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Monthly Archives: June 2006
Certe Toto, sentino nos in Kansate non iam adesse
From the Associated Press this afternoon, datelined Bristow Oklahoma: Former Judge Donald D. Thompson, a veteran of 23 years on the bench, is on trial on charges he used a penis pump on himself in the courtroom while sitting in judgment of others.
I have heard of being screwed by the Justice system, but this is stretching it.
From Reuters: Condoleeza Rice calls the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a drunken pissant. At the G-8 meeting in Moscow, CNN was hooking their sound gear up to the PA system while Rice, Lavarov and the rest of the G-8 suit brigade were gabbing over the ice water. Unfortunately the microphones were live and CNN recorded this exchange:
Rice: I think it is a pity that we can’t endorse something that has been endorsed by the Iraqi’s and the UN, but ah…
Lavrov: Condi, Condi, Condi. No one challenges the sovereign right to endorse them, but when you consider the assistance programs, the IMF, the World Bank, you do not automatically endorse what the government will endorse. It is an important part of the exercise to consider specific features of an assistance program.
Rice: If you think I understood one word you just said in that drunken slurred throat clearing you call a voice Sergey, you are a bigger asshole than Vladimir says you are. Did you see the potato tractor that ran over your head when you were young, you worthless pissant.
The official communiqué of the G-8 was written months ago and said nothing about Lavrov actually being a pissant.
From the Dailymail.co.uk: Inventors are on the verge of creating the first mobile ‘smellophone’, a gadget which can capture an odour and then replay it back later, just as camcorders do with images. Amateur chefs desperate to recreate perfectly a restaurant meal they have enjoyed could use the device to record its aroma.
Was I the only person who could image a group of nine year old boys random dialing a cell phone with the smellophone option, then playing back a fart? Or adding a gut-rattling belch of beef nachos and Dr. Pepper to Mom’s outgoing message?
New York (AP) — Stock prices shot higher Thursday after the Federal Reserve indicated it was standing by its policy of raising interest rates as needed to contain inflation.
“I just jackin’ wit ya” said Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, who then slapped a New York Mets baseball hat on his head and climbed into a tricked out Cadillac Escalade.
Bernanke’s departing comments to the financial press; “Spark dat fattie up my man!” were taken to mean the measured increases in the Federal Reserve rate will continue for at least the next quarter.
Sacramento (AP) — The Bush administration has been unable to muster even half of the 2,500 National Guardsmen it planned to have on the Mexican border by the end of June.
As of Thursday, the next-to-last day of the month, fewer than 1,000 troops were in place, according to military officials in the four border states of Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona.
Odds are it is because they went to American Public Schools and can’t find it on the map. The other 1,500 troopers are guarding the international borders in Utah and Rhode Island.
Washington (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees, saying in a strong rebuke that the trials were illegal under U.S. and international law.
The ruling raises major questions about the legal status of the approximately 450 men still being held at the U.S. military prison in Cuba and exactly how, when and where the administration might pursue the charges against them.
Rumour has it the CIA is annoyed at Airbus for delaying the delivery of the A380 Super Jumbo. The Secret Rendition Flight Division was looking for something that could take all 450 Guantanamo detainees to Romania for a ‘Happy Hour Club Jet-Away Weekend Sponsored by Corona’
MEMPHIS, Tenn.(AP) — Junichiro Koizumi and President Bush can hang around the Jungle Room all they want. Japan’s prime minister can even warble another rendition of “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You,” as he did at a birthday party for Bush last year.
As a guest of the president and first lady Laura Bush, Koizumi will visit the Presley home on June 30, and they’ll pretty much have the run of the place.
But Presley’s private bedroom and the adjoining bath where he collapsed and died in 1977 will remain off-limits. “You can’t visit the upstairs at the White House, either,” said Jack Soden, chief executive of Elvis Presley Enterprises.
We should hold UN Security Council Meetings in the Jungle Room. The US would never have invaded Iraq if Saddam Hussein had paid a state visit to Graceland. The Dixie Chicks CD’s would have been another issue.
Bristow, OK (AP) — UPDATE Creek County jury late Thursday convicted a former judge who was accused of exposing himself by using a sexual device while he presided over court cases.
The panel deliberated more than five hours before returning a guilty verdict against Donald Thompson on all four counts of indecent exposure. The jury had requested a dinner break around 6:30 p.m. and sent a note to the judge at 8:49 p.m. that a decision had been reached.
Jurors recommended one year in prison and a $10,000 fine on each count against the judge, 59, who served more than 20 years on the bench in eastern Oklahoma before his retirement in 2004.
Sometimes the screwing you get, isn’t worth the screwing you get.
I have no fear of tackling ugly things with a pragmatic point of view. Most things on our planet can be handled with a little compassion, some common sense and a good general knowledge of how things work.
There are some subjects I don’t like: Michael Moore in a pink ballet tutu, sitting on a photocopier, drinking a beer and eating stadium nachos comes to mind. The real horror starts when he punches 99, selects double-sided and presses the green “Copy” button. I shouldn’t have to confront that image in my lifetime, as Mike seems discreet enough, but you never know.
The Middle East is the other one that gives me The Fear.
You’ve got two sides who have brutalized each other since the dawn of time. The real, down in the DNA hate, goes back thousands of years, passed through generations like the gene for brown eyes or a propensity for bad haberdashery.
Neither is right and neither is wrong. They’re behaving like children.
Sibling brothers, around the age of 7 to 15 years of age, behave the same way. With three sons, my father developed that extra arm joint that would allow him to wallop all three of us in the backseat of the car, without taking his eyes off the road. All three of us would get nailed in unison. Then the happy and loving, “Shut up now or I’ll Stop The Car.” We became quiet immediately.
Father got so good at it (three sons means you get a lot of practice) that he could also take a sip of his coffee and light a smoke at the same time he was slapping us silly. It isn’t the same skill set as playing the cello or being able to sink one from mid-court for three, but it was his talent and he was good. I still hate sitting in the back seat of a car.
In the Middle East, it is exactly the same deal. They all deserve a quick, firm slap of International Corporal Punishment to make them stop for a moment, if only to break the cycle of knee-jerk stupidity on all sides. I have a possible solution though.
The UN has to do some typing: They issue a simple press release: The Middle East will now sit down and shut up for a week, or we, the rest of the world, embargo the whole damn area.
Ask Dubya, Zhong and Vladimir to send as many warships as they can for next Thursday. Line’em up in the Med, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Suez Canal and have them all run a blue UN flag. Canada will send our ship if we could borrow a set of jumper cables. Holland would be in, so would Burkina Faso.
Fly a few quick sorties using the fancy ordinance. An America J-DAM on a Chinese fighter dropped by a Russian bombardier strikes the right note of internationalism. Shut down the electrical grid, jam the cellphones, radio and television. Anything flying, other than the UN has ten minutes to land and park. Nothing in. Nothing out.
After seven days of no electricity, no phones, no planes, no communications and no outside influences, Kofi Annan drops by and says “Shall we talk now?” It might take a year or two, but a solution will come out when the kids see the grownups are not kidding.
Dubya, Zhong and Vladimir will do it for two reasons: One, saving the world is a great legacy, regardless of your political stripe. Promise the boys a Nobel if you have to, plus the cover of Time and an endorsement deal from Rolex: Whatever it takes.
Two, Dubya, Zhong and Vladimir know the groups in the Middle East are as crazy as outhouse rats who will blow up the world if we don’t step in.
I can come up with thousands of picayune diplomatic, logistical and political reasons why this won’t work. There are two compelling reasons why it will work that cancel out all the others.
First, it is international in scope and we do it fast, without spending years flapping our gums about it. We’ve tried dialogue with these idiots and dialogue doesn’t work.
Second, if we don’t do it, we’ll see the Middle East blow itself up in one ghastly superheated explosion. The last thing we’ll hear is some dick yelling “See! They started it!”
The cynic in me says the nuclear winter will average out the global warming.
Now, all I have to do is get that image of Michael Moore on the photocopier out of my mind.
I keep seeing various politicians standing up on their back legs, demanding the NY Times be drawn, quartered, shot and pissed on for breaking the story on the Department of JustUs spying on financial records. I’ve written about the tedious events earlier.
The rhetoric coming out of the pundits, pols, and press wanks is astounding. You hear the same kind of mindless rehashing of White House speaking points: Despicable. Treason. Execution. Jail Time. Giving Comfort to the Enemy. Thwarting the War on Terror. National Security.
Please spare me the deluge of drama: The NYT didn’t publish the nuclear missile launch codes. If someone had asked the NYT, nicely, to sit on the story for a few weeks, odds are the NYT would have played along precisely for reasons of National Security. The JustUs folks figured they could bully the New York Times and the reporters involved, because they DoJ was sloppy and got caught.
What bothers me is that the NYT found out about the program. Reporters find out about this kind of bad madness via a leak that says “look over here, or under that rock”. The leak probably happened because an individual saw just how far SWIFT was reaching. Perhaps the monitoring has crossed that line from investigating cement heads and the war on terror, into hardball domestic spying. I don’t know.
I do know that good security people, doing a righteous job, don’t talk about this stuff with their families, let alone reporters, unless something is very wrong and the bosses won’t stop it. That is the little sidebar that, I hope, a reporter is chasing hard right now.
Unlawful groups determined to wreak havoc already assume that the US government is spying on them. Skilful criminals assume that everything is being looked at by the police. This is rudimentary field-craft: A mindset of complete paranoia is what a criminal has to assume to act outside the law.
I hate to break it to the various operators from the US government, but skillful criminals don’t have a file folder on the top of the desk, labeled “Plans For World Domination”. That is over the top, even for Austin Powers, or James Bond.
Following the money, which is the ostensible excuse for fishing in the SWIFT banking transaction database, is sensible. It is sound reasoning and a good investigative tool. Not The Only Tool, just A Tool. Informants are a tool. Perusing websites are a tool. Reading the paper is a tool. Surveillance on a house, a person or an apartment is a tool. Wiretaps are a tool. Opening snail mail, or email is a tool.
With one pesky caveat, I don’t mind the security forces using the tools. If a warrant is required, then you have to get a warrant that details exactly what you’re looking for, where, when and why. A judge eyeballs the warrant and says yea or nay. Any judge looking at that kind of warrant will keep it quiet. If an investigator can’t find a suitably compliant judge to sign off on it, then they’re pathetic, lazy and the kind of pud who should be guarding the torn tickets at an Andy Williams matinee concert in Branson, Missouri.
If the DoJ has asked for a warrant to go fishing for two months to see what they could shake out, I could live with that, barely, but I’ll let it slide as it is time-limited. There are no absolutes here. Occasionally the rules might have to be bent, or stretched a bit and each case on its merits.
I’ve heard the argument of “If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear from the government, as they’re trying to protect the world from terrorists”. I can’t buy that for a Mississauga Minute, which is about 11 seconds, for those who don’t know how long a minute is in Mississauga.
This is the same argument that the Senator Joe McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities used to drag anyone they didn’t like into open Senate Committee session. McCarthy used the waving of paper at witnesses as his ‘proof’ that the witness was a Communist. He never actually let people see the evidence on the paper, only the waving of paper for newsreel and television cameras.
Anyone called by the Committee was asked, in closed session, to name all their friends, relations, acquaintances, or passers-by whom they thought might be suspect. If they couldn’t come up with names, their career was over, as they were a ‘hostile’ witness and Sen. McCarthy would start the paper waving and ranting. This was later quoted in Hollywood as “Not only must you have talent, but you must have informed too!".
There was a certain Ioseb Jughashvili used to do the “You have nothing to fear” and paper waving act too. You might know Ioseb Jughashvili by his more common, westernized name: Joseph Stalin.
A vigorous, slightly suspicious media will keep tabs on the bullies who wrap themselves in the flag and ask citizens to swallow that kind of poison from the buffet.
Thunder is Great!
But Lightning Gets the Job Done.
The US Supremes have put their dribbling rubber stamp on the Texas electoral redistricting as pushed by disgraced Rep. Tom DeLay, he of the Gumby hairstyle.
Gerrymandering is the purposeful redrawing of electoral districts to make sure that your candidate gets all the votes in the district, while your opponent gets none. This harkens back to voter profiling and I’ll apologize up front if you’re offended by the stereotypes associated with ethnic and racial groups: These aren’t my conclusions.
African-Americans tend to vote for liberal Democrats. So do Hispanic-Americans. Volvo-drivers who wear Birkenstocks tend to vote Green or Libertarian.
Rich white folks tend to vote for Republicans. If your congressional district includes only rich white Topsider scum and you’re a Republican reptile, then you have a beautiful district that you’ll probably win.
If you have some yacht pigs, some poor folks and recently-beaten then-laid-off middle class minivan meat in your district, then count the numbers. You might not win, or you might have to actually work hard to win as a Republican. The Democrat might very well win, if you can be painted as a bought-and-paid-for-limousine-jumpseat-slut for Lockheed. That isn’t too hard a picture to paint, especially when dealing with Texas Republicans.
DeLay jiggled the Texas electoral map so that Hispanics were underrepresented in as many districts as he could get away with. District boundary lines were drawn through whole neighbourhoods to split the Hispanic vote into as many parts as could be rigged.
Still, the Supremes let it stand. Unfortunately the Supremes also said that Texas could fiddle with the maps any time they felt like it. Texas Democrats wanted re-districting limited to once every ten years, as noted in the Constitution, not every time some incumbent was in danger of losing his seat. Texas jiggled the map twice in 2000.
This makes me doubt the wisdom of the Supremes. Gerrymandering is the crudest form of election rigging known, aside from Nicaraguan “Dignity Battalions” shooting at voters with automatic weapons.
This also tells me if an aggressive media finally catches Cheney and Dubya cuttin’ up the cash in the East Wing, then the Supremes won’t do jack.
I’d love to put an article here about Senator Charles Grassely and his provision, being voted on today, regarding tax law and sex trade workers. I can’t, as certain words contained are prohibited by the Rules of Conduct of MSN Spaces. Fair enough, as it is their rules and their ball and bat. I can live with that.
Suffice to say the story is intellligent and well written. It deals with a house of ill repute in Heidelberg Germany called Lulu’s and those who work in that industry not doing it for pleasure. The industry is all about power, over you, or over someone else. Just like politics.
If you post a trackback to here, I’ll email you the story. Or, you could slide over to the Blog List and click on Road Dave Website, where I have posted the original story.
Israel is starting a major military assault into Gaza right now. Air strikes. This is in retaliation, at least so far, to the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by Palestinians a couple of days ago.
Israel has been rattling the sabers for a few days. Their message to the Palestinians was pretty clear: Give us back our guy, or we’ll destroy your cities. Pure Middle-East punk attitude, except Israel can back it up, has backed it up in the past and will back it up in the future.
I’m not going to solve the Israel-Palestine thing, except to say that when Britain handed over the keys to the UN in 1947, the Brits conveniently forgot there were 3 million people already living there. Britain and the UN also forgot that Jerusalem was important to Muslims, Jews and Christians for various religious reasons. All three groups have as much right to be there as the other.
Hindus and Buddhists don’t give a green fig about Jerusalem. Shinto devotees are peeing their robes right now, laughing at us fighting over this petty stuff.
I do know that there is a commonly held rule that if you’re attacked by someone with a stick, you should fight back with a stick: That’s fair, or at least gives the appearance of vaguely fair.
Attacking Palestinians with jet fighters, missiles, helicopter gunships and long range artillery is like bringing an armed-up Abrams tank to a bar fight: Not fair. Playing to Win, sure, but it escalates things beyond all sense or sanity. It just perpetuates bullshit grievances on both sides.
I’ve never expected sense from either the Israelis or the Palestinians. Both sides are monomaniacs who won’t change the subject and can’t talk about anything else.
Is global warming for real? I can tell you that the weather has been strange this year, but is it global warming or just a cycle?
Science is a good tool here. Drill a six-inch hole a few thousand feet into a glacier, in Greenland or Antarctica. Bring up a core sample of glacier ice the same way you would if you were drilling for oil, nothing complicated. There is no hocus-pocus weird science interpretation of reality involved.
You have a time capsule of what the climate was thousands of years ago, frozen in layers. Scientists can divine, (a mass spectrometer works well) how much oxygen, nitrogen, CO2 and dusty bits were floating around in the air, then frozen in the ice. By counting down the number of layers you can put a year to it. The same works with lake sediment or tree rings. Nothing strange: Percentages of stuff and some rudimentary counting.
Science has figured out there is a range of normal for CO2, nitrogen, oxygen and other stuff. It has been more or less the same for 650,000 years. Yes, there are ups and downs. This is normal as the Earth is not a fixed system, but the variances are very small.
Pre-industrialization of our planet, the average number was 280 parts per million of CO2 in the air: Carbon Dioxide is naturally occurring. We need some to live. Too much and we change things.
In 2005, at high altitude over one of the tallest peaks in the middle of the windswept Pacific Ocean, one would expect air that would sit nicely in the average of the whole planet, over 650,000 years. The number is 341 parts per million of CO2. Or, way out of whack. Not in the range of normal.
The real point is that tiny little changes in our atmosphere can have devastating consequences far away from, or much later than the event. This is the truism of the single nail. For the loss of a nail, the shoe was lost. For the loss of a shoe, the horse was lost. For the loss of a horse, the battle was lost. For the loss of a battle, the war was lost. That is the way big systems seem to work. It is an eternal truth.
Lake Chad, once the sixth largest lake in the world, near Niger, is almost gone. A lake not much smaller that Lake Superior is gone? Yes. Look at two pictures of Mount Kilimanjaro, one from 1970 and one from 2005. The snow-covered peaks of Kilimanjaro, right? Today, it has a tiny wisp of snow around the very top that looks thinner than Jean Chretien’s comb-over.
The Earth is an interdependent system that is very finely tuned. Britain is mild because of the gulf stream. Change one factor, say move the gulf stream one hundred miles south of the UK. Edinburgh is not much further south than Goteborg, Sweden, or Churchill, Manitoba. You might wind up with 172 inches of snow in Edinburgh; an old fashioned Canadian winter.
Where do hurricanes, like Katrina or Rita come from? The answer is the east coast of Africa. Temperature changes, weather and ocean currents around Nigeria, or Gabon can put a topspin on weather going into the Gulf of Mexico. This might tweak the gulf stream, which could juggle things along Spain or Morocco. It all ties together very delicately and only takes a few degrees to make a change.
The other problem with global warming is it accelerates exponentially. It doesn’t go twice as fast, it goes four times as fast, then eight times as fast, then sixteen times as fast and so on. Thirty years’ difference in glacier size are quite telling of how fast it is running.
In the last two hundred years we went from agrarian to urban. We invented all kinds of things, like electricity, internal combustion engines, cures for hundreds of diseases, skyscrapers, nuclear energy, subways, cars, airplanes, radio, radar, microwaves, fascinating ways to conduct wars, air conditioning, the Slinky, aerosol cheese, the Backstreet Boys and iPods. We also created a catastrophe called Global Warming. The science is irrefutable. We did it in, oh, give or take, seventy years.
I’m not saying we go back to the Grand Old Days of 1806 to fix it. Remember them? Before medicine, when E.Coli was a condiment? You got unpasteurized milk out of the family cow? You saw a village twice a year? Your family had to grow enough hay to feed the horses over the winter to have a live horse in the spring to pull the plow? School was three or four years, at the most, if you lived near one? You could die a painful death if you broke an arm? A refrigerator was a hole in the ground, but so was the toilet?
A rural, agrarian, self-sufficient life would kill most of us, probably from starvation, in the first year. We’ve lost the skills and the wisdom from 1806. We don’t live near the resources anymore. I can’t get to, or store, or tote five cords of split, dried firewood into a fourteenth floor apartment, even if I had a fireplace. The park outside isn’t that big. I can’t keep a cow up here. I can’t plant crops up here.
We can’t un-invent our present. But we can change our present.
Buy a smaller, fuel-efficient car or a hybrid if you can afford it. Take public transit where you can. Turn off lights. Turn off the air conditioning. Conserve electricity. Plant trees. Save water. Avoid aerosols. Leave as small a carbon footprint as you can by recycling, reducing and reusing things.
Stir up some shit with politicians. Conservation has a faster, better payback than trying to build new generation capacity. In Ontario they’re talking about building a new nuclear generation program. It takes at least 10 years to get one up and running, but we need the electricity now. With that kind of money, $40 Billion, invested in energy conservation and green generation programs, we could save as much power as the new reactors would produce, probably in half the time and even create some jobs out of the deal.
Do one other thing for me, will you please? Go and see “An Inconvenient Truth”. It is the Al Gore global warming film. Even if you wouldn’t trust Al Gore to tell you the correct time, just go and see it, then decide for yourself. He tells the story and the science better than I can.
I’ve always wanted to be an inventor and hold Intellectual Property.
My greatest invention is “Write Your Name In Chicken”. The chicken that eventually becomes a chicken morsel snack from a fast food restaurant starts out as a live chicken.
The live chickens come in the back door of an industrial food plant. Once the chicken is slaughtered and cleaned of innards, feathers, beaks, claws and arsehole, the whole bird is tossed into what is basically a four-storey Cuisinart.
Blades pulverize the bird, adding the right amount of water, liquid egg, unpronounceable chemical preservatives and spices. Artificial chicken-flavor powder is shoveled in by sweaty workers paid minimum wage and the technology spins ferociously to create Universal Chicken Paste.
Depending on how much water they add, the Universal Chicken Paste can be extruded, rolled into sheets like cookie dough or formed around skewers for instant kebabs. To make a certain brand of chicken morsel, the factory extrudes a sheet of UCP then cuts out the chicken morsel. Look closely the next time you are at a fast food joint and you will see there are nine to twelve shapes that look almost, but not quite, natural.
The cut out lumps are battered, partially fried and flash frozen. At the fast food restaurant the high school student with audible acne fries them one last time until the beeper goes off. A counter monkey serves them to you under hundreds of brand names. Or, if you really hate your children, you could feed them home-reheated dinosaur shaped breaded chicken morsels.
What Write Your Name In Chicken does is intercept that Universal Chicken Paste before it is made into a fast food snack. I want it packed into a disposable, food-grade caulking gun tube form.
The next step is as elegant as it is simple. Rent a booth at as many state and local fairs as possible. There must be a traveling midway present. There must be carny-based games of chance. I don’t want to go to Book Fairs or Renaissance Faires. I want the Great Unwashed Masses: Polyester pants, sandals, tube tops, T-shirts that profess a deep love of tractor pulls and Budweiser gimme hats.
Set up the booth with the most garish colours you can find and a cheap PA system. Rent two deep fryers, a couple of tables and some fry baskets. You put the caulking gun tubes of UCP in a caulking gun handle. Spell out the persons’ name using the UCP as ink on a deep fryer screen. Penmanship counts so don’t hire obvious junkies. Dip the whole mess into a batter mix, perhaps the same batter as corn dogs.
Then, into the hot grease in the fryer. About one minute later, out comes Your Name Written In Chicken. Offer various dipping sauces, which are packaged in little restaurant packs. You are handed your name in chicken and offered one or two sauces. It is a Buck a Letter. Alexandria pays more than Bob.
Hire a carny talker to build a tip for your booth. He must have a throat that sounds like he has been freshly strangled and gargles with battery acid. Let him do his thing.
I still remember one high talker from the Central Canada Ex in the early 70’s. Its Real, Its Alive, the Incredible Monster Boy of Borneo here today. You must see the Incredible Monster Boy of Borneo today. It is Real. It is Alive. Today in Your Town. The Incredible Monster Boy of Borneo. For twelve hours a day, a carny did that rap in front of a trailer that mostly featured what were called pickled punks, or medical oddities in formaldehyde: Don’t ask.
The Incredible Monster Boy of Borneo was a middle aged man with too much hair all over his face, arms and body due to a genetic defect. He’d sit there in a pair of tiger-print wrestling shorts and let you look at him, while he chain-smoked. Every hour, he’d get up, growl a bit and shake the bars of his cage. It’s real. It’s alive…
Into this milieu, Write Your Name In Chicken is only the biggest winner since the BlackBerry.
That is my Intellectual Property. © 1998 David Smith. All licensing inquiries can be sent to me, c/o this page. I’ll sell for money.