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Desperado

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Pakistani says, the fault, dear Brutus, is in us, not in Newsweek 


Brother Dave finds the Frontier Post of Pakistan taking a measured view of the whole Newsweek/Qur'an mess. Following is an excerpt, but the full article is worth the click:
In this world, which I no longer comprehend, great emotions rise on one side because a reputable magazine did not pay due attention to ensure that its sources were impeccable, and on the other because the Qur'an was reported to have been debased. Of course, sacrilege of the Qur'an is hurtful to the many faithful, including myself. But is it not utterly depressing that so many died, that Muslims killed Muslims because they could not control their grief? And that both sides in this latest flare-up appear to care so little about what is being done to human beings across the world in the new wars of this century?
Emphasis added.

posted by Tom  # 5/24/2005 06:38:00 PM
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Sunday, May 22, 2005

A Republican asks: Why isn't Bush in the dock? 


Paul Craig Roberts is one of those nasty conservatives you probably don't like. An Olin Fellow (that is, taker of gun money), Hoover Institute, Cato Institute, Reagan assistant secretary of the treasury for economic policy, and lots more of what many liberals and lefties might consider dubious associations.

So be it. He hates President George W. "W" Bush and thinks he should be impeached. Here's the first two paragraphs of the cited column:
A Reputation in Tatters

George W. Bush and his gang of neocon warmongers have destroyed America’s reputation. It is likely to stay destroyed, because at this point the only way to restore America’s reputation would be to impeach and convict President Bush for intentionally deceiving Congress and the American people in order to start a war of aggression against a country that posed no threat to the United States.

America can redeem itself only by holding Bush accountable.
And the last two paragraphs of the column, which was inspired by the notorious British memo on cooking the WMD evidence:
This memo is the mother of all smoking guns. Why isn’t Bush in the dock?

Has American democracy failed at home?
I continue to think, as I have since this smirking cowardly deserter and radical stooge was elected, that there is a tipping point at which his magic will cease to work. We still haven't reached that point, but if we do, it will be because people like Roberts are willing to line up with Howard Dean and say out loud:
There is some shit we will not eat!

posted by Tom  # 5/22/2005 05:31:00 PM
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Saturday, May 21, 2005

L'univers des blogs, ses habitants, ses rites, son langage 


From Le Monde, found and translated by our own Brother Dave

First, sur le table:
Ne dites plus jamais blog ! La Commission générale de terminologie et de néologie a publié au Journal officiel du 20 mai un avis établissant une liste de termes et d'expressions destinés à supplanter les anglicismes sur Internet. Ainsi, "bloc-notes", que l'on pourra accepter sous sa forme abrégée "bloc", désignera "un site sur la Toile, souvent personnel, présentant en ordre chronologique de courts articles ou notes, généralement accompagnés de liens vers d'autres sites", soit un blog.

D'autres expressions anglo-saxonnes familières aux internautes ont désormais leur équivalent en français. La commission propose de traduire un "hoax" (une fausse information) par un "canular". Le "worm", ce logiciel malicieux qui se transmet par le Réseau et perturbe le fonctionnement des systèmes, devient logiquement un "ver". Quant au "splash screen", qui s'affiche à l'écran pendant le chargement d'un fichier, d'un programme ou d'un logiciel, il faudra dorénavant dire "fenêtre d'attente".
One more time, in the true language spoken by all inhabitants of the Internet:
Never say "blog" again! The general commission on terminology and neologisms has published in their official journal of May 20 an advisory establishing a list of terms and expressions designed to supplant the anglicisms on the Internet.

Thus, "bloc-notes", that one may accept in its abbreviated form "bloc" will designate "a site on the web, often personal, presenting in chronological order short articles or notes, generally accompanied with links to other sites", as it were a blog.

Some other Anglo-Saxon expressions familiar to surfers ("internautes!") have their French equivalents from now on.

The commission propses to translate "hoax" (false information) by "un canular".

A "worm", a malicious program that transmits itself across the net and disturbs the function of systems, becomes, logically, "une ver."

As to the "splash screen", which pops up during the loading of a program, it should be called "fenêtre d'attente" henceforward.

posted by Tom  # 5/21/2005 07:27:00 PM
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Down the memory hole with him! 


Horrifyingly amazing item from Boing-Boing, no more thinking open-mindedly about intellectual property allowed for this intellectual-property-law teacher:

The crime:
Jorge teaches "Intellectual Property" in the Masters program at the Polytechnic University of Valencia UPV. He proposed to give a talk on the benefits of P2P and talk about the law relating to P2P and copyright in Spain. He proposed to demo what sort of legal uses one could make of copyrighted works from P2P networks, and informed the Spanish collecting society, the national police and the attorney general to let them know what he was up to.


The punishment:
Spanish copyright society hounds Uni teacher out of job

posted by Tom  # 5/21/2005 03:44:00 PM
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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Down the drain 


Russian lake disappears, baffling villagers

MOSCOW, May 19 (Reuters) - A Russian village was left baffled on Thursday after its lake disappeared overnight.

NTV television showed pictures of a giant muddy hole bathed in summer sun, while fishermen from the village of Bolotnikovo looked on disconsolately.

"It is very dangerous. If a person had been in this disaster, he would have had almost no chance of survival. The trees flew downwards, under the ground," said Dmitry Zaitsev, a local Emergencies Ministry official interviewed by the channel.

Officials in Nizhegorodskaya region, on the Volga river east of Moscow, said water in the lake might have been sucked down into an underground water-course or cave system, but some villagers had more sinister explanations.

"I am thinking, well, America has finally got to us," said one old woman, as she sat on the ground outside her house.
Emphasis added. Via Alertnet.

posted by Tom  # 5/19/2005 02:40:00 PM
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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Flushed with pride? 


From the Washington Post:
Newsweek magazine's now-retracted story that a military guard at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet has sparked angry denunciations by the White House and the Pentagon, which have linked the article to Muslim riots and deaths abroad.

But American and international media have widely reported similar allegations from detainees and others of desecration of the Muslim holy book for more than two years.

James Yee, a former Muslim chaplain at the prison who was investigated and cleared of charges of mishandling classified material, has asserted that guards' mishandling and mistreatment of detainees' Korans led the prisoners to launch a hunger strike in March 2002. Detainee lawyers, attributing their information to an interrogator, have said the strike ended only when military leaders issued an apology to the detainees over the camp loudspeaker. But they said mishandling of the Koran persisted.
That's just the pull quote. Check the whole thing. Link via doughty Susie Madrak's invaluable Suburban Guerilla web log.
posted by Tom  # 5/18/2005 01:32:00 PM
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Indecent assaults 


Okay, so maybe those particular pages of that particular Koran were not thrown down that particular toilet.

Does that change the fact that Muslim prisoners were denied information about which direction was east, information required for the practice of their religion? Or that female MPs in thongs writhed seductively against Muslim prisoners in another affront against their religious beliefs? Or smearing them with fake menstrual blood? Or that, in all likelihood, other pages of other Korans were thrown down other toilets?

Not to mention all the other torture and degradation, much of it farmed out to our totalitarian allies and much of it directed against poor schlumps who didn't have much to do with Al Qaida when they were arrested and certainly have no worthwhile information now.

This is not about Newsweek, it is about a radical attempt to undermine all sources of public information, particularly as regards the erosion of democracy.

Ed's note: Minor edits.
posted by Tom  # 5/18/2005 12:22:00 PM
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Monday, May 16, 2005

A package deal on deathbed conversions? 


I just don't think this is for real and refuse to get excited about it, supposedly a bunch of "Christian" "ex-Navy Seals" gathered together to shove Gentle Jesus meek and mild down the throats of everyone with a throat:
www.forceministries.com
Despite numerous photos of grimacing GI Joes with painted faces and pointy weapons, the site does not present a single news story about the sky-diving-for-Jesus team, nor a single scheduled event, despite their promise of being ready for "prison outreach and air shows". No mention of Vacation Bible School, my favorite when I was a church-going boy.

And keep in mind that lots of people who never heard a shot fired in anger claim to be ex-Navy Seals, and lots more who never turned the other cheek claim to be Christians.

There's a certain smell of The Onion here.

Not to be confused with:
posted by Tom  # 5/16/2005 01:52:00 PM
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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Here we go looby loo 


Forwarded by the Incomparable Charla from her friend Sam, who I do not know and therefore will not name further:
I note with sadness a passing of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week.

Larry LaPrise
, the man who wrote "The Hokey Pokey," died peacefully at age 93.

The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin.

They put his left leg in. And then the trouble started.

Cmon...you know it's funny.

posted by Tom  # 5/15/2005 01:08:00 PM
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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Bush by name, bush by nature 


No one bothered to tell President George W. "W" Bush that the Supreme Court was cowering in the basement while his wife and pets were being evacuated and Washington insiders were running around with one hand over their faces and the other over their genitals, all because a Piper Cub wandered by. (Last week it was a cloud that had them all in a Guernickian panic.) The Presidential bike trip was uninterrupted.

Prsidential Press Secretary Scott McClellan explained:
"The protocols that were in place after September 11th were followed."
That is to say,
"If all this guy is going to do is keep reading a kiddy goat book for ten minutes and then hide out in an airplane for the next 18 hours, why tell him?"

posted by Tom  # 5/14/2005 12:28:00 PM
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Sunday, May 08, 2005

Just in case some Holy Joe tries to fool you 

Clause 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

U.S. Constitution, Article VI


posted by Tom  # 5/08/2005 07:49:00 PM
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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Standin headline sans vulgar puns 


From the invaluable Metafilter, college feminists and college Republicans play out their roles, last laugh: college Republicans:
Apparently, what it boils down to is this: V-day is "empowering" while P-day is "subversive," "harrassing," or just plain wrong. More tales of PC run amok, this time from Roger Williams University in Providence, RI. [warning: the P-Day link is NSFW, if it's NSFW to look at a mascot costume of a penis.]
Mine was shorter, but, "it ain't the meat, it's the motion".
posted by Tom  # 5/03/2005 02:18:00 PM
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A staggering array of crime and turpitude 


Brother Dave, an Illuminati enthusiast and conspiracy connoisseur, passes along a link to the Moscow Times, which gives a glimpse of the secret clockwork behind the workings of the world.

Here are the opening paragraphs of their story:
Global Eye

Buried Treasure


By Chris Floyd
Published: April 29, 2005

It seemed, at first, like nothing more than a novelty item in the news briefs, the kind of odd, meaningless side-fact thrown off by most major stories: "New Pope, President's Brother Had Link in Swiss Group." But a look beneath the surface of this innocuous connection reveals a vast web of sinister alliances -- and moral corruption on a world-shaking scale.

The network links a bewildering line-up of players -- the Bushes, the Vatican, bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and China's Communist overlords, among others -- in a staggering array of crime and turpitude: prostitution, pedophilia, mass death and war profiteering. Yet this is not some grand "conspiracy theory," a serpent's egg hatched in Bilderberg or Bohemian Grove. It's simply the way the Bush boys do business, trawling the globe for sweetheart deals and gushers of blood money from the war and terror they foment.

At the center of this particular nexus is the unlikely figure of Neil Bush, the feckless, fraudulent brother of the current president. Neilsy, as he's known in the family, is most famous for costing American taxpayers $1 billion to bail out a savings-and-loan he had ruined with secret insider loans to his own business partners. For this massive fraud, he was fined -- by his father's administration -- the princely sum of $50,000, which was actually paid by one of his dad's political bagmen, of course.

posted by Tom  # 5/03/2005 12:49:00 PM
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With it and for it 


I was in a large crowded hospital lobby the other day. A wiry little guy with piercing eyes, a double-length Ho-Chi-Minh beard, twirly mustaches, a baseball cap, and the fidgety intensity of the ex-convict/carnie was approaching.

As it happened, I felt a small twitch, and was touching my nose with my index finger just as he was right in front of me. He caught my eye and gave me a sharp, friendly look that said:
"Yeah, I know they're on my tail, but they won't get me. I'm clean and not on the job. I do appreciate the heads-up though. Thanks, fellow lowlife."
I never saw who he was ducking, but I have no doubt they were there, and I have to say I appreciated his generous, inclusive attitude, although I don't think I'd want to be trailing him out of a bar at 2 a.m., looking for the next bit of fun.

The headline phrase, by the way, supposedly will get you in and behind the scenes at any carnival in North America, from the modest forty-miler with two rides, a fried-dough stand and a photo pony, all the way to the giant state-fair shows with Ferris wheels, fireworks, shake dancers and washed-out pop stars from the 80s.
posted by Tom  # 5/03/2005 12:03:00 PM
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