The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Saturday, January 04, 2003


Does anybody remember that idiotic internet petition from last winter/spring, asking that the 2nd Lord of the Rings movie not be called The Two Towers, due to 9-11?

Well, they have a website.

Glancing at their faq...
We believe that Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema's actions are in fact hate speech. The movie is intentionally being named The Two Towers in order to capitalize on the tragedy of September 11. Clearly, you cannot deny the fact that this falls under hate speech. We believe that if they will not willingly change the name, the government should step in to stop the movie's production or to force a name change.
It's the title of the friggin book. And even if you remotely had any shred of a point, consider that Tolkien's epic predates not only the 9-11 attacks, but also the construction of the WTC towers themselves! Did Tolkien know he was committing hate speech way back then?

(Of course, one could talk about the implications of comparing Tolkien's anti-industrialism and Bin Laden's anti-westernism. But I have the strangest feeling that these fellows with the website aren't being as sophisticated as that.)
Ok ok, so I found this link on Drudge, guilty as charged. Apparently Australia is building the world's tallest tower in the middle of the outback. Check it out:

Hmm. Saruman would be proud. (then again, Tolkien was originally from that other British colony marked by insensitivity for its original inhabitants)

(the, uh, cutting edge of human development . . . yeah)

It appears that those kooky UFO-chasers at Clonaid are claiming that they now have two cloned children.

Firstly, yes I am skeptical about all of this, at least until tests are carried out. The "parents" of the first "clone" are blocking DNA testing, so maybe that's more reason to be skeptical.

I wonder how much one's opinion of human cloning (or the cloning of any animal for that matter) can (should?) be colored by their opinion of more mainstream issues in reproductive rights, particularly that of a woman's right to choose. That is something I am completely in favor of, and my resolution is that my opinions are compartmentalized; these are two very different issues. That being said, I would not want to be a cloned baby. Especially now, in the infancy (so to speak) of such technology. Not only emotionally (being a guinea pig, the focus of significant attention, and a product of tubes and petri dishes), but certainly subject to the medical complications of the significantly inexact science (ironically i suppose) that cloning is right now.

I mean, hey, at this point it's ethically tantamount to, say, adopting cats from the humane society with the intent of torturing them in order to enhance one's skills as a surgeon. Hint, hint.

...and this time I figure rather prominently!

One of the best sites on the web, the incomparable MediaWhores Online (a watchdog site for the lazy, American corporate-dominated conservative-friendly media), has just returned from two months of vacation (those slackers!). To kick off the new year, they have opened up voting for 2002's Whore of the Year, with candidates ranging from Margaret Carlson and Bob Woodward to Tim Russert, Howard Fineman and Chris the Screamer Matthews.

One of the nominees was internet journalist and anti-welfare crusader Mickey Kaus, a fellow who has masqueraded as being "the worlds most sensible democrat", but has amounted to being a right-wing suckup, devoting most of his time to attacking the New York Times, in particular its editor Howell Raines, and its relentlessly honest columnist Paul Krugman. To make the case for nominating Kaus for such a dubious designation, MWO printed an email I sent them a couple of months ago, calling Kaus on the hypocracy of his attacks against MWO itself a few months prior that (in particular, Kaus' apparent change of heart of the rhetorical use of the word "whore").

Anyway, thanks Horse! (despite their prominent placement of my email on Kaus, I'm pretty sure my vote will go to either Russert or Woodward).

I have now returned from an extended absence, so expect to see regular output from this happy little blog.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003


Hope you had as wonderful a time as I did/am!

TFM out!

Monday, December 30, 2002


Those hardworking chaps at BuzzFlash have some serious issues with a New York Times editorial from earlier this month, and with good cause. One thing I would add to their case, though, are Bush's pre-presidential decisions 1) to go to Bob Jones University, and 2) to not go to Jasper.

Time, CNN and Yahoo are spinning to protect Bush and Cheney.
I've been trying to explain to people my reasons for not drinking for a long while. I have personal reasons, quasi-moral reasons (not really, but sorta), and the simple "i dont need it to have a full life" deal. Then again, here's a complicating factor in addition:
LONDON (Reuters) - Cracking open the New Year bubbly could contribute to the first feline extinction since the prehistoric Saber-tooth tiger, wildlife campaigners said on Friday.

Lynxes in Spain and Portugal are becoming critically endangered as their cork-forest habitat dwindles.

With demand waning for traditional corks in favor of synthetic stoppers in wine and champagne, farmers are felling the cork forests to make way for more profitable crops and the pointy-eared Iberian lynx could become one of the casualties
I suppose this isn't as much a matter of whether to drink, but a matter of if you drink, make sure you do so in a traditional matter, and not upset the balance with little synthetic impostor "corks". Nevertheless, people of Spain, use real cork! I want to see a lynx before I die!
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Daniel O'Donnell first gave blood during the Great Depression. Since then, he's donated blood to the American Red Cross 300 times.

Now, Red Cross officials in western New York plan to nominate O'Donnell for the Guinness Book of Records. They say he's given blood more times than the official record, which is 226. (Full story)
Best of luck to you, Mr O'Donnell. I will be most happy to welcome you into the Guinness Book, given that I'm a member*, hehe.

That must be some over-worked, stressed-out marrow there! "Aw crap, not again," you can hear it proclaim.

The other question, of course, is will this accomplishment occupy the same page as the Most Sperm-Bank Donations entry. Well, only in our dreams, given that you can't donate sperm more than once (due to the slight possibility of genetic mutations that could result from if two people who originated from the same sperm manage to meet and reproduce).

* - I was part of San Mateo High School's class of 1999, which is in the 2003 Guinness Book for our incomparable canned food drive, hehe

Sunday, December 29, 2002


Yep, that's right, there's going to be an Enron movie, premiering January 5th. Starring Brian Dennehy (the dean of tv-movie actors) and Shannon Elizabeth, no less.

Will they implicate the Bush Administration in the slightest in this movie? Haha, of course not. But that doesn't matter. The movie will serve, however, to bring Enron (and thus, widespread corporate corruption) back onto the front-burner of the American consciousness, which is not good news for the Bushies, especially since Dubya said he'd wait on the Iraq war at least until late january. Bush isn't the kind of guy who'd go back on his word, is he? Is ... he... ?

Anyway, I'm sure it's going to be a wretched made-for-tv movie, as they all are. But that's beside the point.

Israel's Attorney General makes a ruling on "targeted killings":
JERUSALEM - An 11-year-old Palestinian boy was killed Sunday by Israeli gunfire during a demonstration in the West Bank, while Israel's attorney general told Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that "targeted killings" of wanted Palestinians may be used only as a last resort.

The ruling came after recent violence raised concerns about a new escalation in Israeli-Palestinian fighting ahead of Israel's Jan. 28 parliamentary elections.

The Palestinian child, the second killed by Israeli soldiers in as many days, was shot when a group of schoolchildren pelted troops with rocks and bottles in the West Bank town of Tulkarem. Troops responded with rubber-coated bullets, also wounding another Palestinian boy, Palestinian witnesses said.

The military said non-lethal methods were used. These methods often include the rubber-coated bullets, which can kill if used from short range.
I dunno, this sounds to me like someone said: "alright, we can turn thousands of endangered whales into perfume and lip gloss, as long as they're 'cold-filtered' and not 'heat-pasturized'". To me, killings are killings, and no matter how "targeted" or civilized they try to make this little policy of theirs, they're going to make a mess anyway, further emflaming the back-and-forth situation in Israel/Palestine. Sigh.

Do you have massive reserves of hatred for George W. Bush, yet are unsure of a way to express them?

Well, your troubles are over. You can now punch him!

So if life becomes too rough, if you can't get those all-important life-saving prescription drugs, or if you're an Alaskan caribou drenched in oil, get some good shots in for me!

(link courtesy MM)