July 2008 archive

Docudharma Times ThursdayJuly 31

Olympic Sized


Brought To You



Thursday’s Headlines:

Does Bush proposal threaten access to the pill?

Kidnappers extract huge ransoms in forgotten part of Africa

Kenya’s students vent frustration by attacking schools

Iran vows to stay on ‘nuclear path’ as UN deadline looms

Israeli settlers in West Bank defy promise

China detains teacher for earthquake photos

Politician angers activists with bloody rituals

Spain cuts speed limit and turns out lights

Turkey steps back from the brink as AK Party beats court challenge

Pope agrees: Paraguayan leader no longer bishop

McCain Tries to Define Obama as Out of Touch


Published: July 31, 2008

WASHINGTON – After spending much of the summer searching for an effective line of attack against Senator Barack Obama, Senator John McCain is beginning a newly aggressive campaign to define Mr. Obama as arrogant, out of touch and unprepared for the presidency.

On Wednesday alone, the McCain campaign released a new advertisement suggesting – and not in a good way – that Mr. Obama was a celebrity along the lines of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Republicans tried to portray Mr. Obama as a candidate who believed the race was all about him, relying on what Democrats said was a completely inaccurate quotation.

China to Limit Web Access During Olympic Games


Published: July 31, 2008

BEIJING – The International Olympic Committee failed to press China to allow fully unfettered access to the Internet for the thousands of journalists arriving here to cover the Olympics, despite promising repeatedly that the foreign news media could “report freely” during the Games, Olympic officials acknowledged Wednesday.

Since the Olympic Village press center opened Friday, reporters have been unable to access scores of Web pages – among them those that discuss Tibetan issues, Taiwanese independence, the violent crackdown on the protests in Tiananmen Square and the Web sites of Amnesty International, the BBC’s Chinese-language news, Radio Free Asia and several Hong Kong newspapers known for their freewheeling political discourse.


Bush Orders Revamping Of Intelligence Gathering

DNI’s Authority Boosted, Document Shows

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, July 31, 2008; Page A02

President Bush ordered a major restructuring of the nation’s intelligence-gathering community yesterday, approving new guidelines aimed at bolstering the authority of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) as the leader of the nation’s 16 spy agencies.

The long-awaited overhaul of Executive Order 12333 gives the DNI greater control over spending and priority-setting, and also over contacts with foreign intelligence services — a responsibility that has traditionally fallen to the CIA, according to a Bush administration document describing the changes.

Executive Order 12333, which was originally issued by President Ronald Regan in 1981, established the powers and responsibilities of the major U.S. intelligence services.


* * *

sometimes i forget things. like. . .

fat fuzzy ducklings look like balls of bumble bees

slimy slugs leave beautiful silver glitter trails

& spider webs are really garden valances

gulls never shut the fuck up

and yet… yet, it always sounds like the beach

when they’re around

sometimes i forget things. like

how much work it always is to unpack stuff

my two crates.

they arrived Monday.

and it sucks to unpack stuff.

find a place for stuff.

sometimes i forget things. like

how much i miss my bear boy

but i put his ashes in the garden straight away

he made it here with me is all i could think. . .

funny. sometimes i forget things. like

how much i love my grammy’s old gold and black lacquer platter

Nadine’s casserole. Daddy’s cookbook

Mommy’s beat up paperback, “Rabble in Arms”

everything unwrapped brought someone

else i love into the house. funny

so many objects fussed over, decided upon by others

all to give a gift… to say, hey, i know you. see what i have for you.

and i forget sometimes that we aren’t just

mindless consumers.

each little token, totems

with some memory sticking to them

reminding me that sometimes

it’s just another learning curve

giving room to those earthlings

i love so…………………..

yeah. i know it’s more than me.

sometimes i forget things. like

how anger is corrupting and mindless.

and just how clarifying a fat fuzzy

duckling can be . . .  

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

He who experiences the unity of life

sees his own Self in all beings

and all beings in his own Self

and looks on everything with an impartial eye.

–Bhagavad Gita

Phenomena XI: uniting

Flow Lines

Primary Element

What could

even should

have been a time

to listen to one another

became instead a time

of antipathy

a time of distrust

of attack

of justification

of baser instincts

of pushing apart

rather than

pulling together

The strength of water

lies in it’s unity.

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 8. 2008

Guild Wars 2: In-House FAQ

The Arena.Net folks have produced one of the first FAQs with regard to Guild Wars 2. It answers a lot of basic questions about the game, including whether or not there will be a subscription fee.

Will there be a subscription fee for Guild Wars 2?

Nope. Like the original Guild Wars, there will be no subscription fee for Guild Wars 2. You just buy the game and play it online without paying a monthly fee.

Will Guild Wars 2 be an MMO?

Yes. Guild Wars 2 provides a massive, online persistent world.

How is Guild Wars 2 different from other MMOs?

While Guild Wars 2 adds a persistent world, it retains the unique nature of the original game including a strong narrative, extensive instanced gameplay, an anti-grind design philosophy, and strong support for competitive play.

Will Guild Wars 2 have non-human playable races?

Absolutely! In addition to humans, players will be able to create, customize, and play asura, charr, norn, and sylvari characters.

The conquerors of Ascalon, the charr are ferocious, warmongering creatures-the intractable foes of humanity. Now, as greater dangers threaten their conquests, the charr legions marshal their war machines to meet their enemies with deadly force.

The norn are half-giant brawlers from the frigid northern lands who can shapeshift into mighty bestial forms. They’ve been driven from their homeland by a force beyond reckon, and now regroup among the lost dwarven ruins of the Shiverpeaks.

The asura, who once ruled the caves and tunnels below Tyria, are an advanced race of small stature and large intellect. Having emerged from the depths, the asura aim to rule the surface world with their powerful golems and razor-sharp wit.

Not much is known of the sylvari, save that they are a race of sentient plant-beings, newly blossomed into the world. They are the youngest of the races, and are bound together by a common dream.

How will character progression work? Will you be raising the level cap?

Guild Wars 2 will have the kind of extensive character advancement appropriate to a persistent world RPG. It is our priority to avoid forcing players into the grind-based gameplay that too often accompanies a high level cap.

Also, to allow players the freedom to play together even if their friends are at a much higher (or lower) level, we are planning to implement a strong sidekicking system, similar to that used in City of Heroes.

We’re applying this same philosophy to competitive play. Players will be able to engage in organized, balanced PvP (similar to GvG in the original Guild Wars) without needing to first level up characters, find equipment, or unlock skills. While inside the organized PvP area, all characters will be the same power level and will have access to the same equipment.

Will Guild Wars 2 be solo-able?

Yes. You will be able to advance your character to the maximum level without ever joining a group if you so desire. Most content will be designed in a solo-friendly way, though often with mechanisms for scaling up in difficulty when more players are involved. This will give players the option to experience the game whichever way they prefer.

At the same time, it is important for an MMO community to join together to overcome challenges. There will also be some areas in the game that require a coordinated group effort.

Can I play my original Guild Wars character in Guild Wars 2?

Because Guild Wars 2 is a whole new game with different professions and races, new technology, and expanded gameplay, it would not be possible to directly use an original Guild Wars character.

However, your original Guild Wars character names will be reserved for your use in Guild Wars 2. In addition, Guild Wars 2 recognizes the accomplishments commemorated by your original Guild Wars characters in the Hall of Monuments and provides you with unique rewards to showcase those achievements.

What are the system requirements for Guild Wars 2?

The system requirements haven’t been finalized, but just as with the original Guild Wars series, we’re committed to creating a beautiful game that will play great on mid-range gaming PCs.

When is Guild Wars 2 going to be released?

When it’s finished. Seriously though, we haven’t announced a specific release date yet, but when we do you can get those details and more right here on the official website.

When will there be a beta?

Although we publicly alpha- and beta-tested the original Guild Wars while it was still in early development, with Guild Wars 2 we will commence beta testing closer to the game’s release. With that in mind, we will not start beta testing in 2008 as we had originally planned. Guild Wars 2 is a very large and ambitious game, and Guild Wars players rightfully have very high expectations of its quality. We want players to be absolutely blown away by the game the first time they experience it.

Great answers to the most basic questions. The no subscription and creating a game for mid-level computers are both TERRIFIC items of news for players!

Dark Age of Camelot Friday Grab Bag

As the name implies, the Friday Grab Bag is a collection of community questions taken from the official Dark Age of Camelot forums. Add some announcements into the mix and you have a good read.

Q. Is Quillan Muire in Muire’s tomb supposed to drop any loot? It seems like he is the “boss” of the dungeon but she drops nothing different from his surrounding guards. I know he has a quest associated with her, but the other named Muires along that quest can drop items. Thanks!

A. With a quick check to the bags o’loot the Lady of the Jewels has good news for you: Quillan Muire does have a chance to drop a small amount of unique loot, but it is very rare.

Q. I have noticed that the blunt weapon given to druids by the trainer is called an “Arch Mace”. But it is actually a hammer. Is it supposed to be a hammer and is mislabeled or is it a mace with the wrong graphic?

A. After a quick glance at the mace looking like a hammer, the Lady of the Jewels says you are absolutely correct: The names of these items do not seem to fit with their appearance in game. Keep an eye on future patch notes about a correction to the names of these Druid weapons. Thank you for the report!

Q. How do I add the guild ranks to the house friends list so I can set the different permission levels?

A. In one quick motion The Bearded Wonder found your answer: If you look at the feedback for /housefriend it is as follows:

Invalid Friend type.

Correct format is housefriend playerguild/rank/account/all/class/race

If your guild rank is named “test” for example, you would type.

/housefriend rank test

Q. My question involves the Alchemy drop items. Why does the Ancient Crushed Focus Stone only drop one at a time, while the Ancient Troll Blood, Ancient Giant Blood, Ancient Mirror, Ancient Pure Mercury, and the Enriched Quicksilver drops off the same mobs in stacks of 5? The Ancient Necrotic Brain Fluid and the Ancient Lich Tooth will drop in stacks of 3. There doesn’t appear to be a level variation between the drops, and they are all used with Alchemy of 1000+. Shouldn’t they all be dropped in the same quantity?

A. The Lady of the Jewels thought about this a moment: The player brings up an excellent point. I will look into what can be done about normalizing the alchemy drops across the board in a future patch.

Q. I’ve been looking for a trophy mob – a pig called Jari. I’ve tried for many game-days to get it to spawn, either in the Abbey Farm or the Bandit Camp, by killing Wild Sows nearby. No luck so far. Is there any way you can confirm that it still exists or any advice you can offer?

A. The Lady of the Jewels smiled and exclaimed: Jari is quite the elusive pig! She can be found at either the field next to Vetusta Abbey, or to the northwest wandering among the red dwarves. Her chance to spawn is very rare, however, and she shares a chance with the other pigs in both areas. Try hunting the pigs in both locations to give Jari a chance to show herself.

Q. Upon deploying certain rams we’ve come across rams that you have to invite people on. I’ve asked many times in advice but to no avail. How do you invite people on a ram when it calls for an invitation?

A. I interrupted a very serious conversation between The Bearded Wonder and the Blonde Gremlin about ninjas and pirates, the Blonde Gremlin in the middle of demonstrating a ninja move said: The command you need is /vinvite.

Q. I’m looking for some clarification on the rest xp you implemented in 1.94. The patch notes are not clear about whether any unused rest xp is lost when a character logs out. For example, I log in a character to craft a few items but do not do any hunting. Would the rest xp that character has already accumulated carry over to the next time he logs in? Or would it be reset?

A. As I read the question to The Bearded Wonder, he kept on nodding confidently at me, which kept me wondering if someone was standing behind me making funny faces. He said: The rest XP is kept so that it should be there the next time that character logs in.


The May Focus Question Responses are now in! Our Team Leads submitted their responses and in turn we responded to them. Now all the responses have been responded to and you can see them here. Answers await you.

Oh Camelot Herald how I love thee! If you’ve noticed any changes to the Herald recently, that’s because we’ve been doing some behind the scenes improvements. If you see any quirky things happen, please check back in a little while. If the problem persists, please send in Feedback under Herald Issues and describe the problem, please include the URL!

Are you ready San Diego? The Camelot Road Trip is heading to the west coast on Saturday, July 26th. Come join us as we answer your questions, hand out prizes and of course there will be some snacks to eat, just in case you’re hungry. These events are so much fun, if you are in the area, come out and join us. Don’t forget to RSVP so we can order enough snacks! The fun starts at 7:00pm PDT.

Have a great weekend everyone, I’ll see you out in the frontiers.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

"Why are you a Republican?"

“Tell us about your political philosophy. There are different groups of conservatives, by way of example: Social Conservative, Fiscal Conservative, Law & Order Republican.”

“What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?”

“Aside from the president, give us an example of someone currently or recently in public service who you admire.”

Loathsome, nasty, repellent and repulsive.

Out of some morbidly twisted sense of fascination with the loathsome, nasty, repellent and repulsive side of life (after all, why else would I have spent all these years blogging about the metaphorical trail of slime left behind by this guy?) I might just break a nearly fifteen year record and actually go into a movie theater again and put up with the 10 or so minutes of 120 decibel commercials to watch this one. I have no idea why otherwise.

Here’s the trailer for Oliver Stone’s upcoming movie to be released October 17, based on the life of President George W. Bush. Josh Brolin plays Bush, Elizabeth Banks plays his wife Laura, and Richard Dreyfuss plays Vice President Dick Cheney. Best of all, Rob Corddry plays former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer.

Here’s “W.”…

Lessons for us to learn from a Trucker’s strike in England!

Original article, Shell tanker drivers’ strike – oil on troubled waters from the column Union Made by Richard Allday via socialistreview.org.uk:

“The Shell drivers have driven a coach and horses through the Brown and Darling pay freeze,” said Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of Unite, after the Shell tanker drivers won a 14 percent pay deal last month.

Your Caption Here

McCain sucks!

Pony Party: Magic Bus

Magic Bus on WhoTube

I’m not really here.  It’s Magic! — On The Bus

Pony Party: Magic Bus

Magic Bus on WhoTube

I’m not really here.  It’s Magic! — On The Bus

Four at Four

  1. Barack Obama has made this promise before, but I think it’s good that he’s repeating it. The Associated Press reports Obama pledges review of White House powers instigated by Bush. Obama promised his administration would review George W. Bush’s executive orders and excise any that “trample on liberty”.

    Obama “talked about how his attorney general is to review every executive order and immediately eliminate those that trample on liberty,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.

    “He indicated there would be a review in his administration,” said Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., the House majority whip…

    Obama did not indicate who his attorney general would be, or any other member of his Cabinet. To lawmakers who asked about his Cabinet plans, Obama said: “Get me elected, and then I’ll worry about the Cabinet,” according to Nadler.

    Of course this begs the question, what if Obama finds Bush’s executive orders do not “trample on liberty” and, actually, he rather likes them? Will Congress do its job this time around?

  2. McClatchy Newspapers ask Does John McCain have a Cuba embargo problem? “The pending merger of American beer giant Anheuser-Busch and a Belgian company that brews and sells beer in Cuba is thrusting John McCain into the middle of thorny Cuba-U.S. relations. McCain’s wife, Cindy, owns the third largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the country – which means she would stand to profit by partnering with a company that is in business with the Cuban government.”

    Of course McCain insist there isn’t a problem, not because the ridiculous U.S. embargo of Cuba should end, but because there is a “rigid firewall” between McCain and Cindy Lou’s business. He’s a kept politican. And besides, it’s just business™.

    The real story is not Cindy Lou’s business connection to a multinational beverage company with holdings in Cuba, but Cindy Lou’s wealth and how her father made that money and the family’s ties to organized crime.

Four at Four continues with two stories about the environment from the Pacific Northwest.

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