Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, May 14, 2010 10:50 pm

Impeach Obama!

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 10:50 pm
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Do it! Now! Do — wait, what? They already are?

Oh. OK, well, let’s see how it comes out, then.

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Monday, May 10, 2010 9:26 pm

Medical controversy? Since when?

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 9:26 pm
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Apparently I have been away from the medical beat for too long, because while I was not looking, the presence of Lyme disease in North Carolina somehow went from “Well, duh” to “medical controversy.”

Public health officials and doctors in the state have been reluctant to diagnose Lyme disease, citing evidence that ticks carrying the bacterium are scarce here and that the few that exist feed on reptiles instead of humans.

I’m having trouble following this logic.

I remember being warned about ticks and Rocky Mountain spotted fever 40 freakin’ years ago when I was a Boy Scout. Lyme disease is similar and also is tick-borne, and everyone knows the state’s growing, and increasingly encroached-upon, deer population is a tick’s favorite ride, the late-autumn increase in the incidence of atmospheric, high-velocity heavy metals notwithstanding.

If there’s anything at all that should be controversial, at least from this reluctant outdoorsman’s layman’s perspective, it’s the strong possibility that both Lyme and RMSF have been underreported in this state.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 8:51 pm

Who is this guy, and what has he done with Glenn Beck?

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns!,Weird — Lex @ 8:51 pm
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If you put Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Fox News talk-show host Glenn Beck in a room, who do you think will sound the most reasonable?

The answer might surprise you:

The morning after the arrest of 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad at John F. Kennedy airport on Monday evening, the usual suspects in the GOP took to print and the airwaves to whack away at the president and his top lawyer. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) mocked the idea that Attorney General Eric Holder might read the suspect [in this past weekend’s failed Times Square car-bombing attempt] his Miranda rights or consider trying him in a civilian court.

“I hope that Holder did discuss this with the intelligence community. If they believe they got enough from him, how much more should they get? Did they Mirandize him? I know he’s an American citizen but still,” King said.

Notorious for jumping into the political fray in the wake of attempted or successful terrorist acts, King was quickly joined in the ring by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who called the idea of reading Miranda rights a “serious mistake.” …

[But] the two lawmakers found themselves on the opposite end of the argument from no less a conservative voice than Beck.

“He is a citizen of the United States, so I say we uphold the laws and the Constitution on citizens,” the bombastic Fox News host said to the stunned co-hosts of “Fox and Friends”. “If you are a citizen, you obey the law and follow the Constitution. [Shahzad] has all the rights under the Constitution.”

“We don’t shred the Constitution when it is popular,” Beck added. “We do the right thing.”

Now, as it happens, the Constitution applies to citizens and noncitizens alike domestically. At least, the courts have said it is supposed to. But here are King and McCain, who consider themselves America-loving, pro-Constitution kinds of guys, being dopeslapped by Glenn Beck on a matter of constitutional law. Either we’re all the way through the looking glass, or King and McCain should just go crawl under a rock and hide in shame.

Monday, May 3, 2010 10:06 pm

A Jew in prison

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 10:06 pm
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From long experience covering law enforcement, I was well aware of the various ethnic groups and subgroups into which prison populations divide, but I confess I’d never much thought about where a Jew might fit in (I mean, for starters, being Jewish is not always visibly obvious).

David Arenberg finds a place to fit in, but he’s never wholly comfortable and, like Stephen King’s fictional Andy Dufresne, he has a talent — Dufresne knew finance; Arenberg was once a lawyer — that people who otherwise would just as soon kill him as look at him find useful. But some pretty basic parts of one’s day take on existential stakes in prison:

It is an inviolate rule that different races may not break bread together under any circumstances. If you eat at the same table as another race, you’ll get beaten down. If you eat from the same tray, you’ll be put in the hospital. And if you eat from the same food item, that is, after a person of another race has already taken a bite of it, you can get killed.

This makes it difficult for me, of course, to fit into the chow hall. Jews, as we all know, are not white but imposters who don white skin and hide inside it for the purpose of polluting and taking over the white race. The skinheads can’t allow me to eat with them: That would make them traitors of the worst kind— race traitors! But my pasty complexion makes it impossible for me to eat with other races who don’t understand the subtleties of my treachery and take me for just another wood. So the compromise is that I may sit at certain white tables after all the whites have finished eating. In exchange, I must do free legal work as directed by the heads and remit to them a portion of the legal fees I collect from everyone else I do legal work for on the yard.

This compromise was brokered by the more “mainstream” Nazis on the yard, the Aryan Brotherhood. They became involved because when I first got here, one of the first cases I handled resulted in getting a 21-year sentence for one of their members vacated. This gave me instant credibility: Even if a “hands-off-the-Jew” policy could not be established, a “hands-off-the-Jewish-lawyer” policy could be and was.

One of my favorite definitions of “realism,” other than the obvious, is that, in fiction, any alternative universe you create has to abide by its own internal logic. And prison is, if nothing else, an alternative universe; where else would you find “mainstream” Nazis and “fringe” Nazis?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 8:51 pm

And it taint no joke

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 8:51 pm
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You know why there are no great humor novels about state legislatures? Because real life outdoes anything a novelist could conjure:

Last Wednesday, the [Georgia] House Judiciary Committee entertained SB 235, the bill sponsored by Sen. Chip Pearson (R-Dawsonville) to prohibit the involuntary implantation of microchips in human beings. …

At the House hearing, state Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Kennesaw), who is shouldering the legislation in the House, spoke earnestly for better than a half hour on microchips as a literal invasion of privacy.

He was followed by a hefty woman who described herself as a resident of DeKalb County. “I’m also one of the people in Georgia who has a microchip,” the woman said. Slowly, she began to lead the assembled lawmakers down a path they didn’t want to take.

Microchips, the woman began, “infringe on issues that are fundamental to our very existence. Our rights to privacy, our rights to bodily integrity, the right to say no to foreign objects being put in our body.”

She spoke of the “right to work without being tortured by co-workers who are activating these microchips by using their cell phones and other electronic devices.”

She continued. “Microchips are like little beepers. Just imagine, if you will, having a beeper in your rectum or genital area, the most sensitive area of your body. And your beeper numbers displayed on billboards throughout the city. All done without your permission,” she said.

It was not funny, and no one laughed.

“Ma’am, did you say you have a microchip?” asked state Rep. Tom Weldon (R-Ringgold).

“Yes, I do. This microchip was put in my vaginal-rectum area,” she replied. Setzler, the sponsoring lawmaker, sat next to the witness – his head bowed.

“You’re saying this was involuntary?” Weldon continued.

The woman said she had been pushing a court case through the system for the last eight years to have the device removed.

Wendell Willard (R-Atlanta), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, picked up the questioning.

“Who implanted this in you?” he asked.

“Researchers with the federal government,” she said.

“And who in the federal government implanted it?” Willard asked.

“The Department of Defense.”

(h/t: Kelly)

One OTHER problem with leaving the light on 24/7 in Guantanamo detainees’ cells …

Filed under: I want my country back.,Weird — Lex @ 8:21 pm
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… it might make them smarter.

Thursday, April 15, 2010 8:50 pm

And this means so much coming from a church that not only forgives pedophiles, it also enables and shelters them and tries to intimidate their victims

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 8:50 pm
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The Catholic Church has forgiven the Beatles. If anything, it would be bigger news the other way ’round — proof positive that Messrs. McCartney and Starr had developed dementia.

Also, why’d it take 400 years to forgive Galileo and only 40 to forgive the Beatles?

Will they have to take lessons from Q?

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 8:04 pm
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Britain’s MI5 is laying off spies who aren’t up on social media like Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, March 5, 2010 8:38 pm

You can run, but you can’t hide

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 8:38 pm
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When God says it’s time, it’s time.

But not everyone has gotten the message.

Thursday, January 28, 2010 9:14 pm

Odds and ends for 1/28

The ultimate Miller Time: Earlier this month, Harriet Ames turned 100 and then scratched the last item, getting her college diploma, off her bucket list. The next day, that sheepskin in her hand, she died.

To the best of my ability, I will never again say a bad word about the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Conflict of interest?: The New York Times isn’t commenting on a report that the son of its Jerusalem bureau chief is serving in the Israeli military. I understand the problems that publication of this fact, if fact it be, is likely to create for the editor and the paper, as well as the possible security threat for the son and his unit if in fact this is the case. But this isn’t something the Times can ignore or stonewall.

Sen. Judd Gregg: PWNED!!111!!: Gregg, who has been pimping this idea of a bipartisan deficit-reduction commission to shield Congress from the political liability of making tough decisions, shows why he needs the shield when MSNBC’s Melissa Francis, whose work will never keep the Peabody Award people up nights, asks him to name something he’d cut from the budget and he refuses to answer. (To say nothing of the fact that he hems and haws around the question of cutting education spending when that has practically been Job 1 for the GOP since Reagan. Brother, please.)

But you don’t want to reward them, either: Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz says we not only need a lot more stimulus spending, we need it targeted where it will provide a decent rate of return if we’re going to be able to reduce our debt long-term. And where would that be? Technology, infrastructure, education — all the things the Republicans have been trying, by and large, not to fund. Even a ROI of 6% will help pay off long-term debt. But the ROI on spending on banks is 0%. You listening, Mr. President?

Conservative victimization: Obama calls out the Supreme Court for its wrongheaded, wrongly reached ruling in a wrongly accepted case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and the wingnuts accuse the president of trying to “intimidate” the conservative activist wing of the Court. Questions, for the wingnuts (which is most of ’em) who spent eighth-grade civics out back smoking dope: How, exactly, do you go about intimidating someone who already has been confirmed to a lifetime appointment? And how easily intimidated do you have to be to hold such a job and still be intimidated by … well, pretty much anything?

The cops lied, and fortunately, 12 of 14 jurors were willing to do something about it. I’ll say it again: I have too much respect for good cops to have any tolerance for bad ones.

George Stephanopoulos asks a good question. NewsBusters has a hissy fit, spouts objectively false claims. (“Liberal media” = “They won’t tell the lies we WANT them to tell.”)

In many important ways, the United States sucks compared to other countries, and it is important to remind ourselves of that. On the other hand, we — alone, I believe, among industrialized countries, and I’d be sad to be wrong about that but not for the reason you probably think — have given corporations more rights and fewer freedoms than people, so we’ve got that going for us.

Bigotry in Malawi: A gay couple in that country are being held “for their own safety” in jail. Where they’re being beaten up.

“I’ve never actually played FarmVille, but any game worth playing has to have Pork Knights”: How to Suck at Facebook.

The Great American Interrogation Disaster, from the man who may know more about interrogation than anyone else alive.

Memo to Andrew Breitbart from the Universe: Payback’s a bitch.

You may be a mansplainer if …: Consider me warned.

Freeloaders: In Moscow, stray dogs use the subway. For free. For real.

Britain’s libel laws are much stricter than America’s. There’s just one problem.

America loves Brett Favre: How much? More than anything that wasn’t a Super Bowl since the “Seinfeld” finale in May 1998.

Huge loss: Journalist Joe Galloway is hanging up his notepad. In recent years, Americans who have worn the uniform and those who wear it still have had no better friend.

Huger loss: J.D. Salinger, RIP.

I have just found the one college course even cooler than my employer’s “Ten Greatest Pop Songs of the Past 50 Years”: ZDI.001: Introduction to Zombie Defense. I forwarded this to several friends, one of whom said she also would post it and added, “I’m also going to read closely for practical purposes.”

And in that vein, I love people who think like this: Seated with Michelle Obama during the State of the Union was 18-year-old high-school senior Li Boynton, who’s researching ways to test water for purity. After reading Life of Pi, a novel about a guy stranded in the middle of the ocean, Boynton designed a solar-distillation device in case the same thing ever happened to her. She was in fifth grade.

And, finally, this is genius: Dante’s Internet:

Monday, January 18, 2010 8:53 pm

Odds and ends for 1/18

Memo from the NY Times to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission: Public hearings are good, but subpoenaing documents is better. Yup. Banksters committed fraud on a massive scale. This commission isn’t a law-enforcement agency, but what it finds can help Justice and SEC investigators do their jobs. In fact, it may force them to do their jobs, which a mere sense of duty has not, so far, sufficed to do.

More from the FCIC: The head securities regulator for the state of Texas testifies about how the feds have kneecapped state investigators/investigations, not because they would do a better job but to protect the very people they’re supposed to be regulating. Biggest. Fraud. In. History.

Memo to right-wing nuts (and anyone else, although I suspect only the wingnuts would be stupid enough to try this): Do not invite journalists into your home, sit for an interview and then demand their tapes at gunpoint, because your ass will go to prison and your wallet will go to the journalists. Having once covered the Klan, I’m taking particular satisfaction in the outcome of this case.

The Fed elides oversight and political meddling because it thinks you and I are too stupid to know the difference. Stupid Fed.

Darrell Issa wants Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson to testify about the AIG bailout. So do I, but Issa has a little more leverage than I do. Uh, Democrats, that slamming sound you hear is Issa walking out the back door with your populist mandate for 2010.

More fraud uncovered: This time, short-sale fraud. And wonder of wonders, it’s CNBC that has uncovered it. Memo to Mary Schapiro: When CNBC looks both more honest and more industrious than the SEC, then you are officially Teh Suck.

For once, J.P. Morgan outperforms Goldman Sachs … if, by “outperform,” you mean, “directs an even more inexcusably large percentage of its total revenues to banker bonuses”64 percent of revenues. Not of profits, of revenues. Remember, Morgan, like the other 37 banks reviewed by the WSJ, has significant amounts of crap disguised as assets on its balance sheets, and even more crap off the sheets that soon will have to be moved onto the sheets. And are the banks setting aside capital to cover the inevitable write-downs? No, they’re buying helicopters and Hamptons houses.

If voters could vote on Obama’s financial appointments they way they can vote on Chris Dodd, Obama would be paging a lot of empty offices. For good reason.

Liberal academia? Yes — because conservatives choose disproportionately not to become college professors. These findings, albeit not yet published, are consistent with some earlier research.

Who killed Pat Robertson? Why, it was Lily Coyle, in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (2nd letter down), with a clue.

Freedom’s just another word for no one left to screw: Retiring Sen. Chris Dodd could be scrapping the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency before he goes.

Well, it’s a step: The U.S. releases the names of 645 detainees at Bagram. Good. But some  of those people have been held for years without even being told why. Not good.

PhrMA theatens to blow up health-care reform. A friend of mine has proposed that any attempt to make a profit off health care should be made a crime. I think that’s extreme, but when stuff like this happens, I understand the anger that gives rise to such suggestions.

Dawn Johnsen might say torture is illegal. Therefore, she cannot possibly be allowed to run Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, or else the terrorists win.

Memo to special prosecutor John Durham: In the marathon investigation of the destruction of CIA torture videos, the DFHs are eating your lunch. Bet they aren’t charging the government as much as you, too.

All of a sudden, “conservatives” are in favor of privacy. And it’s interesting how the kind of privacy they favor dovetails neatly with protecting them from being held accountable for their actions. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

If you’re following Perez v. Schwarzenegger and it sounds awfully like Dover v. Kitzmiller, well,  there’s a reason for that: In both cases, science is/was under siege. Science won in Dover. Let’s see what happens in Perez.

Republicans, having fed off the productive among us for so long, are now simply outraged that one of their own is doing it to them. More specifically, their cynical selection of Michael Steele as national chairman to try to appeal to African American voters now means that even though he needs firing and is daring them to fire him, they can’t do it.

Why does Rush Limbaugh hate the troops? And why do the troops continue to air him on Armed Forces Radio when he hates them?

More map pr0n! Geocurrents has created a map blog tied to news events.

Thought for the day: Requiring drug tests for welfare recipients makes sense only if we also drug-test recipients of federal earthquake relief, tax credits and bank bailouts. Despite what you may have been told, your odds of getting into Heaven do NOT increase in direct proportion to the number of times you kick poor people.

“Never (annoy) a walrus.” Because if you do, the bucket is the least of your problems.

Friday, January 1, 2010 12:39 am

Odds and ends for 1/1

I have no idea what the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee is, but inasmuch as it just sued the Fed for records, I like it already.

Auld Lang Syne: Sam Stein reminds us that then-N.C. Sen. Elizabeth Dole was among 8 GOP senators who voted in 2007 against spending $250 million to upgrade U.S. airport security. On the one hand, what was she thinking? On the other hand, in hindsight, what have we gotten for that $250 million?

Feeling safer yet?: The guy overseeing the probe of how the U.S. compiles and uses its terrorist watchlist is the same guy who 1) helped design it under Bush and 2) got rich working on it in the private sector.

I call BS: VH-1 had some special on tonight about shocking moments in rock or somesuch, one item of which was Keith Richards’ reportedly having snorted his dad’s cremains like cocaine. Unless he ground ’em up really, really well, it never happened. Cremains are actually coarse enough to give you a fast lung abcess or three if you inhale them. (Sugar will do the same — inhaling pulverized sugar was a favorite suicide method of Soviet Gulag inmates — and cremains are even coarser.) So, as with so much else Keith has done or been reported to have done, kids, do not try this at home.

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times: Ten Things That Totally Sucked About the Media in 2009, followed by Ten Things That Did Not Suck About the Media in 2009.

I presume this legal theory also will be brought to bear in the cases of Guantanamo inmates: Four Blackwater (now Xe) mercenaries get off on murder charges because federal investigators, despite explicit warnings from prosecutors overseeing the case, relied too heavily on compelled statements.

Another military history: The New York Times has obtained and posted a secret, 422-page official military history of the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2005, and the parallels between it and the Vietnam War’s Pentagon Papers are striking and depressing. Memo to those with whom I was arguing on Christie Tatum’s Facebook page on government secrecy: This is a big and classic example of the kind of stuff I was talking about.

“I can’t help but think this is God’s way of telling Rick Warren to STFU.”: So sayeth Lisa Derrick on the lying megachurch pastor’s plea for $900,000 before year’s end. Warren implies that church services to jobless members has combined with lower-than-expected offerings on the last weekend of the year to create this budget gap. I have two questions: How can one weekend create a gap that big? And why should we believe a word that comes out of Rick Warren’s mouth?

Clearly, Focus on the Family needs to STFU, too: This wingnut Christianist outfit has laid off more than 500 people in the past four years but thinks it’s important to spend $4 million on a Super Bowl ad to tell people it opposes abortion. Like we couldn’t have guessed. Jackasses.

Other people who need to STFU: The Dumbest Quotes of the Decade.

Memo, which The Washington Post hasn’t read: Pete Peterson and his outfit are not disinterested analysts/journalists/commenters. They have an agenda, and the agenda is to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and give that money to rich people.

The Stones are crooning “Dead Flowers” and I’m drinking a carbonated beverage made from dead, fermented grain of some sort, and it’s getting on toward bedtime. To better days.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 8:41 pm

Odds and ends for 11/25

  • Roots: Here’s one good reason not to go looking for your birth parents.
  • Coincidence?: On Tuesday, Obama’s top Pentagon official for detainee affairs, who had long and publicly opposed military commissions for terrorism suspects, quits. Today, late in the afternoon on the day before a four-day holiday weekend (for those who work in or cover the government), the government announces it is filing new charges against a terrorism-conspiracy suspect under the Military Commissions Act of 2009.
  • Thanks for that, Tipper: The jackass lawyer who unsuccessfully sued Judas Priest for supposedly causing a kid’s suicide is running for Congress in Nevada — as a Democrat.
  • The master has learned from the student: Charles Lane, best known (if known at all) as the New Republic editor who oversaw serial fabulist Stephen Glass, has taken a page from the Glass notebook and just made crap up about the recent government report on hunger. To quote a commenter elsewhere, I hope his turkey has tapeworms.
  • Piling on: Connecticut joins Ohio in suing the financial-ratings agencies. Woohoo!
  • Memo to Pete Peterson: We know the difference between being concerned about the deficit and being a concern troll, and we know which one you are.
  • It’s working, at least somewhat: The people who prepare economic forecasts for private, paying clients say Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package has helped.
  • The public: “Stop covering Sarah Palin!
  • I wonder who will be disciplined for this screw-up: Former Bush White House spokesbot Dana Perino tells Fox’s Sean Hannity, “We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.” Forget 9/11 (she obviously did); what about the anthrax attacks, the Virginia Tech shootings and the D.C. sniper(s)?
  • Why does Rush Limbaugh hate America?: Rush Limbaugh calls for overthrowing the government. This would not be the first time he has done this.
  • Maybe it’s because of his philosophy*: “But if you live in the universe of lies, the last thing that you are governed by is the truth. The last thing you are governed by is reality. The only thing that matters to you is the advancement of your political agenda. And you tell yourself in the universe of lies that your agenda is so important the world will not survive without it and therefore you can lie, cheat, steal, destroy whoever you have to to get your agenda done because your opponents are evil, and in fighting evil, anything goes. There are no rules when you’re in a fight with the devil.”

*Yes, I understand that he thinks he’s not talking about himself.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 6:27 am

Not bad work if you can get it

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 6:27 am
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I admit it: I know next to nothing about economics and finance. So I have a couple of questions about a new round of debt being offered by Developers Diversified Realty, which owns a lot of commercial real estate … which, you may have heard, ain’t doing so hot.

First, when your aforementioned primary assets ain’t doing so hot, why would you pay a bank $5 million-plus in underwriting fees to refinance what you owe it, on which you’re currently paying 1.5%, for debt on which you’ll be paying 9.625%?

Second, is that even legal?

Third, even if there’s a good reason for it and it’s legal, why would your stockholders not want your head on a stick?

Fourth, even given the benefit to Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, why are they taking $5 million in fees on this rather than the customary 3%, which would be more like $9 million? Particularly when BofA soon may need quite a bit of cash just to pay the lawyers?

Monday, August 31, 2009 8:48 pm

Guess the coroner couldn’t get no satisfaction

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 8:48 pm

Police are re-opening an investigation into the death 40 years ago of erstwhile Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones.

The original verdict was  “death by misadventure,” i.e., an accident. Supposedly a journalist has dug up (so to speak) undisclosed new information compelling enough to lead the cops to look back into it.

But there have been questions about the circumstances of his death from the beginning. He was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool the night of July 2-3, 1969. His then-girlfriend claimed a builder named Frank Thorogood, who had been working on the house and reportedly was the last person to have seen Jones alive, killed him. (Thorogood has since died.)

Perhaps the new information further implicates Thorogood; perhaps it clears him and/or implicates somebody else.

Thursday, July 16, 2009 8:29 pm

Sinclair circles the drain

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 8:29 pm
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Sinclair Broadcast Group — which owns the Triad’s ABC affiliate, WXLV, as well as WMYV — is in serious financial trouble … something I foresaw almost five years ago, oddly enough.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 8:48 pm

Memo to my.earthlink.net

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 8:48 pm
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I don’t care how many months you leave the link up, I am NOT going to “Check out this ‘Shocking’ online colon cleanser report before you buy.”

Sunday, July 5, 2009 4:14 pm

So long, Sarah, we hardly knew ye …

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 4:14 pm
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… except I don’t think she’s going away.

By far the two most popular explanations I’ve heard for her unexpected resignation announcement are 1) some kind of scandal about to pop or 2) plans to raise money and run full-time for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. On the basis of no evidence whatsoever either way, I’m going with Door No. 2.

I don’t think she’s just stepping out of public life early because she’s some kind of fragile flower to whom the Vanity Fair article was the final, fatal straw. Fragile flowers don’t get nicknamed “Sarah Barracuda”; moreover, what she has had to put up with is but a tiny fraction of what, say, Hillary Clinton has had to put up with.

No, I think she’ll be back. And honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if she did pretty well in the primaries. Her spot on the culture-wars spectrum, her overdeveloped sense of victimhood and her entitlement mentality all play well to the GOP base. As fragmented as that party is right now, that might be all she needs to achieve critical nomination mass, if she can raise enough money in the next 18 months or so.

This is all just a SWAG and could be totally, completely wrong. I have no evidence, no inside information, no original reporting. But I’m certain she’s running. Beyond that, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009 8:41 pm

Paging Sigourney Weaver

Filed under: Fun,Weird — Lex @ 8:41 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Please report to the 6-inch sewer main under Cameron Village in Raleigh, NC. The sewer snake camera has found something that needs your immediate attention.

And you’d better bring your flamethrower.

(h/t: Apostropher)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 7:12 pm

Odd case of confidentiality encountered during job search

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 7:12 pm
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I don’t know the first thing about disposing of explosive ordnance (unless the first thing is “Get the hell away!”), so there may be a perfectly logical answer to this question, but: Why would someone advertising for an explosive ordnance disposal technician want to remain confidential?

OK, two questions. The second: If you’re not the military or a police/sheriff’s department, why are you disposing of explosive ordnance in the first place?

Saturday, May 23, 2009 7:06 am

Unintended, meet consequences

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 7:06 am
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Republicans pushed an addition to the just-passed credit-card bill that permits people to carry guns in national parks.

One of which is the White House.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 8:23 pm

Overkill?

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 8:23 pm
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Afghanistan’s only known pig has been quarantined because of fears that it could transmit swine flu to people.

Friday, November 21, 2008 7:39 pm

The upper-class twits ain’t gonna like this

At long last, Monty Python has its own YouTube channel! Now my children can be properly educated.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008 9:48 pm

Mainstreaming the differently hemoglobined

Filed under: Fun,Weird — Lex @ 9:48 pm
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When I saw Herb tonight when I was picking V. up at Girl Scouts, he brought up a new TV series that actually went some way toward making me think there might be something on TV (besides Panthers games) that I’m missing. This is something of a revelation, inasmuch as I pretty much stopped watching TV during the last season of “The West Wing.” I mean, yeah, I hear good things about some shows from some people whose opinions I respect — Nancy loves her some “Mad Men,” for example — but, honestly, I stay so busy that the idea of appointment television’s making its way back into my life, even with the help of the VCR (yeah, we’re still analog here) is almost laughable.

But HBO’s “True Blood” (I have not yet explored the site, so, please, no spoilers in the comments) has the most intriguing concept for a TV show I think I’ve ever heard of: mainstreaming vampires. As Herb describes it, an artificial blood has been created that means vampires no longer have to, well, prey on the living to survive. And now that they don’t have to, apparently a movement among them has arisen to try to un-live something approximating a normal un-life.

Herb didn’t have time to go into great detail, so I’m not clear on what exactly this might mean in practical terms. For example: daylight activity or not? Coffin or king-size bed (and, if coffin, must it still be lined with one’s native soil, and if so, how does one keep one’s designer cape clean)? Mirror and camera, or are they still pointless? Can you eat real food, and if so, would you want to? (Herb says the series is set in Nawlins, so for a mainstreaming vampire not to be able to partake of the local cuisine would be cruel.) And do you still have that foul-breath thing going on?

Then there are the psychological underpinnings of the premise; “Dracula,” after all, was basically the first Freudian novel … and we are talking HBO here. Do mainstreamed vampires have mainstream sex, and if so, with the living or just each other, or both? And just because you don’t have to prey on the living to survive doesn’t mean you might not want to just for the thrill of it, so how does the wanting-to-mainstream community handle the outlaws? Relatedly, Herb says one of the early plot lines has to do with a series of unsolved murders, which, naturally, everyone blames on the vampires even though the victims were — hello! — not exsanguinated. Talk about your soft bigotry of low expectations.

We don’t have HBO, and I’m not going to add another channel to the cable package I already pretty much don’t watch. But the writers for this series appear to have bitten themselves off a big chunk of interesting to suck on, and I’ll be watching and listening to find out what my TV-watching friends think.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 7:58 pm

Martin Luther King Jr.: The Definitive Biography

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 7:58 pm
Tags: ,

Thanks to The Memory Hole, the so-far-released portions of MLK’s FBI file are now online. All 16,659 pages.

Y’all go knock yourselves out. Statistically speaking, I’ve only got another 30 or so years to live, so I won’t have the time.

Monday, August 11, 2008 7:55 pm

Isolated incident?

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 7:55 pm
Tags: ,

This? I’d be very surprised.

Friday, August 8, 2008 7:14 am

A quote in honor of the opening of the 29th Olympiad in Beijing

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 7:14 am
Tags: ,

“Sporting and chivalrous competition awakens the best human qualities. It does not sever, but on the contrary, unites the opponents in mutual understanding and reciprocal respect. It also helps to strengthen the bonds of peace between the nations. May the Olympic Flame therefore never be extinguished.”

— Adolf Hitler. No, really (p. 6 of document; p. 7 of *pdf).

(h/t: Mark Schaver)

Friday, August 1, 2008 8:36 pm

Seven years later, the anthrax-letter case has been solved. Right?

So it would seem, based on this Los Angeles Times report.

I have a couple of thoughts.

First, if the stuff originated at Fort Detrick, as now appears to be the case, how could it possibly have taken so long for investigators to find out? One possible explanation was that the guy ID’d as the perp had both motive and opportunity to cover things up. Another is investigative ineptitude, although how that ineptitude could be finally overcome after seven years is a little unclear to me.

Also, the government would have us believe they’re pretty good at sniffing out international terrorism targeting the U.S., and good for them. But how ’bout some attention to domestic terrorism? Terrorism is terrorism, no matter where it originates. But in this case, they screwed the pooch so badly they ended up paying nearly $6 million dollars to a guy who’d been wrongly named as the possible perp. And remember the 1996 Olympic bombing? And how a guy named Richard Jewell was wrongly identified as the bomber? (His settlements came from news organizations but not the government, IIRC.) Should we be really sure that this time they’ve got the right guy?

Finally, and speaking of news organizations, the anthrax-letters case contributed mightily to public and official sentiment in favor of invading Iraq, and ABC News played a particularly important role in this and took years too long to admit that its reporting had been utterly, completely false. Glenn provides more details.

UPDATE: Nationally known anthrax expert Dr. Meryl Nass, who has a blog on the anthrax vaccine and possible problems related thereunto, has thrown up a host of posts since Friday on the Bruce Ivins case. She’s skeptical about the official story, for reasons she explains pretty clearly. Her posts on the subject begin here, and if you don’t want to look on the main page and then scroll up from there, you can go forward one by one by following the Blog Archive => August links that appear on the left side of her pages.

Thursday, July 31, 2008 7:27 pm

No power, please, I’m an American*

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 7:27 pm

While looking for a trailer for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (official one here), I stumbled across an ad/trailer for “Swing Vote”, apparently a comedy whose premise is that a presidential election comes down to one man’s vote. (I can see one flaw in the premise right off the top of my head: If enough vote-counting has been done that we know that the election comes down to one person’s vote, then it’s presumably hours or days after the polls have closed, so how can this guy still be allowed to vote? But never mind that for the purposes of this post.)

Part of the ad was a poll that asked what you would do if you were the swing voter in question: decide the election, think about it or let others worry about it. At the time I saw the ad, 81% of respondents were saying they’d be the decider (as opposed to the deciderer, I guess), 8 % were saying they wanted to think about it and 11% were saying let someone else worry about it.

This is an Internet poll, so it’s obviously not scientific. Still: 11% would pass up on the chance to decide a presidential election? Who are these people, and what are they doing wandering around on the Internet, let alone having the right to vote? Yeesh. That’s sort of like saying, “Eh,” when asked if you mind whether someone cuts your head off with a rusty saw.

*Props to whoever can guess where I derived this post title from.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 6:51 pm

One guy who won’t be coming to my high school class’s 30-year reunion

Filed under: Sad,Weird — Lex @ 6:51 pm
Tags:

The James David Boyd in this story was David Boyd, my good friend and classmate all the way through junior high and high school. I last saw him at our 10-year reunion, when he seemed to be pretty much the same David I’d gone to school with. But I guess a lot can happen in 20 years.

Damn. I can only begin to imagine what his family is going through … and what they still have to face.

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