Monthly Archives: September 2002

Bad news — can you help?

Many of you know Sean Philips (iam:LexTalonis), both as a practitioner and as a friend. He's a great guy and has regularly put himself out financially and otherwise in order to help this community, and now perhaps the situation is reversed. This weekend his body modification studio in College Park, Maryland burned to the ground. Everything was lost — all of his supplies, inventory, even his portfolios. I'd like to quote from Dr.Scorpio's page:

"Sean is one of my closest Friends, and the only person locally I trust to shove hooks, needles, scalpels, etc. in me. What Im asking here is to help a brother out. Even with his burnt out shop and no fucking money, he spent half his weekend working on a suspension tower for the local modified community. I'm planning on trying to bankroll the completion of the tower and Im asking YOU to help him buy some supplies so he can get back on his feet."

So… If you can toss just a little in his hat via PayPal that is appreciated, but there's a lot of other ways you can help out too — if you were pierced by Sean, please please take a nice photo (film if you can) of your piercing and send it his way so he can rebuild his portfolio. If you know a shop in the area that might be able to offer a guest spot, let him know. Sean isn't one to ask for handouts, and he's actually taken down the PayPal link on his page, but I hope he doesn't mind when I reveal that his PayPal address is

As I see it…

Do you remember when you were a kid, and you wanted to do something stupid, your mother would say something like “If Jimmy jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?” Anyway, the fact is that attacking Iraq is either the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do — it shouldn't be affected by those kinds of issues. However, when polled, if you tell Americans that the war would be supported by allies, support is strong. However, when you suggest that they might have to go it alone, the support drops to half. Which means, if you don't live in America, but you live in one of the countries that's pledging to support America, you can still make a change. Tell your representative in government (you can even do it by email) that you don't want Bush's war Iraq backed by your country… Simply doing that may be enough to stop the war.

Bush's forces (I've decided that I'm going to try and start saying “Bush's forces” and things like that to make it real clear that I don't think the “average American” is behind this) are building up in Kuwait. Realize that Bush is the guy who's understanding of the American “issues” with Iraq is summed up by “this is the guy who tried to kill my dad” (a highly questionable claim built on only circumstantial evidence — and with that kind of evidence there are many other places that finger could point as well — it's not as if Bush was well liked by the Middle East in general).

Next, many of you know that the Israeli lobbies are aggressively attacking any professor who is critical of modern Israeli policies. Now, we're not talking about professors making statements that holocaust gas chambers were in fact delousing chambers, which were the norm in all POW camps, we're talking about often Jewish and pro-Israel professors who simply have concerns about Sharon's current actions in the occupation and the settlements (which many feel is just as bad as what the Germans* did to them). Anyway, these professors deserve a great deal of credit for now actively trying to get put on “the list” of people who the Israeli lobby is attempting to academically destroy. Well, at least there's some good news out of Israel.

I've been thinking, and I think that a total world war may be inevitable. As in total. The end of China, the end of Russia, the end of Japan, Canada, Europe, Africa, and so on. As a number of people have pointed out, while they are issues, the war on Iraq isn't really about oil or weapons or anything like that when you look at it from a distance. It's about Empire — it's about America redefining itself as the sole planetary ruler. Now, maybe that would be a good thing in the long run, I don't know. But getting there would come very close to destroying the planet, especially now that every nation is wanting to play the pre-emptive strike game.

Remember, there's nothing wrong with supporting terrorists — you just have to know which ones to support. That article is about Ashcroft's support for the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, an Iranian terrorist group of 30,000 troops also supported by Saddam Hussein. The punch line is that in the Sept. 12th whitepaper on Iraq, Hussein's support of the MKO was listed for one of the reasons to overthrow him — I guess that means Ashcroft is next?

I've gotten into reading transcripts from C-Span and press briefings. They're actually really funny sometimes. Check out this briefing from last week where Ari Fleischer is asked over and over and over to explain why the President called Democrat senators traitors to the American people who cared more about special interests than the security of the population. I also got a huge kick out of this fight where Bob Filner (a well-liked Democrat from California on his fifth term) pointed out to Republican Joe Wilson that Iraq got his chemical and bio-weapons tech from America (which is well documented). Wilson replied, “That is wrong. That's made up. I can't believe you would say something like that.”

Wilson was instructed that he ought to read the newspaper and that it was not made up, whereupon he exploded. “This hatred of America by some people is just outrageous. And you need to get over that. [You] hate America, [and you are] viscerally anti-American!” and so on. Wilson later released a press release continuing to claim that Filner was wrong even though he is one hundred percent factually incorrect — I really hope the American people don't tolerate such rewriting of history.

There's one last story I need to talk about, and that's the Gulf War. As Robert McMahon, president of Soldiers for the Truth says, “President Bush shouldn't order our warriors into another Gulf fight until we know what happened 11 years ago.” Even though the US officially only lists 147 casualties and 457 injuries, the “Gulf War Illness” which followed — linked to anything from experimental drugs, chemical weapons, depleted uranium weaponry, or even just pollution — had devastating effects. So far nearly 8,000 US soldiers have died, and 200,000 (TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND) have filed injury claims. Of course, who cares about deaths. A combination of economic sanctions, continued bombing, and an excess of depleted uranium shells fired by Americans into civilian areas continues to kill about 5,000 Iraqi babies every month, and so far the US has killed about 2 million Iraqi citizens — who are absolutely not to blame for Saddam's actions.

I'll finish that comment by reminding you of a quote from Madeline Albright (former US ambassador to the UN) who, when asked on 60 minutes whether she thought “the half million dead Iraqi children were a price worth paying”, answered “yes, we think the price is worth it.” Honestly, that's horrific. How is that any better than blowing up the World Trade Center? I'm sure it will make some angry to hear it, but look at the numbers — it's much much worse. We are murdering millions of citizens for the actions of their unelected governments. Are we seriously saying that is “better” than them murdering 3,000 citizens for the actions of their elected government?


Finally, I should note that my favorite online comic has done a new installment. Click the pic below to go there now:

PS. What ever happened to bin Laden? It's been almost a year now since anyone had any idea where he was — and you'll remember that he — he alone — was the top capture priority after 9/11. He's said to have 100,000 guerillas in a hard to trace network across 50 countries — Assuming he's even real**, I know I'm still more worried about him than I am about Iraq.

* That link was included for historical perspective, not because I support it — I am a German citizen and am not in the mood to be exterminated.
** Of course I know he's real, I'm wondering if he's a real threat or a fabricated threat.


I think that Chanidax, Ptomb, cricket, and rmx256 (I hope I didn't forget any helpers) just made the world's biggest BME logo on the side of their barn (it's nine feet across):

Oh, and…

Yesterday I called directory services to get the phone number for Rogers, my cable and internet provider in Toronto to get the service changed. Here is a transcript of my call. There were no pauses at all in this conversation and it flowed naturally.

Computer: Directory information, for what city please?
Shannon: Ontario [Ooops] Toronto
Computer: For what name?
Shannon: Rogers Cable
Computer: Rogers Cable Systems, 416…

I was pretty impressed that speaker independent voice recognition has gotten this good. I'd originally thought that IAM's voice plugin (which I will be working on very very soon as it's an essential part of a big plan that I haven't made public yet) would be primarily DTMF (touch tone) based, but now I'm thinking that it'll be almost entirely voice driven.

You'll soon be able to dial in to my voice server from any phone on the planet, check your IAM.alive messages, read people's diaries, get events listings read to you, check forums, update your diary, post in forums, reply to messages, everything — all by voice.

Thanks, JC Penny!

Click here to see a truly horrific piece of propaganda. Seriously, this is one of the more messed up things I've seen in a while… I don't know… I played with GI Joes occasionally when I was a kid, but back then they were cartoon characters and I'm not convinced their relationship with reality was very direct — I'd say they were more likely to make me gay than violent — but what does this glorify?

Let's see, other than that, the UN weapons inspectors are warning that Israel will quite likely be using its nuclear weaponry on Iraq if this war continues. I wonder… If you have the right nuclear strike, could you somehow ignite the oilfields and just blow up the entire middle east in one strike? Probably not, but it's a scary thought. Let's look for some words of wisdom to calm us down.

"I can't distinguish between [Iraq and al-Qaida] because they're both both equally as bad, and equally as evil and destructive."

Note: Absolutely no evidence linking Iraq with al-Qaida has ever been shown, nor is there any relation in their activities, nor is there any evidence that Iraq is a threat to the US population in any way.

"[People who support a policy of war] are not interested in the security of the American people."

"Before Congress blinks again, rubber-stamping one of the few wars in our country's history in which we've fired the first shot, the members should visit the Vietnam Memorial and read every name aloud on that black wall before blindly accepting their party machines' go-along-to-get-along directives."

Col. David Hackworth
(one of America's most decorated soldiers)

"The US is a very special country in that when we maintain this position of military strength that we have now, we do it in support of a balance of power that favors freedom."

Read the article if you want, but Rice goes on to say that the US will never allow another nation to reach its level of military might, because only the United States is able to understand and protect freedom (according to them). Hello terrorism, goodbye American people. The US represents only a very small percentage of the world's population and wealth, as much as it may be the current most powerful single country. This level of “us against them” — effectively telling Europe that it's next — is just another nail in its coffin.

Well, I'm off to the big city shortly. Should be fun!

Since I'm sure some people are wondering why I'm allowed to use someone else's images here, it's called “fair dealing” (or for Americans, “fair use”). Basically, the fair dealing exemption allows one to make news commentary (along with things like parody, research and education, and so on). It's why you can use a CD cover scan in a record review, but not as a background image.