Conceived above a saloon, delivered into this world by a masked man identified by his heavily sedated mother as Captain Video, raised by a kindly West Virginian woman, a mild-mannered former reporter with modest delusions of grandeur and no tolerance of idiots and the intellectually dishonest.


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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Be vewwy vewwy quiet....

I'm seawching Google. Heh Heh Heh Heh.

(Thanks to Marc McCune)

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Why the Y chromosome is so neat....

• Your last name never changes.

• Chocolate is just another snack.

• You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.

• Car mechanics tell you the truth.

• The world is your urinal.

• You never have to drive to another gas station because this one's just too icky.

• Wrinkles add character, and gray hair makes you look distinguished.

• Wedding dress - $5000; tux rental - $100.

• People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.

• One mood all the time.

• Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.

• A five-day trip requires only one suitcase, and it's a carry-on.

• You can open all your own jars.

• Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.

• Everything on your face stays its original color.

• You only need three pairs of shoes: dress, everyday, and athletic.

• You don't have to stop and think which way to turn a nut or a bolt.

• You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.

• The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.

• You don't have to shave below your neck.

• Your belly usually hides your big hips.

• One wallet and one pair of shoes, one color, all seasons.

• You can "do" your nails with a pocketknife.

• You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.

• You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives, on December 24, in 45 minutes.

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Friday, April 08, 2005

USA! USA! We're Number... 17?

(And we're not talking about some goofy, useless sporting event here. The world runs on software these days. He who controls the code, controls all. Your kid should be writing video games, not playing them.)

U.S. slips lower in coding contest
By Ed Frauenheim
http://news.com.com/U.S.+slips+lower+in+coding+contest/2100-1022_3-5659116.html

In what could be an ominous sign for the U.S. tech industry, American universities slipped lower in an international programming contest.

The University of Illinois tied for 17th place in the world finals of the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest, which concluded Thursday. That's the lowest ranking for the top-performing U.S. school in the 29-year history of the competition.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University of China took top honors this year, followed by Moscow State University and St. Petersburg Institute of Fine Mechanics and Optics. Those results continued a gradual ascendance of Asian and East European schools over the last decade or so. A U.S. school hasn't won the world championship since 1997, when students at Harvey Mudd College achieved the honor.

"The U.S. used to dominate these kinds of programming Olympics," said David Patterson, president of the Association for Computing Machinery and a computer science professor at the University of California, Berkeley. "Now we're sort of falling behind."

The relatively poor showing of American students is a red flag about how well the United States in general is doing in technology, compared with its global rivals, said Jim Foley, chairman of the Computing Research Association, a group made up of academic departments, research centers and professional societies.

"This confirms concerns expressed by Computing Research Association about the U.S.'s status in the worldwide race for technological leadership," said Foley, who is also a professor in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

A number of developments in recent years suggest the world's tech leadership could shift from Silicon Valley and other U.S. locales to Asian nations such as China, Korea and India. One sign is the way American technology companies are conducting some of their research and development activities in Asia.

The U.S. educational system is another area of concern. Technology leaders, including Intel's Craig Barrett, have pointed to education woes as a major problem for the U.S. tech industry. Student interest in computer science departments in the United States has waned in the wake of the dot-com collapse and amid reports that companies are shipping some of their technology work to low-wage countries like India.

Also alarming to some is a dip in applications from international students to U.S. graduate schools.

Many observers have said that U.S. elementary and secondary schools should improve their ability to raise interest in technology, with proposed reforms ranging from higher pay for teachers to education tax credits that let parents pay for private-school tuition.

Other proposed steps to foster U.S. tech leadership include higher pay for positions in the field and more federal funding for computing research.

While those in the United States may fret over their tech future, some in China are celebrating. A photo on the Web site of the programming contest seems to show students from Shanghai Jiao Tong University tossing someone into the air in the wake of their victory.

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Why, of course...

David Browning says the reason a chicken coop has two doors is because if it had four, it would be a chicken sedan.

Ouch.

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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Introducing The Constitution Restoration Act
Say Hello To Taliban America And Goodbye To Godless Judges, Courts And Law
by W. David Kubiak; April 03, 2005

Tired of waiting for the Second Coming to enforce Christ's rule on Earth? Fortunately, so is your Congress and they know how to "bring it on."

Just when you thought the corporatist/Christian Coalition had milked the 9/11 "surprise" for all it was worth in powers, profits and votes, we regret to report that you may have to think again. Just in case you've briefly fallen behind on your rightwing mailing lists, you might have missed the March 3rd filing of Senate bill S. 520 and House version is H.R. 1070, AKA the "Constitution Restoration Act" (CRA).

In the worshipful words of the Conservative Caucus, this historic legislation will "RESTORE OUR CONSTITUTION!", mainly by barring ANY federal court or judge from ever again reviewing "any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an entity of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer or agent of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official or personal capacity), concerning that entity's, officer's, or agent's acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government." [Emphasis demanded - see full text here.]

In other words, the bill ensures that God's divine word (and our infallible leaders' interpretation thereof) will hereafter trump all our pathetic democratic notions about freedom, law and rights -- and our courts can't say a thing. This, of course, will take "In God We Trust" to an entirely new level, because soon He (and His personally anointed political elite) will be all the legal recourse we have left.

This is not a joke, a test, or a fit of libertarian paranoia. The CRA already has 28 sponsors in the House and Senate, and a March 20 call to lead sponsor Sen. Richard Shelby's office assures us that "we have the votes for passage." This is a highly credible projection as Bill Moyers observes in his 3/24/05 "Welcome to Doomsday" piece in the New York Review of Books: "The corporate, political, and religious right's hammerlock... extends to the US Congress. Nearly half of its members before the election-231 legislators in all (more since the election)-are backed by the religious right... Forty-five senators and 186 members of the 108th Congress earned 80 to 100 percent approval ratings from the most influential Christian Right advocacy groups."

This stunning bill and the movement behind it deserve immediate crash study on at least 3 different fronts.

1. Its hostile divorce of American jurisprudence from our hard-won secular history and international norms. To again quote the Conservative Caucus: "This important bill will restrict the jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court and all lower federal courts to that permitted by the U.S. Constitution, including on the subject of the acknowledgement of God (as in the Roy Moore 10 Commandments issue); and it also restricts federal courts from recognizing the laws of foreign countries and international law [e.g., against torture, global warming, unjust wars, etc. - ed.] as the supreme law of our land."

Re the last point, envision some doddering judges who still revere our Declaration of Independence's "decent respect to the opinions of mankind," and suppose they invoke in their rulings some international precepts from the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women or, God forbid, the Geneva Conventions. Well, under the CRA that would all be clearly illegal and, thank God, that's the last we'd ever hear from them.

2. The political implications of replacing "we the people" with a Christian deity as the "sovereign source" of all our laws.

Imagine hyper-zealous officers or "entities" of the Federal, State, or local government (like a governor, legislature or school board) that mandate Christian prayers, rituals and/or statuary in public buildings under their control. Were this to happen, some local Jews, Muslims and/or Buddhists might be moved to hire a lawyer and legally object. But if the CRA passes, their objection would be beyond any court's jurisdiction and that's the last we'd ever hear of that. It in fact demands "impeachment, conviction, and removal of judges" who dare to even hear a case that challenges its "Last Days" morphing of Christian church and state. (Just how our new Sovereign Source of Government's advocacy of public executions for adultery, gay-ness, contraception and blasphemy will fit into our current corrections system still remains to be seen.)

3. The incessant mainstream media blackout on the bill's existence and import.

The potential impact of the Constitution Restoration Act on American life, law and politics is so radical and vast that you would expect a boiling national debate. Yet just as with the crimes and questions of 9/11, everyone in the media seems terrifically busy looking the other way. If you want yet another dramatic metric of US journalistic dysfunction, try Googling "Constitution Restoration Act" in their News category and see what you get. Today, three weeks after the bill was filed, I find a grand total of three throwaway mentions in Alabama's Shelby County Reporter, the Decatur Daily, and the Massachusetts Daily Collegian. ("Terry Schiavo" in contrast will net you over a thousand news hits, and "Michael Jackson" just passed 36,000 with a bullet.)

If the Alabama paper interest seems a little odd or sponsor Shelby's name a bit familiar, you should recall that this old boy AL senator was high among those same wonderful folks who kicked off the 9/11 cover-up. As his Senate bio proudly relates:

"From 1995 to 2003, Senator Shelby served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In this capacity, he and the other committee members provided oversight of the intelligence community, and following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Senator Shelby served diligently to investigate the intelligence failures that led to those attacks." [Emphasis demanded again.]

Got that? First he "oversees" intelligence for six years before 9/11, then "diligently investigates" its bizarre "failures" for two years more, and finally finds--in a no-fault judgment--it was all due to "deep institutional defects" and "systemic miscommunication" that he'd apparently never noticed or heard about before. Having so brilliantly defended the country before 9/11 and the official story since, some seem to find it comforting that he's now busy defending our court-harassed Constitution with a legally bulletproofed God. Some, alas, do not -- feel comforted, that is, either by Shelby's blurry oversight or fundamentalist agenda, not to mention the Orwellian performance of our autistic corporate press.

In the meantime, however, before the CRA takes force and reduces legal education to a Bible study course, what say we undertake a little Constitutional defense of our own? To get up to speed on the current Christian right agenda, Moyers' "Welcome to Doomsday", Katherine Yurica's "The Despoiling of America" and John "The 9/11 Truth Candidate" Buchanan's "Fixing America" are excellent places to start.

None of these analyses offer a silver bullet or paint a pretty picture, but as students of 9/11 now know, spreading the courage to face the truth is really the only hope we've got.

W. David Kubiak is a Project Censored award-winning journalist and executive director of 911truth.org. He can be reached at david(at)911truth.org. (He is indebted to John Buchanan for the latest heads-up on this story and the Shelby office call.)

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Quote of the day

“You know the difference between Jane Fonda, President Clinton and President Bush? Jane Fonda's the only one that actually went to Vietnam.”
-Jay Leno

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Incredible Popeman?
Sigh.

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) - Pope John Paul II is being reborn in a Colombian comic book as a superhero battling evil with an anti-Devil cape and special chastity pants.

The first episode of the "Incredible Popeman" is about to go on sale in Colombia and shows the late Polish pontiff meeting comic book legends such as Batman and Superman to learn how to use superpowers to battle Satan.

"The pope was a real-life superhero, of flesh and blood," said Colombian artist Rodolfo Leon, a non-practicing Catholic who has been working on the comic book for about a year.

Like any self-respecting superhero, the Incredible Popeman has a battery of special equipment. Along with his yellow cape and green chastity pants, the muscular super-pontiff wields a faith staff with a cross on top and carries holy water and communion wine.

In the comic book, the pope dies and is reborn with superpowers beyond the infallibility Catholic doctrine gave him on Earth.

Leon said he was saddened by the death Saturday of John Paul II, whom he admired. The artist worried some people might be offended by such a revered figure becoming a comic book hero, but said the reception so far has been good.

Apart from predominantly Catholic Colombia, the book will be sold in Poland and publishers in Mexico, Canada and the United States have expressed interest, Leon said.

He also plans to produce Incredible Popeman action dolls.

"He isn't John Paul II any more," Leon said. "From now on, he's the Incredible Popeman."

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Why I liked the guy.

“The animals also possess a soul... they are fruit of the creative action of the Holy Spirit and merit respect... They are as near to God as men are.”
Pope John Paul II

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Monday, April 04, 2005

The final word on the Pope

Al Franken interviews Father Guido Sarducci about silver hammers, famous Poles, and the next Pope. (Thanks to Danny Burstein for the heads up.)

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Apple's Windows software is horrendous

I intend to write a full report at some point on the problems I had getting an iPod Shuffle and iPod 20 gig to work on my various Windows machines. Hey, pals... telling me that Windows sucks and I should get a Macintosh is not particularly helpful. I have a dozen other USB-based devices that are truly plug-and-play and work flawlessly. So, the problem must be with Windows and/or my laptop. Of course. Idiots.

The iPods themselves have worked flawlessly (not counting two DOA 1-gig Shuffles). The best piece of iPod-related gear isn't from Apple... its from a tiny outfit called Engineered Audio, which sells a spiffy RF remote control called Remote Remote. It's less expensive than the chunk of cheap wire Apple sells at forty bucks (along with another set of crappy earbuds you're forced to take along with their defective remote).

When the Apple remote started developing intermittant shorts, I dumped it and bought the Remote Remote. No more wires. No more fumbling with the iPod itself. I can bury the iPod in a secure pocket and not worry about getting ripped off.

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Sunday, April 03, 2005

Requiescat in pace

Dum tempus habemus, operemur bonum.

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Thought of the day...

From our friend, The Covert Comic: "Read in the newspaper this morning that teen pregnancies and violent teen crime are down in the US, while teen obesity is up. Anybody see a pattern here?"

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Copyright © 1987-2014 by Kevin G. Barkes
All rights reserved.
Violators will be prosecuted.
So there.  
The kgb@kgb.com e-mail address is now something other than kgb@kgb.com saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used kgb@kgb.com as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that kgb@kgb.com was no longer kgb@kgb.com but rather kgbarkes@gmail.com which is longer than kgb@kgb.com and more letters to type than kgb@kgb.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than kgb@kgb.com but actually just as functional as kgb@kgb.com? I sent e-mails from the kgb@kgb.com address to just about everybody I knew who had used kgb@kgb.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the kgb@kgb.com change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which kgb@kgb.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for kgb@kgb.com would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that kgb@kgb.com no longer is the kgb@kgb.com they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. kgb@kgb.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...

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Laugh while you can, monkey-boy


I am a professional. Do not try this at home.


I canna change the laws of physics


As a matter of fact, I *am* the boss of you.
(as a matter of fact, i AM the boss of you.)


Truly great madness cannot be achieved without signficant intelligence


I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.


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Flies spread disease. Keep yours zipped.


Eff the ineffable, scrute the inscrutable.


If my answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions.


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