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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

TOXIC GAS INSIDE AIRPLANES?

Treehugger.com posted [http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/02/revealed_toxic.php|something over the weekend] that talked about how toxic gases that are spewed into the atmospher by passenger planes also end up inside their passenger cabins. Check out this clip from the post:
We know that the air pollution caused by airplanes constantly flying around the globe is one of the biggest factors damaging the environment. Did you know, however, that the detrimental impact of this pollution is not only restricted to the air outside the plane, but the air inside the cabin is also affected. The Observer newspaper has revealed today that ‘pilots, cabin crew and passengers are being exposed to a potentially toxic gas’.

Antony Barnett writes: ‘that in the past three years there have been reports of more than 100 incidents where fumes have contaminated the air inside British aircraft. The gases are potentially damaging to health, with one new report from University College London suggesting that up to 197,000 passengers are exposed to the contaminated air every year.’


What this toxic gas will do to you is not mentioned in the TH post, but still, add another nasty thing to the list of crap we shouldn't be breathing.

The Famima Experience...

So, I'm a Japanophile. I am a fan of just about all things Japanese. So upon a recent walk down Westwood Boulevard, south of Wilshire, I saw that an old "mom and pop" style pharmacy had finally been replaced after quite a while of being closed. I'm always sad to see a business close--especially so when it is a "mom and pop" style place. The catch is, the pharmacy was replaced by a corner store chain--from Japan.

It's a place called Famima--you can check out there American website at Famima-USA.com or their Japanese site at Famima.com, if you happen to know how to read Japanese :)

I had been meaning to swing by to check it out but I haven't had the time or money to do so until just this past weekend. It was completely spur of the moment, too--myself, -TheWife- and -Jen- were out for a joy ride with -TimToon- in his new car--with the side interest of finding some food, we sped down Westwood Blvd and spotted Famima's bright green facade and decided then was a good time to check it out.

Here's what it looked like as we approached it:
famima01

Positively euro-trashy, huh? But in a good way, of course. Inside the place felt like a Pret-a-Mange on steroids, though because we were there so late in the day stocks did seem kind of low. Here's what it looked like from the window:

famima02

As we entered we were greeted by quite a few Japanese products--in fact, most of the products were from Japan. Sushi, onigiri, various beverages including some truly disgusting coffee:

famimablack

Cute can, weak-ass coffee. Blech--with a name like "Black Coffee" on the can, you'd think it wouldn't taste like pee. All right, so it doesn't fully taste like urine--just the weakest damn coffee you've ever had--like water with a vague aftertaste of coffee.

I was disappointed with their selection of [http://images.google.com/images?q=onigiri&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&sa=N&tab=wi|onigiri]--or as they're called in English, rice balls. No, rice don't have testicles--these are like meatballs, only they're made of rice but then, you probably knew that. :D

Anyway, so all they had left was onigiri with tuna and mayo--sounded kind of gross, but I LOVE onigiri they were priced at $1.20 per, so I figured I could afford the mistake if they were bad. Luckily, the one I tried was downright yummy--but I'd still like to go back when they have more salmon rice balls. LOVE the salmon...

The thing that struck me the most about this place was that it seemed to be like a classed-up 7-11. It had just as wide a selection of items, too--not just food, but stationary, DVDs, toys and more (hot, steamy buns!). The two things that made it classier than a 7-11 were design and quality. Like I said, the place looked like Pret-a-Mange--a chain of British health-fast-food shops. Very "euro". The food was very good, too. And the toy I bought was extremely high-quality for the price. I bought a tiny replica of Osaka Castle, also known as [http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=422|Himeji-jo]. Here's a pic:

famimahimeji-jo

Pretty amazing detail for just $2.77, wouldn't you say?

In the end, my first Famima experience was a positive one and I look forward to more. The place is about a thirty minute walk from my apartment and about ten minutes on my scooter, so I'm definitely going to check it out again soon. I'll be sure and blog again when I do.

TheVlog for 2/28/6

This is a bit of departure for TheVlog--it's all clips of O'Reilly nicked from MediaMatters.Org. I just love it when idiots make it this easy to point out their own hypocrisy. Enjoy the clips:


thevlog20060228.mp4



It's a 3m41s, 8.9MB mp4--short but sweet!

Feel free to check out all of my past vlog entries here:

http://thepete.com/tag/thevlog/
http://thepete.com/tag/thevlog/feed/ <--subscribe to my vlog here

Ballpoint Adventures for February 28, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for February 28, 2006 by ThePete

Ballpoint Adventures for February 28, 2006!
(click to make it bigger)


Make sure to check out other comics at ThePete.Com by going here:

http://thepete.com/tag/thefunnies/

Incredible Let Down From Apple Today

So all the rumors were flying about what His Jobedness was going to announce today at Apple HQ. A new full-on video iPod with a 3.5 inch screen? An Mac Tablet? A tricked out new version of the iBook? A Mac Mini Media Center that we've all been predicting for months (years?)? A boring-ass box radio that has a dock in it for your iPod?

Feh... they blew off the truly "fun" products in that short list of speculations and went with the two more boring items--in short, they announced an Intel-based Mac Mini with Front Row installed on it with a few other bells and whistles that are no big deal at all. What's really lame is that 1) there's no video capture capability to speak of and 2) these new Mac Minis are more expensive than the current MMs that are available (the cheapest currently? $499--the new MM will run you $599).

The other item they went with was the iPod boombox. Maybe it's because I live in the city or just don't have enough friends (or a backyard) to BBQ with on the weekends, but I think an iPod boombox is such a waste of time. Oooo, I can connect my iPod to a portable amp and speakers and the whole thing has handles!! Big deal. Apple is supposed to be innovative. I think there's something like this that already exists anyway.

So much for innovation.

Another (not so) fun product is a leather iPod case in two sizes--one for the 5g and another for the Nano. Again, big deal--especially when they cost $99.

Even though I was dreading another iPod (I just bought a 5g in December) I would have prefered it to this sorry lot. I may be mistaken, but don't Windows Media Center PCs have built-in video capture capabilities? Why leave that out of a Mac Mini with Front Row? Looks like I'm sticking with [http://thepete.com/blu-ray-hd-or-holo-dvd-and-how-i-will-win-the-dvd-format-wars/|my original plan for my next DVR...]

Damn, Jobs announcing something is like a mini-Christmas for the Mac Faithful--but I feel like I just got a pair of socks. :P

YEP, WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF OIL

Came across [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/24/AR2006022400778.html|this interesting column] at WashingtonPost.Com yesterday. It's all about how we're quietly facing a major oil crisis. This also happens to be an energy crisis since oil is best known for being used for energy. However, oil is also used for creating all sorts of plastics and other substances we all use every day of our lives (like make-up, household cleaners and more). Oil is also used to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petro-dollars|power the US economy]. With oil running out, the world is destined to change--regardless of what you or anyone else may want to believe or say about it.

The fact of the matter is that there is a finite amount of oil on this planet and more humans on this planet every day.

More humans=more oil consumption, no matter how you cut it.

More countries approaching 1st World status=even more oil used.

[http://thepete.com/china-the-only-real-potential-threat-left/|I've said this before] but, this principle is what makes China the next actual threat to America. Everyone thinks Pearl Harbor was an unprovoked attack--it wasn't. We messed with Japan's oil shipping line. Pearl Harbor was Japan saying "Don't fuck with our oil, round-eyed bitches!"

OK, so I'm paraphrasing.

The point is oil is worth killing for in the minds of many--unless we get off of it. For a long time it will be impossible to get completely off of oil, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't start trying. Even George W. Bush thinks we should start getting off of oil (instead of getting off on it as he has in the past). Why do you think he proposed that $2.1 billion Advanced Energy Initiative thing? (Not that we're likely to see anything come of it, in my humble opinion.)

Anyway, Warren Brown, columnist for the Washington Post, says something so shocking that I am, in turn, shocked that he actually said it. What did he say? Well, he admitted that we are running out of oil. Here's an excerpt from [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/24/AR2006022400778.html|his February 26, 2006 column] :
I've long opposed giving government money to corporations. Ideally, they should be able to fund whatever they need the old-fashioned way -- through profits.

But we have a real energy crisis facing us, though it may not be readily apparent as long as the lights are on and the highways are humming. We actually are running out of oil. It has little to do with manipulation of oil futures, stocks, per-barrel prices or even violent upheavals in oil-producing nations. The bottom line is that the world is producing less of the stuff as global demand for it is increasing.

We are not likely to run dry of crude in the next 50 years or so, if we are to believe the oil industry analysts. But we probably will experience spot shortages and pay higher prices for anything and everything powered by or made from petroleum.


Yowza... when do the riots in the streets start? ;)

Maybe I shouldn't joke--there are a lot of people who don't want to admit, face or believe that our current way of life could ever change in the least, let alone end for good.

Well, if you're not one of those, go [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/24/AR2006022400778.html|have a read].

From WashingtonPost.Com:

Ponying Up for Alternative-Fuel Research

By Warren Brown
Sunday, February 26, 2006; G02

I've long opposed giving government money to corporations. Ideally, they should be able to fund whatever they need the old-fashioned way -- through profits.

But we have a real energy crisis facing us, though it may not be readily apparent as long as the lights are on and the highways are humming. We actually are running out of oil. It has little to do with manipulation of oil futures, stocks, per-barrel prices or even violent upheavals in oil-producing nations. The bottom line is that the world is producing less of the stuff as global demand for it is increasing.

We are not likely to run dry of crude in the next 50 years or so, if we are to believe the oil industry analysts. But we probably will experience spot shortages and pay higher prices for anything and everything powered by or made from petroleum.

That is the whispered bad news behind President Bush's $2.1 billion Advanced Energy Initiative budget proposal, which he presented last month in his State of the Union address.

The president, as politicians are wont to do, framed his proposal in the often-jingoistic language of national security. He would have been more effective with straight talk, such as: "People, we've got a serious problem. We're fast approaching the point where we won't have enough oil to heat our homes in winter, or cool them in summer, or fuel our cars and businesses. There's going to be hell to pay. We've got to do something."

Maybe that way he would have felt emboldened to ask for more than $2.1 billion, and Congress would be more inclined to give it. In short, the president should have used the same kind of scare tactics to get us moving along the road to alternative fuels and energy self-sufficiency that he used to put us on the path to seemingly endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It is for that reason I am willing to shelve, at least temporarily, my bias against government funding of corporations. I mean, heck, we're funding them anyway through our military interventions in other countries. At least through the Advanced Energy Initiative we'd be funding them in useful, peaceful pursuits.

For example, Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced last week that his department, as a part of the administration's energy initiative, will allocate $160 million over the next three years to construct up to three biorefineries in the United States. The money, essentially a series of federal matching grants to corporations, is seed cash to develop viable cellulose-derivative ethanol plants by 2012.

"Viable" means those plants eventually would be profitable as well as productive. "Cellulosic ethanol," as it is called in the energy business, comes from non-food-based biomass, such as agricultural waste, trees, forest residues and perennial grasses. The resulting fuel could be used for transportation, generation of electricity and other power needs. The Department of Energy thinks cellulosic ethanol potentially can take the place of 30 percent of our nation's current use of fossil fuels by 2030.

That may be pie-in-the-very-blue- sky speculation. But it's worth the cost of investigation. So is the Agriculture Department's plan to provide nearly $188 million in loan guarantees and grants for other renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects.

Again, nearly all of the money will go to corporations that seemingly already have more than enough of it. Bodman's announcement, for example, was made in Decatur, Ill., while visiting an ethanol plant operated by Archer Daniels Midland Co., one of the world's biggest agricultural processors and producers of biofuels.

Perhaps it is simply biblical that the rich ultimately get richer. After all, rare is the individual or small company with the financial and technical wherewithal to come up with a meaningful development in alternative fuels. If Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative will help Archer Daniels Midland and other companies to that, I support it. The alternative to alternative fuels, an energy-stricken nation unable to fend for itself, is much less palatable.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

Monday, February 27, 2006

Why Capitalism isn't Perfect and Socialism Isn't So Bad

Now, I'm not a Socialist or a Capitalist or any kind of "ist" really. But I was reading a post over at Perspectives.com/forum and felt like preaching the ways of moderation to a bunch of people who were saying that "you shouldn't get something for nothing."

It seems that extremist Islam is bad, but extremist Capitalism is just fine. Well, I disagree with that. Here's what I wrote:
I never know if I should bother trying to point out the obvious to people who think capitalism is the end all and be all of human society.

I'll give it a try and see what happens.

OK, if you're a hardcore capitalist and think that no one should get something for nothing, then let's take that to it's natural extreme. You get a job, you buy a house, fill it with cool stuff, all of which you pay for with money you earned at your job. Then a storm comes through and sends your house and your belongings half way across the state. It's cool, though, because you've got insurance. What isn't cool is that they don't cover the particular type of storm damage that your house suffered from.

See, it was cheaper to not offer coverage for that type of program because a lot of people claim that kind of thing on their insurance. So, as a true capitalist does, they made the choice based on what would make them the most money, so they can buy the nice house and fill it with things.

Here's another example, you're a hard working person who grew up in a poor neighborhood without a lot of opportunities. Luckily, your folks tought you right, you worked hard, got a scholarship into college and are now out in the real world. You can't find the job that fits your degree exactly, so you take a job that is tangentally related to your major. You work hard, but for whatever reason you get passed over for promotions. One day, you're laid off.

Turns out that you were working so hard and never asked for a promotion so they never bothered to give you one. But don't worry, if you had, they'd have given you a fraction of what you asked for and then keep promising more in another year. You demand they give you the raise you think you deserve or you'll quit. You finally end up quitting anyway because if you didn't your threat would be empty.


Either way, you're jobless now and need to find something else fast or else you will fall behind on your car payments and/or have to start cancelling things like your cable, Internet or cell phone. Or worse, you have kids to feed. You just can't find anything directly related to your degree, but you do manage to find something again tangentally related, but it pays you less than you made before you even got the fraction of the raise that you asked for (unless you never asked for a raise--in which case, you're still making less). You take the job because you need to pay your bills, right? Then you discover your boss is a jerk but it's really hard to find another job while already working one. You become miserable. Your marriage falls apart not because of the lack of money but because of your sould being crushed by your lousy, low paying job. Your marriage over, you have to find a new place to live--the real estate market sucks today and since you're barely making anything these days you can't finance a house, so you rent a small one bedroom.

Then, the city you're living in seizes the land your apartment building is on and uses it to build a park (or a Walmart) and now you're homeless since the government only compensates the owners of the land.

Now you're homeless. You may find a new place to live, but what's to stop this sort of thing from happening again? Sure, odds are it won't happen again--but what if?

Wouldn't it be nice to have some sort of safety net?

But NOPE it's CAPITALISM ALL THE WAY!!!

CAPITALISM IS PERFECT!

Screw Social Security! Our old, poor people don't need to eat after 65 years of age! They should work until they die! You can't get something for nothing, right?

I'm no commie, but I do see rational benefits to parts of both capitalism and socialism. The mistake is to assume goodness or evil to be inherent in either systems. It's what you do with them that is corrupt or not. Personally, I believe that the few people that the above scenarios happen to need to be looked after. The system doesn't work for everyone and ultimately it's just not fair for people who play by the rules and get screwed anyway to end up homeless.

We can't say it's all or nothing, love it or leave it, because that suggests we are perfect--we're not perfect, are we? Only God is perfect, right? Are we God?


Forgive any typos--I didn't proof it since I was just in a rush to write it all down. Anyway, just food for thought in our extremist society. :)

Spider-Man 3 Teaser Post Thrills Some--Me? Not So Much...

So loads of uneducated quasi-Spidey fans were all a flutter this weekend after a new teaser poster for 2007's Spider-Man 3. Why? Because it's got Spidey in a black costume. I hit a couple of fanboy sites and found a few people who thought it looked cool--one blogger insisted that the poster was not in black and white but that the costume itself was colored black. Well, if he's right then I'm even less impressed.

Check it out for yourself:



Now to anyone who actually knows what they are talking about that is NOT the black Spidey costume. It's simply a grayscaled version of the regular Spidey costume. I mean, does the above image look anything like the below image?



THAT'S the black costume, thank you very much. If Sam Raimi veers that dramatically from the original design I'm going to be very disappointed. I'm one of those Spidey fans who actually prefers the black costume because it's more spider-like than the Superman-rip-off red and blues Spidey is best known for.

THERE, I said it, and I'd say it again!

So, I'm not concerned that the direction SM3 is going in is not a good one. I was momentarily happy when I saw the below pic of Eddie Brock, the man inside the Venom costume:



The catch is, that's Sandman, not Eddie Brock. Eddie Brock is being played by:



Yep, Topher Grace, that 70s kid. This is like when Sam Raimi decided to ditch Spidey's man-made webshooters--only worse. Eddie Brock is the anti-Peter-Parker. With Brock, instead of Parker's skinny nerd, the comic presented us with a big muscle-bound guy with a buzzcut. Instead of Spidey's streamlined, lean body, Venom was a bulky, musclebound monster.

It makes no sense to put a guy who could play Peter Parker in the roll of Eddie Brock. It's fully reinventing the character in a way that makes no sense. The first Spider-Man I adored. The second not so much--it felt more like a Sam Raimi film (absurd stunts, very dark scenes (thematically speaking) and less like a Spider-Man movie (real life problems don't get any easier with super powers).

Now, we get him dramatically messing with the black costume and the person who will wear it.

I can wait until the summer of 2007. In fact, if it's going to be as bad as I'm worried it will be, it can stay away until 2008 or later...

Ballpoint Adventures for February 27, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for February 27, 2006 by ThePete

Ballpoint Adventures for February 27, 2006!
(click to make it bigger)


Make sure to check out other comics at ThePete.Com by going here:

http://thepete.com/tag/thefunnies/

DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ IS...

...working well, Mr. Bush!

From [http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/I/IRAQ_VEHICLE_PLAN?SITE=7219&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2006-02-25-07-47-13|a February 25, 2006 article] at AP.Org:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- The interior minister announced a 24-hour ban on all vehicular movements in Baghdad and its suburbs starting at 6 a.m. Sunday, in an effort contain sectarian violence following the bombing of a Shiite shrine three days ago in Samarra.


I know that banning has nothing to do with democracy but... that's the point.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The 5 Minute Show Episode 10!

Random crap plus the very last bit of cool stuff I got from that big pre-Iraq Attack protest in the heart of Hollywood, waaaay back in February of 2003. Here comments Gore Vidal made at that big protest and also learn about Patriot Act 2: The Quickening!! :D This ep was originally released on March 9, 2003.

OH yeah and I learned how to turn my computer monitor into a greenscreen.



It's a 14MB mp4. SUITE!

DS GETS A HOMEBREW ORGANIZER

For anyone who has a GBAMP, a passme or has managed to get a wifime to work for their Nintendo DS or anyone with a flashcart, this story is for you. The homebrew DS scene has produced something that the mainstream third party DS developer scene has not--an organizer suite for the Nintendo DS. It essentially does turns your DS into what many of us thought the DS was designed for--a PDA. Touch screen, handy enough to carry with you most places, etc.

Check out [http://www.youngmx.com/?loc=ndsdev/DSOrganize|this post] at YoungMX.Com for more and to download the suite.

JAY LENO NAILS DUBAI DEAL TO THE WALL

From [http://dailygrail.com/node/2611|a February 24, 2006 post] at DailyGrail.Com and the TOnight Show, of course:
"The White House has given permission for a company owned by the government of Dubai to run six U.S. ports, including the Port of New York. Now Dubai was accused of supporting the September 11th attacks and was one of only three countries to support the Taliban. Now they're going to run the Port of New York. What's next, we'll put Mexico in charge of immigration? How about Dick Cheney in charge of gun safety? Courtney Love in charge of Olympic drug testing?"

Jay Leno
Now if that actual news media can just pick up on this and perhaps inspire Congress to get off their fat asses and do something about this. It's sad when the most accurate commentary and criticism of the US government comes from the entertainment world--and late night talk shows, in particular.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

DARREN McGAVIN RIP

Man, they always say these things come in threes, I wonder who dies next?

That guy there next to Melinda Dillon is Darren McGavin and I will always remember him best as the character he played in that picture. He was the dad in A Christmas Story my favorite Christmas movie that is actually about Christmas (Die Hard is my absolute favorite Christmas movie, but--you get the point). McGavin is also known for doing a helluva lot more acting than just the dad in A Christmas Story.

He is probably best known for playing Kolchak in the TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker, which was a sort of prototypical X-Files. In fact, McGavin also appeared on X-Files as a character who was effectively a prototypical Fox Mulder.

He was just a great actor--like Don Knotts, he simply was the character he was playing--so believable that you never thought about his performance, you just watched and believed. This is another guy who will be remembered for generations to come, even if most of the people who remember him can't recall his name. I hope his soul rests easy knowing that there will be a few of us who will remember his name. How could we ever forget it?

Rest in peace "Old Man"!

We'll keep the Bumpus's dogs away from the turkey.

Check out more about McGavin in [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/26/ap/entertainment/mainD8G0JEG05.shtml|this February 26, 2006 article] at CBSNews.Com.

DON KNOTTS RIP

Ah, what a great guy Don Knotts was. I don't know anything about his private life, but as a performer I loved his work. He wasn't some "brilliant" actor who blew you away with his over-the-top funny--he was such a believable actor that you didn't think twice about him. "Oh, he's Barney Fife, he's a moron."

Instead you don't even think about his performance. You just know who Barney Fife is as a person. Likewise for all of Knotts' characters.

I grew up watching Knotts' work on the Andy Griffith show and knowing that he has passed depresses me. I am just glad to have known his work and I'm also glad that his work isn't going anywhere. He'll live on in our memories and in the memories of future generations who will come to marvel at his brilliantly subtle work making us laugh.

Good-bye, Barney, Mr. Limpet, Mr. Furley, Don. We will always remember you and keep you alive through your work. Rest in peace.

 


Seriously--I grew up watching him every day after school and he never failed to make me laugh. I don't think he would even now.

Oh yeah--[http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/25/AR2006022501535.html|here's an obituary for Knotts] at WashingtonPost.com if you're interested in learning more about him.

Friday, February 24, 2006

JIM CAMERON'S AQUAMAN???

I was walking through Westwood Village near my home earlier today and saw this at the historic Fox Village theater:

Jim Cameron's Aquaman??

What the hell? How could I have missed an entire new super-hero movie? Well, I don't think I did--I think it was a shoot for a TV show or movie... have a closer look:

Jim Cameron's Aquaman?  I think not!

Still, kinda surreal nonetheless. :)

TheVlog for 2/24/6

Hey, sorry I haven't vlogged in a while. Been working on these DVD projects that have been hanging over my head for a loooong time. Still far from done with them, but I needed a break so I shot this yesterday.


thevlog20060224.mp4



Sorry, had the wrong thumbnail up when I first posted this--it's fixed now. Also, forgot to mention that it's a 10m44s clip in the form of a 27.6MB mp4. ENJOY.

Feel free to check out all of my past vlog entries here:

http://thepete.com/tag/thevlog/
http://thepete.com/tag/thevlog/feed/ <--subscribe to my vlog here

JayBill.Com's Sweet Layout

Ahhh, JayBill.Com has the [http://jaybill.com/hardcopy.php|best blog layout] EVAR!

What's ironic is that it's actually his alternative to a Mac os9ish flash layout he's got on his mainpage which is actually kinda unattractive compared to the brilliant simplicity of his "hardcopy" design. Oh well...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

ABRAMOFF TIED TO SOUTH AFRICAN TERRORIST

Here's another gem from today's podcast from DemocracyNow:
We return to our discussion with South African journalist and editor, Allister Sparks. We talked about the ties between South Africa and indicted Washington lobbyist, Jack Abramoff. In 1989, Abramoff produced the film Red Scorpion. It was filmed in South African-occupied Namibia, with the cooperation of the notorious apartheid regime. But before that, Abramoff helped launch the pro-apartheid International Freedom Foundation in the mid-1980s. The IFF was promoted as an independent think tank, but it was actually part of an elaborate South African military intelligence operation set up to combat sanctions and undermine Nelson Mandela's African National Congress. While Abramoff headed the IFF in Washington, in South Africa it was run in part by Craig Williamson, a notorious military intelligence officer known for carrying out a series of bombings and assassinations. I asked Allister Sparks to talk about Craig Williamson's record.


That's just Amy Goodman's recap of this dude Williamson for this interview she did with Allister Sparks a well-known South African journalist. Here's what sparks said about Williamson:
Oh, Craig Williamson was one of our more odious intelligence spies. Intelligence? Well, I suppose, it's the right word. He was quite smart the way he went about things. He, first of all, infiltrated student organizations. He went abroad. He operated out of Geneva for a time, working in international students in that field, shopping many of his colleagues. They didn't know. They thought he was a good guy. And, you know, part of the student movement, which was opposed to apartheid, he embedded himself very successfully there.

But then, later, his activities became increasingly horrendous. I mean, he took to planting or sending letter bombs to various people. He was responsible for killing one of the leading white opposition figures, Ruth First, who was married to Joe Slovo. They were both communists, and I suppose it was deemed that that made them fair game. And she was blown up in her office at the University in Maputo. She was killed.

He was also involved in the killing of the family of an Afrikaner, a white Afrikaner dissident named Marius Schoon, whose -- a letter bomb killed his wife, his daughter, and injured a two-year-old boy who was left floundering around in this devastated home for two days before anyone found him. Yeah, that's the record of Craig Williamson.


Sparks just described a pal of Abramoff's. Abramoff has been described as pals to quite a few Republican politicians.

[http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/23/1454239|Read more] at DemocracyNow.Org. You can also listen and/or watch the show via links at the top of [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/23/1454239|this page].

MOSQUE DESTRUCTION LIKE SAMARRAN 911

Just listening to today's podcast from DemocracyNow.org and heard a Muslim comment that the recent destruction of a huge, ornate mosque in Samarra was like a 911 to them.

In case you're curious, here's what the mosque looked like before it was bombed:


Here's what it looked like after:


Not quite as many killed, obviously, but I can see it.

From what I've heard (and I haven't done a lot of reading about this bombing but) I think they're saying that Suni Muslims bombed the Shiite mosque (it might be the other way around). Seems odd that one Muslim sect would disrespect another so dramatically. Almost makes you wonder if this was some sort of 3rd party thing that was done to sew strife between the two sects.

But again, I haven't done a lot of research on this.

Still... strange...

TheWife pointed out that it was at the very least a shame that the mosque was destroyed--it was a work of art. It's now gone thanks to what essentially amounts to politics.

New ViPod Pic? (I HOPE NOT!)

I hate to be so selfish, but I really hope the pic below (nicked from [http://www.engadget.com/2006/02/23/is-this-the-video-ipod-or-mac-tablet/|a post] at Engadget.com and [http://www.macshrine.com/2006/02/23/first-real-ipod-video-shots/|this post they got the pic from] at MacShrine.com) is NOT the new 6g iPod that Steve Jobs is going to announce on Tuesday. Have a look:


The Engadget post suggests that this might be the new Mac tablet that has been rumored, but I think if you take a good look at that pic you'll see that it's pretty much the exact dimensions of a 5g and that plug looks just like a USB+FW cable that you can buy for any of the larger format iPods.

This just isn't fair--I could be called an alchemist for the way I conjured $400 from the ether back in November and December of last year. I just can't justify spending that kind of money AGAIN on a better ViPod. I owe Uncle Sam hundreds still, I'll owe him more in April and I never seem to get enough screening work to get ahead on my bills... BLAST...

And I just bitched about Apple last night--if they release a new iPod before they even fix the firmware on the last one, I'm going to be very pissed--not surprised, mind you--just pissed.

Yes, there are more important things for me to blog about today than the rumored new 6g iPod, but a man's got to have his frivolous passions, doesn't he? I don't drink, smoke, do drugs, the least I can do is salivate over gadgets.

Plus I'm working on a new vlog entry for later today. I figure rather that continuing to post on all of Bush's lamenesseseses, I'll just video them and save time. :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

STILL NO FIX FOR THE BAD 5G iPOD FIRMWARE

Those bastards at Apple have known about this firmware problem for over a month now and there is still no FW update for the 5g 60GB iPod. I watch anime every night these days and I spend the first half of each 22 minute episode I watch hitting the center button and spinning back 5 seconds. I repeat this procedure every 30 seconds. Luckily, I used to be a PC guy, so I have immense patience for things that are cool, but are still quite seriously screwed up.

Still, this is really damn annoying. Apple is really screwing us over. They'll really be peeing on us if they announce a new, better video iPod next Tuesday. The least they can do is release a FW update that makes THEIR product work for us.

We only spent $400, after all.

WILL THE US SUPPORT PALESTINE?

So, Hamas is in charge of Palestine now.

Ultimately, the US Government's reasoning for not supporting the Hamas government is because they're a terrorist organization.

Right, the US can't support a government that practices terrorism--Uzbekistan's leader boiling dissidents alive is fine, Pakistan's leaders rising to power in a military coup, that's cool, and of course, oil pimp nation, Saudi Arabia can cut the heads off of criminals in the street, but Palestine's regime wants to destroy Israel?

THAT'S JUST NOT RIGHT!

Yeah, right.

OHIO TERRORISTS INDICTED (HOLY, TOLEDO!)

Yesterday, the news was all aflutter with reports that three Ohio men had been indicted on terrorism charges. Let's take a look at what [http://www.wtol.com/global/Story.asp?s=4530676|a February 21, 2006 article] at WTOL.com reported:
According to the indictment from the US Attorney's office, the suspects are Mohammad Zaki Amawi, Marwan Othman El-Hindi, and Wassim Mazloum. The indictment says all three were living in the Toledo area.


TERRORISTS IN TOLEDO? NOOOO!

Ahem, sorry... let's continue:
Amawi is a citizen of the US and also a citizen of Jordan. El-Hindi is a naturalized American citizen who was born in Jordan. Mazloum is a legal permanent resident of the US, who came here from Lebanon.


They sure sound like terrorists to me!! Check out their funny Araby sounding names and I bet they wear towels on their heads!

Mazloum also operated a car business in Toledo with his brother.


One of them has a brother?

CONSPIRACY!!

OH, sorry, uh, let's go on:
The indictment accuses him of offering to use his dealership as a cover for traveling to and from Iraq so that he could learn how to build small explosives using household materials.


Ah, yes, because a car dealership is the PERFECT cover for someone travelling abroad--wait a minute--no it's not! Also, this guy's no threat to America--he's so thick he thinks he needs to go to Iraq to learn how to build small explosives using household materials. DUDE! It's all on the Internet, man! Come on!

Hell, even before the Internet all you had to do to learn how to build small explosives was pick up a copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook or the Poor Man's James Bond. Both were chock-full of violent stuff you could do with things you'd find around your house.

Come on, USG, you're not trying to tell us this dude was a threat to us! He's clearly thick as a post!

The indictment also names an unindicted co-conspiratory called "The Trainer," who has U.S. military backround in security, and bodyguard training.


Ooo, "The Trainer!" I know who he really is--Denzel Washington--didn't you see Training Day?

But seriously, this dude has US Military training--my guess is he got it from [http://soaw.org|the School of the Americas]. So that makes us to blame again. :(

In count 1 of the indictment, prosecutors say the three met together many times, going back as far as November 2004.


A WHOLE YEAR AGO!! WOW!! ALBERTO'S REALLY DOING A GREAT JOB!

Yes, a conspiracy that stretches back to 2004!

YOWZA!

The three reportedly conspired to recruit and train others for a violent jihad against United States forces and US allies in Iraq.

How was this "violent jihad" going to take place? Would it rely heavily on those small explosives Husein El-Ignorant was going to learn how to build in Iraq?

Is it conspiracy still when the people planning the crime have no means or equipment to carry it out?

They also reportedly put together the funding needed for the operation, and collected the equipment needed,


Like what equipment? What does one take with them on "violent jihad"?

and even travelled together to a local indoor shooting range for target practice.


MY GOD! THEY WERE LEARNING TO SHOOT GUNS!!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Come on, people--it's not illegal to do target practice at a shooting range.

Prosecutors also say the three communicated by computer with an individual in the Middle East, passing information about potential attacks and terrorist training materials back and forth, as well as communication about potential weapons and targets.


Again, is this just a pal of Husein El-Dipshit? Or does this person have the initials ObL? Because there's a big difference between Hasan Al-Idiot saying he's going to attack the US and say, I don't know, an actual terrorist.

The indictment did not say if any attacks were imminent.


Yeeeeah, I doubt they were.

Two of the men discussed plans to practice setting off explosives on July 4, 2005, so that the bombs would not be noticed, the indictment alleges.


I don't think fireworks are illegal in Ohio. So, blowing stuff up shouldn't be a big deal.

It's not clear if the suspects went through with those plans.


I'm guessing... it doesn't really matter.

Blowing shit up on the 4th of July doesn't make you a terrorist--even if you say you're going to move up to something bigger when you're done "practicing."

Hell, when I was a kid I used to pretend that the Star Wars ships I played with were just the beginning that one day I'd be an astronaut. Guess what--I'm a writer.

Don't even have my pilot's license. :(

In count 2, the grand jury found that the three had similar plans to kill US citizens abroad in addition to service members.


Once again, I ask if these Ohioans actually had the means to commit such acts.

The last three counts in the indictment dealt specifically with Mohammad Zaki Amawi. One count said Amawi distributed information on bomb-making, which in itself is a federal crime.


WOW--seriously? Distributing information on bomb-making is a federal crime?? That should not be. Since when is certain information illegal?

Prosecutors also said he verbally threatened President George W. Bush, and filed two counts for that. Those crimes are separate from the conspiracy.


OK, so that's true--threatening the life of the guy in the White House is a crime, I'll give you that (even if I don't agree that Bush has been properly elected--but that's fodder for another post). So, OK, nail that one guy on threatening Bush--but these other guys?

Dude--why not arrest Cooter from the old Dukes of Hazard show? That's about where these guys are on the threat-o-meter as far as I can tell. Yet, I'm sure this arrest will go to the top of Bush's list of "VICTORIES IN TWAT!"

The War Against Terror has a new victory! Three guys from Ohio are no longer a threat to America!

GOD BLESS THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION!!!!!!

OH yeah and don't forget the [http://thepete.com/us-terror-that-media-forgot/|terrorist arrests that the USG doesn't want to brag about] (because these guys weren't Muslim--WHOOPS!).

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

PEAK OIL HITS HOME IN LOS ANGELES (?)

Yesterday, according to [http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-ooze21feb21,0,5594636.story?coll=la-home-headlines|a February 21, 2006 article] at LATimes.com, a strange black goo oozed up from the pavement on Olive street in downtown LA with such force that it buckled pavement and shifted an entire building one foot from it's foundation. What was the strange goo? Oil mixed with dirt and water. Here's an excerpt that better explains what happened:
By midafternoon South Olive Street seemed ready to deliver a gusher.

"The street looked like it was about to pop. Everybody sort of stepped back and said, 'Whoa!' " said fire Capt. Al Gonzales. "Then we put two and two together."

Authorities remembered that there's a petroleum drilling site two blocks from the apartment building. When they checked there, they discovered that workers were injecting high-pressure hot water into old wells to extract leftover crude oil.

When the St. James Oil Co. halted the hot water pumping, the bulge in the street began to subside and the flow of oily liquid quickly slowed.


So, they went back in to an old well in the heart of downtown LA and used special techniques for getting at the last bits of oil that were left behind years earlier when the proper technology to extract that oil had yet to exist.

Seems that either someone was desperate for money or desperate from oil. Is this someone giving in to the Peak Oil theory? Or just smart business?

Sounds like the former to me.

Malcolm X Died 41 Years Ago Today--How (not) Far We've Come

This'll be a short one since it's obvious where I'm going with this and what the ultimate point is.

While I believe classism to be a larger problem than racism (simply because classism is too subtle to be noticed by most) racism is clearly still an issue. Look on TV and pretty much only see white people. Look at government and once again, you'll pretty much only see white people (and even when you don't, you might as well anyway).

Malcom X was killed 41 years ago today because of what he said and what he believed in a country where wrongspeaking and thoughtcrime are not supposed to exist. 41 years later, in all too many ways, this is still true. Wrongspeaking and thoughtcrime are not supposed to exist both do.

We've still got a long way to go, folks...

NINTENDO DS LITE PORN

Found [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv3o3B0ScYY&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fdsfanboy%2Ecom%2F|this porn footage] on YouTube.com of a new Nintendo DS Lite in Japan thanks to [http://www.dsfanboy.com/2006/02/20/additional-ds-lite-footage/|this post] at DSFanboy.com. Check it out and salivate as I did. :)

911 DAD POINTS OUT THE OBVIOUS--BUSH IS INSANE

Well, I've already posted on [http://thepete.com/bush-diagnosed-paranoid-meglomaniac/|how Bush has been diagnosed as being insane] but one father of a 911 victim has now said the same thing in [http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/393077p-333284c.html|a February 20, 2006 article] at NYDailyNews.com. Here's a clip from the article:
How, asks Gadiel, whose son James died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, can a company owned by a terror-linked country get control of our nation's ports?


Good point!

While I do believe that Bush is a sociopath, I don't think this is evidence of insanity. This deal with Dubai is all about money. Nobody cares how much blood is on the money--just that they get more money. If Bush actually knew the difference between right and wrong, he wouldn't even vaguely resemble the person we know today. Here's more from the article:
I'm a lifelong Republican and I think the President's gone insane," said Gadiel, 58, who heads 9/11 Families for a Secure America.

Two of the 19 9/11 hijackers were citizens of Dubai, the Arab emirate whose bid to run ports in New York, New Jersey and four other cities was okayed by the White House even though investigators have found signs that money used to finance terrorism flowed through Dubai banks.

"How the hell could this happen?" fumed Bill Doyle, 58, a retired Staten Island stockbroker whose son Joseph also died when the Trade Center fell.

"We're not securing our country in any way by selling our ports to foreigners," he said.

Gadiel and Doyle stood with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) yesterday at the harbor to express their outrage.

Bruse DeCell, 55, whose son-in-law died in the attacks, said that homeland security should be the highest concern when approving the activities of foreign business interests.

"This administration is putting the selling of our country on a fast track," he said. "There are a lot of loose ends that caused 9/11 to happen. I'm trying to close them."

Only 5% of the cargo containers entering U.S. ports are inspected, said Schumer, who has called for upgrades in port security for years.


Huzzah! Bush is SUCH a great leader!!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Daily Lego for February 20, 2006

Daily Lego 2/20/6

OK, so it's not exactly "daily."

:(

60 MINUTES PERSUASIVE PIECE ON GLOBAL WARMING

I hardly ever watch broadcast TV anymore. We're talking Daily Show and Colbert Report (4 hours total a week) along with Battlestar Galactica (1 hour a week) and Boondocks (30 minutes a week). Combined, I catch 5.5 hours of TV a week and since I DVR everything, pull out another 15 minutes per hour for the commercials I spin past to make a total of roughly 4 hours and 7 minutes of TV watched by me every week. Of course when these shows are in reruns I watch even less.

So, I just happened to check out [http://perspectives.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=86240&forum_id=4|this thread] at Perspectives.com/forums and managed to tune in to last night's 60 Minutes. In it they had a really good piece on Global Warming. They basically talked about the stuff that has been pretty obvious to many of us for years. Apparently now there is new scientific evidence that GW is caused by us and we are harming our planet. In the next 100 years, one scientist claims, the oceans will rise three feet. This may not sound like much, but tell that to anyone living at sea level.

Check out [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/16/60minutes/main1323169.shtml|their companion piece] at CBSNews.com or just click the thumbnail to watch a 37MB mp4 version of the story as it aired last night.



That thumbnail is a screengrab right in the middle of a lap dissolve between two pictures--one taken in 1979 and the other taken in 2005. The idea is to show how much the icecap has melted over the years. However, a poster on the thread I link to above pointed out that the icecap does melt and refreeze on a seasonal basis and the 60 Minutes piece does not say what time of year the first picture was taken. They do say that the second picture was taken six months ago--which would suggest it was taken September of 2005. I'd guess that at that time of year the refreezing would be just underway.

Regardless, the piece is still thought provoking and I feel very persuasive. Check it out if you're on the fence or if you need reinforcement that GW is real and our fault. If you are firmly entrenched in your belief that humans are not causing GW, then don't bother--oh and don't have kids either. We don't need more of your kind on planet Earth. ;)

From CBSNews.com:

A Global Warning

Feb. 19, 2006(CBS) The North Pole has been frozen for 100,000 years. But according to scientists, that won't be true by the end of this century. The top of the world is melting.

There's been a debate burning for years on the causes of global warming. But the scientists you're about to meet say the debate is over. New evidence shows man is contributing to the warming of the planet, pumping out greenhouse gases that trap solar heat.

Much of this new data was compiled by American scientist Bob Corell, who led a study called the "Arctic Climate Impact Assessment." It's an awkward name — but consider the findings: the seas are rising, hurricanes will be more powerful, like Katrina, and polar bears may be headed toward extinction.

What does the melting arctic look like? Correspondent Scott Pelley went north to see what Bob Corell calls a "global warning."


Towers of ice the height of 10-story buildings rise on the coast of Greenland. It's the biggest ice sheet in the Northern Hemisphere, measuring some 700,000 square miles. But temperatures in the arctic are rising twice as fast as the rest of the world, so a lot of Greenland's ice is running to the sea.

"The entire planet is out of balance," says Bob Corell, who is among the world's top authorities on climate change. He led 300 scientists from eight nations in the "Arctic Climate Impact Assessment."

Corell believes he has seen the future. "This is a bellwether, a barometer. Some people call it the canary in the mine. The warning that things are coming," he says. "In 10 years here in the arctic, we see what the rest of the planet will see in 25 or 35 years from now."

Over the last few decades, the North Pole has been dramatically reduced in size and Corell says the glaciers there have been receding for the last 50 years.

Back in 1987, President Reagan asked Corell to look into climate change. He's been at it ever since.

In Iceland, he showed 60 Minutes glaciers that were growing until the 1990s and are now melting. In fact, 98 percent of the world's mountain glaciers are melting.

Corell says all that water will push sea levels three feet higher all around the world in 100 years.

"You and I sit here, another foot. Your children, another foot. Your grandchildren, another foot. And it won't take long for sea level to inundate," says Corell.

"Sea level will be inundating the low lands of virtually every country of the world, ours included," Corell predicts.

To find the sights and sounds of the arctic melting, there are few places better than a fjord in Greenland, with a glacier just a short distance away.

Pelley stood on a huge block of ice that had split off from the glacier and had dropped into the sea — a big iceberg.

"This part of Greenland is melting faster than just about any other. To get a sense of the enormity of what's happening, consider this: The ice that is melting here is the equivalent of all the ice in the Alps," Pelley explained, standing atop the iceberg.

That's more than 105 million acres of melted ice in 15 years. Just four minutes after Pelley cleared off this berg, part of the ice caved in.


60 Minutes got a bird's-eye view of how unstable the ice is becoming on a flight with glaciologist Carl Boggild.

Boggild anchored 10 research stations to the ice. Every time he comes to visit, the ice and his stations have moved.

Flying over the ice, Pelley noticed lots of fissures and crevices breaking through the ice.

Asked what causes this, Boggild explained, "This is actually the ice flow, where you have so much tension in the ice that it cannot stick together. And it breaks and opens a crevice which goes about 150, 200 feet down."

The ice is also melting on the sides, Boggild says.

High overhead, Pelley remarked that one could hear the water running.

"It's like a small river," Boggild said.

A leading theory says those little rivers lubricate the bottom of the ice sheet, helping it move off the bedrock and out to sea.

And there may be no stopping it. arctic warming is accelerating. It's a chain reaction. As snow and ice melt they reveal dark land and water that absorb solar heat. That melts more snow and ice, and around it goes.

There's long been a debate about how much of this is earth's naturally changing climate and how much is man's doing. Paul Mayewski, at the University of Maine, says the answer to that question is frozen inside an ice core from Greenland.

With funding from the National Science Foundation, Mayewski has led 35 expeditions collecting deep ice cores from glaciers. The ice captures everything in the air, laying down a record covering half a million years.

"We can go to any section of the ice core, to tell, basically, what the greenhouse gas levels were; we can tell whether or not it was stormy, what the temperatures were like," Mayewski explains.

60 Minutes brought Mayewski back to Greenland, where he says his research has proven that the ice and the atmosphere have man's fingerprints all over them.

Mayewski says we haven't seen a temperature rise to this level going back at least 2,000 years, and arguably several thousand years.

As for carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, Mayewski says, "we haven't seen CO2 levels like this in hundreds of thousands of years, if not millions of years."

What does that tell him?

"It all points to something that has changed and something that has impacted the system which wasn't doing it more than 100 years ago. And we know exactly what it is. It's human activity," he says.

It's activity like burning fossil fuels, releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The U.S. is by far the largest polluter. Corell says there's so much greenhouse gas in the air already that more temperature rise is inevitable.

Even if we stopped using every car, truck, and power plant — stopping all greenhouse gas emissions — Mayewski says the planet would continue to warm anyway. "Would continue to warm for another, about another degree," he says.

That's enough to melt the Arctic — and if greenhouse gases continue to increase, the temperature will rise even more. The ice that's melting already is changing the weather by disrupting ocean currents.


Corell points to floods in the U.S., heat waves in Europe; and 60 Minutes wanted to know about this catastrophic 2005 hurricane season.

"The one thing I think we can say with a fairly high degree of confidence is the severity of the storms, how strong the storms, these cyclonic events like hurricanes and cyclones in the Pacific, are going to get — they're gonna be more severe. Now one thing that is in doubt is whether there'll be more of them," Corell explains.

"The oceans of the Northern Hemisphere are the warmest they've been on record. When they get up in that temperature, they spin off hurricanes. Well, if it goes up another degree, it's gonna spawn these with more intensity," Corell says.

The name "arctic" comes from ancient Greek meaning "land of the great bear."

But the warming climate is threatening this icon of the arctic, the polar bear. Flying above the sub-arctic region of Hudson Bay, Canadian scientist Nick Lunn is hunting polar bears in a 30-year study that tracks their health. It's the job of his assistant Evan Richardson to take them down with a tranquilizer dart.

Once tranquilized, Lunn carefully checks the bear with a pole, without getting too close.

The polar bear is the largest predator on land. Native people in the region say he'll even hunt humans, but not on the day Pelley joined Lunn: with the tranquilizer, the bear was awake but immobile.

The scientists knew this bear by his tattoo. His history is written chapter and verse in the "bear bible."

"This is the record book of all the bears that have been handled by us or Manitoba Conservation," Lunn explains.

The study began at the Wapusk National Park, because the bear population was thought to be the healthiest in the world.

Lunn's annual checkup records changes in fat, dimensions and an inventory of weapons. The polar bear uses its teeth to hunt primarily one thing — seal. That's where arctic warming comes in.


Polar bears can only hunt on the ice. Lunn says the ice is breaking up three weeks earlier than it did 30 years go. He's now finding female bears 55 pounds lighter — weaker mothers with fewer cubs.

Asked how the bear population has changed since he started his research, Lunn says, "When we first started doing this research, we've done inventories in the mid-80s, in the mid-90s. Both times we came out with an estimate of approximately 1,200 animals for what is known as the western Hudson Bay population. The numbers now suggest that the population has declined to below 1,000."

The bears are unlikely to survive as a species if there's a complete loss of ice in summer, which the arctic study projects will happen by the end of this century.

There are skeptics who question climate change projections like that, saying they’re no more reliable than your local weatherman. But Mayewski says arctic projections done decades ago are proving accurate.

"That said, the skeptics have brought up some very, very interesting issues over the last few years. And they've forced us to think more and more about the data that we collect. We can owe the skeptics a vote of thanks for making our science as precise as it is today," says Mayewski.

One big supporter of climate science research is the Bush administration, spending $5 billion a year. But Mr. Bush refuses to sign a treaty forcing cuts in greenhouse gases.

The White House also declined 60 Minutes' request for an interview. Corell, who first studied the issue for President Reagan, believes the climate change facts are in, even if President Bush does not.

"When you look at the American government, which is saying essentially, 'Wait a minute. We need to study this some more. We can't flip our energy use overnight. It would hurt the economy.' When you hear that, what do you think?" Pelley asked.

"Well, what I do then is, I try to tell them exactly what we know scientifically. The science is, I believe, unassailable," says Corell. "I'm not arguing their policy, that's their business, how they deal with policy. But my job is to say, scientifically, shorten that time scale so that if you don't push out the effects of climate change into the long, long distant future. Because even under the best of circumstances, this natural system of a climate will continue to warm the planet for literally hundreds of years, no matter what we do."


By Bill Owens ©MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc.

COMMENTARY ON VIDEO GAME VIOLENCE SILENCED BY LEGAL THREAT

[http://www.joystiq.com/2006/02/20/rockstar-bullies-artist-into-submission/|This post] at Joystiq.com talks about how this guy who used a short looping clip of video from The Warriors video game to illustrate violence toward women in video games has been sent a C&D. You can see where the clip used to be by heading to http://www.thehighestscore.com/. Sadly, the guy(s) who run that site aren't entirely clear on copyright law as, from the sound of it, the clip is entirely legal and clearly falls within the realm of "fair use."

Here's how the creator of the clip, Dave Beck, describes his clip in [http://www.isthmus.com/daily/node/908|post] at Isthumus.com:
What is displayed on the website, says Beck, is a "5 second video of myself playing," that is, a game character stomping on the body of a downed and presumably dead woman. Beck then looped the clip "to play continuously and randomly," and subsequently added a counter in the top right-hand corner of the display to add the scoring element.


It's a real shame--this kind of commentary, I think is incredibly important in today's America. Violence is everywhere and it only seems to be getting worse. No, I'm not against ALL violence in video games, but I think there seems to be an awful lot of emphasis on violence these days. I've often commented on the contradiction in our culture where violent video games may be frowned upon, but if you play a video game where you have sex, you're a freakin' pervert.

Seems like it's OK to explore the urge to digitally kill, but to have virtual sex is deviant.

Instead of being able to pound a girl with my fists in a game, I'd much rather be able to pound her in another way... if you know what I mean.

The creator of the clip and the guy who runs the site it used to exist on seems like a pretty clever guy--make sure to read the whole post at Isthmus.com. This isn't the first time he's done commentary through art. I would like to formally complain about [http://www.davebeck.org/|Beck's website], however. I paid it a visit and couldn't figure out what the hell to click on and I have a life so I couldn't just start clicking on shit until I found something I liked.

To me, a website is for presenting content to people. If you don't want to make it easy for people to find your content why not just publish a book or maybe just shut up all together? Sorry--just my opinion.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The 5 Minute Show Episode 9!

Here's part three of the 5 Minute Show's coverage of the big pre-Iraq Attack protest in the heart of Hollywood, waaaay back in February of 2003. :D This ep was originally released on March 3, 2003



It's a 12.7MB mp4. W00T!

TWO MAJOR AUTHORS EMBRACE TWO DANGEROUS MYTHS

Myth #1) Global Warming is not real.

That's right, too many people believe that Global Warming isn't real and now there will likely be more of them thanks to a book famous writer Michael Crichton has authored--a book called State of Fear. From a title like that you'd think the book would be about the War Against Terror (TWAT) which is certainly a myth (more on that in a bit). Instead, it's about how we're not really messing with our environment by spewing mass amounts of pollutants into the air. Actually, I haven't read the book, so I can't say what it's about--but I do know that [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/national/19warming.html?ei=5090&en=a7ab8a29e56cf4df&ex=1298005200&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print|a February 19, 2006 article] at -NYT- is reporting Crichton has met with W. Bush over the Global Warming "controversy" which makes me think the whole damn book is all about how GW is full of crap.

What really bugs me about trying to debunk a theory is that it's a THEORY--you can't debunk it--all you can do is provide evidence against it. The catch is that there is also evidence for it. If it could be proved or disproved it wouldn't be a theory any more. So ultimately, we need to ask ourselves how does playing into Global Warming fears harm us? I don't think it does. But once you realize who it does hurt, then you start to understand how we're being manipulated. (Here's a hint: Who makes money off of oil continuing to be consumed?)

Myth #2) Al Qeada is actually a threat to us.

One of my all-time-favorite writers is Frank Miller. I haven't liked everything his written, but I have liked most of his work. He's always had a keen understanding of the darkness of the world around him. Dark Knight Returns is one of the most brilliant works of fiction I've ever read so it pains me to hear that he is [http://www.cinematical.com/2006/02/17/batman-vs-the-terrorists/|venturing back into the world of Batman to write the graphic novel Holy Terror, Batman]. Miller feels it's silly to have Batman going after costumed badguys like the Joker and Riddler when Osama is still out there.

I pray that Miller knows what he is doing. From the sound of it, he doesn't. He admits HT, B will be a propaganda piece, reminiscent of previous pro-American works of superhero fiction featuring Superman or Captain America going after Hitler or Stalin. That's great, but Hitler and Stalin were responsible for the deaths of millions. Bin Laden can claim no such numbers. He can barely claim thousands.

It's dangerous when intelligent people get taken in by popular myths like the idea that Global Warming is fake or that Al Qeada is a real threat to us. They tend to glamorize these imagined realities and make them more real to people who already believe in them. Worse, they can also sway people who are on the fence.

I don't like Michael Chrichton's work--I think he specializes in ripping off old Twilight Zone-esque stories and turning them into extremely commercial novels (Sphere/Forbidden Planet or his Lost World/ Conan Doyle's Lost World). It's the "commercial" part that bothers me here--he could create a new wave of ignorance that would parallel the resurgence of the KKK back when [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birth_of_a_Nation|Birth of a Nation] was first released. The same might go for Miller's work when it is released.

I'm seriously hoping that Miller ends HT, B with Batman finding a joke of a man--Osama, holed up in a cave, a threat to no one, he then proceeds to leave him alive, knowing that bin Laden is no threat. He could then point out to Robin that the threat comes from how we react to bin Laden and people like him. Batman and Miller are smart enough to know that a man in a cave can't bring down nations. At least, not unless they're reeeeally weak nations.

I know there's no hope for Crichton but Miller isn't finished with Holy Terror, Batman yet. Hopefully, he won't give us a happy ending--but an ending we can be happy with--an ending that puts light onto one of the biggest myths of the last 100 years--that terrorism is a threat.

Yes, terrorists kill--but cars kill way more...cars--you've got a leading killer of man right in your driveway!

Oh yeah, and in case you forgot, [http://thepete.com/two-more-ways-the-us-government-is-screwing-us/|the polar ice caps are melting at twice the rate they were just five years ago]. Is it Global Warming? Again, getting off the oil can't hurt anyone but the oil companies.

JFK SAVED FROM ASSASSINATION?

No, you haven't just entered an alternate reality (although I wish I had)--it's true--before JFK was successfully assassinated there were two other plots to kill him. One was in Tampa, the other in Florida.

Abraham Bolden, a black Secret Service agent had tried to testify to Congress about these two attempts but was arrested on his way to do it. They had to shut him up because word could not get out about those assassination attempts. Why? Good question--the short of it is that J and RFK were working on a plan to deal with assassination attempts in the US should their plan to support a coup in Cuba (a Cuban Coup!) be discovered. The USG, at the time, decided that news of the two assassination attempts would somehow be connected to the plan for dealing with assassinations and then somehow be connected to the plan for the Cuban Coup.

Yeah, doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

What makes more sense is that the USG was just embarrassed and didn't want to worry the country--even today the USG acts like they are our parents and I suspect that in "a more innocent time" they were even more faux-parental.

Regardless, Bolden was framed, arrested and sent to jail for six years and with millions of docs on the successful JFK assassination still classified he still hasn't been able to clear his name. I got all of this from [http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0217-20.htm|a poorly written February 17, 2006 article] at CommonDreams.Org. Seriously--there are loads of typos and it looks like the two guys who wrote the piece didn't bother with an outline before hand. The article jumps forward and backward in time--it's kind of difficult to read, in my opinion.

Regardless of the technical problems with the article, the facts it presents are interesting. They say that ultimately it was the mob that killed JFK.

Maybe I've spent too long researching conspiracies, but I just don't buy that. In the end it just seems too simple and the secrecy regarding the assassination attempts being connected to the plan for dealing with domestic assassination attempts thing smacks waaaay too much of the "coincidence" that the US military was performing a drill featuring terrorists crashing planes into major American buildings on September 11, 2001.

Let's look at those a little more simply:

Attempts to assassinate while plan in the works to deal with attempts to assassinate.

Drill for planes crashing into buildings on the same day when planes crash into buildings.

A cover-up of both following both.

Remember Condi "White" Rice telling us that no one had imagined terrorists using airplanes as missiles in the days following 911?

Hell, W Bush even said the same thing about Katrina, despite studies that had been done months in advance predicting almost exactly what happened when Katrina hit.

Damn...as I was writing the last paragraph I just remembered the rumors that George HW Bush was involved in the Bay of Pigs. That would put HW Bush smack-dab in the middle of JFK, Cuba and Bolden's framing.

Too bad there's no conclusive proof that HW Bush was involved. However, apparently two of the ships involved in the Bay of Pigs were called "The Barbara" and "The Houston". HW Bush's wife and hometown at the time of the BoP. Still not literal proof, but with the Bush clan, do we really need proof at this point? (Especially when W Bush didn't have proof of WMD in Iraq :) )

Beyond all that stuff, I bet you've never heard of Abraham Bolden or the two unsuccessful attempts on JFK's life.

Isn't it amazing what the government thinks it should keep from us? It really makes you wonder what else we don't know about that we really should...

From CommonDreams.Org:
Published on Friday, February 17, 2006, by CommonDreams.org

After 40 Years, the First National Security Whistleblower Still Seeks Justice

by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann

After an outstanding career in law enforcement, Abraham Bolden was appointed by John F. Kennedy to be the first African American presidential Secret Service agent, where he served with distinction. But you haven't heard about Abraham Bolden during Black History month, because after helping to prevent JFK's assassination in the weeks before Dallas, Bolden was arrested on the very day he went to Washington to tell the Warren Commission about those attempts. Caught in a maze of National Security concerns that only became clear after four million pages of JFK files were released in the 1990s, Bolden was sentenced to six years in prison, becoming America's first National Security Whistleblower.

The files released after Congress passed the JFK Act unanimously in 1992 show the massive amount of information that had been withheld from at least five Congressional investigations. Even worse, the Final Report of the JFK Board created by Congress shows that crucial files about attempts against JFK--the cases Bolden worked on--were destroyed by the Secret Service in 1995. And, a report by the government oversight group OMB Watch says that "well over one million CIA records" related to JFK's era remain unreleased, perhaps until the mandatory release date of 2017.

Bolden, now 71, can't wait that long.

Plus, the long-secret files that have been released show how keeping millions of documents secret for decades have negatively impacted US actions in dealing with Iraq, Central America, and Cuba, as well as preventing crucial intelligence failures from coming to light prior to 9/11.

On February 14, 2006, Congress held hearings about National Security Whistleblowers, aimed at improving laws to protect them from retaliation for trying to tell the truth. The witnesses who testified revealed a litany of workers being attacked by their own agencies, of documents destroyed or withheld--even from Congress--and of years of struggle to get fair hearings. This pattern began in the case of Abraham Bolden in 1964, yet most in Congress are unaware of his case. Likewise, Congress doesn't realize that not only did the Secret Service admit destroying crucial JFK documents in 1995, but that the Secret Service then failed to confirm their compliance with the JFK Act under oath, as did other agencies.

The JFK Board's Final Report detailing that was released 1998, amidst the aftermath of the Monica Lewinsky affair, which may explain why it received little attention at the time. The OMB Watch report in which an official who worked with the JFK Board admitted that "well over one million CIA records" are still secret was released in the hotly contested election year of 2000, which may be why that escaped the notice of journalists and those in Congress. In addition, the major revelations in the four million JFK documents that were released in the 1990s--and continued to trickle out today--are only just now coming to light.

In today's world of instant e-mail and 24-hour news channels, many were recently amazed that Vice President Cheney was able to keep news of his shooting of another man secret for almost 24 hours.

Yet in November 1963, John and Robert Kennedy were able to keep two assassination plots against JFK that month out of the media at the time. The first was in Chicago, on November 2, 1963--when JFK had to cancel his trip and motorcade at the last minute--and the second was during JFK's long motorcade through Tampa, Florida on November 18, 1963, just four days before Dallas. Both the Chicago and Tampa plots had many similarities to Dallas, yet they were withheld from the news media and most investigators.

Bolden was involved in investigating the Chicago plot and was informed about the similar Tampa attempt. Bolden's own testimony to a Congressional Committee about the Chicago plot was kept secret for over fifteen years, but when finally released in the 1990s, it supported other information that had emerged about the plot over the years.

Unknown to Bolden until recently, the crux of all this secrecy about the attempts to assassinate JFK in Chicago, Tampa, and Dallas were John and Robert Kennedys' "Plan for a Coup in Cuba" to overthrow Fidel Castro on December 1, 1963. The most secret operation of the Kennedy years, the CIA side of the operation was code-named AMWORLD, a term withheld from five Congressional investigations (and the Warren Commission) and declassified only in the 1990s. It appeared in print for the first time just three months ago. Using declassified files from the National Archives, we found that in the days, weeks, and months before Dallas, Robert Kennedy had a secret government committee looking at how the US could deal with the "assassination of American officials" if Castro found out about the Kennedys' coup plan, and tried to retaliate.

The thinking behind such plans--and worries that the revelation of the Kennedy coup plan could trigger another nuclear confrontation with the Soviets just a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis--was behind most of the secrecy surrounding JFK's assassination. However, key officials in agencies like the FBI, the CIA, and the Secret Service also used the excuse of National Security to withheld information that could have been embarrassing to them.

We only uncovered the Kennedys' plan with the help of almost two dozen people who worked with John and Robert Kennedy on the coup plan, their war against the Mafia, and their tragic aftermath. One of them told us that Robert Kennedy was aware of Bolden's plight, but "couldn't" do anything about it at the time--and in the context of the coup plan and the plans to protect it we had just been discussing, it was clear why. Any intervention on Bobby's part could have unraveled a veil of National Security secrecy that could have led to World War III.

Our sources and all the new documents don't show any vast conspiracy to kill JFK--they confirm what Bobby Kennedy himself came to believe, after several secret investigations by his trusted associates: that the Mafia had been behind his brother's assassination. Those Mafioso had infiltrated the Kennedys' coup plan through AMWORLD, and used the secrecy surrounding it to prevent a thorough investigation into JFK's death by pointing the blame toward Castro.

Bolden went to Washington in the Spring of 1964 to tell Warren Commission staff about the Chicago and Tampa attempts, and other Secret Service laxity, such as late night drinking bouts by the agents. News reports of the late-night drinking of Secret Service agents the night before JFK's assassination were threatening to become a major scandal, but the Secret Service couldn't reveal that the agents were blowing off steam after the stress of the recent plots against JFK in Chicago and Tampa. While Warren Commission staff had heard vague rumors of the Chicago plot, they had been told nothing about the Tampa attempt (which would continued to be withheld from the later Congressional investigations into JFK's assassination).

Bolden was arrested the day he arrived in Washington to talk to Warren Commission staff.

Bolden himself had previously arrested both of his accusers, one of whom later admitted committing perjury against Bolden. But the Chicago judge told the jury he felt Bolden was guilty, and Bolden was convicted and sentenced to six years in jail. Former Senate investigator and top Freedom of Information attorney Bud Fensterwald looked into Bolden's case and concluded that Bolden had been framed. After reviewing Fensterwald's files, we tracked down additional information about the Chicago mobster that Bolden's accusers worked for, whose gangster associate had infiltrated AMWORLD. The Mafia knew the Secret Service wouldn't defend Bolden because of his accusations of laxity, and that others in the government couldn't come to Bolden's aide because of National Security concerns.

After over forty years, Abraham Bolden is still trying to clear his name, but National Security concerns that date from 1963 still stymie his efforts. Along with another researcher, we provided written testimony about the Tampa attempt against JFK to the JFK Board in November of 1994.

But about six weeks later, in January 1995, the Board's Final Report states that the Secret Service told them they had just destroyed records covering the time of the Tampa (and Chicago) attempts. This was despite the 1992 JFK Act which required those records be preserved and released. The Secret Service also told the Board it had earlier destroyed other crucial records. And as we noted earlier, "well over one million CIA records" related to JFK's assassination still remain secret today, despite passage of the 1992 JFK Act.

Abraham Bolden paid a heavy price for trying to tell the truth about events involving the man he was sworn to protect--JFK--that became mired in National Security concerns. Bolden still lives in Chicago, and has never given up trying to clear his name. Two days after Christmas, his wife passed away unexpectedly just three days before their 49th wedding anniversary. She had remained with Bolden through it all, always sure of his innocence.

Will Abraham Bolden live to finally see the justice so long denied to him?

As Congress looks into much-needed legislation to protect today's National Security Whistleblowers, we urge to them to consider those like Bolden who risked their careers and lives to tell the truth decades ago.

It's in the interest of Congress to do so, since the four million JFK files released in the 1990s show the massive amount of information that was withheld from Congress in the 1970s and 1980s. Will no one be held responsible--or even investigated--for that? Or for the Secret Service document destruction in 1995? And how can Congress expect agencies like the CIA to keep them fully informed today, when so much has been--and continues to be--withheld?

After languishing for several years, Congress finally funded the Public Interest Declassification Board, which is scheduled to be held on February 25, 2006, which is one opportunity for some of these matters to be explored. All this secrecy has harmed--and continues to impact--American foreign policy and actions in countries ranging from Iraq to Cuba.

Each of us has a member of Congress and two Senators who can be contacted to let them know we care about these matters. Even those outside of the US can make journalists and others aware of Bolden's plight and the ongoing secrecy of this government and the harm it brings to democracy.

It's the least we can do for ourselves, for history, and for a brave whistleblower like Abraham Bolden.

Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann worked together for 17 years to research and write Ultimate Sacrifice: John and Robert Kennedy, the Plan for a Coup in Cuba, and the Murder of JFK. There is more information about the book and Abraham Bolden at www.ultimatesacrificethebook.com.

© Copyrighted 1997-2006 www.commondreams.org

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Super Reznor Brothers

Thanks be to -Kris- for [linking] to [http://zeleny.digitalfreaks.org/other/Misc/Nine%20Inch%20Nails%20-%20Closer%20(Super%20Mario%20remix).mp3|this mash of the Super Mario theme and NIN's Closer] over at her site DreamLogic.Net.

I was just having a jones on for some Nails. :)

Oh yeah, and I added two more posts to the -FutureBlog-. Check 'em out!

MORE iTUNES/iPOD BITCHING

Earlier this week I had to leave TheApartment really quickly. I was catching a ride with TheWife and she'd be dropping me at the Post Office so I could check our PO Box. The thing is, I'd be walking back and I wanted to listen to the latest Democracy Now podcast--so I pull up iTunes and dock my iPod. I have ten minutes to DL the cast and dump it onto my iPod--sounds easy? Not quite.

I go to click on the "Podcasts" in iTunes and I then move to click on "Democracy Now" only to see my podcasts disappear and be replaced by the contents of my iPod. OK, didn't need that to happen! I again click on "podcasts" and then control-click on "Democracy Now". Then I click on "Update Podcast" and watch as the cast slowly DLs.

A few minutes later, I notice that it's at about three-quarters downloaded. SWEET, this will work out fine. Suddenly, I notice that my IP has reset. My stupid cable broadband connection may be wicked-fast, but it cuts out randomly. I switch back to iTunes to find that it's stopped downloading the DN cast. I click "get" next to that day's podcast. It starts to download THE WHOLE THING again.

What brainiac designed iTunes, anyway? Why is it that it iTunes can't pause a download when a connection is interupted and resume it once the connection is restored? This is idiotic. So, I DL the entire cast again and make TheWife leave a few minutes later than she had wanted to. Not the end of the world, but there is no reason for iTunes to do the following:

1) automatically display the iPod contents upon mounting of the iPod

2) not be able to pick up an interupted podcast download where it left off.

Oh and another thing I noticed that is fricken idiotic is that iTunes will decide on its own to stop updating podcasts because it thinks you haven't listened to them in a while.

WTF is this??? Why does iTunes have to think so much? First off, it's none of its business whether or not I listen to podcasts I download. Second, if it is so smart, why doesn't it ask my iPod if I've listened to my downloaded podcasts? However, this second issue is not important to me--I don't want iTunes to be thinking about my podcasts more than I do.

OK, now for some more bitchin' regarding the iPod. When the hell are we going to see a firmware update??? I am SICK and tired of having to back up my video every 30-60 seconds for the first 5-15 minutes of my videos. This is ABSURD--Apple should issue an update that will pull out the bits of code that screwed things up. The only FW update I'll install after this will be one that actually makes noticable improvements!!

Here's an iTunes/iPod combo-bitch: I want to be able to control-click (right click for you PC-heads out there) on a media file and see a popup menu that includes the option to "send to (your iPod name)". By this I don't mean a simple file transfer--I want it to put the mp3/4 on my iPod in a way that it can be played. Because I hate iTunes so much I'd really love to avoid using it entirely.

Before I conclude, I'd like to also ask when Apple is going to change the name of their stupid application to something that reflects a less music-centered function. Hell, I dump 20-30 gigs of music on my iPod and I'm done. Most of the other 20 gigs of data is either video or podcasts--so much for the "tunes" in "iTunes." How about iMedia? Or iMultimedia? Or even iMulti?

The same goes for their stupid iTunes Music Store. Talk about an uninspired name. Might as well buy liquor from "a soda shop" or a car from a place with skateboards in its name.

Plus, it seems really stupid to me that I can't access the iTMS through a browser instead of iTunes. Hell, if I could access it through Firefox I might actually go there more often (or at all).

For all of Apple's leaps forward in popularity, I wonder if they're forgetting what kept them in the shadows for so long--listening to and caring about what their customers want and like.

Yep, they're becoming an awful lot like Micro$oft!

WALK THE LINE (2005)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? Yeah--musician biopics are not my cup of tea but the acting and music really carried this film.

Technically any good? I think it's about as good as any biopic I've seen. Alas, there seems to be a rather cliched structure that most famous musicians seem to go through--born into poverty, inexplicably learn to play music, get on drugs, cheat on their wives (sometimes they go back to their wives, sometimes not), they get off the drugs, then die shortly before movies are made of them. It's then up to the filmmakers to make these cliches entertaining. In this case, the acting will knock you on your butt.

How did it leave me feeling? Entertained, but like I said, I'm no fan of musician biopics so I can take this film or leave it. If you enjoy this type of film, you'll probably enjoy it just fine.

Final Rating? SIYL

The ABSOLUTE Best Star Wars Game Ever Announced!

Remember [http://thepete.com/the-best-star-wars-game-ever-i-guess/|the last Star Wars game I said would be the best Star Wars game ever]? Well, that game is getting sequel!

That's right, they're already working on a sequel to Lego Star Wars!! This one is going to be based around the Holy Trilogy and will allow you to play your favorite scenes from Star Wars Episodes 4, 5 & 6! While I completely adore the PS2 and GBA versions of the first Lego Star Wars I kept thinking how much more fun the game would be if they included more scenes from the original trilogy.

Well, thankfully, they're going to make the sequel even cooler and release it on more platforms, too. While they won't be put out for any of the next gen consoles, there will be a version of the game available this fall for the PS2, Xbox, GameCube, GBA, PSP, PC and DS. I'm assuming the Mac version will show up later. :(

Hell, I'm just glad they're making a version specifically for the DS. It will allow up to 4 players (more than any of the other versions will allow) but alas those 4 players will need to be in the room with you.

Read a helluva lot more about this game in [http://cube.ign.com/articles/687/687343p1.html|a February 9, 2006 article] at IGN.com--check out more pics, too!

-My site- is amazing--what other blog do you get a CIA torture handbook in one post and news about a new Lego Star Wars video game in the very next.

Friday, February 17, 2006

NOW YOU CAN LEARN TO TORTURE THE CIA WAY!

Now you can learn from the Planet Earth™'s Number One Experts in Torture--the CIA!!

Thanks to [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/17/1522228|this post] at DemocracyNow.Org, which is an interview with Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Author of “A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror” and also “The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade.”

All you have to do to learn how to torture people is click below!

http://www.google.com/search?q=kubark

Kubark is the CIA's manual for torture back in the 1960s.

Oh and you can [http://thepete.com/uploads/cia_kubark.zip|download the whole manual in the form of a 6MB zip of 3 PDF files] I snagged from [http://www.soaw.org/new/newswire_detail.php?id=446|a page] at SOAW.Org, which is the website for School of the Americas Watch.

What's nice and depressing is that if you compare how the 1960s manual demonstrates torture to those pics from Abu Ghraib you'll apparently notice some disturbing similarities.

SWEET!

...or NOT!

WHAT ABOUT ANOTHER DOMESTIC NATURAL DISASTER

We've heard Skeletor of the Department of Homeland Security tell us that the USG is unprepared for another disaster like Katrina.

I was just thinking how fucked LA would be if a giant quake hit right about now.

The most populated state in the union, half of the 6th largest economy in the world and over 80,000 people already homeless.

But thank God Saddam isn't in power anymore.

FUN STUFF ALERT: Ford Sorta Admits The Star Wars Holiday Special Exists!

Thanks be to TheChad for IMing me [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xvx2ujk_BQc&search=harrison%20ford|this link] this morning. It's a clip of Conan O'Brien confronting Harrison Ford about his connection with the Star Wars Holiday Special. It's rivetting TV!

TWO MORE WAYS THE US GOVERNMENT IS SCREWING US

First off, the Senate has decided it won't be investigating Bush's wiretapping program. The following comes from [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/16/politics/16cnd-nsa.html?ei=5065&en=d0c5458541016009&ex=1140757200&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print|a February 16, 2006 article] at NYT:
The Senate Intelligence Committee decided today not to investigate President Bush's domestic surveillance program, at least for the time being.

"I believe that such an investigation is currently unwarranted and would be detrimental to this highly classified program," Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas and chairman of the panel, said this afternoon following a closed session.


HOLY FUCK--so, this "possibly" illegal program is too "Top Secret" to be investigated??

If there is a better example of total bullshit in government, I can't think of it.

The Senate has now shown itself to be completely and utter without morals and worse--without any checks and/or balances. When a crime appears to have been committed not investigating it is another crime.

Every single Senator who did not fight for this investigation to happen is violating the public trust and should be impeached.

If that's not bad enough, the following excerpt comes from [http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article345926.ece|February 17, 2006 article] at http://news.independent.co.uk and it talks about how the United States Government is trying to screw the world:
A satellite study of the Greenland ice cap shows that it is melting far faster than scientists had feared - twice as much ice is going into the sea as it was five years ago. The implications for rising sea levels - and climate change - could be dramatic.

Yet, a few weeks ago, when I - a Nasa climate scientist - tried to talk to the media about these issues following a lecture I had given calling for prompt reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases, the Nasa public affairs team - staffed by political appointees from the Bush administration - tried to stop me doing so. I was not happy with that, and I ignored the restrictions. The first line of Nasa's mission is to understand and protect the planet.


Yeah, that article was written by Jim Hansen--a scientist for NASA.

So, the planet is slowly becoming less hospitable for we humans to live on and the Bush Administration doesn't want the world to know about it.

OK, now would be a good time for the world to unite against us, I think. Especially since we Americans can't seem to give enough of a fuck to stand up to our own government.