January 31, 2005

Blog Trackbacks Temporarily Disabled

Greetings. Trackbacks for this blog have been temporarily suspended.

There has recently been a massive increase in both "referrer spam" (which is annoying but only causes log clutter as far as my blog is concerned) and now "trackback spam" where spammers are creating trackback entries pointing at their garbage. The latter will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Trackbacks will be restored as soon as I can install an additional authentication layer. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Thanks much.

--Lauren--

Posted by Lauren at 11:03 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
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January 19, 2005

New Iraqi Prisoner Abuse Photos -- This Time From the British

Greetings. As TV's Marine goofball Gomer Pyle used to say, "Surprise, surprise, surprise!" New photos showing abuse of Iraqi prisoners have surfaced, but this time they're not from Abu Gharib and don't involve U.S. forces, but rather are from our good friends the British, who apparently have similar problems with pathological, irresponsible, and just plain evil personalities up and down the chain of command.

The new photos (see below -- viewer discretion advised) are but a few that prosecutors released at a British court martial currently in progress in Germany.

The patterns of abuse depicted are all too familiar -- physical attacks, forced sexual humiliation, and so on -- all shades of Abu Gharib.

The British photos also win my "dim bulb" award for the week -- they were discovered at the film lab when they were taken in for developing! I've previously discussed how digital cameras made such photos more likely to be taken in the first place, but apparently the lack of a digital camera won't stop the dedicated sickos from getting those trophy shots.

There appears to be genuine shock in Britain, where the politicos had convinced much of the population that prisoner abuses were only an American hobby. It should now be all too clear that this particular sort of disgraceful perversion knows no international bounds.

Of course, these are just abuses at the hands of military personnel. We're still being kept in the dark regarding how CIA and MI6 treat their prisoners, since our governments refuse to provide any significant details. One can only imagine.

--Lauren--

Photo 1   Photo 2   Photo 3


Posted by Lauren at 10:33 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
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January 14, 2005

While U.S. Soldiers Die, GOP Will Dance at Inaugural

Greetings. There's been a lot of controversy regarding the definition of the word "obscene" over the years. Here's a concrete example that should make sense to anyone with even the remnants of a soul.

President Bush's second inaugural fesitivities will be costing tens of millions of dollars -- more than $40 million just in private donations, plus municipal costs to Washington D.C. Bush keeps telling us that we're at war, yet plans to prance around in a tuxedo as if happy days are here again.

The scenes of merry partygoers burning through so much money, while our soliders are being blown up in Iraq and tsunami victims are still rotting in mass graves, may not be exactly the sort of image we really should be sending to the world -- or to our own people.

Even some Bush supporters, including billionaire Mark Cuban, have been questioning the inaugural plans and expenditures, especially in light of historical wartime precedents.

How long will it be before we see terrorist recruiting videos juxtaposing images of death and destruction in Iraq with scenes of conspicuous inaugural revelry?

--Lauren--

Posted by Lauren at 09:43 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein


January 12, 2005

Tell a Lawyer Joke -- Go to Jail!

Greetings. You may not have realized this from reading the Bill of Rights, but exchanging jokes about lawyers apparently is now a criminal offense -- so much for freedom of speech.

When two guys waiting in the slow queue to enter a Long Island courthouse started telling each other some rather mundane lawyer jokes, an attorney in the same line took offense and had them arrested.

One can only imagine what might have happened to the pair if they had been discussing topics that really drive most judges and prosecutors nuts, like jury nullification!

--Lauren--

Posted by Lauren at 09:43 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
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January 10, 2005

Storms: Uninvited Boulder Visits Topanga Canyon Blvd.

The record-breaking sequence of storms here in L.A. has been brutal, and predictably after several days of this pattern the hillsides are coming apart, destroying homes and lives. While I currently reside down in The Valley on a relatively flat parcel of land, I lived for many years up in nearby Topanga Canyon, which is still my primary route into West Los Angeles.

But today, virtually all routes into "town" have been closed, including most canyons and the San Diego Freeway (Interstate 405). Topanga would be a particularly bad choice right now, as you can see below.

I can't at this time exactly place the location of this massive boulder on Topanga Canyon Blvd., but the white box on the pole to the left is an AT&T Wireless microcell controller (you can see the antenna array above the unit near the top of the pole), which puts it on the main section of the road passing through the canyon itself, probably near the center of the community or on the way in from PCH (Pacific Coast Highway).

Topanga was at one time quite the hippie/folk/music enclave, but thankfully, it is reported that nobody was injured when this rock decided to roll. Other local areas and their residents have not been so lucky.

--Lauren--


Posted by Lauren at 06:26 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
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Graner's Lawyer Explains Prisoner Abuse Photos

Greetings. Specialist Charles A. Graner -- considered by many to have been a "ringleader" (or fall-guy, depending upon your point of view) of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison -- is now on trial. New photos and videos of abuse apparently are being shown at the proceedings, but it's already clear that Graner's lawyer has a wonderfully sick sense of humor.

In opening arguments, defense attorney Guy Womack suggested that the infamous photos of naked prisoners had innocent explanations. He said that the human pyramid was akin to cheerleader activities "all over America" -- and that the prisoner on the leash showed a non-abusive control technique similar to what parents do with toddlers at malls.

This guy missed his calling. He shouldn't be a defense attorney -- he could have had an upwardly-mobile career working for John Ashcroft at DOJ.

--Lauren--

Posted by Lauren at 03:41 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
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January 03, 2005

"Lauren Weinstein's Blog" URL Address Change

Greetings. The official URL address for Lauren Weinstein's Blog has changed to:

http://lauren.vortex.com

While I have endeavored to ensure that links using the old address will be redirected correctly through the new URL, it is still recommended that any references to this blog be switched to specify the new URL at your convenience.

Thanks much.

--Lauren--

Posted by Lauren at 09:59 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein


"Mad" Magazine, Science-Fiction/Fantasy Artist Kelly Freas Dies

For more than half a century, preeminent artist Frank Kelly Freas' images have both made us laugh and look toward the skies of tomorrow.

His works span the range from seven years of covers for Mad Magazine, to an incredibly vast array of science-fiction and fantasy art -- illustrations that literally created in our minds the future that we still await.

He and his art were always in demand -- generations of fans would inevitably congregate around him at science-fiction and other conventions.

Kelly died in his sleep on Sunday here in an L.A. suburb, almost literally a stone's throw from where I'm sitting. He was 82.

I urge you to visit his Web site.

Rest in peace, Kelly. The future may yet catch up with your genius.

--Lauren--


Posted by Lauren at 06:14 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein