Al-Qaida has put job advertisements on the Internet asking for supporters to help put together its Web statements and video montages, an Arabic newspaper reported.
The London-based Asharq al-Awsat said on its Web site this week that Al-Qaida had "vacant positions" for video production and editing statements, footage and international media coverage about militants in Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Chechnya and other conflict zones where militants are active.You might even get promoted to creative content.
Last month it issued an English-language video on the Internet called Jihad Hidden Camera which showed sniping and bombing attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq, and carried comical sound effects as well as laugh tracks.It's too bad this is a violent world-historical conflict, because it's had "most hilarious farce" written all over it for years. via crooksandliars
The existence of "artisanal" bacon is either a sign that the artisanal goods fad has peaked, and we'll soon be rid of it, or that the end times are nigh. Nevertheless, it is bacon, and you can get it from the Bacon of the Month Club.
via email from the enormously fat girl27
I'm a little bit mad at someone on the internet, but I don't want to name names because this person is already taking some abuse for other things. I try to limit my TV watching to Law & Order, with occasional trash as dessert, but no other serials, which might suck me in. Well, now I'm watching Lost, thanks to mentions by this person, and I can't stop watching. This all extra sucks because I basically have two thoughts in my head when I'm watching the show: 1) This is so fucking stupid 2) I wonder what happens next!
Don't watch it.
I haven't had a swimming story in so long; god, we all miss the Swede. To tide you over, in however small a way, here's a short video clip of Grant Hackett, with the last few seconds showing the amazing split-second --stretch, keep elbow up and pull-- that the great swimmers do. This isn't exactly how they teach you to swim when you're a tot.
I understand that I'm reacting emotionally, and not entirely reasonably, to this; but let's juxtapose two facts:
1. Illinois governor Blagojevich wants the state to extend health insurance to all children, and the cost of covering the 250,000 children not currently covered would be about $45 million per year.
2. There are probably at least a dozen individuals in Illinois who could fund this program.1
Should I not be bothered by this?
1I understand that many of those people already give significant amounts to charity
Speaking of Atrios, you can see him interview PZ Myers over at the newish evolvetv. In all sincerity, I think this is fantastic; just the kind of thing liberals on the internet should be doing. Bloggers don't do so much audio and video work because they and their audience are primarily readers, but this is a way to draw a different audience, and maybe more important, to create a group of liberals with experience and savvy with multimedia web content. I expect these people will be much in demand in the future.
Now, can we have someone change evolvetv's "Taped in Soviet Siberia" aesthetic? Production values, people!
Somebody explain something to me. Why do pitchers so often miss the throw to first? If I were pressed for an explanation, I'd say that they're so accustomed to their pitching motion, that any other way of throwing feels unnatural, and it's just a sign of how complicated throwing actually is that they so often miss.
Ok, I guess the question is partly-rhetorical: whatever the reason, come on, you're a professional thrower, practice the throw to first if you have to, because missing it so often is just embarrassing.
If there's an argument that one would have thought would have lost purchase, as they say, in the last several years, it's "but the underlings and advisers do all the thinking anyway." Well...
The Supreme Court is an easy job. The best lawyers in the country write the briefs and argue the cases. The smartest young law school graduates serve as clerks and do most of the actual writing. The appellate court opinions they're reviewing are also written by smart folks who know how to present the issues. The justices only have to make decisions. They can take as long as they want, and any serious screwups will be caught by the clerks or the other eight jsutices before they get out of the door. It's not like being, say, director of FEMA. No one's going to die because of a wrong Supreme Court decision (except for convicted murderers already sentenced to death by both a jury and a trial court judge).
In other words, of all the places to put a possibly incompetent crony, the Supreme Court is the spot where there's least potential for damage. If the president wants to promote friends, that's the right place to do it.
There are so many things obviously wrong with this, but here's one that people don't note enough: status in the hierarchy matters, and the person in the position of authority (whether its the president or a supreme court justice), has, by design, an outsized influence on the direction of decisions and deliberations. No matter how smart the underlings, when the person in charge can't keep up, you get chaos.
"President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"
Update: This is even better.
According to Abbas, immediately thereafter Bush said: "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."
But: The White House denies.
Dr. O'Connor and Miss Galt clutched each other on the edge of the roof of the university library, their blond tresses intermingling in the wind, as the deranged mob of zombie gender studies professors and union organizers marched ever closer. Blood dripped from their mandibles, for they'd just finished feeding on the flesh of a management communication class in the business school. But still they wanted more, and the two ladies had only a 2x4 with which to protect themselves.
"This may be the end, Miss Galt." The pixieish Dr. Connor leaned her head into the bosom of the Amazonian Miss Galt. Miss Galt enveloped her, kissing the top of her head and breathing her sweet verbena perfume. "It may be an illusion," the professor continued, "but I feel so safe with you."
"I'll die defending you, Dr. Connor," said Miss Galt. "It would be such a shame for the world to lose an intellect like yours."
They could see the whites of the zombies' eyeballs. Miss Galt decided to engage the mob in a contest of wits: "I've been a deranged mob of zombie gender studies professors and union organizers and you do not know what you're talking about. Our nubile porcelain flesh is not at all delicious." But she was not sure if she spoke the truth as she throught she felt Dr. Connor's lips brushing against her nipples.
The mob did not respond, but only continued on their inexorable course.
"There's no hope" cried Dr. Connor, "I only hope that tomorrow the campus newspaper does not claim that we deserved it because I was so beautiful, my hair was so golden, and I dressed in such beautiful skirt-suits, and was thus a minion of the patriarchy," when suddenly she saw a dark object in the sky traveling towards them.
"It's a bird," Miss Galt.
"It's a plane," said Dr. O'Connor.
"It's, it's...a man in a pink fur-lined cape astride a giant flying Koran?" wondered Miss Galt.
"Now we're truly done for!" screamed Dr. O'Connor. "He must be the commander of the forces of political correctness. His armies will be worked into a frenzy! No amount of tender pink flesh will be enought to sate them."
But the caped man, the initials GAL emblazoned across his chest, merely alighted on the ledge of the roof and fixed his eyes upon the mob. Two red hot beams of light shot from his eyeballs, and the mob was engulfed in a fiery force field. One by one, they fell on their backs and began moaning in pain...or was it pleasure?
It hardly mattered, for the man ushered the two ladies onto his Koran, and flew them high above the clouds. Their clothes grew damp from exposure to the moisture and clung to their skin. The air was so thin they were forced to gasp for breath.
"What is your name? And what strange weapon did you use on them," asked Dr. O'Connor.
"I am Gayatollah Abu-Labs, announced the man in the pink cape. "And I must not speak of my methods; the matter is not fit for ladies' ears."
"Why Gayatollah," sighed Miss Galt, "I had no idea Muslims could be so...forceful--for the right cause that is."
"Yes Gayatollah," squealed Dr. O'Connor, "You are very forceful. I've been looking for a man like you all my life."
"Dr. O'Connor, I saw him first!" snapped Miss Galt.
"Ladies, ladies!" Gayatollah ejaculated, "I don't fly that way. But I have looked hard and deep into your soul, and I think your true passion lies elsewhere."
Dr. O'Connor looked at Miss Galt, her eyes misting. Miss Galt felt a strange new stab in her loins....
Lactose-free ice-cream! Woohoo!
I had some last night (maybe a little more than some)--it's not bad; pretty much like Breyers regular ice-cream, if I'm recalling correctly. Please go buy it at your local store, so Ben & Jerry's will think that there's a market for this stuff.
Umm... Y'all know that making something "lactose-free" doesn't require frankenfooding it, right? You just add some of the lactase enzyme that your poor poor tummy is missing, and that breaks down the lactose into constituent sugars that can be digested by tummies of color.
This is sort of hilarious and sort of insane at the same time:
Geologists date this sandstone to 550 million years ago and explain the folding as a result of pressure from shifting faults underneath. But to Mr. Vail, the folds suggest the Grand Canyon was carved 4,500 years ago by the great global flood described in Genesis as God's punishment for humanity's sin.
"You see any cracks in that?" he asked. "Instead of bending like that, it should have cracked." The material "had to be soft" to bend, Mr. Vail said, imagining its formation in the flood. When somebody suggested that pressure over time could create plasticity in the rocks, Mr. Vail said, "That's just a theory."
A friend of mine researches this stuff (folds and cracks in mountain formation, that is, not [redacted] in rafts) and a lot of the science is (to the extent that I can understand it) elegant and beautiful-- like the rock formations it describes. On the other hand, we've got a nice story about a flood and how Captain Stueben saved all the animals. Not exactly on a par, but whatever floats your raft, I guess.
Whoa, can he say this? (my emphasis)
Today sees yet another round of stories about a claim to have discovered the real author of Shakespeare's plays. Today's candidate is Sir Henry Neville ... I wouldn't dismiss such arguments out of hand. It still does seem fairly speculative to me, with a fair bit of just-so storytelling along the way...So I'll be waiting for more details than the press releases, and for the responses from expert critics, before giving up on the Bard.
Isn't "the Bard" just the person who wrote the plays? So whether it turns out to be Neville, or remains the man Shakespeare, Brian doesn't have to give up on "the Bard."
Let us pause for a moment to hate on a certain kind of honky. The older I get, the more shocked I am when I recall this incident:
I was a freshman in college, walking out of my dorm, and an African-American UPS guy was pulling his stacked hand-trolley step by step up the entranceway. Another student, watching, said to him, "You're earning your pay today."
Somehow, the driver didn't take the hand-trolley, brain the kid, and set off on a mission to brain his parents. He just said, "I earn my pay every day."
I know there are 17 billion note / clipping / organizing tools for Mac (things like Tinderbox, and the others Brad lists). But are there any really good ones for PCs? I think I'm going to try Backpack. I like that it's web-based, so that I'm not tied to any particular computer (especially since I don't own the work laptop I use), and I don't need to keep another application open. But if you know of a great app, I could be convinced. (I started to use Evernote, which is pretty good, but then changed computers, so....)
! Username already taken! Someone is using Backback with my last name. I feel robbed and violated. This has never happened.
More: Where I lift a post entire from the defective yeti.
I stopped using my Palm Pilot about three years ago. It ran out of batteries, I was to lazy to replace them, that was the end of that.
While cleaning up my PC today, I noticed that I still had "Palm Desktop" installed. Out of curiosity I looked to see what I had on my to-do list in 2002, and was aghast to discover how many "Priority One" items I had listed that remain uncompleted to this very day.
The walls of the nearest public restroom inform me that:
(a) having sex with someone who is drunk is illegal in most states;
(b) it is morally wrong-- because, after all, if your drunk friend gave you her watch, it would be wrong to retain ownership. Why would it be better to accept the gift of her body?
I suspect most sex with at least one drunken partner is also sex with two drunken partners. This makes the application of blame difficult, on pain of violating a glaring double standard. There's also a consistency worry: in drunk driving cases, we hold people responsible for either making a bad decision to drive or for getting drunk and thus allowing a future drunken self to make a terrible decision.* It seems that similar reasoning should apply in the sex case. Finally, could we pick a slightly more outdated and unintentionally insulting analogy?
There are many, many reasons why it's a bad idea to begin a sexual relationship while drunk. Couldn't we just put those on the bathroom walls instead of strongly suggesting that only males are capable of wrongdoing during sexual encounters?
* I cribbed this from an article on seduction. It was in Ethics recently, and it's good, but I can't remember who wrote it, and I've never heard of Google.
(a) Dog owners: please be aware that not everyone else loves dogs. Also be aware that you are not an infallible judge of your dog's future behavior. Other users of public spaces might be upset when you violate leash laws in a way that allows your dog to interfere with running, hiking, and other perfectly legitimate activities. It doesn't really matter that your dog is, in fact, perfectly friendly; what matters is what it's like to be on the business end of a large charging animal.
(b) If you're walking down a crowded staircase, please don't move at a glacial pace while programming your cell phone. You might have the bad luck to inconvenience someone behind you-- someone who is, at that very moment, [feeling annoyed].
Thank you. That is all.
They really mean it this time.
Dr. Irwin Goldstein...asserted that "there are only two kinds of male cyclists - those who are impotent and those who will be impotent."
I don't have anything funny to add; just that this really seems to be a settled issue, and that, if you ride (even, apparently, if you're a woman, or a girl, or a girl27), you should get a "noseless" seat.
One middle-aged man rode in a special cycling event to honor a friend and has been impotent since. A 28-year-old who came in for testing, Dr Goldstein said, showed the penile blood flow of a 60-year-old. A college student who had competed in rough cycling sports was unable to achieve an erection until microvascular surgery restored penile blood flow.
You've been warned.
Last night, I killed a bug that I believed to be a mosquito. But when it was laying, dead, I was no longer so sure. I couldn't help but wonder if the bug newspapers the next day would be filled with stories of a "tragic case of mistaken identity" or "little bug takes wrong turn, killed." Maybe another cautionary tale for the bug parents, about wandering into 345 N. Oggedville Lane late at night. Sorry, little bug; you really looked like a mosquito.
The more I think about the Miers nomination, the more troubled I become. I think David Bernstein is right about this.
What do Miers and Roberts have in common? They both have significant executive branch experience, and both seem more likely than other potential candidates to uphold the Administration on issues related to the War on Terror (e.g., Padilla and whether a citizen arrested in the U.S. can be tried in military court). Conservative political activists want someone who will interpret the Constitution in line with conservative judicial principles. But just as FDR's primary goal in appointing Justices was to appoint Justices that would uphold the centerpiece of his presidency, the New Deal, which coincidentally resulted in his appointing individuals who were liberal on other things, perhaps Bush sees his legacy primarily in terms of the War on Terror, and appointing Justices who will acquiesce in exercises of executive authority is his priority, even if it isn't the priority of either his base or the nation as a whole.
This is really disturbing, no matter who becomes President next. We all remember, right, that Padilla is an American citizen arrested in America, and is being held without charge or trial?
Kaus has a related concern.
The fatal, non-snobby objection to Miers: Randy Barnett points out that the "cronyism" worry isn't just a worry about an unqualified nominee, or a theoretical worry about the "separation of powers." There's a concrete concern about her ability to rule against the interests of the man and family to whom she's been so loyal (and to whom she will owe her spectacular elevation) ... The Bushes do their business by calling on personal loyalties. It's a legitimate question to ask whether they are (if only subconsciously!) trying to extend this modus operandi into the judicial branch. It all seems a bit Latin American, no? Harriet Miers could be the most qualified judge in the nation--and a breath of fresh air to boot--and cronyism would still be a potentially disqualifying factor. There are some moves Presidents who gain office on 5-4 Supreme Court votes can't make.
That also sounds right. A possible corollary to the "trust us" line coming from the administration is that Miers is a "made man." It almost seems as if she's given Bush certain assurances.
Let me guess, it would be bad form, upon reading Tom Hi/lde today:
I don't have much to say on this because I don't know much about it. When's the last time you heard that on a blog? "Uh, I dunno."
To leave a comment informing him that yesterday, Matt Yglesias wrote,
I'm afraid I know almost nothing about Harriet Miers.
Sherry and Profgrrrrl have both posted pictures of footwear this week. I hate to alienate PG, even if she did leave us in the lurch with the whole official pinup girl business, but those frilly little shoes...meh. Solid, worn, leather boots, on the other foot, are some the sexiest things going.
I just read Night Draws Near, by Anthony Shadid, who won a Pulitzer for his Iraq coverage for the Washington Post. If you're looking for new information, it's not quite the book for you, but if you want the information you do have to make sense in relation to the lives of individual Iraqis, it's very good. It helped me a lot in putting things like Fallujah and especially the bombing of Shiite mosques in context. And it's particularly good on the different constituencies of Sadr and Sistani, and the conflicts between them.
In an old story on Michael Phelps, I read a sentence that made me quaver with old-fashioned angst.
What if Phelps's sisters had not preceded him into the water? What if he had imagined himself a basketball player instead? In that case, he would just be another sort of tall guy sitting on the bench -- one with no idea that he had missed his true calling.
Just the thought of that is almost more than I can stand. What if this guy so perfectly suited to this one thing had never tried it? How many millions of people's gifts go unknown, and die with them? How many know their gift, but are never able to use it, because they were born in the wrong place, or at the wrong time, to the wrong parents, etc.? Am I doing what I ought to be doing?
Such a horrible feeling of waste; wasted time, wasted talents, wasted lives, even. Aw hell, best not to think about this too much. How are things at your office this morning?
Update: Bowing to the conscience of the pussified western males in the comments, I'm de-googlifying Hi/lde's name, to protect him from his own idiocy.
I knew that the Ivies didn't want Jews, but I did not know these details.
In 1905, Harvard College adopted the College Entrance Examination Board tests as the principal basis for admission, which meant that virtually any academically gifted high-school senior who could afford a private college had a straightforward shot at attending. By 1908, the freshman class was seven per cent Jewish, nine per cent Catholic, and forty-five per cent from public schools, an astonishing transformation for a school that historically had been the preserve of the New England boarding-school complex known in the admissions world as St. Grottlesex.
The enrollment of Jews began to rise dramatically.By 1922, they made up more than a fifth of Harvard's freshman class. The administration and alumni were up in arms. Jews were thought to be sickly and grasping, grade-grubbing and insular. They displaced the sons of wealthy Wasp alumni, which did not bode well for fund-raising. A. Lawrence Lowell, Harvard's president in the nineteen-twenties, stated flatly that too many Jews would destroy the school: "The summer hotel that is ruined by admitting Jews meets its fate . . . because they drive away the Gentiles, and then after the Gentiles have left, they leave also."
[Ivy league admissions directors] realized that if a definition of merit based on academic prowess was leading to the wrong kind of student, the solution was to change the definition of merit ... The admissions office at Harvard became much more interested in the details of an applicant's personal life. Lowell told his admissions officers to elicit information about the "character" of candidates from "persons who know the applicants well," and so the letter of reference became mandatory. Harvard started asking applicants to provide a photograph. Candidates had to write personal essays, demonstrating their aptitude for leadership, and list their extracurricular activities. "Starting in the fall of 1922," Karabel writes, "applicants were required to answer questions on ‘Race and Color,' ‘Religious Preference,' ‘Maiden Name of Mother,' ‘Birthplace of Father,' and ‘What change, if any, has been made since birth in your own name or that of your father? (Explain fully).' "
And thus did the Ivies become different from the University of Chicago, which was, Gladwell says, "an institution Harvard officials looked upon and shuddered." Today, of course, this emphasis on well-roundedness is part of the stereotype of stereotypical Ivy leaguers, and, as Gladwell also notes, that's not really a bad thing. Insofar as those schools want to produce "superstars," people whose fame and work will redound to the credit of the institution, choosing for traits other than academic excellence is, according to one study, crucial.
In short, according to Gladwell, Ivy admissions aren't a strict meritocracy, but a complicated scheme that seeks to maintain the Ivies' position as the gateway to the American elite.
In the 1985-92 period, for instance, Harvard admitted children of alumni at a rate more than twice that of non-athlete, non-legacy applicants, despite the fact that, on virtually every one of the school's magical ratings scales, legacies significantly lagged behind their peers. Karabel calls the practice "unmeritocratic at best and profoundly corrupt at worst," but rewarding customer loyalty is what luxury brands do. Harvard wants good graduates, and part of their definition of a good graduate is someone who is a generous and loyal alumnus. And if you want generous and loyal alumni you have to reward them. Aren't the tremendous resources provided to Harvard by its alumni part of the reason so many people want to go to Harvard in the first place? The endless battle over admissions in the United States proceeds on the assumption that some great moral principle is at stake in the matter of whom schools like Harvard choose to let in—that those who are denied admission by the whims of the admissions office have somehow been harmed. If you are sick and a hospital shuts its doors to you, you are harmed. But a selective school is not a hospital, and those it turns away are not sick. Élite schools, like any luxury brand, are an aesthetic experience—an exquisitely constructed fantasy of what it means to belong to an élite —and they have always been mindful of what must be done to maintain that experience.
Sometimes Christmas really does come early. Tom DeLay has been indicted again.
I probably shouldn't admit this, but I just now realized that "A friend in need is a friend, indeed" means "a person who is your friend when you are in need is a good friend" and not "your friend is most your friend when he's in need," which is what I thought it meant.
And now, for something totally not work safe, it's The Puberty Pals, in What the Heck is Happening to My Genitals?! If only we'd had stuff like this when I was taking sex-ed.
Thank god for Hugh Hewitt. On Miers:
It is a solid, B+ pick ... The president is a poker player in a long game. He's decided to take a sure win with a good sized pot. I trust him. So should his supporters.
Even the Powerline guys don't have the energy for Bush-love theater this time around.
More seriously, I read somewhere this morning that Miers would be a reliable vote for expanding executive power. Given the recent appellate ruling (via insty) in the Padilla case, that's very disturbing.
Serenity didn't do so well. This, despite the fact that everyone I know either saw it or plans to see it.
Guess how tall Summer Glau, the woman who plays River, is. (No looking it up!)
Controversy! I asked because I would have guessed something like 5'3", based on the movie, but IMDB has her at 5'8". But the site Celeb Heights claims, based on some woman's eyeballing, that she's 5'6" (you have to do some heel math to get there). And now I've said way too much about Summer Glau's height. But, also note that when she's not psychotic or being hunted by the Alliance, she's cute.
Dude: Props to Yahoo search. This post, which is surely the definitive internetical rumination on Summer Glau's height, isn't even twelve hours old, but it's already the first result for "summer glau's height" on Yahoo.
Let's make a distinction between regular ol' conservatives, with whom we might disagree, but who are recognizably human, and those with absolutist theocratic sympathies, like the Scalias, Robertsons, and DeLays of the world. Initial impressions are that Miers is of the former sort, which confirms, I think, the suspicion that Bush himself is not at heart a social conservative, but only plays one for his base. But, judging from the quick and angry response to Miers from the right, the base is not amused, and not inclined to give Bush a pass. Could this really be scuttled by the Right? It's hard to think of much that could make Bush's base more angry than the fact that Miers gave money to Gore and Clinton, but it's not exactly grounds to withdraw her nomination. I imagine that we'll be hearing about every last detail of Ms. Miers private life in the days to come.
Of course: This isn't to say that Miers is a good pick, by my lights.
I'm not exactly quick to find sexism where others don't, so I'm pretty confident, now that I've picked my jaw off the floor, that David Frum's reaction to the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court is astoundingly sexist.
There have just been too many instances of seeming conservatives being sent to the high court, only to succumb to the prevailing vapors up there: O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter. Given that record, it is simply reckless for any conservative president, especially one backed by a 55-seat Senate majority, to take a hazard on anything other than a known quantity.
But here is what we do know: the pressures on a Supreme Court justice to shift leftward are intense. There is the negative pressure of the vicious, hostile press that legal conservatives must endure. And there are the sweet little inducements - the flattery, the invitations to conferences in Austria and Italy, the lectureships at Yale and Harvard - that come to judges who soften and crumble. Harriet Miers is a taut, nervous, anxious personality. It is impossible to me to imagine that she can endure the anger and abuse - or resist the blandishments - that transformed, say, Anthony Kennedy into the judge he is today.
In the twenty-odd years I've been reading political coverage, I can't rememeber even *one* instance of someone opposing any kind of appointment with the claim that the nominee doesn't have the proper personality to handle the pressure.
I chose the outdoor seating at lunch yesterday, so I could watch the people go by.
Good to be reminded: Bodies sure do come in all shapes and sizes.
Must keep in mind: When people stare, it's not because they think I'm hot, it's because the goggle tan is totally out of control.
Noted: When adults are eating ice-cream cones, and they look at the ice-cream between licks, to pick the best spot for the next lick, it's kinda endearing, in an innocent, totally non-sexual way.