Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Al Jazeera Memo

I've blogged the Al Jazeera Memo previously, but the story has developed since then, so it's worth a revisit.

After the Daily Mirror publishes their report on the memo, Blair denied the incident outright, and the White House refused to comment on it. The two men involved with the story, however, have been jailed for violating Britian's Official Secrets Act. That's right, two men are in jail for disclosing information on something that apparently never happened. (argh, *irony headache*)

This story has, quite predictably, gotten no time in the American press, be it print or television. Those of us interested in fact and truth are once again forced to go to overseas to find information on the memo.

But, the Internet won't let this story die. Al Jazeera staffers have started a blog to get their side of the story out. It makes for some very good reading. A favorite post of mine was from a Canadian who now lives in Qatar and works at Al Jazeera expressing his outrage at the very notion that Dubya would consider such a thing as bombing the building where he works.

Heard the Word of Blog?

There is also a growing Internet movement to get this memo published, so the world can see and judge for themselves. I myself have signed a pledge to post the memo on this blog if it were to be leaked. This of course would come with the threat of jail time. Not as big a threat as a native Brit, but we do have extradition treaties, and know that Bush would do anything to save his hide.

Heard the Word of Blog?

So, let's hope the memo sees the light of day. If it does, you'll see it here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The end of copyright (good riddance)

Here's a good little post musing about the possible end of copyright, and with it the end of a major period of history. I think the thoughts on generating money to pay for the costs of creating works needs some work, but his ideas about copyright just becoming unnatural are dead on, IMHO.

The only people who don't want to see copyright end are those artists who are so rich they don't need any more money, or the fat cat publishers who don't actually do any work and shouldn't be a part of the process in the Digital Age.



Got wind of this new blog on Boing Boing. Looks like fun. Mental masturbation material at the least.

ATTN: Space Geeks

Great Images In NASA, check it out.

From the It's-About-Fucking-Time Department

The FCC is going to recommend" that cable customers be allowed to pick and pay for only the channels they want. About fucking time, why in the hell am I paying for OLN and TBN?

Welcome home, Thome!

Can't believe I didn't blog about this earlier, but it happened on Turkey Day, so that's to be expected.

Jim Thome just signed with the White Sox.

(Don't forget to check the Sun-Times Sports page too).

This is of course part of a trade for Aaron Rowand, who I hate to see go, but I think it's a great move for the Sox, if Thome can stay healthy. The Sox can then fill CF with a promising rookie in Brian Anderson, and pick up a much needed (big) left handed bat for the middle of the order. Thome, an Illinois native, can play 1B or DH, so if they pick up Paulie, they can switch off, or if they lose him, it'll give them more flexibility in finding someone to fill his position.

Ideally, we could keep Paulie and have an even stronger lineup for next year. PLEASE OH PLEASE OH GOD!

Ahem, how many days 'til pitchers and catchers report?

Introverts of the world unite!

Sounds a lot like "People who hate people, come together", huh? (All praise the late, great prophet)

Saw this little article about introverts today, thought I'd share it since it cheered me up a bit.

Edit: Did some Googling and ran across this as well: How to care for your introvert.

I must admit, I find this all to be quite liberating. To quote Sartre: "Hell is other people."

Ric Flair road rage

This had me rolling on the cubicle floor, courtesy of Mike Lawler:

This is great. Ric Flair went nuts on some guy in traffic.

I need a lot more details though:
  • Did Flair get him in the Figure 4?
    • If so, did the guy tap out?
    • Did Ric Flair taunt him the whole time? Slap him in the face?
  • What about folding chairs? Were folding chairs involved?
  • Did Flair use his wife's high heel as a weapon?
  • Was Jim Ross in the next car back saying, "Oh my god, that's Ric Flair's music"
  • At any point, was there "stylin" or "profilin"?
These are all questions that remain unanswered.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Calling all Wilco fans

Salon's got a great page up with a boat-load of Jeff Tweedy interviews.

More videos getting us in trouble

The Sunday Telegraph (UK) broke a story yesterday about a video posted to a website which is footage of private security contractors taking pot shots at Iraqi motorists with automatic weapons. All to the tune of Elvis Presley's "Mystery Train". Not insurgents, not terrorists, just anybody who happened to come near them. Of course, it's hard to know what the circumstances where when the shooting took place, but you check out the video out for yourself, and decide for yourself.

What a n00b

Okay, so I unknowingly had my comments set to be moderated, then promptly never checked them. Sorry about that all. Your just discovered comments are posted, replied to, and much appreciated.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Pat Robertson: Satanist

Pat Robertson loves Satan:

Red State/Blue State

Ah, what a lovely shade of blue the country seems to be at the moment....

The terrorists hate our freedoms (of the press)

Dubya so loves freedom, especially freedom of the press, that he wanted to bomb Al Jazeera. Specifically, their headquarters in Qatar! For those of you not so geographically inclined, we're not at war with them. Hell, we've got a major military headquarters there.

Now before you send me nasty notes about how Al Jazeera is just a bunch of terrorists, or that they just embolden them, go watch Control Room, then tell me that. Really, it's fantastic, and highly recommended by yours truly.

Everybody who wants us out of Iraq, raise your hands

Okay, let's get a quick run down of everybody who wants us out of Iraq:
  1. Americans
  2. Congress
  3. Iraqis
  4. Iran
Wow, to quote kos, " That popping sound you hear are neocon heads exploding at PNAC"

You know you love Kenny Loggins

My cousin showed this to me last weekend, and I laughed my ass off. It's Yacht Rock, on A series of five 5 minute shorts about wuss rockers like Hall & Oates and the Doobie Brothers. You always knew this music needed to have the piss taken out of it, and now you get it.

R.I.P. Koko...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Fire back with some of your own talking points

For those who have relatives from those awful, red areas of the country who you're going to see over Turkey Day, here's some ammunition against their talking points. Just steer the conversation to withdrawal from Iraq and fire away.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Hey all, I just wanted to mention a few articles on today. The first is about Ariel Sharon's leaving the right-wing Likud party, and announcing early elections. He's attempting to form his own party, which, with a newly invigorated leftist Labour Party under the direction of newcomer Amir Peretz, could create a three party system in Israeli politics. At the very least, it will be an interesting election cycle.

The second is a good wrap-up of how BushCo. has found itself suddenly on the defensive. More than that, Tom Englehart writes that we've reached a watershed moment, a tipping point as it were. It seems that Americans are finally waking up from the nightmare of 9/11 and no longer responding to the White House's scare tactics. Well, that and whole lot more. Seriously, read this. It's porn for liberals and leftists.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Evil Corporation of the Week: DuPont

New reports indicate that DuPont hid information about the health risks posed my a chemical they manufactured. The chemical, Zynol, is used to line food containers. Zynol rubs off the liner and is ingested. After being ingested, it breaks down in the blood stream into chemicals being considered for classification as a likely human carcinogen. Insider activists have released internal reports about the chemical and recently a former engineer confirmed these findings at news conference. According to that engineer, it's more than likely we all have some amount that chemical in us now.

Shopping on the day after Thanksgiving?

If you plan on shopping the day after Thanksgiving (damned consumer!), then you'll probably want to know about The site has all the circulars (flyers) with all the details on what's going to be on sale. Check it out.

This isn't a parody

Head over to The Right Brothers' website and take a listen to the sample tune there.

And no, this is not an parody. These guys are serious.

Attention Wingnuts: Just because you call say something is "true" or "right" does not make it so.

W: Worst. President. Ever.

A little fun for those of you who like to wear your political opinions on your sleeve (or car, or office cube):

He's got stickers, buttons, t-shirts, etc...

Another reason I hate air travel

As if the near strip searches and cattle corrals at the airports weren't enough, now they're going to be using lie detectors. I can't wait for the mandatory, voluntary anal cavity searches.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

More awful Sony Rootkit irony

God this makes my brain hurt. Slashdot's reporting that Sony's DRM Rootkit, designed to prevent people for stealing music, itself contains stolen code. That's right: Sony violated copyright to protect copyrighted material.

Thieving bastards.

MIT's $100 laptop

Here's some photos of the first working prototype of the $100 laptop being designed by MIT labs. The idea is that every country in the world agrees to by a certain amount, to be used by those who can't afford the price of computer hardware today. You might notice the yellow handcrank on the side from the photos, it can be used to recharge the batteries when a power source isn't available.

Hell, for $100 I'd buy one. Unfortunately they're not going to be sold commercially for the foreseeable future. Probably a good idea, as the free market would probably drive the price up.

Mind puzzle

Here's a neat little mind puzzle if you're looking to waste some time at work today...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It's called the Windy City 'cause it's windy, stupid

Hooray, it's winter in Chicago. For those of you not lucky enough to be enjoying today's 25 degree weather with sustained 25 mph winds gusting to 35 (making it feel like 9 degrees outside for those keeping count), here's some fun filled Chicago trivia for you:

Those in the know will tell you that Chicago got its nickname not because of the winds, but because of the hot air coming from her policitians. Specifically, that it was coined by New York Sun editor Charles Dana in an article about Chicago's bid for the World's Columbian Exposition circa 1893.

Well, those in the know are wrong. Even the Chicago Public Library weighs in. Well, according to the CPL, no one has located a copy of the original editorial Dana wrote that supposedly coined the phrase. At the very least, it was in use far before the 1893 Exposition popularized it nationwide.

Now I'm no etymologist, but geez, you think maybe the nickname started because of the wind? The freezing cold, horrible wind?!?

God is dumb

For those of you caught up in the evolution vs. intelligent design debate(debacle), here's some more fuel for the fire. One scientist says that all debate about God aside, there's no evidence of intelligence in nature's design at all. Bad backs and too many teeth, my dear primate...

Support Blogger Rights!

I want, I want, I want

An FPS keyboard! Gimme, gimme, gimme...

Dubya getting stranger and stranger...

AMERICAblog has a great little piece on the latest round of leaks about the mental state of big, bad Dubya. The kicker is that all this rumor and innuendo is coming from Republican insiders, and it's getting published in the Washington Times.

To give you all the short, short version, Dubya is reportedly talking exclusively to Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, Condi Rice, and Karen Hughes. That's right, his mommy and three other women whom remind him of his mommy. Also of note is that he isn't talking to his father, except at family gatherings. Even Karl Rove is in the doghouse as a result of the ongoing Plamegate scandal.

This would make for great Greek drama, if the fate of the country weren't at stake.

Monday, November 14, 2005

As if Pat Robertson wasn't enough

Ever the humanitarian and sage for the ages, Bill O'Reilly practically dares Al Qaeda to blow up Coit Tower in San Francisco. This in response to a ballot measure passed by San Francisco voters urging the prohibition of on-campus military recruiting.

Don't you love America, Bill???

I'm all for free speech, but where is the moral outrage over this? If this had been anyone with even the remotest liberal or leftist views, every news channel on TV would have had 24 hour coverage of this traitor in our midst.

Well guess what Bill, since apparently there's nothing illegal, or apparently immoral about what you said, here's what I've got to say to you: If Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. Hey Al Qaeda! You want to blow up Bill O'Reilly? Go ahead.

Latino Heat, RIP

WWF, er WWE, superstar and wrestler Eddie Guerrero was found dead Sunday morning in his hotel room in Minneapolis. At this time, the cause of death is unknown.

Admittedly, I laughed when I first heard this, but then turned rather melancholy about the whole thing. Partly because it seems to be sudden and tragic, without the midget hookers and mountains of coke I was expecting. Also, partly because he was a great wrestler; he could always work a good match, had great schtick, and was a fantastic heel. To me, he'll always be Latino Heat.

Kill Bill's Browser

If you still haven't quit using *ack* *spit* Internet Explorer, start using Firefox now! 13 painfully funny reasons if you still haven't gotten your damn head screwed on straight.

Cory Doctorow's Themepunks

The last installment of Cory Doctorow's Themepunks, a serialization of his latest novel is up on If you got time, give it a read (from the beginning). Aside from being a talented writer, he 's a major technophile, so you get the best of both worlds from his writing. His vision of where technology's heading and how it'll affect people and society is unexpected, but amazing. Some of the best near-future fiction I've read in quite a while.

Chuck Norris's chief export is pain

Monday morning silliness: 30 things you didn't know about Chuck Norris.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Star Wars geeks ain't all that bad

I had thought all Star Wars geeks were fat and smelly, but maybe I'll need to go to a sci-fi con sometime soon.

Chemical weapons found in Iraq

Guess what: We're the ones who are using them.

Tthe U.S. Army has recently admitted to using white phosphorus in Iraq. It's extremely toxic and burns when exposed to oxygen. Anyone who remembers their high school chemistry classes has probably seen this. Think of it as 21st century napalm.

Pat Robertson: Jackass

Not only are those of us foolish enough to believe in evolution going to hell, God's gonna send us there himself.

Devil with a red coat on

To the woman wearing the red trenchcoat, black knee-high boots, and tan miniskirt who sat across from me on the bus today:

Thank you.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Another reason I'm not having kids

Apparently everyone is amazed with the speed at which the No Child Left Behind program is destroying our already living-on-life-support public education system. Can someone explain to me how withholding money from poor performing schools is supposed to help them improve?

The answer, of course, is that it's not designed to help these kids out, but help private companies make money. From the Washington Post:

..."The Bush administration very much wants to encourage private [companies] to get involved in elementary and secondary public education," said Jack Jenning, director of the nonprofit Center on Education Policy, a Washington-based advocacy and research group. "They are finding any way they can to encourage federal money to be shifted to private companies . . . . Their whole bias is in favor of private companies and against school districts.

Ding dong, the witch is dead

Judith Miller just retired from the NYT.

One more reason to never buy a CD again

Those of you in the tech world have without a doubt been following the Sony DRM Rootkit fiasco. For those who aren't, you really need to know this:

Basically, any new CD's published by Sony BMG contain DRM (Digital Rights Management) protections designed to prevent you from copying the CD and sharing it online. Or at least that's what their PR says. Practically speaking, they're designed to preserve the multi-billion dollar profits of media companies, which just happen to prevent you from using your music they way you want to. Metaphorically, they're not just selling you a pen, they're selling you a pen that only you can use, in one room of your house, with only a certain kind of paper. Forget about taking that pen to work, letting a friend borrow it, or using it to scribble your number on a cocktail napkin. I'm omitting a lot of the nitty, gritty evil that DRM represents, but you get the idea. (right?)

Aside from just being a terrible, stupid idea designed only to protect corporate profits, it also breaks your computer! That's right, if you pop that DRM protected CD into your computer, it installs software that takes over your computer. Once installed, Sony effectively owns your PC. There are already reports of viruses using this DRM software to infect computers.

Class action suits have already been filed in California.

The EFF has a list of affected (infected) CD's as well.

Maximo Park

Here's a little music recommendation for y'all: Maximo Park's A Certain Trigger.

It's not a great album; it's poorly produced, and their lead singer needs to work on his lyrics. For the record, "french" never, ever rhymes with "dead", ok? He could afford to drop some of the pretension IMHO, and still stay keep your arty post-punk cache. But, what do you expect from a guy with his hair!?!

For all that though, I haven't been able to stop playing the album. There are some great moments in the songs, and the music is fantastic. Let's home that they'll follow up with some more mature, polished efforts.

I heard of them through Warp Records, but other than that, I don't know squat about them. So lemme know what you think.

Gulags galore

This story seemed to slip through the cracks with all the other horrendous shit going on out there, so I thought I'd post to it here. Just when you thought that Gitmo and Abu Ghraib were horrific enough, guess what, it turns out that we've got a whole bunch of detention centers/prisons/gulags. I guess you could call it franchising torture. Well, we don't use torture actually, but still, the CIA needs to be exempted from all those bothersome human rights laws and that dreadfully boring Geneva Convention.

Pardon me while I go vomit..

iPod cases

Having put Linux on my iPod has got me thinking about trying to find a better case for my iPod. If you don't know, the plastic shell of the iPod's get scratched very, very easily, so you have to buy some sort of case or protector if you want to be able to see the screen in 6 months. It's a total scam designed to get you to buy 50 billion iPod accessories or a brand new one in a year, plain and simple. With all the hard plastics and resins out there, there's no excuse to have not used that. Are you really telling me with all the brilliant engineering and planning that went into designing these things, that nobody thought to make it scratch proof? Bollocks!

I like my current case, but it is now scratched all to hell. I can barely see the screen. If anybody has any recommendations, let me know.

Linux on the iPod

Another device liberated! I've just put Linux on my iPod this morning. Why? Well, aside from just being able to, they just release a version of the classic FPS Doom for the the iPod.

So far, it works pretty well. I can run podzilla, the GUI used by the linux kernel, and play games, music, change settings and all that jazz. Support for 4G iPod's (what I've got, a 60GB Photo) is still fairly sketchy, as evidenced by the shell (sash) not working yet, or at least not when I try to interact with it. It'll play your music, but you can't scan forward or backward through the song while it's playing, and you can't browse through your music and keep the song playing at the same time. It's under development, so hopefully that'll improve.

Goodbye Gnome

It's official, Gnome sucks. I finally had enough with bloody Nautilus crashing every 5 minutes. And I haven't used famd in years, which Nautilus seems to ever increasingly want. I don't even use an automounter, why in the hell would I want to have famd running and sucking cpu cycles everytime a file changes?

So I've switched to XFCE. All I need is a taskbar, window pager, and a couple of applets (plugins in XFCE). Well, that and my beloved Gkrellm2 monitor. So far, I've been impressed. Pretty easy to configure, and it uses gtk2 engines, so I can use the themes I like with Gnome. (Spent an afternoon tweaking Gkrellm and gtk2 themes to my liking too, even though it was a lot of guess work.) Unlike Gnome, it also comes with a very handy Menu Editor, which frontends an xml file that contains your custom menu config. Now I can just right click the desktop and get a drop down with all my favorite apps, as well as the whole system menu. I should be using this for a while.

Or at least until Enlightenment's R17 gets released. That just looks pretty as hell, and uses the latest X11 libraries (glitz, cairo) that make use of your video card's GPU for rendering. That means drop shadows and alpha blending galore!

I didn't want to go with KDE (bloat, bloat, bloat), and the *box's would require too much config, and stuff like the slit just wouldn't get any use from me. Like I said, I don't need much from my window manager, just a taskbar and an easy menu. Call me old skool I guess...

Oooh, cool_points++

Well, I've finally found a reason to start a blog, so here it is. Instead of spamming friends randomly, I'll just start posting here. Now you can all ignore me more effectively and efficiently.

I guess it was just a matter of time. I had considered starting one a few years ago when they first got going, but I didn't really think I'd have much to say. (I can hear the laughter from friends...) Well, now I do so here we go.

Nothing fancy yet, just a provided theme, hosted on blo If I keep using it, and find the time, I'll try to code up a custom theme, maybe even move it to one of my servers...