MonthSeptember 2008

An interview with DEA whistleblower Sandy Gonzalez

Sandalio ‘Sandy’ Gonzalez recently retired after a 32-year career in law enforcement, 27 as an agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), eventually ascending to his highest-ranking position as head of operations in South America.

Three years ago, Gonzalez’s career came to an abrupt end after he blew the whistle in a horrifying case now known as the ‘House of Death,’ in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents stand accused of looking the other way while one of their drug informants participated in torturing and murdering at least a dozen people in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Full Story: Reason

links for 2008-09-30

Creative Japanese barcodes



More: Weird Asia News

(via Grinding)

Pirates die strangely after taking Iranian ship

A tense standoff has developed in waters off Somalia over an Iranian merchant ship laden with a mysterious cargo that was hijacked by pirates.

Somali pirates suffered skin burns, lost hair and fell gravely ill ‘within days’ of boarding the MV Iran Deyanat. Some of them died.

Andrew Mwangura, the director of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, told the Sunday Times: ‘We don’t know exactly how many, but the information that I am getting is that some of them had died. There is something very wrong about that ship.’

The vessel’s declared cargo consists of ‘minerals’ and ‘industrial products’. But officials involved in negotiations over the ship are convinced that it was sailing for Eritrea to deliver small arms and chemical weapons to Somalia’s Islamist rebels.

Full Story: The Times (of South Africa)


Financial crisis: feeling the pinch?

So we’ve been living in a “financial crisis” for about a year now. How are Technoccult readers fairing?

I have fewer friends looking for work than ever, and several of them are making more money than ever. I’m doing well enough, personally. Gas and rent are up, while pay is flat so I’m not doing stellar, but wages have been behind inflation for years.

I think a lot of us are getting underpaid, but that’s nothing new. In fact, I sort of wonder if the reason we’re not “feeling the pinch” is because I don’t know many people with 401ks, stock portfolios, mortgages, or significant savings to begin with. Now, I mostly know 20-somethings so that skews things a bit. The point is, it’s a rough economy but I can’t say from my position it’s any rougher in the past year than it has been in the past several years.

How has your experience of the financial downturn been?

HumanCar Powered by Human Energy, Not Ethanol


Charley and Chuck Greenwood, a father-son combo, think they know the secret to the future of cars: rowing.

And they founded their company HumanCar to prove that human energy, not biofuels, is the gasoline of the future. Their Imagine_PS car seats up to four in a low-slung chassis; the passengers get to help row the lightweight car.

Think of it as an ergonomic, efficient and sneaker-saving Flintstone’s car for an oil-free future. The front two ‘drivers’ get to steer, which is done with a talented and coordinated lean.

“Body steering comes from the hips,” CEO Chuck said. “It’s just like a properly performed ski turn.”

But revolutionizing steering is not the point of these Oregon entrepreneurs. “It’s about thinking about days per life versus miles per gallon,” CEO Chuck Greenwood said.

When powered by four people rowing, the car will go about as fast as the ‘drivers’ would on bicycles, on average.

Full Story: Wired

Portland newspaper draws protestors over DVD insert

About 70 protesters gathered outside The Oregonian Monday morning to reprimand the newspaper for distributing an hourlong DVD, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” as paid advertising in its Sunday editions.
In a brief news conference, speakers characterized the DVD as Muslim-bashing propaganda promoting fear, hate and division.

“It is a moral obligation of a newspaper in a community to inform, not misinform,” said the Rev. Chuck Cooper, director of ministries of Micah’s Village, a progressive Christian community near Clackamas.

“Obsession” conflicts with Oregon values of equity, diversity and inclusion, said Kayse Jama, executive director of the Center for Intercultural Organizing in North Portland, which organized the demonstration with help from The Good Faith Coalitiom and other faith and human rights groups.

The Oregonian distributed the DVD because it has an obligation to make its advertising as open as possible under the principle of free speech, Publisher Fred Stickel said. Newspapers generally accept all advertising that is not illegal or blatantly immoral.

Full Story: Oregon Live

(Thanks Mark!)

Kudos to the Oregonian for supporting free speech.

September 29, 2008: A Weird Kinda Day.

DNC 2008 memorial police shirt beat the crowds

First of all, there’s the nearly unbelievable story of the Denver Police Union’s commemorative T-Shirts from the 2008 Democratic National Convention.? There’s a caricature cop with a club, and the caption “WE GET UP EARLY, to BEAT the crowds” — seriously.? Here’s the story courtesy of Denver’s ABC affiliate station…and it had to be Channel 7, right?? It’s been that kind of day:

dow closes at 777

Like the Universe had to rub it in? The lead quote everywhere is from Barney Frank…he’s got a different context in mind but it’s remarkably appropriate: “One of the Truly Great Coincidences in the History of Numerology” The law of averages recieved a further blow when the markets released their closing statistics: “Dow plunges over 7%, S&P over 8%, Nasdaq over 9%” — but before jumping to occult conclusions, let me recommend two great reads from back when Rigorous Intuition was really dropping gems: The Banality of the Weird and most of all, The Higher Coincidence.

links for 2008-09-29

Welcome Justin Boland, latest Technoccult guest editor

That last post was from our latest guest editor Justin Boland (aka Humpasaur Jones) of Skilluminati and Brainsturbator.

Since he, very sadly, isn’t able to make it to Esozone this year, he’s gonna be blogging here for the next couple weeks while I’m busy with the final preparations for Esozone, and the event itself.

(there should be a couple more Technoccult TV episodes being released before Esozone, though… stay tuned!)

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