Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Wall Street Journal Likes To Make Stuff Up

The pathetic attempt of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page to defend the torture of human beings.

"Actionable intelligence is the most effective weapon in the war on terror, which can potentially save thousands of lives."

There is no evidence that torture produces actionable intelligence.

"In fact, Congress has always defined torture so vaguely as to ban only the most extreme acts and preserve legal loopholes. At least twice it has had opportunity to specifically ban waterboarding and be accountable after some future attack. Members declined."

Well, that's fair. I mean, everyone KNOWS that it is ONLY waterboarding that keeps us safe. Not, you know, security and stuff.

"As for "stress positions" allowed for a time by the Pentagon, such as hooding, sleep deprivation or exposure to heat and cold, they are psychological techniques designed to break a detainee, but light years away from actual torture."

What is the difference? "Techniques designed to break"? It's torture. Whoever wrote that sentence should undergo SERE training and report back about how non-torturous it is.

"Mr. Levin claims that Bush interrogation programs "damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives." The truth is closer to the opposite."

The evidence, unfortunately, supports Mr. Levin.

"The second-guessing of Democrats is likely to lead to a risk-averse mindset at the CIA and elsewhere that compromises the ability of terror fighters to break the next KSM. The political winds always shift, but terrorists are as dangerous as ever."

Nowhere near as dangerous as the reckless gang of thugs who currently occupy the White House.

As if you needed more evidence we need trials for bankers...

According to this story, Bank of America, which was more than willing to take taxpayer money in the bailout, turns around and repossesses a soldier's car, while he is serving in Iraq.

As Douglas Adams once wrote, "first against the wall when the revolution comes."


I went to see Jimmy Pardo tonight. (Well, last night.) (Whatever.) He was terrific, not the least of which because an early arrival got my wife and I into the very FIRST ROW. Of course, being a comedy show, we were ragged on the whole night, but it was hysterically funny.

(Special note to Katie: Helium is on Sansome St., downtown Philly-very easy to get to. It appears to be new-at least, I never heard of it. Food prices are fairly reasonable. Total tab for the night for two of us is maybe $100-but then again, we're not drinkers. Once you get reemployed, you could do worse than to catch a show there.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Top Five At Four

Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, which has sold more copies than there are people on the Earth, is going to give President Elect Obama's invocation. This has ignited a kerfuffle, since Warren has not been shy, like most preachers, about his opposition to gay marriage. However, he is anti poverty and anti human misery, which is frankly more important. He is wrong about gay marriage, and the future will prove him so. As Dr. King said, the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. (He was quoting someone else, but I don't recall who that was and I am too lazy too look it up.)

Mark Teixeira, the free agent prize still on the board, is still in limbo. Reportedly, Boston has dropped out of the running when shown offers that Teixeira, a name only a copy editor could love, supposedly has from other teams. But Scott Boras, Teixeira's agent, is infamous for the baseball equivalent of vaporware, "offers" that have originated only in Boras' skull. So it may not yet be over.

Retailers say that Christmas shopping is disappointing. Yet, everytime I have gone into a store this week, it has been PACKED. WTF?

Majel Barrett Roddenberry, widow of the creator of Star Trek, has passed away. While by no means a big fan, I have seen a number of movies and TV shows, and always thoroughly enjoyed each one. RIP.

I'm going to see Jimmy Pardo, standup comedian extraordinaire, at a new comedy club in downtown Philadelphia tonight.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One of the most remarkable things in the history of things

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What recession?

Shopping for baking supplies with my better half this afternoon, I encountered a shelf full of chocolate covered somethings, about the size of a softball. I came closer.

Handmade chocolate covered apples.

$8.99 each.


Better be covered in gold and cocaine for 9 dollars. Sheesh.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You Can Call Me Al

I forgot how funny this video was. The song that lent a lyric to the title of this very blog, Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al".


A fascinating anti- Christmas piece by the always interesting Christopher Hitchens.

Kucinich on Banks and Lying Scumbags

Interesting historical perspective-it's not just recently that bankers have been shown to be lying scumbags.

Monday, December 15, 2008

When In Doubt, Meme...

From the ever popular

Hi, my name is:

But you can call me:

The one person who can drive me nuts is:
My child

My high school is/was:
better off forgotten

When I’m nervous:
I get reserved

The last song I listened to was:
Metallica's "Enter Sandman", live in Moscow, 1991

If I were to get married right now it would be to:
the everlasting surprise of my wife.

My hair is:
mostly absent

Last Christmas:
my darling nephew Simon was sick.

When I look down I see:
the sweepings of the street

The happiest recent event was:
realizing I don't have work again until the 21st.

By this time next year:
I probably won't have my Christmas shopping done, either.

If I won an award, the first person I would tell would be:
my wife

The world could do without:
American Idol

Most recent thing I’ve bought myself:
A cream cheese filled pretzel

Most recent thing someone else bought me:
takeout from Wendy's

In the morning I:
took my son to school, then came home and watched The West Wing

Last night I was:
watching "Sunday Night Football"

Tomorrow I am:
maybe doing a little Christmas shopping. Maybe not.

Tonight I am:
Watching "Monday Night Football"

My birthday is:
in October, but still coming way too quickly.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quick Puzzle Break





Courtesy Dave Winer (

Count the Fs in this sentence.

My Boys Bringing It Old School

Metallica at Tushino Airfield, Moscow, September 28, 1991. Even if you don't like the music-check out the crowd-1.6 million people.

this, too.

Sure, we have to make sure that autoworkers don't get paid too much money. But restricting Robert Rubin's pay at Citi? Why...why....that's positively unAmerican! You can't limit someone's pay unless they, you know, WORK for a living.

This should sicken you.

The last paragraph of the executive summary is the money shot:

"The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of “a few bad apples” acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees. Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority. This report is a product of the Committee’s inquiry into how those unfortunate results came about."

Unfortunate? Criminal, maybe. Actionable. Illegal. Evil.

Not unfortunate.