April 17, 2010 archive

Random Japan


The Tokyo Midtown complex marked its three-year anniversary with a 6m-high strawberry cream sponge cake called “Smile Cake, Happy Cake.”

If you like a little intrigue with your museums, a Japanese Imperial Army spy research center in Kawasaki was reopened “as a museum on spying and subversive activities.” Among the cool things on display are designs for balloon bombs that were planned for use against the US, and stuff to make biological and chemical weapons.

It was reported that the Chinese factory worker at the center of the poisoned gyoza scandal committed the crime because he was miffed at not getting a full-time position and also because his wife was not paid a bonus. So poison your boss’s gyoza, dude!

Which leads to our Headline of the Week, courtesy of The Asahi Shimbun: “Dumpling suspect ‘a quiet, kind child.'”

Runner-up, also from the Asahi: “For the record: I ate soy-glazed ‘dango'” (from a story on Cabinet ministers’ Twitter messages).

Kazuhiro Mori became the first Japanese in 17 years to win a medal at the Track Cycling World Championships when he finished third in the men’s scratch race in Copenhagen.

Original v. Cover — #21 in a Series

Muddy Waters Pictures, Images and Photos

Looking for some happy blues?  This week’s selection was written in 1956 by Preston Foster, and first recorded by Ann Cole later that same year. In 1957, one of the greatest blues musicians of all time, whose real name was McKinley Morganfield, heard Cole’s version, modified the lyrics, and released the result, a rendition that received much wider recognition, ranked at #359 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  This version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000 and is also included on the list of Songs of the Century, compiled by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Deer, the Ticks, and the Mites 20100416

Once there was a deer walking through the break between the woods and the meadow.  As ticks do, they climbed onto tall grasses and attached themselves to the deer as she walked through them.

They do this instinctively, almost like they were directed by some of the radio talk show blowhards.  As the deer walks past, they sense it and fall onto them.  The deer never realize that they are being bitten until the the itch starts.

Criminal charges for Goldman Sachs?

Not yet, but Dylan Ratigan’s righteous rant needs to be seen by every American, because he is throwing gas into the strike zone, while keeping it at a level any eight year old can understand.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Gretchen Morgenson broke the story for the NYT last December (hat tip zerohedge.com).

Obama Prosecutes Whistle-Blowers Instead of War-Criminals

From Glenn Greenwald…

 During the Bush years, in the wake of the NSA scandal, I used to write post after post about how warped and dangerous it was that the Bush DOJ was protecting the people who criminally spied on Americans (Bush, Cheney Michael Hayden) while simultaneously threatening to prosecute the whistle-blowers who exposed misconduct.  But the Bush DOJ never actually followed through on those menacing threats; no NSA whistle-blowers were indicted during Bush’s term (though several were threatened).  It took the election of Barack Obama for that to happen, as his handpicked Assistant Attorney General publicly boasted yesterday of the indictment against Thomas Drake.

Think about to whose interests the Obama DOJ is devoted given that — while they protect the most profound Bush crimes based on the Presidential decree of “Look Forward, Not Backward” — they chose this whistle-blower to prosecute (and Drake, incidentally, is apparently impoverished, as he’s been assigned a Public Defender to represent him).  

In the process, of course, the Obama DOJ also intimidates and deters future whistle-blowers from exposing what they know, thus further suffocating one of the very few remaining mechanisms Americans have to learn about what takes place behind the virtually impenetrable Wall of Secrecy surrounding the Surveillance State — a Wall of Secrecy which the Obama administration, through its promiscuous use of “state secrets” and immunity claims, has relentlessly fortified and expanded.

Friday Philosophy: Back to Basics

I’ve been observing some of the commentary, not just in the blogs, but also in the world at large, and have been debating with myself about whether it is time to start over, with a brand new education campaign, rather than just continuing the old one.

Some people just aren’t up to speed…like the right-wingers who keep referring to us transpeople as being “gender confused”.  Nobody here is confused, except the people who can’t grasp the concept of the separation between sex and gender…or the fact that DNA is not a life sentence, but rather a suggestion.

The thing is that we transpeople have done the deep digging into who we are and have come up with an answer that some people don’t like.  And those people think we deserve to be punished for acting on what we discovered about ourselves.

Sprinkled amongst the words in my essay is music supplied by some talented transfolk.  I apologize in advance for finding nothing actually by Wendy Carlos at Youtube (but a lot of stuff “in the style of”).

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