Yet another article on Chinese toilets

This one is quite amusing. My favorite line:

Much has changed since Chairman Mao sneaked out of his living room in post-civil war Beijing to defecate beside the swimming pool in his new residence.

What an image.


Hating gays is not a “moral value”

A powerfully worded column in today’s WAPO blasts Karl Rove’s strategy of demonizing gays for short-term political reward.

Here’s what Republicans of conscience have to understand about the machinations of Karl Rove and company. Fear isn’t some emotion that can be easily bottled back up after it’s been — viciously — unleashed. It isn’t a once-every-four-years vehicle that can be wheeled out for a few months, then stowed back in the garage to be retooled for the next election cycle. Encouraging fundamentalist preachers to pound their pulpits and inveigh against gay people has consequences. It puts men and women in communities across this country at personal and professional risk. There’s nothing more despicable than creating a phony political issue (just how many gay couples are clamoring for marriage certificates in the state of Ohio, anyhow?) and preying on people’s prejudices.

So now it’s up to discerning Republicans to wrestle with this quandary: You won all right, but at what cost? What happened to the party that once shared Abraham Lincoln’s faith in the “better angels of our nature”?

….There are a lot of Republicans troubled by their party’s exploitation of contemporary know-nothingism. You know who you are. And before your party’s degeneracy is complete, you ought to do something about it. Because camouflaging the fear and loathing of gay people as “moral values” isn’t the base alloy of hypocrisy. It’s hypocrisy itself.

“Read the whole thing.” It’s great.


Rewarding failure

Vintage example of how the bush government operates.

[I]t is a measure of the stunning absence of accountability under Mr. Bush that it is Mr. Powell who leaves, while the architects of the failed and even disastrous policies he opposed, from postwar Iraq to Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, remain in office. Mr. Bush has signaled lately that he would like to repair some of the diplomatic damage of his first term, starting with U.S. relations with Europe. We trust he’s sincere, but it’s hard to be optimistic that he’ll succeed without acknowledging that the secretary of state who lost all those first-term arguments, and who now has been let go, more often than not was right.

And do you really believe he’ll ever acknowledhge that? Not on your life.


Interested in North Korea?

So is Jasper Becker (author of The Chinese), and he’s written a new book about the insanities of the world’s oddest country. You won’t want to miss this creepy article, which makes you wonder just how long Kim Jong Il can get away with his insanities.

Update: Is something dramatic happening in North Korea? Seems like some public buildings are removing photos of Dear Leader! Strange. Developing….


War does funny things to people

Kevin Sites, NBC News embedded reporter (and great blogger, too), tells a strange story of a wounded man being held in a mosque in Fallluja.

A second group of Marines entered the mosque on Saturday after reports it had been reoccupied. Footage from the embedded television crew showed the five still in the mosque, although several appeared to be already close to death, Sites said.

He said one Marine noticed one of the prisoners was still breathing.

Marine can be heard saying on the pool footage provided to Reuters Television: “He’s fucking faking he’s dead. He faking he’s fucking dead.”

“The Marine then raises his rifle and fires into the man’s head. The pictures are too graphic for us to broadcast,” Sites said. No images of the shooting were shown in the footage provided to Reuters.

The report said the Marine, who had returned to duty after being shot in the face a day earlier, had been removed from the field and was being questioned by the U.S. military.

Sites said the shot prisoner “did not appear to be armed or threatening in any way.”

Right out of an Oliver Stone movie. War really does suck.


If it weren’t so cold….

Wow, they really make it sound tempting. I want to know who put up this site. It couldn’t have been the Candian government…or could it?

If only it were a little warmer up there.


Give to the rich, screw the poor

I don’t usually quote from NYT columnist Bob Herbert because he tends to be a broken record (“rich people are very bad to poor people”). But his column today about a totally and unabashedly obscene giveaway to a most undeserving billionaire is definitely food for thought. This is the type of shit that’s supposed to happen in China. It’s a case study of guanxi at work, and it should be a capital offense. It’s a great column.


Powell’s out

No surprise there. Colin was far from perfect, but considering the company he kept, he still stood out as the pearl among the swine. Will he continue to live up to his persona as “the good soldier” and remain tight-lipped about the incompetence surrounding him, or will he vent his spleen? I know he must have some spectacular stories to tell.


Dick Cheney lets it all hang out

Take a careful look at this picture. Heh.

(Be sure to scroll down through some of the earlier posts– quite amusing! Don’t miss this one.)


Washington Post gushes over Firefox

And for good reason — once you use it, you’ll never, ever think about going back to Microsoft IE. If you haven’t switched yet, read the article and see what you’re missing. Tabbed browsing changed my life. What a pleasure, to surf multiple sites with only one browser window open.