Fresh (Kool & the Gang)


Presidential Rebuttals Throughout History

By Albert Brooks

I don't remember growing up seeing the president of the United States being rebutted each time he gave a speech. When did this become part of our democracy? Isn't the whole point of winning the office of president that you can talk to the nation without others talking after you, belittling what you say and giving their own point of view? I began to think of some of the great presidential moments and what their rebuttals might have sounded like, had they been allowed at the time.

Franklin Roosevelt: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Henry Rainey, speaker of the House, giving his rebuttal: "The president has obviously not taken a walk around Washington for quite some time. With all the thugs and the crime and the poverty which he is not addressing, we now must fear every individual that approaches us on the street. Fear is the last thing I'm afraid of. I'm afraid of the president and his inability to act."

John F. Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Sam Rayburn, speaker of the House, his rebuttal: "The president is afraid to ask his country to help him because he knows he has bankrupted the nation we live in and our great land can no longer take care of us. Countries are meant to help their citizens. To ask how you can help your country is putting unnecessary burden on yourself and your family. If President Kennedy would run a better ship that ship could take us anywhere."

Abraham Lincoln: "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time."

Schuyler Colfax, speaker of the House, in his rebuttal: "Mr. President, the fact that you are even thinking about fooling people suggests your presidency is a sham. A true president does not want to fool anyone. He trusts his constituency and treats them with respect. He does not idle away the time wondering who he can fool. You should be ashamed."

Ronald Reagan: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

Tip O'Neil, speaker of the House, from his speech following the president: "Is Ronald Reagan really asking the Soviets to do the work that the United States should have been doing for decades? That is the problem with this country. We have to ask our enemy to do the heavy lifting. Can we not tear down this wall ourselves? The America I grew up in certainly could have, and I would like to return us to that era. What are we going to ask the Soviets to do next, cook us our dinner?"

Seeds of Terror in Norway

By Andrew Gumbel
July 28, 2011

America's violent far right would have no difficulty recognizing the tell-tale signatures of Friday's killing spree in Norway — and not just because they would see the confessed perpetrator, Anders Behring Breivik, as an ideological soul mate who, like their own heroes, thought he could trigger a white-supremacist revolution with bombs and bullets.

Breivik appears to have been more than simply inspired by American predecessors such as Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber: The materials he used, the way he planned and carried out his attacks, and his own writings all suggest he was deeply familiar with the actions of some notorious political killers on this side of the Atlantic.

Breivik possessed a Glock semiautomatic, the same weapon McVeigh was carrying when he was arrested by a hawk-eyed Highway Patrol officer 90 minutes after the April 1995 bombing in Oklahoma. Breivik also possessed a .223-caliber Ruger assault rifle, just like McVeigh.

The Ruger, in fact, has a long history of use by violent extremists because it is dependable, easy to load and fire, and cheaper than an AR-15 or M-16. It is also convertible, without much difficulty, to a fully automatic weapon.

Gordon Kahl, an iconic white-supremacist tax protester, was armed with a Ruger Mini-14 — the same model as Breivik's — when he led the FBI on a multi-state shooting spree from North Dakota to Arkansas in 1983. Richard Wayne Snell, a protege of Kahl's, was carrying a Mini-14 when he killed the only black trooper in southwestern Arkansas in 1984 and then battled it out with police across the state line in Oklahoma.

Snell, who was part of a violent revolutionary group known as the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord, was a hero of McVeigh's who was executed in Arkansas on the very day of the Oklahoma City bombing: April 19, 1995.

Breivik acquired about 12,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate and, according to the Norwegian police, appears to have used some of it to make the bomb that detonated in Oslo. That's the same farm fertilizer compound McVeigh and his co-conspirator Terry Nichols acquired to build their bomb. They mixed about 4,000 pounds of the fertilizer with nitromethane and diesel fuel to construct a device powerful enough to rip the guts out of the Oklahoma City federal building and kill 168 people.

Such similarities of weaponry and methods are common among hard-right revolutionaries who tend to read the same pamphlets and books and frequent the same websites. The literature they share tends to fetishize military hardware and to speak reverently of the history of each piece of weaponry.

Perpetrators are often fairly explicit about their inspirations, which they draw both from real life and from pop culture. McVeigh, for example, likened the attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City to the destruction of the Death Star in "Star Wars."

The far-right extremist world is replete with paranoia and fear of government informants, leading to a philosophy of action that Breivik and McVeigh appear to have shared. In America in the 1990s, the approach was known as "leaderless resistance" — the notion that everyone shares a common ideological goal but that individual warriors make their own plans in secret to minimize the broader movement's risk of exposure. People might work in cells or alone, but the idea — not always observed in practice — is to keep action plans strictly under wraps.

Breivik's lawyer says his client has told him about other cells in Norway and elsewhere in Europe that are devoted to fighting back against what he sees as a Muslim invasion of the continent. But he also claims to have carried out Friday's attacks alone, suggesting that he too embraced a leaderless resistance model, real or imagined.

Norway in 2011 might bear some superficial similarities to Oklahoma in 1995. Both were regarded as peaceful, safe places that were unlikely targets for terrorist attacks. But there were also differences. Breivik discusses in his 1,500-page Unabomber-style manifesto how much more difficult it was for him to assemble bomb materials than it was in the America of the mid-1990s. "Times are changing and the possibilities which were available to us during the time of Mr. Timothy McVeigh are no longer present," he wrote.

Norway also has much stricter gun control laws than the United States, and part of the reason Breivik settled on the Ruger Mini-14 was because, as he wrote, it was "the most army-like rifle allowed in Norway."

The Oklahoma City bombing was ultimately viewed as an operational disaster by the radical far right in this country because the death toll of innocents — including 19 children under age 5 — caused only revulsion and effectively squashed the American militia movement. Breivik's grand murderous folly is likely to generate that same kind of disgust.

Andrew Gumbel, a Los Angeles-based journalist, is writing a book about the Oklahoma City bombing, due out from William Morrow next April.

Born This Way (L Gaga)





Amy Winehouse 1983-2011


Betty White

Jon Stewart and the Job Creators


Helpless (Urbanized featuring Silvano 1992)

From the movie JEFFREY by Paul Rudnick with Steven Weber, Patrick Stewart, Sigourney Weaver, and Michael T. Weiss

MK in DC

What You Won't Do For Love

Imagine That.

Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods

Before John Lennon imagined "living life in peace," he conjured "no heaven … / no hell below us …/ and no religion too."

No religion: What was Lennon summoning? For starters, a world without "divine" messengers, like Osama bin Laden, sparking violence. A world where mistakes, like the avoidable loss of life in Hurricane Katrina, would be rectified rather than chalked up to "God's will." Where politicians no longer compete to prove who believes more strongly in the irrational and untenable. Where critical thinking is an ideal. In short, a world that makes sense.

In recent years scientists specializing in the mind have begun to unravel religion's "DNA." They have produced robust theories, backed by empirical evidence (including "imaging" studies of the brain at work), that support the conclusion that it was humans who created God, not the other way around. And the better we understand the science, the closer we can come to "no heaven … no hell … and no religion too."

Like our physiological DNA, the psychological mechanisms behind faith evolved over the eons through natural selection. They helped our ancestors work effectively in small groups and survive and reproduce, traits developed long before recorded history, from foundations deep in our mammalian, primate and African hunter-gatherer past.

For example, we are born with a powerful need for attachment, identified as long ago as the 1940s by psychiatrist John Bowlby and expanded on by psychologist Mary Ainsworth. Individual survival was enhanced by protectors, beginning with our mothers. Attachment is reinforced physiologically through brain chemistry, and we evolved and retain neural networks completely dedicated to it. We easily expand that inborn need for protectors to authority figures of any sort, including religious leaders and, more saliently, gods. God becomes a super parent, able to protect us and care for us even when our more corporeal support systems disappear, through death or distance.

Scientists have so far identified about 20 hard-wired, evolved "adaptations" as the building blocks of religion. Like attachment, they are mechanisms that underlie human interactions: Brain-imaging studies at the National Institutes of Health showed that when test subjects were read statements about religion and asked to agree or disagree, the same brain networks that process human social behavior — our ability to negotiate relationships with others — were engaged.

Among the psychological adaptations related to religion are our need for reciprocity, our tendency to attribute unknown events to human agency, our capacity for romantic love, our fierce "out-group" hatreds and just as fierce loyalties to the in groups of kin and allies. Religion hijacks these traits. The rivalry between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, for example, or the doctrinal battles between Protestant and Catholic reflect our "groupish" tendencies.

In addition to these adaptations, humans have developed the remarkable ability to think about what goes on in other people's minds and create and rehearse complex interactions with an unseen other. In our minds we can de-couple cognition from time, place and circumstance. We consider what someone else might do in our place; we project future scenarios; we replay past events. It's an easy jump to say, conversing with the dead or to conjuring gods and praying to them.

Morality, which some see as imposed by gods or religion on savage humans, science sees as yet another adaptive strategy handed down to us by natural selection.

Yale psychology professor Paul Bloom notes that "it is often beneficial for humans to work together … which means it would have been adaptive to evaluate the niceness and nastiness of other individuals." In groundbreaking research, he and his team found that infants in their first year of life demonstrate aspects of an innate sense of right and wrong, good and bad, even fair and unfair. When shown a puppet climbing a mountain, either helped or hindered by a second puppet, the babies oriented toward the helpful puppet. They were able to make an evaluative social judgment, in a sense a moral response.

Michael Tomasello, a developmental psychologist who co-directs the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has also done work related to morality and very young children. He and his colleagues have produced a wealth of research that demonstrates children's capacities for altruism. He argues that we are born altruists who then have to learn strategic self-interest.

Beyond psychological adaptations and mechanisms, scientists have discovered neurological explanations for what many interpret as evidence of divine existence. Canadian psychologist Michael Persinger, who developed what he calls a "god helmet" that blocks sight and sound but stimulates the brain's temporal lobe, notes that many of his helmeted research subjects reported feeling the presence of "another." Depending on their personal and cultural history, they then interpreted the sensed presence as either a supernatural or religious figure. It is conceivable that St. Paul's dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus was, in reality, a seizure caused by temporal lobe epilepsy.

The better we understand human psychology and neurology, the more we will uncover the underpinnings of religion. Some of them, like the attachment system, push us toward a belief in gods and make departing from it extraordinarily difficult. But it is possible.

We can be better as a species if we recognize religion as a man-made construct. We owe it to ourselves to at least consider the real roots of religious belief, so we can deal with life as it is, taking advantage of perhaps our mind's greatest adaptation: our ability to use reason.
Imagine that.

J. Anderson Thomson is a psychiatrist at the University of Virginia. He serves as a trustee of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Clare Aukofer is a medical writer. They are the authors of "Why We Believe in God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith."

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times



How It Works With Murdoch


Perrier Commercial


Heineken Ad 2011

Party Rock Anthem


Penis Size

Add Inches!! (No, Really, Men Can Make It Longer)
By Meredith Melnick

Though most advertised penis-enlargement methods are bogus, a new review of 10 existing studies suggests that some non-surgical techniques really can increase the length of a man's organ.

Two urological researchers, Marco Ordera and Paolo Gontero of the University of Turin in Italy, examined outcomes from both surgical and non-surgical procedures for "male enhancement" in previous studies. Half of the studies involved surgical procedures performed on 121 men; the other half involved non-surgical enhancement techniques used by 109 men. (More on TIME.com: Ginseng + Saffron = Good Sex? Aphrodisiacs Found in Common Spices)

The surgical treatments, the researchers found, were dangerous and had "unacceptably high rate of complications." But among the non-surgical methods, at least one appeared to help grow a man's member: the "traction method," in which a penile extender stretched the phallus daily, resulted in average growth of 0.7 inches (of the flaccid penis) in one study. In another study of the same method, men reported an average increase of 0.9 inches in length while flaccid, and 0.67 inches while erect.

These gains were hard earned: in the first study, participants had to be in traction for four to six hours each day for a total four months, and in the second study, the daily treatment lasted for six months. (More on TIME.com: The Case for Letting Your Partner's Eye Wander)

In another study of two erectile dysfunction patients, researchers found that the use of peno-scrotal rings, which fit around the scrotum and base of the penis, helped beef up size and maintain erection. But given the tiny sample size (of the study), the results were inconclusive.

Reviewed data also suggested that a six-month regimen of daily penis pumping — using a pump to create a vacuum inside a cylinder to stretch the penis (think Austin Powers) — while painful, was not effective.

No matter the procedure, penis girth remained unchanged.

So it's worth asking, Guys, do you really need a bigger penis? Most men who seek treatment for the condition called "short penis" actually fall within normal penis size, the researchers found; their sense of what's normal is simply warped. To qualify for the clinical definition of short penis syndrome, a man must be smaller than 1.6 inches when limp and under 3 inches when erect. In a 2005 study of 92 men who sought treatment for short penis, researchers found that none qualified for the syndrome. (More on TIME.com: Infrequent Sex or Exercise Can Trigger Heart Attacks)

Ironically, the problem may be associated with the same source of so many women's feelings of inadequacy: porn. And, in the end, men seem to care about it a lot more than women do. According to sex counselor Ian Kerner, who guest posts on CNN's The Chart blog:

If penis size really is an issue, it seems to matter more to men than to women. According to the British Journal of Urology, when researchers looked at more than 50 studies spanning the course of 60 years, they found that 85% of women were satisfied with their partner's penis size — yet only 55% of men felt good about their penises!

That's a big difference in perception, and in my personal opinion, this sense of male insecurity is only likely to increase in the wake of Internet porn. That's because research shows that more than a third of men who incorrectly believe their penises are too small say their insecurity began by viewing erotic images during their teen years.

That's not to say that size doesn't matter at all. Kerner reports that "when pressed, the majority of women (according to a 2001 survey in BMC Women's Health) say that penis circumference (girth) is more important for pleasure than penis length." Unfortunately, there's no pump or extender that can help you in that department.

Like they say, it's the size of your skills not your sex organ that matters.


Flight of Fancy


I'm watching streaming Netflix... Star Trek Voyager to be precise, and as I watch all the talent and know-how the crew exhibits in the face of constant disaster I start wondering what I would be able to contribute. I'm a very bright individual but all I really know, after all these years, is how to put on a show.

What if we're stuck circling a singularity? Hmm. This crew person says, "Oh, I'll adjust the dilitheum crystals in the engines and we might be able to reverse the polarity of the tachyon waves." Another crew member says, "That would only work if I reprogram the computer to determine the exact moment of event horizon." A third says, "What if I go out in the shuttle craft and send a beacon into the center looking for intelligence?"

What if the Borg want a war? OOOH! Battle Stations! What would my battle station be?

I could say, "Well, I could put on a show! Maybe CORIOLANUS! Yes. That would show those Borg about right and civil liberties and Republicans! "How about HAMLET? Always inspiring. The Borg and Klingons might like that one.""Maybe QED in light of the singularity problem. At least it about science." "How about DON QUIXOTE or CYRANO to lighten the mood?"

Well. I'd be just about useless. I do know how to type and to create documents and use excel. But I only know how to use excel to make charts of theatrical moves. I can upload pictures. Is that helpful?

I'd have to go to the galley and make food. My pork ribs turned out dry today, but the vegetables and macaroni salad were perfect. I could feed the crew! I can make beds and clean floors, though I'm having a bit of trouble getting up from the floor these days. I can negotiate better working conditions. Really useful in a battle. I can hug and do a limited amount of first aid. But... What I really know is THE THEATRE! Really. Come to the holo-deck and See a Show! (Begs the question.. Are there Actors on a Star Ship?)

Looking for one's real value in the face of high tech or other.. catastrophe!

I know. We will always need theatre if only to examine the choices we've made in each and every emergency. Theatre keeps us human. It does not guarantee survival. Theatre comes later or first but not during.
I should take a look at our earthquake kit.