Saturday, August 20, 2005

Four More Years

Welcome, my friends, to the war that never ends. Perhaps:
The Army is planning for the possibility of keeping the current number of soldiers in
Iraq— well over 100,000 — for four more years, the Army's top general said Saturday.


Welcome to Demo---I Mean Theocracy

The US once again proves feckless:
U.S. diplomats have conceded ground to Islamists on the role of religion in Iraq negotiators said on Saturday as they raced to meet a 48-hour deadline to draft a constitution under intense U.S. pressure.


Red State Revolt

The mayor of Salt Lake City is getting a bit of an attitude:
Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson called for "the biggest demonstration this state has ever seen" to protest President Bush's appearance Monday before a national veterans convention.

"This administration has been disastrous to the country," Anderson said Friday. "If people could organize and speak out in an effective manner from the reddest state in the country, that would garner a lot of attention."


Houston Vigilantes

This, I am sure, will alleviate all the fears of my friend down in Houston:
Leaders of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps of Texas had earlier said volunteers observing Houston's day laborers in October would carry nothing but video cameras.

But leaders now say those involved in the operations targeting local illegal immigrants will be allowed to carry arms as long as they comply with all federal and state laws.


The Cave Is the Closet

There is, I swear, no homosexual subtext:
A New York art gallery has been ordered to remove an exhibit of watercolors showing Batman and Robin in a variety of romantic poses.


Vehicular Manslaughter

It's not just for Laura Bush anymore:
Truckers can still spend six days on the road during the week and drive for 11 hours at a time, thanks to a rule the Bush administration decided to leave intact even though truckers and safety advocates say it's unsafe.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Rest in... Well, Not Peace Exactly

Farewell, Hunter S. Thompson:
He lived by the gun and he died by the gun. Now the late writer Hunter S Thompson, who shot himself in February, is to be blasted from a cannon from the back garden of his home in the hills of Aspen, Colorado.

Thompson's ashes have been packed into firework casings and will be dispersed today from 34 different shells fired from a gun barrel mounted on top of a 150-foot high monument.



This man is supposed to be a doctor?
Echoing similar comments from President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said "intelligent design" should be taught in public schools alongside evolution.
"I think today a pluralistic society should have access to a broad range of fact, of science, including faith," Frist said.


Sweet Justice

Oh, I just love it:
Spent shells litter the ground at what is left of the firing range, and camouflage outfits still hang in a storeroom. Just a few months ago, this ranch was known as Camp Thunderbird, the headquarters of a paramilitary group that promised to use force to keep illegal immigrants from sneaking across the border with Mexico.

Now, in a turnabout, the 70-acre property about two miles from the border is being given to two immigrants whom the group caught trying to enter the United States illegally.

The land transfer is being made to satisfy judgments in a lawsuit in which the immigrants had said that Casey Nethercott, the owner of the ranch and a former leader of the vigilante group Ranch Rescue, had harmed them.


What the...?

This can't be good:
An explosion injured a woman and set a clothing store on fire Friday in the downtown shopping district.

Firefighters and police evacuated several blocks around the store in the Crocker Galleria area, said fire spokesman Peter Howes.

A witness told KCBS radio that a woman was engulfed in flames from the blast which shattered the Ralph Lauren store's windows just before 10 a.m. Another witness said the blast seemed to have originated under the sidewalk.



What can one say, but "cool"?
Scientists have created the ultimate ribbon. A thousand times thinner than a human hair and a few centimetres wide, the carbon sheet is stronger than steel for its weight, and could open the door to everything from artificial muscles to a space elevator capable of sending astronauts and tourists into orbit.


Cat Blogging!

Attack of the green eyes!


Austin Has a Conscience

And no freakin' "conscience clause"!

I am proud of my town:
Texas' capital city became the first in the nation Thursday, according to Planned Parenthood, to prohibit a pharmacy from refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control, emergency contraceptives and other medications.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Gay Flightless Birds Better Soldiers Than Bush!

And now a penguin has been promoted to colonel-in-chief of the Norwegian army.

WHAT'S black and white with stripes and lives at Edinburgh Zoo? Nils Olav, of
course, the most decorated king penguin around. Yesterday Nils, the
honorary winged member of the Royal Norwegian Guard, was promoted to
colonel-in-chief at a ceremony where a statue was unveiled in recognition of his
spectacular rise through the ranks.
The BBC, which reported on the penguin's promotion to regimental sergeant major in 2001, but has unaccountably failed to report on his latest advancement, reported in typically laconic fashion back then that "The bird is the first to hold the rank in the Norwegian Army."

And I know you want the pictures, so here they are:

Ah, Norway. Their army has penguins in command positions; all we've got is chickenhawks.

UPDATE: Thanks to pseudonymous in nc, we have the full photographic scoop.


The Case of Cockroach v. Stool Pigeon

This is appalling. And ridiculous. William S. Burroughs is rolling over in his grave:
One of Central Florida's largest pest control companies has been recruited by police to help fight crime, according to Local 6 News.

Technicians from Truly Nolen Pest Control of America are being trained by local law enforcement to spot anything unusual as they visit customer's homes.


Bigots Set to Lose in Maine

A referendum to nullify Maine's LGBT civil rights law is destined to fail a statewide poll released Thursday indicates.

The survey, by Strategic Marketing Services, shows that three in five Mainers would vote to uphold the law.

The law, enacted in March, protects gays, lesbians and the transgendered from discrimination in housing, employment and credit.

A conservative Christian group opposed to the law then gathered enough signatures to put a repeal measure on the November ballot.

Yeah. Real "Christian," these people.


Limbaugh Lying Again

He's now claiming that he never said that the Sheehan story is in some sense fake.

MediaMatters has him busted, though, with a screenshot from the "members only" section of his website.


Gross Injustice in North Carolina

The governor's actions are reprehensible:
Gov. Mike Easley has refused to pardon a man he sent to prison when he was a prosecutor even though the man was freed after the victims recanted their testimony.

Easley denied the petition of Sylvester Smith, 54, who was convicted in 1984 for first degree rape and two counts of first degree sexual offense, the governor's office said Wednesday.
A pardon in North Carolina allows a wrongfully convicted person to seek $20,000 a year from the state for each year the person was imprisoned, up to $500,000.

Smith said Easley had a conflict of interest because he prosecuted the case when he was district attorney in Brunswick County. "I don't think he's man enough to say he made a mistake," Smith said.

A judge ordered Smith released from prison in November. The accusers, who were 5 and 6 at the time of the trial, recanted their earlier testimony and said their grandmother told them to say Smith was responsible for the abuse rather than their 9-year-old cousin.


Another Reason to Love New Zealand

Ah, the hilarity:

The Hell Pizza billboards have been erected around Auckland and Wellington. Half of the poster is taken up with a photo of the president and the other half has the phrase 'Hell: Too Good For Some Evil Bastards.'
Hell's media manager, Matthew Blomfield, says they expected to cause a bit of a stir. He says it is meant to provoke discussion and be a little edgy, instead of bland, boring advertising.

Mr Blomfield is hoping reaction will be balanced between those who find it funny and those who are upset by it.

Update: Here's a picture of one of the billboards. I wonder if they're selling them as t-shirts...


Rush Continues to Be an Ass

Just shut up now:
Rush Limbaugh regarding Cindy Sheehan's Iraq war protest:

"Frankly, I'm also fed up -- not fed up. I retract that. I'm weary, ladies and gentlemen, of even having to express sympathy. 'Oh, she lost her son!' Yes, yes, yes, but (sigh) we all lose things."
UPDATE: Funny cartoon inspired by Rush's jackassery over at Elaine's place.


The Anti-GI Bill

Saw this on the news this morning:
A decorated Marine doesn't qualify as a Texas resident any more because of the time he spent serving in Iraq.That's what Carl Basham says officials told him when he tried to enroll in Austin Community College.

He's registered to vote in Texas, has a Texas driver's license and does his banking there. But he says officials told him that's not enough to qualify him for the lower tuition Texas residents pay.

That means he'd have to pay around 26-hundred dollars a semester in tuition, instead of about 500 dollars.

Basham did two tours of duty in Iraq.


Surreal Start to the Day

I am utterly baffled by the fact that this case ever occurred, and completely amused by the last sentence of the article:
The Indiana Court of Appeals today upheld the rights of parents to expose their children to Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion.

In its unanimous ruling, the court declared that a Marion County judge was out of bounds in approving a divorce decree that also directed the parents to shelter their 10 year old son from non mainstream religious beliefs and rituals.

The case involved the divorce of Thomas E. Jones, Jr. and Tammy U. Bristol, both practicing Wiccans. The Indianapolis residents married in February 1995, and their divorce was final in February 2004. Bristol and Jones have joint custody, and the boy lives with the father on the Northside.
Wiccan beliefs center around the balance of nature and a reverence for the earth. They do not worship Satan.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Limbaugh Mocks Grieving Mother

They just keep on plumbing new depths:
Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh equated the actions of Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, with those of Bill Burkett, the retired Texas Air National Guard officer who provided CBS' 60 Minutes with unauthenticated documents regarding President Bush's National Guard record. Sheehan is currently staging an anti-war protest outside Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Limbaugh said that Sheehan's "story is nothing more than forged documents."

Sheehan's "story" is, in fact, that her son died while fighting in Iraq. A Humvee mechanic, Spc. Casey Sheehan was one of seven U.S. soldiers killed in Baghdad's Sadr City on April 4, 2004, by rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire.


350 Mujahedin Bombs Explode in Bangladesh

A series of bombs exploded nearly simultaneously in dozens of cities across Bangladesh Wednesday, striking regional capitals as well as the national capital, Dhaka, authorities said.

According to police, at least 115 people were injured with 350 bombs detonating. Bangladeshi media reported at least one fatality.

"These are planned incidents," said Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babr. "We had intelligence report(s) about such plan but that expired a few days back."

Bangladeshi authorities said they had received reports of bomb blasts from 36 districts across the country.

Jamayetul Mujahedin, an Islamic militant group, claimed responsibility for the attacks in leaflets distributed around many of the blast sites.


What He Said

Robert Parry's piece today on the logic behind withdrawal from Iraq is clear, concise, and absolutely correct.

Read the whole thing.


Yeah, Right

And I'm fluent in 23 languages:
The talk on the Guardian Unlimited arts desk today is revolving around one subject: George Bush’s holiday reading list. This summer, we are told, the leader of the free world will be curling up with Salt: A World History, Alexander II: the Last Great Tsar and The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History.


Huge Explosions in Baghdad

Tremendous death:
Three car bomb attacks near a bus station and hospital in Baghdad killed more than 40 people and injured at least 75 others today.

A suicide car bomber targeting police officers detonated his vehicle outside the al-Nahda bus station in the centre of the Iraqi capital, the US military said.

Iraqi police said a second car loaded with explosives was detonated in the station's parking area, where buses waited to pick up passengers in the morning rush hour.

The third car exploded near the al-Kindi hospital around half an hour later as many of those wounded in the earlier blasts arrived for treatment, police said. It was unclear whether the hospital itself had been targeted in the blast.

The death toll from the triple attacks stands at 43, but officials have warned it could rise further. "There are charred bodies all over the place," an official from Iraq's interior ministry said.



Today's birthdays include Pierre de Fermat, Davy Crockett, Marcus Garvey, Mae West, Mark Felt, V. S. Naipaul, Robert de Niro, Belinda Carlisle, Sean Penn, David Koresh, and the independent Philippines.

Oh, also, mine.



Ah, the glory of patriotism:
Sheehan said she doesn't want to press charges against a pickup driver who early Tuesday allegedly ran over a makeshift memorial for the 1,800 Americans killed in Iraq. Police said he drove a pickup truck over 500 crosses and 40 American flags.

Court papers identified him as Larry Northern, 59, from nearby Waco.

He has been charged with a felony criminal mischief count, since damage to the memorial was estimated at more than $1,500. He was released after posting $3,000 bail, according to court records.

Sheehan said protesters would ask for a restraining order to keep the driver away from their camp.

Dave Jensen, a participant in the protest, said the truck driver appeared to be dragging a piece of pipe behind his pickup to aid in the destruction.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Evil Babies

I've always suspected:
Infants have been stopped from boarding planes at airports throughout the U.S. because their names are the same as or similar to those of possible terrorists on the government's ``no-fly list.''


Random Catblogging


Queer Nature

Here's a little something for "Intelligent Design" proponents:
Gay rams in Corvallis, Oregon, lesbian swans in Boston, and gay penguins at
several zoos around the world - they may shock conservative Christian groups
fighting gay rights but for scientists they offer an insight into the origins
and development of human sexuality.


Bush: My Life Is Important, Yours? Not So Much

What a dick:
President Bush, noting that lots of people want to talk to the president and "it's also important for me to go on with my life," on Saturday defended his decision not to meet with the grieving mom of a soldier killed in Iraq.

Bush said he is aware of the anti-war sentiments of Cindy Sheehan and others who have joined her protest near the Bush ranch.

"But whether it be here or in Washington or anywhere else, there's somebody who has got something to say to the president, that's part of the job," Bush said on the ranch. "And I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say."

"But," he added, "I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life."

A balanced life, says the man who can't ride a bicycle, or stay on a Segway, or sit on a sofa and eat a damn pretzel.

What a complete jerk. He takes after his mother. I'm surprised he didn't say he'd rather not waste his beautiful mind thinking about Casey Sheehan.