Jon, what the hell are you doing? Jeez, I go away for a while, and this place just goes to pot.
In other, more amusing news, 27-year-old douchebag Ricky Williams has retired.
Ha ha ha ha!
This amuses me greatly, and for many reasons.
Gumbo and Beignets
When you have been a fan of a sports team, you have a moral obligation to continue to be a fan even if the team is now terrible. It is disloyal to cease being a fan merely because the team keeps losing. 'Once you're a fan, you're a fan for life.'
He goes on to say this claim is "absurd," but the problem is that he is making (at least) two diffent claims. The first is that supporting a team creates a moral obligation and the second is that failing to support a team is disloyal. I's still not sure if the obligation to support one's team despite years of losing could be called a moral obligation, but I'm pretty sure that most true sports fans would say that abandoning a team because they're losing would in fact be disloyal.
But back to the first claim, what is that obligation called that makes people want to support the same losing team year after year? Growing up, lots of my friends loved the Dallas Cowboys when they were winning Superbowls. I had other friends that spontaneously became Florida State fans even though we lived in Mississippi and never knew anyone who went to school in Florida.
I always considered these people morally inferior. Seriously, I look down on them. But I guess I should rethink that idea. Perhaps they aren't morally inferior, but just plain inferior.
Perhaps I will post more on this later this weekend, but for now, I invite your thoughts.
Altogether, the franchise brought in more than $230 million at the domestic box office. Maslansky also serviced the small screen with "Police Academy: The Animated Series" in 1993 and "Police Academy: The Series" in 1997.
The political energy of the state is in Middle Tennessee, particularly the "ring" of suburban counties around Nashville. I drive 15 miles south of Nashville to Williamson County, the ground zero of Tennessee's—and the GOP's—boom. Twenty-five years ago, Williamson County was rural and Democratic. But Nashville white-collar workers moved out there. Country music and health care created a cadre of rich suburbanites. Williamson County's population quadrupled from 34,000 in 1970 to 126,000 in 2000. Now it has topped 140,000. The county adds two schools a year. A massive mall, the Cool Springs Galleria, gushes sales tax revenue, allowing Williamson to repeatedly cut taxes. Real estate dealers fill developments—like "Fountainhead" and "The Manor at Steeplechase"—as fast as they can be built. Country stars such as Brooks & Dunn and Tim McGraw have moved in. NASCAR stud Darrell Waltrip is in Williamson as well.*-snip-
"This is Eden," says county GOP chairman Hugh DuPree with a big grin. "It is not a big city, but it has all the amenities of a big city. There are no slums, no inner city. And we have the best schools in the state." In Williamson, DuPree says, people hate taxes and favor the war. It's the kind of place where you don't make plans for Wednesday evening because that's church night.
The county's new residents—white, prosperous, religious, and economically conservative—are quintessential Republicans. When USA Today was looking to profile the ideal Republican community in 2002, it came to Williamson County.
"It's not a question of whether President Bush will win here, it's by how much," he says. "In 2000, Bush won the state by 80,000 thousand votes. This county—just one of 95 counties—provided a quarter of that margin. He won here by 20,000 votes."-snip-
I do find an undecided voter in Williamson County—the only one of three dozen Tennesseans I accost who hasn't made up his mind. He is Tom Taylor. I meet him on Main Street in Franklin, right outside his law office. Taylor is a moderate Republican, he says. He voted for Bush, in part out of disgust for Clinton. "But now I am really disappointed." Bush has dragged the party too far right, has governed poorly. Taylor is pessimistic about the country. Still, he says, "if there is any light at the end of the tunnel, if—let's say—there is any sign someone is listening to Colin Powell, then I will vote Republican. You see, there just isn't anything to like about John Kerry."
Oxford Ancestors, the firm doing the testing, says 16 to 17 million men in Central Asia share a pattern of Y chromosomes within their genetic sequences that indicates probable descent from Genghis Khan, who conquered vast tracts of Asia and Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries and sired many offspring.
"He was an all-conquering tribal leader," said David Ashworth, a geneticist who is Oxford Ancestors' chief executive. "He took their cities, he took their land, he took their women."
[T]he Bush administration wants AIDS fighters to tell people: Condoms don’t work. This demented exigency flies in the face of every competent medical body’s judgment that, in the absence of an HIV-preventing vaccine, the condom is the single most effective tool available to protect someone from getting or spreading the AIDS virus.
Moreover, the CDC will now take the decisions on which AIDS-fighting educational materials actually work away from those on the frontlines of the combat against the epidemic, and hand them over to political appointees.
This is done by requiring that Policy Review Panels, which each group engaged in HIV prevention must have, can no longer be appointed by that group but must instead be named by state and local health departments. And those panels must then take a vote on every single flier or brochure or other “content” before it is issued.
This means that, under the new regs, political appointees will have a veto and be able to ban anything in those educational materials they deem “obscene” or lacking in anti-condom propaganda. With Republicans controlling a majority of statehouses, and having handed over control of the health departments to folks deemed acceptable to the Christian right and cultural conservatives in many Southern and Midwestern states — and the rest of public-health departments notoriously subservient to political pressure from the state and local legislatures that control their appropriations — anti-condom junk science that plays politics with people’s lives will rule the day.
Under the new regs, it will be impossible even to track the spread of unsafe sexual practices — because the CDC’s politically inspired censorship includes “questionnaires and survey materials” and thus would forbid asking people if they engage in specific sexual acts without protection against HIV. For that too would be “obscene.” (Questions about gay kids have already disappeared from the CDC’s national Youth Risk Survey after Christian-right pressure).
So what will be left? Why, the abstinence-only ed programs dear to Bush’s heart and to the Christian right. A third of all federal HIV-education money — some $270 million more in Bush’s latest budget — now goes to abstinence-only programs, almost universally to Christian groups as part of Bush’s “faith-based initiatives” (no Jewish or Muslim groups receive any funds).
Teaching about condoms doesn’t increase sexual activity and certainly doesn’t increase unprotected sex, but abstinence-only ed does both. For example, a Minnesota Department of Health study of the state’s five-year, abstinence-only program found last year that sexual activity by students taking the program actually doubled, from 5.8 percent to 12.4 percent.
Even more alarming, a study by Columbia University Department of Sociology chairman Peter Bearman of the sex lives of 12,000 adolescents from 12 to 18 years old over a five-year period found unsafe sex much greater among youth who’d signed pledges to abstain from sex until (heterosexual) marriage (a key component of most abstinence only–based education programs, which leave gay kids, who can’t get married in 49 states, to face a lifetime of chastity).
The Columbia study, released last March and financed in part by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, showed that while 59 percent of teenage males who did not pledge abstinence used a condom during sex, only 40 percent of abstinence-pledging boys used a condom. As Bearman told The New York Times, telling teens “to ‘just say no,’ without understanding risk or how to protect oneself from risk, turns out to create greater risk” of HIV and other STDs. In his study, 88 percent of those who’d pledged chastity reported having sex before marriage. The large Bearman study confirms one published in the American Journal of Sociology in 2001, which showed that pent-up sexual desire and failure to realize risk exposure among students in abstinence-only programs made them a third less likely to use condoms than others, even if, on average, they began having sex a year and half later.
All those numbers help explain why the new CDC regs are causing outrage and anguish among leaders in the AIDS community. “Kids are being taught that condoms don’t work, while real life-saving HIV education is being eviscerated across the board,” fumes Sean Strub, founder of POZ, the magazine for the HIV-positive community. And, Strub points out, the Bush administration has hamstrung AIDS organizations, “which are faced with the terrible choice of prioritizing care for existing HIV-positive clients over speaking out against the new CDC rules and risking losing their federal funding.”
There’s only a tiny window of opportunity to try to get the new CDC censorship rules changed before they go into effect (the deadline for public comments is August 16 — they may be e-mailed to HIVComments@cdc.gov or faxed to 404-639-3125.) But when the regs begin to be felt, just watch already-rising AIDS infection rates really soar.
The five Harry Potter books - enormously successful in French translation - are stiffed with "neo-liberal stereotypes" which caricature approvingly the "excesses of the Anglo-Saxon social model", Yocaris said.
Thus all representatives of the state (the Ministry of Magic) are lampooned as ridiculous, or incompetent or sinister. Harry goes to a "private" school, whose "micro-society" is a "pitiless jungle" which glorifies "individualism, competition and a cult of violence".
Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, America's closest ally in Iraq, said today that the unconventional weapons cited as a justification for the war against Saddam Hussein might never be found.
It was the closest Mr. Blair has come to acknowledging that his central argument for last year's invasion in the face of widespread public opposition may never be proven true or false. Mr. Blair's handling of the weapons issue has damaged his credibility and his popularity with voters, while his decision to support the American-led war is depicted as the defining event of his premiership.
"We know Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but we know we haven't found them," Mr. Blair said, addressing senior government and opposition legislators at a routine meeting. "I have to accept we have not found them, that we may not find them."
Mr. Blair suggested that unlawful weapons "could have been removed, could have been hidden, they could have been destroyed." But he maintained that Saddam Hussein had been a threat and had been in breach of United Nations resolutions concerning unlawful weapons.
Mr. Blair declined to offer an apology for going to war as the junior partner in an alliance with the United States.
"I do not believe there was not a threat in relation to weapons of mass destruction," he said.
These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.
Memory fingers in their hair of murders,
Multitudinous murders they once witnessed.
• One in four Marines surveyed reported killing Iraqi civilians.
• About one in five Army members surveyed reported engaging in hand-to-hand combat.
• More than 85 percent of those in Marine or Army combat units said they knew someone who had been injured or killed.
• More than half said they had handled corpses or human remains.
• More than 90 percent said they had been shot at.
• Nearly 20 percent said they saved someone’s life.
• More than 80 percent of Marines said they saw injured women and children who they had been unable to help.
Will the same cartoonists have MIchael Bolton in hell with his mouth being sewn shut and colon stuffed with hot coals by a team of demons?
Say, isn't this the same God who cruelly blinded Ray at age 7?
America would be a whole lot safer if the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, was flying for Virgin Airlines, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was competing on “Survivor.” Both war leaders have done so miserable a job honchoing the military side of our critical conflict against global terrorism, and in the process so jeopardized our national security, that they should be sacked for dereliction of duty.
Contrary to continuing political spin, Iraq and Afghanistan both are running sores with little promise of even a long-term turnaround, and our world today is far more dangerous than it was before 9/11. Unless there's a 180-degree change in overall strategy, the USA is doomed to follow the same bloody path through these two brutal killing fields that the Soviet Union took in Afghanistan.
The mighty sword that Rumsfeld and Myers inherited four years ago – the finest military force in the world – is now chipped and dulled. And the word is that it will take at least a decade to get our overextended, bone-tired soldiers and Marines and their worn-out gear back in shape.
Top generals like former NATO commander Wes Clark and a squad of retired and active-duty four-stars warned long before the invasion of Iraq: Don’t go there. It doesn’t involve our national security. It’s not the main objective in our war with international terrorism. Even retired four-star Colin Powell said that if we go to Iraq and break the china, we own it. But know-it-all Rumsfeld and go-along-to-get-along Myers totally ignored this sound military advice.
Before the invasion of Iraq, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, a distinguished soldier with counter-guerrilla campaigns in Vietnam and Bosnia under his pistol belt, was asked by Congress how many soldiers he thought would be needed for the occupation phase in Iraq. His response: A minimum of 200,000.
Rumsfeld treated this courageous soldier – who left half a foot in the Vietnam Delta – like a leper for telling a truth that was obviously contrary to party lockstep. And Shinseki’s spot-on troop estimate was discredited and ridiculed by senior Pentagon chicken hawks like Paul Wolfowitz, a man who dodged the draft during Vietnam and wouldn’t know a tank from a Toyota.
We're holding a terrible hand. There is no exit strategy for American troops in Iraq. There is no plan in our insane tax-cut environment for paying for the war. The situation in Afghanistan, which is part of the real war against terror, has deteriorated. The U.S. military is stretched dangerously thin, lacking sufficient troops to meet its obligations around the world. Homeland security is deeply underfunded. And with the terror networks energized, the feeling among intelligence experts with regard to a strike in the U.S. is not if, but when.
The court ruled that because e-mail is stored, even momentarily, in computers before it is routed to recipients, it is not subject to laws that apply to eavesdropping of telephone calls, which are continuously in transit.
The subject has surfaced since Vietnam but never, until now, with much force. In fact, there are few good arguments against the draft and a surfeit of good ones for restoring it. The most obvious is that we do not have enough men and women in our armed forces. Reliance on reserves and the National Guard is creating strains along the socioeconomic spectrum and is not an endlessly sustainable expedient. If we are to fight elective wars, as we are told we must, we need more men and women on active duty.
The draft shattered class distinctions. It mixed high school dropouts with college graduates, rich with middle class and poor.
The military did more to advance the cause of equality in the United States than any other law, institution or movement.
The resurrection of the draft, so vitally necessary to restore the depth of ready manpower we need in our force structure, is self-justifying despite the arguments of a succession of defense secretaries who feel obliged to defend our "volunteer military" with technical arguments that mask political squeamishness.
But the nation also needs a draft because it is one proven mechanism to bring unity to our rapidly separating parts. It needs a draft to provide that common civic grammar that encompasses those who have served and their families and friends. It needs a draft to honor, and to even out, the sacrifices we call upon our young to make for our nation.
Finally, America needs this fund of experience to expand the pool of people likely to find their way into the corridors of power and, when they get there, to bring with them a bone-deep appreciation of the true costs of conflict. Thus might we reduce the risks of counsel from those who have never had to learn the difference between a war and a cakewalk.
A bodyguard for the head of criminal intelligence, Hussein Kamal, admitted that the beatings had taken place.
Nashwan Ali - who said his nickname was Big Man - said: "A US MP asked me this morning what police division I was in. I said I was in criminal intelligence.
"The American asked me why we had beaten the prisoners. I said we beat the prisoners because they are all bad people. But I told him we didn't strip them naked, photograph them or fuck them like you did."
"It's far better to live in the dark than it is to run the risk that your mother, father, brother, sister, husband or wife would be taken away never to be seen again," Pletka said.
Pletka pointed to a Pentagon slide presentation that detailed increases and improvement in telephone subscribers, water service, food, health care and schools in Iraq.