Saturday, December 30, 2006

Band of Gypsies - New Year's Eve - Fillmore East

December 31, 1969. I was 16, and it was my first New Year's Eve out. I took my girlfriend, Ellen, to a Chinese restaurant on west 8th street in the Village and then walked over to the Fillmore East. I knew we were going to see Hendrix, but didn't know what this Band of Gypsies thing was.

Of course, I had expected to hear all the great songs from Are You Experienced and his other albums. But this was something new and different. Funky and surprisingly optimistic. Less flashy, more focused on the music.

We saw the early show, so it's not the one on the album, but essentially the same set. They did throw in Foxy Lady, and Buddy Miles did Them Changes with every band he played with.

After the show, we made it to Times Square for midnight and then went up to Central Park to catch the end of the WNEW-FM party hosted by Zacherle.

Hell of a night and hard to imagine I did all that at the tender age of 16. I think there was some making out, too; at least I'd like to remember it that way! She was a great girl, and the only one I ever had a bad break-up with. Funny how I still regret that so many years later.

Part 1:


I've always thought Band of Gypsies was great stuff, and although they were a band, it was still mostly about Hendrix. All the sadder that he didn't live to keep evolving his music.

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Dang me.
Dang me.
They oughta take a rope and hang me.

- Roger Miller

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

What Jews Do on Christmas

I mentioned to a Christian friend that I was planning another typical Jewish Christmas -- Chinese food and a movie. He looked at me with amazement. Indeed, he has Jewish friends that do this, but he never realized it was a "thing."

There's a great Dim Sum restaurant in Denver called The Empress. Last Christmas we went at noon and there were about 250 Chinese and 50 Jews. Can't remember what movie we saw after. Absolute perfection would be a new Woody Allen flick!

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm Not Making This Up

from Britney Spears' web site:

After seeing her snatch -- and man has it been magnified -- I would thank God for any underwear she'd acquire.

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The ISG Report

I've never been asked to join a commission analyzing and making recommendations on how to fix a broken war. But I have been asked in business to find solutions to urgent problems. And I can tell you, there is never the luxury of taking nine months to get this done as the Iraq Study Group did.

The result is "a report overtaken by reality." as George Will writes today. Read it.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

melted away

By that time, the prewar intelligence had proved inaccurate. No Iraqi units changed sides, and the number of surrendering forces was small. Iraqis had sacked Army garrisons, and entire divisions had melted away.
- Washington Post

The Iraqi Army was conspicuously absent, for example, in the Hurriya neighborhood, where rampaging Shi'ite militias damaged Sunni mosques and allegedly immolated worshipers. In Hurriya and elsewhere, many Iraqis reported that the Iraqi soldiers either melted away when the militias arrived — or worse, stood by and watched as they attacked Sunnis.
- Time

One of the more interesting lessons of the Iraq war was the nearly complete collapse of the Iraqi army. This was largely forgotten until recent media criticism along the lines of, "why wasn't the Iraqi army kept together for peacekeeping duty." The reason was simple; the Iraqi army simply melted away before Baghdad fell.
- Strategy Page

The Iraqi Army suffered from poor morale, even amongst the supposedly elite Republican Guard, and entire units simply melted away into the crowds upon the approach of occupation troops.
- Al Jazeera

Sectarianism has defined some forces, too, as Shiite militiamen and Sunni insurgents infiltrated the ranks. During times of unrest, entire units have simply melted away, rather than face down Shiite gunmen during a 2004 uprising in Najaf, south of Baghdad, and Baghdad's Sadr City slum, or Sunni militants during fighting that year in Fallujah.
- Christian Science Monitor

When the insurgency erupted in 2004, the soldiers either melted away or switched sides altogether, and in the growing religious tensions that have opened since, they have too often been identified with sectarian interests.
- The Telegraph

The idea was that they would carry out suicide operations as part of Saddam’s strategy to hold the capital and to weaken the Americans, as what Saddam imagined would be a siege of Baghdad began. Instead, the Americans arrived much more quickly than he had imagined. His army did not hold the line, and Baghdad fell, to all intents and purposes, without a fight—with the exception of sporadic opposition from Baath Party militia, isolated military men, and these jihadis in roving bands. Then they melted away; I remember seeing them melt away on the morning Baghdad fell.
- The New Yorker

But there is something of a puzzle. Where has the Iraqi opposition gone to? The Republican guard has not put up the expected levels of resistance. Maybe this is an indication of how badly they've been hit from the air, perhaps it has just melted away to take up further positions closer to Baghdad.
- Daily Kos

Razzaq, 40, is a native of Diyala province, a mixed Sunni-Shiite area northeast of Baghdad. He graduated from a military academy in 1986 and entered the Iraqi army as an officer during the Iran-Iraq war, which raged from 1980 to 1988. He says he was not destined for the top ranks of Saddam's military. A cousin had been executed by the regime, and Razzaq never joined the ruling Baath Party, an essential step to ensure promotion.During the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, his infantry unit was in Kut, a town south of Baghdad. Razzaq says his unit melted away in the face of U.S. forces without firing a shot. "We didn't waste one bullet," he says. "We just put on civilian clothes and left."
- USA Today

The study acknowledged that psychological operations did not lead to the mass surrender of Iraqi forces as many Army leaders expected. Rather, most regular Iraqi military forces did not stand and fight, but melted away before coalition attack.
- Army News Service

On MTP [Meet thge Press], National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley pointed out that the Rumsfeld Memo, reportedly calling for a course change in Iraq, is actually a laundry list of options the SecDef was asked to compile, not a set of definitive policy recommendations. Hadley said that we had planned on their being more Iraq forces intact after the war, but they "melted away." He seemed to be saying that the Administration had a plan to use the Iraqis in uniform when it has long been a contention that Bremer simply dissolved the Iraqi security forces.
- Red State Network

I understand now: We had a strategy, and it melted away.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Not enough junk in the blogosphere, so...

Another useless meme. Don't know whether to blame writeprocrastinator or Katie Schwartz for this one. I'll blame Katie.


We don't sleep here in the 5th dimension.

I'm a fighter. I fight Superman

Losing my stash of Kryptonite.

I was an Animaniac.

Archaelogists finding recordings of these shows in 500 years will understand exactly what our culture was about.

I chew on my fingernails.

I'm the one for which the doctors coined the phrase, "The baby is ugly."

Enough people have told me to fuck myself, that I think I'm a couple.

I don't have one. I compose telepathically.

I don't shower.

No, it's a stupid human trick.

Refer back to that fuck yourself answer.


With the sharks.

No, Lonnie Lighto.

I hate Queens.

Depends how far up Katie's ass it is.

If I do that, I lose my powers over Superman.

I like to sharpen my little dick manually.

A deer stand.

Refer back to that fuck yourself answer.

Yes, it's beautiful, like a doctor's.

Lex Luther.

Refer back to that fuck yourself answer.

That's when I laugh.


Yes, and I like them that way.

Stuck to the sheets by static electricity.

Too late.

Mister Mister.

Refer back to the eggs response.

I travel by teletransport.


He was until I shot him for kissing my mommy.

Haven't figured out how to do that myself.

I prefer white people.

Fear and loathing.

Jif creamy, because I cream in a jif.

No, but I can crack my nuts.

No, but I've helped put other people there.

Yes, I like free drugs.

Refer back to the snoring response.


What's not to like.

I see dead Supermen.

Such a shame that Yogi Berra was a drunk.

I play Superman like a violin.

Money can't buy you love.

Prefer Segway.

Yes, I particulartly enjoy shitting in the woods.

What's so funny? You think I'm funny, do you?

God is alive, magic is afoot.

Only when they bite Superman.

Such a shame about Lois and Jimmy.

I stowed away on Apollo 11.

I'm perfect.

As a witches tit.

Chocolate covered ants.

Yes, but only the clear stuff.

I hate people.

"What's the story, Jerry?"

I burned it down.

!aH aH yawA eM ekaT ot gnimoC er'yehT by Napolen XIV

And finally my question:

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hunger Ends in America

by Joe Fresser

Sounds too good to be true. But according to our government, nobody in America suffers from hunger anymore.

Well, OK, 35 million people may experience very low food security. Think I'm joking? Think I made that up. Oh, no, your taxpayer dollars paid for that euphemism. Ya see, according to the Washington Post:

Every year, the Agriculture Department issues a report that measures Americans' access to food, and it has consistently used the word "hunger" to describe those who can least afford to put food on the table. But not this year.

Mark Nord, the lead author of the report, said "hungry" is "not a scientifically accurate term for the specific phenomenon being measured in the food security survey." Nord, a USDA sociologist, said, "We don't have a measure of that condition."

The USDA said that 12 percent of Americans -- 35 million people -- could not put food on the table at least part of last year. Eleven million of them reported going hungry at times. Beginning this year, the USDA has determined "very low food security" to be a more scientifically palatable description for that group.

Bollocks! "Very low food security" is a more politically palatable description because nobody knows what it fucking means.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How is Vietnam different from Iraq?

Bush had a plan for getting out of Vietnam.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Who said it?

"Once you've got Baghdad, it's not clear what you do with it. It's not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that's currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Baathists, or one that tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists? How much credibility is that government going to have if it's set up by the United States military when it's there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for that government, and what happens to it once we leave?"

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"Tuesday's losses were not excessive punishment for the party that has presided over what is arguably the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history."

- George F. Will

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Out from Under Bush's Skirt

by Mxyzptlk

John McCain now has a great opportunity to get out from under the President's skirt where he has been since the 2004 election season and reclaim his independence and integrity.

It will take a lot for this observer to forgive McCain for folding on the anti-torture bill, and I'm not pleased at his chiding of John Kerry last week. As a confirmed lefty, I'm quite unlikely to vote for McCain if he were to be the Republican nominee. But I sure would like to have straight-talking, honest candidates representing both parties. It would be good for the country no matter who wins.

As I wrote recently, the Straight Talk Express has been up on blocks and needs a new transmission. This is McCain's time to repair the bus.

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The New "Old Dominion"

by Mxyzptlk

The stunning victory of Jim Webb in the Virginia senate race indicates a shift in racial attitudes in that Commonwealth. I'm not a demographer, so can't say whether it's white people evolving their views, more African-Americans participating in the electoral process, more members of other ethnic groups voting, or a combination of the three. But given that George Allen was ahead by 16% (as expected) before his Macaca comment and people coming out of the woodwork claiming a history of Allen being racially insensitive (to say the least), I have to chalk the Webb victory up to a reaction to Allen's evident bigotry. And of course it helped that Webb is not some wild-eyed liberal, but a decorated veteran who has served in the Pentagon under a Republican president. The fact that Webb is a critic of the war in Iraq who has a son serving there helped, but the fact is he was well behind until Allen exposed himself (so to speak).

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Morning in America

by Mxyzptlk

Ah, so nice to wake up on a day with positive election news. First time in 10 years.

k-Fed up

But for a dose of surrealism, last night while I anxiously watched the returns in the Montana, Virginia and Missouri senate races, the ticker at the bottom of the screen on MSNBC broke the news that Britney had filed for divorce from K-Fed (now Fed-Ex).

I think his downfall had nothing to do with their actual relationship, but that he had the temerity to try and go to the fron of the stage. His correct role was as a background dancer, and had he stayed there I don't think Brit would have had a problem. The only thing I haven't figured out is who had the egg salad and who had the corn dog.

How to lose an election

A pundit said last night that Northern Virginia has been trying to secede from the Confederacy for some time. Virginia is indeed two states in one, but still, Northern Virginia does not have a majority of the population. So there was George Allen, ahead by 16 points in what should have been a cakewalk, but bigotry will out -- eventually -- and when you go Maccaca-crazy in a state with lots of people of South Asian descent and other first and second generation Americans, you may have stepped on a hornets nest and then those hornets decide to vote. And maybe even the Good ol' Boys down in southern and western V-A had a stirring of conscience and realized they could very well vote for a guy who was Undersecretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan.

And as to the Senate

One TV commentator on Sunday said there was a deal between Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid that if the Dems took control of the Senate, Reid would yield to Clinton as Majority leader and Clinton would not run for President in '08. That would be a win-win-win. Reid is a weak leader for the Dems, and a bit of a loose cannon. Clinton has proved to be an excellent, hard-working Senator who knows how to do deals with the Republicans. But in a presidential contest, her baggage would surface and could be devastating. With a deal such as this, we would have both Clinton and (hopefully) now Kerry out of the way and a clear field of interesting hopefuls.

And as to '08

If the Dems have any shred of intelligence, they will select Denver for the 2008 convention. Colorado and the mountain west states are the center of growth for the Democrats. The Dems are not going to win back the south any time soon, despite a few hopeful signs. As a result of this election, the Democrats control the governorship and both houses in Colorado. There will be Democratic governors from Montana to Arizona. Given the un-conservative excesses of the Republicans since 2001, the Dems can position themselves as fiscal conservatives, strong on defense while remaining social liberals. In other words, the "liberals" are more conservative than the "conservatives." And true conservatism is based in the west (think Barry Goldwater)and has little to do with religion.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Another good use for duct tape

by Mxyzptlk

While I'm on the subject of telling people to shut up... John Kerry, please shut up! You have again proved yourself to be self-absorbed, tone-deaf and not living in the real world of American politics. God help me if I ever support another candidate from Massachusetts.

First of all, you should have realized you had flubbed the line and could have corrected yourself right there and then.

Later, when your words were read back to you, you probably thought, "Oh, people will know what I meant." What freaking world are you living in? Of course they knew what you meant, but what difference does that make? You could have immediately made a three-part statement:

  1. What I really meant to say was...
  2. I sincerely apologize if... (like you finally did several days later)
  3. But let's not be distracted from the real issue which is...

That would have been win-win-win. But you are a loser.

Some have criticized Hillary Clinton for jumping on the bandwagon of criticizing your statement. Well, cynically, yes, she could take some political advantage from it, because it gives her and any other Dem with ambition an opportunity to knock you out of the box for 2008. But I was thinking about what I would feel if I were a leading Democrat in this election season. I would be so pissed at you that I would disparage you just for the sport of it.

As to John McCain, we now know for sure that the Straight Talk Express is up on blocks because the transmission fell out. He has gone from shining-light-although-a-conservative-Republican to usual-Republican-weasel. Not much of a friend either, eh John?

Title of this post inspired by Andy Borowitz.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

The G. O. C.

by Mxyzptlk

What's the G. O. C.? It's my new name for the G. O. P. Perhaps my younger readers don't know that the latter, a traditional nickname for the Republicans, stands for Grand Old Party. My new acronym stands for Gnarly Old Closet from which another homo-fighting-God-fearing-right-winger is being forcibly ejected.

This one is not just some random pastor or just one Congressman out of hundreds.

Ted Haggard was president of the 30 million member National Association of Evangelicals, and a confidant of President Bush.

He has resigned in the wake of accusations from a former male prostitute that Haggard was a customer of his for three years. The former "escort" also played voicemail tapes of someone trying to get him to set up drug buys, and the voice sounded very much like Haggard's. As well, the accuser says he knew Haggard only by the name "Art." Haggard's middle name is Arthur.

Today, Haggard admitted buying methamphetamine from a male prostitute, who he said he was referred to for a massage. He claims he never used the meth and never had sex with the prostitute. Ah yes, bringing out the ol' Clinton I never inhaled defense. I've decided to believe the accuser, who says Haggard did inhale the drugs and something else, if you catch my meaning.

Salon's Lauren Sandler writes:

"Ted Haggard may not just be the most important evangelical you've never heard of, but the most important evangelical, period.

"Rick Warren may be the bestselling evangelical scribe since the Bible's original autographs. His 'Purpose-Driven Life' has sold more copies than any other nonfiction book in history, that is, if you don’t consider the Bible nonfiction. But he’s hardly got the ear of the president, with whom he doesn't always see eye to eye (or tooth for tooth).

"And even James Dobson, long heralded as the most influential evangelical in the world, lacks the pull with the evangelical movement he once did. Dobson never takes off his suit jacket, even at his desk, while Haggard can't stand the feel of anything but denim against his skin. Dobson has been seen by many evangelicals as stepping too far into the 'corrupt' dark side of
Washington since he launched his PAC, while Haggard manages his influence carefully without the tarnish of politics ever marring his flawless gleam. It's Haggard who is the bionic hero of the young cadets and airmen he ministers to in his own megachurch, just down the road from Dobson's Focus on the Family. In Colorado Springs -- known alternately as the Vatican and the Washington of the evangelical world -- it is Haggard who is king, the crony and the conscience of his youthful parishioners as well as his president.

"Which is why it matters so that Haggard seems to have fallen. The Mark Foley scandal inspired plenty of people to question their devotion to the Republican Party. But Foley is a politician; most evangelicals would already suspect him of thinly cloaking his identity in a three-piece, pinstriped superego. Haggard, on the other hand, has always represented the real deal. He's the one John Wayne would have tapped for his posse. He's the one who represents most how deeply political this evangelical population can be, while always disdaining the notion of politics, always cleaving toward the ranch rather than the Hill.

"If that makes it sound like Haggard and Bush are peas in a pod, well, they are. Haggard participates -- or at least he did -- in weekly White House conference calls, and he and the president like to joke that the only thing they disagree on is what truck to drive.

"Haggard has been preaching against homosexuality with his typical charismatic fire-and-brimstone fervor ever since he founded New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Probably even before then. And if he's right that there is a special place in hell for gay fornicators and drug abusers -- not to mention for liars and charlatans -- I guess he knows where he's headed."

Bring out the chute and down he goes...hopefully taking some Republican candidates along for the ride. I almost feel bad for the true believers who line up behind scumbags like Haggard...almost, but not quite. Sadly, they're being "left behind."

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I would so do Helen Thomas

by Mxyzptlk

Helen Thomas has made a career of asking presidents and their press secretaries the hard questions. Here she is questioning Tony Snow yesterday at the White House (emphasis is mine):

Q Does the President owe the Democrats an apology* for saying that the terrorists -- that they will appease the terrorists?

MR. SNOW: No. Let's take -- you know what's interesting, Helen, and I've said this before --

Q How bellicose was he?

MR. SNOW: I don't think it's bellicose. Look, let's listen to what the Democrats -- or let's think about what Democrats are doing in this election campaign. When it comes to winning the war on terror, what is their plan? They've not said. They have talked about withdrawal --

Q -- 101 in Iraq --

MR. SNOW: -- they've talked about a whole series of things, in terms of complaining -- looking back over their shoulders and complaining about past decisions. But when it comes to the key issue, how do you achieve victory -- they say they want to achieve it, but they won't tell you how. They will tell you what they oppose what the President is doing. They oppose the Patriot Act; they have opposed the Terrorist Surveillance Program; they oppose the program by which we detain, question and bring to justice the worst of the terrorists. So they have opposed all of those things, so we know
what they oppose, but we don't know what they're going to do.

Q How does the President propose to win? How does the President -- 101 in October dying --

MR. SNOW: The President understands that it is difficult. This is a man who signs each and every condolence note. He is absolutely aware of the human cost. And he grieves for every family and every person that we've lost. But on the other hand, he also knows two things. First, as General Casey said last week, there is not a single military engagement that we have not won, and we don't give our soldiers credit for that. Secondly, he also understands that if we were to walk away short of victory it would give terrorists the opportunity to turn Iraq into a stronghold in which they would have access to the world's second largest reserves of petroleum; that they would be able to use oil as a political weapon against the United States, Europe, Asia, could pit the industrialized nations against one another; they could also work in concert with Iran and Syria, which have been active supporters of terror; they no doubt would try to go after Israel, after the Arabian peninsula, perhaps after Egypt. In other words, the consequences of walking out and leaving a failed state are absolutely catastrophic, and the President understands that. But he also understands the promise of a democratic Iraq. And if you take a look at what's happened -- the Prime Minister, being assertive about what he wants to achieve -- and there has been progress, economically and politically, throughout much of Iraq, not ignoring the difficulties especially around Baghdad and the fierce fighting -- you take a look at that, the promise is if you have a democracy, and when you have a democracy that stands up in Iraq, that sends a powerful message. Helen, you and I have been students of the region long enough to know that everybody is watching -- everybody is watching. And the way they see it in the region is either terrorists win or democracy wins. And the President is absolutely determined that democracy wins.

This is one of the lengthiest non-answers in history. Snow complains the Democrats don't have a plan for Iraq, so Thomas asks him what the President's plan is. Hmmm, did you see a plan in that answer? No, the President says we will win, and that's enough.

I guess the President's plan is victory by wishing.

Thomas gets my Medal of Freedom. She is a true patriot.

I heard on the news that a new poll says the percentage of people who say we should stay the course in Iraq is about the same percentage of Americans who are evangelicals. Makes sense -- they believe God led us to this war and thus to back away is to abandon God or to say that God was wrong. Can't have that. And if there is any logical explanation for Bush's actions and words, this is it.

* This after Snow echoed the calls for an apology from John Kerry for his botched line that, as delivered, implied Kerry was saying people joining the military are stupid. Thanks, Kerry, for blowing it again, but the Republican pile-on just demonstrates how they are grasping at straws as the election approaches.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Water Over the Damned

by Mxyzptlk

Washington Post, October 28, 2006

Vice President Dick Cheney said Friday that he was not referring to an interrogation technique known as waterboarding when he told an interviewer this week that dunking terrorism suspects in water was a "no-brainer."

Cheney said aboard Air Force Two late Friday that he did not talk about any specific interrogation technique during his interview Tuesday with a conservative radio host.

"I didn't say anything about waterboarding. ... He didn't even use that phrase," Cheney said on a flight to Washington, D.C., from South Carolina.

Earlier Friday, White House press secretary Tony Snow said the vice president was talking literally about "a dunk in the water," though neither Snow nor Cheney explained what that meant or whether such a tactic had been used against U.S. detainees.

"A dunk in the water is a dunk in the water," Snow said.

And a dumb shit who believes that is just a dumb shit.

So Cheney, do our folks really dunk people in some water like bobbing for apples to obtain information? Is that what you meant? Perhaps next we'll hear about our guys using a soft cushion to wring confessions from suspected terrorists.

McCain, I hope, is feeling the fool for signing on to the bill that permits this. He said it prohibits waterboarding, but it doesn't have any specific prohibitions and leaves everything up to the judgment of the President. Nice going, McCain, you sucker.

Washington Post, October 5, 2006 1947, the United States charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for carrying out another form of waterboarding on a U.S. civilian. The subject was strapped on a stretcher that was tilted so that his feet were in the air and head near the floor, and small amounts of water were poured over his face, leaving him gasping for air until he agreed to talk.

"Asano was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) told his colleagues last Thursday during the debate on military commissions legislation. "We punished people with 15 years of hard labor when waterboarding was used against Americans in World War II," he said.

Darth Cheney can obfuscate all he wants, can join a talk show host in making light of this, but what is clear is that the Administration believes waterboarding to be a legimitate "technique" in interrogations. If they didn't, it would be to their advantage to say so.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bob's Still Here

by Lex Luthier

Being long past my youth and now traveling through middle age, I had never seen Bob Dylan. When I learned that he would be playing in a relatively intimate setting a mile from my house, I decided this was the time. Now I love Dylan, but the most recent album of his I know well is Blood on the Tracks. I know he's done some great work since, and that he is still amazingly popular, but I just haven't tuned into him for some time. I had also heard his live shows were inconsistent and that he only plays keyboards now. So with all that backstory here's my review:

He was f'in'-A fantastic!

Bob DylanVenue was the Fillmore ballroom in Denver, once owned by Bill Graham, and my guess is it holds 2-3,000 people. Only complaint is that all of us except a couple hundred had to stand. That gets more challenging as we age, and while I am younger than Dylan, he wasn't standing in line for an hour and then in the hall for 90 more minutes before the show started.

Dylan's band was great, especially his lead guitarist. But as to the keyboard... he had it on organ voice the entire time, and it turns out that Bob has become a really excellent rock and roll organist. Maybe he was taking notes from Garth Hudson back when, but I can understand why he's left the rhythm strumming to someone else. He was really good, and he was grooving with it. Had no problem picking up a harmonica in his left hand and playing organ with his right.

I had been told that many of his classic songs can be unrecognizable. Well, he certainly changed them and his singing style has changed (as described in his memoir). I didn't have trouble identifying the oldies, and I liked what he did with them. A particular great arrangement and timely one to bring back was Masters of War. This was the closest to an acoustic performance. For the rest, he really rocked out.

Other favorites of mine included Absolutely Sweet Marie, Stuck Inside of Mobile, Like a Rolling Stone and a version of All Along the Watchtower that owed as much to Hendrix as it did to the original. I liked the sound of more recent material, some of which was vaguely familiar including one of the songs from the current CD, but as is usual in rock concerts, couldn't pick up many of the lyrics.

Near the end, Dylan actually mumbled a few words to the audience, and after the encore he and the group stood at the front of the stage, not exactly bowing, but at least it was some sort of acknowledgement of the audience. I've always heard that Dylan says nothing and is generally uncomfortable with performing. Maybe that started when people were booing him for going electric in the sixties.

It occured to me as I watched Dylan that he doesn't have to do this. While he may not be very personable on stage, I think its his choice to let the music speak for itself. There was fine attention to showmanship -- uniform dress for the band (maroon suits with black shirts and a variety of black hats, Dylan all in black), and a well-paced set with roadies handling the tuning and instrument rotation for the string players.

I'm really glad I went, and maybe I'll give some of the newer stuff a try.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Bush Changes the Calendar

by Mxyzptlk

Back in Junior High in the ol' 5th dimension, I had a teacher who, when we were misbehaving (about all the time, especially since it was an all-boys school), threatened to keep us in "'til June 31st." We all thought he was stupid, but of course he was messing with us.

I don't think we can say the same of our President. Note the highlighted text (and click on the image for a larger version):

See also:

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Snow Job

by Mxyzptlk

From yesterday's White House press briefing:

"Question: One on Iraq again...Are we winning?

"MR. SNOW: We're making progress. I don't know. How do you define 'winning'? The fact is, in taking on the war on terror -- let me put it this way, the President has made it obvious, we're going to win."

The White House can't provide a definition of "winning" but assures us we will win. Boy, that makes me feel better.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

North Korea says "boo(m)"

Once again North Korea has defied the will of the international community, and the international community will respond.

- George W. Bush

by Mxyzptlk

So the Emperor has a double standard. The USA does not need to heed the will of the "international community." We'll do what we want when we want to, and our lookout is our self-interest. But other countries need to do what the U.N. tells 'em.

This bluster is the best he can do in light of the administration's catastrophic failure to forestall this event.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006


They say that patriotism is the last refuge
To which a scoundrel clings.
Steal a little and they throw you in jail,
Steal a lot and they make you king.

- Bob Dylan

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Foley Truth and Nothing But the Foley Truth

"We have a story to tell, and the Democrats have -- in my view have -- put this thing forward to try to block us from telling the story. They're trying to put us on defense."

- Dennis Hastert

by Mxyzptlk

I don't think we can give the Democrats so much credit. The Republicans these days are scoring against themselves so well the Dems hardly need to mount an offensive.

The point here is that when you promote yourself as the paragon and protector of virtue as the Republicans have, it is fair to hold you to a higher standard.

So yes, Dennis, tell us your story. Tell us what you would have done if, when still a high school teacher you had become aware of a colleague sending such messages to a student as Foley sent in emails to a page (forget the more explicit IMs). Would you have just had a little private chat and told him to stop, rather than report it to authorities and had him suspended?

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

From the Foley Closet

by Mxyzptlk

Speaking on the Foley incident yesterday, Pat Buchanan made the argument that homosexual men are more likely to engage in pediphilia and other inappropriate sexual behavior than heterosexuals. That argument is analagous to saying that prostitution is bad because it attracts the criminal element.

Prostitution attracts the criminal element because we made it a crime.

In my opinion, gay men who are closeted are more likely to act inappropriately than those who are not.

I won't even talk about Catholic priests.

I'm not for a minute excusing behavior that is wrong. And we know there will always be predators, rapists and the like, both gay and straight.

But let's imagine a world where gay people -- in all walks of life -- had no reason to conceal their sexual orientation. Doesn't it make sense that we'd have fewer incidents like this?

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Froggy, the Voting Gremlin

Hiya, kids! Hiya, hiya, hiya!

by Mxyzptlk

You know the old saw about the frog in a pot of water that, as the water gets hotter and hotter, doesn't realize he's going to get boiled alive until it's too late? Maybe that's where we stand with our democracy right now. The pot went on the burner with the un-Patriot Act, bubbles formed a year ago when the government permitted large swaths of shorefront property along the Gulf Coast to face re-development and gentrification, and steam was observed last week with passage of the McCain-Graham-Warner-Rolled-Over Act. Full boil may come on Election Day.

After the 2000 election there was a movement to replace then-current voting procedures with electronic machines that would be reliable and eliminate confusion. The Help America Vote Act, passed in 2002, offered deadlines for migration to "improved" voting systems, but, along with various state laws, left county and municipal voting supervisors confused as to exactly what was required. The pressure to comply with these laws created a frenzy of voting machine purchases. These machines are, in many cases, not being specified and purchased by I.T. professionals. And certainly, they are not being operated by I.T. pros.

Here are key findings in a Princeton University study of the popular Diebold voting machines:

1. Malicious software running on a single voting machine can steal votes with little if any risk of detection. The malicious software can modify all of the records, audit logs, and counters kept by the voting machine, so that even careful forensic examination of these records will find nothing amiss.

2. Anyone who has physical access to a voting machine, or to a memory card that will later be inserted into a machine, can install said malicious software using a simple method that takes as little as one minute. In practice, poll workers and others often have unsupervised access to the machines.

3.AccuVote-TS machines are susceptible to voting-machine viruses — computer viruses that can spread malicious software automatically and invisibly from machine to machine during normal pre- and post-election activity.*

4. While some of these problems can be eliminated by improving Diebold's software, others cannot be remedied without replacing the machines' hardware. Changes to election procedures would also be required to ensure security.

If you have 10 minutes to invest in learning more about this visit the Princeton site and watch their demonstration video. Their full report is available as well.

While there are many aspects of voting in America we should be concerned with, this danger is the most insidious. I think there's a role for the Carter Center right here at home.

Let's say we were a patient people. We could devise printed ballots that were clear, have them marked and dropped into boxes, and have the contents of those boxes counted and compiled. It might take longer, we might not have results the same night, but I wonder if those results would be any less accurate or more susceptible to fraud than the systems we will use this November 7th.

*Network connections are not necessary to spread viruses. Computer viruses were a problem long before the internet.

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Naughty Tony

"I hate to tell you, but it's not always pretty up there on Capitol Hill. And there have been other scandals, as you know, that have been more than simply naughty e-mails. "

-White House Press Secretary Tony Snow on CNN, Ctober 2, 2006

by Mxyzptlk

Yes, there are terrible things happening on Capitol Hill. Like sticking a knife in the heart of the Republic by capitulating to the Emperor on torture and Habeas Corpus for detainees.

We shouldn't be concerned that the GOP leadership knew about Foley's predatory emails to a former and still-underage page. I guess Foley was a closet Log Cabin Republican, so that makes it OK. At least he wasn't a female teacher having sex with a male student. That would be wrong!

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Welcome to America!

"My friends, we're going to run this campaign on positive, constructive ideas," Sen. George F. Allen told a rally of Republican supporters in Southwest Virginia last week. "And it's important that we motivate and inspire people for something." Let's consider which positive, constructive or inspirational ideas Mr. Allen had in mind when he (then) chose to mock S.R. Sidarth of Dunn Loring, who was recording the event with a video camera on behalf of James Webb, the Democratic nominee for the Senate seat Mr. Allen holds. The idea that holding up minorities to public scorn in front of an all-white crowd will elicit chortles and guffaws? (It did.) The idea that a candidate for public office can say "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia!" to an American of Indian descent and really mean nothing offensive by it? (So insisted Mr. Allen's aides.) Or perhaps the idea that bullying your opponents and calling them strange names -- Mr. Allen twice referred to Mr.Sidarth as "Macaca" -- is within the bounds of decency on the campaign trail?

- from a Washington Post editorial, August 15, 2006

by Mxyzptlk

Welcome to the real world of America, George Allen. We know you may feel out of place, being a white, cowboy boot-wearing man. Do not feel uncomfortable. The rainbow people who were in Virginia before you will not look askance, and will welcome you without question. They know that America is the land for all people.

However, they have half a brain and will vote your sorry ass out of office, you bigoted, racist, worthless son of a bitch. Get on the Republican lobbying gravy train while you can, because it stops running in just a little over two years from now.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Breasts, and the Women Who Wear Them

by Mxyzptlk

We all know that if men got breast cancer (and a few do) in the numbers women do, we'd be well on the way to a cure, if not there already.

Some enterprising bloggers have found a way to bring focus to this during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with the 5th annual Boobie-Thon October 1 - 7. Yes, women of all sizes and stripes (and a few guys, judging by past years) will post pix in hopes that others will donate to assist with efforts to find a cure. Take a look at last year's creative pix to get you revving.

Thanks to the self-described "well-hung" Katie Schwartz for spreading the word. I can't wait to scan the pix and guess which one is her.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Skid Marks

by Mxyzptlk

"On National Underwear Day, underwear finally gets the recognition it truly deserves," said Michael Kleinmann. "We've had lots of public participation, with New Yorkers showing their panties and joining the festivities.

How is that day different from any other day? In New York and other cities, underwear has been outerwear for some years now. And with Vickie's not-so-Secret-stuff blasted all over network TV, it's hard to argue undies don't get the attention they "deserve."

As a male imp, mind you, I'm not complaining. I like to see lacy slips worn as dresses, bras and bra-straps showing, thongs peeking out behind women's trousers. Not thrilled about seeing boxers riding well above guys' low-rider jeans, however.

Remember when they couldn't show live models in bra commercials, and there was Jane Russell standing next to a mannequin saying how her Playtex bra "lifts and separates" (as a kid, I wondered what it lifted and separated) for "us full-figured gals" (also wondered what that meant).

Long before my eyes found Playboy or National Geographic, there was the Sunday New York Times Magazine. That had the hottest lingerie ads. And of course, I thought it was pronounced leengeree.

The trend I really don't understand is men going to skivvies without an operable fly. Seems we want less convenience for some reasons. Or maybe we had the equivalent of VPL...VFL? I dunno, but I want to get in and out of the latrine as fast as possible, and having to undo the belt and everything else just slows one down.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Surging Toward The Lowest Common Denominator

by Mxyzptlk

If the Today Show already had a rep for being lightweight, despite being produced by the NBC News Division, we hadn't seen nuthin' yet until the debut of Meredith Vieira. It appears the only thing keeping the credibility roof from caving in on that show was Katie Couric, of all people.

Quoth Meredith on her first day:

"I feel like it's the first day at school and I'm sitting next to the cutest guy!"

Mxyzptlk: As Vieira said this she grabbed Matt Lauer's hands. He waited a moment and tossed her hands off.

Meredith thought balloon: "Yeah and next time they want to know 'Where in the World is Matt Lauer' they can look under my skirt!"

"I'm going to be the 'broad' in broadcasting."

Mxyzptlk: This will give a boost to young women graduating journalism school.

Meredith thought balloon: "Why don't I have any news cred?"

"I had a hamster named Al, growing up. He's dead."

Mxyzptlk: Roker better watch the hell out.

Meredith thought balloon: "He was cute and furry, just like me."

"At the end of the day, who looks stupid?"

Mxyzptlk: Why, you do, sweetheart!

Meredith thought balloon: "Thank God Lauer's dumber than me...I think. But I don't know what I'm going to do about the Curry bitch."

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Tit Changed Everything

By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press Sept. 3, 2006

NEW YORK - Broadcasters say the hesitancy of some CBS affiliates to air a powerful Sept. 11 documentary next week proves there's been a chilling effect on the First Amendment since federal regulators boosted penalties for television obscenities after Janet Jackson's breast was exposed at a Super Bowl halftime show.

"This is example No. 1," said Martin Franks, executive vice president of CBS Corp., of the decision by two dozen CBS affiliates to replace or delay "9/11" — which has already aired twice without controversy — over concerns about some of the language used by the firefighters in it.

As Bill Maher, referring to "Janet Jackson's sneak tit attack on America" said, "9-11 didn't change anything, but the tit changed everything." (Real Time, Sept. 8, 2006)

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Why does Pink want to kill Britney Spears?

By Mxyzptlk

Because Britney made a good $75 million more than Pink did slutting for Pepsi, and yet had no idea what she was selling.

When they launched Pepsi Vanilla a couple of years ago, the had Britney headline the NFL kick-off concert on our tax-supported National Mall. This was the biggest product launch in years for Pepsi and they spun up the p.r. machine.

A day or so before the big event, Britney was interviewed on CNN by that King of Kulture, Tucker - I may come from money but I once worked in a baked bean factory - Carlson:

SPEARS: I really do like Pepsi.
CARLSON: Really?
SPEARS: I really do.
CARLSON: What's your favorite kind?
SPEARS: My favorite kind of Pepsi? Pepsi's Pepsi.
You can still hear the sound of a Pepsi marketing executive's head rolling.

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Half Brains' Half Eatens Bought by Half Wits

by Joe Fresser

Let's say you are a wealthy pop star and her husband, at a music industry event where everything from "4-star style entrees to deep fried goodness" are available at a buffet. What would you choose?

You guessed it! An egg salad sandwich and a corn dog.

And let's say you weren't that peckish and didn't finish your meal. What would you expect to happen?

Well, of course! A waiter would save your leftovers and sell them on eBay.

Of course, no-one would be so stupid and crass as to actually buy them, would they?

Indeed, the Golden Palace Casino shelled out $500+ for this treasure. See the eBay page here.

One wonders what they'll do with it. Probably be the big payoff for the $10 slots.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Denver Concrete

by Mxyzptlk

Considering the time I've spent studying your three-dimensional ways, it always surprises me when I find myself stumped, as happened recently when my friend from Denver USA sent me this picture taken in his neighborhood.

I've always understood that when you said someone was "laid" it was a crass reference to having sex.

Now I am wondering who or what had sex with a slab of concrete.

The part I definitely understand is that there was a contractor involved.

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A Supergroup for Geezers

by Lex Luthier

Remember the Supergroup concept? Like Blind Faith? Get together some out-of-work guys from formerly successful groups and call 'em Super? Yeah, and who the hell was the bassist in Blind Faith? Never heard of him. Might as well as had a ringer like the Doors, B52s or Stones do now.

I've got a real candidate here:

Think about a formerly great band whose drummer flamed out years ago and bassist dropped dead more recently. And yet their guitarist, also a great composer, and lead singer, are still with us and quite unfortunately still touring under the banner of that group

Then think of another band -- long ago disbanded -- whose rhythm guitarist, also a lead singer, was cut down by a madman, and whose lead guitarist succombed to disease a few years ago. But the drummer is still with us, and sadly, still trying to sing. Their bassist also is alive, and not a bad singer, although his ability in the area of composition left him many years ago. He's a bit distracted right now by a messy divorce.

Seems to me if you put them together we have:

1. Lead guitarist and great composer
2. Lead singer
3. Bassist, not such a great composer any more, but he can still sing, especially harmony
4. Drummer (keep his mike off)

And now I'm pleased to present:

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The Fifth Dimension

by Mxyzptlk

I'd like to start by clearing the air about The Fifth Dimension.

You humans have strange ideas about The Fifth Dimension.

This overrated quintet of singers on the left that recorded mediocre versions of songs by great composers such as Laura Nyro is not The Fifth Dimension.

Your Wikipedia states The Fifth Dimension is " a hypothetical extra dimension beyond the usual three spatial and one time dimensions."

Why, there is nothing hypothetical about it! Else how could I be writing and posting this message from it.

Clearly, you humans cannot comprehend The Fifth Dimension, and that is your loss.

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