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Just when blogging was getting old…

Max, 2007/03/31 

Apple introduces amazing new product 

Taking a break

Max,  

I'm going to be taking New Worlds off line for a short while (hopefully) while I try to rediscover the joy of blogging. Lately, it's just been a source of crankiness and not too much fun. I also have a major spam problem to deal with. It's gotten to where I'm receiving hundreds of spam messages a week, even with anonymous comments turned off.

Check back in a week or two… 

How To Explain US-AttorneyGate To A Lunkhead (Republican)

Max, 2007/03/26 

Me:  What's your favorite sport?

THEM:  NCAA Basketball

Me:  How's your bracket looking?

THEM:  Not bad, not bad.  It was worse last year, let's just leave it at that……….

Me:  Okay, have you ever been watching a championship game and in the final seconds, the ref made a horrendous call, which lost the game for your team?

THEM:  Happened a few years ago, yes.

Me:  Now, I know that YOU don't bet on college basketball, but let's just imagine that you had a big wad of money riding on that game.  Let's say it was your kid's college fund.  How would you feel then?

THEM:  I'd be pissed off.

Me:  But, what would you DO about it?

THEM:  Well, I'd scream bloody murder at the referee.

Me:    But, what if the bad call wasn't reversed, and the referee wasn't fired, and you started expecting that the fix was in?

THEM:  I'd scream bloody murder to the NCAA Commissioner.

Me:   Okay, well what if thousands of people complained to the Commissioner just like you did, but it came out in the paper the very next day, that the Commissioner had been firing perfectly good referees and replacing them with people who were loyal to him.  Referees that would make calls the way the Commissioner wanted, instead of following the referee's manual?  And what if it came out later that one of those referees that was hired was the one who made that horrendous call that lost you that bundle of money?  What would you do THEN?

THEM:  I'd rip his fucking nuts off!!!!!

Me:  Whose nuts?

THEM:  The COMMISSIONER'S NUTS!!!!!

Me:  Well, there you go.  That's the US Attorney Purge scandal……………in a nutshell.

Copyleft Alyosha Karamazov at DailyKos

My preferred President speaks

Max, 2007/03/19 

Gary Hart in the Huffington Post speaks out on The Lessons of Iraq. Every time I read this guy's writing I feel like Thomas Jefferson still stands among us:

First, treat jihadist terrorism more like organized crime than traditional warfare. By declaring "war on terrorism" we made the fatal mistake that it could be crushed using conventional warfare and massed armies.

Second, liberate the U.S. from dependence on Persian Gulf oil. We can then sharply reduce the U.S. military presence in the region and remove the single most important iincentive for jihadism. A consortium of oil consuming nations can agree with regional oil producers to protect the continued flow of oil to world markets.

Third, restore principle to American foreign policy. Neoconservatives who dominate the Bush administration have used the Wilsonian rhetoric of "democratic idealism" even as they pursue the most cynical and dishonest policies. These policies, including covert support for highly undemocratic regimes and factions, repression of dissent, and cynical manipulation of local politics, are hidden from the American people but are well known to the people of the countries where we carry them out. We must regain our moral authority in the world by living up to our own high ideals and Constitutional principles.

Fourth, engage the nations of the world in achieving security for the global commons. Security in the 21st century now means much more than it did in the Cold War 20th century. It includes security and openness of markets, security of the environment and reversal of global warming, security of energy supplies, security of livelihood, and the security of healthy communities.

Run again, Gary. You've got my vote.

Note: I will consider any reference to the irrelevant details of Senator Hart's past personal foibles as an admission of lack of interest in the important points the man addresses today. 

Political hagfish

Max, 2007/03/17 

This is why I love DailyKos. Check out this comment thread, arising in response to a rant about the disgusting qualities of our current administration:

An insult to Rats

Rats make great pets.  They also have an understanding of their own levels of knowledge.

I would not compare these worms to any vertebrate.

  •  Thats an insult to worms!

    Worms serve a valuable function by turning garbage into rich compost. These fascist cretins have done the opposite-turning the rich compost of our contries values into garbage.

    •  We as human beings have been stuck with these

      creeps are part of our species long enough; the other life forms have to take their turn and just lump it ;(

      •  No other animal deserves

        the assignment of the behavior of these assholes. They are evil unto themselves, with no resemblance to any other Earthly creature.

        •  Hagfish

          Might I suggest the hagfish as a suitable mascot?

        • "Hagfish are long, vermiform and can exude copious quantities of a sticky slime or mucus (from which the typical species Myxine glutinosa was named). When captured and held by the tail, they escape by secreting the fibrous slime, which turns into a thick and sticky gel when combined with water, and then cleaning off by tying themselves in an overhand knot which works its way from the head to the tail of the animal, scraping off the slime as it goes.

          Some authorities conjecture that this singular behavior may assist them in extricating themselves from the jaws of predatory fish. However, the "sliming" also seems to act as a distraction to predators, and free-swimming hagfish are seen to "slime" when agitated and will later clear the mucus off by way of the same travelling-knot behavior."

  • I also learned, courtesy of the Hagfish Wikipedia page, that the Hagfish is know by some as "the most disgusting of sea creatures" and has a habit of entering live or dead fish to feed on their insides by entering the mouth, gills or anus.

As promised… pics

Max, 2007/03/16 

To accompany Sun, Moon, and Snow. Thanks go to Horsebadordies, pictured second, as my camera was non-functional.

read more…

Goddess of Punk is Honored

OReilly, 2007/03/14 

Patti Smith was recently honored for her music and poety.  She is an amazing woman and artist.  She and her work are responsible for liberating many women from the constraints of the dominant western, anglo, christian society.  Congratualtions!

"Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine
meltin' in a pot of thieves
wild card up my sleeve
thick heart of stone
my sins my own
they belong to me, me "

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7798711

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7809521

Better than Dawkins

Max, 2007/03/13 

Alan Watts. I picked up The Wisdom of Insecurity from my bookshelf which I probably read twenty years ago when I was in a big AW phase. The first chapter strikes directly at the collision between science and religion in ways that seem resonant of Dawkins but much more respectful to the delusional (Watts began his career in the seminary). Here's a snippet I found interesting:

There is nothing, indeed, to prove that there is no God, but the burden of proof rests with those who propose the idea. If, the scientists would say, you believe in God, you must do so on purely emotional grounds, without basis in logic or fact. Practically speaking, this may amount to atheism. Theoretically, it is simple agnosticism. For it is of the essence of scientific honesty that you do not pretend to know what you do not know, and of the essence of scientific method that you do not employ hypotheses which cannot be tested.

The last sentence seems an elegant refutation of the perspective that Kurt Wise's decision to abandon evolution due to it's irreconcilability with the Bible was in any way scientifically honest or legitimate.  

Further on in the first chapter Watts draws a distinction between belief and faith that I found startling.

We must here make a clear distinction between belief and faith, because in general practice, belief has come to mean a state of mind which is almost the opposite of faith. Belief, as I use the word here, is the insistence that the truth is what one would "lief" or wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go. In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception.

I'm not sure what dictionary Watts was using, but the online Free Dictionary has six definitions of faith, four of which are based on belief and the other two nothing like what Watts claims it means.  It seems to me that what Watts is describing here is the genuine spirit of unfettered scientific inquiry itself ("no preconceptions" "a plunge into the unknown"). His use of this definition of faith has me re-thinking my faithlessness. I suppose I have to call myself a SPLB (Spiritual Progressive Lacking Belief) rather than a SPLF. Too bad since I kind of have a warm spot for spliffs.

the emancipation of women

raison detre, 2007/03/12 

Documents released to the public on Thursday reveal that abortion rights were almost overturned by the US Supreme Court in 1992. The Library of Congress released the papers of late US Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, author of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and staunch supporter of abortion rights.

In the 1992 abortion rights case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the court's 5-4 majority, led by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, appeared ready to effectively overturn Roe. Blackmun's papers revealed, however, that unknown to the court's three anti-Roe justices, three Republican-appointed centrist justices, including Blackmun, Sandra Day O'Connor and David Souter, worked together in secret to preserve Roe, successfully persuading "an anguished Justice Anthony M. Kennedy to abandon the Rehnquist majority in Planned Parenthood v. Casey," according to the Washington Post.

i made a game to test your knowledge of some of this stuff… let's see how Charles does…
 

burning dead cows

raison detre,  

A project is under way in the U.K. to turn dead cows into an energy source . What have they been doing with them in the meantime?  Are they storing them now, like cords of wood? 

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