Monday, March 31, 2008

Jordan's Queen Rania's Youtube Channel

Here's her Youtube page. Just launched on March 27; the video's been viewed only 23,000 and some times so far. Let's hope that number grows. [Update one day later: 81,000 now.]

"Queen Rania has played a significant role in reaching out to the global community to foster values of tolerance and acceptance, and increase cross-cultural dialogue."


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sydney Harbor Bridge: Lights Out

Sydney celebrated "Earth Hour" by turning off the lights on the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House. (Video in link.)

8:00 tonight. One hour. Candles and wine.

Phto by LT over Sydney Harbor, 10/06


Friday, March 28, 2008

UChi. Law School: Obama Was Professor

From the University of Chicago Law School:

The Law School has received many media requests about Barack Obama, especially about his status as "Senior Lecturer." From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School's Senior Lecturers have high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.

Everybody saying that Obama lied about being a professor - can you please STFU now? (Especially NPR's Juan Williams, who I heard this morning on the the Diane Rehm show, during which Rehm read him that letter - and he still went on to imply that Obama lied. The very school where Obama taught says he was a professor - and Williams still calls him a liar.)

Juan Williams - you're a despicable idiot.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Brit Ministry of Defence Admits Torture

Damn. I bet the White House was all over this.

Iraqi detainees tortured by British troops will receive compensation after the Ministry of Defence admitted it failed to protect their human rights.

Des Browne acknowledged there had been "substantive breaches" of articles two and three – the right to life and prohibition of torture – of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The admission, coming in a written ministerial statement, follows the high court fight for compensation by the family of Basra hotel receptionist Baha Mousa.

Mr Mousa died in custody of British soldiers in 2003 after sustaining 93 injuries.

As well has effectively admitting culpability over the death of the 26-year-old, the MoD accepts UK soldiers tortured eight other Iraqi detainees.

More here.



In the streets. Pipeline blown up. Hospitals full. And this:

During a briefing in Baghdad on Wednesday, a British military official said that of the nearly 30,000 Iraqi security forces involved in the assault, almost 16,000 were Basra police forces, which have long been suspected of being infiltrated by the same militias the assault was intended to root out.



Disrupting Monks in Lhasa

This takes incredible courage.

Tibeten monks have disrupted a tour of Lhasa by foreign journalists.

The journalists were the first to be allowed back to Tibet since protests erupted two weeks ago.

About 30 monks shouted pro-Tibetan slogans and defended the Dalai Lama as journalists toured the Jokhang Temple, the visiting reporters said.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Miss Landmine Victim Beauty Contest


You can vote here. Go vote! Spread this around, please.

Miss Landmine goals:

...female pride and empowerment, disabled pride and empowerment, global and local landmine awareness and information, challenge inferiority and/or guilt complexes that hinder creativity ... question established concepts of physical perfection, challenge old and ingrown concepts of cultural cooperation, celebrate true beauty, replace the passive term 'Victim' with the active term 'Survivor.'

Uganda Scarlett Lion has info from last year.


Secrecy News

Newfound blog - about U.S. government secrecy run by the Federation of American Scientists.

Via Raw Story and a post about the Defense Intelligence Agency and...their confusion about Iraq and Iran.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Update 4-4: Wild Wolverines in California

Updated below

Wow. A U.S. Forest Service automatic camera meant to photograph martens has now taken three photos of a wolverine near Lake Tahoe. They haven't been seen - conclusively - in the wild in the Sierras since the 1920s. (Via)

I've always been fascinatd with wolverines, since my Wild Kingdom days and the tales of their ferociousness. Just for that reason I can gleefully say that I came face to shoes with one - within ten feet I'd say - while walking the tundra above Chignik Bay while working in a cannery there in the 1980s. I didn't see him long; I went one way and he the other in a large hurry. Wished I'd just stood and watched him - but those stories...

Check out this video: two wolves; one wolverine; one deer carcass. (And a guy in head-to-toe white in the snow nearby.)

Update, 4/4: Calif. to expand wolverine search.

Also: Genetic tests on scat show that spotted wolverines are not descended from last known natives (gone 1922), but from a group that ranges the Rockies from Colorado up into Canada and into Alaska.


Massive Ice Shelf Leaves Antarctica

Here and here.

March 25 (Bloomberg) -- An Antarctic ice shelf bigger than Connecticut risks collapse because of global warming after a retreat that began on Feb. 28, the British Antarctic Survey said.

The Wilkins ice shelf, which lost 1,000 square kilometers (390 square miles) of ice, or about 6 percent of its surface, in 1998, calved another 570 square kilometers since February, the survey group said in an e-mailed statement. Now, there's little to stop the loss of another several thousand square kilometers.

Drudge will probably report that Iran did it.

Video here.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Photos: Snake Eating Kangaroo

You are not going to believe these photos.

I am not kidding - you are not going to believe these photos.

They were taken about seven weeks ago in Queensland and were sent to my wife today.

You are not going to... okay, I'll shut up. Just go see them.


Update: 3/26 - Alaska Ranger

From here.

The skipper was one of the four dead. Also the chief engineer and the first mate, along with another crewman.

Says the skipper's son wants answers. Former skipper says the boat was a top-heavy and unstable. Sheesh. And he asks:

Canty wonders if the men weren't all in the engine room trying to fix the problem when tragedy struck. "How else do you end up with the most senior people all dead?" he asked.

People were in the water in their survival suits along a mile stretch. Good God almighty, not fun. I'm glad they got most of them. Here's to the brave souls in the Coast Guard.

Search still on for missing crewman.

Update: 3/26 Got an anonymous comment from someone who talked to a friend who was on the Ranger.

I had a friend on this boat when it went down, he said it was like a movie he swore it was the end of his life, after jumping into the water, he just froze in shock. he got a rope thrown to him from a life raft, he was in the life raft for about 5 hours before rescued. my prayers go out to all the people who lost someone in this.

Captain Peter Jacobsen.

First mate Dave Silveira.

Chief engineer Daniel Cook.

Missing crewmember Satashi Konno. Search called off.

I unfortunately can't find a news story about crewmember Bryon Carrillo. [Update: Carillo was from L.A., and they almost had him saved; he fell back into the water after making it up to the helicopter in a basket. God.]

Condolences to the many friends and family of the lost fishermen.


A Vet on 4,000 - and 25

Brandon Friedman of


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fishing Boat Sinking in Bering Sea

Updated 3/26 here.

Best of luck and more to the crew of the Alaska Ranger, still in the water, apparently.

Update: Aw, shit. Four dead. Damn. Must be rough weather. Yep.

The Alaska Report.

They're still trying to get the rest out. C'mon, pick em up.

This blogger attended the Blessing of the Fleet in Ballard a couple of weeks ago to mark the start of halbut season. First ship down; first lives lost this year it looks like.

42 rescued. 47 on the crew. One unfortunate fisherman missing.


FOX News Implosions

Two hosts can't take their own network's meme. Let's see if it lasts.

On another note, in the audio link of this story Chris Wallace, of FOX News, says that the Jeramiah Wright story makes it okay for people to question Barack Obama's patriotism. I find that so not only offensive but very bizarre. There is not a religious test for office in this country and there is not a patriotism test.

And how sickly self-deluded do you have to be to feel that you are somehow qualified to measure someone else's patriotism?


FBI Three Stooges Noogie Investigation

Naughty noogie.

And a home bipolar disorder genetic testing device. Really.


Ahem. They Sing For McCain

This is not a joke. This is a bonafide pro-McCain musical video. Ahem


Is Obama the Pied Piper of Racists?

He seems to be bringing them out in droves. (Hold on to your hat - you're not going to believe what you read in that link.)


Holy Crap: Spitzer Story Getting Weirder

Roger Freaking Stone may be involved in his getting arrested.


Sister Rosetta Thorpe

Heard a story about her this morning on NPR. They played a song of hers from the 1940s, with a threesome backing her up - "Strange Things Happen Every Day." Such a great song. For all the arguments I've heard over the years about who invented rock and roll, I've never heard Sister Rosetta Thorpe's name mentioned. The video below shows why she should be. This is the mid- or late-40s. Unbelievable. (And oh Lord, Sister Rosie has a MySpace page.)


Segway Inventor's Water Purifier [updtd]

The latest Dean Kamen invention could have enormous ramifications in the third world. Let's hope it does.

Kamen's device purifies water through a distillation and condensation process tied to a proprietary system designed by Deka. Kamen said the purifier can handle any contaminants and produce 10 gallons of water an hour on 500 watts of electricity.

The company claims the purifier can convert 75 percent of seawater and up to 95 percent of contaminated water into drinkable water, but it acknowledges that it does not yet have outside verification of the purifier's reliability.

He's got a new generator, too.

Update: More here, from September 2009.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Let's Impeach the President For Lying

Why didn't we listen to Neil Young?


Energy-Saving Light "Danger" Fraud

Check the comments here at Digg.

And this made the rounds last year.

My advice: don't eat fluorescent lights. They contain a tiny amount of mercury and mercury is toxic. Also: don't drink drano. And don't run over your head with your car.



Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sut Lovingood. Yarns Spun by a Nat'ral Born Durn'd Fool

Boxing Kangaroos, my other blog, where politics dare not enter.

And Sut Lovingood is featured.


Phantom Limb Pain Eased By Mirror

Simple and innovative treatment brings relief in clinical trial:

Dr. Jack Tsao, a Navy neurologist with the Uniform Services University, was looking for ways to help soldiers like Paupore. He remembered reading in graduate school a paper by Dr. V.S. Ramachandran that talked about an unusual treatment for amputees suffering "phantom limb pain," using a simple $20 mirror.

The mirror tricks the brain into "seeing" the amputated leg, overriding mismatched nerve signals.

Here's how it works: The patient sits on a flat surface with his or her remaining leg straight out and then puts a 6-foot mirror lengthwise facing the limb. The patient moves the leg, flexing it, and watches the movement in the mirror. The reflection creates the illusion of two legs moving together.

More on phantom limb pain.


Prisoner Can't See His Dying 10-year-old

Update: Video and contact info for prison below.

Update II: Posted at Daily Kos with more links.

Crappy story.

Jayci Yaeger has late stage brain cancer. Her father, Jason Yaeger, is in federal prison on methamphetamine charges. The guy is due to be released to a half-way house in August - less than five months away - but they won't give him an "extraordinary circumstances" 30-day release to see his near-dead daughter.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons Web site states its policy -- that furloughs can be allowed for a family crisis and that decision is left to the warden.

"We've asked them numerous times, 'What is an extraordinary circumstance?'" said Vonda Yaeger. "They danced around it. They don't give you a direct answer.

What could possibly be more extraordinary?

Update: Contact info for this federal (you pay for it) prison:

MapQuest® Map and Directions1

Phone: 605-665-3262
Fax: 605-668-1113
E-mail address: YAN/EXECASSISTANT@BOP.GOV2 [update: email doesn't seem to work] UPDATED: Try this: yan/execassistant@

Go ahead - give them a call and be real nice and tell them you think they should let the guy be with his daughter because she's dying of cancer and she really wants to see him.


Chris Smither: "Train Home"

Video of Smither below.

Chris Smither


Google, Qatar

Some curious person in Doha, Qatar googled the words "sexual positions pictures" and was, of course, led to a Long Tough Blog. Ahem. (The link was about Karl Rove and the Don Siegelman case.)

That allowed me to see Google, right to left.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Girlfriend Pregnant; Boyfriend Arrested

What the hell is wrong with us? He's 17 and she's 16. They've been boyfriend and girlfriend and having consensual sex since they were both 14. How is this "repeated sexual assault"?



Dalai Lama Threatens to Step Down

Wow. He's pissed. I heard on NPR on the way to work that the Dalai Lama has threatened to step down as leader of Tibet in exile if the violent protests in the country don't stop. More at the BBC.

The guy has played fair and offered a lot to the Chinese government for so long. I hope he gets to go home some day.

And, as usual, he has some fun with the Chinese (in response to their accusations that he is behind the violence):

He also challenged China’s Government to investigate his offices – and even his own pulse, stools and urine – to back up their allegation that he masterminded the riots that began on Friday in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital.

What's Tibetan for "pwned"?


Monday, March 17, 2008

Israeli Spies Have a Blog

How bizarre is this:

Israel's intelligence service has emerged from the shadows to allow four agents to write blogs about their daily routines in an attempt to boost recruitment.

And you can get in on the fun:

According to Shin Beth officials, the bloggers will respond to messages sent from members of the public.

That third one looks hot, huh? Maybe she's from Zabaj, the Junk in Israel's Trunk blog.


ABBA Drummer Killed in Bizarre Accident


Police investigating the death of Ola Brunkert, 61, believe he may have fallen through a glass door in his kitchen wounding his neck on a shard of glass.

Ola, Ola:

Ola Brunkert had been a jazz drummer, also being a member of the blues band Slim's Blues Gang, before joining pop group Science Poption in the mid-1960s. Then, through working with guitarist Janne Schaffer in the jazz-pop group Opus III later in the decade, he started getting work as a session musician from 1970 onwards.

Ola's first known ABBA-related session was also the group's very first single, People Need Love. Together with bass player Rutger Gunnarsson, Ola is probably the only musician to appear on all ABBA albums - he was one of the most frequently used Swedish sessions musicians during the 1970s. Ola also toured with ABBA in 1977, 1979, and 1980

Oh wow. Brunkert's '60s band, Science Poption. (Just one short clip, unfortunately.)

And Brunkert playing with what must be a Swedish superstar, Totte Wallin.

RIP, Ola Brunkert.


American Musicians in N. Korea

New York Philharmonic member John Deak gives the Guardian a moving account of the orchestra's recent trip to North Korea. The last paragraph:

Many of us left our hosts with strings, which can be hard to get there, mouth pieces or reeds and stacks of music. The whole visit had lasted less than 48 hours. Most us were in tears for one reason or another when we landed back in the US. It was almost too much to take.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Jim Page: Petroleum Bonaparte

Got a great treat last Sunday when legendary Seattle singer/songwriter Jim Page showed up and did an extended set at the Open Mike I run at a great little dive here in town. I first saw Page either here or in Portland some twenty years ago. If you haven't heard of him, do yourself a favor.

Here's a video of him playing a song at the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle last year. He's with Artis the Spoonman, who I saw on the street several times in the '80s. It's a very modern anti-war song, Petroleum Bonaparte.


"The History of the World": 1601

Cool collection of books online via the University of Chicago:

The first Booke containeth the Dedicatorie Epistle or Preface of the worke, addressed to Titus Vespasian the Emperour. Also the names of the Authors out of which he gathered the Historie, which he prosecuteth in 36 Bookes: togither with the Summarie of every Chapter: & beginneth, The Books, &c.


Bull Semen Cane Codes

I was a bit bored, so I put some nonsense and non-nonsense words (jag cane windac) into Google to see what I'd find. I found this.

Oh look - has a blog.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Boxing Kangaroos

Another blog I know well.


Faster, Christicat! Kill! Kill!

John McCain's pastor, Rod Parsley (which would be a swell gay-porn-cooking-channel name), wants Christians to kill ALL Muslims. Really. I'm not lying.

Looks like John McCain has some 'splainin' to do.

And look, here's one of John McCain's pastor's best friends forever, who preaches that homosexulaity is "abnormal, a horrible cancerous tumor in the body of society."



New Nick Cave

This is just too good. Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!


Friday, March 14, 2008

Toronto Star Whips Harper and Cronies

Go get 'em:

But who is playing partisan politics here? A prime minister who sues the Liberals while his point man on the justice committee prevents them from asking fair questions? How can Hanger talk about "unsubstantiated scandal" when so many questions remain to be answered? What, for example, did Harper mean when he told Cadman's biographer about "financial considerations" for the dying MP?

Harper and Hanger should know that their outlandish responses only make it look as if they do, indeed, have something to hide.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Investigate Them, Already [Updated]

There is more than enough evidence to go forward with an investigation into the bribery allegations surrounding Canadian PM Stephen Harper and his Tory party. (Background here.)

Good God, people, the wife and daughter of the now-dead Chuck Cadman, the receiver of the alleged offer, believe it was a bribery attempt. And they say that Cadman himself considered it a bribery attempt.

What farking else do you need?

Extra: Hey look - put "harper" and "bribe" into Google and We're Number One! We're Number One!...

Update: Holy crap, Harper has gone through with his threat and sued the Liberal party for libel for saying (or for posting on the Liberal Web site) that Harper knew about the bribery attempt. Which he freaking did. He freaking admitted it.

P.S. Am I gonna get sued now, too?


The Singing Ringing Tree

A 1957 East German TV series, via Metafilter, where there are links to several other shows from behind the Iron Curtain.


Albrecht Dürer: Self Portrait (1500)

Albrecht Dürer.

Albrecht Dürer: The Hare (1502)

I'm no art aficionado, but I've loved this guy since learning about him in German class in high school.

At this link is a much larger image by Dürer, and an even larger one if you click directly on the image. (Or click on image here - so I've recently learned.***)