Take the ringer. I'll drive.

A member of the Bellman Nation just bought a late-model Ford Focus. A cute car in good repair, fairly described as a modestly priced receptacle. Nonetheless, there were two features that I hadn't experienced. One dashboard button activated cabin lights in the footwells and drink holders. The cool part is that the lights are in half a dozen colors, cycling to a new color each time the button is pressed. It's like a rave for your ankles.

The other feature of note is the car's bluetooth integration. After syncing a cell phone, a small text display on top of the dashboard will list caller ID information on inbound calls. It will also use a text-to-speech function to read incoming text messages through the stereo speakers. In that mode the radio tuning knob can be used to cycle through a list of canned responses.

It turns out the engineers did not include a reply for having the car robotically repeat "wax balls".


Specialized but Equal

FCC proposes some new rules on Net Neutrality, including the following:
"Managed" or "specialized" services, such as VOIP or subscription video services, may fall into a special category since they "may differ from broadband Internet access services in ways that recommend a different policy approach, and it may be inappropriate to apply the rules proposed here." The FCC is looking for input on how to approach this special class of services.

That's a loophole big enough to drive a business plan through!


Gremlins with a time machine

Two physicists suggest that the interference from the future is causing bad luck to our high-energy physics experiments:
“It must be our prediction that all Higgs producing machines shall have bad luck,” Dr. Nielsen said in an e-mail message. In an unpublished essay, Dr. Nielson said of the theory, “Well, one could even almost say that we have a model for God.” It is their guess, he went on, “that He rather hates Higgs particles, and attempts to avoid them.”

This malign influence from the future, they argue, could explain why the United States Superconducting Supercollider, also designed to find the Higgs, was canceled in 1993 after billions of dollars had already been spent, an event so unlikely that Dr. Nielsen calls it an “anti-miracle.”

via NYT (reg. req.)


Another reason to hate Glenn Beck, he has no sense of humor

There are some rumors floating around the Internet that Glenn Beck raped a girl in 1991.

If it weren't true that GLENN BECK RAPED AND MURDERED A GIRL IN 1990, then he would come out and deny these allegations.”

I also heard that Glenn Beck murdered and raped a girl in 1990. I was not shown any compelling evidence of this, but Glenn could easily clear this whole thing up by releasing his sealed criminal records.”

I don't know if Glenn Beck raped and murdered that girl in 1990, but without him releasing his criminal record, we will never be sure. |Poljunk|

I don't want to dignify those allegations by endorsing them. They strike me as almost as juvenile as Mr. Beck himself.

But my friend Mehmet recently sent me a link to a reply brief in Beck's litigation against the website glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com

Beck's legal team has surely advised him that this parody site is protected by the First Amendment. The same Amendment that allows Beck to spew his bullshit across the airwaves.

So Beck's legal team has attacked the domain name instead. But this is legal strategery as the defense team points out.
We are not here because the domain name could cause confusion. We do not have a declaration from the president of the international association of imbeciles that his members are blankly staring at the Respondent’s website wondering “where did all the race baiting content go?” We are here because Mr. Beck wants Respondent’s website shut down. He wants it shut down because Respondent’s website makes a poignant and accurate satirical critique of Mr. Beck by parodying Beck’s very rhetorical style. |Link|

The brief explains the parody involved in the website:

The raw materials of the Glenn Beck Raped and Murdered a Young Girl in 1990 meme (hereinafter, the “Beck Meme”) are twofold. The meme is a parody of from Glenn Beck’s own argumentation style mated with a Gilbert Gottfried routine performed during the Comedy Central Roast of “comedian” Bob Saget. During Gottfried’s speech, he kept repeating (in his trademark nasally voice) that there were rumors that Bob Saget had raped and killed a girl in 1990. Gottfriend admonished listeners to stop spreading this rumor – which had never existed in the first place. As there is no more sure fire way to destroy a joke than to explain it, much less in legal papers, ...

The humor equation is simple: (Outrageous Accusation) + (Celebrity) + (Question Why the Celebrity Does Not Deny the Accusation) = (Confirmation of the Falsity of the Accusation + Laughter) A poignant example of Beck using the Gottfried Technique is this Glenn Beck interview with Congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim. Beck famously
"No offense and I know Muslims, I like Muslims, I've been to mosques, I really don't think Islam is a religion of evil. I think it's being hijacked, quite frankly. With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying let's cut and run. And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview because what I
feel like saying is, sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies. And I know you're not. I'm not accusing you of being an enemy. But that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."

I love the "counter-argument" of ChristWire:

[T]he court case against Mr. Hall is clear cut. He has slandered and libeled with the intent to do harm. He infringed upon Mr. Beck’s good name, reputation and copyright. He has sought to profit from lies. He is promoting a radical political agenda for his own secret nefarious purposes. He has made false accusations, akin to crying “Fire!” in a crowded theater. His words are a threat to the livelihood and safety of Glenn Beck and his family. Mr. Hall has tried to hide behind the cliché of “Freedom of Speech” while in truth attacking the very foundations of American democracy. |ChristWire|

I also love their description of the defense attorney,Marc J. Randazza:

Who is stepping up to defend this criminal? It is none other than Marc J. Randazza, described in his hometown newspaper as a, “slimy liberal incompetent moonbat home-schooled moron lawyer.” Randazza labels himself with the fancy title “Esquire” as if he’s living in some 19th-century English hamlet wearing a peacock feather in his fedora. He runs a website entitled, The Legal Satyricon, in reference to a work by an ancient Roman pedophile named Petronius. (The immorality and sexual radicalism of The Satyricon was brought to the big screen some years ago by notorious Italian Federico Fellini.)

Lawyer Randazza seems to handle only the most salacious of legal cases, mostly involving impoverished bloggers. (You have to wonder what sorts of physical debasements these penniless clients must trade for his services.) He is a professor at a Florida law school (though it’s hard to imagine such a thing) and also claims to be a resident of Gloucester, Massachusetts, a stone’s throw from infamous homosexual politician Barney Frank’s congressional district. |ChristWire|

I think it's overly simplistic to say that there are "Two Americas," there are far more than that. But I don't want to visit Glenn Beck's America anymore.


Mothers Against Drinking

I think it is past time that MADD stopped pretending that it is anything other than a temperance organization. They always blame the drink, and never blame the driving. Now they are even marketing their own brand of non-alcoholic beverages.

But the most damning segment of their official position page is their response--inadequate as it is--to the findings that so-called "distracted driving" is more deadly than drunk driving. Rather than finally acknowledging that automotive culture is a root problem, MADD actually endorses having mobile phones in vehicles... in order to report drunk drivers.

It's not just MADD, of course. Atrios recently blogged:
After taking the subway home from a show last night one of the first things I saw on the teevee was an anti-drunk driving ad. It occurred to me that in all the years I've been seeing these things I don't remember a single one (I could be wrong!) suggesting people take mass transit instead of driving.

Drinking and driving should not be combined, obviously. But if the collective energy brought to bear against drunk driving was instead focused on demphasizing driving as the main way to get around, we might save a lot of lives... even in situations where nobody's had a drop to drink.


"Can I give you a hand?"

He had gotten quite used to his hooks,” his mother says of her son’s artificial arms. “He could dress himself. He could drive his car. He could do a lot of things.”

…after the double hand transplant, Kepner had to start over again…Now in therapy, he is learning how to pick up small items, like cotton balls, and catch a ball, but he still has no feeling in his fingers. The nerves grow about an inch a month from where the hands were attached, at the forearm.

“They told him it will be at least until the end of the year before those nerves get down into those fingers,” Doris Schafer said. “Then he’ll begin to do things.”
| via |

Meanwhile the evil is growing towards his heart and brain at two inches a month!

But seriously, that's pretty cool.


Now I get it...

I always wondering why our congressional representatives are so obsessed with France.

If people in [EU headquarters] struggle to understand how troublesome Congress can be to an American administration, they should try this mental aid.

Congress is a bit like France: prickly, status-obsessed, ruthless in defending national interests and addicted to subsidies for special interests such as farmers or industrial champions.

Both are ambivalent about free trade: as the Copenhagen climate talks near, it is France and certain American senators who want to talk up “green tariffs” in case China and India duck binding limits on carbon. |The Atlantic Gap - Economist|

It's because they're so much alike!

Ow, my morgellons

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