Wednesday, January 31, 2007

More Shit from Iraq

From TomPaine.Com:

For the very first time, an official United Nations human rights report released last week has confirmed the “violent campaigns” against Iraqi gays and the “assassinations of homosexuals in Iraq.”

“Attacks on homosexuals and intolerance of homosexual practices have long existed, yet they have escalated in the past year,” says the latest bi-monthly Human Rights Report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), released on January 16. “Islamic groups and militias have been known to be particularly hostile towards homosexuals, frequently and openly engaging in violent campaigns against them. There have been a number of assassinations of homosexuals in Iraq,” the report says.

Including a section entitled “Sexual Orientation” for the first time, the 30-page report goes on to say that the UNAMI Human Rights Office “was also alerted to the existence of religious courts, supervised by clerics, where alleged homosexuals would be ‘tried,’ ‘sentenced’ to death, and then executed.”

The report, along with the Iraqi LGBT website, states the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, has issued a fatwa calling for the killing of gays and lesbians in "The worst, most severe way possible" in Iraq [update: In May 2006 he retracted the fatwa calling for murder, but kept the fatwa calling for "the punishment of lesbianism." And yet wikipedia can still state that Muqtada al-Sadr, who is 42 years Sistani's junior and the head of an independent militia known as the Mahdi army, has risen to prominence in the course of 2004 and his military activities have undermined the peaceful teachings of Sistani].

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


It looks like Harry Potters all grown up now.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A lamb, pre-slaughter

This has been making the rounds at work - a video the new Hawai`i County archaeologist posted on youtube.

As my coworker put it, they are going to eat this kid alive.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

أردنّ ‎

Jordan. Pause. Interesting. Pause. Why... Jordan?

And I'll mumble something back, along the lines of how I'd talked with Alastair about visiting Fr. Paulie in Nazareth, and I thought I could take a quick side trip to Petra & the more I read the more intrigued I became about Jordan and though Alastair and I never followed up ... and I'll trail off with a shrug ...

Some places are easy to explain. No one ever asks Why Paris? or Why New York? But when I say I'm heading into Amman I get hesitant and curious stares, and always - Why Jordan?

So ..
؟لماذا الأردن

Li-madhaa al-urdunn? Because I'm a hopeless frikkin' romantic. That's why. Because I want to hire a Bedouin to guide me to the hidden Nabatean city of al-Petra. Because I want to take a camel out into the wilderness and feel what T.E. Lawrence felt in Wadi Rumm and Azrak (Of Azrak, as of Rumm, one said 'Numen inest'. Both were magically haunted: but whereas Rumm was vast and echoing and God-like, Arak's unfathomable silence was steeped in knowledge of wandering poets, champions, lost kingdoms, all the crime and chivalry and dead magnificence of Hira and Ghassan. Each stone or blade of it was radiant with half-memory of the luminous, silky Eden, which had passed so long ago). Because I want to sleep like Antoine St. Exupery under the desert sky (I wonder whether the stars are set alight in heaven so that one day each one of us may find his own again....the stars, the desert -- what gives them their beauty is something that is invisible....It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye).

This is what happens when you read too many books as a kid. One day you'll have just enough money and time to get in trouble for yourself. You want your child to be happy, to grow up and get married and settle down in the nice pretty house behind a clean white picket fence? Don't teach them to read.

There's more. It's because I want to see this tiny Kingdom that has kept the peace though it has no water and no oil and is surrounded on all sides by chaos (Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iraq!). Because King Abdullah II will disguise himself as a taxi driver and wander the City, Queen Noor was an Urban Planner, and Queen Rania al-Abdullah (left) has a website on Women's Empowerment. Because 200,000 citizens marched in Amman against al-Quaeda. Because homosexuality is legal & though there is no outward scene gaydar has 900+ profiles. And because I've visited the Jordanian chat rooms and blogs and damn if I didn't pick up a sense of aloha there.

I've been studying my Arabic and re-reading The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Next week I buy my tickets, and come Spring I'll be riding my camel across the desert.

Use It or Lose It

I thought I was being clever when I signed up for Island Flex - a plan that deducts money from your paycheck prior to taxes, from which you can pay your medical bills.

I just compiled all my bills from the last six months, thinking about what a great windfall I was going to get. But I misjudged, and even after the root canal and a tooth-yanking & a year's supply of ambien I'm not even close to closing out my account. If you could carry things over to another year I wouldn't mind, but the IRS is quite clear that it's use it or lose it.

In other words - I've prepaid too much, & now I need to find a way to get $400 in medical procedures before June 1. That, or the bureaucracy keeps the money.

Maybe I can convince them that a photofacial laser rejuvenation would be prophylactic and not cosmetic.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I'm still working on this, and I don't know what kind of system will work, but something has to change.

Check: my coworker's taxes are about to skyrocket because the assessed value of her family's house has gone up by 100G this year.

They haven't done anything to their house. The only thing that's changed is that the real estate boom has hit their neighborhood.

In other words, they are going to suffer because rich people want to move here. And all it takes is for the rich to want to live somewhere. Suddenly the land will become more expensive, and if you don't have the bucks to stay you'll have to move on.

There is no recourse. The system guarantees that the poor and the working class will get screwed when it comes to land. I don't have a strong enough economics background to know what the solution is, but I do know that things have to change before we all end up homeless and living on a Wai`anae beach.

MC vs. Britney

It's a toss-up on who had the better weekend, me or Britney.
(and thanks to BodogBeat for posting Ms. Spear's schedule)

The Arrival

12AM Sunday: Britney roars into Vegas and she drops in unexpectedly at the Rio for Prince’s midnight show. She arrives with a partying posse of 20 friends, including her new boyfriend, Isaac Cohen, a model/actor who could be mistaken as a semi look-alike for her former hubby Kevin Federline.

10PM Friday: MC rolls into Mo`ili`ili and drops in unexpectedly at Chiko's for karaoke night. His posse includes internet date V, a professional dancer from Baltimore; Fatima, a Samoan girl by way of Long Beach who insists that she's ghetto; and some drunk guy who we did our best to ignore.

Britney 1, MC 0. I should have roared into Mo`ili`ili.

Let's Get This Party Started

2AM Sunday: Britney leads her group, including her male dancers, into the gay nightclub 8 1/2 for the shocking and scandalous out-of-control HustlaBall, the official gay after-party of the Adult Video Sexpo, which ended its 4-day Vegas convention on Saturday night. She has a gay old time dancing and smoking the night away

8PM Saturday: MC joins the Gay Surf Posse for quiche, cosmos, and surf videos.

Britney 2, MC 0. It was a non-smoking apartment.

And on the third day ...

3AM Sunday: Britney decides its time to move on from her 3rd consecutive night of gay-club partying.

10PM Saturday: MC meets L, a shrink from San Francisco, at Hula's for his 3rd consecutive night of gay-bar hopping.

Britney 2, MC 1. He finally scores.

... they rose again.

Pre-dawn Sunday: Britney checks into the $40,000-a-night, Hugh Hefner penthouse suite at the Palms Fantasy Tower to re-charge her batteries, but by Sunday afternoon she’s restless for another night crawl.

Pre-dawn Sunday: MC wakes to hear the surf crashing outside the window & though he promised to cuddle he's just not feeling it this morning. Besides: surf's up.

Britney 2, MC 2. I got a better view for 0.25% of the price. Not that I paid for any of it.

The Final Countdown

9PM Sunday: Britney readies for another night on the town and leaves the Palms for dinner at Social House in Treasure Island. This is where she reportedly consumed several sake shots on New Years Eve.

5PM Sunday: MC takes disco naps and skips dinner in anticipation of a long night.

Britney 3, MC 2. A true pro always returns to the scene of the crime.

The Sexy Erotic Edge

10:30PM Sunday: Britney and her posse decided to see Cirque du Soleil’s sexy, push the erotic edge of the exotic envelope Zumanity at the New York-New York resort casino.

11:30PM Sunday: MC joins his posse at Lotus, where Derek Daniel's Resolution is in full swing - and where Kama pushes the erotic edge by performing And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going in full drag while balancing on a step-ladder.

Britney 3, MC 3. Cirque du Soleil hasn't pushed any envelopes in years.

Keep on Dancing

12:30AM Monday: Next stop is the Coyote Ugly Bar in NY-NY. This is where the Coyote cocktail servers dance on the bar and pour shots directly into customer’s throats and encouraging the girls to join them for the bar-top gyrations. Luxe Life is still checking to see if Britney joined in!

2:30AM Monday: The club space was great, but the crowd at Lotus never reaches critical mass. Only a few of the old guard ever show. His posse is scattered and gone & there is little love and little brotherhood left on the dancefloor, and so MC heads alone into the night.

Britney 4, MC 3. Amateurs. This town is dead to me.

Dead, I Say!

1:15AM Monday: No letting up now on this morning’s schedule and Britney heads for PURE nightclub where she has the same VIP cabana bed she passed out on January 1 at 12:50AM!! So at least she’s awake longer this time around!!

4:00AM Monday: MC knows his mojo is busted & the weekend is officially over when he fails to find anything at Fusion's sidewalk sale.

Britney 5, MC 3. Is it still a walk of shame if you never did anything?

Final Credits

MC bikes to the beach, decides the sun is too oppressive, and hides out in Starbucks. No points. It looks like a loss. But in a suprise news flash, the wires report that Britney ended the weekend by - deus ex machina! - projectile vomitting on her new boyfriend. Minus two points for being sloppy, giving us a final score of ...

Britney 3, MC 3

Friday, January 12, 2007

Faster then the PTWC

AN 8.4 earthquake hit east of the Kuril Islands at 0423 zulu. It is now 0600 zulu (8pm Hawaiian time). Hawaii is under a tsunami watch. Russia and Japan are under a warning.

The news have published alerts. The Pacific Disaster Warning Center - the same one that fucked up the last couple tsunami warnings - has no information on their front page. You can hunt through the links and find a bulletin if you dig a bit.

And though I'm on the Civil Defense Team, my phone has not rung, and we have no orders to report to anywhere. I'll be ready, but damn. This state is so fucked if anything ever happens.

For those watching, the last bulletin (from 90 minutes ago) reads:

 LOCATION                            COORDINATES     ARRIVAL TIME
-------------------------------- ------------ ------------
RUSSIA URUP IS 46.1N 150.5E 0456Z 13 JAN
PETROPAVLOVSK K 53.2N 159.6E 0539Z 13 JAN
MEDNNY IS 54.7N 167.4E 0551Z 13 JAN
UST KAMCHATSK 56.1N 162.6E 0551Z 13 JAN
SEVERO KURILSK 50.8N 156.1E 0552Z 13 JAN
JAPAN KUSHIRO 42.9N 144.3E 0539Z 13 JAN
HACHINOHE 40.5N 141.5E 0614Z 13 JAN
KATSUURA 35.1N 140.3E 0627Z 13 JAN
SHIMIZU 32.8N 133.0E 0746Z 13 JAN
OKINAWA 26.2N 127.8E 0847Z 13 JAN
MARCUS IS. MARCUS IS. 24.3N 154.0E 0717Z 13 JAN
WAKE IS. WAKE IS. 19.3N 166.6E 0813Z 13 JAN
MIDWAY IS. MIDWAY IS. 28.2N 177.4W 0817Z 13 JAN
N. MARIANAS SAIPAN 15.3N 145.8E 0839Z 13 JAN
GUAM GUAM 13.4N 144.7E 0902Z 13 JAN
KWAJALEIN 8.7N 167.7E 0944Z 13 JAN
MAJURO 7.1N 171.4E 1001Z 13 JAN
TAIWAN HUALIEN 24.0N 121.6E 0924Z 13 JAN
YAP YAP IS. 9.5N 138.1E 0935Z 13 JAN
POHNPEI POHNPEI IS. 7.0N 158.2E 0937Z 13 JAN
CHUUK CHUUK IS. 7.4N 151.8E 0939Z 13 JAN
LAOAG 18.2N 120.6E 1003Z 13 JAN
SAN FERNANDO 16.6N 120.3E 1026Z 13 JAN
LEGASPI 13.2N 123.8E 1026Z 13 JAN
DAVAO 6.8N 125.7E 1040Z 13 JAN
ZAMBOANGA 6.9N 122.1E 1136Z 13 JAN
MANILA 14.6N 121.0E 1146Z 13 JAN
ILOILO 10.7N 122.5E 1159Z 13 JAN
PUERTO PRINCESA 9.8N 118.8E 1215Z 13 JAN
KOSRAE KOSRAE IS. 5.5N 163.0E 0959Z 13 JAN
BELAU MALAKAL 7.3N 134.5E 1003Z 13 JAN
HONOLULU 21.3N 157.9W 1041Z 13 JAN
HILO 19.7N 155.1W 1058Z 13 JAN

Big Day

My first big investigative case goes before Land Board today. It's gone a bit noir in the past couple weeks - every side seems to have a hidden agenda & I keep remembering my boss's first caveat to me: Don't trust anyone.

I can't talk about much online, but my report is K-1 on the Land Board agenda.

Next up: rumors that Hollywoods' rich and famous are getting out of line on the neighbor islands.

Meanwhile, my social life seems to have sparked unexpectedly. Finally. I've either gone out or had folks over most nights the past couple weeks. People have called who haven't called in months, or even years (which is good, since I drowned my phone a few months back and lost most everyone's number). Last night Tom and Steve came over to watch Sunrise [1927] by FW Mernau. I had to order the film from Korea on Ebay, but it was worth it. The cinemetography was stunning [but everyone says that], but even more, I felt like we were getting a secret glimpse into a lost world - both artistically [this is where film was going, this is what it could achieve, before sound] and socially [this is the world that was, this is the country we were before WWII and globalization and before everything became the same].

The story was simple: The Woman from the City (Margaret Livingstone) convinces The Man (George O'Brien) to murder The Wife (Janet Gaynor), sell the farm, and run off with her. I'm not spoiling much - this was all in the first five minutes. But despite the dark opening, the movie was gorgeous to watch. I've only seen satires of German Expressionism, but I think this is the first time I've actually watched an expressionist film. It was beautiful and haunting, and I'll be checking out more.

Afterwards we went to Chiko's, which is always a pleasure. I don't know who the band was, but the bar was full of dancers & the singer seemed to know every one, so we were treated to impromptu hula all night long.

update: That was the good and beautiful side of Hawai`i. I just came back from the hearing and got the ugly side. The defendants have accused me of genocide. This case is not going away anytime soon.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Iraqi New Year

I stopped reading the Iraqi blogs for awhile. Some of the bloggers I used to read fled the country, some disappeared, and some were too depressed to keep writing. The American soldiers' blogs have all disappeared, with the exception of a few jingoistic ultra-patriots. Maybe only five or six are left of the dozen Iraqi blogs I'd originally linked to.

I checked up on the survivors this morning. None are doing well.

Here's Sunshine, a 16-year old student:
I was reading my previous posts and I realized how unoptimistic and depressed person I become , many of my posts start with " it was tough week " " it was a horrible day " and so on .

But I really don't have good news to tell !

it was really bad week for me , I feel like something inside me will explode, I try to hold my tears all the time I feel so bothered from life , house , school , exams , and everything , the problems never ends . I hear the people's problems but I'd never say mine , because first I don't want to bother the others , and second all of the people I know have so many problems in their lives , so they definitely don't want to hear more !.

my marks are not bad ,I get the highest marks in English , mathematics, biology, religion .. I'd never take a mark lower than 90 in them , my par in mathematics is 99.4 % , and religion 100 % , but I still don't know my exact par in English and bio.


I hear at least five or six explosions every evening while I am studying ….
They are loud , they scare my brother very badly , and that caused a problem in his pronunciation , he repeats every word many times before pronouncing the other , I am really worried about him, there aren't any good doctors , the good doctors left Iraq...
HNK is a teenage girl in Mosul:
Many things happened that deserve to write about.
But Many hours passed I thought that I could not write in this blog anymore. I can't say Happy Eid for all, I can't say happy christmas and happy new year.
Because I feel that I am writing only a words that can't do anything for the people who read it.

My words didn't left steps in your hearts and it will never do. because my words is mine. it only mean to me because it's come from the deepest point from my heart.

You know what?
I think I was wrong.. ... My opinions changed from the first year I wrote in this blog. I thought in that time that everything is going to be good and acceptable for all of us but I was wrong my friend, I was so wrong. I was wrong when I said that Saddam don't mean to me anything. I was wrong when I said that I think he is a bad guy ( he might be, but he might be not).

Now I feel guilty because now I believe that he is a MAN ( a brave man) if you just saw the video that someone took in his execution, you will see no fear from death. You will see a look in his face, a look of someone who is ready to challenge, who believe that he was right . Who believed he was doing the right thing after all.
He was smiling . I don't think that I will smile if I was in his shoes.
I will probably burst into tears and say Mameeee :(

Anyway, from now, I won't say anything bad about Saddam because I don't know whether he was right or wrong . But I know that the people who came after Saddam is Evil and worse than devil and Saddam was better than them......

And I have to say something, What were they thinking when they executed Saddam in the first day of Eid ? Eid is our chance to be happy, to gather with our family and try to forget everything bad. And they turned our happy feeling to sadness. This is the most stupid thing they have ever had, did this people lost their mind? I am sure of that . That was a huge Mistake ( a very huge mistake).

Thank you all for reading... And happy new year

your lost friend HNK
from where Iraq was there

And Nabil in Baghdad has set up an escape fund to help him emigrate to New Zealand:

To Whom It May Concern

The reason for writing this letter is that my life is like living-hell, everyday is like a very bad nightmare, I start each day and I can't expect what could happen to me till the end of the day.

I live in fear everyday, I wake up in fear, and I sleep the night in fear too, few days ago I stopped going to college, because the road to college is very dangerous, fake police check-points are everywhere and at any moment they can stop me and ask for my ID and once they see that I'm a Sunni they would have me killed or kidnapped or tortured, because they can figure it out from my name and my address (my district is a sunni district), and the 2nd reason why I stopped going to college, is that in Monday (20th Nov. 2006) two police patrols attacked our college building, and opened fire on the outer gate of the college for nearly 15 minutes, then they stopped after they injured some guards of the college, and they left immediatly without giving excuses for what they did.

The last two months I have experienced a lot of things that I never imagend that I will experience in my life. About two weeks ago, my district was attacked by mortar missiles, we had missiles falling everywhere in the district, destroying houses and killing innocent people, the district was attacked with about 75 missiles in 5 days, one of the missiles fell on the side-walk just two yards away from the outer door of my house, it was shocking and very horrible, about a month ago, gunmen killed a woman who was a hair styler and owns a shop near my house for no reason, they just stopped her in the street when she was closing her shop and killed her, and left her corpse laying on the street, and truly I don't want to end up like that.

After living 3 horrible years in Iraq and witnessing all what I've witnessed, I realized that I can't live in this country anymore, I can't live in a country where some gunmen prevent me from going to school, where corrupted policemen will kill me just because of my religion or what's written on my ID, where religion bigots will have me killed just because I wear jeans, or shorts or because I shave my beard everyday in the morning.

The only thing that I want is to finish my studies, and to work and to create a good life and to be a good man who can be helpful and successful and to live the rest of my life in peace.

New Zealand is a great country, I think it's the best place for me to study and work in, and that I have great friends there whom they offored to support me make my dream happen...As soon as I can have residency Visa to NewZealand.

Please, help me make my dream, Please Save my Life!.

22 November 2006