Great Idea

What a great idea! Donate $100 or more towards hurricane Katrina victims, and Brian Wilson will match your donation and call you. That's a very clever way to raise money for charity.

Here's one for the crowd

Times Online: "Religious belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today."

Incompetent government

I agree with this: " don't repair disorganized or incompetent government by granting it more power. You fix it by making it more organized and more competent."

It's that time again

I haven't linked to anything about abortion in a while. Scott Lemieux will give you your fix.

Reuters misses the point

Reuters says:
Hundreds of Saudi fighters who joined the insurgency in Iraq showed few signs of militancy before the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein, according to a detailed study based on Saudi intelligence reports.

So Reuters missed the point. Luckily for us, Medium Lobster knows what's really going on.:
This, of course, is drastically missing the point. The Iraq invasion was never meant to eliminate terrorists. Its genius lies in a temporal flypaper strategy: by goading possible terrorists to become terrorists, it allows America to fight them in the present so that it doesn't have to fight them in the future. For in the future, terrorists will not be armed with mere roadside bombs and hijacked airplanes, but robot bombs and robot airplanes, which will be able to perform millions more explosions per second than the clunky, outdated terrorists of today.

It's not true!

Apparantly email isn't the same as smoking pot:
There were two parts to their 'research' (1) a Gallup-type survey of around 1000 people who admitted mis-using their technology in various ways (e.g. answering e-mails and phone calls while in meetings with other people), and (2) a small in-house experiment with 8 subjects (within-S design) showing that their problem solving ability (on matrices type problems) was seriously impaired by incoming e-mails (flashing on their computer screen) and their own mobile phone ringing intermittently (both of which they were instructed to ignore) by comparison with a quiet control condition. This, as you say, is a temporary distraction effect - not a permanent loss of IQ. The equivalences with smoking pot and losing sleep were made by others, against my counsel, and 8 Ss somehow became '80 clinical trials'.

Red Eye

I know this man's hand:

I'm almost related to that hand!


The Loom: "It suggests that we are chimeras built from the DNA of eukaryotes, bacteria, and viruses, all mixed together through a natural version of genetic engineering."

Read the whole post, it would be cool if it turns out to be true.


BBC: "The 3.5cm creature had grabbed onto the fish's tongue and slowly ate away at it until only a stub was left... It then latched onto the stub and became the fish's 'replacement tongue'."

Luckily, "...scientists say the creature does not pose any threat to humans and only attaches itself to fish tongues."

Gay marriage

Andrew Tobias: "And it never hurts to stress: Gay weddings would be entirely voluntary. You totally would not have to have one yourself, or even send gifts."


Or rather, lack thereof. From Editor & Publisher:
As part of a secret arrangement formed more than 10 years ago, the Post and Times send each other copies of their next day's front pages every night.

Because, you know, the best way for a newspaper to gain credibility is to keep secrets from its readers.


I saw a billboard the other day. It was a car ad, I think for the Mini Cooper. It showed a picture of a car, and next to it the word, "Younique". So I wonder: what sort of person would buy a mass-produced car that they see on a billboard because they think it will make them unique?

Presidential Potty

I've been too busy to blog much, but photo from Reuters is too good to pass up.

The caption reads: "U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005. World leaders are exploring ways to revitalize the United Nations at a summit on Wednesday but their blueprint falls short of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's vision of freedom from want, persecution and war."

The note reads, "I think I may need a bathroom break?"

Even more speechless...

Just when I think it can't get any worse... I really don't know what to say, just read it.

Fafblog Presents: The Do-It-Yourself Emergency Management Guide!

If you're gettin worried that the government won't be there to help you out durin the next hurricane or earthquake or terrorist attack, don't panic! Fafblog is here with our Do-It-Yourself Emergency Management Guide! Today we're gonna show you how to get through a major disaster just usin stuff you've got lyin around the home.

You will need:

  • construction paper
  • glue or glue sticks
  • a can of baking soda
  • some play-doh (optional)
  • 200 gallons of distilled water and 100 pounds of canned food

    Make-And-Bake Clay Levee!

    Make flood prevention easy AND fun with this emergency arts and crafts project!

    1. Mix some cornstarch, baking soda, and water in a large bowl. Make sure it's evenly mixed!
    2. Cook over low heat, stirring for about 15 minutes
    3. When your mixture starts to thicken, take it off the stove and let it cool
    4. Mold into an 8 foot high 20 foot wide levee
    5. Decorate with seashells and macaroni!"


    Do-It-Yourself National Guard!

    First get some old socks. Sew on some buttons for the eyes. Use yarn for the hair but keep it trimmed short on accounta disipline! Add some felt uniforms for a touch a flair. The striped sock is the sergeant, he is gruff but loyal. The fancy dress sock is the general, he commands the others with his fabricky leadership skills! The white running sock is the medic, he doubles as a bandage when you get hit by falling rubble. Now you're all set to be escorted out of the disaster zone with your new puppet pals! Be careful, though: they're armed... with imagination.
  • It burns! It burns!

    Mark A. R. Kleiman: Rebuild what?

    An interesting discussion about what a rebuilt New Orleans would be like. Mark A. R. Kleiman: Rebuild what?:
    If we could get it back for a lot of money, the New Orleans of the last century and last month might be worth buying. But the best we can get for that money now is almost certainly not 'New Orleans' as we understand the name, and whether that outcome is worth what it will cost is, as Speaker Hastert perceived, not at all clear.

    When DC and I vacationed there we had a great time just walking around. The city had great character. The article makes a convincing case that this will be gone even if the city is rebuilt.

    One more outrage for the pile

    While watching the MSNBC program, CONNECTED, COAST TO COAST with Ron Reagan, a man from the Evergreen Foundation was on air spinning the myth that the President had to "beg" the Governor of Louisiana to take action. Having been on this show several times I called one of the bookers, Susan Durrwatcher, to alert her to the fact that this man was misrepresenting what happened. I offered Susan the following objective, documented facts (see timeline below). Susan thanked me for my 'opinion' and said 'we just have a different perspective'. Stunned, I asked her by what standard of journalism that an objective fact was mere opinion? I asked her to simply look at the documents and correct the record. She declined.


    I'm speechless... Salt Lake Tribune:

    Not long after some 1,000 firefighters sat down for eight hours of training, the whispering began: "What are we doing here?"


    Many of the firefighters, assembled from Utah and throughout the United States by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thought they were going to be deployed as emergency workers.

    Instead, they have learned they are going to be community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA.


    But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.

    The Washington Monthly

    The Washington Monthly:
    A crony with no relevant experience was installed as head of FEMA. Mitigation budgets for New Orleans were slashed even though it was known to be one of the top three risks in the country. FEMA was deliberately downsized as part of the Bush administration's conservative agenda to reduce the role of government. After DHS was created, FEMA's preparation and planning functions were taken away.

    The full post has a more complete chronology. The Bush administration never fails to impress.

    The Samuel L. Jackson god from Ezekial

    Legal Fiction:
    Spirit-Christians believe and worship because it brings them spiritual joy and they feel the love so to speak. In short, they believe because they seek to attain the positive. And these types of Christians are some of the best people on Earth. Rule-Christians, however, believe and worship for an entirely different reason – they worship to avoid the negative. Fear, guilt, and anxiety are at the heart of their belief system. And that’s why they are so obsessed with formal rules. By following the rules, they avoid hell and (temporarily) the anxiety associated with going there. When you see people ranting against gays, they are generally rule-Christians. For them, religion is not about attaining love, but about avoiding punishment. And their God is an angry God, always ready to smite the sinful. Their God is the Samuel L. Jackson god from Ezekial.

    Read the whole thing. He relates it to the hurricane.