2006/06/27

Zombie soldier escapes!

A mysterious empty military casket was found in the Arizona desert near Tucson on Saturday, fueling local fears that a zombie soldier may have escaped.

Two men found the silver coffin in a pile of trash near Interstate 10; the men were reportedly "playing paintball" in the desert.

"When deputies arrived, they opened the casket expecting to find a body but did not," KVOA TV reported. "Instead they found hair and fluid."

Pima County Sheriff's deputies identified the empty casket as belonging to the U.S. military, which they found "particularly suspicious."

"Put out a nationwide broadcast to see if anyone anywhere in the country is missing a military style casket and the body it contained," Lt. Bob Kimmins demanded.

The odd tale took an even stranger twist on Monday, when the same TV news program claimed the casket had been sent to a garbage dump by a mortuary -- because the missing soldier's family dug up his coffin, removed the corpse and burned it.

No explanation or evidence was offered for this bizzarre claim, and neither the soldier nor the alleged family have been identified.

"The Pima County Sheriff got a call from the mortuary who said they thought the casket was one they had taken to a local landfill," KVOA reported Monday. "Employees at the landfill also say they had a casket stolen."

It was unclear whether the second "stolen casket" had anything to do with the original empty casket found in the desert, or exactly what kind of landfill keeps inventory of the garbage dumped and buried there.

Just as mysteriously, the "landfill" and its employees have not been identified.

Pagan ceremonies

The weird news comes as families of pagan troops killed in the U.S. occupation of Iraq demand the right to bury their loved ones under a magical pagan symbol.

The Veteran's Administration has never authorized the use of Wicca's pentacle on grave markers, even though it allows the use of symbols from 38 other beliefs, including obscure or possibly fictional religions such as Ixumo Taishakyo, Soks Gakkai, Aaronic Order, Seicho-no-ie and Presbyterians.

The online group Military Pagans says Wiccans have been trying to get their symbol recognized for a decade, but VA bureaucrats have yet to simply approve the pentacle.

Some find it ironic that American troops serve a Pentagon -- the heart of every Wiccan pentacle -- but aren't allowed to have a pentacle mark their final resting place.

Zombies don't die

The unpopularity of the deadly Iraq occupation has forced the White House to come up with endless schemes to keep troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Stopgap" policies keep soldiers stuck in Iraq long after they were supposed to get out of the service. Miserable recruitment levels have led the Pentagon to start taking the true dregs of society: imbeciles, criminals, the retarded and the elderly.

The Defense Department can't make its new robot soldiers fast enough, and the government's obvious desperation has fueled rumors that "undead soldiers" are being tested and even deployed.

The deep unease about zombie soldiers was expressed by "Uncle Sam," the groundbreaking Isaac Hayes film about a 1991 Gulf War soldier who was killed by "friendly fire" and returned to America as a zombie dressed as Uncle Sam to wreak vengeance on hippies and other people who weren't patriotic.

The 1974 classic "Deathdream" told a similarly poignant tale, in which a Vietnam soldier comes home after being killed in battle. Angry about the war, the undead soldier is also "cursed with the need to kill and inject the blood of others in himself to keep from rotting away."

But most Americans know about the government's zombie troops from the popular "Universal Soldier" movies of the 1990s.

Spy in the sky!

The Pentagon's creepy National Reconnaissance Office is launching another Orwellian billion-dollar spy machine tonight, but at least it will provide a colorful light show over much of the western United States.

The "classified payload" will be launched on a Delta IV rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The high-security base is on California's central coast, north of Santa Barbara.

First scheduled in 2004, the mission has since been delayed eight times, leaving a gaping hole in Washington's efforts to record the activities and thoughts of every single American.

It's the inaugural West Coast launch of the huge Delta IV cargo rocket.

Vandenberg wasted some $4 billion on a West Coast space-shuttle launch site that was never used, and has since converted the boondoggle into a Delta platform.

"The rocket will fly in a configuration with two strap-on solid rocket boosters," reported SpaceFlightNow.com.

Evening launches from Vandenberg have created stunning light shows in the western skies.

"In order for a launch to be visible from a given location, it has to be above the observer's horizon at some point," says SpaceArchive.info.

"The visibility footprint for a launch is controlled by the vehicle's trajectory or flight path. Of primary importance are the direction of launch, steepness of the flight path, and how high the vehicle is during the powered phase .... Delta, Taurus, and other satellite launch vehicles fly towards the south and climb more slowly."

Twilight launches are the "most impressive," according to the site.

"If the conditions are right, the Sun is below the observer's horizon and sunlight illuminates the vehicle's contrail and exhaust plume, creating a display visible for distances of several hundred miles."

Librarians beat Feds!

As the First Lady - herself a former librarian - cheers on the rebuilding of New Orleans' libraries, her husband's thugs continue to terrorize, threaten and bully the nation's patriotic book-lenders. Yesterday, they finally backed off a bit.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations finally gave up their attempt to inspect the records of a group of Connecticut libraries, but not before leveling a veiled threat against those who dare to defy them.

"In this case, because the threat ultimately was without merit, that delay came at no cost other than slowing the pace of the investigation," John Miller, the FBI's assistant director, said.

Naturally, as part of the administration's regular M.O., Miller also accused librarians of endangering Americans.

"In another case, where the threat may be real, the delays incurred in this investigation could have increased the danger of terrorists succeeding."

"We concluded that based on the passage of time as well as other information we've been able to develop that this [emailed] threat is probably not viable," added Connecticut U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Connor.

Last February, the FBI demanded that a consortium of 26 Connecticut libraries turn over their computer records, claiming they were following up on yet another alleged terror threat. Four board members of the Library Connection bravely resisted their efforts.

"I'm glad that we're vindicated in resisting the request for the records," said George Christian, one of the librarians who received a national security letter demanding the records. "We're just protecting our patrons to the extent we can."

"While the government's real motives in this case have been questionable from the beginning, their decision to back down is a victory not just for librarians, but for all Americans who value their privacy," said Ann Beeson, associate legal director of the ACLU.

Monday, while speaking before an audience of more than 1,000, Laura Bush reminded the country of "the importance of libraries and reading." She recognizes these revered institutions as being of vital importance to the nation's intellectual well-being.

Sadly, President Bush doesn't share his wife's views about libraries. Over the past year, DHS goons have interrogated a young man for reading Mao's "Little Red Book," tried to seize the computers at the Brandeis University library and randomly stormed a Maryland library to warn folks against the dangers of online porn.

Bush ignores laws he inks, vexing Congress

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer
Tue Jun 27, 2:25 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The White House on Tuesday defended President Bush's frequent use of special statements that claim authority to limit the effects of bills he signs, saying the statements help him uphold the Constitution and defend national security.

Senators weren't so sure.

"It's a challenge to the plain language of the Constitution," said Arlen Specter, a Republican whose Senate Judiciary Committee opened hearings on the issue. "There is a sense that the president has taken signing statements far beyond the customary purview."

At the White House, Press Secretary Tony Snow said, "There's this notion that the president is committing acts of civil disobedience, and he's not. It's important for the president at least to express reservations about the constitutionality of certain provisions."

The bill-signing statements say Bush reserves a right to revise, interpret or disregard measures on national security and constitutional grounds. Some 110 statements have challenged about 750 statutes passed by Congress, according to numbers combined from White House and the Senate committee. They include documents revising or disregarding parts of legislation to ban torture of detainees and to renew the Patriot Act.

Snow said presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to Bill Clinton have issued such statements.

"The president has done the same thing that his predecessors have," he told reporters. "Presidents generally had the same concerns about defending the presidential prerogatives when it comes to national security."

In addition to Specter's objections, Democrats called the signing statements an example of the administration trying to expand executive power.

"I believe that this new use of signing statements is a means to undermine and weaken the law," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (news, bio, voting record) of California. "If the president is going to have the power to nullify all or part of a statute, it should only be through veto authority that the president has authorized and can reject — rather than through a unilateral action taken outside the structures of our democracy."

Defending Bush, a Justice Department lawyer said the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks had made it prudent for the president to protect his powers with signing statements more than did his predecessors.
-continued-

Pill-popping blowhard busted

To many, he's the voice of Red America, to others he's a bloated nuisance with an insatiable taste for prescription drugs. Yesterday, authorities at the West Palm Beach airport found one of the country's most beloved - and reviled - radio hosts in possession of pharmaceutical aphrodisiacs.

A search of Rush Limbaugh's luggage Monday by U.S. Customs and Border cops revealed he was in possession of drugs without a prescription. It seems that self-professed patriot Rush Limbaugh, 55, only flies his flag at half-mast, as cops yesterday found Viagra in his luggage. The name on the bottle's label was that of Limbaugh's doctor.

"We believe there may be a second degree misdemeanor violation, which is possession of certain drugs without a prescription, because the bottle does not have his name on it," said Paul Miller, spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

The drug was "labeled as being issued to the physician rather than Mr. Limbaugh for privacy purposes," according to the talk radio star's attorney, Roy Black.

A recovering Oxycontin junkie, Limbaugh last month reached a deal with prosecutors that would've made charges of "doctor shopping" - duping multiple doctors into giving you drugs - go away. If he had managed to stay clean for 18 months, the whole nasty business would've gone away. Oh, well.

Thought crimes

Freedom-loving Americans are all talking about the same thing: Is it legal to talk about how great it would be to kill George W. Bush?

As proven by last week's arrest of seven oddball black guys in Florida who wanted superhero uniforms so they could dream about exciting attacks on federal cops and a building in Chicago, it turns out that simply talking about how awesome it would be to do something illegal is enough to get you hauled away to prison forever.

With all but a delusional 30% of Americans finally realizing their country is run by a murderous criminal mafia -- and with U.S. spy agencies and telecommunications companies illegally recording every word you say, hear, type or read -- there's a good chance "Homeland Security" will bust down your door tonight and torture you forever in Cuba or Poland. (Or they'll just shoot you in the head, leaving valuable interrogators free for more important duties, such as torturing retarded people.)

So the question of "Can I say what I actually think?" is hardly an academic exercise -- it's a matter of life and death, or at least life and liberty.

Writing in Harper's magazine this month, Ben Metcalf explored the dangers of saying or writing anything "bad" about the president:

Because I am loath to violate whatever fresh new mores the people have agreed upon, or have been told they agree upon, and because I do not care to have my ass kicked repeatedly in a holding cell while I beg to see a lawyer, I almost hesitate to ask the following question. I will ask it, though, out of what used to be called simple human decency:

Am I allowed to write that I would like to hunt down George W. Bush, the president of the United States, and kill him with my bare hands?

Metcalf made clear that he didn't actually desire to personally kill George W. Bush with his bare hands, because Bush was a fellow human being -- "at least in the technical sense."

The problem, or one of the problems, is that the president was given special protections in 1917 to prevent citizens from rising up and -- as Thomas Jefferson wrote -- refreshing the "tree of liberty" with the "blood of patriots and tyrants."

Before that time, existing laws against murder were used against those who killed presidents. It was enough. But after 1917, it became a federal crime to express thoughts about "taking out the trash."

As the journalist Metcalf explains, "What I mean to imply is that his free ride on our backs was made possible by the clever solution Congress found to its conundrum back in 1917: a law that deems guilty of a federal offense anyone who knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail ... any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States ... or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat....

In one swift draconian move, Washington made it illegal to share the opinion that a president should be killed. The law cleverly covered all books, newspapers, magazines and letters (all travel by mail) and then tossed in "or knowingly and willfully otherwise" expressing the desire for the sudden violent death of an American chief executive -- covering every conceivable circumstance in which a moral American might utter the illegal words.

(Legal scholars have ignored the crucial contradiction of the federal law: Would judge and jury at a president's criminal trial be barred from mentioning his death sentence? Would prosecutors find themselves hauled away in chains every time they brought up the death penalty? Would newspaper reporters be jailed for simply reporting on the death penalty phase of the president's trial? Would the whole thing be done in pantomime, or some sort of code such as Pig Latin?)

Experts say it's best to just keep your mouth shut, considering the way things are going in the country. Washington is not exactly run by thoughtful men who wile away their hours discussing the literary intricacies of contextual theory. In fact, Washington is run by dangerous thugs who delight in torturing, murdering and otherwise doing away with as many "enemies" as they can, whether foreign innocents, retarded "terrorists" or the poor black population of an American city.

It seems one way to semi-safely discuss such things is to do so under the protection of "satire" -- and happily for this publication, no less an authority than Google News makes it clear that "satire" is exactly what you'll find at SPLOID.

But Metcalf has a better, safer idea: Rather than attract unwanted attention by simply using the "k" word, Americans who are losing their minds over the White House's America-hating crime lords should stick to the kind of "legal" scenarios defended daily by all the president's men:

"In place of the initial question I might ask instead, 'Am I allowed to write that I would like to kidnap George W. Bush and fly him to a prison in some faraway land where his 'rights' are no longer an issue, there to put a bag over his head and make him stand for hours on one leg while I defecate on his New Testament before chaining his arms to the ceiling until he dies of a heart attack, after which I will claim that he never existed?'"

For Americans who hope to make it through this regime alive, the answer is a happy "Yes!"

9/11 conspiracy theorists gather at LA conference

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - They wore T-shirts asking "What Really Happened?," snapped up DVDs titled "9/11; The Great Illusion," and cheered as physicists, philosophers and terrorism experts decried the official version of the Sept. 11 attacks that shook America to its core.

Some 1,200 people gathered at a Los Angeles hotel on the weekend for what organizers billed as the largest conference on the plethora of conspiracy theories that see the 2001 attacks on Washington and New York as, at best, official negligence, and at worst an orchestrated U.S. attempt to incite world war.

"There are so many prominent people who are incredibly well-respected who have stated that the evidence is overwhelming that 9/11 was an inside job," syndicated radio talk show host Alex Jones told a news conference.

"There are hundreds of smoking guns that people need to be made aware of," said Jones, calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and charging that mainstream media had been slow to cover the growing movement of 9/11 skeptics.

The "9/11 and the Neo-Con Agenda" conference comprised two days of seminars, video presentations and talks by groups including "Scholars for 9/11 Truth," www.infowars.com and an appearance by actor Charlie Sheen.

Most are convinced the U.S. military command "stood down" on the day of the attack, that the hijackers were trained at American military bases, and that the World Trade Center towers collapsed because of a series of controlled explosions set before they were hit by two hijacked planes.

Suggested motives range from expected benefits for U.S. arms and oil conglomerates to revolutionary plans for a new world order headed by the United States.

The theories, derided by critics as wild and far-fetched, have mostly been confined to the Internet, talk radio and the alternative press.

But an August 2004 Zogby opinion poll revealed 49 percent of New York City residents believed U.S. leaders knew in advance of the attacks and failed to act.

The official 9/11 Commission, set up in 2002, cited government intelligence lapses in the failure to prevent the attacks by al Qaeda that killed about 3,000 people.

A 10,000-page investigation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology held that jet-fuel fires weakened the structure of the Twin Towers and led to their collapse.


'BAD THINGS HAPPENING'

Sheen, star of the TV sitcom "Two and a Half Men," provoked a media storm in March by calling in interviews for an independent investigation.

Sheen "brings the movement some legitimacy. He gives it a face," said a Los Angeles student attending the conference who gave his name as Rico.

"Rational, well-educated people are starting to take a look at all this and are seeing there are some pretty bad things happening," Rico added.

Webster Tarpley, author of "911 Synthetic Terror; Made in USA," said the Sept. 11 attacks were an example of "state-sponsored, false-flag terrorism" designed by rogue CIA elements "to start the war of civilizations."

Tarpley said Washington was "gripped by war psychosis" and had used terror as a pretext to turn the United States into a police state.

Baby Jesus' insurance cancelled!

Raising a child as a single parent can pose serious financial challenges. Fearing that they wouldn't be able to cover the expense of immaculate pregnancy, three sisters in Scotland took out insurance in the event they were so blessed. It was with heavy hearts that they heard their policies had been cancelled.

Simon Burgess, managing director of Britishinsurance.com, delivered the news last week.

"Three women, all Christian sisters who live in Inverness, came to me in the year 2000 and asked me to insure them in case they immaculately conceived the second coming of Christ," Burgess announced. "They have renewed the policy of £100 each year since 2000 and would get a payout of £1million if they had an immaculate conception."

The move came after protest from Catholics who considered such thoughtful financial planning to be in poor taste.

"Our company used to specialize in weird and wonderful policies, and this was one of them... The Catholic Church was not happy about what we've been doing," according to Burgess.

They women weren't trying to profit from their faith. They just wanted a Second Coming fit for a King.

"They say if Christ came again they want to give him a lifestyle commensurate with his status and the money would pay for that."

Gays are born that way?!?!

A shocking new study proves that gays aren't deviant monsters who choose to love men. As shocking as it may sound, God makes homosexuals.

Science had known for years that the more older brothers a made had, the more likely he was to be gay. Some people assumed this was because young boys grow accustomed to the affections of other boys. Others figured that as the baby of the family, they become sissified momma's boys.

Not true, says Anthony F. Bogaert of the Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

His research shows that these people don't choose to be gay as they grow older; rather, they come out of the womb that way.

"The research suggests that the development of sexual orientation is influenced before birth," says Bogaert.

Bogaert first discovered the link between fraternal birth order and male homosexuality a decade ago. What he didn't know was "Why?"

"Is it a biological phenomenon? Or is it psychological or have to do with rearing?" he said without giggling.

Bogaert followed 944 Canadian men, both straight and gay. The older-brother effect was constant regardless of whether men were raised with their biological or adoptive families.

Sven Bocklandt, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, is excited about the new findings.

"For me as a molecular geneticist, this study opens a new path of research into the biology of sexual orientation," Bocklandt said.

Bocklandt wants to start testing mothers of multiple sons to see if there's something in their blood that responds to genes linked to homosexuality.

With this amazing new discovery, legislators may be forced to acknowledge that gays are human.

Pol blames Satan for crap luck

John Jacob, a Congressional candidate from Utah, said Thursday that Satan was trying to keep him out of office.

It seems the old deluder has kept Jacob from investing as much money as he'd like into his campaign, and has caused a series of recent business-related mishaps.

"You know, you plan, you organize, you put your budget together and when you have 10 things fall through, not just one, there's some other, something else that is happening," he told the Salt Lake Tribune.

"There's another force that wants to keep us from going to Washington, D.C. It's the devil is what it is. I don't want you to print that, but it feels like that's what it is," he said, apparently unaware that pleas for secrecy are like catnip to journalists.

He first brought up the Satan-as-campaign-foe theme on Wednesday, at an immigration rally, and then reiterated it in a meeting with the Salt Lake Tribune editorial staff on Thursday.

"I don't know who else it would be if it wasn't him," he said. "Now when that gets out in the paper, I'm going to be one of the screw-loose people."

This is exactly what came to pass, because Satan deemed it so.

By Friday, Jacob was backtracking -- sort of.

"What I was trying to say, and obviously didn't do it very well, is that over the last eight months I've had more adversity in my life than I've had in the last 10 years," he said.

This adversity includes business deals gone sour, allegations that he aided illegal immigrants, and revelations that the devout Mormon used to gamble. But what others might call a run of bad luck, or even an accountability moment, was, for this charming wingnut, Lucifer.

Jacob is a political neophyte attempting to unseat fellow Republican Chris Cannon, a five-term Congressman. And, in a state crawling with religious types, all the talk about Satan might actually help.

"The people he would alienate probably wouldn't vote for him anyway," said David Gutterman, a political science professor at Linfield College in Oregon. "The people he's going to attract are shoring up a base that probably shares his religious views."

And indeed, a poll released today suggests Jacob might very well triumph in the 3rd Congressional District race.

"Jacob has a pretty good shot at pulling this off," said Brad Coker, managing director for Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. "It's never easy to beat an incumbent, but he is in a very good position."

2006/06/25

Smuggler ate 329 condoms-o'-heroin

After the quick demise of the dope-in-the-fish routine, enterprising Australian heroin smugglers have gone back to doing it the old-fashioned way: by eating it.

A 25-year-old woman was recently arrested for attempting to smuggle drugs into the country from Singapore by swallowing a mind-boggling 329 heroin-filled condoms.

News agencies aren't reporting what made authorities suspect she was smuggling, but one imagines she may have looked a little green about the gills. If a mere 60 heroin-filled condoms can take "a grueling afternoon" to choke down, and 87 can make a person so sick they voluntarily turn themselves in to police, then 329 would be truly excruciating.

The Aussie gal was apprehended at the Sydney airport and taken to a nearby hospital, where she spent the week pooping out around $90,000 AUD of heroin.

She now faces life imprisonment and a maximum penalty of $825,000.


I can't even begin to imagine what swallowing one of those is like, yet alone 329, that is just insane. What stupid things people will do for drugs. What a crazy world we live in.

Disgraced army goat demoted

Lance corporal Billy, a ceremonial pet goat in the British army, was demoted for poor behavior in a parade in Cyprus marking Queen Elizabeth II's birthday.

Billy refused to march in line, and instead tried to "headbutt the waist and nether regions of the drummers," according to Captain William Rose, a soldier at the parade.

The entire nation of England stood shamed at the abominable conduct of the goat in front of foreign dignitaries. In the wake of the incident, Billy has been demoted from lance corporal to fusilier, a rank equivalent to private. Soldiers of lower rank are no longer expected to salute him.

The goat has been the mascot for the First Battalion, the Royal Welsh regiment, for five and a half years. However, the parade was his first tour overseas.

"He has certainly not made a good start for himself," said Captain Crispian Coates.

But all is not lost: "His situation is currently being reviewed and he could regain his rank," said Captain Coates.

2006/06/24

Alex Jones' TerrorStorm

Telemarketeer



I thought this was one of my responses to a telemarketer, till I heard the accent

Cheney's dream hunting trip



Watch out rich white rebublicans, Cheney's getting ready for another hunting trip

Family Guy - Outfarted

The Electric Six - Gay Bar



Detroit's very own Electric Six!

This version is banned in the U.S. and U.K.

For some reason the president, and primeminister didn't like this video.

A Terrifying Message from Al Gore

Raccoon eats cats!

A hungry raccoon is terrorizing the sleepy Bay Area town of Cupertino. It has eaten at least three housecats since Memorial Day.

At this time of year, raccoons are normally gorging themselves on plums and apricots, steering clear of domestic pets. However, heavy spring rains delayed fruit from ripening. So the raccoons are hungry--and the cats are slow.

Resident Jackie Jackson recently lost her 11-year-old cat, Tiki, to the masked menace. She let him out at 4 in the morning on Memorial Day and never saw him again...until a neighbor found his body in her yard.

"The raccoons leave the head and shoulders," Jackson told the San Jose Mercury News.

Pest control Steve Hebert said that raccoons have been know to attack animals as large as German shepherds. However, a Canadian woman recently reported being personally harrassed by raccoons.

"[T]hey come after you. [The bigger one] literally comes after you. It chases you and growls at you. I've literally had to run away and jump into a car," said Anita Eastcott, who lives in the Vancouver area.

She said the raccoon was about as big a medium-sized dog, a report that urban wildlife specialist Robert Boelens said might have been exaggerated due to "the vividness of the experience."

Still, there's no denying that raccoons, particularly young male ones, can be dangerous to people and pets alike.

"Urban males are the thugs," said Steve Hebert.

"It's like a bunch of teenagers running loose," agreed Boelens.

So for now at least, Cupertino cat-owners are keeping their pets indoors.


-The Racoons around here are always getting cats, if they can catch them. They should consider themselves lucky if this is a rare event.

Lonely America

In just 20 years, the number of Americans without a single close friend has nearly tripled -- to a quarter of the population.

A depressing new study released today proves that people in the United States are becoming more isolated and more lonely at a rapid pace.

In the new study, only 50.6% had a close relationship with someone who wasn't their spouse or relative -- down from 73.2% in the mid-1980s -- and 24.6% had nobody at all, compared to just 10% in 1985.

In 1985, Americans on average counted about three confidants, including relatives. Now they have only two, on average.

The huge jump in people having only a family member as confidant doesn't just make people's worlds smaller; it literally kills them quicker than those with non-relative friends.

Those who counted only their spouse as a confidant nearly doubled, from 5% to 9%. Researchers say these people are setting themselves up for trouble, because spouses often leave or die.

People who have close friends are happier and healthier than lonely folks, much more engaged in their communities and what's going on in the world, and have a crucial "safety net" when things are bad. The researchers point to Hurricane Katrina for an awful example of what happens to people who lack friends.

"That image of people on roofs after Katrina resonates with me, because those people did not know someone with a car," said sociologist Lynn Smith-Lovin, one of the study's authors.

White people with money reported more friends than poor non-whites. But all groups reported fewer friends than they did in 1985.

The survey shows dramatic drops in the number of neighbors and co-workers Americans consider as friends.

Sociologists are blaming the usual suspects for America's loneliness epidemic: long commutes to work for both parents, television and the Internet. But with the exception of the Internet, all those things were just as prevalent in 1985, when the last study was done.

Television is a refuge for the people with no friends. They can watch strangers talk about personal problems on such programs as "Oprah" and "Jerry Springer," and for most of the 1990s the most popular TV series was about young people who actually had friends.

Americans have been losing friends since the mid-1960s. Until that point, the 20th Century saw increases in friends and confidants for most Americans.

The survey, published by the American Sociological Review (PDF), was done by interviewing 1,500 people in person.

I NEED A HUG,,,,,,ANYONE??? ANYONE????

Soldiers in Iraq Have Twice As Many Migraines

Friday, June 23, 2006
By Kathleen Doheny

U.S. combat soldiers in Iraq are more than twice as likely to suffer migraine headaches as the general American population.

That news was reported by a military doctor at the 48th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in Los Angeles.

While about one in seven Americans suffers migraines or "probable migraines," more than one in three soldiers did so during the last three months of their one-year tour of combat duty, according to the doctor’s study. Just one in 20 of them had been diagnosed before being deployed.

"We're the first to study migraine in deployed soldiers," says Captain Brett Theeler, MD, a neurology resident at Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis, Wash., who presented the data.

He decided to do the study after noticing soldiers coming into the medical center at Fort Lewis who were complaining of headaches. "We had a hypothesis it would be more common ([among soldiers seeing combat],” he says.

-continued-

Clowns of Peace

A trio of old clowns launched an assault on America's nuclear missile defense system Tuesday.

Armed guards took the clowns down within minutes. According to one eyewitness, the clowns "ate a lot of gravel."

"The individuals used bolt cutters to gain access to the site. Once inside, they attempted to destroy government property using hammers and by posting graffiti," Col. Sandra Finan, commander of the 91st Space Wing at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, told reporters Wednesday.

The clowns "took a hammer and beat on some of the external components, then they sprayed graffiti in several different locations and hung some signs."

What they spray painted on the side of the missile silo was, "It's a sin to build a nuclear weapon."

Greg Boertje-Obed, 51, Michael Walli, 57, and Carl Kabat, 72, -- two military veterans and a priest -- are volunteers with Nukewatch, out of Luck, Wisconsin. They say their assault was "a call for national repentance" for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

"We make an urgent appeal to the people of the U.S. to change course -- to place our security in God and not in weapons of mass destruction," the clowns wrote on their website.

As for why they dressed as clowns, the answer is simple: "to show that humor and laughter are key elements in the struggle to transform the structures of destruction and death."

Boertje-Obed, Walli and Kabat were brought before South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick and charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief, both Class A misdemeanors. Their bond was set at $500 per clown.

The FBI is investigating the case and further charges are likely to follow.

Snow: Program vital to war on terrorism

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer
Fri Jun 23, 7:43 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration said Friday an anti-terrorism program that taps into an immense international database of confidential financial records has adequate safeguards to protect Americans' privacy.

Democrats and civil liberties groups said the effort had disturbing similarities to another controversial anti-terrorism program of warrantless spying on telephone calls and e-mails.

Treasury Secretary John Snow called the financial-records effort "government at its best" and said it was "entirely consistent with our democratic values, with our best legal traditions."

The program, kept secret until it was revealed Thursday by news organizations, has been going on since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Using broad government subpoenas, the program allows U.S. counterterrorism analysts to obtain financial information from a vast database maintained by a company based in Belgium. It routes about 11 million financial transactions daily among 7,800 banks and other financial institutions in 200 countries.

"By following the money, we've been able to locate operatives, we've been able to locate their financiers, we've been able to chart the terrorist networks and we've been able to bring the terrorists to justice," Snow said. "If people are sending money to help al-Qaida, we want to know about it."

-continued-

Mall makes girl remove smiley faces

Eager to enjoy a beautiful summer day at the mall with her mom, an Illinois girl wrapped her head in smiley faces, flowers and peace signs. Her joy quickly turned to sorrow when a jack-booted mall cop made her take off the offensive bandanna.

Lydia Smith, 10, and her mother were enjoying the gastronomic delights at the food court of the aptly named Battlefield Mall this past Saturday. While they ate, a rent-a-cop patrolling the area made a nearby teen remove a bandanna. The thug then turned his attention to the little girl.

"(The officer) asked me to take it off and said there's this new rule we have or something like that," Lydia said.

Lydia's mother Susan asked why on earth her child was being accosted in such a manner. The fashionista quietly handed her a printed copy of the Battlefield Mall Code of Conduct. It seems that by "wearing apparel which is likely to provoke a disturbance or embroil other groups or the general public in open conflict" her little girl was in violation of rule #10.

Lydia says the only statement she was trying to make was "I know how to accessorize."

"Some people might wear things that upset people's beliefs, but I just don't understand the whole thing about not being able to wear the bandanna," Lydia said. "I just wore it that day to give my outfit a bit of color."

The mall's spokesman, Les Morris, thinks the rule speaks for itself.

"The code of conduct is pretty clear and, you know, I think common sense should prevail," Morris said.

"The bottom line is we want to have an environment (conducive) to shopping," said Christine Moses, director of mall marketing. "Offensive apparel does not fit in with that environment."

When it was pointed out that Battlefield Mall retailer J.C. Penney sells bandannas, Moses stood firm.

"There are things we sell that it's OK to own them, but to use them in the mall setting is inappropriate," Morris said.

Joyce McCammon of Springfield finds the whole thing outrageous. She says if that's their policy, they should start chasing away the sluts, too.

"If they're going to pick on a little kid like that, then they shouldn't let 15-year-olds run around with halter tops," she declared.

U.S. captures the Unknown Terrorist

The terror kabuki continues today with the Army's announcement that they have yet again captured a "senior al Qaeda cell leader," but they haven't yet figured this new villain's name, despite having captured him on Monday.

In a raid southwest of Baquba - not far from the spot of Zarqawi's latest death - this newest super villain was detained along with three others.

"He is known to be involved in facilitating foreign terrorists throughout central Iraq, and is suspected of having ties to previous attacks on Coalition and Iraqi forces," said a statement from the military.

Why they haven't identified this terrible menace is anyone's guess, though it does highlight a disheartening trend. Earlier this week they claimed to have killed "Sheik Mansur," the man who led the Chechens against Catherine the Great's armies in the 18th Century.

The Bush Administration has been keeping the propaganda pedal down of late. One day it's Zarqawi, then the "crackdown", next the death of Mansur Sulayman Mansur Khalif al-Mashadani, followed by Thursday's Sears Tower arrest in Miami and finally this. The message is clear: be afraid, America.

2006/06/22

World's No.1 Terrorist

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
Published: June 21, 2006

VIENNA, June 21 — President Bush, visiting this central European city with the aim of promoting trans-Atlantic unity, instead issued an impassioned defense of his Iraq policy today amid pointed reminders of how far the United States has fallen in the eyes of many Europeans.

As the president met with President Heinz Fischer of Austria, hundreds marched with banners reading "World's No. 1 Terrorist."

"That's absurd!" Mr. Bush declared, dismissing a reporter's suggestion that most Europeans regard the United States as a bigger threat to global stability than North Korea, which has proclaimed it has nuclear weapons, and Iran, which is suspected of developing them.

Later, asked about polls showing Europeans have a low opinion of him, the president said: "Look, people didn't agree with my decision on Iraq, and I understand that. For Europe, September the 11th was a moment; for us, it was a change of thinking."

Mr. Bush's heated exchange with European reporters — under the glittering chandeliers of the marble-columned throne room in the Hofburg Palace, once the imperial home of the Hapsburgs — followed a summit meeting between the president and leaders of the European Union, who spent the morning talking about a wide range of issues, from nuclear tensions in North Korea to a faltering world trade agreement.

Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel of Austria, the current president of the European Union, and José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, stood by Mr. Bush's side at the news conference. At one point, Mr. Schüssel, stepped into defend Mr. Bush, recalling his own boyhood in post-World War II Vienna, when the city lay in ruins and Americans stepped in to help.

"I think we should be fair from the other side of the Atlantic," Mr. Schüssel said.

-continued-

Indians tail monkey man in search of healing powers

KOLKATA, JUNE 20: Thousands of people are flocking to an impoverished village in West Bengal to worship a man they believe possesses divine powers because he climbs up trees in seconds, gobbles up bananas and has a 'tail'.

Devotees say 27-year-old villager Chandre Oraon is an incarnation of the Hindu god Hanuman -- worshipped by millions as a symbol of physical strength, perseverance and devotion.

"He climbs up trees, behaves like a monkey and is a strict vegetarian, but he is no god and his condition is just a congenital defect," says Bhushan Chakraborty, the local medical officer.

Tucked away in a hamlet in Banarhat, over 650 km north of Kolkata, devotees wait for hours to see or touch Oraon's 13-inch tail, believing that it has healing powers.

Doctors said the 'tail' -- made up of some flesh but mostly of dark hair -- was simply a rare physical attribute.

"It is a congenital anomaly, but very rarely do we find such cases," B Ramana, a Kolkata-based surgeon, said.

Warmongers suck at war

Unsatisfied by three years of irrefutable headlines, scientists recently set out to determine just how good certain folks are at waging war. Not surprisingly, arrogant, macho buffoons love to wage war but are really bad at doing so.

Research by Peter Turchin of the University of Connecticut blames the condition on "positive illusions."

"(The study) supplies critically needed experimental support for the idea that positive attitude - which is generally a [beneficial] feature of human behavior - may lead to overconfidence and [damaging] behaviour in the case of war," Turchin says.

In his 2003 paper "Do Positive Illusions Promote War?" (PDF) Dominic Johnson, then at Harvard University, found that such illusions often cause people to rush into war.

"Perhaps it is our overconfidence that keeps us constantly at war," Johnson wrote in closing.

It's believed that in the past "positive illusions" were an aid in our survival, allowing earlier people to rise above adversity. In today's climate, however, such overconfidence can be deadly.

A team at Princeton, led by Johnson asked 200 volunteers to take part in a war game. Each person was to be the leader of a country in conflict with a neighboring country over recently discovered diamond mines. Before battle, each participant was asked to predict how they would fare compared to the 199 other "warlords."

Those who were more sure of their success were more likely to carry out unprovoked attacks. Additionally, they also tended to finish worse off than their more humble opponents.

"Those who expected to do best tended to do worst," the researchers say. "This suggests that positive illusions were not only misguided but actually may have been detrimental to performance in this scenario."

While men were found to be more aggressive than women, there was no correlation with testosterone levels within each gender. Bloodthirsty killers also tend to be more narcissistic, too, scoring 13 out of 15 on a psych test. Pacifists averaged a score of 11.

"So it's not maleness per se but narcissism that makes some people overly optimistic and aggressive," says Bertram Malle at the University of Oregon.

"Perhaps most disconcerting is that today's leaders are above-average in narcissism," added Malle, referring to Arnold M. Ludwig's "King of the Mountain: The nature of political leadership," which ranks 377 world leaders in six categories.

Who killed Philip Merrill?

Washington GOP insider Philip Merrill's body was dragged from Chesapeake Bay on Monday, 11 miles from where his sailboat was found last week, an anchor tied around his ankles and his head disfigured from a shotgun blast.

It now appears the multimillionaire publisher who held top Bush Family appointments at NATO and the Pentagon mysteriously "committed suicide" in exactly the same fashion as CIA-Watergate operative and JFK-assassination figure John Paisley.

Paisley "committed suicide" in 1978 on a solo sailing trip, also on the Chesapeake Bay. Like Merrill, Paisley's corpse was found with weights tied around his ankles and a gunshot wound to the head. His abandoned sailboat was loaded with top secret CIA files on various clandestine operations, despite Paisley's official retirement four years earlier.

Former CIA chief William Colby suffered a similar fate in 1996, when he allegedly took a nighttime canoe trip, leaving his house unlocked, computer turned on, and a half-made dinner in the kitchen. Colby's canoe was found floating upside down near his house.

Despite a major search effort by multiple agencies, his body didn't turn up for more than a week. And when it was found, it was a few feet away from where the canoe had been discovered. Colby was fired from the CIA by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld back in 1975 and replaced with George H.W. Bush.

Merrill vanished on June 10; his 41-foot sailboat was found by jet-skiers that Saturday evening.

On Tuesday, the family claimed in a statement that the 72-year-old Merrill was distraught over a heart condition -- so he bought a shotgun, took his beloved boat out on a sunny Saturday, tied the anchor around his feet, took his wallet out and left it inside the boat, shot himself in the face with a shotgun, and managed to neatly fall out of the craft and float for 11 miles and 11 days, upstream, with the anchor of a 41-foot-long sailing vessel tied to his ankles and dozens of search-and-rescue teams scouring the bay for his body.

The usual anonymous official told the Washington Post, "Obviously, he took his own life."

At least one of Merrill's colleagues was brave enough to call shenanigans.

"It is the most improbable thing I could conceive of," said Chuck Conconi, the editor-at-large of Merrill's magazine Washingtonian. Conconi worked side by side with Merrill for 15 years.

"From everything I could determine, he loved his life."

The Maryland Medical Examiner's office was also somewhat cautious on Tuesday, saying it was "waiting for further police examination" and "looking at the circumstances," according to the Baltimore Sun.

"Merrill was assistant secretary general to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the early 1990s and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States from 2002 until last year," the Washington Post reported today.

"Throughout his working life, he took time away from his business interests to pursue diplomatic and intelligence assignments for the government. He served six administrations, mostly in the State and Defense departments."

Tagging HIV patients

Plans to track the movements of once-free Americans continue to march forward. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags are being put into everything from your passport to your pets. Plans to tag immigrants - even legal ones - are already being discussed in Washington. Now, one of the world's leading drug makers is tagging HIV patients.

GlaxoSmithKline has begun placing RFID tags on all bottles of their drug Trizivir, given to HIV-positive patients in an effort to keep AIDS from developing. Now anyone carrying the medication can be tracked.

It's bad enough that they tag razors or shampoo, all that can be learned from possession of those items is the presence of hair. But with GSK tagging retrovirals - and soon other drugs, now the government can keep tabs on a much narrower demographic.

Defenders of RFID technology say that the tags are only used for short-distance reading. But anyone using a high-gain antenna can scan the tags from a distance. They could even scan your house from those windowless vans you see outside your window.

GSK says they have to tag Trizivir because the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy said it was among the 32 drugs most susceptible to counterfeiting.

In 2004, the FDA concerned about such nefarious practices, wrote up a Compliance Policy Guide (CPG), which discouraged pharmaceutical companies from placing RFID tags on drugs:

* RFID will not be used in lieu of current labeling control systems to ensure correct labeling processes.
Unfortunately, the FDA also noted in their report "Combating Counterfeit Drugs" that "adoption and common use of RFID as the standard track and trace technology, which is feasible in 2007, would provide better protection."

Soon, the government won't only know where you are, they'll be able to learn your medical history. But as long as you fools are able to cut the line at fancy nightclubs, you'll be happy to have tracking devices implanted in you.

Another AT&T secret room revealed

By: Michael Hampton

In a nondescript building near the junction of Interstates 70 and 270 in Bridgeton, Mo., just outside of St. Louis, lies what appears to be the heart of AT&T’s secret network surveillance on behalf of the U.S. government, former employees of the company said.

Salon reports that in 2002, AT&T converted part of the facility into a highly secure area complete with a “mantrap,” an enclosed space with separate doors on entry and exit requiring retinal scan and fingerprint authentication to pass through, and obtained Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Intelligence security clearance for several employees, the former employees said. The security is consistent with work on an NSA program, according to intelligence sources who spoke with Salon.

The former employees said that they were told the employees in the secret room were “monitoring network traffic” and the project was for “a government agency.”

“It was very hush-hush,” said one of the former AT&T workers. “We were told there was going to be some government personnel working in that room. We were told, ‘Do not try to speak to them. Do not hamper their work. Do not impede anything that they’re doing.’”

The importance of the Bridgeton facility is its role in managing the “common backbone” for all of AT&T’s Internet operations. According to one of the former workers, Bridgeton serves as the technical command center from which the company manages all the routers and circuits carrying the company’s domestic and international Internet traffic. Therefore, Bridgeton could be instrumental for conducting surveillance or collecting data.

If the NSA is using the secret room, it would appear to bolster recent allegations that the agency has been conducting broad and possibly illegal domestic surveillance and data collection operations authorized by the Bush administration after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. AT&T’s Bridgeton location would give the NSA potential access to an enormous amount of Internet data — currently, the telecom giant controls approximately one-third of all bandwidth carrying Internet traffic to homes and businesses across the United States. — Salon News

But Russell Tice, who’s still alive and kicking, says you can bet your banana there’s something going on in there. He said that the security measures point to “something going on that’s very important, because you’re talking about an awful lot of money.” He also said that the arduous six-month clearance process the AT&T employees went through to gain access to that facility is indicative of NSA involvement. The background checks were extensive, involving reviews of past employment, school records, and interviewing people they knew as far back as elementary school.

The former AT&T employees were not able to say whether telephone calls or Internet traffic was being monitored from the Bridgeton facility, though prior to its conversion the 20 foot by 40 foot secret room was used by AT&T’s WorldNet Internet backbone.

AT&T, for their part, refuses to confirm or deny anything. The government also refused to confirm or deny “actual or alleged operationial issues.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a lawsuit against AT&T alleging that the company illegally provided intercepts of telephone and Internet traffic to the NSA under the terrorist surveillance program which, while being authorized by President Bush, the EFF says is not actually lawful. The U.S. has asserted the state secrets privilege in the lawsuit, and the court will hear oral arguments on that motion Friday.

EFF’s lawsuit focuses on a similar, but less secure, AT&T secret facility in San Francisco, which appears to take orders from the Bridgeton facility. It’s not yet clear whether the new revelations about the secret room in Bridgeton will have an impact on the court case.

In May, Wired News published documents it received from Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee and witness for EFF in the AT&T case, showing details of the San Francisco secret room and some of the equipment being used in the room.

Bush breaks the law AGAIN!!!!

Outraged that the junior senator from New York has tried to stifle their freedom of expression and fearing Monday's vote on a flag burning amendment, an anonymous gang of freedom fighters blazed a trail of American flags Wednesday night.

And in his own quiet way, the president sent them a signal of solidarity.

Cops in Brooklyn this morning received seven complaints that flags hung proudly on folks' homes had been torched. It's believed that the arson took place between 9 p.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. Thursday.

The case is being investigated as a simple matter of criminal mischief, but this "crime" goes far higher than a gang of street toughs. It reaches all the way to the White House.

In Vienna today, President Bush was surrounded by a throng of fans and well-wishers -- mostly Republicans employed by the local U.S. embassy.

Bush reportedly used a Sharpie felt-tip pen to scribble his autograph across one American flag as a souvenir for at least one happy Republican, and in complete defiance of the fascist flag bill that Senator Hillary Clinton co-sponsored late last year.

Not only did Bush defy Clinton, he also violated U.S. Code Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8 (g):

The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
In yet another nauseating attempt to straddle an issue, Sen. Clinton supported Utah Republican Sen. Bob Bennett's flag-protection bill in December, but insisted that she was not in favor of an amendment to the constitution outlawing flag burning.

But the more imminent threat to American liberty is the vote next week on Sen. Orrin Hatch's SJ Res 12, which would give Congress the "power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."

Boy Scouts, veterans and lesser-ranked members of the American armed forces will be the primary target of that draconian law.

Janitor cracks conspiracy

It was just a weird message spray-painted on the Boone County administrative building, but for janitor Ken Roberts the graffiti has opened his eyes to a staggering conspiracy that permeates every aspect of life.

Roberts was doing his usual rounds on Monday when he saw the striking slogan in carefully painted red letters on the wall of a maintenance shed.

problem reaction solution ... get it yet?

As head of the Missouri county's facilities maintenance department, Roberts knew he had to take the graffiti seriously.

"Sometimes we get the basic 'f--k you cops' graffiti," Roberts told the Columbia Daily Tribune. "But nothing of the political nature or of the educated nature."

With skills learned from television shows such as "CSI" and his copy of "The Da Vinci Code," Roberts got himself to a computer and began his investigation.

What he found was terrifying.

"It's not your basic vandals; it's actually a conspiracy movement," he told the newspaper.

The secrets revealed to the janitor claim that the U.S. government -- or a shadow government of unelected elites who control the political circus to distract the masses -- is the perpetrator of the "terror attacks" in the United States and elsewhere.

Roberts is now pondering his discovery, although he's not yet ready to believe that everything he's been told since 9/11 is an elaborate fiction.

"I'm in denial, if such a thing exists; I just don't believe it," Roberts told the paper. "But there are people who believe it, and one of them stopped by the courthouse parking lot."

And that's where the graffiti leads to a completely new plot in Roberts' mind: He believes this "conspiracy movement" may be plotting a terrorist attack on the county building where he works -- which is either a new level of paranoia or a gross misreading of the "problem / reaction / solution" theory. Or both.

"When I see something like that, it concerns me," Roberts said. "It could be a bunch of kids playing, but if it's more that that we need to be aware of it and be vigilant."

Local police couldn't care less.

"It's just misguided artisans out there with spray cans, thinking that they're beautifying downtown with spray paint," Columbia Police Sgt. John White said.

Sgt. White dismissed the slogan as "anarchist stuff" done by "younger people who don't have much to do," even though 9/11 skeptics have no obvious ties to any American anarchy movements -- assuming there are any American anarchy movements.

Problem / Reaction / Solution

The "conspiracy theory" is known to philosophers as "thesis / antithesis / synthesis" and to Roman historians as Diocletian's Reign of Terror or Nero's Burning of Rome.

"There was no end to Nero's ambition," says the Great Fire of Rome Case File. "One of his grandest plans was to tear down a third of Rome so that he could build an elaborate series of palaces that would be known as Neropolis. The senate, however, objected ardently to this proposal."

Nero had a problem: Rank and file politicians wouldn't allow the Emperor to level much of his capital city. His reaction was to have his henchmen commit arson and mass murder, leaving two-thirds of Rome in ruins and killing countless innocent Romans -- Nero's thugs savagely attacked citizens who tried to fight the inferno, thus ensuring it would burn for days and do maximum damage.

His solution had arrived: The burnt out skeleton of Rome was now ready for his massive new palaces.

But there was another necessary part of his solution: a scapegoat. Nero chose a foreign religious minority -- a small Jewish sect known as the Christians. It was announced that they were the terrorists who started the fire because of their religious fanaticism and hatred of Roman freedoms.

The Roman mobs responded as planned. They rounded up the Christians and cheered as the innocents were brutally tortured and savagely murdered. Despite being ruled by a monster, Roman patriotism was back -- just as it came back 140 years later when the fascist Emperor Diocletian needed a crusade to distract Romans from harsh authoritarian rule and economic tsunamis.

(Another description of the term makes the reaction the public response to the manufactured crisis, with the solution being the action that wouldn't have been tolerated without the terrifying event.)

For the first two decades of his rule, Diocletian showed no interest in oppressing Christians, who lived in "peace and prosperity" throughout the Empire. But in 303 they were chosen as the new scapegoat, and an astonishing 10% of the Empire's population was viciously tortured and executed in the most horrific ways.

The campaign of terror was the brainchild of Caesar Galerius, according to Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."

"After the success of the Persian war had raised the hopes and the reputation of Galerius, he passed a winter with Diocletian in the palace of Nicomedia; and the fate of Christianity became the object of their secret consultations," wrote Gibbon. Diocletian was initially cool to the plot, but by season's end he had been convinced by Galerius and the outrageous edicts were written by Galerius and approved by secret council.

To earn public support for the vicious campaign, two suspicious fires were set within the Emperor's own palace in modern-day Split, Croatia. The Christians were blamed, of course, and the terror began in earnest across the western and eastern Empire.

The beauty of such crimes is that it's generally impossible to ever prosecute the killers, because only a small group of people make the decision. Better yet, the actions are so morally reprehensible that "normal people" find it impossible to believe.

Historians may have strong suspicions about such convenient mysteries as the explosion on the USS Maine that led to the Spanish-American War, the ignored Pearl Harbor warnings that allowed Washington to enter World War II, the fictional Gulf of Tonkin attacks on U.S. warships that led to 11 years of "all out war" in Vietnam, and the trillions of dollars earned by the U.S. defense business during the last bloody century right up to the current trillion-dollar nightmare in Iraq.

For 9/11 skeptics, the problem was outlined in great detail by a group of neo-con GOP insiders who needed a "new Pearl Harbor" to convince an isolationist-minded America that the United States must seize the Middle East and Central Asia. Once this group was installed in the White House in January 2001, the reaction was to either overtly plot or clandestinely encourage and allow a psychologically-devastating attack on New York and Washington. The solution is massive and ongoing: Endless profitable warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq, a drastic limiting of American civil liberties and constitutional protections, intense surveillance of potential political enemies, and brutal campaigns against vocal adversaries.

But suspicion is rarely enough to see evil men hang, so the Problem / Reaction / Solution system remains almost foolproof.

Being a cable guy(different company) I totally feel for this tech.

2006/06/20

Dashboard Confessional - Don't Wait

Dashboard Confessional - Vindicted

Down the memory hole

Just a decade ago, a fleet of sleek all-electric American cars were zooming around California. But the beloved EV1 was killed by a massive conspiracy that's still at work today trying to annihilate all memory of the gasoline-free vehicle.

The first batch of General Motors' EV1 battery-powered automobiles hit the streets in 1996, to meet new California requirements that emission-free cars make up 2% of new inventory by the mid-1990s. There were 5,000 people on the waiting list to lease one of the sleek EV1s, but California abruptly backtracked on the zero-emissions law and GM killed the whole program in 2003.

Heartbroken EV1 drivers were literally forced to return the lease-only vehicles -- and then General Motors smashed the futuristic cars to bits. One of the few surviving EV1s was at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, part of an exhibit of advances in automobile technology. Suddenly, it's gone.

A scathing new documentary about the EV1 premieres on June 30, so the Smithsonian got rid of the EV1 right before the car would be of national interest.

Why? Because General Motors is a major contributor to the corporate-funded institution.

"A $10 million gift in 2001 paid half the cost of the history museum's new transportation exhibition hall, which was renamed to honor the benefactor," the Washington Post reported Friday. "But museum and automaker say the EV1 was removed from view with no thoughts of public reaction to the movie or the display."

Corrupt as any politician, the Smithsonian got its orders from GM and immediately sent the rare vehicle to a secret warehouse in eastern Maryland.

Both the company and museum made the absurd claims that getting rid of the car just before the movie is released was just one of those crazy coincidences.

"There was no pressure from GM to remove the car from display," Smithsonian spokeswoman Michelle J. Werts told the Post. Werts instead made the outrageous claim that the museum suddenly needed the few feet of space occupied by the EV1 ... for a gas-guzzling SUV developed by DARPA, the Pentagon's lunatic-fringe doomsday unit.

The response from GM was even more transparent:

"It's not that I picked up the phone," GM spokesman Dave Barthmuss told the paper. "There is no conspiracy to do away with the EV1 at the Smithsonian. There is no Oliver Stone-esque conspiracy at GM to do away with the EV1."

Of course not. That's because GM did away with the EV1 three years ago, when it rounded up the amazing sedans and crushed them in the Arizona desert.

The Smithsonian's EV1 -- which was donated by GM to the Smithsonian -- was suddenly removed from the museum on Thursday. And it's never coming back, museum officials said.

"Who Killed the Electric Car?" is a mystery-documentary that got great reviews at the Sundance Film Festival. It shows how a brilliant team of GM engineers brought the car to life and delivered it to happy drivers in California -- and then factions within that same company colluded with oil companies and California politicians to destroy the EV1.

"The EV1 experience demonstrated to California regulators that battery technology was not going to advance further," Barthmuss lied. "It was only going to appeal to a small number of people."

In fact, the experience was seen as a stunning success and a thrilling glance at a future America that wouldn't need foreign oil. What the EV1 "demonstrated to California regulators" is that oil companies and their Detroit henchmen are far more powerful than people who want clean vehicles.

Southern California Edison, the utility company that provided charging stations for the EV1, describes the car as "a triumph of modern manufacturing -- hailed as one of the best small cars in GM's history, and touted as a transportation dream by enthusiastic drivers."

The vehicle a hit with California drivers and a rare recent example of excellence from an American auto manufacturer.

"As part of a memorandum of agreement with the state of California, all major automakers subsequently introduced EV models in limited numbers -- though mostly to fleet customers," according to Edison.

The electric vehicles included Chevy and Ford pickups, Chrysler and Nissan minivans, Toyota's RAV-4 SUV and a Honda sedan.

"In fact, some automakers fulfilled their individual MOA commitments ahead of schedule, and today there are waiting lists for some of these popular vehicles."

As for GM's absurd claims that "battery technology was not going to advance further," just three years after the automaker intentionally destroyed the EV1 there's a whole new wave of battery cars thrilling drivers around the world.

The Times of London reported Sunday, "Electric cars have never been cheaper. They are exempt from road tax and the £8 a day London congestion charge; they can park free in central London and other cities and the cost of recharging them is the equivalent of 600 miles to the gallon."

Better yet, according to the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper, the market is now dominated by specialty manufacturers rather than the big car companies that would rather make gasoline-run automobiles to keep the oil business happy.

For about $8,000, the G-Wiz is the new green hit in London. The ultra-clean little cars are built in India by a U.S. businessman and sold directly to drivers.

And in Japan, where hybrid and battery technology is ages beyond American industry's limp efforts, a fantastic new electric car was unveiled Monday -- a space-age road rocket that has a top speed of 250mph.

In Paris last weekend, a total of 149 new environmentally-friendly vehicles competed, including new variations of electric and hybrid motors.

The war between electric cars and gasoline-powered automobiles is more than a century old: The first electric cars were built in the 1840s, and by 1895 battery-fueled vehicles were common.

"In 1900, more electrics were sold in America than gas-powered cars," Michael Shnayerson wrote in AC Propulsion.

"Despite the vogue for the latter, electrics were widely assumed to be the car of the future--as soon as their range problems could be resolved. So confident was Thomas Edison of their potential superiority that at the peak of his success, in his early fifties, he devoted a decade of his life and most of his fortune to a search for more effective battery elements than lead and acid. The nickel and iron pairing he settled on failed in cars, but led to the nickel and cadmium batteries in universal use today in flashlights and a hundred other devices."

In fact, GM was still selling electric cars as late as 1916 -- that's the year General Motors ended production of its battery-powered pickup truck.

Ray Guns In The Cinema: Camera Neutralizing Device Unveiled

Compulsive tinkerers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have built a prototype device that they say can stop digital cameras functioning in a given area. The device uses off-the-shelf equipment - camera-mounted sensors, lighting equipment, a projector and a computer - to scan for, identify and neutralize both still and video digital cameras. The researchers have their eye on two markets - protecting limited areas against clandestine photography and stopping video copying in larger areas such as theaters, explained Geogia Tech's Gregory Abowd.

Abowd said the device could be used to prevent espionage photography in government buildings, industrial settings or trade shows. Co-researcher James Clawson added that preventing movie copying could be a major application for the camera-blocking technology. "Movie piracy is a $3 billion-a-year problem. If someone videotapes a movie in a theater and then puts it up on the web that night or burns half a million copies to sell on the street - then the movie industry has lost a lot of in-theater revenue," said Clawson. The researchers say that movie theaters are likely to be a good setting for the technology, as a camera's CCD image sensor is retroreflective, meaning it sends light back directly to its origin rather than scattering it. Such retroreflection would make it relatively easy to detect and identify video cameras in a darkened theater.

-continued-

White House ignored Iran's 2003 make-nice

Iran offered pretty much everything the United States wanted back in 2003 -- including recognition of Israel, complete cooperation on nuclear issues and an end to financing Palestinian extremist groups.

The White House completely ignored the two-page offer.

On Sunday, the Washington Post revealed the depraved depths of the Bush Administration in its ceaseless quest for war against Iran.

"But top Bush administration officials, convinced the Iranian government was on the verge of collapse, belittled the initiative," the Post reported Sunday.

"Instead, they formally complained to the Swiss ambassador who had sent the fax with a cover letter certifying it as a genuine proposal supported by key power centers in Iran, former administration officials said."

Today's seemingly choreographed "crisis" with North Korea aims to deflect attention from a determined White House effort to create a war against Iran despite that country's clear attempts to stay out of the Pentagon's gun sights.

The neo-conservative Jerusalem Post reported Monday:

"Former administration officials said that in failing to consider the overtures made by Teheran, the U.S. missed an opportunity to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear capability."

The Iranian offer, which came soon after the U.S. military's initially successful seize of Baghdad, would seem to be exactly the result American hawks desired. But the idealogocial desires of U.S. war cheerleaders are often the exact opposite of the policies pursued by the Bush Administration.

It emerged last April that John Bolton, current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, intentionally hid Iranian communications directed to the United States from other administration figures -- including then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his successor, Condoleezza Rice.

Japan PM announces Iraq troop withdrawal

By Linda Sieg

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan has decided to withdraw its troops from Iraq, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced on Tuesday, ending the Japanese military's riskiest and most ambitious overseas mission since World War Two.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday his forces would take over security from July in the southern province of Muthanna, where the British oversee a multinational contingent that includes Japanese troops.

Japan's troop despatch -- a symbol of Tokyo's willingness to put "boots on the ground" for its close ally, the United States, and to take a bigger global security role -- won praise from Washington. But it was opposed by many at home including critics who said the despatch violated Japan's pacifist constitution.

The decision to withdraw comes ahead of Koizumi's visit to Washington for talks with President George W. Bush in late June and the end of his term as ruling party president, and hence as prime minister, in September.

No Japanese soldiers have been killed or wounded in Iraq, but Koizumi faced a political crisis in 2004 when three Japanese civilians were taken hostage by insurgents. The three, as well as two others taken hostage later, were released unharmed.

In all, six Japanese citizens, including two diplomats, have been killed by insurgents in Iraq.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said the troops had won high marks for their military discipline.

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Now if only the U.S. can follow suite

Pentagon says gays are nuts

The Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy is dumb enough. But now a document has been unearthed that outlines the Army's policies for discharging soldiers. It says homosexuality is a "defect," along with mental retardation and personality disorders.

Up until 1973, the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders listed homosexuality as a clinical mental disorder. A vote that year resulted in the acknowledgment by the psychiatric community that gays were no crazier than breeders.

But researchers at the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, at the University of California at Santa Barbara, found that the Pentagon still thinks gays are loony.

Nathaniel Frank, a senior fellow at the CSSMM thinks the policy speaks volumes about the military.

"The policy reflects the (Defense) department's continued misunderstanding of homosexuality and makes it more difficult for gays and lesbians to access mental health services," Frank said.

The famous compassionate Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is being asked by members of Congress and James H. Scully Jr., head of the APA, to reconsider the policy.

"Based on scientific and medical evidence the APA declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973 -- a position shared by all other major health and mental health organizations based on their own review of the science," Scully Jr said in a letter to the Defense Department earlier this month.

9/11 plot in 1995!

In the months before the 9/11 attacks on the United States, dozens of artists spontaneously started making images, music and films about terrible things happening to the World Trade Center and America at large.

But the latest discovery of 9/11 predictions goes back to 1995, when Steve Jackson Games released its new version of the popular "Illuminati" strategy card game.

What's most disturbing about the images of the Pentagon on fire and dual explosions in the World Trade Center towers is not the accuracy but the motivation.

"Illuminati: New World Order" is all about competing alliances of secret societies controlling (and exterminating) the world population through fake terrorism, manufactured epidemics, media manipulation, "combined disasters," agents provocateurs, phony religious leaders and stage-managed Hegelian contests between idealogies such as Islam vs. Christianity, Communism vs. Capitalism or Left vs. Right.

The game is loosely based on the conspiracies documented in Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea's "Illuminatus Trilogy," based on the detailed conspiracy theories sent as letters to the editor when the authors worked for Playboy magazine some three decades ago.

The goal of the game is total world domination, just like in reality.

Synchronicity

The X-Files' spinoff "The Lone Gunmen," for example, started its short life on Fox TV in March 2001 with a pilot episode about a "shadow government" of defense contractors who fly a passenger jet into the World Trade Center in order to start profitable wars against "tin-pot dictators."

Political rappers The Coup finalized the cover of their 2001 CD "Party Music" in June of that year: It shows Coup members Pam the Funkstress and Boots Riley in front of the WTC, with both towers exploding as they actually did a few months later.

Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" -- with its eerie sepia cover showing "twin tower" high-rises -- seemed to be a stoned soundtrack to the television news on that day.

The song "Jesus, Etc." was especially brutal with its pre-9/11 lyrics of tall buildings burning with workers trapped inside as "skyscrapers are scraping together."

And Bob Dylan's "Love and Theft," which had its long-planned commercial release on 9/11, was so specific in its descriptions of an American apocalypse run by amoral confidence men that just a week after the attacks the Village Voice demanded, "What did Dylan know and when did he know it?"

Doomsday seed vault

A shadowy cabal of world leaders met today to make preparations for the end of the world. Foremost in their minds: Seeds.

The prime ministers of Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland put down the cornerstone of a doomsday seed bank on a remote island in Arctic Norway.

Should the world suffer disease, famine, flood, nuclear war, earthquakes, global warming, or terrorism -- and really, what are the chances? -- plants' biogenetic diversity will rest safe within a cozy envelope of permafrost, concrete, and metal. The Svalbard International Seed Vault will hold around 3 million seeds as a last-ditch safeguard against species extinction.

Also, polar bears will hang around outside to make sure hooligans keep their distance.

Even if power fails in the seed bank, the layer of permafrost will keep the seeds safe as the human race slowly extinguishes itself in an orgy of pestilence and war.

"The seeds will retain their ability to germinate for a long time," cheerily piped the Norwegian foreign ministry.

The Global Crop Diversity Trust, which campaigned to establish the bank, concurred. "Despite changes being wrought by global warming, experts believe the deep permafrost will be reliably cool for at least the next 100 years," it said.

That gives humankind another whole century to vomit carbon dioxide and petrochemical waste into the atmosphere before raiding nature's piggy bank for one last fix.

"It is a stunning achievement, if you think about it, and it would be about as safe as human beings can make it," said Cary Fowler, the Global Crop Diversity Trust's executive director, not adding, "We are so screwed."

Art pics get art teacher fired

A high school teacher has been fired, not for everyday reasons like having sex with students or driving drunk, but for the truly terrible crime of being photographed nude in various artsy settings.

Austin art teacher Tamara Hoover has found herself embroiled in controversy after another teacher ratted her out for appearing in the photos on Flickr.

Hoover, beloved by students and respected by her peers, had argued all year with teacher Gayle "Snitchy" Andrews over a kiln. After a recent spat, students told Andrews that they knew how to get back at Hoover -- by telling authorities about the completely harmless, non-pornographic pictures her photographer partner had taken of her.

School officials acted quickly to fire Hoover.

In a city where women regularly bathe top-free and its most popular homeless person walks around town in a thong, it is chilling news indeed to hear that cute punky art gals can get fired for being cute and punky.

The Austin American-Statesman opined, "The public rightly expects a certain level of decorum from its teachers."

And indeed, what business does an art teacher have actually producing art? It's unseemly!

"They are firing me for pictures of me being on a website ... and claiming the website is pornographic," Hoover wrote on her Myspace page.

Intrepid researchers will be disappointed to find that most of the photographs are down, leaving only images of an adorable young woman jumping around and sitting (clothed) in bed.

One Statesman reader commented, "much younger kids can find real porno online in seconds if they so desire."

Hoover is accepting donations for her legal defense.


What kind of bullshit is this? It's not like she was in a porn, she was making art, for fucks sake, come on people!!!!!

2006/06/16

Curious GWB

Seth MacFarlane's Harvard Class Day Speech STEWIE (3 of 4)

The Corruptibles

Newly released emails suggest Army Corps lied about Cheney role in Halliburton contract

New documents obtained by a conservative watchdog group suggest that the US Army Corp of Engineers may have publicly lied regarding the involvement of the Vice President's office in awarding a 2003 multi-billion dollar, no-bid contract to Kellogg Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, RAW STORY has learned.

RAW STORY has obtained a copy of the emails, which were acquired by the government watchdog group Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act.

The newly released emails show the Army Corps attempting to deflect attention from Cheney's office by distributing talking points that would mask Cheney's purported role. The Corps could not immediately be reached for comment.

Among the 100 pages of newly-obtained documents is an 2003 email in which Army Corps official Carol Sanders writes, "Mr. Robert Andersen, Chief Counsel, USACE, participated in a 60 Minutes interview today in New York regarding the sole source award of the oil response contract to Kellogg, Brown and Root... [Andersen] was able to make many of the points we had planned."

Sanders subsequently provided sound bites from the interview, including, "There was no contact whatsoever (with the VP office)."

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Bush declines to meet with border officials

Bush snubs border sheriffs President refuses to meet coalition as lawmakers prepare hearings

Sara A. Carter Staff Writer


President Bush has refused to meet with border law enforcement officials from Texas for a second time. His response to their request came in the form of a letter Monday, angering both lawmakers and sheriffs.

In fact, some Republican members of Congress, upset by what they call the administration's seeming lack of concern for border security, are preparing to hold investigative hearings in San Diego and Laredo, Texas, early next month.
Members of the House subcommittee on international terrorism and nonproliferation hope to expose serious security flaws that could potentially lead to terrorist attacks in the country, said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who is a member of the panel and has pushed for the hearings.

"The next terrorist is not going to come in through (Transportation Security Administration) screening at Kennedy airport," Poe said. "We already have information that people from the Middle East have come through the border from Mexico. They assimilate in Mexico learning to speak Spanish and adopt customs and then they cross the border into the United States."

Poe requested the meeting for members of the Southwestern Sheriffs' Border Coalition -- a group that includes all 26 border county sheriffs from California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. The sheriffs wanted to speak to the president about the increasing dangers in their communities and along the border.

"The president is the busiest man in the world but he needs to take the time to talk to the border sheriffs and learn what's happening in the real world from them," Poe said. "We can't understand why he refuses to meet with them."

In May, all of the Republican House members from Texas traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet the president regarding border security. Bush did not meet with them, however, and former White House spokesman Scott McClellan was sent in his stead.

Poe said the White House letter dated Monday showed the disconnect between the administration and the American people who want the border secured.

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Cat-food warfare


Army researchers working with robot soldiers have come up with a novel solution for their insurgent-village simulation.

Instead of spending a million bucks on computer virtual-reality environments, they just made a little tiny Iraqi town out of cat-food boxes.

The palm trees are made from pipe cleaners, and the 1/32 scale trucks and cars are just cheap store-bought toys. Plastic toy soldiers represent the U.S. troops allegedly interacting with the killer robots.

Once the cat-food Arab town was constructed, researchers used little cameras to shoot video of all the different streets and squares and angles, which will then be used for training the monstrous death machines.

Middle-class New Yorkers: Screwed

A new study confirms that it's only become harder for regular people to live in New York City. The amount of affordable housing available to households earning $32,000 a year dropped by 17% in the past three years.

That means that many firefighters, police officers, bartenders, and home health workers can't afford to live in the city they serve.

Amazingly, there's been some debate about whether this is a good or a bad thing.

On the one hand, there's the fact that rising costs force people into multiple jobs, crowded housing situations, or out of the city altogether.

(There's also that crazy old-fashioned idea that the U.S. depends on a thriving middle class to prevent it from degenerating into a Latin-American style plutocracy. And it's always nice for the middle class to have places to live.)

On the other hand, there are the economists. They say that rents go up because more people want to live in New York, which is more proof of how desirable the city is and how awesomely it's doing.

If it's a simple case of supply and demand, then new construction should help to ease the strain.

"Clearly, one solution to the problem is increasing the housing supply over all," said Shaun Donovan, commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

The city issued 32,000 new construction permits last year, a 34-year high.


They need to do this same study every were in America. It's not just the new yorkers getting pushed out of the housing markets.

America loves Nazis

Outrageous new evidence points to CIA-Nazi collaboration that far exceeded previously known post-World War II efforts to take Hitler's "best and brightest" under the wing of America's intelligence agencies and aerospace industry.

The Federation of American Scientists -- a government-watchdog group founded by the nuclear pioneers who created the atomic bomb for the United States -- released pages of damning documents on June 6.

A pair of Washington renegades (Sen. Mike DeWine and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney) finally succeeded in forcing the intel agencies to release some documents they've kept hidden for half a century, despite the efforts by the few brave Senators and U.S. Representatives who believed Washington's long love affair with Nazi Germany's cruelest monsters should come to light.

Porter Goss, the CIA boss who recently quit under a cloud of scandal, was reportedly a great help in getting the old CIA documents released.

The FAS report, "New Information on Cold War CIA Stay-Behind Operations in Germany and on the Adolf Eichmann Case" (PDF file) details the extensive use and cover of war-criminal Nazis by Washington as well as U.S. operations in Europe that swept up the Nazis' top scientists to safety before actual Allied troops arrived.

At nearly every level of defense, intelligence and technological power in the United States, avowed Nazis took prime positions and big salaries in exchange for their technical know-how, gruesome genocide techniques and anti-Soviet theology.

The right-wing shadow government operations that Washington left behind in Europe never really left; instead, they formed the anti-communist "stay behind" militias and false-flag terror groups that Washington weakly denies to this day.

The 27,000 pages of previously Top Secret documents also show the American government's utter lack of interest in Holocaust architect's Adolf Eichmann and his new life in Argentina. Eichmann was the monster in charge of exterminating European Jews; the gas chambers were his idea, among other horrors. He was finally captured, tried and executed by Israel.

As a boy in Austria, Eichmann had been viciously teased by classmates because of his dark complexion and Jewish features. They called him "the little Jew," a taunting insult he would not forget when loading European trains with Jewish families from all over Europe.

2006/06/14

Crooks in Congress take a pay hike

They're rocked by scandal almost daily, their job approval rating hovers around 30% and their salary is more four times that of the average American. No wonder folks in Congress gave themselves a raise.

Not only did Congress bump its own pay $3,300 to $168,500, they wouldn't even let the matter be put up for discussion. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, tried in vain to put the cost of living adjustment before the House.

"I do not think that it is appropriate to let this bill go through without an up or down vote on whether or not Congress should have an increase in its own pay," Matheson said.

This is the sixth year in a row that Matheson has tried valiantly to stop the Congress from doing this. Last year he tried to pass a bill that would've put an end to the annual raise happening automatically.

"We continue to swim in a pool of red ink," he sighed.

The Senate had tried to block the raise, with a 92 - 6 vote, but buckled under pressure from the House of Representatives, who voted 249-167 against Matheson effort to get a vote on the raise itself.

ASU

Started my first class at ASU, it's pretty amazing to be in the big time.