Transparency in Government

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” - attributed to Joseph Goebbels (I can't find the original source)

"If you've retired, you don't have anything to worry about -- third time I've said that. (Laughter.) I'll probably say it three more times. See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda. (Applause.)" - President George W. Bush, May 24, 2005 (Athena Performing Arts Center, Rochester, NY) link to transcript at the White House website.

(also reminds me of: "This is how liberty dies; to thunderous applause." - Padmé Amidala in "Revenge of the Sith")


MxDonalds  BANGKOK
MxDonalds BANGKOK,
originally uploaded by mirai.
Thais with that?

In Bangkok, Ronald adopts a more respectful pose.


The Stupid Rich

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

- Dwight D. Eisenhower in a letter to his brother Edgar, dated November 8, 1954

(H.L. Hunt's son Ray (by then mistress Ruth Ray), is president of Dallas-based Hunt Oil, and a long-time political and financial supporter of the Bush family. He is also a member of the EDS and Halliburton Corp. boards and the boards of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the National Petroleum Council, two industry groups that advise the White House on foreign and energy policies. In October 2001 he was appointed by President Bush to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.)


U.S. to Iraqi farmers: Throw away those old indiginous seeds! Buy genetically engineered seeds* from Monsanto™!

* (by "buy seeds" we mean "license the use of seeds for one harvest", after which you will need to buy new seeds under the terms of your EULA. Terms subject to change without notice.)

For generations, small farmers in Iraq operated in an essentially unregulated, informal seed supply system. Farm-saved seed and the free innovation with and exchange of planting materials among farming communities has long been the basis of agricultural practice. This is now history. The CPA has made it illegal for Iraqi farmers to re-use seeds harvested from new varieties registered under the law. Iraqis may continue to use and save from their traditional seed stocks or what’s left of them after the years of war and drought, but that is the not the agenda for reconstruction embedded in the ruling. The purpose of the law is to facilitate the establishment of a new seed market in Iraq, where transnational corporations can sell their seeds – genetically modified or not, which farmers would have to purchase afresh every single cropping season. While historically the Iraqi constitution prohibited private ownership of biological resources, the new US-imposed patent law introduces a system of monopoly rights over seeds. Inserted into Iraq's previous patent law is a whole new chapter on Plant Variety Protection (PVP) that provides for the "protection of new varieties of plants." PVP is an intellectual property right (IPR) or a kind of patent for plant varieties which gives an exclusive monopoly right on planting material to a plant breeder who claims to have discovered or developed a new variety. So the "protection" in PVP has nothing to do with conservation, but refers to safeguarding of the commercial interests of private breeders (usually large corporations) claiming to have created the new plants.

To qualify for PVP, plant varieties must comply with the standards of the UPOV [3] Convention, which requires them be new, distinct, uniform and stable. Farmers' seeds cannot meet these criteria, making PVP-protected seeds the exclusive domain of corporations. The rights granted to plant breeders in this scheme include the exclusive right to produce, reproduce, sell, export, import and store the protected varieties. These rights extend to harvested material, including whole plants and parts of plants obtained from the use of a protected variety. This kind of PVP system is often the first step towards allowing the full-fledged patenting of life forms. Indeed, in this case the rest of the law does not rule out the patenting of plants or animals.

The term of the monopoly is 20 years for crop varieties and 25 for trees and vines. During this time the protected variety de facto becomes the property of the breeder, and nobody can plant or otherwise use this variety without compensating the breeder. This new law means that Iraqi farmers can neither freely legally plant nor save for re-planting seeds of any plant variety registered under the plant variety provisions of the new patent law. [4] This deprives farmers what they and many others worldwide claim as their inherent right to save and replant seeds.

Grain.org article via Google, via Robot Wisdom.


Nippits™ in the bud

Nipple Concealment Strips. Padless. Latex-free. Physician-designed. Medically-approved. Non-irritating. Breathable. Patented:

We claim:

1. A method for reducing the profile of a protrusion from skin comprising the step of adhering a flexible material across said protrusion and an area of surrounding tissue, wherein said material is adhered directly to said protrusion and to the surrounding tissue.

2. A method as in claim 1, wherein said protrusion acted upon is a nipple and said area of surrounding tissue includes at least an areola.

3. A skin protrusion concealment device comprising a flexible base material having an outer-facing side and a skin-facing side, said skin-facing side having thereon an adhesive covering a sufficient surface area to adhere substantially continuously across a skin protrusion and an area of surrounding tissue.

4. A skin protrusion concealment device comprising a flexible base material having an outer-facing side and a skin facing side, said skin facing side having thereon an adhesive, said device having a configuration comprising three conjoined at least partially rounded shapes, wherein a first of said rounded shapes and a second of said rounded shapes represent terminating portions, and a third of said rounded shapes represents an intermediary portion interposed between said first and second portions, and wherein further a center point of said intermediary portion does not lie in a straight line between a center point of said first portion and a center point of said second portion.

5. A skin protrusion concealment device as in claim 5, wherein the adhesive on said skin facing side covers a surface area of said skin facing side sufficient to adhere to both a skin protrusion and an area of surrounding tissue.

- US Patent Application #20010049250


originally uploaded by Cartel82.

4000 students of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven held a record-breaking pillow fight this week in the Ladeuzeplein, raising money for child health-care and gaining publicity for the elections for Student Union President.



The 3rd Century Oxyrhynchus manuscripts, now being translated, futher indicate that the number of the beast (Revelation 13:18) is actually 616 not 666. This agrees with the previously known Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, and some other early writings.

Historically, early Hebrew and Christian writers would use gematria or isopsephy to conceal the subject of their writings when it would be politically dangerous to write openly.

The number 666 corresponds to the Aramaic version of "Nero Caesar" (NRWN QSR). An alternate version of "Nero Caesar" was spelled NRW QSR which, conveniently, adds up to 616. So the theory that the beast represents Nero could be supported by both numbers.

The other probable candidate is Caligula, whose full name "Gaius Caligula Caesar" would be rendered GS QLGS QSR, also 616. Or if you think it needs to be Greek, you've got GAIOS KAISAR = 616.

- Story in the Independent (UK)
- commentary at JimmyAkin.Org


Lieutenant Dan got me invested in some kind of fruit company. So then I got a call from him, saying we don't have to worry about money no more. And I said, that's good! One less thing.

"Real estate developer Tim James says he wants to bulldoze downtown. But in a good way. James announced a $200 million plan last week to remake this gritty seafood town, long down on its luck, into a tourist destination, a French Coast village with condos and spas, where rusty shrimp boats rumble by waterfront boardwalks, fish markets and trendy coffee shops."

"This week, James said, he expects to begin the public process of buying Bayou La Batre's city-owned docks at Portersville Bay and the 2,770 feet of waterfront property surrounding them. Mayor Stan Wright said the city will get an estimate on the value of the property inside the next month or so. The process could last six months and will involve public meetings, Wright said.

[...]We're willing to pay the city at least $8 million for it. If their estimate comes in over that, we'll pay more, but if it's below that, we'll hold the floor at $8 million," James said.

That figure is four times the annual budget of this city of 2,300.

The city's debt is $2.4 million, almost entirely made up by the remainder of a 1997 bond issue to pay for a $4 million deepening of the Bayou's ship channel, city officials said Friday. The land deal would easily pay off that debt and shore up the city for a long time to come, Wright said.

"If this deal happens, we'll lower the business license fee and remove the 1-cent diesel fuel tax. It will change everything," Wright said.

Even more lucrative for the city, James' group would pay $15 million to build a new, city-owned sewage processing plant. The existing plant is already strained beyond its capacity and is currently under a court-ordered mandate to improve facilities and eliminate spills.

[...]Under James' plan, much of downtown -- which has been largely vacant for years -- would be bulldozed and replaced by a French Colonial park with flower gardens and walkways under the shade of live oaks. This would be the City Park District, and it would be owned and maintained by the city."

[...]We're trying to get ahead of the ball and go over our ordinances before this comes along," said Tommy Reynoso, the town's building inspector and a member of the commission. "We've never dealt with anything like this. Not many cities our size have."

Here's the article from the Mobile Register.


Bumper Rooster
Bumper Rooster,
originally uploaded by speedeep.
The Amazing Chrome Rooster of Brundidge, Alabama

Sculptor Larry Godwin is populating Brundidge, (Highway 231 south of Troy) with the most fantastic creations.

Article in Cooperative Farming News (November 2004)
Link to Hi-Res version of this photo.