It's party central here at WWR HQ. Fiona is fast asleep, Ewan is nursing, Mrs. WWR is watching television, and I'm putting up a lame new year's post.
Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi dictator who spent his last years in captivity after his ruthless Baathist regime was toppled from power by the U.S.-led coalition in 2003, was hanged Saturday for crimes committed in a brutal crackdown during his reign, a witness said.Good riddance.
"Saddam's body is in front me," said an official in the prime minister's office when CNN telephoned. "It's over."
However, our mission is far from being accomplished, and this bit of good news will not do much in the way of changing that.
Update: See what I mean?
As a noose was tightened around Hussein's neck, one of the executioners yelled "long live Muqtada al-Sadr," Haddad said, referring to the powerful anti-American Shiite religious leader.
Update 2: John Cole captures what I was thinking last night, but for which I couldn't find the words:
Finally, even though I know he is guilty, and deserves to die, I still can not help but look at the pictures of the gallows and get a chill. There is something so final, so irreversible, so barbaric and primitive about capital punishment (in particular, hanging) that I still can not embrace it, even for scum like Hussein. Advocates of capital punishment will tell you that the finality and the barbaric aspect of the act are features, not bugs.
I am not so sure.
If you're more or less housebound like we, the good people of Denver, happen to be today, you could spend the afternoon watching the entire "Left Behind" movie on YouTube.
Keywords: Left Behind, Kirk Cameron, eye irritants, torture
It's been almost one year since I traded in the 1996 Mazda MX-6 for a 2006 Ford Fusion SEL. Have I been happy with my purchase?
For the most part, yes.
Things I like / love / appreciate about the Fusion: comfortable leather seats with bum-warmers, plenty of room for the family, terrific handling during the few emergency situations I've encountered, good optional sound system, spacious trunk that could hold a number of enemies should the need ever arise, tires that make the guy at Discount Tire Co. salivate when he thinks of my having to replace them, and very good highway gas mileage for car of its size and engine type.
Now, for the few drawbacks:
Among other things.
Keywords: Ford Fusion
I think it says something about theology as a legitimate academic area of study when the commenters, believer and atheist alike, on a Newsweek religion piece offer more substantial thought and commentary than Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, the President of Chicago Theological Seminary.
My personal favorite comes from Chester:
I think the main problem with the thoughts expressed by Dr. Thistlethwaite can be summed up with this one question: What the heck are you talking about? Everything about the big religions reeks of made up nonsense. How can an intelligent person pose these questions in sincerity? Horrors happen and the most profound question you can ask is "What role does my imaginary friend play in all this?" I just don't understand.I would also add that Dr. Thistlethwaite, while she seems quite genuine in her beliefs, wrote a lot of words that didn't really say anything. But, then again, that's kind of like any answer involving myths and deities.
DENVER, Colorado (AP) -- New Year's travelers jammed the Denver airport Thursday, trying to get out of town ahead of a snowstorm that threatened to close runways and gum up the nation's busy holiday travel season for the second time in a week.They're also saying that a second wave of snow Friday night could dump another 10 to 20 inches by Saturday afternoon.
The storm was expected to dump up to 16 inches of snow on the Denver area overnight, a week after a pre-Christmas blizzard shut the airport for more than two days.
My city, Thornton, seems to have a jump on things. I'm sitting at my desk watching two earth movers plow the streets, piling five-foot berms of old snow and ice on each side of the road.
It's going to be another long couple of days indoors, I think.
On the bright side, I won't have to worry about my lawn getting enough water during the dry winter. On the other hand, I may not even see my lawn again until sometime in April.
In recounting his technological wonders acquired for his trip, he seems to have discounted a certain blogger providing email tech support at all hours of the Kuwaiti morning (*cough cough*), but we'll still wish him well.
Looking forward to some reports from the field, Bill.
It would appear that Walter has tagged me with a blog meme in which I am supposed to tell you five things you don't know about me. Alas, if it were to be five things that no one knows about me, they'd no longer be skeletons in the closet, so let's just go with five things most people don't know (or care to know, as the case may be).
This would not have happened if our booby-underground had relied on magazines wrapped in condoms and stuffed into this orifice or that. However, I suspect the discomfort and doctor's bills would have drawn undue attention.
Still recovering from a turkey breast cooked with bacon, dulce de leche-glazed ham, two types of stuffing, roasted potatoes and parsnips, sauteed green beans, a bottle of Riesling, a bottle of Shiraz, and the terribly decadent and all together good for you Krispy Kreme bread pudding with espresso whipped cream.
(That's right - a dessert comprised of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, cream, and eggs... there's the secret to my girlish figure).
(The list above does not include the Christmas eve beer and mulled wine beverages either).
So, yeah: ugh. I need to nap for a couple of days.
Hope your holiday was as joyful and anti-coronary as ours.
Update: This recipe sounds like a tasty variation on a doughnut theme - Bill Nicholson's Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Butter Rum Sauce - yum! Any recipe where the precise measurement of rum is "to taste" can't be all bad.
Quick Update: One of the ads in the sidebar just now was for something they claimed to be "the perfect agnostic gift." A click-through revealed it to be a self-published book on, I guess, the meaning of life, but I think the perfect agnostic gift would be an empty box with "God" written on the lid.
Is he really in there? Maybe we can't ever know!
Quick Update 2: Patrick points out this wonderful holiday gift from the LA Times. I think Patrick and I might disagree on whether it's an appropriate time for such an article; I think it is - while you're busy focusing on your Christian beliefs, is it really so bad to ask you to take ten minutes to realize how wrong you are about other people?
To press forward in the Duke University lacrosse case, District Attorney Mike Nifong must rely on scanty evidence while deflecting serious questions about whether he broke the law or violated the ethics rules governing prosecutors.Perhaps the accuser could just cycle through the 492 different variations of her story while on the stand. They raped me in every orifice! Well, ok, maybe just two of them! I didn't have sex with anyone in the days leading up to the attack! Oh, that "DNA" in my panties and my hoohah? Uhhhh. Why isn't their DNA anywhere on me? It's a Christmas miracle!
Nifong has acknowledged that the case now hangs on what the accuser says from the witness stand in a hearing scheduled for February.
If they found 12 people dumb enough to let OJ walk, surely they can lock up three privileged white devils. I mean, screw ethics when Nifong's good name is on the line, right?
While it might have negatives such as being becoming a surveillance-based nanny-state, there's some good news out of the UK:
An overwhelming number of Britons believe religion does more harm than good while non-believers outnumber believers by nearly two to one, an ICM poll suggested.Also of note:
Writing separately in The Sun tabloid, the Church of England's second-highest cleric, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, was optimistic about the implications of Christmas church attendance.Looks like Archbishop Sentamu isn't just taking his God on faith; he's taking an increase in British religiosity on it too. I would bet he's capable of believing six or more impossible things before high tea.
"People are waking up once more to the true meaning of Christmas and making space in their lives to feel a part of it," he said.
"Something is bringing people back into church and I have a great hope it's because people are beginning to look past the commercial message of Christmas."
But in general, The Guardian survey confirmed the overall decline in religious observance in recent years, particularly in Christian denominations: only 13 percent said they visited a place of worship at least once a week.
Forty-three percent said they never attended. Non-Christians attend religious services most regularly (29 percent).
(Ok, not really, but it sounds quite Dawkins-esque).
Found via PZ Myers.
It's 3:15pm and the storm has only gotten worse.
Denver International Airport (DIA) has halted all flights for at least the afternoon.
The Interstate between Denver and Kansas is closed to all traffic (this is more of a blessing than a curse to Denver, actually).
Even the tiniest of drivers have found themselves stuck:
And it looks like it's about time for me to head out for my second round of snowshoveling. I learned my lesson in 2003 when I just rode out the storm and then spent hours upon hours moving 3 feet of snow from my driveway. A few 15 minute sessions will make the final cleanup considerably easier (snow, unlike Michael Moore, is deceptively heavy).
...is just as nutty.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has predicted that Britian, Israel and the United States would eventually disappear from the world like the Egyptian pharaonic kings...Wow, with crazy talk like that, move him to Virginia Beach and he could be the next evangelical Christian superstar.
"Today, it is the United States, Britain and the Zionist regime which are doomed to disappear as they have moved far away from the teachings of God," he said in a speech in the western town of Javanroud.
Should you want to laugh at our meteorological misfortune, you can check out the 9News web cams to see the winter storm rolling across the Denver metro area this morning (and, we're told, all through the day... and into tomorrow).
Update: Lots more CDOT cams.
Update 2: So, I went out of the house this morning to find the garbage can had snow on top of it.
The problem, you see, is that my garbage can is in my garage.
From somewhere up high, snow is blowing in to the garage. I assume either some flashing has pulled away, or some shingles, or maybe - this being a cookie-cutter house - the whole damn garage has sunk away from the main building ever so slightly. I suppose I'll have to wait a few days to find out.
Update 3: The view from my house at 10am... and the weather dude said the fun has just begun. Huzzah!
It's not really news to anyone that the Bush administration has, over the last six years, be the topic Iraq or gettin' yer freak on, found ways to lose touch with the American people:
Most Americans, regardless of their political leanings, favor comprehensive sex education in schools over abstinence-only programs, researchers reported Monday.Much as with a certain ongoing war, in which the bad guys have been on the run and corners are being turned, while thousands continue to die and George Bush holds onto the belief that if he really wishs super-duper hard he'll get that pony he wants for Christmas and peace in Iraq... the reality on the ground (and in our beds, and on our kitchen tables, and in the backseats of cars) is a little different:
Currently, the federal government champions the abstinence-only approach, giving around $170 million each year to states and community groups to teach just-say-no sex education. This funding precludes mention of birth control and condoms, unless it’s to emphasize their failure rates.
More than nine out of 10 Americans, men and women alike, have had premarital sex, according to a new study. The high rates extend even to women born in the 1940s, challenging perceptions that people were more chaste in the past.The vast majority of Americans, of course, have known this too. We're an odd society: we love sex and yet are uncomfortable with it. The broad influence of religion in America might have given us the Protestant Work Ethic, but it also gave us cognitive dissonance when it comes to wee-wees and hoohahs.
"This is reality-check research," said the study's author, Lawrence Finer. "Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades."
Naturally, some people - namely those that sleep in separate twin beds like Ricky and Lucy, all the time wondering why they can't make their own Ricky Jr. through some form of budding or mitosis or stork delivery - remain unconvinced:
However, Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America, a conservative group which strongly supports abstinence-only education, said she was skeptical of the findings.It was four surveys of 38,000 people over the last 20 years, the majority of whom were women (although 5,000 men is also much more than enough for statistical validity if sampled properly).
"Any time I see numbers that high, I'm a little suspicious," she said. "The numbers are too pat."
My personal opinion is that society has long pressed women to be (or appear) more chaste than men, thus with 87% of the respondents being female, I'd be inclined to think the percentage that actually hooked up with Buster Hymen and the Penetrators is higher than reported (see: Americans are all wonky weird about sex).
I wonder if Ms. Crouse had sex before marriage. Someone should ask.-
Actually, there's nary a snowflake snowflaking, and the sky over my house is a clear shot view into deep space. That, however, appears to be about to change:
A storm is expected to sweep into Colorado and give the metro area a dose of heavy snow starting late Tuesday night...Whee.
Marty says there will be a couple of inches of snow by Wednesday morning and the storm should intensify throughout the day. There could be 10 or more inches of snow by Wednesday night.
Update: Yay, just got the call that our office is closed for the day. An upgrade to "blizzard conditions" with 24 inches of snow expected can do that I guess...
ATLANTA - A suburban school board that put stickers in high school science books saying evolution is "a theory, not a fact" abandoned its legal battle to keep them Tuesday after four years.It's one more battle down, but the war is far from over. There are a lot of ignorant people out there, armed with the righteous fury of their own delightful brand of mythological nonsense, and they're raising an entire generation of children to believe in it too.
The Cobb County board agreed in federal court never to use a similar sticker or to undermine the teaching of evolution in science classes.
In return, the parents who sued over the stickers agreed to drop all legal action.
Granted, a small number of them will grow up to become self-loathing homosexuals, leading large churches under the guise of being well-adjusted straight men that love Jesus (but who don't love Jesus), only to fall from grace and be stripped of their influence, but that's a mere drop in the sea of dumb.
However, as this follows on the heels of the Dover decision, maybe the tide in this country is turning away from the dark ages.
Update: PZ Myers notes:
I will make my by now familiar disclaimer: this is very good news, but no minds will have been changed by this decision.Oh, my mind has been changed that maybe there's hope for humanity yet... but I know what he means. When you have millions of people that blindly put rambling, ancient texts above the sum of knowledge in the biological sciences, I think we might actually be overgenerous in saying they have minds to change.
Sylvia Brown or the gullible twits who will keep seeking out her "expertise" after failures like this?
Sylvia's actually a genius; she's made a mint off duping the impossibly dumb.
Curse me and my general sense of ethics!
If only because I don't know what the heck to say.
Update: Is that Beaker talking at 00:12 into the video?
Check it out on NPR, featuring comments from Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation, and Ellen Johnson, President of American Atheists, among others.
Trade your soul for a DVD! All you have to do is post a video of yourself to youtube, stating that you deny the holy spirit, and you'll get a copy of The God Who Wasn't There.More details at Blasphemy Challenge.
However, if I hadn't typed that line about the holy spirit, I could go out and kill millions, apologize to Jesus with a sincere heart (because, really, I'm not the type to kill millions), and go right to Heaven as a good Christian governor executes me in one of his state's prisons.
Yeah, that's a sane belief system.
Since you're probably being bombarded with thousands of emails today, I'll just put this here: if you or Melissa need anything from me and the Mrs., just let us know!
Anything but prayers, of course.
Oh, and can you still do blogger bashes? Do say "yes." 'Cause we're planning one... perhaps we can celebrate your triumphant return to blogging and big boy pants! Huzzah!
Stories like this one from the Duke lacrosse rape case demonstrate why I am against the death penalty in practice (but not principle):
The head of a private DNA laboratory testified Friday that he and District Attorney Mike Nifong agreed last spring not to report DNA results favorable to Duke lacrosse players charged with rape.Hmm, a prosecutor turning a blind eye to significant and disconfirming evidence. He'd make a fine intelligent design advocate too.
The testimony of DNA Security director Brian Meehan could create difficulties inside and outside the courtroom for Nifong. The district attorney did not challenge Meehan's testimony, but he said after court that he did not withhold evidence. He said the defense could have asked for that material all along.
North Carolina law requires Nifong to hand over all evidence regardless of whether it has been requested.
Back on topic: it's becoming pretty clear that Nifong has a weak case, but - in order to save face - he's willing to destroy the reputations and futures of three men that are most likely innocent.
In court Friday, Meehan said his lab found DNA from unidentified men in the underwear and body of the woman who said she was gang-raped at a lacrosse party in March."Unknown men." As in none of the three that Nifong has been trying to put away. His tap dance continues:
"And we were trying to, just as Dr. Meehan said, trying to avoid dragging any names through the mud but at the same time his report made it clear that all the information was available if they wanted it and they have every word of it," Nifong said.Nifong has done little but drag the names of these three young men and their teammates through the mud since the beginning. How, exactly, saying their DNA was not present in or on the accuser would be "dragging...names through the mud" is beyond me.
As for my opening statement about the death penalty, an attorney that is willing to wreck innocent lives may be willing to take innocent lives. That is an unacceptable risk given the finality of the consequences.
Nifong has no shame, no ethical sense, and he should have no future as a prosecuting attorney.
More: Not mentioned in the previous article is this -
A private laboratory hired by the prosecution in the Duke lacrosse case failed to report that it found DNA from multiple males in the accuser's body and underwear, according to a defense motion filed today.Is there a way to lock up Nifong for false imprisonment?
The lab, DNA Security of Burlington, found that the DNA did not match the three defendants, their lacrosse teammates or anyone else who submitted their DNA to police, including the accuser's boyfriend.
The BBC is reporting evidence of baby-trafficking in Ukraine in order to harvest stem cells:
Healthy new-born babies may have been killed in Ukraine to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells, evidence obtained by the BBC suggests.If true, it's a horrific crime and those involved should be punished severely. Although many right-to-lifers think it impossible, I find this to be a tragedy, even though I'm a middle-of-the-road pro-choice atheist.
Disturbing video footage of post-mortem examinations on dismembered tiny bodies raises serious questions about what happened to them.
Naturally, these same pro-lifers are shouting "told you so!"
Well, here is the nightmare scenario that every right to life, Conservative has warned about when a society so disrespects life that it begins harvesting human cells and parts for “science” and medicine.Let's see... "harvesting human cells and parts for 'science' and medicine" would include willing organ/marrow donation, pre- and post-mortem, as well as simple acts like blood donation. Wow, who knew that modern society's disrespect for life is responsible for all of that? Somebody shut down the Red Cross and pronto! Strip me of my organ donor card!
I don't think the writer really intended such a blanket condemnation, but then "writing for clarity" is a skill lacking in many.
Now, let us engage in a moment of thought about the matter:
Humans have been disrespecting the lives of other humans throughout history. In fact, a number of groups of humans have made up origin myths and holy books that tell of their wonderful explots disrespecting other humans on the order of their God. From conquest to slavery to everyday murder, humanity has always had its share of individuals willing to see others as only a means to an end; Roe v Wade, I'm pretty sure, didn't grandfather itself back through all of recorded history and change the flow of time. As well, infanticide has been a trait of human cultures since people bothered to start writing about themselves.
I'm not saying this to justify such behaviors, but to point out that there will always be people among us capable of horrific crimes against their fellow man.
Science is not the enemy (unless you're a creationist, in which case, yeah, maybe it is).
Wow, maybe I should write a post about soon to be dethroned Miss USA Tara Conner... an Instalanche pales in comparison to a boobielanche!
Hmmm: Maybe they're dethroning her, taking her yabos out of the public eye, to protect her from this guy*.
* If you don't get it, it's not worth explaining; and, if you do get it, yes, I know her name was Sarah.
Detailed observations from the first comet samples returned to Earth are debunking some of science's long-held beliefs on how the icy, celestial bodies form.Well, I guess that makes it clear that evolution is false and creationism is true because, really, if science was wrong about this, can it really be right about anything?
Scientists expected the minute grains retrieved from a comet Wild 2 to be made up mostly of interstellar dust - tiny particles that flow through the solar system thought to be from ancient stars that exploded and died.
Instead, they found an unusual mix of primordial material as if the solar system had turned itself inside out. Hot particles from the inner solar system migrated out to the cold, outer fringes beyond Pluto where they intermingled and congealed to form a comet.
I bet the satellites fall from the sky tomorrow!
No matter that we really ought to leave Santorum's kid alone.
You don't want to see me looking like that, do you? I don't even know if I can fit into my plaid pinafore anymore.That was a reference to Rick Santorum's 8-year old daughter crying at her father's loss in the recent Congressional elections, for the noble cause of scoring votes in the "Kevin chooses which blogs he likes best anyway" 2006 Weblog Awards.
I don't get it... when rightwing idiots called Chelsea Clinton unattractive, the left took offense. Now that the left has had a good showing, they suddenly feel it's ok to drag children into the affairs of adults, to mock the child as an attack on the parent?
No, I don't think so.
My wee Fiona thinks I'm the best daddy in the world. I happen to agree, but it's entirely possible that (gasp) I'm a flawed human fully capable of making bad decisions, choosing the wrong path, and generally fucking up this or that.
I'd rather my daughter be allowed to figure that out without the rest of you mocking her for wanting the best for me.
Maybe before I was a parent I would have said such things as those directed toward Santorum's daughter, but I hope not. Like I said though, I'm far from perfect (I've seen it on the map, but it's on one side of the globe and I'm on the other).
People who are parents, and who love their children, - however - should know better.
Take the kid out of the picture.
Or at least tell me she's cute.
Note: Maybe it was the beer - or maybe it was the high emotional drama of that Wilco documentary I was watching while enjoying said beer - but making fun of the kid, even in passing, just didn't sit well with me. Still doesn't, but maybe that's because I went to sleep at 2:30am and woke up at 5:30am and, my oh my, what a long day ahead.
Anyway, I go to Pharyngula for the science, not so much for the politics, just like I go to Don Surber for the
wit insight consistency of thought ...ummmm.... ok, bad example.
When not off and about frightening young children with the threats of hellfire and damnation, it seems evangelicals have taken a likin' to another captive audience: inmates.
Life was different in Unit E at the state prison outside Newton, Iowa."Acceptable spiritual progress?" What, exactly, is the metric by which one evaluates such a thing? Ah, yes, "is the prisoner parroting the same nonsense I've been spewing at him for six months?"
The toilets and sinks — white porcelain ones, like at home — were in a separate bathroom with partitions for privacy. In many Iowa prisons, metal toilet-and-sink combinations squat beside the bunks, to be used without privacy, a few feet from cellmates.
The cells in Unit E had real wooden doors and doorknobs, with locks. More books and computers were available, and inmates were kept busy with classes, chores, music practice and discussions. There were occasional movies and events with live bands and real-world food, like pizza or sandwiches from Subway. Best of all, there were opportunities to see loved ones in an environment quieter and more intimate than the typical visiting rooms.
But the only way an inmate could qualify for this kinder mutation of prison life was to enter an intensely religious rehabilitation program and satisfy the evangelical Christians running it that he was making acceptable spiritual progress.
Hey, I'm fine with prisons teaching skills that are valuable on the outside, for the drive to rehabilitate rather than just punish and release, but this is one of those cases in which "god is for suckers" comes to mind. Let's see, I pretend to have found Jesus and I get special treatment; I don't find Jesus and it's time to piss in a shiny metal bowl every morning and stare at cinder blocks for fun.
The prisons are already full of self-professed Christians. Perhaps if we want to see a real change, we should be teaching them that god is a myth and all we have is one another.
Nah, the churches would never allow that: no money in it.
Tonight's meal, prepared once again by yours truly, was Malabar Spice-Crusted Steaks with Gingered Carrot Puree. I didn't do the called-for hanger steaks, opting instead for a single sirloin to divvy up among the wife, myself, and wee Fiona; and I didn't have any unsweetened coconut flakes on hand, so I used the sweetened variety (last seen in this Coconut Pudding Triangle recipe, which I used on Thanksgiving).
It all turned out well.
By themselves, the steak and the carrot puree were blandly one-sided, but together they complemented each other perfectly.
As it was a bit of a last minute decision, I threw together some brown rice and green beans for sides, and served a 2005 Estancia Pinot Noir as the wine of choice. I think it all turned out quite well, and there was just enough left over for my lunch on Monday, sure to lead my fellow employees into the bitter depths of sadness whilst they compare their bologna sandwiches to my delectable meal.
If you're looking to buy a Playstation 3 - and, really, who isn't? (aside from me, because I'm going to wait until sometime next year, and only because I want the Blu-Ray DVD player inside of it) - then check out PS3 Seeker, a website that will let you, based upon your ZIP, look for the best deals in town and online.
You can also look for the Nintendo Wii, but that seems to be such a wimpy machine (relatively speaking; I'm sure it blows away this 4 yr old PC on which I am typing).
Anyway, if you were looking to get me something for Christmas, a radically-overpriced PS3 would be most welcome.
Amen and may the good Lord bless you.
Keywords: housing bubble, home mortgage, home loan, Denver
Interesting article on the Denver real estate market at The Housing Bubble Blog; unless, you know, you don't live in Denver.
But if you do... and own a home... or want to buy one... or sell one: have a look. The news isn't so cheery, especially if you took out a "crazy person loan."
When I say "crazy person loan," I'm talking those no-interest-this, no-down-payment-that, and ARM yourself, because you're gonna be mighty pissed when that interest rate adjusts to something in the stratosphere.
I'm a fan of the 30-year fixed loan, as you can guess (unless you can swing payments on a 15-year loan, in which case, knock yourself out).
My neighborhood has been pretty flat for the last year, with our house staying steady in the $270K range (which is probably unrealistic considering we have two kids, two dogs, two cats, and what used to be good carpet and a nice hardwood floor in the kitchen... but then we did put in landscaping and a patio... so, in short, what I am saying is "I have no clue what it's worth but I err on the high side to make me feel good.")
Regardless, it's big enough for us now and I've grown accustomed to my 30 mile commute across downtown Denver each morning, and - well - it's home. Until I become stinking rich and then it's just a ghetto, yo.
* As always, extra-super-special bonus points for naming the source of the title.
Speaking of changes, I think it's about time this site had a redesign. And an upgrade or change of blogging software. And a wine cellar, because that would be nifty.
Yeah, I'm thinking I should think about thinking about getting around to doing that sometime soon. Really soon.
You know, I think I've grown tired of blogging in a style that is mean, insulting, mocking, and cynical toward my fellow humans. Perhaps I need a break, a change of pace, some posi-blogging.
Rainbows sure are pretty.
OK, that was fun. Back to being me.
Wait, wait: Maybe that brief pondering of rainbows has left me a changed man (no, I've not turned gay or nothin', so don't you ladies worry your pretty little heads, 'cause I heard that collective sigh of grief when you read that first bit and, you know, it touched me in lots of
ways tingly places).
Uh, anyway, so yeah - I'm out and about, stopping off at Total Beverage (pronounce that like it's French - "bev-er-'äzh" - sounds posh that way) to buy some of this when I notice that the cashier, a woman probably about my age, has a GED study guide at her register.
The old me would have thought "Wow, little bit late for that, sister." But - no! - the new me thought "That's really great to see someone trying to make up for the bad decisions or misfortunes of their youth. Good for you!"
I would have said it out loud, but then that would be just another one of you womenfolk crushing on me, and - well - there are only so many manhours in one Andy-day.
See, I'm a new man!
Wait, Wait... Wait: I think I need to do a quick flip back to the old me, to point out this further bit of DonSurberian Wisdom in response to some of his lefty commenters supporting the Iraq Study Group's findings:
So lefties support imperialism, a bunch of white-haired old men 10,000 miles away deciding what is right for brown-skinned peopleWhereas the Bush administration deciding what was right for the people of Iraq was... um... hmmm.
I am totally not surprised.
And pulling OUT of a country is imperialism in the sense of... errr... ummmm.
Also, it's more like a little over 6000 miles from Washington, DC to Baghdad.
Such dazzling powers! Did you ever know that you're my heeeeerrrooooo....?
OK, back to the "nice" me.
The recent polarization of American politics has been a tragedy for all involved, if only because one has to witness such mental disconnects as this:
On December 2, oft-linked blog-pundit Don Surber said this in regard to the "Rumsfeld wants change" memo:
But the machinations of the White House don't matter because what happens in Iraq is up to the Iraqis, and has been for some time....and...
Let the lefties have the Rummy memo to drool over. Bush is in the Middle East, telling the boys that with a Democratic majority in the House and Senate, fun time is over. They either kiss and make up now, or they kiss their nation goodbye.So, here we have the assertion that the future of Iraq is up to the Iraqis, and that the real driving force behind it all is that the Democrats have enough power to stop putting up with Bush's "stay the course" idiocy.
Something tells me that will get Maliki to throw caution to the wind and actually make a decision.
Granted, I don't think that's what Surber intended, but when dealing with blind partisans, they tend to lose the tune after three or four sentences. Hey Jude, don't make it bad. Take a sad song, and make it better. Blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah. And blah blah blah. Hey Jude...
Now, a mere four days after that statement, what is Surber saying in response to the Iraq Study Group Report? This:
The Iraq Study Group just does not get it. This is not about the United States; this is about Iraq.So, you see, the future of Iraq is all about Iraqis, unless someone other than Dubya suggests it. And real men stay, goddamnit, even if it means staying right behind their keyboard or the loaner car in a hometown parade. Those damn Iraqi insurgents can have my NumLock key when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers!
What is best for Iraq should be of paramount importance, not what makes the U.S. look good to our Saudi oil suppliers, or our French chefs, or our U.N. drinking buddies.
This is not Vietnam. This time we stay. Real men do not quit. Real friends stay. Real American patriots stand up for freedom.
All men are created equal.
Not all Americans -- all men.
How dare James Baker and company show their faces in public after delivering these 79 recommendations for abandoning our allies in Iraq.
We have no right to leave now, to abandon Iraqis to the chaos we helped bring.
I'm not saying that everyone who supports a war has to be on the frontline any more than I would say that anyone who approves of the fire department should be willing to charge into burning buildings. However, if someone sat around outside each burning house saying "Booyah! Go get'em, hombre!" I'd probably knock their f'ing block off.
There's a reason a number of independents fled from the Republicans last time around: we're tired of you just making shit up to fit whatever the meme of the hour happens to be.
Iraq depends on the Iraqis, and has for some time!
But let's not abandon them, because Iraq depends on us!
....errrr... ummm... and why don't they believe in Jesus anyway?
This is, at least in the scope of my 35 years of life here on Planet Earth, a remarkable bit of right-wing stupidity. I expect this idiocy from the Daily Kossacks, the Huffington Posters, the Deaniacs... but such mouth-breathing nimroddian dipshittism from the rightwing does little but convince me that I am, truly, a man without a country, when it comes to politics.
We, the thinking, are surrounded by idiots.
Millions of them.
Note: Hmmm, Don's "links to this post" used to have my blog entry listed. Now it's gone. Echo echo chamber chamber.
Yeah, what I said up there.
Raise a beer!
I lived in Oulu, Finland in 1994-1995, went back in 96 and 98, and yearn to go back for another visit soon, if only for the nad-curdlin' joys of jumping into avanto.
An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing Monday morning after a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of flatulence, authorities said....I have inside sources that tell me the unspecified medical condition is, get this, "Farty Arty Syndrome." I shit you not (no pun intended, amen).
The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a "body odor," Lowrance said. She had an unspecified medical condition, authorities said.
Our potential next Secretary of Defense says we're not winning:
Robert Gates, the White House choice to be the next defense secretary, conceded Tuesday that the United States is losing the war in Iraq and warned that if that country is not stabilized in the next year or two it could lead to a "regional conflagration."However, past evidence has shown that this administration doesn't let bad news get in the way of spin - and this time is no different, to wit:
Gates, 63, said he believes President Bush wants to see Iraq improve to the point where it can govern and defend itself, while seeking a new approach. "What we are now doing is not satisfactory," Gates said.
"In my view, all options are on the table, in terms of how we address this problem in Iraq," he added.
Asked point-blank by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., whether the U.S. is winning in Iraq, Gates replied, "No, sir."
At today's meeting with reporters at the White House, the major topics for Press Secretary Tony Snow, as expected, were the pending release of the Iraq Study Group's report -- and today's surprise, the admission by Robert Gates, at his confirmation hearings as new Pentagon chief, that the U.S., indeed, is not winning the war in Iraq."We weren't losing and we weren't winning?"
Snow said that, as far as he knows, the president has not backed away from his recent statement that the U.S. is actually "winning" in Iraq. He also suggested that Gates, elsewhere in his testimony, seemed to say that maybe we weren't losing and we weren't winning. And he charged that the press was being too negative about all this: "What I think is demoralizing is a constant effort to try to portray this as a losing mission," he said.
Huh? What's that then, here I am, stuck in the middle with you?
Good lord, but this administration has become a caricature of what real leadership and real responsibility look like. One would think that the electoral thrashing they received a few weeks ago might have been a wakey-wakey call, but no... they're going to sleep clear on through 2008 by the look of things.
I don't look forward to voting for more Democrats, but when the Republicans, even after a defeat, continue to strive for public image idiocy, what's a boy to do?
NASA announced Monday it will establish an international base camp on one of the moon's poles, permanently staffing it by 2024, four years after astronauts return to the moon.If you're wondering why we should go back to the moon, NASA has laid out some of their thinking on the matter in the following broad concepts:
Human CivilizationAnd, of course, Spongmonkeys.
Hollow spheres found in a primordial meteorite could yield clues to the origin of life on Earth.I think the headline "meteorite yields life origin clue" may be overstating the case a bit, but the presence of organic compounds is interesting, particularly if they're of the biochemically keen variety.
Scientists say that "bubbles" like those in the Tagish Lake meteorite may have helped along chemical processes important for the emergence of life.
The globules could also be older than our Solar System - their chemistry suggests they formed at about -260C, near "absolute zero"...
Analysis of the bubbles shows they arrived on Earth in the meteorite and are not terrestrial contaminants.
These hollow spheres could have provided a protective envelope for the raw organic molecules needed for life.
What would really be cool is if, by cracking open the meteorite, the scientists had inadvertently unleashed a deadly plague upon all of us. Bad scientists, bad!
Is this the part where I write about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton partying together, and Britney not having on underwear, and it being caught on camera for all the world to see? Britney's privates, bingo bango bongo.
I'm just glad that motherhood has slowed her down and made her a more responsible adult, because nothing says "I should have custody of K-Fed's children" more than going out on the town and getting hammered sans Hanes-for-Her (not that a wealthy lass like Ms. Spears would wear the underwear of mere commoners, but I was going for "artsy" and "literary").
Let's be fair though: perhaps Britney's unmentionables were still drying on the line outside her double-double-double-double-double-double-wide (so that would be...what? A double-wide to the sixth power? How big is that?).
While the questions were ludicrous, it's odd just how accurate this is:
Find your own pose!
Sometimes I don't feel my age; other times I feel really old.
While Activision pushed console gameplay toward the future, I'm pretty sure the haircuts of those game designers held humanity back. I bet, had they been clean cut, we'd have flying cars and personal time machines by now.
Thanks a lot, Activision!
(found at The Agitator)
* Explained here, sort of, which also makes me feel kind of old.
Looks like even Donald Rumsfeld found the fortitude to admit the obvious, albeit in secret:
Two days before he resigned as defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld submitted a classified memo to the White House that acknowledged that the Bush administration’s strategy in Iraq was not working and called for a major course correction.Obviously the very advanced aliens from the planet Colin Powell have used their mind-control beams to brainwash Rumsfeld.
“In my view it is time for a major adjustment,” wrote Mr. Rumsfeld, who has been a symbol of a dogged stay-the-course policy. “Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough.”
Nor did Mr. Rumsfeld seem confident that the administration would readily develop an effective alternative. To limit the political fallout from shifting course, he suggested the administration consider a campaign to lower public expectations.
“Announce that whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, the U.S. is doing so on a trial basis,” he wrote. “This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not ‘lose.’ ”
“Recast the U.S. military mission and the U.S. goals (how we talk about them) — go minimalist,” he added. The memo suggests frustration with the pace of turning over responsibility to the Iraqi authorities; in fact, the memo calls for examination of ideas that roughly parallel troop withdrawal proposals presented by some of the White House’s sharpest Democratic critics.
The real shame here is that, while this administration and its officials knew that Iraq was turning into a disaster, they did nothing about it. They "stayed the course." They played Pollyanna. They thought they were still politically safe - don't push for change because it sounds too much like defeat! - and one has to wonder how many Iraqis and Americans died because of it all.