Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pirates die strangely after taking Iranian ship

Pirates die strangely after taking Iranian ship

A tense standoff has developed in waters off Somalia over an Iranian merchant ship laden with a mysterious cargo that was hijacked by pirates.

Somali pirates suffered skin burns, lost hair and fell gravely ill “within days” of boarding the MV Iran Deyanat. Some of them died...

My first thought was radiation poisoning. Then I started wondering how many deadly cargoes like this are sailing in our world's oceans right this moment. Then I curled up in a ball in a corner and started rocking back and forth, humming "Pop Goes the Weasel" with my eyes clamped shut.


Monday, September 29, 2008

New Yorker Cover Does It Again

Quick Palin Note

The McCain bunch has been blaming "gotcha journalism" for Sarah Palin's ever more numerous gaffes. The thing is, it doesn't even take journalism for her to screw up. I could ask her a question about any number of issues that bother me and she'd fuck up the answer because she's a stupid fucking beauty queen that believes the earth is 5000 years old and that people rode on dinosaurs and ate roasted brontosaurus for Sunday dinner after church. She's agonizingly moronic and vapid. If you smiled warmly and told her she was an insipid harpy she'd probably smile back and say something chirpy like, "Yer so sweet! Thinks!"

This debate coming up (if there's a debate) between her and Joseph Biden may be as unwatchable as a baby getting mauled to death by a rabid wolverine. It's going to be ugly and you know ahead of time who will win. Let's just hope Biden doesn't sling too much blood onto the audience or we'll get stuck with a huge cleaning bill as well as this insane bailout.

Request Involving Radiohead

I don't ask for much but it would be swell if you listened to this and voted for it. Radiohead asked me (and a few tens of thousands of others) to remix this song. Actually I would much rather that you download this high quality version and listen to it. The version on Radiohead's website (the one loaded in the player below) sounds very dull because I was forced to fit a seven minute song into 5MB (this download is 10.6MB) and 5MB would be fair sounding for a five minute song. Yeah. So, the copy below is kind of "not good" sounding. This download sounds GREAT! Anyway, vote for this song and I hope it changes your life.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


COLACHO, originally uploaded by israellopezmurillo.

Castrillo de Murcia, Spain does not have a running of the bulls but they do have a "leaping over the babies" where men dress as demons and jump over the town's babies who lie on mattresses in the street. After jumping over the babies the demons continue to run representing the banishment of demons from their lives. It would be really cool if they let trick bicyclists or skateboarders be demons as well.

via News of the Weird

Friday, September 26, 2008

My First Impression of Tonights Debate

Obama: Confident, calm yet passionate, organized, informed, thoughtful, patient, full formed.

McCain: Stilted, rambling, repetitive, vapid, confused, wandering, empty.

Speaking The Truth

Why is it that only a satirical news program on a cable comedy network has the balls to show these people repeating their lies (or contradicting themselves within hours as McCain did earlier this week)?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Executive Power?

It's just not a good idea to have an army active inside your borders. The police are one thing but the army is something much worse. I wonder if the next President will give up any of the new-found and awesome (not in a good way) powers this last President (remember him?) has gathered to himself.

thanks to Nancy

OUTRAGE!!! (not really)

STEPHEN COLBERT: One of the things I love about my character is I can make vast declarations and it doesn't matter if I'm wrong. I love being wrong. So my character can tell you exactly what's going to happen: The Democrats are going to change everything. We're going to have gay parents marrying their own gay babies. Obama's gonna be sworn in on a gay baby. The oath is gonna end ''So help me, gay baby.''
STEWART: Then they'll head right over to the abortion mixer. There'll be a dance, and then there'll be a little tent set up outside, just in case anybody wants an RU-486.

Palin Perpetuates 9/11 Lies

I should've posted this a while back but forgot to. Just to drive home the fact the Republican Presidential campaign keeps telling bald faced lies because they know their followers will believe them despite all the proof to the contrary. Proof like President Bush saying Iraq was not involved in the 9/11 attacks and that they did not have WMD.

An Inflated Sense of Importance?

John McCain has "suspended" his campaign for the Presidency (the quotes are because he's been constantly appearing on news programs since the "suspension") because of the current financial crisis. Who does he think he is? He's not on any of the committees that will write the law that will probably fuck all the non-wealthy Americans that could be fucked and he's not a member of the Senate leadership that will call the legislation to the floor.

Is it just a ploy to keep the vapid former beauty queen Sarah Palin from having to debate Biden? McCain's plan to make up this Presidential debate is to replace next week's Vice-presidential debate with McCain v. Obama. There are 39 days left until we elect the next President and we have yet to see them head to head and the Vice-presidential candidate on the Republican ticket has yet to hold anything even vaguely resembling a press conference, much less participate in a debate.

Don't these people have computers, cel phones, video conferencing, etc.? Oh, I forgot. McCain doesn't understand all that new fangled technology. If he did he wouldn't need to go to Washington in person until he actually needed to vote on a bill.

And a little note about the debate McCain wishes to cancel: it will likely lose $5.5 million for Ole Miss. As we all know, public universities are awash in cash so they'll just be able to shrug this off, right? Fire a few more professors, hire some more marketing personell...

"Keep Her Free of All Witchcraft"

A little bird told me about this video taken at a freaky little church in Wasilla Alaska featuring a preacher from Kenya and the State's governor. I'm now wondering if Sarah Palin doesn't handle snakes...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Safety? First?

"Always wear eye protection" it said on a sticker on a hammer I bought. It says this on spray foam containers, drill bits, chisel packages, etc. There are also constant warnings to wear gloves and protective clothing. You see children riding their bicycles with almost as much padding, gloves and helmets as an NFL linebacker. I've wondered for a while how long it would be until Americans spent their entire lives wearing knee pads, gloves, safety glasses and helmets. Well, the Japanese have now added high tech safety wear to the end of our lives:

Japanese firm unveils wearable airbag for elderly
Electronic Devices / Consumer & Gadgets
A Japanese company on Wednesday unveiled a wearable airbag for the elderly that pops out when they fall.

The 1.1 kilogramme (2.4 pound) airbag looks like a traveller's waist pouch but inflates in one-tenth of a second when sensors detect the wearer has taken a tumble.

The Tokyo-based company, Prop, unveiled the 148,000 yen (1,400 dollars) device at a fair of products for the elderly and people with disabilities.

It protects the back of the head and the buttocks with two inflated bags that contain 15 litres (3.9 gallons) of gas each.

Elderly people are more prone to injury when they fall due to their brittle bones.

Japan has one of the world's highest life expectancy rates, which is attributed to a mix of factors including a traditional healthy diet with plenty of vegetables.

People aged 65 or older accounted for 21.5 percent of the total population of 127 million last year, according to the government. More than 36,000 people are aged over 100.

But Japan is facing growing costs of caring for its elderly since fewer young people are having children.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blast the Right Podcast

Jack Clark talks some big noise.

This week he points out the lies the McCain/Palin campaign have been perpetuating about earmarks. As you know by now (if you read this blog that is) the conservatives will believe even more fervently in these lies as the truth is shown to them. I think McCain/Palin are depending on it.

"Well, we know that our base will believe whatever we tell them more strongly after it's been shown to be a lie so let's just lie our collective ass off."

We can only hope there are more people in this country whose political leanings range from liberal to moderate than there are conservatives or we are fucked.

Some quotes from the most recent show:
Palin raked in $27 million in earmarks for Wasilla.

The national average per person for earmarks is about $50. Palin got her town $1000 per person.


The cold hard truth is, Sarah Palin is actually the Pork Barrel Queen of all governors.

Her current request is for $197 million dollars in earmarks.

This is more per person, than any other state in the nation!


Listen to McCain recently:

audio5: McCain

McCain: Here's an interesting fact. Governor Palin just mentioned she vetoed a half a billion dollars in earmark pork-barrel spending, and Sen. Obama asked for nearly a billion dollars in earmark pork-barrel spending! 932 million dollars, almost a million dollars for every single day he was in the United States Senate. It's remarkable!

The cold hard numbers make a mockery of what McCain said.

First of all, Obama's state, Illinois, has about 13 million people. Alaska has 670,000. You do the math.

Ok, I'll do it for you.

What that means is, Sarah Palin's earmark requests as Governor average $330 per Alaskan each year. Obama's average $18 per Illinois resident each year.

$330 Palin, and $18 Obama. And McCain condemns Obama?! Is McCain just confused again?

Monday, September 22, 2008

They Turned Out the Lights

Hmmph. Here's a little science that most conservatives will ignore because... it's science*:

It is not the military surge that has brought peace to the areas of Iraq where it has "succeeded." It was a surge in sectarian cleansing. The night time lights in Iraqi cities were analyzed and it was found that, starting before our "surge" began, the level of light in various ethnic areas of the cities were dimming. Why? Because as they fled, the victims of this cleansing turned out the lights. We have "achieved success" in Iraq by letting the Sunnis to run the Shiites out and the Shiites to run out the Sunnis. What was that about us not being able to leave because there would be a civil war and horrible bloodshed? Mightn't it have been quicker, cleaner, and a hell of a lot cheaper to have just let them take care of this themselves? They did it anyway, but we were trying to stop them.

*Actually, conservatives will ignore this information (if they ever encounter it as I doubt it will be reported on Fox Noise without a mighty heapin' of venomous scorn) is because they were first told that the "surge" has "succeeded." (Why do I feel it so necessary to put sarcastic quotes around all the key words used by this administration?) I think you should listen to this story from the fantastic radio program On the Media from WNYU for a better explanation than I can give in short here. Here's a short excerpt from the transcript that speaks specifically to why I think conservatives would probably ignore this study of night lights in Iraq:

SHANKAR VEDANTAM: The researchers, Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler, brought in a bunch of Republicans and told them about the Bush Administration’s claims that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the 2003 U.S. invasion. And then they provided the volunteers with essentially a correction of that information.

About 34 percent of conservatives believed that Iraq had either hidden or discarded the weapons of mass destruction before the U.S. invasion, but after they heard both claim and refutation, 64 percent of conservatives believed that Iraq had had the weapons of mass destruction.

In other words, the refutation caused more people to believe in the Bush Administration’s claim than they did before.

There are more studies about that show that conservatives respond differently to the world than liberals (or non-conservatives), specifically in the case of new or contradictory information. Now if I were to hear I was likely to deny the truth this week just because I believed something wrong last week, I would try really hard to correct for that. Conservatives can't work like that, at least not easily.

There is so much about this out there. Odd how Fox Noise (or any major media outside of NPR) has completely failed to report on this. The findings really are quite striking and if you look at the studies, they're very well done. The right wingers are, as always, impuning the messenger and the message but what doubt I've seen has been towards individual tests. It seems odd that so many different studies could reach the same conclusion. If you've ever had any involvement in science you know that one spends a great deal of time removing any external cues or prejudices in the design process of the test. Here is a case where there may be a small bit of doubt as to whether the analysis is biased. I kind of don't think so. (I wonder if that makes me a conservative?)

And I think this is really interesting:

"Bail Out" Cannot Be Reviewed

This can't be good. The executive branch is using the current economic crisis to increase its power in frightening ways.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

His name is Henry Paulson.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ike Really Tore Up Louisville

[A quick note: I was in Nashville from Monday through Friday evening
so I'm only just now able to make this post]

DSC_2145, originally uploaded by Alan Evil.

Sunday September the 14th the worst weather event in Louisville, Kentucky's recorded history blew through town. For over two hours we experienced sustained winds of 50mph with gusts over 75mph. Trees were literally ripped from the ground, splintered from their bases, and generally tossed around like toothpicks. The path of the storm was fairly wide and it appears it ran right up the Ohio River. I went out in the morning and took pictures of the approaching front, thinking we were going to get some rain and thunderstorms. Boy was I in for a surprise. Not only did we get almost no rain (just a few drops), the sun was shining and the skies were half blue with clouds racing overhead as trees were bent double, first one way and then another (explaining why so many broke). It was truly amazing.

You will find a collection of pictures I took after the storm here. Unfortunately, some streets still look like this a week later. Though we got electricity back about 12 hours after it went out, most houses and businesses around us are still dark. LG&E, our local utility, has been saying it may be another week before all power is restored.

Ike Really Tore Up Louisville

[A quick note: I was in Nashville from Monday onwards so I'm only just now able to make this post]

Sunday September the 14th the worst weather event in Louisville, Kentucky's recorded history blew through town. For over two hours we experienced sustained winds of 50mph with gusts over 75mph. Trees were literally ripped from the ground, splintered from their bases, and generally tossed around like toothpicks. The path of the storm was fairly wide and it appears it ran right up the Ohio River. I went out in the morning and took pictures of the approaching front, thinking we were going to get some rain and thunderstorms. Boy was I in for a surprise. Not only did we get almost no rain (just a few drops), the sun was shining and the skies were half blue with clouds racing overhead as trees were bent double, first one way and then another (explaining why so many broke). It was truly amazing.

You will find a collection of pictures I took after the storm here. Unfortunately, some streets still look like this a week later. Though we got electricity back about 12 hours after it went out, most houses and businesses around us are still dark. LG&E, our local utility, has been saying it may be another week before all power is restored.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Palin Uses Magic 8-Ball in ABC Interview

From the Borowitz Report:
...All in all, Gov. Palin said she was "pleased as punch" by her performance, despite having told Mr. Gibson that the United States should invade Russia.

When asked by reporters where she got her answer to the Russia question, Gov. Palin replied, "My Magic 8-Ball got stuck on that one, so I asked God."...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Some Quotes from BBC's Mock the Week

Mock the Week

[on Palin]

"She's definitely going to be President, isn't she? Because he's 72. He's the first President ever who could be assassinated by someone busting a paper bag."

"Being the Governor of Alaska is the equivalent of being the mayor of the Shetlands."

"If we were all married to who we went out with when we were 17, how shit would our lives be?"

[on the Large Hadron Collider]

"I'm sure they're going to find out some interesting things about protons but... I don't give a fuck."

"Small black holes are the worst kind: We'll all be slowly sucked towards Switzerland."

[on a ludicrously expensive watch bought by a footballer]

"For 36,000 pounds your watch had better come with a lot of gadgets. I, for instance, would want to be able to drive it."

Lipstick on a Pig

I hereby declare this to be one of the stupidest diversions the Nazis (a.k.a. Republicans) have come up with yet. Listen to this NPR piece and tell me you believe Obama was referring to Sarah Palin. They play the lines preceding the pig and lipstick lines and it is obvious he is talking about McCain's policies. Palin is not mentioned at all. You will hear several other politicians, including John McCain using this old saw in their speeches exactly as Obama used it.
The phrase "lipstick on a pig" is commonly employed by politicians including Senator John McCain, Vice President Dick Cheney and Rep. Charles Rangel. Farmer Joel Salatin of Swoope, Va., talks about what actually happens when one attempts to put lipstick on a pig.
Do you smell Karl Rove? Makes me wish for the smell of pig shit.

More On That "Bridge to Nowhere"

Palin lobbied hard for the bridge in Gravina, Alaska, and she kept all the Federal money for it. How does that equal "thanks, but no thanks?"

...the money did not go back to Washington. It stayed in Alaska for a different road project.
She endorsed the multimillion dollar project during her gubernatorial race in 2006. And while she did take part in stopping the project after it became a national scandal, she did not return the federal money. She just allocated it elsewhere.
she expressed support for the Bridge to Nowhere earmark as well. “I do support the infrastructure projects that are on tap here in the State of Alaska that our Congressional delegations worked hard for,” Ms. Palin said
When will the mainstream media grow the balls it needs to call a liar a liar?

Here's a really good NPR story about this.


I'm still trying to get my head around what the Nazis* are doing with Mrs. Palin. They introduce this absolute stranger 7 weeks before the election and then refuse to let her speak or for anyone to question her past in any way. They seem to be using the popular Christian Right tactic of shouting about how they are being "attacked" by the "liberal press," leading to a perception amongst the idiots of this country that they are some kind of innocent, oppressed minority.

Here are some questions I would like answered:

1. Why does she keep saying she opposed the "Bridge to Nowhere" when she actively lobbied for it until the Congress killed it out of embarrassment?

2. She may not be a member of the secessionist movement in Alaska but her husband was. Why is it off limits to enquire about her involvement with this extreme right wing movement? If she never had anything to do with it and opposed her husband's involvement then that's cool. But if she did in fact speak before the group and offered them words of encouragement then I think we need to know this.

3. What actual experience does she have commanding the Alaska Nat'l Guard? The party has touted this as her "executive experience" but they have yet to show she ever gave a single command during her 20 months in office.

4. Her "experience" as a mother has been offered as more proof of what a good Vice President she would be. How can this be offered as proof if we're not allowed to question her about her mothering? Doesn't the pregnant, un-wed, underaged daughter kind of prove she may not have been doing the best job there?

5. If she is so wonderful for making the choice to have a Down's Syndrome child, why is she also so wonderful for wanting to make sure noone else has a choice? Her daughter has also been praised for her "decision" to have her child, i.e. she had a choice. I also wonder how much of a choice her daughter and her daughter's husband-to-be have actually had. On the boy's Facebook site he said (amongst other jock-ish statements), "I don't want children." Hmmmm. We're not allowed to ask questions about this, right?

6. Palin strongly supports abstinence only sex education (which is so oxymoronic it hurts). Isn't the proven fact that this doesn't work combined with her own daughter's pregnancy at 17 kind of beg the question, "Is she really stupid or just ignorant?"

7. Does she really believe that God wants a pipeline through Alaska? Really?

8. Does she also really believe we're fighting a war in Iraq because that's what God wants? Really? That's one fucked up God if you ask me. It also begs the question, does she think God wants us to kill all muslims? Does God want us to take over the world by military force? These are legitimate questions that she is not going to be asked, much less answer.

I could go on and I'm sure I will but I need to go do something busy with my hands before my head explodes.

*a.k.a. Republicans. Let's call a spade a spade, as it were.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Musicians Tell Republicans to Stop Using Their Music

When introducing the Nazi witch Sarah Palin as vice presidential candidate, the Republicans played the song "Barracuda." Heart were not happy. Neither was the band Van Halen happy about them playing "Right Now" as McCain walked on, and Jackson Browne was really pissed that they* used his song "Running On Empty" in a commercial. Also used without permission were the band Orleans's song "Still the One" (one of the co-writers is now a Democratic New York Congressman), and Franki Valli's song "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You."

What do you think McCain & Team's reaction was to the demands from the artists that they stop? Anyone? It was the same thing Republicans have said to everyone not "in the fold" for over a decade: "Fuck you." "Barracuda" is still pumping out at campaign stops featuring the wicked witch of the far north.

Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart have informed the McCain/Palin Campaign that Universal Music Publishing and Sony BMG have sent a cease-and-desist notice to not use one of Heart's classic songs "Barracuda," as the congratulatory theme for Sarah Palin. The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission.
"We have asked the Republican campaign not to use our music. We hope our wishes will be honored."**

Van Halen
"Permission was not sought or granted nor would it have been given."

Jackson Browne
"We are confident that Jackson Browne will prevail in this lawsuit. Not only have Senator McCain and his agents plainly infringed Mr. Browne's copyright in Running On Empty, but the Federal Courts have long held that the unauthorized use of a famous singer's voice in a commercial constitutes a false endorsement and a violation of the singer's right of publicity," Lawrence Iser of the Santa Monica, California law firm Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert said in a press release. "In light of Jackson Browne's lifelong commitment to Democratic ideals and political candidates, the misappropriation of Jackson Browne's endorsement is entirely reprehensible, and I have no doubt that a jury will agree."

*Officially the Ohio State Republican Party in an ad against Obama.
**The song is still in use because the Republicans paid ASCAP, a corporation established to provide income from radio and other musical performance. Have I mentioned that our copyright laws are designed to enrich the ultrawealthy and have nothing to do with the artists that created the music?

Friday, September 5, 2008

On Scorn for "Community Organizers"

"Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor."

Heard on WAMU's Dianne Rehm Show in an e-mail from a listener.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Karl Rove on VP Pick

Karl Rove thinks that a president who would pick as his running mate a former small town mayor and state governor with little experience would be making “an intensely political choice” and demonstrating that he was not “first and foremost concerned with, ‘Is this person capable of being president of the United States?’” Or at least that would have been the case if Barack Obama had selected Tim Kaine, the governor or Virginia and the former mayor of Richmond, which Rove derided (”with all due respect”) as only about the 150th biggest city in America...