Wednesday, May 31, 2006
NTodd is a buddy of mine, a fellow Atriot and a fine gentleman who prefers to go pantless (he does wear pants. Relax..this is an inside joke amongst people who hang out at the liberal blog Eschaton, explanation here).
He is trying to get to 419,067 hits on his blog. He just pulled that number out of his a** I think although he says otherwise here. And in meeting this goal he enlists/begs ;-) us, his readers and fans (dare I use that term) to help. I in turn request you to help out by clicking on his link. He has a rather interesting blog. He does take some lovely photographs and also has them for sale. He blogs about his pets Sam and Mex, and the pictures of those two always brighten up my day. He also does podcasts where he rants about stuff. Oh and almost forgot he lives and works out of the lovely state of Vermont.
So give him a few hits my buddies and moi will be always grateful to you.
For your viewing pleasure.. Sam and Mex below. I gotta say major awwww factor right there.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
This was our memorial day BBQ dish. We are both fans of food tv and the recipe is sort of based on something we saw on Bobby Flay’s show. When we made this we were sort of surprised that the whole process only took a total of 30 minutes. We also tend to cook on the fly and are not big on measurements and amounts and so we found that we could do a few things different for ver2.0 of this burger, after having tasted ver1.0.
Here is the recipe...
1lb of minced/ground pork (You can substitute your favorite meat).
2 -3 inch piece of ginger (grated and/or chopped).
Half red onion finely chopped (yellow/white are fine too but I think red onion tastes better especially with meats).
1-2 tablespoons of fresh roasted coriander seeds ground in a pestle or a food processor.
2-3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro (coriander).
Juice from half a lime/lemon.
Chilli powder and salt to taste.
A dash or two of soy sauce (you don’t need to add this really, no clue why we added it).
Mix all the ingredients together to make burger patties.
Throw them on the grill. We used a charcoal fired grill as opposed to a gas powered one as the food tastes a lot better. It took no more than 10-15 mins to grill the burgers.
We used burger rolls with Aioli mustard sauce, a dash of lime juice and the burgers. They were yum!!!
I think you can pretty much use any stackers on your burgers you choose.
We thought we could certainly use more lime juice/ginger in the burger. That is what ver2.0 is going to be.
I just had one at lunch (breaking my usual no lunch rule). It tasted better today than on Monday. :)
Monday, May 29, 2006
A butter stick! What if it melts ?
Roach killing slippers and you can wear them too!
Solar Powered Cigarette Lighter (How long does it take to light one? The smoker might go into withdrawal by then)
You don't want your long hair getting in the way of eating those noodles do you?
This beats the Razr phone any day and this is some major bling!
GoldVish cell phone
Nobody's impressed that you have a RAZR anymore. What used to be an exclusive and expensive gadget has become as ubiquitous as the iPod, so what's a status-conscious oil baron to do? The GoldVish "Le Million de la Nuit" is without a doubt the most exclusive cell phone ever made, as there's only one in existence. There may be only one, but that still might be one more than there are people willing to pay, since it has a million dollar price tag. Encrusted with tiny diamonds and featuring a secret compartment, the phone comes equipped with 2 GB of memory, Bluetooth connectivity, and a USB connection to hook it up to your computer. It does not, however, do your taxes or give backrubs, so the price tag seems a little steep.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
I leave you with some funnies..
He is completely not impressed..lol
Friday, May 26, 2006
Audio link to BBC's Outlook program..
In India female bus drivers are pretty thin on the ground, so Vimlesh Sharma in Rajastan still attracts a few raised eyebrows - though not as many as when she started out. The BBC's Geeta Pandey joined her on one of her journeys to hear about her life.
I heard her story while driving and like some stories that grip you right away, this one did too. I can't get the audio link to work at work :), so am trying to recount it from yesterday.
Vimlesh lost her husband and son to Typhoid and had no means to support herself. She tried doing odd jobs until she finally decided to start driving a bus. As a woman driver in India and in the patriarchial, male dominated society that makes up Rajasthan this is no mean feat.
She talked about issues she had when she started driving. At road side pit stops dominated by male truckers and drivers she encountered downright hostility, sexual innuendos, harassment but in the face of it all she persevered till she was finally accepted for what she was, another bus driver who just happened to be good at her job. She described how she was ostracized by her family, friends for her new career. She was essentially disowned had to leave home, even had to sleep on the streets. All in the pursuit of her desire to be her own master and earn a decent living.
The reporter mentioned how popular her bus is. She drives the route from Rajasthan to Surat an 18 hour journey. Her bus is popular partly because it is a novelty of sorts and a lot of women ride it, because they feel safe doing so with a female driver. The job is hard and after the 18 hour journey the return trip begins in about 6 hours. India’s chaotic roads add to the mix as well.
She talked about how the job has helped her buy a home, get her sisters married off and be her own person. The interviews with her co-workers showed respect, admiration and acknowledgement that she was at least as good and even better than them in some respects.
Oh and she loves swearing. I know some people have an issue with that but whatever
If you have a chance hear the interview, it is a lot more gripping and my recounting the story does it no justice whatsoever. It touched me more than I thought it would.
Call me too sensitive or whatever but it got me a bit misty eyed listening to Vimlesh and the reporter tell her story. Reminded me of the women in my life near and dear to me like my mom and sis, who have never had it easy and in the face of overwheming odds have managed to make their own and others lives better. My mother had no formal education yet managed to run a successful home business that helped us get through school. To me Vignesh is a hero and a great role model(a term bandided about too much these days.. but it is apt here).
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Steve Sack, Minnesota, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Sometimes you don't have to say much. I wish people were more aware of the state of the nation and actually went out and did their bit as citizens which does not mean just vote. It also means being engaged and aware and being able to talk about stuff like this instead of just knowing about American Idle, or Britney or Lost.
That debt will have to be paid at some point during our lifetime or during the next generation.
The answer to this is nto that the economy is strong and blah this and that. If it is why are we not paying down the debt and doing more for our own country?
On a personal note, just been a busy week especially today at work. Don't have much energy to write about stuff or put up anything. Tomorrow will be a bit easier. TGIF :)
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
3 Calif. Teens Burned in Aerosol Accident
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Three teenagers were burned Saturday, one critically, when an aerosol spray they were inhaling to become intoxicated burst into flame inside their car, authorities said.
Two boys, aged 16 and 15, and a 15-year-old girl were in a parked car "inhaling aerosol spray for the purpose of euphoria" when one of them began smoking, said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The flame ignited the aerosol, resulting in a "fireball" inside the car, he said
They were just too euphoric to know better..
Sorry to inflict that image upon you.. Hope the one below helps..
Then And Now
And for those needing their political fix.. please see below
By way of Atrios, The Unknown Ideal and Deltoid comes this amazing story about the stupidity of some right wingers. You know facts don't faze them and science is good only when it supports their world view, if not it's junk science or some massive liberal conspiracy.
Often times they will simply do something just because you know the progressives do it and it is all stupid and all so let's try and do the exact opposite.
As you probably know there are mutual funds that believe in investing in a socially responsible manner. One of them is the Domini 400 Social Citizens Index Fund.
From the unknown ideal
"Also in the action-packed Sept 19 PI, an item demonstrating that "socially responsible" funds (Domini 400 Social, Citizens Index Fund) have beaten the market (and, by extension, most active portfolio managers) over the past 10 years, ".
I looked up how they did and here it is in comparison to the S&P 500 (pretty much kept pace with it)
So what do the right wingers do? From the unknown ideal
"Right-wing fund managers Steve Milloy and Tom Borelli are grabbing lots of attention for accusing companies of devoting resources to pet causes instead of maximizing profits. Last month they showed up at Goldman Sachs' annual meeting in New York to attack CEO Hank Paulson for, among other things, chairing the Nature Conservancy and authorizing Goldman's donation of land it owned in Chile to the Wildlife Conservation Society. But a look at the returns of the pair's grandly named Free Enterprise Action Fund suggests that their own bottom line could use some help. The $5.6 million fund gained just 2.32 percent from March 1, 2005, its first day in business, through the end of the year, net of expenses. That's well below the S&P 500's 4.72 percent gain during the same period -- and it doesn't hold a candle to the 18 percent appreciation of Goldman shares.
Sure enough, the partners hold their own venture to different standards. Their returns, they say, don't matter as much as their stated cause: counteracting the influence of so-called socially responsible investment firms, like Domini Social Investments and Calvert, on corporate behavior.
"We're not trying to be a high-performing mutual fund," Milloy, 47, tells Institutional Investor. "We are imitating the left. Left-wing social-political activists don't like capitalism. They hide behind human rights. We want to help oppose that."
The pair have plenty of experience standing up for corporate America's right to ignore do-gooders. In his spare time Milloy publishes JunkScience.com, a Web site devoted to debunking global warming as a "myth." He formerly ran the Free Enterprise Action Institute, which was funded in part by ExxonMobil. Borelli previously worked as a lobbyist for food and tobacco giant Altria Group.
So far shareholders of Goldman, General Electric and J.P. Morgan Chase -- all targeted by FEA Fund in the past -- don't seem too concerned with the duo's accusations, and they certainly don't see ecological policies as money-wasting distractions. "Being environmentally responsible is the right thing to do," asserts Amy Davidson, J.P. Morgan Chase's director of environmental affairs. "But it's also good risk management." "
Somebody please buy Milloy and Borelli a clue. Notice how they use shifting goal posts for themselves. Just like the shifting reasons for going to war in Iraq. Heh! So their whole point of investing is not to try to be a high performer but just counteract socially responsible investing?
Well they are doing a lousy job of trying to imitate the left. Just like their ideology their investment ideas seem to be full of holes that even a sieve would be ashamed of!
But wait there's more from Daniel Gross in Slate...
"Meanwhile, its efforts to stiffen the spine of corporate America have been quixotic and unfocused. A resolution the fund filed with Goldman failed by a margin of about 473 million to 178, in part because "the resolution was unavoidably filed late and so was not included in Goldman's proxy statement."
Quixotic and unfocused? Just like our Iraq strategy ;). They are not imitating the left they are imitating their dear leader. Also guys ..the left does not hate capitalism. I think everyone agrees unfettered and unregulated capitalism serves nobody.
As Daniel Gross says
"Are you a right-wing, free-market type who believes that Fortune 500 CEOs have devolved into a gaggle of eco-friendly squishes? Do you like paying high expenses for stock market returns that lag the S&P 500? Would you trust a former tobacco executive and a critic of junk science to manage your money? Then have I got a mutual fund for you! The Free Enterprise Action Fund."
So go out there and invest they could use your money and faith in them ;)
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
I guess for some it's nice to just roll out of the bed and on to the train for their daily commute? ;)
Gives a whole new meaning to the expresssion...Eat dirt man (or woman)!
BEIJING -- A young Chinese woman is undergoing medical tests in Beijing after dining on dirt for 11 years.
The 18-year-old from Inner Mongolia was taken to Beijing by her parents, who wanted to know why she finds dirt appetizing.
She told Chinese television she started the habit when she was just 7 years old when she consumed dirt that was attached to the roots of grass.
Yellow mud is her favorite. Her eating habits have caused problems for the family's next-door neighbor, who has a mud roof.
Chinese television reported that the woman can't help herself and keeps eating the roof.
I mean as a kid I have imagined a fantasy world of gingerbread houses with chocolate roofs and imagined being able to eat that..but this? heh!
Madonna is up to her usual antics...
Religious groups have reacted furiously after Madonna appeared hanging from a cross and wearing a crown of thorns during her latest world tour.
During her performance at the Los Angeles forum, Madonna appeared strapped to a 20 foot high crucifix, prompting outrage from Christian leaders.
A Church of England spokesman said: "Is Madonna prepared to take on everything else that goes with wearing a crown of thorns?
"And why would someone with so much talent seem to feel the need to promote herself by offending so many people?"
David Muir of the Evangelical Alliance told the Evening Standard: "It is downright offensive. Madonna's use of Christian imagery is an abuse and it is dangerous.
"The Christian reaction to this sort of thing tends to be tempered but if the same thing was done with the imagery and iconography of other faiths the reaction woulld be very different."
During last night's performance, the Material Girl also mocked Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush in a video montage by juxtaposing their images against those of dictators Osama bin Laden, Hitler and Robert Mugabe.
She also directed an insult at President Bush with a joke about oral sex.
It is not the first time Madonna has upset religious groups and political leaders.
In 1989, the Vatican wanted her banned from performing in Italy after it deemed her video for Like A Prayer as blasphemous.
Madonna will be performing in Britain in July and August and fans are expected to pay up to £200 for a ticket.
I guess anything to try to resurrect a sagging music career eh?
Monday, May 22, 2006
The Sterling Cinema Bombay (Mumbai)
This post is inspired by Aditi who wrote about an era bygone with the conversion of the Sterling movie theatre in Bombay, as it is being converted to a (oh the horror!) a multiplex. Having grown up in Bombay and being a fan of Hollywood/English movies since I was a kid this news and Aditi’s post brought up a number of memories related to Sterling and other theatres in South Bombay that always showed Hollywood movies, so a hat tip to ya pal.
There are/were (not sure what the situation is now) about 6 movie theatres mostly concentrated in South Bombay that always showed Hollywood movies. These were not necessarily the best that Hollywood offered, but to fans like me they were better than nothing. One could also get bootleg copies of these but they were horrible to watch and we had no VCR anyways. I lived at the other end of Bombay in the North so it was about an hour long ride on the commuter train for a weekend at the movies.
It was a cool thing to do then a lot of the cool places/people/spots were all in South Bombay not to mention the cool women. Having gone to school in the Northern burbs, the girls from South Bombay seemed different more chic, urbane and/or sophisticated (or so this one time teenage thought). I caught the movie bug thanks to my dad taking me to a few English movies, they were just do different than the song and dance extravaganza that Bollywood offered. To the impressionable mind of yours truly it was truly a different world. I was around 15 when my parents started letting me go see movies on my own. I would usually identify the movie I would go to from the newspaper and tell them and I was off on my own with the standard assurances about being careful with strangers and all.
One of the earliest movies I can remember going to was the first Star Wars movie that had been running at Sterling for about 25 weeks in a row, for an English movie that was a record of sorts. I remember having to go with the hopes of being able to buy a ticket well in advance of the movie, only to have my hopes dashed. I did not even have enough money on me to think about buying a ticket from scalpers. Trust me the morality of it did not enter my teenaged mind/brain at that point.;) So I ended up buying a ticket for a week later.
Sterling was probably the nicest of these theatres too, with a decent sound system. I remember having gone to see apocalypse now, but I think I was too young to truly appreciate how remarkable the movie is. I have seen it since from an entirely different prism since that of the brutality of war and the evil that man is capable of inflicting upon his own. I remember sitting next to some girls who were horrified at the final scene where Martin Sheen kills Kurtz (the character played by Marlon Brando) intercut with scenes of the slaughter of a buffalo. I was wondering what the big deal was (raging teen hormones and me trying to be cool n all).
The other memory is that of seeing Nine To Five immediately after our gruelling finals. This was a few years later and I had gone with a few friends. We were desperate to see any movie to sort of de-stress from it all. Sterling was showing this, with the only seats available in the front row. Sterling is no multiplex so you are talking about stress for the neck having to look up at that huge screen all those 90 minutes or so. What the heck we thought, we have to do this, and we did! We had a fun filled few hours and we were probably the noisiest group of people at the movie. I have to say having to look up at Dolly Parton who is well endowed more than made up for the neck cramps! I have to say that I am not a fan of big breasts but that was then.
When I was dating A, we went to Sterling several more times it was our way to spend some quality time together from the madhouse that Bombay can be. A few years ago I was in Bombay on my own and with nothing else to do, I decided to go and watch The Matrix on my own. It was fun watching it on that huge screen but mostly college kids around. They had tiered seating and you often got the best view from the balcony. I almost had soft drinks spill over my back as the college kids behind me were up to something else.
Sterling was also located within 3 blocks of 2 other movie theatres (New Empire and New Excelsior(?)). Not sure if these are still around. They also had English movies but Sterling often seemed to have the better releases. I remember being turned away from and R-rated feature (they called them Adult in India) at New Empire because the guy at the box office thought we were underage ( which of course we were and no amount of pleading helped).
Sterling also had decent restaurants around selling good, cheap Indian fast food. I remember a place next door that used to be called Waikiki, there was Kamath’s and an Irani restaurant too. Not to mention the browsing along D.N. Road at the "foreign" and other wares sold by street vendors taking up most of the sidewalks.
So Sterling has special memories for me and indeed to see it go the way of the multiplex is sort of sad. But it probably is the way to go and might be more profitable? I wonder how long before Eros and Regal go that way?
One of the things I want to do when I visit Bombay next is to take lots of pictures, something I have always wanted to do but never found time due to the short visits and other obligations. Next time I hope..
Sunday, May 21, 2006
After a few weeks of relative peace, my weekend headaches struck again. Not very bad though, just had a low grade sinus type headache all day. Seems to have gotten worse now in the evening or it must be the whole packing, moving unpacking stuff in to our own home thingy. Been a very busy 4 days. So being too tired to write anything of substance here goes..
Fiat to Sell … Cellphones?
The guys at car company Fiat apparently got tired of hearing that joke about how their brand name is an acronym for “Fix It Again, Tony” so they decided to branch out into other products such as jackets, shoes and skiwear. Their next trick is to start selling cellphones sporting the Fiat logo, combining the brand’s dark blue colors with shiny aluminum.
The handsets will have mp3 playback, and will feature e-mail and Internet browsing, with a digital camera of unspecified megapixelage with video capability and Bluetooth. Pricing wasn’t announced, but the company will release an entire line of Fiat-branded phones in certain designer stores in Italy this month, and then in Europe this summer.
I remember the crappy Fiat cars made in India by Premier Automobiles. Uggghh! Hope Fiat's other products fare better.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Took a couple of quick pictures of the house amidst the unpacking and all...
A different angle
From the Backyard
Thanks people...We are moved and settling in. Internet is back up!
More later..more unpacking to do..
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Finally the day is here, we will be moving to our own place tomorrow. Been a busy couple of days, lots to do, boxes all over the place. Hopefully it all goes smoothly. If the cable guys show up on time, I will have internet set up tomorrow as well (it's like my daily dose of caffeine). Either ways light posting (if any) next couple of days.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Penis reattached after maid cuts it off
Mon May 8, 11:50 AM ET
Surgeons have reattached the penis of a Saudi man who paid the price for trying to have sex with his Filipina maid and she attacked him with a knife, a hospital source said on Monday.
"This is a sophisticated operation. You are dealing with an organ in a difficult area and you want to try to return to its efficiency," said a spokesman at Riyadh's Takhassusi Hospital.
Earlier this month newspapers reported that the maid removed her employer's manhood when he tried to molest her in the middle of the night as his wife was sleeping. The maid is now in police custody.
"It's one of the rare cases ... but they did it (the operation) last week and it went smoothly," the spokesman said. "The hospital has done this kind of operation before, but only after people had car accidents."
You know more power to the maid for having stood up to her employer when he tried to abuse her. There have been several cases of abuse of domestic workers in the gulf (these workers mostly come from the Indian subcontinent and Phillipines).
Maybe the original John Bobbitt and the new Saudi guy can joing up in a P0rn flick or something...
More interestingly now that the maid is in custody, I wonder how that will go. Unlike the West or other parts of the world will she have a reasonable chance to even claim "self-defense"? I am not holding my breath given that Saudi law is pretty much a joke and the migrant workers don't have much legal pretection.
Hey whatever happened to that freedom and all that we were spreading in that part of the world???
Monday, May 15, 2006
If you scream loudly, or cover your ears or just deny stuff facts don't go away.
Laura Bush just decides to not believe facts...
Our first lady on her husband's poll ratings ..
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - First lady Laura Bush said on Sunday she does not believe opinion polls showing her husband's approval ratings at record low levels.
Interviewed on Fox News Sunday, Laura Bush said she did not think people were losing confidence in President George W. Bush, despite a series of polls showing support for him at its lowest point in his five-year presidency and among the lowest for any president in the past 50 years.
"I don't really believe those polls. I travel around the country. I see people, I see their responses to my husband. I see their response to me," she said.
"As I travel around the United States, I see a lot of appreciation for him. A lot of people come up to me and say, 'Stay the course'."
"He's the one that has to make the hard decisions. And, of course, they don't please everyone.""
Ahh of course he is the decider making those hard decisions, sending people to Iraq in a war that was purely of choice and based on very shaky evidence (at best). His sacrifice in return? He gave up candy.. see he is not just the decider he is also the sacrificer in chief! BTW his giving up candy lasted only 7 months while our soldiers have been there for more than 3 years.
Oh and our steno press never tires of telling us how popular Laura Bush is in contrast to preznit, some one tell them it does not count! She ain't running the country her likeability has nothing to do with Georgie.
I present to you the decider's approval ratings from a number of polls in one easy to understand graph, unless of course you are a Bushbot or one of the 29% who think he is doing one heck of a job ;)
Sunday, May 14, 2006
This could have happened to any one I guess, but that's what sky news decided to call it. Link here
Well who knows, but the blondes I know are pretty smart, but then I move around in different circles ;)
A supermodel fell out of a coach travelling at 50mph after mistaking an exit door for a toilet door.
It happened as Tatyana Simanava was returning to her seat from the WC.
Instead of opening the door to the passenger area she pulled open the emergency exit.
The 21-year-old blonde was pitched out onto a busy road in the middle of New York.
The driver reportedly spotted her falling out and pulled over.
Miraculously, Ms Simanava was not hit by any passing vehicles.
However, she was rushed to hospital with a suspected broken shoulder and wrist.
Fashion photographer Eric Striffler told the New York Post: "She's a great model... very attractive and sexy in front of the camera.
"I'm very sorry to hear this news. It puts her career on hold for a while, unfortunately."
She is actually lucky to get off with what are minor injuries considering what happened. Happy for her.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
The picture below is from the excellent watertiger. Photoshop has "like" made a small change. It says a lot about what the decider thinks about us.
The government has been secretly collecting records of ordinary Americans' phone calls in an effort to build a database of every call made within the country, it was reported today. President Bush said any domestic intelligence-gathering measures he's approved are lawful. "We are not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans," President Bush said.
Just trust me ...heh.. heh
He is lying, what they are trying to decipher from these calls is looking for patterns which is called data mining. The definition is here "Data Mining, also known as Knowledge-Discovery in Databases (KDD), is the process of automatically searching large volumes of data for patterns. Data Mining is a fairly recent and contemporary topic in computing. However, Data Mining applies many older computational techniques from statistics, machine learning and pattern recognition."
You know on an unrelated issue Lou Dobbs on CNN said " Dobbs to president: Do you take us for fools?"
Yes Lou he thinks we are fools!
From the USA today report
Unable to get comfortable with what NSA was proposing, Qwest's lawyers asked NSA to take its proposal to the FISA court. According to the sources, the agency refused. The NSA's explanation did little to satisfy Qwest's lawyers. "They told (Qwest) they didn't want to do that because FISA might not agree with them," one person recalled. For similar reasons, this person said, NSA rejected Qwest's suggestion of getting a letter of authorization from the U.S. attorney general's office. A second person confirmed this version of events.
Yes they were worried the FISA court would not agree with them because it is illegal! That is why they want to keep it secret. Morons.
To any Bushbot/worshipper who reads my blog, first go read the conservative radio talk show host McIntyre here .. to understand why I can't and won't respect your defense of the decider in chief unless you can admit that the man has made a number of mistakes. The man lacks any humility , compassion or an ability to admit a mistake. The conservative in the article I can respect.. because he knows when he is wrong and has the guts to admit it. That we should all be capable of. You can have a conversation with him, but not some blind W supporter.
From the article by the conservative McIntyre..
And speaking of domestic embarrassments, let’s talk for a minute about President Bush’s domestic record. Yes, he cut taxes. But tax cuts combined with reckless spending and borrowing is criminal mismanagement of the public’s money. We’re drunk at the mall with our great grandchildren’s credit cards.
I think our two party system is broken, the democrats have been spineless, ineffective and have not played the role of an effective opposition party. Yes I am a liberal but I am also pragmatic, which to me right now means that in the absence of an effective 3rd party alternative and the need to put a check on this administration, I will support the democrats. But my money and time will not go to the congress and senate candidate comitees, but will go to specific candidates.
One such candidate is Patrick Murphy (link on the right) an Iraq war vet and someone who I have had the chance to hear in person and I liked what I heard from him.
In response to
""We are not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans,"
One- Any legal intepretations of this latest outrage by the administration should be directed to the excellent Glenn Greenwald and his post here on this issue. He has litigated about first amendment issues and has come out with a book about what a patriotic American can do in these dark days.
One other thing, unlike some conservative blogs like Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan (wimps) Glenn does have comments at his place. Jonathan Turley constitutional law expert at Geroge Washington on MSNBC clearly stated that laws were broken, I will put up a link when I find one.
Two- Kudos to Qwest for taking a stance against turning over records, as consumers you can bet we will cancel our accounts with any of the companies who turned over our records. And they may be liable for billions of dollars for violation of laws.
Three- here are what some of the early comments at Atrios were like.. sort of funny, but nothing about this story is funny, its a chilling example of a democracy being undermined slowly but surely.
Last week he's the Deciderator, this week the Collectorator -- I can't keep up.plantsman Homepage 05.11.06 - 12:13 pm
If I wuz mining I'd be wearing one of those funny hats with a flashlight on it.
/DubyerHolden Caulfield Homepage 05.11.06 - 12:14 pm
Um, so you're collecting this massive database and just... letting it sit there?
He's preparing for a lucrative post-presidential career in telemarketing.NYMary Homepage 05.11.06 - 12:15 pm
suprised he has not started up a DNA database like we have here in Britain!Moonbootica, Buffy Geek
That sounds to much like that thar science stuff.
And we know how he feels about that.Terry C, Coldplayer 05.11.06 - 12:17 pm
Phishing, that's his great moment.Ruth
Your President can be trusted.
And so can I.
Trust me on this one...-Ahmad Chalabi 05.11.06 - 12:28 pm
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
BOULDER CITY, Nev. -- One of the biggest jackpots in Nevada may not be a casino.
Residents of Boulder City could vote on a plan to make every man, woman and child there a millionaire.
An initiative that could be on the November ballot calls for the city to sell 167 square miles of undeveloped open land in one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. The property is about 25 miles southeast of Las Vegas.
The ballot measure would require the city to distribute the billions to the 15,000 residents of Boulder City.
But it's too late to move there. Only people who lived in Boulder City as of March 31 would qualify.
However, residents shouldn't start counting their millions just yet. City officials said they intend to fight the forced land sale initiative in court.
Sure makes you wish you were a resident eh?
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Most of us love icecream, but would you try these flavors?
LISBON (AFP) - A shop in Portugal is reportedly planning to start selling ice-cream in flavours like shrimp, cod, tuna and grilled sardines when it opens next month.
The "Coromoto" store in the southern fishing port and canning centre of Portimao, located 300 kilometres (185 miles) south of Lisbon, will offer a total of 60 exotic flavours alongside traditional options like chocolate and vanilla, its owner told the Lusa news agency.
"Anything that you can eat or drink can be transformed into an ice cream," said Manuel Oliveira, who said he and his daughter would make all the flavoured ice creams without using any chemicals.
Among the other ice creams to be served are several alcohol-based flavours like Baileys Irish Cream, French fruit and herb liquer Pisang Ambon, and Curacao, a liquer made from the laraha fruit, a variety of orange.
Oliveira, 52, said he inherited his passion for ice cream from his father, also named Manuel Oliveira, who earned a place in the Guiness Book of Records for dreaming up the largest number of flavours of the popular dessert.
His father's shop in the Venezuelan city of Merida serves over 700 ice cream flavours, including spaghetti, trout and garlic.
Ice cream makers across Europe are introducing more and more unusual flavours and premuim brands in order to hold on to their market shares in the face of stagnant sales in recent years.
I would try most of those flavors for the heck of it.
Monday, May 08, 2006
I was washing my hands while at work and this memory so strong with me even after numerous years, suddenly raised itself. Something stupid I did as a kid, which would have cost myself my life or at best hurt myself temporarily. I have no clue why I thought about it. So in there lay the genesis of my post today. This is not a tag per se, but if anyone is tempted to pick this up and run with it on their blogs feel free.
They are kind of ranked in increasing order of stupidity and age.
1. This happened when I was may be a toddler. My mom told me about it, although I have no memory of it. She was at work in the bathroom and those were days we did not have a hot water heater, so for baths people heated water in winter. She had her bucket there, with water that was hot. Apparently I crawled about on my fours, raised myself by using the bucket’s top to help myself up and having accomplished that feat, proceeded to promptly thrust my hand in the hot water.
Yeeeeooooowwwww! Apparently I yelped in pain, scaring my mom who had turned her back to get something else. She then proceeded to pick me up and pour cold water on my hand. Apparently I was scalded but not too badly, and I learnt a lesson which a lot of toddlers learn in different ways.
2. We had these water tanks on the top of the apartment complex we lived in and we lived on the top floor (4th I think). In the evenings kids went up to play on the roof that had a 4 foot high wall all around it so it was kind of safe. The tanks were raised a few feet above the ground on concrete supports, and were about 4 feet high. There was a ladder to provide access to the top of the tanks. One of our neighbors had a huge German shepherd that she would also come up to walk. Why she came to walk him up top instead of taking him out on our not too busy street is a mystery to me to this day. Kids while playing sometimes had a habit of teasing the dog and one day we must really have irritated the dog, because he took off. As a bunch of the kids ran by I did too, seeing doggie chasing. I was the slowest and the kids scattered all over the place. A couple of us climbed up the ladder to the water tank. I barely made it up and still remember the dog almost getting a piece of my ass.
3. I was playing cricket on the street like happens at a thousand places in India, the games often was played on the street during times of low foot traffic. There was next to no vehicular traffic on the one way street and the game would pause momentarily as a pedestrian walked by, but it did not always work perfectly.
I was getting ready to hit, and took a swing at the ball. I was not sure why the catcher (wicket keeper in cricket parlance) never bothered to tell me there was a woman close by. I did not connect with the ball however I did connect with her forehead. She cried out and as I turned around in shock I realized what had happened. There was a cut in her forehead and she was bleeding. At that moment all of us kids were scared and we just ran to another kid’s house which was close. When we were brave enough we peeked out to see what had happened. She was ok and other folks passing by had stopped to help. She was then taken to a neighbor’s place which was on the first floor and closest to the scene. I then gathered courage with the other kids to go see her and of course got yelled at by all the adults present and then my parents. I was chided suitably and realized how foolish we all had been, especially me. The lady was not hurt badly, just a cut, apparently I had just caught her towards the end of my not too powerful swing. Needless to say all forms of cricket were suspended on the street for the next few days as the news of my shenanigans spread like wild fire through the apartment complex.
4. Around the time of Diwali, we decorated our house with those electric running lights. My father used to put them up every year and I would help. I was more fascinated as probably most kids are, by the lights and how they worked, We always has spare bulbs and wires laying around as the bulbs frequently blew out. The wires served to jerry rig extensions. So one afternoon after verifying that my parents and sis were asleep in the afternoon, I quietly sneaked out in to the storage closet that had the spares. I plugged in the plug in to the outlet in the wall and the othe end were loose wires. I wanted to badly see if I could light up one of those small bulbs that went in to the runing lights. I picked a spare for my favorite red color. I flipped the switch and carefully attached two ends on the wires (yep..the ends were naked) to the red bulb. I still remember this loud pop that I heard and a flash that made me jump. I was not sure what had happened at that time, but clearly fooling around with electricity was not a good idea was something that my curious mind got in a real hurry. Making sure my folks had not heard anything I flipped the switch off and quietly put everything back.I guess I am happy I did not electrocute myself or something.
5. We were coming back from a painting competition that was held at a neighborhood school. There were may be 8 of us, and we were headed back to our own school. Our arts teacher was with us too. We had to cross this road that used to have a lot of traffic. My memory of parts of this is a bit hazy, I am not sure we were crossing at a walk sign or not. All I know was that we made it across one side of the street and the teacher made sure we were all together on the median, we looked to our left to make sure there were no cars close. For whatever reason the teacher decided we could cross. Yes close is the word here, I for some reason was petrified or slow to take off. Every one seemed to have made it across and as I was crossing i saw a car coming up that would pass behind me and one that would pass in front of me or run me over if I did not move fast enough. I did not think I could make it so I just stood there hoping there would be enough room for the cars to go by me. They did. I am not sure how fast they were. The drivers were ofcourse upset to see this crazy kid doing what he did. I can recall the horrified looks on the teacher and others students as they watched this. Needlesss to say I was again yelled at for my stupidity. This was in India, Bombay ages ago. I don't think they have crossing guards in Bombay do they? The rules we have here that are aimed at making sure school kids get off and on school buses safely and cross roads when they do so did not exist at that time in Bombay. I am not sure they still do. This happened near the busy road in front of the Sion general hospital. I have passed that spot several times after that and I always shook my head silently thinking about that crazy kid who always seemed slow in some ways, but for that moment used some quick thinking to stay where he was and hoped the cars would go past him and not over him.
All those happened before I was 12 yrs old. My teen years were not as eventful I guess in some ways, but may be that is for another day to reminisce.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
I thought first this was serious, but I think it is more of a parody site. Here is a link.
From the link -
Warning Signs of Viagraholism
These are some of the behaviors and patterns exhibited by those who are in a state of Viagra dependency or are verging on Viagra abuse. If you see these signs in yourself, it may indicate that you have a Viagra problem.
Viagraholics will do anything to maintain a supply of their drug, and as the dependency progresses, their actions may become more desperate. They may lie to doctors, exaggerating or making up symptoms of erectile dysfunction to obtain prescriptions. They may obtain multiple prescriptions from different doctors or online pharmacies. They may resort to stealing friends' Viagra, or buying Viagra on the street.
Escalating Viagra use.
Typically a problem Viagra user will begin taking the drug occasionally, then more frequently, until it becomes a regular habit or part of his routine. The amount of the dosages may increase, as well as the frequency of use. If you find your Viagra use steadily increasing over time, you may be becoming Viagra dependent.
Missing work because of Viagra.
The Viagra abuser may miss work or take "sick days" because of the effects of too much Viagra. These include the results of sexual overactivity, including exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and chafed and sore genitalia. Also, Viagra abusers may find themselves unable to leave the house in order to maintain their work schedule and other commitments because of persistent and uncontrollable erections.
Viagra use affects personal relationships.
Viagra abusers may lose friendships because they are too busy having sex all the time, or alienate their friends by constantly bragging about how much they got or how long they can keep it up. Their relationships with their wives and girlfriends may suffer if their sexual demands exceed those of their partner, especially if they choose to fulfill those needs outside of the relationship.
Viagra-related health problems.
Viagra abusers may develop health conditions related to abuse of the drug, including exhaustion; sleep deprivation; chafed, sore, swollen, and red genitalia; and strained groin muscles.
Continuing to take Viagra despite negative consequences.
Despite the problems caused by their Viagra use, Viagra abusers continue taking the drug, even when they are aware that Viagra is the source of their troubles.
Taking Viagra daily.
If you are taking Viagra every day, or more than once a day, you are using Viagra too much.
Taking Viagra first thing in the morning.
Unless you work in the adult entertainment industry, if you're starting the day with a dose of Viagra, you've got a problem.
Developing a "tolerance" to Viagra.
Men who abuse Viagra on a regular basis may find they need to take larger and larger doses to get the same effect.
Overspending on Viagra.
Chronic Viagra abusers may spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars per month to support their habit. They may neglect other financial responsibilities, use up their savings, or max out their credit cards in order to buy more Viagra.
Taking Viagra alone, or "just to get an erection."
Taking Viagra when you are alone, when you are not really interested in having sex, or just to get a erection for the heck of it are all behaviors associated with Viagra abuse. You may be using Viagra to cope with feelings of loneliness, low self-esteem, or boredom.
Friday, May 05, 2006
PS: Rest of the world.. we murikans don't celebrate the commie socialist worker's day thingy ;-).Instead this is how some commemorated May 1st 3 years ago.
From that day's media coverage -
LIDDY: Well, I -- in the first place, I think it's envy. I mean, after all, Al Gore had to go get some woman to tell him how to be a man. And here comes George Bush. You know, he's in his flight suit, he's striding across the deck, and he's wearing his parachute harness, you know -- and I've worn those because I parachute -- and it makes the best of his manly characteristic. You go run those -- run that stuff again of him walking across there with the parachute. He has just won every woman's vote in the United States of America. You know, all those women who say size doesn't count -- they're all liars. Check that out.
Ahemm.. check out that codpiece (A pouch at the crotch of the tight-fitting breeches worn by men in the 15th and 16th centuries.)!
Someday we will look back at history at this idiotic, stage managed event and wonder how Americans were duped. When war was chosen as an answer and when the size of the crotch became important for some Bush Bots.
Three years later here is where we stand. From think progress--
|May 1, 2003||Today|
|U.S. Troops Wounded||542||17,469|
|U.S. Troops Killed||139||2,400|
|Size of U.S. Forces||150,000||132,000|
|Size of Iraqi Security Forces||7,000-9000||250,500|
|Number of Insurgents||5,000 ||15,000-20,000|
|Insurgent Attacks Per Day||8||75|
|Cost to U.S. Taxpayers||$79 billion||$320 billion|
|Approval of Bush’s Handling of Iraq||75%||37%|
|Percentage of Americans who Believe The Iraq War Was “Worth Fighting”||70%||41%|
|Bush’s Overall Job Approval||71%||38%|
Thursday, May 04, 2006
From an AP news wire report NEW YORK - Perhaps sensing vulnerability, the late-night comics have been piling on President Bush. During the first three months of the year, Bush has been the punch line of 307 monologue jokes by Jay Leno, David Letterman and Conan O'Brien, according to the Center for Media and Public affairs, which studies this sort of thing. That compares to 197 jokes during the same period last year. For all of 2005, the center's statisticians counted 544 Bush jokes. "Bush's numbers in public approval polls may be sinking consistently, but he's never been more popular with the late-night hosts," said Robert Lichter, the center's president. Most of the jokes are about Bush's intelligence, rather than his policies, the center said. For example: "Did you know former President James Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other at the same time?" Leno said. "That was Garfield. When President Bush heard about it, he said, `We had a talking cat for president?'"
Part of the reason the jokes are about his intelligence is also because it is easy to make fun of his intelligence (or lack of it). Policies are harder to criticize especially in one or two liners and not to mention the press and media (even the late night comics) are cowed and not willing to critique as they normally might have. I mean I remember when it was pretty much open season on Bill Clinton.
Also it's easy to see that about65-70% of the American people just don't like what is happening to the country under his leadership. That also makes it easy to make fun of him.
Some of the funnies (not all related to dear leader) -
"Condoleezza Rice is the most popular member of the Bush administration. Experts say that claiming to be the most popular member of the Bush administration is like claiming you got the 'good' kind of Herpes."---Conan O'Brien
"I mean, it seems like every time I turn on the TV these days, I see some ad for some drug I never heard of, to treat some disease I never heard of. That's not a stomach ache you have from eating the chili-cheese fries at Johnny Rockets, it's Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Or I.B.S. Or as I call it, "B.S." Which would also apply to the dreaded "Social Anxiety Disorder." Or as we used to call it, "shyness." And we treated it with an old home recipe: scotch and water."---Maher
"Today, of course, was the `Day Without Immigrants' ... Or as the Native Americans call it, the good old days.---Jay Leno
"Everybody in the government this week is suddenly trying to think of ways to conserve energy. For example, the smoke that blows out of the president's ass when he's talking about this issue is now from clean-burning ethanol."---Bill Maher
(To try and save himeslf from political damage with high gas prices he participated in a few photops about trying to talk up ethanol as an alternative fuel. This from an admin, where the VP called energy conservation a personal virtue and not good policy)!
I love Bill Maher, that one takes the cake I think.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
The 60 most vulnerable states of the 148 countries examined in the second annual "failed states index" of Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace:
2. Democratic Republic of Congo
3. Ivory Coast
6. (Tie) Somalia
From the USA Today news article about this report
"According to the review, the situation in Iraq (No. 4) and Afghanistan (No. 10) deteriorated since 2005, the first year the survey was taken.
"For Iraq, the index category that worsened most was human flight," the report said. "The exodus of Iraq's professional class has accelerated, leaving the country without the trained citizens it needs to staff important posts."
Iraq's instability was underscored in a State Department report last week that said fully 30% of all terrorist attacks worldwide last year occurred in Iraq.
In terms of available human resources, Afghanistan faces a somewhat different problem from Iraq, the report said. It pointed out that while educated Afghan exiles have been slow to return following the fall of the Taliban in 2001, overwhelmingly poor Afghan refugees have returned in large numbers from Iran and Pakistan.
"The result is a capital city busting at the seams but short of trained administrators, the report said."
Pakistan is another troubled country, the report said. Its inability to police the tribal areas near the Afghan border helped lead to one of the sharpest declines in overall score of any country on the index.
Other contributing factors were the devastating earthquake last October in Kashmir and simmering ethnic tensions.
The study debunks the notion that steady growth rates in China are making the country more stable. It found that China lost ground last year." (57th on the list)
The criteria used are -
I 1 - Mounting Demographic Pressures
I 2 - Massive Movement of Refugees and IDPs
I 3 - Legacy of Vengeance - Seeking Group Grievance
I 4 - Chronic and Sustained Human Flight
I 5 - Uneven Economic Development along Group Lines
I 6 - Sharp and/or Severe Economic Decline
I 7 - Criminalization or Delegitimization of the State
I 8 - Progressive Deterioration of Public Services
I 9 - Widespread Violation of Human Rights
I 10 - Security Apparatus as "State within a State"
I 11 - Rise of Factionalized Elites
I 12 - Intervention of Other States or External Actors
See the number on the right of the page, that is what we have spent in Iraq ( much less in Afghanistan). Clearly as our President likes to tell us " they have freedom", which in itself does not mean much as a lot of all those criteria that make up a stable nation state are missing. It's been 3 years since we have been in Iraq, oil production/electricity and clean drinking water are still below prewar levels.
Not to mention bringing them freedom was never the primary reason to go to war, it was the (non existent) WMD. The American people are slowly but surely waking up to Mr. Incompetent in office. The scary part of the report is Pakistan, the only know nuclear state in the top 10. I hope this administration has a plan to secure the nukes there if there is a coup of some sort and we are unsure of things. The Pakistanis also have supposedly assured us that they have a failsafe method of securing their nukes.
Monday, May 01, 2006
The Wackiest Products To Keep You Cooking
Too Lazy to Shake It Yourself - Automatic Salt and Pepper Shaker
Just position the shaker over your food, pull the ring, and the shaker will tremble away on its very own!
There are no batteries involved -- The shakers contain a miniature gearbox that operates on a simple pull of the string.
I don't think they are serious about this, but maybe they are. Might be a nice surprise to pull on your dinner guests.
"People always talk about needing some good brain food. Well here it is the Brain Gelatin Mold. Not feeling too smart lately? Then set this Brain Gelatin on the table and watch how people will compliment you on your Brains."
Hehe.. while you are at it why not throw in some Chianti and fava beans too? ;) (silence of the lambs reference).
Too Spastic to Twirl Self Twirling Spagetti Fork
"Rejoice, spaghetti lovers! Your pasta prayers have been answered!...You can now avoid the drudgery of having to twirl your own spaghetti.With the Motor-Powered Self-Twirling Spaghetti Fork, all you have to do is switch it on, jab it into a bowl of pasta, and watch the fork do all the hard work."
I can use that one ;)
Instant Hot Dog into Octopus Shaper
Octodog Franfurter Converter -What the heck is an Octodog?? Well it's a new, unique way to make your hot dog. Just insert hot dog into the Octodog push down and get the craziest looking hotdog you've ever seen."
Hmm try putting that one of a bun, you would have the tentacles hanging out off the sides.
"Dog End With Towel -The original cloth holder from slam, easy to look after, does not require taking for walks, cheap to feed, does not smell, won't shed hair everywhere, gets on well with cats, well - just ignores them really, and you can also use it to hold your tea towel.."
Funny pulling something from a dog's ass and then wiping your face or hands with it.. well its not a real dog's ass but you get my point.
"The Original Nutcracker is an elegant utensil for everyday living....The Original Nutcracker is an avant garde yet practical new device for those who are looking to add extra zing to their next cocktail or dinner party."
Ouch! You better keep that one out of her hands when she is upset with you, else say good bye to your nuts!
The link to these strange gadgets can be found here.