Thursday, August 30, 2007

Justice Moves Slowly.

I first heard of Steven Truscott in high school. He popped up in the news from time to time before I left Canada and I remember hearing a bit about it when we were back in Canada.
Finally, this has been addressed. Almost 50 years later!
Now, we know he's innocent. What if he'd been executed?

JURIST - Paper Chase: Canada appeals court quashes 1959 verdict that helped undermine death penalty
[JURIST] The Court of Appeal for Ontario [official website] on Tuesday overturned [judgment, PDF] the 1959 guilty verdict against Steven Truscott for the rape and murder of 12-year-old Lynne Harper. Last year, the Canadian appeals court heard new evidence suggesting that the death very likely may have occurred much later then prosecutors originally argued, when Truscott, then 14, was in school. After hearing the new evidence, the five-judge panel set aside the conviction, writing:

Based on evidence that qualifies as fresh evidence in these proceedings, we are satisfied that Mr. Truscott's conviction was a miscarriage of justice and must be quashed. We are further satisfied upon a review of the entirety of the evidentiary record and the additional material available to this court and not previously judicially considered, that if a new trial were possible, an acquittal would clearly be the likely result. The interests of justice dictate that we make that order. Mr. Truscott should stand acquitted of the murder of Lynne Harper.

The Ontario Attorney General said that the government will not seek an appeal of the judgment.

Truscott was originally sentenced to death after being convicted of the rape-murder. The death sentence was commuted four months after the conviction, and Truscott was released on parole after spending 10 years in jail. Truscott was the youngest person ever to be sentenced to death in Canada, and his case was used as support for the abolition of capital punishment in the country. AP has more. CBC News has local coverage.

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Sen. Craig's source for his excuse

Here's the thing with the Republicans in the US. All their press excuses have been done before. By comedians. Making fun of people like them.
And they don't know it.

Crooks and Liars » BBC’s “Little Britain” channel’s Republican Larry Craig’s Bath Room Bust

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Beauty Pagent Parents

--  From: 	The Eternal Gaijin 	Lost Somewhere in Kobe, Japan 	"Words Cannot Describe What I Am About To Tell You."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

From MI5 to Messiah...

I've seen this guy on BBC World talking about the Iraq War and drifting into the most insane versions of the 9/11 Troofer theories. He's a Grade A whack-a-doodle.
Ex-MI5 agent Shayler claims to be chav messiah | The Register
Well-known former MI5 officer and 9/11 conspiracy theorist David Shayler has taken a further step along the path to fruitcakeville, suggesting to a TV news interviewer that he is the Messiah.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oh, my Christ...

Did she just say that?
First this video.
Where have I seen this sort of thing before?
onegoodmove: Lost In Translation
--  From: 	The Eternal Gaijin 	Lost Somewhere in Kobe, Japan 	"Words Cannot Describe What I Am About To Tell You."

Oh, this just can't be fucking true.

Please. This just can't fucking happen. Not happen, got it.

Think Progress » Gonzales to be replaced by Chertoff?
Gonzales to be replaced by Chertoff?

gonzoU.S. News reports, “The buzz among top Bushies is that beleaguered Attorney General Alberto Gonzales finally plans to depart and will be replaced by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Why Chertoff? Officials say he’s got fans on Capitol Hill, is untouched by the Justice prosecutor scandal, and has more experience than Gonzales did, having served as a federal judge and assistant attorney general.”

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Going, Going, Gonzo

Alberto Gonzales, whose only qualification for his office is that his initials are the same as the job's, has resigned. And I think not a moment too soon. The bullshit that came out of his pen and sullied otherwise useful paper has caused damage to our American cousins society and legal system that will take a long time to undo, not to mention their international reputation.
So here's the updates:

Crooks and Liars » BREAKING: Gonzo Is Gonzo

Crooks and Liars » Alberto Speaks
Crooks and Liars » Bush on Gonzo’s resignation: “His good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.”
onegoodmove: Embattled Attorney General Resigns - New York Times

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hmmm, hypocrites? In the Fundie crown? You don't say.

Birth Pangs » Blog Archive » “The only moral abortion is my abortion”
Last month, Joyce Arthur reprised one of her most popular articles at DailyKos. It includes a collection of anecdotes from abortion clinic workers dealing with anti-choice women having abortions. Here’s an example:

“A 21 year old woman and her mother drove three hours to come to their appointment for an abortion. They were surprised to find the clinic a ‘nice’ place with friendly, personable staff. While going over contraceptive options, they shared that they were Pro-Life and disagreed with abortion, but that the patient could not afford to raise a child right now. Also, she wouldn’t need contraception since she wasn’t going to have sex until she got married, because of her religious beliefs. Rather than argue with them, I saw this as an opportunity for dialogue, and in the end, my hope was that I had planted a ‘healing seed’ to help resolve the conflict between their beliefs and their realities.” (Physician, Washington State)

A pretty stunning example of fundie logic, eh?

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Oh, right. I have mentioned them lately...

But I still feel the need to mention the Troofers (or Twoofers) again today.
Bronze Dog has a great post on the argumentation techniques and standards of evidence that the Troofers employ:

The Bronze Blog: Twoofer Rules
Whenever I debate twoofers, I notice that they seem to work under a fair number of implicit rules. A lot of them are like standard woo, but it seems to stick out a lot more when I read them.

1. Ad homenim is the basis of all reality: Broadest form of pretty much all these other rules: Who you are makes your argument valid, not the internal logic or physical evidence.

2. Evil = Power: Because Bush is evil enough to do something, there's no need to prove that the laws of physics would allow him to do that something. No need to worry about the administrative nightmare of managing thousands of rogue ninja demolition crews, either.

It just gets better from there. I've seen this over and over again at JREF.

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Colbert on the Arctic thingie

HT to The Galloping Beaver

It's ours. Get used to it.
--  From: 	The Eternal Gaijin 	Lost Somewhere in Kobe, Japan 	"Words Cannot Describe What I Am About To Tell You."

Iraq/Iran comparison video

Posted without comment. A video showing Faux New's rhetoric concerning Iraq/Iran

--  From: 	The Eternal Gaijin 	Lost Somewhere in Kobe, Japan 	"Words Cannot Describe What I Am About To Tell You."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Have I mentioned the Troofers recently?

Oooh, goody. The troofers stage a comeback. Friend DEG spends a lot of time with his chewtoys over at the JREF forums. Me, I skulk; what I've got to say has been cribbed from engineers and they've said it first.
So there's a History Channel special coming up on them. And one of the Hoofnagles over at the denialism blog has a small Galileo invocation video.

denialism blog : If you're going to pull the Galileo Gambit - try to remember who Galileo was
From the "my god these people are dumb files" is this clip from last night's History Channel documentary 9/11 conspiracies.

Popular Mechanics has a great debunking of their bunk. If you feel like it, wander over to the JREF forums and see them trying to rebunk.

The 9/11 Lies Are Out There: Editor's Notes - Popular Mechanics
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion," the great Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York was fond of saying. "He is not entitled to his own facts."

Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report - Popular Mechanics
Healthy skepticism, it seems, has curdled into paranoia. Wild conspiracy tales are peddled daily on the Internet, talk radio and in other media. Blurry photos, quotes taken out of context and sketchy eyewitness accounts have inspired a slew of elaborate theories: The Pentagon was struck by a missile; the World Trade Center was razed by demolition-style bombs; Flight 93 was shot down by a mysterious white jet. As outlandish as these claims may sound, they are increasingly accepted abroad and among extremists here in the United States.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to grind my teeth in frustration.

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Inflating the numbers like their dates

Somehow, I knew their numbers weren't reliable.

TPMmuckraker August 22, 2007 12:14 PM
Some distortions are so massive and so deliberate as to constitute outright lies. See if you can spot the dishonesty in this line in President Bush's speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars' national convention today: U.S. forces have killed or captured an average of more than 1,500 al Qaeda terrorists and other extremists every month since January. That "and other extremists" line sure does a lot of work here. No order of battle for the insurgency is available, but all credible estimates peg al-Qaeda in Iraq as by far the smallest contingent. One rough assessment, cited byThe New York Times last month, put AQI at possessing perhaps 5,000 fighters. Yet Bush suggested this morning that the U.S. has captured as many as 12,000 members of AQI so far this year.

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I feel like this kid a lot of the time...

Satire: A Child's Guide To United States Foreign Policy [July 19, 2003]
A Child's Guide To United States Foreign Policy
July 19, 2003

This piece is currently floating around cyberspace.

Q: Daddy, why did we have to attack Iraq?

A: Because they had weapons of mass destruction honey.

Q: But the inspectors didn't find any weapons of mass destruction.

A: That's because the Iraqis were hiding them.

Q: And that's why we invaded Iraq?

A: Yep. Invasions always work better than inspections.

Q: But after we invaded them, we STILL didn't find any weapons of mass destruction, did we?

A: That's because the weapons are so well hidden. Don't worry, we'll find something, probably right before the 2004 election.

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Oooh, so that's which one is which. I've been sitting around on my elbows all this time.

You can always count on someone in the Republican Party of God to say something that promotes them from politician to politician-I-don't-have-much-in-common-with, to politician-I-wouldn't-trust-to-cook-Kraft-Dinner, to full blown whack-a-doodle. Guess which level Newt Gingrich has just hit.
Newt, your history is already out there. Everyone knows you've got small hypocrisy problems over adultery. But, this? This is bullshit.
Think Progress » Gingrich’s war.
Gingrich’s war.

The “war here at home” against illegal immigrants is “even more deadly than the war in Iraq and Afghanistan,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said yesterday. Orcinus notes “that the crime rate among Latino immigrants is lower than that of the general population, and most other ethnic groups as well, including whites.” August 15, 2007 2:50 pm | Comment (80)

Orcinus has taken this on already here.
South Park speech: People I've learned something today. We need to let people know when these people lie and try to trick us or play on our fears. Because if we don't they'll just keep doing this over and over. And that's not good for any of us.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Do I see any repercussions to this? No, not really.

ITV (a Brit TV telly channel) is set to air a documentary discussing the Christ story from the Islamic/Quranic point of view. Typically its announcement alone is
TV airing for Islam's story of Christ | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited
There was no manger, Christ is not the Messiah, and the crucifixion never happened. A forthcoming ITV documentary will portray Jesus as Muslims see him.
With the Koran as a main source and drawing on interviews with scholars and historians, the Muslim Jesus explores how Islam honours Christ as a prophet but not as the son of God. According to the Koran the crucifixion was a divine illusion. Instead of dying on the cross, Jesus was rescued by angels and raised to heaven.

Typically some people say things like, "Hunh, who knew that?" and others say, "How can you possibly believe that?"

Philip Lewis, the Bishop of Bradford's aide on inter-faith matters, urged believers on both sides to take advantage of a "worthwhile contribution to understanding a complex issue".

However, Patrick Sookhdeo, an Anglican canon and spokesman for the Barnabas Fund, which works with persecuted Christians, accused broadcasters of double standards. Mr Sookhdeo, who was born a Muslim and converted to Christianity in 1969, said: "How would the Muslim community respond if ITV made a programme challenging Muhammad as the last prophet?"

The Koran's denial of Jesus's divinity was "unacceptable". "On the last day the Koran says Jesus will destroy all the crosses. How can we praise that?"


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Monday, August 20, 2007

Bill never realized that sex was the cause of it all.

With apologies to Harry Harrison and his classic novel Bill the Galactic Hero. I wonder how Chinger would translate.
Lost in Translation
Original English Text: Bill never realized that sex was the cause of it all.
Translated to Japanese: ビルは決して性がそれの原因すべてだったことをわからなかった。
Translated back to English: As for the building under any condition characteristic being that cause everything it was not understood.
Translated to Chinese: 至于大厦在任何情况典型是之下那个原因一切它未被了解。
Translated back to English: Is under that reason all it had not been understood as for the building in any situation model.
Translated to French: Est dessous que la raison toute il n'avait pas été comprise quant au bâtiment dans aucun modèle de situation.
Translated back to English: Is below that the reason all it had been included/understood as for the building in no model of situation.
Translated to German: Unter dem aller ist Grund, den es included/understood was das Gebäude anbetrifft in keinem Modell der Situation gewesen war.
Translated back to English: Under that everything is reason, which it concerns included/understood which the building in no model of the situation had been.
Translated to Italian: Sotto quel tutto è il motivo, che interessa included/understood quale la costruzione in nessun modello della situazione era stata.
Translated back to English: Under that all it is the reason, that it interests included/understood which the construction in no model of the situation had been.
Translated to Portuguese: Sob aquele todo é a razão, aquela que interessa included/understood que a construção em nenhum modelo da situação tinha sido.
Translated back to English: Under that one all it is the ratio, that one that interests included/understood that the construction in no model of the situation had been.
Translated to Spanish: Bajo aquél todo es la relación de transformación, aquélla esa los intereses included/understood que había sido la construcción en ningún modelo de la situación.
Translated back to English: Under that one whole it is the transformation relation, that one that the interests included/understood that had been the construction in no model of the situation.

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A quick article on conspiracy thinking

Ahh, conspiracies. How else to show how much smarter than everyone else you are than by seeing through the lies they all swallow? So why is it becoming so much more popular to believe in the truly unfounded? For a quick thought on it this essay brought to you by Boing Boing.

Boing Boing: Essay: The Conspiracy Boom, by Jay Kinney
The Conspiracy Boom Why is nothing what it appears to be anymore? By Jay Kinney Say what you will about conspiracy theories, they are unlikely to go away as long as real life, courtesy of the daily news, keeps tossing us events that seem like, well, conspiracies.
The official explanation of 19 al-Qaida-linked terrorists is, after all, a conspiracy theory of sorts, though its proponents would say that it isn't a theory -- it's a fact. Similarly, those in the 911-Truth crowd who are certain that the World Trade Center buildings came down due to "controlled demolition" -- not fire from burning jet fuel -- don't think they are selling a theory either. As far as they are concerned, "CD" at the WTC has been proven, it is just that everyone else is ignoring the evidence. And so it goes.

Does it have anything to do with the Age of Endarkenment? Check this essay to compare and contrast.

The age of endarkenment | Science | Guardian Unlimited
The enlightenment was a beautiful thing. People cast aside dogma and authority. They started to think for themselves. Natural science flourished. Understanding of the real world increased. The hegemony of religion slowly declined. Real universities were created and eventually democracy took hold. The modern world was born. Until recently we were making good progress. So what went wrong?

The past 30 years or so have been an age of endarkenment. It has been a period in which truth ceased to matter very much, and dogma and irrationality became once more respectable. This matters when people delude themselves into believing that we could be endangered at 45 minutes' notice by non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Click through this Fark headline and read the story. (3007919) If you can't stop yourself from sending voicemails that say "the only good Arab is a dead Arab" and "fark the Arabs... they will burn in hellfire," then perhaps senior U.S. diplomat is not the right career choice for you
If you can't stop yourself from sending voicemails that say "the only good Arab is a dead Arab" and "fark the Arabs... they will burn in hellfire," then perhaps senior U.S. diplomat is not the right career choice for you

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In tribute to David Bowie

Starting a Miserabilst Movement in the UK is like putting out a fire with gasoline.

Miserable Brits declare War on Comfort | The Register
Comment All the year round, but especially during the summer, British newspapers love to serve up stories of American idiocy. These involve US citizens exhibiting strange overreactions, or cult-like behaviour, or generally imposing themselves in an irrational or hysterical way. In a nation as big as the USA - or even a state so rich in fruits and nuts as California - such stories aren't hard to find. So as a gift to our many American readers, here's one in return. Ten weeks of relentless UK rain abated this week, but not before the deputy Mayor of London had promised to pile on a bit more misery. "Patio heaters are an indulgence too far," declared Nicky Gavron, London's Deputy Mayor. Gavron quotes the globally-recognized thermodynamics expert Ken Livingstone to support her claim that the heaters " are really inefficient" - in an article entitled, quite amazingly, "Not in my back yard". She thus became the most prominent British politician to lend her weight to the miserabilist movement.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

And the War on Privacy(tm) continues

I don't know how many times I have to say it. Orwell lacked imagination.
What amazes me about my second adopted country is that people seem to take this in stride, instead of taking the bastards out for tar and feather parties.

Police want DNA collection superpowers | The Register
Police in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales are seeking to extend their already world-beating powers to collect and store DNA samples from the general population. Current powers allow the coppers to collect samples, which are digitised and stored permanently, from anyone arrested on suspicion of, but not neccesarily charged with, a recordable offence. This is normally an offence that would qualify for a custodial sentence. But now they want to be able to snoop the genetic make-up of those arrested for non-recordable offences, such as dropping litter or speeding.

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Illegal Aliens in America

--  From: 	The Eternal Gaijin 	Lost Somewhere in Kobe, Japan 	"Words Cannot Describe What I Am About To Tell You."

Sasquatch captured...

Short version: some dude in a gorilla mask fucking around.

Manitoba Mounties nab Whiteshell 'sasquatch'
Mounties in eastern Manitoba have nabbed a strange, hairy monster that has been stalking campgrounds in and around the Whiteshell Provincial Park for the past two summers. Police received the call around midnight on July 30 from a woman who had been startled by the beastly creature while camping at Pinawa, about 90 kilometres east of Winnipeg.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

A few quick things for you to read...

I like David Warren. He's an arrogant pinhead. He's prejudiced, hateful, and proudly unreasonable. Makes a good read from time to time.

EvolutionBlog : Warren on Atheism
Meanwhile, just in case you were looking for something truly stupid, go gawk in amazement at this column by David Warren of The Ottawa Citizen. Here's the opening:

I get such apoplectic letters, whenever I write about “evolutionism,” that I really can't resist writing about it again. This is not, of course, because I have any desire to tease such correspondents. Perish the thought. Rather, when a writer finds he has hit such a nerve, he can also know that he is approaching a great truth.

Wow! That's total amatuer hour.

Anytime you're reading a columnist who boasts that the negative correspondence he recieves is evidence of his penetrating insight, you're dealing with an amateur. Anytime you're reading a columnist who uses the cliche, “Perish the thought” as a way of suggesting sardonically that what he just denied is actually true, you're dealing with an amateur.

And of course, any time you're reading a columnist who uses the expression “evolutionism,” you're dealing with an amateur, at best.

Ed Brayton has a bit to say about the Creationist Grand Canyon narrative:

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Creationism and the Grand Canyon
A reader alerted me to this letter to the editor (scroll down to the one titled "Much Remains Untaught") of an Arkansas paper. The very first paragraph contains a claim that is certainly worth debunking: Our public schools still teach that the Grand Canyon was made by the Colorado River. Scientists and geologists decided years ago that it was made by a sudden major catastrophe similar to but much greater than the volcanic eruption at Mount St. Helens and that our Earth is fairly young. He is credulously repeating a claim from Steve Austin of the Institute for Creation Resarch comparing small canyons created by river flows busting through soft earth dams after the eruption of Mt. St. Helen's with the Grand Canyon. They actually claim that a "miniature Grand Canyon" was formed. This is truly one of the most laughable and dishonest claims in the creationist quiver.

jj at Unrepentant Old Hippie talks about education and faith:
unrepentant old hippie: The Great Evacuation
It's a given that if Focus on the Family is gnashing their teeth about anything, I'm a happy camper, and I pretty much don't care what's causing their anxiety. But this "Great Evacuation" happens to be a very cool phenomenon: if 50-85% "leave the faith" in their first year of college, that means all it takes is a little education to detoxify most of the young brains stultified from birth by religious fundamentalist feeble-mindedness. There's hope for all those Quiverfull kids!

Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, has a couple of things about terrorism.
Craig Murray - Met Chiefs Lie About Terrorism
Met Chiefs Lie About Terrorism

I know that headline comes in the "Old news" category, but for once it's official. The Independent Police Complaints Commission has ruled that the public were "Misled" over the death of Jean Charles De Menezes, the innocent Brazilian executed on the London Underground.

The lies which the Metropolitan Police told - from Sir Ian Blair down - in the ensuing cover-up were inexcusable.

Catalogue of Lies

- The Met maintained that De Menezes was a terrorist for 24 hours after they knew he was innocent.
The Met then proceeded to tell a series of lies about De Menezes behaviour to justify his killing. They said he had:
- Run into the tube station
- Vaulted the ticket barrier
- Raced through the subway and dashed onto the train
- Been wearing a bulky jacket from which wires protruded

These were 100% lie. In fact De Menezes had
- Picked up a newspaper in the station
- Used a ticket in the normal way
- Walked calmly throgu the station
- Been wearing tight clothing with no wires

These lies by the Met are inexcusable. In fact the IPCC were unable to get to grips with much else for lack of evidence - the cover-up went much deeper. Especially

- The CCTV footage of De Menezes throughout the station and at the shooting got "Lost" or corrupted

and here:
Craig Murray - Who's a Terrorist?
Who's a Terrorist?

According to Sky News, a former BNP candidate was jailed today for possession of a large number of chemicals including hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and hydrochloric acid, the main ingredients of TATP. This explosive acheived notoriety due to its alleged use in the 7/7 bombs and other incidents.

but he's not a terrorist.
And now it's dog walking time and then more Japanese study.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

And now a few whack-a-doodle videos from YouTube

How do you really get better comedy than YouTube. It gives everybody with no clue a chance to advertise the fact.

I mean how could that not be true?

Or that?

Or this?

Aw, Christ you get the picture.
--  From: 	The Eternal Gaijin 	Lost Somewhere in Kobe, Japan 	"Words Cannot Describe What I Am About To Tell You."

Star Trek and Nine Inch Nails

HT to Friend DEG.
--  From: 	The Eternal Gaijin 	Lost Somewhere in Kobe, Japan 	"Words Cannot Describe What I Am About To Tell You."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Gotta study. This is all I got time for.

Don’t Go There: Top 20 Taboo Topics for Presidential Candidates - 10 Zen Monkeys
Don’t Go There: Top 20 Taboo Topics for Presidential Candidates

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It's all about the video...

HT to unrepentant old hippie

No Idea where I found this. --  From: 	The Eternal Gaijin 	Lost Somewhere in Kobe, Japan 	"Words Cannot Describe What I Am About To Tell You."

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Rant

 --  From: 	The Eternal Gaijin 	Lost Somewhere in Kobe, Japan 	"Words Cannot Describe What I Am About To Tell You."

Friday, August 10, 2007

I know it ain't real. But it's really, really funny.

And it has such a ring of truth to it. - Watch more free videos
--  From: 	The Eternal Gaijin 	Lost Somewhere in Kobe, Japan 	"Words Cannot Describe What I Am About To Tell You."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

He said what?

Boing Boing: Rep. Bob Allen cites fear of black men, weather in oral sex arrest
Rep. Bob Allen cites fear of black men, weather in oral sex arrest

Sorry, rammed a few kanji into my head today and I it looks like the snark tank is low.
The Florida Times Union reports: "In his seven years in the Legislature Rep. Bob Allen of Merritt Island has built up a 92 percent approval rating with the Christian Coalition of Florida on issues like abortion, marriage and pornography."

Of course he was a values candidate. What else could he have been going out georgemichaeling.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Just so you know...

I haven't actually gone dark. I'm in an intensive Japanese course at the moment and am brain-dead all the time. I'll have something to say in the next few days. And I promise to use gratuitous foul language.

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