Thursday, August 31, 2006

Don't carry cash

because it means you are a criminal.


A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that if a motorist is carrying large sums of money, it is automatically subject to confiscation. In the case entitled, "United States of America v. $124,700 in U.S. Currency," the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit took that amount of cash away from Emiliano Gomez Gonzolez, a man with a "lack of significant criminal history" neither accused nor convicted of any crime.


linky

Fear

SO now a couple of weeks have gone by, and the details of the "terrorist" attack are starting to come out, and surprise surprise, it was a bunch of hype for nothing. Of all the people arrested, only half have been charged with anything, five have already been released, and authorities are unconvinced that they were even capable of actually accomplishing, and the "ten planes" was complete and utter speculation.

Total evidence found (no, I'm not making this up):


  • a plastic bin filled with liquid
  • batteries
  • less than a dozen empty drink bottles
  • rubber gloves
  • digital scales
  • a disposable camera
  • some suicide vidoes
  • a copy of a book called "Defense of the Muslim Lands"
  • a last will of testament


    That this sorry collection of crap was able to throw everyone into such a panic shows the depths of the irrational fear that has permeated everyone. Now for a little perspective.

    Americans killed by terrorist attacks invoving aircraft since Sep 11, 2001: 3,300 (estimated).

    Average American deaths per year by


  • suicide - 30,000
  • incidents involving firearms - 29,000
  • car accidents - 26,347
  • toxic agents - 55,000
  • microbial agents - 75,000
  • alcohol - 85,000
  • poor diet and obesity - 365,000
  • tobacco - 435,000


    Every time we overreact, the terrorists win. Every time they say "jump" and we launch ourselves into orbit with panic, the terrorists win. Every time we allow ourselves to forget the real issues of our society - poverty, unemployment, lack of education, lack of adequate health care, racism, violent crime and a zillion other things that actually affect us each and every day, because we are driven into a panic by some implausible threat that has essentially zero probability of ever affecting us, the politicians exploiting our fears win.

    Right now they have power over us, and the only way to take that power away from them is to stop being afraid.

    NYTimes article on British "terror" suspects - linky
    previous post showing the etymology of those statistics - linky
    wired.com article with some examples of how stupid we have become - linky
  • Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    Greg Palast on New Orleans

    Watch this video.

    Monday, August 28, 2006

    Nasrallah is Sorry

    SO in an interview on Lebanese TV, Hassan Nasrallah has just come out and said that he is sorry for the scale of the war he started when he captured two Israeli soldiers.

    Had we known that the kidnapping of the soldiers would have led to this, we would definitely not have done it... We did not think that there was a 1% chance that the kidnapping would lead to a war of this scale and magnitude,... Now you ask me if this was 11 July and there was a 1% chance that the kidnapping would lead to a war like the one that has taken place, would you go ahead with the kidnapping? I would say no, definitely not, for humanitarian, moral, social, security, military and political reasons. Neither I, Hezbollah, prisoners in Israeli jails and nor the families of the prisoners would accept it.


    Translation:

    I fucked with the bull and got the horns. Big time. Because of my stupidity, Lebanon has once again been bombed into oblivion, over 1,000 of the people that I'm supposed to be "fighting" for are dead, and the Lebanese public rightly hates me for bringing a rain of suffering and death upon them. I really hope that if I say I'm sorry on Lebanese TV, while I hide from the fighting like the coward I am, then maybe the Mossad won't kill me, and maybe the people who are paying for my actions with their lives won't realize that I'm just another religious crackpot that needs to go away.

    Story on BBC - linky

    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    Secret wiretaps ruled unconstitutional

    Best news I've read all week.

    A federal judge on Thursday ruled that the U.S. government's domestic eavesdropping program is unconstitutional and ordered it ended immediately.


    I guess there is some hope after all.

    The defendants "are permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly utilizing the Terrorist Surveillance Program in any way, including, but not limited to, conducting warrantless wiretaps of telephone and Internet communications, in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Title III," she wrote.

    She declared that the program "violates the separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the United States Constitution, the FISA and Title III."

    Her ruling went on to say that "the president of the United States ... has undisputedly violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders."


    Story on CNN - linky

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    Fit for duty

    I haven't written anything in a while, but this was too good to pass up.

    After a nearly four-hour physical exam, President Bush’s doctors on Tuesday pronounced him in good health and “fit for duty,”


    I'm guessing this test didn't include a section on mental faculty...

    msnbc story - linky