Author Archive | Raymond

Aleister Crowley: A Passion for Evil? – Disinformation: The Podcast

Disinformation: The Podcast: Episode 12 — Aleister Crowley: A Passion for Evil?

Aleister Crowley

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This episode features an interview with playwright John Burns.  John’s latest work, Aleister Crowley: A Passion for Evil, is being performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer.

We discuss little known aspects of Crowley’s life, including his childhood and his experiences as a mountaineer.  We also discuss the recent Disinformation documentary Aleister Crowley: In Search of the Great Beast 666, which attempts to dramatize Crowley’s history through filmmaking.… Read the rest

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Google Attorney Calls Intellectual Property Treaty “Gollum-like”

Nothing like a good Lord of the Rings reference to make your point about Copyright Law. Declan McCullagh writes on CNET News:

from Vic201401 at Wikimedia Commons

Gollum sculpture at Wax Museum in Mexico City. Photo: Vic201401 (CC)

An attorney for Google slammed a controversial intellectual property treaty, saying it has “metastasized” from a proposal to address border security and counterfeit goods to an international legal framework sweeping in copyright and the Internet.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, is “something that has grown in the shadows, Gollum-like,” without public scrutiny, Daphne Keller, a senior policy counsel in Mountain View, Calif., said at a conference at Stanford University.

Both the Obama administration and the Bush administration had rejected requests from civil libertarians and technologists for the text of ACTA, with the White House last year even indicating that disclosure would do “damage to the national security.” After pressure from the European Parliament, however, negotiators released the draft text two weeks ago.

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NASA Tests Amazing Bailout Rocket Which Will Never be Used

I had such high hopes for the Orion program. Back to the Moon, and maybe even to Mars… It could have worked. The Register reports:

NASA has spectacularly and successfully tested the launch abort system – the ejector seat, as it were – for its new Orion crew capsule. There’s just one problem: according to President Obama’s stated plans, Orion will never be launched with crew aboard.

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Why the Enlightened Liberal Class Is Complicit in the Country’s Downward Spiral

This article from TruthDig is good reminder that just because you are educated, it doesn’t mean you have escaped “The System.”

We are approaching a decade of war in Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq is in its eighth year. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands more Afghans and Pakistani civilians have been killed. Millions have been driven into squalid displacement and refugee camps. Thousands of our own soldiers and Marines have died or been crippled physically and psychologically. We sustain these wars, which have no real popular support, by borrowing trillions of dollars that can never be repaid, even as we close schools, states go into bankruptcy, social services are cut, our infrastructure crumbles, tens of millions of Americans are reduced to poverty, and real unemployment approaches 17 percent. Collective, suicidal inertia rolls us forward toward national insolvency and the collapse of empire. And we do not protest. The peace movement, despite the heroic efforts of a handful of groups such as Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Green Party and Code Pink, is dead.

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Christian Right’s Favorite Muslim Convert Exposed As Jihadi Fraud

Looks like the Evangelicals have a scandal of their own to contend with now. Alternet reports:

from libery.edu (CC)

Liberty Seminary President Ergun Caner claims he traveled the road ‘from jihad to Jesus,’ but Baptist bloggers say his stories of terrorist training are false.

Ergun Caner’s rise to the top of conservative evangelical celebrity — and to the presidency of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell — was fueled by how aggressively he capitalized on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to portray himself as a personal example of the power of Jesus to save even someone raised as a jihadist, which he claimed to be.

There’s only one problem with that part of Caner’s story: it appears not to be true.

In 2001, Caner was pastoring a church in Colorado. After 9/11, he became a hot commodity on the speaking circuit as someone who knew about the evils of Islam firsthand.

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Utah Uses Eminent Domain to Seize Land of … Uncle Sam

Medical Marijuana isn’t the only issue which has states challenging federal power. ABC News reports:

Photo: Donar Reiskoffer (CC)

Photo: Donar Reiskoffer (CC)

Utah is itching for a land fight. A battle with Washington over territorial rights and state sovereignty. It wants to spark a revolt in which Western states attempt to wrest control of federal lands within their borders.

The Beehive State might just get its way, too. In March, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed a controversial law authorizing the use of eminent domain to capture some of the millions of acres that the federal government owns here.

The law was tailor-made to provoke a lawsuit, possibly reaching the US Supreme Court, and to inspire other Western states to enact similar legislation.

While it’s unusual for eminent domain to involve the taking of federal lands, this law is a byproduct of many Utahns’ frustrations: The US government owns more than 60 percent of the state, thus dictating whether land has been set aside for preservation or can be accessed for mineral deposits.

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Voyager 2 Stops Making Sense

Voyager 2 is nearly a billion miles away from the Earth right now, so repairs are a little out of our reach. Let’s hope the folks at JPL can fix these communications problems. Ars Technica reports:

Voyager 2, which has been traveling through the solar system since the late ’70s, has suffered a data formatting glitch that is preventing NASA from interpreting the content of its scientific data transmissions.

Control and diagnostic transmissions are unaffected, which should enable the engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to troubleshoot the problem, provided they’re patient — it currently takes nearly 13 hours for transmissions from Earth to catch up with the probe.

According to a statement released by the JPL, the problem first became apparent on April 22nd. Data from the scientific transmission, which currently reports on the conditions at the very edge of the solar system, began coming through with improper formatting, making it impossible to interpret the contents.

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U.S. Army Marches On Red Square (Photo)

Don’t worry, they’re just celebrating the 65th anniversary of our two countries’ tag team victory over the Nazis!  Wired reports:

from U.S. Army Europe via Flickr

Source: U.S. Army Europe, via Flickr

This weekend marks the 65th anniversary of V-E Day, the end of the Second World War in Europe. In Russia, and other countries of the former Soviet Union, May 9 marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany. Victory Day (День Победы) is a major public holiday there, vested with almost sacred meaning.

But this year’s military parade in Red Square is particularly unusual: It’s the first time active-duty U.S. troops have been invited to march in the ceremony. Pictured here are soldiers of Co. C, 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, part of the 170th Brigade Combat Team, in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. They took part in the parade as part of a contingent of troops from the nations that defeated Hitler.

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Chavez Uses State Funds to Hire 200 Staffers to Manage Twitter Account

Chavez may be a bit loony, but he does live in 21st century. This article from The Raw Story might be just the job posting you are looking for.

from Valter Campanato at Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Valter Campanato/ABr (CC)

Just days after his new Twitter account became a must-read in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez said he was setting up a special office with 200 staff and public funds to handle requests supporters Tweet him.”I’ve created my own Chavezcandanga mission to answer (the messages) and we’re even going to create a fund for the mission to provide many things that are now missing and that are urgent,” Chavez said late Saturday during a televised cabinet meeting.

He said the public fund will be used to make the most needed improvements in the country that his followers bring to his attention, such as in the health care and housing sectors.

Chavez late last month opened his Twitter account and it quickly took top billing in the South American country with an estimated 248,000 followers.

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