July 20, 2005
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- James Doohan, the burly chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" TV series and motion pictures who responded to the apocryphal command "Beam me up, Scotty," died early Wednesday. He was 85.
July 14, 2005
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Connecticut Tuesday joined a growing effort to weed out marijuana-flavored candy from store shelves when its attorney general said he would sponsor a statewide ban on "Pot Suckers" lollipops.
Five other states have either banned or are considering a ban on the candy, causing New Jersey distributor ICUP to suspend further sales of the green candy as of June 28.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the candy was being sold in novelty stores in large malls throughout the state, marketed with slogans such as "Every lick is like taking a hit."
The candy, which is flavored with hemp essential oil, does not contain THC, the hallucinogenic compound in marijuana, but Blumenthal called it "a gateway product" that "glamorizes drugs for children."
These laws are patently irrational on every level. I don't even have time to go through it all.
That's it! I'm joining the campaign to ban talking to drivers, cars in radios, backseats in cars, all manner of bumper flair, horns, fire trucks and the rest. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
If you can't beat 'em. Join 'em.
July 12, 2005
Anyway, I found out he's sick.
LOS ANGELES - Actor Brad Pitt has been hospitalized with a flu-like illness. Pitt, 41, checked himself into an undisclosed Los Angeles area hospital Monday night complaining of flu-like symptoms, his publicist Cindy Guagenti said Tuesday. There were no other details and the name of the hospital wasn't disclosed for security reasons.
Pitt was in Ethiopia last week with his "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" co-star Angelina Jolie to pick up the actress's newly adopted baby girl, the second child she has adopted. Guagenti said it wasn't known if the actor contracted the illness while in Africa.
"I think he has the flu," the spokeswoman said.
Two things about this.
First of all, this is what you get for going to places like Ethiopia. If I hear a story about how that Angelina "I have an inflamed sphincter for a mouth" Jolie woman dragged him to go swimming in the Ganges, I'm going to have to go over there and punch her in the neck personally. I have no doubt that she gets all of her shots before she goes to these places, but you know how Brad is. He's so pretty. He's probably like, "No, I'll be fine. I'll just sit over here near the monkeys drinking this water I found." NO, BRAD! NO! (In this case, 'no' means 'no.')
The second thing is this spokeswoman. All I have to say is, "Um. Can I talk to a doctor, please?" Who gives an F!Bomb what she thinks? Spokeswoman. Spokeswoman MD, ok. Then we'll talk but she's not Spokeswoman MD. She's Spokeswoman What-I-Think-Matters. Please have your delusions of grandure someplace other than where Brad Pitt's health is at stake. Christ.
So, someone please send Brad some chicken soup for me. They won't tell me where he's staying this time or else I'd take it myself.
Thanks to the Buddhista for the link.
Update: GAAA! VIRAL MENINGITIS!?!!
Mercury News: Brad Pitt has viral meningitis, released from hospital
LOS ANGELES - Actor Brad Pitt has been diagnosed with a mild case of viral meningitis and was released from the hospital on Wednesday, his publicist said.
I wonder if spokeswoman-know-it-all is unemployed right now.
Poor Brad and his hurting meninges.
Thanks to CB for the link to whom I will say that Angelina is super-duper hot but only when they give her moisturizer for those lips. And if it weren't for the fact that she's a big big freak, she'd be on my list.
And then I called my ex to let him know that I am, once again, affirmed as a person without HIV.
I'm only sharing all of this because I read this cool article about a new medicine they invented for HIV in Japan.
KOBE, Japan, July 6 (UPI) -- Japanese researchers have developed a durable new drug that blocks HIV from entering human cells and causes almost no side effects.
The researchers conducted clinical tests on 40 AIDS patients in the United States. When the patients took 0.02 ounces of AK602 twice a day for 10 days, the number of HIV viruses dropped to an average of 1 percent.
Almost no side effects were reported, the professor said.
The next step in evolution is ours to take.
July 06, 2005
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal judge ordered New York Times reporter Judith Miller jailed for contempt of court Wednesday for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative's name. She was taken into custody immediately.
So, the basic story is this: Mr. X came to these two reporters and told them the real identity of one of our spies. These reporters wrote a story. Everyone is freaking out and wants to know who Mr. X is. Natch, the reporters decline to reveal their source because the source made them promise confidentiality.
Our question is this: Has a crime been committed? If so, by whom with what action?
Allow me to point out once again that when I use the word "crime" I do not mean that a law has been broken. For example, even if self-defense is made illegal, I will not refer to actions taken in self-defense as crimes. Instead, I define the term "crime" as being a violation of the rights of an individual by force or fraud, i.e. that from which the power of government is to be used to protect said individuals.
So, was a crime committed? I think so.
This spy was placed directly in harm's way because of this information being made public. Not only that but anyone who associated with that spy including her family, have also been placed in harm's way.
I would argue that the threat of harm, while certainly an emotionally incendiary facet of this situation, it is insufficient to establish that a crime was committed, but breech of contract is.
Ms. Spy Lady had a deal. She said, "I will go be a spy as long as all due efforts are taken by my employer to keep my identity a secret and keep me safe." Clearly, that did not happen because there was New York Times article about her identity.
So, who committed this crime? Was it the reporters or was it Mr. X?
Conclusively, we have to say that it was Mr. X, because these reporters had no such agreement with Ms. Spy Lady. Mr. X is who should be jailed, not these reporters.
I'm sure that the judge who put this reporter in jail would agree and if Ms. Miller and Mr. Cooper would just tell us who Mr. X is, then this would not be necessary.
Need these reporters reveal who Mr. X is?
This question has two contexts to it, political and moral. The political aspect is the one that refers to whether or not it is a crime for them to refuse to reveal their sources and the moral aspect is whether or not it is right or wrong for them to reveal their sources.
I'd like to talk about the moral aspects first because the moral question for these reporters begins a lot further back in the timeline of events. It begins with the publication of the original story that reveal Ms. Spy Lady's identity. Should they have named her?
I think not.
In a rational hierarchy of values, it is incredibly short-sighted to compromise national security for the sake of a news story. I understate things. It is grotesquely irresponsible for them to have done so -- assuming that this country's security is worth protecting in a rational hierarchy of values.
I won't get into the moral value of our nation's government right now, but suffice it to say that this is the freest country on the planet and I am assured that whatever problems we have it is not a foregone conclusion.
Buddhista and I were discussing this today and we agree that the more interesting story and the morally proper action for the reporters to have taken would have been to write about Mr. X's decision to start naming spies to reporters to get them published in national papers.
So, these reporters did something morally repugnant. May shame and guilt haunt the rest of their lives, but let's not send them to jail for being moral reprobates.
The political aspect of their action is the one that requires us to ask if they violated anyone's rights with their actions and the answer is no. They did not throw any rocks, hit anyone in the head, or break any contracts.
Some people may argue that I'm being short-sighted because their article may have led to harm to Ms. Spy Lady. First, let it be shown that any harm has come to Ms. Spy Lady. Second, even if harm does come to her, it is not these reporters who did it. I'm sure many wish it could be argued that the mere publication of an article could be tied directly to the actions of unrelated parties, but especially in this case, physical reality does not support the assertion.
Is it a crime for these reporters to not reveal their sources, though? No.
Again, I have to look to the reality of the crime. Although it is frustrating and worthy of condemnation these reporters haven't violated and are not violating anyone's rights through force or fraud.
Consider a situation where I see someone robbing a bank. The robbers get away but I saw who they are and the police come ask me if I saw them. I say, "Yep. I know who they are, but I'm not telling because I am a busy person." The police can't legitimately do anything to me. They just have to go find the robbers on their own. After all, I did not rob a bank. I was just standing by trying to mind my own business.
Politically, I am innocent.
Morally, however, I would be well-served to make sure that bank robbers go to jail. It would behoove me to do all that I can to make sure that those who violate the rights of others through force or fraud get punished accordingly. If I do not support that, then I will get what I deserve in the form of higher crime rates in my city and possibly ensuing anarchy.
Those who are a little too eager to defend these reporters may point out that they had a deal with Mr. X, but I would counter that rights are moral conditions that do not exist in this circumstance because the very action of revealing Ms. Spy Lady's identity shows that Mr. X is a criminal and does not recognize those conditions. That means that, morally, you can lie to Mr. X because he's a rat bastard. "There is no honor among thieves."
Where does all of this leave the reporters? At this juncture, they're probably continuing to use their pragmatic (that is, short-sighted and self-serving) hierarchy of values to make a determination and we can only conclude that they will keep their mouths shut because 1) they got a great story, 2) the story keeps going and growing as long as they keep their mouths shut, 3) and if they talk then it could actually hurt their career later as future criminals refuse to speak to them.
If they were rational, they wouldn't be in this situation in the first place, so it's difficult to determine what they OUGHT to do. Maybe they could find a way to help the police catch Mr. X without saying exactly that it was Mr. X.
Of course, I doubt they will and, I really have to question the ethics of the employers who hire folks BECAUSE of their lack of moral integrity. I would call that as irrational as the pragmatic line of thinking that got them into this situation in the first place.
So, in this situation, we have several people worthy of our moral condemnation, two reporters and Mr. X, but we only have one person worthy of criminal prosecution and that is Mr. X. He is the one who violated Ms. Spy Lady's rights. He is the one who should go to jail.
And the really curious aspect to all of this is Mr. X's motives in his crime. See, that's why I think the more interesting story in the first place would have been about Mr. X.
So, let's remember this:
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." ~Edmund Burke
These reporters did nothing and even give sanction to evil with the choices they made and continue to make.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian astrologist who says
NASA has altered her horoscope by crashing a spacecraft into a comet is suing the U.S. space agency for damages of $300 million, local media reported Monday.
NASA deliberately crashed its probe, named Deep Impact, into the Tempel 1 comet to unleash a spray of material formed billions of years ago which scientists hope will shed new light on the composition of the solar system.
"It is obvious that elements of the comet's orbit, and correspondingly the ephemeris, will change after the explosion, which interferes with my astrology work and distorts my horoscope," Izvestia daily quoted astrologist Marina Bai as saying in legal documents submitted before Monday's collision.
Astrologists around the world are probably kicking themselves wishing they had thought of it first.
July 05, 2005
July 01, 2005
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The White House said Thursday it is taking seriously the allegations by former hostages that Iran's hardline president-elect, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was one of their captors at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran a quarter century ago.
I don't really approve of electing hostage-takers as president, but I've met some pizza delivery people of questionable repute as well and I don't think they should be elected president either.
My discrimination knows no bounds!
If the people of Iran decide to hang onto their "hardline president-elect, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," I wonder if we will go after Iran, too, as part of the Axis of Evil.
I mean, if your country has a terrorist for a president, I'm sure that means that your country is harboring terrorists. At least one anyway.
What will happen if this guy vists one of our allies, like Isreal? (As if.) But what if? Would we have to bomb them because they harbored a terrorist?
This presents such a tricky and silly situation!
I haven't given a whole lot of intense thought to the government's role in international relations in the past, frankly, but I've been doing more thinking on it of late and I find myself getting more and more concerned about this "proactive" approach to straightening out other countries' governments.
If people are willing to live under a tyrant, I don't see why they shouldn't. (Their alternative is to fight it and either succeed or fail.)
"GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH!"
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