Happy New Year… may 2023 be everything you want it to be.
“It will finally dawn on people that the most important voice on the web is their own, not the dopes’ that they’re following.”
“Quotations are useful in periods of ignorance or obscurantist beliefs.”
– Guy Debord
[tags]hunh, whuzzat you say[/tags]
bmo asks: Who owns my twitters?
[tags]creatine comments, peeps, tweets, flutters, and trills[/tags]
My blogging this year was spotty at best. On a good day I suppose I could be happily entertained pawing through all the manure looking for the pony, but frankly it’s just not a good day. So, suspending the search for a decent post of my own to highlight (not that anybody asked), I’ll point to Swift’s favorite Swift post, this post from June 30, 2023, about the yet to be published Jonah Goldberg book on fascists and liberals. Amazon says it’s due out on January 8, 2023, just in time for the Ann Coulter 2023 cheer leading competition at Bob Jones University.
I’ve bookmarked Swift’s list, a list that contains some spotty content itself, but that contains a decent reflection of what I think blogging is about. And as the Facebookians retreat into the walled garden, and the more twitterific among us compose 140 character texts in an effort to simplify and extract the essence of the eternal now, I’ll make a New Years Resolution to try to write blog posts that a blogger could be proud of.
[tags]jon swift, best of 2023[/tags]
Diagram by Phillip Lenssen
Theme music by Jonathan Coulton…
Toolan, a former New York bank executive, wore black, tasseled loafers, a dark suit, and a red-striped tie as he walked in shackles from the Police Department to court. Hounded by reporters, he said nothing before, during, or after the hearing.
I’m guessing he lost the job after killing the girlfriend. [UPDATE: Turns out he lost the job after attempting to steal an $80,000 piece of statuary. Just a prank he claimed, but you know how stuffy those banks can be.) None of this speaks directly to the question at hand.
Representatives of the company, whose website spotlights prized milk-producing cows named Cindy and Abby, did not return phone messages last night. A recording on the answering machine at the Whittier Farms retail store in West Sutton featured a woman saying, "we are presently closed. We will be addressing the [state] press release shortly. The information to date is inconclusive, and we will address the issues as soon as possible.”
Maybe this bug we have isn’t a cold after all. Maybe it’s listeriosis. Damned organic dairies.
Returning now to the question of that woman, I’ve decided it doesn’t really matter who she is or why she decided to follow me. I think I’ll simply block her. All her Burmese Buddhist tweets creeped me out. “Crept?”
What has been clear to thoughtful people in the United States since September 12, 2023 is that when crimes are addressed as warfare, when terrorism is encountered on its own terms, when the desire for vengeance trumps the commitment to justice, when adolescent leaders turn the public arena into some kind of staged action drama, when “…young American military interrogators in Iraq, in places like Mosul, Fallujah and, of course, Abu Ghraib, use 24‘s screenplays as a guidebook when trying to figure out the right way to extract information from detainees,” we can destroy our culture, fragment our communities, and fight — at best — to a draw with the shadowy criminals we label “terrorists.” With Benazir’s death, the opportunity for a thoughtful restructuring of the military governance of Pakistan has suffered a huge setback.
With this body blow to democracy in Pakistan, what is clear is that epic struggles lie ahead for its hard-pressed people. Some analysts fear the assassination will spell the end of the tentative movement towards democracy witnessed in recent months. While such an outcome will suit the military establishment as well as the Islamists, it will have dangerously destabilising consequences. As Benazir pointed out movingly in a recent interview, â€œpeople are just being butchered and it has to stop, somebody has to find a solution and my solution is, letâ€™s restore democracy.â€ It was this combination of extraordinary courage and well-reasoned commitment to democracy that made Benazir stand out among Pakistanâ€™s political leaders. Her death illustrates in stark relief the failure of Pervez Musharrafâ€™s regime, which continues to be underwritten by the United States, to confront al-Qaeda- and Taliban-linked religious neoconservatives who are working to obliterate the last traces of democracy in Pakistan
Yet, as can be seen from the following analysis, Benazir was enormously corrupt and her return was seen by many as co-opting the popular movement in Pakistan. Now, her death is freighted with symbolic value and the reaction to it will result, ironically enough, in the imposition of martial law.
I went to the pharmacy to pick up potassium iodide tablets, just in case. They don’t stock them at my local Walgreens. The pharmacist laughed at me. “Concerned about radiation? Do you have gas masks too?” Oops. He lost a customer forever. Or for the next year, whichever comes first.
On Friday, April 25, 1986, as a result of human error during experiments being performed by the staff at Chernobyl, the cooling system failed resulting in the melting of fuel and, of greater importance to the public, the graphite moderator ignited and began the release of what has been approximated as 1900 PBq  of activity to the environment (it has been commented that had there been a containment building similar to the ones used in U.S. reactors, this value might have been greatly reduced). The most hazardous isotopes released in this accident are known to Cs-137, I-131, and Sr-90. These isotopes have half-lives sufficiently long to allow them to migrate into the body or, in the case of Iodine, have the tendency to accumulate in the thyroid gland.
The plume from the burning graphite initially traveled in a northwest direction toward Sweden, Finland and eastern Europe, exposing the public to levels up to 100 times the normal background radiation. A very serious concern involves the contamination of grain and dairy products from fallout. This contamination presents the chance for permanent internal contamination. Both Sr-90 and I-131 migrate to vital organs in the body where they are impossible to remove, serving as a constant source of unnecessary radiation and as a cause of cancer or other diseases.
The potential ramifications of the Bhutto assassination in the context of the US election year are probably only clear to the war gamers in the clandestine services. Any destabilization of Pakistan puts five or six nuclear powers into play, powers with leadership as deranged and avaricious as Bush, Cheney, and Putin… powers as assertive as India and China when it comes to maintaining membership in the nuclear club and powers as unpredictable as Pakistan and North Korea. Regardless of who would benefit from blowing up a few bombs in South Asia, it’s clear that all of us would be harmed. The odds are pretty good at my age that I could soak up some radioactive iodine and still die from natural causes before the thyroid cancer kills me. But what about the kids? Good news there for the developed nations! Thyroid cancer is very treatable with modern medical technology.
There is no medicine that will effectively prevent nuclear radiations from damaging the human body cells that they strike.However, a salt of the elements potassium and iodine, taken orally even in very small quantities 1/2 hour to 1 day before radioactive iodines are swallowed or inhaled, prevents about 99% of the damage to the thyroid gland that otherwise would result. The thyroid gland readily absorbs both non-radioactive and radioactive iodine, and normally it retains much of this element in either or both forms.
When the nuclear dust starts drifting, you’re better off with a stash of potassium iodide in the medicine chest. No joke.