This Space for Rent

May 31, 2005

The U.S. would regain some of its own lost dignity

... claims Bob Herbert, if a truly independent commission were established to thoroughly investigate the interrogation and detention operations associated with the war on terror and the war in Iraq.

Oh, you mean like this sort of commission?

The United States might "agree" to an "independent" commission to investigate the mounting list of war crimes that the United States has committed in at least the past five years, but I wonder if anyone outside the United States or the land of the poodle would believe it. I'm afraid that we're past the point where a nicely whitewashed pretend hearing would make any difference to anyone who doesn't live here. What would make for a convincing commission? Our cities in rubble, our capital occupied, and our leaders hanged? Or would simple impeachment and trials for high treason, followed by life imprisonment in Spandau prison for every one of the stinking traitors who constitutes the Evil Party leadership, be considered a suitable token of our word when we say we're really really sorry we engaged in

  1. Crimes against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a Common Plan or Conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;
  2. War Crimes: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity;
  3. Crimes against Humanity: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war,14 or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

I disapprove of state-sanctioned murder, no matter how vile the crime, and I'd rather be the one who locks the blubbering wretch who used to be Maximum Leader Genius in his cell, but I don't know if I have any say in the matter. What's the stupid Babylon 5 quote? "The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote."; what I, or any other American, might wish to do to redeem this country is no longer relevant.

May 30, 2005

Alarm clock hints

If you're a boy and you're napping on the couch, don't have your eldest son try to wake you up by leaping from the top of the couch down onto your crotch.

It does wake you up.

Just not in a way that makes you want to do anything except curl up into a whimpering ball of smashed nerve endings.

If people are reincarnated when they die, I'd like to put in a request to come back as a small-breasted woman, so the places where I can be painfully crunched are made a little less external.

Remember the dead

Jay Thomas Aubin • Ryan Anthony Beaupre • Therrel Shane Childers • Jose Antonio Gutierrez • Brian Matthew Kennedy • Kendall Damon Waters-Bey • Brandon Scott Tobler • Eric James Orlowski • Thomas Mullen Adams • Jamaal Rashard Addison • Edward John Anguiano • George Edward Buggs • Robert John Dowdy • Ruben Estrella-Soto • Howard Johnson II • James Michael Kiehl • Johnny Villareal Mata • Lori Ann Piestewa • Christopher Scott Seifert • Brandon Ulysses Sloan • Donald Ralph Walters • Michael Edward Bitz • Brian Rory Buesing • Tamario Demetrice Burkett • Kemaphoom "Ahn" Chanawongse • Donald John Cline Jr. • David Keith Fribley • Jose Angel Garibay • Jonathan Lee Gifford • Jorge Alonso Gonzalez • Nicolas Michael Hodson • Nolen Ryan Hutchings • Phillip Andrew Jordan • Patrick Ray Nixon • Frederick Eben Pokorney Jr. • Brendon Curtis Reiss • Randal Kent Rosacker • Thomas Jonathan Slocum • Michael Jason Williams • Gregory Paul Sanders • Thomas Alan Blair • Evan Tyler James • Bradley Steven Korthaus • Gregory Lewis Stone • Michael Vann Johnson Jr. • Kevin Gerard Nave • Francisco Abraham Martinez-Flores • Donald Charles May Jr. • Joseph Menusa • Patrick Terence O'Day • Robert Marcus Rodriguez • Jesus Alberto Suarez del Solar • Roderic Antoine Solomon • Fernando Padilla-Ramirez • Michael Russell  Creighton-Weldon • Michael Edward Curtin • Diego Fernando Rincon • Eugene Williams • James Wilford Cawley • William Wayne White • Aaron Joseph Contreras • Michael Vernon Lalush • Brian Daniel McGinnis • Brandon Jacob Rowe • William Andrew Jeffries • Jacob Lee Butler • Joseph Basil Maglione III • James Francis Adamouski • Matthew George Boule • George Andrew Fernandez • Erik Anders Halvorsen • Scott Jamar • Michael Francis Pedersen • Eric Allen Smith • Brian Edward Anderson • Christian Daniel Gurtner • Nathan Dennis White • Wilbert Davis • Edward Jason Korn • Nino Dugue Livaudais • Ryan Patrick Long • Donald Samuel Oaks Jr. • Randall Scott Rehn • Russell Brian Rippetoe • Todd James Robbins • Chad Eric Bales • Mark Asher Evnin • Erik Hernandez Silva • Tristan Neil Aitken • Wilfred Davyrussell Bellard • Daniel Francis Cunningham Jr. • Devon Demilo Jones • Paul Ray Smith • Travis Allen Ford • Bernard George Gooden • Brian Michael McPhillips • Duane Roy Rios • Benjamin Wilson Sammis • Stevon Alexander Booker • Larry Kenyatta Brown • Edward Smith • Gregory Paul Huxley Jr. • Kelley Stephen Prewitt • Eric Bruce Das • William Randolph Watkins III • Lincoln Daniel Hollinsaid • Jeffrey Joseph Kaylor • Anthony Scott Miller • George Arthur Mitchell Jr. • Andrew Julian Aviles • Jesus Martin Antonio Medellin • Scott Douglas Sather • Henry Levon Brown • John Winston Marshall • Jason Michael Meyer • Robert Anthony Stever • Juan Guadalupe Garza Jr. • Terry Wayne Hemingway • Jeffrey Edward Bohr Jr. • Riayan Augusto Tejeda • Jesus Angel Gonzalez • David Edward Owens Jr. • Joseph Acevedo • Gil Mercado • John Eli Brown • Thomas Arthur Foley III • Joseph Patrick Mayek • Richard Allen Goward • Armando Ariel Gonzalez • Jason David Mileo • John Travis Rivero • Roy Russell Buckley • Andrew Todd Arnold • Robert William Channell Jr. • Alan Dinh Lam • Troy David Jenkins • Osbaldo Orozco • Narson Bertil Sullivan • Joe Jesus Garza • Jesse Alan Givens • Sean C. Reynolds • Jason L. Deibler • Marlin T. Rockhold • Richard P. Carl • Hans N. Gukeisen • Brian K. Van Dusen • Cedric E. Bruns • Matthew R. Smith • Jakub Henryk Kowalik • Jose F. Gonzalez Rodriguez • Patrick Lee Griffin Jr. • Nicholas Brian Kleiboeker • David T. Nutt • William L. Payne • Rasheed Sahib • Douglas Jose Marencoreyes • Dominic Rocco Baragona • Andrew David LaMont • Jason William Moore • Timothy Louis Ryan • Kirk Allen Straseskie • Aaron Dean White • Nathaniel A. Caldwell • David Evans Jr. • Keman L. Mitchell • Kenneth A. Nalley • Brett J. Petriken • Matthew E. Schram • Jeremiah D. Smith • Thomas F. Broomhead • Michael B. Quinn • Kenneth R. Bradley • Jose A. Perez III • Michael T. Gleason • Kyle A. Griffin • Zachariah W. Long • Jonathan W. Lambert • Atanasio Haro Marin Jr. • Branden F. Oberleitner • Travis L. Burkhardt • Doyle W. Bollinger Jr. • David Sisung • Jesse M. Halling • Michael E. Dooley • Gavin L. Neighbor • John K. Klinesmith Jr. • Andrew R. Pokorny • Ryan R. Cox • Shawn D. Pahnke • Joseph D. Suell • Robert L. Frantz • Michael L. Tosto • Michael R. Deuel • William T. Latham • Paul T. Nakamura • Orenthial Javon Smith • Cedric Lamont Lennon • Andrew F. Chris • Kevin C. Ott • Gladimir Philippe • Gregory E. MacDonald • Corey A. Hubbell • Richard P. Orengo • Joshua McIntosh • Tomas Sotelo Jr. • Timothy M. Conneway • Christopher D. Coffin • Travis J. Bradachnall • Edward J. Herrgott • Corey L. Small • James Curtis Coons • David B. Parson • Jeffrey M. Wershow • Chad L. Keith • Barry Sanford Sr. • Robert L. McKinley • Craig A. Boling • Melissa Valles • Roger Dale Rowe • Dan H. Gabrielson • Jason Tetrault • Christian C. Schultz • Joshua M. Neusche • Jaror C. Puello-Coronado • Paul J. Cassidy • Michael T. Crockett • Cory Ryan Geurin • Ramon Reyes Torres • Mason Douglas Whetstone • David J. Moreno • Joel L. Bertoldie • Jonathan D. Rozier • David A. Scott • Justin W. Garvey • Jason D. Jordan • Christopher R. Willoughby • Mark Anthony Bibby • Jon P. Fettig • Joshua T. Byers • Brett T. Christian • Evan Asa Ashcraft • Raheen Tyson Heighter • Hector R. Perez • Juan M. Serrano • Jonathan P. Barnes • Daniel K. Methvin • Wilfredo Perez Jr. • Jonathan M. Cheatham • Heath A. McMillin • Nathaniel Hart Jr. • William J. Maher III • Leif E. Nott • Michael J. Deutsch • James I. Lambert III • Justin W. Hebert • Farao K. Letufuga • David L. Loyd • Zeferino E. Colunga • Kyle C. Gilbert • Brian R. Hellerman • Leonard D. Simmons • Duane E. Longstreth • Matthew D. Bush • Brandon Ramsey • Levi B. Kinchen • Floyd G. Knighten Jr. • David S. Perry • Timmy R. Brown Jr. • Daniel R. Parker • Taft V. Williams • Richard S. Eaton Jr. • Steven W. White • David M. Kirchhoff • Craig S. Ivory • Eric R. Hull • Bobby C. Franklin • Kenneth W. Harris Jr. • Michael S. Adams • Kylan A. Jones-Huffman • Vorn J. Mack • Stephen M. Scott • Ronald D. Allen Jr. • Pablo Manzano • Darryl T. Dent • Rafael L. Navea • Gregory A. Belanger • Anthony L. Sherman • Mark A. Lawton • Sean K. Cataudella • Charles Todd Caldwell • Joseph Camara • Cameron B. Sarno • Christopher A. Sisson • Bruce E. Brown • Jarrett B. Thompson • Ryan G. Carlock • Joseph E. Robsky Jr. • Henry Ybarra III • William M. Bennett • Kevin N. Morehead • Trevor A. Blumberg • Kevin C. Kimmerly • Alyssa R. Peterson • Foster Pinkston • Richard Arriaga • Brian R. Faunce • Anthony O. Thompson • James C Wright • Lunsford B. Brown II • Frederick L. Miller Jr. • David Travis Friedrich • Paul J. Sturino • Michael Andrade • Kyle G. Thomas • Robert L. Lucero • Robert E. Rooney • Andrew Joseph Baddick • Christopher E. Cutchall • Darrin K. Potter • Dustin K.  McGaugh • James D.  Blankenbecler • Analaura Esparza Gutierrez • Simeon Hunte • Tamarra J. Ramos • James H. Pirtle • Charles M.  Sims • Spencer Timothy Karol • Kerry D. Scott • Richard Torres • Joseph C. Norquist • Sean A. Silva • Christopher W. Swisher • James E. Powell • Jose Casanova • Benjamin L. Freeman • Douglas J. Weismantle • Donald L. Wheeler • Stephen E. Wyatt • Joseph P. Bellavia • Sean R. Grilley • Kim S. Orlando • Michael L. Williams • David R. Bernstein • John D. Hart • Paul J. Johnson • Paul J. Bueche • John P. Johnson • Jason M. Ward • John R. Teal • Artimus D. Brassfield • Michael S. Hancock • Jose L. Mora • Jakia Sheree Cannon • Steven Acosta • Rachel K. Bosveld • Charles H. Buehring • Joseph R. Guerrera • Jamie L. Huggins • Jonathan I. Falaniko • Aubrey D. Bell • Michael Paul Barrera • Isaac Campoy • Algernon Adams • Todd J. Bryant • Joshua C. Hurley • Maurice J. Johnson • Daniel A. Bader • Ernest G. Bucklew • Benjamin J. Colgan • Steven Daniel Conover • Anthony D. Dagostino • Darius T. Jennings • Karina S. Lau • Keelan L. Moss • Brian H. Penisten • Ross A. Pennanen • Joel Perez • Frances M. Vega • Paul A. Velasquez • Joe Nathan Wilson • Brian D. Slavenas • Bruce A. Smith • Rayshawn S. Johnson • Robert T. Benson • Francisco Martinez • Jose A. Rivera • James R. Wolf • James A. Chance III • Paul F. Fisher • Cornell W. Gilmore I • Kyran E. Kennedy • Morgan DeShawn Kennon • Paul M. Neff II • Scott C. Rose • Benedict J. Smith • Sharon T. Swartworth • Gary L. Collins • Kurt R. Frosheiser • Linda C. Jimenez • Mark D. Vasquez • Nicholas A. Tomko • Genaro Acosta • Marlon P. Jackson • Nathan J. Bailey • Robert A. Wise • Jacob S. Fletcher • Joseph Minucci II • Irving Medina • Michael D. Acklin II • Ryan T. Baker • Jeremiah J. DiGiovanni • William D. Dusenbery • Richard W. Hafer • Warren S. Hansen • Sheldon R. Hawk Eagle • Timothy L. Hayslett • Damian L. Heidelberg • Erik C. Kesterson • Pierre E. Piche • John W. Russell • Scott A. Saboe • John R. Sullivan • Eugene A. Uhl III • Joey D. Whitener • Jeremy L. Wolfe • Kelly Bolor • Alexander S. Coulter • Nathan S. Dalley • Dale A. Panchot • James A. Shull • Joseph L. Lister • Scott Matthew Tyrrell • George A. Wood • Gary B. Coleman • Damian S. Bushart • Robert D. Roberts • Eddie E. Menyweather • Christopher G. Nason • Rel A. Ravago IV • Jerry L. Wilson • Darrell L. Smith • David J. Goldberg • Thomas J. Sweet II • Ariel Rico • Stephen A. Bertolino • Aaron J. Sissel • Uday Singh • Clarence E. Boone • Ryan C. Young • Raphael S. Davis • Arron R. Clark • Ray J. Hutchinson • Joseph M. Blickenstaff • Steven H. Bridges • Christopher Jude Rivera Wesley • Jason G. Wright • Richard A. Burdick • Jerrick M. Petty • Todd M. Bates • Aaron T. Reese • Marshall L. Edgerton • Jarrod W. Black • Jeffrey F. Braun • Rian C. Ferguson • Kimberly A. Voelz • Kenneth C. Souslin • Nathan W. Nakis • Christopher J. Holland • Glenn R. Allison • Charles E. Bush Jr. • Stuart W. Moore • Edward M. Saltz • Benjamin W. Biskie • Eric F. Cooke • Christopher F. Soelzer • Christopher J. Splinter • Michael E. Yashinski • Thomas W. Christensen • Stephen C. Hattamer • Charles G. Haight • Michael G. Mihalakis • Michael J. Sutter • Ernesto M. Blanco • Rey D. Cuervo • Curt E. Jordan Jr. • Justin W. Pollard • Solomon C. "Kelly" Bangayan • Dennis A. Corral • Kimberly N. Hampton • Eric Thomas Paliwoda • Marc S. Seiden • Luke P. Frist • Jesse D. Mizener • Craig Davis • Michael A. Diraimondo • Christopher A. Golby • Gregory B. Hicks • Philip A. Johnson Jr. • Nathaniel H. Johnson • Ian D. Manuel • Jeffrey C. Walker • Aaron A. Weaver • Ricky L. Crockett • Keicia M. Hines • Roland L. Castro • Cody J. Orr • Larry E. Polley Jr. • Edmond Lee Randle Jr. • Kelly L. Hornbeck • Gabriel T. Palacios • James D. Parker • Michael T. Blaise • Brian D. Hazelgrove • Jason K. Chappell • Randy S. Rosenberg • William R. Sturges Jr. • Kenneth W. Hendrickson • Keith L. Smette • Christopher Bunda • Ervin Dervishi • Patrick D. Dorff • Adam G. Mooney • Matthew J. August • James T. Hoffman • Luke S. James • Lester O. Kinney II • Travis A. Moothart • Cory R. Mracek • Sean G. Landrus • Luis A. Moreno • Juan C. Cabralbanuelos • Holly J. McGeogh • Eliu A. Miersandoval • Armando Soriano • Roger C. Turner Jr. • Seth J. Dvorin • Joshua L. Knowles • Richard P. Ramey • Thomas D. Robbins • Elijah Tai Wah Wong • Jude C. Mariano • William C. Ramirez • Patrick S. Tainsh • Eric U. Ramirez • Bryan N. Spry • Michael M. Merila • Christopher M. Taylor • Nichole M. Frye • Jeffrey C. Graham • Roger G. Ling • Henry A. Bacon • Matthew C. Laskowski • Stephen M. Wells • Michael R. Woodliff • Michael J. Gray • Gussie M. Jones • Matthew G. Milczark • Edward W. Brabazon • Richard S. Gottfried • Fern L. Holland • Robert J. Zangas • Bert Edward Hoyer • Joe L. Dunigan Jr. • Christopher K. Hill • Joel K. Brattain • Clint D. Ferrin • Jason C. Ford • John F. "Hans" Kurth • Daniel J. Londono • Jocelyn "Joce" L. Carrasquillo • William J. Normandy • Michael R. Adams • Thomas R. Thigpen Sr. • Tracy L. Laramore • Ivory L. Phipps • Ernest Harold Sutphin • Doron Chan • Andrew D. Brownfield • Ricky A. Morris Jr. • Brandon C. Smith • Jason C. Ludlam • Clint Richard "Bones" Matthews • David M. Vicente • Matthew J. Sandri • Mark D. Taylor • Michael W. Vega • Christopher E. Hudson • Dustin L. Kreider • Bruce Miller Jr. • Andrew S. Dang • Wentz Jerome Henry Shanaberger III • Adam D. Froehlich • Jeffrey C. Burgess • James A. Casper • Leroy Sandoval Jr. • Timothy Toney • Sean M. Schneider • Jeremiah J. Holmes • Richard L. Ferguson • William J. Wiscowiche • Brandon L. Davis • Doyle M. Hufstedler • Michael G. Karr Jr. • Sean R. Mitchell • Cleston C. Raney • Dustin M. Sekula • William R. Strange • Geoffrey S. Morris • John D. Amos II • Robert R. Arsiaga • Ahmed Akil "Mel" Cason • Yihiyh L. Chen • Israel Garza • Stephen D. "Dusty" Hiller • Forest Joseph Jostes • Michael W. Mitchell • Philip G. Rogers • Casey Sheehan • Aric J. Barr • Tyler R. Fey • Scott Quentin Larson Jr. • David M. McKeever • Shane Lee Goldman • Deryk L. Hallal • Moises A. Langhorst • Christopher Ramos • Matthew K. Serio • Jesse L. Thiry • Gerardo Moreno • Lee Duane Todacheene • Benjamin R. Carman • Marcus M. Cherry • Christopher R. Cobb • Kyle D. Crowley • Ryan M. Jerabek • Travis J. Layfield • Christopher D. Mabry • Anthony P. Roberts • Allan K. Walker • Fernando A. Mendez-Aceves • Tyanna S. Felder • Marvin Lee Miller • George S. Rentschler • William W. Labadie Jr. • Brent L. Morel • John Thomas "J.T." Wroblewski • Isaac Michael Nieves • Levi T. Angell • Nicholas J. Dieruf • Phillip E. Frank • William M. Harrell • Joshua M. Palmer • Michael B. Wafford • Christopher B. Wasser • Peter G. Enos • Raymond Edison Jones Jr. • Jonathan Roy Kephart • Toby W. Mallet • Don Steven McMahan • Allen Jeffrey "A.J." Vandayburg • Felix M. Delgreco • Michelle M. Witmer • Gregory R. Goodrich • Elmer C. Krause • Eric A. Ayon • Matthew E. Matula • Chance R. Phelps • Michael Raymond Speer • Elias Torrez III • Antoine J. Holt • Adolf C. Carballo • William C. Eckhart • John T. Sims Jr. • Lawrence S. Colton • Wesley C. Fortenberry • Justin W. Johnson • Michael Boyd Stack • Nathan P. Brown • Daniel R. Amaya • Torrey L. Gray • Oscar Jimenez • George D. Torres • Brad S. Shuder • Robert Paul Zurheide Jr. • Victor A. Rosaleslomeli • Noah L. Boye • Kevin T. Kolm • Christopher Ramirez • Frank K. Rivers Jr. • Richard K. Trevithick • Jimmy J. Arroyave • Brian M. Wood • Marvin A. Camposiles • Edward W. Carman • Jonathan N. Hartman • Clayton Welch Henson • Michael A. McGlothin • Robert L. Henderson II • Dennis B. Morgan • Richard J. Gannon II • Christopher A. Gibson • Michael J. Smith Jr. • Ruben Valdez Jr. • Gary F. Van Leuven • Bradley C. Fox • Leroy Harris-Kelly • Christopher D. Gelineau • Jason L. Dunham • Shawn C. Edwards • Stacey C. Brandon • Cory W. Brooks • Arthur L. "Bo" Felder • Patrick W. Kordsmeier • Billy J. Orton • Michael J. Pernaselli • Christopher E. Watts • Kenneth A. Melton • Nathan B. Bruckenthal • Sherwood R. Baker • Lawrence A. Roukey • Aaron C. Austin • Abraham D. Penamedina • Marquis A. Whitaker • Jacob R. Herring • Kendall Thomas • James L. Beckstrand • Ryan M. Campbell • Norman Darling • Jeffrey F. Dayton • Adam W. Estep • Jeremy Ricardo Ewing • Martin W. Kondor • Esau G. Patterson Jr. • Ryan E. Reed • Justin B. Schmidt • Landis W. Garrison • Scott M. Vincent • Joshua S. Wilfong • Christopher M. Dickerson • Jason B. Dwelley • Ramon C. Ojeda • Oscar D. Vargas-Medina • Trevor A. Wine • Joshua S. Ladd • Ervin Caradine Jr. • Jeremy L. Drexler • Todd E. Nunes • John E. Tipton • Michael C. Anderson • Trace W. Dossett • Ronald A. Ginther • Robert B. Jenkins • Scott R. Mchugh • Christopher J. Kenny • Lyndon A. Marcus Jr. • Erickson H. Petty • Marvin R. Sprayberry III • Gregory L. Wahl • Ronald E. Baum • Jesse R. Buryj • Bradley G. Kritzer • James E. Marshall • Jeffrey G. Green • Hesley Box Jr. • Dustin H. Schrage • Isela Rubalcava • Chase R. Whitman • Philip D. Brown • James J. Holmes • Rodney A. Murray • Andrew L. Tuazon • Kyle A. Brinlee • Jeffrey R. Shaver • Jeremiah E. Savage • Brian K. Cutter • Brandon C. Sturdy • Brud J. Cronkrite • Michael A. Mora • Philip I. Spakosky • Edward C. Barnhill • James William Harlan • Pedro I. Espaillat Jr. • Rene Ledesma • Leonard M. Cowherd Jr. • Carl F. Curran • Mark Joseph Kasecky • Bob W. Roberts • Joseph P. Garyantes • Marcos O. Nolasco • William D. Chaney • Michael M. Carey • Michael C. Campbell • Leslie D. Jackson • Troy "Leon" Miranda • Rudy Salas • Jeremy R. Horton • Andrew J. Zabierek • Jeremy L. Ridlen • Jorge A. Molina Bautista • Beau R. Beaulieu • Owen D. Witt • James P. Lambert • Richard H. Rosas • Alan N. Bean Jr. • Kevin F. Sheehan • Daniel Paul Unger • Kyle W. Codner • Matthew C. Henderson • Dominique J. Nicolas • Michael J. Wiesemann • Cody S. Calavan • Benjamin R. Gonzalez • Rafael Reynosasuarez • Kenneth Michael Ballard • Bradli N. Coleman • Aaron C. Elandt • Charles E. Odums II • Nicholaus E. Zimmer • Robert C. Scheetz Jr. • Dustin L. Sides • Markus J. Johnson • Bumrok  Lee • Todd J. Bolding • Frank T. Carvill • Christopher M. Duffy • Justin L. Eyerly • Justin W. Linden • Erik S. McCrae • Ryan E. Doltz • Humberto F. Timoteo • Melissa J. Hobart • Melvin Y. Mora Lopez • Jamie A. Gray • Jeremy L. Bohlman • Humayun S. M. Khan • Thomas D. Caughman • Eric S. McKinley • Shawn M. Atkins • Paul R. Syverson III • Jeremy M. Dimaranan • Arthur S. (Stacey) Mastrapa • Jason N. Lynch • Thai Vue • Sean Horn • Marvin Best • Gregory V. Pennington • Pedro Contreras • Juan Lopez • Deshon E. Otey • Tommy L. Parker Jr. • Patrick R. McCaffrey Sr. • Andre D. Tyson • Christopher S. Cash • Daniel A. Desens • Charles A. Kiser • Jeremy M. Heines • Manuel A. Ceniceros • Ernest E. Utt • Patrick R. Adle • Alan David Sherman • John H. Todd III • Robert L. DuSang • Christopher A. Wagener • Kenneth Conde Jr. • Timothy R. Creager • Brian D. Smith • Stephen G. Martin • James B. Huston Jr. • Dallas L. Kerns • Michael S. Torres • John J. Vangyzen IV • Scott Eugene Dougherty • Justin T. Hunt • Jeffrey D. Lawrence • Rodricka Antwan Youmans • Michael C. Barkey • Samuel R. Bowen • Collier Edwin Barcus • Robert E. Colvill Jr. • Shawn M. Davies • William River Emanuel IV • Joseph M. Garmback Jr. • Sonny Gene Sampler • Jeremiah W. Schmunk • Terry Holmes Ordóñez • Krisna Nachampassak • Christopher J. Reed • Trevor Spink • Dustin W. Peters • James G. West • Dana N. Wilson • Jeremy J. Fischer • Linda Ann Tarango-Griess • Torry D. Harris • Jesse J. Martinez • Demetrius Lamont Rice • Paul C. Mardis Jr. • Bryan P. Kelly • Craig S. Frank • David A. Hartman • Dale Thomas Lloyd • Charles C. "C.C." Persing • Danny B. Daniels II • Michael J. Clark • Todd J. Godwin • Nicholas H. Blodgett • Mark E. Engel • Torey J. Dantzler • Tatjana Reed • Nicholas J. Zangara • Vincent M. Sullivan • DeForest L. "Dee" Talbert • Ken W. Leisten • Shawn A. Lane • David S. Greene • Joseph F. Herndon II • Anthony J. Dixon • Armando Hernandez • Justin B. Onwordi • Juan Calderon Jr. • Dean P. Pratt • Tommy L. Gray • Harry N. Shondee Jr. • Gregory A. Ratzlaff • Elia P. Fontecchio • Joseph L. Nice • Raymond J. Faulstich Jr. • Donald R. McCune • Yadir G. Reynoso • Moses Daniel Rocha • Joshua I. Bunch • Roberto Abad • Larry L. Wells • David L. Potter • Rick A. Ulbright • Jonathan W. Collins • Andrew R. Houghton • John R. Howard • Tavon L. Hubbard • Michael Yury Tarlavsky • Neil Anthony Santoriello • Kane M. Funke • Nicholas B. Morrison • James Michael Goins • Brandon R. Sapp • Daniel Michael Shepherd • Mark Anthony Zapata • Fernando B. Hannon • Geoffrey Perez • David M. Heath • Brandon T. Titus • Caleb J. Powers • Jacob D. Martir • Henry C. Risner • Dustin R. Fitzgerald • Richard M. Lord • Harvey Emmett Parkerson III • Brad Preston McCormick • Ryan A. Martin • Charles L. Wilkins III • Kevin A. Cuming • Nicanor Alvarez • Jason Cook • Seth Huston • Edward T. Reeder • Nachez Washalanta • Matthew R. Stovall • Christopher Belchik • Robert C. Thornton Jr. • Donald N. Davis • Jacob R. Lugo • Marco D. Ross • Charles L. Neeley • Alexander S. Arredondo • Barton R. Humlhanz • Nicholas M. Skinner • Omead H. Razani • Luis A. Perez • Nickalous N. Aldrich • Edgar E. Lopez • Carl L. Anderson Jr. • Aaron N. Holleyman • Joseph C. Thibodeaux III • Nicholas Perez • Alan Rowe • Nicholas Wilt • Ronald Winchester • Eric L. Knott • Ryan Michael McCauley • Gary A. Vaillant • Charles R. Lamb • Shawna M. Morrison • John J. Boria • Elvis Bourdon • Tomas Garces • Devin J. Grella • Brandon Michael Read • Michael J. Allred • David Paul Burridge • Derek L. Gardner • Quinn A. Keith • Joseph C. McCarthy • Mick R. Nygardbekowsky • Lamont N. Wilson • Clarence Adams III • Yoe M. Aneiros • Chad H. Drake • Timothy E. Price • James Daniel Faulkner • Michael A. Martinez • Jason L. Sparks • Lauro G. DeLeon Jr. • Edgar P. Daclan Jr. • David A. Cedergren • Jason T. Poindexter • Alexander E. Wetherbee • Guy Stanley Hagy Jr. • Carl Thomas • Benjamin W. Isenberg • David J. Weisenburg • Dominic C. Brown • Michael J. Halal • Cesar F. Machado-Olmos • Jaygee Ngirmidol Meluat • Mathew D. Puckett • Adrian V. Soltau • Tyler Hall Brown • Jacob H. Demand • Kevin M. Shea • Gregory C. Howman • Drew M. Uhles • Steven A. Rintamaki • Andrew K. Stern • Christopher S. Ebert • James W. Price • Thomas Chad Rosenbaum • Brandon E. Adams • Joshua J. Henry • Steven C. T. Cates • Foster L. Harrington • Nathan E. Stahl • Adam J. Harris • Skipper Soram • Lance J. Koenig • Benjamin K. Smith • Aaron Boyles • Timothy Folmar • Ryan Leduc • Ramon Mateo • Robert Oliver Unruh • David W. Johnson • Clifford L. Moxley Jr. • Eric L. Allton • Gregory A. Cox • Joselito O. Villanueva • Kenneth L. Sickels • Tyler D. Prewitt • Mike A. Dennie • Joshua K. Titcomb • Darren J. Cunningham • Rodney A. Jones • Allen Nolan • Jack Taft Hennessy • Michael A. Uvanni • Russell L. Collier • Christopher S. Potts • James L. Pettaway Jr. • Richard L. Morgan Jr. • Jeungjin Na "Nikky" Kim • Jessica L. Cawvey • Morgen N. Jacobs • Andrew W. Brown • Michael S. Voss • Andrew Halverson • James E. Prevete • Carson J. Ramsey • Michael Lee Burbank • Anthony W. Monroe • Pamela G. Osbourne • Aaron J. Rusin • Christopher A. Merville • Dennis L. Pintor • Michael S. Weger • Oscar A. Martinez • Ian T. Zook • Daniel R. Wyatt • Jaime Moreno • Jeremy F. Regnier • Ronald W. Baker • Mark P. Phelan • Charles R. Soltes Jr. • Paul M. Felsberg • Victor A. Gonzalez • Mark A. Barbret • Bradley S. Beard • Omer T. Hawkins II • Josiah H. Vandertulip • David L. Waters • Michael G. Owen • Jonathan J. Santos • Alan J. Burgess • William I. Salazar • Brian K. Schramm • William I. Brennan • Christopher B. Johnson • Andrew C. Ehrlich • Douglas E. Bascom • Jonathan E. Gadsden • Dennis J. Boles • Richard Patrick Slocum • Brian Oliveira • Jerome Lemon • Michael Battles Sr. • Stephen P. Downing II • Segun Frederick Akintade • Maurice Keith Fortune • Jeremy D. Bow • John T. Byrd II • Kelley L. Courtney • Travis A. Fox • Christopher J. Lapka • John Lukac • Andrew G. Riedel • Michael P. Scarborough • Matthew D. Lynch • Charles Joseph Webb • Cody L. Wentz • Jeremiah A. Baro • Jared P. Hubbard • Carlos M. Camacho-Rivera • Justin R. Yoemans • Brian K. Baker • Quoc Binh Tran • Otie Joseph McVey • Sean M. Langley • Don Allen Clary • Clinton Lee Wisdom • Bryan L. Freeman • Thomas J. Zapp • Nathaniel T. Hammond • Jeffrey Lam • Shane K. O'Donnell • Joshua D. Palmer • Branden P. Ramey • David G. Ries • Robert P. Warns II • Steven E. Auchman • Travis A. Babbitt • Steven W. Faulkenburg • Horst Gerhard "Gary" Moore • John Byron Trotter • Todd R. Cornell • David M. Caruso • William C. James • Nicholas D. Larson • Juan E. Segura • Abraham Simpson • Russell L. Slay • Lonny D. Wells • Nathan R. Wood • Dennis J. Miller Jr. • Michael C. Ottolini • Wesley J. Canning • Erick J. Hodges • Romulo J. Jimenez II • Dan T. Malcom Jr. • Aaron C. Pickering • Gene Ramirez • Julian Woods • Thomas K. Doerflinger • Sean P. Huey • James P. "JP" Blecksmith • Theodore A. Bowling • Kyle W. Burns • Theodore S. "Sam" Holder II • Justin D. Reppuhn • Peter J. Giannopoulos • Edward D. Iwan • James C. "J.C." Matteson • Jonathan B. Shields • Raymond L. White • Nathan R. Anderson • Nicholas H. Anderson • David M. Branning • Jarrod L. Maher • Brian A. Medina • Morgan W. Strader • Brian P. Prening • Cole W. Larsen • Sean P. Sims • Jose A. Velez • Catalin D. Dima • Benjamin S. Bryan • Kevin J. Dempsey • Justin M. Ellsworth • Victor R. Lu • Justin D. McLeese • Byron W. Norwood • Dale A. Burger Jr. • George J. Payton • Andres H. Perez • Nicholas L. Ziolkowski • Isaiah R. Hunt • Jeramy A. Ailes • Travis R. Desiato • Shane E. Kielion • William L. Miller • Bradley L. Parker • Rafael Peralta • Patrick Marc M. Rapicault • Marc T. Ryan • Antoine D. Smith • James E. Swain • Lance M. Thompson • Marshall H. Caddy • Jose Ricardo Flores-Mejia • Daniel James McConnell • Luke C. Wullenwaber • Christopher T. Heflin • Louis W. Qualls • Michael Wayne Hanks • Joseph M. Nolan • Luis A. Figueroa • Demarkus D. Brown • Michael A. Downey • Dimitrios  Gavriel • Phillip G.  West • Bradley Thomas Arms • Jack Bryant Jr. • David L. Roustum • Joseph J. Heredia • Joseph T. Welke • Blain M. Ebert • Michael R. Cohen • Benjamin C. Edinger • Sergio R. Diaz Varela • Nicholas S. Nolte • Jeffery Scott Holmes • Gentian Marku • Ryan J. Cantafio • Brian K. Grant • Harrison J. Meyer • Bradley M. Faircloth • David B. Houck • Jordan D. Winkler • Jeremy E. Christensen • Michael A. Smith • Kirk J. Bosselmann • Joshua E. Lucero • Stephen C. Benish • Carl W. Lee • Trinidad R. Martinezluis • Michael B. Shackelford • Adam R. Brooks • Charles A. Hanson Jr. • Erik W. Hayes • Daryl A. Davis • Christian P. Engeldrum • Wilfredo F. Urbina • Blake A. Magaoay • Pablo A. Calderon • Jose Guereca Jr. • David M. Fisher • Javier Obleas-Prado Pena • Bryan S. Wilson • Zachary A. Kolda • George Daniel Harrison • David P. Mahlenbrock • Henry E. Irizarry • Binh N. Le • Matthew A. Wyatt • Michael L. Boatright • Cari Anne Gasiewicz • David A. Mitts • Salamo J. Tuialuuluu • Joseph O. Behnke • Kyle A. Eggers • Edwin William Roodhouse • Marvin Lee Trost III • Andrew M. Ward • Todd Clayton Gibbs • Mark N. Stubenhofer • In C. Kim • Arthur C. Williams IV • Patrick D. Leach • Andrew C. Shields • Christopher S. Adlesperger • Kyle J. Renehan • Robert W. Hoyt • Gregory P. Rund • Joshua A. Ramsey • Jeffery S. Blanton • Melvin L. Blazer • Jason S. Clairday • Joshua W. Dickinson • Jeffrey L. Kirk • Hilario F. Lopez • Ian W. Stewart • Tina Safaira Time • Brent T. Vroman • Richard D. Warner • Victor A. Martinez • Michael D. Anderson • Franklin A. Sweger • Donald B. Farmer • Barry K. Meza • Joel Egan Baldwin • Lionel Ayro • Jonathan Castro • Cory Michael Hewitt • William W. Jacobsen Jr. • Robert S. Johnson • Julian S. Melo • Robert D. ODell • Darren D. VanKomen • Thomas John Dostie • Nicholas C. "Nick" Mason • Lynn Robert Poulin Sr. • David A. Ruhren • Paul D. Karpowich • Neil D. Petsche • Christopher W. Barnett • Eric Hillenburg • James R. Phillips • Raleigh C. Smith • Jose A. Rivera-Serrano • Todd D. Olson • Nathaniel J. Nyren • Jason A. Lehto • Pablito Pena Briones Jr. • Oscar Sanchez • Craig L. Nelson • Damien T. Ficek • Jason E. Smith • Jeff LeBrun • Brian P. Parrello • Thomas E. Houser • Cory R. Depew • Bennie J. Washington • Curtis L. Wooten III • Jimmy D. Buie • Joshua S. Marcum • Jeremy W. McHalffey • Christopher J. Babin • Bradley J. Bergeron • Kurt J. Comeaux • Huey P. L. Fassbender • Armand L. Frickey • Warren A. Murphy • Kenneth G. Vonronn • Julio C. Cisneros-Alvarez • Zachariah Scott Davis • Daniel F. Guastaferro • Dwayne James McFarlane Jr. • Joseph E. Fite • William F. Manuel • Robert Wesley Sweeney III • Michael J. Smith • Gunnar D. Becker • Brian A. Mack • Matthew W. Holloway • Juan Rodrigo Rodriguez Velasco • Paul C. Holter III • Nathaniel T. Swindell • Jayton D. Patterson • Alain L. Kamolvathin • Jesus Fonseca • George R. Geer • Thomas E. Vitagliano • Francis C. Obaji • Christopher J. Sullivan • Kyle William Childress • Joe Fenton Lusk II • Nainoa K. Hoe • Jose C. Rangel • Michael C. Carlson • Jesus A. Leon-Perez • Javier Marin Jr. • Joseph W. Stevens • Brett D. Swank • Viktar V. Yolkin • Leonard W. Adams • John Daniel House • Taylor J. Burk • William S. Kinzer Jr. • Paul C. Alaniz • Brian D. Bland • Jonathan Edward Etterling • Michael W. Finke Jr. • Travis J. Fuller • Timothy M. Gibson • Richard A • Lyle L. Gordon • Kyle J. Grimes • Tony L. Hernandez • Brian C. Hopper • Saeed Jafarkhani-Torshizi Jr. • Stephen P. Johnson • Sean P. Kelly • Dexter S. Kimble • Allan Klein • Timothy A. Knight • Fred L. Maciel • James Lee Moore • Nathaniel K. Moore • Mourad Ragimov • Rhonald Dain Rairdan • Hector Ramos • Gael Saintvil • Nathan A. Schubert • Darrell J. Schumann • Dustin M. Shumney • Matthew R. Smith • Joseph B. Spence • Michael L. Starr Jr. • Jonathan W. Bowling • Karl R. Linn • Jesse W. Strong • Christopher L. Weaver • Kevin M. Luna • Jonathan S. Beatty • Orlando A. Bonilla • Stephen A. Castellano • Charles S. Jones • Joseph E. Rodriguez • Mickey E. Zaun • Michael S. Evans II • Christopher J. Ramsey • Jonathan Ray Reed • Lyle W. Rymer II • Andrew K. Farrar Jr. • Edward E. Jack • Lindsey T. James • Barbara Heald • Keith Edward Taylor • James H. Miller IV • Nazario Serrano • Mark C. Warren • Jason C. Redifer • Harry R. Swain IV • Christopher E. Zimny • Robert T. Hendrickson • Sean Lee Brock • Sean P. Maher • Stephen R. Sherman • Sean Michael Cooley • Richard C. Clifton • Steven G. Bayow • Daniel Torres • Travis M. Wichlacz • Jeremy O. Allmon • Zachary Ryan Wobler • Jeffrey S. Henthorn • Jessica M. Housby • William T. Robbins • Richard A. Perez Jr. • Kristopher L. Shepherd • Robert A. McNail • Ray Rangel • David J. Brangman • Dakotah L. Gooding • Rene Knox Jr. • Chad W. Lake • David J. Salie • Michael A. Arciola • Katrina Lani Bell-Johnson • Justin B. Carter • Jason R. Hendrix • Adam J. Plumondore • Christopher M. Pusateri • Timothy R. Osbey • Joseph A. Rahaim • Frank B. Hernandez • Carlos J. Gil • Clinton R. Gertson • Adam Malson • Seth R. Trahan • Kevin Michael Clarke • David F. Day • Jesse M. Lhotka • Jason G. Timmerman • John T. Olson • Trevor D. Aston • Eric M. Steffeney • Nicholas J. Olivier • Alexander B. Crackel • Michael S. Deem • Daniel G. Gresham • Jacob C. Palmatier • Adam Noel Brewer • Colby M. Farnan • Chassan S. Henry • Jason L. Moski • Min-su Choi • Landon S. Giles • Andrew W. Nowacki • Danny L. Anderson • Richard Brian Gienau • Julio E. Negron • Lizbeth Robles • Azhar Ali • Wai Pyoe Lwin • Robert Shane Pugh • Michael D. Jones • Donald W. Eacho • Sean Grimes • Stephen M. McGowan • Adriana N. Salem • Juan M. Solorio • Wade Michael Twyman • Seth K. Garceau • Andrew L. Bossert • Michael W. Franklin • Matthew A. Koch • Donald D. Griffith Jr. • Nicholas E. Wilson • Joshua L. Torrence • Paul M. Heltzel • Ricky A. Kieffer • Rocky D. Payne • Lee A. Lewis Jr. • Jonathan A. Hughes • Francisco G. Martinez • Paul W. Thomason III • Kevin S. Smith • Travis R. Bruce • Bryan J. Richardson • Lee M. Godbolt • Isiah J. Sinclair • Samuel S. Lee • Kelly S. Morris • Kenneth L. Ridgley • Eric L. Toth • Charles G. Wells Jr. • Robbie D. McNary • Garrywesley Tan Rimes • Ioasa F. Tavae Jr. • Tenzin Dengkhim • William D. Richardson • James Alexander Sherrill • Stephen C. Kennedy • Christopher W. Dill • Jeremiah C. Kinchen • Javier J. Garcia • Glenn J. Watkins • Juan C. Venegas • Kevin Dewayne Davis • Casey M. LaWare • Tyler J. Dickens • Manuel Lopez III • John W. Miller • Michael B. Lindemuth • James C. Edge • Aleina Ramirezgonzalez • Aaron M. Hudson • Angelo L. Lozada Jr. • Randy Lee Stevens • Tromaine K. Toy Sr. • Joseph L. Knott • Steven F. Sirko • Sam W. Huff • Steven W. Thornton • Jacob M. Pfister • Kevin S. K. Wessel • Kelly M. Cannan • Marty G. Mortenson • Robert A. "Bobby" Guy • Gavin J. Colburn • Aaron A. Kent • Anthony J. Davis Jr. • Kevin William Prince • Gary W. Walters Jr. • Timmy J. Millsap • David L. Rice • Joseph S. Tremblay • William A. Edens • Eric Wayne Morris • Robert W. Murray Jr. • Ricky W. Rockholt Jr. • Timothy Craig Kiser • Charles S. Cooper Jr. • Darren A. Deblanc • Stephen W. Frank • Clifford V. "CC" Gadsden • Ralph J. "Jay" Harting III • Juan de Dios Garcia-Arana • Kenya A. Parker • Derrick Joseph Lutters • Tommy S. Little • John E. McGee • Kelly C. Hinz • John C. Spahr • William J. Brooks • Stephen P. Saxton • Michael V. Postal • Aaron N. Cepeda Sr. • Lance Tanner Graham • Michael A. Marzano • Jeffery L. Wiener • Steven Ray Givens • Thor H. Ingraham • Nicolas E. Messmer • Gary A. "Andy" Eckert Jr. • Lawrence R. Philippon • Dustin A. Derga • Stephen P. Baldwyn • Anthony L. Goodwin • Marcus Mahdee • Taylor B. Prazynski • Michael J. Bordelon • Samuel Tyrone Castle • Kendall H. Ivy II • John T. Schmidt III • Wesley G. Davids • Christopher R. Dixon • Nicholas B. Erdy • Jonathan Walter Grant • Jourdan L. Grez • Andrew R. Jodon • John M. Smith • Kenneth E. Zeigler II • Travis W. Anderson • Charles C. Gillican III • Jacob M. Simpson • Wesley R. Riggs • Antwan L. "Twan" Walker • Wyatt D. Eisenhauer • Robin V. Fell • Bernard L. Sembly • Kurt D. Schamberg • Brad A. Wentz • Tyler L. Creamean • Benjamin C. Morton • Kenneth J. Schall • Aaron N. Seesan • Charles T. Wilkerson • Carl J. Morgain • John B. Ogburn III • Joshua T. Brazee • Russell J. Verdugo • Bryan Edward Barron • Audrey Daron Lunsford • Saburant "Sabe" Parker • Daniel Ryan Varnado • Christopher S. Perez • Randy D. Collins • Charles A. "Chuck" Drier • Dustin Fisher • Jeff Wallace • Peter J. Hahn • Alfred Barton Siler • David Neil Wimberg • Ricardo A. Crocker • Matthew Scott Lourey • Mark A. Maida • Joshua Michael Scott

( US fatalities in Iraq, from the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count)


The joys of Linux

I finally got fed up with the glacial slowness of SuSE Enterprise Linux v9 on the factory case, so I pulled the SuSE disk and replaced it with a 20gb slackware disk that was on a laptop that had committed PCMCIA suicide. It worked fine, except for one teeny problem. And that teeny problem was that X11 didn't work on the 1600SW at all, even when I took an X configuration file that had been known to work before.

In the old days, when Xfree86 was at version 3.x, I could get X11 working on the 1600sw, no matter whether I used a #9 Revolution 4 or a 3Dlabs Oxygen VX1 (a video card that comes with it's own space heater; I've modded it so it just has a big old heatsink without a fan, and that heatsink gets almost too hot to touch after the video card has been running for a while. But now that has updated to a Bigger! And! Better! version of the X server (and now that the Free Software Fundamentalists have turned to attack the XFree86 people for having the temerity to insist that people be properly credited for their contributions to the project), it not only doesn't work, but it doesn't work in a most worthless way; if the X configuration can't find the mouse, it doesn't fail. No, it seems to just mangle the screen and keyboard, then spin there until I reboot the machine.

It took me a long time to find that out, and after fixing it the keyboard would at least come back after the screen got mangled, so I could then kill the offending X display and peer through the debugging output to see if I could (I couldn't) figure out why X11 was simply failing.

I guess I'll just drag XFree86 3.3.6 over from my Mastodon development box and try to get it to compile on the factory case. Eventually. Right now it seems like it's more work than it's worth, except to whine about on TSFR.

May 29, 2005

Why, this is hell, nor are we out of it

The Sunday Times has a spiffy little report detailing how the US and UK tried to goad Iraq into starting a war by just cranking up bombing runs against that state.

In a just world, publishing this would result in Tony Blair and Maximum Leader Genius being dragged off in chains to face charges of high treason. And in a world where there was a G-d, it would be bolt of lightning and pillar of salt time in the OK corral.


May 28, 2005

The joy of NTP

The motherboard on pell is fairly elderly, and one of the annoying featurettes it's developed in its old age is that it will sometimes lose track of the date when you shut it off. Today, I shut it off so I could move it off the floor and up onto an equipment rack in the world's most underventilated machine room (it's got two hefty air conditioners, but it's also got a 200-node beowolf, a collection of large and powerhungry SGI boxes, a few itanics, and a big honking EMC disk array. And a netapp, but that just works, so it's not important) and the clock reset itself back to 1999.

Guess what ntpd did? Did it jump the clock forward with -g? Hell, no; ntpd looked at all the stratum 1 and 2 clock servers reporting that it was May 2005, looked at the local clock that was reporting that it was sometime in January 1999, and decided to ignore all those pesky nameservers and trust the force.

The force can bite me. NTP did bite me, in the usual cheerful way that ntpd fails when it just doesn't understand the world. And thus when I posted an article to TSFR, it backdated it to 1999, which completely confused annotations, and then completely confused me.

Acall to ntpdate fixed that problem, but in a fairly slow and painful manner. Did I mention that ntpd sucks? Why, yes, and it can bite me too.

This has been a public service announcement from the department of All Hardware Sucks; All Software Sucks.

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BOFH in training

I've visited the colocation facility where I keep pell and gehenna three times in the last week; once to work out the details of the move, once to move the machines, and once (today) to take the machines off the floor and stuff them into a rack so people won't trip over them. On two of those trips, Russell has come along, and the one time he didn't, he bitterly complained because he wanted to come. Today, when I went in, he said he wanted to go, the best asked him if he'd be bored, and he replied that no, it was a new building and new computers, so he'd have fun.

And he did. He even helped me pull a couple of machines out of a rack and yank some of the parts out for relocation into a newer machine. It's good work experience for a 5 year old -- when he's an adult, I'd suspect that automobiles will have no mechanic-accessable parts, but the PC world is a neverending parade of bizarre computer components that will require the presence of an onsite mechanic (or a 100x more expensive robot being driven by slave labour in mainland China) to keep the machines going. (Warranty not valid if Maximum Leader Genius goes ahead and invades Iran next month; the US-driven "computer revolution" won't do us very much good when petroleum is selling for US$300 a barrel. But, barring that, being a computer janitor is a fairly safe, if high stress and low pay, career in these waning days of the American Imperium.)

May 27, 2005

City of Bridges

One of the many good views from the office where pell and gehenna are now colocated.

Portland, Lathe of Heaven style

And where are the aliens?
There ought to be aliens.
Well, maybe next year.

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™ – BOFH remix

Beware the Dust Mite From Hell

(apologies to Simon Travaglia)

It’s the apocolypse

Contrary to my earlier plans, I'm planning on moving pell and gehenna into their new downtown office today, at 5pm, just before memorial day weekend.

Our new and old network connections are promising no problems with turning the old routes off and turning the new routes on, though we heard braincells frying when we informed them that, yes, we have two class C networks belonging to two different organizations.

"But you'll be assigning both networks to the same company, right?"
"Uh, no, they belong to different organizations. Colocation, remember?"
"Okay, that's fine; you'll just have to fill out this form to tell ARIN that you're going to assign both networks to the same company"

So, no, I'm not expecting that anything will go wrong. I'm also expecting that I'm going to win that big lottery drawing tomorrow (and I've even gone the extra mile and set a dollar on fire invested wisely in a lottery ticket, so what could go wrong! Perhaps I'll talk to Matson about how quickly they'll be able to ship any surviving V8s and Russias from Brazil), and I'd like to take the opportunity to announce that I am actually Marie, Queen of Rumania.

The first horseman step in this grand plan is to assign some new IP addresses, just for paranoia's sake, and repush the DNS so that even if 10,000 lucky coincidences happen to the network connections I'll be able to use some backup addresses that are (allegedly; we don't have anything in the new colo, so we can't reliably ping them) already active. This will have the side-effect of making TSFR much harder to reach, because browsers will spend a lot of time pounding their heads against some IP addresses that just don't resolve.

It'll be just like the 2008 election! Wheeee!

Small Children At Work

Saint Russell blesses the soap bubbles.

There might be an erupting volcano in the background, but tiny bits of volcanic ash are far more interesting.

Why look at the volcano when you can walk around on the top of the nice stone wall that the US Government obligingly built at the summit of Johnston Ridge?

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HotHotHot Volcano Action!

Stratovolcanos can be fairly enthusiastic when they erupt, but much of the time it's about as exciting as watching paint dry.

This is an erupting volcano. Exciting, isn't it? It would probably be far more thrilling when you're close up, because there are earthquakes every 2-3 minutes as the lava pushes its way up to the surface of the earth, but by the time it reaches the surface, it's not much more exciting than watching toothpaste being squeezed out of a tube (well, aside from the tiny detail that the surface of this toothpaste is 700°C and that the ribbon is about 100 meters wide.)

Railroad picture(s) of the day (look, they aren’t painted yellow! edition)

There's a large grain and lumber reload facility north of Portland on the ex BN/UP joint line from Portland to Seattle, and when we were coming back from our trip to Mount St. Helens, I tried to take pictures of the Eng!'s (™ Silas) that were sitting there. None of the pictures turned out too well (70mph on the freeway doesn't do much for my manual focussing skills -- on the way to MSH, I let the autofocus do its thing, and the poor Pentax couldn't keep up with the engs, the trees, and the traffic moving the other way), but you'll notice that none of these engines belong to the Union Pacific.

Thus, even though the pictures are not that great, they're still the railroad pictures of the day.

You can tell we live in a logger’s country

When you can drive down country roads and come across the remains of a steam donkey engine, still attached to the log sled (made up of a couple of logs that, if the wood was still any good, would be nice old-growth timber) just sitting by the side of the road.

This one probably is not restorable; it looks like when the donkey was dumped someone stripped off not just the boiler, but the cylinders as well (and being abandoned by the side of the road means that the carcass of the winding gear has been pretty well picked over by antiquers.)

To verify that it wasn't easily restorable, we brought in an expert mechanic to look over the wreck, and were assured that it would be more trouble that it was worth to load 2 tons of metal into our Prius and take it home so we could start logging the Westmoreland hills.

Dust Mite's professional opinion is that we can't repair it and make it better.

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

On Thursday, Dust Mite decided to take advantage of the clear weather and visit Johnston Ridge Observatory. It was a fine clear day and everything, including the active volcano in the background, was quiet (when we were there we only saw one little tiny burp of steam over the mountain.) Dust Mite wanted to look at the volcanocam, but it's difficult for a stuffed dust mite to climb up 20 feet and pose in front of the camera until it takes a picture.

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May 26, 2005

Trolley picture of the day

An SD600 in the new paint scheme crosses Martin Luther King Blvd, heading east to the Portland airport.

May 25, 2005

Railroad picture of the day (the server isn’t dead yet remix)

Union Pacific switchers in a variety of colors, spotted at the south end of Brooklyn Yard last weekend, as we were driving by in the car. The proper way of taking the pictures would be to walk over to the (other side of) 99E entrance to the yards and take pictures with a telephoto lens, but the UP is a big Evil Party donor and they'd probably have me whisked off to Homeland Security reeducation camp before I could say Jack Robinson.

So, I'll take the pictures from the car, use the GIMP to rotate them so the locomotives don't appear to be falling off the edge of the world, and crop out the bits of the car that appear around the edges of the photo.

Fun with colocation

Pell and Gehenna are colocated in downtown Portland; we're moving them from one facility to another this week (starting in, um, about 2.5 hours), so it's possible that they'll evaporate for several hours while the machines are handcarted 8 blocks and the routes are reshuffled.

At least I'm not going this on a friday night; if everything is moved on wednesday afternoon, there's actually a fighting chance someone will be working in the old and new NOCs and they'll be able to move the routes without waiting until after the 3-day weekend.

In the worst case, TSFR will be up again sometime next week.


May 24, 2005

Stratovolcanos at play

Mount St. Helens is building up a new dome after loudly hiccupping off the old one 25 years ago.

Mount Hood, on the other hand, is just sitting there looking scenic.

My, that was fast.

Remember the wonderful compromise over the filibuster that the Stupid Party agreed to? And that it would "protect" the filibuster if it wasn't used.

It will come as no great surprise to learn that Evil Party promises aren't worth the paper they're written on.

Or, to put it more succinctly: Told you so!

(via thinkprogress)

No, it’s not a very good compromise

A lot of liberals are putting on their happy faces about the, um, compromise over the filibuster, which waives it for three typical Evil Party "judges" (corrupt, unqualified, possibly racist) in return for a promise to not immediately gut the government the next time some terrible Evil Party court nominee comes up for approval.

A promise.

From the Evil Party.

And does anyone think that the Evil Party, which set up a huge pile of ways to block a Democrat from appointing judges, only to immediately dismantle them as soon as Maximum Leader Genius stole the 2000 election, considers a promise to be worth the paper it's (not) written on?

Unless the promise comes in the way of wire nooses fastened around the testicles of the Evil Party leadership, to be held at all times by Democratic Party interns (who should be still young enough to be unbribable) who have been ordered to give start yanking on the cord as soon as the Evil Party leadership even says the phrase "nuclear option", it's worth about as much as every other promise that the Evil Party has made in the last 30 years.

The Evil Party doesn't do promises; they do paybacks. The American Taliban reliably delivers both votes and voter fraud to the Evil Party, and they payback they're getting is the systematic dismantling of the separation between church and state. The Stupid Party can deliver, what, some yapping about how it's important not to dismantle the US government, and the Evil Party pays them back by saying "oh, we won't dismantle the government" while they continue to work away with their prybars and iron mallets. It's not a particularly good deal for the Stupid Party.

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May 23, 2005

I’m not sure what the purpose of ‘preserving’ the filibuster is…

... if the price of it is that the Stupid Party will never use it.

I am surprised that the Taliban is painting this as an ingoble defeat, when it's a "we'll let all of your really horrible nominees through, and maybe we'll filibuster a couple of sacrificial ones" victory, where all that the Democrats can carry off the field is the "we managed to last a day before we caved" booby prize that previously belonged to the John Kerry (S-MA) presidential campaign.

It's not as if the Taliban will vote for the Stupid Party after this pretend Evil Party "betrayal" anyways.

1 comment

May 22, 2005

(Narrow-gauge) railroad picture of the day

The Zooliner returns to the top station after climbing the hill from the Washington Park station. This was the last train of the day, and, fortunately, the off-and-on rain was off just long enough for me to take this picture.

Buzz Buzz Buzz (goes the bumblebee)

Alien Sex Toy?

We went to the Zoo this afternoon, and saw the strangest thing; a sea cucumber was standing upright in its fishtank, waving gently back and forth and waiting for, um, something that only a sea cucumber would understand.

It was difficult to get a good photo of the sea cucumber, so I had to do a little bit of photo enhancement, which turned an already alien sight into something even stranger.

May 21, 2005

Too wet to be clever

It's been raining all day and #1 son and I have pinkeye, so none of us are at our absolute best.

Bybee Ave, at about 6pm today. Lovely, isn't it?

It didn't look quite so bad yesterday evening, but this is western Oregon, and the weather is always deceptive

May 20, 2005

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Still Life with Dust Mite

Quick religous riddle

If you're going to do a political cartoon about a friendly foreign dictatorship, do you think it might be useful to use images that aren't considered offensive by the citizens of that foreign dictatorship?

There's a popular islamic belief that dogs are unclean (I'm not sure where this belief comes from -- it's been a looong time since I've read the Koran [and that only in translation], but I don't recall much about dogs aside from the oft-quoted Sura 18 -- but many believers do think that dogs are unclean), and if you don't believe this ill-founded prejudice, there's a long tradition of dogs being considered as nothing more than obedient servents. So if you already suspect that your government has become a puppet of the United States, it's just possible that seeing cartoons in the US press showing your country as a "good dog" might tend to piss you off (cf: Tony "the poodle" Blair) and provoke public demonstrations (which the, ahem, US-backed government will then call "riots" to avoid the PR taint of shooting demonstrators.)

It's more personal when the empire that controls your country refers to you as nothing but "good doggies" than when someone comments, for the 100th time, that torturers working for that empire are desecrating bibles Korans. Don't believe it? Look at the United States -- we don't care if 100,000 Iraqi civilians get killed, but if 4 mercenaries working for a US company die, it's time to raze a few cities to the ground, and if another 4-5000 civilians die in the attack, oh well, it's not as if they were Americans or anything.

(cartoon via Hullabaloo)

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At least they weren’t desecrating the Koran!

There's an article in the New York Times that describes, in more detail that I ever wanted to know, how the United States of America tortures people to death.

We do this shit all the time. And since the Coward in Chief has had his "accountability moment", we're going to keep doing it.

Tear down the Statue of Liberty. It's time to replace it with something more appropriate to what the United States has become:

(link via Avedon Carol)


May 19, 2005

A lineup of bridges

I've been thinking of tweaking the layout of TSFR so that, aside from the traditional pink triangle, I can randomly pick images to fit onto the top of the page. That project hasn't gotten very far, but I have taken a bunch of pictures for it:

The Marquam Bridge, if posed properly, does not look like it was just plunked down in the middle of the Willamette River and had the approach ramps glued on as an after thought.
It's very easy to get a striking picture of the Ross Island Bridge; this one was taken from the walkway around OMSI.
This is looking across the river from OMSI over towards the development that sits about where the SP Red Electric yards were at the north end of the railway to Lake Oswego.
The eastside approaches to the Marquam Bridge are kind of interesting. The freeway has to climb from ground level up to the deck level of the bridge in the ~3/4ths mile south of the Morrison Bridge, and it needs to be high enough to clear traffic on the Hawthorne bridge before that.

I may never get the redesign of TSFR finished, because my artistic sense is more like a magpie than a graphic designer, but at least it gives me another excuse to take pictures (as if I needed another one.)

Why I don’t subscribe to The New Republic (executive summary)

A long time ago, before the United States was taken over by the Keystone Fascists, I subscribed to a fairly large range of political magazines, from The Nation on the left to the Economist on the right. One of these magazines was The New Republic, which had lost its liberal luster quite a few years ago and was flirting with, but never quite knowing, the right wing. The New Republic was never one of my favorite magazines, but it was an acceptable window into the twisted minds of the self-proclaimed "centrists" of the political world, plus it had Michael Lewis's brilliant political commentary.

Of course, all good things come to an end. The New Republic weathered the overthrow of the United States without embarrassing itself too much (The Nation did a better job, because they published None Dare Call it Treason while the rest of the liberal press was still tiptoeing around the horsehead, but TNR wasn't an abject embarrassment.) But when Osama bin Laden (remember him? He's the fellow who masterminded the destruction of WTC 1,2,and 7) said "hello" to the United States on 11-Sep-2001, it ripped the remaining sense of decency out of The New Republic, which (unlike The Nation, which shed much of its petty leftist squabbling and lifted itself to new heights) lunged towards neoconservatism like a kitten charging after a ball of yarn. My reaction towards getting TNR in the mailbox every week changed from reading it the day it arrived, to reading it sometime during the next week, to just letting the issues pile up, to hurling them, with great force, into the recycling bin, and when the "time to renew notices" started arriving, they were sent on to be pulped without further notice.

Fast forward 2 and a half years.

Last week, I got a chirpy little form letter from Peter Beinart, which was a long plea for me to resubscribe to TNR, and arguing that "okay, so we're conservative, but if you're a liberal you should read us because you're open-minded and we'll challenge your moth-eaten liberal positions with the fierce light of Neoconservative™ Truth!" This letter sat around the house for several days, waiting for me to compose a reply telling them exactly why I didn't wish to resubscribe.

And then Newsweek got trolled by the White House, and the wingnut brigade got busy building little straw men and knocking them down. And then, what do I see? Why, The New Republic (via the increasingly disgusting pen of Martin Peretz) joining in with the wingnut brigade to just make shit up about both Newsweek (who's only sin appears to be that they believed General K. ArlRove when he said, why, yes, he personally saw that document A contained commentary about the US military flushing copies of the Koran down toilets when it was actually documents B, C, D, and down to document ZZZZ) and the US deathcamps (37 prisoners tortured to death that we know about -- that would be 17 prisoners and another 20 added on. Andrew Sullivan, who is a barking-mad conservative, has been pointing this detail out far more eloquently than I ever could.) So, no, I don't think I even need to tell TNR why I won't subscribe to their nasty little magazine; they're already damned and I'm not in the mood to help them redeem themselves.

I’ll never be able to write like this

Life in the United States now is like being trapped on a jet piloted by people who keep claiming there's a huge secret tunnel through the Rockies—and they're going to use it to fly us all through to the other side. You just have to pray to god they know they're lying.

That's the best description of the Evil Party ever. You know that if the Democratic Party was piloting this jet, they'd believe that there was a tunnel.

(via A Tiny Revolution)

May 18, 2005

Cute baby picture of the day

May 17, 2005

Look, it’s a politician with a backbone!

The British MP George Galloway visited the United States this week, and took some time to lecture the leadership of the Evil Party about their attempts to slander him.

"Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader. and neither has anyone on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one - and neither has anyone on my behalf.

"Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I am here today but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever written to me or telephoned me, without any attempt to contact me whatsoever. And you call that justice.

I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction.

I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda.

I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001.

I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.

Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

"Now I want to deal with the pages that relate to me in this dossier and I want to point out areas where there are - let's be charitable and say errors. Then I want to put this in the context where I believe it ought to be. On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein. This is false.

"I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as "many meetings" with Saddam Hussein.

"As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defense made of his.

"I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and Americans governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas. I used to demonstrate outside the Iraqi embassy when British and American officials were going in and doing commerce.

"You will see from the official parliamentary record, Hansard, from the 15th March 1990 onwards, voluminous evidence that I have a rather better record of opposition to Saddam Hussein than you do and than any other member of the British or American governments do.

"Now you say in this document, you quote a source, you have the gall to quote a source, without ever having asked me whether the allegation from the source is true, that I am 'the owner of a company which has made substantial profits from trading in Iraqi oil'.

"Senator, I do not own any companies, beyond a small company whose entire purpose, whose sole purpose, is to receive the income from my journalistic earnings from my employer, Associated Newspapers, in London. I do not own a company that's been trading in Iraqi oil. And you have no business to carry a quotation, utterly unsubstantiated and false, implying otherwise.

"Now you have nothing on me, Senator, except my name on lists of names from Iraq, many of which have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad. If you had any of the letters against me that you had against Zhirinovsky, and even Pasqua, they would have been up there in your slideshow for the members of your committee today.

"You have my name on lists provided to you by the Duelfer inquiry, provided to him by the convicted bank robber, and fraudster and conman Ahmed Chalabi who many people to their credit in your country now realize played a decisive role in leading your country into the disaster in Iraq.

"There were 270 names on that list originally. That's somehow been filleted down to the names you chose to deal with in this committee. Some of the names on that committee included the former secretary to his Holiness Pope John Paul II, the former head of the African National Congress Presidential office and many others who had one defining characteristic in common: they all stood against the policy of sanctions and war which you vociferously prosecuted and which has led us to this disaster.

"You quote Mr Dahar Yassein Ramadan. Well, you have something on me, I've never met Mr Dahar Yassein Ramadan. Your sub-committee apparently has. But I do know that he's your prisoner, I believe he's in Abu Ghraib prison. I believe he is facing war crimes charges, punishable by death. In these circumstances, knowing what the world knows about how you treat prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, in Bagram Airbase, in Guantanamo Bay, including I may say, British citizens being held in those places.

"I'm not sure how much credibility anyone would put on anything you manage to get from a prisoner in those circumstances. But you quote 13 words from Dahar Yassein Ramadan whom I have never met. If he said what he said, then he is wrong.

"And if you had any evidence that I had ever engaged in any actual oil transaction, if you had any evidence that anybody ever gave me any money, it would be before the public and before this committee today because I agreed with your Mr Greenblatt [Mark Greenblatt, legal counsel on the committee].

"Your Mr Greenblatt was absolutely correct. What counts is not the names on the paper, what counts is where's the money. Senator? Who paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars of money? The answer to that is nobody. And if you had anybody who ever paid me a penny, you would have produced them today.

"Now you refer at length to a company names in these documents as Aredio Petroleum. I say to you under oath here today: I have never heard of this company, I have never met anyone from this company. This company has never paid a penny to me and I'll tell you something else: I can assure you that Aredio Petroleum has never paid a single penny to the Mariam Appeal Campaign. Not a thin dime. I don't know who Aredio Petroleum are, but I daresay if you were to ask them they would confirm that they have never met me or ever paid me a penny.

"Whilst I'm on that subject, who is this senior former regime official that you spoke to yesterday? Don't you think I have a right to know? Don't you think the Committee and the public have a right to know who this senior former regime official you were quoting against me interviewed yesterday actually is?

"Now, one of the most serious of the mistakes you have made in this set of documents is, to be frank, such a schoolboy howler as to make a fool of the efforts that you have made. You assert on page 19, not once but twice, that the documents that you are referring to cover a different period in time from the documents covered by The Daily Telegraph which were a subject of a libel action won by me in the High Court in England late last year.

"You state that The Daily Telegraph article cited documents from 1992 and 1993 whilst you are dealing with documents dating from 2001. Senator, The Daily Telegraph's documents date identically to the documents that you were dealing with in your report here. None of The Daily Telegraph's documents dealt with a period of 1992, 1993. I had never set foot in Iraq until late in 1993 - never in my life. There could possibly be no documents relating to Oil-for-Food matters in 1992, 1993, for the Oil-for-Food scheme did not exist at that time.

"And yet you've allocated a full section of this document to claiming that your documents are from a different era to the Daily Telegraph documents when the opposite is true. Your documents and the Daily Telegraph documents deal with exactly the same period.

"But perhaps you were confusing the Daily Telegraph action with the Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor did indeed publish on its front pages a set of allegations against me very similar to the ones that your committee have made. They did indeed rely on documents which started in 1992, 1993. These documents were unmasked by the Christian Science Monitor themselves as forgeries.

"Now, the neo-con websites and newspapers in which you're such a hero, senator, were all absolutely cock-a-hoop at the publication of the Christian Science Monitor documents, they were all absolutely convinced of their authenticity. They were all absolutely convinced that these documents showed me receiving $10 million from the Saddam regime. And they were all lies.

"In the same week as the Daily Telegraph published their documents against me, the Christian Science Monitor published theirs which turned out to be forgeries and the British newspaper, Mail on Sunday, purchased a third set of documents which also upon forensic examination turned out to be forgeries. So there's nothing fanciful about this. Nothing at all fanciful about it.

"The existence of forged documents implicating me in commercial activities with the Iraqi regime is a proven fact. It's a proven fact that these forged documents existed and were being circulated amongst right-wing newspapers in Baghdad and around the world in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Iraqi regime.

"Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.

"I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.

"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth.

"Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Halliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer.

"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.

"Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government."

(this transcript is via Daily Kos)

It’s not all bad news in America

Last year, on May 17th, Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage. Happy anniversary to the lucky couples who got married in a state where their nuptials aren't subject to the whim of the bigots.

We didn’t need to defend the blue states anyways.

Avedon Carol is writing suspiciously about the Evil Party's ongoing project to capture the military, and points out that it really makes very little sense from any rational viewpoint.

It depends on what the military is going to be used for. If the future of America is to be a feudal society where the vast bulk of us (yes, even including upper middle class people like me) will be serfs, then it makes good sense to pull the military back to the centers of your power, so when the (former) engines that drive the US economy rebel, you don't have to worry about them taking large chunks of the army with them (The national guard is a fairly powerful fighting force, but it's well on the road to being completely wrecked, and all of the private firearms in the United States won't make a penny of difference if a civil war breaks out, but if the Republic of New England [Vermont, Mass, RI, Conn, NY, NJ, coastal Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland] took a few divisions of the regular army with them, the resulting nuclear war would tend to isolate Jesusland from the rest of the world.) But I don't think that's the reason why they're moving the armed forces to Jesusland.

I think there are two reasons to move the army to Jesusland. The first reason is the simplest; it allows them to continue to loot the public purse and reward their base, which is a long-standing published Evil Party policy. And the second reason is that they're worried that the harsh light of reality will break their control of the armed forces; it doesn't really matter that much that the reserves are being broken on the anvil of the Iraqi resistance, but if the regular army was allowed to see and hear about the effects of the New American Fascism, there might be mutinies that would be difficult to put down.

So, move them to the South! In the South, it's Pravda! 24x7 (I have relatives in the deep south, and when we've visited, it was all propaganda all the time), so there's no enabling of thoughtcrime there. And if you're in the military districts, there's a steady stream of government money rolling in to help hide the teeny detail that the US economy is going belly-up. And, to make things even better, you're not going to have any effete eastern intellectual lawyer making any waves when the fundamentalist kooks are invited into the military bases to indoctrinate the soldiers with the New! American! Christianity! (which is actually just garden-variety Satanism, but it certainly cleans up nicely, doesn't it?)

It's hard enough, even in a place where there's public debate, to convincingly argue that the wolf is at the door and that things need to be done to deter it. If the wolf can control everything you see and hear, it becomes very difficult to recognise that it is indeed a wolf.

Mind you, the South isn't nearly as stupid as the Evil Party thinks it is (if you want stupid people, shoot, 45% of Oregon voted for the Coward in Chief, and this is a state that's reinacting, in miniature, the Evil Party's policies of looting the cities to pay for votes in the country), and any attempt to move the military down to isolate it from non-fundamentalist influences is likely to backfire in the long run. There are plenty of intelligent people in the south, even if too many of them are being seduced by Free! Government! Money! and when the industrial states are completely wrecked, they won't pay very many taxes, and then the flow of tax money from the industrial states to the South will grind to a stop and the potemkin paradise that the Evil Party has set up will come to an abrupt stop.

And then it will be just like the USSR in the late 1980s, except that the Soviet Union was only pinned down in one land war in Asia.

1 comment

Oh, cute, they’ve got their own version of the Horst Wessel Song now.

I don't know whether I should file this under

  1. Time to get that visa, or
  2. Time to buy some guns, or
  3. Both (a) & (b).

This --and I'm not making it up -- is a actual Evil Party song:

Meet the Left in action, put them all in traction,
Get great satisfaction, bashing in their heads!
Hear each girl and boy sing, triumph loudly voicing,
We'll advance rejoicing, stomping out the Reds!
  	Stomping out the Reds, stomping out the Reds,
  	We'll advance rejoicing, stomping out the Reds!
Lib'rals who pooh-pooh them, radicals who woo them,
Pinkoes who debut them, all are dunderheads!
Gladly we'll embrue them, hew and barbecue them,
Passing bullets through them, stomping out the Reds!
  	Stomping out the Reds, stomping out the Reds,
  	Passing Bullets through them, stomping out the Reds!
Bayonets bright gleaming, panzers forward streaming,
Hear the Commies screaming, underneath our treads!
Scorn their masses teeming, and their traitors' scheming,
We're the West redeeming, stomping out the Reds!
  	Stomping out the Reds, stomping out the Reds,
  	We're the west redeeming, stomping out the Reds

It's not quite as eloquent as the Horst Wessel Song, but the Evil Party follows Huto-style thuggery more than Nazi-style thuggery. In any case, it's always nice to see the Evil Party living up to my wildest expectations of them.

(link via A Tiny Revolution)


May 16, 2005

Oh, now that’s an interesting exit poll excuse.

The King of Zembla has found a new and improved (if by improved, you mean threadbare) excuse for the exit polls for the 2004 "election" in the United States not predicting the same winner as the one that the (supplied by the Evil Party) tabulation machines and the state officials (who, by a happy coincidence, turned out to be members of the Evil Party) produced.

The exit polls contacted more supporters of Kerry than of Bush because of "the failure of interviewers to follow the selection rate," said Warren Mitofsky, who conducted the exit polls along with Joe Lenski of Edison Media Research.

The King of Zembla makes some unfair comments implying that changing the selection rate won't make any difference (it won't if you're using one of those boring reality-based definitions of "selection rate", but that's not important), but he has to realize that the proper selection rate is to only ask people who are wearing buttons indicating their support for the Coward in Chief (or, failing that, to just not ask anyone and wait for instructions from the local (member of the Evil Party reelection committee) Secretary of State on what the poll results should be.) Remember, exit polls are not to double-check the actual poll results for honesty (you only do that in barbarian lands where you need to make certain that the Empire's chosen vassal wins the "election" there, but you've not been able to properly export the American electoral system and have your boy win no matter who the rabble might want to vote for), but to apply a reputable veneer to the election you've already stolen. The exit polls in the United States failed at this, and thus will have to be hidden away until they can be scrubbed to match the official results.

Remember, those 10,000 lucky coincidences took a lot of time, money, and blackmail to get into place. It would be unpatriotic to report things that might make hoi polloi realize that their country was just stolen out from under their noses.

Administrative speedup

W, from the much-missed Maggothammer weblog, pointed out in comments yesterday that he wasn't able to see any of the images on TSFR since I'd put in some referrer checking flags; when I took those flags out, he remarked that TSFR was back to the traditional load-everything-but-really-slowly behavior it used to have.

Really slowly? That seemed funny, so I did a little bit of poking around, and realized, to my horror, that none of the jpeg images here were optimized, and that if I optimized them they got, um, a lot smaller (some of the "tiny" webpages images were 80k, and when optimized they dropped down to *cough* 12k *cough*.)

"What was your filename again?" *clickity clickity*


Is ‘trolling the press’ part of an official job description at Isengard on the Potomac?

If not, it should be.

Tricking Newsweek into reporting something that's been reported about 10,000 other times (but by the auslander press, so it's not as if any of the Evil Party base will have read it), and then going "oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean what I said" may have been a clever trick the first time that the Evil Party pulled it on a member of the SCLM, but this is, what, the 20th or so time this exact same stunt has been pulled? One would think that after CBS got nailed for reporting something that was true, anyone else relying on information that's even slightly related to Maximum Leader Genius would tell their anonymous Whitehouse source "Now, Karl, we love you like a father, but you have to understand that if you doublecross us we're going to publish every fucking word of conversation we've ever had with you, and we'll make a handy list of every bit of anonymous information you've passed us." Sure, that would be the last time that that particular paper ever got a bit of information from the B*sh junta, but even if the information isn't false, it's still useless because Karl will cheerfully reel it back in as soon as anyone chomps on the line.

Is there something in the air in Washington, DC that makes you want to trust the evil fascists who took over this country, or has the mainstream press just become so lazy that they aren't willing to hire reporters who know how to look for a story? I fully expect that when the United States economy collapses and the west coast secedes from the train wreck, that the wingnut brigade will be collapsing in hysterial hissy fits because the COMMUNIST Denver Post is reporting on the war going on on the Nevada frontier, instead of reporting the Good! News! about the Coward in Chief blessing the tobacco harvest in North Carolina.

The ‘I think that deck chair would look better over there’ act of 2005

After three months of debate, Senators Ron Wyden (S-Or) and Orrin Hatch (E-Ut) have announced that they've chosen a title for a health care bill. No bill yet, of course, but at least they've got the stupid name for it.

Nothing wrong with our healthcare system!

Remember, the United States has got the most perfect health care system in the whole wide world! It's unsinkable, so all we need to do it tidy it up a little bit

(via The Well-Timed Period)

May 15, 2005

How to slow down a Windows machine, in one easy lesson

  1. Put Linux on it.

The Factory Case contains a Via C3/533, which is not exactly the fastest PII-compatable processor out there (the oggOmatic, which also contains a VIA C3/533, takes about 10% of the processor to decode .ogg files), and when I'm running Seaanemone, the lack of cpu cycles really shows -- Windows does not have the best multitasker in the whole wide world, and a complicated webpage will lock the whole machine up for 2-5 seconds while Waterbuffalo attempts to, in the inefficient way that C++ is oh-so-good-at ["but it's object oriented molasses, so it's much better!"], to display the pretty CSS and pictures.

Microsoft went evil a few weeks ago, so I decided to toss out their software and replace it with Linux and KDE. In retrospect, this may have been a mistake; the 2.6 kernel SuSE uses is very aggressive about powersaving, so it's constantly slowing down the C3 for even more energy savings (and this on a processor that uses less power than the video card that drives the 1600sw attached to the system). This, combined with KDE version 3 (which I will now dub "seaslug" for its less than peppy performance) and Moondragon, makes popping up windows a thing of the past; now, if I want to bring up a browser or terminal window (I'm guessing that Putty will be just as bad, but I don't know yet, because the evaluation copy of SuSE enterprise server I'm using doesn't include a C compiler) I can cheerfully look forward to spending 10 seconds watching the stupid animated bouncing ball hop while the system does, um, something.


May 14, 2005

Baby spiders need a home, too.

But if they can't find one, they'll huddle up close to each other until they get hungry enough to strike out on their own.

A note about the pictures

I always put little tiny thumbnail pictures on TSFR, but most of the time those pictures are also links to the larger (usually much larger, now that I've got the new camera) originals. Pictures like Frog. Blue Frog and Buzz Buzz Buzz can be clicked on if you want to see them at full size.


Frog. Blue Frog

Our friends Ali & Stein keep a tank of poison dart frogs in their living room. We went over there tonight to help them celebrate Settende Mai and I, of course, dragged along my camera. I'm not sure if the frog was as happy about the picture taking as I was.

Buzz Buzz Buzz

Our weeds flowers are in bloom, so the bees are coming around to collect their fill of yummy nectar. This year, I have a zoom lens and a much higher resolution camera available to capture their shopping expeditions.

May 13, 2005

Railroad picture of the day

The best and I were planning on going for a short walk on the Eastbank Esplanade, and just as we found a parking place we saw the nearby railroad crossing gates start to drop. I grabbed my camera, jumped out of a car, and got a picture as the lead Twinkie blew through the crossing at track speed.

Amtrak P42 #313 with the Northbound Coast Starlight, May 13 2005

1 comment

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

In the future every dust mite will be world-famous for 15 minutes. (Andy Warhol)

Who said this?

Over a five year period, as surpluses continue to grow, we will return half a trillion dollars to the taxpayers who really own it, without touching the Social Security surplus. That’s what we mean by our Lock-Box: The Social Security surplus is off-limits, off budget, and will not be touched. We will not stop there, for we are also determined to protect Medicare and to pay down the national debt. Reducing that debt is both a sound policy goal and a moral imperative. Our families and most states are required to balance their budgets; it is reasonable to assume the federal government should do the same. Therefore, we reaffirm our support for a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget.

And who said this?

There is no trust fund, just IOUs that I saw firsthand, that future generations will pay

Why, yes, they're both from representatives of the Evil Party. The first is from the 2000 Evil Party platform (you may have missed it, because it was sandwiched in between the calls of death to homosexuals!, death to abortionists!, and US out of world affairs!) and the second is from a speech that the Coward in Chief made on his recent "death to Social Security!" tour.

What's the common thread that runs through both of these quotes? Is it

  • The Evil Party lies?
  • The Evil Party doesn't care if you know that they're lying?
  • The Evil Party hates you and the democracy you rode in on?

The correct answer is, of course, all of them.

(a polite version of this can be found at Seeing The Forest)

I guess Bechtel didn’t get as much Gulf War payola as they were asking for

Bechtel has sent the City of Portland an unsolicited proposal to replace the Sellwood Bridge with a new US$90 million dollar bridge, on the hopes that the city will leap at the chance to do a "public-private" financing deal (which, translated, will mean the city will give up something big in return for a few, and I emphasize few, dollars of kickback from the private underwriters. Those sorts of deals are almost always bad for the city, even though Bechtel hasn't gotten as much from their other "public-private" deal as they may have hoped for.

In this case, Bechtel is proposing to build a bridge with "more lanes" of traffic, which may not go over quite as well as they expect it to. You see, the last time the whole business of "we're going to replace your old bridge!" came up, the DOT had big plans to replace the existing bridge with a 4-lane bridge to feed into the major highway that they want Tacoma Street to be. It didn't go over too well; when they made a presentation to SMILE and claimed that (a) the bridge had to be four lanes to accomodate the traffic, and that (b) it wasn't definitely going to be Sellwood, because there was one other choice, but, gosh, it would be silly to even pursue the replacement unless both places gave permission to build the bridge, they were forced to admit that the choices for the new bridge were either (1) Tacoma Street or (2) Dunthorpe. You could feel the temperature dropping in the room when the perky DOT PR drones let the magic word "Dunthorpe" escape their lips.

Of course, as soon as SMILE let the DOT know, in no uncertain terms, that Sellwood would not tolerate a 4-lane highway bridge, the whole "we're going to replace your old bridge!" plan was dropped like a hot potato. Why? Because the Oregon DOT is in the thrall of the local trucking lobby, which made it known that they would not allow any bridge replacements in Portland unless they were 4-lane bridges.

So, fine, no 4-lane Sellwood bridge, and we'll keep the old narrow bridge with the crumbling westside approaches (you'd think that Multnomah County could just deal with the crumbling westside approaches by ripping them out and building a new approach structure, like they did with the Hawthorne Bridge, but the Hawthorne Bridge doesn't get nearly as much commuter traffic from Clackamas County (which, by an amazing coincidence, doesn't wish to build any more Willamette River crossings. Funny how that works) and thus the DOT can actually repair things without going through the "weh weh weh we want you to fuck up your city for our convenience!" (if I became emperor of the world, I'd give them convenience; I'd put toll gates on McLaughlin and Macadam, and force the DOT to fund those roads from the revenues from those toll gates) dance with the suburbs.)

And now here comes Bechtel, saying "we'll do it for you, just give us a little bit of special treatment and we'll give you a million dollars out of the US$90 million it will cost to replace the bridge" (for a bridge that Multnomah County thinks will cost US$75 million to replace.)

I hope that Metro tells Bechtel to go to hell. Actually, I hope that Metro tells Bechtel to go to hell and yanks their contract for Cascade Station, but I'll settle for having Metro tell Bechtel to go to hell. Perhaps it's time to give Metro a little "citizen input" about this proposal.

1 comment

A Cheery thought for a Friday the 13th.

A lot of people have commented on the evangelical takeover of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, but as far as I can tell not one of them is appropriately paranoid about it, and has asked one timfoil question: just who staffs NORAD, and what happens if they decide it's time for Jesus to come back right now?

If I peel back the tinfoil hat, I could no doubt make some comment about it being a really dumb idea to let the Evil Party capture the military (the latest round of base closings, which appear to be motivated by nothing more than getting military bases out of blue states, certainly indicates that the Evil Party is deliberately attempting to do this), but it's nowhere near as provocative as announcing "The rapturists have the launch codes" on a bright sunny Friday afternoon.

1 comment

Friday Hacker Playlist

No random 10 for me, no sirree; when I need to sit down and crunch away at adding code to a Linux distribution, I use a carefully hand-picked collection, which I set on random play, turn the volume way up, then leave playing until the code works or my ears explode.

  1. Putting On The Ritz (Taco)
  2. Walking on Sunshine (Katrina & The Waves)
  3. Obsession (Anomotion)
  4. What I Like About You (The Romantics)
  5. Pop Muzik (M)
  6. Turning Japanese (Vapors)
  7. Down To The River To Pray (Alison Krauss)

Why, yes, I am a middle-aged white boy. Why do you ask?

May 12, 2005

Annoying new spam technique of the day

Dear all,

We are contacting you from Airside, a design company based in London. Due to the failure of a web server and the host company back up, some subscribers to our mailing lists were lost.

Since then, however, the email addresses that were on the lists have been recovered, but annoyingly we have no idea who was subscribing to which list.

  {blah blah blah}

If you want to check out who we are, visit our website at <http://we.are.spammers>

They "Lost" their mailing lists. Suuure they did. They no doubt "Lost" their mailing lists at around the same time they got the "60 Million Unique EMAIL Addresses!" CD from <>

I wonder if Rackspace punts spammers off their network? Let's find out tonight.

1 comment

Evil Party moral values (pt 9)

If you're a fundamentalist, particularly if you've made your reputation from writing about faith healing and trying to outlaw abortion, what's the best way to relax after a good day of being G-dly? Why, it's obvious! You should go home and rape your wife!

I believe that the Evil Party has struck the trifecta again. In the past couple of months, I've seen

  1. A male prostitute turning tricks inside the White House,
  2. revelations that a prominent neocon may have been pimping out his wife at orgies, and, of course
  3. don't forget to rape your wife for Jesus!

Edit: I forgot to mention the bestiality! But what's a little mule-fucking between friends? (as long as it's a lady mule, of course! If it was a boy mule, that would be homosexuality, and that would be a sin.)

I'm afraid the old outrageometer just won't work anymore. Whenever I fire it up, it bends the pointer around the stop, wheezes "Told you so!", then shuts down. And, my, what an environment to raise my children in; I've been trying to teach them to be moral, honest, and to take pride in their work, but, shit, that's a loser's game in Imperial America. If we stay in this country, I'm going to have to get them into a charter school for highwaymen, because the traditional American ethics are now just a invitation to be raped and murdered by the Evil Party and their fascist friends and relations.

(link via Arthur Silber)

Rule of law? How Quaint! (‘Real-ID’ remix)

The Evil Party, not being satisfied with putting the whoppingly ineffective "Real-ID" bill into their omnibus graft for friends of the B*sh junta spending bill, also stapled their little "The rule of law is for sissies" bill onto it.

Now, you might think that having the police asking for your papers is offensive enough, but it's really pretty small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. Waving the magic "no judicial review" wand over the DHS has the potential of being far more interesting, if you use the definition of interesting that's contained within the saying Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely:

Ars Technica helpfully quotes the relevant parts of the bill:

II. Waiver of Laws to Facilitate Barriers at Border

Section 102 of the IIRIRA generally provides for construction and strengthening of barriers along U.S. land borders and specifically provides for 14 miles of barriers and roads along the border near San Diego, beginning at the Pacific Ocean and extending eastward. IIRIRA § 102(c) provides for a waiver of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA)45 and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)46 to the extent the Attorney General determines is necessary to ensure expeditious construction of barriers and roads...

H.R. 418 [the Real ID Act of 2005] would provide additional waiver authority over laws that might impede the expeditious construction of barriers and roads along the border. H.R. 418 would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive any and all laws that he determines necessary, in his sole discretion, to ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads under IIRIRA § 102...

Section 102 of H.R. 418 would amend the current provision to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive any law upon determining that a waiver is necessary for the expeditious construction of the border barriers. Additionally, it would prohibit judicial review of a waiver decision or action by the Secretary and bar judicially ordered compensation or injunction or other remedy for damages alleged to result from any such decision or action.

Spot the hole that a dilettante dictator could easily drive a tank battallion through.

Since I've been commenting on the corruption of the Evil Party for the last 30 or so years, let me take this opportunity to say "Told you so!".

May 11, 2005

‘We think it will become common practice to cover parts of the glaciers’

A ski resort in Switzerland is now putting an insulating blanket over a glacier to keep it from melting, at a total cost of CHF100,000 (~US$83,000), because, after approximately 300,000 years, the glacier has decided that it's time to melt.

But you must remember that there's no such thing as global warming; the glaciers must all be melting because they all voted for Gore in 2000.

I see a great need

All of the Calvin and Hobbes cartoons that ever appeared in syndication, to the tune of 1440 pages in 4 volumes.

Pardon me, but I'm drooling uncontrollably here. Pay no attention to the sparks as my computer disappears beneath the waves.

(link via Applegeeks)

May 10, 2005

But the canary was already dead

The Evil Party has just passed through congress a bill that, along with the usual wad of government charity to well-connected friends of the B*sh junta, has an appealing little appendix called the "Real ID" act. The "Real ID" act is a nasty little bit of law that converts drivers licenses into an official state ID, which you must present if you want to do things like fly on airplanes, ride on Amtrak, get into government buildings, and the like. It basically knocks out one of the traditional foundation blocks of the United States; the one that says that people have the right to be left alone by the government if they aren't breaking the law.

The sad thing is that that foundation block was already condemned, by order of the US Supreme Court (home of the judicial activism that overthrew the United States government in favor of the B*sh junta), when they said that it was perfectly legal to arrest people for not showing ID. Once that bit of judicial activism was put into place, it became only a matter of waiting to see what color the frosting was going to be on the shitcake that the Coward in Chief was going to serve up. And, to make the cake even tastier, states (in the now-traditional way the Evil Party has of passing terrible laws, but not funding them because that would get in the way of giving government money to friends of the junta) have to pay for implementing it.

The hackers must be high-fiving each other now; the new (snicker) secure government databases that will cover everything about people who live in cities will make looting the credit card companies seem like childs play. You know that the "Real ID" contracts will be rewarded to friends of the B*sh junta, so doing an actual secure implementation will take third place to the more important design requirements of (a) bloating up upper management's bank accounts with untaxable money, and (b) paying bribes to the kingpins of the Evil Party. So three years from now the new computerised ID cards will be rolled out, and approximately three years and two days from now the first counterfeit cards will be presented for sale, and then the suicide bombers of 2008 will be able to stroll through customs without any investigation, because, gosh, the computer thinks all of their ID is in order, and the computer could never be wrong!

It will be just like the current arrangement with computerised "voting" machines, except that more skyscrapers will fall down.

(some links via Arthur Silber, who you should be reading anyway,
even though he's a libertarian

It must really suck to be a British citizen this week (part 2)

The London Times is reporting on a claim that the Gulf Stream is turning itself off. Now, if that's happening (and I've no reason to believe that it is not, given that "disruption of the Gulf Stream" is one of those things that is constantly mentioned as an undesirable side-effect of global warming), large parts of the Northeastern American seaboard and the British Isles are going to be in for some fairly exciting (if, by exciting, you mean really cold winters for these areas that are as far north as Sunny Tropical Siberia) weather changes as all of that lovely warm water from the south stops dumping heat into the air.

And, no, I don't think the yapping from the antiscience wing of the Evil Party (yes, there is an antiscience wing. The pro-science wing are all those people working on poison gasses and new nuclear weapons.) would make up for the loss of the gulf stream.

(this cheery news brought to you by,
which is conveniently located 3.1 meters above sea level in Florida

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Smoking bans, or how to make liberals go completely nonlinear in one easy lesson

A few years ago, before we spawned, the best used to play a lot of Scrabble®™©. One of the clubs she played in a lot met on the eastside, in a terrifically smoky bar along MLK Ave. It wasn't much fun to either play scrabble in or to wait for her to finish up so we could catch the bus home, because it was completely full of smoke, in the sort of classic your clothes will reek of smoke for a week sense that, thankfully, isn't that common any more. We were both delighted when a new bar opened across the street and offered the club a new venue to play in. It was smoky, but nowhere nearly as horrid as the old venue, despite having pretentions to being a "english-style" bar.

A few years passed, and then the local ubergovernment floated a proposal to ban smoking in bars, officially because of the risk of second-hand smoke (I suspect that unofficially it's because cigarette smoke is nasty and the trickle of letters to the public health officials about it had swelled into a raging torrent.) The reaction in this bar was pretty much as if Diane Linn had walked in with a hornet's nest, set it down, then kicked it across the floor. Almost instantaneously everyone working at the bar started wearing "smoking bans are icky" buttons, pro-smoking fliers started being tacked to almost every vertical surface, and the (tiny, but hysterical) smoking contingent cranked their smoking habits up to rival the smoke and ash output of Mt. St. Helens, while, of course, bitterly whining about the Evil! State! Infringing! On! Their! Rights! (This is a bar in Portland, Oregon, mind you; prior to the proposed smoking ban, there were nothing but liberals on that particular bus. From the vitreolic quality of their whining, I would not be at all surprised if they all switched over to the Evil Party in time for the 2004 "election")

I don't know how this worked out for them in the long run. The quality of their food plunged downhill around this point (a sensible business decision; if you're going to sell food to people who can't even taste it, it's somewhat pointless to waste money and time preparing good food) and that, combined with the blue wall of death that we used to experience at the other bar (which had, by then, gone out of business), was more than enough for me. The best kept playing scrabble at that club for a while, and eventually gave up when she got tired of coming back with her clothes and hair reeking of cigarette/cigar/pipe smoke (the scrabble club played in the "smoke-free" part of the bar, which, um, was about as smoke-free as the "smoke-free" seats in airliners used to be before the airlines started banning smoking altogether.)

And the smoking ban? It never happened.

The reason I'm remembering this is that the city of Austin, Texas (deep in the heart of Jesusland, which proves something, but I'm not sure exactly what) has just (barely) passed a law prohibiting smoking in bars, and, as you can probably guess if you read some of the A-list left weblogs, it's yet another case of kicking the hornets nest. And I'd not be at all surprised if it ended up with some of the smokers switching over to the Evil Party; the debate (if I'm not mistaken, the "if the staff doesn't want to get lung cancer, they can work somewhere else" argument has already reared it's head. And that's by no means the most outrageous argument) has already reached the sort of spittle-flecked rage that you don't see outside of a GOA membership meeting, so the mass burning of Democratic Party membership cards and ceremonial linking to the racist right-wing weblogs may not be too far behind.

Personally, if I was in the smoker's shoes, I'd just tone down the rhetoric, wait a while, and see what happens. Being able to say "ha, ha, I told you so!" has a long and honored history, and if you can show off the collatoral damage to the local tax rolls and tourism industry, rolling back the repressive effects of public health laws becomes a lot easier.

1 comment

May 09, 2005

Um, hello? They’re the Evil Party, remember?

The NYTimes columnist Bob Herbert has an op-ed that lays out, in a nice executive summary, just how badly the B*sh junta has mismanaged the invasion of Iraq, and mentions a few times that it might have been a good idea if Maximum Leader Genius had asked his father for advice (and then, presumably, he would have continued to look for Osama bin Laden [psst. It's spelled C-r-a-w-f-o-r-d; look for the villa with the secret service detail] instead of charging headlong into Iraq.)

Well, sure, that would have been a good idea if the Coward in Chief wasn't a member of the Evil Party, and if his backers weren't interested in using Iraq as a way of funnelling money out of the US Treasury. But, he is a member of the Evil Party, and if you're as corrupt as only the Evil Party leadership can be, Iraq is turning out to have a couple of really good things going for it:

  1. I've seen reports that say that as much as US$10 billion dollars have just disappeared somewhere between Washington, DC and Baghdad, Iraq, and that's not including the
  2. Huge, and documented, cost overruns and fraudulent billings from large defense contractors that just happen to be owned and operated by good friends of the B*sh junta.

And, as long as the invasion is being run as if the joint chiefs of staff were being directed by a trained monkey, it's not as if Mission Accomplished will ever get in the way of the looting of the treasury.

The debasement of everything the United States has ever stood for, well, shoot, that's just a little something extra.

So, no, Maximum Leader Genius got just the advice he needed. It's certainly not what the United States needed, but the fascists who run the Evil Party don't give a flying fuck about the United States, as long as they can kill it and loot it at the same time.

(link via The Sideshow)

May 08, 2005

A Baby in Motion Tends To Remain In Motion


The best was as sick as a dog today, so I spent the day being the only Silas-herder. I had my camera and I took approximately 250 pictures (it would have been more, but I ran out of "film") of him being The Cutest Baby In The Whole Wide World

Railroad picture of the day

The best and I spotted a railgrinding train just south of the Tacoma Ave. bridge in Portland. The (ex)Southern Pacific mainline is obscured by trees and industrial buildings, so it is difficult to get good pictures of trains there, but I did manage to get a few pictures of the ugliest F40PH rebuild in all christendom.

1 comment

It must really suck to be a British citizen this week

I won't quit, vows poodle.

Really, is it any surprise that the Coward in Chief's little lapdog intents to cling to power like grim death? After all, his control of the reins of power, no matter how slender they may be, might be the only thing between him and a war crimes trial.

The hope that Tony Bliar would gracefully give up the keys to his flat at #10 Downing Street is, I suspect, yet another case of expecting that hope can triumph over reality. And, even though the alternative to "New Labour" is, realistically, the Tories (they're not only the Evil Party, but they're also the really really Stupid Party; I suspect if they'd pretended to moderate their more barking mad positions, they'd have driven "New Labour" out of power, but, no, it's apparently better to embrace their inner madman now and damn the consequences), "New Labour" is the same rancid wine in a shiny new bottle.

May 07, 2005

A walk by the river

Yesterday evening, we all went out to dinner and then for a walk along the Eastside Esplanade. We were up by the Steel Bridge, it was dusk, and I had my camera.

The bait we used to convince the bears to go on this walk was "maybe we'll see a train!", and the Union Pacific was happy to cooperate by sending a transfer freight south towards Brooklyn Yard.

There's a little dock out on the floating bridge part of the esplanade, and we all walked out onto it to enjoy the view of the bridges, with three bridges to the north (even if you can't really see the Fremont Bridge).

... and at least two bridges to the south (there are five bridges within about a mile and a half, but the Ross Island Bridge, the Marquam Bridge, and the Hawthorne Bridge aren't really visible in this picture.) But, as a consolation prize, you can see a Homeland Security gunyacht as it makes its evening rounds of the downtown bridges.

When you look south from the floating bridge, the Hawthorne bridge is nicely framed by the Morrison Bridge.

It was getting dark before we went back, so we got to see bridges, Union Station, and a trolleycar silhouetted against the sunset.

1 comment

May 06, 2005

Piling on to the “bookmarks, good or evil” argument.

The author of the weblog burningbush (warning: the graphics on that weblog may make you want to pluck your eyes out) is making the claim that keeping a bookmarks list on your weblog is harmful to the abstract "community" of lower-class webloggers. Well, yes, perhaps it is. But, and there's always a but, what about the people who actually use their bookmarks?

I'm libertarian enough to want to see a bookmark to TSFR on some of the A-list weblogs, but that's only because of the way I use my bookmarks. My bookmarks list, with the notable exception of blog-us-fear and very very happy, is the list of pages that I read every day if at all possible, and when I show up in the bookmarks list of an A-list weblogger (like, for instance, Bitch, PhD) I squeal with glee and dance my little happy dance because, to my mind, it means that they read my weblog regularly enough to bookmark me. You see, I maintain a fairly complicated arrangement of bookmarks; the first level of bookmarks, which are the ones kept on the bookmarks lists of the various incarnations of lightningtortoise and konqueror, are the pages I find interesting enough to want to go back to again. If I keep going back to them (or find them important enough that I don't want to forget them the next time the browser explodes and has to be replaced), I migrate them, by hand, to my big page -o- bookmarks, and then if I find myself wanting to read them every day, they're copied over to the sidebar of TSFR. This is not a particularly trivial process, so by the time a weblog has pushed all that way up, you can be certain that I really wanted it there.

And, um, there's the tiny detail that TSFR is my homepage on every desktop I use. If I tossed my bookmarks list, I'd not want to have TSFR as my homepage, because (obviously) I spend a lot of time online reading other web pages. And if I didn't have TSFR as my homepage, I wouldn't post to it, and if I didn't post to it, I wouldn't bother to maintain my weblog software (not that you could tell the difference between maintained and abandoned, given my update cycle), which was the whole reason I started TSFR in the first place.

So, no, I won't be abandoning my bookmarks list. Community is fine, but I only get 30 readers a day (and four of them are me) on a good day, so I'm afraid I'd rather abandon my public for the ease of being able to get to the other weblogs that I read. I'd be really happy if I showed up on the bookmarks list of other A-list weblogs, but I'm not dangling mine out their as bait for anyone other than me.


Oh, this can’t be a good sign.

According to an article in rolling stone, the Iraqi resistance has destroyed 80 Abrams tanks, but that's okay, because the Coward in Chief intends to keep Iraq as a colony of the United States no matter what happens.

A colony. Oooo-kay, that's certainly a new definition of "turning the corner"; I presume the whole scheme of trying to control a bunch of cities where the inhabitants loathe you will be good practice for trying to control the continental United States as the trainwreck that is the B*sh junta continues. I just wonder what they'll do when China finally decides that they've got enough US bonds to fully wallpaper the secretary's palace.

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Suzzy wonders who this strange creature could be.

The SPUSA doesn’t really want any wealthy members, does it?

While I was growing up, my father was a member of the Socialist Party of the USA, so, naturally, when I got to be middle aged and went conservative, I decided that it was time for me to be traditional and join the same party.

Unfortunately, it looks like the SPUSA has been taken over by people who really don't trust the petty bourgeoisie, and they've, um, adjusted their membership rates accordingly; they've got a sliding membership rate which adjusts according to your income, starting at $25 for people making under $20k/year, and going up to, ahem, $250 (+ 1% of income over $50k) for people making over $50k/year. So, I make something on the ballpark of $115,000 a year right now, so they're talking about me paying, um, $900 a year just to be a member of the party. That's, um, pretty substantial for an organization that's got maybe 3000 members in it, and I can't help but think that the only reason they'd run the rates up this high is that the leadership of the SPUSA really doesn't want to have any members of the professional classes to be a part of the party.

That's approximately 4 times what the Wobblies would charge me for an IWW membership, and membership in a union actually provides concrete benefits, not just pie in the sky when you die (the socialist revolution in the United States is going to come, thanks to the twin goads of Evil Party fundamentalism and "free market" attacks on the American worker, but when it comes I'm afraid that the SPUSA will be left behind because of the pitiful membership and this whole business of driving away the petty bourgeoisie, and even if they aren't left behind the revolution is still not going to come until things get so bad that even the brainwashed proletariat in the red states can't be distracted by "Look, over there! Gay marriage!" anymore.) So, I'd like to be an officially paid up member of the SPUSA, and I'd like to have my Party membership with me so I can provide identification to the thugs of the fascist state, but when the membership fees are so high that they trigger my ripoffometer, this may be a dream that is not fulfilled during this lifetime.

Why, look, it’s the mating dance of the Stupid Party

John Kerry appears to have fallen off his bicycle headfirst. Why else would he be whining about the Massachusetts Democratic Party's support for gay marriage?

I had to swallow this shit before the election, but there's no goddamn excuse for any member of the Democratic Party to pull this sort of stunt during an off-season. If Mr. Kerry is going to play the bigot card this early, well, fine, he's lost my vote for 2008. I don't give a fuck about the social sensibilities in goddamn Louisiana, even though I used to live there, and if a Democratic candidate thinks that the only way they can convince the electorate to vote sensibly is to sell the gay community in their home state down the river, it's pretty damn obvious that that candidate has nothing whatsoever to sell.

I don't know what sort of crack cocaine is being passed around in Washington, DC , but hasn't it sunk in yet that being the Almost as Evil Party is not going to win you one damn vote from the Evil Party base, and all it's going to do it slowly erode away the people who don't want to vote for a bunch of fascists incompetents? The Democrats are up against a party that openly admires Stalin, for heaven's sake; you can't appease people who want you dead, and only digging half of a grave means that they'll just leave your legs sticking out after they shoot you.

I hope that Howard Dean has already phoned in the express shipment of horses heads to Mr. Kerry's palatial estate. This sort of blind stupidity should not be allowed to stand.

(this bit of enraging news via No Capital)

May 05, 2005

Separation of church and state, Evil Party style

  1. Anyone can worship in our church, as long as they aren't Democrats.
  2. Anyone can lead the invocation at the court, as long as they're Christians.

Words fail me.


Big Pink

I believe that the City Of Portland tweaked the zoning rules so nothing as tall as big pink could be built again. In any case, it's a fairly impressive sight sitting out there all by itself on the south side of Burnside.

The Cutest babies in the Whole Wide World™


Amtrak Cascades train #507, heading south at 12th Street, at ~6:00pm on Thursday, May 5th, 2005. I saw the headlights of the train as we went over the 12th street crossing, so we stopped so I could take pictures as it hurled by at track speed.

Do you think that Steve Bell is looking forward to a RepublicanLabour victory?

(from The Guardian)

May 04, 2005

Architectural details writ larger.

This eagle is part of the nameplate on the (ex-)Josiah Failing school in SW Portland. It's three stories up, but that's pretty easy to work around with a sufficiently zoomed zoom lens.

They don’t make hardware like they used to

About 10 months ago, my brother gave me his old laptop (about 6 times as powerful as my newest laptop), and I immediately started using it as my main laptop. For a while, I was running Bigotsoft Windows 2000, but when Bigotsoft went evil, I, after much grumbling over the terrible installers that are available, installed Slackware Linux, set up kde and mozilla moonviper, got the pcmcia subsystem working so I could plug in wireless ethernet cards and talk to the outside world.

This worked surprisingly well. I hadn't get gotten around to setting up the encrypted pptp tunnelling I need to use to telnet in to work (I was doing it on a Windows machine, but work, since it's mainly a Windows house, is crawling with viruses, and whenever a new Windows machine shows up, even one that's got a/v software running on it, approximately 300 zombies start pounding away at it as if they were the electronic version of Ichneumon wasps trying to lay their little eggs into the vitals of my PC. I don't like reinstalling windows, so I don't tend to telnet into work very often anymore) and was just using the laptop to run moonflea, so twiddly things like cut and paste not working (really! putty's cut and paste isn't compatable with seaflea's cut and paste, which isn't compatable with konqueror's cut and paste. I'm doing a lot of hand-typing of URLs these days) are not the problem they are on my Linux workstation at work.

But yesterday, the bottom fell out of the Toshiba. Since it's running Linux now (and thus being able to get back to a windowing environment is not such a sure thing as it with Windows), I just left the laptop running all the time. When I'm not using it, it's mainly idle; it produces a little heat, but not even enough to get the fan running, so you would think that when we laid it on a bed it would be okay, right?


When we finished shooing the pedestrians of the apocolypse off to bed, I settled down to look at stuff on the computer. The laptop was pretty warm, but not so hot it was uncomfortable to put on my lap, but the screen had gone white (it does that occasionally when it gets warm; the computer freezes and the LCD display slowly turns white as the charge drains out of the LCD pixels. Closing and reopening the lid of the laptop usually fixes that problem, and in the cases where it doesn't a simple reboot solves all ills.) I couldn't get the screen back, so I rebooted, and that's when it became apparent that my Toshiba had gone Republican.

First of all, the pcmcia .rc file was gone, replaced with random junk (reiserfs claims to be a logging filesystem, but, like FreeBSD, it only preserves metadata, so you can end up with a system that claims that it rebooted cleanly, but which has files that have perfectly correct metadata carefully wrapped around random disk blocks that have no relationship to the (now lost) original contents of the file. Some FreeBSD evangelists claim that this is an advantage for FreeBSD, because it's apparently worse to have fsck complain about broken files than it is to have the system silently garbage the files, but I remain unconvinced), so I had to reinstall the offending package from the Slackware release cd. And then I went through about 10 cycles of "boot the system, watch it lock up somewhere around rc.pcmcia, reboot the system, watch it lock up somewhere around rc.pcmcia, etc etc etc", followed by hand-executing each line in the rc.pcmcia file, only to watch the system completely lock up (repeatedly) when I tried to run the cardbus daemon.

This daemon used to work, because I was using a D-Link wireless card on the system before the day of the bed, and I was talking to the outside world with no fuss, muss, or bother. The only thing that changed was that the stupid computer was lying on the bed for about 12 hours, slowly picking up Evil Heat Rays and having its tiny little pealike brain slowly distort to the point where it just wouldn't listen to reason anymore.

Sigh. Oh, well, 10 months isn't bad for a modern computer. Of course now I don't have a laptop, and I've already burned through the funds I've allocated to replace dead hardware, so I'll have to cobble one up with the spare parts I've got lying around. Perhaps it's time to commit the ultimate indignity to one of the Powerbook carcasses I've got lying around, and replace the 68000 it's got with a ia32-compatible processor running Linux.

May 03, 2005

End of the line

Track is being laid on the North Macadam extension of the downtown trolley line, and the (temporary?) terminus is taking shape. If you look at the larger copy of the picture (just click on the little one), you will see that the new track is offset by about a foot from the old Red Electric line, and that they decided (because otherwise it would be easier to continue the line down towards Lake Oswego?) to plunk a line pole in right at the end of the track, so that a runaway trolley or truck can take out 400 or so feet of overhead without heroic measures.

If they'd have asked me (and they didn't, but that won't stop me) about what to do, I would have connected the new track to the Red Electric track, then given the Willamette Shore Trolley people trackage rights to run their cars up into the city so they could have a downtown terminal instead of the New! Improved! Out in the middle of absolute nowhere! terminal by the Old Spaghetti Factory headquarters; that way people would start to get used to the idea of being able to ride a train down to Lake Oswego (and perhaps even start to commute on them, if you were lucky enough to have working hours that matches the operating hours of the WST cars) before the City Of Portland got enough money to actually electrify the line ($10 million for overhead wire, $170 million to rip out the perfectly usable track and replace it with new track).

Cat And Boy

Russell and Suzzy.

1 comment

Half a volcano is better than none

Waterbugs on the Willamette

Taken from the Ross Island Bridge on May 3, 2005. Pentax *istDS, 18-52 lens, auto everything. Color enhancement with Irfanview 3.95.

Modern architecture on Belmont Street

This pretty building went up during the winter. It's quite nice for a modern building. Yes, it's very square, but the wooden sheathing gives the eyes something to look at instead of the flat blehness of concrete slabs or spray-on "stucco".

Whenever I see a modern building that's well-designed (like the Bauhaus school), I get an almost irresistable urge to toss down a couple of hundred thousand US$ and build myself a nice modernist building. But then I reconsider, because I've had to live in nice modernist buildings; those nice frameless windows? After a few years, they become leak magnets. Ditto for the flat roofs that so many modern building have; if you live in an area where there is a lot of rain or snow, it's a constant battle against nature to avoid leaks (when I was in school back in Wisconsin, almost every building I had classes in would have a crop of little plastic buckets materialize every spring to deal with the leaks).

And in the grand tradition of inappropriate design, a lot of these modern buildings with huge frameless windows and flat roofs are built in places where the summers are hot and the winters are cold and snowy. Energy-efficient? No, not even close. But they do look pretty.

1 comment

Oh, look, it’s another smoking gun

Lightly highlighted, for your viewing enjoyment.


From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell


Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.

The two broad US options were:

(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).

(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.

The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:

(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.

(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.

(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.

The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.

The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.

On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.

For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.

John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.

The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.


(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.

(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.

(c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.

(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam.

He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.

(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.

(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.

(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)


(memo via the Sunday Times)

So, where’s the emergency congressional session and grandstanding from the governor?

In Texas, where Maximum Leader Genius used to be governor before he stole the presidency of the United States, another baby has been sentenced to death because she made the horrible mistake of coming from a poor black family. As Arthur Silber says, where's the outrage? You'd think the whole "culture of life" gang would be on this case like glue, since this case doesn't even have the teeny ambiguity of the patient being dead for 15 years.

I'd expect, if the so-called "culture of life" had any interest in life, instead of simply being fetus-worshippers, that they'd be organizing huge marches at the state capitol in Texas; marches aimed at getting the nasty "you don't have to care for patents if it's too expensive for you!" law repealed and repealed fast. But that won't happen, because that bill was signed by Maximum Leader Genius, and by the new doctrine of presidential divinity, whenever a law is approved by a member of the B*sh family, that bill is by definition a perfeect law. If it directly contradicts the "culture of life", well, eh, some lives are more important than others, and if a poor black child didn't take the precaution of being born into a rich white family, well, it would be religious persecution to force the hospitals into actually providing medical care to a critically ill patient.

And, in case you're wondering what I mean by "poor", I mean anyone who doesn't have a cool million or so in the bank. At modern hospital billing rates (which are jacked way up to pay for 3-4 levels of HMO bureaucracy and Evil Party campaign contributions), a couple of weeks in intensive care w/o insurance could easily set you back $50,000. And if you're one of the 46-or-so million people who doesn't have health insurance, it's quite likely that you don't have that cool million tucked away in your bank account.

I'd suggest that Knya Dismuke's parents contact R*nd*ll T*rry, but I can imagine they'd not want to, because there are some layers of slime that are just impossible to remove with non-poisonous solvents.

May 02, 2005

Time for another missive from the barking mad branch of the Evil Party

Pat Robertson has been let out of the asylum again, and he's calling for government discrimination against Muslims. I'm sure this sort of thing goes over very well with the paranoiac pseudo-christian cults that the United States are infested with, but it's not likely to go over very well with the 70 or so remaining Evil Party members who aren't fascists.

I'm sure that in Karl's mind that it's okay to write off ~5% of the electorate, because vote fraud will make up for those lost gay votes, but if the barking mad branch starts chattering about disenfranchising people on the base of religion, that's going to be another 10% (muslims, jews, members of christian cults that have already felt the gentle touch of actual religious persecution) of the votes going right now the drain, and when the vote fraud reaches 15%, it will be very difficult to bamboozle the so-called-liberal-media into ignoring the gap between the exit polls and the "official" results of the election.

Keep it up, Pat; Satan will reward you appropriately when you die.

(link via Americablog)

May 01, 2005

The saga of the bathtub, a horror story in four parts

When our house was built sometime around 1909, they outfitted it with the latest appliances; gas and electric power to all of the lights, a coalburning stove in the attic, hot water heat, a two car garage, and many other modern conveniences that have since been lost to the terrors of home renovation by people who, like me, are just handy enough to be dangerous but who aren't actually handy enough to be able to make a living from doing renovations. One of the renovations (over the course of many years) was our bathtub, which went from a pretty standard tub with a pair of faucets for hot and cold water, and a fancy waste trap/plug arrangement, to a somewhat more cobbled-together arrangement with separate bathtub faucets (yes, those are sink faucets, you're not imagining things) and a bizarre and not totally functional shower/sprayer head arrangement (with separate valves to turn off the shower and the sprayer).

The house went through purgatory as Reed student housing for quite a few years, so the landlords spared every possible expense maintaining it. Thus, the sink faucets for the tub, and the new, and not quite centered, shower arrangement.

When we moved in, almost every valve on the bathtub leaked. I fixed most of them, and we managed to successfull ignore the jury-rigged arrangement of the rest of the tub for several years. We had to call a plumber once, because one of the patched-in new bits of plumbing exploded one day and we woke up to find a vast puddle of water on the dining room floor.

Before we called the plumber in, we looked briefly behind the tub and saw that the floor was pretty much disintegrated back there (from decades of leaks, maintained as only student housing can be maintained), but after the plumber left we successfully wiped that knowledge from our memory.

Fast forward to last week. I'd been sick for the whole week (yet another cold, yet more days home from work, the whole nine yards of creative despair [try hacking syslinux when you're feeling sickly, and you can guess how I felt last week when I was trying to hack syslinux]), and I finally began to feel a little bit better on Saturday morning. So I went into the bathroom and disassembled one of the shower faucets so I could repack the (surprise!) leaky valve mechanism, and when I reassembled it, the valve stem shattered (and we had to hire, on short notice, a handyman to do emergency repairs.)

When he was done and we turned the hot water back on, the hot water bath faucet started to run and couldn't be shut off. It turns out that that thing had decided to disintegrate in solidarity with the shower valve. The handyman immediately patched it up (by wedging all the parts in and tightening it hard closed), but that meant that the best and I had to go shopping for new faucets.

Unfortunately, we'd decided that we wanted to redo the faucet arrangement and make it a bit less brain-damaged. This means that when we went to the plumbing supply houses and asked about combined shower/bath valves and mentioned the magic phrases "old bathtub" "broken plumbing" "period appearance", the people we talked to immediately got dollar signs in their eyes and started talking about "oh, you'll need a new bathtub, so that won't cost more than about $1700, and you'll need a contractor to come in and replumb, and that won't cost more than about $5000, and we can build you a shower/bath valve for around $1000, because the one you have now..." -- and this was said without even seeing the plumbing -- "... doesn't meet code and will have to be removed because it doesn't have <foo>" (where foo is valves, pressure triggers, or any of a dozen other things, none of which our bathtub has, and none of which triggered a "this isn't code" warning when we bought the house. And all of these foo are, by some wonderful coincidence, too hard for mere mortals to install)

Three plumbing supply houses later, we finally got a replacement faucet. At this store we didn't bother to mention anything that included the magic word "renovation", so the replacement faucet cost $4.50 instead of the $250 that the other plumbing supply stores assured us was the cheapest you could get even the simplest faucet for.

But, this faucet wouldn't do us much good unless we installed it in the bathtub. Previous plumbing jobs had familiarised me with the plumbing technique that the landlords used -- don't use gaskets or locking nuts, do use lots and lots of filler putty and bolt things down so hard that it takes a major effort to unscrew things. This was no exception. And it was tucked under the back edge of the bathtub, in a place you can't reach without some pretty elaborate gyrations:

Looks easy, doesn't it? And just look carefully at how the pipes are just sort of tossed in there to make up for any sort of plumbing skill. It took me approximately a hour to unscrew the old (broken) faucet and screw in the new (working, so far, and there's no torrent of water down onto the first floor yet) one.

So we've now got the hot water valves fixed on the tub, and "fixed" on the shower. But the shower still leaks, so we have to replace the plumbing with a more coherent system, because the floor back there is still a complete and absolute disaster area:

Why, yes, there _is_ a floor somewhere down here, under the encrusted gunk of 95 years of deferred maintainance. And there are also a couple of holes that go all the way down to the dining room ceiling, so we're going to have to not only fix the plumbing, but we're going to have to pry up the bathtub and rebuild the floor around the nasty plumbing catastrophe that our bathroom has become.

It's the joy of home ownership. We're rich enough we can hire someone else to do the work, but I'd rather save the money and do the work myself. I can see why people like to have someone build them a house; an old house like ours is a neverending supply of unhappy structural surprises, all of which need to be fixed unless we wish to wake up one morning in a large pile of rubble.


Color me surprised

I am:
"The Marxists are too reactionary for you. With people like you around, America collectively thanks God for John Ashcroft."

Are You A Republican?

(via Feministe)

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It’s May Day

Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains