Wednesday, May 24, 2006


This is Edgar, a really cool basset hound we are fostering. I need to snap a higher res photo of him and maybe some video before someone snatches him up. You can read a brief synopsis of him over on the colorado basset rescue page.

Wired, EFF, AT&T & Wiretaps

Nice to see these guys releasing the whistleblower's documents about this. It's always amazing to see the clueless faux "patriots" calling this treasonous. So, the logic goes like this, then? 1) They hate our freedoms, so they attack us. 2) We're fighting "terrorism", so give all those freedoms up.

It's for situations like this that we have whistleblower laws. And it's my understanding that in this case, the government is breaking the law. The law cannot just be whatever the Bush administration says it is. I cannot believe that so-called conservatives can actually defend this illegal action. We are a nation of laws, and the government, as much as any other entity and probably more, needs to be held to those laws.

Devil's Playground

I watched the most surreal documentary just a few days ago. Seeing Amish kids totally bust loose during their rumspringa is really quite bizarre. What's amazing is that they apparently retain 90% of these kids in their religion. I grew up in rural PA, so Amish were not uncommon at all, and I remember rumors about Amish kids acting up, but I had no idea it was so huge. Some of the parties during rumspringa apparently reach epic proportions with hundreds of kids from states all over.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


This is a great YTMND entry for one of the greatest comedies on television, ever. Turn up your speakers.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Maddox Rules

So Maddox has a book that went to #1 on Amazon. It's funny that CNN is the one doing the article, since Maddox wrote a piece on how much CNN sucks. I cannot believe how spot-on he is about this.

I have no idea where adults are supposed to get news on television these days. Even with the gazillion channels I get via cable, I don't get BBC, so that option is right out, and PBS doesn't do news 24/7. I've heard people talk about the virtual "Chinese wall" in the media for Americans to find out ANYTHING meaningful about the outside world. I scoffed when I first heard this complaint. It doesn't seem that ridiculous anymore.

Fox News is aimed at the ignorant and/or stupid, but CNN is clearly now targeting that demographic as well. And all of television "news" seems to working overtime to make us all as ignorant as possible.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Police Brutality

Today, I look over on CNN, which is supposed to be the "reasonable" channel for 24 hour television news, and they are showing something about Britney-freaking-Spears. Hmm, that's some real "news". I found out about the audio of police beating of a man in this country via Republicans Behaving Badly podcast. Why do we have to turn to grassroots stuff like this to get news of any sort of substance at all? Instead I get retarded stories about Brangelina and Tomkat and Britney Spears. And when they aren't doing ET's job, they are trying to convince Americans that South American countries are about to invade us. It's just shameful.

Congrats to this guy's wife for recording this. If she didn't, we probably would have never heard about this. She makes this American proud. As Jeff on Republicans Behaving Badly asks, I also wonder which party these animals in the police vote for. To be fair, I don't know, but like Jeff, I'd bet they aren't Democrats. Also, at least some of them got sentences, but they didn't get life. I think given the situation, they should be put away for at least 30+ years. They are put in position of power, and they abused the HELL out of that position.

As the site says, every single American needs to hear this audio. It will outrage you, it will make you sick, but America needs to understand what is going on. I wish this was just some sort of one-off thing, but it just isn't. Listening to the Bad Cop , No Donut podcast will disabuse anyone of that notion.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Unbelievable Irresponsiblity of Fox "News"

It's a good thing there is a site like This article on a "red scare" just takes the cake. This would be hilarious if it was on SNL, and it still does amuse me, if only I could be sure that this saber rattling from corporate media isn't going to have serious consequences. Take a look at the little headlines they put at the bottom: "South American Socialism: Threat to our way of life?". This is just so amazingly ridiculous, but given how Fox News watchers are already so ignorant, they are sure to believe it.

I'd like them to define their terms, for one thing. What is "socialism"? What is the "our" in "our way of life"? What is this "way of life"?

In my mind, Fox Propaganda, oops, I mean, "News", has jumped the shark years ago, but maybe it's because I started reading a lot of non-fiction. I think even if I remained fairly ignorant, I'd question this one since it's just so over the top, and reeks of Cold War Reagan-era propaganda.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Au Revoir Les Enfants

This was very enjoyable - don't let the subtitles scare you away. As with any good subtitled film, you tend to forget you are reading the subtitles instead of hearing them.

One interesting conversation was when the protagonist was asking his older brother about Jews and why people hate them - his brother answers that because they killed Jesus. The protagonist is obviously puzzled by this, and points out that the Romans did. Hard to believe that is the reason for so much hatred, but there you have it. Of course, there are throwbacks around even today that still use this to justify their hatred of Jews. Seems all the more ridiculous if the theory talked about in The God Who Wasn't There is true...the Nazis were able to tap into Christian hatred and bigotry of the Jews to further their weird ideology's ends, and possibly over nothing more than a story.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Wal-Mart: The High Cost Of Low Price

An alternative title for this should really be: The High Cost of Externalizing Costs. Though they don't delve into a discussion of the idea of "externalizing costs", they really should. Most conservatives and libertarians rarely discuss this, and probably don't even know of its existence. The ones that benefit from this sort of corporate welfare certainly aren't going to bring it up in a public forum. In any case, I think anyone who even dabbles in politics of any sort should know about the concept of externalizing costs. To talk about "capitalism" and "free markets" without this is missing a lot.

Although they don't explicitly talk about the issue of externalizing costs, it does get mentioned, and two facts really stick out: due to Wal-Mart not supplying enough pay or a cheap enough health plan, they externalize the costs of health care to the American taxpayer to the tune of $1.5 BILLION dollars. That's a subsidy for Wal-Mart. Besides that, there are also subsidies nationwide of just over a BILLION for Wal-Mart. So, this is what Chomsky talks about when he talks about the "real economy" and "tough love" - the rich get the "love" (protectionism and subsidies from the taxpayer), and for everyone else, "tough" (free market).

Also interesting was the very end where they list all the places that Wal-Mart got rejected by citizens opposed to them building in their area - it was a LOT. When they were protesting against one being built in an area in Denver, the impression I got from the media was one like, "who are these guys, and why on Earth would they want that? Unheard of!" - when in fact, a responsible media could have discussed how many times it has happened elsewhere.

A nice touch was the juxtaposing of real Wal-Marts commercials with some facts overlaid on the screen at the same time. Some footage of Jon Stewart's Daily Show and SNL skits helped add some levity as well.

It was pretty interesting, if a little short. There are so many issues to talk about that it's hard to cover them all in depth I suppose, but touched on were:

1. The death of the mom & pop shops (covers a small town before & after a Wal-Mart opens and tracks a few local businesses)
2. The illegal union crushing tactics they use, including the hotline and jet they use to respond. Keep in mind that Wal-Mart is the world's largest employer, so of course, this is going to have serious effects.
3. China workers' daily lives, along with some footage in other countries, as well, and they talk to a man who used to check the facilities in other countries. A very interesting interview that was.
4. The workers here, and their lack of healthcare, their forced non-paid overtime, including talking to former managers and how they changed their hours to lower numbers to avoid overtime. Each store is budgeted with less money than it costs to pay people to cover all the work necessary to run the store, by design, apparently.
5. Local activism in California - in this case done with a Christian perspective - calling on Wal-Mart to act like the Christians the family is supposed to be.

To be fair, I have not yet looked at the special features, so I'm not sure what's on there.

Friday, May 05, 2006

MPH: Mind Performance Hacks

The library had this, and I checked it out. I ended up buying it however, since I think I'll want this one around for reference.

I was pretty excited to see that the author was being interviewed on RU Sirius' Neofiles show - however, RU didn't ask him about the Robert Anton Wilson (and the people RAW admires) influences. I was pretty surprised, since RU seems to be one of the most clued-in people on the planet.

Donnie Darko Soundtrack

Though I saw this movie several times and I did notice the score as well as the songs throughout, I didn't expect this to be that good. Very good headphone music.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Cactus Album

I found this old gem at the library - 3rd Bass, The Cactus Album. Haven't heard this in years.

While I absolutely love this album, I cannot believe how many 5 star reviews it gets.

Faith == Illness

Douglas Rushkoff on why he's had it with religious tolerance. I definitely have days where I feel the same way. Rigid belief systems of any sort are extremely dangerous.

Around the same time I read this blog, I was listening to the Quick Hitts podcast about the Christians in this country and their persecution complex. You know, Bill O'Reilly yammering on about a "war on Christmas" and all that, and how bad the "secular progressives" are, etc. A very good and sensible podcast. He basically says if you would just leave us alone in your belief, there'd be no problem. But when you drag a several ton monument into the courthouse, we are forced to care. Same with passing laws with religious overtones - we are forced to care. Stop dragging religion into the political discourse, and we won't have an issue.

Colbert Not Funny?

No way. Only if you were one of the ones that were being skewered could you not find his performance on Saturday funny. I figured the "liberal media" (hah!) would do this as soon as I saw the video, because he skewered them just as much as Bush and his cronies. And I bet more than one right wing talk radio show played clips to show how "not funny" he was, LOL. Those guys and gals are always trying to get their listeners' backs up over nothing at all.

Oh, and Bush was not too happy, either, apparently. Well, too bad. If Bush, Cheney, etc. won't come out and face the fire like Tony Blair has to in Britain (without getting to vet the audience for those sympathetic to a narrow world view, that is), well, then, the criticism has to come out somewhere. "Colbert crossed the line" - cry me a river. People act like we have to respect someone because they hold a title - that is precisely what America is not supposed to be about.

Anyway, over on Salon, Joan Walsh discusses how tired she is of hearing that Colbert wasn't funny.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tip of the Hat (No Wag of the Finger)

A way to give your tip of the hat to Stephen Colbert.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Sufi Stephen Takedown

Stephen Colbert, Sufi Master, delivers some truth at the White House Press Corps dinner. Much truthiness.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?