatic means, it refused to give up Weapons of Mass Destruction as required by UN Resolution, or if it was determined that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attack.

Today, we know these 2 arguments of the Administration proved to be false. Furthermore, the requirement to report to Congress findings of such, before launching an attack, were not fulfilled which John Dean finds to be an impeachable offense.

Kerry did not vote for the war. However he helped co-sign the 'blank check' as did most of the Senate.

At the worst, Kerry voted for an expected honest assessment from a President, with the best intelligence agencies in the world at his disposable, to make the correct decision.

Bush made a detailed case for granting him that authority in October 2002, just before the congressional vote (read the article as it tracks the facts). This was 6 months before we learned Bush's gut was the deciding factor as it digested the intelligence it desired. At the worst Kerry was fooled, but he was not alone.

To be fair, if the arguments of the Administration were correct, WMD and 9/11 involvement, the war might've been justified despite the dubious doctrine of pre-emption. Yet Bush played his hand like a high-stakes gambler and crossed his Rubicon prematurely. He is no Caesar and the dice he rolled came up snake-eyes

To tell you the truth, if I were a Senator and I was asked for a vote of confidence on an important military decision and then felt manipulated, lied to, I might get pissed off enough to run for President myself- just to kick the lying manipulating bastard out of office.

The Press Not Telling the Story

Paul Krugman captures what was adding to my feelings of unwellness the other day. The press has decided to entertain rather than inform and this does not sit well with me or my stomach. He sums it up pretty well in his article Triumph of the Trivial
Under the headline "Voters Want Specifics From Kerry," The Washington Post recently quoted a voter demanding that John Kerry and John Edwards talk about "what they plan on doing about health care for middle-income or lower-income people. I have to face the fact that I will never be able to have health insurance, the way things are now. And these millionaires don't seem to address that."

Mr. Kerry proposes spending $650 billion extending health insurance to lower- and middle-income families. Whether you approve or not, you can't say he hasn't addressed the issue. Why hasn't this voter heard about it?

Well, I've been reading 60 days' worth of transcripts from the places four out of five Americans cite as where they usually get their news: the major cable and broadcast TV networks. Never mind the details - I couldn't even find a clear statement that Mr. Kerry wants to roll back recent high-income tax cuts and use the money to cover most of the uninsured. When reports mentioned the Kerry plan at all, it was usually horse race analysis - how it's playing, not what's in it.

On the other hand, everyone knows that Teresa Heinz Kerry told someone to "shove it," though even there, the context was missing. Except for a brief reference on MSNBC, none of the transcripts I've read mention that the target of her ire works for Richard Mellon Scaife, a billionaire who financed smear campaigns against the Clintons - including accusations of murder. (CNN did mention Mr. Scaife on its Web site, but described him only as a donor to "conservative causes.") And viewers learned nothing about Mr. Scaife's long vendetta against Mrs. Heinz Kerry herself.

There are two issues here, trivialization and bias, but they're related.

Somewhere along the line, TV news stopped reporting on candidates' policies, and turned instead to trivia that supposedly reveal their personalities. We hear about Mr. Kerry's haircuts, not his health care proposals. We hear about George Bush's brush-cutting, not his environmental policies.


In short, the triumph of the trivial is not a trivial matter. The failure of TV news to inform the public about the policy proposals of this year's presidential candidates is, in its own way, as serious a journalistic betrayal as the failure to raise questions about the rush to invade Iraq.

P.S.: Another story you may not see on TV: Jeb Bush insists that electronic voting machines are perfectly reliable, but The St. Petersburg Times says the Republican Party of Florida has sent out a flier urging supporters to use absentee ballots because the machines lack a paper trail and cannot "verify your vote."

P.P.S.: Three weeks ago, The New Republic reported that the Bush administration was pressuring Pakistan to announce a major terrorist capture during the Democratic convention. Hours before Mr. Kerry's acceptance speech, Pakistan announced, several days after the fact, that it had apprehended an important Al Qaeda operative.

Jon Carrol on Supporting the Troops

Jon Carrol writes:
The slogans are all over: "We Support Our Troops," emblazoned across a field of red, white and blue. Because I am an American, I understand that bumper sticker to be code for "We Support the War in Iraq" and "We Support George W. Bush" and "We Will Vote Republican in November."

It is only the secret language of American politics that makes "We Support Our Troops" a partisan message. Although I support neither George W. Bush nor the war in Iraq, I do support our troops. I pray that they are kept from harm and that they not be required to harm others. I pray that they will not know all the horrors of the battlefield. I pray that they will return home to a long and happy life, even if they vote Republican.

I support our troops. I understand enough about the military life to know that it is founded on discipline, and on following orders without question. A battlefield is no place for someone to say, "I wonder, is that the really the best course of action? How about a pincer movement?"

Except in the case of obviously illegal and repellent situations -- the torture at Abu Ghraib springs to mind -- soldiers are supposed to do what they are told. It is natural that they would do what they are told by the commander in chief, that they would follow his orders and believe that they are doing the right thing.

Because that's true, the commander in chief has an extraordinary responsibility to protect the lives of those he commands. He must never enter into frivolous or unnecessary wars; he must never put the soldiers he commands in harm's way purely for political gain. Upon his prudence and wisdom depend many lives, not just those of his own soldiers but also those of the civilians who are caught in the bombing runs and the "cleansing" operations.

That's the theory, of course; things don't always work out that way. But even in an imperfect world, George W. Bush has shown a callous disregard for his troops. He has entered into wars without a ready plan beyond an order of battle. He has fought the right enemy in the wrong place, and he has fought a Potemkin war against the right enemy in the right place.

And so Afghanistan, which did in fact protect members of al Qaeda, is about to return to the fragmented tribal tragedies of its past, and Iraq is sucking up billions of American dollars and hundreds of American lives merely to prove that the president did not make a miscalculation.

It is also up to the commander in chief to support alliances because alliances spread the risk around. But this commander in chief has been contemptuous of alliances. "Bring it on," he said, meaning, "Feel free to shoot at my soldiers." He did not mean "bring it on" in any personal sense; he's riding his mountain bike while Americans are dying in his name half a world away. He's the most protected person on the planet; anyone bringing it on to him wouldn't reach the outer layer of sycophants.

I support our troops. I think the children of any person killed in combat should have the rest of their educations paid for. I think the armed forces should be expanded so that reservists do not have to lose their jobs to fight for their country. I think the war profiteers, including Halliburton, should be required to donate an amount equal to the compensations (with bonuses) of their top 50 executives to a fund for the retraining and rehabilitation of wounded soldiers.

I don't think soldiers should have to live near the poverty line in order to serve. I support our soldiers in their desire to have a life as least as secure as those of the bureaucrats who cut their orders. And I support their right to blow the whistle on American war crimes without fear of retribution.

I know what some soldiers are doing in Iraq: They are keeping their heads down and waiting to get back stateside. I know that course of action brings great shame. I know their activities in the field bring great trauma and a shutting down of human emotions that feels like a small death. I want to get the guy responsible for abusing our young men and women like that. Fortunately, he is up for re-election real soon now.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Not feeling well and watching the news the last few days

Damn, I feel not so well. So stayed at home and watched as much of the Convention as possible.

But when I watch the pundits describe(no, tear down and rip into) what I just watched, I feel even worse and just want to stay in bed. So I don't feel like posting much.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Techie Tuesday: Take me to the river...

The Shuttle Bike is portable and sets up in under 10 minutes.

Features and Technical Information:

• Compact - everything fits in a 25 lb. packpack.
• No tools required for quick setup on the shore.
• Aluminum alloy frame clamps attach as a permanent accessory to your bike.
• Stainless steel snap-together bike support frame.
• Propeller/rudder combination attaches to front wheel - steer with your handlebars.
• 275 pound maximum safe load (450 lb. emergency rescue).
• 4 miles per hour cruising, 6 miles per hour maximum speed.
• Pedal powered rapid inflation pump with pressure relief valve.
• Dual floats make the Shuttle-Bike® more stable than canoes, kayaks and other Monohulls.
• Highly maneuverable - can turn 360 degrees in place.
• Clutch pivot retracts propeller in shallow water.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Decide the Vote

Presidential Drinking Contest

Who would you rather have a beer with???

The guy who had to give up drinking?

Or his daughters???

Spinning Our Safety

Maureen Dowd nails the spin surrounding the 9/11 Commission Report in her NYT piece: Spinning Our Safety
Maybe it's because I've been instructed to pack a respirator escape hood along with party dresses for the Boston convention. Maybe it's because our newspaper has assigned a terrorism reporter to cover a political convention. Maybe it's because George Bush is relaxing at his ranch down there (again) while Osama is planning a big attack up here (again). Maybe it's because there are just as many American soldiers dying in Iraq post-transfer, more Muslims more mad at us over fake W.M.D. intelligence and depravity at Abu Ghraib, and more terrorists in more diffuse networks hating us more.

Maybe it's because the F.B.I. is still learning how to Google and the C.I.A. has an acting head who spends most of his time acting defensive over his agency's failure to get anything right. Maybe it's because so many of those federal twits who missed the 10 chances to stop the 9/11 hijackers, who blew off our Paul Reveres - Richard Clarke, Coleen Rowley and the Phoenix memo author - still run things. Call me crazy, Mr. President, but I don't feel any safer.

Do you feel safer than four years ago? It would make a great campaign slogan if it were not so serious. Dowd goes on to poke into the Administation's intellectual journey from the Twin Towers to Iraq.

President Bush was unsure of himself, relying too much on a vice president whose deep, calm voice belied a deeply cracked world view.

He explained to the commissioners that he had stayed in his seat making little fish faces at second graders for seven minutes after learning about the second plane hitting the towers because, as the report says, "The president felt he should project strength and calm until he could better understand what was happening."

What better way to track the terror in the Northeast skies than by reading "My Pet Got" in Sarasota?

But as Bush would say, " Once you get an idea in your head, you stick with it, and I'm a sticker..."

(Via Rising Hegemon)

For Crying Out Loud!

Ever want buy some special present for your friend's kids that was a bit out of the ordinary? Well, thanks to the Retail Slut you can choose from a selection of Little Shit's Pacifiers.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

They're not beating around the Bush.

You have to hand to George W. Bush, he has upset quite a few people. A number of groups have formed against him. However, to get people with the same name so peturbed to unite and form BUSHES AGAINST BUSH most be some kind of record...

(Via memepool)

Friday, July 23, 2004

An Army of Number One...

Urine the army now, or, "Help, I need a Vedic..." Brought to you by the organisation behind the "indestructible sandwich", which can stay fresh for three years.

US army food... just add urine
The US military has devised a way to ensure its troops in battle need never go hungry - with dried food that can be rehydrated using dirty water or urine.

The meal comes in a pouch that filters out 99.9% of bacteria and most toxic chemicals, says New Scientist magazine.

The aim is to reduce the amount of water soldiers need to carry.

The firm behind it says soldiers should only use urine as last resort - as the membrane can not filter out urea, which in the long term causes kidney damage.

"The pouch - containing chicken and rice - relies on osmosis to filter the water or urine," the New Scientist Magazine reported.

The liquid passes through a membrane, thin sheets of a cellulose-based plastic with gaps just 0.5 nanometres wide.

It means only clean water can reach the food, and the bacteria is left behind.

(via BoingBong)

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Best President for the Money...

In the race for best president, the Socialists at Forbes rank the last 10 presidents by prosperity and economic policies. Clinton wins the Gold, Reagan doesn't even medal, and G.H Bush is dead last.
The death of Ronald Reagan and the popularity of Bill Clinton's book have sparked an unusually intense interest in presidents past.

During the week of his funeral, several commentators declared Reagan the best president of the 20th century, even better than Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom Reagan himself admired. A recent Gallup Organization poll indicates that Americans rank John F. Kennedy slightly ahead of FDR, and both of them ahead of Reagan. Clinton supporters, meanwhile, note that he turned large federal deficits into surpluses and presided over a booming economy.

It's the kind of argument that will never be settled, like who was a better ballplayer, Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle. But we took a look at the numbers, and for the money, among presidents since World War II, Clinton scores highest.

(Via The Presurfer)

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Blog Rolled by another Oaktown Blogger

Rapid rising blog-star, Pete M., at The Dark Window has included me on his blog roll. If you haven't yet visted his site you don't know what you're missing...

A special welcome to all the visitors from there.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

We're a Syrian Band

Over the weekend a story came out about a woman's terrifying ordeal of sharing a flight with 14 swarthy men. Soon this was given the World O'Crap treament.

In the end, this was not a terrorist dry run for hijacking an airplane but rather a group of Syrian musicians on their way to Las Vegas for a gig.

Listen to this or this to get the groove, refresh your rhythm, and help you sing along to We're an Syrian Band, in the style of Grand Funk Railroad:
On the road for forty days,
Last night of Detroit rock put us in a haze.
Sweet, sweet Annie -- doin’' her act,
She had freaked about us now and that'’s a natural fact.

Up all night with Burger King,
I got just’ today a Happy Meal thing.
There'’s a crazy lady on this Flight,
Who'’s gonna‘' try to keep us from the show tonight.

We'’re a Syrian band.
We’'re a Syrian band.
We’'re coming to your town, we’'re gonna' burn it all down.
We'’re a Syrian band.

Four young stewards over Omaha,
Was waitin'’ for the band to return to their row.
Feelin’ good, feelin’ right, it'’s time for a fight,
The on-board detective -- he was a real fright.

Now, these fine stewards, they had a plan,
They was out to beat the boys in the band.
They said, come on, dudes, let’'s get it on,
And they proceeded to bring that airplane down.

We’'re a Syrian band, ooo-ooo.
We’'re a Syrian band, ooo-ooo.
We'’re a Syrian band, ooo-ooo

Techie Tuesday: Tripod in your pocket

What a great idea!
The world's first bottle cap tripod by Yodobashi. It magically turns a bottle into a tripod, ideal for night shot and self protrait. The bottle cap tripod fits bottles with 28.5 to 30.5mm diameter.

I wonder if it works with small video cameras?

(Via BoingBoing)

Monday, July 19, 2004

Never, ever throw a book away...

Of all the unexpected places, this came from my ISP in the form of a newsletter:

Books For Soldiers is a soldier support site that ships books, DVDs and supplies to deployed soliders and soldiers in VA hospitals, via our large volunteer network.

If you have old, but usuable paperback books sitting around, collecting dust, why not send them to a solider for a big morale boost?

You know what to do!

Update: In the Mailing Guidelines they note:
Although some troops will request "anything," we have found that books on the Apocalypse or end of the world are not as well received as mystery novels for example.

Blog Rolled by a Political Agnostic

The passionately cynical Murph at Life Goes Off, has added me to his blog roll. Welcome to all the visitors from over there, kick back and enjoy.

Just remember this cynical Scaramouche doesn't do the Fandango...

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Swinging in the Rain

Cecil Adams answers the age old question:

Why do worms crawl out onto the sidewalk after it rains?
Sure, worms are hermaphroditic, having both male and female organs. Not wanting to sensationalize this, I quote from the encyclopedia: "Two worms mate with their heads pointed in opposite directions." You thought only we humans had a sexual practice like this. Uh-uh, bub. Us and the worms. Getting back to business. "Both worms secrete mucus, covering each other with a 'slime tube'. . . . Sperm are released and carried in grooves, now formed into tubes by the adjoining slime-covered worm, to the sperm receptacles of the partner. The worms then separate. Later [each worm] secretes a mucous ring, which slides forward over the worm's body, gathering several eggs from the oviducts and sperm from the receptacles as it does. Fertilization takes place within the mucous ring, which slips off the front of the worm, closing at both ends to form a capsule," from which one or two worms hatch a few weeks later.

(Via Fark)

In Blog Years: I haven't been weaned yet..

It's been two months since I started this time consuming petite oeuvre, or my Big Loss Of Goldbricking. This is my 140th post and I question myself whither I goeth with this...

My original intention was to create a repository for all the strange links and catalog the madness in the news I’ve found online, balanced by a modicum of original content. I was tired of saying, "I read this weird thing on the net " and have people roll their eyes.

Now I say, "I wrote about this weird thing on my blog," and now I get an questioning look, and I explain what a blog is, and, then they roll their eyes...

Since high school I expected that someday I would be a writer. However I wanted to live a life worth writing about, and so I did. I‘ve had some extraordinary adventures over the years, accomplishments, and failures. Currently, I find myself with the dilemma of trying to put the sum of it all into words and find that I fear typing, and I fear grammar, and I fear being misunderstood. Writing is a tortuous exercise for the vainglorious. I constantly want to edit it until it feels right. So rest assured most of what you’ll find here are early drafts and off the cuff remarks.

The character Scaramouche, in Rafael Sabatini’s novel of the same name, was credited with having a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. This has been an underlying editorial policy here as well as a parenthetical description of my views on life in general. When young I was told that sex, politics and religion were impolite conversations. Yet I found these were the most interesting and revealing discussions possible for human interaction. I don't think it's time for this ol' dog to change habits...

So,to celebrate the 60 day mark here are some my favorite posts from the archive:

No SUVs s'il vous plait...

Bush Playing with Saddam's Pistol

Remember the Other Soldiers

Neanderthals Down by the Gene Pool

I Don't Do Friday Cat Blogging

They didn't really lie! Really! Not at All...

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Aaagghh. They're Coming...

Mark Fiore is at the top of his game with this new animation: Minister of Fear

I suggest not trying to drink liquids while watching...

Wailing and the Gnashing of Teeth

Religious correspondent, The Dark Window, investigates whether 48 Senators are going to hell over their cloture vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment:
World Net Daily Exclusive: At Least 48 Senators Are Going To Hell

So implies our old friend Joseph Farah, the brains behind World Net Daily, in his latest column. I bet you'll never be able to guess who's going, either. Well, okay, maybe you will be able to guess...The DEMONCRATS!!!

That's right. God is going to punish people who didn't want to punish people. It's not really difficult to make fun of such nonsense and dismiss them as kooks, if it were not for the fact these people are in deadly earnest.

From Catch I came across Bill Moyers' Democracy in the Balance. For me this section is the soul of his argument:
OVER THE PAST few years, as the poor got poorer, the health care crisis worsened, wealth and media became more and more concentrated, and our political system was bought out from under us, prophetic Christianity lost its voice. The Religious Right drowned everyone else out.

And they hijacked Jesus. The very Jesus who stood in Nazareth and proclaimed, "The Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor." The very Jesus who told 5,000 hungry people that all of you will be fed, not just some of you. The very Jesus who challenged the religious orthodoxy of the day by feeding the hungry on the Sabbath, who offered kindness to the prostitute and hospitality to the outcast, who raised the status of women and treated even the tax collector like a child of God. The very Jesus who drove the money changers from the temple. This Jesus has been hijacked and turned into a guardian of privilege instead of a champion of the dispossessed. Hijacked, he was made over into a militarist, hedonist, and lobbyist, sent prowling the halls of Congress in Guccis, seeking tax breaks and loopholes for the powerful, costly new weapon systems that don't work, and punitive public policies.

And Jesus wept...

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Blog Rolled by Mad Berets. No, not hatters...

Mad Kane, who defies description, except she wears a Raspberry Beret (that's my guess as it's a B/W pic), deigns to blog roll me.

Welcome, you Kannites. Leave your Haikus in the comments.

Poetry accepted at the door...

October Surprise...

No, not the capture of Osama Bin Leftalone.

Rather the Congress is asked to raise the ceiling of debt once again-
U.S. Treasury says likely to hit debt limit in Oct.
WASHINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. government will likely reach its federal debt limit in early October, a top Treasury official said in written remarks, giving fresh details on when the politically sensitive ceiling will need to be raised.

The $7.384 trillion debt limit may need attention before the November election, Timothy Bitsberger, Treasury's nominee for assistant secretary for financial markets, said in a document obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.

"It appears very likely the limit will be reached sometime in late September or October, with the most likely date being early October," Bitsberger said in the submission for the record after his Senate confirmation hearing last week.(If numbers turn you on, read the rest)

Democrats blame President George W. Bush's tax cuts...

Religious Spam?

I've been one of the few lucky souls that receives very little, or no spam, (knock on the table, my head, and my crotch), but today this poorly written crap showed up in my In Box:
Date: 7/14/2004 12:32:53 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:"Adventist Friends"


GOD SAID: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you
shalllabor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor yourcattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." (Exodous 20:8-11)

There is a lot more but I refuse to reprint it.

The idea of religious spam is like some weird sci-fi notion from those paperbacks I used to read in the late '70's- Heinlein or Niven maybe.

Dio-Electronica is not the sermon I want hear, here and now, or even want to find in my In Box.

Does anyone else out there that have this problem???

To beer, or not beer.? That is the question...

The defective yeti has the scoop on the latest John Kerry flip-flop:
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry rekindled a contentious election-year debate today, saying that be believes that beer begins at fermentation. The statement stands in stark contrast to the White House assertion that beer does not technically begin until its "born on" date.

The Bush campaign was quick to seize on the controversy, calling it the latest in a series of Kerry misstatements and reversals on the subject of the world's greatest beverage. "The senator from Massachusetts may be confused by the so-called 'beer' he prefers: imported, foreign brew, possibly even the nasty stuff from Belgium with the yeast at the bottom," spectulated Bush campaign spokesman Simon Wiley. "But here in America, it ain't beer until it's been bottled, preferably somewhere in the heartland of Milwaukee."
I know who I'd like to knock back a few beers with- the guy who didn't have to give up drinking...

Slapping Down Ditka

The Rubber Nun really raps the former coach across the knuckles:
The most infuriating thing to me about this "Draft Ditka for Senator" bullshit? It's not his membership to a men-only country club and statements like "W stands for women. And I believe women want a man to be President." It's not his proudly "politically incorrect" approach to world events. It's not the erectile dysfunction ads. It's not even the GOP's cynical hope that the voters of this state will be so blinded by the waning light of this man's star that they won't notice he's completely unqualified and wrong for the job.

It's that he has never registered to vote in Illinois. What sort of arrogance makes some people think they deserve a chance to participate in government as lawmakers when they can't be bothered to participate as citizens?

I can smell the fear and desperation of the Illinois GOP all the way out here on the Left Coast...

Update: Ditka's out but William the "Refrigerator" Perry says he's willing...

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Blog Rolled by one Wiggins' Blog...

Hail to all the followers of the Rising Hegemon, (who just added me to their blog roll), and welcome to my humble abode.

Stay awhile and visit the archives, there's some great pictures buried down there.

McCain on C-SPAN

Throughout the afternoon, I've been watching the Senate debate on the Constitutional Marriage Amendment banning gay marriage. John MCain is the first Republican to speak out against changing the Constitution at this time. He explains that this is contrary to Republican beliefs by imposing federalism and overriding states rights to resolve this controversy.

I wonder if they'll kick him out of the party now?

Techie Tuesday: Dog day afternoons...

Have you ever wanted to give you dog a treat when you're not home with 'em? Wanted to tell 'em good doggy or give other encouragement at the same time? Well, look no further. The Talk to Me Treatball does just that and more:
Basically, the Treatball is a talking (yes, talking) dog biscuit dispenser in the shape of a wonderfully chewy plastic ball. Simply record your own personal message for your four-legged friend and Treatball will replay the recording every time it's rolled or nudged. We recommend a simple but effective "Good dog", as imbecilic "Coochie-Coo" baby speak could well convince the neighbours that an escaped lunatic has been employed to look after your pooch. Re-recording your message is simply a case of pressing a button.

As for the treats – well, a specially designed interior allows yummy doggy biccies (available separately) to be dispensed randomly one at a time, so your dog has to work for his treat rather than be rewarded every time the ball is rolled. This ultra-durable ball is dishwasher safe and a glow-in-the-dark version is also available should your dog wish to frolic at night.

Sometimes techonology is a doggone fine thing..

Monday, July 12, 2004

Sneak Preview of Questions for the Cheney/Edwards Debate

cjr discovers a source revealing the list of questions for the upcoming Vice-Presidential debates. Here are my picks:
QUESTION FOR CHENEY:Former Senator Alfonse D'Amato has suggested President Bush dump you from the ticket. What's your response to him, in two words?

QUESTION FOR EDWARDS: What do you have that Dick Gephardt doesn't have, besides eyebrows?

QUESTION FOR CHENEY: Over the past four years, how many days would you say you spent above ground?

QUESTION FOR EDWARDS: Agree/disagree with the following statement: "Litigators are opportunistic leeches who are sucking the lifeblood from our nation's economy."

QUESTION FOR CHENEY: If anything happened to you while serving a second term, would George Bush be fit to be president?

QUESTION FOR EDWARDS: If, as you say, there are two Americas, which one is your vacation home in?

QUESTION FOR CHENEY: Here's something I've always wondered: Does the other side of your mouth work?

Sticking Bush in the Constitution

In his last radio address, George "War President" Bush licked his lips and lunged into the Federal Marriage Amendment discourse. In his opening statement he thrusts the responsibility on his favorite foes, “"them activist judges."”

Kevin at Lean Left dissects Bush’s argument with a legalistic, logical, and somewhat snarky approach in his post Defending Traditional Bigotry (In Time for the Election). Despite the fact that should you read the whole thing, here's a sample:
In fact, it is state Constitutions and anti-discrimination statutes that are cited by judges and mayors in the various jurisdictions that require non-discriminatory marriage. The right has persisted in categorizing gay marriage as some sort of idiosyncratic crusade by "a few unelected judges," but it is the law that requires non-discriminatory practice, not anyone's personal opinion.

There are ambiguities or conflicts in some state laws: marriage statutes often assume an inter-sexual couple, while non-discrimination statutes often explicitly prohibit anti-gay discrimination. But this simply means that we must resolve these ambiguities - by coming down on the side either of traditional, unreflective discrimination, or of equality. Bush's choice is clear - we knew that already. But to pretend that the principle of equality just doesn't exist in the law at all - that every state, everywhere, requires discrimination, and the attempt to treat gays as equal citizens is somehow entirely out of bounds - compounds bigotry with ignorance (another Bush trademark).

While the Republicans are doing their utmost to make this The Summer of Brotherly Love™, I think Bush is not doing this only for campaign reasons. Obviously he doesn't mind if they're a wedge issue, however, I really believe he just wants to make changes to the Constitution, leave his mark as it were.

Later in the week I'll go into more detail on my theory, but for now just read Kevin's post.

Can You Spot a Fake Smile?

A very interesting test with some very interesting faces. You must pick whether a smile is genuine or fake after seeing a flash video. I scored 18 correct out of 20.

This is probably why I don't trust Republicans...

(Via The Sideshow)

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Tommy Chong just got out of da' joint

I heard it first from Crooked Timber that Tommy Chong has finished serving time for selling bongs.

I am going to celebrates his release as soon as I find a friend indeed...

Friday, July 09, 2004

Friday News Dump

This week's news had plenty of action and reaction.

Democratic candidate John Kerry picks John Edwards as his running-mate. Faster than you can say, "Dick Cheney has a potty-mouth," the GOP response came on hard that Edwards didn't have enough experience in government, or foreign relations when compared the current Veep. Yet when compared George Bush in 2000, Edwards has a much better report card.

The next accusation thrown out is that he is a trial lawyer. As opposed to what, I ask, a corporate lawyer,or a tax attorney? Last time I looked corporate lawyers never healed anyone.

The strangest twist is how the Right is trying to paint the new ticket as too touchy-feely, as if they are ambiguously gay...Or something. This is just a prelude to The Federal Marriage Amendment debate which the GOP has scheduled to overshadow the Democratic Convention.

Tom Ridge came out the other day and no one is sure why.

One other distraction desired by the White House is the capture or killing of a High Value Target by the Pakistanis.

Ultimately we learn that microfiched military records of Bush were inadvertently destroyed about 8 years ago. The documents that covered the most contentious period of Bush's National Guard service, or lack thereof, which could have settled the AWOL question, are permanently unavailable. My sources tell me that there was a quiet candle-lit service in the White House chapel to mourn their passing.

It has been revealed that the 'Shot Seen Around the World,' the toppling of Saddaam's statue last year, was staged by none other than an Army "PsyOps" team and was not a spontaneous response by jubilant residents of Baghdad.

In another attack on the 4th Estate, foreign journalists already in the States face new visa regulations and must now leave the US to renew their visas at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad instead of applying in any major city here in this country. This gives LAX custom officials another swipe at harassing them.

One-time Bush companion, confidant, and campaign contributor, Ken Lay did the perp walk. He was released on $500,000 bail and allowed to keep his passport. Oddly enough he is not considered a flight risk eventhough he faces decades in jail. Forbes has a list of the most comfortable jails for corporate malefactors.

Rumors have surfaced that Dick Cheney may face criminal indictments for illegal activities while CEO of energy giant Halliburton. .
This leads to speculation of a surprise rearrangement of he GOP ticket. Not to confuse Republican voters, a surprising look-a-like is found that embraces all the empathy and goodness of Cheney

Dick Cheney's personal physician, the one that certified his health and fitness for office, turns out to be a dope fiend. My sources tell me he has promised to party Cheney out, in an effort to help him get over his being dumped from the ticket...

(Thanks to SK Bubba for Batboy Pic)

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Veepstakes--Snow on the Parade...

Via Oliver(Kryptonite) Willis we get this interesting exchange from stupid-like-a-Fox News correspondent Tony Snow-job with Republicain John McCain:
SNOW: Well, you’re absolutely right though, it’s going to be fun to see. Now John Kerry, is it true that John Kerry asked you to be his vice president?

McCAIN: Uh, no. No, it was never offered.

SNOW: It was never offered. So, it may have been discussed elliptically, but never flat out request.

McCAIN: Never was an offer, no.

SNOW: When you had conversations, did you think it was a little weird that he’d be calling you, even in general terms about this sort of thing?

McCAIN: Well, he and I have been friends for a number of years because of our efforts on POWs and MIAs which was a very hot issue back in the early 90’s, a lot of people have forgotten about it, but it was a- and we worked together to try to resolve that issue and I appreciate the work that he did on it. And, so it’s not unusual for us to have conversations.

SNOW: Right. But, so- I want to just lay to rest once and for all: never approached you, never hinted that he wanted to talk to you about being vice president. All that kind of stuff was made up.

McCAIN: Well, I cannot attest to that. All I can tell you is my conversations with him were private conversations, but he never offered it.

Will this put to rest the Republican"First Choice" ad? And all this this time I was being told it was going to be Hillary...

Morford on Moore

I still haven't seen Fahrenheit 9/11. Yet in talking with my friends who have seen it I am struck with this thought, none of this new to me! However, now many of my friends have a base to hold a conversation on which I been articulating on for the last two years. Now I can speak and not look like a wacko.

Mark Morford brings up a point which I have not seen in most of the screeds on the movie: Who cares if Moore's flick is flawed, shameless propaganda? At least it makes America think
When's the last time a documentary -- not to mention one seriously calling into doubt the snide motives of our government's call to war -- was the No. 1 movie in the nation while the war was still under way? Never, that's when.

This, then, is the fabulous thing about Moore's flick. Sure, most of what the movie reveals might seem painfully obvious to anyone who follows the news with any sort of intellectual dexterity. And, yes, most of what Moore uncovers about everything from BushCo's appalling Saudi oil connections and his administration's whorelike corporate favoritism and the stealing of the '00 election you've heard a thousand times before.
After all, we're Americans. We tend to forget very quickly how it was just after BushCo was elected, or just after 9/11, or just after the war on Iraq was declared. We forget how thoroughly the GOP-fueled fear saturated the country's air like a rank perfume, how rabid patriotism was our national drug, how violent warmongering was forced upon us like some sort of mandatory, painful surgery, the only option for a heartbroken, exhausted nation. Take a moment. Try to remember.
And remember how you thought, oh my God, something is so not right about this. Something is terribly unsound about our thinking and methodology and macho gun-totin' kill-'em-all isolationist Texas swaggerin' approach to the world. This is not a war for freedom. This is not a war for the safety of American soil. Bush is marching us straight into a hellish quagmire, and no one seems to be asking why.
He has, in short, made Middle America think again. He has cracked the GOP's frozen ideological sea, showed us all one thing we have so desperately forgotten: America does not, after all, have to be this way, and its citizens do, in fact, have a choice.

And, for that reason, "Fahrenheit 9/11" is perhaps the most wonderfully patriotic film ever made.

Morford's phantasmagorical use of language makes him a national treasure as well...

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

More Techie Tuesday: Satisfaction and scare the dog...

Segway meet Fluffer... Posted by Hello

Now I like to vacuum, yet this looks like a sex toy to me. Well clean sex an all, but this is great design (I am not really all that weird) and it seems to be marketed to a certain segment of society:
It packs away into half the storage space of many other cylinder vacuums. In place of long and cumbersome appendages, it has a telescopic wandthat extends to three times its length when in use. When collapsed, the wand clips onto the top of the machine and doubles as a handle so you can carry it easily. The hose clips neatly around the body. We managed to fit the DC11 into a standard, 60cm kitchen base cupboard. Dyson’s designers have assumed that people who are short of storage space must live in small houses...
This is good news for the 18 million adults who will develop allergies at some time in their lives. Vacuum cleaners can blow out, or blow away, the dust they are supposed to be removing... The filter does not need replacing but has to be washed every six months. Secondly, controls on the vacuum head switch the rotating brush on and off. On carpet, the brush can be turned on so it agitates the surface and picks up a lot more dirt. On hard floors, turning the brush off stops dust being blown away before the head has a chance to suck it up...
We tested the DC11 on both carpet and hard floors. Our findings matched those of the Good Housekeeping Institute which rated this machine better than any other cylinder vacuum it tested.It did an excellent job although we had to use one of the accessory tools to clean right up to where the carpet meets the wall. A trigger on the handle reduces suction, which we used to vacuum curtains and for cleaning around the edges of rugs and furniture. We sucked up lots of coins and bottle tops but none went beyond the head and all were easy to dislodge. The wheels on the head worked better than trolley wheels when it came to guiding it where we wanted it to go. The wheels also took some of the muscle out of vacuuming. The machine is not designed to sit on stairs as most cylinders are but with a 300cm long hose and wand, we could vacuum most of our flight of stairs with the machine sitting at the bottom.

(Via engadget< Gizmo Girl)

Techie Tuesday: You get what you pay for...

My free blogger site has been acting weird since yesterday. I can't see my blog and don't know if this post will even show up...

Update: Shortly after 9am PST the problem is fixed. I guess the holiday staff were overwhelmed, yeah, right, that's the ticket...

Monday, July 05, 2004

Grilling Hussein

Saddam's Interrogation Logs my favorite bits:

Interrogation commenced: 1430 hours

I tried to break the will of SH by showing him an Iraqi newspaper editorial calling for his trial and punishment. SH told me that our Psychological Ops folks obviously printed a fake newspaper. I told him I swore that I bought the paper at an off-base coffeehouse. He insisted it was a fake. I told him I crossed my heart. He said he did not believe me. I asked him what I needed to do to prove to him that it was a real newspaper and he suggested taking him to the off-base coffeehouse to see it firsthand. I asked, but Gen. Farley said absolutely no way. SH didn't say anything else aside from asking how much my PsyOps newspaper subscription cost and if there were any PsyOps coupons in it. I asked where the WMD were and he suggested I look in my copy of PsyOps Weekly.

Interrogation terminated: 1540 hours

Interrogation commenced: 2210 hours

I played chess with SH, who is not too bad a chess player. At one point, my bishop took his rook. I told him that in the U.S., when you lose your rook to a bishop, it is customary to divulge a little personal secret, like maybe where the WMD are. He said we weren't in the U.S., then he took my pawn with the horse piece.

Interrogation terminated: 0122 hours

Interrogation commenced: 1241 hours
After lunch, SH informed us he was willing to talk. Colonel Beckwith and I sat down with him. He spoke for quite some time and answered every question fully. We believe we have made great progress and we are researching the data.

Interrogation terminated: 1551 hours

Interrogation commenced: 0940 hours

Colonel Beckwith and I told SH that we didn't think it was particularly funny that he had us looking for "Monkey Valley" and the "Camel Ass Testing Facility" when, it turned out, there were no such locations. Also, we told him we were unable to verify the existence of Mohammad Mohahaha and we do not believe his claims of having built an "infidel ray." We told him that, as a result of our disappointment, we would be denying his TV access. He said TV sucks anyway because they don't sing about him anymore.

Interrogation terminated: 1100 hours

A special thanks to Bifurcated Rivets for this and all the other wonderful links...

Saturday, July 03, 2004

We contol the vertical. We control the horizontal...

Via America Blog I learned that the Trial of Saddam is being censored. Not that suprises me much, although I'm saddend that news networks aren't objecting at all. My guess is that they didn't want to lose out being there for the hanging.

Sounds of Silence
U.S. news networks agreed to let the American military censor out certain images of Saddam Hussein's court hearing Thursday in Baghdad, one in a bizarre series of events surrounding coverage of the session.

American and Iraqi officials did not want any footage shown of Iraqi guards or court personnel, and they asked broadcast and cable news nets to honor this request.

But the situation took an unexpected turn even before the hearing began, when U.S. officials ordered CNN and Al-Jazeera, the pool camera crews, to disconnect their audio equipment. Officials said it was the wish of the Iraqi judge.

Following the hearing, the CNN footage was taken to the convention center, where a CBS News employee transmitted the footage after it was viewed and okayed by two military censors.(more)

We can read your mail...

Via Tom's Hardware Guide I came across this chilling legal decision: E-mail is not private, says US court
A US appeals court has ruled that the vice-president of an internet service provider cannot be charged with violating federal wiretapping laws for snooping on e-mail sent to his customers, a decision that will give ISPs and other e-mail providers free rein to spy on e-mail, privacy advocates said.

The US Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court ruling dismissing a criminal wiretap charge against Bradford Councilman, who was vice-president of Interloc, a rare book listing service, in 1998. Interloc, since acquired by another company, provided an e-mail service to book dealers who were its customers, and in January 1998, Councilman told employees to write computer code to read incoming e-mail messages from rival book dealer

Councilman was charged with violating the US Wiretap Act, which prohibits private citizens from intercepting communications, but appeals court Judge Juan Torruella wrote that US law does not prohibit ISPs and other e-mail providers from reading e-mail residing on their servers. The Wiretap Act gives wire and oral communication more protection against interception of stored communications than it does for electronic communication, Torruella added.

"We believe that the language of the [wiretap] statute makes clear that congress meant to give lesser protection to electronic communications than wire and oral communications," Torruella wrote. "Moreover, at this juncture, much of the protection may have been eviscerated by the realities of modern technology. We observe, as most courts have, that the language may be out of step with the technological realities of computer crimes. However, it is not the province of this court to graft meaning onto the statute where congress has spoken plainly."

Privacy advocates including the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation questioned the appeals court ruling. By ruling that an e-mail was in storage instead of transit when it stopped for a "millisecond" on Interloc's servers, the appeals court has opened up e-mail to easier spying by law enforcement or ISPs, said Lara Flint, staff counsel for the CDT.(Go read the rest of the article)

What strikes me is that this not only eliminates electronic privacy but opens up the door to commercialization of your private communication.

Letterman is da' man...

Top Ten George W. Bush Complaints About Fahrenheit 9/11
10. That actor who played the President was totally unconvincing

9. It oversimplified the way I stole the election

8. Too many of them fancy college-boy words

7. If Michael Moore had waited a few months, he could have included the part where I get him deported

6. Didn't have one of them hilarious monkeys who smoke cigarettes and gives people the finger

5. Of all Michael Moore's accusations, only 97% are true

4. Not sure -- I passed out after a piece of popcorn lodged in my windpipe

3. Where the hell was Spider-Man?

2. Couldn't hear most of the movie over Cheney's foul mouth

1. I thought this was supposed to be about Dodgeball

(Via Orcinus)

How to Guide for Regime Change

From John Moltz I got this link to Regime Change Guide which is treasure chest of ideas for sending George Bush back to Crawford.

The bottom line is that there are only two things you can give to help get rid of George Bush: time and money. Hopefully some of both. But if you don't have extra cash, your time is actually more valuable.

This site organized as a guidebook to help lead you to volunteer, to make a contribution, to work with and support allies and meet new friends for the cause, and to help you find important information about issues, our opposition and strategy tips. We are here to help you navigate, and answer questions.

Read my lips: No new Texans...

Casey Jones you better watch that speed...

New Halliburton waste alleged Former company auditor: ‘It’s just a gravy train’
The Pentagon has already awarded Halliburton Co., the controversial military contractor, deals worth up to $18 billion for its work in Iraq. But now former Halliburton insiders have come forward with new allegations of massive waste of taxpayer money.

Marie deYoung, a former Army chaplain who worked for Halliburton, was so upset by attacks on the company she e-mailed the CEO in December with a strategy on how to fight the "political slurs." But today, after five months inside Halliburton's operation in Kuwait, deYoung has radically changed her opinion. "It’s just a gravy train," she said.

DeYoung audited accounts for Halliburton’s subsidiary KBR. She claims there was no effort to hold down costs because all costs were passed on directly to taxpayers. She repeatedly complained to superiors of waste and fraud. The company's response, according to deYoung was: "We can be as dumb and stupid as we want in the first year of a war, nobody’s going to care."

DeYoung produced documents detailing alleged waste even on routine services: $50,000 a month for soda, at $45 a case; $1 million a month to clean clothes — or $100 for each 15-pound bag of laundry.

"That money could have been used to take care of soldiers," she said.

Yes that money could have gone to our troops. Auditor at the Pentagon are holding back $186 million until Hallibutton fixes its problem. After $18 billion that's ass-wiping paper to them.

I think it's time to get serious about passing some war-profiteering laws. However that won't happen as long as the GOP controls all 3 branches of government...

Friday, July 02, 2004

Email To Bill Gates

Subject: Name for Bill Gates' new Blog
Date:7/2/2004 4:36:08 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Dear Mr. Gates,

When I read that you were considering starting a blog and adding “Blogger” to your already impressive resume, I immediately wondered out loud, “Hmm, I wonder what he’ll call it?”

Everyone knows that success in blogging starts with picking a really good name.

So in an effort to help you out, I had a, “What Will Bill Gates Call His New Blog” contest. We offer this winning entry free from any trademark constraints (however, you will need to register the name yourself).

The winner is: 2 (billion) dollar bill blog

We know your net worth is worth much more than that, but if you even put in a small amount of your valuable time we calculate your blog would be worth at least $2 billion by the time of the initial public offering.

If anyone can make a buck off blogging, it will be you, Mr. Gates.

Furthermore, I would like to thank you on behalf of my peers and IT professional friends who have made whole careers explaining your products or telling end-users to reboot whenever there is a glitch. You personally created the IT Helpdesk industry and millions bear that in mind.

Thank you for your time.

Most sincerely,


Thursday, July 01, 2004

The WWBGCHNB Contest...

The envelope please...

Thank you all. There were many great entries, most with a high un-usability quotient. Eventhough Mr. Gates has a much higher net worth the winning entry of the What Would Bill Gates Call His New Blog Contest is:

2 (billion) dollar bill - by Dugh.

Other notable entries:

"Port 135" by attaturk

"I'm so rich It's obscene and I need to die" by desertswine;

"MicroSatan, There's a Little Devil in everyone!" by Scorpio;

"I'm the richest man on the planet so screw you" by just wondering;

"MicroPenis." by Dumbo;

"GatesPosts" or "MicroBlog" by Mad Kane;

"Open Gates" by Tom Evans.