Friday Fun: Intelligent Design

Theo Jansen: The art of creating creatures

Better viewed widescreen at TED. (Expando symbol upper right of screen.)

Anyone remember Sandkings?

State of the Onion II

Art Link
Purple with Beading

Thursday is Queersday

Long away and far ago
when I was young and naive
wearing purple on Thursday
meant one was most likely queer
as it was called at the time
Though I didn’t truly know
couldn’t really comprehend
what it entailed to be queer
I still didn’t wear purple
on Thursdays or any day
For that I am yet ashamed
The power of fear is great

–Robyn Elaine Serven
–March 16, 2006

Pony Party!

This is an Open Thread but it’s very important you don’t promote or recommend it.

The concept is that like Booman’s Frog Pond or TDS/TCR this be visible in the ‘Recent Diaries’ list for people who wamt to participate for a limited time.

There are going to be three chances-

* 9 am (slacker)
* 12 Noon (now)
* 6 pm

Woke up late this morning,
A storm was really rolling,
Frogs and dogs were raining from the sky…

Everything seems awkward to me,
Nothing is as it should be,
If this keeps on I’m sure I won’t get by…

But then I close my eyes and try to smile…
I know things are bad and getting worse….
But after all this I can rest a while..

And then I’ll party, party!
Party, party, join us, join us,
Party, party, join us, join us,
Party, party, join us, join us,

Shake your tail and you can..

Party, party, join us, join us,
Party, party, join us, join us,
Party, party, join us, join us,

Shake your blues away!!!
(ha ha ha…)

(shin’s voice) Yo! Reggae vacation mon!

This party’s shakin’ and it ain’t just shakin’ here,
I see that smile grinin’ ear to ear,
Sing this song and you should really sing it dear,
Just sing along with US!

Party, party, join us, join us,
Party, party, join us, join us,
Party, party, join us, join us,

Shake your tail and you can..


This is an Open Thread.


Note: This is going up on dKos as Mojo Friday in about a half-hour here.

How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it…. All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable.
-Henry David Thoreau

I want to talk about what many of us are going to do one week from tomorrow, and why.
Jump in.

When the spring segued into the summer, and we saw Congressional Democrats cave on war funding, and the summer’s heat rolled on, and we came no closer to ending the war, and we were treated to the spectacle of Congress signing away our civil liberties out of political cowardice and fealty to a criminal and amoral Presidential administration, I said this not once, but many times, and I meant it:

“When the streets call, I will come.”

The time is approaching. Eight days and counting.
Will you be there?

It is now expected that  General David Petraeus will testify before Congress on the sixth anniversary of 9/11, four days before the deadline for his report to Congress on the War in Iraq. On Saturday, September 15, 2007 Washington D.C. will be the site of what promises to be the  largest protest ever against the Iraq War.

Your presence is required.

Register for the Forum, and coordinate your trip to D.C. with others from your area. Share expenses, make new friends, save your Country.



For the spirit:

A broad spectrum of national groups have united to mobilize for a massive fall anti-war mobilization called the Days of Action. September 15-21 will be a major showdown in Washington, DC at the very moment that the Petraeus Report is released and Congress takes up spending over $100 billion to prolong the war. Launched with a huge March on Washington on September 15, led by veterans who have returned from Iraq, there will be seven days of actions to send a shockwave through Washington and the nation with the reverberating demand: End the War Now!

They. Are. NOT. Doing. What. We. Put. Them. There. To. Do.

Remember earlier this summer when Harry Reid and the Democrats vowed they were “going to hold the president’s feet to the fire” on Iraq? Well, now it appears they’ve decided to play footsie with the White House instead and take what one Democratic strategist calls “a more nuanced approach” that includes backing off demands to set a firm withdrawal date…Just last week, Reid was promising “I will not let these Republicans hide. When the Senate returns to Washington, I will force them to take vote, after vote, after vote on bringing an end to the war in Iraq.”

Now the air on Capitol Hill is full of talk of “bipartisan compromise” and even Ken Salazar’s insipid proposal, which Reid himself had previously rejected as a “toothless tiger,” is getting renewed interest.

“I can’t believe how Democrats are playing this game,” a Republican strategist told me the other night. “They hold all the cards — and they are folding.”

“We’re kicking ass,” (Bush) told Mark Vaile on the tarmac after the Deputy Prime Minister inquired politely of the President’s stopover in Iraq en route to Sydney.

What recourse is there left, but to deliver a message?
They know we are coming, and they are trying all kinds of stupid pet tricks to stop us.

Don’t let them.

Assert your rights, and the rightness of the cause. has been established for the purpose of networking and organizing activity to begin on Saturday, September 15. Resources to aid you in your planning are centralized there.
There are four in our group. How many in yours?

Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying

Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying

You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today – Ya

Father, father
We don’t need to escalate

For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality

Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what’s going on

The time is at hand.
D O  S O M E T H I N G, for God’s sake!

Eight days.
One hundred and ninety-two hours, and t3h s4!+ is ON.


Peace out.

Iraq and the Sunk-Cost Fallacy

(Friday afternoon, whew! Have at it.
-exmearden – promoted by exmearden

Crossposted from Daily Kos

I am not an economist, but reading Jay Elias’s latest diary made me think of another problem with the way George Bush and his sycophants look at Iraq: they keep falling for the sunk-cost fallacy. Wikipedia defines the fallacy as follows:

Economics proposes that a rational actor does not let sunk costs influence one’s decisions, because doing so would not be assessing a decision exclusively on its own merits.

This strikes me as being pretty much exactly the mistake George Bush keeps making. What are the merits for staying in Iraq now? None that don’t have some basis in the cost we’ve already sunk.


So I googled for Iraq and the Sunk-Cost Fallacy. It turns out that Barry Schwartz beat me by almost two years. That’s right, this problem has been apparent since at least 2005. In the event, Schwartz covers the problem well, and I encourage you to go back and read his column. Some choice excerpts:

How do we honor the sacrifices of those who have died or suffered serious injury in an American conflict? The best way to show how much we respect and value their lives is by refraining from sacrificing other lives in their name unless future prospects fully justify putting more people in harm’s way. The lives of those who died are a sunk cost-one that is much higher than any of our treasure. But their lives can not be reclaimed. Their injuries can not be undone. If our assessment of a military situation is that we are unlikely to be successful, or that the likely price of success in lost lives is too high, then we must change course. What we owe those who have already suffered is enough reverence for life that we won’t send others to suffer after them in order to justify their own suffering.


[I]t is unacceptable to justify [our continued involvement in Iraq] on the grounds that we “owe” it to those who have already fallen. That is a justification that no one should be allowed to get away with. But it is a justification that is coming increasingly to the fore, usually implicitly but sometimes explicitly, as other arguments about staying the course in Iraq become less and less compelling. Whatever the differences may be between Iraq in 2005 and Vietnam in 1968, if we allow policy makers to use our “sunk costs”-our dead soldiers-to justify further conflict, we will have turned Iraq into another Vietnam. And if we do, we will be shamed by Iraq just as we were shamed by Vietnam.

I hope as much as I can hope (I don’t pray) that Congress takes all of this to heart when it considers whether and for how long to keep funding this debacle–and it seems clear to me that we should not.

  And what of our leaders in Congress? Will they see what we see, or will they continue falling for George Bush’s continued reliance on the sunk-cost fallacy? I think we will find out next month, and I do not feel good about the answer we’re likely to get.

Pony Party!

This is an Open Thread but it’s very important you don’t promote or recommend it.

The concept is that like Booman’s Frog Pond or TDS/TCR this be visible in the ‘Recent Diaries’ list for people who wamt to participate for a limited time.

There are going to be three chances-

9 am (now)
12 Noon
6 pm

If that is not enough punishment we will increase the level of taunting.

This is an Open Thread.

Dugong v Rumsfeld

Also posted at Truth & Progress

(Okinawa dugong, photo ©Greenpeace Japan)

Where better to build an air base than directly on top of a coral reef and its associated sea grass beds, home of the last 50 dugong in Okinawa and in Japan? Okinawans have been fighting this for years now, and still it proceeds.

Two things are happening in September of great import to the future Of Camp Schwab, it’s adjacent marine habitat, and the Okinawa dugong.

Item 1 is that Japan is conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment. According to Greenpeace:

Throughout September, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed airbase site is open for public comment. We’re using this opportunity to let the Japanese government know what the people of the world think – by delivering a petition of thousands of names to the environment and defence ministries, and calling on the government to establish a marine reserve in the area.

As the main remaining site where dugongs are sighted in Okinawa, the area is the obvious choice for a marine sanctuary for the dugong, something the UNEP has been calling on Japan to establish since 2002.

If you wish to add your voice to that of the local opposition, click the logo to personalize and sign Greenpeace’s petition to the the Japanese government.

Just last month, the Japanese Environment Ministry added the dugong to its list of critically endangered species. According to Asahi Shimbun,

The list is used in assessing the impact of development and deciding environmental protection moves.

That sounds reasonable. But according to a ministry official quoted by name in Stars and Stripes, the listing effectively means nothing at all.

A Ministry of the Environment spokeswoman said placing the dugongs, or saltwater manatees, on the ministry’s Red List – the most-endangered category – does not mean there is any plan to protect them.

“We decided to include the dugong in our list because it is a sea mammal largely affected by the coastal land environment, with their feeding ground being close to shore,” said Harumi Nakajima, a spokeswoman for the ministry’s Wildlife Department.

She said the purpose of the listing, added Friday, was to warn the public that dugongs are in danger, but there are no plans to place any restrictions on dugong feeding grounds.
Fewer than 50 dugongs are believed to visit Okinawa waters, Nakajima said. She declined to comment on the base project, calling it a “Defense Ministry matter.”

An unnamed spokesman for the Defense Facilities Agency Administration agreed.

So it is an empty gesture? The article is odd by the way, describing the idea of dugong feeding on the grass beds in question as an environmentalist “claim,” when in fact the animals have been filmed numerous times.

Item 2: We learn in the same S&S article that there is to be a hearing on September 17 in the ongoing case of Dugong v Rumsfeld, first filed in 2003.

Original complaint, Dugong v Rumsfeld (10-page pdf)

What is interesting about the suit is that it was brought under the National Historic Preservation Act, claiming that a US federal undertaking is proceeding without the proper regard for cultural preservation that the act requires, even outside the US. The dugong is a figure in Okinawan creation mythology and folklore.

A move for dismissal on several grounds has already been denied (31-page pdf).

Among the disallowed was the assertion that this was not a federal undertaking, but the doing of Japan. Judge Patel wasn’t buying.

I need a web designer for a new non-blogging political site

Some of you know about a project I’ve been kicking around regarding distilling the news of the blogosphere for an audience who would never frequent blogs.  (A group also sometimes known as “the vast majority of voters.”)  It’s time to do it.  I need a web designer and a lot of good advice.

Frankly, a lot of this comes from disaffection with what’s happening right now on the netroots and my abject sense of dread at having to defend being a Yellow Dog Dem once the Dems end up giving more support to the occupation than they should.  So — even apart from my responsibilities with Ron’s campaign — this sort of work is probably going to be a better place to spend my time for a while.

I’ll still be around (here and DKos), but I can be something more productive than a hyper-Cassandra (i.e. a Cassandra about the consequences of other people being Cassandras) on the blogs.  I have a few more diaries in me on the topic and then it’s time to do some real political work on the Intertubes.

Because I am making so little managing Ron’s campaign — due largely to my setting my own salary (within reasonable limits) — I can offer only pride as payment.  (Oh, OK — and some cut of the eventually humongoid profits.  Details to be — cough-cough — worked out.)  Seriously, only laborers of love should apply, and let’s let success be an unexpected bounty.

You know how to find me.

I’m so Blue

Ready for Revolution?

My Meta Roundup

#1, last I heard rollout was Monday the 10th.

That’s next Monday.

Time to start making marks.  Putting on the show.  Prove you can do it.

If you think this is the minors I’ll tell you we have at least triple A talent.  I’m still pitching in the bigs and can throw them wherever I want them.

This is an expansion team and offers a kind of ball the fans love- grinding it out base to base to scratch in the runs while our aces take the mound.

Heckuva bullpen too.

I’m not unhappy with our lineup and rotation, but I’ll tell you we can’t expect to make the playoffs out of the box.  162 Games is a loooong season, and lots of things will happen.  Winning and losing.  Not having a good day.

That’s ok.  That’s why they call it a team.

We have a weekend to tune it up and get humming.  When Mr. Steinbrenner is in the stands we should remember who’s paying so we can play the game we love.

I think we have a chance to be pretty respectable, a club the fans love, but we have to play good ball, team ball, and leave it all out there on the field.

You Thought The Punishment Was Over…


New Colors!  Just because the colors are different doesn’t mean they’re better.

Tonight I’ll be fussing with the colors again so you get as blue as I am.

Speaking of which-

I’m programming up 3 Pony Parties for tomorrow.

Pony Party! == Open Thread, a Booman tradition (Frog Pond) I intend to steal wholesale and I only steal from the best.  These will appear on the right during the critical time periods- Morning, Noon, and Night

Oh- 9 am, noon, 6 pm.

exmeardem is covering 3 am and 3 pm, pinche has midnight, Magnifico 4 @ 4.

The Morning News.

Mojo fests and chat rooms all, but not labeled Open Thread because that’s not our style.

Pony Parties are silly.  They deserve to die in favor of real content, but to the visitor interested in some Community affirmation… vital.  I’m proposing that for the most part they languish on the right hand side like TDS/TCR.  Good for a while and then gone.

After we launch if it dies good riddance.  I don’t need the fucking responsibility.  But people need regularity and affirmation.  It’s everyone’s responsiblity to make these forums active and fun.  Not now.  When.  I’m too busy too attend.


I’m exceptionally pleased at how people have stepped up to the plate since yesterday when we started getting regular.  Let me share the results.


6:00 AM (Turkana)
7:30 AM Yeah, well… posted early
8:00 AM Nothin’
10:00 AM More Nothin’ (I sleep gosh darn it)
12 Noon LGBT Roundup (pico)
2:00 PM Nothin’ (Have I mentioned how lazy I am?)
3:00 PM (exmearden)(Site)
4:00 PM 4 at 4 (Magnifico)
6:00 PM (me- who knew? Thanks Turk)
8:00 PM (Armando)
9:00 PM (melvin)
10:00 PM (LoE)
12 Midnight Midnight Cowboy (pinche tejano)
3:00 AM (exmearden)


6:00 AM (Turkana)
7:30 AM The Morning News: RIP Pavarotti (me on autopost, we’ll see)
8:00 AM (Robyn)
10:00 AM Nothing
12 Noon Nothing
2:00 PM Yay! budhy’s back!
3:00 PM (exmearden)(Site)
4:00 PM 4 at 4 (Magnifico)
6:00 PM (Militarytracy)
8:00 PM (LoE)
9:00 PM (Lori)
10:00 PM (Armando pre-emption, originally pf8)
12 Midnight Midnight Cowboy (pinche tejano)
3:00 AM Me.

In the Tuesday bucket at docudharmaadmin (have you registered yet?) was this question about scheduling.

“This schedule (for today!!) had me down for 8 pm. I had no idea!! Or am i just filled in because of the airport thing getting promoted?”

My answer-

Filled in for.

There is lots of content.  Commitments here are not for content but tending and if you’re promoted tending is not your responsibility.

As a Contributing Editor you’re comitted to supply original content once a week and tend it for 90 minutes.

Everything else is service above and beyond.

You can also reserve a time for your contribution.  That’s what these forums are for.

Contributing Editors have the choice of filling their commitment with promotion or content.  If you have original content warn us as far ahead of time as possible and post in an empty slot if possible.

Once what happens happens, I mostly just record it.


I’m also going to change the labels on the ratings.

Pie is confusing people.  It’s too funny.  A 1 is for expressing disapproval short of Hiding.

It doesn’t negate a Hide Rating.  Stack all the ones you want against a single zero and the average is still less than one. 

It doesn’t hide you.  The average of N * One is One.  Not Hidden.

It does affect your permanent record.

You didn’t get straight As in the open book with notes test?  Naughty you.

The only thing it really changes is that Regular Users get to be half a Hide team.  One divided by two is less than one.  Hidden.

Gonna Uprate?  Brave Brave Sir Robin.  You wipe out four Hide Ratings and the 1’s do not support you.

This site is going to be Community Moderated.  Every comment exposes you to the judgement of the Community and one of those judgements is-


Comments beyond Wrong! should be hidden.  It’s a very simple and explainable rule.

So I’m off to fix the colors.

Quote for Discussion: Episode 2

Today’s quote is from Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which I read in high school.  I was reminded of it by this extraordinary post by the great hilzoy of Obsidian Wings.

Most men have bound their eyes with one or another handkerchief, and attached themselves to some one of these communities of opinion. This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars. Their every truth is not quite true. Their two is not the real two, their four not the real four; so that every word they say chagrins us, and we know not where to begin to set them right.

Quote for Discussion: Episode 2

Today’s quote for discussion is from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance, which I read when I was in high school.  I was reminded of it by the brilliant hilzoy of Obsidian Wings in this extraordinary post.

Most men have bound their eyes with one or another handkerchief, and attached themselves to some one of these communities of opinion. This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars. Their every truth is not quite true. Their two is not the real two, their four not the real four; so that every word they say chagrins us, and we know not where to begin to set them right.

We Interrupt this Blog

For some banner meta.

Straight from the Great Pony’s mouth….

1.  buhdy wants the stars and ponies back
2.  however, we have lost our permission to use the ponies – so we have to find different ones
3.  he does not like the font on the buddha banner – prefers an Asian brush stroke font
4.  suggested we put the buddha on the star background
5.  wants to have a banner contest – may the best win

so here we go…
this is his concept –

& I hereby recuse myself from the banner.  I’m going to put OPOL’s latest back up until we have something more definite to show.

pfiore8 sent some mockups too.  I will post them here if she doesn’t mind. 

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