The Elecktronick Tyger Roares
31 January 2006
  Raving Idiot Sues for Preferential Treatment for Boys, A'cos Grrls Just Do Better and It Aren't Fair nope nope Not Fair At All...
I was alerted to this foolishness by an entry at Pinko Feminist Hellcat:

The Boston Globe reports that a 17-year-old male student has filed an anti-discrimination lawsuit claiming that girls do better at his school than boys because the system is biased in their favour, against boys.

Doug Anglin, a senior at Milton High School, filed the suit, which claims, in part:
Girls are outperforming boys because the school system favors them, said Anglin, who has filed a federal civil rights complaint contending that his school discriminates against boys.

Among Anglin's allegations: Girls face fewer restrictions from teachers, like being able to wander the hallways without passes, and girls are rewarded for abiding by the rules, while boys' more rebellious ways are punished.
Whoa. I like that. "I'm suing you to make you give me better grades than I earn because I'm a rebellious troglojock (thank you, Brooke McEldowney) who just can't help it or control my impulses."
Grading on homework, which sometimes includes points for decorating a notebook, also favor girls, according to Anglin's complaint, filed last month with the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
Anglin, a soccer and baseball player who wants to go to the College of the Holy Cross, said he brought the complaint in hope that the Education Department would issue national guidelines on how to boost boys' academic achievement.

Research has found that boys nationwide are increasingly falling behind girls, especially in reading and writing, and that they are more likely to be suspended, according to a 2005 report by the Educational Equity Center of the Academy for Educational Development, an international nonprofit group with headquarters in Washington, D.C.
School oficials denied that boys aren't treated as well as girls... But the female Student Body President "voiced support for Anglin's views."
[Principal John] Drottar said the high school plans to reinstitute a mentoring program that will pair low-achieving students with teachers.

While it will not specifically recruit male students, boys are likely to make up a large portion of the students served, he said.
No. D'ya think?
Anglin -- whose complaint was written by his father, who is a lawyer in Boston -- is looking for broader changes. He says that teachers must change their attitudes toward boys and look past boys' poor work habits or rule-breaking to find ways to encourage them academically.
Dude's father has got to be a PI lawyer -- an ambulance-chaser -- "Nothing is ever my fault. It's all the soft-drink company's fault because they didn't put a warning saying to not use Vicegrips™ to try to open the bottle..." If your son's not doing well in school, it must be the fault of the school. Sue the bastards.
The school should also recruit more male teachers to better motivate boys, Anglin said. At the high school, 64 percent of the teachers are women, and 36 percent are men, according to the school system.
Wow. Really? I graduated high school in 1967, and i'm fairly sure that the only male teachers i had were in gym class. Thirty-six per cent male teachers is a pretty big change from my recollections.
[Anglin] proposes that the high school give students credit for playing sports, not just for art and drama courses. He also urges that students be allowed to take classes on a pass/fail basis to encourage more boys to enroll in advanced classes without risking their grade point average.
Now that one i could almost agree with. Almost. But i guarantee you that the majority of students who aren't taking advanced classes under the current setup still wouldn't under that system.
He also wants the school to abolish its community service requirement, saying it's another burden that will just set off resistance from boys, who may skip it and fail to graduate as a result.
You know how little sympathy i have for that? None. Less than none.

Rule Number 42, the Oldest Rule in the Book: If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

If you haven't learnt that by high school, you deserve whatever you get.

I speak from personal and family experiences. I wound up repeating tenth grade due to flunking English -- despite maxed out scores on the SAT verbals, a mother who was an English teacher, and a grasp of the subject that sometimes allowed me to {with great joy} correct the teacher. And "A"s in Advanced English the next year (at another school).

Why did i fail English? Because i hated the teacher's guts, thought she was a total loser, and made it plain what i thought almost from Day One, taking great pleasure in goading her into losing her temper on an almost-daily basis, and refusing to do any homework that didn't interest me.

So i got what i had coming to me, what revolutionaries who lose always get. I got the chop.

About the only thing the experience did for me over all was to leave me with more than a lttle sympathy for Malcolm MacDowell's character in if...
Anglin, who has a 2.88 grade point average, acknowledged that discrimination complaints are not often filed by white, middle-class males like himself.

But he said: ''I'm not here to try to lower the rights of women or interfere with the rights of minorities. We just want to fix this one problem that we think is a big deal."

Gerry Anglin, Doug Anglin's father, said the school system should compensate boys for the discrimination by boosting their grades retroactively.
Right. The way to help someone defeat a self-destructive behaviour is to become an enabler.

Back when "affirmative action" (which concept, i must say, i never particularly approved of) was the reason that white males weren't as successful as they thought they ought to be, the argument was advanced that if, say, a medical school preferentially admitted people who were technically slightly less than qualified to people who happened to be white males who were marginally qualified, there was a risk that the school might then produce doctors who were also less than qualified.

One would be willing to make odds on the proposition of what a Boston attorney's position on that would be...

(As Ring Lardner [i think] said "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet."

Well, guess what -- this kid's suit is essentially admitting that males are academically inferior to females and asking for a free ride, just like affirmative action -- according to the white males, anyway -- gave to minorities.

"Two weaks ago I cudn't spel 'minoraty' and now i are wun."

Give up kid -- you got a 2.88 GPA, and, even if your school artificially raises it, you still probably ain't gonna get into Holy Cross, 'cos they're gonna know your GPA is on steroids. In fact, all students from schools or school systems known to engage in grade inflation are going to have a harder time getting into good colleges, 'cos the Admissions Office is going to look closer at them.
Gerry Anglin said. "Most of these kids want to go to college, so these records are important to them."
And do you really think the colleges won't know that the grades have been pumped full of hot air, that the butcher's thumb was on the scale?

Phooie, i say, or something like it.
30 January 2006 all the Wrong Places
AP reports:
Bush Looks for Boost From State of Union
By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer

President Bush, in his State of the Union speech Tuesday, will offer ideas for dealing with domestic problems like high energy and health care costs and international troubles like Iran's suspected nuclear ambitions.

The unspoken agenda underpinning the address, Bush's fifth, is the rescue of his presidency from arguably its worst year.
Well, he looked for WMDs in Iraq -- where there weren't any.

He looked for Osama's #2 in Pakistan -- where he wasn't.

He looked for a dictator in cahoots with Osama in Baghdad -- where there wasn't one (Try next door, bub.)

He looked for a way to cover up the fact that politicians (mostly Republican Administrations) have converted the Social Security Trust Fund to $300 trillion od dud IOU's -- he hasn't found one yet...

Is there any wonder that he's looking in the wrong place for a boost in popularity?

(Assuming his State of the Union Address is anywhere near the truth, i sincerely doubt it'll do him any good. If someone slipped him a dose of fastpenta, Lois Bujold's SF super truth drug right before the speech so it was 100% honest, he'd be lucky to escape being ridden out of town on a rail...)

The Official George W. Bush Countdown

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28 January 2006
  "Digital Content Protection Act of 2006" -- Bad Idea. Very Bad Idea.
Okay -- for those with an urge to dig through all of the Senatorial bumph to learn the Absolute Worst, herewith a link to the text of the bill as introduced.

If that leaves you sufficiently incensed that you need no further urging to want to Do Something, click here for the Electronic Freedom Foundation's action-center item for writing to your Senator.

Otherwise, it gets worse... or at least more ominous:

A Boing Boing reader follows up Cory Doctorov's original post there on this and supplies the following interesting info about the bill's sponsor (almost certainly not its actual author; that would be some high-powered lobbyist/law firm in the pay of the NAB, MPAA or RIAA [or (D) All of the above]):
Update Jami sez, "The author of the new bill to break our televisions, computers, and mp3 players, Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon, has been paid tens of thousands of dollars to do it. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has been lobbying hard for the sole ability to decide how hard it's gonna be for us to listen to an mp3. The NAB has thrown nearly $250,000 at Republican candidates this year alone. NAB's money stuck to Gordon Smith."
Andrew Kantor, in his regular USAToday column, sounds the warning tocsin:
The government, rather than the free market, would be able to say what capabilities a new device could have. And you can bet the entertainment industry would have a big say in that.

If this was law a few years ago, the entire digital music movement would have been stopped in its tracks. See, the RIAA fought tooth and nail against the Diamond Multimedia Rio PMP300, eventually losing in federal court. Had the DCPA been in effect, Diamond never could have made it; the FCC would have said No.
In short, this bill is designed to crush innovation, because the entertainment industry is unable to handle it. Its content and revenue model is stuck in the 1990s, and the people running it don't have the business sense to keep up with the digital times. They need to beg Congress to pass laws protecting their business model.
The entertainment industry has been doing its level best to shoot itself in both feet simultaneously with large-calibre stupidity, and this sounds to me like more of the same.
A friend of a friend was a major material witness in the Sony-Disney foolishness almost thirty years ago, and i can't say as how i feel as if the entertainment industry has learnt much since then.

Other friends are members of one of the hottest bands of the last ten years or so -- an incredible band that cannot hold a major-label contract despite a large and loyal fanbase because they don't fit the straitjacket that the entertainment industry's format fuehrers have radually been drawing tighter and tighter around popular entertainment.

And they want to tell us what we can or cannot listen to, watch, record or download in our own homes. They want to be able to cripple our teevees, computers and such so that we can't possibly avail ourselves of anythiong except exactly hwat they want us to hav.

Kantor, again:
Here's how it works. The DCPA would allow the FCC to regulate any device capable of moving content around. Can you transfer content to it from your computer? It's regulated. Can it convert music or movies from one format to another? It's regulated. Does it have output jacks? It's regulated.

What features couldn't the FCC regulate? Only which permit "customary historic use" - such as playing music and making low-grade copies.


So the big-time pirates - the kind folks who burn thousands of DVDs for sale on the streets of Beijing - will be unaffected. And a good number of people who are affected will start using file-sharing software to get better-quality copies of their entertainment.

And there's the irony: People who simply want to exercise their legal rights under copyright law - to make a backup copy of their music - will be forced to get their entertainment illegally. And the people who obey the law will find they're getting less and less value for their money.

And the entertainment industry will find it difficult to understand why more and more people go out of their way to avoid the law's restrictions.

Prohibition was a flaming disaster. This thing has the potential to make Prohibition look like a minor glitch.
27 January 2006
  More Jolly NeoCon Humour
A friend of mine once remarked in a zine in an amateur press association mailing that he couldn't understand how liberal commentators could be so mean-spirited, presumably in contrast to the amiable, even-handed discourse of right-wingers who, he implied, would never do anything like that.

As it happened, just about the time he did that, a neocon columnist wrote a whole "humourous" column calling for the death of Chelsea Clinton before she could spread the "taint" any further. We haven't heard much more from our apa friend on the subject.

So now i flip to Yahoo! and find one of the featured pieces under "News" is an account of one of Anne Coulter's typical hilarious little jests.

Speaking at a traditionally black college, AP reports:

Coulter had told the Philander Smith College audience Thursday that more conservative justices were needed on the Supreme Court to change the current law on abortion. Stevens is one of the court's most liberal members.

"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media."

Notice, she felt it necessary to specify that it was a joke, perhaps because she was afraid that, given her usual level of vitriolic and viuperative discourse, people would reasonably conclude that she meant it and she might face charges of making terorristic threats.

Imagine, say, Al Sharpton speaking at an Ivy League school and saying something similar about, oh, Dick Cheney. The Secret Service wouldn't necessarily be waiting for him at the door, but i'm sure someone would wander by and have a discussion with him sometime soon...
  French Gay Rights Group Agrees with President Bush
Remember when then-candidate Bush made the remark that "...there's such a thing as too much freedom of speech"?

Well, a gay-rights group in France apparently agree with the Shrub, and sued a member of the National Assembly for speaking a bit too freely (as quoted at the Hammer of Truth libertarian blog):
Stating that “homosexual behaviour endangers the survival of humanity” and that “heterosexuality is morally superior to homosexuality” can cost you dearly in France. Exactly these opinions, expressed by the French politician Christian Vanneste last year, led to him being sentenced on Tuesday to payment of a heavy fine.
The conviction was the first under some apparently pretty stiff "anti hate-crime" laws, specicfically an anti-homophobia law enacted 30 December 2004.

I can understand the reasoning behind anti-hate-crime laws, and have no problem with laws which increase the severity of the penalty where there is actual damage done if the crime had a racist/homophobic/sexist/whatever element -- add six months to the vandalism sentence for desecrating gravesites if swastikas were painted on Jewish headstones, say -- but laws that just make it illegal for assholes to blow off steam are a little scary.

I might be an asshole myself, someday.

And, as i've said before, no matter how the sentiment may upset my liberal acquaintances (and surprise my right wing acquaintances) ...and besides, if we let them talk, it makes them easier to find when we need to."
  Blaming the Wrong Usual Suspects... (v 1.1)
And so i run across a post by Michelle Malkin who (correctly, as it happens) accuses those who would quote Ben Franklin as having said "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither" of misquoting the old boy.

And indeed they are.

What Franklin did, indeed, as Ms. Malkin points out, say was "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

I had heard and quoted the full version as "... will soon have neither." My bad. However, i got the two essential words right -- "essential" and "temporary". (Can't say as i disagree too much with the misquote, either, but that is neither here nor there.)

Ms. Malkin, showing the Right's facility to hear errors on the Left but to forget ot to remain blissfully unaware of similar errors -- or indeed, the same errors -- on the part of the Right {see IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE} refers to it being "misused and abused by the civil liberties absolutists since Sept. 11", and, indeed, it has been pretty heavily in use by such people since then.

(Since i don't know Ms. Malkin's position of gun control and Second Amendment issues, but do know that of many who in other ways she sounds like, i fear i must here subject her to a bit of guilt by association.) One may question just why being a "civil liberties absolutist" is better or worse than being a "Second Amendment Absolutist", since, in both cases, the intent is to preserve and protect what one sees as important parts of the Constitution (all of it in one case, one small and interpretation-subject sentence in the other [i couldn't resist]).

Tis question is irrelevant, i will accept as stipulated the identification of the groups in question.

However, blaming the misquote and/or its widespread use on 9/11 protestors, Lefties in general and the ACLU and similar groups is either to ignore or to rewrite the long and semi-honourable history of that misquote in American political discourse.

Essentially, up till 9/11, its (mis)use was almost the sole prerogative of libertarian-to-extreme-right radio talkshow hosts and their callers.

I have heard the Fat Man say it.

I have heard Atlanta's own local alleged-libertarian right-wing wowser, Neal Boortz, spouting it whenever gun control comes up.

In the few seconds i could stand to listen at one time to Sean Hannity's whiney little voice, i have heard him spout it.

And so on.

You don't hear it too much from the Right these days, true -- at least not the semi-rational ones who can see that reminding people of it is giving the dingal;ings on the Other Side ammunition.

And i wish i didn't hear the misquote from the Left.

Because the misquote isn't necessary -- Franklin's actual words are a sufficiently damning indictment of the jury-rigged, authoritarian, incompetent attempts of the Shrub Administration to convince us that they are "defending" us from a level of "threat" that exists only in the minds of Bush and his band of Merry Pranksters, of FAUXNews "reporters" and commentators regurgitating the daily talking points memo and of those who, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, still believe them.

I'm not saying there is not a threat, there undoubtedly is.

But it's not to be found in Baghdad.

It's not to be found in the shoes of air travellers.

It's not even to be found in the hearts and minds of bin Laden and/or his followers (let's face it -- 911 is the only truly successful act of terrorism ever attempted by foreigners, but Gen-you-Wine Amurrickan Pay-tree-otts have been doing jes' fine at shooting people and bombing one thing or another for years. (Or do you think, say, that theOklahoma City or the Birmingham abortion clinic bombing were actually planned by bin Laden?)

*------------------------Important Footnote---------------------*
*Those who are offended by my phraseing up there are free to switch the word "Left" and " "Right" everywhere they occur in the sentence beginning "Ms. Malkin, showing..." and ending "...since then.", and to replace Ms. Malkin's name with your favourite left-wing commentator -- Molly Ivins, perhaps.

The essential truth of the statement will not be changed.

24 January 2006
  Oh, yeah, of course they do...
So the ACLU has gotten a settlement of $200,000 from the FBI and the TSA to cover their legal expanses incurred in forcing the two agencies to do what the law -- in this case the Freedom of Information Act -- said they were required to do.

Anyhone who creebed about the "arrogance" and "high handedness" of federal agencies under the Clinton Administration who isn't practically frothing at the mouth about it here in the Shrub's second term (a) has been struck blind in the intervening years, (b) has died in the intervening years, or (c) is a Republican.

In general, my money's on (c).

According to AP, the "no fly" list secretly maintained -- well, maintained in secrecy, since its existence has been pretty broadly publicised by this and similar suits -- had 16 names on it on the morning of 9/11... and now has thousands.

And they aren't real careful about making sure whether you're the person whose name is more-or-less supposed to be there or just another Greek by the same name -- so far Ted Kennedy and David Nelson (right -- Rick's brother, Ozzie and Harriet's son) have been stopped from boarding flights because their names turned up.

The ACLU got involved when a pair of peace activists who had aparently committed the Ultimate Sin when they criticised George Bush -- right out in public, in a newsletter they publish -- who were stopped from boarding a flight three years ago.

Anyway, one apparently makes the list by two high-precision "primary" principles: Whether various intelligence agencies view an individual as a "potential threat to U.S. civil aviation," and whether the agency requesting a listing has provided enough information to identify the person to be flagged at check-in.

So, apparently, if they're not confident of being able to ID you at the airport, you're not supposed to be on the list?

That, of course, explains the detentions of Kennedy and Nelson.

According to the AP story on Wired,
The documents [heavily "redacted"*], disclosed that people are regularly removed from lists if the FBI is convinced they are not a threat."
And if you believe, on their own say-so, that they do that, me and my friend the Tooth Fairy want to talk to you about some excellent bargains in New York City infrastructure...


*"Redacted" is the governent's current euphemism for "censored" as applied to what are supposed to be public records under FOIA; "redaction" sounds less ominous and sinister than "censorship" -- same principle as calling bombs, mines and booby traps "improvised explosive devices"... But an "IED" will kill you just as dead as a "bomb" (which has nearly happened at least once to my son-in-law, when an "IED" threw the Bradley he was driving thirty feet end over end. I'd call that a "mine".), and "redaction" keeps you in the dark just as effectively as censorship.
  Trust us, we're from the Government...
Jon Carroll, in the San Francisco Chronicle, gives us a parody that's a little too close to reality for my tastes:
Perhaps you have been unable to follow the intricacies of the logic used by John Yoo, the UC Berkeley law professor who has emerged as the president's foremost apologist for all the stuff he has to apologize for. I have therefore prepared a brief, informal summary of the relevant arguments.

Why does the president have the power to unilaterally authorize wiretaps of American citizens?

Because he is the president.

Does the president always have that power?

No. Only when he is fighting the war on terror does he have that power.

When will the war on terror be over?

The fight against terror is eternal. Terror is not a nation; it is a tactic. As long as the president is fighting a tactic, he can use any means he deems appropriate.
And so on. The part that scares me is these lines, which i have often contemplated in looking over the way things are going in this country:
Won't the American people object?

Not if they're scared enough.
  ...and it was just an Iraqi general, anyway...
A military jury at Fort Carson, Colorado, decided not to convict a Chief Warrant Officer of murder in the death under interrogation of an Iraqi general.

US Army warrant officer Lewis Welshofer, who stuffed an Iraqi general head first into s aleeping bag, sat on his chest, and covered his mouth with his hand while questioning him, was acquitted on murder charges that carried a potential of life in prison, and instead convicted of negligent homicide and negligent dereliction of duty, which altogether could get him a penalty of up to three years and three months in prison, a dishonorable discharge, loss of pension and other penalties.

His defense lawyer (who rejoices in the appropriate, in my opinion, name of "Spinner", and apparently never met a GI who killed Iraqis during interrogation who he didn't like) argued that, hey, it wsn't his fault -- the dude was old and he had a heart condition. Coulda happened to anybody.

While the murder charge carried a potential sentence of life in prison, Welshofer apparently, depending on how his CO decides in a review of the court's sentence, faces no jail time, and a maximum penalty of the forfeiture of $6,000 in salary and what amounts largely to a restriction to his barracks for 60 days.

You can get daned nearly that at a Captain's Mast ("Article 15", in the Army, i think) for telling a windbag officer where to go and what to do when he gets there.

"I have the utmost respect for the decision the panel members came to tonight. I'm sure it was difficult for them," Welshofer said.

His attorney said "When you send our men and women over there to fight, and to put their lives on the line, you've got to back them up, you've got to give them clear rules, and you've got to give them enough room to make mistakes without treating them like criminals."

And never ever question whether they should even be over there at all, 'cos that dishonours our dead... Unlike this guy [and the sentencing panel, i'd say] who dishonour our whole damned Army.

Bah. I need a drink to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

So i read that article, then i google to make sure that "Article 15" was the term i wanted, and the first article google shows me is this one:
He would have preferred 'non-judicial' punishment

That's what Army 1st Lt. Jack Saville's lawyer said after his client was sentenced to 45 days after he pled guilty to "having two Iraqis thrown at gunpoint into the Tigris in Samarra." One of the young Iraqi man died, although the U.S. soldiers claimed his death was faked. The family of the young Iraqi gave permission to the U.S. government to exhume the remains of their son to confirm the death but somehow that just couldn't be done.

That's right. 45 days for having killed a man. Oh, yes, also $12,000 in docked pay. Such a shining example of our culture of life.

Let's see -- the other guy is a Chief Warrant Officer and this guy is a Lieutenant, so he makes more so he has to pay more, but spends less time in confinement.


Lt. Saville did apologize to the victims. He further expressed remorse "for putting fellow troops in increased danger by inciting insurgent Iraqis, who portrayed the incidents as war crimes."

Bartender -- make that a double.

Absinthe, i think.
23 January 2006
Well, there they are -- step-daughter [Jennifer] Helen [Whigham] Davidson and step-grand-daughter Bridget Catharine {Maggie} Davidson.
Born 5:53PM on Friday the Thirteenth of January, 2006.

They've actually bullied me into holding and minding the baby for short intervals, despite the fact that it is well known that i am one of the more maladroit people God ever put on this planet. I won't quite claim that i could break a cannonball, but being handed something that small and helpless and precious and fragile gives me the willies.

There are more pics. {"Let me show you the pictures of my grand-daughter..."}

You can go to my webpage, and click the link at the left side, or you can click one of these pictures on this page, or you could even click right here.
  Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal yet...
Non Sequitur for 23 January 2006This one is only available online free for fifteen days, i think.
22 January 2006
  Ah, Yes. Conservatives Support Freedom of Speech, Right?
A "conservative alumni group" is targeting "liberal" and "radical" professors at UCLA.

The organisation, which calls itself the Bruin Alumni Association (suggesting an official connection with the school and/or the official UCLA alumni association, though none exists) is soliciting students to record lectures, offering $100 to students who hand over recordings that "prove" that professors are advocating a left-wing agenda.

The UCLA Chancellorcharacterised the organisation's program as "reprehensible", and has pointed out that what students are being asked to provide may violate school rules and even copyright laws.

According to Reuters:
News of the campaign prompted former Republican congressman James Rogan, who helped lead impeachment proceedings against former President Bill Clinton in the U.S. House of Representatives, to resign from the group's advisory board.

"I am uncomfortable to say the least with this tactic," Rogan, now a lawyer in private practice in California, said in an e-mail resignation made public by the Los Angeles Times. "It places students in jeopardy of violating myriad regulations and laws.
Andrew Jones, the person behind the organisation, claims that he merely intends to "restore an atmosphere of respectful political discourse on campus", and that his organisation intends to expose academics who proselytize from either the right or the left...

"We are concerned solely with indoctrination, one-sided presentation of ideological controversies and unprofessional classroom behavior," says the site.

Which sounds good, except that his website, which says that the organisation is "dedicated to exposing UCLA's most radical professors", only mentions left-wingers.

I would be willing to bet that, in the long run, he won't see any right-wing ideologues, because from his point of view, extreme right-wing views are simply correct and teaching them cannot be indoctination.

I've noticed that extremists on both sides hold that sort of opinion -- rather like Spike Lee saying that he can't be racist, because he's black.

I know what i am -- what about you?
  ...and so I went to Hell...
The Dante's Inferno Test banished me to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here's how i matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)Very High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Very High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)High

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

Pssst -- now that you've been to Hell, click here to cool off.

The same folks offer a number of other similar amusements:

You might like to take a Personality Disorder Test.

Or, if that's too worrisome, ask a question and get an answer from the Advice Bunny.

Or participate in a survey to see who's really well-known and who isn't.
21 January 2006
  Meanwhile, Back at the Laire...
Small update to my website -- i just posted a Featured Review from among my review backfiles.

Normally, it would be whatever was my most recent review at Amazon, but it's been a while since i did one there. Check back at the Laire in about a week for another feature review and other updates.
  Broke My Stride
Being without broadband for over a week broke my stride on this; i hope to get back into it as we go along, though i have an apazine to finish printing and mail this week, which is going to keep me busy.

Meanwhile, apropos of nothing at all, i'm beginning to become a little more sanguine about the upcoming Pixar/Disney film, Cars. The second teaser trailer, which i saw with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, looked better than the first trailer (with The Incredibles), and then someone posted this link to the international trailer that hasn't been shown here in the States yet, to the best of my knowledge...

Good cast, too -- with Richard Petty as "The King" (a Plymouth SuperBird), Cheech Marin as "Ramone", a Fifties Chevy lowrider, George Carlin as "Filmore", a 60's VW bus with flower-power paintjob, Paul Newman as "Doc" Hudson (a '51 Hudson Hornet who's apparently Sheriff and Magistrate in a small Kansas town -- don't laugh too hard; the Hudson Hornet was THE car to own or to beat in early NASCAR racing) ... and "Car Talk"'s Magliozzi borothers, ("Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers") as "Clink" and "Clunk".

The racing sequences look incredible.

The second car my family ever owned was a '51 Hudson... i think it was two years old when we got it.
19 January 2006
  And So We have DSL Again...
...and i'm catching up on the comics i read online, and i come to yesterday's (1/18/06) "Funky Winkerbean".

And so the city councilwoman's petty revenge for being shown for the bigoted fool she is in the comic store case isn't hurting the comic store, or Montoni's Pizza (the HQ of the Opposition, as it were) or defence attorney Lisa Moore's storefont legal office...

But it's killing other people.

Just like the Real World.

She must be a Republican.
18 January 2006
  Soon, Sooonn, my Precious...
Allegedly we get our broadband back tomorrow.

Excuse me while i take that statement with a grain of salt; when we first connected, it took a full week and four home service call appointments (one of which was kept) before we got it working.

Also, BellSouth claims that a technician has to trot over in corpore to the central office and personally configure the DSL.

I Doubt It.
13 January 2006
  We Interrupt This Program...
Entries are going to be sparse and uninteresting for the next wek or so -- we are going to be net-access-less till 19 January at a minimum.

10 January 2006
  Help People in New Orleans by Shipping Bibles to Missionaries Overseas
Talk About Bait and Switch...

This is a beauty. While looking for a graphic i needed for something else, i came upon a fascinating post on the site of the American Bible Society.

The ABS spcialises in sending bibles top places where they don't got no bibles. Maybe where they don't even want no bibles. Their site (even tackier than my own webpage, which i hadn't believed possible) features text boxes with appeals like:
Bibles for China: great need, even greater opening

DONATE NOW: $100 provides paper to print 100 Bibles.
One of the most fertile fields for Bible distribution is the People's Republic of China. The demand for Bibles there continues to exceed the supply. And for just $1 per Bible you can help provide the paper that will allow a Chinese Christian to have a long- awaited Bible of their own.
I can just about, i believe, imagine the reaction of the government of the People's Republic to that...)

But the article i found most interesting claims that under special legislation passed to expedite and facilitate relief to New Orleans and other Gulf Coast areas devastated by Katrina, donations to any "qualifying" organisation (which the ABS apparently considers itself to be) get special consideration, even if they don't go anywhere near the Katrina damaged are and were never intended to.

That is, if you contribute to the ABS's mission to cram the bible down the htroats of people all over the world, you get a tax break from special tax provisions set up to help the victime os the storm, right here in the USA.

Here's the post (entitled "American Bible Society: Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005") from the ABS site:
Congress Encourages Charitable Giving
by Offering Special Tax Breaks to
Generous Donors

Charitable donations of cash given from August 28 through December 31, 2005 may enable the donor to deduct up to 100 percent of his or her adjusted gross income for 2005. Donations by individuals need NOT be related to hurricane relief to qualify. Donations to the American Bible Society are eligible for the tax incentives.

The law, termed KETRA (Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005), raises the maximum deduction from 50 percent to 100 percent of adjusted gross income, for qualified contributions. While this tax benefit does not fit every donor's situation, it is a major windfall for those capable of making large gifts from their accumulated estate or from extraordinary income in 2005.

We urge you to contact your financial advisor for additional information on how this law may affect your situation.

For more information on how you can take advantage of KETRA's charitable giving incentives, you may speak with a giving specialist at the American Bible Society by calling 1-800-820-6227. Or, if you prefer, you may submit an inquiry via e-mail and receive a response from the Bible Society.
Ah, yes -- President Shrub and his "faith-based initiatives" -- more important to spread the Gospel even if no-one asked you to or wants you to than to send money to help US citizens devastated by a natural disaster.

But perfectly okay to use the plight of those people to jam through a bill that sounds as if will help them but really just gives money to your funny mentalist buddies to use any way they want to.

Sounds to me like there might be some Church/State issues here.
  One Law for Them, Another for the Rest of Us
David Sirota, blogging at the Huffington Post, points out two separate data points regarding the right to privacy.

First, how the IRS handles information regarding the rich:
Records showing how thoroughly the Internal Revenue Service audits big corporations and the rich, and how much it discounts the additional taxes assessed after audits, are being withheld from the public despite a 1976 court order requiring their disclosure...[IRS] lawyers concluded that no court order existed...Professor Long responded by sending Mr. Keith a copy of the order. [Yet] the agency has no plans to release the information, Mr. Keith said Friday."
- New York Times, 1/10/05
According to the story quoted from, Professor Susan Long has been compiling this information and making it available online along with analytical tools for people to use with it since 1976, at which time she had gotten a court order requiring the IRS to provide it. In 2004, the IRS stopped providing the information, and announced that, if it ever did feel like providing it again, it would cost $12,000 monthly.

After Long sent Frank Keith (senior national spokesman for IRS) a copy of the court order he denied existed, and he said that no one currently at the agency was aware of it; that they thought they had been providing her the info free voluntarily, out of the goodness of their hearts.

But they don't plan to cough it up anymore, even now that they know there is a court order.

Second, an interesting little datum anent how the IRS treats the rest of us, and how the Republicanists want to use it:
In 2004, "[during the] drafting of a huge spending bill, [GOP lawmakers] added a provision that could give staffers on the House and Senate appropriations committees broad access to Americans' tax returns." And in 2005, "The Internal Revenue Service collected information on the political party affiliations of taxpayers in 20 states."
- Washington Post, 12/3/04; Tacoma News Tribune, 1/6/06
One law for the rich and one for the poor, indeed.

Note that, according to the Times story, one of the reasons that Frank Keith gives for not giving the info that Long wants is that it could compromise the privacy of some taxpayers (not to mention that it woud be Very Expensive and that, according to him, Long is demanding material outside the scope of the court order. Long basically says that this is news to her, saying she's asking for nothing that they hadn't been giving her for eighteen years already...).

Well, duh. I'm all for protecting the privacy of taxpayers, especially me-type taxpayers.

But the Republicanists think that they ought to have access to my tax return.

Soemthing i don't think they've thought through --

This is the sort of law that you really oughtn't pass unless you can confidently expect to be in power forevermore -- perhaps your assertions you will Only Use This Power For Good are absolutely true, or perhaps you intend to use it to really crack down on the opposition.

Sooner or later, you are going to be OUT, and someone who (in the first possibility) isn't so Pure Of Heart as you, or (in the second possibility) is just as happy to use any underhanded advantage they can get against their opponents.

And then you are going to regret all of those sneaky little underhanded advantages you gave the Party In Power over the Party Out Of Power.

Be too late then, won't it though?

And i'll laugh and laugh and laugh...
  The Mouse that ... Well, it didn't roar, exactly, but it had its revenge...
Mouse thrown into fire sets home ablaze

FORT SUMNER, N.M. -AP- A mouse got its revenge against a homeowner who tried to dispose of it in a pile of burning leaves. The blazing creature ran back to the man's house and set it on fire.


The first thing i thought of when i read this article was the scene in the Richard Dreyfuss/Burt Reynolds comedy The Crew, in which they are senior citizens, members of a former Mob crew, now retired in Florida on barely-adequate savings -- specifically the scene in which they attempt arson by tieing a long strip of incendiary material to the tail of a rat and letting it loose in the cellar of the house to be torched. (Don't worry, the rat makes it through unscorched, though it does run next door and torch the wrong house before everything is over...)

Actually, i sort of assumed, for some reason, that the mouse was tossed into an indoor fireplace, not an outdoor fire.

I mean -- from what i hear of current weather conditions out that way, what was this guy doing burning trash outside, anyway?
09 January 2006
  Anarapoia, v1.1
In a column entitled "A Life, Wasted" in the Washington Post (Page A17, 3 January o6), Paul E. Schroder talks about his son's death in Iraq, about the ways in which people seem almost afraid to discuss it, retreating behind catch phrases like "He died a hero" or "He was a true patriot."

Mr. Schroder says
The words "hero" and "patriot" focus on the death, not the life. They are a flag-draped mask covering the truth that few want to acknowledge openly: Death in battle is tragic no matter what the reasons for the war. The tragedy is the life that was lost, not the manner of death. Families of dead soldiers on both sides of the battle line know this. Those without family in the war don't appreciate the difference.
One who doesn't, of course, is our own heroic war President:
Two painful questions remain for all of us. Are the lives of Americans being killed in Iraq wasted? Are they dying in vain? President Bush says those who criticize staying the course are not honoring the dead. That is twisted logic: honor the fallen by killing another 2,000 troops in a broken policy?
The very first entry in this blog is entitled "They are Killing my Brothers Again".

As a serving member of the Navy, during the Viet Nam era, and a non-combat veteran of that very same little fiasco, i watched the same empty, stupid rhetoric being trotted out by those (on both sides, to be fair) who had only a political stake in the conflict -- stay the course. Don't dishonour our brave dead by pulling out.

There is a phrase -- "Throwing good money after bad." At some point you simply have to step back, take a deep breath or two and ask yourself if the cost to continue whatever you are doing (in whatever form it is paid), added to the costs you have aready incurred, is worth the possible gain.

I cannot see that, in Iraq, that it was, is or ever could be.

I don't believe that what we will leave behind us will be a viable democracy (or even republic, like us). That is, of course, if we ever manage to leave.

Let's forget Viet Nam for a moment -- look at Northern Ireland.

British troops went into Ulster to protect the rights of the Catholic minority. Within a very short time, they were under fire from both Protestants and Catholic groups, and their very presence was escalating the violence which, in turn, their presence seemed to be necessary to try to suppress.

At least the British have a heck of a lot less distance between them and Ireland than we do us and Iraq.

You cannot impose "freedom" on a man whose definition of "freedom" doesn't match yours. You cannot create democracy with a magic wand and a military force in a region where the very concept of "democracy" is almost unknown.

(Those who point to voter turnout and voting patterns in Iraq as evidence that Iraqis want democracy might do well to consider voter turnout and voting patterns in the old USSR.)

You cannot free a slave who does not wish to be free.

With luck, we'll wind up with a relatively benign theocratic republic in Iraq.

Maybe, in five or ten years after the war ends (if ever), Iraqis will begin to obtain the material standard of living they had before we arrived and broke it. (Like, maybe, electricity and safe running water 24 hours a day?) Of course, the museums and cultural institutions will never be the same -- you know -- the ones that were looted while US troops with orders to secure the Oil Ministry and oil facilities stood by watching?

We didn't have enough troops. We don't have enough troops. I sincerely doubt if we ever could have enough troops -- and i question whether it would be worth the cost and the loss, anyway.

A psychologist acquaintance of mine once referred to a condition she called "anarapoia" -- following someone around with the fixed delusion that you intend to do them good.

Assuming that anything that Bush & Co have told us about this war and their reasons for getting us into it is true, i fear me that our country is suffering at its highest levels from anarapoia.

And no matter how fixed and fervent a delusion may be, it is still a delusion, and attempting to make it reality by enforcing your world vision on others is folly.

And sooner or later, you have to recognise that folly for what it is, and stop trying to accomplish it. Stop throwing good money after bad.

Stop killing more troops in a vain desire to "Not dishonor the sacrifices of those who have already died."

No one wants to believe that their son or daughter died in vain.

But it looks more and more as if they have been and still are doing just that.

Mr Schroder's son died in a town that the Marines were "securing" for the fifth time.

Mr Shroder finishes his commentary:
Though it hurts, I believe that his death -- and that of the other Americans who have died in Iraq -- was a waste. They were wasted in a belief that democracy would grow simply by removing a dictator -- a careless misunderstanding of what democracy requires. They were wasted by not sending enough troops to do the job needed in the resulting occupation -- a careless disregard for professional military counsel.

But their deaths will not be in vain if Americans stop hiding behind flag-draped hero masks and stop whispering their opposition to this war. Until then, the lives of other sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers may be wasted as well.

This is very painful to acknowledge, and I have to live with it. So does President Bush.
Yes, well it isn't as if any of the troops dying in Iraq are Real People so far as the President is concerned...
08 January 2006
  Robert McNamara: He's Baaaaaaack!
Apparently feeling that he and his staff of talented amateurs aren't doing enough to really screw up the situation over in Iraq, the Shrub brings in the acknowledged Grand Master of putting on golf shoes and stepping on yourself with both feet, Robert McNamara.

Robert McNamara: He's Baaaaaaack!

Al Eisele ( says:
There he was, Robert McNamara, standing in the Oval Office last week for a photo op with Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and 12 other former secretaries of Defense and State, after what the New York Times described as "an exceedingly upbeat 40-minute briefing ... about how well things are going in Iraq."

This on one of the bloodiest days since the U.S.-led invasion nearly three years ago, when some 130 people, including five American soldiers, were killed by suicide bombers and roadside bombs in Iraq. And only hours later, more than 500 people enthusiastically greeted Pennsylvania Congressman Jack Murtha at a town meeting in suburban Washington as he renewed his call for Bush to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq because he is convinced the war cannot be won militarily.

We don't know what if anything the 89-year-old McNamara, who helped another president from Texas, Lyndon Johnson, blunder into the quagmire of Vietnam, told Bush, but let's hope he gave him better advice than he did in urging Johnson to stay the course in Vietnam, which cost more than $500 billion and some 58,000 American lives.
Oh, yeah; advice from the man who helped push us into a big-dick contest with the USSR over in Viet Nam.

Just what we need.
  How Fast Could You Get In Trouble?
I've dreamed of something like this...

Behold! The Scrolling Belt Buckle!

I can think of so many ways i could get myself in so much trouble with this, especially in light of this, from the manufacturer's FAQ:
Can I program it with custom phrases?

Yep. It can hold up to six unique messages at a time, with each message being 256 characters long. You can change these messages at any time.
Neet, Huh? $29.99 +$6.49 s/h. (And there's a QuickTime video showing it in action.)
  ...and they call Iran a theocracy.
Utah Theater Cancels 'Brokeback Mountain'

AP - A movie theater owned by Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller abruptly changed its screening plans and decided not to show the film "Brokeback Mountain." The film, an R-rated Western gay romance story, was supposed to open Friday at the Megaplex at Jordan Commons in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City. Instead it was pulled from the schedule.

A message posted at the ticket window read: "There has been a change in booking and we will not be showing 'Brokeback Mountain.' We apologize for any inconvenience."

07 January 2006
  Republicans Vow "No Delay" in Choosing House Majority Leader (v1.1)
DeLay Gives Up Bid to Reclaim House Post
Rep. Tom DeLay, the defiant face of a conservative revolution in Congress, stepped down as House majority leader on Saturday under pressure from Republicans staggered by an election-year corruption scandal.

"During my time in Congress, I have always acted in an ethical manner within the rules of our body and the laws of our land," the Texas lawmaker told fellow Republicans in a letter informing them of his decision.

Still, referring to criminal charges he faces in his home state, he added, "I cannot allow our adversaries to divide and distract our attention."


Democrats, eager to take control of the House in November, reacted to DeLay's announcement with studied indifference.

"The culture of corruption is so pervasive in the Republican conference that a single person stepping down is not nearly enough to clean up the Republican Congress," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader.

Added Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the House Democratic campaign organization: "With the permanence of their special interest philosophy, a change in the Republican cast of characters simply doesn't matter."


[O]thers suddenly calling for change were more moderate Republicans who could face difficult re-election campaigns this fall.

New Mexico's Heather Wilson was among them.

She said three of DeLay's "former senior staff members have admitted or have been implicated in corrupt and illegal activities to get money for themselves by influencing legislation. Whether or not Mr. DeLay was involved himself or knew this was going on, he is responsible for his office."
Ah, politics.

If you're positive they can't prove anything, deny everything and act as if nothing is happening.

If there's a chance they might prove something, deny everything and make minor concessions to appearances.

If there's a real good chance they might prove something, deny everything, step down from leadership positions you hold, "in order to prevent partisan attacks from harming the Party".

Once they definitely can prove something, resign quickly, take "full responsibility" (Reagan style, which shields any other perpetrators, means nothing, doesn't cost you anything, but sounds good), try to keep any of your fellow Party members from getting caught, and act as a target for all your fellow Party member's holier-than-thou protestions of wonder that any member of their Grand Old Party would do such a thing...

Shocked, simply shocked.
  ... for quality control ...
Lalo Alcaraz's La Cucaracha for 1/7/06 is the funniest take on the whole NSA/illegal wiretap thing i've seen yet.

(The link above is only goopd for fifteen days, unfortunately.)
06 January 2006
  Two Loose Ends Tied Up
Some good news, some bad (though not really unexpected) news from the Hurricane Katrina aftermath:
New Orleans Bridge Reopens to Traffic

NEW ORLEANS - AP - A major bridge over Lake Pontchartrain that was torn apart by Hurricane Katrina reopened fully to traffic just before dawn Friday.

Katrina's storm surge ripped giant sections of the five-mile concrete bridge, which links New Orleans and Slidell, La., and tossed some into the lake. Other sections of the Interstate 10 span shifted by as much as 5 feet.

Crews cannibalized undamaged sections from the westbound span to patch the eastbound lanes, which were converted temporarily to two-way traffic. That left about a mile of the westbound roadway missing, and they were replaced with a system of metal trusses and decking.
The plan is to replace the bridge completely with a six-lane span within three years.

Hurricane Blamed in Death of Barry Cowsill

NEW ORLEANS - AP - Barry Cowsill, a member of the popular 1960s singing family The Cowsills, was found dead on a wharf nearly four months after he disappeared when Hurricane Katrina flooded the city. He was 51.

Cowsill's body, recovered Dec. 28 from the Chartres Street Wharf, was identified with dental records Tuesday, said Dr. Louis Cataldie, head of the state hurricane morgue in Carville.

The coroner had not determined the cause of death but believed it was related to the devastating storm, which struck the city Aug. 29.


Richard Cowsill said no memorial service was planned and that his brother would be cremated. "He always said when I leave this place, you better party. And that's what we're planning to do," he said.
  The FCC and Pat Robertson
As far back as August, when Pat Robertson was calling from his 700 Club bully pulpit for the assassination of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, people complained to the FCC about him. Guess what? the FCC asserts it has no real authority to do anything about him.

An August 24,2005 article in Broadcast & Cable, said:
An FCC staffer couldn't say how many complaints, which were still being compiled, but said she could personally attest to the fact since she had gotten two e-mails herself.

Televangelist Robertson's comments came on The 700 Club on ABC Family Monday and prompted headlines and lead stories the following day in many major media. ABC Family is contractually obligated to carry the show and quickly disavowed itself of the comments.

It is not clear the FCC has any jurisdiction over the complaint.

For the FCC to act on any alleged hate speech, it first needs to be classified as "a clear and present danger" -- and thus illegal -- by a court.

Even then, the FCC generally asserts that it does not have jurisdiction over cable speech, though it has applied parts of its kids TV regulations to cable, and in doing so said it was classifying it as a "broadcast licensee," for the purposes of that specific regulation.

It is likely the FCC would not do anything unless it first got the court ruling, then it would have to address the issue of jurisdiction over cable.
Nice, huh?
  Pat Robertson Explains God's Will Again
Not that long ago Pat Robertson was using his bully pulpit on The 700 Club to warn a town that dropped "intelligent design" from its school curriculum that God might punish them.

Before that, of course, he was calling for the assassination of Hugo Chavez (in the flap over that, he alleged basically that the Librul Meediya had slandered him by quoting his exact words).

Now he's gone a step further, announcing specifically that Israeli Prime Minister Sharon's stroke was God's retribution against him:
Robertson: Sharon punished for dividing Israel (JTA Breaking News)

The Rev. Pat Robertson said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was punished by God for dividing the Land of Israel.

Speaking on the "700 Club" on Thursday, Robertson suggested that Sharon, who is currently in an induced coma following a massive stroke and cerebral hemorrhage, and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated by an Israeli extremist in 1995, were being treated harshly by God for dividing Israel.

“He was dividing God’s land," Robertson said. "And I would say, 'Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the E.U., the United Nations or the United States of America.' God says, 'This land belongs to me. You better leave it alone.' "

Meanwhile, as reported at Media Matters,
"ABC Family has changed the disclaimer at the end of its telecasts of the Christian Broadcasting Network's (CBN) The 700 Club. The disclaimer now reads, 'The preceding CBN telecast does not reflect the views of ABC Family.' On August 26, ABC Family's post-700 Club graphic read 'The proceeding program was brought to you by CBN.' "
The new disclaimer appeared on August 29 following host Pat Robertson's call on August 22 for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez"So they really don't want to be directly associated with Robertson's insanity. Why don't they drop him?

They can't.

Christianity Today (week of August 22
, after his calls for asassination of Hugo Chavez) reports:
Many people have complained about the 700 Club to cable channel ABC Family, which airs it. But ABC Family has no choice. It is obligated under contract to air it. (The FCC may not be able to do anything, either)

In 1988, Robertson sold the Family Network to Fox for $1.9 billion. Not bad, when you consider the channel was originally launched in 1977 through the donations of viewers who had been promised a Christian alternative to "secular" television, then taken public in 1992. CBN got $136 million from the sale. Robertson's Regent University got another $148 million. Robertson personally received $19 million, and the rest went to the Robertson Charitable Remainder Trust, which will fund CBN after Robertson and his wife die.

But the money wasn't the biggest part of the deal: Fox Family was required to air The 700 Club three times a day -- and, if Fox sold the network, the obligation to air The 700 Club had to be part of that deal, too.

Cable World reported in 2001 that Robertson turned down hundreds of millions of dollars to renegotiate. Largely due to frustration that the 700 Club had disrupted its programming, Fox sold the network to the Walt Disney Company in 2001 for $3 billion and $2.3 billion in debt. Now ABC Family is obligated to air the program three times a day.

Robertson could go on his program and call for the assassination of [then Disney CEO] Michael Eisner and ABC Family couldn't pull it. He could have zero viewers and ABC Family couldn't pull it. The ABC Family airtime has an estimated value of $46.8 million a year.
But Robertson is definitely a man who cuts his coat to suit his cloth -- for instance, he owns a company called (ironically?) "Freedom Gold Limited", a Liberian gold-mining operation, incorporated in the Cayman Islands -- its Presicent and sole Director being one Pat Robertson.

And, when Charles Taylor, President of Liberia was indicted for war crimes, did Robertson approve of President Bush's call, echoing UN resolutions for Taylor to step down for the good of the world and of Liberia's people, did that great humintarian, Robertson, agree?

Nope. July 11, 2003:
"How dare the president of the United States say to the duly elected president of another country, 'You've got to step down,'" Robertson said Monday on "The 700 Club," broadcast from his Christian Broadcasting Network.

Robertson told the Washington Post that the war crimes indictment "is nonsense and should be quashed."

"Frankly, the president's call for Taylor to step down immediately is not wise, because if Taylor leaves immediately, the country will descend into chaos," he told the paper.
Right. We shoulda just had him taken out.
  Do As I say...
Okla. pastor arrested on lewdness charge

AP -Wednesday, January 4, 2006 - OKLAHOMA CITY -- A pastor who has spoken out against homosexuality was arrested after propositioning a male undercover police officer outside a hotel, authorities said.
As the Rev. Lonnie Latham, 59, left jail Wednesday, he said "I was set up. I was in the area pastoring to police."
Oh; is that what they call it today? I have trouble keeping up with the latest slang from the demimonde...

Latham has supported a convention directive urging members to befriend gays and lesbians and try to convince them that they can become heterosexual "if they accept Jesus Christ as their savior and reject their 'sinful, destructive lifestyle.'"
Right. Gays who are out and living a peaceful, happy life, not interfering with or harming others, are "sinful" and "destructive", while repressed, closeted, unhappy ones who take out their own self-loathing by excoriating others and cruise for anonymous sex on the meat racks qualify as holy men and community leaders.

Glad we got that straight. Errr, cleared up.
04 January 2006
  Round and Round and Round in the Circle Game...
Vice-President Cheney says that if we had been doing the sort of warrantless wire-tapping that the Bush Administration has engaged in, we would have known about the ak Qaeda operatives who flew the jet into the Pentagon.

Apparently, we would have known about them from bugging their calls overseas to al Qaeda HQ.

But we didn't know about them.

So how could we have known to bug their calls?

Oh -- Wait! I get it --

We just bug every call from or to anyone who sounds as if he might be Arabic/Islamic to or from anyone overseas/in Islamic countries!

And while we're at it, let's listen in on anyone who might be opposed to our Noble Goals.

And anyone who might work against us getting re-elected to carry out our Noble Goals.

And their families.

And their friends.

And while we're at it, why don't we require every mail-carrier and beat cop to report any suspicious activity.

Which would be defined as All of the Above.

When the next Republicanist Administration asks you to drop by the Post Office or Courthouse to apply for your nice, new internal passport (which is strictly to make sure that you're safe and protected, of course we're not going to restrict your freedom), my only satisfaction(s) will be that (1) at least i didn't vote for these people and (2) i told you so.
  What's the Internet for?
Take some "Warcraft" graphics, a Broadway show tune...
03 January 2006
  If you want to know what's happening here...
...if you will look down and to the right, just above the Bush Countdown Clock, you will see a little form entry box...

Fill in your e-mail there (doesn't have to be your main e-mail; hotmail or GMail will do if you want to keep your identity more or less secret).

Once you are subscribed on Bloglet to this fine publication, each day that i actually post something, along about 4AM EST you will receive an e-mail telling you what i posted the previous day.

That's if there's anyone out there actually reading this, of course.
  Don't Confuse Us with Facts, the President's Mind is Made Up
"Saddam is Dangerous! He has WMDs!" (Chapter # even-more-of-the-same)

Book: CIA ignored info Iraq had no WMD

WASHINGTON -AP- Monday, January 2, 2006- A new book on the government's secret anti-terrorism operations describes how the CIA recruited an Iraqi-American anesthesiologist in 2002 to obtain information from her brother, who was a figure in Saddam Hussein's nuclear program.

Dr. Sawsan Alhaddad of Cleveland made the dangerous trip to Iraq on the CIA's behalf. The book said her brother was stunned by her questions about the nuclear program because - he said - it had been dead for a decade.

New York Times reporter James Risen uses the anecdote to illustrate how the CIA ignored information that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction. His book, "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration" describes secret operations of the Bush administration's war on terrorism.


More evidence that we were stampeded into a war for no purpose.

My step-daughter's husband is still over there. With luck he'll come home to see his new-born daughter (due in a week or so).

No thanks to George Bush, Dick Cheney, or Donald "go-with-the-Army-you-got" Rumsfeld, who arranged the whole war on fabricated and manipulated "evidence".
02 January 2006
  "911 Operator. What is your emergency?" "Meow"
Cat Calls 911 to Help Owner, Police Say
Mon Jan 2 - (AP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Police aren't sure how else to explain it. But when an officer walked into an apartment Thursday night to answer a 911 call, an orange-and-tan striped cat was lying by a telephone on the living room floor. The cat's owner, Gary Rosheisen, was on the ground near his bed having fallen out of his wheelchair.

Rosheisen said his cat, Tommy, must have hit the right buttons to call 911

01 January 2006
  And Now, a Message from the ACLU...
Click for a larger view
From Glenn Hauman's "View from Above"
My interests are broadranging -- comics, music, movies and good ol' science fiction mostly dominate. My Five Most Favouritest Films are (this week) Once Upon A Time in the West, Dark Star, O Lucky Man, Day for Night and Whatever I Watched Recently That Was Good. Currently that's Day for Night.

My Photo
Name: mike weber
Location: gainesville, Georgia, United States

Latter fifties, married, out of work (had knee surgery and haven't gotten back to work); my (step) son-in-law is back from Iraq, but a lot of boys are still over there. Support our troops -- throw the Republicans out!

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / February 2007 / August 2007 /

  • Baby pics; My [step] granddaughter.
  • Experiments in stereo (3D) imaging
  • Cowboy Mouth: Butt-Kickin' New Orleans Rock'n'Roll
  • Fairport Convention -- Pretty much the founders of modern Brit folk-rock
  • The Radio Ranch: Dick ("Chickenman") Orkin's freelance radio production facility
  • Laire of the Elecktronick Tyger -- my Web Page, such as it is. Book, movie, CD and comics reviews
  • My Amazon profile. Read my reviews. Buy things.
  • Long John Baldry: Arguably the most important force in the early days of British Blues.
  • Dark Star (DVD) -- See where George Lucas got some of his ideas.
  • Fallen Angel (TPB) Collects the first 6 (of 20) issues of the DC run.
  • Google News
  • The Nutbar Files:
  • 911: The "True" Story
  • A Typical "Moon Hoax" site
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    Try - share your musical tastes, find others who share them, and generally interact in a music-oriented on-line community.

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