The blog incarnation of the Desperado mailing list, the voice of the apocryphalypse since 1978.

Friday, February 27, 2004

His strength is as the strength of ten because his heart is pure 

That fat guy last seen at the $100 Las Vegas slots at 3 am with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other, fresh from an excruciating session grovelling before his dominatrix, will be hectoring the nation on virtue via radio.

posted by Tom  # 2/27/2004 12:22:00 PM

Thursday, February 26, 2004

"Select your shell, the one you choose; If right, you win, if not, you lose."  

The sucker: "Not you, some other somebody, way off in the future, well past the next election!"

The hustler: initial "W"

The shill: Alan Greenspan

There's a trillion-dollar pea under one of these shells:

Now where did that pesky pea get to?

PS -- A real economist runs this all down, also calls it a shell game, but I was first!
posted by Tom  # 2/26/2004 03:00:00 PM

Lord Macaulay speaks from beyond the grave 

We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.
--Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay (1800–1859)

Well, I can think of one.

posted by Tom  # 2/26/2004 01:25:00 PM

One Amendment at a Time 

My friend Dummranger wants to know:

How can we deal with this gay marriage thing with the flag-burning crisis still hanging over our heads?

posted by Tom  # 2/26/2004 12:31:00 AM

Fidelity Bravery Integrity 

If J. Edgar Hoover had been allowed to marry Clyde Tolson back in 1930 we might have had a great deal more private and public domestic tranquility for the next 40 years.

posted by Tom  # 2/26/2004 12:29:00 AM

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Dirtheads on the march 

The New York Press is a free paper. This review meticulously traces the links between Norwegian black metal music and the neo-con plan for the United States.

The review suggests Black Metal enthusiasts should clean up and support Bush Cheney, since both groups get off on death and destruction. The Norwegian Black Metallists killed each other and burned churches to prove how evil they were. The goals of the American neo-cons are presumably more familiar to American readers.

Black Metal Nation

Norwegian dirtheads and the Frum/Perle "End of the World" tour

Here is a quick quote on Black Metal:

Lords of Chaos chronicles the rise of Black Metal, Norway’s extremist contribution to the underground metal scene in the late 80s and early 90s. What made Black Metal so exceptional wasn’t just the speed and thrash of the music, the violence of the lyrics or the amount of corpse-paint that its death-obsessed members wore, but rather the number of real corpses and smoldering churches that the movement left behind.

The rise of the Black Metal movement in Norway is a case of humorless dirtheads taking a joke way too seriously. The joke was Satanic rock, which Lords of Chaos skillfully traces from its early origins in Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Coven (who transformed from performing black masses on stage to perpetrating the weepy hippie hit "One Tin Soldier") to metal’s second big wave in the early 80s and the rise of kitsch Satan-rockers Venom. To our modern eyes, Venom looks the spitting image of Spinal Tap during their Smell the Glove phase, but to dirtheads who didn’t know any better, Venom was the long-sought embodiment of evil. It was from the Venom branch of evil-metal that all of metal’s more violent, "evil" forms descended, including Black Metal.

Then, on the Neo-Cons:

Indeed, every sad word of An End to Evil oozes Perle’s and Frum’s pained, wasted 60s youths: wasted in yellow sheet stains, wasted studying maps color-coded with spheres-of-influence, wasted memorizing German armaments, and college years wasted playing Risk in their dorms while the socially successful hippies frolicked and fucked all around them. Perle and Frum will never forgive America for this humiliation and therefore they want to egg it on to its suicide by prodding it into a multi-front apocalyptic world war.

Their Black Metal plan is simple: Push North Korea to the brink and China right along with it; set the path for war against Iran; foment a Shiite independence movement in oil-rich eastern Saudi Arabia; kick Russia out of the G-8; invade Syria and Lebanon, while pushing Israel to turn the heat up even further on the Palestinians; and lastly, openly declare our hostility to the European Union, even if it means making enemies of France and Germany.

Thus, "America has become the world’s first Black Metal Nation."

posted by Tom  # 2/25/2004 06:30:00 PM

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Nader's perfumed championship 

This is an opportunity to recall two of my favorite Ralph Nader moments, back from when he was a highly principled consumer advocate, not a cadaverous ghost at the wedding:

PS - See Ralph Nader's Skeleton Closet. He hates dogs, among other things.

posted by Tom  # 2/24/2004 12:31:00 PM

Capital Records promotes piracy 

The Grey Album is a remix of strums first strummed by the Beatles on The White Album and strophes first strophed by Jay-Z on the The Black Album turned together into something new by DJ Dangermouse.

Capitol Records thinks it owns every last echoing strum of the Beatles. To prove it they have turned to promoting record piracy and defiance, as reported in Boing Boing. The Capitol promotion takes the form of threatening letters to webmasters telling exactly where to find the latest news on defying Capitol Records:

We are aware of the so-called "Grey Tuesday" event, sponsored by http://www.downhillbattle.org and described on the http://www.greytuesday.org website as a "day of coordinated civil disobedience" in which participating sites will make the unlawful Grey Album available for downloading, distribution, and file-sharing in order to force "reforms to copyright law that can make sampling legal." Your site is listed among those that will engage in this openly unlawful conduct. Any unauthorized distribution, reproduction, public performance, and/or other exploitation of The Grey Album will constitute, among other things, common law copyright infringement/misappropriation, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment rendering you and anyone engaged with you in such acts liable for all of the remedies provided by relevant laws. These remedies include but are not limited to preliminary and permanent injunctive relief as well as monetary and punitive damages necessary to remedy your openly willful violation of Capitol's rights.

posted by Tom  # 2/24/2004 12:39:00 AM

Monday, February 23, 2004

Definition of a crisis: Pat Buchanan makes sense 

As affable as he seems to be in person, Pat Buchanan has always been a bit of a bully in public life, and, as someone once said, he never met a concentration-camp guard he didn't like. He thinks immigration and abortion, free trade and birth control, are destroying America.

It is thus a measure of how far from ordinary American polictical dialogue the Bush administration has wandered to read with almost complete approbation Buchanan's "No End to War" from the March issue of The American Conservative.

The article is a review of the latest neo-con manifesto, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror by Richard Perle and David Frum, a pair of scoundrelly warmongers.

Here is a selection, characteristically pugnacious, from Buchanan's review:

Calling their book a “manual for victory,” they declaim:

For us, terrorism remains the great evil of our time, and the war against this evil, our generation’s great cause. We do not believe that Americans are fighting this evil to minimize it or to manage it. We believe they are fighting to win—to end this evil before it kills again and on a genocidal scale. There is no middle way for Americans: It is victory or holocaust.

But no nation can “end evil.” Evil has existed since Cain rose up against his brother Abel and slew him. A propensity to evil can be found in every human heart. And if God accepts the existence of evil, how do Frum and Perle propose to “end” it? Nor can any nation “win the war on terror.” Terrorism is simply a term for the murder of non-combatants for political ends.

Revolutionary terror has been around for as long as this Republic. It was used by Robespierre’s Committee on Public Safety and by People’s Will in Romanov Russia. Terror has been the chosen weapon of anarchists, the IRA, Irgun, the Stern Gang, Algeria’s FLN, the Mau Mau, MPLA, the PLO, Black September, the Basque ETA, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, SWAPO, ZANU, ZAPU, the Tupamaros, Shining Path, FARC, the ANC, the V.C., the Huks, Chechen rebels, Tamil Tigers, and the FALN that attempted to assassinate Harry Truman and shot up the House floor in 1954, to name only a few.

Accused terrorists have won the Nobel Peace Prize: Begin, Arafat, Mandela. Three lie in mausoleums in the capitals of nations they created: Lenin, Mao, Ho. Others are the fathers of their countries like Ben Bella and Jomo Kenyatta. A terrorist of the Black Hand ignited World War I by assassinating the Archduke Ferdinand. Yet Gavrilo Princep has a bridge named for him in Sarajevo.

The murder of innocents for political ends is evil, but to think we can “end” it is absurd. Cruel and amoral men, avaricious for power and “immortality,” will always resort to it. For, all too often, it succeeds.

We can look forward to the defeat of the Bush administration so we can return to duking it out with the likes of Pat Buchanan.

posted by Tom  # 2/23/2004 09:28:00 PM

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Bush Administration: Fools or Charlatans? Soon to be all wet, anyway 

The Bush administration hates global warming, not because it might lead to global disaster, but because efforts to contain it might cost its campaign contributors money. For some time, they've held the superficially plausible ("colorable" as the lawyers like to say) position that whatever global warming is, it certainly isn't caused by millions of tons of profitable pollution dumped in the atmosphere by energy and oil companies and therefore nothing should be done about it. If, say, it is just a climatic variation, well, there you are.

Now, however, it appears that any discussion of global warming is to be suppressed, even when it comes from the Pentagon. The British Observer.Guardian has a report under the following horrifying stack of headlines:

Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us
· Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
· Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
· Threat to the world is greater than terrorism

According to the story, a calamitous rise in sea levels could begin as soon as next year and in 20 years northern Europe could be frozen solid. The Pentagon thinks this might be a problem and someone should start planning for it, but the Bush administration has applied the political brakes and suppressed the report.

The Pentagon report was commissioned by Andrew Marshall. According to the British paper, "Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence."

In other words, not a hippie. John Kerry has already expressed serious concern about global warming, and about Bush administration's taste for suppressing unwelcome science, so this could become a campaign issue.

PS - A correspondent says this was a "what-if" study, which makes suppressing it all the more ridiculous. See the redoubtable Billmon for a longer, more sophisticated, more outraged treatment of the study and the administration's response to global warming.

PPS - And, while we're engaged in irresponsible fear-mongering, if you aren't sufficiently mongered by global warming, try the oil peak on for size.

posted by Tom  # 2/22/2004 08:54:00 PM

The Madman in Iraq 

The Cato Institute is farther to the "left" than you are. It is also farther to the "right" than you are. They don't like taxes and they don't like drug laws.

And they don't like the war in Iraq. Since the Cato Institute is filled with smarty-pants, you may be fairly sure that there is at least a chance of a double meaning in the title of their current tight little essay "The Madman in Iraq".

The flavor of the article, and of the Cato Institute itself, equally disturbing to conventional "liberals" and "conservatives", is manifest in this selection:

An individual may take preemptive action against another threatening person. When a homeowner kills an intruder brandishing a gun, the homeowner reasons there is nothing to prevent the intruder from shooting first. Indeed, there is a powerful incentive for the intruder to shoot first. The intruder reasons: "If I shoot first, and the homeowner falls dead (or is badly wounded), I run away." Knowing this, the homeowner doesn't depend upon legal niceties to stop his assailant. Preemptive action is a logical solution.

But no foreign government, no leader in a foreign government, can initiate action against the United States without the certainty of knowing that we retain the capability to retaliate. There are no lucky shots. There are no, "if I get off this round first, I'll get away."

Deterrence still works against governments, and against the leaders of governments. It did against Saddam -- repeatedly. He never attacked the United States directly because he knew such actions to be suicidal.

I commend the whole essay to your attention. It is only 15 paragraphs long, but it pretty much demolishes the whole basis of the war.

posted by Tom  # 2/22/2004 09:49:00 AM

Saturday, February 21, 2004

i before e if taken with caffeine 

We drank madeira, so foreign, in steins
Along with a surfeit of weird blueish wines
Being foolish, took codeine, ate ancient proteins
Therein guaranteeing these ogreish scenes

This is taken from a little poem that includes some 51 exceptions to the famous spelling rule. It was written by Jef Raskin, "creator of the Macintosh" and of a new-style interface called The Humane Environment (THE) that I may just have to try.

posted by Tom  # 2/21/2004 09:22:00 PM

"Papers, please," said the policeman. "No thank you," said the cowboy 

A polite but arrogant small-town policeman's encounter with a polite but arrogant cowboy is coming to the Supreme Court of the United States. It's unlikely that either of them is welcome there, but if anything we ever learned in civics was true, the Court may be forced to conclude that we still live under the rule of law in a constitutional democracy.

That is, you can't be arrested for no reason. Presumably the Attorney General and the Solicitor General will be weighing in on the "no reason" side.

The story is here and the police videotape is here.

The reasons it is important can be found here and here.

The hosting of the excellent web pages on this story is courtesy of the dis.org crew.

posted by Tom  # 2/21/2004 02:40:00 PM

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Bush Debriefed  

Read this one all the way down, including the comparison of comic-strip characters Steve Canyon and Smilin' Jack with Smirkin' W.

A former air force officer takes Bush apart, with strong reflections on the flight-deck/flight-suit incident as well as that fabulous Texas air national guard career:

The Artful Dodger - A Veteran Reflects On American Heroism
By Dom Stasi, Axis of Logic Contributing Writer
Feb 5, 2004, 18:04

"Where were you, Governor Bush? What about your commitment? What would
you do as Commander-in-Chief if someone in the Guard or service did
the same thing?"

- Medal Of Honor recipient, Senator Daniel Inouye

I don't really know what's up with Axis of Logic, the web site where this appeared. It has that kind of Trotskyist/Scientologist/Subgenius/Libertarian tone that gets my bullshit detector alerted, but there's a ton of pretty interesting stuff in it.

posted by Tom  # 2/19/2004 02:48:00 PM

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The very laws of time and space conspire against President Bush 

Like most UNIX systems, The World, the world's oldest public dialup ISP, has a cookie program that deposits a single bit of random wisdom at the shell prompt on login. What should pop up there yesterday but what appears to have been a favorite saying of Boris Badenov, the international conspirator and oily bad guy:

Badenov's Law - Any plan whose success relies on the stupidity of the
public is doomed to failure, because the public is stupider than expected.

posted by Tom  # 2/18/2004 05:35:00 PM

Why we have a World Wide Web 

All that you might ever want to know about Apartment 3-G, nestled in the middle of other pages about other photorealistic strips.

posted by Tom  # 2/18/2004 12:38:00 AM

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Grammatical sweepstakes winner, intelligence loser 

So far, after several weeks of competition, only the Washington Post has managed correctly to hyphenate weapons-of-mass-destruction-program-related activity.

The competition is now closed, as the Boston Globe has revealed that Iraq lacked even one-"weapon-of-mass-destruction"-program-related-activity capacity.

posted by Tom  # 2/17/2004 11:29:00 PM

Sunday, February 15, 2004

First Post 

If you Google Linux + stole and try "I'm Feeling Lucky" this is what you get:

Stolen SCO Code in Linux cannot be displayed


posted by Tom  # 2/15/2004 06:33:00 PM


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