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Friday, November 09, 2007

We're not so different, after all...

It appears that all the children of Abraham -Jews, Christians and Muslims alike- have their minds in the gutter, despite their public piety. Also note that theocracies and democratic republics alike still haven't learned that you can't legislate morality.

Bluetooth Used Mostly for Swapping Porn
P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News

JEDDAH, 25 April 2007 - Misuse of Bluetooth technology by young men and women is increasing in Saudi Arabia. A recent study found that pornographic material accounted for nearly 70 percent of messages exchanged by teenagers. Abdullah ibn Mohammed Al-Rasheed, associate professor at the College of Dawa and Information in Riyadh, who conducted the study, said 88 percent of girls had been victims of such misuse. Rasheed presented his study at a seminar organized by the King Fahd Security Academy. The study focused on teenage boys detained by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice for harassing girls in the Qasim region.

"The flash memory of mobile phones taken from teenagers showed 69.7 percent of 1,470 files saved in them were pornographic and 8.6 percent were related to violence," said Rasheed. About 99.2 percent of people surveyed, mostly students, military officers and businessmen, used Bluetooth in public gatherings.

(Link)

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Arrggh....

Running into a creationist at the local pharmacy is like running into a flat-earther at an astronomical observatory. About the only pleasure one can extract from the experience is to, perhaps, savor the irony of the situation.

One of the things I've learned as I've aged is that it's pointless to argue with stupid people. As someone said, in an accurate- albeit reprehensible- analogy, "The problem with winning the Special Olympics is that you're still a retard."

Mr. Creationism spouted on for a few minutes until his prescription was ready. I just stood there and listened, displaying the same expression I do when my granddaughter describes the peculiar physics Santa Claus employs during his annual outing.

Demonstrating the wondrous design of the human form, he displayed an impressive set of muscles (other than the ones in his head) for my apparent admiration, then expressed concern about the local outbreak of MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), since he spends lots of time in gyms and showers.

"What do you give people who come down with that?" he asked.

Hmm... this particular strain of staphylococcus aureus developed its resistance to the antibiotic methicillin because it mutated- or evolved- to protect itself. But, of course, evolution doesn't exist.

"Excuse me?"

"I said, what would I take if I came down with that MRSA thing," he inquired again, rousing me from my internal musings.

"You?" I asked.

"Yeah, of course me," he said, addressing me as if I were an idiot.

"For you, I'd suggest methicillin," I suggested. I threw the pharmacist a wave and headed for the parking lot.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Don't bother 'em with facts...

Just the other night, I suggested to a friend that politicians who couldn't decide whether waterboarding was torture should undergo the procedure and make the determination for themselves.

Been there, done that, Think Progress reports... with predictable results:

Last night, ABC World News reported that in 2004 then-acting assistant attorney general Daniel Levin was so concerned about the administration's use of waterboarding that he went to a military base near Washington and underwent the procedure himself.

Levin took over former Office of Legal Counsel Jack Goldsmith's job when he resigned and immediately began reassessing the administration's interrogation techniques. Levin released a new memo in Dec. 2004 that replaced the 2002 Bybee memo. Levin's memo declared that "Torture is abhorrent" but also cautioned in a footnote that his memo was not declaring the administration's previous opinions illegal. "The White House, with Alberto Gonzales as the White House counsel, insisted that this footnote be included in the memo."

ABC reported that after Levin personally experienced waterboarding, he told the White House that it could be considered torture:

After the experience, Levin told White House officials that even though he knew he wouldn't die, he found the experience terrifying and thought that it clearly simulated drowning.

Levin, who refused to comment for this story, concluded waterboarding could be illegal torture unless performed in a highly limited way and with close supervision. And, sources told ABC News, he believed the Bush Administration had failed to offer clear guidelines for its use.

Levin was working on a second memo that would have imposed tighter controls on the use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. While working on that memo, ABC reported "Levin was forced out of the Justice Department when Alberto Gonzales became Attorney General." Watch it:

ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg reported, "Sources said Levin was seen as too independent by the Bush administration; not someone who could be counted on to endorse White House policies."

The Swamp's Mark Silva writes, "Perhaps Mukasey should take the water-board for a test-ride, too."

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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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