Saturday, December 29, 2007

Factoid of the day

The fear of the number 666 is known as hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.

US town escapes 666 phone prefix

End Times for Martians?

Asteroid's odds of hitting Mars at 4%

"I think it'll be cool," said Don Yeomans, who heads the Near-Earth Object Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Well, Merry Christmas Zimbabwe, I guess..

Bleak Christmas for Zimbabweans

* Story Highlights
* Inflation-- the world's highest -- was about 8,000 percent officially in September
* Acute shortages of food and gasoline continue
* Power cuts added to the holiday misery
* Next Article in World (move along, nothing to see here) »

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Thousands of Zimbabweans waited for hours to get scarce currency from the banks so they could buy food and board buses on Monday for Christmas trips to their home villages.

[picture of many people waiting, looking pissed off] A riot police officer monitors people in a bank line on the day before Christmas in Harare, Zimbabwe on Monday.

"We call this the festive season but where is there any joy?" said housewife and mother Mildred Chikutu, who got into a line before dawn to withdraw the maximum allowed in a day, 50 million Zimbabwe dollars -- 25 U.S. dollars at the dominant black market rate -- enough to buy a hamburger.

"You queue for money, and that's only the beginning of the queuing," she said, heading into a nearby supermarket where many shelves were bare of basic goods. A line had formed at the bakery counter.

Inflation-- the world's highest -- was about 8,000 percent officially in September, but independent estimates put it nearer 100,000 percent.

With cash itself in short supply, the central bank has supplied new high denomination notes, the largest worth 750,000 Zimbabwe dollars -- about 37 U.S. cents at the black market rate. Banks still could not cope with the demand for cash after six weeks of acute shortages, and stayed open throughout Sunday to deal with withdrawal requests.

Power cuts, a continuing problem in Zimbabwe, added to the holiday misery.

Several suburbs in Harare, the capital, entered a 17th day without power, and large areas of the downtown business district, including the state power utility's headquarters, suffered intermittent outages. Officials at the main blood bank said some stocks were thrown away after a refrigeration generator broke down.

Even President Robert Mugabe's official residence went without power from the city power grid for more than a week before it was restored. But he also has a private mansion on the outskirts of the capital.

The internationally known Harare Club canceled its Christmas lunch during a six-day power outage.

Cars snaked around a gas station a block away awaiting a fuel delivery.

Dampened by overnight rains at the main Mbare long-distance bus terminal in the capital, thousands waited for buses to their villages. But the lines were smaller than in the past, as fares soared and acute shortages of food and gasoline continued.

[picture of miserable looking people loading a truck] Townspeople take chicken, sugar and other scarce commodities to rural relatives for the holidays.

Power and water outages occur daily across the country, blamed on shortages of spare parts, equipment and hard currency for electricity imports.

Zimbabwe was the breadbasket of the region and one of the world's top exporters of tobacco until the government seized white farmlands that were given mainly to cronies of Mugabe and his entourage, creating food shortages and a crisis that led a third of the population to flee the country.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Christmas Cheer to All!

Except you, you fucking neo-con/corporatists!

image stolen from

Merry Phokking Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2007

"It does not go far enough"

It's like baseball managers...From Frank Rich's Sunday column at the New York Times:

Whatever Mrs. Clinton’s experience as first lady or senator, what matters most in any case is not its sheer volume, that 35 years she keeps citing. It’s what she did or did not learn along the way that counts. That’s why one of the most revealing debate passages so far came in an exchange that earned much laughter but scant scrutiny this month in Des Moines.

This was the moment when Mr. Obama was asked how he could deliver a clean break from the past while relying on “so many Clinton advisers.” Mrs. Clinton jokingly called out, “I want to hear that,” prompting Mr. Obama to one-up her by responding, “Well, Hillary, I’m looking forward to you advising me, as well.”

Well, touché. But what was left unexamined beneath the levity was a revealing distinction between these two candidates. The questioner was right: Mr. Obama, like Mrs. Clinton, has indeed turned to former Clintonites for foreign-policy advice. But the Clinton players were not homogeneous, and who ended up with which ’08 candidate is instructive.

The principal foreign-policy Clinton alumni in Mr. Obama’s campaign include Susan Rice, a former assistant secretary of state, and Tony Lake, the former national security adviser and a prewar skeptic who said publicly in February 2003 that the Bush administration had not made the case that Saddam was an “imminent threat.” Ms. Rice, in an eloquent speech in November 2002, said that the Bush administration was “trying to change the subject to Iraq” from the war against Al Qaeda and warned that if it tried to fight both wars at once, “one, if not both, will suffer.” Her text now reads as a bookend to Mr. Obama’s senatorial campaign speech challenging the wisdom of the war only weeks earlier that same fall.

Mrs. Clinton’s current team was less prescient. Though it includes one of the earlier military critics of Bush policy, Gen. Wesley Clark, he is balanced by Gen. Jack Keane, an author of the Bush “surge.” The Clinton campaign’s foreign policy and national security director is a former Madeleine Albright aide, Lee Feinstein, who in November 2002 was gullible enough to say on CNBC that “we should take the president at his word, which is that he sees war as a last resort” — an argument anticipating the one Mrs. Clinton still uses to defend her vote on the Iraq war authorization.

In late April 2003, a week before “Mission Accomplished,” Mr. Feinstein could be found on CNN saying that he was “fairly confident” that W.M.D. would turn up in Iraq. Asked if the war would be a failure if no weapons were found, he said, “I don’t think that that’s a situation we’ll confront.” Forced to confront exactly that situation over the next year, he dug in deeper, co-writing an essay for Foreign Affairs (available on its Web site) arguing that “the biggest problem with the Bush pre-emption strategy may be that it does not go far enough.”

Sunday, December 23, 2007

not in photo: Smiff

Photo caption: Uniformed members of the "St. George Spirits Special Forces Tactical Alcohol Consumption Squad" Jennifer Wylie (left), Kevin Roche, and Johanna Mead sample absinthe at the St. George Spirits distillery in Alameda, California on Friday. Hundreds of customers waited hours for the chance to buy the first U.S. made and sold absinthe since 1912.

aka Smiff's Beer

Coronado Brewing's Idiot IPA
The CBC Idiot IPA is an all natural India Pale Ale. A big beer with an 8.5% ABV and brewed with over 3 lbs of hops per barrel. Watch out, this unfiltered "San Diego IPA" has been known to reduce even the most intelligent to a blithering "idiot".