Saturday, June 30, 2007

This is some serious beef

In today's news:
Even by the standards of Texas, where beef is no trivial matter, rancher Jose Antonio Elias Calles has coddled his cattle.

The animals imported from Japan are guarded by off-duty Texas Rangers and kept away from American bulls that might contaminate their coveted gene pool. They were meticulously reared for 12 years before a single hamburger could be sold.
Dude, it's beef, not Scotch. Once it's in steak form, it does not get better with age.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Hey, isn't being in Iraq supposed to stop this from happening???

In case you missed the news from London today, there were almost some bombings. Big ones, apparently. They were stopped by police. But remember, only Bush's military can keep us safe from terrorists. That gets less credible all the time.

I give up...everything is Clinton's fault

I will leave most of the sage words and research to Joe Conason at Salon, but this meme that Bill Clinton is really to blame for 9/11 just won't seem to go away:
The list of Clinton's actions against terrorism and specifically against al-Qaida is long; the list of his efforts to prepare domestically against a terrorist attack is even longer. He and his aides tried to warn the incoming Bush administration about al-Qaida's plans to attack the United States, but they were brushed aside, as were the study group led by former Sens. Gary Hart and Warren Rudman; Bush's own counterterrorism director, Richard Clarke; and CIA chief George Tenet.

As for Giuliani, what did he do after the '93 bombing? In their reporting for "Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11," journalists Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins went to great lengths to find out. The answer, they discovered, was that he did nothing. And he said nothing. After he was elected mayor later that year, he still did and said nothing about terrorism, a pattern of inaction and inattention that continued for years, even as the trials of the bombing perpetrators went on in his city -- and even as federal investigators uncovered terrorist plots to blow up the Hudson River tunnels and other major New York City targets.
See, according to Giuliani (sorry, but the diminutive "Rudy" is saved for those who deserve it), Bill Clinton failed to do anything after the 1993 WTC bombings, and that apparently led to the 9/11 attacks (I'm paraphrasing his argument, of course).

All this does is draw attention to what Republicans were doing about terrorism in the 1990's. From encouraging withdrawal from Somalia to mocking retaliation for the 1998 African embassy bombings (would Repubs have supported sending in troops then?), the short answer to that question is this: nothing. They were mostly concerned with blowjobs.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Vintage Star Wars

I can't seem to let this Star Wars thing go today. This is kinda cute--I think most people could do something similar on Windows Movie Maker. What makes this cool is that most people wouldn't bother to do so.

Vader the Playa

Well worth the nine minutes of your life that you probably weren't going to use anyway:

Sweet, sweet meltdown

A quick note about Ann Coulter's total meltdown on Joe Scarborough's show--it must really suck to have to constantly explain yourself to the very people you insult and mock on paper. Not that I expected anything better from her, but she has raised cowardice to a new height. To mock a bereaved mother and then act aggrieved when that mother has the gall to politely ask her to stop. I feel so sorry for Ann, because one day she will realize what a truly horrible waste of a human being she is, and there will be no one left who cares by then.

I have many more thoughts that I will share later today, but to quickly summarize, on the miniscule chance Ann reads this: you are a coward and a pitiful excuse for a human being, and in your heart you know that.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

World's sexiest vegetarians announced!

PETA just released its list of the world's sexiest vegetarians (via Salon). Carrie Underwood nabbed the female title, beating out such luminary hotties as Alyssa Milano, Bryce Dallas Howard, Kristen Bell, Natalie Portman, Pink, Elle Macpherson, Joss Stone, and Naomi Watts, to name but a few.

Having been a vegetarian for eight burgerless years, I can honestly say that this news does not affect me at all.

Don't get me wrong--factory farming conditions are atrocious and should be abolished, but we humans have canine teeth for a reason.

SMACKDOWN!!!

Okay, there is a certain irony to my title for this post, but I couldn't resist. I have long refrained from using Ann Coulter's name, just so that I can rest easy knowing I haven't helped contribute to her Google hits, but at this moment I am happy to draw attention to the smackdown she received from Elizabeth Edwards on Chris Matthews' show:
[Edwards]: I’m making the call as a mother. I’m the mother of that boy who died. My children participate — these young people behind you are the age of my children. You’re asking them to participate in a dialogue that is based on hatefulness and ugliness instead of on the issues, and I don’t think that’s serving them or this country very well.

[Applause]
Coulter's response? Read on:
C[oulter]: I think we heard all we need to hear. The wife of a presidential candidate is asking me to stop speaking. No.

M[atthews]: No, she asked you to stop being so negative to people individually.

C: Right, as opposed to bankrupting doctors by giving a schyster Las Vegas routine in front of juries based on science — wait, you said I’d have as long as I would have, then you instantly interrupt me.

M: Go ahead, go ahead.

C: As I was saying, doing these psychic routines in front of illiterate juries to bankrupt doctors who now can’t deliver babies, and to charge a poverty group $50,000 for a speech. Don’t talk to me about how to use language.

M: Elizabeth?

E[dwards]: …the language of hate, and I’m going to ask you again to politely stop using personal attacks as part of your dialogue.

C: Okay, I’ll stop writing books.

E: If you can’t write them without them, that is fine.
Say what you will about Elizabeth Edwards, she has class, which is something Ann Coulter knows nothing about.

Plus, people like Ann never know when a "schyster" might come in handy.

Monday, June 25, 2007

No minors allowed in this blog

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Apparently I have enough references to death and sex in here to merit an "R" rating. Dang, I was hoping for an "NC-17." Alas.

Another O'Reilly smackdown

This time the loofah-loving loudmouth (I love alliteration!) gets schooled by a 16-year old. Does Bill still have actual fans, or does he exist solely to make an ass of himself?

Bottled idiocy

Apparently San Francisco's mayor just banned the use of city funds to buy plastic water bottles. I always sort of pictured San Franciscans as having bottles of Evian water and French poodles at their sides at all times, but I've also never actually been to San Francisco. This certainly seems like a great idea, though. I have long been flummoxed by people who rely on bulk packs of Ozarka water in individual bottles to service their daily hydration needs--what's wrong with a tap and a filter? That way, you replace the filter every so often and generate a small handful of plastic waste compared to bottle drinkers. Plus, they make re-usable bottles that you can easily clean!

Leaving aside the absurd cost per gallon of bottled water, there are so many silly things about it. It really can't be about cleanliness or purity (yes, I've read A Civil Action and know all about trichloroethylene), since you can make any water on earth seem gross this way: the total amount of water has remained pretty constant on earth throughout its history, so there's a good chance that the water you are drinking right know was once pissed out by a dinosaur. Or a tree sloth. Think about it.

As if going to the dentist weren't bad enough

Instead of nitrous, patients at one dentist's office got carbon monoxide this morning. That can't be good for business:
Paramedics this morning have taken two dozen people from a Northeast Austin dental clinic to the hospital after they possibly suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, authorities said.

John Wolfe, a paramedic for the Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services, said workers received a 911 call this morning saying that people in the Affordable Dentures office on U.S. 290 near Cameron Road were suffering from nausea, dizziness and headaches. Austin firefighters tested the air inside the business and found a high reading of a gas they think was carbon monoxide. They said they will need to conduct more tests to confirm the results.
I'm waiting for the part where the dentist asks "Is it safe?"

As promised, I now mock someone for leaving an inane comment!

Yes, I am speaking to you, Daniel Hendricks Simon, for leaving the following comment on my post about Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich:
Kucinich is a short nazi like Hitler... he doesn't support Israel.... and he looks damn silly with that girl.
Ah, where to begin...it is tempting to go with the ad hominem attacks about the utter cultural irrelevance of Mr. Simon's blog outside of the New York indie-film scene, but I only read the first few posts, so I can't say that for sure. Then there's the whole comparing uber-liberal Dennis Kucinich to the Nazis based on a single issue. I have long thought the whole notion that the failure to fully support anything Israel does makes one automatically anti-Semitic (or even Nazi-like) to be a tired cliche, but it looks like it still has some legs. That's a topic for another post, though. I think ultimately Mr. Simon may have missed the point of my original post: that a homely-looking short man can land a hottie wife, even without a great deal of power as aphrodisiac, and how that makes my incredibly shallow respect for the man skyrocket.

Getting back to the ad hominem to close this post out, the slams of "short" and "silly-looking" seem odd coming from this guy.

In closing, Mr. Simon, thank you for reading my blog. I hope you bring it next time.

Doctors now refusing to prescribe any medicine because of religious beliefs (not really)

Numerous doctors throughout the United States are now refusing to utilize any products offered by the pharmaceutical industry, based on religious conviction that God will heal the faithful. A doctor recently responded to multiple complaints to the American Meidcal Association that his professional diagnosis for at least fifteen cancer patients was vigorous prayer. Incidentally, all of the patients succumbed to their illnesses.

Okay, to the best of my knowledge none of the stuff I just described has actually happened. I made the whole thing up (I hope).

But there are doctors who refuse certain types of treatment based on their own religious beliefs, and the law protects their right to not do their job. Now, if someone has a moral objection to a particular procedure and does not want to perform it, that is fine and dandy--so a person who morally opposes the morning-after pill might want to stay away from jobs where there is a high likelihood of treating recent rape victims. Likewise, someone who opposes contraception but really loves being a pharmacist might consider passing off those customers to another pharmacist.

It is also important to note that I am not even talking about abortion here, but rather contraceptive services, involving prevention of fertilization of an egg or implantation of a fertilized zygote. None of these events yet involve a distinct biological entity--I could go on about how many fertilized zygotes never actually reach their destination of the uterine wall anyway, so if keeping a zygote from implantation is murder, the Mother Nature is the greatest murderess of the all. But that is rather beside the point.

Generally, the women (it's always women) who are denied services are allowed to seek treatment elsewhere, but they lose crucial time in seeking out a doctor or pharmacist who will leave the women's decisions to herself and do his or her job.

I suppose an analogy in my own life, being a lawyer, might involve certain criminal offenses. I do not practice criminal law at all, but even if I did, I would be uncomfortable representing someone charged with, say, sexual abuse of a child. Nothing in my professional duties requires me to take this person's case, but I also cannot do anything to delay him (or her) from seeking counsel elsewhere. The timeframe in law is also much longer than it often is in medicine, so this person would likely have time to find another lawyer--out of professional courtesy, I would probably provide names of some good criminal defense attorneys.

Maybe a better analogy is a doctor who holds deeply-held religious convictions that homosexuality is wrong and a mortal sin, etc., etc. If that doctor comes upon a homosexual who has been shot in the gut and is slowly bleeding to death, can that doctor just walk on and not render any sort of aid? Can that doctor refuse to treat that person if he/she is brought into his ER? How far as a society are we going to take the coddling of people's religious beliefs when it conflicts with the jobs they studied, trained, applied, and interviewed for, and are quite frankly luck to have?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Uh, never mind

Apparently early reports of the mob beating of a man in east Austin were not entirely accurate.
At a news conference this afternoon, City Manager Toby Futrell said that she had heard media reports all day today that were inaccurate, including some that said hundreds of people did nothing to assist in the attack, and that it was carried out by as many as 20 people.

Police believe about three to four men may have participated in the beating.

She blamed the city for releasing information Wednesday morning that she said fueled belief that the beating was tied to the Juneteenth celebration.

Mayor Will Wynn said he's heard from people all over the world "about something that did not occur Tuesday night."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mob justice in Austin? I don't get it.

Something like this shouldn't happen anywhere, but especially not in my city! This is just scary:
A group of men fatally beat a passenger in a car that police said accidentally struck a child outside an East Austin apartment complex, police said today.

As many as 3,000 people were in the area following a Juneteenth celebration at the time, officials said. Austin police Cmdr. Harold Piatt estimated that dozens were in the parking lot of the Booker T. Washington apartment complex at the time and that preliminary information shows no witnesses apparently tried to prevent or stop the attack.

"At this point, we aren't aware that any person did anything to stop the assault or prevent the injuries," he said.

Piatt said investigators are still trying to question people who might have seen the attack.

Police said officers responded to a "person down" call at 9:30 p.m. and that when they arrived, they found David Rivas Morales, 40, with trauma to his body. He was taken to Brackenridge Hospital and pronounced dead.

Investigators said the assault apparently occurred after the driver of the car struck a child in a parking lot at 900 Thompson St. The child, a 4-year-old girl, was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening.

Witnesses told investigators that a group of men assaulted Morales when he stepped out of the car to try to stop the crowd from assaulting the driver, who had gotten out of the car. Piatt said it was unclear if the driver was aware he'd struck the child.

The driver, whose name has not been released, was able to leave the area in the car. Police later found him and the car.

"This is an anomaly for Austin, Piatt said. "When you have someone just beaten to death in a parking lot."
I guess not all the information and evidence is in yet--when I first read the headline, I just assumed an angry mob had killed a drunk driver who carelessly ran down a child. Apparently, the child was not badly injured, and the man beaten to death wasn't the driver, so this is not a stereotypical vigilante or mob rule sort of thing. The driver seems like a jackass, as I don't understand how you can hit a child with your car--even glancingly--anbd not notice. I really don't get the motivation to beat his passenger to death.

Friday, June 15, 2007

San Antonio, fuck yeah!



From the Spurs' biggest fairweather fan, hell yeah! Another NBA Championship from the dullest team in the league. Here are two reasons why the Spurs kick ass:

1. Our MVP got to snog Eva Longoria at the end of the game (cause/effect?)



2. San Antonio can win a championship and somehow not immediately resort to widespread rioting (suck on it, Chicago!)

Today's inspirational cheese

Although the hottie calls him a "lump of coal," this is pretty impressive. I love seeing that Simon dickhead get served, too:



The dude reminds me a bit of this fella, but admit it, you were thinking the same thing as me:

RUDY! RUDY! RUDY! RUDY!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

So obvious, it just ain't funny.

Humor is a difficult art--oftentimes it involves merely pointing out the truth of things in an unusual way. Last night marked the final actual premiere of "Lil' Bush" on Comedy Central, where the prgramming is usually funny. Displaying W. and his cronies as a gang of playful scamps seems somehow...I don't know...really frickin' disrespectful to everything that has gone wrong in the world over the past six years, as well as not funny. Plus, portraying Cheney as an incoherent eater of live chickens (his speech is somewhere between Kenny and Boomhauer) might be taken as a compliment by the man himself at this point. Actually, the character reminds me a bit of Non from Superman 2 (Geek Hall of Fame!) Anyway, here's a clip--admittedly, I stopped paying attention about halfway through (I think at the point when the elderly Barbara Bush seduces a prepubescent Cheney):



Is this the level to which our culture has sunk? Far be it for me to criticize lowbrow humor, for I usually love it so. I give this show about two more episodes--it's not even as good as Comedy Central's predecessor show.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The federal government gives us a lesson in advanced grammar

Hey remember when there was supposed to be no question over the meaning of "is" in public discourse? Now we have lectures on the "hortatory subjunctive tense" in a Congressional hearing. Gripping, truly gripping.

Eve, you saucy little tart...

I am always up for making fun of Kentucky's Creation Museum, and I'm also always up for non-sequitur posts about hotties, but I never thought these interests would coincide. Now, thanks to Jesus' General, I see that Eve, in fact, was seriously freakin' hot!!! Check this out:



If the picture doesn;t appear here, just click on it. Kinda old school.

How I feel today



TOTH to Cute Overload.

The latest from Setec Astronomy

First off, if you get the Setec Astronomy reference, you get automatic admission to my Geek Hall of Fame.

Chatterbox has the latest on the oft-amusing way the internet has of keeping people in the public eye from re-writing recent history--currently Repubs trying, for whatever reason, to scrub the ignominious history of pushing "voter fraud" memes.
In a recent Slate column, I noted the strange demise of the American Center for Voting Rights, an organization that sprouted up in the last few years to push the "voter fraud is a big problem" line at government hearings, conferences, and, most importantly, in the courts to defend strict new voter-ID laws. The brains behind ACVR is a St. Louis lawyer, Mark "Thor" Hearne, who has worked for the Bush-Cheney campaign and other Republican candidates for years. Oddly, the organization suddenly disbanded recently and yanked its Web site. Even more strangely, Hearne's résumé at his law firm, Lathrop and Gage, was scrubbed of references to ACVR. Thanks to the Internet Wayback Machine and blogs like the Brad Blog, much of ACVR's material still remains available, however. You just can't erase stuff put out in cyberspace very easily.

But Hearne apparently wasn't satisfied with just cleansing his résumé. Despite the Slate article and follow-up NPR, National Journal, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch articles on Hearne, ACVR, and his possible connection to the U.S. attorneys' scandal, someone is working hard to scrub Hearne's paper trail. And now somebody is going into Hearne's Wikipedia entry and trying to cleanse it of references to ACVR. (Just about anyone can edit a Wikipedia entry, though the organizers have some methods of quality control.) Moreover, someone's been trying to clean up Wikipedia's entry on ACVR itself.

Who would do such a thing? Wikipedia keeps records of the user IDs or IP addresses of whoever changes its pages, and it turns out, astonishingly, that this cleansing was done by someone at one of the IP addresses of Hearne's law firm.
Get it through your heads, folks, if you ever say something and it winds up on the internet, it is there forever, somewhere. Even if there's a massive EMP in the stratosphere that fries all electronic circuits in the world, somewhere out there, there is a shielded box contained a flash drive with the MPEG of you lip-synching Clay Aiken. You can't hide.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Don't mess with the cows

This has been around for a while, but I feel the need to remind the world it exists every so often. The stakes are too high (bad cow pun).

Monday, June 11, 2007

Today's inexplicably e-mailed video

Received this today via e-mail, for reasons unknown.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Hey, remember when "bad" actually meant "good"?

I just forced myself to actually sit through the MTV Movie Awards, thinking there would be some funny movie spoofs, like in past years. Instead, I basically got a 2+ hour commercial for "Transformers: The Less-Animated Movie than the 1985 version (hopefully with less cheesy music)."

Leaving aside how sucky the Transformers movie is likely to be (although there's at least one scene I'm enjoying) and how excited I nevertheless am to see it despite the massive cultural guilt trip I will doubtless go through 10 seconds after the movie ends, I have a question about something Shia LaBoof (not even gonna try to spell it) said when accepting some award: "The movie's gonna be sick."

I guess I'm showing my un-hip age, but why is "sick" a good thing? For me it conjures images of phlegm and vomit, among other things. The Wiktionary entry for the word really didn't help much, as it gave one possible definition as "(slang: excellent): cool, rad, wicked."

Have I finally been completely passsed over by the younger generation (I'm 32, which ain't that old), such that I will no longer be able to understand anything said by anyone born after, say, 1980? Or is something more sinister at work here???

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Today in strange tattoos

I have occasionally entertained a bizarre urge to get another tattoo, but this makes me doubt I could ever come up with anything cool enough (via strangemaps):



“I wanted something unique, something nobody else had. But every idea I had – it had already been done,” says Britta Oelschlaeger. The 33-year-old photographer, who hails from the city of Hannover, knew she wanted a large tattoo on her back. Eschewing more popular designs as elves, dragons, dolphins and roses, she looked for ten years until she found this 1896 map of her hometown. “I’m a fan of Hannover’s football team and I’m completely crazy about maps,” the artist explained her choice of tattoo.

It took the tattooist 7 hours to etch the outlines of that late 19th-century city plan on her back, and it will take many more to etch in the various hues of brown and green to give it the exact look as the original map. According to the AP press report, Oelschlaeger’s daughter is absolutely thrilled with her mom’s cool and original tattoo. Hannover is the capital city of Lower Saxony, one of Germany’s constituent Länder. 1896 happens to be the founding year of Hannover 96, Oelschlaeger’s favourite football club.

Catz r fun!

The coolest thing on all the internet:

chese-cheez.jpg

Friday, June 8, 2007

My new sanctum

Where the genius can now be created:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The real agenda of "pro-lifers"

I once used this as a hypothetical of what might occur if "pro-lifers" get their way, and now it's apparently real. From Pandagon, a woman in Pittsburgh has been charged with concealing the death of a child for not seeking medical treatment for a miscarriage (she was about 4 months along when the miscarriage occurred). The ME determined that the fetus died of natural causes.

The statute involved here requires concealment "so that it may not come to light, whether it was born dead or alive or whether it [the child] was murdered or not." Note the use of the pronoun "it." The statute clearly requires a birth. Generally speaking, a miscarriage is not considered a birth.

This is not about protection of life, it is about control of women, period.

Repackaging shit as gourmet chocolate

Via Salon's War Room:
"At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [9/11 ], and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country." -- Arkansas Republican Party chairman Dennis Milligan, who tells the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, coming to us by way of BuzzFlash, that he stands "150 percent" behind George W. Bush on Iraq.
Let me get this straight...more attacks on American soil will increase our understanding of what a good job the President has done, uh, protecting us from terrorism???

Phrased more simply, a flagrant failure to protect us will make us appreciate how he has protected us???

Are we living in a nuthouse???

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The best book on global warming that wasn't actually about global warming

Nightfall and Other Stories (Crest Science Fiction, P1969)Nightfall



Nightfall, by Isaac Asimov--both a short story (1941) and a novel written with Robert Silverberg (1990).

I cannot speak to Asimov's original motivation in writing the short story in 1941, but the plot certainly seems relevant today in many ways: A group of scientists make discoveries strongly suggesting an impending global cataclysm, which much of society rejects. In this case, a planet lit by six separate suns, whose people have never known a moment of Darkness, faces an eclipse (during a period where only one sun is visible) by a heretofore-unseen moon, leaving half of the planet in total darkness for about fifteen minutes. During this time, the stars finally become visible for the first time in recorded history. For people who have an instinctive fear of any sort of darkness, this cause widespread insanity and the breakdown of civilization. A religious cult preaches that the Stars are divine punishment for the sins of humanity and predicts the End of the World. In desperation to get some source, any source of light, panicked humans set fire to the cities. It turns out that this is a repeating cycle: the same eclipse occurs every 2,049 years, with approximately the same results each time.

Luckily, we are not headed for any comparable conflagration anytime too soon, but these stories are some interesting food for thought.