Archive for July 25th, 2007

This Just In

The Onion announces a startling new discovery:

A field study released Monday by the University of North Carolina School of Public Health suggests that Iraqi citizens experience sadness and a sense of loss when relatives, spouses, and even friends perish, emotions that have until recently been identified almost exclusively with Westerners.

“We were struck by how an Iraqi reacts to the sight of the bloody or decapitated corpse of a family member in a not unlike an American, or at the very least a Canadian, would,” said Dr. Jonathan Pryztal, chief author of the study. “In addition to the rage, bloodlust, and hatred we already know to dominate the Iraqi emotional spectrum, it appears that they may have some capacity, however limited, for sadness.”


“Contrary to conventional wisdom, it seems that Iraqis do indeed experience at least minor feelings of grief when a best friend or a grandparent is ripped apart by a car bomb or shot execution style and later unearthed in a shallow mass grave,” Prytzal said….

Iraqis have often been observed weeping and wailing in apparent anguish, but the study offers evidence indicating this may not be exclusively an outward expression of anger or a desire for revenge. It also provocatively suggests that this grief can possess an American-like personal quality, and is not simply a tribal lamentation ritual.


According to Pryztal, the intensity of the grief does not diminish if the mourner experiences multiple bereavements over time. “If a woman has already lost one child, the subsequent killings of other children will evoke similar responses,” he said. “In the majority of cases we studied, it appeared as though those who lost multiple kids never actually got used to it.”


“Almost all the Iraqis we interviewed said the war had ruined their lives because of the incalculable loss of friends and family,” Pryztal said. “But to be totally honest, these types of studies can be skewed rather easily by participant exaggeration.”

Psychologists and anthropologists have thus far largely discounted the study, claiming it has the same bias as a 1971 Stanford University study that concluded that many Vietnamese showed signs of psychological trauma from nearly a quarter century of continuous war in southeast Asia.

“We are, in truth, still a long way from determining if Iraqis are exhibiting actual, U.S.-grade sadness,” Mayo Clinic neuropsychologist Norman Blum said. “At present, we see no reason for the popular press to report on Iraqi emotions as if they are real.”

Pryztal said that his research group would next examine whether children in Sudan prefer playing with toys or serving as guerrilla fighters and killing innocent civilians.

I assume the GOP’s professional deniers will start coming out of the woodwork any day now to dismiss the study as junk science.

1 comment July 25th, 2007 at 10:28pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Iraq,War

Wanker Of The Day

AP’s Ron Fournier:

Bill Clinton will be there. So will 300 officeholders from more than 45 states. But one thing will be missing when Democrats gather in Tennessee this weekend to discuss how to appeal to moderate, independent-minded voters in 2008: the Democratic presidential field.

Not a single one of the eight presidential candidates plans to attend the Democratic Leadership Council’s summer meeting, a snub that says less about the centrist DLC than it does about a nomination process that rewards candidates who pander to their parties’ hardened cores while ignoring everybody else.

”They have tunnel vision,” DLC founder Al From said of his fellow Democrats.

From said he has nothing against Clinton’s wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, or the other seven Democratic presidential candidates. He even understands why they won’t attend the DLC meeting.

But that doesn’t make him worry any less about the future of his party.

”Presidents are elected in the middle and they are elected by being bigger than their party. Neither parties’ activists alone can elect somebody president,” From said in a telephone interview from his Washington office. ”Democrats have a long history of nominating people, including people who have lost badly. The challenge for Democrats is to nominate somebody who can win the election.”

(Not entirely sure what “Democrats have a long history of nominating people” is supposed to mean…)

These governors hail from different parts of the Democratic ideology spectrum, but they have one thing in common: They are in office because they appealed to voters who hold no firm allegiance to either party.

During the 2004 presidential campaign, political operatives convinced themselves that there were a dwindling few of these so-called swing voters, and that the only way to win elections was playing to ”the base” — the most dedicated Republicans and Democrats. They were wrong. The political middle is as significant as ever, with voters in a mood to swing due to their frustration with both major parties.

I suppose this is sort of true. They’re frustrated with Republicans for leading us into a disastrous, pointless war and generally doing everything they can to loot and destroy the United States, and they’re frustrated with the Democrats for not stopping them. So I guess that makes them “centrists.”

That raises a challenge for Republican and Democratic presidential candidates: How do they win their parties’ nomination without appearing hostage to the kind of base politics that turns off swing voters?

Oh yeah, those swing voters hate all that leftist crazy talk about rule of law and getting out of Iraq.

The DLC would like to help the Democratic candidates, but none are listening. While no Democratic presidential hopeful wants to be associated with the centrist group, most of the candidates will be in Chicago on Aug. 4 to attend a convention of liberal bloggers.

”They are looking only at the liberal activists in Iowa,” From said of the candidates.

Boo hoo. Poor lonely DLC, no-one loves them but the corporations and the media. Methinks they do protest too much.

”There’s more to it than trying to take advantage of the fact that Bush is down,” From said. ”The challenge is not just to talk to interest groups but to get beyond them and have a message that connects with the general electorate.”


”Candidates have their own interests. I don’t blame them in a sense” for blowing off the DLC meeting, From said. ”They have to get the nomination, and we’re not one of the interest groups parading out there in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Sure sounds like “interest groups” is code for “dirty fucking hippies,” doesn’t it.

Funny thing: It looks like all of the quotes in this so-called story are from From, which leads me to believe that he just dictated the whole thing to Fournier. Which leads me to a bit of an ethical dilemma: Is it unfair to give a Wanker Of The Day award to a sock puppet?

July 25th, 2007 at 06:34pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Media,Politics

Taxi Of The Beast

I am totally not making this up:

It was a good day for the Devil in San Francisco on Tuesday, as the Taxicab Commission voted to keep the Dark Lord’s favorite number — 666 — affixed to an allegedly cursed cab.The vote, which came after an amused period of public comment and annoyed looks from the commissioners, extended the satanic reign of Taxi No. 666, which is driven by one Michael Byrne (pronounced burn).

Mr. Byrne, who did not appear at the hearing on Tuesday night and was not reachable for comment, had lobbied — out of superstition — to have his medallion number changed, and had found an ally in Jordanna Thigpen, deputy director of the Taxicab Commission.

In a memo distributed last week, Ms. Thigpen wrote that Mr. Byrne believed the number to be responsible for a series of calamities he had endured in a streak of bad luck that had led him to have his taxi blessed at a local church, to no apparent avail.

“This medallion holder would prefer not to speak about the specific problems,” Ms. Thigpen wrote, “but they are of great severity.”

Adding to the cab’s sinister mystique was the fact that Taxi No. 666 caught on fire on a Good Friday some years ago in a blaze that, as local legend has it, wrecked the car but left the offending medallion untouched.


[Some] saw the debate as a waste of time and money, two things the Great Deceiver would no doubt have approved.

“If we don’t have 666, what’s next?” said Tom Stanghellini, 59, a longtime cabbie. “What about medallion 13? Or 1313?”

Commissioner Patricia Breslin echoed that.

“Where does it end?” Ms. Breslin said. “I lived at a residence numbered 666, and I did not go over to the dark side.”

Ms. Thigpen said she did not want to set a precedent, but said the number in question had become increasingly difficult for her office to assign. “No other number causes an administrative burden like this number,” she said on Wednesday. “And I’m sure with all this attention it’s going to get worse.”

Personally, and speaking as someone who is really not superstitious at all, I have to ask, how big a deal is it to just give the poor guy a new medallion number, or let him swap with someone who doesn’t mind driving the Evil Satan Cab? As special dispensations go, this seems like a pretty minor and easily-granted request.

Now, if this had been a case where a cabbie had Cab #666 and some group of overzealous Christians was trying to force him to change it, I would have the opposite position, but I think my stance is consistent: Let the cabbie have a medallion number that he’s comfortable with. Why make him miserable over something that’s so simple to fix?

July 25th, 2007 at 06:13pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Religion,Weirdness

Shortsighted Republicans

Once again, the Bush administration puts its own well-being above the greater good:

The House Judiciary Committee voted contempt of Congress citations Wednesday against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and President Bush’s former legal counselor, Harriet Miers.

The 22-17 vote — which would sanction for pair for failure to comply with subpoenas on the firings of several federal prosecutors — advanced the citation to the full House.


White House counsel Fred Fielding had said previously that Miers and Bolten were both absolutely immune from congressional subpoenas — a position that infuriated lawmakers.

”If we countenance a process where our subpoenas can be readily ignored, where a witness under a duly authorized subpoena doesn’t even have to bother to show up, where privilege can be asserted on the thinnest basis and in the broadest possible manner, then we have already lost,” Conyers, D-Mich., said before the vote. ”We won’t be able to get anybody in front of this committee or any other.”

This stance is just incredibly selfish and destructive. If the White House guts congressional subpoena power exercised in pursuit of serious executive malfeasance, then that will utterly destroy congressional Republicans’ ability to conduct frivolous witch hunts against future Democratic presidents.

This kind of inability to look ahead and see the big picture is precisely why the GOP cannot be trusted with control of the government.

1 comment July 25th, 2007 at 05:37pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Headline Of The Day

Courtesy of the AP:

Voracious Jumbo Squid Invade California


See, this is the kind of thing that happens when you send the National Guard overseas.

July 25th, 2007 at 02:12pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Great Headlines

Lipstick, Meet Pig.

This can only be good for Republicans:

With 18 months left in office, [Bush] is in the running for most unpopular president in the history of modern polling.

The latest Washington Post-ABC News survey shows that 65 percent of Americans disapprove of Bush’s job performance, matching his all-time low. In polls conducted by The Post or Gallup going back to 1938, only once has a president exceeded that level of public animosity — and that was Richard M. Nixon, who hit 66 percent four days before he resigned.

The historic depth of Bush’s public standing has whipsawed his White House, sapped his clout, drained his advisers, encouraged his enemies and jeopardized his legacy. Around the White House, aides make gallows-humor jokes about how they can alienate their remaining supporters — at least those aides not heading for the door. Outside the White House, many former aides privately express anger and bitterness at their erstwhile colleagues, Bush and the fate of his presidency.

Bush has been so down for so long that some advisers maintain it no longer bothers them much. It can even, they say, be liberating. Seeking the best interpretation for the president’s predicament, they argue that Bush can do what he thinks is right without regard to political cost, pointing to decisions to send more U.S. troops to Iraq and to commute the sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff.

Right. Like Dubya ignoring the will of the people is some kind of new development. But now it’s a VIRTUE!

1 comment July 25th, 2007 at 11:46am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Politics,Polls

Final Cyclone Photoblogging

The last of the Cyclone photos:

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Not the last of the Coney Island photos though, oh no.

July 25th, 2007 at 11:24am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coney Island,NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

That Thomas Jefferson really got around:

When shoring up loose timbers beneath Monticello, the fabled home of founding father Thomas Jefferson, engineers discovered a small, metal chest hidden in sod.

“I couldn’t believe what was inside,” Jeffersonian scholar Henry Calvin told Weekly World News.  “It contained irrefutable proof that the third president of the United States had fathered an alien love child!

“According to the artifacts, Jefferson was not only loved by the American people but — incredibly! — by an extraterrestrial as well,” Calvin went on. “We know that Jefferson had many lovers after the death of his beloved wife, Martha, although none of his affairs were as torrid or unexpected as his brief encounter with an alien temptress in 1800.”

The former president had been riding home as night fell along the backwoods of Virginia when he noticed a strange light in the sky.

“A small orb of boundless luminosity followed my stallion as we traversed the lonely countryside,” Jefferson wrote.  “Its closeness made me afraid — as if some maleficent creature sought an audience.

“As the orb descended, my mount suddenly bolted, leaving me in a perplexing blaze, which did not singe.  I gasped as a supple, lithe form emerged from the brilliance.  Her oversized eyes brimmed with compassion and calmed my fear.  Enveloping me in limbs that were tendril-like but no less soothing for it, she whispered in my mind that she had come from afar to couple with what she called ‘a terran of such repute.’

“Our congress was without parallel,” Jefferson went on. “Upon the morn I awoke alone and with an ache in the head as though I had overindulged in a lesser Merlot.”

“It’s not unlikely that a female alien would want to mate with the country’s most profound thinker, politician and philosopher,” Calvin said. “Despite Jefferson’s best efforts to put the tryst behind him — there is no further mention of the incident for some time — two years later he received an anonymous package.”

According to Jefferson’s handwritten notes, it was a small sphere containing a short note and what he called a ‘pictograph’ of a two-year-old alien child that bore a remarkable likeness to Jefferson.

“The note explained — in perfect English — that Jefferson had been selected by the inhabitants of another planet for breeding purposes,” Calvin said. “Apparently, the alien males had been rendered sterile due to what they described as ‘mobile communications technology,’ leaving the planet’s only female, the queen, without a mate.

“Unfortunately, there were no compatible life forms within their star system. Based on surveillance of Earth, they were well aware of Jefferson’s qualifications and willingness to participate.  With the birth of a new male  — Jefferson’s love child — the aliens could begin a new life cycle.

“It’s a fascinating coda to Jefferson’s varied accomplishments,” Calvin noted, “that in addition to being a founding father of America, Jefferson also fathered an entire world!”


4 comments July 25th, 2007 at 07:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News

Original version.
Bollywood version.

Lego version.

Filipino prison inmates version.

July 25th, 2007 at 07:04am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

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