I want this on a t-shirt…
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…by suspending tuition assistance!
Wow. The only reason I feel ‘entitled’ is because it was part of my contract. Of course the gov’t is only a proponent of the sanctity of the contract when it is convenient.
Well I guess that is the least we should expect…after all the official narrative is that we are all mentally damaged rapists.
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So vampires cannot be seen in a mirror, right?
This being the case, can they use those automatic faucets and hand dryers? How would that work/not work?
Of course, fuck it, they aren’t real…
board study? yep.
missions daily? yep.
training schedule? yep.
patient care? yep.
dealing with ‘stuff’ while thousands of miles from family? yep.
…so please pardon the breaks in between posts, o loved ones!
Below are April and the kids at the Nutcracker in Seattle, and some motivational posters (quite zef!) that they made.
All this, to show how neat and nifty my family is.
Picture: Is this shub-niggurath oozing ‘shellac/confectioner’s glaze’? Probably!
Even after eating ‘this way’ for so long, some things slip by. I found out today that my favorite gum, which has 100mg of caffeine per piece in it and is in the new Army MRE’s; is coated with confectioner’s glaze.
See, food companies have to use ‘layers of abstraction’ to disguise food products that may otherwise seem unappealing.
Confectioner’s glaze is a derived from or is type of shellac. Shellac will often be described as a resinous coating found on certain trees in asia. If you keep looking, and maybe stumble across a link or article geared towards food chemists or professional cooks then you find out the truth:
that shit is beetle juice!
It is what the female lac beetle secrets when it metabolizes tree sap.
So…yeah. Gross. I don’t eat honey either. I think that insects are proof that:
A- There is a god.
B- He hates us.
Bugs…I don’t want to touch them or see them, much less eat something secreted from their bodies!
Damnit. No more caffeine gum for me.
Time to go through my super secret sneaky snack stash again to check the labels!
Can you imagine a more immediate harm?
Than the one you bear me
from you to tower, tower to sattelite,
sattelite to tower to me to an
ageless pain that burrows
and gnaws at the strange sinews
of my being!
enable my rationalizations:
push me further until I stumble
across a careless misnthrope
then give vent to evil impulse
and exorcise your hateful visage
I am the king of many things.
A few of them, I know, are disloyal for fear.
This is true!
…and this is true:
everyman is a son-of-a-bitch,
every eye is dry at the end
and turned inward.
Light will not reach us!
I am alone in the company of madmen
a cosmos-complete in each skull
with a headache like a god’s.
I borrow a prism of incomplete thought
to bend! To change! To make you shudder!
If I feel it, it is true.
I collapse the wave-function;
and I know you are false;
I am the king of many things,
though I no longer rule you.
I woke up to a false alarm
and headache, red-eyes rolling,
though you sang me to sleep
with stuttering breath and whisper,
a touch of tongue and light
mimic of wind and moon
no less ephemeral than your transient nature
likewise, gone with the thoughts
that bring you to me
a giant in my world-
sustain the lie
I’ll not be consigned
to ignore unpleasant truth
settle-down to drinkful oblivion
when you have so much to give me!
magnum opus indeed
more like a post-it note
scribbled with tense disagrement
a prayer for the dinner table
take me quickly,
or take me with flood
but not with words or ideas
that show me the sickness of my own heart
because I am no servant
of even my own interests
and have grown weak, brittle
with amusement and lust
my sugar-spun bones
support a falsehood of form
and movement comes,
when it does,
with a vertigo doze
if I could allow my fall I could rest
an earth bed no more harsh than ‘home’
take me for good,
or spear me with cruelty
and still, eventually
speak the number of my sin
my debt to you is the least of it-
is my failed dream, my deepest love,
my ersatz remorse, and my regret in hand
I can only show you the phantom actions
animated by thoughts
and named by so many gorgeous words
that you never believed anyhow
I wish I had brought my little Menorah…I would like to light the candles on Erev Shabbat. It is inteersting to me how far east we are. I noticed the Muslims here praying facing west, and it hit me that we are where we are.
Just like the threat last deployment in Iraq, the primary one here seems depressingly random and impossible to detect ahead of time. I am glad that the weapons posture they allow us is suitable…i.e. magazine IN the weapon, ready to go. That is an improvement from Basra where we were ‘green’ and just had rounds available.
We were at an outpost yesterday that was primarily ANA. Part of the wall was mud, and about 20 feet tall. It was over 500 years old, but had been largely destroyed by fighting. Sad, as what would have been pretty neat looking, with the mountains in the background, was not patched up with sandbags, concertina wire, and other misc. garbage to keep it standing…where is UNESCO when you need them?!
The Aussies here are badasses…for the record. We ate dinner the other night with a Australian major, and I think I was the only one who could understand him. He was hilarious, gregarious, and called me ‘mate’ once or twice. I chalk up being called ‘mate’ as one of my accomplishments here! I also caught part of a rugby match on the telly between the All Blacks (new zeeland) and someone else…couldn’t decipher it. Fun anyhow.
I am such an incorrigible anglophone/anglophile!
I hate thanksgiving, though here it took on significance as I saw Kenyans, Ugandans, Aussies, Bulgarians, Brits, Romanians, civilians, and of course US soldiers all taking part. It was touching…and American holiday that translates well to all who are here.
I miss Miles, Lula, Riah, Zay, and of course April (my darlin’ Clementine!); but I can hope that the distance makes their hearts grow a bit more fond of their difficult, irritable, strange dad. I have become my dad! I have been told so, and I take it as a compliment. I miss the man quite a bit, and I actually had this fantasy that he got a job as a civilian contractor and came over here to work and we were able to eat dinner together every day. That would be great.
Anyhow, time to go…
Mom, April, IF you guys are actually reading this, please comment so I know. This is one of the easier ways to dialogue with you. Know that I love you greatly, and will take this time away to work on being a better husband/son/father/dude.
Happy thanksgiving, and Shabbat Shalom.
Chazak, chazak; venit chazak!
Candidates for consideration:
‘You can’t slay my commodo dragon!’
‘Don’t tweak my scrot’!’
‘Scrod!’ (Borrowed from the cartoon ‘Mutant League’)
Which one does Miles like the best? Let me know!
This is, bar none, the filthiest place I have ever been.
For all the talk of pride and the noble people who inhabit this place, it is certainly not manifest in the appearance of their homes and neighborhoods.
I am sure those of a liberal mindset would chalk this up to repression and hopelessness as part of the legacy of colonialism and first-world expeditionary fervor…but whatever. When the Chinese invade ala Red Dawn, I will still pick the trash up from my yard and maintain my home. Poor doesn’t have to mean dirty. Anyhow, the men here are by and large idle. That may not be their fault, but it does seem to be a feature of Arab culture as well. The women seem to do the majority of the work.
The kids here are adorable. It is heartbreaking for me to see them waiving by the side of the road, and I cannot help them, give them anything, etc. All they see is a convoy going by and we get no chance to win their hearts and minds by simply treating them with the love and kindness that kids need. It does serve to make me appreciate my kids and home even more…
…which is the point of today, Thanksgiving.
I am grateful for you April, and for the four wonderful little monkeys you brought into the world with me. All I can ask for is to come home to you, and to have you safe and content while I am away. There doesn’t seem to me to be any truly higher aspiration than that.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
…because of all the characters in the real and fictional world, Lula pics River Song from Dr. Who to be for Halloween!
…because April never uses her period as an excuse for anything…
…because Riah recognizes a reference to the movie ‘The Golden Child’ in a rap song without anyone else catching it…
…because Zay is not satisfied to write about a subject until he has asked every goddamned question he can think of about it…
…because Miles knows more about Cthulhu and ghouls than the president…
…because Miles wants to tell me the title of a song called ‘Rich Bitch’, so he makes quotation marks with his fingers and says “Reech Beech“…
…because Dexter has published two books and is already working on a third…
…because Mariah already has a sense of propriety and decorum that eclipses that of nearly every adult I know…
…because Lula can actually pick up April!
…because April manages to find something about me worthwhile and tolerates all the rest…but is not too much of a saint to also be gorgeous and sexy!
Now the only problem is I don’t know who to vote for in the House of Reprazentin’!
Footage has been released showing a Duluth Police officer named Richard Jouppi, 34, who on September 21st at the Duluth Detoxification Center, repeatedly punched a 50-year-old, intoxicated, wheelchair-bound man repeatedly in the face in aggressive assault.
The wheelchair-bound man, whose name is reportedly 'Jackson', was taken into the detox center and was being ordered to take his jacket off by a female book keeper.
Holy shit, I thought Obama’s idea for a civilian corps of paramilitary types was shut down…posse comitatus act and all that…
They are coming.
Shut up and play nice: How the Western world is limiting free speech
By Jonathan Turley, Published: October 12
Free speech is dying in the Western world. While most people still enjoy considerable freedom of expression, this right, once a near-absolute, has become less defined and less dependable for those espousing controversial social, political or religious views. The decline of free speech has come not from any single blow but rather from thousands of paper cuts of well-intentioned exceptions designed to maintain social harmony.
In the face of the violence that frequently results from anti-religious expression, some world leaders seem to be losing their patience with free speech. After a video called “Innocence of Muslims” appeared on YouTube and sparked violent protests in several Muslim nations last month, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that “when some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected.”
It appears that the one thing modern society can no longer tolerate is intolerance. As Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard put it in her recent speech before the United Nations, “Our tolerance must never extend to tolerating religious hatred.”
A willingness to confine free speech in the name of social pluralism can be seen at various levels of authority and government. In February, for instance, Pennsylvania Judge Mark Martin heard a case in which a Muslim man was charged with attacking an atheist marching in a Halloween parade as a “zombie Muhammed.” Martin castigated not the defendant but the victim, Ernie Perce, lecturing him that “our forefathers intended to use the First Amendment so we can speak with our mind, not to piss off other people and cultures — which is what you did.”
Of course, free speech is often precisely about pissing off other people — challenging social taboos or political values.
This was evident in recent days when courts in Washington and New York ruled that transit authorities could not prevent or delay the posting of a controversial ad that says: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”
When U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said the government could not bar the ad simply because it could upset some Metro riders, the ruling prompted calls for new limits on such speech. And in New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority responded by unanimously passing a new regulation banning any message that it considers likely to “incite” others or cause some “other immediate breach of the peace.”
Such efforts focus not on the right to speak but on the possible reaction to speech — a fundamental change in the treatment of free speech in the West. The much-misconstrued statement of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that free speech does not give you the right to shout fire in a crowded theater is now being used to curtail speech that might provoke a violence-prone minority. Our entire society is being treated as a crowded theater, and talking about whole subjects is now akin to shouting “fire!”
The new restrictions are forcing people to meet the demands of the lowest common denominator of accepted speech, usually using one of four rationales.
Speech is blasphemous
This is the oldest threat to free speech, but it has experienced something of a comeback in the 21st century. After protests erupted throughout the Muslim world in 2005 over Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, Western countries publicly professed fealty to free speech, yet quietly cracked down on anti-religious expression. Religious critics in France, Britain, Italy and other countries have found themselves under criminal investigation as threats to public safety. In France, actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has been fined several times for comments about how Muslims are undermining French culture. And just last month, a Greek atheist was arrested for insulting a famous monk by making his name sound like that of a pasta dish.
Some Western countries have classic blasphemy laws — such as Ireland, which in 2009 criminalized the “publication or utterance of blasphemous matter” deemed “grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion.” The Russian Duma recently proposed a law against “insulting religious beliefs.” Other countries allow the arrest of people who threaten strife by criticizing religions or religious leaders. In Britain, for instance, a 15-year-old girl was arrested two years agofor burning a Koran.
Western governments seem to be sending the message that free speech rights will not protect you — as shown clearly last month by the images of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the YouTube filmmaker, being carted away in California on suspicion of probation violations. Dutch politician Geert Wilders went through years of litigation before he was acquitted last year on charges of insulting Islam by voicing anti-Islamic views. In the Netherlandsand Italy, cartoonists and comedians have been charged with insulting religion through caricatures or jokes.
Even the Obama administration supported the passage of a resolution in the U.N. Human Rights Council to create an international standard restricting some anti-religious speech (its full name: “Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to Violence and Violence Against, Persons Based on Religion or Belief”). Egypt’s U.N. ambassador heralded the resolution as exposing the “true nature” of free speech and recognizing that “freedom of expression has been sometimes misused” to insult religion.
At a Washington conference last yearto implement the resolution, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declared that it would protect both “the right to practice one’s religion freely and the right to express one’s opinion without fear.” But it isn’t clear how speech can be protected if the yardstick is how people react to speech — particularly in countries where people riot over a single cartoon. Clinton suggested that free speech resulting in “sectarian clashes” or “the destruction or the defacement or the vandalization of religious sites” was not, as she put it, “fair game.”
Given this initiative, President Obama’s U.N. address last month declaring America’s support for free speech, while laudable, seemed confused — even at odds with his administration’s efforts.
Speech is hateful
In the United States, hate speech is presumably protected under the First Amendment. However, hate-crime laws often redefine hateful expression as a criminal act. Thus, in 2003, the Supreme Court addressed the conviction of a Virginia Ku Klux Klan member who burned a cross on private land. The court allowed for criminal penalties so long as the government could show that the act was “intended to intimidate” others. It was a distinction without meaning, since the state can simply cite the intimidating history of that symbol.
Other Western nations routinely bar forms of speech considered hateful. Britain prohibits any “abusive or insulting words” meant “to stir up racial hatred.” Canada outlaws “any writing, sign or visible representation” that “incites hatred against any identifiable group.” These laws ban speech based not only on its content but on the reaction of others. Speakers are often called to answer for their divisive or insulting speech before bodies like the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
This month, a Canadian court ruled that Marc Lemire, the webmaster of a far-right political site, could be punished for allowing third parties to leave insulting comments about homosexuals and blacks on the site. Echoing the logic behind blasphemy laws, Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley ruled that “the minimal harm caused . . . to freedom of expression is far outweighed by the benefit it provides to vulnerable groups and to the promotion of equality.”
Speech is discriminatory
Perhaps the most rapidly expanding limitation on speech is found in anti-discrimination laws. Many Western countries have extended such laws to public statements deemed insulting or derogatory to any group, race or gender.
For example, in a closely watched case last year, a French court found fashion designer John Gallianoguilty of making discriminatory comments in a Paris bar, where he got into a cursing match with a couple using sexist and anti-Semitic terms. Judge Anne-Marie Sauteraud read a list of the bad words Galliano had used, adding that she found (rather implausibly) he had said “dirty whore” at least 1,000 times. Though he faced up to six months in jail, he was fined.
In Canada, comedian Guy Earle was charged with violating the human rights of a lesbian couple after he got into a trash-talking session with a group of women during an open-mike night at a nightclub. Lorna Pardysaid she suffered post-traumatic stress because of Earle’s profane language and derogatory terms for lesbians. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal ruled last year that since this was a matter of discrimination, free speech was not a defense, and awarded about $23,000 to the couple.
Ironically, while some religious organizations are pushing blasphemy laws, religious individuals are increasingly targeted under anti-discrimination laws for their criticism of homosexuals and other groups. In 2008, a minister in Canada was not only forced to pay fines for uttering anti-gay sentiments but was also enjoined from expressing such views in the future.
Speech is deceitful
In the United States, where speech is given the most protection among Western countries, there has been a recent effort to carve out a potentially large category to which the First Amendment would not apply. While we have always prosecuted people who lie to achieve financial or other benefits, some argue that the government can outlaw any lie, regardless of whether the liar secured any economic gain.
One such law was the Stolen Valor Act, signed by President George W. Bush in 2006, which made it a crime for people to lie about receiving military honors. The Supreme Court struck it down this year, but at least two liberal justices, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, proposed that such laws should have less of a burden to be upheld as constitutional. The House responded with new legislation that would criminalize lies told with the intent to obtain any undefined “tangible benefit.”
The dangers are obvious. Government officials have long labeled whistleblowers, reporters and critics as “liars” who distort their actions or words. If the government can define what is a lie, it can define what is the truth.
For example, in Februarythe French Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a law that made it a crime to deny the 1915 Armenian genocide by Turkey — a characterization that Turkey steadfastly rejects. Despite the ruling, various French leaders pledged to pass new measures punishing those who deny the Armenians’ historical claims.
The impact of government limits on speech has been magnified by even greater forms of private censorship. For example, most news organizations have stopped showing images of Muhammad, though they seem to have no misgivings about caricatures of other religious figures. The most extreme such example was supplied by Yale University Press, which in 2009 published a book about the Danish cartoons titled “The Cartoons That Shook the World” — but cut all of the cartoons so as not to insult anyone.
The very right that laid the foundation for Western civilization is increasingly viewed as a nuisance, if not a threat. Whether speech is deemed imflammatory or hateful or discriminatory or simply false, society is denying speech rights in the name of tolerance, enforcing mutual respect through categorical censorship.
As in a troubled marriage, the West seems to be falling out of love with free speech. Unable to divorce ourselves from this defining right, we take refuge instead in an awkward and forced silence.
Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University.
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Purely for entertainment purposes, and because I am totally horrified/fascinated by this place…
This is a place near Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire, England, UK where the river Wharfe narrows into a rocky area in the woods and becomes very, very dangerous and deep. Cracked.com did an article featuring it as one of the ‘top 10 beautiful places in the world that want to kill you!’ Read on: