A man running for mayor was making a speech, and thundered, “I want you people to know that there are over two dozen brothels in this town, and I have never been to one of them!” A voice from the back yelled out, “Which one?”
I remember Baghdad before the war- one could live anywhere. We didn’t know what our neighbors were- we didn’t care. No one asked about religion or sect. No one bothered with what was considered a trivial topic: are you Sunni or Shia? You only asked something like that if you were uncouth and backward. Our lives revolve around it now. Our existence depends on hiding it or highlighting it- depending on the group of masked men who stop you or raid your home in the middle of the night.
On a personal note, we’ve finally decided to leave. I guess I’ve known we would be leaving for a while now. We discussed it as a family dozens of times. At first, someone would suggest it tentatively because, it was just a preposterous idea- leaving ones home and extended family- leaving ones country- and to what? To where?
The problem is that we don’t even know if we’ll ever see this stuff again. We don’t know if whatever we leave, including the house, will be available when and if we come back. There are moments when the injustice of having to leave your country, simply because an imbecile got it into his head to invade it, is overwhelming. It is unfair that in order to survive and live normally, we have to leave our home and what remains of family and friends… And to what?
It’s difficult to decide which is more frightening- car bombs and militias, or having to leave everything you know and love, to some unspecified place for a future where nothing is certain.
The US Senate has passed a bill calling for all US combat troops to leave Iraq within a year, defying a veto threat.
The Senate vote came only an hour after George W Bush made his third vow in less than a week to veto such a law.
“I’ll veto a bill that restricts our commanders on the ground… a bill that doesn’t fund our troops,” he said.
Well, it is funding the troops, just not the way you want it to.
If Bush were smart, he’d do just what Congress asked, and withdraw before march ’08. Naturally there will be some heavily reported deaths and atrocities in Iraq. The Republicans will then say, “See what happens when we do what the Democrats want?” And then the Republican Presidential candidate — if not Senate — will be well on its way next fall.
Oh, and McCaint didn’t vote on this. Well, to be complete correct, he did call for a withdrawal of US troops…
… from Haiti.
… from Somalia.
It might not seem like a brilliant idea, allowing a frail 65-year-old paralytic to float free from gravity aboard a rising and plunging roller-coaster stunt flight.
But who’s to argue with Stephen Hawking?
The celebrated British astrophysicist and black-hole theorist, author of “A Brief History of Time,” paralyzed by Lou Gehrig’s disease and communicating largely through eye movements, has long wanted to visit outer space. Human survival depends on getting there, he says. An event here Thursday was described as his first improbable step.
Dressed in dark blue flight suits, Hawking and an entourage of caretakers boarded a Boeing 727 that roared out over the ocean and carved huge parabolic arcs in the sky, creating for passengers the “zero-gravity” effect of being in space.
Getting around underground in NYC is no longer only for people who already know how to get around underground in NYC.
Graphic Designer Eric Jabbour has been spending his free time obsessively redesigning MTA transit maps. And the results are striking. Non-New Yorkers will undoubtedly be able to figure out what’s what. Cleaner lines and neighborhood boundaries are just a few features. Also, one can clearly see and understand transfer points and more street names.
Two police officers pleaded guilty Thursday to manslaughter in the shooting death of a 92-year-old woman during a botched drug raid last fall. A third officer still faces charges. Officer J.R. Smith told a state judge Thursday that he regretted what had happened.
“I’m sorry,” the 35-year-old said, his voice barely audible. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter, violation of oath, criminal solicitation, making false statements and perjury, which was based on claims in a warrant.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Yonette Sam-Buchanan said Thursday that although the officers found no drugs in Johnston’s home, Smith planted three bags of marijuana in the home as part of a cover story.
That War On Drugs is going really, really well…
Notice how only the cops who shot are getting punished. Whoever cooked up the intelligence that led to the fake no-knock warrant is going to continue doing the same thing…
Kids with religious parents are better behaved and adjusted than other children, according to a new study that is the first to look at the effects of religion on young child development.
The conflict that arises when parents regularly argue over their faith at home, however, has the opposite effect.
John Bartkowski, a Mississippi State University sociologist and his colleagues asked the parents and teachers of more than 16,000 kids, most of them first-graders, to rate how much self control they believed the kids had, how often they exhibited poor or unhappy behavior and how well they respected and worked with their peers.
The flaw in this is that what they claim to have found isn’t what they actually found.
What they actually found was that the religious ones said they were more well behaved. Which means factors like “social desirability” start playing a role.
Or would it just be the spanking?
The church [..] discourages parents from using their hands and recommends using a “rod” or flexible stick to swat children until their will is broken.
And today’s evacuation because a bag of sand is brought to you by Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
The European Parliament voted yes on the new controversial directive Ipred 2 which concludes that all kinds of infringement of the intellectual copyrights will be considered criminal. The directive is actually stricter than that and even criminalizes attempts of infringing on copyrights. In theory this means that basically all video sites, P2P developers and other services used to spread material around the web is criminal. There is an exception though and that is the end-user. If this user downloads pirated material and use this only for his own entertainment, study or research he or she can not be prosecuted through the new directive.
Inciting or abetting or aiding a copyright infringement is now also a crime. So, YouTube is now a criminal organization. And I wonder how they’re going to prosecute this software.
Why isn’t this terrorist attack on US soil all over CNN, Fox, etc?
At a LexisNexis conference on DRM this week, MPAA boss Dan Glickman said the movie studios were now fully committed to interoperable DRM, and they recognize that consumers should be able to use legitimate video material on any item in the house, including home networks. In a major shift for the industry, Glickman also announced a plan to let consumers rip DVDs for use on home media servers and iPods.
Speaking to Ars after the speech, Glickman acknowledged that the plan was still in the early stages. I asked him specifically about DVDs, which are currently illegal to rip under the DMCA, and how the law would square with his vision of allowing consumers to use such content on iPods and other devices. “You notice that I said ‘legally’ and in a protected way,” Glickman responded, suggesting that some form of DRM would still be required before the studios would sign off on such a plan. He noted, however, that no specific plans have been made.
So they realize they have a problem, know what the answer is, but still cling to DRM. I’m reminded of some river in Egypt…
Jack Valenti, the urbane Washington lobbyist who served as Hollywood’s public face for nearly four decades and was best known for creating the film rating system, died this afternoon, according to Warren Cowan, his longtime friend and publicist for the MPAA. He was 85.
Valenti had been in ill health since suffering a stroke in March. He was treated several weeks at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore but was released Tuesday and returned to his home in Washington, where he died.
For 38 years until retiring in 2004, Valenti headed the Motion Picture Assn. of America, guiding the trade organization from a clubby group of movie studios led by autocratic moguls into a collection of global media conglomerates involved in television, the Internet and an array of other media businesses.
To the moviegoing public, however, Valenti’s legacy will always be the ratings system he fathered in 1968, which now labels movies G, PG, PG-13, R or NC-17. Valenti defended it for years against attacks by critics. Today, it remains largely intact as the self-policing vehicle he envisioned.
“It’s the end of an era,” said industry veteran Sherry Lansing, former Paramount Pictures chairwoman.
Let’s hope so – it’s time we got rid of the piracy-is-killing-our-business mentality he pioneered as well.