You may ask your self “how much more heavy could this be?”

And the answer is, unequivocally, no NONE. NONE MORE HEAVY:

From this MeFi post with several other worthwhile links.

Observations gleaned from various comment threads on this:

First, amazingly, “War Pigs” is only eleven years after Buddy Holly.

Second, N.B. what a tiny drum kit Bill Ward plays compared to modern metal drummers. It does not seem to slow him down.

Finally, how the hell did Mrs Heathen and I not know this was happening at the 9:30 club that night?

Dept. of Theaters That Don’t Suck

It’s nice to see that some theater owners do understand how to compete with better home theater: give the customer a solid experience, including not just a fantastically curated film selection, but also great food, solid fundamentals, and vigilant protection of the whole experience.

It’s even cooler that the guy TechDirt is using as an example is someone we Heathen actually know, at least tangentially. All Hail Alamo and Tim League!

Well, that’s no surprise

The Onion, of course:

High School Fuckup Now In Charge Of Checking Airport Luggage For Explosives

BIRMINGHAM, AL–Former D-plus student and complete fuckup Malcolm Tibbets, 28, was recently entrusted by the Transportation Security Administration with the task of searching all bags for explosive devices or other weapons that could kill passengers or cause irreparable damage at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. “What I do is real important,” said the semiliterate, five-year Birmingham Central student, shaking a peanut brittle package next to his ear several times before replacing it in a passenger’s bag. “Got to make sure no bombs get on the planes.” According to airport sources, Tibbets, who once tried to punch his 11th-grade English teacher, was given the bag-searching job in December after TSA personnel deemed him the sharpest man on the metal detector team.

Yet another geeky reason to love XKCD

In the current comic‘s alt text, the author insists that if you pick any random article in Wikipedia, and then choose the first link in the article text not in parenthesis or italicized, and repeat, you will eventually find yourself at the entry for “Philosophy.”

So I tried. I started at Horse fly -> Diptera (which redirect to Fly)-> Order (Biology) -> Scientific Classification -> biologists -> scientist -> Systematic -> Elements (mathematics) -> Mathematics -> Quantity -> Property (philosophy) –> Modern philosophy –> Philosophy.

Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot.

I’m researching an IE problem, but I’m using Chrome on my Mac to do it. What do I see in MSFT’s support articles? This gem of a warning:

System Tip

This article applies to a different operating system than the one you are using. Article content that may not be relevant to you is disabled.

Clearly, nobody in Redmond every researched a client problem on a different brand of computer than the client used. Who makes choices like this? Seriously?

Yet Another Criminal Prosecutor

I’ve written frequently here about the need for additional prosecutorial oversight, and about the distorting effects of their immunity; this case may take the cake, though I’m sure some overstepping jackass will exceed the venality of Philadelphia’s Seth Williams.

The story is this:

Philadelphia is a city with legally permitted open carry. Mark Fiorino had a bit of a run in with the Philly cops, who were completely ignorant of the law and threatened to shoot him for having a legal gun on his hip. That’s ridiculous enough.

It turns out Mr Fiorino has had run-ins with overzealous police before, though, so he recorded this run in, and said recording makes it abundantly clear what ignorant thug’s Philly had representing it as policemen that night.

All of this is bad, to be sure; as Balko points out in the first link, cops are the first to note that ignorance of laws is no excuse for breaking them — but that same ignorance appears to be permissible for the cops themselves. We’re used to this, though, sad state of affairs though it may be.

But it gets worse:

Philly DA R. Seth Williams knows Fiorino broke no laws, but has still made the decision to have him arrested, and to charge him with crimes he knows are trumped up.

So what are we to then make of Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams’ decision to arrest and charge Fiorino after Fiorino posted the recordings on the Internet?

Here’s what I make of it: It’s criminal. Fiorino embarrassed Philadelphia cops, and Williams is punishing him for it. Williams and the police spokesman are claiming Fiorino deliberately provoked the cops. No, he didn’t. He didn’t wave the gun at anyone. He didn’t invite police scrutiny. The cops confronted him upon seeing a weapon he was legally carrying in a perfectly legal manner. And they were wrong. Make no mistake. This is blatant intimidation.

But while their behavior in this story was repugnant, at least the cops had the plausible explanation of ignorance for the initial confrontation, then fear for their safety when an armed man they incorrectly thought was violating the law pushed back (though neither is an excuse, and neither should exclude them from discipline). What Williams has done since is much worse. It is premeditated. Much more than the cops, Williams should know the law. Moreover, even if he didn’t know the law at the time, he has since had plenty of time to research it. By now, Williams does know the law. (If he doesn’t, he is incompetent.) And he knows that even if Fiorino did deliberately provoke the cops to test their knowledge of Philadelphia’s gun laws, that also is not a crime.

Yet he’s charging Fiorino anyway, with “reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct”–the vague sorts of charges cops and prosecutors often fall back on when they can’t show any actual crime.


Note that nothing Fiorino did was on its own illegal. Willliams is attempting a striking, blatantly dishonest bit of legal chicanery. His theory goes like this: If you undertake a series of actions that are perfectly legal and well within your rights, but that cause government agents to react in irrational ways that jeopardize public safety, you are guilty of endangering the public.

This can’t stand. It’s a blatant abuse of office. Williams is using the state’s awesome power to arrest and incarcerate to intimidate a man who exposed and embarrassed law enforcement officials who, because of their own ignorance, nearly killed him. Exposing that sort of government incompetence cannot be illegal. And it isn’t illegal.

The message Williams is sending is this: Yes, you might technically have the right to carry a gun in Philadelphia. But if you exercise that right, you should be prepared for the possibility that police officers will illegally stop you, detain you, threaten to kill you, and arrest you. And I’m not going to do a damn thing about it.

As it turns out, I’m not the only person that misses the old BR

Remember what Banana Republic used to be like, before douches took over? The product descriptions were stories, the gear was wonderful, and you got the impression you were dealing with humans, not a faceless corporation.

Yeah, me too. I wore the shit out of some Ghurka shorts back then, too. Turns out, we’re not the only ones who miss ’em.

Obviously, the market loved the approach — after the founders sold to the aforementioned douches and the brand became something else entirely, another company started doing something very similar. Heathen HQ has a bunch of Peterman stuff, too.

And as long as we’re lamenting dead brands, pour a little out for Willis & Geiger; they were the real deal, to be sure.

Surprise, Surprise, Fox Loves Lies

Michelle Obama invited a number of poets, including rapper Common, to the White House. Cue Fox outrage about some “gangster rapper” in favor of “killing cops,” complete with extraordinarily selective readings of his work to support their pathetic attempts to stoke white, right-wing outrage.

Jon Stewart’s on it; just go check it out.

You can’t make this stuff up.


I’ve thought for a while that I’d put together a longer post about the death of Bin Laden last week, but there’s not a lot I can say about it that hasn’t been said better elsewhere, except to answer questions put to me directly. I have definitely been asked where my outrage is about an extrajudicial activity like this, given my “rule of law” bent so well documented here.

On that point, I’m pretty unbothered. OBL was pretty clear in what he wanted, what he was responsible for, and what he planned to do in the future. He’s not some made-up boogeyman; plenty of sources agree on his role in the resurgence of xenophobic jihadism in the Middle East. (If you haven’t, please do go read The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright’s Pultizer-winning account of the rise of Al Qaeda.) Bin Laden was a bad guy and an enemy of peaceful people everywhere; as the President noted in his announcement, he’s killed no small number of Muslims. And, unlike the bulk of the people we housed at Gitmo these last 9+ years, we actually KNOW he was guilty.

So, Eichmann aside, I don’t have any problem at all with this move. I don’t even have a problem if the mission parameters were structured to make live capture essentially impossible despite giving lip service to the idea. I’d feel the same way about Mullah Omar, but probably not about many other folks — I mean, these guys are avowed terrorists who want to kill Americans. They don’t stop being that just because they’re not holding a gun right now. Again, unlike most of the folks we nabbed and stuck in extraconstitutional hell, there’s no doubt about the names at the top of the AQ masthead. (Indeed, my point all along was that people like Maher Arar were detained, tortured, and otherwise assaulted without any evidence of wrongdoing — and then released with no recourse.)

So what of torture and intelligence gathering? Folks are definitely making lots of noise about this, and Bush apologists are saying that waterboard-gained intel is what put us on the path to Abbottabad. Well, opinions vary, but even if we did it was still wrong. However, I’m not alone in thinking it wasn’t torture, if only because of the timeline. Evidence points to real intel, not waterboarding, as the source of this leak. Or, as the Economist pointed out, if the elimination of Osama Bin Laden was a triumph for the tactics of a TV hero, it was Lester Freamon, not Jack Bauer.

Which, finally, brings us to the most cogent and clearest analysis of all this comes from Radley Balko. In his view, dead or not, Osama won. You should read this, even if you skip most of the rest of these links. He set out to harm America, and he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. Food for thought.

Did Osama Have Good Backups? The IT Lessons of the bin Laden Raid

No, really:

Granted, it’s not every IT administrator who has to deal with a C-level executive in a remote office losing confidential company data because an elite armed military force broke into the place he was staying and took it. That said, there’s a number of lessons that IT administrators can take away from this week’s news.

It’s short and interesting.