“Glenn Beck has Nazi Tourette’s”
Posted on May 14th, 2010 at 12:11 am by Steve

Lewis Black on the Daily Show absolutely nails it!

In My Country, We Call It “Murder”
Posted on April 13th, 2010 at 4:59 pm by Steve

“We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.”

That’s from General Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, quoted in the New York Times. He’s referring specifically to soldiers at military checkpoints who engage in “escalation of force” against people, usually in vehicles, who behave in ways the soldiers perceive to be threatening.

The whole situation is extremely complicated, but it bears repeating: Afghanistan never attacked the United States. The people of Afghanistan never posed a threat to the United States. The alleged perpetrators of the attacks of September 11, 2001 were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon (all nominal “allies” of the United States). The United States had no basis under international law for its invasion and occupation of Afghanistan: such behavior constitutes a war of aggression.

Sixty years ago, the United States government helped to articulate the gravity of a war of aggression: it is “not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Nine years into this unprovoked war, the US general in charge admits “we have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.” Though he was talking about checkpoints, his comments could easily apply to the enterprise as a whole.

What will be our reward here in the United States for such international cruelty?

“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just” (Thomas Jefferson, 1783).

Republican Talking Points on Health Care Reform
Posted on March 26th, 2010 at 2:40 pm by Steve

…from 1961! Voiced by the actor RONALD REAGAN!

[audio:reagan-medicare.mp3|titles=Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine]

“One of the traditional methods of imposing Statism or Socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it. Now, the American people, if you put it to them about Socialized Medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it. We had an example of this: under the Truman Administration, it was proposed that we have a compulsory health insurance program for all people in the United States. And, of course, the American people unhesitatingly rejected this.”

This recording was distributed in 1961 as an LP, and was apparently funded by the American Medical Association. You can read all about it on Wikipedia!

I Have the Perfect Defense Against Tigers
Posted on March 25th, 2010 at 3:00 pm by Steve

Since 1997, every night before I go to sleep, I turn around three times and chant “on-gay iger-tay”. In more than thirteen years, I have not been attacked by a tiger. My method is perfect!

Everything I know about logic, reasoning, and causality, I learned from Peter Wehner, former deputy assistant to President Bush, in this op-ed:

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, when virtually everyone assumed we’d be hit again, Bush put the United States on a war footing. He mobilized the entire federal government, including the military, Homeland Security, the Treasury, the FBI, our intelligence agencies and more.

We have not been attacked since.

Update 3/26/10:

I should add that I have also learned a great deal about logic and causality from former Bush administration speechwriter Marc Thiessen, from his fabulous new book Courting Disaster:

“In the decade before the C.I.A. began interrogating captured terrorists, Al Qaeda launched repeated attacks against America. In the eight years since the C.I.A. began interrogating captured terrorists, Al Qaeda has not succeeded in launching one single attack on the homeland or American interests abroad.”

Q.E.D., baby!

(BTW, the Thiessen quote comes from this excellent takedown by Jane Mayer in the current New Yorker magazine.)

Nothing Sucks Like a Hoover!
Posted on March 3rd, 2010 at 11:23 am by Steve

J. Edgar Hoover, that is! Via BoingBoing, I came across The Kisseloff Collection, which is author Jeff Kisseloff’s collection of photos and stories stretching back through the 1920’s. Some of the photos are gorgeous, some are disturbing, and some are just weird:

Jeff writes about working with Alger Hiss in the early 1970’s, and in the process going through more than 40,000 pages of FBI files. He recalls many of the nasty, anti-Semitic writings he found in Hoover’s personal collection, and fires off this bon mot about the FBI director:

he had his agents compile lists of left-wingers to be picked up and placed in detention camps in the event of a national emergency. If he compiled lists of right-wingers it was only for dinner invitations.


In Case You Were Wondering…
Posted on February 22nd, 2010 at 11:44 am by Steve

…the masters of the American economy (and, thus, the people whose largely unaccountable decisions determine the material fortunes of most people in our country) don’t give a flying fuck about you, me, or anyone else we know:

“American business is about maximizing shareholder value,” said Allen Sinai, chief global economist at the research firm Decision Economics. “You basically don’t want workers. You hire less, and you try to find capital equipment to replace them.”

(Source: New York Times, “The New Poor: Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs”)

What a shame that the structure of our economic and political life is simply a force of nature that is immune to modification. If only there were some way to structure a society so that the primary economic activities were directed toward something else in addition to “maximizing shareholder value.”

Or, wait…

Who Needs Courts When You’ve Got “History’s Judgment”?
Posted on February 15th, 2010 at 7:16 pm by Steve

Andrew Sullivan calls out Dick Cheney’s admission this weekend, “I was a big supporter of waterboarding,” and correctly notes that the former Vice President has thereby admitted to being guilty of a war crime. War Crimes must be investigated and prosecuted under U. S. law and international treaty, and the principle of Universal Jurisdiction applies (meaning, Cheney could be indicted and arrested by agents of a foreign government and held to account).

Of course, the Attorney General of the United States doesn’t seem to understand his solemn obligation:

[Attorney General Eric Holder] added that he had seen documents making clear that Cheney’s office was the driving force behind the Bush Administration’s most controversial counterterrorism policies, especially those sanctioning brutal interrogations. He said of Cheney, “I think he’s worried about what history’s judgment will be of the role that he played in making decisions about everything from black sites to enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Thanks, Eric Holder. Let’s all just sit on our hands and wait for history to render a judgment. It’s not like it’s your JOB to go around enforcing the laws of the United States!

(The Holder quote comes from this excellent article by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker, which I also referenced in a prior post.)

Some People Believe Scott Brown Is A Fucking Moron
Posted on February 13th, 2010 at 2:24 pm by Steve

People are screaming about Defending America From Terrorists. Their method? Abandon bedrock American values. Of course!

“Some people believe our Constitution exists to grant rights to terrorists who want to harm us. I disagree.”

Jane Mayer called out that gem from a Senator (!) Scott Brown political ad that ran last month. Her profile of this “movement” is in the current New Yorker.

And, just for the record, Senator Brown: our Constitution actually does stipulate that “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury… nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

I believe the English language included the word “citizen” back in 1789, so I’m pretty fucking sure that when the framers wrote “No person,” that’s exactly what they meant.

In fact, I’m pretty fucking sure that the whole point of guaranteeing the rights of the accused is so that “terrorists who want to harm us” are afforded due process of law. I mean, the law is good enough for serial killers, rapists, arsonists, and mass-murderers, but it crumbles before a kid with explosive underoos?

AR Kitchen (Now with 500% more ads!)
Posted on February 10th, 2010 at 3:11 pm by dr.hoo

An amazing/creepy visualization of what life might be like when we are “jacked in” to a virtual overlay 24/7. Lots of great little details in the animation. Note the sea of advertising that can be controlled, paying you more money per second depending on your environmental saturation.

The future looks AWESOME!

Augmented (hyper)Reality: Domestic Robocop from Keiichi Matsuda on Vimeo.

The latter half of the 20th century saw the built environment merged with media space, and architecture taking on new roles related to branding, image and consumerism. Augmented reality may recontextualise the functions of consumerism and architecture, and change in the way in which we operate within it.

A film produced for my final year Masters in Architecture, part of a larger project about the social and architectural consequences of new media and augmented reality.

Anti-US Propaganda from Dear Leader
Posted on February 5th, 2010 at 5:20 pm by Steve

Creepy but pretty interesting, too. Via the ISO50 blog.

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