Archive for April 8th, 2008

Wait… WHAT???

Glenn Greenwald makes a very interesting catch.  Mukasey is either a liar or an accidental whistleblower:

I just received the following statement from the Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Rep. Lee Hamilton, in response to my inquiries last week (and numerous follow-up inquiries from readers here) about Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s claims about the 9/11 attack and, specifically, about Mukasey’s story that there was a pre-9/11 telephone call from an “Afghan safe house” into the U.S. that the Bush administration failed to intercept or investigate:

I am unfamiliar with the telephone call that Attorney General Mukasey cited in his appearance in San Francisco on March 27. The 9/11 Commission did not receive any information pertaining to its occurrence.

That’s the statement in its entirety, and it’s hard to imagine how it could be any clearer. Hamilton’s statement is consistent with the statement of 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow, as well as the letter sent to Mukasey by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and two Subcommittee Chairs, none of whom have any idea what Mukasey was talking about. In light of Hamilton’s amazing comment, could journalists possibly now report on this story? One of two things is true about Mukasey’s extraordinary claim about how and why the 9/11 attacks occurred. Either:

(1) The Bush administration concealed this obviously vital episode from the 9/11 Commission and from everyone else, until Mukasey tearfully trotted it out last week; or,

(2) Mukasey, the nation’s highest law enforcement officer, made this story up in order to scare and manipulate Americans into believing that FISA and other surveillance safeguards caused the 9/11 attacks and therefore the Government should be given more unchecked spying powers.

Either way, isn’t it rather self-evidently a huge story? Kudos to Hamilton, who originally refused to comment and obviously changed his mind as a result of the numerous civil though impassioned entreaties he received from readers here. If the Attorney General says that the 9/11 attacks occurred because of Episode X, and the 9/11 Vice Chair, the 9/11 Executive Director and the House Judiciary Committee Chairman all have never heard of any such episode, isn’t it rather urgent that this be resolved?

See, this is why we need real investigative media who ask Republicans tough questions too.

April 8th, 2008 at 10:51pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers

Eli’s Obsession With The Google

My blog is the #1 search result for cats ear nibbling ejaculation.

I don’t think I even want to know…

April 8th, 2008 at 09:40pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google

The Straight Punch Express

It just keeps getting better and better:

Appearing on Fox News this past Sunday, Sen. John McCain attempted to turn his infamously combustible temper from an electoral liability into political strength.

“If I lose my capacity for anger, then I shouldn’t be president of the United States,” the Senator explained to host Chris Wallace. “When I see the waste and corruption in Washington, I get angry.”

Interesting.  Does this mean that he finds his wife’s makeup to be wasteful and corrupt?

But how much of McCain’s legendary anger streak does the public actually know? Judging from snippets of Cliff Schecter’s new book “The Real McCain”… the answer may be surprisingly little.

Take for instance the verbal-turned-physical attack McCain put on his fellow Arizona Republican, Rick Renzi, which Schecter uncovered through his research:

Perhaps the most remarkable story of McCain’s temper involved Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi. Two former reporters covering McCain, one who witnessed the following events and one who confirmed the facts provided by the first, relayed it to me as follows: In 2006, the Arizona Republican congressional delegation had a strategy meeting. McCain repeatedly addressed two new members, congressmen Trent Franks and Rick Renzi, as ‘boy.’ Finally, Renzi, a former college linebacker, rose from his chair and said to McCain, “You call me that one more time and I’ll kick your old ass.” McCain lunged at Renzi, punches were thrown, and the two had to be physically separated. After they went to their separate offices, McCain called Renzi and demanded an apology. Renzi refused. Apparently this posture made McCain admire him, as they became fast friends.

…[T]he episode fits into McCain’s history of similarly explosive behavior. As Washingtonian magazine documented (and Schecter notes in the book), McCain once “scuffled” with the Senate’s then oldest member, Strom Thurmond, during a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing in January 1995. [Note: Thurmond would have been 92.] Three years later, the Associated Press article reported that McCain dropped F-Bombs on at least three fellow Republicans.”I’m calling you a f—— jerk!” he once retorted to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.

And in a opinion piece last year on Salon.com, Sidney Blumenthal, now an adviser to Sen. Hillary Clinton, wrote that McCain once told Sen. Ted Kennedy to “shut up” on the Senate Floor, referred to a fellow Republican as a “shit head” and offered a downright vicious and doubly-offensive joke in 1998 Republican fundraiser about then first daughter Chelsea Clinton.

“Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly?” he asked. “Because Janet Reno is her father.”

Very statesmanlike! Oh, and he still doesn’t know the difference between Sunnis and Shi’ites.

Proposed new nickname: “McTrainwreck”.

April 8th, 2008 at 08:56pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,McCain,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Mo’ Masonry Photoblogging

Some more masonry photos from around the demolished school:

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1 comment April 8th, 2008 at 11:31am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

What Happened To The Anasazi?

NYT surveys the current state of Anasazi research:

Some 700 years ago, as part of a vast migration, a people called the Anasazi, driven by God knows what, wandered from the north to form settlements like these, stamping the land with their own unique style.

(…)

These Anasazi newcomers — archaeologists have traced them to the mesas and canyons around Kayenta, Ariz., not far from the Hopi reservation — were distinctive in other ways. They liked to build with stone (the Hohokam used sticks and mud), and their kivas, like those they left in their homeland, are unmistakable: rectangular instead of round, with a stone bench along the inside perimeter, a central hearth and a sipapu, or spirit hole, symbolizing the passage through which the first people emerged from mother earth.

“You could move this up to Hopi and not tell the difference,” said John A. Ware, the archaeologist leading the field trip, as he examined a Davis Ranch kiva. Finding it down here is a little like stumbling across a pagoda on the African veldt.

For five days in late February, Dr. Ware, the director of the Amerind Foundation, an archaeological research center in Dragoon, Ariz., was host to 15 colleagues as they confronted the most vexing and persistent question in Southwestern archaeology: Why, in the late 13th century, did thousands of Anasazi abandon Kayenta, Mesa Verde and the other magnificent settlements of the Colorado Plateau and move south into Arizona and New Mexico?

(…)

“Climate probably explains a lot,” Dr. Allison said. “But there are places where people could have stayed and farmed and chose not to.”

Some inhabitants left the relatively lush climes of what is now southern Colorado for the bone dry Hopi mesas. “Climate makes the most sense for this big pattern change,” Dr. Lipe said. “But then you think, So they went to Hopi to escape this?”

(…)

Soon after the abandonment, the drought lifted. “The tree-ring reconstructions show that at 1300 to 1340 it was exceedingly wet,” said Larry Benson, a paleoclimatologist with the Arid Regions Climate Project of the United States Geological Survey. “If they’d just hung in there . . .”

Though the rains returned, the people never did.

“Why didn’t they come back?” said Catherine M. Cameron, an archaeologist at the University of Colorado. “Why didn’t anyone come back to the northern San Juan? It was a fine place, and apparently by 1300 it was very fine.”

(…)

Ultimately the motivation for the abandonments may lie beyond fossils and artifacts, in the realm of ideology. Imagine trying to explain the 19th-century Mormon migration to Utah with only tree rings and pollen counts.

By studying changes in ceremonial architecture and pottery styles, Donna Glowacki, an archaeologist at the University of Notre Dame, is charting the rise of what may have been a new puebloan religion. For more than a century, the established faith was distinguished by multistory “great houses,” with small interior kivas, and by much larger “great kivas” — round, mostly subterranean and covered with a sturdy roof. Originating at Chaco Canyon in northwest New Mexico, the formidable temples seem designed to limit access to all but a priestly few.

Though Chaco declined as a regional religious center during the early 1100s, the same architecture spread to the Mesa Verde area. But by the mid 1200s, a different style was also taking hold, with plazas and kivas that were uncovered like amphitheaters — hints, perhaps, of a new openness. At some sites, serving bowls became larger and were frequently decorated with designs, as though intended for a ritual communion. If the pueblo people had left a written history perhaps we would read of the Anasazi equivalent of the Protestant reformation.

But the analogy can’t be pushed too far. The new architecture also included multiwalled edifices — some round, some D-shaped — that might have been chambers for secret rituals.

Though the dogma may be irrecoverable, Dr. Glowacki argues that it rapidly attracted adherents. A center of the movement, she said, was the McElmo Canyon area, west of Mesa Verde. Excavations indicate that the population burgeoned along with the new architecture. An influx of different pottery designs suggests immigrants from the west were moving in. Then around 1260, long before the drought, the residents began leaving the pueblo, perhaps spreading the new ideology.

Other archaeologists see evidence of an evangelical-like religion — the forerunner, perhaps, of the masked Kachina rituals, which still survive on the Hopi and Zuni reservations — appearing in the south and attracting the rebellious northerners. Salado polychrome pottery may have been emblematic of another, possibly overlapping cult.

In an effort to draw together the skein of causes and effects, Dr. Kohler and members of the Village Ecodynamics Project are collaborating with archaeologists at Crow Canyon on a computer simulation of population changes in southwest Colorado from 600 to around 1300. Juxtaposing data on rainfall, temperature, soil productivity, human metabolic needs and diet, gleaned from an analysis of trash heaps and human waste, the model suggests a sobering conclusion: As Anasazi society became more complex, it also became more fragile.

Corn was domesticated and then wild turkeys, an important protein source. With more to eat, the populations grew and aggregated into villages. Religious and political institutions sprung up.

When crops began dying and violence increased, the inhabitants clustered even closer. By the time the drought of 1275 hit, the Anasazi had become far more dependent on agriculture than during earlier droughts. And they had become more dependent on each other.

Fascinating.  Although it still doesn’t explain why they didn’t move back when the drought ended.

April 8th, 2008 at 07:31am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Science,Weirdness


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