I dug this one from the vault....taken over Thanksgiving last year.
Happy Thanksgiving to you!
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Monday, November 21, 2005
"'I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God."...
"If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin," the television personality declared. "Maybe he can help them."
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Subsequent torture is brushed aside ("a few bad apples", "like fraternity initiation"), and White House officials, including the Vice President, lobby Congress to allow the CIA to torture prisoners held in secret captivity on foreign soil (as to avoid US laws). Let's step back for a second....this is America? The United States of America?
If it's the oil, just tell us it's the oil and ....take it! Just be honest about it and get the job done. If it's not the oil, well, then, what are we doing? How does any of this help our interests? Do we expect to kill every potential terrorist in the Middle East? How many would be enough? And how many American soldiers' lives are we willing to give up to do this?
I'm all about protecting the US from terrorists, I just don't believe that the war in Iraq has helped in this regard... if anything, it's made things worse. It''s been a giant misallocation of resources, sewing seeds that will haunt us down the road.
But it's easy to criticize....what's the solution? Well, I have a plan. Well, I have a first step I'd like to introduce anyway: Condemn Torture (for crying out loud!)
"'Once we started, I felt so much encouragement from the band. They were all smiling. I looked at each one of them. I had Bono on my left. He's smiling, singing the first words to the song. I turned to my right and Edge, who's one of my inspirations, is sitting there smiling and playing with me. Adam Clayton is jamming with his bass, and Larry Mullen is having a great time. So I just felt this encouragement from the band, and that really allowed me to ease up and I really didn't feel frightened after that.'
Sunjay says that Bono noticed him singing the words as he was playing and motioned for him to come up and share the mike with him during the next chorus. What followed was a scene many rock fans had seen from the greats: Paul and John, Mick and Keith. And now Bono and Sunjay.
'It almost seemed natural in the beginning. And once I finished it really hit me,' Sunjay said. 'And that's when I got on my knees and was doing the we're-not-worthy bow. Because, I'm not worthy. Let's get real here. I am not worthy of that.'
As the song came to a close, following Sunjay's solo singing turn on the last chorus no less, there was just one last part of the mission to complete: Snag Bono's signature wrap-around shades to fulfill a promise he had made to his brother.
So after receiving a congratulatory hug from the singer, Sunjay asked him if he'd make the trade, which the singer obliged. Sunjay walked off with Bono's rose-tinted Armanis; Bono donned Sunjay's Eckerd sunglasses.
A perfect end to a perfect night. And a dream come true.'"
Some guys have all the luck! Sunjay, I salute you!
Monday, November 14, 2005
Sounds like Bono
"I never thought I'd see this many kids coming to listen to a speech about poverty,"
Sounds like someone talking about Bono
"He's raised poverty to a presidential-level conversation for the first time in forty years,...You've got to give him credit for that. And given the shallowness of his experience... the way he vaulted right over the lower rungs of the ladder--it's an amazing story."
Sounds like Bono again, right? Not this time. This time we're talking about an American: John Edwards. And I like what Edwards has to say here:
Lesson One: Stop thinking small. "I think in our effort to be elected, we've become minimalists, tinkering around the edges--Our tax cut is better than yours, or, We'll give you smaller class sizes," he says. "That's not what the country wants. We've got to give the American people something big and important to be unified by. Republicans use big things to divide America. I think we can use big things to unite America."
or as Bono wrote in 2000:
"And you become a monster, so the monster will not break you"....
and continues "but it's already gone too far, who says that if you go in hard, you won't get hurt? Jesus can you take the time, to throw a drowning man a line, Peace on Earth"
Despite rhyming "hurt" with "Earth", it's still a monster couplet from an album, "All That You Can't Leave Behind", that still resonates. (link is to a far left article, but the quote was interesting to me)
Update: "he who fights monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. When staring deep into the abyss,the abyss stares deep into you" Friedrich Nietszche
Saturday, November 12, 2005
"The use of 'slam dunk' by George Tenet was interesting.
A lot of people knew that George Tenet, the former CIA director, said that finding WMD would be a 'slam dunk.' The build-up as to how he came to say that is even more intriguing, though. This all comes from Bob Woodward's book, Plan of Attack. George Tenet's deputy made a detailed presentation in the Oval Office with George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and chief of staff, Andrew Card. He convinced them that they could convince the American public that there were indeed WMD in Iraq and that they would find them. Apparently -- it's not entirely clear from the book -- the CIA wasn't trying to prove to Bush and company that there were WMDs, but that they could make a case to the American public that there were.
It was a marketing meeting.
It was totally a marketing meeting. And in fact, Bob Woodard says in his book, it was a 'flop marketing-wise.' It was detailed, it had satellite photos of trucks moving around, numbers, projections, little bits of conversation, but nothing that was very persuasive. And then George Bush himself, according to Woodward, said, 'Is this the best you've got? I don't think that this is something that Joe Public would understand.' And then George Tenet, who had been quiet up until that point, jumped up off the couch, made his arms and hands go into sort of a dunking-the-basketball gesture (he's a big basketball fan) and said 'Don't worry, it's a slam-dunk case.' Bush said, 'Are you sure about that?' And Tenet said, 'Definitely, it's a slam dunk.'
According to Woodward, Bush later told him that if it had just listened to the deputy's presentation, it wouldn't have sold anybody on the idea. But once George Tenet said that, they definitely felt better about it. And the people in that room, their mood shifted from doubt to confidence. In a way, George Tenet was speaking in terms that Joe President would understand. [laughing]"
Bush's critics should note that Bush asks Tenet twice, directly, about WMD, and he's told "slam dunk". Still, that just covers his ass, and doesn't make things right, but you can't blame George W! He asked twice!
If the administration has a strategy for going forward, it needs to convey to the American people—with numbers and measurable goals—how to define victory, and what we intend to change to help us get there. It needs to show that there is a plan, and that we are not simply engaged in a slow bleed, with little hope of success.
Based on the administration's public statements, they have no realistic plan for victory in Iraq. And without a victory strategy, there is only one alternative: an exit strategy. It is past time we develop one."
What's the plan...now?
Friday, November 11, 2005
Among the most gullible of fictional characters, I'm always amazed when Snow White takes the poisioned apple through the window after the dwarfs warn her to be careful. And the comb, for cryin' out loud! But I digress, here's a picture of the fair-skinned maiden that stuns mirrors with her beauty. (This picture is from Halloween, duh!)
Friday, November 04, 2005
That explains the Reagan picture with the smoke below. Wish me luck!
Thursday, November 03, 2005
"That humans will alter their bodies, or commune with artificial intelligence, won't seem so strange when we get there, Kurzweil says. 'We're not going to make this grand leap into the world I describe,' he says. 'It's going to be one small incremental step at a time - thousands of little steps, each one of which is benign, small, modest, conservative, and market-tested. But you get thousands of these coming at increasing speed, and you get some profound changes.'
One such change will be a profoundly different attitude toward the human body as our identity. 'Ultimately, the nature of our identity is going to change,' he says. 'When you get a new computer, you don't throw all of the files away. The software has a longevity that transcends the hardware.... The hardware can die, but the software lives on.'"
Sounds like a Celine Dion song... and reminds me of the "Lawnmower Man" movie. Hear that phone ringing?
"In truth, our determined presence in Iraq actually increases the odds of regional chaos, inciting Iran and Syria while aiding Osama bin Laden in his recruiting efforts. Leaving Iraq would do the opposite-- though not without some dangers that rightfully should be blamed on our unwise invasion rather than our exit. Many experts believe bin Laden welcomed our invasion and occupation of two Muslim countries. It bolsters his claim that the U.S. intended to occupy and control the Middle East all along. This has galvanized radical Muslim fundamentalists against us. Osama bin Laden's campaign surely would suffer if we left....
We should heed the words of Ronald Reagan about his experience with a needless and mistaken military occupation of Lebanon. Sending troops into Lebanon seemed like a good idea in 1983, but in 1990 President Reagan said this in his memoirs: "…we did not appreciate fully enough the depth of the hatred and complexity of the problems that made the Middle East such a jungle… In the weeks immediately after the bombing, I believed the last thing we should do was turn tail and leave… yet, the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics forced us to rethink our policy there.""GWB ain't no RWR. Reagan could admit mistakes because he made them earnestly and with conviction. And that's part of what made him great, and made people love him even if they disagreed with his politics. I'm not sure how we can get out of Iraq, but it is interesting to ponder Paul's opening salvo:
"Supporters of the war in Iraq, as well as some non-supporters, warn of the dangers if we leave. But isn't it quite possible that these dangers are simply a consequence of having gone into Iraq in the first place, rather than a consequence of leaving? Isn't it possible that staying only makes the situation worse? If chaos results after our departure, it's because we occupied Iraq, not because we left."
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
'What bothered Brent more than Condi yelling at him was the fact that here she is, the national security adviser, and she's not interested in hearing what a former national security adviser had to say,' according to the source.
At the time, Scowcroft was serving as chair of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), which should have been consulting regularly with the White House but was apparently kept in the dark about the preparations and rationale for going to war.
Scowcroft was dropped from PFIAB earlier this year, and efforts by George H.W. Bush to arrange a meeting between his son and Scowcroft have been unavailing, according to The New Yorker account."
Like father, not like son in this regard. George W. should have listened to people like this, real patriots.
"Visions can be dangerous, of course. Marx's dream became, for millions, a nightmare. In the 90s, all ideas of radical social transformation came to be regarded with suspicion. It was as if humanity had finally grown up, and left such adolescent fantasies behind.
But if idealism without a dose of reality is simply naive, realism without a dash of imagination is utterly depressing. If this really was the end of history, it would be an awful anticlimax. Look at the way we live now, in the west. We grow up in increasingly fragmented communities, hardly speaking to the people next door, and drive to work in our self-contained cars. We work in standardized offices and stop at the supermarket on our way home to buy production-line food which we eat without relish. There is no great misery, no hunger, and no war. But nor is there great passion or joy. Despite our historically unprecedented wealth, more people than ever before suffer from depression.
The major political parties are reduced to tinkering with the details of our current system. Their only objective seems to be: more of the same, only perhaps a little bit more cheaply. They have no grand vision.
It is this complacency, this lack of idealism, that is in part responsible for the repugnance with which Muslim extremists view western society. When George Bush speaks of exporting democracy to the Middle East, he should realize that liberal democracy on its own is a limp, anemic idea. If the west is to provide a more inspiring ideal, then it is time we devoted more thought to the questions that Plato, More and Marx placed at the heart their utopias; the question of how to make work more rewarding, leisure more abundant, and communities more friendly."
The "tinkering" by politicians is a good point....don't we have any grand visionaries out there (but not too out there)?
Prior to their recent discovery in space, scientists had thought these biologically important molecules were unique to Earth. One type is the main ingredient in chocolate. Others carry genetic information in DNA.
The existence of these molecules in interstellar space "was considered impossible" 20 years ago, explains Louis Allamandola, who carried out this research with colleagues at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. "Now, we know better.... As a class, they are more abundant than all other known interstellar polyatomic molecules combined."
The finding has profound significance for the occurrence of organic life. These kinds of molecules are key ingredients in the primordial chemical soup from which scientists think organic life may have arisen.
"Seeing their signature across the universe tells me they are accessible to young planets just about everywhere," says Douglas Hudgins, lead author of the report on this research published in the Astrophysical Journal earlier this month.
In fact, you don't even need a planet to get the organic-life game going."
And, chocolate is health food, yay! We all win (until the aliens come and take our chocolate, boo!)