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March 29, 2008


I know that there are obvious differences between "superdelegates" and "supermodels", but they will not stop me from conflating them, in my mind.

Which leads me to say that I'm not so sure if I agree with Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- maybe it would be good for the Democratic Party to see the nomination decided by superdelegates, maybe even on national television.

Posted by mrbrent at 3:21 PM

March 28, 2008

smiley face freed from wal-mart

Bad news for Wal-Mart as a judge finds that they do not own the smiley face.  The largest employer in the U.S. had sued a Georgia man who had incorporated certain Wal-Mart marks, including the smiley face, in parody logos, and claimed that the logos infringed on their trademark rights in the smiley face they use to improve the lives of its customers with low low prices.

The judge was not impressed, and came down in favor of the man from Georgia, finding clearly that parody is protected speech.  And in the course of the Court's judgment, the Court found strongly that Wal-Mart's claims that they had any rights in the smiley face were hooey.

I see in the comments some celebration of the victory of free speech, a blow against corporate commodification of ubiquitous symbols.  I say woo-hoo to all that, but more importantly I like to see Wal-Mart take one right in the kisser.

[Via Boing Boing, but isn't everything?]

Posted by mrbrent at 10:57 AM

March 27, 2008

michelle bachmann has a special bag of crazy

Quickly, before lunch is over: Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) is taking a valiant stand against the Military Industrial Fluorescent Light Bulb complex by sponsoring the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act.

Rep. Bachmann, most notorious for inappropriate touching of the president, has finally realized that a slot in "The Daily Show" opening monologue is much more important than, oh, governing.

Extra points to Rep. Bachmann for her ironical invocation of "choice" -- appropriating the language of the oppressed, nice job.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:52 PM

rickroll this

I checked my calendar this morning, and apparently "post about rickrolling" is my thing to do for the day -- one must stay on top of the trendlets if one wants to remain au courant.  Rah-ther.

Ah "rickrolling".  It's good to see that the novelty engines of the world are humming along, jerking little ha-has out of their local context and mercilessly squeezing every eyeball they possibly can out of them.  Once "rickrolling" finally traverses the entire Internet and lands as a punchline on "How I Met Your Mother", we can all give ourselves some nice Big Media slaps on the back, as we will be truly entertained.

Of course, if I were to pull an ambush bug with a bait-and-switch hyperlink, I'd opt for something a little more eyeball-searing.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:50 AM

March 26, 2008

mark penn and howard wolfson -- who is more loathsome?

Finally, something more loathsome than the architects of the Clinton presidential campaign -- Clinton supporters, who are trending (in this specific poll) to abandon to the McCain campaign if Clinton is not nominated.

Am I too old to call a bunch of grown-ups crybabies?  Nope, am not -- let me know if there are any leftovers from the pity party.  I love me some good leftovers.

And w/r/t the campaign itself, I take great pains to operate on the assumption that the source of the campaign loathsomeness is her puppeteers (i.e., Mark Penn and Howard Wolfson), and not the senator herself.  Loathsomeness is a pretty serious accusation (well, at least when applied to a Democratic candidate), and I'd like to hold out hope that the candidate is not so loathsome as the means advised by her inner circle.

Having said that, I'm of the belief that the ends justify the means exclusively in life or death situations, so if you run a campaign like Ayn Rand, then you're pretty much a fucking asshole.

I realize that I'm not exactly supporting my thesis of loathsomeness with concrete examples.  My apologies, I was too busy dodging sniper fire and changing congregations.

Posted by mrbrent at 3:22 PM

anonymous vs. scientology round two

I've not stayed on this story like I shoulda, but today is as good as any to revisit.  After sustained and absurd worldwide attacks on the Church of Scientology by Anonymous, the CoS is striking back -- first, through public unmasking of Anonymous members, and second, and more importantly, through harassment, as a mustachioed authority-type stalks a young man named Jonathan, guilty of joining a Facebook group and attending a protest:
Later a friend of the family came over and said Mr. Mustachio was hanging out in front of the house and had asked her if she was Jonathan's mom.  When she said no, he waited until Jonathan's parents did arrive, then handed them the file and said, "This is a courtesy letter.  No charges are being filed yet.  But your son may be involved in terrorist activity."  And then he left.  Inside the package was a letter accusing Jonathan of terrorism and a DVD copy of the YouTube video, he says.

While certainly creepy, this is not out of character at all for the Scientologists, who seem to respond to accusations of heavy-handed sinister actions with heavy-handed, sinister actions.  Go, Anonymous.

Especially interesting is the nature of the conflict, clouded in mystery on both sides, which requires a post-script like this in most stories covering it:

[Jonathan and I spoke via IM and Facebook message, and he did make an effort to verify his ID via several methods.  I didn't take a DNA sample or ask for a copy of his driver's license, though.  While there's a microscopic chance this is all a conspiracy to make Scientologists seem threatening, the Jonathan I chatted with seems to check out.]

That is a healthy dose of skepticism that I'd like to see applied elsewhere, such as the mainstream.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:38 AM

March 25, 2008

"pig bladder" -- the search phrase coming to a site near you

This is a story that I actually first heard with my ears from a non-interested third party and not first read about on this monitor -- man regrows finger:
A man cut off his finger tip while working on a model plane. His brother, a medical research scientist, sent him a vial containing powdered pig bladder and told him to sprinkle on the severed finger tip. It grew back -- "flesh, blood, vessels and nail" -- in four weeks.

My response at the time of the anecdotal transmission -- last Thursday, I think? -- was, "I call bullshit -- we are not salamanders!".  Apparently, we are indeed salamanders, with the help of a little liberally-applied pig bladder powder.  Shockingly, the friend who is the source of the story is not a gentleman who trolls the Internet for ephemeral news and such; he has yet to get the memo, I guess.

And apropos of my little dog's corneal troubles referenced below, I also heard, prior to seeing the linked story, a tale of a pet with a much more traumatically damaged eye which was regrown via some surgically applied (and later surgically removed) pig bladder.

Synchronicity is in the air, and pig's bladders.

Posted by mrbrent at 2:21 PM

iraqi militia: hurry up and wait

The Yahoo! Eye-catching Headline Corral continues it's slow but steady comparison of every leader in the world with Rufus T. Firefly:
• Iraqi troops clash with militia as Sadrists order disobedience

This sound is the sound of Iraqi military leadership trying to remember the difference between "paradox" and "conundrum".  Maybe "Sadrists" is a misprounounced cognate for "crazy goofballs".

This of course changes nothing about the whole purple fingertip thing -- continue to love freedom.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:17 AM