Bomb Throwing Pacifist

If you took that happy, smiling guy from the box of Quaker Oats, handed him a bottle of gin and a rifle, and pissed him off to a point where he decided he wasn't going to take it anymore, you'd get a little something like this.

Monday, January 30, 2006

In other News...

It turns out that the U.S. military has been reverting to Saddam-era tactics to get people to turn themselves in to their custody: taking the families of suspects hostage prisoner out for tea and cookies. Hey, as Saddam might have said: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it, Yankee Scum!"

We know they were doing it at least as early as 2003. Apparently we're still doing it, and in acts only slightly less heinious than those of the Pinochet regime, actually physically abusing the relatives of suspects in order to break their will. Oh well, iI guess it's not like we were raping their children in front of their very eyes now, right?

According to Sy Hersh: "Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys/children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror it's going to come out."

Oh well, at least freedom is on the march.

Marc with a C, 2:22 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Told you I was a Bomb-Throwing Pacifist!

You are a

Social Liberal
(76% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(13% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test
Marc with a C, 9:13 PM | link | 0 comments |

The (counter-)Revolution Will Be Televised!

News from the Front!

In a suspiciously under-reported news item that popped up (on my radar anyway) yesterday, it turns out that the Partiot act is worse than we thought. "How is that possible," you ask? I mean it's not like the Federal government has a whole lot of restrictions nowadays.

Is it prohibited from snooping on your library records, your medical records, and your phone calls, your snail mail, your e-mail, your financial records, your property and your physical person without a warrant? Nope.

It's not like there isn't a Department of Homeland Security to watch our every move and a National Security Agency to monitor and record every phone conversation and e-mail anywhere in the country, right? Hmmm.

Well, at least it's not like there's a Transportation Security Administration monitoring no-fly lists and regularly barring suspicious people from travelling where they please, correct? Nuh-huh.

Well, in case you were under the misguided view that having someone watching you over your shoulder was ok because, let's face it, you have nothing to be afraid of, well, here's a little something to whet your pallets.

Under H.R. 3119- the so-called "Patriot Improvment and Reauthorization Act of 2005," certain congressmen have proposed the creation of a national police force. Yes, you read that right, a NATIONAL POLICE FORCE. Details of this plan are sketchy so far, but here's what we do know:

1) The agency would probably be created under the auspices of the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division and use that group as its core membership.

2) This force would be at the disposal of the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, who is at this point in time Michael Chertoff.

3) Should the need arise, the secretary of DHL can comandeer local police forces and put them under the authority of this new federal police force. It's right there in black and white: “In carrying out the functions pursuant to paragraphs (7) and (9) of subsection (a), the Secretary of Homeland Security may utilize, with their consent, on a reimbursable basis, the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of State and local government.”

So now, as other bloggers have so adeptly noted, the only thing missing from this equation is the ability development of the policy of what the Nazis and Communists used to reer to euphamistically as "protective custody." Picture this. You're a fairly vocal, anti-war liberal living in a suburb or someplace-anyplace- USA. It turns out the president's motorcade is scheduled to run through your town in order to hilight some great new "town hall" debate or another PR-type stunt. Next thing you know, men in suits are knocking at your door, asking to speak to you. You sit them down, maybe put on a pot of coffee, and they start asking you questions.

As the conversation develops, it becomes fairly clear that they know a lot about you. They know your e-mail address. They know the web address of your website and/or blog. They know which sites you visit and which forums you post on. They know who you've recieved letters from. They know all your credit card numbers and can give you a detailed report of your spending habits. They know your ex-girlfriend's name and address. They know where you work and what you do for a living. They know who your boss and co-workers are. And, while they don't come out and actually say it, you strongly suspect they know a whole lot more about you and have been monitoring you for several months.

Eventually, after a cup of coffee or two, they ask if you wouldn't mind coming down to the station to answer a few questions for them. Just routine business. They're sure you understand why these precautions are necessary. Of course, they assure you, they don't suspect you of anything, not at all. They chuckle with some embarassment. Politics, ya know? Those administration bigwigs in Washington can get so paranoid and...well...the local cops arene't always the most helpful.

You get in their car, and that's the last anyone ever hears from you. Your friends and loved ones get worried and call the police. No, they don't know anything about it. They don't know anything about Secret Service guys coming by your house. You call the USSSUD's help line, and are told that you were brought down to the station house and after answering a few quetions and making a statement, were released. Upon further questioning, the local police admit that you might have been at the station briefly, but that it was a federal matter, and in any case you were released. In any case, it's irrelevant, they inform you, because the any records which might have existed have long since been purged from the files, due to routine data maintenance. Your friends keep asking, but after a while they just give up. Noone's getting any answers and it's become clear that some of them are getting a little uncomfortable asking all these questions. Eventually, your relatives have you declared legally dead and take posession of your house and property.

All the while, you spend the next 20 years at a secret detention camp somewhere in Idaho or Nebraska, sewing leather covers on Gideon bibles, until you escape or are executed. Shucks, and tv critics used to say that the major flaw in the X-Files was that it was too implausible.
Marc with a C, 2:04 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, January 22, 2006

IB 12!!

So, IB 12 was quite a bit of fun. Of course, being a 12th Night celebration, there was, sadly, no fighting. However, it was still a lot of fun, despite the fact that there wasn't a whole lot to do, despite (in spite of?) there being two courts. In any case, a quick recap of what went down in da burg.

Garb was 15th century for us two. The theme was German, but as usual, it's kinda hard to have an international closet so you kind of have to go along with what you have. In any case, our stuff could have been German, although there was nothing particularly Germanic about it. Just your standard continental European.

Marine: Gold Tapestery Italian Ren Dress, c. 1485. Red wool stomacher and underdress, mule shoes. At the last minute she decided she wanted the front of her dress to close all the way, and who can blame her? So of course your truely obliged and with a big helping hand of linen thread, beeswax, and a big-ass tapestry needle, sewed in two sets of hooks and eyes. As accessories she wore a bronze pin where her dress closed, and a pearl necklace with endant (a modified version of the one I made her). Unfortuantely, the pendant ate through her string about halfway through the event, but since she had knotted the strings in the first place after each pealr, she didn't lose any. Instead, we each got a nice 10-bead roasry for the rest of the event to hang off our belts ;)

Matthaeus: Kind of tricky as at first I didn't think I had any 15th century garb. But in the end I made do. Blue skirted doublet, brown wool herringbone acorn cap I sewed up for "undres" wear, black cockscomb for court, brown gloves with black embroidery, dk. gray boiled wool hose (saftey-pinned in place, no less, as I had just finished them and hadn't had time to sew in eyelets), black poulaines, brown buckle garters and skinny brown belt with knife and horn cup.

Marine: Got her AoA (per my reccomendation, YES!). SHe also entered the A&S competition and took home first place for her scroll work in the illumination category, as well as being invited to join some other like-minded ladies for an illumination symposium later in the year.

Matthaeus: Nothing, other than getting the first prize for looking good and accenting his lady's garb ;) Prize was only a kiss, but it was good enough for me!

Dancing: Oddly enough, we didn't stay. Usually Marine wants to, and there were a lot of dancers this time around, but oh well. We did some practice dancing and I guess that was all she wanted to do. Fine by me considering how good the ensuing

Feast was: German theme, mostly good. Some stuff a little too sour for me (like the cucumbers and kraut), but the bratwurst, chicken, and roast beef was excellent. All washed down but what Herr Brady and I amphatically reffered to as delicious "Ice Water Pale Laager: The Finest of American Beers." Afterwards I helped to the dishes in the kitchen, sliced my finger open on a knife (minor wound) and generally chatted old friends up. After that, it was home and bed.

IB 12 was a good event overall. The A&S entries were all very good, there was a lot of dancing for those interested, lots of awards handed out, a good feast, and a few merchants. The only down side was that there wasn't a lot to do. The weather was blargh and unfortunately there was no archery, thrown weapons, fighting, or organized gaming to speak of and as such it devolved into a mostly social event. In any case, I don't mind. It was my first event since Pennsic and it was nice to see some old friends and get back into garb. Not the kind of event I'd want to go to regularly, but a nice start to the year. Hopefully I will be able to post some pictures soon (assuming my friends send me the goods before too too long).
Marc with a C, 10:52 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sapphic Love for All!

Went to Borders the other day to shop around for some Ospereys and check in on Dad. I must say he looks very official with his little Secret Service earpiece thingie and suit, even if he spends most of his day slinging books and answering dumb questions (such is the world of retail, eh? Go figure). While I was there I found a book on classical Greek lyric poetry and was able to use Dad's employee discount to my advantage. I must say I am very excited. While you read a lot about the Ancient Greeks and they tend to be known for the epic poetry (Illiad and Odessy are most well known, although Ajax, Jason and Argonauts, and the Hesiod are up there too in academic circles), it's rare to encouter Greek lyric poetry outside of an academic setting (or in the case of Sappho, a "Best of Lesbian Writers" type). I must say, it's really, really quite good. Hauntingly beautiful verses that echo through the centuries and if anything, make you feel sad due to the fact that of all those verses, very few remain after the ravages of time.

"Where the pastured warhorse grazes,
lies a field of wildflowers,
a wind-serried lake of blues." Now that is beautiful.

On another note, the Supreme Court upheld Oregon's right-to-die law 6-3. Basically it means that terminally ill patients who have been diagnosed by two doctors as having less than 6 months to live and who have been judged sound of mind by experts can choose to have a physician-assisted suicide. 6-3 you ask? Who was the third vote along with Scalia and Uncle Thomas? Chief Justice John Roberts. For all those claims about moderation and judicial restraint at the time of his hearing, we now see how he will vote. And once O'Conner leaves and Alito is confirmed, votes like that will be 5-4. Come closer children, the fire is dying and the wolves are howling in the distant night.
Marc with a C, 12:52 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A (not-so-)Bleak Midwinter

Things have been busy at work. But such is the way of the world. The project is moving along fairly well and I am keeping on top of things all right, so life is good.

I finished "The Light Ages" by Ian Mcleod last night. Overall, it was a good book, although some of the criticisms were justified. It did move awfully slowly at times and the plotting was not quite as tight as I would have liked. Also, I felt the ending was fairly weak, considering where I felt the story was going. Surprises are good, as are books that break with the mold. However, I can't help but feel a little disappointed over the result. Next up, I will reprise Mieville's "Perdido Street Station" where I left off. It's a good book, although very disturbing. Heck, I may go to the used book store down Chantilly way before long.

In other news, I've begun work on rennovating my Bascinet for SCA combat. I decided that I had a nice, light helm and that the aventail was way too heavy and a pain in the butt. So I'm pulling it off and I'm going to be making a cowl/hood type skirting out of cloth and sewing in heavy leather scales to reeinforce it. That way I don't need to wear a gorget unless I want to. I'm also considering going to bastard sword at some point too, to try out what it's like to fight with little or no shield. Either that or a buckler.

A bit of snippiness going on down at the 17th's discussion list, but it will pass. I'm trying hard to fit in and do a good job with the unit, but sometimes when the rhetoric gets heated, I can't help but wonder if my committment to the unit is really what I want it to be. I mean, I think the unit is a lot of fun and enjoy doing what I do, but I sure don't have any lofty sense of an overarching "mission" or anything of that nature. Not to mention that Stu, one of the really cool guys who drew me in isn't really playing all that much any more. That, and the fact that it's really hard to sew by proxy is making life somewhat uneasy for me. I want to reenact and want to be a part of the 17th, but at the same time, I have other, greater committments and certainly don't want to make it the center of my life, or get so involved that it's no longer fun, which it certainly can become if all we do is sit around bitching about how much we need to get off our asses and work harder.

On a brighter note, IB 12 is coming up, and I'm really looking forward to it. It'll be good to be in Rencester again, if only for a short while.
Marc with a C, 2:18 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, January 09, 2006

Holidays end

Elizabeth, Claire and I went to go see "Syriana" last night. It was really good, if complex at times and, much like "Traffic" is a movie you need to see a few times in order to get all the subplots and storylines. There was a very gruesome scene involving George Clooney's CIA Agent character getting his fingernails pulled out via pliers, but other than that it was a very good film.

Scalito's confirmation hearings start today. Why should you care?

* Alito dissented in U.S. v. Rybar in 1996 and argued that a congressional law against the posession of machine guns which has existed in some form or other since 1934 is unconstitutional on the grounds that it doesn't involve or affect commerce(?! Makes you wonder just how all those Chinese AKMs are getting into this country, huh?)

* Alito argued in 1991's Planned Parenthood v. Casey that a PA. law requiring married women to notify their husbands before getting an abortion was not an "undue burden" on the women's privacy. C'mon. You're telling me that a women who finds out tht she is pregnant by her husband who for whatever reason does not want the baby HAS to inform him before getting an abortion? That makes no sense as the husband's objections have no legal bearing and if he disagrees she can still get an abortion. All it does is make her life more miserable and more difficult and essentially dictates to the woman how she will discuss the issue of abortion (if at all) with her husband. As the Supreme Court later ruled...a woman does not give up her right to privacy and constitutional protection when she gets married.

* In 2004's Doe v. Groody, Alito ruled that a strip search of a 10 year old girl and another woman were allowed by police and were constitutional despite the fact that neither woman was a suspect and that the serach warrants were for the premesis, not the persons in question. Ie. according to Alito, if the police get a warrant to search any place where you are, such as your house, your car, a friend's house, a friend's car, a bar, a casion, or what have you, even if you are in no way suspected of anything, a stip search does not amount to an unreasonable search and seizure and that your anus is clearly part of what is considered to be acceptable territory when a search warrant is issued. Not only is this a clear violation of the Constitution's "Search and Seizure" clause, but also opens the door to all sorts of potential abuses. Cops are generally good, honest people. But do you want to live in a world where any cop can strip search you at any time for more or less any reason? Sorry, but if my friend gets pulled over for whatever reason, I sure as hell am not dropping my pants just because a cop says so.

* Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997. Alito argued that the protection against equal opportunity employment and protection from discrimination did not apply if the employer genuinely believed that he or she chose what they felt was "the best person for the job." Not only does this place an undue burden of proof on employees who have been discriminated against ("He fired me because I'm black/gay/catholic/jewish/transsexual/latino/etc. No, I fired you because I didn't think you were the best person for the job. You're racist! Oh yeah, prove it!), but it basically immunizes employers from any kind of discrimination suit, thus opening the doors for a return to de facto segregation, because if employers are protected, why not landlords? Or pharmacists? Or swimming pools?

* Chittister v. Department of Community and Economic Development, 2000. Alito argues that congress does not have the power to grant 5 million state employees the right to sue their employers for violating the Family and Medical Leave Act. In other words, if you're a state employee and get shafted by your boss/agency because they don't think you're really sick or your mom's really dying, then you don't have the power to sue them for breaking the law.

* Public Interest Research Group v. Magnesium Electron, 1997. Scalito argued that even though an environmental group proved that an industrial company had illegally dumped waste into a local stream locals used for fishing and swimming, Altio wiped a $2.6 million fine off the books and erected new barriers for the environmental group to jump over to have their day in court. In a later case in 2000, the Supreme court voted 7-2 against Alito's position, effectivly reversing the increased bruden he placed on the environmental group.

So, in conclusion, Alito has a well-deserved monkier. He has friends in big business and government. He will protect them and, if necessary, make it more difficult for you to sue or have your day in court if you've been wronged. My advice to you if Alito gets the confimration? Don't try to rock the boat.
Marc with a C, 12:50 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

TV Randomness

Just a great quote I found online that I thought I should share. This more or less perfectly captures why I stopped watching the tv show "24" (or at least part of the reason. The other being that I just don't have the time to sit down and do nothing ofr an hour once a week).

" [I] watched 24 for a season but now I'm tired of it. Terrorist plot and Jack saves the day. Rerun."

"If 24 got into terrorist funding (Saudi Arabia) and allies that feign cooperation to end it but don’t (Saudi Arabia), and a president who is cozy with the ruling class that allows terrorism financiers to go free (Saudi Arabia), and who also thwarts the FATF name-and-shame process to protect his oil buddies (Saudi Arabia), oh, now that would be interesting. I'd start watching again. Of course, someone would want to muzzle CTU, cover up the scheme, and maybe try to kill Jack for getting too close to the truth. And let's have military hawks on the verge of striking a country falsely accused of harboring a terrorist network to divert attention away from the real culprits. Jack escapes, the corrupt politicians are outed, military disaster averted, and Jack saves the day."

Amen, bro. Amen.
Marc with a C, 3:15 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Shut that bloody Bazouki off!!

I know, I know. It's three days into the new year and the hangover still hasn't worn off. Oh well, nothing like starting work on a Tuesday with a 5-day backlog to get that squared away ;) In any case, since I'm in such a beautiful mood on this Tuesday morning, I thought I'd share some cheery right wing fantasies predictions with you all. Granted these are only the deluded ramblings of fascist nutjobs upstanding, fair-skinned and decidedly heterosexual citizens working on their third or fourth mint julip, but I digress. Thus, without any further ado, here are blogsforbush's predictions for 2006.

1. The Democrats will suffer a loss of seats in both the House and Senate in the November election.
* Aha! Yes! After their humiliation in the whole WMD fiasco and subsequent Iraq phase of the glorious war to resubjugate brown people Operation Iraqi Freedom, the lying, conniving, backstabbing Democrats will finally lose their tyrannical grip on the three branches of government and the glorious Republicans will stride triumphant into Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court, confident in their superior numbers and no longer under the crushing bootheel of an oppressive liberal majority. Oh, wait.

2. Assad's regime in Syria will collapse in a democratic revolution.
* Because if there's one thing we have proven in the late 20th and early 21st century, inflammatory rhetoric and vocally encouraging local oposition unfailing results in a pro-American administration.

3. Growing political unrest in Iran will make the Iranian government even more extremist and difficult than it already is; with an outside chance of a political revolution.
* See point number 2 above. Never mind the fact that the last time Iran had a revolution, it ended up looing like this, the only real evidence for a political revolution occuring in Iran seems to be in the fermented imagination of some monarchist blogging hack. But that's in keeping with the current administation's philosophy of Imaginetics. If only we wished a little harder, it might come true. Too bad all the wishing in the world hasn't gotten a nother pretzel lodged in his throat.

Iranian democracy at work.

4. Iraq will rapidly fade from American news stories as bad news from Iraq dries up.
*Well, considering how great Iraq has been doing so far, I guess we're really spoilt for choice there. I just wish they didn't keep talking about those things like 30,000 dead Iraqis, 2500 coalition casualties, and billions of dollars left unnaccounted for. At least all those schools that w bombed ended up getting rebuilt a few times and we killed a good number of number 2 Al-Quaeda guys in Iraq (maybe it's like one of those old-school computer games where if you don't kill the big boss and get the maximum number of points, you can still kill minor bosses and win that way). Oh wait, this just in, courtesy of Juan Cole and WaPo! Apparently, the Bush administration has spent most of the $18.4 billion relocated to Iraq reconstruction and in the budget proposal slated to go before congress in February, they don't plan on asking for any more. Huzzah! Looks like the end is in sight. Bad news from Iraq might dry up after all. Kinda like our presence.

5. The Democratic left will become increasingly shrill as the year advances, while the political fall out from the left's defeat in November of '06 will be massive and may split the Democratic Party fatally.
*Because unlike the nasty liberals, conservative are unified on everything. Like on the necessity of ignoring court rulings and passing unconstitutional laws in order to reinsert a brain-dead woman's feeding tube against her express wishes. Or on the necessity of allowing brown people into the country to work our sub-minimum wage jobs picking fruit. Or on the necessity of force-feeding the Supreme Court unpalatable justices with no prior judicial experience. Or on how breaking a promise that has stood the test of time for over 70 years is necessary in order to keep their promise. Or on the overarching importance of denying gay people the same basic human rights as everyone else. Or... But hey, don't let me have all the fun. Name some of your favorites!

6. The San Diego Chargers will go 14-2 next season.
* Beats me. I'm a Caps fan.

7. Tom DeLay will be cleared. Rove will not get indicted.
* According to an article in today's WaPo, "Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff has reached an agreement with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to two criminal charges stemming from the 2000 purchase of a fleet of gambling boats, his attorney said Tuesday." Damn, less than 72 hours into the new year and things are already looking grim.

8. The Democrat's strategy of using corruption as their key issue will backfire on them. That, combined with their lack of a plan for Iraq, will result in Mark's first prediction.
* Because in this version of reality, blowing an undercover CIA operative's identity, flunking a perfectly safe drug on religious grounds and paying reporters lump sums of money to write favorable editorials are all marks or unflinching honesty in the face of adversity and ethics probes.

9. As a result of 8 and 1, Howard Dean will resign as Chairman of the Democratic Party.
* "See, fellow progressives? I bring the GOP to you, chained by its own rehtoric and flatulent incompetence, incapable of wreaking any more havoc on America. My work here is done."

10. George W. Bush's approval numbers will hit the 60's.
* Because in this version of reality, the weather is also linked to Bush's approval ratings. Bring on the new ice age, boys!
Marc with a C, 9:36 AM | link | 0 comments |