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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Young parts seller on 4x4 bulletin board gets taken down...

Warning! It’s a long thread (25 37 pages) but this punk gets slammed hard for trying to defraud another guy over $115 set of used gears. Of course you can skip ahead many pages, but where’s the fun in that?

D60 rear 4.88s 35 spline - Pirate4x4.Com Bulletin Board

 


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Friday, November 11, 2005

Alito now says he didn't inhale

by John in DC - 11/10/2005 11:05:00 PM

Just in from the Washington Post:

Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. said yesterday that he did nothing improper when he ruled in cases involving two financial firms in which he held accounts, although he had told the Senate 15 years ago that he would step aside in matters involving the companies.

Alito, trying to quell conflict-of-interest issues raised by liberal opponents, said he had been "unduly restrictive" in promising in 1990 to recuse himself in cases involving Vanguard Group Inc. and Smith Barney Inc. After the Senate confirmed him as an appellate judge and when he subsequently ruled on routine cases involving the two companies, he said, he acted properly because his connections to the firms did not constitute a conflict of interest under the applicable rules and laws.

Unduly restrictive? What the hell does that mean? It means when he promised not to do something, under oath I believe, he didn't really mean it. That's what unduly restrictive means.

Son, promise you'll never lie to me. I promise, dad. But son lies to dad anyway. But under the new Alito standard, it's not really a lie. Son was simply being "unduly restrictive" when he promised he wouldn't lie. What kind of crap is that?

Is there anyone associated with this White House who doesn't lie and then turn the truth upside down in an effort to defend it?

———-

read the rest:

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth


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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

MaxSpeak, You Listen!:

REAL PRO-GROWTH PROGRESSIVES

Since we have the former Clintonites arguing that they are pro-growth progressives, let’s put some real pro-growth progressive policies on the table.

1) Free-trade starting at the top – all future trade agreements focus on standardizing professional and licensing standards so that it is as easy for a kid born in New Delhi to become a doctor/lawyer/economist in the U.S. as a kid born on Long Island. All current barriers, such as restrictions on the number of foreign medical residents are eliminated. We can maintain immigration restrictions – we’re just replacing custodians and nannies with doctors and lawyers – thereby benefiting from comparative advantage (it’s cheaper to educate people in the developing world.)

 2) Free-market drugs – patent monopolies are an incredibly inefficient way to finance prescription drug research. Patents are a relic of the feudal guild system. We need a 21st century method of financing drug research. This is a micro change with macro size implications. We spend almost 2 percent of GDP on prescription drugs, this would fall by close to 70 percent if drugs were sold in a competitive market.

———-

read the the other 4 suggestions here:

MaxSpeak, You Listen!: REAL PRO-GROWTH PROGRESSIVES


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d r i f t g l a s s - Peak Stoopid

Peak Stoopid.


Why not becoming a blithering pest-hole matters.

So you want another solid, principled Democratic Issue that we can run on and win?

Gotcha covered.

OK, I you’re all very smart and you all know what Peak Oil is and why you should have been reading science fiction for the last 15 years to prep your head for the Big Time Fun that’s coming. But for the drive-thru crowd (And remember, “They always fuck you at the drive-thru.”) just peeping through the shades and window shopping, let’s do a quick rundown of what Peak Oil means.

And rather that re-invent the wheel (or steal it from Apple and re-brand it “Wheels XP”), let me just hip you to two paragraphs from one of many hundreds of websites devoted to the phenomenon:

“Oil is increasingly plentiful on the upslope of the bell curve, increasingly scarce and expensive on the down slope. The peak of the curve coincides with the point at which the endowment of oil has been 50 percent depleted. Once the peak is passed, oil production begins to go down while cost begins to go up…”

“Peak Oil is also called "Hubbert's Peak," named for the Shell geologist Dr. Marion King Hubbert. In 1956, Hubbert accurately predicted that US domestic oil production would peak in 1970. He also predicted global production would peak in 1995, which it would have had the politically created oil shocks of the 1970s not delayed the peak for about 10-15 years…”


Translation: we’re running out of the stuff we need to keep everything running, and we have hit that place on the bell curve where cost is going to go up, and supply is going to go down. Which is pretty damned scary, but there it is.

Now take a breath, step back, and look at the wider Universe. A quilt first-, second- and third-world nations all propped up by mature or emerging industrial economies, globalization and power, all modulated by technology. If the car you drive now wasn’t made by robots, the car you will drive five years from now will be, beyond any doubt. It’ll be produced at a factory where mecs will do all of the musclework, and humans with a solid technology skill set will work them like my granddaddy work a swing-line during the Depression, or his father worked a mule team.
———-

read the rest:

d r i f t g l a s s


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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

If Fox News Had Been Around Throughout History

Monday, November 07, 2005

Wait, There's More

Meet the Fraud-Meister Extraordinaire, but count your fingers after shaking his hand…

—pseudolus

———

Kevin Trudeau's 'Natural Cures,' Swallowed by Millions Without A Prescription

By Libby Copeland
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 23, 2005; D01

NEW YORK

On this, our lucky day, Kevin Trudeau is introducing us to his personal electromagnetic chaos eliminator.

Trudeau, who has sold millions of books by touting the curative properties of things such as magnetic toe rings and crocodile protein peptide, believes the sole thing keeping his brain from being "microwaved from the inside out" by cell phones and radio waves is this electromagnetic whatever. We are intrigued.

"Would you like to see this magical device?"

Boy, would we!

On a publicity tour in the suite of a midtown hotel room, Trudeau unbuttons his fine white dress shirt.

This seems like a good time to note how extremely well-dressed Kevin Trudeau is, in the fine tradition of TV salesmen and televangelists. Over the dress shirt is a butter-colored tie that precisely matches the pocket square tucked into his luxury Brioni suit. He wears alligator shoes. On his left wrist is a Rolex Masterpiece dripping with diamonds, and on his right ring finger is a rock so big a child could choke on it.

Over the years, Trudeau, an ex-con who never went to college or medical school, has been remarkably successful doing infomercials for everything from how to achieve a photographic memory to how to cure your addictions to how to beat cancer by ingesting a particular type of calcium that, as fate would have it, he also happened to sell.

Now he sells the most popular nonfiction book in the country, according to Publishers Weekly. In "Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You to Know About," Trudeau explains how a massive cabal formed of the federal government, pharmaceutical companies and the media is keeping Americans from living well past 100. He advises everybody to get off prescription drugs, even if they have serious problems like diabetes or blood clots; he reveals how multiple sclerosis can be cured by magnetic mattress pads.

He says sunscreen doesn't prevent skin cancer. Instead (wait for it), sunscreen causes skin cancer.

But back to the microwaved-brain problem. Trudeau parts his shirt and reveals a necklace with a disk of metal hanging on it. Glory of glories! So flimsy, yet so powerful. This is the vaunted electromagnetic chaos eliminator. It is called a Q-Link, and for a while lots of celebrities were supposedly into it, before they joined the Kabbalah bracelet craze.

———-

read the rest:

Wait, There's More


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Orwell's Oceania and Bush's America: Coming Together

Published on Friday, November 4, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
by David Benjamin



Paris -- Lately, I'm re-reading many of the books I read when I was in high school. Predictably, it's a checkered experience. Some of these cherished works recall, revive and even expand the literary pleasures I enjoyed some 40 years ago; other beloved books betray flaws I overlooked when I was 16. And some of these books reveal insights that were inconceivable back then.

Among my more revelatory experiences has been re-visiting George Orwell’s dystopian classic, "1984." Although Orwell failed to anticipate Western cultural and political reality in the year of his prophecy -- when Reagan and Thatcher ruled real-life Oceania -- he eerily foresaw both the corruption of language and the erosion of civil liberties that marks the second Bush administration, some 20 years beyond 1984 (the year, not the book).

In rereading Orwell, I didn't plan to draw parallels between Big Brother and Boy George. They just kept popping up. I recorded 11 instances in which Orwell somehow anticipated White House jive in the first decade of the 21st century.

For instance, like Orwell's Oceania, Bush's America relies on a constant state of war to instill fear and passion in the masses, and -- in both regimes -- the enemy's identity is an afterthought. Big Brother shifted his enmity from Eurasia to Eastasia and back again. Bush began his bellicose ascendancy by targeting Al Qaeda, then switching to Saddam's Iraq, and now he’s screen-testing among Syria, Iran and Al Qaeda (again) for the role of supervillain. The key, said Orwell is this: "The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible."

Note Orwell's stipulation that the purity of the enemy's evil requires that "past" agreements, if they ever existed, must be either forgotten or expunged. Consider, for example, Donald Rumsfeld's visit to Baghdad during the Reagan era, when he was filmed hugging Saddam Hussein. But that never happened, right? We always hated Saddam, and we never sent him vast stockpiles of weapons to help him fight America's previous "enemy of the moment," Iran.

"History has stopped," explained Orwell. "Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right."

———-

read the rest:

Orwell's Oceania and Bush's America: Coming Together


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Adventures of Jack Abramoff -- An Ugly Story

Published on Sunday, November 6, 2005 by the Miami Herald (Florida)
Adventures of Jack Abramoff -- An Ugly Story
by Carl Hiaasen


The glistening slime trail left by lobbyist Jack Abramoff leads to an infamous homicide scene in South Florida.

And while the indicted bosom buddy of indicted Rep. Tom DeLay says he had nothing to do with the mob-style execution of casino fleet founder Gus Boulis, Abramoff probably wasn't turning cartwheels when three men were recently charged with murdering Boulis back in February 2001.

One of the defendants is Anthony ''Big Tony'' Moscatiello, identified by police as an associate of the Gambino crime family. Moscatiello is a longtime pal with lawyer Adam Kidan, who was Abramoff's partner in what prosecutors say was a fraudulent purchase of Fort Lauderdale-based SunCruz casinos from Boulis.

Kidan and Abramoff go way back. At the Georgetown Law Center they were both members of the College Republicans.

Abramoff grew up to be a big-time GOP operative whose friendship with House Speaker DeLay opened doors to all sorts of wondrous opportunities. For example, his lobby firm received $66 million in fees from Indian tribes that either wanted to set up casino operations, or block rival tribes from doing the same.

Sen. John McCain, the tenacious Arizona Republican, is currently holding hearings about Abramoff's unorthodox lobby tactics and the favors he seems have bought at the Interior Department, which oversees Indian matters.

It's an ugly story, but not the worst of Abramoff's legal problems. That would be his partnership with Kidan, whose keen business acumen and sterling ethics had already led to multiple bankruptcies and the loss of his New York law license.

———-

read the rest:

Adventures of Jack Abramoff -- An Ugly Story


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How Climate Change is Destroying the World's Most Spectacular Landscapes

A little different look at the phenomenon of ‘global warming’ —pseudolus

———-

Published on Saturday, November 5, 2005 by the lndependent/UK
Melting Mountains
How Climate Change is Destroying the World's Most Spectacular Landscapes
by Joe Simpson


On 23 July 1983 Ian Whittaker and I were inching our way up the Bonatti Pillar, a legendary Alpine climb up 2,000ft of golden granite on the south-west face of Les Drus, high above Chamonix in France.

Walter Bonatti had made the first ascent of this route alone over five days in 1955. It is a legendary mountaineering story, perhaps one of the greatest exploits in the history of Alpinism, to rank alongside the first ascents of the north faces of the Eiger, the Matterhorn and the Grandes Jorasses.

We all need heroes. Walter Bonatti was the hero of heroes; a man way ahead of his time whose mountaineering prowess was awe-inspiring. I repeated the routes he put up with a sense of reverence. I have followed in the footsteps of so many of my heroes and there were times on their routes when I half expected to see them pass me by dressed in the clothes and the equipment of their time, climbing steadily with grim, hard, unsmiling expressions. I knew that they would not notice me.

Only Bonatti has survived. The rest are all gone, leaving the faint glow of their brilliance on the routes they pioneered. Yet the icy world in which Bonatti played his high-risk games is changing with frightening rapidity. The mountains are melting, and it is not only mountaineers who will suffer the effects. The long-term outlook for the Alpine nations - and those in which the other great ranges lie - is bleak.

The Dru is an extraordinary pinnacle of rock. It sports an icy north face (one of the six classic Alpine north faces), a 3,000ft west face of smooth vertical walls and overhangs, and the spectacular south-west Bonatti Pillar. Few mountains have such a variety of magnificent lines on them or look so beautiful. The Dru crusted with a winter lace-work of ice and gilded in the golden pink of Alpine glow is one of the most striking sights in the Alps.

The Bonatti Pillar itself rises in a series of steep, leaning columns seamed with fissures and bristling with overhangs. It rears up 2,000ft towards the massive capping overhangs just below the summit.

By late afternoon we had reached the Red Walls - 300ft of blank granite split by a hairline crack that bristled with old, rusting pitons. We were tempted to bivouac on a series of terraces at the top of the Red Walls but confidence got the better of us and we decided to try to get past the huge roofs and reach the summit in a day.

As darkness began to close around us we found ourselves in increasingly blank and forbidding territory. The dark shadow of the roofs blackened the early night sky above and tendrils of mist began swirling up from the depths of the icy couloir glinting thousands of feet below.

I began to follow the ropes draped down the corner, clutching in the darkness at unseen holds and shouting for Ian to give me a tight rope. After about 40 feet, the vertical corner seemed to pinch out into a smooth wall. Groping to my left, my fingers slipped into a sharp-edged crack and, with help from Ian, I struggled up until I saw the dark shadows of his legs hanging above me. He was sitting on a narrow ledge.

I clipped myself to a handrail rope that Ian had fixed above the ledge. The handrail had been tied to an old ring piton and stretched across to the far end of the ledge, where he had tied it to a small flake of protruding granite.

Once ensconced inside my bivouac bag I settled myself down on the comforting solidity of the ledge. Seconds later there was a heart-stopping downward lurch accompanied by the thunderous sound of tons of granite plunging into the abyss. I heard a cry of alarm and pain above the roar of falling rock. My arms were outside the bivouac bag as I fell and I flailed them blindly trying to grab something. It must have taken only a fraction of a second but it seemed to last forever.

We bounced on the springy stretch of rope. The handrail had held. I swung gently on the rope with my arms pinned to my sides. I had held the fall on my armpits and for a confused moment I desperately tried to remember whether I had clipped myself to the handrail.

In the sudden darkness, with the sounds of falling rock echoing up from the depths, I was momentarily disorientated. Where was Ian? I remembered that sudden yelp during the fall. Had he gone with it?

"By 'eck!" I heard Ian's broad Lancastrian voice beside me. I poked my head out from my bag and glanced at Ian. His head lolled on to his shoulder and his torch reflected a sodium yellow light off the surrounding rock walls. There was blood on his neck.

We hung side by side on the tightly stretched rope and swore. With the help of our torches we were horrified to find that our ropes had gone. We looked at each other and giggled nervously. Two thousand feet up and no ropes! The handrail shifted suddenly, causing us both to squeak with fright, hearts hammering at the thought of falling again.

I turned and shone my torch on the handrail. It looked odd. I twisted round, grabbed the rope. It shifted again and the peg moved. I lowered myself gingerly back on to the rope.

"Oh God," I whispered.

"What?"

"The peg's buggered. It's coming out."

"Christ! Where's the gear? Let's put something in."

"It's gone. The hardware, boots, everything. It went with the ledge."

Ian was silent. I looked at the flake where the handrail had been tied off. Tiny pebbles and dust trickled from its sheared-off base. Both attachment points could go at any moment. If either went, we would fall into the abyss.

"I think we had better stay very, very still."

"Aye," Ian muttered.

We hung there helplessly for 12 hours until at last a helicopter came into view and we were winched to safety.

———-

read the rest:

How Climate Change is Destroying the World's Most Spectacular Landscapes


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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Modern Interrogation is Built on Psychology - Not Torture

On the topic of our current adiminstration’s approval of torture for interrogation, I found the following post quite interesting. —pseudolus

——-
One last post on interrogation and then I’ll get off my soapbox and back to being a trial lawyer and running a trial practice. Hans Scharf, a German PFC, is the father of modern interrogation. He was the son of a South African manufacturer visiting family in Germany when World War II broke out and was conscripted into the German Luftwaffe. He was assigned to question U.S. Airforce and British RAF pilots. He always got his information. How did he do it?

The key is to get the prisoner talking. And it doesn’t have to be about military topics, or sensitive information. You just want them talking. Once they’re talking, you can steer the conversation around to other issues, toss in a few innocent questions here and there and you’re on your way. (It’s not quite that easy, but that’s the main point).


A conversation with Hans would go like this “You’re not going to make me talk.” and Hans would reply “That’s fine, I don’t need to make you talk.” “Oh.” A favorite tactic of Hans would be to leave the immediate compound and walk through the woods with the prisoner and just make small talk with them. Halfway through the woods, there was an anthill. Hans would cover up the holes in the anthill with a handkerchief and they would watch the ants scurry around to create new ways into the anthill. He would then talk to the prisoner on the difference between the goals of socialism working together and capitalism where it’s every man for himself, using the ants as an example. He could almost always toss a question or two in when he got in a heated political discussion.

Another key is that with the information and organizational structure that the Germans had, Hans only needed one or two pieces of information from each prisoner, thus making it nearly impossible for the captured pilot to know when he was giving away military information.

——

read the rest:

South Carolina Trial Law Blog: Modern Interrogation is Built on Psychology - Not Torture 


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Bad Astronomy Blog ? Astrology and ID sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G



Michael Behe, perhaps the key proponent of Intelligent Design (woe be unto them), was grilled last week about ID at the Kitzmiller vs. DASD case in Dover Pennsylvania, what some wags have dubbed “Scopes II”. Basically, at one point, the issue came up about what defines a scientific theory. This is, in my opinion, a huge tactical diversion: scientists use the word “theory” differently than non-scientists do. To a scientist, “theory” is pretty much synonymous with “fact”. Not precisely, and I am oversimplifying, but close enough. What a non-scientist calls “theory” is what a scientist calls a “hypothesis” or even a “conjecture”.

I say this is a diversion because the people who tend to twist the truth (what a non-scientist might refer to as “lie”) about ID love to say evolution is “just a theory”, which is what scientists call evolution. But of course, to a scientist that means a lot. Gravity is a theory too, as is General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and a lot of other things on which we base all of modern science (and don’t kid yourself, the technology you use every day is based on these “theories” as well).

So this whole “definition of science” nonsense is just that: nonsense. Of course, if ID proponents can give their nonsense the imprimatur of science, they can get it taught in the classroom.

——

read the whole thing, it’s quite funny:

Bad Astronomy Blog » Blog Archive » Astrology and ID sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G


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