All purpose vertically integrated publishing empire for cynicism, hopelessness and misanthropy. Mild nausea is common when using this product. Other symptoms may include, but are not limited to: dizzyness, headache, homicidal rage and yellow discharge. Rarely, users may begin to hear voices urging them to kill. If this occurs, discontinue use and seek psychiatric attention. Do not read when pregnant or nursing; the author thinks that's gross.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ghouliani

Not too much to say here. An official member of Giuliani's campaign has come out in favor of genocide, and said that his boss would be the best man to lead the war against Muslims. All Muslims.

"[Rudy's] got I believe the knowledge and the judgement to attack one of the most difficult problems in current history and that is the rise of the Muslims, and make no mistake about it, this hasn't happened for a thousand years. These people are very dedicated and they're also very very smart in their own way. We need to keep the feet to the fire and keep pressing these people until we defeat or chase them back to their caves or in other words get rid of them."


Just in case someone thought he was misquoted, he elaborates in a second interview.

Greg Sargent just interviewed the guy. He is John Deady, the co-chair of Veterans for Rudy in New Hampshire, and he is not backing off his original comments, telling Greg: "I don't subscribe to the principle that there are good Muslims and bad Muslims. They're all Muslims."


So there you have it. Giuliani's in bed with some real psychopaths.

Let's see him try to spin this one. Assuming that the mainstream media, as usual, doesn't just completely drop the ball.

Source: The Daily Kos

Cui Bono

(For the illiterate pagans out there)

So everyone's heard about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, recently returned from exile, survivor of another attempt on her life during her welcome home celebration about a month ago. Bhutto's family has been involved in Pakistani politics much the same way the Kennedys have been in the United States, the difference being, our dynastic clan offs themselves, hers gets murdered.

She's the fourth Bhutto since Pakistan's independence to die as a result of politics. Her father and two brothers preceded her.

So, obviously, there are two ways to look at this assassination. One: It's another internal Pakistani thing, or Two: The All-Powerful Terrorists are behind it.

Cynicism aside, apply the aforementioned principle from the title and ask yourself, "Who Benefits?"

Well, in this case, it's a little muddy. Everyone seems to benefit from her death. Musharraf's political party has just seen its chief opposition die in a hail of... something (more on that in a moment), and is now a shoe-in to win the upcoming parliamentary elections. Which are, hence, a joke. Al-Queda supposedly hates her, but I think it's more of a pragmatism thing with them; Bhutto would have to be more competent at controlling those cave dwelling loons than Musharraf, who turns a blind eye.

So, who killed her, and why?

Bhutto certainly had her suspicions. She sent CNN an email to be opened only in the event of her death a short time ago. In the email, she lays the blame squarely at the feet of Musharraf.

"I wld [sic] hold Musharaf [sic] responsible," Bhutto wrote to her US spokesman, Mark Siegel, in the October e-mail, which was reported Thursday afternoon by CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I have been made to feel insecure by his minions, and there is no way what is happening in terms of stopping me from taking private cars or using tinted windows or giving jammers or four police mobiles to cover all sides cld [sic] happen without him."

Blitzer told viewers he received the e-mail soon after it was sent two months ago, but he agreed not to report on it unless Bhutto was assassinated. "It's a story I was asked to report to the world in -- if Bhutto were killed," he said.

Source: Raw Story

It's like something out of a TV drama, isn't it?

The official timeline for the death goes something like this. Bhutto was leaving a rally and got into her bulletproof car. She stuck her head out of the sunroof to wave to admirers, and it all went to hell.

Depending on your version of events, she was shot twice and then the shooter blew himself up; there were no shots, and she died from blunt force trauma, her head hitting part of the car when the attacker blew himself up; she was shot AND riddled with shrapnel when the guy blew himself up.

She was quickly flown home for burial without an autopsy, which complicates matters.

As Bhutto's letter indicates, the state provided security has proven to be utterly useless in keeping her alive, and never seemed to try that hard to begin with. Musharraf certainly had no interest in keeping his chief rival around and operaating, and he made that abundantly clear.

But something more sinister than, well, pretty fucking sinister activities may be going on here.

Police abandoned their security posts shortly before Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto's assassination Thursday, according to a journalist present at the time, and unanswerable questions remain about the cause of her death, because an autopsy was never performed.
...
"Police officers had frisked the 3,000 to 4,000 people attending Thursday's rally when they entered the park, but as the speakers from Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party droned on, the police abandoned many of their posts," wrote Saeed Shah in an essay published by McClatchy News Service. "As she drove out through the gate, her main protection appeared to be her own bodyguards, who wore their usual white T-shirts inscribed: 'Willing to die for Benazir.'"

The reason no autopsy was performed was, as it turns out, a governmental one as well.



Whatever the case, Bhutto's precise cause of death may never be known because of the failure to administer an autopsy. The procedure was not carried out because police and local authorities in Rawalpindi did not request one, according to IBNLive, but the government plans a formal investigation why this was the case.

This does conveniently leave no one in a secure position to challenge the government's Al-Queda sunroof head smack hypothesis, though.

Earlier in the day Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told a Pakistani news channel, “The report says she had head injuries – an irregular patch – and the X-ray doesn’t show any bullet in the head. So it was probably the shrapnel or any other thing has struck her in her said. That damaged her brain, causing it to ooze and her death. The report categorically says there’s no wound other than that," according to IBNLive.

Source: Raw Story

So what precisely does this mean for Pakistan, the region, and our colossal continuing failure abroad? Hard to say.

Currently the country is being gripped by waves of violence and chaos; the upcoming elections are now a complete farce and will put Musharraf back in power just as he always intended; and whether Al-Queda actually killed Bhutto or not, it's clear that Musharraf wanted to give them every opportunity to do so. The letter from beyond the grave is just icing on the cake.

This is one seriously messed up situation, folks.

(For more details on the aftermath, see this handy Telegraph article)

The Good Die First

But most of us are morally ambiguous, which explains our random dying pattern. -- MST3k, 'The Gunslinger'

Slim Chance Mars Will Get What's Coming to It
An asteroid may be hitting Mars soon, giving it a good drubbing for the continual failure to produce alien invaders to put humanity to rights. Currently the asteroid is obscured from view by our Moon, but they've calculated at 4% chance of a hit so far.

Man, I hope it goes ker-wham. That'd be neat.

Source: Raw Story

Russians Ban Ad Stating Santa Claus is Fake
Seriously. They have a law that bans people from discrediting parents, and since parents tell kids that Santa is real, they can ban the ad.

Other things parents tell children that you can no longer question in Russia:

  1. Mommy loves you all the same
  2. Daddy drinks because you were bad
  3. If you drink this kool-aid you'll go gently to sleep and wake in a land of eternal happiness


Source: Raw Story

Someone's Got to Be At Fault for THIS
So a guy was hit by a car, put in a body bag while still alive, and sent to the morgue instead of the hospital. They didn't notice he was alive for some time. His family is suing, saying that his permanent disability was no doubt at least worsened by the whole lack of medical treatment thing. The coroner says that, as they're all supposed to be dead when they get to him, it's not his fault.

That might be a point, but SOMEONE put a live man in a body bag. I should think they at least have some 'splainin to do.

Source: Raw Story

Department of Pointless Remakes
Death Race 2000 is, believe it or not, being remade. Seriously.

The mind boggles.

Source: IMDB

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Emperor Declares War on Satan

So apparently the Pope has started an initiative to train more priests to perform exorcisms (which usually consist of tying down a disobedient child and beating them until the 'demon' is gone). In effect, or rather, in Newspaper speak, he has declared a War on Satan.

Just for reference, this is the man you're trusting to lead you in the War on Satan, Catholics.

Look at him. It's Darth Sideous without the fashion sense. Any minute now he's going to use force lightning on some altar boy.

Source: The Daily Mail

Huge Sundry News Post

I'm going to get around to a big post about the Bhutto assassination, but the story over there seems to be changing by the hour, so there's not a lot of point. I had just finished my post on Afghanistan when she was killed and I saw the rumors floating down the newsie sites to that effect, but the same rumors came out a month ago at the last attempt on her life, so I just sort of shrugged and went ahead.

Oops. At any rate, have some regular news in the meantime.

Those Scientists are Real Good at Fightin', Tuggah!
So a couple of researchers at one of our Antarctic bases got drunk and into a brawl. One of them was hurt badly enough that he had to be flown to New Zealand for treatment with badly busted jaw.

Fellows, honestly, it might be a good idea to keep your tempers in check if the nearest hospital is on another continent. Just a hint.

Source: The Guardian

Uruguay Is Ahead of Us in Civil Rights
It's nice when South America joins the civilized world in making us look bad on gay rights. In this case, Uruguay has passed a national civil union law, which is a good first step.

Personally I think the government should be out of the idiot marriage business entirely, but if you're going to give tax breaks to one set of couples it's not fair to deny them to others.

Source: Page One Q

Huckabee Makes Some Hay
Bhutto's dead, so he thinks we have to clamp down the border against all those 'unusual' Pakistanis that must be headed here to assassinate OUR Pakistani politicians.

Which we have an abundance of.

This thinly veiled call for pointless racist profiling comes along with a statement about how much he respected the late politician for, well, being a woman and not a religious crazy.

Huckabee called Bhutto's death is a tragedy, but he suggested she had been a threat to Islamic fundamentalists. "An educated, sophisticated, strong, capable woman leader -- that does pose a threat to those who don't believe that women should be given that platform and that level of equality," Huckabee said.


Hmm, people who don't believe women should be given an equal platform in life... I wonder...

In August of 1998, Huckabee was one of 131 signatories to a full page USA Today Ad which declared: "I affirm the statement on the family issued by the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention." What was in the family statement from the SBC? "A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ


Wow. Pot, meet Kettle.

Sources: Radio Iowa (for the Huckabee haymaking)
The Daily Kos (for the woman-hating)

Cost of War in Iraq
This Firedoglake entry is a handy rundown of how your money is being spent, and how the death is being distributed. Short answer: 15 billion a month, and there's a handy geographical breakdown of the Lancet study showing the way we've killed 650k Iraqis in this war.

Fifteen billion per month. More dead in Iraq than died from our Civil War.

Great job, El Presidente!

Source: Firedoglake

Kucinich Mad Over Pizza Ad
His supporters are tired of him being made fun of for believing in UFOs, or refusing to say he doesn't.

Guys, seriously. I know he's got solid positions on most of the issues, but the man is a flake. Nobody's going to stop making fun of his flakiness.

Source: Plain Dealer Blog

Bush Cronies Everywhere
So there's a big kerfluffle at the Fish and Wildlife service because their top political appointee for a while was, err, sabotaging her agency's work in favor of big business. Since she got shitcanned for improperly influencing a decision to remove an animal from the Threatened species list (said animal happened to live on land she owned), they've had to reverse a ton of similarly tainted rulings, and the whole institution is in a humiliating state. Wildlife groups are now suing the administration to get records of just how corrupt she was and asesss the damage.

Aside from the all too typical Bush administration story here, you have a bit of life's unintentional humor.



"This is a lawsuit we've been forced to file to receive documents that we're entitled to that demonstrate the severity of Julie MacDonald's involvement in overturning endangered species and habitat decisions," said William Snape, the group's senior counsel. Snape filed the suit under the Freedom of Information Act.


When a guy named Snape says you're overdoing the villainy, you might want to listen.

Source: Raw Story

What a Great Venue
Beijing's legendary air pollution is still astoundingly bad, despite their draconian efforts to clear the air.

Beijingers were warned to stay indoors on Thursday as pollution levels across the capital hit the top of the scale, despite repeated assurances by the government that air quality was improving.

"This is as bad as it can get," a spokeswoman for the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau told AFP.


This isn't a fluke either, by any means.

Beijing's air quality is routinely rated among the worst in the world by international agencies such as the United Nations and the World Bank, with rampant coal burning, regular dust storms and a growing number of cars cited as the main reasons.


Heckuva job, whoever made the call to hold the Olympics there, lol.

Source: Raw Story

You Don't Need Health Care If You're Old, You Just Need A Tar Pit To Jump In
New ruling says that once you're eligible for what's left of Medicare, your employer can reneg on your health benefits and leave you out in the cold.

What a wonderful country we live in.

Source: The New York Times

"Terrorist" Walks
So there was once a guy named David Hicks. Still is, if you want to get technical. The US's mercenary allies, the drug-dealing Northern Alliance, picked him up in Afghanistan. The military said he was aiding Al-Queda, and after a sham trial, 'proved' it. He was sentenced to a long term, but allowed to serve only 9 months of it, the last of which he could serve in his home country of Australia. He's about to go free.

You have to read between the lines on this one, but if you do, the real story is readily apparent.

Hicks became the first person convicted at a U.S. war-crimes trial since World War II when he pleaded guilty in March to providing material support to al-Qaida.

The former Outback cowboy was captured in December 2001 by the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, where he had been fighting with the Taliban. A month later, he was sent to the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he spent more than five years without trial.

A U.S. military tribunal sentenced Hicks — a Muslim convert who has since renounced the faith — to seven years in prison, with all but nine months being suspended, after he confessed to aiding al-Qaida during the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan following Sept. 11, 2001.

Under a plea bargain, Hicks was allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence at Yatala prison in his hometown of Adelaide in South Australia state, but was ordered to remain silent about any alleged abuse he suffered while in custody.


So, here's how it goes. This man was picked up in Afghanistan by the NA at a time we offered bounties on anyone from Al-Queda. We didn't check those claims very carefully, or at all, because the more we caught, the better it looked on paper. We sent this guy around our world tour of torture sites and did some monstrously heinous things to him, things so bad that they're still terrified he'll talk. Having not actually done anything or been a terrorist, after they beat a confession out of the man and broke him, they sent him home, to live out the rest of his days as a shell of a human being.

This is life in the American Empire, folks. Don't turn your backs.

Source: Raw Story

Wall Street Weighs In On Writer's Strike
Bear Sterns, a large investment firm, has concluded that if the writers were given absolutely everything they want it would amount to less than 1% of the annual revenue of the major studios.

Basically, the big institutional investors are starting to get pissy about how badly the studios are handling this, and I imagine this is the first in a slew of leaks designed to pressure them to settle already, before the bottom falls out of the market.

Source: Firedoglake

Denturist: A Non-Dentist Who Makes Dentures
The things you learn reading about the appalling state of dental care in Kentucky and West Virginia.

A sickening article in some respects; in others, well... if you lose all your teeth because you do meth or chew tobacco, I feel less sympathetic.

Also, the evil bastard in me can't help but joke: People in Kentucky have teeth?

Source: The New York Times

Think About This When You See One of Those Annoying Whopper Commercials
In an article about the appalling and inhuman slavery that fuels our fresh fruit industry in the US, it's nice to know that some people will go the extra mile to be dicks. Burger King is fighting an effort to slightly increase the pay given to tomato pickers because it won't 'solve' the problem. No shit. But doing nothing is better? Meanwhile, Whole Foods has been getting their tasty yuppie tomatoes from some of the more notorious slaver operations.

Ahh, corporate greed. Is there nothing they won't do for a dollar?

Jimmy Carter has been doing his usual exemplary work, trying to help these poor people. He may have been a week chief executive, but honestly, he has to have been the best human being to serve in the White House in the last century.

Source: The Independent

Lit Majors Need Help
A short article about how I Am Legend is supposedly some kind of grand symbol for the War on Terror era.

Riiight. Or, alternately, and this is just a theory: it's a shitty mediocre action movie based on a mediocre action movie based on a Vincent Price scare-flick based on a mediocre Matheson story. Written almost a half century ago. Having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.

Source: NPR

Getting It Out of the Way

Gee, one big assassination and all the regular news goes on the back burner...

Let's try to go on with our news. It's, err, what she would have wanted.

With a Name Like Huckabee..
See, cause it sounds like Huckster... oh forget it.

Basically, Mike Huckabee is continuing to collect big money speaking fees while he's campaigning for President. This is generally seen as a big no-no, as it's both crass and potentially shady. I mean, are you paying to hear the guy speak, or The Guy Who Might Be President speak? A bit dodgy, which is why nobody does it. Well, except for the Huckster.

Compounding the issue is the fact that he gives most of his speeches on his 'signature issue' of personal weight loss. First of all, that's what our wannabe Preznit thinks is a pressing issue to deal with on the national stage at the moment. Secondly, his recipe of 'pray, exercise, and await miracles' for better health has struck more than a few doctors as suspicious.

In fact, it seems quite likely that his entire weight loss platform is a complete and total sham. There is a body of anecdotal evidence and medical conjecture, along with a suspicious timeline, to suggest that in fact his much vaunted weight loss had nothing to do with prayer, and everything to do with a Gastic Bypass surgery.

He then wrote a bestselling book and made a career out of fleecing people on how to lose weight the good old Baptist way. In other words, a classic snake-oil salesman.

Ahh, Republicans. Find a low, and they'll stoop to it.

Sources: Politico.com
Firedoglake

Ohio Again Innovates In Vote-Fraud
So Ohio has decided to remove their shame-of-the-nation touch screen voting machines. Good on them. Unfortunately, they plan to replace them with a system that takes hand-scored ballots to a central location and then optically scans then. Your ballot can't be read? They *say* it can't be read?

Too bad.

The ACLU is on this one, fortunately. If it was another state I might be less suspicious, but this is Ohio we're talking about here.

Source: Raw Story

What the Holy Fuck is Wrong With You People?
Sweeney Todd is fifth at the box office for the weekend, despite starting on Friday when I'm pretty sure some of the others only started on Christmas.

Seriously. More people by far went to see GODDAMNED NATIONAL TREASURE TWO than Sweeney.

What was it that turned you people off? The quality acting? The gorgeous cinematography? The classic story and musical adaptation?

Are people just that in love with Nicolas Cage's hamfisted acting? Is Family Friendly all that matters anymore?

I Am Legend did three times Sweeney's business, despite being a week old AND having terrible word of mouth. In a sure sign of the Apocalypse, ALVIN AND THE GOAT RAPING CHIPMUNKS did huge gross.

Even a little known political movie, admittedly staring Tom Hanks, did better money.

Sweeney only showed on half as many screens as some of the others and did a very nice per theatre take, but still. This is just wrong.

Source: The Associated Press

Bush Is a Complete Moron, Part 8930 of an Endless Series
I stole that title joke from The Rude Pundit. I'm in a hurry here, so call it an homage.

So anyway, it turns out that our national stem cell 'policy', the non-research research position that will surely slow medical progress and condemn millions to horrible premature deaths, was concocted after a right wing idiot read Bush a passage from a 1932 science fiction novel.

First, our 'President' has to have story time and be read to like a goddamned child. I wonder if he has a sippy box of juice on the floor of the Oval Office before naptime too.

Second, he's basing his real world science policy on decades old sci-fi. Admittedly, in this case it's A Brave New World, but still. Take a gander.

In a new piece in Commentary magazine, Jay Lefkowitz — who advised Bush on stem cells — reveals how the President formulated his 2001 policy. While Bush heard from a variety of groups on both sides of the issue, the turning point appeared to come when Lefkowitz read from Aldous Huxley’s fictional novel, Brave New World, and scared Bush:

A few days later, I brought into the Oval Office my copy of Brave New World, Aldous Huxley’s 1932 anti-utopian novel, and as I read passages aloud imagining a future in which humans would be bred in hatcheries, a chill came over the room.

“We’re tinkering with the boundaries of life here,” Bush said when I finished. “We’re on the edge of a cliff. And if we take a step off the cliff, there’s no going back. Perhaps we should only take one step at a time.”

It’s unclear what passage Lefkowitz read, but Brave New World opens with a scene at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, where embryos are turned into full human beings — often dozens of pairs of “identical twins” to ensure “social stability.”


Which of course has nothing to do with what we're actually doing in the field of stem cell research. Clone armies are strictly confined to the Star Wars universe, you right-wing pinheads.

This story made me want to vomit in my mouth.

Source: Think Progress

PS: For a truly delightful interpretation one need only look to the first comment on that page.

Apparently no one has taken a copy of “1984″ into the oval office.

-G

Comment by GSD — December 26, 2007 @ 8:27 pm


Well said.

At Least They Look Nifty
So apparently the NYPD is looking to phase out their fossil fuel scooters in favor of an electric model. Quiet, sneaky and cleaner. All well and good, I suppose, if they work.

It took forever, but I found a site with pictures of the vehicle in question. Shockingly, it doesn't have the usual POS electric vehicle aesthetic. The photos look a tad touched up for dramatic effect though. Either a blur filter or someone has need of a tripod.

Then when I went to find the original story I found a CNN.com article with a picture. Sigh.

It turns out, not shabby at all, though.

Sources: Greener Machine
CNN.com


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Brief News Roundup

After that Afghanistan post, I just want to get a little spare blogging in before I run out to buy bloodworms for my carnivorous plant.

The Only Spanish Republicans Know is On the Menu at Taco Bell
Fred Thompson, sad-sack also-ran for the Republican nomination, has decided to fill the recent Tancredo void with a little extra hate mongering.

During what must've been a strenuous day of campaigning in Iowa, GOP candidate Fred Thompson told potential voters at his one-and-only appearance that immigrants deserve some of the blame for the mortgage crisis.

"A lot of them couldn't communicate with the people they were getting the mortgage from," the lagging Republican told an Iowa audience during his "Clear Conservative Choice bus tour," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Thompson's stop in Mason City, Iowa, allowed him to play on Republicans' fears of immigrants and riff on apparent frustration with hearing options in Spanish on recorded phone messages.

Janice Easley, one voter in the audience, was boiling with frustration at having to hear, "Para el espaƱol, prensa dos," whenever she called the power company.

"Everything is in Spanish," she said. "It's sickening."

"You are so, so right," Thompson said, calling for English to be made the national language, before placing the blame for the sub-prime mortgage crisis on non-English-speakers.

Oh God no! Press two? Next they'll have us pressing two for English! WHERE WILL THE MADNESS END?

Racist, half-wit fucktard. Yeesh.

Source: Raw Story

Mental Note: Avoid Idaho At All Costs
BOISE, Idaho - A state police academy leader has disavowed the slogan of the most recent graduating class urging one another to "go out and cause" post-traumatic stress disorder.

Each class at the Idaho Police Officer Standards and Training Academy is allowed to choose a slogan that is printed on its graduation programs, and the class of 43 graduates came up with "Don't suffer from PTSD, go out and cause it."


Source: Yahoo News

Bat Theatre, Na-na-na-na-na-na Bat Theatre!
Reminds me of the Bat Shark Repellent.

Source: CE Pro

News from the Other War

On the other side of the world, we're losing a second war simultaneously.

We've been at war in Afghanistan, or the direct cause of war in Afghanistan, since at least the 1980s, when we took to arming and training the Muhjahadeen fighters who would later form both the opposing sides in the ongoing civil war there today. Al-Queda is a direct result of our ill-considered plan to help push the Soviet army out of a worthless patch of dirt that they could never have held for any length of time either way. It was stupid, naive, and the consequences have been devastating for the entire world.

There is a Tom Hanks movie coming out on the subject called 'Charlie Wilson's War', about the otherwise do-nothing Congressman who singlehandedly was responsible for much of the push to train and arm these men, who now form the core of the Al-Queda terror network that we are supposedly fighting. From the trailers it looks to be a feel-good, 'rollicking' story of how one person can make a difference, even in politics.

It'd be worth noting what difference Wilson's plan ultimately made. But I don't expect Hollywood to put a downer ending on the movie. Me, I'd close it with a shot of the WTC going down in flames, and the screams of people running down the streets of New York in terror. *shrug*

All this leads to the situation today, where we continue to deal with the fallout from the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Taliban and Al-Queda forces wage a continuous low level war in Afghanistan, operating out of a semi-autonomous region across the border in our so-called ally, Pakistan. Pakistan is run by a corrupt military dictator by the name of Musharraf. Yes I know he supposedly stepped down as head of the army. If you believe that he's not in control, however, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I'm eager to offload.

That brings us up to today, where we are throwing money, weapons and training at Pakistan in the hopes of cleaning up the mess where we threw money, weapons and training at Afghanistan twenty years ago...

Waste in the Wasteland
As you might suspect, writing blank checks to a military dictator is a rather inefficent way of fighting an enemy. Case in point: Pakistan.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — After the United States has spent more than $5 billion in a largely failed effort to bolster the Pakistani military effort against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, some American officials now acknowledge that there were too few controls over the money. The strategy to improve the Pakistani military, they said, needs to be completely revamped.


Five billion dollars seems like chump change compared to Iraq, but it's worth remembering that spending money badly can be worse than spending no money at all.

Civilian opponents of President Pervez Musharraf say he used the reimbursements to prop up his government. One European diplomat in Islamabad said the United States should have been more cautious with its aid.

“I wonder if the Americans have not been taken for a ride,” said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Case in point. The money we've spent has done wonders -- for President Musharraf. We've succeeded in propping up an incompetent dictator whose interests run counter to ours. Bravo.

After Six Years, a Plan

Early last week, six years after President Bush first began pouring billions of dollars into Pakistan’s military after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Pentagon completed a review that produced a classified plan to help the Pakistani military build an effective counterinsurgency force.

Nice that we thought this one through in advance. By 'in advance', I actually mean, 'not at all', of course. Think of it as Newspeak for the Bush administration.

“I was astounded,” said the officer, who would not speak for attribution because he now holds another senior military post. “On one side of the border we were paying a billion to get very little done. On the other side of the border — the Afghan side — we were scrambling to find the funds to train an army that actually wanted to get something done.”

I could do this all day, but you should probably just read the article for the full details on our colossal pants-downer in Pakistan. It's a national disgrace, but with any luck for our esteemed defense contractors, we'll still be there, doling out cash and guns, in another 20 years.

Source: The New York Times

With Friends Like These
The Brits have been stabbing us, the Afghan people, and Democracy in general in the back with a dull knife, apparently conducting negotiations with the Taliban in secret.

Despite Gordon Brown denying this from the floor of Parliament.

Source: The Telegraph

Like Rats from a Sinking Ship
Meanwhile, it turns out, the UN and the EU have been up to much the same tricks, with their representatives also meeting with the Taliban despite the direct opposition of the governor of the region in which these meetings took place. They have since been thrown out of the country.

Source: BBC News

So, to recap. The United States is spending billion of dollars to prop up the Pakistani government, which has no intention of actually arming its own troops properly or fighting the radicals in its own territory, but would love to take our cash to keep itself in power and to build weapons to fight the Indian government.

The British have been directly undermining us by conducting secret negotiations with the people who directly supported the WTC attacks.

And now the Afghan government has had to expel representatives from the EU and the UN for conspiring to meet with Taliban officials.

This war is going SO WELL.

There is One Terrifying Word in the World of Nuclear Physics

"Oops." 

--MST3k, "Monster A Go-Go"

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Some News You Can Use

Well, probably not.

Why Let the Courts Settle Anything?
So a couple who are suing a kid and his dad for negligence resulting in (supposedly) some pretty severe injuries are being harassed endlessly by the kid's supporters. The article makes it sound like a flash mob thing.

People in America love to hate lawsuits; they love to hate the rule of law period, actually. Look at the 24 torture porn obsession.

The basic story is this. The kid and his dad were out skiing. The dad let the kid go on ahead. He wasn't careful and struck another skiier. This is where the stories diverge. The kid and his dad claim that the other skiier was not hurt. The man hit says he was knocked down hard enough tear his rotator cuff and break his clavicle. He's suing for the medical costs, about 35,000 dollars.

There's no huge punitive damage attached, no millions of dollars for a ruined suit. This is a simple negligence case. Under Colorado law, where the injury was sustained, anyone can be held liable of any age for skiing accidents. My guess though is that they had to name the kid to get at the dad's deep pockets.

Now, assuming he actually was injured in this way, shouldn't the man have the right to compensation for his injuries? All he wants is the medical costs. Shouldn't a parent properly supervise their kid?

Still, the story is 'Kid gets sued by big evil man', and that's how it plays. Yeesh. Even this paper gets in on the act with their headline.

Source: Rocky Mountain News

Nifty Poster Department
I also need to get the movie attached to this. It'd probably be neat at Atomic Age.

Source: Random Blogger Thingummy

Free Music
Legal too.

Source: Internet Archive

Collapse of More Markets
The credit problems from the housing market is leading to a sharp downturn in commercial construction as well, which should put us nicely into a recession.

Thanks El Presidente!

Source: Calculated Risk

Merry Christmas, Retailers
Holiday season revenue is far below what the big chain stores had hoped. Rising costs of food and fuel are cited as reasons, but the worthless dollar can't help either.

You win again, El Presidente!

Source: Firedoglake

News of the Day: Dictators Gone Wild

Real dictators! Really nuts!

Are Those Studded Dog Collars?
Putin promotes the expansion of the Russkie rival to GPS by announcing that satellite tracking collars for your russian dog will be available soon.

Right after they get all the mandatory human ones ready, I'm sure.

Source: Raw Story

Father Loves You
Kim Jong-Il loves his troops almost as much as he loves cartoons. He personally makes sure they have hot baths and tv reception in the barracks!

Worship our short, cartoon obsessed dictatorial overlord!

Source: Raw Story

Blofeldian Toys Department
So Bush keeps poking Russia with a stick by spending billions on these useless missile 'defense' systems and withdrawing from treaties to do so. Putin responds by spending lots of oil money developing nuke delivery systems that could demolish an entire fleet of anti-nuke interceptors, as if we even have one that works.

The circle of idiot life, folks.

Source: My Way News

Quick Random Thought

The Arcane Archer prestige class from D&D really reminds me a lot of Kagome from Inuyasha.

Just saying.

Source: System Reference Documents (D20 System)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Various and Sundry News

Also known as tab-clearing day.

Idiots with their Toys
Maybe it's just that I've been woken from a sound sleep twice today by the idiot neighbors with their insanely overpowered stereo, but the story about some moron lighting engineer in Orlando using 10,000 dollars worth of borrowed equipment to make a massive light display really cheeses me off. If I was his neighbor I'd never get an hour's sleep and be driven to homicidal rage.

Or, like that story I read about a while back where some other jerk did this, I'd call the cops and force him to take most of them down. This is light pollution and obnoxious. Period.

You seriously have to watch the Youtube video at that link, btw. It's horrible stuff.

Source: The Orlando Sentinel

How Hot Is It?
Brief article on the speculation about the maximum theoretical temperature in the universe. Surprisingly crucial to determining what the universe is actually made of, as the various cosmological theories all have different ideas.

Source: Nova

Another Technology Drives People Mad
This time it's traffic cameras. In England apparently people are forming vigilante gangs to destroy them for sport.

As technology progresses, people should regress as a defense. So sayeth The Bastard.

Source: Wired

Very Tiny Bible Made with Laser
What a great use of technology this is.

Source: Raw Story

Pope Decries Selfishness and Materialism in Shiny Duds
In front of a lavish Christmas display.

That's not the worst of it though. Check out this speechifying:

"These words refer ultimately to us, to each individual and to society as a whole," said the German-born pope. "Do we have time for our neighbour who is in need of a word -- or in need of my affection? -- for the fugitive or the refugee who is seeking asylum? Do we have time and space for God?" he asked.


You can bet he asked himself that same question back when he was serving as a death camp guard in the German Army.

Excuse me? This is the man asking if we have 'time' for a refugee?

It's going beyond parody at this point and becoming something sick and sad.

Source: Raw Story

Return of the Christmoween

Our brave undead forces opened another front in the 'War on Christmas' today with surprise attacks 
across Bloomington in the dead of night. 

On Saturday night, Zombie Santa was seen taking his battle against decency and normal holiday joy to the streets of Bloomington for a second night in a row.

First he made a second surprise appearance at Atomic Age Cinema, and this time he was armed!


Pictured here: Zombie Santa and future victim aka 'The Projectionist'. Not seen: piles of bodies.

There are reports that additional media of the reign of terror shall emerge from within the ghastly slaughterhouse of Atomic Age. Another murderous Santa Claus was spotted with an axe, and the undead monsters that host the weekly Grand Guignol also did their best to befoul the noble holiday season.

After leaving Atomic Age with a trail of carnage and some nifty abominations hidden in jars, Zombie Santa again frequented a late-night dining establishment, to spready joyous fear to its cowering employees.


Zombie Santa likes Chicken Fiesta Burritos, lots of Fire sauce, and tasty souls for his late night snack.

Finally, Zombie Santa returned to his unholy domicile, secure with his new looted hellspawn.


Here we also see some of the fruits of attending Atomic Age so regularly: lots and lots of free movie posters.


Merry Christmoween!


That's It, They Die

The neighbors have had it.

So after keeping a very sick me up all afternoon and part of the early evening Christmas Eve, the idiot neighbors just woke me up out of a sound sleep on Christmas Morning.

Not that these days mean a lot to me per se, but the fact that they robbed me of sleep twice in 18 hours when I was sick and tired and needed to rest up for a long drive today is just about enough to make me go over there with a large axe and hack them to death.

I don't care if I'm cutting out early on the lease in a few months; that's it, I'm determined to see them lose their home before I go. I hate these people. Hate hate hate loathe.

I will have vengeance... I will have salvation...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Humor News

Apparently I've become a bit menacing, what with the sneaking around on the roommate and random Sweeney Todd singing.

I still say it's not really sneaking if you announce your presence with song.

What if the Beatles had done Stairway?
A question for the ages has now been answered.

Source: And Yet I Persist

Ron Paul is Hilarious
Paul got into a thing with Tim Russert over his assertion that the United States is sliding into 'soft fascism'.

Aside from the characterization of fascism of any sort as 'soft', he's not really wrong. But Paul as the anti-fascist crusader? He raises money from Stormfront!

Pot, meet Kettle.

Source: Raw Story

Department of Rove
I'm pretty sure they already printed this one, but what the heck. Still funny.

WASHINGTON—Longtime political adviser and Republican strategist Karl Rove announced Aug. 13 that he would step down from his role as White House deputy chief of staff to spend more time in the shadows and devote his energy to the things he really cares about, such as creeping, slithering, and disappearing for all time into an ever-darkening realm shut off from hope and goodness.


Source: The Onion

His Grandfather Was Even Better
Modern day Lupin wannabe and master thief now faces life in prison. Alas, to be Lupin you really need your chief adversary to be a guy like Zenigata, especially these days. You can't outrun the radio, as they say; fleeing with your loot is just so much harder in the postmodern age.

Source: The Guardian

Be On the Lookout
Creepy Carly warns of holiday dangers.

Source: Creepy Carly

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Newsie News News

Type your summary here

Chuck Norris is a Jerk Department
So Chuck Norris, after capitalizing on his internet mythology to publicly whore himself for Huckabee's Presidential campaign, is now suing Penguin books for publishing a collection of those myths, because they infringe on his right to.. I'm not sure.

Sorry Chuckie, but the boat on that really sailed when you decided to become a public figure and join the Huckabee campaign. If it hadn't already.

Source: Reuters

Putin Corrupt After All?
Time made it sound like he was an honest dictator surrounded by Plutocrats, but the issue may not be so clear-cut.

There are allegations emerging that Putin has in fact swindled the Russian people out of forty BILLION dollars. As for being a competent dictator, it seems that he is all that is holding his government together and can't retire because two rival factions beneath him are at war with one another.

No good guys to root for there, btw. You have old KGB hardliners versus modern oligarchs.

Source: The Guardian

Maybe History Really is Cyclical
So it seems that J. Edgar Hoover had a plan to permanently detain people he disliked politically, using war as a convenient cover, and sham trials to justify their detention. Wow.

Great minds think alike, I suppose. Cheney and Hoover even look a tad alike.

I wonder if this means that Cheney has dresses in his closet in front of the skeletons...

Source: Raw Story

I Want My Obituary to Read
At least, in part: "Authorities have yet to find the head."

Source: Casey and Andy

Pleo Takes Over the World?
New robot toy is a cross between Furby and the Robosaurus. Plots our collective doom.

From cuteness.

Source: The Washington Post