Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fwd: Jihad -- A MUST SEE!


You know those crazy email chain letters your Aunt Lillian sends all the time? They are usually total crap but you don't want to hurt Auntie's feeling by telling her to stop sending them. I often receive forwarded alerts about the latest Microsoft virus, chain letters telling everyone to boycott gas stations on a certain day to bring down Exxon, and poems about friendship with animated hearts and kittens, but warning you that if you don't forward it you aren't a real friend.

I just got this one: "Fwd: Jihad -- A MUST SEE!". See, it's all about jihad... and not just jihad, but

JIIIIIIHHHHHAAAAAADDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!

Click here to see a flash movie EPIC (they even use bullet sound effects and O Fortuna!

Look, I know we have terrorists out there trying to do bad things. We were ALL dazed and shocked by 9/11's brutality. I'm sure we'll get slammed again eventually. Bad bad bad. That all said, let's all get a grip, huh? The world isn't as bad as fear-mongers would have you believe. For every homocidal fanatic there is out there, there are many times more good people who want peace and understanding.

What is the point of this movie anyway? To scare the Depends undergarments off a bunch of retired people in a trailer park outside Orlando? A pro-Israel group keeping the true believers rallied? Maybe. Hey, could it be... MONEY???? Ah yes, it IS money! Note the link at at the beginning and end asking you to help "support" the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

I'm not familiar with your work in particular, but let's chill out, shall we Mr. Horowitz? You want to get some support for your agenda or ernestly want to save people's lives, go ahead and put them on the net for free. Using fear to shake the loose pocket change from the scared-shit-less... isn't that what a terrorist would do?

P.S. As a web designer, I am appalled by the overuse of canned flash type effects that that damn bullet sound effect, though it did make me giggle. I also liked the photoshopped crescent flag on the White House. oooooh.... scary!!!! I better cut Horowitz another check.







Keith Olbermann goes ape-shit over Military Commissions Act. Why isn't America?


I don't regularly watch Keith Olbermann's Countdown show on MSNBC. I would, but watching cable news makes me feel dirty. That said, Olbermann really went postal last October when Bush signed his name at the bottom of the Military Commissions Act. The Act enables Dubbya to trump up his executive powers by being able to declare someone — perhaps even a US citizen — an "unlawful enemy combatant", and thus lock them up without a chance to prove their innocence in a court of law (aka: habeas corpus). This is supposed to be only targeted at terrorists who try to claim Geneva Conventions prisoner of war protections.

The President argues this was necessary so that we can protect America from the "bad guys", but since this Bush lies like a wet dishrag, how am I as an American trust his motives on anything he does? And what's to ensure the next President will use this new power ethically? Where are the checks and balances? Al Gore's recent book The Asssault On Reason covers this topic rather well:
President Bush has declared that he has the hertofore unrecognized inherent power to seize and imprison any American citizen whom he alone determines to be a threat to our nation - without an arrest warrant, without notifying them of what charges have been filed against them, and without even informing their families that they have been imprisioned. The president claims that he can simply snatch an American citizen off the street and him or her locked up indefinitely-even for the rest of his or her life-and refuse to allow that citizen the right to make a phone call or talk to a lawyer-even to argue that the president or his appointees have made a mistake and imprisoned the wrong person.

Here is a snippit of an interview Olberman did with Professor Jonathan Turley, who teaches constitutional law at George Washington University
OLBERMANN: "Does this mean that under this law, ultimately the only thing keeping you, I, or the viewer out of Gitmo is the sanity and honesty of the president of the United States?"

TURLEY: "It does. And it's a huge sea change for our democracy. The framers created a system where we did not have to rely on the good graces or good mood of the president. In fact, Madison said that he created a system essentially to be run by devils, where they could not do harm, because we didn't rely on their good motivations. Now we must. And people have no idea how significant this is. What, really, a time of shame this is for the American system. What the Congress did and what the president signed today essentially revokes over 200 years of American principles and values."

Like so many other recent erosions of our democracy (warrant-less wire taps and state sanctioned torture to name a couple), it went quietly... no riots, no protests. Probably because we have no clue what the Act was about. Our society remains pacified by American Idol and Paris Hilton, and meanwhile we slowly loose what makes us a great country. Melodramatic? Take a poll of how many people have even heard the words "habeas corpus", much less know what it is. I can't really blame anyone for wanting to watch escapist TV in their spare time, everyone needs a break, but if we don't know what we have, so how can we make sure we don't loose it? Now, poll who knows who won Dancing With The Stars. Nuff said.

Here's Olbermann putting his MAD on:


OTHER OPINIONS:SOURCES: whitehouse.gov, prisonplanet.com, youtube, wikipedia, The Assault On Reason, Al Gore







Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bill O'Reilly gets spanked by Phil Donahue

Talk show veteran Phil Donahue was allegedly fired from his popular MSNBC program for breaking ranks and speaking against the buildup to the Iraq War. In 2005 he came back to TV and went a few rounds with loud mouthed bully Bill O'Reilly. As usual with O'Reilly, when he starts to loose the debate, he threatens to simply shut down the debate and toss Donahue out of the studio. Donahue kept his seat and did a decent job of shutting O'Reilly down, even getting the last word. Nice job Donahue. I with you hauled off on him. Not that I'm a violent dude... I just dislike bullies. Can anyone out there tell me why they watch this guy?









Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Charlie Chaplin: left wing liberal bastard, hates freedom, supports terrorism


I missed most of it, but I just happen to catch the end of some liberal whack-job's new propaganda flick. I think the dude's name is Chaplin and the "film" is called The Great Dictator. Now, I don't know much about this guy, but after listening to his speech (see clip below), I am enraged. How dare he speak this way about our President? Look Charlie, it's obvious you don't support the war in Iraq, but to call President Bush "a dictator"?!? I just hope Ann Coulter tears this Michael Moore wanna-be a new asshole when she hears about this.

His speech features all the standard-issue liberal talking points. For example, he blathers that "we don't want to hate and despise." You want to be soft on the terrorists? Move to France, le tramp. And the part about soldiers being used "as cannon fodder"... a typical liberal not supporting the troops and the sacrifices they make everyday so you can preach your pro-life/gay marriage/stem cell loving agenda. Save your east coast double-talk for someone who cares, Chaplin. I just wish there was still a Soviet Union so we could send your sorry arse into their Godless arms where you belong. And what's with the accent... you learn to speak playing polo with John Kerry? If I was the Vice-President, I'd invite you to go quail hunting... just so I could shoot you in the face myself.

Oh yeah -- and next time, spend a little more cash and get a color camera and a decent microphone. This isn't the 1930s.

------

Seriously though, spend a few minutes and watch this clip. It is the last bit from his 1940 film The Great Dictator. Chaplin's words resonate as if he was talking about current events, though it was filmed 67 years ago. The players change though the game remains the same.









Sunday, May 27, 2007

Thanks, part 2


Photo: A soldier holds a little girl, Fallujah.

Happy Memorial Day. Be safe.

Photo courtesy http://www.hollandsimpson.com/blog/archives/2004_12.html







Saturday, May 26, 2007

Rosie O'Donnell and blonde from "The View" have intelligent catfight on national television.

I know this one is a few days old now. Rosie O'Donnell ("liberal left") argues politics with Elisabeth Hasselbeck ("conservative right") on The View. So why bother doing a posting on it? I actually think that this level of debate is great to see on network TV -- and on fluffy daytime television no less.

Try to find this kind of ernest heart felt debate elsewhere on television... that people actually WATCH. Each one articulately stated her opinion and got heated without tossing coffee. Too bad our recent Democratic and Republican debates aren't as energetic.

It's unfortunate O'Donnell is not only leaving the show, but I hear has actually left. I think they may have started quite a few much needed conversations among housewives around the country. I also applaud the producers for skipping the commercial ques and letting it play out.

Of course now I'm getting physically ill for saying something nice about this show. Next I'll be finding reasons to think "Die Hard 2" was worth watching.









Thanks


While Congress and the Nation at large continue to endlessly debate -- about the President, the War on Terror, and the past, present and future of Iraq -- our soldiers continue to fight it out. Right now it's about 90 degrees F in Iraq, and they are out there, in full armor and aging vehicles. They get paid less that those Blackwater dudes, and have older equipment. Meanwhile, though most of us lead lives not radically unchanged before 9/11, their families continue to face the burden of missing loved ones. Kids miss their parents. Reservists miss the incomes they made before getting called to service. Some will never come back.

As cynical and desensitized as many (including myself) are these days, it might be appropriate to take a few moments to thank the idealists who think so highly of our country, for whatever their personal reasons, to protect it with their lives. Then we can get back to the cookout and the Home Depot trip.

Thanks to all of you, and be safe. I hope we get you home soon.

Image: Three Flags, 1958 by Jasper Johns







Thursday, May 24, 2007

America's Hired Guns: Isn't this how Yoda fucked up?


George Bush may want to take Bingo night off and spend some time with the work of George Lucas. As every sci-fi geek knows, the Jedi were getting heat from a lot of mysterious evil dudes. The Sith hate freedom, and Yoda's posse has gotta go smoke 'em out. But the Jedi were spread too thin from being the galaxy's police. What to do? Hey, let's hire some contractors to help do the fighting. Send in the CLONES! They are lean, mean, come with their own armor, and hey, if they die, who cares? Contractors don't get benies... not even dental. It's a slam dunk!

But while the clones fought for the Jedi, they had no loyalty to them. They were doing the highest bidder's bidding, and the Sith pay better. Before you know it, the clone army was making Jedi hamburger.

Taken for a punk, Yoda has.

While hiring mercenaries in the real world hasn't always worked out too great either (see Rome, England, etc), the U.S. is now getting into the game. Companies like North Carolina's Blackwater USA are picking up where the U.S. military is leaving off all over the place, especially in Iraq. Born in 1997 by millionaire and former US Navy SEAL Erik Prince, BlackWater is has been hired by the government to help out in post-Katrina's New Orleans, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Blackwater USA has also been contracted by various foreign governments. In Iraq, when a U.S. General is touring the latest horrors, it's Blackwater that is guarding him, not the General's own men.

Controversy surrounds Prince and Blackwater. A recent book by independent journalist Jeremy Scahill is highly critical of the company (Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army). It seems not even Congress has a real grip how involved they are. A talent drain has been affecting the U.S. Army as soldiers quit the military and "Go Blackwater" to get better pay and equipment. There's also President's Eisenhower's 1961 warning about the "military industrial complex" where so much of the economy depends on war that we need to make it. They currently are not disciplined in the same way regular military is. An insider quote has surfaced regarding Blackwater conduct in Iraq: "What happens in Iraq, stays in Iraq."

President Bush on the question (during the Rumsfield era):


While all the above issues are important, they seem secondary to a basic common sense question: If these companies need war to make money, and are willing to work for those willing to pay, where ultimately does their loyalties lie? Can we be assured that they are here to protect and defend the Constitution, or their CEO's mandates and their quarterly profits.

Meditate on this, we must.

LEARN MORE:







Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What do you post after Holocaust photos? I KNOW!

After posting disturbing Holocaust pictures, I'm finding it hard to put anything up after that. There is no good segue to another topic. So let's cleanse the palette completely.

I feel better all ready.







Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Are UK teachers really dropping the Holocaust to avoid offending Muslims?


Above: Circa 1935: two Jewish pupils are humiliated before their classmates. The inscription on the blackboard reads "The Jew is our greatest enemy, beware of the Jew". From The Pictorial History of the Holocaust, Macmillan Publishing Company, NY, 1990.

It's been reported that UK Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils. A Government backed study revealed found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial. It also found some teachers are dropping courses covering the Holocaust at the earliest opportunity over fears Muslim pupils might express anti-Semitic and anti-Israel reactions in class.

The researchers gave the example of a secondary school in an unnamed northern city, which dropped the Holocaust as a subject for GCSE coursework. The report said teachers feared confronting 'anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils'. It added: "In another department, the Holocaust was taught despite anti-Semitic sentiment among some pupils.

This story has been widely spread via an email chain letter, which is how I learned of it. A report by snopes.com tells another side of the story:
This piece began circulating in e-mail in mid-April 2007. Its central claim, that schools in Britain no longer teach about The Holocaust for fear of offending Muslim students, isn't on the money: Even news articles that bear titles such as "Britain Schools Ignore the Holocaust" and "Schools Drop Holocaust Lessons" point out that only one history department in a northern UK school did that. In all the rest of the country's schools, information about the Holocaust was still being imparted to students.

A spokesman for the Department of Education and Skills (DES) maintained that "key British historical events must be taught" and that while "the national curriculum is a broad framework and there is scope for schools to make their own decisions, teaching elements including the Holocaust and key British events will be compulsory."

It's delusional to deny the Holocaust happened. Of course it did. I think what Holocaust deniers are trying to get at is their suspicion the Holocaust was used to gain sympathy in order to get that much fought-over sea side real estate we call Israel. Genocide happened then, and it's still happening now. I won't bother you repeating that tired old "those that don't learn history are doomed to repeat it" quote again. Oops. Just did. Regardless, other than isolated cases it seems that Holocaust history is being taught in the UK. Now what about evolution being taught in Kansas?

SOURCES:Daily Mail, Snopes.com

NOTE: I've been told that the Daily Mail is total crap and there are more nuances to the story than they report. Like anything you read here or elsewhere, read with the understanding it's being reflected through a human prism, and is thus subjective.

Below: A mass grave in the Belsen camp. From The Belsen Trial - Edited by R. Phillips, William Hodge and Company, 1949. I don't think they had Photoshop in '49, so this is really showing dead people.



Photos courtesy http://shamash.org/holocaust/photos/







Paul Wolfowitz: Don't let the World Bank smack you on the ass on the way out.


Actually, I would have preferred if it did smack him on the way out. But it didn't. He has reportedly left with a 400K golden parachute and negotiated a BEYOND tepid statement from the World Bank:

“He assured us that he acted ethically and in good faith in what he believed were the best interests of the institution, and we accept that." Fucker.

No doubt this is systemic of issues within the World Bank that interferes with it fulfilling it's mission statement to help alleviate poverty around the world. It seems that the Bush Administration's back room wrangling held out just long enough to get Wolfowitz a smooth exit while maintaining Bush's right to nominate his replacement. How about that FEMA dude Bush loved so much? He did a "hell of a job!"

At any rate, good riddance. I can't say anything here better or funnier than what Stephen Cobert said last night. Watch it now.

Cartoon © Steve Bell 2007. steve.bell@guardian.co.uk







Monday, May 21, 2007

NEWS ALERT: Daily Show's Jon Stewart beheads two pundits on national television

People have turned from corporate news for lots of reasons. Many now get their news from "fake" news like The Daily Show and Colbert Report. For my money both those shows give me realer news than any FoxNews "ALERT", and nobody makes the fake news realer than anchorman/writer Jon Stewart.

Here he is being interviewed back in 2004 by former CNN "Crossfire" jackass turned "Dancing With The Stars" jackass Tuker Carlson, he of the silly trademark bow tie. I've always loved this clip. I think this interview was the moment that transformed Tucker from prime-time cutie-pie pundit to... well... nothing. Watch how he takes the show over. Brilliant. By the way, between the insults are DEAD ON insights into why corporate news is "hurting America."









Sunday, May 20, 2007

Taking action on honor killings

http://www.stophonourkillings.com

If you are as appalled as I am by the ritual of stoning, but want to turn impotent rage into something more useful, this site not only has a lot of information but also a right column full of links that include addresses to write protest letters to. How does a letter to a politician help change something embedded into a culture? Let's find out.







Saturday, May 19, 2007

17 Year-Old Kurdish Girl Stoned for Love.


On or around April 7, 2007, Du’a Khalil Aswad, a 17-year-old girl has been stoned to death in Beshika, Iraq because she loved a teenage boy of the wrong religion. She was murdered (allegedly by her brothers and uncles) while a large group of men watched and cheered.

Aswad, a member of a minority Kurdish religious group called Yezidi, was apparently murdered because she had engaged in a relationship with a Sunni Muslim boy and had been absent from her home for one night.

Some reports suggested that she had converted to Islam, but others deny this. Initially, she was reportedly given shelter in the house of a Yezidi tribal leader in Bashika. Other reports indicate she was lured back home with news her families' anger subsided.

Most accounts agree that she was dragged from her home, stripped down to her underwear and kicked in the groin and stomach and is pelted with rocks and concrete. Police officers were present but apparently did nothing to stop the murder, and they possibly sought to encourage the crowd.

Her death by stoning lasted for around 30 minutes. We appear to have had the event recorded via the mixed blessing of cell phone technology:


This CNN clip shows a bit different footage, including what the police were doing:


More complete unedited footage can be found at Robert Lindsay's BLOG

Two of the four arrested are members of the victim's family, police in Nineveh province said last Thursday. Four others, including a cousin thought to have instigated the killing, are being sought.

IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE THAT CAN GIVE ME A VALID REASON WHY THIS BRUTALITY ISN'T WORTHY OF UNIVERSAL OUTRAGE? Cause right now I want to nuke that town and everyone in it. I hate every sweaty mad-man in that forsaken place, yabbering and whooping as if they are at a football game, waving their cell phone cameras. Wikipedia notes that to the Yazidi, the source of evil is not from Satan, but in the heart and spirit of humans themselves. INDEED.

Additional objective and subjective information can be found here:

SIDENOTE: I had trouble getting this footage on YouTube. It is rumored that YouTube (now owned by Google) has been trying to remove video footage of this incident from it's servers. As brutal as this video footage is, it's serves an important function. We can't deny it exists if we have the evidence, especially for those of us far from the violence. If this editing of content is true, it's a blow to non-corporate journalism. I hope it isn't so. Here's some dude (not me) noting the issue.








Thursday, May 17, 2007

I hope they do a 'God kills queers' version of "Purple Rain" next!

I don't like giving screwballs free publicity, but sometimes people strike the perfect balance of "frightening", "hilarious", and "bat-shit insane." When that happens, you gotta give them some props.

Somewhere in the grassy plains of Topeka, Kansas is a gaggle of misfits so whacked that they not only have an ultra-uber-extreme fear of homosexuality (the signs above are their creativity), they also have a severely lame taste in music. Put the two together, and you get "God Hates the World," a redressing of the 1985 pop-meets-activism anthem "We Are the World."

The group, Westboro Baptist Church, has taken the song written to save African famine victims and spun it into a opus of intolerance and damnation. Lyrics include "You are all a part of the devil's family and the truth, you're all headed straight to hell!"

According to Associated Press, the church contends that soldiers' deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are God's punishment for a tolerance of homosexuality in the United States. They have been seen picketing soldiers' funerals and Congress has enacted laws to restrict such behavior. "It's all our effort to deliver a faithful message to this generation," said Shirley Phelps-Roper, church attorney and daughter of the pastor. The fact the song was co-written by Michael Jackson seems to escape their sense of irony.

They even made a shitty video to go with the shitty song! The fat lady really belts out the Huey Lewis parts. Sadly, the video also has montages that include small children holding signs that say "pedophile rape enablers" and "fags doom nations."

But hey, don't let me sway your opinion... check out these wing-nuts yourself: http://www.thesignsofthetimes.net/specialav/2007/20070407_ghtw.html

Those of you from outside the U.S., please don't think we are all this nuts. I know that between our current political leaders and BORAT we all look like we're Bible thumping bigots, but most of us are are pretty decent. Except for the Jews for Jesus... they eat babies and cry tears of acid. God will destroy them for their sins.







NILF - News I'd Like to F@#k


When I use my stairmaster at the gym I can't help but look at one of the 20 televisions strategically positioned to distract us from our cardio torture. One third of them are always fixed to Cable News, and the volume is always turned off. Quite often I find myself drawn into CNN reporting on the tragedy-du-jour, but it's not the car crash/Iraq blast/child kidnapping that rouses my attention. I find myself hypnotized by the botttle blonde minx reading the news. I could care less about how long little Billy has been trapped in that abandoned well, as long as they cut back to the studio so I can see those perfect, muted, glossy red lips mouthing today's Fallujah body count.

The Daily Show's Samanta Bee (photo top left) probes the emergence of Cable News' uber-sultry newswomen (photo below). Total genius. Their writers are so sharp they could cut an atom in half.



Here's the clip:








Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Paul Wolfowitz: "In my defense, she does this awesome thing with her pinky finger..."


Former deputy United States defense secretary, architect of the Iraq war and overall neo-con prick Paul Wolfowitz is in trouble at his latest gig, President of the World Bank. Accused of giving his girlfriend Shaha Riza a big promotion, many European countries want to give him the boot in order to salvage the Bank's reputation. Since he got this cushy job by getting into bed with Dubbya Bush, I suppose he thought giving his main squeeze a nice job bump and pay raise was fair play. In another display of irony in action, the woman is question is labeled a "Middle East expert". Hmmmm.... a middle east expert would have been someone handy to have around before hatching the invasion of Iraq plan. Oh well.

Since it was Bush that gave him the gig (the United States gets to nominate this position because we put in the most money), you'd figure that the administration might see this breech of ethics as something worth criticizing. Nope. "We stand by our support of Paul as the World Bank president," White House spokesman Tony Snow said. You could almost guess he'd say that, didn't you? I'm expecting Bush to make a statement like: "You know, after hearing the allegations, I am even MORE confident that Paul is the right man for this job. He's good people. Doin' a hell of a job." Apparently the Bush administration is doing everything they can to keep the Bushy in the job, but within the next few days he'll get his golden parachute and off he goes. I'm sure his "tell all book" will be a hoot.

So World Bank... what is it? Their web site declares their mission is "a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world... we provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications and many other purposes."

"Working for a World Free of Poverty" is their tagline. Pretty noble. No gripes with that. I guess Wolfie thought his girlfriend was in danger of poverty with a tiny 133K salary. The bump to 190K was just a way to help alleviate her sorry condition. Meanwhile this institution has to spin it's wheels and waste it's time and reputation dealing with this jackass. No worries, right? Uganda was fucked up last month, it will still be fucked up after Wolfowitz wastes time making sure his ego is left in tact. What a humanitarian.

I hope to write his career a formal obit in an upcoming post.







Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Falwell can't figure out why Heaven has flames and dudes with pitchforks.


"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. evangelist Jerry Falwell, a leader of the religious right who battled in the political arena against abortion and homosexuality, died on Tuesday after collapsing in his Virginia office."

This makes me happy. The only thing that would make me happier is if Jesus actually showed up while Falwell was still alive and grabbed him, Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard and Pat Robertson by their necks and told them to stop trying to further their worm-ridden hate mongering right-wing agendas with his name.

But my objectivity aside, let's let him speak for himself. Some of the wisdom that Uncle Jerry bestowed on America:
ON WHAT CAUSED 9/11:
"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"



ON CIVIL RIGHTS:
"I do question the sincerity of people like the Reverend Martin Luther King...""

ON UNIONS:
"Labor unions should study and read the Bible instead of asking for more money. When people get right with God, they are better workers."

PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
"I hope to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we don't have public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them."

TELETUBBIES (This nicely summarized by wikipedia):
"In February 1999, an article in Falwell's National Liberty Journal suggested that a Teletubbies character, Tinky Winky, could be a hidden homosexual symbol, because the character was purple (which the article claimed was a color symbolic of homosexuality), had an inverted triangle on his head and carried a handbag. ( The pink triangle was used as a badge to denote homosexuals in Nazi concentration camps, and has since been adopted as an emblem by gay-rights movements.) Falwell denied any personal involvement with the original article, and made clear he never had any prior knowledge of or concern with the Teletubbies. Falwell's organization said the author of the article was simply repeating what others in the media were already saying about the nature of the character."

Okay, maybe he had a point about Tinky Winky. I always thought he was a little light in the loafers.

Sources: Yahoo!News, Wikipedia







Friday, May 11, 2007

"So Tony, wanna bomb that A-rab TV station? heh heh"

So, did the George Dubbya Bush and Tony Blair administrations decide to intentionally bomb AlJazeera's headquarters or was it just some kind of weird inside joke?

For those saying "Al Who?": AlJazeera is the Middle East's version of CNN (or Fox News depending on how bias you think they are). They have just launched an English version of their news site.

This is an objective overview of the recent "Al Jazeera bombing memo" from the ever-wonderful wikipedia:
"The Al Jazeera bombing memo is an unpublished memorandum made within the British government which purports to be the minutes of a discussion between United States President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Daily Mirror published a story on its front page on 22 November 2005 claiming that the memo quotes Bush speculating about a U.S. bombing raid on Al Jazeera world headquarters in the Qatari capital Doha and other locations. The story claims that Blair persuaded Bush to take no action."

This leeked memo has all ready put two British gents (David Keogh, a civil servant at the Cabinet Office, and Leo O'Connor, a research assistant to former Labour MP Tony Clarke) in jail for exposing the memo.

So what is going on here? Was it an accident or was Bush just so pissed that AlJazeera was showing images of civilians being killed in the assault on Fallujah he wanted to bomb it to shut them up.

Anyway, there is a huge gag order in Britian warning news organizations from leeking any more info on this, though many bloggers have posted icons like this one, pledging to publish the document:


And I will do so too. Because Bush hasn't done much to make me think he wouldn't bomb someone and lie about it.

Of course, the Daily Mirror doesn't add much credibility to the report when it shares the front page with "Posh And The Dwarf".

AlJazeera may not exactly be the most "Fair and Balanced" News source. That said, they are a "news organization" none-the-less, and as such, should have the right to blow crappy half-true news out their asses all they want without getting bombed... FOX News' ass is blowing 24/7/365, and no one bombed them yet. Hey I have an idea, maybe Bush should bomb FOX News too, just to make it even? Fox could even use that "FOX ALERT" screen graphic to tell everyone about the bunker busters heading for them.

The Washington Post's Take on this is HERE.
Tried to find a link on the AlJazeera site about the topic, but surprisingly, couldn't find a mention.







Dirty Diaper Theory: Laws that motivate inconvenient action

So I was in my local TARGET parking lot today when I saw that someone changed their kid's dirty diaper and chucked the thing on the ground, insulting the nice green grass that has just started to grow. That really pissed me off. What the &*#!^@ does it take to get people to do the right thing and simply carry the diaper 30 paces to the trash barrel, or at least chuck it into their car and toss it later. This lead me to the overthink the whole situation and create "The Dirty Diaper Theory: Laws that motivate inconvenient action."

Wait, don't skip to the Paris Hilton blog yet... hear me out.

First, a definition: I consider "inconvenient actions" to be something that you know if right but requires having to go out of your way to do it.

Some people try and do the right thing all the time because they feel compelled to do right thing. They'll even go to jail to support the fact they did the right thing. Other people will do the right thing when a police cruiser is sittting across the street, but otherwise they will do what they want. Others will do they right thing cause they don't want to go to hell. And some will do whatever they want, then look at you and say "What the fuck you looking at, Buttercup?" while giving you the finger.

So we have the old ID, Ego, Superego thing going here. Let me try and break it down to a pecking order of doing "the right thing" with that offensive diaper in the grass...

I will throw my kid's dirty diaper in the trash because...
...cleaning up your own mess it the right thing to do.

...I don't want my kid to follow my example and become a schmuck like me.

...That person in the car next to me is watching me, and I don't want her to think I am a schmuck (that I actually AM).

...that cop is standing right there and I don't want a ticket for littering.

...God knows everything I do and I'll burn in a sea of hellfire if I do.

...That dude over there making $5.50 an hour cleaning the parking lot may kick my ass.

OR... I don't give a shit, I'll drop this diaper where ever I want. [PLUNK]

So for those of us who aren't in the goody-two-shoes "right thing to do" category, it seems we need to have some kind of incentive plan. The incentive of shame or penalty seem to be the big ones keeping most in line. But how do we get to that last "I don't give a shit" category? How do you get ENRON not to screw over little old ladies trying to pay their energy bill? How do you get a goverment official to stop taking money from the oil company lobby to screw the world out of it's climate? How do you get that man to leave that little kid alone?

MY QUESTION: If you don't have an internal compass of right and wrong, don't fear justice from man or God, or a sense of personal shame, what does it take to get you to do the right thing? Doughnuts? Beer? I'm willing to dontate a couple of six packs. Just don't toss the empties on the grass when you're done with them.







Thursday, May 10, 2007

On Winning The Genetic Jackpot


I like to think I have achieved a lot in a short period of time. I make in one year what it look my parents two working multiple jobs. I have a lovely home, which I designed from scratch. A beautiful wife. Great kid. I have built a business from nothing that affords our family an upper middle class lifestyle, if not better. We spend money with reckless abandon. We blow more money on renting shitty movies than 50% of the population get in a week to live on. I have access to the finest doctors in the world, and with their talents I'll live for another 50 years without too much effort. I even have the health insurance to cover most of it!

I take a lot of pride in what I have achieved, and I've worked hard to get there. That said, much of what I have comes from a few details that I had nothing to do with:

  1. I have white skin


  2. I have a penis


  3. I happened to have been born not only in the United States, but in Eastern New England within spitting distance of Boston and Manhattan.


  4. I'm no George Clooney, but I'm not hard on the eyeballs either.


I'm at the top of the top of the food chain, baby!! Crank up the Led Zeppelin and get me another ice cold Diet Coke!

I'm not feeling any guilt about the fact that I hit the genetic jackpot when it comes to living the good life in the 21st century. I'm loving the fact I have the basic tools needed to easily achieve anything I want in the current social/economic game. Hell, if I wasn't born a Jew and short, I might have a better than decent shot at being President. I use the above "details" I was given every day, even if I don't realize it. At the gas station. Talking to a cop. Getting a loan. Service at a restaurant. Forgetting to vote last Tuesday. Having enough spare time in my life to contemplate introspective bullshit about my good fortune.

It's good to be large and in charge, but I think it was Spider-Man's Uncle Ben who said "With great power comes great responsibility."

I knew there'd be a catch. Dammit!







Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Queen Elizabeth II may be an immortal

At a recent White House ceremony for Queen Elizabeth's American visit, The President stumbled on a line in his speech...

President Bush: "You helped our nation celebrate its Bicentennial in 17... in 1976..."



(Pause and laughter)

Queen Elizabeth: (Inaudible)



President Bush: "She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child."

(Laughter)

I'm not slamming Bush on this at all here, he's never been the best speech reader, and he turned his gaff into a pretty funny ongoing joke between himself and the Queen. The faces are priceless. American humor vs British as seen in the photos. Very nice. This is actually one of the moments when I like Bush. And then I catch myself liking him and make little cuts on my wrists with a razor.

You can see the video HERE.







Monday, May 7, 2007

Obituary of Mr. Common Sense


Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: Knowing when to come in out of the rain; Why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn't always fair; and Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6 -year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Calpol, sun lotion or a band-aid to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge monetary settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. His three stepbrothers survive him; I Know My Rights, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Thanks to Truth In Cosmetic Surgery Blog for this one....







Tuesday, May 1, 2007

WAG OF THE FINGER: Some secrets should not be kept, DICK.


On the anniversary of that awesome "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner that served as President Bush's backdrop while claiming victory in Iraq, we have this from Democratic Senator/Majority Wip Dick Durbin speaking about the run up to the war in Iraq:

"The information we had in the intelligence committee was not the same information being given to the American people. I couldn't believe it,"

"frankly, I couldn't do much about it because, in the intelligence committee, we are sworn to secrecy."

What about the promise to "protect the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic?"

Senator Durbin, I do actually believe there was something you could have done about it, and that was TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. The truth about this 40 billion dollar clusterfuck may have come in handy before our soldiers went flying in there and got themselves killed. I think we should know exactly what else you were holding back. I'm also interested who else was on that intelligence committee.

I'm not the most knowledgeable person on your record, perhaps you have done many things I should be grateful for. This is not one of them. Hope you sleep well tonight.