Sunday, September 26, 2004

Presidential debate secrets finally revealed

The basic agreements that govern the televised presidential debates have long been held
secret from the American public. But this year the “2004 MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING"
has been published by the Commission on Presidential Debates. It shows how thoroughly limited
and controlled are the parameters for what amounts to a joint press conference. Neither side wants
any surprises. The fascinating 30 page memorandum along with a history of the debates and other
materials can by found on the Bill Moyers NOW web page.

However, it turns out that some of the agreements covering these events are still highly confidential.
I have come into possession of an interesting piece of paper that the Commission has not released.


1. The Commission shall guarantee that no spontaneous, thoughtful, free-speaking citizen will be
permitted within forty miles of the debate site. Any citizen whose question departs from the
assigned script will be forcibly ejected from the room.

2. Neither candidate shall employ photos, charts, videos or a central nervous system during the debate.

3. Both candidates will remain seated at all times. If a candidate needs to go to the bathroom, he should
raise his hand and ask permission from the moderator.

4. Prior to the debate each candidate shall have his blood removed, temporarily replaced by
a corresponding amount of embalming fluid.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Things look bright for terror profiteering!

The following two messages appeared today in my email, one just after the other.
They say something about the brave new world we're entering.
- Langdon

* * * * * * * * *
Homeland Security Technology, Inc. (OTC: HSTJ)
First it was gold, then oil, now Homeland Security is the explosive sector turning savvy
stock players into millionaires.
HSTJ Immediate Buy: HUGE NEWS this week plus a 30% Stock-Dividend
Current Price: .015
Target Price: .10 by Sept. 30
HSTJ is our Homeland Security Hot Pick for the rest of September. We are anticipating
several revenue related news announcements and a surge of activity by brokers and investors
to participate in a 30% Stock Dividend for shareholders of record at market close on Sept. 30.
Price and volume for HSTJ will be soaring as we near the deadline to receive the 30% stock bonus
which is roughly equal to a 4 for 3 stock split.
HSTJ supplies military combat gear for the US Armed Forces and was formed for this purpose
by highly decorated military leaders. Not surprisingly, HSTJ has experienced a strong increase
in monthly orders.
Any issue in Homeland Security with elite military management, continuous contracts,
exponential growth, and a Stock Split or Dividend is a launching pad for incredible profits. . . .

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Subject heading: How can one become a terrorist?

Welcome to our web site: [deleted for this posting]
. . . .

You\'re invited to shop for large selection of bombs and different
kinds of rockets such as surface-to-air,
surface-to-surface and weaponry available at reduced price. With the
following types of rockets you will be
able to commit terrorist attacks, destroy buildings, electric power
stations, bridges, factories and anything
else that comes your mind. Most items are in stock and available for
next day freight delivery in the USA.
Worldwide delivery is available at additional cost. Prices are
Please feel free to inquire by ICQ # [deleted here] or contacting us
. . . . . . [three phone numbers listed]

Today special:
******* AIR BOMBS *******
OFAB-500U HE fragmentation air bomb
Fuel-air explosive air bombs -Not in stock
BETAB-500U concrete-piercing air bomb
ZB-500RT incendiary tank
500-KG SIZE RBK-500U unified cluster bomb
RBK-500U OAB-2.5PT loaded with fragmentation submunitions
RBK-500U BETAB-M loaded with concrete-piercing submunitions-Not in
RBK-500U OFAB-50UD loaded with HE fragmentation submunitions
Main-purpose unguided aircraft rockets
S-8 unguided aircraft rockets
S-8BM-Not in stock
S-13 unguided aircraft rockets
S-13, S-13T, S-13-OF, S-13D, S-13DF
S-24B -Not in stock
RS-132-Not in stock
******* ROCKET PODS *******
B-8M pod for S-8 rockets
B-8V20-A pod for S-8 rockets
B-13L pod for S-13 rockets
Recently received *NEW*
Hydra 70 2.75 inch Rockets
Air-Launched 2.75-Inch Rockets
FIM-92A Stinger Weapons System
Stinger 101: Anti-Air

Friday, September 03, 2004

Panda gives birth to twins after watching sex ed videos

This story from the BBC made me laugh out loud. Being a father of
twins myself adds something to the delight.

"A panda in China who became pregnant after watching sex education
videos has given birth to twins.

Hua Mei was born in the US but moved to China in February.
Officials said they had determined that one of the twins was a boy,
but they could not check the other one because Hua Mei was still cuddling it.
. . . .

"We are all very excited. The cubs are in good condition," said Li Wei, from
the Wolong Panda Conservation Centre in Sichuan, southern China.
Before she became pregnant, Hua Mei had been shown videos as preparation
for a series of "blind dates" because experts feared she had little knowledge
of mating after living in captivity.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

First person shooter games – exactly what we feared they’d be

During the waves of ecstasy about “education” and “democracy” that accompanied
the rise of the personal computer and Internet, many parents and teachers who saw
what was actually going on who voiced dismay about the kinds of info products heavily
marketed to children. Foremost among these were the violent, first person shooter video
games that became the daily pastime for millions of kids. Hours and hours of
bang-bang-bang-boom-bang-bang…. So much for the “wonderful educational tool”
and improved “access to information.” Many asked: “What will become of youngsters
who spend endless hours wasting enemies on the screen?”

One answer appears in news reports about a Pentagon recruitment tool, “America’s Army,”
a state-of-the-art video game that offers more than “harmless diversion.” A story in
The Nation gives the sad, gory details.

“The universe of online computer games is home to 200,000 players at any time. It's also
where you can find the newest innovation in military recruiting. Check out America's Army, a
state-of-the art computer game featuring 3-D graphics, surround sound and the most
advanced gaming technology available. It's as entertaining as current favorites Counterstrike
or Doom, but there's a different agenda at work. Unlike commercial games designed to make
big money, the aim of this taxpayer-funded project is to generate Army recruits.

In 1999, recruitment numbers hit their lowest point in thirty years. In response,
Congress called for "aggressive, innovative experiments" to find new soldiers, and
the Defense Department jacked up recruitment budgets to $2.2 billion a year.
Hence we have America's Army, one of a number of new initiatives designed to help
the military reach America's youth. The game consists of two parts: "Soldiers: Empower
Yourself," a role-playing segment that instills Army "values," and the more violent
(read: entertaining) "Operations: Defend Freedom," a first-person combat simulator
where players engage in virtual warfare over the Internet. ….

But there is a difference between realistic detail and actual reality, and as a depiction
of Army life America's Army is, to say the least, misleading. Despite the game's
neurotic commitment to accuracy elsewhere, the small detail about killing people
is brushed over gingerly. "We were very careful on the blood thing," says Boyce.
There are no sound effects when players are shot; only a small red blotch appears,
similar to a paintball hit. The sanitizing of violence also aids marketing efforts by earning
the game a teen rating.

Players learn, in this army, that war is fun.”

* * * * * * * * *

The game sheds light on an old controversy: Do violent video games encourage violent
behavior among those who use them?

Perhaps the broader context has something to do with it. Are we talking a society
that routinely supports rituals of violence and death in its core institutions? If so,
the game is just another feature of what amounts normal practice.