In The Valley Of Elah

July 19, 2008

In The Valley Of Elah

Tommy-Lee Jones puts in a very captivating performance as usual in what I found to be a rather mediocre thriller full of ‘The War in Iraq’ morality.

The unbelievably grizzled Jones has had some rather decent films out recently, not least the stunning ‘No Country For Old Men’.  But as far as I am concerned this is a rather weak effort as a film.  The story of his son being murdered, in a hideous way, after coming back from Iraq allows him to explore some of the deeper emotions which he does with aplomb.  The addition of Theron adds little to the mix other than the eye candy.

As for the story, as I touched on, it is rather a run of the mill mystery/thriller with the customary chase scenes and violence thrown in rather as an after thought.  The parts that really ground on me were the ‘effects of war on the average Joe’ scenes.  This has been done so many times before, and recently, that I think the film industry as a whole needs to stop pointing out to us that war destroys people and their lives.  The obvious is the obvious and I can take a subtle pod in whichever direction the morality of the film wishes, but having it forced down my throat is tiresome.  Susan Sarandon is also wasted here and seems to be cast to beef up the billing.

The actors do their jobs but this film was too much band wagon, not enough story for my tastes.

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McClennan

May 28, 2008

As time goes by the reality of world changing events becomes clearer and definitely more honest. That is the nature of documentation when it comes to history.

Most people with hindsight and the sensible few at the time realised that the war in Iraq was unnecessary. Quite a few even realised that the majority of the reason mustered as justification were basically false. So it is hardly surprising that one of George Bush’s aides now basically admits as much.

The revelations are just that, but only because they come from one George W’s circle. Scott McClennan’s statements, coming out in a soon to be published book, lay out what we have all known for a long time.

Bush relied on propaganda “in a way that almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option”.

The administration was not “open and forthright on Iraq”.

On the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative and the subsequent coverup, “I allowed myself to be deceived into unknowingly passing along a falsehood”.

The press were too deferential to the White House on Iraq

Steve Hadley, the deputy national security adviser, offered to resign over the erroneous claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium.

“The Iraq war was not necessary”


The Amnesty Report 2008

May 28, 2008

Amnesty has recently published its yearly report on the state of human rights across the world and it makes very interesting, if not depressing, reading.

I will leave the deatils to the report itself but here are some of the details that struck me and were highlighted by Amnesty International themselves:

“The most powerful must lead by example,”

* China must live up to the human rights promises it made around the Olympic Games and allow free speech and freedom of the press and end “re-education through labour”.
* The USA must close Guantánamo detention camp and secret detention centres, prosecute the detainees under fair trial standards or release them, and unequivocally reject the use of torture and ill-treatment.
* Russia must show greater tolerance for political dissent, and none for impunity on human rights abuses in Chechnya.
* The EU must investigate the complicity of its member states in “renditions” of terrorist suspects and set the same bar on human rights for its own members as it does for other countries.

Ms Khan from Amnesty warned: “World leaders are in a state of denial but their failure to act has a high cost. As Iraq and Afghanistan show, human rights problems are not isolated tragedies, but are like viruses that can infect and spread rapidly, endangering all of us.”

“Governments today must show the same degree of vision, courage and commitment that led the United Nations to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sixty years ago.”

“There is a growing demand from people for justice, freedom and equality.”

Some of the most striking images of 2007 were of monks in Myanmar, lawyers in Pakistan, and women activists in Iran.

“Restless and angry, people will not be silenced, and leaders ignore them at their own peril,” said Ms Khan.

Facts and Figures

ARTICLE 1

1948 Promise:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights
2008 Reality:
In the first half of 2007 nearly 250 women were killed by violent husbands or family members in Egypt and on average 2 women were raped there every hour.

ARTICLE 3

1948 Promise:
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person
2008 Reality:
1,252 people were known to have been executed by their state in 2007 in 24 countries; 104 countries however voted for a global moratorium on the death penalty.

ARTICLE 5

1948 Promise:
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
2008 Reality:
Amnesty International documented cases of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in more than 81 countries in 2007.

ARTICLE 7

1948 Promise:
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law
2008 Reality:
Amnesty International’s report highlights at least 23 countries with laws discriminating against women, at least 15 with laws discriminating against migrants and at least 14 with laws discriminating against minorities.

ARTICLE 9

1948 Promise:
Noone shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile
2008 Reality:
At the end of 2007, there were more than 600 people detained without charge, trial or judicial review of their detentions at the US airbase in Bagram, Afghanistan, and 25,000 held by the Multinational Force in Iraq.

ARTICLE 10

1948 Promise:
Everyone charged with a crime is entitled equally to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal
2008 Reality:
54 countries were recorded in the Amnesty International Report 2008 as conducting unfair trials.

ARTICLE 11

1948 Promise:
Everyone has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law
2008 Reality:
Amnesty International figures show that around 800 people have been held at Guantánamo Bay since the detention facility opened in January 2002, some 270 are still being held there in 2008 without charge or due legal process.

ARTICLE 13

1948 Promise:
Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state
2008 Reality:
In 2007, there were more than 550 Israeli military checkpoints and blockades restricting or preventing the movement of Palestinians between towns and villages in the West Bank.

ARTICLE 18

1948 Promise:
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
2008 Reality:
Amnesty International has documented 45 countries as detaining Prisoners of Conscience.

ARTICLE 19

1948 Promise:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers
2008 Reality:
77 countries were restricting freedom of expression and the press according to the Amnesty International Report 2008.

ARTICLE 20

1948 Promise:
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association
2008 Reality:
Thousands of people are believed to have been arrested during the crackdown on protests in Myanmar in 2007, Amnesty International estimates that around 700 remain in detention.

ARTICLE 23

1948 Promise:
Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to fair and equal pay, and to form and join trade unions
2008 Reality:
At least 39 trade unionists were killed in Colombia in 2007, 22 have died in the first 4 months of this year.

ARTICLE 25

1948 Promise:
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for their health and well-being, especially mothers and children
2008 Reality:
14% of Malawi’s population was living with HIV/AIDS in 2007, only 3% of them had access to free anti-retroviral drugs, 1 million children were orphaned there by HIV/AIDS related deaths.

(All figures from Amnesty International Report 2008)


When I was 12

April 10, 2008

Large rocks, severed heads, and flaming pots of oil rained down on Baghdad, capital of the vast Islamic Empire, as its weary defenders scrambled to reinforce gates, ditches, and the massive stone walls surrounding the fortress city’s many brick and teak palaces. Giant wooden manjaniq catapults bombarded distant structures while the smaller, more precise arradah catapult guns pelted individuals with grapefruit-sized rocks. Arrows flew thickly and elite horsemen assaulted footmen with swords and spears. “The horses . . . trample the livers of courageous young men,” lamented the poet al-Khuraymi, “and their hooves split their skulls.” Outside the circular city’s main wall—100 feet high, 145 feet thick, and six miles in circumference—soldiers pressed forward with battering rams while other squads choked off supply lines of food and reinforcements. Amid sinking boats and burning rafts, bodies drifted down the Tigris River.

The impenetrable “City of Peace” was crumbling. In the fifty years since its creation in A.D. 762, young Baghdad had rivaled Constantinople and Rome in its prestige and influence. It was a wildly fertile axis of art, science, and religion, and a bustling commercial hub for trade routes reaching deep into Central Asia, Africa, and Europe. But by the late summer of A.D. 813, after nearly two years of civil war (between brothers, no less), the enlightened Islamic capital was a smoldering, starving, bloody heap.

In the face of disorder, any human being desperately needs order—some way to manage, if not the material world, at least one’s understanding of the world. In that light, perhaps it’s no real surprise that, as the stones and arrows and horses’ hooves thundered down on Baghdad, the protected core of the city hosted a different sort of battle. Within the round city’s imperial inner sanctum, secure behind three thick, circular walls and many layers of gate and guard, under the luminescent green dome of the Golden Gate Palace, Muhammad al-Amin, the sixth caliph of the Abbasid Empire, spiritual descendant of (and distant blood relation to) the Prophet Muhammad, sovereign of one of the largest dominions in the history of the world, was playing chess against his favorite eunuch Kauthar.

A trusted messenger burst into the royal apartment with urgently bad news. More inglorious defeats in and around the city were to be reported to the caliph. In fact, his own safety was now in jeopardy.

But al-Amin would not hear of it. He waved off his panicked emissary.

“O Commander of the faithful,” implored the messenger, according to the medieval Islamic historian Jirjis al-Makin. “This is not the time to play. Pray arise and attend to matters of more serious moment.”

It was no use. The caliph was absorbed in the board. A chess game in progress is—as every chess spouse quickly learns—a cosmos unto itself, fully insulated from an infant’s cry, an erotic invitation, or war. The board may have only thirty-two pieces and sixty-four squares, but within that confined space the game has near-infinite depth and possibility. An outsider looking on casually might find the intensity incomprehensible. But anyone who has played the game a few times understands how it can be engrossing in the extreme. Quite often, in the middle of an interesting game, it’s almost as if reality has been flipped inside out: the chess game in motion seems to be the only matter of substance, while any hint of the outside world feels like an annoying irrelevance.

The messier the external world, the more powerful this inverted dynamic can be. Perhaps that is why Caliph al-Amin, who sensed that his hours were numbered, preferred to soak in the details of his chess battlefield rather than reports of the calamitous siege of his city. On the board he could see the whole action. On the board he could neatly make sense of significant past events and carefully plan his future. On the board he still might win.

“Patience my friend,” the caliph calmly replied to his messenger standing only a few feet away and yet a world apart. “I see that in a few moves I shall give Kauthar checkmate.”

Not long after this, al-Amin and his men were captured. The sixth Abbasid caliph, victor in his final chess game, was swiftly beheaded.

Chess lived on. The game had been a prominent court fixture of Caliph al-Amin’s predecessor, and would voraciously consume the attention of his successor—and the caliph after that, and the caliph after that. Several centuries before it infected feudal Christian Europe, chess was already an indelible part of the landscape adjoining the Tigris and Euphrates. This simple game, imbued with a universe of complexity and character, demanded from peasants, soldiers, philosophers, and sovereigns an endless amount of time and energy. In return it offered unique insights into the human endeavor.

And so, against all odds, it lasted. Games, as a general rule, do not last. They come and go. In the eighth century, the Irish loved a board game called fidchell. Long before that, in the third millennium B.C., the Egyptians played a backgammonlike race game called senet. The Romans were drawn to duodecim scripta, played with three knucklebone dice and stacks of discs. The Vikings were obsessed with a game called hnefatafl in the tenth century, in which a protagonist King attempted to escape through a ring of enemies to any edge of the board. The ancient Greeks had petteia and kubeia. These and hundreds of other once popular games are all now long gone. They caught the public imagination of their time and place, and then for whatever reason lost steam. Generations died off, taking their habits with them; or conquering cultures imposed new ideas and pastimes; or people just got bored and wanted something new. Many of the games fell into such total oblivion that they couldn’t even make a coherent mark in the historical record. Try as they might, determined historians still cannot uncover the basic rules of play for a large graveyard of yesterday’s games.

Contrast this with chess, a game that could not be contained by religious edict, nor ocean, nor war, nor language barrier. Not even the merciless accumulation of time, which eventually washes over and dissolves most everything, could so much as tug lightly at chess’s ferocious momentum. “It has, for numberless ages,” wrote Benjamin Franklin in 1786, “been the amusement of all the civilized nations of Asia, the Persians, the Indians, and the Chinese. Europe has had it above 1000 years; the Spaniards have spread it over their part of America, and it begins lately to make its appearance in these States.”

The game would eventually pass into every city in the world and along more than 1,500 years of continuous history—a common thread of Pawn chains, Knight forks, and humiliating checkmates that would run through the lives of Karl Marx, Pope Leo XIII, Arnold Schwarzenegger, King Edward I, George Bernard Shaw, Abraham Lincoln, Ivan the Terrible, Voltaire, King Montezuma, Rabbi Ibn Ezra, William the Conqueror, Jorge Luis Borges, Willie Nelson, Napoleon, Samuel Beckett, Woody Allen, and Norman Schwarzkopf. From Baghdad’s Golden Gate Palace to London’s Windsor Castle to today’s lakeside tables at Chicago’s North Avenue Beach, chess would tie history together in a surprising and compelling way.

How could a game last so long, and appeal so broadly across vast spans of time, geography, language, and culture? Endurance is not, of course, a magnificent accomplishment in itself, but a compelling sign that something profound is going on, a catalytic connection between this “game” and the human brain. Another sign is that chess was not just played but also integrated into the creative and professional lives of artists, linguists, psychologists, economists, mathematicians, politicians, theologians, computer scientists, and generals. It became a popular and pliable metaphor for abstract ideas and complex systems, and an effective tool through which scientists could better understand the human mind.

The remarkable scope of this game began to infect my own brain after a visit from an old family ghost in the fall of 2002. My mother had sent on some faded newspaper clippings about her great-grandfather, my great-great-grandfather, a diminutive Polish Jew named Samuel Rosenthal who immigrated to France in 1864 and became one of its legendary chess masters. Family lore had it that Rosenthal had impressed and/or somehow secured the gratitude of one of the Napoleons, and had been awarded a magnificent, jewel-encrusted pocket watch. No one in the family seemed to have actually seen this watch, but they’d all heard about it. Four generations down the line, this story, retold to a boy from the Ohio suburbs, was just exotic enough, and just hazy enough, to set the mind racing. I had begged Mom for years to tell me more about the great S. Rosenthal and his lost watch.

As I combed through the records on my mother’s mother’s father’s father’s achievements, wondering what spectacular (if still hidden) intelligences had filtered down through the generations, I also became reacquainted with the game itself, which I had not played since high school (and then only a handful of times). Stumbling through a few dozen games with friends at home and with strangers over the Internet, I found that I was just as ambivalent about chess as I’d been twenty years earlier—charmed by its elegance and intrigued by its depth, but also put off by the high gates of entry to even moderately serious play. Graduating from patzer to mere competence would require untold hundreds of hours of not just playing but studying volumes of opening theory, endgame problems, and strategy. Years of obsessive attention to the game might—might—eventually gain me entry into reasonably serious tournaments, where I would no doubt be quickly dispatched by an acid-tongued, self-assured ten-year-old. Chess is an ultimately indomitable peak that gets steeper and steeper with every step.

I was also repelled, frankly, by the forbidding atmosphere of unforgiving rules, insider jargon, and the general aggressiveness and unpleasantness that seemed to accompany even reasonably casual play. I recalled one of Bobby Fischer’s declarations: “Chess is war over the board,” he proclaimed. “The object is to crush the opponent’s mind.” Fischer was not alone in his lusty embrace of chess’s brutality. The game is often as much about demolishing your opponent’s will and self-esteem as it is about implementing a superior strategy. No blood is drawn (ordinarily), but the injury can be real. The historical link between top chess play and mental instability stands as yet another intriguing feature about the game and its power. “Here is nothing less,” writes recovering chess master Alfred Kreymborg, “than a silent duel between two human engines using and abusing all the faculties of the mind. . . . It is warfare in the most mysterious jungles of the human character.”

Still, much to my wife’s dismay, I got hooked. It is an intoxicating game that, though often grueling, never grows tiresome. The exquisite interplay of the simple and the complex is hypnotic: the pieces and moves are elementary enough for any five-year-old to quickly soak up, but the board combinations are so vast that all the possible chess games could never be played—or even known—by a single person. Other parlor games sufficiently amuse, entertain, challenge, distract; chess seizes. It does not merely engage the mind; it takes hold of the mind in a way that suggests a primal, hardwired connection.

Even more powerfully, though, I became transported by chess’s rich history. It seemed to have been present in every place and time, and to have been utilized in every sort of activity. Kings cajoled and threatened with it; philosophers told stories with it; poets analogized with it; moralists preached with it. Its origins are wrapped up in some of the earliest discussions of fate versus free will. It sparked and settled feuds, facilitated and sabotaged romances, and fertilized literature from Dante to Nabokov. A thirteenth-century book using chess as a guide to social morality may have been the second-most popular text in the Middle Ages, after the Bible. In the twentieth century, chess enabled computer scientists to create intelligent machines. Chess has also, in modern times, been used to study memory, language, math, and logic, and has recently emerged as a powerful learning tool in elementary and secondary schools.

The more I learned about chess’s peculiarly strong cultural relevance in century after century, the more it seemed that chess’s endurance was no historical accident. As with the Bible and Shakespeare, there was something particular about the game that made it continually accessible to generation after generation. It served a genuine function—perhaps not vital, but often far more than merely useful. I often found myself wondering how particular events or lives would have unfolded in chess’s absence—a condition, I learned, that many chess haters had ardently sought. Perhaps the most vivid measure of chess’s potency, in fact, is the determination of its orthodox enemies to stamp it out—as long ago as a ruling in 655 by Caliph Ali Ben Abu-Talib (the Prophet Muhammad’s son-in-law), and as recently as decrees by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1981, the Taliban in 1996, and the Iraqi clergy in post-Saddam Iraq. In between, chess was tamped down:

in 780 by Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi ibn al-Mansur
in 1005 by Egypt’s al-Hakim Bi-Amr Allah
in 1061 by Cardinal Damiani of Ostia
in 1093 by the Eastern Orthodox Church
in 1128 by St. Bernard
in 1195 by Rabbi Maimonides
in 1197 by the Abbot of Persigny
in 1208 by the Bishop of Paris
in 1240 by religious leaders of Worcester, England
in 1254 by King Louis IX of France (St. Louis)
in 1291 by the Archbishop of Canterbury
in 1310 by the Council of Trier (Germany)
in 1322 by Rabbi Kalonymos Ben Kalonymos
in 1375 by France’s Charles V
in 1380 by Oxford University’s founder William of Wickham
in 1549 by the Protohierarch Sylvester of Russia
and in 1649 by Tsar Alexei

But like the Talmud, like the theory of natural selection, like any organized thought paradigm that humans have found irresistibly compelling, chess refused to go away. Why were sixty-four squares and a handful of generic war figurines so hard to erase from the human imagination? What was it about chess that drew simultaneous devotion and disgust, and sparked so many powerful ideas and observations over many centuries?

This is what I set out to understand, through a close survey of chess’s history and a fresh look at the game.

Excerpted from The Immortal Game by David Shenk Copyright © 2006 by David Shenk.

Well it starts earlier than aged 12 for me really.

When I was in Primary School I had a fascination with Chess, I was indeed Chess champion back then.

Then I went off to Secondary School where peer pressure and trying to fit in made me lose my love of the game.  However I found out soon after starting there that my skills had not been totally lost.

I went to Germany with school as part of my German class and stayed with a family there for a week.  During that time the father of the household asked me if I would play with him.  The best of three as it turns out.  I lost the first, but won both of the next, much to the fathers displeasure I might add, proving to myself, as most kids that age think, that I was master of the universe.

I have lost any proper knowledge I had of the game from back then, even to the point of being afraid to really sit and think about playing someone who knows a little of the game. But being settled and content as I am with my life now, I think it is time to renew the love affair with the game.  So here I am writing this blog having placed a book about the history of Chess next to me and I am about to delve back into my childhood and much further into the human mind apparently.


Has it been one month already?

January 27, 2008

I stopped drinking alcohol just before new year. I got bored with it and had had too much over Christmas.

I don’t miss it at all, too many negatives.

And on more of a downer:

Anti-war group says war crimes are “encouraged”

WATERTOWN, NY – “I was messed up in the head. It was okay for me. I laughed afterwards. We all did. It’s just the way things go.”

Iraq war veteran Jon Turner said it was almost expected of him to pull the trigger on people who didn’t need to die. So he did.

“It was my decision,” Turner said. “I made it. Now I have to live with the fact I see someone’s eyes screaming at me after I shot them.”

But Turner says it wasn’t his choice to be encouraged to do it from higher ranking officers. He and three other veterans speaking out Saturday at the Different Drummer Cafe in Watertown said committing war crimes is not only the way things go, but it’s unofficial policy. “The killing of innocent civilians is policy,” veteran Mike Blake said. “It’s unit policy and it’s Army policy. It’s not official policy, but it’s what’s happens on the ground everyday. It’s what unit commanders individually encourage.”

The group, part of the national organization called Iraq Veterans Against War are planning an event to be held in Washington, D.C. this coming March called “Winter Soldier” that will have veterans all speaking about war crimes they committed or witnessed during their tours of duty.

“These decisions are coming from the top down,” veteran Matt Howard said. “The tactics that we use. The policies that the military engages will create situations, create dynamics, create, ultimately, atrocity.”

IVAW hopes to have 100 veterans speak at the event. Once it ends, they’ll document the testimony and package it for Congress.

IVAW says it expects a number of veterans from Fort Drum to be at the event and it is hoping to get more veterans to attend and speak at the event and will help pay for any active duty soldier who wants to go and listen.

And Obesity in the U.S 


An irc conversation

December 17, 2007

[14:14:31] <bankrun> global warming is happening however its causes are cause of changes in the solarsystem
[14:14:52] <PJC> lol bankrun, you need to read more
[14:14:53] <gordonjcp> global warming *might* be happening
[14:14:55] <bankrun> which is changing due to the different constitution of the space its moving into
[14:15:09] <bankrun> at 500.000 km per houre
[14:15:11] <gordonjcp> but if it is, it’s mostly caused by changes in the solar system
[14:15:15] <gordonjcp> bankrun: yup
[14:15:25] <bankrun> which is changing due to the different constitution of the space its moving into gordonjcp
[14:15:26] <President_HuckaB> bankrun: which is due to the face on mars
[14:15:37] <gordonjcp> bankrun: we’re moving into a patch of space with rather less dust and rock between us and the sun
[14:15:39] <bankrun> President_HuckaB: its a egular hill
[14:15:41] <President_HuckaB> constitution of the space? this isn’t start trek
[14:16:02] <gordonjcp> there’s a hill that looks like a face near my house
[14:16:08] <gordonjcp> doesn’t mean it’s actually a face
[14:16:13] <bankrun> gordonjcp: the whole solarsystem is travelling into a different space
[14:16:15] <PJC> http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6290228.stm
[14:16:37] <bankrun> global warming is part of the galactic cycle this time
[14:16:41] <gordonjcp> bankrun: also, the nutation of the earth’s axis is subtly altering the seasons
[14:16:53] <President_HuckaB> earth’s axis of evil , if you will
[14:16:56] <PJC> and that has been taken into account bankrun, read New Scientist, things like that and you will be on the cutting edge of the science behind climate change
[14:16:59] <f15> I’m having my period
[14:17:08] <President_HuckaB> send me your panties
[14:17:28] <gordonjcp> basically if you haven’t passed O-grade physics or its equivalent, you shouldn’t talk about global warming
[14:17:32] <gordonjcp> or nuclear power
[14:17:36] <gordonjcp> or fossil fuels
[14:17:39] <President_HuckaB> whats your take on it gordon
[14:17:44] <President_HuckaB> gbl warming
[14:17:44] <f15> where do you live
[14:17:47] <gordonjcp> or indeed, anything considering the physical world
[14:17:48] <PJC> no doubt about that gordonjcp
[14:18:00] <bankrun> New Study Explodes Human-Global Warming Story http://www.newsmax.com/insidecover/global_warming/2007/12/10/55974.html
[14:18:10] Quit ben has left this server (Nick collision from services.).
[14:18:12] <gordonjcp> President_HuckaB: it’s probably happening to an extent, but the reasons behind it aren’t terribly clear
[14:18:25] <f15> ron paul commands the nwo
[14:18:26] <President_HuckaB> agreed
[14:18:30] <gordonjcp> President_HuckaB: certainly it wouldn’t hurt to pump less pollution into the atmosphere
[14:18:36] <f15> from his bunker w/alex he’s lover
[14:18:42] <PJC> The mechanism for producing such cyclical climate changes is still under discussion;” quoted
[14:18:50] <President_HuckaB> gordonjcp: at the expense of development i’m not so sure
[14:19:08] <President_HuckaB> easy for us to talk we’re in the richest 10%
[14:19:16] <f15> yes
[14:19:27] <f15> who wants to play a guessing game?
[14:19:40] <gordonjcp> President_HuckaB: yeah, but then both the developing world and the developed world need to look at how to develop in a sustainable way
[14:19:45] <f15> I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 2
[14:19:53] <gordonjcp> it’s probably easier for the developing world, because they’ve got a clean slate to start with
[14:19:55] <President_HuckaB> gordon: i think they’re doing their best now
[14:19:59] <bankrun> cosmic rays are the cause it says
[14:20:03] <f15> what is the number
[14:20:10] <PJC> the concensus of scientists throughout the world, it 90% plus is that the global warming we are seeing the beginnings of now is man made
[14:20:16] <President_HuckaB> gordon: there’s no timeouts in development
[14:20:26] <f15> what is the number
[14:20:36] <bankrun> PJC: you favour the global warming TAX ?
[14:20:39] <PJC> sure you get the crack pots who would rather the blame be anywhere else other than on us….
[14:20:41] <f15> what is the number
[14:20:47] <President_HuckaB> the developing world doesn’t have a clean slate since it most falls in the harsh environments on earth
[14:20:52] <President_HuckaB> most of africa is non-arable
[14:20:59] <President_HuckaB> central asia is a windy desert
[14:21:02] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:16] <President_HuckaB> much of russia is permafrost
[14:21:20] <PJC> bankrun: I favour any tax, corporate or public that makes the world ‘livable’ for future generations
[14:21:24] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:25] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:26] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:27] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:28] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:28] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:31] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:33] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:35] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:36] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:38] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:40] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:42] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:44] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:47] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:49] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:51] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:53] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:55] <f15> what is the number
[14:21:57] <gordonjcp> yeah
[14:21:57] <f15> what is the number
[14:22:00] <f15> what is the number
[14:22:03] <f15> what is the number
[14:22:04] <f15> what is the number
[14:22:06] <f15> what is the number
[14:22:09] <Nockian> PJC: not me.
[14:22:15] <gordonjcp> I personally don’t care if environmental restrictions put companies out of business
[14:22:19] <gordonjcp> fuck ’em
[14:22:22] <gordonjcp> adapt or die
[14:22:30] <President_HuckaB> i don’t think any portion of civilization has the luxury to go backwards
[14:23:22] <President_HuckaB> europe sits on its glass house dictating what should be done socially but what are the real effects of curbing development on the third world
[14:23:29] <President_HuckaB> they’ll die faster
[14:23:41] <gordonjcp> no
[14:23:44] <President_HuckaB> stands to reason anyway
[14:23:47] <Nockian> President_HuckaB: how is the Huckabee campaign dealing with the story about Huckabee’s son killing that stray dog by hanging it and slitting its throat? that can’t be good for the campaign..
[14:23:49] <gordonjcp> they need to develop in a way that won’t fuck them over
[14:23:51] <PJC> the US and other countries have their priorites wrong, channel some of the billions used for ‘war’ in countries that have ‘wmd’ and harbor ‘terrorists’ (hahahaha) into something other than killing, I’d rather we take the chance and change our ways now, with regards to climate change, and be wrong, rather than not, and have the senarios turn out to be right
[14:24:08] <President_HuckaB> Nockian: my son’s not running for president
[14:24:08] <gordonjcp> PJC: well yeah
[14:24:19] <Nockian> President_HuckaB: the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree
[14:24:27] <President_HuckaB> speak for yourself
[14:24:35] <Nockian> so that’s his official stance then?
[14:24:39] <gordonjcp> if the US spent a bit more money on sorting out its fuel usage than trying to invent wars then it would be better for everyone
[14:24:41] <President_HuckaB> afaik charles manson’s parents were fine
[14:24:55] <Nockian> President_HuckaB: actually, they were terrible people.. you should look into it
[14:25:05] <President_HuckaB> well hitler’s mother was niec
[14:25:14] <f15> is dvd hardware or software?
[14:25:38] <President_HuckaB> you sound like the type who would blame your parents for your own meager successes or lack there of in life
[14:25:38] <gordonjcp> here’s the US DOT planning on introducing laws that US car manufacturers will need to have an average of 35mpg across their model range
[14:25:47] <PJC> yep gordonjcp, but that wouldn’t create more oil or massive rebuilding contracts for certain people in the administration who happen to be board members etc
[14:25:47] <gordonjcp> wtf, 35mpg?
[14:25:54] <PJC> and thats just scratching the surface
[14:26:02] <gordonjcp> if my car was guzzling 35mpg, I’d suspect something was majorly wrong with it
[14:26:09] <gordonjcp> like maybe an engine fire
[14:26:13] <PJC> lol
[14:26:21] <gordonjcp> or a fist-sized hole in the fuel tank
[14:26:23] <President_HuckaB> i love how the left is up bush’s ass yet putin has carte blanche
[14:26:32] <President_HuckaB> and he’s doing much more damage to the global village
[14:27:17] <President_HuckaB> at least bush and liberals can both agree they are supportive of putin dismantling any freedoms in russia
[14:27:19] <f15> gordonjcp you don’t have a car
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[14:28:36] <BlimpMan> great
[14:28:39] <BlimpMan> i just got a bullshit parking ticket
[14:28:41] <BlimpMan> fucking mother fuckers
[14:28:43] <President_HuckaB> spasiba shoi
[14:28:52] <f15> blimpman how can you park a blimp?
[14:28:58] <President_HuckaB> it was me who gave it to you
[14:29:08] <President_HuckaB> you’re in atlanta right
[14:29:09] <bankrun> Study says sun getting hotter http://www.lubbockonline.com/news/092897/study.htm
[14:29:19] <President_HuckaB> especially in the summer
[14:29:45] <bankrun> Things Are Heating Up http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~kaisler/articles/event_horizon/heating.html
[14:30:03] <f15> bankrun: do you know how to swim?
[14:30:07] <President_HuckaB> As much of the U.S. is being blasted by vicious ice storms, a blockbuster report published in a prestigious scientific journal insists that the evidence shows that climate warming is both natural and unstoppable and that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant.
[14:30:09] <President_HuckaB> nice.
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[14:30:19] <BlimpMan> i’m so angry
[14:30:28] <skyfolly-home> i am so excited
[14:30:29] <BlimpMan> why does this little parking ticket piss me off so much?
[14:30:34] <bankrun> Strong Evidence Points to Earth’s Proximity to Sun as Ice Age Trigger (8/27/2007) http://www.geologytimes.com/Research/Strong_Evidence_Points_to_Earths_Proximity_to_Sun_as_Ice_Age_Trigger.asp
[14:30:35] <f15> blimpman maybe you shouldn’t fly a blimp
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[14:30:45] <f15> aka don’t have a cow man
[14:30:52] <President_HuckaB> man’s entire development revolves around natural catastrophe
[14:31:23] <f15> actually around blimps
[14:31:25] <President_HuckaB> dating to the eruption of mt. toba 74,000 yrs ago
[14:31:28] <PJC> climate change isnt just ‘warming’ it involves changes to regional weather and trends, and an overall world wide temperature rise
[14:31:35] <quamster> did Greenland melt yet?
[14:31:42] <skyfolly-home> melting
[14:31:51] <f15> soon will be gone
[14:31:52] <quamster> ah yes
[14:32:02] <President_HuckaB> manmade global warming is false
[14:32:02] <f15> very soon
[14:32:08] <President_HuckaB> its a boondoggle for the left
[14:32:11] <bankrun> in case there was manmade global warming youd expect the atmosphere to rise in temperature before the surface does
[14:32:22] <skyfolly-home> huge icebergs are floating north from antartica
[14:32:24] <President_HuckaB> manmade global warming is the left’s equivalent of terrorism
[14:32:27] <President_HuckaB> except its fake
[14:32:30] <President_HuckaB> and terrorism is real
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[14:32:44] <President_HuckaB> but neither have a significant mortal impact on a large pop
[14:32:46] <PJC> President_HuckaB: and you are on the outside looking in, delusion is a comfortable and warm blanket to be wrapped up in
[14:32:46] <bankrun> but the earths atmosphere isnt that warming
[14:32:50] <skyfolly-home> yea right, and UFO is real
[14:32:56] <President_HuckaB> pjc: you are too
[14:33:02] <PJC> mhmm
[14:33:02] <bankrun> so thats why now they claim its cosmic rays
[14:33:03] <President_HuckaB> you’re just too ignorant to realize or admit
[14:33:21] <quamster> were all gonna die
[14:33:40] <President_HuckaB> now that we’re haveing a record winter, the global warming spinsters are trying to say its not “warming”
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[14:33:51] <President_HuckaB> gore sounds like a genius in august don’t he
[14:33:52] <bankrun> beside CO2 is not a very effective greenhouse gas , unlike methane that is isolating heath from the earth
[14:34:07] <skyfolly-home> oh well, many people dun cry until they see the coffins
[14:34:21] <President_HuckaB> fearmongering
[14:34:30] <PJC> terrorists, which terrorists, the USA ups and downs its terror alerts to ensure people like you are always worried about something that isn’t there, terrorist attacks in the USA? Last one was 9/11, surely the world wide web or terror is better than that?
[14:34:35] <bankrun> and methane is spewed out in huge quantities as the methane lakes in siberia melt
[14:34:47] <President_HuckaB> pjc: just like global warming is used on people like you
[14:34:51] <deff> global warming is a reptilian conspiracy anyway
[14:34:52] <PJC> as for global warming, yeah its not in your face now, but I like to think of people and a generation other than mine
[14:35:01] <President_HuckaB> fear mongering is fear mongering
[14:35:13] <President_HuckaB> yeah terrorism is sold the same way
[14:35:19] <President_HuckaB> on a long term , results-free basis
[14:35:20] <PJC> not really President_HuckaB, science speaks, the US government doesnt hold any sway with me
[14:35:32] <PJC> wmd in Iraq?
[14:35:33] <President_HuckaB> g.warming is your sides version of fear mongering
[14:35:35] <BlimpMan> i just filed an appeal
[14:35:36] <bankrun> so at least we can be sure that if the earht warms is warms at ever increasing speeds
[14:35:36] <skyfolly-home> why is it so hard to convince people into believing the world is getting warmer and warmer?
[14:35:37] <BlimpMan> i should be str8
[14:35:41] <PJC> terror attacks iminent?
[14:35:41] <President_HuckaB> science doesnt speak
[14:35:53] <President_HuckaB> the U N isn’t science
[14:35:56] <skyfolly-home> is saving that big deal?
[14:36:06] <bankrun> so thats why the scientists cannot predict too far ahead, they forgot for instance the methane lakes in siberia
[14:36:22] <President_HuckaB> bankrun is providing material sources
[14:36:23] <PJC> like i say, you are free to your delusions, I prefer common sense and current science over Bush
[14:36:28] <President_HuckaB> unlike pjc with wild speculation
[14:36:59] <PJC> i see lol
[14:37:00] <bankrun> and thats also why any predictions of future warmings will be underestimated
[14:37:11] <President_HuckaB> global warming is a boondoggle
[14:37:15] <President_HuckaB> and they are trying to save it
[14:37:24] <President_HuckaB> its guaranteed money
[14:37:33] <deff> lol
[14:37:35] <President_HuckaB> from corporations, all the better according to socialists
[14:37:36] <bankrun> and over time the differences between the herren scientists and the reallife situation will get worse
[14:37:37] <deff> money from what
[14:37:48] <deff> how exactly do you monetize on global warming
[14:37:49] <bankrun> so they have to adapt and adapt
[14:38:03] <President_HuckaB> university/research funding
[14:38:17] <President_HuckaB> government appropriations
[14:38:18] <deff> uh that’s a huuge money machine indeed
[14:38:21] <bankrun> but in ten years from now you wont recognize those that advocate the manmade global warming
[14:38:21] <PJC> ok President_HuckaB, you are entitled to your opinions, you go ahead panicing about your terror attacks, and I’ll make a little effort in my household, just incase the made up global warming happens
[14:38:21] <President_HuckaB> wasted on bullshit like that
[14:38:27] <deff> grow a brain, half of it at least
[14:38:31] <President_HuckaB> deff: it is
[14:38:35] <President_HuckaB> huge money actually
[14:38:49] <deff> it isn’t
[14:38:51] <President_HuckaB> there are multi million dollar grants
[14:38:54] <President_HuckaB> for research
[14:38:57] <deff> couple of millions is peanuts
[14:39:00] <President_HuckaB> especially when someone drops the g-bomb
[14:39:09] <President_HuckaB> there are hundreds of grants
[14:39:11] <President_HuckaB> get a clue
[14:39:11] <PJC> huge money = the reason the USA doesnt want to commit it targets
[14:39:20] <PJC> *to
[14:39:36] <PJC> the only country that stood in the way of them btw lol
[14:39:37] <skyfolly-home> it is not about global warming, it is about pollution really.
[14:39:44] <deff> billions made on oil or saved by not investing in new technologies are huge money
[14:39:59] <deff> research grants, gimme a break
[14:40:11] <President_HuckaB> you have no education so what would you know
[14:40:17] <President_HuckaB> you sound like a total idiot scoffing at grants
[14:40:22] <skyfolly-home> and you think oil is unlimit?
[14:40:24] <President_HuckaB> you’re totally out of your scope
[14:40:28] <President_HuckaB> you show it
[14:40:35] <bankrun> skyfolly-home: if the UN uses the carbon tax to reduce co2 emissions its not bad at all
[14:40:40] <PJC> how would you know his education President_HuckaB? you are the one who disputes common, well known accpeted science
[14:40:47] <President_HuckaB> co2 isn’t a cause
[14:40:58] <bankrun> however co2 is a pollutant
[14:41:01] <President_HuckaB> reducing it may be meaningless
[14:41:03] <quamster> alan keys said its hot air from most politicians
[14:41:13] <tuxick> traffic pollutes a lot anyway
[14:41:15] <quamster> he might be on to somthing
[14:41:15] <bankrun> not making a mess is always relevant President_HuckaB
[14:41:18] <tuxick> in several ways
[14:41:23] <deff> President_HuckaB: research is peanuts compared to manufacturing and actually implementing those technologies, you are not going to convince me otherwise
[14:41:36] <President_HuckaB> gov’t appropriations also
[14:41:36] <tuxick> smell, noise, chaos in general, ugly roads
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[14:42:02] <bankrun> sustainability starts by not wasting
[14:42:06] <President_HuckaB> its the research money thats sets the standard
[14:42:09] <tuxick> i remember when i visited Dublin, all i remember was NOISE
[14:42:16] <tuxick> especially the heavy traffic
[14:42:29] <President_HuckaB> you want chaos, stroll through brazzville
[14:42:35] <President_HuckaB> brazzaville
[14:42:38] <PJC> increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, trap more heat, its a smiple experiment to do. But much easier on a large scale, say a planet for example….
[14:42:52] <skyfolly-home> people should stop bitching about global warming, instead they should emphasize on protecting the environment, we are killing the earth
[14:42:57] <PJC> not to mention methane, which is x20 as potent
[14:42:58] <President_HuckaB> there are dozens of shitty cities you would reject in favor of dublin believe me
[14:43:16] <bankrun> methane!
[14:43:20] <PJC> stopping global warming involves protecting the earth skyfolly-home
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[14:43:34] <bankrun> you will fail PJC
[14:43:56] <skyfolly-home> PJC: i know, but these freaks think we are threatening them with sudden death
[14:44:02] <guest1234> niggers
[14:44:10] <skyfolly-home> lol
[14:44:16] <PJC> lol skyfolly-home, typical knee-jerk reaction
[14:44:22] <bankrun> global warming is unstoppable
[14:44:36] <skyfolly-home> PJC: nah, i am taking it easily
[14:44:38] <PJC> bankrun: we might fail, but that doesn’t mean we shouldnt try
[14:44:48] <PJC> i meant them skyfolly-home lol
[14:44:48] <guest1234> PJC, so stop farting so much
[14:44:57] <bankrun> if you think we live in a greenhouse you are wrong , the earth changes
[14:44:57] <skyfolly-home> PJC: oh
[14:45:06] <PJC> guest1234: stop eating meat 😉
[14:45:35] <bankrun> PJC: besides i dont want to life in an artificial environment which has sprouted out of your brain
[14:45:51] <guest1234> PJC, I think the foods which are high in fiber causes one to fart a lot, not the meats
[14:46:02] <skyfolly-home> nah, we just care for our next generation
[14:46:18] <bankrun> PJC: i would rather consider people like you a threat to nature
[14:46:30] <bankrun> PJC: no in fact i do
[14:46:33] <skyfolly-home> if the world isn’t this fucked up, i would consider having one more baby
[14:46:42] <PJC> guest1234: I meant methane produced by the farmin industry, anyways. like I say, you are entitled to your opinion, carry on as you are. but I’m entitled to mine
[14:46:59] <bankrun> PJC: always regulating our world into what the wheater should be or should not be
[14:47:18] <PJC> bankrun: I’m guessing that yopu are one of those people who thinks anyone who doesnt agree with you is a threat to anything and everything you are discusdsing
[14:47:52] <bankrun> PJC: im telling you you want to fuck with our environment into creating some artificial world
[14:47:57] <f15> skyfolly-home, are you a female?
[14:48:04] <PJC> bankrun: we are already doing that
[14:48:07] <skyfolly-home> f15: lol, sounds reasonable
[14:48:13] <bankrun> PJC: you dont know that for sure
[14:48:23] <bankrun> PJC: but already you know the solutions
[14:48:30] <skyfolly-home> i am a male, altough with small dick
[14:48:38] <bankrun> PJC: change the whole damn globe is your solution
[14:48:41] <bankrun> haha
[14:48:56] <f15> ha
[14:49:11] <bankrun> skyfolly-home: there are some trolls in this room
[14:49:11] <f15> I have largest penis in channel 5 inches
[14:49:16] <PJC> i dont know that the human race is using our resources faster than they can be replenished and that we are putting greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere faster than the earth can reabsorb them, causing a chain reaction of consequences? yes, i do know that
[14:49:24] <guest1234> You ought to be using farm animal dropping as a fuel
[14:49:24] <skyfolly-home> it is not about changing, it is about prevention, people
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[14:49:38] <bankrun> PJC: and so you fix the results of the causes ?
[14:49:48] <skyfolly-home> why you wear a condom while fucking around
[14:49:49] <bankrun> PJC: by changing the whole globe to your likings ?
[14:49:50] <guest1234> You know, use a cow shit to heat up your furnace instead of wood
[14:49:52] <PJC> bankrun: yes, change the whole way we use are world
[14:49:58] <PJC> *our
[14:50:05] <skyfolly-home> diseases are fucking natural way to die
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[14:50:23] <f15> skyfolly-home, mental ones
[14:50:25] <guest1234> skyfolly-home, you cheat on your wife a lot?
[14:50:29] <bankrun> PJC: if you think co2 is the problem then fix that
[14:50:38] <skyfolly-home> guest1234: i cheat on yr mom
[14:50:44] <casanova-> The opening ceremony of the Pentagon as the ministry of defence in the USA was on September 11th.
[14:50:51] <guest1234> skyfolly-home, you do cheat on your wife often, right?
[14:50:59] <skyfolly-home> guest1234: nope
[14:51:06] <f15> casanova- lulz
[14:51:09] <guest1234> skyfolly-home, just once in a while?
[14:51:10] <PJC> I can’t on my own, but hopefully the world will come to realise, as it is now, when 140+ countries sign a treaty promising to change how we do things
[14:51:16] <skyfolly-home> guest1234: never
[14:51:18] <casanova-> f15 that’s true just wiki it over
[14:51:22] <bankrun> PJC: but to change the whole world around it is ridiculous and the results wont be desirable
[14:51:41] <PJC> bankrun: you say that with such conviction, have you do it already?
[14:51:47] <PJC> *done
[14:51:53] <casanova-> Also, the founding cornerstone of the WTC in NYC was laid on a September 11th.
[14:51:54] <f15> casanova- is it the word of the lord?
[14:52:00] <skyfolly-home> so i mean preventing global warming is not trying to change the world, just prevent it from dying
[14:52:23] <f15> casanova- OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG
[14:52:32] <PJC> indeed skyfolly-home
[14:52:40] <bankrun> fixing causes is one of mankinds greatest waisted efforts up until this day in history
[14:52:50] <bankrun> eh
[14:52:56] <bankrun> fixing results i mean
[14:53:03] <f15> casanova-, do you write for wikipedia?
[14:53:04] <casanova-> The state of Israel followed an invasion of British naval troops in palestine, beginning on September 11th. 19222
[14:53:15] <PJC> well, you give up before even starting bankrun, thats not in my nature however
[14:53:20] <guest1234> f15, I do, don’t you?
[14:53:31] <skyfolly-home> if you are stuck in the desert with few water, would you drink it in one day or sip bit by bit?
[14:53:39] <f15> I wrote the disambiguation page for f15
[14:53:54] <bankrun> PJC: no i dont waiste energy and time on fixing problems, id rather fix the causes
[14:54:06] <tuxick> skyfolly-home: i’d drink it all and then privatize water supplies!
[14:54:07] <guest1234> I try to lock my edits as much as possible so the morons can’t fuck it up
[14:54:26] <skyfolly-home> tuxick: then you’d die in one day
[14:54:30] <f15> guest1234, what’s your problem with the mormons?
[14:54:31] <casanova-> The country which has the richest copper reserves in the World, a holy land of the Incas, Chile, experienced a fascist revolution with Gen. Augusto Pinochet, which resulted in the birth of the modern computer industry… on September 11th. 1973
[14:54:49] <skyfolly-home> casanova-: lol
[14:55:02] <guest1234> f15, because it’s a cult?
[14:55:10] <PJC> bankrun: I think you missed the point, the idea is to fix the causes
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[14:55:17] <casanova-> Coincidence?
[14:55:21] <f15> casanova-, bogus?
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[14:55:32] <casanova-> no the dates are correct
[14:55:32] <PJC> causes of global warming
[14:55:44] <guest1234> f15, they believe that they’re truly the “saved” ones, and rest of the people are non-factors to them
[14:56:08] <guest1234> f15, they believe the “non-saved” ones do not matter (rest of us)
[14:56:12] <f15> guest1234, so what are they going to do to us?
[14:56:16] <casanova-> Wasn’t there a bill passed on September this month…
[14:56:25] <casanova-> this year
[14:56:26] <casanova-> oop
[14:56:31] <guest1234> f15, Soylent Green?
[14:56:33] <f15> casanova-, the dollar bill
[14:56:46] <casanova-> that was june 1913 wasn’t it?
[14:56:49] <f15> guest1234, what can we do to stop soylent greens?
[14:57:08] <f15> casanova-, no that is yesterday
[14:57:10] <guest1234> f15, sounds like a poorly written bot
[14:57:21] <f15> casanova-, now they got a chip in yer hed
[14:58:03] <f15> guest1234, soylent greens say that golbal warming is going to cause imminent disaster but in fact global warming is natural
[14:58:34] <PJC> i would rather we had tried and be wrong, than to have shrugged our shoulders and be right, there is enough money floating around the global economy to make the changes and cause little or no problems around the world. What would have happened if the billions spent on the war in Iraq had been spent on the issue of global warming, would America and the western world now be under attack, would terrorist attack have increased, would
[14:58:34] <PJC> there be world war 3, would society as we know it be falling apart?
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[14:59:13] <skyfolly-home> meh, they just dun get it
[14:59:29] <f15> how about we use the money to buy more money
[14:59:33] <PJC> lol
[14:59:36] <f15> like in that game
[14:59:44] <PJC> Second Life?
[14:59:58] <skyfolly-home> lol, dollar to yen?
[15:00:03] <f15> a dollar costs less than a yugo to produce
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[15:00:07] <PJC> lol
[15:00:21] <f15> therefore we could fucking print more dollars for dollars
[15:00:36] <f15> and have infinite moneys
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[15:01:15] <f15> LOL


Mario/ Duty/ Optical/ Eee/ CIWayhey/ UK1US0/ , and breath

December 16, 2007

Call of Duty 4 Outsells Super Mario Galaxy

[spoiler]

November 2007 Software Sales
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xbox 360) — 1,570,000
Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) — 1,120,000
Assassin’s Creed (Xbox 360) — 980,000
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (PlayStation 2) — 967,000
Wii Play w/ Remote (Wii) — 564,000
Mass Effect (Xbox 360) — 473,000
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PlayStation 3) — 444,000
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Wii) — 426,000
Halo 3 (Xbox 360) — 387,000
Assassin’s Creed (PlayStation 3) — 377,000

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I own both games, Mario wins hands down with game play over graphics. That’s not to say that COD4 isn’t a brilliant game, but when it comes down to it…..

Student Arrested After Cutting Food With Knife

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An elementary student in Marion County was arrested Thursday after school officials found her cutting food during lunch with a knife that she brought from home, police said.
The 10-year-old girl, a student at Sunrise Elementary School in Ocala, was charged possession of a weapon on school property, which is a felony.
According to authorities, school employees spotted the girl cutting her food while she was eating lunch and took the steak knife from her. The girl told sheriff’s deputies that she had brought the knife to school on more than one occasion in the past. Students told officials that the girl did not threaten anyone with the knife.
The girl was arrested and transported to the Juvenile Assessment Center.

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It’s the end of the world as we know it. All common sense is lost, and our generation has ring side seats.

Inside the CIA’s notorious “black sites”

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A Yemeni man never charged by the U.S. details 19 months of brutality and psychological torture — the first in-depth, first-person account from inside the secret U.S. prisons.

By Mark Benjamin

The CIA held Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah in several different cells when he was incarcerated in its network of secret prisons known as “black sites.” But the small cells were all pretty similar, maybe 7 feet wide and 10 feet long. He was sometimes naked, and sometimes handcuffed for weeks at a time. In one cell his ankle was chained to a bolt in the floor. There was a small toilet. In another cell there was just a bucket. Video cameras recorded his every move. The lights always stayed on — there was no day or night. A speaker blasted him with continuous white noise, or rap music, 24 hours a day.The guards wore black masks and black clothes. They would not utter a word as they extracted Bashmilah from his cell for interrogation — one of his few interactions with other human beings during his entire 19 months of imprisonment. Nobody told him where he was, or if he would ever be freed.

It was enough to drive anyone crazy. Bashmilah finally tried to slash his wrists with a small piece of metal, smearing the words “I am innocent” in blood on the walls of his cell. But the CIA patched him up.

So Bashmilah stopped eating. But after his weight dropped to 90 pounds, he was dragged into an interrogation room, where they rammed a tube down his nose and into his stomach. Liquid was pumped in. The CIA would not let him die.

On several occasions, when Bashmilah’s state of mind deteriorated dangerously, the CIA also did something else: They placed him in the care of mental health professionals. Bashmilah believes these were trained psychologists or psychiatrists. “What they were trying to do was to give me a sort of uplifting and to assure me,” Bashmilah said in a telephone interview, through an interpreter, speaking from his home country of Yemen. “One of the things they told me to do was to allow myself to cry, and to breath”
Last June, Salon reported on the CIA’s use of psychologists to aid with the interrogation of terrorist suspects. But the role of mental health professionals working at CIA black sites is a previously unknown twist in the chilling, Kafkaesque story of the agency’s secret overseas prisons.

Little about the conditions of Bashmilah’s incarceration has been made public until now. His detailed descriptions in an interview with Salon, and in newly filed court documents, provide the first in-depth, first-person account of captivity inside a CIA black site. Human rights advocates and lawyers have painstakingly pieced together his case, using Bashmilah’s descriptions of his cells and his captors, and documents from the governments of Jordan and Yemen and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to verify his testimony. Flight records detailing the movement of CIA aircraft also confirm Bashmilah’s account, tracing his path from the Middle East to Afghanistan and back again while in U.S. custody.

Bashmilah’s story also appears to show in clear terms that he was an innocent man. After 19 months of imprisonment and torment at the hands of the CIA, the agency released him with no explanation, just as he had been imprisoned in the first place. He faced no terrorism charges. He was given no lawyer. He saw no judge. He was simply released, his life shattered.

“This really shows the human impact of this program and that lives are ruined by the CIA rendition program,” said Margaret Satterthwaite, an attorney for Bashmilah and a professor at the New York University School of Law. “It is about psychological torture and the experience of being disappeared.”

Bashmilah, who at age 39 is now physically a free man, still suffers the mental consequences of prolonged detention and abuse. He is undergoing treatment for the damage done to him at the hands of the U.S. government. On Friday, Bashmilah laid out his story in a declaration to a U.S. district court as part of a civil suit brought by the ACLU against Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing accused of facilitating secret CIA rendition flights.

Bashmilah said in the phone interview that the psychological anguish inside a CIA black site is exacerbated by the unfathomable unknowns for the prisoners. While he figured out that he was being held by Americans, Bashmilah did not know for sure why, where he was, or whether he would ever see his family again. He said, “Every time I realize that there may be others who are still there where I suffered, I feel the same thing for those innocent people who just fell in a crack.”

It may seem bizarre for the agency to provide counseling to a prisoner while simultaneously cracking him mentally — as if revealing a humanitarian aspect to a program otherwise calibrated to exploit systematic psychological abuse. But it could also be that mental healthcare professionals were enlisted to help bring back from the edge prisoners who seemed precariously damaged, whose frayed minds were no longer as pliable for interrogation. “My understanding is that the purpose of having psychiatrists there is that if the prisoner feels better, then he would be able to talk more to the interrogators,” said Bashmilah.

Realistically, psychiatrists in such a setting could do little about the prisoners’ deeper suffering at the hands of the CIA. “They really had no authority to address these issues,” Bashmilah said about his mental anguish. He said the doctors told him to “hope that one day you will prove your innocence or that you will one day return to your family.” The psychiatrists also gave him some pills, likely tranquilizers. They analyzed his dreams. But there wasn’t much else they could do. “They also gave me a Rubik’s Cube so I could pass the time, and some jigsaw puzzles,” Bashmilah recalled.

The nightmare started for him back in fall 2003. Bashmilah had traveled to Jordan from Indonesia, where he was living with his wife and working in the clothing business. He and his wife went to Jordan to meet Bashmilah’s mother, who had also traveled there. The family hoped to arrange for heart surgery for Bashmilah’s mother at a hospital in Amman. But before leaving Indonesia, Bashmilah had lost his passport and had received a replacement. Upon arrival in Jordan, Jordanian officials questioned his lack of stamps in the new one, and they grew suspicious when Bashmilah admitted he had visited Afghanistan in 2000. Bashmilah was taken into custody by Jordanian authorities on Oct. 21, 2003. He would not reappear again until he stepped out of a CIA plane in Yemen on May 5, 2005.

Bashmilah’s apparent innocence was clearly lost on officials with Jordan’s General Intelligence Department. After his arrest, the Jordanians brutally beat him, peppering him with questions about al-Qaida. He was forced to jog around in a yard until he collapsed. Officers hung him upside down with a leather strap and his hands tied. They beat the soles of his feet and his sides. They threatened to electrocute him with wires. The told him they would rape his wife and mother.

It was too much. Bashmilah signed a confession multiple pages long, but he was disoriented and afraid even to read it. “I felt sure it included things I did not say,” he wrote in his declaration to the court delivered Friday. “I was willing to sign a hundred sheets so long as they would end the interrogation.”

Bashmilah was turned over to the CIA in the early morning hours of Oct. 26, 2003. Jordanian officials delivered him to a “tall, heavy-set, balding white man wearing civilian clothes and dark sunglasses with small round lenses,” he wrote in his declaration. He had no idea who his new captors were, or that he was about to begin 19 months of hell, in the custody of the U.S. government. And while he was seldom beaten physically while in U.S. custody, he describes a regime of imprisonment designed to inflict extreme psychological anguish.

I asked Bashmilah which was worse: the physical beatings at the hands of the Jordanians, or the psychological abuse he faced from the CIA. “I consider that psychological torture I endured was worse than the physical torture,” he responded. He called his imprisonment by the CIA “almost like being inside a tomb.”

“Whenever I saw a fly in my cell, I was filled with joy,” he said. “Although I would wish for it to slip from under the door so it would not be imprisoned itself.”

After a short car ride to a building at the airport, Bashmilah’s clothes were cut off by black-clad, masked guards wearing surgical gloves. He was beaten. One guard stuck his finger in Bashmilah’s anus. He was dressed in a diaper, blue shirt and pants. Blindfolded and wearing earmuffs, he was then chained and hooded and strapped to a gurney in an airplane.

Flight records show Bashmilah was flown to Kabul. (Records show the plane originally departed from Washington, before first stopping in Prague and Bucharest.) After landing, he was forced to lie down in a bumpy jeep for 15 minutes and led into a building. The blindfold was removed, and Bashmilah was examined by an American doctor.

He was then placed in a windowless, freezing-cold cell, roughly 6.5 feet by 10 feet. There was a foam mattress, one blanket, and a bucket for a toilet that was emptied once a day. A bare light bulb stayed on constantly. A camera was mounted above a solid metal door. For the first month, loud rap and Arabic music was piped into his cell, 24 hours a day, through a hole opposite the door. His leg shackles were chained to the wall. The guards would not let him sleep, forcing Bashmilah to raise his hand every half hour to prove he was still awake.

Cells were lined up next to each other with spaces in between. Higher above the low ceilings of the cells appeared to be another ceiling, as if the prison were inside an airplane hanger.

After three months the routine became unbearable. Bashmilah unsuccessfully tried to hang himself with his blanket and slashed his wrists. He slammed his head against the wall in an effort to lose consciousness. He was held in three separate but similar cells during his detention in Kabul. At one point, the cell across from him was being used for interrogations. “While I myself was not beaten in the torture and interrogation room, after a while I began to hear the screams of detainees being tortured there,” he wrote.

While he was not beaten, Bashmilah was frequently interrogated. “During the entire period of my detention there, I was held in solitary confinement and saw no one other than my guards, interrogators and other prison personnel,” he wrote in his declaration. One interrogator accused him of being involved in sending letters to a contact in England, though Bashmilah says he doesn’t know anybody in that country. At other times he was shown pictures of people he also says he did not know.

“This is a form of torture,” he told me. “Especially when the person subjected to this has not done anything.”

In his declaration, Bashmilah made it clear that most of the prison officials spoke English with American accents. “The interrogators also frequently referred to reports coming from Washington,” he wrote.

After six months he was transferred, with no warning or explanation. On or around April 24, 2004, Bashmilah was pulled from his cell and placed in an interrogation room, where he was stripped naked. An American doctor with a disfigured hand examined him, jotting down distinctive marks on a paper diagram of the human body. Black-masked guards again put him in a diaper, cotton pants and shirt. He was blindfolded, shackled, hooded, forced to wear headphones, and stacked, lying down, in a jeep with other detainees. Then he remembers being forced up steps into a waiting airplane for a flight that lasted several hours, followed by several hours on the floor of a helicopter.

Upon landing, he was forced into a vehicle for a short ride. Then, Bashmilah took several steps into another secret prison — location unknown.

He was forced into a room and stripped naked again. Photos were taken of all sides of his body. He was surrounded by about 15 people. “All of them except for the person taking photographs were dressed in the kind of black masks that robbers wear to hide their faces,” Bashmilah wrote in the declaration.

He was again examined by a doctor, who took notations on the diagram of the human body. (It was the same form from Afghanistan. Bashmilah saw his vaccination scar marked on the diagram.) The doctor looked in his eyes, ears, nose and throat.

He was then thrown into a cold cell, left naked.

It was another tiny cell, new or refurbished with a stainless steel sink and toilet. Until clothes arrived several days later, Bashmilah huddled in a blanket. In this cell there were two video cameras, one mounted above the door and the other in a wall. Also above the door was a speaker. White noise, like static, was pumped in constantly, day and night. He spent the first month in handcuffs. In this cell his ankle was attached to a 110-link chain attached to a bolt on the floor.

&amp;amp;lt;a href=”http://judo.salon.com/RealMedia/ads/click_nx.cgi/www.salonmagazine.com/news/content/large.html@x10″&amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;lt;img src=”http://judo.salon.com/RealMedia/ads/adstream_nx.cgi/www.salonmagazine.com/news/content/large.html@x10&#8243; width=”300″ height=”250″ border=”0″ alt=”” /&amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;gt;The door had a small opening in the bottom through which food would appear: boiled rice, sliced meat and bread, triangles of cheese, boiled potato, slices of tomato and olives, served on a plastic plate.Guards wore black pants with pockets, long-sleeved black shirts, rubber gloves or black gloves, and masks that covered the head and neck. The masks had tinted yellow plastic over the eyes. “I never heard the guards speak to each other and they never spoke to me,” Bashmilah wrote in his declaration.He was interrogated more. Bashmilah recalls an interrogator showing him a lecture by an Islamic scholar playing on a laptop. The interrogator wanted to know if Bashmilah knew who the man was, but he did not. It was in this facility that Bashmilah slashed his wrists, then went on his hunger strike, only to be force-fed through a tube forced down his nose.

The CIA seems to have figured out that Bashmilah was not an al-Qaida operative sometime around September 2004, when he was moved to another, similar cell. But there was no more white noise. And while his ankles were shackled, he wasn’t bolted to the floor with a chain. He was allowed to shower once a week. He was no longer interrogated and was mostly left alone.

Bashmilah was given a list of books he could read. About a month before he was released, he was given access to an exercise hall for 15 minutes a week. And he saw mental healthcare professionals. “The psychiatrists asked me to talk about why I was so despairing, interpreted my dreams, asked me how I was sleeping and whether I had an appetite, and offered medications such as tranquilizers.”

On May 5, 2005, Bashmilah was cuffed, hooded and put on a plane to Yemen. Yemeni government documents say the flight lasted six or seven hours and confirm that he was transferred from the control of the U.S. government. He soon learned that his father had died in the fall of 2004, not knowing where his son had disappeared to, or even if he was alive.

At the end of my interview with Bashmilah, I asked him if there was anything in particular he wanted people to know. “I would like for the American people to know that Islam is not an enemy to other nations,” he said. “The American people should have a voice for holding accountable people who have hurt innocent people,” he added. “And when there is a transgression against the American people, it should not be addressed by another transgression.”

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Asus Eee PC 701 Review

The little machine i own gets more glowing reviews. Stuck on what to buy someone this xmas, or even a treat for yourself? Look no further, that is if you are lucky enough to find somewhere that has them in stock….

Which side is the window on?

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Answers on a postcard please…. or the comments section.

Just…… wow!

And finally: UK 1 – USA 0

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Yesterday, the World Bank reported that the US has lost its status as the largest donor to the Bank’s main fund for poor countries, as Britain secured a record amount of aid with a pledge of increased funding.
Britain pledged $4.2 billion for the period from July 2008 through June 2011, after negotiations that began in March in Paris and ended with two rounds of talks in Berlin.
What does it mean to the US? Firstly, losing its position as the top donor could weaken Washington’s influence over the World Bank, which is the largest provider of development assistance to poor countries, and over policies that determine the cash flow.
The US pledged a very substantial contribution but is now down to second place after Britain,
A total of 45 donor countries, the highest number ever, promised a record total of $25.1bn at the Berlin talks, with a further $16.5bn coming from the bank and previous donor pledges. The total of $41.6bn represents an increase of $9.5bn over the previous funding period and will support around 80 countries, with a focus on African countries.
Read
“The donor community has demonstrated its full commitment to helping countries overcome poverty and achieve sustainable growth, especially in Africa,” World Bank President Robert Zoellick said.
However, contributions by some other countries also appear inflated when calculated in the US currency—which is running currently on a weakening dollar—and the talks were also complicated by slowing economic growth in rich nations. In the meantime, the bank’s mission is widening, with governments demanding more help in developing sophisticated economies and markets.
The US, despite having an economy six times as big as Britain’s, has been keen to hold on to its number one spot as the bank’s largest donor but has also been struggling in recent times with stretched budgets caused by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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The US spends enough money bombing and invading places, then rebuilding what they have bombed. Why should we expect them to spend more money!

Unless…….

It’s to bomb, invade and kill people and pay for the repairs. Or at least give the repair job to friends of the administrations companies so they can get rich… I mean richer.

Bin Ladens men in Iraq? Not till Sadam was taken out for possessing weapons that didn’t exist….. Don’t get me started lol