October was a busy damn month. Five couples I know -- five! -- got married. I attended three of the weddings.

The first -- technically at the tail-end of September -- involved a road trip to San Diego with Brad, Ian, and Ben to attend Jon and Gina's wedding.

Now, let me start by saying that San Diego is one of my favorite places on Earth.

And let me add that Jon and Gina are my favorite couple. Those kids are gonna do all right.

And let me finish by saying that we arrived at 3AM, picked up Jon, and took him back to our hotel room for 40's and Mario Kart. I don't drink 40's, but I'm not about to refuse the request of a groom 31 hours before his wedding.

I remember very little of the remainder of that morning, but I do remember that Jon and I totally owned at Mario Kart. Just like old times.

Then I hopped a plane back to Arizona to marry my cousin.

...As in performed the ceremony. But yes, I opened with that joke.

You know, it's been a long time since we really hung out and chatted, but the last time I saw her she was really into the whole church scene -- I didn't really expect her to invite a secular humanist to perform her wedding. But it went off pretty well -- and yeah, I quoted scripture (you know, that "love is patient" bit's pretty all right, actually), but I kept my humanist street cred by throwing some Bucky Fuller in there too ("love is metaphysical gravity," baby -- bam!).

It was also very much an Irish wedding. In that people got hammered and were told to leave by security.

The third was...rather abrupt and unexpected, but not entirely unprecedented. I did not attend because I had about a week and a half's notice, and it was the day before...

The fourth, in Sedona -- another of the most beautiful damn places in the world -- where they made us dress up in goddamn medieval attire, but also there was homebrewed beer and mead so I definitely think it was a net gain. Plus I reused my costume for Halloween, which was good because I'd been Brodie from 2001 through 2005 and I really needed something new.

Also there was a misunderstanding with my hotel reservation, because hotels.com tried to tell me that Munds Park was 15 miles away from Sedona. I can't prove anything, but I'm pretty damn sure MapQuest was to blame.

Switching gears, last weekend I went on back up to Flagstaff to see the old Rocky cast perform, and I swear that a visit to Flagstaff is just good for the soul. I stepped out of my car and at the very first breath of fresh air my life felt monumentally better.

I got me a room at the Super 8, crossed the street, and then walked the length of campus from north to south. Let's get one thing straight -- NAU is trying, hard, to be ASU Jr. There's construction everywhere you turn, the roads are FUBAR, and there's no parking anywhere. Oh, and of course the front page of the school paper is talking about another goddamn tuition hike.

The campus has changed a bit, but, contrary to what I was given to understand by Ian, the field back behind Gillenwater -- which I have waxed philosophical about on prior occasion -- is still there. He must've been talking about a different field that got paved over.

The modified engineering building is much prettier than the old one. And the new business building that used to be the anthro building is pretty damn cool.

I went to Burritos Fiesta, and ran into a friend I'd been meaning to see. The last time I saw her was sort of a downer, so repairing that breach was important to me. That worked out really well, and that alone was worth the trip.

The next day I grabbed a bite of lunch with an old classmate, and then watched The Muppet Show on DVD and went to dinner at the Beaver Street Brewery. Then I hit the old theatre on Beaver and Cherry for the midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I went downstairs to greet the cast and determined that the most nonchalant position to be discovered in was on the couch in the green room, obscured by a clothing rack and with my face half-covered by my hood (medieval attire, remember). I was told I resembled a Sith Lord.

They worked me into the preshow, where I did something that they would later tell me they found a little shocking. And let me tell you, getting your old Rocky Horror cast to say, "Man, I can't believe you did that!" is one of life's richest rewards.

And then I went out to a makeshift cast party afterward, with two old friends and two new ones, drank Corona, and watched Shock Treatment. As always, Tami and I enjoyed it and nobody else did.

At 7:30 my eyes were crusting over and I could barely keep them open. I decided I could hold out no longer and went back to my motel room, grabbed a two-hour nap, showered, checked out, and went to breakfast at Martann's, which, as always on a Sunday morning, was completely packed and had only one waitress on duty. If I hadn't been craving one of their enchiladas with the fried egg on top since I'd started the trip, I wouldn't have gone, let alone stayed the hour and a half or so it took me to get and eat my food. On the plus side, as I took one of my two trips back to the car to feed the meter, I ran into two women I knew from high school. We BS'ed a bit and they told me they'd just attended a wedding of some old friends of ours. (I'm guessing about half of you have been wondering this whole time what the hell happened to the fifth wedding, and the other half are now going, Oh right! There was a fifth wedding!) They were but the first of a cavalcade of familiar faces I ran into on my way out of town.

I managed to ingest enough coffee and tea to get me home, but by the end of the trip I was just about hitting the ol' caffeine crash. I grabbed me another two-hour nap and then kicked back awhile (Ben came over to visit) and finally went back to bed.

But I tell you, it was a beautiful damn weekend and it left me in really high spirits. So high that I spent the next day blocking IP's on our mailserver, whose SMTP port was getting hammered so hard by spam attempts as to result in a goddamn DoS, and still went home feeling good.

Flagstaff's got that kind of effect on me I guess. I should probably go back soon.

But in the meantime, it's good to be back in the valley so's I can vote for Harry Mitchell. Go Harry!

You know, there's just something cathartic about cleaning house -- about going through a few dozen old computers, finding out what works and what doesn't, wiping drives, keeping what may be of use at a later date and donating the rest. Sure it's boring and repetitive, and I inevitably manage to cut myself on something, but it reminds me of high school, and then my first job out of high school, and it's good honest work.

I sure as hell wouldn't want to do it every day, but it's a welcome break from mail server maintenance -- and a whole lot more inline with my salary, too.

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda.


Reading: Neuromancer

Playing: Mega Man ZX

I drove 45 miles to plug a hub back in and came back to find all our E-Mail accounts completely wiped.

I need a fucking drink.

(Update, 11:40 AM: on reinstall, it looks like they're all back up, thank Baby Jesus. Also, thank Jewish God, Allah, and Tom Cruise with his witchcraft.)

(Update 2, 11:45 AM: somebody sent me an E-Mail page to inform me that the E-Mail server was down. Have you noticed how the vast majority of computer users do not think things through?)

The East Valley has picked up a pair of serial killers, and I can't wake up to NPR in the morning without hearing about them.

Tuesday morning I woke up to the shocking announcement that the Baseline Killer may be concealing his identity by not always wearing the same hat.

"This is Papa Bear. Put out an APB for a male suspect, driving a...car of some sort, heading in the direction of, uh, you know, that place that sells chili. Suspect is hatless. Repeat, hatless."

Now, judging by an article in The Arizona Republic, it sounds like the Phoenix PD has actually gone a long way toward narrowing down the killer's physical appearance, but really, is the fact that he might sometimes wear a different hat newsworthy?

"Holy shit, it's that serial killer I heard about on the news! ...No, wait, that can't be him; where's his fishing hat?"


Reading: Finished American Gods; on to Catch-22. Finally working my way through my miles-high "to-read" list.

Had a rough day at work. Now, I'm not a Catholic, and I never made it through The Divine Comedy, so I'm not really sure whether my day at work was Hell or simply Purgatory, but I can eliminate Heaven right off.

And I got to thinking...you know, as soon as I get home, I'm going to the fridge and grabbing a fucking beer.

But then I thought, you know what? No. As soon as I get home, I'm hitting the gym.

And I did, and I feel much better for it.

I think I'll reward myself with a beer.

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

I'd also like to direct everybody to a wonderful annotated version by my good friend Brent Roberts from last October which links all of the above grievances to our current King George II.

The Declaration of Independence of the Fifty States
In CONGRESS, October 4, 2005

The unanimous Declaration of the fifty united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations,
pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these States; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present President of the United States of America [George II] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/celebrity/george-w-bush-dui-arrest-record

This is the 1976 Maine police document recording the arrest of George W. Bush for driving under the influence of alcohol. Bush, who was 30 at the time, was popped over the Labor Day weekend near his family's Kennebunkport summer home. Bush pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor DUI charge, paid a $150 fine, and had his driving privileges briefly revoked in the state of Maine.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/9/3/115611/4051

We had the USS Baton sailing almost behind the hurricane so that after the hurricane made landfall it's search and rescue helicopters would be available almost immediately. So we had things ready. The only caveat is, we have to wait until the President authorizes us to do so. The laws of the United States say that the military can't just act in this fashion, we have to wait for the President to give us permission.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/31/AR2005083102256.html

This administration has consistently played down the possibility of environmental disaster, in Louisiana and everywhere else. The president's most recent budgets have actually proposed reducing funding for flood prevention in the New Orleans area, and the administration has long ignored Louisiana politicians' requests for more help in protecting their fragile coast, the destruction of which meant there was little to slow down the hurricane before it hit the city.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

http://english.people.com.cn/200303/23/eng20030323_113813.shtml

As US forces escalated its bombings on Baghdad, US President George W. Bush held a war cabinet meeting at Camp David, a presidential retreat in Maryland,on Saturday to review the developments of war in Iraq.

The meeting, lasted for 90 minutes, was attended by Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, White House chief of staff AndrewCard, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, CIA director George Tenet, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers and other top administration and military officials, the Associated Press reported.

Bush is spending his first weekend at Camp David since the war began Wednesday night.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22263664/ns/msnbc_tv-countdown_with_keith_olbermann/t/olbermann-truth-consequences/

Anybody seen the Vice President lately? The man whose message this time last year was, 'I'll Protect You, The Other Guy Will Let You Die'?

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

http://articles.latimes.com/2005/oct/05/nation/na-miers5

"I actually listen to senators when they bring forth ideas," Bush said. "And one of the most interesting ideas I heard was, why don't you pick somebody who hasn't been a judge? Why don't you reach outside. ... And so, recognizing that Harriet will bring not only expertise, but a fresh approach, I nominated her."

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_of_Homeland_Security

The department was established on November 25, 2002 by the Homeland Security Act and officially began operation on January 24, 2003. After months of discussion about employee rights and benefits and "rider" portions of the bill, Congress passed it shortly after the midterm elections, and it was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush. It was intended to consolidate U.S. executive branch organizations related to "homeland security" into a single cabinet agency.

It was the largest government reorganization in 50 years (since the United States Department of Defense was created). The department assumed a number of government functions previously in other departments. It superseded, but did not replace the Office of Homeland Security, which retained an advisory role.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/2002/08/bushwartip0802.html

"I am deeply troubled by suggestions from the Bush administration that it is contemplating as one possibility an operation that would almost certainly have to be seen as 'war' in the constitutional sense, yet does not acknowledge that such a choice would need Congressional approval," Powell said. "My concern is that the administration is giving some indication that it does not appreciate the president's duty to make a judgment about his authority, not just a decision about what he thinks is the best policy."

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A37014-2003Jun9&notFound=true

UNITED NATIONS, June 9 -- The Bush administration charged the European Union with actively undermining U.S. efforts to shield Americans from prosecution by the International Criminal Court and warned that the impact on transatlantic relations will be "very damaging" if the EU does not stop.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_act

Critics claim the Act is unnecessary and enables U.S. law enforcement to infringe upon free-speech, freedom of the press, human rights, and right to privacy. It is most controversial among critics for section 215 (see below) and section 216, which allows judges to grant government investigators ex parte orders to look into personal phone and internet records on the basis of being "relevant for an on going investigation concerning international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities", rather than probable cause as outlined in the fourth amendment.

...President George W. Bush signed the bill into law on October 26, 2001. Assistant Attorney General Viet D. Dinh and current Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff are the primary authors of the Act.

...In some of these cases, federal prosecutors chose to charge suspects with non-terror related crimes for immigration, fraud and conspiracy.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4273672.stm

Private Lynndie England found the sexual humiliation of Iraqis funny, the military court in Texas heard.

Prosecution lawyers are aiming to disprove defence claims that she fell under the influence of senior soldiers.

She faces 11 years in jail if convicted on charges of conspiracy, committing an indecent act and maltreating detainees.

Pte Jeremy Sivits - who has been sentenced to one year in prison for his own role in the abuse scandal - told the court that Pte England clearly enjoyed the abuse of prisoners.

Many were ordered to strip naked and were photographed in humiliating positions and forced to simulate sexual acts.

"She was laughing, she seemed to be having a good time with all that was going on," Pte Sivits told the court.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9492624/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/england-sentenced-years-prison-abuse/

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) -- Army Pfc. Lynndie England, who said she was only trying to please her soldier boyfriend when she took part in detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, was sentenced late Tuesday to three years behind bars.

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States and its Protectorates:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A23899-2003Nov30?language=printer

European countries had vowed to respond to the tariffs, which were ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization, by imposing sanctions on up to $2.2 billion in exports from the United States, beginning as soon as Dec. 15. Japan issued a similar threat Wednesday.

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/kfiles/b34039.html

By next year, for instance, 88% of all Americans will receive $100 or less from the Administration's latest tax cuts.
...
In 2005, the Bush budget assumes the "government will take in 13% more in taxes and fees next year than in fiscal 2004."

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/09/AR2005090900772.html

A federal appeals court yesterday backed the president's power to indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil without any criminal charges, holding that such authority is vital during wartime to protect the nation from terrorist attacks.

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR51/063/2005/en/10cc0311-d4fe-11dd-8a23-d58a49c0d652/amr510632005en.html

In late December 2001, a memorandum was sent from the United States Justice Department to the Department of Defense.(4) It advised the Pentagon that no US District Court could "properly entertain" appeals from "enemy aliens" detained at the US Naval Base in Guantá Bay, Cuba. Because Cuba has "ultimate sovereignty" over Guantá, the memorandum asserted, US Supreme Court jurisprudence meant that a foreign national in custody in the naval base should not have access to the US courts. The first "war on terror" detainees were transferred to the base two weeks later.

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2002/jan/03/contract-blacklisting-rule-repealed/

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration repealed a Clinton-era rule that prevents the government from awarding federal contracts to businesses that have broken environmental, labor, tax or other federal laws.

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

http://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/hr3162.html

SEC. 106. PRESIDENTIAL AUTHORITY.
Section 203 of the International Emergency Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1702) is amended--
(1) in subsection (a)(1)--
(A) at the end of subparagraph (A) (flush to that subparagraph), by striking `; and' and inserting a comma and the following:
`by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States;';
(B) in subparagraph (B)--
(i) by inserting `, block during the pendency of an investigation' after `investigate'; and
(ii) by striking `interest;' and inserting `interest by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; and';
(C) by striking `by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States`; and
(D) by inserting at the end the following:
`(C) when the United States is engaged in armed hostilities or has been attacked by a foreign country or foreign nationals, confiscate any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, of any foreign person, foreign organization, or foreign country that he determines has planned, authorized, aided, or engaged in such hostilities or attacks against the United States; and all right, title, and interest in any property so confiscated shall vest, when, as, and upon the terms directed by the President, in such agency or person as the President may designate from time to time, and upon such terms and conditions as the President may prescribe, such interest or property shall be held, used, administered, liquidated, sold, or otherwise dealt with in the interest of and for the benefit of the United States, and such designated agency or person may perform any and all acts incident to the accomplishment or furtherance of these purposes.'; and
(2) by inserting at the end the following:
`(c) CLASSIFIED INFORMATION- In any judicial review of a determination made under this section, if the determination was based on classified information (as defined in section 1(a) of the Classified Information Procedures Act) such information may be submitted to the reviewing court ex parte and in camera. This subsection does not confer or imply any right to judicial review.'.

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

http://americablog.blogspot.com/2005/09/us-soldiers-allegedly-trading-pictures.html

"Nice puss / bad foot"

The page titled "Nice puss / bad foot" is devoted to the photo of a nude woman laying down on a table, her foot has been blown off by a land mine, blood, muscle, skin and bone are dangling in its place, and her naked crotch is clearly visible in the photo (thus the reference to "puss"). This is a sanitized version of the photo (unsanitized version here):

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

http://www.hist.umn.edu/~ruggles/Approval.htm

Graph: Bush's Approval Rating

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these States, solemnly publish and declare, That these United States are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the current presidency, and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The signers of the Declaration represented the states as follows:

California

Brenton William Roberts

Happy 4th of July. Go blow some shit up -- safely. (Seriously, don't set anything off near any forests. Half the damn state's on fire as it is.)

Edit 2012-05-26: Added the complete text of Brent's Annotated Declaration, since the Pyoko boards are long gone. I also fixed outdated links.

I'm involved, off and on, in a lengthy project to try and consolidate my nearly 20 years' worth of comics, bag, board, and sort them. (Precisely how to sort them presents a rub -- presumably first by year and then by title, but figuring out how many months' worth of comics will fit in any given box creates a huge headache. And many comics do not print the goddamn year on the cover.)

Tonight's run through about 100 different comics from ten to fifteen years ago was largely discouraging -- most of them were from my unfortunate X-Men phase. (There was even a Clone Saga ish of Spidey in there.) As I started going through issues of Generation X, I felt a burning desire to apologize to myself for all the stupid, stupid things that seemed like a good idea when I was a teenager. I'm big on taking responsibility for my mistakes, no matter how young and misguided I was when I made them.

But then I hit on my nearly-complete run of TMNT: City at War and that reminded me that, dammit, I made mistakes, but I still had pretty damn good judgement at times, too. It's a source of constant consternation to me that I am missing one issue of that arc -- #56, to be exact.

If you have a copy you want to part with, let me know. I'll trade you a #48, as I have two copies of it for some reason.

Meantime, guess I'll keep an eye on eBay -- I was briefly thrilled to see somebody selling a TMNT #56 there, but it turned out to be the Archie comic, not the Mirage one.

And I really should start checking out comic shops in my neighborhood. I've still been shopping at my old store in Tempe despite it being 30 miles away, because they've been good to me over the past ten years or more and I am a loyal customer. But they don't have a great back issue selection, and they're also 30 miles away.

Edit, 2007-05-20: I got a message today from somebody asking if I was still looking for TMNT #56. The answer is no; I found it -- and filled the rest of the gaps in my vol 1 collection, too -- on nostalgiazone.com a few months back. Thanks anyway.

I am still missing the bulk of the original Tales series, so if anyone has any hot tips on those, let me know. Thanks.

(Okay, one spoiler. But it's for Batman Begins, which everybody's probably already seen by now anyway.)

This is just completely fucking absurd.

(And yeah, my referrals from the Bioware page have pretty much dried up, so I'm going back to gratuitous use of the word "fuck". In fact more gratuitous than usual in this post.)

Look, it's nice seeing comics get mainstream press attention (even if it's for shit like the new Batwoman being a lipstick lesbian -- who also happens to be Officer Montoya's former lover, because of course all the lesbians in Gotham know each other. Apparently in the Marvel U all African superheroes are childhood friends, too.), and I'm sure this will boost sales for an industry that could really use them, but you don't goddamn post a headline spoiling the ending of a comic within hours of it hitting the stands.

This is complete horseshit, and it's symptomatic of the complete lack of respect comic books get as a medium.

I mean, seriously. Can you imagine a paper running a story with a headline spoiling the ending of a movie that came out that same day? Even a movie about superheroes? Did you see any papers running headlines like "Henri Ducard is Actually Ra's Al-Ghul"? Or how about "X, Y, and Z die in X3"? (See that last one? The movie's been out for weeks and it's still too soon for me to be comfortable writing spoilers for it.)

The press doesn't print articles that ruin, right in the headline, endings of new movies. Or new books. I suppose they do with new TV, but they at least wait until the show's aired on the west coast. Oh, but this is a comic book. It's not like anybody cares about spoilers for a comic book.

And so there I am, sitting at work on my break -- I am still at work and certainly have not had a fucking chance to go to the comic store yet -- and the Huffington Post sees fit to tell me how Civil War #2 ends.

Fuck you, Huffington Post. And fuck everybody else who blabbed about this today without so much as a spoiler warning. Fuck you from the bottom of my heart.

And another thing: if you're going to write a headline about Spider-Man, get his fucking name right. Spider-Man. With a hyphen.

And as for anyone who wants to be surprised by the ending of Civil War #2, you'd better go pick it up right now, and do your very best not to watch, read, or listen to any news before you get it, because I don't know how long you can make it without somebody jumping out and ruining it for you.

You fuckers think that just 'cause a guy reads comics he can't start some shit?

Think I'm finally done fixing Grandma's computer. Well, in point of fact, it's working just fine now, but until it's sitting on her desk and still working, I'm not going to jump the gun and call it finished. "It should be finished by the end of the day" has been my battlecry for the past three weekends, and this time I'm going to exercise caution rather than get my hopes up. Something could somehow go horribly wrong between now and my next trip to Scottsdale (which I'm figuring for Saturday).

I found that, even wiping the drive, I could not get Windows to boot. Error loading operating system, every time. And, as previously mentioned, the disk was flagged as bootable.

So yesterday, for shits and giggles, I tried installing Linux on it instead.

And it worked. It booted, no trouble.

Yet, when I reinstalled XP again, it was back to refusing to boot.

So I hatched a plan. I decided, y'know, Grandma only used about 8GB of her 80GB hard drive even when she had it packed to the gills with 8 years of files, so on a clean install, I can easily set a few gigs aside for a Linux partition. I decided to set up a Linux partition (well, two, really, one ext3 and one swap) at the front of the drive -- I could've done a Puppy-sized 256MB, but decided to stretch it out to 5GB just so I could stretch out and have a good, full Linux install for troubleshooting the next time Windows goes haywire -- and fill the other 75GB with Windows. I figured I'd set GRUB up to automatically boot Windows and leave the Linux boot invisible.

Turns out I didn't even have to reconfigure GRUB -- when I installed XP, it overwrote GRUB with its own bootloader, and this time, for reasons which I cannot fathom, it actually worked. I mean, this points to some kind of oddity with the MBR and/or boot sector, but beyond that I have no idea why adding a dual-boot fixed the problem.

And that, I think, is the most important dirty little secret among people who fix computers -- half the time we don't know why what we just did worked. Hell, I consider myself lucky that I even know what I did this time, even though I don't know why it worked. Frequently I find that something starts working again and I don't even know what I did to change it.

I'm half-convinced this is some sort of Uncertainty Principle thing and I just have the touch. Which sounds cool, but I'd rather computers -- and Windows in particular -- just behaved rationally.

The latest hilarious chapter in the Fixing Grandma's Computer saga is that the new CD-RW drive I bought her at Fry's turned out to be bad. I exchanged it for a good one, but discovered on getting home that I had left my Knoppix CD in the one I returned. Which is probably all right, since it was Knoppix 3.9 and I'm overdue for an upgrade anyway.

But the whole process is just one disaster after another, and I don't have the tools I need. This must be how Fred Flinstone felt when he tried to fix his computer. With, I can only assume, some sort of small bird with a skinny beak -- possibly a hummingbird; I imagine that a hummingbird would be a very difficult bird to use as a screwdriver, but "very difficult" is sort of what I'm going for with this analogy -- and, assuming Fred is a Mac user like everybody else on TV, a paper clip.

I am, of course, burning a new copy of Knoppix; I tried to use the ExpressCD program that came with my old copy of Ultimate Boot CD but it had approximately the worst interface I have ever seen in a CD burning program (yes, worse than xcdrecord -- much worse). It kept putting folders in places I didn't tell it to, and wouldn't let me move them.

I do believe my Windows XP disc is trashed, meaning that even once I back up Grandma's files, I can't install a new OS on her computer. (Well, I could install 98, but that would rather defeat the purpose of this whole exercise. Or I could install 2000, but the reason I'm switching her from 98 in the first place is that it's now unsupported, and 2000 is next on the chopping block.)

All in all, considering that Grandma doesn't do any kind of online banking or credit card transactions, really the worst-case scenario if her unsecure installation of Win98 had gotten a nasty malware infection would be...basically what's happened anyway. (Though I suppose her CD-ROM was going to die no matter what.) Live and learn, I guess. I'm never doing a Windows update again. I mean it this time. Fool me once, shame on, shame on you... ... ... ... ...fool me can't get fooled again.

Oh, by the way, I've disabled trackbacks, since nobody but spammers was using them anyway. If you really really want me to bring them back for some reason, let me know.

(Also, is it bad that my favorite part of work is now driving?)