Friday, December 17th, 2004

Ready to extend your lifespan by years and stave off heart disease by eating dark chocolate, drinking red wine and consuming large quantities of fish and garlic?

Hell yes.

I am ready to be healthy.  Hell, I’ve already got the wine and the dark chocolate at home. (more…)

I have no idea whether the science of this thing is for real, but I know some people who could knit it.

I also think it’s fairly self-evident why, when challenged to knit
“something useful,” she didn’t knit him a pair of mittens or a cap or a
scarf – because he’s an asshole. (more…)

In today’s Altercation on, there’s a letter from a reader named Wally Bowen.  Mr. Bowen is the Director of Mountain Area Information Network
I had never heard of them before today, but now I’m all swelled up with
a little mountain pride.  I may have to eat a little crow
regarding my general opinion of my native region.  Below is a
portion of the letter published in Altercation:

…The Mountain Area
Information Network (MAIN) in Asheville, N.C. is a nonprofit Internet
Service Provider (ISP).  Our annual budget is comprised primarily of
revenue from our dial-up and Web hosting services.  We also offer
wireless broadband in a growing number of local communities we serve
here in North Carolina.

Wireless broadband in Asheville?  Hell yeah.  It turns out
the wireless broadband is available in three of the most rural counties
in that area, and they got the ignition funds from the NC Rural
Internet Access Authority, which is housed within the NC Rural Economic
Development Center.  They do more than that, though – including
aggressively priced webhosting, including half-off rates for
nonprofits.  Bowen makes clear, both in his letter and on the
site, that MAIN considers providing dial-up access to rural areas their
highest priority. 

It’s my personal opinion that Broadband over Power Lines will come, one day, and change everything
– but it’s going to cost hella more than $14.95/month when it
does.  Bowen goes on to describe some pretty ambitious plans,
including a proposal to spend 1% of their annual gross on progressive
causes chosen by letting subscribers vote on recipients.

Have I mentioned their bumper stickers?  “Think Globally, Connect Locally.”

I love it.

A recent major
network upgrade now allows us to offer unlimited dial-up Internet
access NATIONWIDE.  This service will be marketed under the brand of “IndyLink
(the Web site is near completion) to progressives who believe in
supporting an independent media and progressive causes in general.  At
$14.95 a month, this service will include spam/virus filtering,
dial-up  accelerator, and pop-up blocker.  We also have the strictest
privacy  protection of any ISP. 

short, we are giving progressives — who only need or can only afford
dial-up — the ability to put their Internet dollars where their values
are, rather than continuing to send their dollars to support an
undemocratic corporate media.


So, the Washington Post today has a story on secret CIA prisons,
including one just slap full of “ghost detainees” inside the larger
prison of Gitmo despite the Army commanders at Gitmo requiring the CIA
to register their detainees, guarantee access by the Red Cross, and all
the other things required at military prisons.  It’s… chilling,
to say the lest.

Now, add this to the stories about new reports of detainee abuse by Marines, the Keric debacle, stories circulating that military leaders may be the ones who bring the heat
to keep Gonzales out of the Attorney General post (since he was
essentially the sponsor of the administration opinions that may have
led to or encouraged either or both torture of prisoners and subsequent
attempts to keep that torture quiet), Rumsfeld under the lights in
front of a bunch of Guard members and reservists – and now the subject of conversation even among Republicans,
the media perhaps, maybe, just a little bit growing a backbone and the
raft of people willing to come out and talk about pressure being
applied to analysts at the CIA to force their intelligence into line
with the administration’s wishes (I read about this on, but I can’t get their search function to work right now – alas) and you start to think, Great.  Where were these stories two months ago?

A re-election campaign is supposed to be a referendum on the incumbent,
we were told, and there are so many reasons to hate Bush that surely
he’d never survive any sort of vote of confidence.  So, seriously,
where were these stories?

That they’re just coming out now doesn’t say to me that anyone
was silenced or otherwise kept out of the spotlight.  No, it says
to me that a raft of powerful and informed people assumed, just as I
did, that there was no way Bush would win.  With him out of office and a new administration – any new administration – on its way in, surely something would get done.

Then they got a big surprise.

Fascinating.  Perhaps all these people were just waiting for a
change of power so they could try to deal with some of the problems
BushCo have either caused or inflated through negligence.  Perhaps
now they think they’ll never get that chance, never have the
opportunity to clean anything up for real, so the least they can do is
talk about it.

I think this is a potential take on these stories’ sudden appearance that we’re not likely to hear on CNN anytime soon. (more…)