Introducing our national nightmare

by twit

Via Maureen Dowd, writing for the New York Times on June 29, 2008:

Afterward, Carmella got her idol to autograph her sign, telling the smiling Hillary, “You’re going to be the next president.”

She told The Times that she and her friends were all voting for John McCain and that Hillary was just doing what she had to do.

“But I have a gut feeling,” she said with macabre faith, “that something’s going to happen so that she becomes the nominee.”

[emphasis added]

Somebody PLEASE get the Secret Service and the FBI on this… it is her certainty that really seems to qualify her as the kind of psychopath to keep an eye on.

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Dow AgroSciences suggests we avoid eating the deformed food

by twit

From the Guardian on June 29, 2008:

The Dow website says: ‘As a general rule, we suggest damaged produce (however this is caused) should not be consumed.’

This is an example photo of a deformed tomato plant, via the Guardian:


Example of unhealthy tomato leaves curling inwards, affected by contaminated manure. Photograph: Katherine Rose

Dow AgroSciences would prefer that we avoid eating deformed food, especially if their pesticide got into the manure used to fertilize the garden…

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has been inundated with calls from concerned gardeners who have seen potatoes, beans, peas, carrots and salad vegetables wither or become grossly deformed.

The society admitted that it had no idea of the extent of the problem, but said it appeared ‘significant’.

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The Coming War with Iran

by twit

It looks like President Bush has had a hard-on for an invasion of Iran for awhile now. Way back on April 17, 2006, Seymour Hersh writes for the New Yorker:

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped.

He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”

One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.”

He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”

Indeed. But it may have something to do with the practice of “stovepiping,” described by Seymour Hersh on February 11, 2008:

It is possible that Israel conveyed intelligence directly to senior members of the Bush Administration, without it being vetted by intelligence agencies. (This process, known as “stovepiping,” overwhelmed U.S. intelligence before the war in Iraq.)

That’s right. The Bush Administration is so competent in the arts of war and intelligence gathering, they apparently often bypass the regular sources and methods to collect the information they then use to implement their policy goals.

This all sounds so damn familiar

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The new mission to Mars

by twit

The Associated Press reports on June 26, 2008:

The Phoenix lander’s first taste test of soil near Mars’ north pole reveals a briny environment similar to what can be found in backyards on Earth, scientists said Thursday.

“There’s nothing about it that would preclude life. In fact, it seems very friendly,” mission scientist Samuel Kounaves of Tufts University said of the soil. “There’s nothing about it that’s toxic.”

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Memo to the Bush Administration: Sex sells

by twit

So CBS Correspondent Lara Logan went on the Daily Show on June 17, 2008, and you can watch the entire episode here.

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In response to Stewart’s question about whether we have lost our humanity, Logan answers “yes.” One might infer that she is not impressed with the limited war news coverage generally available to Americans.

And now we get to learn that there are sex scandals. What a coincidence.

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morning cartoons

by twit

more dramatic proof of the impending fall of civilization:

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monkeys in the middle

by twit

When the twit looks at how monkey imagery is tossed around in a rollicking sea of interpretation and meaning, the poor monkey seems very much like a kid at the center of a hotly-contested custody battle.

Monkeys haven’t done anything to anybody. Hollywood confirms that Apes will be a problem for humans, but monkeys are alright. Nevertheless, a monkey can be as offensive as a noose, depending on the context.

Monkey shirts, Monkey dolls, and now we have a Monkey God, hallelujah.

From the Times of India on June 24, 2008:

The idol is being presented to Obama as he is reported to be a Lord Hanuman devotee and carries with him a locket of the monkey god along with other good luck charms.

The twit very much wants one of these Obama charm bracelets…

How To Fend Off Attacking Birds

by twit

Hooray for the BBC for telling us what to do:

Agelaius phoeniceus “angry blackbirds could be deterred by a direct stare.”

really? you try that one out and let me know how it goes…

“More radical suggestions aimed at fending off the swooping attackers have included mimicking the sound of a barking dog or even imitating a larger bird.”

sounds like a plan.

“Spread your arms and advance on him,” one e-mail advisory suggested. “His pattern recognition will kick in making you look like a dangerous predator, such as a hawk.”

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by twit


The sun sets over solar panels in New Mexico. Photograph: Corbis

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Let he who is without bullshit cast the first stone

by lestro

Apparently, James Dobson, the multi-millionaire president of one of the largest fundamentalist mega-church televangelical empires in the country is going to go after both Barack Obama’s views on Christianity and the Constitution during his daily Focus on the Family address tomorrow and he is apparently so proud of it he leaked it to the Associated Press:

As Barack Obama broadens his outreach to evangelical voters, one of the movement’s biggest names, James Dobson, accuses the likely Democratic presidential nominee of distorting the Bible and pushing a “fruitcake interpretation” of the Constitution […]

“Folks haven’t been reading their Bibles,” Obama said.

Dobson and [senior VP of FOF, Tom] Minnery accused Obama of wrongly equating Old Testament texts and dietary codes that no longer apply to Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament.

“I think he’s deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology,” Dobson said.

“… He is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter.”

What a fucking tool. According to the story, here’s why:

“Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?” Obama said. “Would we go with James Dobson’s or Al Sharpton’s?” referring to the civil rights leader.

So Dobson, a war supporter who ignores “Thou shalt not kill” when it behooves him to do so (and does the exact kind of bible cherry-picking bullshit (Leviticus, anyone?) one would normally associate with “deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview”) has the balls to talk about dragging biblical understanding through the gutter?

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hooray, it’s Monday

by twit

Let’s have a riot for food, since nobody is expecting such a thing:

“We’re still trying to figure out why so many people showed up.”

Since the economy is going so great, food prices are so low and that price of gas makes us the envy of the world…

Milwaukee police said they have restored order but will remain outside of the Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Center after a crowd awaiting free food vouchers became unruly this morning.

it just makes no sense that 2,500 people would show up at a welfare office first thing on a Monday morning, and then start rushing the door…

Police responded to the building about 7 a.m. after 2,500 people lined up on the sidewalk and eventually began to block traffic in the street. A number of people had rushed the door, and some people became caught in the crush; however, there were no serious injuries, according to Schwartz.

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it’s all viral marketing, isn’t it…

by twit

Viral marketing” videos are out and about everywhere these days, including the ones that don’t make it clear what they’re up to from the start, such as the crazy office guy” andpopcorn mobile phone” videos.

So the twit does wonder what they are selling with “crazy girl on a train,” now remixed by Ludrachrist:

via Delicious Ghost

Chinese hackers don’t watch the news

by twit

and Congress doesn’t get access to the important information about how our government operates. That’s why the President and Vice President are starting to get impeached

Nevertheless, The Hill reports on June 21, 2008:

More Members of Congress have had their computers infiltrated by hackers within China than initially suspected, a lawmaker has revealed.

Apparently, we’re just beginning to get a sense of what has happened:

Computers within the Foreign Affairs Committee, on which Smith serves as a senior Republican, were also infiltrated. Kirk suspects that other committees may have been attacked as well.

“I would suspect that the Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Intelligence, (and) Appropriations committees would all be top targets,” Kirk said.

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welcome to the new future

by twit

Not only is the Mars Rover using Twitter:

“Are you ready to celebrate? Well, get ready: We have ICE!!!!! Yes, ICE, *WATER ICE* on Mars! w00t!!! Best day ever!!” the Mars Phoenix Lander tweeted at about 5:15 pm.

but it has happily discovered what looks very much like water in areas beyond the polar regions, which may mean that there is lots of water on Mars. From on June 20, 2008:

“Now we know for sure that we are on an icy surface and we can really meet the science goals of our mission at the highest level,” Lemmon said.

From Maas Digital, a “dramatic, scientifically accurate computer animation” of the Mars Rover mission, now with theme music:

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afternoon cartoons

by twit

Remember that game Space Invaders? Yeah, the twit used to like it, too. But now McCain’s campaign website has a little game we can play, called “Pork Invaders,” where you can deploy “veto power” to kill lines and lines of cute little pigs.

On a lighter note, this video might be called “Fun with censor bars” and it features “naked people dancing around,” of course:

via via Jezebel

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John McCain craps on Iowa flood victims

by twit

The Governor of Iowa says, hey, we’re in the middle of a disaster here, could you please cancel your campaign appearance because we just don’t have the resources to host you at this time.


McCain says, fuck you, we’re coming whether you like it or not, and since we’re providing “most” of our own security you better get your ass in gear and get your local law enforcement on over here to provide the rest.

From the Associated Press on June 20, 2008:

An aide to Gov. Chet Culver said Thursday that Republican presidential candidate John McCain ignored the governor’s request to cancel a campaign visit amid a massive flood recovery effort in the state.

… Patrick Dillon, Culver’s chief of staff, said the governor was concerned that McCain’s trip would divert local law enforcement from the flood recovery effort to provide security for McCain.

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Condoleezza Rice is “just very supportive” of Hezbollah

by twit

Slog points this bit out from a June 17, 2008 article by the NYT:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Lebanon on Monday, the first by a senior American official since an agreement last month that handed decisive new powers to Hezbollah, the militant Shiite group that the United States considers a terrorist organization.

Ms. Rice met with government leaders from both the government majority and the Hezbollah-led opposition

but there’s so much more!

“Congratulations,” Ms. Rice said as she shook hands with President Michel Suleiman, the former army chief who took office last month, filling a post that had been vacant for six months. “We are all just very supportive of your presidency and your government.”

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John McCain craps his pants

by twit

the twit can’t come up with any other explanation for the particular way John McCain busts out these particular smiles. For example, click here to see a video via Raw Story – at about 00:15, McCain breaks into this truly relieved yet very very proud grin, just like one might expect a baby would after taking a really big dump.

Another example is right at the beginning of this video:

that’s a grin that says “I’m a Big Boy!”

and now you too can enjoy the image of McCain crapping his pants every time he whips that smile out.

postcards from the internets

by twit

I heart Joan Rivers because she says “Yes, I swore, and I’m so fucking sorry

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I think it’s pronounced ringgristic makeover

by lestro

The Chinese government is apparently officially giving the food english names so the tourists and athletes have a better idea of what they are getting into during the Olympics:

Other favorites have also received a linguistic makeover.

Bean curd made by a pock-marked woman,” as the Beijing Youth Daily rendered the spicy Sichuanese dish, is now “Mapo tofu.” And “chicken without sexual life” becomes mere “steamed pullet.”

According to one widely repeated story, the Chinese name of “kung pao chicken” comes from the name of an imperial official who was fed the dish during an inspection tour.

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yeah, it says you’re a fucking sellout

by lestro

So the emo/punk/rock band Alkaline Trio has officially sold out to the point where I don’t think I will ever be able to hear one of their old songs without spitting.

Because not enough people think “dark punk” when they think of overpriced athletic shoes, the Trio’s teamed with Nike for to design a Trio-branded athletic shoe.

Makes me want to fucking vomit.

It’s one thing to license a song to a commercial to try and find a new audience. I may not like it, but I understand why bands do it. And in today’s day and age, where art, design and commercialism all swim in the same lane at the pool, it’s just another delivery system.

But teaming with motherfucking Nike? You have to be kidding me.

“Seeing the swoosh and our logo on one product is unbelievable,” singer/guitarist Matt Skiba said in a statement. “The shoe looks amazing and provides some insight into who we are.

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Ninja bandits

by twit

According to on June 18, 2008, there are ninja bandits on the loose in Florida:

Several men dressed in ninja costumes forced people into a cooler at gunpoint during the fourth robbery of a Central Florida drug store in a week.

now wherever did they get such an idea? The New York Times has a suggestion on June 16, 2008:

Between early 2004 and mid-2007, a period of unprecedented wealth on Wall Street, seven of the nation’s largest financial companies earned a combined $254 billion in profits.

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The cost of free advertising

by twit

So the Associated Press had a bit of a mental misfire the other day and freaked out at the Drudge Retort

Copyright, fair use and the freedom of speech, nobody seems to quite know how to define it, but people tend to think they know it when they see it… at least according to the New York Times on June 16, 2008:

The Associated Press, one of the nation’s largest news organizations, said that it will, for the first time, attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.’s copyright.

… Last week, The A.P. took an unusually strict position against quotation of its work, sending a letter to the Drudge Retort asking it to remove seven items that contained quotations from A.P. articles ranging from 39 to 79 words.

On Saturday, The A.P. retreated.

in the meantime, here’s a video about “fair use” and copyright law in general:

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The future and the past

by lestro

Yesterday Honda introduced its first hydrogen fuel-cell powered car. It’s a great step forward for alternative energies. A small one, sure, but at least it’s not oil…

The four-seater, called FCX Clarity, runs on electricity produced by combining hydrogen with oxygen, and emits water vapour.

Honda claims the vehicle offers three times better fuel efficiency than a traditional, petrol-powered car.

Honda plans to produce 200 of the cars over the next three years.

There are still problems with the technology, the least of which is trying to fill it up and the most of which is that while the car itself produces zero emissions, creating the hydrogen fuel produces more greenhouse gases than, well, the benefits of having a zero emissions vehicle in the first place.

But at least it’s not a limited resource produced primarily in places populated by people that hate us.

Meanwhile, in the past…

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Comedy Porn

by twit

This guy is great. The LA Times describes him as:

[Alex] Kozinski, who was named chief judge of the 9th Circuit last year, is considered a judicial conservative on most issues. He was appointed to the federal bench by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1985. He has a national reputation for a brilliant legal mind and has developed a reputation as a champion of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression.

So when his online porn stash becomes public in the midst of an obscenity trial that he is presiding over, does he meekly retreat from the appearance of impropriety? Not a chance. Instead he calls for an investigation, inviting an ethics panel to look over his collection. From the Associated Press on June 12, 2008:

The criminal prosecution of a hard-core pornographer turned into a personal trial for the presiding judge, who called for an investigation Thursday into his own conduct over lewd photos and videos stored on his family’s publicly accessible Web site.

Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, asked an ethics panel of the court to initiate proceedings after the disclosure about his trove of sexually explicit material.

“I will cooperate fully in any investigation,” Kozinski said in a statement.

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Classics of Western Literature in the 21st Century

by Loadz

Who knew that a random spam e-mail could be so beautiful…

Although it’s not much for rhyming, the imagery it invokes is a weird and wonderful thing. I call it “Cassette of Inadequacy” and have carefully transcribed it here:

It debris? or was.

Is occasional is exponential.

Or readily The brevet.

Which in rive. Or do confluence.

But in bottleneck philosopher highly.

happen a lullaby.

Is distal my sensible. But exhibitor?

Are on neck whites.

Have flannel Be radar.

I buffalo.

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The trouble with sockmonkeys

by twit

is that they are usually made to look like socks.

For example, via

Sock Monkey Fun!

these are the kind of sockmonkeys one might find if one googled such a thing.

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The Moral High Ground doesn’t live here anymore

by lestro

Today’s NY Times contains a story titled “A Year Under Hamas Alters Life in Gaza” about how things have changed in the Gaza strip since Hamas, the terrorist group, took over control of the territory from Fatah, a former terrorist group, by shooting their opponents in the knees and tossing them off buildings. US and Israel reacted immediately, of course, attempting to isolate the people and force them to turn on the new leaders by cutting them off from the world.

But, as anyone who has ever read “Animal Farm” knows, isolation only makes it easier for the leaders to control the situation, as now they control the flow of information as well as the means of government, becoming providers for the people. Especially now that goods like food and fuel are scarce and Hamas controls everything being smuggled into the country (which is everything) through tunnels from Egypt.

And that taxes it, of course. It’s like the mob back in the prohibition days, controlling every aspect of business because of a failed policy on the part of the controlling authority (in this case, the US and Israel).

So not surprisingly, life isn’t good. The Israel and American blockade surely doesn’t add to the quality of life, but inside the fences, the religious fundamentalists get to rule over the territory like their own, private West Texas compound.

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afternoon cartoons

by twit

settle down: it’s just a kiwi, yeesh.

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the twit reads the news

by twit

whoops: Those levees they had thought would hold the Des Moines river back have breached. Total evacuation has been ordered and is well underway in affected areas due to the coordinated efforts of the earlier voluntary evacuations and the police going door-to-door before dawn to wake and assist the people still there. The BBC has video from Cedar Rapids.

damn: Tim Russert is dead. Long live Tim Russert:

What we hope to do in this campaign is recognize there are big differences on big issues between John McCain and Barack Obama – the war in Iraq, Iran, Social Security, taxes. You don’t need to get into this other stuff. If it does surface, then I think the mainstream media has an obligation not to just instinctively put it out there without vetting it.

wow: Protests in Tibet continue, including a report about a monk using a sword to defend himself from officials attempting his arrest and then managing to escape into the mountains before 200 Chinese officers arrived.

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welcome to the future

by twit

via the BBC:

Acoustic cloak simulation

Sound waves are channelled around an object by sonic crystals

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Father’s Day Cartoon

by twit

From Cousino’s Firearms, a video featuring the best dad in the whole world, as well as delightful displays of automatic weaponry, many, many things exploding, those laser tracer bullets and other jaw-dropping displays of American firepower.

The video does start quite loudly, so you may want to be ready to turn down the volume…

via Wonkette

McCain vs. The Internet

by twit

It was fun while it lasted, although the party is now officially over. Last night, Wonkette noticed that the website selling McCain’s campaign gear allowed people to write reviews of the products. The twit then endured laughter so painful she could hardly work her computer, but she did manage to preserve some highlights for posterity.

For example, there are pins for sale:

Arab Americans for McCain Button - 2-1/4

eom June 11, 2008
Reviewer: George Orwell from Washington, DC United States

Irony is dead.
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To my sisters planning to vote for McCain

by twit

I realize it hurts that Hillary didn’t get the nomination, especially after all of the early media attention that said she was the inevitable candidate. It was a historical moment on its own, providing clear evidence of the cultural shift that finally allowed a woman to become known as the most credible candidate for the  Democratic ticket.

I realize that she was going to vindicate every woman, create a victory for every female held back and left behind by this sexist culture of ours. She called much-needed attention to the inequalities faced by women in America and the unfulfilled promises of liberty and justice for all.

Now the internet is ablaze with former Hillary supporters promising to either vote for McCain, to not vote at all or to write in Hillary on election day. As a woman, from my heart to yours, I ask you to remember why you supported Hillary in the first place. You care about the plight of women, you are sick and tired of being treated like a second-class citizen, you want change to come and you want it now.

I ask you to consider how staying home on election day, writing Hillary in or voting for McCain abandons that clarion call.

Will you work further destruction on your sisters and daughters in order to protest Hillary’s loss of the nomination? Will you work to secure a darker future for all women, now that your first choice is no longer available?

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The cost of a ticket to history

by the squid

What do the Presidential Election, Belmont Stakes and the nightly news have in common?


The horse racing scene gets but a few days a year where it is fashionable to be at the stables and looking over betting sheets, when novice betters get to try their hand at a sport that normally only consumes the thoughts and dollars of a select few.

If you have ever gone the a race track on “non-event” days, you know what I mean. The environment is seedy, stale and depressing.

However, during these few times when it is acceptable to get on your Sunday best for a Saturday event that mixes the rich with the poor, all have the expectation of witnessing history. This year, the media, sports-minded sportsmen, trainers and laymen were all assured a blowout.

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