Saturday, March 25, 2006

The nap master

Need I say more?

Blue, but not delicious

Reuters/Siggi Bucher

A blue poison frog (Dendrobates azureus) sits on a leaf in the zoo of Zurich, March 22, 2006. The blue colour of this South-American frog serves as a warning to would-be predators, its skin is covered with glands that secrete alkaloid poisons capable of paralyzing and even killing predators. With the destruction of its rainforest habitat the blue poison frog has become one of the most threatened of all poison dart frogs. (caption from yahoo photos)

Still no civil war

Max Becherer/Polaris for the NYTimes

This makes me tired and depressed. The NYTimes has a truly horrifying article up about death squads in Bagdad. Bound, Blindfolded and Dead: The Face of Atrocity in Baghdad
AGHDAD, Iraq, March 25 — Mohannad al-Azawi had just finished sprinkling food in his bird cages at his pet shop in south Baghdad, when three carloads of gunmen pulled up.

In front of a crowd, he was grabbed by his shirt and driven off.


Mr. Azawi's body was found the next morning at a sewage treatment plant. A slight man who raised nightingales, he had been hogtied, drilled with power tools and shot.

In the last month, hundreds of men have been kidnapped, tortured and executed in Baghdad. As Iraqi and American leaders struggle to avert a civil war, the bodies keep piling up. The city's homicide rate has tripled from 11 to 33 a day, military officials said. The period from March 7 to March 21 was typically brutal: at least 191 corpses, many mutilated, surfaced in garbage bins, drainage ditches, minibuses and pickup trucks.


What frightens Iraqis most about these gangland-style killings is the impunity. According to reports filed by family members and more than a dozen interviews, many men were taken in daylight, in public, with witnesses all around. Few cases, if any, have been investigated.

Part of the reason may be that most victims are Sunnis, and there is growing suspicion that they were killed by Shiite death squads backed by government forces in a cycle of sectarian revenge. This allegation has been circulating in Baghdad for months, and as more Sunnis turn up dead, more people are inclined to believe it.

"This is sectarian cleansing," said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of Parliament, who has maintained a degree of neutrality between Shiites and Sunnis.

If the government isn't directly involved, there's no question that they're turning a blind eye.

Death squads. Government backed death squads. Is this what 2300 american servicemen died for?

Friday, March 24, 2006

We like the moon!!

January 12, 2006 ©fourlegsgood

Cause it's way up in the sky!!

I'm not posting this photo for any particular reason. I just felt like it.

(View of the moon rising over the Littlefield Fountain on the University of Texas campus the weekend after the Longhorns won the 2005 football national championship)

You can thank me later for the earworm.

It works! it works!!

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

NASA scientists are reporting that the New Mars Orbiter Images are 'Fantastic'. Excellent! The orbiter can discern objects on Mars as small as three pixels across.
NASA’s new red planet probe, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), has relayed spectacular test images using its super-powerful camera leaving mission scientists and engineers more than pleased with the initial imagery.

The views from MRO's High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) camera, which has called the most powerful camera ever sent to red planet, reached Earth early Friday.

“The quality of the images is fantastic!” HiRISE principal investigator Alfred McEwen, of the University of Arizona, told “This demonstrates that both the HiRISE camera and the spacecraft pointing performed superbly.”

Thank god republicans aren't in charge of the mission.

Happy friday!

Maxx and I want to thank everyone who stopped by yesterday and helped us get over the 10,000 hit mark. I guess it proves that you really, really, really like lion kitty Maxx.

Or something. So thanks!!

Buh bye Ben!! we hardly knew ye....

Young Mr. Bendover has resigned, effective immediately.
In the past 24 hours, we learned of allegations that Ben Domenech plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to contracting with him to write a blog that launched Tuesday.

An investigation into these allegations was ongoing, and in the interim, Domenech has resigned, effective immediately.

That's nice, but this never would have happened if the WAPO hadn't been trying to placate the wingnuttians in the first place. In my opinion, balance has no place in journalism.

Call me crazy, but facts are facts. There aren't "liberal" facts or "conservative" facts, there is only the truth. As for the opinion page, fine, hire who you want.... take whatever slant you want, but be prepared to live with the consequences.

And what's this crap about how glad you are that readers brought the allegations of plagiarization "to your attention?" You were hiring a 24 year old kid with next to no experience and you didn't bother to check him out?


As for young Ben, I'm certain he'll be just fine. A bright, well enumerated future awaits him in one of Washington's many right wing think tanks.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Maxx is crushing Ben's head....

He doesn't like plagiairizing little asswipes.

note: updated to correct my crappy spelling

update of an update: please note, the phrase "crushing (insert asshat name here)'s head" courtesy of Hecate

A very cute kitten

Yes, this is a blatant bid to drive up my hit count. Only 50 more to hit 10,000. Woo hoo!!

Auntie GWPDA....

... wishes that this was Mr. Plushy taking care of her rat problem.

Men on stilts

AP/ Czarek Sokolowski

Just because it's festive.

On reporting and the state of the media

Molly Ivins has a great column up about newspapers, reporting, and the state of media in general. It's excellent- please go read the whole column.

Newspaper Suicide
Aside from my own sentimental attachment to newspapers, I have no objection to all of us shifting over to the Internet and doing the same thing there. You'd still have the two big problems, however: A) How do you know if it's true? And, B) how do you put a lot of information into a package that's useful to people? If newspapers were just another buggy-whip industry, none of this would be of much note -- another disappearing artifact, like the church key. But while Wall Street doesn't care, nor do many of the people who own and run newspapers, newspapers do, in fact, matter beyond producing profit -- they have a critical role in democracy. It's called a well-informed citizenry.

We are in trouble.

The Project for Excellence in Journalism, run by Columbia University, has a new report out that finds the number of media outlets continues to grow, but both the number of stories covered and the depth of reporting are sliding backward. Television, radio and newspapers are all cutting staff, while the bloggers of the Internet either do not have the size or the interest to go out and gather news. Bloggers are not news-gatherers, but opinion-mongers. I have long argued that no one should be allowed to write opinion without spending years as a reporter -- nothing like interviewing all four eyewitnesses to an automobile accident and then trying to write an accurate account of what happened. Or, as author-journalist Curtis Wilkie puts it, "Unless you can cover a five-car pile-up on Route 128, you shouldn't be allowed to cover a presidential campaign." My emphasis added.

I agree.

I guess it's too much to ask that Jim Brady of the read that column and give it some thought. I've avoided weighing in on the Demenech saga, mostly because others are skewereing the WAPO so hilariously.

Mostly the subject just makes me furious. I've been reading the Washington Post for 30 years. It is insulting to me, as a long-time reader, to hire a 24 year old rightwing nutjob with no journalism credentials and expect me to be interested in his opinions on anything.

He is a racist and a plagarist. As for talent... well, consider Exhibit A: "Pachyderms in the mist.."???? Give me a freaking break.

That cliff is getting closer Mr. Brady. Just because Karl Rove is telling you to jump off of it with the rest of the corporate media doesn't mean you should.

Free Wily!!


Wily Coyote should not be in a cage. I believe he has a roadrunner to catch. Wily coyote caught in NY's Central Park

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Somebody is annoyed...

...with their human. Uh. Oh.

I'm not going to sleep tonight.

Owls, bitch!!

Thanks to Vicki, who sent me this (and other) lovely photos from the National Geographic 35th Annual Photo Contest.

Mystery Fox!

Cryptobiology!! Via National Geographic News, Carolina Mystery Beast Is a Rare Abnormal Fox, Experts Say
mystery animal is foraging in the grassy fields around a North Carolina company.

"I've never seen anything like this," said Jerri Durazo, a Tyco Electronics employee who photographed the animal.

The slender creature has a kangaroo-shaped head, big upright ears, and a long ratlike tail. From a distance the animal looks hairless, but closer inspection reveals that its coat is a sleek grayish brown.

For two months the animal has roamed the high-tech company's woodsy campus in Fuquay-Varina near Raleigh.

Biologists speculate that it's a fox with a rare genetic disorder that effects the outer layer of its coat.

Wednesday kitty fix

Yes, that is food on his mouth. What a pigpen.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More plush

By popular request. I love his white little feeties.

What civil war?

Reuters/Namir Noor-Eldeen

Via Wolcott, the Independent's Patrick Coburn paints a grim picture of the reality in today's Iraq. Death Squads on the Prowl; Iraq Convulsed by Fear:
"Unseen by the outside world, silent populations are on the move, frightened people fleeing neighborhoods where their community is in a minority for safer districts.

"There is also a growing reliance on militias because of fears that police patrols or checkpoints are in reality death squads hunting for victims.

"Districts where Sunni and Shia lived together for decades if not centuries are being torn apart in a few days. In the al-Amel neighbourhood in west Baghdad, for instance, the two communities lived side by side until a few days ago, though Shias were in the majority. Then the Sunni started receiving envelopes pushed under their doors with a Kalashnikov bullet inside and a letter telling them to leave immediately or be killed. It added that they must take all of their goods which they could carry immediately and only return later to sell their houses.

"The reaction was immediate. The Sunni in al-Amel started barricading their streets. Several Shia families, believed to belong to the Shia party, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), were murdered later the same day the threatening letters were delivered...

"One effect of the escalating sectarian warfare is to strengthen the Sunni insurgency as their own community desperately looks to its defenses.

"It is not as if life was not already hard enough before the latest escalation in communal violence. Three years ago, most Iraqis were glad to see the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, even if they did not like the US occupation, because they wanted normal lives. They had been living in a state of war since 1980 when the Iraqi leader invaded Iran. They then had eight years of bloody conflict followed by the invasion of Kuwait, defeat by the US-led coalition, the Shia and Kurdish uprisings of 1991 and then 12 years of UN sanctions.

"Instead of improving, life in Baghdad has become far more dangerous than it was under Saddam Hussein. Every facet of daily living is affected."

Imagine, just for one moment, living like that. Bush asked yesterday what he was seeing that we weren't.

Wrong question. Why isn't he seeing what the rest of the world is? Why does he refuse to look?

Wild baby plushy

Reuters/Ilva Navamushin

A baby lion in Siberia.

Fuck you redstate!!

"I scratch your eyes out and disembowel your cracker ass!! mrrrowww!!"

Monday, March 20, 2006

Oh my! Mr. Plushy!!

... what big toes you have.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Cigar Galaxy. Oh my.

The Cigar Galaxy lights up the night sky when viewed in the infrared spectrum.

Also known as Messier 82 (M82), the Cigar Galaxy sits about 11.7 million light-years (or about 68 trillion miles) from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major.

The galaxy appears as little more than a bar of light in the visible range of the light spectrum, but blazes into deep reds using the Spitzer Space Telescope’s infrared eye.

The red “flames” seen here are made up of dust particles blowing into space from hot stars that appear in blue. According to Spitzer’s instruments, the dust contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, a carbon-containing molecule found in car tailpipes and barbecue pits.

This can't be good

Via National Geographic News, Arctic Ice Isn't Refreezing in the Winter, Satellites Show.
For the second year in a row a large amount of Arctic sea ice did not refreeze during the winter as it normally does, a team of scientists reports.

This trend may indicate an overall shrinking of Arctic ice cover due to rapid global climate change.

I'm wondering if republicans will admit that global warming is a problem when Miami and New York flood?

Napping kitty

When it's raining, lion kittys must nap.

Wanker of the Decade

Rummy has a nauseating editorial up on the WAPO this morning: What we've gained in 3 years in Iraq
Some have described the situation in Iraq as a tightening noose, noting that "time is not on our side"and that "morale is down." Others have described a "very dangerous" turn of events and are "extremely concerned."

Who are they that have expressed these concerns? In fact, these are the exact words of terrorists discussing Iraq -- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his associates -- who are describing their own situation and must be watching with fear the progress that Iraq has made over the past three years.

Holy mother of god. We're back to that hoary old argument agaiin- if you question the war, why, you must be a terra-ist sympathizer!!

Let me tell you what we've lost these past 3 years, Mr. Rumsfeld. We've lost the lives of more than 2,000 american soldiers, we've lost our moral compass, and we seem to have lost our collective minds.

Iraq is spiraling into bloody civil war. Why? because we broke it. And all Rummy can do is bleat about the elections and call critics "terrorists." They found 22 more bodies in Baghdad Saturday. They'd been executed and most showed signs of torture.

That's not my definition of progress. Rummy can go fuck himself.

Don't tell cornyn

Getty Images

Torture antidote

AFP Yuri Tutov

Bears might eat you, but they won't lock you up in a black room and torture you or turn you into a living paintball target.