Monthly Archives: July 2006

Tabor Logic

Mind-boggling stupid Nathan Tabor is at it again:

Google the phrase “Muslim violence,” and more than 29 million entries pop up. Granted, some of these citations represent violence committed against Muslims, but, unfortunately, quite a few represent violence committed in the name of Islam.

This makes me wonder: What does Islam really stand for?

Only a fool or an idiot would conclude that Islam is a violent religion based on the number of Google hits.

But let’s put that methodology into practice, shall we?

First, let’s back up Nathan’s "research".  How many hits do we get when we type "Muslim violence" into Google.  Here we go

Hmmm.  18,900,000 hits.  Not quite the "29 million" that Nathan claimed.  I guess Islam isn’t that violent.

But sadly, we lack a point of reference.  So let’s Google the prhase "Christian violence".  Here we go….

WOW!  36,700,000 hits.  So according to Nathan’s Theory Of Google indicators Of Violence, Christian faith is twice as violent as Muslim faith.

This makes me wonder: What does Christianity really stand for?

In fact, I challenge anyone to read Nathan’s Islam-bashing post substituting the word "Christian" for "Islam".  It holds up pretty well.

So what exactly was your point, Nathan?

Just A Thought

I’m guessing that Mel’s deal with ABC/Disney to produce a miniseries on the Holocaust is going to fall through….

NEXT DAY FOLLOW-UP:  Yup, I called it.

The ABC television network has pulled a miniseries about the Holocaust it was developing with Mel Gibson’s production company, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, quoting an unidentified representative for the network.

Gibson was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving early on Friday and was reported to have launched into a tirade against Jews, asking the arresting officer if he was a Jew and blaming the Jews for starting all wars.

The actor, who holds strong conservative Catholic religious and political views and whose father is a Holocaust denier, apologized on Saturday.

The incident has raised questions about the future of projects Gibson and his Icon Productions company are working on, like the ABC television miniseries based on a memoir about a Dutch Jew during World War II, the newspaper said.

Find A Penny, Pick It Up

Found_currency_header_totalThe Found Currency Experiment concludes.

A guy decided to pick up any money (mostly pennies) that he sees on the street for one year.

After one year, how much do you think he netted?

Turns out, not that much.  Only $25.36 (with $10.36 in coins).  Here are the final stats:

Totals coin finds:

Pennies: 306  (4 of which were wheat pennies)
Nickles: 30
Dimes: 28
Quarters: 12
Paper Money: a 5 dollar, and 10 dollar bill.

Averages:

– Bent down 376 times to pick up change
– Found 2.84¢ a day

Did he think it was worth it?  Seems not:

It wasn’t a huge score but the experiment was fun, and it taught me 3 things.

1 – Humility: When you’re walking to work in Manhattan full speed ahead and you see a coin on the ground – It’s pretty obvious to everyone around you when you come to an abrupt stop in the middle of the sidewalk, to pick up a penny.  There have been a ton of scenerios where I’d have to suck it up and just do it.  Good times.

2 – Observance: During the last year, I’ve found change in some pretty obscure places.  It’s not that I was seeking change out, but once you get into a habit, it becomes really clear to you when there is a shiney Abe Lincoln staring at you from the urine soaked edges of the Newark train station.  You pay alot more attention to your surroundings.

3 – Defeat:  Haha, SHIT AIN’T WORTH IT!   I’m really glad I did this, and It was really satisfying to find out on my own about a curiousity I had a year ago, but for all the time I spent with this experiment on my mind I could have spent 1 day panhandling and probably doubled my profits…. Either that or a day the the Off Track Betting on 37th.

But Clay Aiken Says He Already Am

Scientists think that invisibility may be possible in the near future:

LONDON (Reuters) – It’s unlikely to occur by swallowing a pill or donning a special cloak, but invisibility could be possible in the not too distant future, according to research published on Monday.

Harry Potter accomplished it with his magic cloak. H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man swallowed a substance that made him transparent.

But Dr Ulf Leonhardt, a theoretical physicist at St Andrews University in Scotland, believes the most plausible example is the Invisible Woman, one of the Marvel Comics superheroes in the "Fantastic Four".

"She guides light around her using a force field in this cartoon. This is what could be done in practice," Leonhardt told Reuters in an interview. "That comes closest to what engineers will probably be able to do in the future."

North Carolina: Bill To Bar Gay Marriage Dies

This is the third time the bill hasn’t had any success.  North Carolina remains the only southern state which lacks an amendment blocking gay marriage.  So somebody is doing something right.

Pam Spaulding reports:

NC State Sen. James Forrester didn’t waste any time submitting another marriage amendment bill this year (Senate Bill 1228, Defense of Marriage/House Bill 2438), but Equality NC announced that with the adjournment of the 2006 session of the General Assembly, legislation to amend the state constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying has died.

The language of the bill would have also banned civil unions, domestic partnership or any other form of relationship recognition for unmarried couples. ENC:

“North Carolinians should be proud that their elected leaders spent their time this year on important issues like ethics reforms, the minimum wage, and the state budget, rather than the politically motivated bigotry of this amendment,” said Ian Palmquist, Executive Director. “Equality North Carolina worked closely with legislative allies to block this unnecessary, discriminatory legislation.”

As this bill would have inserted discrimination against LGBT people into the state’s constitution, Equality NC and its supporters led a ferocious charge to help keep the bill in check for the third straight year.

Among the most critical actions taken by the advocacy group was the organization of a lobby day on June 6 in which nearly 100 North Carolinians came to Raleigh to rally against the proposed amendment. Equality NC supporters came from all over the state to lobby their legislators and take part in a spirited rally outside the Capitol Building.

“When legislators hear from real people whose lives would be affected by anti-gay legislation, it opens their eyes to the impact of their decisions,” said Palmquist. “Our lobby day and other efforts enabled gay and straight North Carolinians alike to speak out against discrimination.”

Thanks to EqualityNC, the active and out LGBT community here and all our political allies!

If You’re In Cleveland Today, Keep Looking Down

Rather sick, if you ask me:

Picture of aborted fetus to be flown over Cleveland

As a shock tactic, a national group that opposes abortion plans to fly a billboard-size picture of an aborted fetus over Cleveland beginning Monday.

The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, which frequently employs such attention-grabbing advertising, hopes to jar people into reconsidering their support of abortion, director Gregg Cunningham said.

He said the banner would be the most graphic picture ever displayed from the air.

"It will be categorically the most shocking we have ever done," he said. "The imagery is so horrifying that I can’t almost stand to look at it."

Cunningham wouldn’t describe the advertisement, which also displays a toll-free number to the organization. But he said the advertisement would compare an aborted fetus to a second graphic image related to the war in the Middle East.

"This thing just sucks the wind out of even me," he said.

Unit Bias

An interesting article about an interesting research study, which should be of interest to anyone who is interested in dieting.  Interested?

Studies have shown that people have a "unit bias" when it comes to eating.  In other words, they don’t listen to what their body tells them — instead, they look at what’s in front of them.  So even if their body says "I’m full", they’ll finish off what’s on that plate or bottle in the mistaken belief that the unit of food in front of them is the "right amount":

How many M&MS are enough? It depends on how big the candy scoop is. At least that’s a key factor, says a study that offers new evidence that people take cues from their surroundings in deciding how much to eat.

It explains why, for example, people who used to be satisfied by a 12-ounce can of soda may now feel that a 20-ounce bottle is just right.

***

The overall idea is hardly new to diet experts. They point to the supersizing of fast food and restaurant portions as one reason for the surge of obesity in recent decades. They sometimes suggest that dieters use smaller plates to reduce the amount of food that looks like a meal.

But in the June issue of the journal Psychological Science, Geier and colleagues dig into why people are so swayed by this unit idea when they decide how much to eat.

Geier, a Ph.D. candidate who works with people who are overweight or who have eating disorders, figures people learn how big an appropriate food unit is from their cultures. For example, yogurt containers in French supermarkets are a bit more than half the size of their American counterparts. Yet French shoppers don’t make up the difference by eating more containers of the stuff, he noted.

He and the other researchers tried a series of experiments using environmental cues to manipulate people’s ideas of how big a food unit is.

In one, they put a large bowl with a pound of M&Ms in the lobby of an upscale apartment building with a sign: "Eat Your Fill … please use the spoon to serve yourself." The candy was left out through the day for 10 days, sometimes with a spoon that held a quarter-cup, and other times with a tablespoon.

Sure enough, people consistently took more M&Ms on days when the bigger scoop was provided, about two-thirds more on average than when the spoon was present.

In another experiment, a snacking area in an apartment building contained a bowl with either 80 small Tootsie Rolls or 20 big ones, four times as large. Over 10 working days, the bowl was filled with the same overall weight of candy each day. But people consistently removed more, by weight, when it was offered in the larger packages.

In those experiments, as well as a similar one with pretzels, "unit bias" wasn’t the only thing that produced the differences in consumption levels, but it had an influence, Geier and colleagues concluded.

Read more.

I think this says something to parents who encourage their kids to "eat everything on their plate because there’s starving children in Africa."  The snotty kid who says, "Well, send it to them" may actually have a point.

A Sign Of The Times?

Very encouraging article in the New York Times:

Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.

The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”

Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not God’s ideal. The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church here in suburban St. Paul — packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals — was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members.

But there were also congregants who thanked Mr. Boyd, telling him they were moved to tears to hear him voice concerns they had been too afraid to share.

“Most of my friends are believers,” said Shannon Staiger, a psychotherapist and church member, “and they think if you’re a believer, you’ll vote for Bush. And it’s scary to go against that.”

Sermons like Mr. Boyd’s are hardly typical in today’s evangelical churches. But the upheaval at Woodland Hills is an example of the internal debates now going on in some evangelical colleges, magazines and churches. A common concern is that the Christian message is being compromised by the tendency to tie evangelical Christianity to the Republican Party and American nationalism, especially through the war in Iraq.

At least six books on this theme have been published recently, some by Christian publishing houses. Randall Balmer, a religion professor at Barnard College and an evangelical, has written “Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America — an Evangelical’s Lament.”

And Mr. Boyd has a new book out, “The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church,” which is based on his sermons.

“There is a lot of discontent brewing,” said Brian D. McLaren, the founding pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Gaithersburg, Md., and a leader in the evangelical movement known as the “emerging church,” which is at the forefront of challenging the more politicized evangelical establishment.

“More and more people are saying this has gone too far — the dominance of the evangelical identity by the religious right,” Mr. McLaren said. “You cannot say the word ‘Jesus’ in 2006 without having an awful lot of baggage going along with it. You can’t say the word ‘Christian,’ and you certainly can’t say the word ‘evangelical’ without it now raising connotations and a certain cringe factor in people.

“Because people think, ‘Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about ‘activist judges.’ ”

Read the whole thing.

Oh, Mel, Mel, Mel

I was never a big Mel Gibson fan to begin with.  I got tired of his macho films, from Braveheart to The Patriot, and his latest snuff film ("The Passion of the Christ") sent me over the edge.

It looks like Hollywood may be having its own doubts about Mel, following his drunken anti-Semitic rage:

A stunned Hollywood debated the future of one of its biggest stars Sunday as a sheriff’s watchdog launched an investigation into a possible cover up of a leaked report that quoted Mel Gibson unleashing a tirade of anti-Semitic remarks during a drunken driving arrest.

One media expert said Gibson irreparably damaged his career with his "crazy" behavior following his arrest by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies in Malibu early Friday. Charges of anti-Semitism were also leveled against the actor-director with the release of his 2004 blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ."

"It’s a nuclear disaster for him," said publicist Michael Levine, who has represented Michael Jackson and Charlton Heston, among others. "I don’t see how he can restore himself."

The entertainment Web site TMZ posted what it said were four pages from the original arrest report, which quoted Gibson as launching an expletive-laden "barrage of anti-Semitic remarks" after he was stopped on Pacific Coast Highway.

According to the report, in addition to threatening the arresting deputy and trying to escape, Gibson said, "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked the officer, James Mee, "Are you a Jew?"

The report has not been made public, but the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that it had independently verified its authenticity.

It should be remembered that Mel’s father is a known Holocaust denier, and Mel hasn’t exactly disavowed his father’s views.

Update On The Army/Community Theater Question

Background here.

TPM Muckraker’s Justin Rood follows up:

I posted yesterday about a decorated Army Arabic linguist who was kicked out for being gay. Among other questions posed to him by an Army investigator attempting to confirm his gayness, Sgt. Bleu Copas of the 82nd Airborne Division says he was asked if he was involved in community theater.

I called the Army yesterday and asked: Did someone really ask about Sgt. Copas’ involvement community theater? Is that question standard for homosexuality investigations?

"Asking about involvement in community theater is not a standard question," Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty emailed this morning in response. Hilferty, a senior public affairs official for the Army, added:

"I expect that that question was not actually asked, but there are more than one million Soldiers in the Army and at my level we work Army policy, not specific cases, so I know nothing about this particular case."

So Hilferty doesn’t know and shows no desire to find out. If that attitude had been applied to Copas’ situation, perhaps I would find it refreshing. As it is, I’m a bit surprised: did the Army just call their former decorated Arabic linguist a liar?

2996 Project: A Blogger Tribute To 9/11 Victims

The 5th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, and the 2996 Project needs your help:

The idea is simple, but powerful: have a special tribute for each victim of 9/11, with each tribute being created by a different blogger. We started 2,996 Project to coordinate the creation of the tributes, and that’s what this site is all about. Here you can sign up to make a tribute yourself, on your blog (we’ll randomly assign a victim to you). You can also browse or search through either the victims that have already been assigned, or those that have not — and you can get pointers to more information on all of them.

As of this writing, 1,070 9/11 victims have been assigned.  If you have a blog and want to participate, sign up here.

Information and resources here.

What Fred Says

FroM the Slacktivist:

It’s been awhile so it seems again it’s time for a helpful reminder that noncombatant immunity isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law.

In other words: You’re not allowed to kill civilians.

Killing civilians is against the law. Killing civilians makes you a criminal.

Yes, but …

No buts about it. You’re not allowed to kill civilians.

And, also: You’re not allowed to kill civilians.

This is neither new nor controversial, yet putting the matter in such stark terms always seems to upset people.

On the one hand, this isn’t surprising since the killing of civilians has become a scarcely remarkable, dog-bites-man commonplace. Yet it’s still surprising that anyone could find this elementary notion upsetting: You’re not allowed to kill civilians. If you’re one of those people who finds this upsetting, bear in mind what it is that you’re upset about. Apparently someone you feel ought to be immune from criticism has been killing civilians and you feel I’m criticizing them by pointing out — in the most abstract terms, without any mention of particulars — that this is something that no one is allowed to do.

"What you really mean …" people say — because they’re certain that when I say "You’re not allowed to kill civilians" I must really mean something other than "You’re not allowed to kill civilians" — "What you really mean is that you’re not not allowed to target civilians."

No.

What I really mean — and again it’s not just me, or my opinion, or my preference, it’s the law — is that You’re not allowed to kill civilians.

Anti-Smoking Vaccine In The Works

Attention all smokers who would like to quit:

Doctors are testing a radical new way to help smokers quit: a shot that "immunizes" them against the nicotine rush that fuels their addiction.

That pleasurable buzz has seduced Mario Musachia into burning through nearly half a million cigarettes in half a century.

Now the Madison man is among 300 people around the country who are testing an experimental vaccine that makes the immune system attack nicotine in much the same way it would fight a life-threatening germ.

The treatment keeps nicotine from reaching the brain, making smoking less pleasurable and theoretically, easier to give up. The small amount that still manages to get in helps to ease withdrawal, the main reason most quitters relapse.

If it works _ and this has not yet been proved _ the vaccine could become part of a new generation of smoking cessation treatments. They attack dependency in the brain instead of just replacing the nicotine from cigarettes in a less harmful way, like the gum, lozenges, patches and nasal sprays sold today.

Ken Burns vs. The FCC

Ken Burns, documentarian extraordinaire (see The Civil War, Baseball) is in a battle with the FCC over his latest project — a 14 hour PBS documentary on WWII.  Apparently, two of the people he interviews somewhere in that 14 hours use — get the fainting couch readyswear words!

The War, by Ken Burns, which includes veterans using profanities to describe their experiences on the front line, has become a test case in the Government’s crackdown on indecency on the air. The 14-hour series, created by the documentarian known for his epic television histories Jazz, Baseball and The Civil War, is scheduled to be broadcast on public television stations in September next year.

Despite the government clampdown, the defiant new head of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) is refusing to bleep out the offending words or to air it after 10pm, when the rules are less stringent.

“The American people need to know this is not about Janet Jackson,” Paula Kerger, the president and chief executive officer of PBS, said in Pasadena, California. “This is about film-makers that have powerful stories that now are not being allowed to tell those stories on public television or broadcast television.”

Ridiculous.

Pot Smoking Greg Brady

Yesterday’s mystery house was the Brady Bunch house.

And keeping with the Brady theme, here is a clip from the show.  In his biography, Barry Williams (who played Greg) says that he played this scene (where the station wagon pulls into the driveway), like, totally baked, man. 

And it shows.  He just grins a lot, and almost trips over a bike pump.  His bit starts at 1:50.

U.S. Army: “If You’re Involved In Community Theater, You Must Be Gay”

From TPM Muckraker:

Here’s a tidbit from an AP article …The story concerns a decorated Army Arabic specialist who was dismissed for being gay:

On Dec. 2, investigators formally interviewed Copas and asked if he understood the military’s policy on homosexuals, if he had any close acquaintances who were gay, and if he was involved in community theater.

Seriously?

Yeah, seriously

The viewpoint of the world’s greatest superpower’s military is staggeringly ignorant.  It’s a double dip of stereotyping stupidity, to wit:

  1. Men who do community theater must be gay; and
  2. Gay people cannot serve their country in uniform

Because let’s face it, the last thing you want in a foxhole is a fellow soldier bragging about his collection of hard-to-find original cast albums.

RELATED THOUGHT:  You know, in WWII, captured Americans held in German POW camps passed the time by putting on stage productions.  Here, for example, is the cast of "The Petrified Forest", performed in the South Compound of Stalag Luft I (one of the POWs in the play is Donald Pleasance, who went on to a successful stage and screen career).  The women’s roles were portrayed by men.

Forestplay

Key Neocon Acknowledges Iraq Debacle

David Frum was a former Bush speechwriter, best known for coming up with the "axis of evil" term.  Both in and out of the White House, he has been an ardent supporter of Bush’s foreign policy and the invasion of Iraq.

But today, he’s being candid, writing that Iraq is essentially a lost cause no matter what we do:

Hands up, everybody who believes that the "hundreds" of troops that the Pentagon plans to move from the rest of Iraq into Baghdad will suffice to secure the capital against the sectarian militias now waging war upon the civilian populations of the city? Anybody? No, I didn’t think so.

To take back the capital from the militias that now terrorize it will take thousands, not hundreds, of American plus tens of thousands of Iraqis. . . . So a real plan for success in Baghdad will have to be built upon additional troops from out of area, potentially raising US troop levels back up to the 150,000 or so of late 2005.

Manifestly, neither the administration nor the Congress will contemplate such a move. Which means, most likely, continuing violence in Iraq and a continuing rise in the power of the militias, especially the Iranian-backed Shiite militias: the Hezbollah of Iraq.

***

Seeing as we cannot maintain the peace in Iraq, we have but one overriding interest there today — to keep Al Qaeda from creating a base from which it can plot attacks on the United States. Thus we need to have troops nearby prepared to re-engage in case the Sunni Arabs prove unable to provide for their own security against the foreign jihadists. . . .

Yes, a United States withdrawal from the Shiite and Sunni Arab regions of Iraq would leave behind sectarian conflict and militia rule. But staying with the current force and mission will produce the same result. Continuing a military strategy where the ends far exceed the means is a formula for war without end.

Nice to know that Frum has finally caught up to what most Americans already believe.

Bill Moyers For President

Molly Ivins has an idea which isn’t bad at all.

Here’s some background on Bill Moyers.

UPDATE:  Ezra Klein agrees:

I’ve always found Moyers writings and speeches to be closer to prayers than essays, appeals to our better angels rather than for our grudging votes. When I’m depressed with the state of the country or feel overtaken by the enmities rather than the values that animate politics, I crack open Moyers on America to refresh my perspective. I would love to see him run, the race could truly benefit from a conscience candidate. And so, incidentally, could the country.

Bush Administration Worse Than 9/11

Well that’s one way to look at this:

According to the poll, 65 percent say they feel less confident that life for their children’s generation will be better than it was for them.

The poll was taken July 21-24.

Now that’s pretty bad, but look how people responded to the same question when it was asked three months after 9/11/2001.

In December 2001, the last time this question was asked, respondents — by a 49-42 percent margin — said they were confident life would be better for their children.

Funny Video Of The Day

There’s one thing that conservatives and liberals agree on: Fred Phelps and his group are the most incidious people on the planet.

Fred Phelps, if you don’t know, is the pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church.  He first came to national attention with his protests in Laramie, Wyoming following the murder of Matthew Shepard, as immortalized in the play and film "The Laramie Project".

He and his flock have a single message: God hates gays, and the war in Iraq is punishment for America’s embrace of "fagdom". 

How do they get this message out?  They attend the funerals of fallen soldiers, and scream epithets at the mourners.

Nice.

Recently, the Phelps group was down here in Greensboro, with another protest.  An Australian "reporter" talked to one of protesters, and then . . . came on to him ("You know, you’ve got a really firm butt").

Watch the results:

A Unique Solution To The Middle East Problem

Yogic_flying Why didn’t somebody think of this before?

Reuven Zelinkovsky was a colonel in the Israeli army, but now he has renounced military might to join a squadron of yogic flyers at the Sea of Galilee to throw a "shield of invincibility" around the Jewish state.

As Hezbollah rockets fired from nearby Lebanon boomed in the background, he explained that the solution to the latest conflict to engulf the Middle East was "not to kill the enemy but to kill enmity."

This can be done through the "technology" of yogic flying which, for those trained in the technique, is the spontaneous result of transcendental meditation, said Zelinkovsky as he emerged Tuesday from the first of two daily four-hour sessions.

The bespectacled electronics engineer, who served in the army from 1966 until 1982, is part of a worldwide movement led by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the former guru to The Beatles.

The movement’s Natural Law Party has unsuccessfully fielded candidates in US presidential and British general elections, touting yogic flying as a solution to the world’s ills.

Yogic flying, derided by critics as glorified bum-hopping, is the purported ability to levitate through the advanced practice of transcendental meditation, or TM.

Proponents of the art say world peace can be achieved by thousands of simultaneous yogic flyers spread across the globe.

I don’t know about anybody else, but it seems to me that if missiles are going to be flying through the air, the last place I want to be is in the air with them.

Those Poor Gas & Oil Companies

GasomgAs Jon Stewart pointed out recently, let’s not feel bad for the oil companies.

Poor BP set a record quarterly profit of $6.118 billion, or roughly $55,000 per minute.

And news comes out today that Exxon second quarter profits for this year jumped 36 percent.  They netted "earned $10.36 billion in the second quarter, the second largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company."

Also, Shell just announced its second quarter profits.  They went up 40 percent in the second quarter, with a net yield of $7.32 billion.

Meanwhile, at the pump, here’s the NC graph:

Ncgas

Happy motoring, everybody!

UPDATE:  Think Progress reminds us of the politics behind the oil and gas interests:

One year ago today, Congress finalized the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which lavished $14.5 billion in tax breaks on energy firms, nearly 60 percent of which went to “oil, natural gas, coal, electric utilities and nuclear power.”

One year ago, the average national gas price was $2.14. Today, it’s $3.00. The country is no closer to ending its addiction to oil, and fuel economy standards are still stuck at 27.5 miles per gallon (where they’ve been for 20 years). Meanwhile, “five of the world’s largest energy companies are expected to report combined second-quarter profits next week of more than $30 billion.”

For most Americans, this is no reason to celebrate. But most Americans aren’t “Representatives of industries who are benefiting from tax incentives available through the Energy Policy Act of 2005.” Those industry reps are holding a “celebration” of the bill on Capitol Hill today with Energy Secretary Bodman….

Whose House?

These are pictures of a house rendered in CAD.  See if you can identify whose house it is.  Some of the furniture may be missing, but yes, you do know whose house it is.

163344833_eab70005df_1

166821208_ae5f7f49d5

166821213_1cc8804203

166821210_68ad1d1d33

Here’s a couple of dead giveaways, if you haven’t figured it out yet…

166821209_b037bd90fe

163337020_17407ab9a0

Weighing In On The Israel-Lebanon Thing

Look, I know it’s complicated.  And I don’t feel compelled to pick a side.  This much I will say.

There’s no question that Hezbollah is, or certainly acts like, a terrorist organization, and Israel is justified in defending itself from those attacks.

But to my mind, Israel’s response is disproportionate, over-the-top, and reckless.  Two example in the past 24 hours:

(1)  "Ooops" attack on the Red Cross.  Look at the picture — a missile entered the van with bullseye precision.

AmbulanceIn Sunday’s attack, Chaalan was thrown backward while the other medics rushed to pull the wounded from the smashed vehicle. As they pulled the child out, the Israelis struck again, blowing up the second ambulance.

"I felt like I was dying," Chaalan said Monday, after his release from a hospital. "I thought, ‘I’m dead.’ "

Fortunately, he was only stunned and needed three stitches to close a wound on his chin.

After the attack, a Red Cross volunteer reached the organization’s headquarters in Tyre, which relayed news of the assault to the International Red Cross headquarters in Geneva. After nearly two hours of negotiations, the Israelis guaranteed safe passage for the volunteers and the wounded back to Tyre.

Despite a donation of blood from Chaalan, the wounded man, 40-year-old Ahmed Mustafa Farwaz, lost his right leg below the knee, while his son Mohammed Farwaz, 14, remained in serious condition with shrapnel wounds to his abdomen. The elder Farwaz’s unidentified mother suffered severe nerve damage to her legs.

(2)  "Ooops" attack on the UN, killing 4 U.N. observers, including a Canadian, a Chinese, an Austrian and a Finn. Kofi Annan is calling the attack deliberate.

Annan said in his statement the post had been there for a long time and was marked clearly, and was hit despite assurances from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that UN positions would not be attacked.

"I call on the government of Israel to conduct a full investigation into this very disturbing incident and demand that any further attack on UN positions and personnel must stop," Annan said in the statement.

Another “Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical” Quote Of The Day

Here’s the thing.  I’m too frantic trying to remember choreography moves, which is why I can’t remember many of the funny things said during rehearsals.  Be that as it may, some things stand out:

"I forgot the part where I scratch my kitty, and that’s why we got thrown off" — Female cast member during choregography rehearsal

"I like astroturf, just not on my nice baby ass."  — Female cast member during choreography rehearsal

More will come to me later, and I’ll update as necessary.

Meet some of the Debbie cast members (and their "inner celebrities") here.

My Celebrity Friends

MyHeritage.com is a website that traces family geneology.  But they’ve got a cool new feature which has little to do with geneology.

All you do is go here, upload a picture of yourself (a quick and easy free resigistration may be required), and their "face recognition" software kicks back a list of celebrities with similar facial features and structure.  Things like hair, makeup, glasses, etc. are not factored in.  Not even facial fat.  It’s a bone structure, spacing-between-the-eyes kind of thing.

Eager to try, I obtained pictures of friends of mine (and Debbie Does Dallas co-actors) from their blogs and ran them through the face pattern recognition software.

And now, without their permission, I give you the results (below the fold).  The numbers in parentheses represent how closely their face matches their "inner celebrity".

Now before you look at the results, keep one thing in mind.  This is based on ONE PHOTO.  The MyHeritage website lets you submit more photos, to get a more accurate reading.

Dude, That Is So Wrong

From Missouri:

The assault trial of a man accused of shoving a cell phone down a woman’s throat has begun.

Prosecutors say 24-year-old Marlon Brando Gill was angry and jealous when he forced the phone into Melinda Abell’s throat in December. But defense attorneys insist the 25-year-old victim swallowed the phone intentionally to prevent Gill from finding out who she’d been calling.

Gill is charged with felony first-degree assault.

A doctor at a Kansas City hospital’s emergency room used a tool called a "pincher" to remove the phone from Abell’s throat.

She testified yesterday that she couldn’t remember how the phone got in her throat, saying she drank too much that night. Court records show that her blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit.

Citizen Diplomacy

On September 12, 2001, the French newspaper La Monde headlined "We Are All Americans Today", or something like that.  That was certainly the global sentiment.  Everybody was united with us, and we Americans were united.

Incredible how five years of Bush policies have not only divided the country, but turned our longstanding friends and allies into rampant America-haters.  It’s really isn’t much of a surprise, given the whole "fuck you, world" dismissive attitude that’s displayed by the present adminsitration and it’s supporters.

Fortunately, someone is doing something about it:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With anti-American sentiment at unprecedented levels around the world, Americans worried about their country’s low standing are pushing a grassroots campaign to change foreign perceptions of the United States "one handshake at a time."

The idea is to turn millions of Americans into "citizen diplomats" who use personal meetings with foreigners to counter the ugly image of the United States shown in a series of international public opinion polls. They show widespread negative attitudes not only toward U.S. policies but also toward the American people and, increasingly, even American products.

To stem the relentless decline of America’s international standing — a dramatic change from the almost universal sympathy for the country immediately after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington –leaders of more than 30 civic organizations formed a "Coalition for Citizen Diplomacy" two years ago.

The coalition, a loose alliance of national, state and community groups, held its first national summit in July in Washington, where speakers deplored the sorry state of the U.S. image but expressed hope that individual action and international people-to-people exchanges could go a long way toward improving things.

The powers behind this movement include major businesses, like Exxon and McDonalds, who realize that anti-American sentiment hurts business.  And their right.

Rape Victim Denied Morning-After Pill

Look.  If your religion prevents you from doing your job, then either (a) get another job or (b) get another religion.  Here’s what I’m talking about — a story from Lancaster, PA:

A Good Samaritan Hospital emergency room doctor refused to give a rape victim a morning-after pill because he said it was against his Mennonite religion.

Rebuffed by the doctor, the woman called her gynecologist, who wrote the prescription. Her local pharmacy told her it was out of the drug and referred her to a sister store in Reading.

The former medical director of the hospital said he sees nothing strange about asking a woman from eastern Lebanon County to drive to Reading for a drug.

"People drive to Reading to buy jeans. Even if that were the case, that you had to drive to Reading to get this [prescription], to me that does not rise to a compulsion that you have to pass laws that [doctors] have to do something," Dr. Joe Kearns said.

Well, he might have a point about passing laws, but that doesn’t remove the moral obligation of caregivers to, you know, give care.

Emergency contraception, often called the morning-after pill, gives a high dosage of birth-control medicine that can prevent pregnancy.

It’s a pill that Dr. Martin Gish, the physician who treated the rape victim, said he has prescribed.

"This is an issue I’ve struggled with for years," Gish said. "My current feeling is life begins at conception, and I feel that anything that interferes with that" causes an abortion.

"The dilemma I have is the whole rape issue: Which side are you more concerned with? Are you more concerned about the mother or the life that was possibly created? That’s my dilemma," he said. "I personally don’t have this thing worked out. I’m not sure how my faith can line up with my practice at times of what I’m asked to do."

And while I think the doctor here is sincere about having a "dilemna", he has to understand that ultimately it’s not about him and his issues.  Not when he puts on the stethoscope.  He needs to recognize who his patient is, and treat that patient.  And if he can’t, he needs to find work elsewhere.  The woman was raped for chrissakes.  Why should she have to jump through hoops to get the care she needs?

Ken Jennings Blog

Ken Jennings, the dude who won 74 times in a row on Jeopardy!, netting a total of $2.5 million, has started a blog.

Already, he’s created quite a buzz, mostly from a post last week about Jeopardy!:

Dear Jeopardy!,

Hey, I hope you remember me. It’s been a while since we talked. We were a bit of an item a couple years back, in all the papers, but I think we both know that was just a summer thing. The last time we saw each other…well, the magic just wasn’t there. That’s why I don’t mind when I see you with a new special someone. Or two. Nearly every night! … I’m sorry, is this sounding passive-aggressive? I don’t mean to badger you. I remember that, when we were together, it seems like all I ever did was nag you with questions.

Let me start again. What I really wanted to talk to you about was your image. You’ve got a good twenty years on you now, and that’s Trebek-era alone. Times have changed since your debut, but when I watch you, it’s the same-old same-old: the same format, the same patter, the same fonts, the same everything as when I first crushed out on you in fourth grade. You’re like the Dorian Gray of syndication. You seem to think “change” means replacing a blue polyethylene backdrop with a slightly different shade of blue polyethylene backdrop every presidential election or so. Would you mind a few suggestions on how you might really freshen up your act a bit?

He lists several snarky criticisms of the show, ending up with Alex Trebek himself:

Finally, Alex. I know, I know, the old folks love him. Nobody knows he died in that fiery truck crash a few years back and was immediately replaced with the Trebektron 4000 (I see your engineers still can’t get the mustache right, by the way.) But that’s beside the point: “Alex” is the franchise. You can’t just bring in Ryan Seacrest without warning, more’s the pity. But I think a few little host tweaks would do a lot of good.

  1. On Price Is Right, Bob Barker ends every show with a plug for his personal favorite cause. “Spay or neuter your pet!” or whatever. Something like this would humanize Trebek. I propose a new sign-off, along the lines of, “Can our returning champion do it again on tomorrow’s show? Tune in and find out, everybody. Legalize cannabis. Good night.”
  2. You know how Trebek likes to read foreign words in these thick, strained accents, thinking he’s being muy auténtico? He should continue to do this, but instead of delivering them himself, he needs to have a little ventriloquist’s dummy with a sombrero to pipe in with those words. (The sombrero can be switched with a beret for French words.)
  3. Whenever Alex says “Correct!” to a contestant, he should do the two-index-finger point, like Isaac in the Love Boat credits.

Pretty funny stuff.

Bush Has A Better Plan

The scariest five words in the English language:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush said Tuesday that a U.S. military program to bolster Iraqi security forces in Baghdad will better address the violence there as he pledged to stand by Iraq’s new democratic government.

"Obviously the violence in Baghdad is still terrible," Bush said during a joint White House news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Bush had praised al-Maliki’s signature program to improve Baghdad security during their last meeting in Baghdad in June.

Wiat a sec.  Doesn’t all the violence mean that the insurgency is in its "last throes"?

Gas Prices At An All Time High

Just thought you should know:

Nationwide gas prices hit an all-time high in the last two weeks, rising nearly 2 cents to just over $3 per gallon, according to a survey released Sunday.

The national average for self-serve regular stood at $3.0150 a gallon Friday, up 1.98 cents in the last two weeks, according to the Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations across the country.

The price exceed the previous high of $3.0117 set in September last year, analyst Trilby Lundberg said.

Things I Did Know, But Not Completely

Christopher Columbus was a real prick.

I mean, I knew about how he subjugated and mistreated all the local natives that he came across in the New World.

I’d even heard this story:

Between the evening of October 11 and the morning of October 12, a sailor on the Pinta named Juan Rodriguez Bermejo called out, "Land, land!" Isabella had offered a reward to the first person to sight land. However, Columbus said that he had seen a flickering light hours earlier, and he claimed the reward.

But new documents, recently discovered, show how terrible Columbus and his brothers were when they established their first colony in the New World:

We hear of a poor boy who was caught stealing wheat grain. They cut off his ears and nose and put shackles on him and made him a slave.

Columbus ran the colony with an iron fist. One woman happened to say Columbus came from a working-class family and that his father had been a weaver.

Columbus’s brother Bartholme had her tongue cut out. After parading her naked through the streets on a donkey, Christopher congratulated his brother on defending the family honour.

***

The 46-page document shows Columbus and his brothers, Bartholme and Diego, as tyrants who ruled through summary justice without bothering with trials.

They also failed to give out food and water. They also forbade natives to be baptized so that they could be used as slaves, according to witnesses claims.

And those slaves not only included the indiginous natives, but white Spaniards as well.

And we have a holiday for this asshole?

Things I Didn’t Know

Part of a life-long series.

Today’s topic is abortion.  Specifically, parental notification laws.

Pro-lifers are in favor of such laws, which require that teenage girls seeking abortion must obtain parental permission (or a court order) before said abortion can be performed.  The pro-life lobby believes that parental notification laws will reduce the number of abortions, on the presumption that parents will encourage their daughters to carry the fetuses to term.

Not necessarily so, I learned today:

But some workers and doctors at abortion clinics said that the laws had little connection with the real lives of most teenagers, and that they more often saw parents pressing their daughters to have abortions than trying to stop them. And many teenagers say they never considered hiding their pregnancies or abortion plans from their mothers.

Still, even assuming these laws actually cut down on teen abortions, these laws should be opposed. And Matt Yglesius explained why:

The main effect of the laws is to intimidate such women out of getting abortions for fear of what their parents (most likely fathers) will do to them if they’re told. Now if you believe abortion is murder, this is a great deal. From within the relevant class of people, a certain number are successfully intimidated out of having abortions. A sub-set of these women probably wind up being subjected to physical abuse by their parents, but a few beatings is a small price to pay for cutting down on the number of baby killers. …Still, this stuff sucks.  The country does not need more teen mothers, does not need more child abuse, and doesn’t need bus drivers getting thrown in jail for letting pregnant women get on board. To be perfectly frank about it, women under 18 are the last group of people we should be subjecting to intense pressure to carry their pregnancies to term. Arguments that the aggregate impact of these laws will be less teen sex rather than more teen mothers are purely fatuous.

Hat tip: The Carpetbagger Report

Inside The Pod’s Mind

Die-hard conservatives are absolutely blown away with praise for Oliver Stone’s new movie "World Trade Center", which tells the true story of two NYC policemen trapped in the rubble of WTC on 9/11.

Cal Thomas, for example, calls it one of the great Hollywood movies of all time, writing:

Whatever one thinks of Oliver Stone, the man knows how to make movies. This is one of his best. It deserves an Oscar in so many categories. It also deserves the thanks of a grateful nation. Go and see it beginning Aug. 9 and make him a large profit so he might consider inspiring us again, as his predecessors so often did during Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Other praise from conservatives here and here.

Enter, the Corner’s John Podheretz, who reveals his true colors by saying:

Nonetheless, because "World Trade Center" tells a story of joyous survival rather than a story of death, it is a fundamental falsification of the meaning of 9/11 – even though the story it tells is true.

He adds:

…that is not what 9/11 was about – 9/11 was a day of barbaric mass murder, not a day of hope.

Ironically, in the same column, he heaps praise on the movie "United 93", which he casts as a tale about "survival".  Not death, but the opposite.

I almost feel sorry for someone who is stuck on fear, tragedy, and sorrow.  9/11 was obviously a tragedy — but seriously, do we need a movie to remind us of that?  Just as the Holocaust contained stories like the one told in "Schindler’s List", 9/11 also exemplified what is good about America, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with a movie about that.  But if it were up to Pod, a 9/11 movie would be just about adversity (bodies jumping from skyscrapers), and not about triumph in spite of adversity (men surviving in the rubble).  Says something rather ugly about the man.

Gay Divorcees

The first same-sex marriage sanctioned by Massaschusetts is apparently over.  Watch how wingnuts will use this to argue that same-sex marriage is wrong and unnatural, while ignoring the fact that the divorce rate for heterosexual marriages is at an all-time high.

Lead Singer For Iron Maiden News

I’m no fan of Iron Maiden, but this is a pretty cool story:

He’s the frontman for one of the great metal bands of all-time. He was a world class fencer. Now, after helping to rescue scores of Britons from the fiery hell of war, he’s a national hero.

Bruce Dickinson, lead singer for Iron Maiden, gets bored pretty quickly. He keeps himself busy with many hobbies and art projects. Years ago he was trained as a commercial pilot by friend Captain Phil Dales of British Airways.

When Dickinson got word that his countrymen were stranded in Cyprus after having fled the war in Lebanon, he leaped at the chance to help.

"He was only too keen to get involved and help. He has a strong interest in the welfare of people caught up in international conflicts and cares about what is going on," said a colleague.

Dickinson piloted a Boeing 757 down to the tiny island nation to pick up 200 Britons and return them to the safety to Gatwick Airport in England.

Now Dickinson will return to hosting his weekly radio show on BBC 6Music and resume rehearsing for Iron Maiden’s fall tour opening at Budokan.

Friday iPod Random Ten

  1. E5_2 Don’t You Want Me — Human League
  2. Principles Of Lust – Enigma
  3. Creeque Alley – The Mamas & The Papas
  4. Minnie and Alex’s Reel – Natalie MacMaster
  5. Taurus II– Mike Oldfield
  6. Children Children – Bat Boy: The Musical
  7. Rosalinda’s Eyes – Billy Joel
  8. O Superman – Laurie Anderson
  9. Runaway – Janet Jackson (or, in the alternative, if you are given to feelings indicating a modicum of overt or subtle nastiness, you may address her simply as "Miss Jackson")
  10. I’m A Believer – The Monkees

Blogrolling

Gotta give a plug to Heather Hamby’s newly-redesigned website (now with working buttons) for anyone following the adventures of the Triad’s favorite beauty queen.  (Or at least, my favorite beauty queen).

And, as always, I recommend that you keep abreast of Emily Mark’s website, and in particular her blog, The Soap Box.  Funny stuff.  Emily has toned up like I-don’t-know-what for the "Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical" (I really should follow her lead), which means she won’t be using my new favorite word ("fatsnack") anymore . . . but she’s still a hoot to read.

Rapture Dreams

Well, there’s a small segment of society who believe that the Middle East conflict is a good thing.  A REAL good thing.

Over at Rapture Ready/End Times Chat online bulletin board, some evangelical Christians are seeing recent events as a sure sign of the second coming of Christ.  Here are a few comments posted on the board:

Praise God! We are chosen to be in these times and also watch and spread the word. Something inside me is exploding to get out, and I don’t know what it is. Its kind of like I want to do cartwheels around the neighborhood.

* * *

A question just popped in my head. Do you think children of around say 7 or 8 (but before the age of accountability) that have been indoctrinated up until that time by their parents religious beliefs will be raptured? . . . For example, would a 7 year old muslim be raptured? I know G-d will do right but I was just wondering everyone’s thoughts. I hate to think of kids being left here.

* * *

Got that dancing feeling on the inside of me.

* * *

This is the busiest I’ve ever seen this website in a few years! I have been having rapture dreams and I can’t believe that this is really it! We are on the edge of eternity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

* * *

Whoa! I can sure feel the glory bumps after reading this thread!

* * *

I too am soooo excited!! I get goose bumps, literally, when I watch what’s going on in the M.E.!! And Watcherboy, you were so right when saying it was quite a day yesterday, in the world news, and I add in local news here in the Boston area!! Tunnel ceiling collapsed on a car and killed a woman of faith, and we had the most terrifying storms I have ever seen here!! But, yes, oh happy day, like in your screen name , it is most indeed a time to be happy and excited, right there with ya!!

* * *

I am excited beyond words that the struggle of this life may be over soon and I can finally be FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

* * *

This is so exciting….I’m having a hard time believing this is ‘real’!

I’m not trying to put down anyone’s deeply-held religious convictions, but isn’t there something a little ooky about celebrating war, death, and destruction (not to mention the Big Dig fatality in Boston) in this way?

Jesus wept.

Courtesy of Harper’s Magazine

Shacking Up Now Legal In North Carolina

201 years ago, North Carolina passed a law (N.C.G.S. § 14‑184) which made it a criminal offense for a man and woman to live together unless they were married.  Specifically, the law says:

If any man and woman, not being married to each other, shall lewdly and lasciviously associate, bed and cohabit together, they shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

That archaic law was never taken off the books.

To North Carolina’s credit, it was rarely enforced. 

But in 2004, a 9-1-1 dispatcher with the Pender County Sheriff’s Office named Debora Hobbs was called into her employer’s office and given a choice: marry the man she was currently living with, or be fired from her job.

She went with door number 3, suing her employer’s ass.  The NC Chapter of the ACLU joined in.

Yesterday, State Superior Court Judge Benjamin Alford issued a ruling that the law was unconstitutional on its face and as applied to Hobbs.

From the ACLU press release:

“I am absolutely thrilled with the court’s decision,” said Hobbs. “I just didn’t think it was any of my employer’s business whether I was married or not, as long as I was good at my job, and I am happy that no one else will ever have to be subjected to this law. I couldn’t believe that I was being given this ultimatum to choose between my boyfriend or my livelihood because the Sheriff was enforcing a 201-year-old law that clearly violates my civil rights.”

Jennifer Rudinger, Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina, added:

“North Carolina’s cohabitation law is not only patently unconstitutional, but the idea that the government would criminalize people’s choice to live together out of wedlock in this day and age defies logic and common sense.”

It sure does did.

2006 Hurricane Names

HurricaneritalgWe’re dealing with Beryl off the East Coast now.

Which one will be the next Katrina?

2006 Hurricane Names

Alberto
Beryl
Chris
Debby
Ernesto
Florence
Gordon
Helene
Isaac
Joyce
Kirk
Leslie
Michael
Nadine
Oscar
Patty
Rafael
Sandy
Tony
Valerie
William

I can’t help but noticing that "Debby" is on the list.  Since I am going to be in a production of "Debbie Does Dallas" in late August (see sidebar at right), I’m wondering if the two events will coincide.  Not that I actually want a hurricane named Debbie to strike Texas at that time (or any time), but it would be — well — kinda good publicity if timed right.

But my money is on Florence.  "Florence" just sounds like a bad-ass hurricane.  "Helene", too.

Heckuva Constitutional Infringement, FEMA.

I had to read this two or three times to make sure I was getting it right:

Residents of trailer parks set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to house hurricane victims in Louisiana aren’t allowed to talk to the press without an official escort, The (Baton Rouge) Advocate reported.

In one instance, a security guard ordered an Advocate reporter out of a trailer during an interview in Morgan City. Similar FEMA rules were enforced in Davant, in Plaquemines Parish.

FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Rodi wouldn’t say whether the security guards’ actions complied with FEMA policy, saying the matter was being reviewed. But she confirmed that FEMA does not allow the news media to speak alone to residents in their trailers.

"If a resident invites the media to the trailer, they have to be escorted by a FEMA representative who sits in on the interview," Rodi told the newspaper for its July 15 report. "That’s just a policy."

A policy?  It’s a violation of the First Amendment.  Actually, it violates two parts of the First Amendment: freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

These Katrina victims lost their homes.  They lost their homes and are now living in trailer parks — not internment camps.  They can talk to whomever they please on any subject they please, and the government cannot monitor or prohibit any conversation.

Very bizarre.

Earth Orbit Unaffected, No Thanks To You

In case you missed it (I know I did), today was World Jump Day. 

An organization of people with nothing better to do decided to get everybody in the western hemisphere to jump at the same time, in an effort to see if the simultaneous impact of 600 million pairs of feet would shift the planet’s orbit. (For obvious reasons, this wouldn’t work if the entire planet’s population jumped at the same time, since the impact of mass jumping in the Eastern hemisphere would offset that of the Western hemisphere, and Earth’s orbit would remain constant — this is high science, don’t you know.)

Worldjumpday

The jump was scheduled for July 20, 2006 (today) at 11:39.13 UTC (Greenwich Mean Time), which translates to 7:39.13 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

I’m no astronomer, but looking out the window, it doesn’t look like the Earth’s orbit has gone askew.

And it’s YOUR fault, because YOU didn’t participate.