Monday, December 25, 2006

Update: Saudi Ambassador resigned

You may have read this post about the resignation and quick escape of the Saudi ambassador. Well, Josh Marshall points out the the Washington Post had a story about it. Seems that machinations within the Saudi Royal Family may have caused the ambassador to resign; seems Prince Bandar was doing an end run around the ambassador straight to the White House, a relationship usually the purview of, well, the ambassador.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Slashdot 'em

In order to make a negligible impact on the following sites Slashdot'ed within the last few days, I wanted to point my non-existent readership to the following stories:

Geekiest animals: Flipper writes "CNET has compiled a list of the geekiest animals throughout history. The entries include such peculiar characters as Ham The Astrochimp (the first chimp in space), Schrödinger's Cat (used to demonstrate quantum superposition) and Hans, a horse who could apparently do complex mathematics and read words. The classics are there too, Pavlov's dogs get a well-deserved mention, as does Dolly The Sheep. What sounds like a pretty bizarre list is actually strangely interesting — some of these animals are seriously geeky."
Alcohol to the rescue: Adolytsi writes "MSNBC has an interesting article on an Italian study on alcoholism. While the obvious notion of overconsumption of alcohol being detrimental to one's health is supported, apparently drinking it in moderation can actually extend your lifespan. A study on over 1 million drinkers and 94,000 deaths yielded the results: "According to the data, drinking a moderate amount of alcohol — up to four drinks per day in men and two drinks per day in women — reduces the risk of death from any cause by roughly 18 percent, the team reports in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

GAO hands out the spankings

As usual, one of the few (only?) reasonable branches of the US government left is the GAO (Government Accountability Office). They just released a report that spanks the Bush Administration for escalating private firm's usage by the Pentagon and along the way contradicts administration numbers. Via Firedoglake.

And yes, thank Jeebus that there are still adults left.

Dang, this is BRAZEN

Get this: Newsweek does a poll that shows that Clinton would beat John McCain if an election was held now. In the next magazine, they do a story on whether America is ready for a woman or black president. But guess what: THEY DO NOT INCLUDE THEIR OWN POLL. AT ALL.

Wtf!? I am flabbergasted. But not really.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Brown Shirts are among us

Interesting post here on Leiter Reports. Seems a radio host perpetrated a hoax by saying, on his radio show, that all Muslims should be tattooed with a crescent on their foreheads. He did it to engender reactions from his audience. As you might expect, he got many from the Brown Shirts.

From the broadcast:

For me to suggest to tattoo marks on people's bodies, have them wear armbands, put a crescent moon on their driver's license on their passport or birth certificate is disgusting. It's beyond disgusting.

Because basically what you just did was show me how the German people allowed what happened to the Jews to happen ... We need to separate them, we need to tattoo their arms, we need to make them wear the yellow Star of David, we need to put them in concentration camps, we basically just need to kill them all because they are dangerous.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Beauty in entropy

Interesting link, via Japundit, about an island off of Japan (near Nagasaki) that was a mining town from approx. 1930 - 1974. At the time, it had more people per square mile then any island in the world. The people worked in mines on the island.

In 1974, the mine pulled out and so did the people; some even left behind personal articles. A Japanese photographer went to the island recently and took some beautiful pictures. Check it out.

Also, check out the photographers page. There are some hauntingly beautiful pictures there.

Science is a tedious business

Science in today's modern world can be very tedious in that scientists tend to specialize in very specific areas and may not leave that little sub-area their entire career.

From 3QuarksDaily, we see a scientist studying how humans utilize their sense of smell. Its a rather ingenious experiment, actually. He found, among other things, that humans smell odors similarly to dogs. Also, we use both nostrils which suggests a stereo effect that means when one nostril is blocked, our smell performance degrades. Anyway, check it out.

Water runs downhill

I agree with Kos on this: the 110th Congress is going to interesting.

Jeebus: Serial Harrasser in Chief

I cannot believe this:

The victim is Ellen Tauscher, a Bush supporter in CA-10 district. Someone has since scrubbed the photo from her official, federal web site.

Remember the unwanted backrub for the German Chancellor? Jeebus. Really, nothing surprises me with this freakin' clown.

Via Kos.

Dave Barry's Crappy Gift Guide

The subject says it all.

The Southern Strategy

Via Eschaton, a very good article on Tom Schaller's Whistling Past Dixie on Firedoglake, a book on politics in the South. One interesting point is that the Republican "Southern Strategy", created by Nixon, is the one, correlated maneuver to appeal to conservative white males in the South. Sure, this sounds like a truism (Duh!), but it says something (not something GOOD) that the hard data backs up this piece of folk wisdom.

Also, be skeptical of those "centrist" democrats who say that Dems need to appeal more to "religious" voters because it does not work. And certainly no one would suggest that Dems should go racist (at least, I hope not). Also some good stuff on Dean's 50 state strategy, a strategy that paid off in spades during the midterms.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Have a very scary solstice

A carol what is a carol. They will return....

Via my buddy Chris.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Divorce, American style

As Kos points out, the divorce of the American people from the Republican party has only just begun. An NPR poll shows that there is a large trend in the Dems favor going into the new Congress.

Of course, it is the Dems to screw up and I will remain guardedly optimistic. Being old enough to have watched the Dem implosion of the early 90s, culminating in the "Republican revolution" in 1994, I hope the Dems can learn from the past and shape up. I think if they really come through with ethics reform, raise the minimum wage, and doggedly pursue the Bush administration with their oversight power, we may enjoy a long and prosperous Dem hegemony.

Seperate and murderous

Kevin Drum has a good post showing just how successful the US has been in defending the only area of Iraq they actually can claim some modicum of stability. And I use the term 'modicum' loosely. Look at the map of Baghdad showing the sectarian Sunni and Shiite enclaves.

We are invincible.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Soy: Enemy of Heterosexuality

Oh man, this is rich. What levels of ridiculousness will right-wingers stoop to next?

Via Think Progress.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Arctic Ice gone by 2040?

New info suggests that the melting of the polar ice cap may be proceeding at an even faster rate then previous thought. The very complex feedback mechanisms seem to be accelerating the melting faster then the computer models could predict. Interestingly enough, global warming may cause cooling in Europe and elsewhere. Check it out.

Its just wrong - Humping Dog

From Japundit, a USB device that you plugin so that the dog can, umm, hump your computer. Now I know why computer manufacturers put all those ports on their products.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Convert or die?

Check out this post on Brad DeLong's blog about a new video game based upon the "Left Behind" series of ridiculousness.

You either convert non-christians or kill them. What video game would Jesus play? Something tells me not this one.

Payback is sweet

I always wondered how Good ol' Rummy was going to react after becoming a public citizen again. And it looks like we may be in for some interesting times. Seems Rumsfeld is already contradicting Premiere Bush. And he does it here as well. Snippets from Think Progress:

Yesterday on Hannity and Colmes, outgoing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said that he was removed as a direct result of the “outcome of the election.”
And Rumsfeld said in an interview with Cal Thomas:

I don’t think I would have called it the war on terror.

Us Saudi Ambassador resigns; flees country?

Josh Marshall over on TPM has a very interesting post about a rather strange event that happened today: the US ambassador to Saudia Arabia not only resigned but he also left the country in a hurry. Josh speculates that this may be a clue to something coming down the line soon which will put a damper on US-Saudi relations.

Of course, the ambassador "officially" resigned to be with his family. Or he was exhausted. Its hard to say.

Baby Steps

The newly elected Democratic Congress has lots riding on it. One test that us stinkin' Liberals want to see is whether their decisions will signal a change in how business is done in Washington. Robert Byrd has added to the opening salvo by dropping earmarks for his state. A good sign indeed.

Inaugural post at Japundit

My first post went up on Japundit. Check it out. More to come soon.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Japundit contributor

I finagled my way into a contributor position at Japundit, one of the best blogs out there about Japan from an ex-pat, gaijin perspective. They always have great posts about Engrish, strange things about Japan, and a cool personals site. Look for my contributions starting in the next week.

Asimo, we hardly knew ye.

Asimo, the stairs climbing robot made by Honda, had quite the nasty spill recently. Seems he zigged when he should have zagged. Via Japundit.

Change of Blog Template

As you may have noticed I have updated to the Blogger Beta and changed the template as I was growing tired of the black one (also, I have seen too many blogs using the same template). Let me know if you have any issues.

Auguste Pinochet - See ya in hell

Looks like death comes for all. Pinochet is dead.

If you are unsure of who Auguste Pinochet is, and why hell is too good for him, see here. Also, as usual, The US was complicit in mass murder and mayhem.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Watch what you wish for

File this under "Delicious Irony". Seems that the Republican's witch hunts, and the powers they created to more easily commit them, may come back as Congressional oversight. Oh, the irony.

Your Mainstream Media at it again

Check out this item: a NY Post Op Ed that had two versions published. The versions completely contradicted each other: one praised Barack Obama. The other criticized him as "Rev Al Obama"! Oops.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tim Lambert of Deltoid on Lancet II study

Tim Lambert, a computer scientist from Down Under, has a very good layperson's article on the controversy surrounding the two "Lancet studies" with the conclusion that there is a high probability that there have been 650k+ excess deaths (deaths by violence, both US military and due to the escalating civil war) in Iraq since the occupation began 3 years ago.

Note that the first study, for the first 18 months after the occupation began, estimated 90k+ excess deaths and the latest study, which was highly corroborative of the first, stretched that number out until June (if I remember correctly) and came up with the 650k number.

For more in-depth information, including lots of thoughtful responses to the ridiculous objections to the Lancet studies by Tim, go here. Now lose a day immersed in how science is obfuscated by innumerates.

Its Israel, stupid

Juan Cole has an excellent reminder of the fact that Iraq may be the least of our worries and take a back seat to the continuing turmoil between Israel and the Palestinians:

A surprise for Americans: The most urgent and destabilizing crisis in the Middle East is not Iraq. It is, according to King Abdullah II of Jordan (who will meet Bush today), the Israel-Palestine conflict, which is a major engine driving the radicalization of Muslims in the Middle East and in Europe. It seldom makes the front page any more, but the Israelis are keeping the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank in Bantustan penitentiaries and bombing the ones in Gaza relentlessly, often killing signficant numbers of innocent civilians.
This really is the logical Achilles' Heel of the Bush Administrations humongous failure in the "war on terror" which, allegedly, is about, you know, actually curtailing the radicalization of the Middle East. I cannot imagine that, though cannot rule, the colossal cognitive dissonance required to keep the charade of Bush keeping us safe.

And the point about how the US press has let Israel drop off the face of the Earth shows that we just cannot trust the press corp to look out for our best interest.

Sad really.