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Van Halen Reunites

‘Eddie Van Halen’s son looks like Peppermint Patty. There’s no getting around it. I wish things could be different. As do, presumably, fans of Van Halen. This week, the long-beleaguered pop-metal behemoth disembalms original singer David Lee Roth for what is surely the Chinese Democracy of reunion tours, a long-threatened and oft-aborted rehash of those early-’80s glory years, before jovial, tequila-hawking asshat Sammy Hagar took over and turned the band into wusstastic chart-toppers. The Rothian diehards are (cautiously) elated. But the thorn on this particular rose lies in the absence of beloved bassist Michael Anthony, the bearlike dude with the Mickey Mouse watch collection and (lasciviously) angelic harmonies, kicked to the curb for I’m sure just totally rational reasons and replaced by . . . Eddie Van Halen’s son. His name is Wolfgang. He is 16 years old. And in fascinating rehearsal pics released last week, choogling merrily behind the pleasantly emaciated Roth and his own terrifyingly emaciated father, Wolfgang looks well-fed, looks content, looks beatific, looks like Peppermint Patty.… Read the rest

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Dan Rather Stands By His Story

‘Dan Rather’s complaint against CBS and Viacom, its parent company, filed in New York state court on Sept. 19 and seeking $70 million in damages for his wrongful dismissal as "CBS Evening News" anchor, has aroused hoots of derision from a host of commentators. They’ve said that the former anchor is "sad," "pathetic," "a loser," on an "ego" trip and engaged in a mad gesture "no sane person" would do, and that "no one in his right mind would keep insisting that those phony documents are real and that the Bush National Guard story is true."

‘If the court accepts his suit, however, launching the adjudication of legal issues such as breach of fiduciary duty and tortuous interference with contract, it will set in motion an inexorable mechanism that will grind out answers to other questions as well. Then Rather’s suit will become an extraordinary commission of inquiry into a major news organization’s intimidation, complicity and corruption under the Bush administration.… Read the rest

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American Sex Portrait

‘Kinsey’s pioneering work is still one-of-a-kind because in all the time since, only a handful of sex researchers have even tried to match his breadth, depth, and scale. For all our obsession with sex, we’re skittish about studying it. There’s one major exception: a large survey, conducted in the 1990s, that far outdid Kinsey in terms of statistical reliability. It’s the most authoritative sexual self-portrait the country has. But you’ve probably never heard of its author, because unlike Kinsey, he has worked hard to keep it that way.

‘As a pioneer in the field, Kinsey had methodological strengths. To begin with, he was a counter, to the core. He gathered his data by conducting detailed, face-to-face interviews, occasionally lasting six hours or longer, and then tabulating how many people said they did what. He was an innovator in this regard, zeroing in on behaviors (whether a person had a homosexual experience or response, for instance) rather than identities (whether a person described himself as gay).… Read the rest

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Irish Gulags For Women: ‘Everything You Know About God Is Wrong’

The following is a small portion of Sam Jordison’s "’Irish Gulags for Women’: The Catholic Church’s Magdalene Asylums," one of 41 articles in Disinfo’s new anthology, Everything You Know About God Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Religion, edited by Russ Kick. Other contributors include Richard Dawkins, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Rushkoff, and H.G. Wells. All major religions, and some minor ones, are covered. (More information is here.)

Here is the first fifth of Jordison’s article:

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Al-Qaeda’s Forerunner

‘Not many people can tell you much about the November 1979 takeover of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, by Islamist militants. That’s partly because the Saudi authorities, as is their way, kept a tight lid on information during that fateful two-week period when the regime’s survival seemed, for the first time, in danger. Little changed afterward by way of transparency (even if the Saudis released a fascinating Arabic-language video on the event, pouring opprobrium on the militants). That is why Yaroslav Trofimov’s just-published book The Siege of Mecca is so valuable a document, not only in describing the murky events surrounding the takeover almost 28 years ago, but also as a backgrounder on the depth of Salafist tendencies in Saudi Arabia and the later emergence of Al-Qaeda. Trofimov, an Asia-based reported for the Wall Street Journal, has written extensively on Islam and the Middle East. An earlier book, Faith at War: A Journey on the Frontlines of Islam, from Baghdad to Timbuktu, was selected as one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post.’ (Reason article).… Read the rest

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The 9/11 Survivor No One Can Remember

‘Ms Head’s account made her one of only 19 survivors who had been at or above the point of impact when the planes hit. But no part of her story, it turns out, has been verified.

‘The family and friends of the man to whom she claimed to be engaged say they have never heard of Tania Head and view the relationship she describes with the man, who did die in the north tower, as an impossibility.

‘A spokeswoman for Merrill Lynch, where she told people she worked at the time of the terror attack, said the company had no record of employing a Tania Head.’ (Guardian article).

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Sui Generis?

‘Did the prisoners at Leavenworth consider suing Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel for ripping off the saggy belt-less trousers they wear in the prison yard? Did hundreds of anonymous graffiti artists sue Stephen Sprouse for printing tags on Louis Vuitton satchels?’ (Village Voice article).

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Outlaws

‘As "The Kingdom" progresses, the role of the F.B.I. squad begins to inflate. At first, under the guiding hand of the local investigator, Colonel Faris Al Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom), the agents are largely confined to their quarters and barely permitted to disturb the crime scene. As the rules relax, the film turns into "C.S.I.: Riyadh," with Sykes fishing around in bomb craters for twisted clues, and, by the end, the fantastic four

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The Weirdest Sex Stories Of 2007

’2007 has been a great year for sex. OK, every year is a great year for sex. But this year is especially interesting, with reports of sexsomnia, vegansexuals, man boobs, female promiscuity, double penises, horny old folks, cosmetic vagina surgery, publicly funded sex-change surgery, and the decline of marriage and co-sleeping. Among this year’s hundreds of Human Nature stories, five trends and discoveries stand out.’ (Slate Magazine article).

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Jim Marrs: America’s PSI Spies Penetrate The Kremlin

Behind the doors of the CIA and U.S. Army Intelligence, science and ESP come together like a movie in the electrifying scenes of Jim Marrs’ new book, PSI Spies: the True Story of America’s Psychic Warfare Program. The author of best-sellers that have revealed the secrets and the conspiracies of the Federal Government, Marrs traces in PSI Spies the evolution of remote viewing and the use of this mental technology from the hidden laboratories of the 1970s to a new generation of viewers now being trained by former PSI spies.

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