October 13, 2007
About two weeks ago, 41 Democratic senators signed a letter which was sent to Clear Channel Communications, complaining about something Rush Limbaugh said over the air. Clear Channel turned the letter over to Limbaugh, and Limbaugh is auctioning it off via eBay, with proceeds going to charity.
Georgia's going dry -- and we're not talking liquor stores. Record temperatures in Georgia and a long drought have left many Georgia cities wondering when the taps will run dry. Some towns have only a few weeks of water left, while rivers near Athens have nearly dried up. A broken water main hasn't helped the problem, and some fear that the University of Georgia campus there may shut down for lack of water. What's more, Atlanta itself is already feeling the pressure, as Lake Lanier, a water source for 3 million residents, falls by 1.5 feet per week and has only a three month supply remaining. While there have been more severe (pdf) droughts in Georgia's history, rising population numbers have increased demand to now unsustainable levels.
And we're off! Prime Minister John Howard has set the date for the Australian Federal election as November 24th, meaning we're up for a long six-week campaign. With Kevin Rudd leading the PM by between 16 to 18 points (depending on who you read) in recent opinion polls, this election seems the most likely to provide a change of Government since Howard was first elected 11 years ago. Antony Green's usual excellent election guide is up and running here, along with an excellent calculator which shows which seats are up for grabs dependent on a 2 party preferred swing. You might also want to check out the Vote-O-Matic, a fun but entirely disposable quiz which aims to help you decide who you'll vote for. [more inside]
"We Few, We Happy Few, We Band of Brothers." Evolutionary psychologist Andy Thomson analyzes suicide terrorism from the perspective of evolutionary biology. The presentation was part of the Atheist Alliance International convention in D.C. last month.
Asemic is a magazine of asemic writing, which is writing without semantic content. The editor is Australian Tim Gaze, who's made the asemic books Aussie Runes and The Oxygen of Truth, volumes 1 and 2. "Only words lie; asemic texts cannot lie." [more inside]
How depressing is your job? The Office of Applied Studies, a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, released a report ranking various occupations in order of the number of depressive episodes experienced by workers. "Personal Care & Service" occupations (defined by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics here) top the list. One wonders if these are the occupations contributing to the growth of the so-called "service economy," and if so, are we heading for a deepening national malaise?
Bill Watterson comments on Peanuts as part of a review for David Michaelis's new biography of Charles Schultz. [more inside]
The man who knew too much. "He was the CIA's expert on Pakistan's nuclear secrets, but Rich Barlow was thrown out and disgraced when he blew the whistle on a US cover-up. Now he's to have his day in court."
9/11 changed everything? And the NSA is only looking at overseas and terrorist-related phone and internet records?
to gather information about Americans' phone records --... the NSA had approached the company (Qwest) about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans' phone records. ...Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts. ... -- The Administration's crimes and illegal spying on all of us and Quest's punishment for not going along with their plans.
The Global Incident Map is an interactive map displaying "terrorism events and other suspicious activities" happening at this very moment (updated every 5 minutes) all around the world. Click on the various icons for "event details" or scroll down for "announcements, alerts and breaking news." Via.
The best political speech I have ever watched (Real media) - [WMV] - Howard Dean talks politics at Johns Hopkins on Thusday October 11, and does so using intelligent, complex ideas and later responds to questions with long, detailed, complicated answers.
Attention Scum! You can now catch Simon Munnery's occasionally brilliant comedy series on YouTube. If you only have three minutes to spare then make do with this fuzzy three minute clip of The Security Guard. If video is not your thing then you can enjoy Munnery's superb articles here (you could start with this one). Finally, you could treat yourself to his book How To Live which contains large chunks of all the above.
Advocate or Adumbrate? Martin Amis writes an open letter to Yasmin Alibhai Brown for her suggestion that after reading everyone's favourite last living Marxist Terry Eagleton's comments on this (posted previously), Amis is 'with the beasts' on Muslim-hating. He may have been adumbrating not advocating, but is there another way to describe patronising and smug?