Archive for October, 2005

Comic of the Day

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trall2007

Bad Elf Banned

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A constitutional battle is brewing
over a holiday beer that state officials are trying to ban because they
say its label might entice children to drink.
The state believes it would be really awful for kids to see the label
on the British import Seriously Bad Elf.

It shows a mean-looking elf with a slingshot firing Christmas ornaments
at Santa’s sleigh as it flies overhead.

The state Liquor Control Division notified Massachusetts-based Shelton
Brothers distributors that it was rejecting its application to sell the
beer, a bitter winter ale brewed at the Ridgeway Brewery in England.

from AP

Dutch Witch School

2

APPELSCHA, Netherlands (AP) – Cobwebs
cling from the wooden rafters. Dusty shelves are cluttered with glass
jars of home-brewed potions, dried herbs and stone amulets. An oil cooker
and a black cauldron sit in the corner, ready for the next full moon.
This isn’t a Halloween party, it’s Margarita Rongen’s year-round workshop
and she is a witch – according to her tax return.

Dutch witches were guaranteed a financial treat when the Leeuwarden District
Court reaffirmed their legal right to write off the costs of schooling
– including in witchcraft – against their tax bills. Those costs run to
thousands of dollars.

Courses are held 13 weekends a year closest to a full
moon when outdoor rituals are practiced and potions boiled. Participants
learn healing with herbs and stones, divination and fortunetelling with
crystal balls and hieroglyphs, and how to make potions.

from AP

Mapping Sex Maniacs

3

Like everyone else we know, we were blown
away by the innovations in mapping featured on maps.google.com,
principally the satellite photo and hybrid views, featuring street names
and labeled
landmarks superimposed on the satellite photos, and the unlimited click
and drag scrollability: if you had the time and patience you could scroll
from Cambridge to Cupertino.

People we know who understand these things are equally
impressed with the programming involved in making the maps work.  They
say that the back end functionality, which has nothing to do with java
or xml or shockwave or any of the other now conventional ways to jazz
up web sites, has opened whole new vistas for what is possible
in a browser delivered application.

When we heard that Google had released the source code
for this marvelous innovation and invited developers to build new applications
utilizing it, it seemed a promising and atypical move, although we understood
about as much about the underlying technology as a Great Dane does about
Shakespeare, unless his name is Hamlet. We figured the type of implementation
we could expect was a Google map on the Taco Bell web site showing the
location of all 17,000 locations.

Well, we just saw our first two Google Maps applications
and they are both pretty cool and marginally useful. The first, currently
being promoted as a Halloween prophylactic, is called mapsexoffenders.com
and is currently available in Beta format.  It is a nationwide database
of level 3 (the most dangerous) sex offenders integrated into the Google
maps. Type in your address and see a map with pretty purple pins for
each local sex offender. Click on a purple pin, and you get a name and
photo.

Sounded great in theory, but when we typed in our own
address and told the site to add the sex offenders to the map, nothing
happened. We scrolled around our neighborhood. Nothing. Offenderless.
Well, we thought, lets take a scroll on over to Cambridge. Hell, we know
a couple of perverts personally who live in Cambridge! Still
nothing! Not a single hit.

We were on the point of concluding that the applications
still wasn’t working correctly, or that they hadn’t gotten around to
adding the Massachusetts info, when we thought to scroll on over to
Brighton-Alston, the gritty student/industrial zone west of the BU campus.
Six purple pins popped into our map! Real sex offenders at last!

There were even two at the same address, a Father and
Son team. Best stay away from that house on Halloween, kids! Check it
out at Mapsexoffenders.com

The second application, also in Beta, is the Map Gas
Price, which seems to have mapped all, or most anyway, of the gas stations
in the US.  However, it is the users who actually report and enter
the prices on the web site, buy clicking on gray pins, thereby turning
them into blue pins. Letting users supply the data makes it kind of like
a Wiki. We can see how it would allow you to look at all the
stations
on
a regular
route,
say
your
route
to work, and find which one had the lowest gas price.  Of course,
you could do the same thing by keeping your eyes open on the drive to
work: it’s
not like the stations try to hide their prices.  On the other hand,
there may be a station a block off your  normal route with a great
price that you could only discover via this site.  Check it out
at mapgasprices.com.

Mapping Sex Fiends

1

Like everyone else we know, we were blown
away by the innovations in mapping featured on maps.google.com,
principally the satellite photo and hybrid views, featuring street names
and labeled
landmarks superimposed on the satellite photos, and the unlimited click
and drag scrollability: if you had the time and patience you could scroll
from Cambridge to Cupertino.

People we know who understand these things are equally
impressed with the programming involved in making the maps work.  They
say that the back end functionality, which has nothing to do with java
or xml or shockwave or any of the other now conventional ways to jazz
up web sites, has opened whole new vistas for what is possible
in a browser delivered application.

When we heard that Google had released the source code
for this marvelous innovation and invited developers to build new applications
utilizing it, it seemed a promising and atypical move, although we understood
about as much about the underlying technology as a Great Dane does about
Shakespeare, unless his name is Hamlet. We figured the type of implementation
we could expect was a Google map on the Taco Bell web site showing the
location of all 17,000 locations.

Well, we just saw our first two Google Maps applications
and they are both pretty cool and marginally useful. The first, currently
being promoted as a Halloween prophylactic, is called mapsexoffenders.com
and is currently available in Beta format.  It is a nationwide database
of level 3 (the most dangerous) sex offenders integrated into the Google
maps. Type in your address and see a map with pretty purple pins for
each local sex offender. Click on a purple pin, and you get a name and
photo.

Sounded great in theory, but when we typed in our own
address and told the site to add the sex offenders to the map, nothing
happened. We scrolled around our neighborhood. Nothing. Offenderless.
Well, we thought, lets take a scroll on over to Cambridge. Hell, we know
a couple of perverts personally who live in Cambridge! Still
nothing! Not a single hit.

We were on the point of concluding that the applications
still wasn’t working correctly, or that they hadn’t gotten around to
adding the Massachusetts info, when we thought to scroll on over to
Brighton-Alston, the gritty student/industrial zone west of the BU campus.
Six purple pins popped into our map! Real sex offenders at last!

There were even two at the same address, a Father and
Son team. Best stay away from that house on Halloween, kids! Check it
out at Mapsexoffenders.com

The second application, also in Beta, is the Map Gas
Price, which seems to have mapped all, or most anyway, of the gas stations
in the US.  However, it is the users who actually report and enter
the prices on the web site, buy clicking on gray pins, thereby turning
them into blue pins. Letting users supply the data makes it kind of like
a Wiki. We can see how it would allow you to look at all the
stations
on
a regular
route,
say
your
route
to work, and find which one had the lowest gas price.  Of course,
you could do the same thing by keeping your eyes open on the drive to
work: it’s
not like the stations try to hide their prices.  On the other hand,
there may be a station a block off your  normal route with a great
price that you could only discover via this site.  Check it out
at mapgasprices.com.

Finding Sex Fiends

1

Like everyone else we know, we were blown
away by the innovations in mapping featured on maps.google.com,
principally the satellite photo and hybrid views, featuring street names
and labeled
landmarks superimposed on the satellite photos, and the unlimited click
and drag scrollability: if you had the time and patience you could scroll
from Cambridge to Cupertino.

People we know who understand these things are equally
impressed with the programming involved in making the maps work.  They
say that the back end functionality, which has nothing to do with java
or xml or shockwave or any of the other now conventional ways to jazz
up web sites, has opened whole new vistas for what is possible
in a browser delivered application.

When we heard that Google had released the source code
for this marvelous innovation and invited developers to build new applications
utilizing it, it seemed a promising and atypical move, although we understood
about as much about the underlying technology as a Great Dane does about
Shakespeare, unless his name is Hamlet. We figured the type of implementation
we could expect was a Google map on the Taco Bell web site showing the
location of all 17,000 locations.

Well, we just saw our first two Google Maps applications
and they are both pretty cool and marginally useful. The first, currently
being promoted as a Halloween prophylactic, is called mapsexoffenders.com
and is currently available in Beta format.  It is a nationwide database
of level 3 (the most dangerous) sex offenders integrated into the Google
maps. Type in your address and see a map with pretty purple pins for
each local sex offender. Click on a purple pin, and you get a name and
photo.

Sounded great in theory, but when we typed in our own
address and told the site to add the sex offenders to the map, nothing
happened. We scrolled around our neighborhood. Nothing. Offenderless.
Well, we thought, lets take a scroll on over to Cambridge. Hell, we know
a couple of perverts personally who live in Cambridge! Still
nothing! Not a single hit.

We were on the point of concluding that the applications
still wasn’t working correctly, or that they hadn’t gotten around to
adding the Massachusetts info, when we thought to scroll on over to
Brighton-Alston, the gritty student/industrial zone west of the BU campus.
Six purple pins popped into our map! Real sex offenders at last!

There were even two at the same address, a Father and
Son team. Best stay away from that house on Halloween, kids! Check it
out at Mapsexoffenders.com

The second application, also in Beta, is the Map Gas
Price, which seems to have mapped all, or most anyway, of the gas stations
in the US.  However, it is the users who actually report and enter
the prices on the web site, buy clicking on gray pins, thereby turning
them into blue pins. Letting users supply the data makes it kind of like
a Wiki. We can see how it would allow you to look at all the
stations
on
a regular
route,
say
your
route
to work, and find which one had the lowest gas price.  Of course,
you could do the same thing by keeping your eyes open on the drive to
work: it’s
not like the stations try to hide their prices.  On the other hand,
there may be a station a block off your  normal route with a great
price that you could only discover via this site.  Check it out
at mapgasprices.com.

After the Fall

1

The
sharks are circling. They smell blood in the hurricane-roiled political
waters of the pool of public opinion. Scooter
has been thrown under the bus, and Kapitain Karl is hanging by a thread.
The mainstream media is awash in stories counting the leaks
in the storm tossed Bush ship of state
.

However, as usual, nobody is talking
about the real issue, which goes to the core of the course on which
the country
has been set by the current administration.

The bottom line is that the evidence that led the United
States into the war in Iraq was trumped up. Some of it was disproven
but not discarded, some was intentionally misinterpreted, some contrary
reports were ignored or discounted and some was manufactured whole.  And
evidence of this exists.

There were witnesses. The Republicans in Congress, who
promised an investigation into the "intelligence failures" leading up
to the war, are dragging their feet, because they know, or suspect, where
the trail leads. Cheney, Rove, Rice, Tenet and Wolfowitz, clearly. We
are even afraid that before this is over we will have to revise our prediction
of a New
Republicant ticket
of John McCain and Colin Powell in 2006.
We now believe the ex-Sec of State is doomed to be sucked into the vortex
of blame for this tragic and historic misdirection of American foreign
policy.
When
he realized the enormity of what was going down, he bailed, but it was
too late, we fear. Another good man taken down by a nasty scandal not
of his making. There will be many good men falling on their swords before
this is over.

Because we are talking high crimes here and not misdemeanors.  The
pugnacious self-righteousness of special prosecutors has been historically
established and the present iteration is no exception. If there is a
single memo, notebook, email, or recording, kept by some paranoid official
trying to cover his (or her) ass, which proves that any of the aforementioned
officials knew or had reason to believe that a single piece of the evidence
presented to the US Congress, the United Nations and the American people
was untrue, unreliable, unrealistic in light of other known facts or in
any way less than what they presented it to be, they are screwed. Considering
what that evidence was used for, it may constitute treason. And we believe
that there are many, many such instances that will come out
now that the investigation is being broadened.

Make no mistake, it is broadening. This is why the Grand
Jury was extended.  The African Uranium report, and the efforts
to discredit its debunkers, were one instance in an extensive and coordinated
strategy to hoodwink the public, the Congress and the UN. As we all know,
one lie leads to another, in commission, and any experienced investigator
knows that it works that way in reverse as well.

The only reason Dubya didn’t make the list of fabricators
and prevaricators is our gut instinct that the rest of the guys don’t
don’t let him in on the heavier stuff, both for purposes of plausible
and convincing denial, and because they don’t trust him to keep his
mouth shut. George gets wacky once in a while, and is liable to say
just about anything.

But even if Dubya can convincingly plead ignorance and
isn’t impeached, imagining him in charge without the grownups around
borders on the macabre.

Will he panic and try to dismiss the investigators,
a la Nixon, as a seemingly minor infraction (the break-in or teh leak) starts unraveling
a web of deceit and malfeasance? Will a secondary figure trying to save
his career (or his life) reveal a smoking gun, a la John Dean? If this
case did not involve the gravest betrayal of public trust, the deaths
of thousands of precious young people and innocent civilians, and a mortal threat to the country
we all love (as opposed to the country we currently live in), it would
be an entertaining unraveling.  As it is, we can only pray that
the country can somehow avoid the abyss that yawns ahead.  Stay
tuned……

Remote Control of Humans Demo’ed

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Prepare to be remotely controlled. I
was.

Just imagine being rendered the rough equivalent of a radio-controlled
toy car.

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Japans top telephone company, says
it is developing the technology to perhaps make video games more realistic.
But more sinister applications also come to mind.

I can envision it being added to militaries’ arsenals of so-called "non-lethal" weapons.

A special headset was placed on my cranium by my hosts during a recent
demonstration at an NTT research center. It sent a very low voltage electric
current from the back of my ears through my head _ either from left to
right or right to left, depending on which way the joystick on a remote-control
was moved.

I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever
the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced _ mistakenly
_ that this was the only way to maintain my balance.

The phenomenon is painless but dramatic. Your feet start to move before
you know it. I could even remote-control myself by taking the switch into
my own hands.

And a new criminal defense strategy is born….

from AP Japan

Zombie Condi Demonized by Leftist Press

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Check out the photo of Condoleezza Rice
that was published by USA Today last week: Notice anything peculiar about
her eyes? No, Condi isn’t possessed; the photo was manipulated.

This news comes courtesy of From The Pen, which found a pre-doctored version
of the Associated Press photo on Yahoo! Espana:

from Michelle Malkin

Looks like George has been passing around the Zombie
juice jar again….

Here is the retraction
from USA Today

Editor’s note: The photo of Condoleezza Rice that originally
accompanied this story was altered in a manner that did not meet USA
TODAY’s editorial standards. The photo has been replaced by a properly
adjusted copy. Photos published online are routinely cropped for size
and adjusted for brightness and sharpness to optimize their appearance.
In this case, after sharpening the photo for clarity, the editor brightened
a portion of Rice’s face, giving her eyes an unnatural appearance. This
resulted in a distortion of the original not in keeping with our editorial
standards.

Bush the Joker – Top One-liners of 2004

1

There were to many great candidates,
it took us ten months to compile and evaluate the contenders.Both Bush
himself and American history took a hit when George missed his calling
as a stand-up comic…

#10: "I
want you to know. Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl, just like me." -Nashville,
Tenn., May 27, 2004

#9: "Then you wake up at the high school level and find out that the
illiteracy level of our children are appalling." -Washington, D.C.,
Jan. 23, 2004

#8: "Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will
be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at
the whim of a hat." -Washington, D.C., Sept. 17, 2004

#7: "I want to thank the astronauts who are with us, the courageous
spacial entrepreneurs who set such a wonderful example for the young of
our country." -Washington, D.C. Jan. 14, 2004

#6: "We will make sure our troops have all that is necessary to complete
their missions. That’s why I went to the Congress last September and proposed
fundamental – supplemental funding, which is money for armor and body parts
and ammunition and fuel." -Erie, Pa., Sept. 4, 2004

#5: "After standing on the stage, after the debates, I made it very
plain, we will not have an all-volunteer army. And yet, this week – we
will have an all-volunteer army!" -Daytona Beach, Fla., Oct. 16, 2004

#4: "Tribal sovereignty means that; it’s sovereign. I mean, you’re
a – you’ve been given sovereignty, and you’re viewed as a sovereign entity.
And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes
is one between sovereign entities." -Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2004

#3: "I hear there’s rumors on the Internets that we’re going to have
a draft." -second presidential debate, St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 8, 2004

#2: "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many
OB-GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country." -Poplar
Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004

#1: "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They
never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people,
and neither do we." -Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

Death Rode Shotgun

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deadmoto
TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) – A motorcyclist with a helmet-wearing corpse strapped to his back crashed in this Mexican city on the U.S. border on Friday and fled on foot, setting off a police murder hunt.

The unidentified driver was trying to ride with the body through the center of Tijuana, south of San Diego, California., when he lost control rounding a curve.

He fled the scene, leaving the dead passenger on the curb. Police said the corpse, which had head injuries and bore strangulation marks, had died at least six hours earlier.

“When the police arrived they took the helmet off the corpse, believing at first that he had died in the crash,” said Francisco Castro, a spokesman for the Baja California state police’s homicide division.

“But he had adhesive tape stuck to his face, a knife wound to his forehead, and showed signs of strangulation,” he added.

Castro said the dead man had wraps of methamphetamine in his pocket and an unkempt appearance, which led investigators to believe the killing was drug related.

“We think the killer was trying to take the body to a more deserted area to dispose of it,” he said.

from Reuters

Plan “A” and Plan “B”

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BAGHDAD — Four US contractors were killed
last month when their convoy took a wrong turn, drove into a town north
of Baghdad and was attacked by a mob, a senior US military official said
yesterday.
 
The attack, which occurred Sept. 20 in the town of Duluiyah, about 45 miles
north of Baghdad, was first reported yesterday by Britain’s Daily Telegraph.
The senior US military commander confirmed the account. There was no explanation
for why the military did not report the deaths earlier.

The commander said the four men — identified by the Telegraph as employees
of the Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root — realized
they had taken a wrong turn and were desperately trying to escape from
the town when insurgents attacked their vehicle.

The Telegraph said ”dozens of Sunni Arab insurgents wielding rocket
launchers and automatic rifles" pursued the truck and shot at it.

from the Boston
Globe

So this is what it has come to. The country we came
to save has become a death trap for Americans, military and civilian
alike. Take a wrong turn, and hundreds of vicious, revenge-minded natives
are waiting to rip you to shreds. Perhaps an apt metaphor for the entire
adventure.

Although it may seem naive to hope for honesty from
government, the only hope the Bush administration has to rally support
for his continued occupation of Iraq is to tell the truth.  We are
not in Iraq because of Weapons of Mass Destruction.  We are not
in Iraq to create a democratic Garden of Eden in Babylon.  We are
not in Iraq to rebuild a nation torn apart by ethnic strife and despotic
rule. We are there for the oil.

We absolutely, desperately need the oil. Especially
now, with our erstwhile allies in Saudi Arabia on increasingly thin ice
at home and abroad, with Crazy Hugo sitting on our top source in the
neighborhood, and with Fu Man Chu over in Asia gazing hungrily over dwindling
world resources.

We are addicted to the stuff, absolutely, stone-cold
strung out, and even a 5 or 10 percent reduction in our habit would entail
economic, political and lifestyle changes that would make American society
unrecognizable to people today.

Since it became clear that petroleum would be the lifeblood
of the 20th century, since the world’s existing reserves were identified
and located, since friendly regimes were placed in charge of those regions,
wherever possible, Plan "A" has sufficed.

Plan "A" is to befriend, bribe, seduce, subvert, extort
and incorporate the governments of the oil states, adopting them into
the world elite in return for relatively unrestricted access to the oil
resources.

But if push comes to shove, if "bad guys" get control
of the vital oil fields, whether by coup, like Saddam, or by election,
like Chavez, and threaten to cut us off, it is time to call on Plan “B”. In these cases of last resort, we MUST intervene, or find out
first hand what 21st century energy cold turkey is all about.  Think rationing, recession
and rioting.  Unfortunately, the days of slick and silent CIA-induced
"regime change" are a thing of the past, so Plan “B” usually entails invasion
and occupation.

Yes, you can bet that the US military have contingency
plans to invade Venezuela. In a real crisis they are ready, in close
cooperation with the Israelis, to occupy the critical oil fields in the
Middle East.  You can bet your last gallon of gas that they know
just which areas they would need to occupy in order to keep enough oil
flowing to avoid economic collapse.

And personally, the Dowbrigade is glad those plans are
in place.  We would rather avoid dying in food riots when the fuel
shortage stops produce from reaching the cities and the government declares
martial law. By now it should be clear to everyone that occupying a sovereign
nation, even one as tenuous and gerrymandered as Iraq, is no day at the
beach.  But
hell, do you expect the greatest power the world has ever known to just
roll over
and play dead?