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Fear and Kos-ing in Las Vegas
Monday, June 12 @ 13:53:54 CDT by csloat (13 reads)

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The Emir is Dead, Long Live the Emir
Thursday, June 08 @ 21:55:45 CDT by csloat (19 reads)
JihadIt's official: alleged terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- who recently starred in a video that showed how completely inept he was at even handling an automatic rifle -- has finally been killed. While his death is good news in the war on terror, and is rightfully being celebrated by many Iraqis, something doesn't sit right. Even with a mole inside his organization and knowledge of his movements, the Pentagon apparently still needed 1000 pounds of explosives to take him out (and remember, this is a guy who burns himself on a gun). Just like the gruesome slayings of Saddam's notorious mini-me's, the option of capturing Zarqawi alive and pumping him for information that might help defeat the insurgency does not even appear to have crossed anyone's mind. After all, Zarqawi's death does not signal the end of the insurgency, and his deputy released a statement as soon as his death was confirmed calling him a "martyr" and announcing plans to continue the jihad.

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Happy Iraq War Day! No Blood, No Foul!
Sunday, March 19 @ 02:54:22 CST by csloat (136 reads)
TortureWell, it's exactly three years since the "cakewalk" began. The great moments of the war for America -- photo-ops of a triumphant president sharing Thanksgiving dinner with eager troops, and hopping from a helicopter to an aircraft carrier; of Saddam's statue being torn down with the help of U.S. Marines; of the miserable dictator crawling out of his dirty hole -- have faded into a distant memory as more recent news takes the foreground -- American mercenaries slaughtered at Fallujah, their bodies torched; images of humiliation at Abu Ghraib; withdrawal after withdrawal from the national treasury to support a war we were told was over in May 2003; over 2500 coalition soldiers dead and at minimum 33,000 Iraqi civilians dead; scandal after scandal in the Bush Administration; and the allegedly fallen dictator strutting around in designer suits on television in what has become Iraq's national soap opera.

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Saddam, Unplugged!
Friday, February 17 @ 22:15:56 CST by csloat (208 reads)
SaddamJust in time for sweeps, ABC breathily aired bits of the long-awaited "Saddam Tapes" -- audio recordings of the deposed dictator speaking candidly with his henchmen in 1995. The tapes were found after the invasion of Iraq and have become the obsession of John Loftus, right-wing conspiracy theorist and all-around crank, who has been pressuring for an investigation of these tapes and other documents pulled out from under Saddam's whiskey bottles and photos of himself. The wingnuts are all over this, swearing up and down that this is finally the concrete evidence that they had WMDs (in 2003, eight years after the tapes were recorded) and that they worked with al-Qaeda. The latter claim is based on this segment of the tapes, a candid chat between Saddam and his Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, in which Saddam warns:

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Pat Buchanan's Tortured Logic
Sunday, January 29 @ 05:26:14 CST by csloat (210 reads)
TortureSpeaking of being out of touch, our voice of truth in popular culture, Sanspiper V, sends in the latest from the loony right: Our favorite rebel-flag-flying, immigrant-bashing, neo-isolationist defender of Nazi war criminals and Spanish dictators, Pat Buchanan -- already well known for referring to Canada as "Soviet Canuckistan" -- recently defended the Bush Administration's pro-torture stance on the basis of the Fox TV show "24"; Buchanan asks "What would Jack Bauer do?" While he admits to understanding Bauer is a fictional character, he nevertheless insists that real Americans support torture because it's what Jack Bauer would do: "President Palmer knew his value, because President Palmer knew the real world." For those not familiar with the show, or the United States, "President Palmer" is also a fictional character. You can watch video of Mr. Buchanan in a very serious interview with award-winning political analyst Ali G. Ali G hilariously gets Buchanan to focus on what to do about Iraq's BLTs, and asks, "Is it ever worth fighting a war over sandwiches?" Buchanan's answer is "yes."...

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NSA Butchers the Fourth Amendment
Sunday, January 29 @ 04:25:02 CST by csloat (199 reads)
Surveillance and PrivacyYes, we already know about the wiretaps, the spying on American citizens, and the decision to circumvent even the minimal scrutiny imposed by the FISA. And the Bush Administration decided to go full frontal actually defending this policy, even though FISA permits everything they claim they want and only requires after-the-fact supervision (by a secret court!) within three days. But you'd think that in their haste to prove to us that they aren't tearing up the fourth amendment, that they'd take the time to actually read the thing, right? Not a chance. Check out this video of former NSA Chief and current Deputy Director of Intelligence General Michael Hayden explaining the fourth amendment. He corrects a reporter on the text of the amendment, taking issue with the phrase "probable cause"; he says "Well, actually, the Fourth Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure. That's what it says." He insists the phrase "probable cause" is not in the Constitution. He is insistent enough that you almost hear the reporter start to question his own memory of the text of the amendment. Then he proceeds to perform a trick I've never seen before -- he hammers the last nail into his coffin from the inside with the following admonition to the reporter: "Just to be very clear—and believe me, if there's any amendment to the Constitution that employees of the National Security Agency are familiar with, it's the Fourth. And it is a reasonableness standard in the Fourth Amendment." I'm speechless. It's a little disconcerting how out of touch these people really are. MSNBC is carrying the story. And you can see much better quality video, as well as some commentary from NSA expert James Bamford, on Democracy Now. While you're tuning in to Democracy Now, check out this interview with NSA whistleblower Russel Tice. Update: link to video fixed!

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Getting Hostel
Tuesday, January 24 @ 04:45:20 CST by csloat (210 reads)
Drug of the NationI got a right to be hostel -- I paid eleven bucks for this crap! I don't usually do movie reviews but this one was so disappointing I just had to - this is even a bigger disappointment than the overhyped, overblown, needlessly confusing and empty pseudo-political pseudo-thriller Syriana. The trailers promised the scariest, goriest movie ever. I thought with Quentin Tarantino "presenting" this (it is actually written and directed by Eli Roth), we'd see at least a disturbing and action-packed gore-fest that was entertaining enough to distract from the clip-job nature of most of his works. As it happens, Hostel could have used more cut-and-pastework and less attempt at originality -- the best scene was a car crash lifted straight out of pulp fiction (that movie is also playing on a TV in the background in another scene in the movie). The plot is totally mindless -- American sex tourists looking for a good time get kidnapped by wealthy sickos who torture tourists for thrills. The whole town is in on it, just to make things more scary for our protagonists. (Best to set this in some obscure Slovakian enclave that isn't likely to have an antidefamation league). Throw in some skull-crushing children for dramatic effect. This is a cross between the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Blair Witch Project -- less gory and scary than the former, and less gritty (but nevertheless more entertaining) than the latter (let's face it; I've had bowel movements that were more interesting than the Blair Witch Project). The characters are vapid and irritating; it's hard to feel much sympathy for the protagonists. Nearly everything is predictable -- she's going to jump in front of a train! he's cutting his achilles' tendons! the guy on the train is a bad guy! The film relies far too much on the idea of torture-as-entertainment being daring and disturbing in and of itself. Sorry, Quentin (and Eli), that idea might have been disturbing when Cronenberg played around with it in Videodrome (1983), but we're in aught-six now -- we need more than vague references to a club that likes to torture for thrills. Sure, eyeballs hanging out of burnt faces is pretty gross, especially when you have to snip off the optic nerve with a rusty pair of shears, but you can't substitute a total lack of narrative development with a half hour of gratuitous nekkid boobies.

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Fuck the Dead: Sideshow Bob is Killing Music
Monday, December 19 @ 02:44:45 CST by csloat (343 reads)
MusicI'm a little late to this news because I don't pay that much attention to music that bores me. So let's get this out of the way: I never really liked the Grateful Dead. Sure, I hung out in the parking lot of many a Dead show to score acid back in the day, and even went inside for a couple of shows. I'll always have fond memories of that guy in the rabbit suit who sold the giant squares of blotter featuring drawings of bunnies on motorcycles ... some of you know what I'm talking about. I have nothing strongly against their inoffensive hippie-country-blues-rock, and I will even sing along to a few of their songs, but I was never a fan. Nevertheless, I was always very impressed by their ethic of supporting tape-sharing culture. Back in the 1980s, long before most of us had ever heard of the internet, and when the record industry was warning "Home Taping is Killing Music," the band made a courageous business decision to not only allow fans to tape their live shows but to encourage the practice. They realized early on that allowing fans to trade their music actually made them more popular and brought more fans to their shows, making them far more money than selling live recordings ever would have. I never collected the tapes myself -- some of their songs were fun, and I had a good time at the few shows I went to, but their live tapes were so full of self-indulgent hippie crap like "space" and "drums" that I could never take them very seriously. But I had a lot of respect for their decision to support their fans, and I frequently cited them in the mid- to late-1990s in discussions about the potential the internet holds for music (particularly during the rise and fall of Napster). They were pioneers on the frontier of electronic culture, recognizing that free music was not incompatible with crass commercialism. Their chief lyricist, of course, was well aware of the implications of their early free-culture ethic in the electronic age; he helped found the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1990 and he wrote prophetically about the social life of information (and eloquently in defense of file sharing) in influential essays.

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Tookie and the Crips
Sunday, December 18 @ 12:25:24 CST by csloat (294 reads)
Criminal JusticeCheck out Michael Krikorian's piece in the L.A. Weekly if you're not already sick of hearing about poor Tookie. It turns out that not only was Tookie a notorious murderer, he was also a notorious braggart. Though he claimed the mantle of "co-founder of the Crips," he's actually not that at all. The real founder of the Crips was Raymond Washington, born in Texas, who died of shotgun wounds in 1979 with no support or sympathy from Hollywood lefties. He started the gang two years before Tookie joined the gang and he was shot just after Tookie went upstate on the quadruple murder charge. He shared with both Tookie and the Terminator an obsession with bodybuilding, and one of Krikorian's interviewees remembers him as a "hog": "By hog, I mean Raymond would take his shirt off and fight his ass off all day long."

The L.A. Weekly article prompted me to do a little further research into the birth of the name "Crips"; its author is most persuaded by the theory that Washington's older brother wrote the word on his sneakers when he hurt his leg and walked with a limp. The story I wrote in the previous entry about the Los Angeles Sentinel is almost certainly inaccurate; many accounts date the name to 1971, and I found an article in the Los Angeles Times from earlier the same month as the Sentinel piece that noted that even then nobody was sure where the name came from. I still prefer to believe the name was inspired by the pimp-fashion of the day (and indeed, even if Krikorian is correct, the limp was not only adopted as a matter of necessity; in fact, the Crip limp eventually developed into a carefully choreographed dance step). The Times seems to agree, but their explanation is even more intriguing: that "the founders once wore Afro-style hair-dos and their parents made them 'crip it'." In any case, we're not surprised to learn that the deadliest street gang in California (and now around the world) was actually founded by a Texan.

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Terminating the O.G.
Tuesday, December 13 @ 11:18:59 CST by csloat (300 reads)
CaliforniaAs expected, California's Gropenator denied the clemency request of convicted murderer and O.G. Stanley "Tookie" Williams, who co-founded the Crips street gang. The 51-year old gangsta and children's book author met his maker about an hour ago as of this writing, becoming the twelfth inmate executed on the left coast since we brought back the death penalty in 1976. Now, I've always been against the death penalty, both for moral reasons as well as for pragmatic reasons -- it's not a deterrent, the state runs the risk of executing innocent people, and its enforcement is inevitably racially and economically discriminatory (In California, for example, murder convicts who kill whites are far more likely to get the death penalty than those who kill blacks or Latinos). But I'm a little disturbed about the glorification by well-meaning leftists and attention-seeking celebrities of the killer who started this notoriously murderous gang.

A nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in literature? Please! Perhaps the nominator, recalling that Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, wanted to reward Tookie's creative idea of using the good stuff to blow up a busload of prisoners in his escape plot.

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What should be done about Plamegate?

Fire Rove and Libby
Impeach Bush
Hang Rove and Libby for treason
Try the entire Bush Administration for treason
Invade Iran quick to distract the American public
Photograph Rove naked with a hood over his head
Nothing; let's just give up the war on terror now.


Votes: 60
Comments: 0



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Old Articles
Friday, December 09
· Ayatollah Fidel and Sheikh Yerbouti
Wednesday, December 07
· Intelligent Christians Assault Theologian
Monday, November 28
· Alien Attack Imminent
Wednesday, November 09
· The Tortured Logic of Phony Patriots
· Smearing the Ambassador
Wednesday, September 14
· Bush: ''My Ass Is Sorry''
Friday, September 02
· Katrina and the Waves
Thursday, September 01
· The Other Shoe Drops
Thursday, August 11
· Meet the New Boss
Monday, August 08
· Joining an Exclusive Club
Tuesday, August 02
· Global Struggle Against Unwieldy Acronyms
Tuesday, July 26
· Plamegate: Where's the Outrage?
· Rape and Murder at Abu Ghraib
Monday, July 11
· Justice Throws a Ball
Thursday, July 07
· Anarchy in the U.K.
Saturday, June 25
· Iraqi Teen Girls Learn Valuable Lesson in Freedom
· America's Next Cakewalk
Thursday, June 23
· Gary Webb Resurrected!
Monday, June 06
· Would You Like Meth with That?
Friday, June 03
· The Pot and the Fucking Kettle
Sunday, May 22
· The Mother of All Smokescreens
Saturday, May 21
· Flushing Newsweek
Saturday, May 14
· Flushing the Quran
Tuesday, April 19
· Civil War in Iraq! NOT!
Saturday, April 09
· Happy Iraqi Liberation Day!


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