Thursday, October 30, 2008

Viva La Beard!

Awesome stuff.

WTF? How Come My Teachers Were Not Like That?

Story and video link.

Finally! watch Netflix Movies on the TiVo Box!

Netflix and TiVo Team Up

Oct 30, 2008 11:06 am

Netflix continues to find as many ways as possible to get movies into your home. The latest is a new partnership with TiVo, announced today.

This adds TiVo boxes to the list of devices that will allow you to view Netflix movies; the other devices include your PC, the Roku Netflix box, and--soon--the Xbox 360. TiVo announced that Netflix service will be available to all TiVo customers with a TiVo Series 3, TiVo HD, or TiVo HD XL this December with no extra cost other than Netflix's own fees.

The match between TiVo and Netflix is a natural fit. Back in 2004, Netflix and TiVo tried to develop a digital film distribution system together, but due to licensing issues and technical limitations the plan never came around. Now, four years later both companies have come together again.

And personally, I couldn't be happier with the partnership. As someone who rents a lot of movies, and a complete TiVo addict, I can definitely see myself getting a lot of use out of this. My only gripe with the service is that it only supports streaming movies through the TiVo. The thing that makes TiVo so great is that it stores your shows so you can watch them anytime, and it would be great if the Netflix partnership allowed you to store movies--even for a short period of time. TiVo already has an option that automatically deletes shows after a set period of time, so it would have been a great addition if Netflix movies could use that feature to allow the movies to be more of a digital rental than just a streaming movie. But even as just a streaming service, the partnership will be getting a lot of use in my house.

Story link.

This looks like a great Movie...

Very sweet and uplifting!

Rock on Bill!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Moral Of The Story: Topless Edition (With Photos!)

I was writing this in an email to my good friend, Bill, and I realized that this is the kind of story IttyBiz readers would like. We are discussing my feelings on the topic of semicolons. (If you’re interested, I hate them. A lot. The rage gets unleashed when semicolons come up, and the rage, it is not itty.) Does this have anything to do with home business, you ask? Oh, but it does. Anyway, here’s my email.

Oh, I stand by my not-so-casual disregard for the semicolon. It all stems from my tattoo. One morning, a teensy bit hungover, I decided to get my tattoo. (My tattoo, and not a tattoo. It had been in the works for a while. This was not a flight of fancy.) I have four Japanese symbols across my back, gleaned from a Japanese-English dictionary. In case you weren’t aware, Japanese-English dictionaries are printed in 6-point font. Like 6 Sigma, but with less “Sigma” and more “point font”.

Anyway, there I am in the tattoo parlour, all by my lonesome on a rainy Tuesday morning, design in hand. Said design has been photocopied and enlarged to within an inch of its life. It begged for mercy and I didn’t care. I settle in to the chair and raise the back of my shirt. Anthony, my friendly neighborhood tattoo parlor employee, asks where exactly I want the ink.

Right above the bra line, I say.

What bra would that be? Anthony is amused.

I guess I hadn’t worn one. This was before I nursed three ungrateful children.

Anyway, I was totally embarrassed and in a rush to get out. When we were done, I thanked him profusely and essentially ran like hell.

Upon my return home, I showed my roommate. He had seen the desired design many times, so he knew what he was looking for. I pulled up the back of my shirt, removed the gauze, and showed the new art.

Dude, is that a fucking semicolon on your back?

Yes, it would seem that in our haste, nobody took the semicolon from the dictionary entry out of the design and it now lives for eternity on my skin.

Moral of the Story: Always Proofread.

Story link.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Obama Has Already Booked His Victory Party...

Barack Obama took a lot of ribbing for setting up Greek columns on the larger-than-life set of his nomination acceptance speech in Denver two months ago.

But at least he knew for certain then that when the ballgame was over -- he was going to be the Democratic candidate for president.

Now, with the Nov. 4 general election still 12 days away, the front-running Illinois senator is planning an Election Night celebration that could put his Invesco Field party to shame.

A huge stage is being constructed in Chicago's Grant Park, where Obama hopes to declare victory before a cheering throng that could dwarf the one at the Democratic convention. Back then, "only" 80,000 fans were in attendance that night. This time, it could be hundreds of thousands in the park and its surroundings -- closer to Berlin in July than Denver in August.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the price tag of the fanfare has been pegged at $2 million, to be picked up by the Obama campaign. Mayor Richard Daley reportedly suggested Obama use a cheaper venue, but was turned down.

Obama is well on his way to winning the election, according to most polls and electoral vote projections. The campaign may be preparing to set the champagne on ice. But it may want to heed the usual reminder: As Yogi Berra famously said, it ain't over till it's over.

An Obama victory -- he would become the first African-American president -- would logically be cause for an historic celebration. So far, the campaign's staying mum on the expected crowd count.

Asked how many people the campaign was anticipating in Grant Park, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor quipped, "At least 10."

"We have a lot of supporters who have given their time and effort to the campaign, and we want them to share in the election night with us," Vietor told

The excitement is palpable at Obama's rallies, a tone the candidate has reflected. "I feel like we got a righteous wind at our backs here," Obama told supporters in Leesburg, Va., Wednesday evening.

But John McCain -- and Obama himself -- are warning the Democrat's supporters not to get ahead of themselves.

McCain says he savors being the underdog so close to Election Day, and for weeks he has accused Obama of "measuring the drapes" and counting him out.

"My opponent's looking pretty confident ... these days," McCain said Wednesday in Goffstown, N.H. "He'll be addressing the nation soon. He's got another of those big stadium spectacles in the works. But acting like the election is over, it won't let him take away your chance to have the final say in this election."

Obama is making an effort to catch himself and couch his language when he talks about post-Election Day plans. He is warning supporters not to get lazy and "screw it up," as he says Democratic campaigns have been known to do.

"We're going to have to work, we're going to have to struggle, we're going to have to fight for every single one of those 12 days," Obama told the crowd at an Indianapolis rally Thursday. "It's not going to be easy, but I'm hopeful about the outcome ... but we cannot let up."

Vietor brushed aside McCain's criticism that Obama is being too presumptuous.

"That's ridiculous. We're working hard every day to talk to voters, to get out the vote and knocking on doors. This is a campaign that went through one of the longest primaries in history, and rest assured we take nothing for granted," he said.

He said the Grant Park event will be free and open to the public.

As for McCain, he's holding his election night festivities at the Biltmore in Phoenix, which customarily hosts weddings and business retreats. Compare that with Grant Park, which customarily hosts the rock mega-concert Lollapalooza.

Also by contrast, only a select group of reporters will be allowed to witness McCain's postelection remarks, which he is reportedly planning to give to supporters on the hotel lawn. Due to limited seating, the rest of the media on site will be watching on TV in a separate filing room.

With a theoretically limitless outdoor capacity, the press are invited to attend Obama's event. While there's no fee outright to cover it, news organizations have been asked to pay for prime seating and Internet and phone service.

Meanwhile, Obama is trying to downplay speculation about post-election plans. He spoke about foreign policy challenges Wednesday after meeting in Virginia with his "working group" on national security. He oscillated between jabs at McCain (he said his rival's latest tax policy charges were a sign "that they have run out of ideas"), and deference to the voters who will decide the election.

Asked whether he planned to attend the global economic summit scheduled for mid-November, Obama made sure to pay homage to President Bush.

"Even though the election will have taken place and we will have a new president-elect, we are still going to have one president at a time until January 20th, when the new president is sworn in," Obama said.

"So, you know, there is always a transition period. I don't want to get too much ahead of ourselves."

He noted that his economic team has been in regular contact with the "uppermost reaches of policy-making, Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke."

"But I don't want to make commitments at this point in terms of our participation ... before I've even won the election," he added.

Story link.

Zombie Attack in WoW

You probably heard about that cool, new World Event that just started today. It's not related to Hallow's End, although it seems thematically perfect, doesn't it? It's really all part of the Arthas' plan to invade Azeroth, and I have to say that being part of the Lich King's army isn't at all bad...

First, you have to get infected. This is easy to do as there are Conspicuous Crates all over -- I clicked on some from Booty Bay -- which will give you a 10 minute debuff called 'You're Infected!'. The only way to cure the debuff is to be in the vicinity of an Argent Healer [EDIT: It can be cured by Paladins, Priests, and Shamans, too. Those killjoys!], who will heal you automatically with several yards. If you want to serve the Lich King, stay away from the major cities until you get turned. If you don't get cured within 10 minutes, you will, like me, turn into a zombie!

[UPDATE: If you transform into a zombie, you will need to keep on killing things. Otherwise, you will constantly lose health until you die and return to your normal state. The ability Bite! is a passive effect that happens whenever you attack, so you'll constantly need to keep attacking. This prevents zombies from traveling very far without killing.]

When you turn into a zombie, you'll get a whole bunch of unique abilities. The first is Mangle!, which is your basic melee attack on a 3 second cooldown. It's fairly weak, but the best part of the ability is that it seems to shave minutes off infections. Attacking players or NPCs will infect them, so be ready to spread the plague. Players and NPCs that die with infections will transform into zombies immediately, as will players whose infections run the course naturally or through zombie attacks. With a little cooperation, you'll soon have a zombie army of your own!

You also have Retch! which is an AoE that slows down enemies... this is good because you move slow as, well, a zombie when you're transformed. It also heals your fellow zombies, so use it wisely and often! You can use Beckoning Groan! to attract other zombies to your aid -- the NPCs that you killed, specially -- and create undead unrest everywhere. There's Lurch!, which is kind of like a Dash or Sprint for zombies, which is great because moving slow gets really annoying. The cool thing about Lurch! is it dispels movement impairing effects, too. You'll need that when city guards tie you down. And finally there's Zombie Explosion! for when you want to end all that misery! It's a channeled spell that will make you explode! Kind of like a self-inflicted Corpse Explosion.

Here are some tips to create maximum mayhem as a zombie: while you become hostile to everyone else, you can still whisper members of your own faction and talk in various channels. If other players attack you, you can just whisper them -- you'll have to type out their names as the selection menu won't allow you to do so. Tell them to get infected to, and there's a good chance they'll join in on the chaos! Attack players and NPCs with the debuff, spamming Mangle!, which shortens the You're Infected timer by a full minute with what appears to be every other hit. Just remember that you won't have access to all your normal abilities as a zombie, and won't be able to mount up or hearth. Well, now that you've got that teaser, what're you waiting for? Go forth and zombify!

Story link.

Tips for Eating Brains (a good read!)

Atheists Plan Anti-God Ad Campaign on Buses

LONDON — London buses have God on their side — but not for long, if atheists have their way.

The sides of some of London's red buses will soon carry ads asserting there is "probably no God," as nonbelievers fight what they say is the preferential treatment given to religion in British society.

Organizers of a campaign to raise funds for the ads said Wednesday they received more than $113,000 in donations, almost seven times their target, in the hours since they launched the project on a charity Web site. Supporters include Oxford University biologist Richard Dawkins, who donated $9,000.

The money will be used to place posters on 30 buses carrying the slogan "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." The plan was to run the ads for four weeks starting in January, but so much money has been raised that the project may be expanded.

"A lot of people say trying to organize atheists is like herding cats. The last couple of days shows that is not true," said comedy writer Ariane Sherine, who started the campaign.

While most London buses carry posters for shops or Hollywood movies, Christian churches and Muslim groups have bought bus-side ad space in the past.

Sherine came up with the idea after seeing a series of Christian posters on London buses. She said she visited the Web site promoted on one ad and found it told nonbelievers they would spend eternity in torment in hell.

"I thought it would be a really positive thing to counter that by putting forward a much happier and more upbeat advert, saying 'Don't worry, you're not going to hell,'" said Sherine, 28. "Atheists believe this is the only life we have, and we should enjoy it."

The British Humanist Association, which is administering the fundraising drive, said it had been so successful the campaign might spread to other cities including Manchester and Edinburgh.

Most Britons identify themselves as Christians, but few attend church regularly, and public figures rarely talk about their beliefs. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair was rare among politicians in speaking openly about his Christian faith.

Dawkins, author of the best-selling atheist manifesto "The God Delusion," said that religion nonetheless held a privileged position in society.

"Religious organizations have an automatic tax-free charitable status," he said. "Bishops sit in the House of Lords automatically. Religious leaders get preferential treatment on all sorts of commissions.

"This campaign to put alternative slogans on London buses will make people think — and thinking is anathema to religion."

Dawkins said that as an atheist he "wasn't wild" about the ad's assertion that there was "probably" no God.

Sherine said the word was included to ensure the posters didn't breach transit advertising regulations, which stipulate ads should not offend religious people.

Few believers appeared offended by the campaign, although most doubted it would work.

"I think people will ask themselves, 'On what basis can they make that statement?" said Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain. "So it will get people thinking, so in that sense it can only be good."

Ad agency CBS Outdoor, which manages advertising on many London buses, said it had approved the atheist campaign.

Sales and marketing director Tim Bleakley said "our decision to take an ad that promotes God, or one that promotes no God, is based on commercial terms, as long as the advertising copy itself does not breach U.K. advertising standards."

The Rev. Jenny Ellis, spirituality and discipleship officer for the Methodist Church, welcomed the ads.

"This campaign will be a good thing if it gets people to engage with the deepest questions of life," she said.

The religious think tank Theos said it had donated $82 to the campaign, on the grounds that the ads were so bad they would probably attract people to religion.

"It tells people to 'stop worrying,' which is hardly going to be a great comfort for those who are concerned about losing jobs or homes in the recession," said Theos director Paul Woolley.

"Stunts like this demonstrate how militant atheists are often great adverts for Christianity."

Story link.

British Rocket Car Could Reach 1,000 MPH

It will be faster than a speeding bullet: a pencil-shaped car powered by a jet engine and a rocket, roaring across a desert at 1,000 mph.

If all goes to plan, the Bloodhound SSC will break the land speed record by the largest-ever margin, and, in 40 seconds of breathtaking thrust, inspire thousands of British schoolchildren to take their science college-entrance exams.

On Thursday, at the Science Museum in London, the project to build this car will be announced by Minister of Science Paul Drayson, who in 2006 first proposed the project to the two men who between them have held the land speed record for 25 years.

[The Bloodhound SSC project is a private-public partnership between various British goverment agencies, including the Ministry of Defense, and various universities and corporations.]

Richard Noble, engineer, adventurer, and former wallpaper salesman, reached 633 mph as he drove a turbojet-powered car named Thrust 2 across the Nevada desert. In 1997, he headed the project to build the Thrust SSC, driven by Andy Green, an RAF pilot, at 766 mph.

Drayson could understand the desire to drive fast. In his spare time, he raced his Aston Martin DBRS9 around the Silverstone Circuit racetrack in central England at up to 160 mph.

"Andy Green was one of my personal heroes," he said. "I wanted to meet him. At the time there was a rumor that Steve Fossett [the late American businessman and aviator] was building a car that would do 800 mph. They said they could do 1,000 mph."

"I thought, wow. What's it like to drive 1,000 mph? How cool is that?"

[On this side of the Atlantic, a different team hopes to wrest the land speed record from the British. The North American Eagle marries the fuselage from an Lockheed F-104 jet fighter and a Canadian-built turbojet engine for what its backers hope will be a top speed of 800 mph.

All four aforementioned cars use jets, rockets or both to reach incredible speeds. The wheels are essentially "dead."

The record for a wheel-powered car was 458 mph, set in 2001 by brother Don and Rick Vesco in their Turbinator car at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the western Utah desert. Rick Vesco hopes to break the 500-mph barrier in the same car in 2009.

Still, the fastest land speed has to be the one set by an unmanned rocket sled on rails at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. On April 30, 2003, it reached 6,453 mph, or Mach 8.5 — something no manned vehicle is likely to break anytime soon.

Story link.

Category: Nonsense

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This is Going to be an Amazing Movie...

Not only is the cast amazing, check out the character names (sheesh); none of the characters have proper names, others are just disturbing. As emotional as the book is, it actually ends as well as could be expected. With the casting of Robert Duvall as the Old Man (he is going to be seen at the end of the movie), I am going to HAVE to go see this.

Viggo Mortensen.........................The Man
Kodi Smit-McPhee......................The Boy
Charlize Theron...........................Wife
Guy Pearce...................................The Veteran
Robert Duvall..............................Old Man
Garret Dillahunt..........................The Gang Member
Michael K. Williams....................The Thief
Brenna Roth.................................Road Gang Leader
Jeremy Ambler..........................Man In Cellar
Bob Jennings..............................Cannibal #2
David August Lindauer.............Amputee Man #1 In Cellar
Jack Erdie...................................Cannibal #1
Nick Pasqual...............................Militant #2
Mark Tierno...............................Baby Eater
Aaron Bernard..........................Militant
Amy Caroline.............................Woman in Cellar
Matt Reese.................................Well-Fed Cannibal
Kyle Quinn.................................Militant #1
Jared Pfennigwerth.................Militant Member
Kacey Byrne-Houser................Woman in Cellar
Cerise Weidner..........................Woman in Cellar
Shawn Rolly.................................Road Gang Member

IMDB link

Don Cheadle to Replace Terrence Howard in 'Iron Man' Sequel

The Iron Man will soon have a new best friend! Don Cheadle will replace Terrence Howard as the superhero’s best friend, Jim Rhodes, in 'Iron Man 2,' says The Hollywood Reporter.

The paper says Tony Stark/Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr., will reportedly have a new sidekick partly because a financial negotiation could not be reached for Howard to play the role.

The sequel will have Jon Favreau back to direct, and both Downey and Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) are expected to return and reprise their roles, says the paper.

'Iron Man 2' is expected to smash into theaters in Spring 2010.

Story Link.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Actual UFO Footage?

Story link with video.

Dragon*Con 2006 Bellydance Star Wars Style

Hey Look! Hickman Highschool in the News!

I'm so proud!

Story link at the Maneater.

Trophy Kids. Get out the Polish...

When Gretchen Neels, a Boston-based consultant, was coaching a group of college students for job interviews, she asked them how they believe employers view them. She gave them a clue, telling them that the word she was looking for begins with the letter "e." One young man shouted out, "excellent." Other students chimed in with "enthusiastic" and "energetic." Not even close. The correct answer, she said, is "entitled." "Huh?" the students responded, surprised and even hurt to think that managers are offended by their highfalutin opinions of themselves.

If there is one overriding perception of the millennial generation, it's that these young people have great -- and sometimes outlandish -- expectations. Employers realize the millennials are their future work force, but they are concerned about this generation's desire to shape their jobs to fit their lives rather than adapt their lives to the workplace.

Although members of other generations were considered somewhat spoiled in their youth, millennials feel an unusually strong sense of entitlement. Older adults criticize the high-maintenance rookies for demanding too much too soon. "They want to be CEO tomorrow," is a common refrain from corporate recruiters.

Full story link.

Now, THAT'S Pupkin Carving!

More pumpkins at Villafane Studios.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Caribou Barbie on SNL

Here are the links for better quality than the embeds:

Sarah Palin Rap. clips.

Misc scenes, funny stuff.


Sen. Joe Biden, on Sunday guaranteed that if elected, Sen. Barack Obama., will be tested by an international crisis within his first six months in power and he will need supporters to stand by him as he makes tough, and possibly unpopular, decisions.

"Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking.

"Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

"I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate," Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. "And he's gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you - not financially to help him - we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."

"We're gonna have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years. So I'm asking you now, I'm asking you now, be prepared to stick with us. Remember the faith you had at this point because you're going to have to reinforce us."

"There are gonna be a lot of you who want to go, 'Whoa, wait a minute, yo, whoa, whoa, I don't know about that decision'," Biden continued. "Because if you think the decision is sound when they're made, which I believe you will when they're made, they're not likely to be as popular as they are sound. Because if they're popular, they're probably not sound."

After speaking for just over a quarter of an hour, Biden noticed the media presence in the back of the small ballroom.

"I probably shouldn't have said all this because it dawned on me that the press is here," he joked.

Story link.

Here are the top picks:

1. The imminent collapse of the U.S. economy to occur by
September 2008,

2. The imminent collapse of US federal government finances
by February 2009,

3. The possibility of Civil War inside the USA as a result of
the collapse,

4. Advance round-ups of "insurgent U.S. citizens" likely to
move against the government,

5. The detention of those rounded-up at "REX 84" camps
constructed throughout the USA,

6. The possibility of retaliation against members of Congress
for the collapses,

7. The location of "safe facilities" for members of Congress
and their families to reside during expected massive civil

8. The necessary and unavoidable merger of the United States
with Canada (for its natural resources) and with Mexico (for its
cheap labor pool),

9. The issuance of a new currency - THE AMERO - for all three
nations as the proposed solution to the coming economic

10. A single, global currency will be introduced.

11. Nationalization of key U.S. industries.

12. National food crisis with the suspension of portions of the Bill of Rights.

I Want to Believe (stuff)

A former Top Gun said Sunday he was ordered to shoot down a massive UFO over Norwich, England, 50 years ago.

RAF controllers told U.S. pilot Milton Torres to “lock on” and launch all 24 of his rockets over the city.

But as he came within seconds of firing at the alien intruder — “the size of an aircraft carrier” on his radar — it vanished at 10,000 mph.

The amazing close encounter is revealed in secret Ministry of Defense X-Files which are being declassified Monday.

Link to the rest of the story.

A passenger jet coming in to land at Heathrow Airport had a near miss with a UFO, according to newly-released British Ministry of Defence files.

The captain of the Alitalia airliner was so concerned he shouted "look out" to his co-pilot after seeing the brown missile-shaped object shoot past them overhead.

The mysterious incident near Lydd in Kent in 1991 was thoroughly investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the military.

But having ruled out the object being a missile, weather balloon or space rocket, the MoD closed the inquiry and left the matter unsolved.

The unexplained close encounter is one of many recounted in military UFO documents now made available online by the National Archives.

Documents show the McDonnell Douglas MD80 aircraft was en route from Milan to Heathrow at 22,000ft with 57 people on board when pilot Achille Zaghetti saw the strange object 1,000ft above him.

Link to the rest of the story.

Religion of Peace Strikes again

Taliban gunmen killed a Christian aid worker in Kabul on Monday, and the militant group said it targeted the woman because she was spreading her religion.

The dual South African-British national worked with handicapped Afghans and was killed in the western part of Kabul as she was walking to work around 8 a.m., officials said.

The gunmen, who were on a motorbike, shot the woman in the body and leg with a pistol, said Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the slaying.

Link to the rest of the story here.

That sucks

THOMAS TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Police say a Michigan man has been arrested after "receiving sexual favors from a vacuum" at a car wash.

The Saginaw News reports the 29-year-old Swan Creek Township man was arrested Thursday in Saginaw County's Thomas Township, about 90 miles northwest of Detroit.

Police Sgt. Gary Breidinger says a resident called to report suspicious activity at the car wash about 6:45 a.m. An officer approached on foot and caught the man in the act.

The suspect, whose name wasn't immediately released, is being held in the Saginaw County Jail.

Story link.

Friday, October 17, 2008

So, what is the excuse to not doing ____ (fill in the blank)

Seriously, if this woman can play the piano at a global skill level... What could possibly be the excuse for not succeeding at ANYTHING that someone truly focuses on?

BTW, she only has four (4) fingers...

Last update: October 15, 2008 - 1:42 AM

A 7-year-old girl with only two fingers on each hand should be thrilled at the idea that someday she might be able to tap out a simple children's tune on the piano.

At least, that's what Woodrow (Wooj) Byun of Edina would have thought -- until recently. Then one night last April, he ran across a YouTube video of Hee Ah Lee, a young four-fingered Korean pianist. Her hands were flying over the keys in Chopin's "Fantasie-Impromptu."

Hee Ah Lee's music brings tears to many listeners' eyes. But Byun was especially moved, he says. He had been searching the world for a performer just like her.

Byun could not have guessed then that on Sunday he would be introducing Hee Ah Lee to the people of Minnesota at a concert at Hopkins High School Auditorium.

Byun and Hee Ah Lee, now 23, came together by a circuitous path. Byun practices law in Edina. In 1990, he came to America from Korea to attend the University of Minnesota Law School on a Rotary Club International Ambassadorial Scholarship. Since then, he has stayed close to his homeland's culture, helping out at an annual culture camp for Korean adoptees at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis.

There, last year, Byun noticed a young boy with short arms and malformed fingers. He was touched by seeing the boy's challenges as he interacted with other children.

"I couldn't get his image out of my mind," says Byun. "I thought, Is there any way I can help him, any inspiration I can give him? I had to find out -- has any one with a similar condition achieved great things?"

So Byun began the search that eventually led him to Hee Ah Lee. She has a condition called phocomelia, which involves abnormally shaped limbs - in her case, only two fingers per hand and no legs below her knees.

Story link.

I Wants the Precious Now!

BumpTop desktop. It's in beta testing now, but look suhweet!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Military Rules

US Marine Corps Rules:

1. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
2. Decide to be aggressive enough, quickly enough.
3. Have a plan.
4. Have a back-up plan, because the first one probably won't work.
5. Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
6. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun whose caliber does not start with a "4."
7. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.
8. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral & diagonal preferred.)
9. Use cover or concealment as much as possible.
10. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.
11. Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
12. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
13. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating your intention to shoot.

Navy SEAL's Rules:

1. Look very cool in sunglasses.
2. Kill every living thing within view.
3. Adjust Speedo.
4. Check hair in mirror.

US Army Rangers Rules:

1. Walk in 50 miles wearing 75 pound rucksack while starving.
2. Locate individuals requiring killing.
3. Request permission via radio from "Higher" to perform killing.
4. Curse bitterly when mission is aborted.
5. Walk out 50 miles wearing a 75 pound rucksack while starving.

US Army Rules:

1. Select a new beret to wear.
2. Sew patch's on right shoulder.
3. Change the color of beret you decide to wear.

US Air Force Rules:

1. Have a cocktail.
2. Adjust temperature on air-conditioner.
3. See what's on HBO.
4. Ask "what is a gunfight?"
5. Request more funding from Congress with a "killer" PowerPoint presentation.
6. Wine & dine 'key' Congressmen, invite DOD & defense industry executives.
7. Receive funding, set up new command and assemble assets.
8. Declare the assets "strategic" and never deploy them operationally.
9. Hurry to make 1345 tee-time.

US Navy Rules:

1. Go to Sea.
2. Drink Coffee.
3. Deploy Marines

Surfer shares wave with shark

Yikes! Story link.

Animator vs. Animation

New Macbooks Announced Today, Beautiful...

I scored a 6.5

The Eyeballing Game

Badass Presidential Appreciation Day

Andrew Jackson

When the 1828 election rolled around, a lot of people were terrified when they heard Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson was running. If you're wondering how a guy we're calling a bad ass got such a lame nickname, it's because he used to carry a hickory cane around and beat people senseless with it, and if you're wondering why he did that, it's because he was a fucking lunatic.

Former Democratic Senator and Secretary of the Treasurey Albert Gallatin feared a Jackson presidency because of his "habitual disregard of laws and constitutional provisions." Or in other words, the man was a loose canon--17th Century Washigton's answer to Martin Riggs. Sure, he probably didn't have an irate black lieutenant to answer to, or a weary partner who was too old for this shit, but he most certainly had a death wish.

How do we know? Well, despite everyone's best efforts, Jackson was elected to the top office, and when he wasn't busy shaping the Presidency as we know it today, you could find him out back dueling. In case you haven't been to the 18th century lately, this unmanly sounding activity actually involves standing across from an armed man and shooting at him while he in turn shoots at you. The number of duels that Jackson took part in varies depending on what source you consult; some say 13, while others rank the number somewhere in the 100's, both of which are entirely too many times for a reasonable human being to stand in front of someone who is strying to kill them with a loaded gun.

On one occasion, he challenged a man named Charles Dickinson to a duel, (the reason behind it wasn't important, not to us and certainly not to Jackson), and Jackson was even kind enough to give Dickinson the first shot. We're gonna go ahead and repeat that: In a duel with pistols, Jackson politely volunteers to be shot at first. Dickinson happily obliged and shot Jackson, who proceeded to shake it off like it was a bee sting. When Jackson returned the favor, Dickinson was not so lucky, and that's why his face isn't on the twenty. The bullet, by the by, remained in Jackson's body for 19 years because, we assume, Jackson knew that time spent removing the bullets would just fall under the general category of "time not dueling," Jackson's least favorite category.

Andrew Jackson may have been the first master of Gun Kata

Greatest Display of Badassedry:
Andrew Jackson was the first president on whom an assassination attempt was made. A man named Richard Lawrence approached Jackson with two pistols both of which, for some reason, misfired. With the possibility of an assassination taken off the table, Jackson proceeded to beat Lawrence near death with his cane until Jackson's aides pulled him off the assassin.

The guns were inspected afterwards and it was discovered that they were in perfect working order, leading some historians to believe that it was an odds-defying "miracle" that Jackson survived, while we're pretty sure that the bullets, like everyone else, were simply scared of Jackson.

Most Badass Quote:
"I have only two regrets: I didn't shoot Henry Clay and I didn't hang John C. Calhoun."

That's right. In a life rich with murdering people for little-to-no reason, Jackson's only regret was that he didn't kill quite enough people. People like Calhoun who, it should be noted, was Jackson's vice president.

Thanks to - 5 Most Badassed Presidents of All-Time.

Yarn Geeks

Sealife Yarn animals.

Cthulhu Yarnies.


Anatomy Yarns.

And finally the Gollum hat with Andy Serkis!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hair Styling 101

Tips For Shaving:How To Style Pubic Hair

Scary Glimpse at What Might be Coming...

I just want to spread the wealth around... yiiiiikes...

Marine uses know-how to devise bomb detection tool

This is why it is important to have citizen-warriors as part of a nations defense...

A Little Something for Katie...

Story link.

Podcars FTW!

ITHACA, New York (AP) -- The thought of a driverless, computer-guided car transporting people where they want to go on demand is a futuristic notion to some.
Computer-guided electric podcars like these carry small groups of people on their own networks.

Computer-guided electric podcars like these carry small groups of people on their own networks.

To Jacob Roberts, podcars -- or PRTs, for personal rapid transit -- represent an important component in the here-and-now of transportation.

"It's time we design cities for the human, not for the automobile," said Roberts, president of Connect Ithaca, a group of planning and building professionals, activists and students committed to making this upstate New York college town the first podcar community in the United States.

"In the podcar ... it creates the perfect blend between the privacy and autonomy of the automobile with the public transportation aspect and, of course, it uses clean energy," Roberts said.

With the oil crisis reaching a zenith and federal lawmakers ready to begin fashioning a new national transportation bill for 2010, Roberts and his colleagues think the future is now for podcars -- electric, automated, lightweight vehicles that ride on their own network separate from other traffic.

Unlike mass transit, podcars carry two to 10 passengers, giving travelers the freedom and privacy of their own car while reducing the use of fossil fuels, reducing traffic congestion and freeing up space now monopolized by parking.

At stations located every block or every half-mile, depending on the need, a rider enters a destination on a computerized pad, and a car would take the person nonstop to the location. Stations would have slanted pull-in bays so that some cars could stop for passengers, while others could continue unimpeded on the main course.
Don't Miss

"It works almost like an elevator, but horizontally," said Roberts, adding podcar travel would be safer than automobile travel.

The podcar is not entirely new. A limited version with larger cars carrying up to 15 passengers was built in 1975 in Morgantown, West Virginia, and still transports West Virginia University students.

Next year, Heathrow Airport outside London will unveil a pilot podcar system to ferry air travelers on the ground. Companies in Sweden, Poland and Korea are already operating full-scale test tracks to demonstrate the feasibility. Designers are planning a podcar network for Masdar City, outside Abu Dhabi, which is being built as the world's first zero-carbon, zero-waste city.

Meanwhile, more than a dozen cities in Sweden are planning podcar systems as part of the country's commitment to be fossil-fuel-free by 2020, said Hans Lindqvist, a councilman from Varmdo, Sweden, and chairman of Kompass, an association of groups and municipalities behind the Swedish initiative.

"Today's transportation system is reaching a dead end," said Lindqvist, a former member of the European parliament.

Cars have dominated the cityscape for nearly a century, taking up valuable space while polluting the air, said Magnus Hunhammar, chief executive officer of the Stockholm-based Institute for Sustainable Transportation, the world's leading center on podcar technology.

"Something has to change," he said. "We aren't talking about replacing the automobile entirely. We are adding something else into the transportation strategy."

Skeptics, however, question whether podcars can ever be more than a novelty mode of transportation, suitable only for limited-area operations, such as airports, colleges and corporate campuses. Detractors, mainly light-rail advocates, say a podcar system would be too complex and expensive.

"It is operationally and economically unfeasible," said Vukan Vuchic, a professor of transportation and engineering at the University of Pennsylvania who has written several books on urban transportation.

"In the city, if you have that much demand, you could build these guideways and afford the millions it would take, but you wouldn't have capacity. In the suburbs, you would have capacity, but the demand would be so thin you couldn't possibly pay for those guideways, elevated stations, control systems and everything else," Vuchic said.

Podcars typically run on an elevated guideway or rails, but they also can run at street level. As a starting point, pilot podcar networks can be built along existing infrastructure, supporters say.

Ithaca Mayor Carol Peterson said a podcar network could be part of her upstate city's long-range transportation plans and its mission of developing urban neighborhoods that are environmentally sustainable and pedestrian-friendly. Ithaca has a long history of progressive achievements -- this summer, it began the first community-wide car sharing program in upstate New York.

In Ithaca, a network could connect the downtown business district and main business boulevard with the campuses of Cornell University and Ithaca College, which sit on hillsides flanking the city. When the two colleges are in session, Ithaca's population balloons from about 30,000 to about 80,000, causing big-city congestion on the city's roads.

Santa Cruz, California, recently hired a contractor to design a small solar-powered podcar system that would loop through the city's downtown and along its beach front.

The Institute for Sustainable Transportation predicts a podcar system will be installed in an American city within the next five years, although it is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars. Because of the huge initial investment, funding would have to come from both public and private sectors, IST officials said.

The capital cost is about $25 million to $40 million per mile, which includes guideways, vehicles and stations, compared with $100 million to $300 million a mile for light-rail or subway systems, according to the IST.

Although the plan for Ithaca is only in the conceptual stages, Roberts sees the city as a logical place for the country's first community-wide podcar network, noting that construction of the Erie Canal across upstate New York in the early 1800s revolutionized commercial transportation in a young America.

"Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany are connected along a single line, the Erie Canal. Now, they are connected by the (New York State) Thruway. It would be easy to adapt. You could have a high-speed rail line, or even buses, deliver travelers to the podcar stations, and the podcars take them wherever they want to go in the city," he said.

But podcar developers say they have overcome most technological obstacles and now must overcome the political and cultural barriers that lie ahead, equating it to the mind-set revolution that occurred when Americans hitched up their horses for good to become a nation of motorists.

"We are introducing an alternative to the automobile for the first time in 100 years," said Christopher Perkins, chief executive officer of Unimodal Transport Solutions, a California company that builds podcars that operate on magnetic levitation instead of wheels.

"But if you look back 100 years, you saw that we made the transition from the horse to the car. I think we are ready to make another transition," he said.

Story link

Podcar links:

West Virginia PRT Video
Heathrow PRT
Masdar City (Abu Dabi) Transportation Plan
UK Podcar info

McCoy's Pumpkin Farm

Nestled between Columbia and Centralia on Route Z, McCoy’s Pumpkin Farm has the warm country feel without being in the middle of nowhere. Roger, Jill and the kids invite you all out to their home to enjoy the Fall Festivities and take in some of the good old country.

The Fall Seasons starts in September so call or come by to find out the schedule for this year. Bring the kids and they can have fun in the Maze or see one of the many turkeys, donkeys, rabbits or cats or laugh at the funny exotic chickens. Bring your camera so you don’t miss that cool photo opportunity.

We have lots of Pumpkins, Gourds, Indian Corn, Broom Corn, and painted items. There are over 50 varieties of pumpkins and gourds to choose from.

No Admission is needed to enjoy our country atmosphere and fun kids activities.

Open Saturday's from 9 am - 6 pm

Link to McCoy's

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How Ambitious do you feel?

Episode III pregnant Padme costumes.

There are some cool ideas here that might not take a whole lot of time to make...

Man picks up 'dead' fox, wrecks after it revives

I have nothing more to add...

Tommy Fox was driving home from his job in Dover Wednesday at about 11 p.m. when a beautiful red fox dashed in front of his SUV.

After he ran over the fox, he stopped his GMC Jimmy to get the fox to cut off its tail for a souvenir, and he put it in the back seat, said Dale Grandstaff, a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wildlife officer.

"The tails are real bushy and pretty and thick this time of year," Grandstaff said.

Things took an odd turn when Fox heard a noise coming from his back seat and realized the fox was alive — and not happy.

The driver desperately searched for something to hold the fox back and prevent him from climbing into the front seat and biting him, he told Grandstaff.

As he looked in the back seat to get a blanket to block the fox, he took his attention from the road.

The SUV crossed the center line and wrecked in a ditch, flipping once and landing upside down in the 3900 block of Lylewood Road, Grandstaff said.

Fox suffered minor injuries and bruises and was treated at the scene by Montgomery County Emergency Medical Service.

The fox was found dead in the SUV. Grandstaff said it was not clear whether the fox died of injuries caused by being hit by the SUV or if it died in the wreck. It was also not known if Tommy Fox got to keep the tail.

Fox could not be located for comment, and the complete Tennessee Highway Patrol report was not available Thursday. His vehicle is registered in Beaumont, Miss., said Laura McPherson, Tennessee Highway Patrol spokeswoman.

The wreck was handled by Trooper Vincent Turocy.
Never cage a fox

Grandstaff said foxes can be found in many places in Montgomery County.

"They're around — they're just really shy and reclusive animals," Grandstaff said. "They do get run over this time of year."

Grandstaff said there was nothing wrong with Tommy Fox taking the animal after striking it.But foxes don't like to be caged, especially when they are alive, he said.

"They are a wild animal — they don't want to be picked up or touched. They just want to be left alone," Grandstaff said.

Story Link.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And the game continues...

ACORN Vegas Office Raided in Voter Fraud Investigation
ACORN's Las Vegas headquarters has been raided by Nevada authorities looking for evidence of voter fraud.

Nevada state authorities seized records and computers Tuesday from the Las Vegas office of an organization that tries to get low-income people registered to vote, after fielding complaints of voter fraud.

Bob Walsh, spokesman for the Nevada secretary of state's office, told the raid was prompted by ongoing complaints about "erroneous" registration information being submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, also called ACORN.

The group was submitting the information through a voter sign-up drive known as Project Vote.

"Some of them used nonexistent names, some of them used false addresses and some of them were duplicates of previously filed applications," Walsh said, describing the complaints, which largely came from the registrar in Clark County, Nev. He said some registrations used the names of Dallas Cowboys football players.

Walsh said agents from both the secretary of state's office and Nevada attorney general's office conducted the raid, and "took a bunch of stuff."

ACORN spokesman Charles Jackson confirmed the group's Nevada office was raided.

It's not the first time ACORN's been under investigation for irregularities in registration records.

In 2006, ACORN committed what Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed called the "worse case of election fraud" in the state's history.

In the case, ACORN submitted just over 1,800 new voter registration forms, and all but six of the 1,800 names were fake.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Story Link.

Me Phi Obama?

It's good that youth are being motivated to follow their dreams, but political overtones and the thing about health care are a little uncomfortable...

Turns out this was at a public school in Kansas!

This is less uncomfortable and more scary, and sad that their presumably educated parents are allowing it.

Now, it's way scary in historical context...


Lord Vader and Heidi Klum

Darth Vader Calls Microsoft (Soundboard Prank Call)

Chad Vader #1 - Day Shift Manager

Chad Vader #2 - The Date

Chad Vader #3 - The Night Shift

Chad Vader #4 - Dog in the Store

Chad Vader #5 - Holiday Blues

Chad Vader #6 - New Job

Chad Vader #7 - The Plan

Chad Vader #8 - Clint vs. Chad

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bush signs $7,500 plug-in hybrid tax credit bill into law

A new-generation of plug-in hybrid vehicles may still be a couple of years away from reaching showrooms but the $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush today secures a tax break of up to $7,500 for the high-tech cars. Carmakers lobbied for the bailout bill's passage right up to the deadline for the vote, as the auto industry's future is closely tied up with the fortunes of the nation's leading lending institutions.

"The message from the auto executives was something needed to be done or we were going to see layoffs in the coming weeks," said Michigan Congressman Joe Knollenberg. "They were legitimately pretty scared." The inclusion of the plug-in hybrid tax credit is a bonus that could help fuel recovery in the next several years. General Motors spokesman Greg Martin said of the credit, "consumer tax incentives are traditionally one of the most effective ways to accelerate early adoption of energy-saving technology," reports The Detroit News.

The new tax credits for plug-in vehicles will range from between $2,500 to $7,500, with factors such as battery capacity determining how much owners would receive. Cars like the Chevrolet Volt, due in late 2010, would be eligible for the maximum credit of $7,500. The total cost of the program over the next ten years is estimated at $1 billion - a significant sum of money, but a drop in the bucket next to the $700 billion bill it's a part of.

To meet the tax incentive's standards, a plug-in vehicle must have a battery with a minimum capacity of 4kWh, though an additional $200 of tax credit is added for every kilowatt-hour thereafter, which is how the Volt gets to the maximum $7,500 limit with its 16kWh battery.

Unlike the tax credit before it for traditional hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius, which phases out for the customers of any company that sells 60,000 qualifying vehicles, the latest bill includes a measure that covers the first 250,000 vehicles sold.

Story Link.

Happy the Younglings Will Be

Animated cartoon series, the Clone Wars it is; Wednesday it starts, mmmmmm.
TiVo will record, there is no try. yeeees.

Bar Stool Economics

This has been floating around for a while, but it is worth reading from time to time.

Bar Stool Economics

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers, he said, "I"m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?" They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody"s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man"s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20", declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that"s right", exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It"s unfair that he got ten times more than I!"

"That"s true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn"t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.The next night the tenth man didn"t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn"t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill! And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, University of

Friday, October 3, 2008

Martial Law?

In House debate on the economic rescue bill, Rep. Brad Sherman told Congress the government will declare martial law and the stock market will drop 3,000 points if the bill is not passed.

This is Uncomfortable...

Army deploys combat unit in US for possible civil unrest
By Bill Van Auken
25 September 2008

For the first time ever, the US military is deploying an active duty regular Army combat unit for full-time use inside the United States to deal with emergencies, including potential civil unrest.

Beginning on October 1, the First Brigade Combat Team of the Third Division will be placed under the command of US Army North, the Army’s component of the Pentagon’s Northern Command (NorthCom), which was created in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks with the stated mission of defending the US “homeland” and aiding federal, state and local authorities.

The unit—known as the “Raiders”—is among the Army’s most “blooded.” It has spent nearly three out of the last five years deployed in Iraq, leading the assault on Baghdad in 2003 and carrying out house-to-house combat in the suppression of resistance in the city of Ramadi. It was the first brigade combat team to be sent to Iraq three times.

While active-duty units previously have been used in temporary assignments, such as the combat-equipped troops deployed in New Orleans, which was effectively placed under martial law in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, this marks the first time that an Army combat unit has been given a dedicated assignment in which US soil constitutes its “battle zone.”

The Pentagon’s official pronouncements have stressed the role of specialized units in a potential response to terrorist attack within the US. Gen. George Casey, the Army chief of staff, attended a training exercise last week for about 250 members of the unit at Fort Stewart, Georgia. The focus of the exercise, according to the Army’s public affairs office, was how troops “might fly search and rescue missions, extract casualties and decontaminate people following a catastrophic nuclear attack in the nation’s heartland.”

“We are at war with a global extremist network that is not going away,” Casey told the soldiers. “I hope we don’t have to use it, but we need the capability.”

However, the mission assigned to the nearly 4,000 troops of the First Brigade Combat Team does not consist merely of rescuing victims of terrorist attacks. An article that appeared earlier this month in the Army Times (“Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1”), a publication that is widely read within the military, paints a different and far more ominous picture.

“They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control,” the paper reports. It quotes the unit’s commander, Col. Robert Cloutier, as saying that the 1st BCT’s soldiers are being trained in the use of “the first ever nonlethal package the Army has fielded.” The weapons, the paper reported, are “designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.” The equipment includes beanbag bullets, shields and batons and equipment for erecting roadblocks.

It appears that as part of the training for deployment within the US, the soldiers have been ordered to test some of this non-lethal equipment on each other.

“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” Cloutier told the Army Times. He described the effects of the electroshock weapon as “your worst muscle cramp ever—times 10 throughout your whole body.”

The colonel’s remark suggests that, in preparation for their “homefront” duties, rank-and-file troops are also being routinely Tasered. The brutalizing effect and intent of such a macabre training exercise is to inure troops against sympathy for the pain and suffering they may be called upon to inflict on the civilian population using these same “non-lethal” weapons.

According to military officials quoted by the Army Times, the deployment of regular Army troops in the US begun with the First Brigade Combat Team is to become permanent, with different units rotated into the assignment on an annual basis.

In an online interview with reporters earlier this month, NorthCom officers were asked about the implications of the new deployment for the Posse Comitatus Act, the 230-year-old legal statute that bars the use of US military forces for law enforcement purposes within the US itself.

Col. Lou Volger, NorthCom’s chief of future operations, tried to downplay any enforcement role, but added, “We will integrate with law enforcement to understand the situation and make sure we’re aware of any threats.”

Volger acknowledged the obvious, that the Brigade Combat Team is a military force, while attempting to dismiss the likelihood that it would play any military role. It “has forces for security,” he said, “but that’s really—they call them security forces, but that’s really just to establish our own footprint and make sure that we can operate and run our own bases.”

Lt. Col. James Shores, another NorthCom officer, chimed in, “Let’s say even if there was a scenario that developed into a branch of a civil disturbance—even at that point it would take a presidential directive to even get it close to anything that you’re suggesting.”

Whatever is required to trigger such an intervention, clearly Col. Cloutier and his troops are preparing for it with their hands-on training in the use of “non-lethal” means of repression.

The extreme sensitivity of the military brass on this issue notwithstanding, the reality is that the intervention of the military in domestic affairs has grown sharply over the last period under conditions in which its involvement in two colonial-style wars abroad has given it a far more prominent role in American political life.

The Bush administration has worked to tear down any barriers to the use of the military in domestic repression. Thus, in the 2007 Pentagon spending bill it inserted a measure to amend the Posse Comitatus Act to clear the way for the domestic deployment of the military in the event of natural disaster, terrorist attack or “other conditions in which the president determines that domestic violence has occurred to the extent that state officials cannot maintain public order.”

The provision granted the president sweeping new powers to impose martial law by declaring a “public emergency” for virtually any reason, allowing him to deploy troops anywhere in the US and to take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of state governors in order to “suppress public disorder.”

The provision was subsequently repealed by Congress as part of the 2008 military appropriations legislation, but the intent remains. Given the sweeping powers claimed by the White House in the name of the “commander in chief” in a global war on terror—powers to suspend habeas corpus, carry out wholesale domestic spying and conduct torture—there is no reason to believe it would respect legal restrictions against the use of military force at home.

It is noteworthy that the deployment of US combat troops “as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters”—in the words of the Army Times—coincides with the eruption of the greatest economic emergency and financial disaster since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Justified as a response to terrorist threats, the real source of the growing preparations for the use of US military force within America’s borders lies not in the events of September 11, 2001 or the danger that they will be repeated. Rather, the domestic mobilization of the armed forces is a response by the US ruling establishment to the growing threat to political stability.

Under conditions of deepening economic crisis, the unprecedented social chasm separating the country’s working people from the obscenely wealthy financial elite becomes unsustainable within the existing political framework.

Story Link.

Thursday, October 2, 2008