Friday, December 30, 2005

Inquiry into leak of NSA spying program launched - Dec 30, 2005

Great, because clearly, the leak is the problem here.

Posted by 1 comments

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Would You Donate Your Face for a Transplant?

What the fuck is the big deal about this? I'm no doctor, but I'm pretty fucking sure that if you cut my face off and put it on someone else, the result is going to look absolutely nothing like me. You r face is just a piece of skin, what makes it look like you is the underlying bone structure and muscles. The only thing that I can see remaining at all similar to what you looked like before is the nose. Yet to hear these ethicists and doctors talk about it, you'd think that if I donate my face to someone, it's going to be traumatic because this person will have to constantly be explaining to people that they're not me, because they look just like me. It's ridiculous. I know on Face Off, when they traded faces, they looked like each other, but in real life, it just can't work that way.

I've already told my family, but in case there's any conflict, I'll document right here, that when I die, I want to donate anything that anyone can use. And if it were up to me, I'd make everyone do the same, regardless of consent. What the fuck are people hanging on to pieces of a corpse for? So they can burn it, or bury it? Especially if it can help someone else. It's ridiculous.

Posted by 10 comments

Many Americans Still Believe Hussein Had Links to al Qaeda

In my own somewhat related research, I have concluded that the number of hopelessly stupid adults in America is somewhere between 22 and 56 percent.

Posted by 2 comments

Study: Men and Women Use Internet Differently

The study also concluded that boys have a penis, while girls have a vagina. Seriously, who wastes time doing these studies to find out something that common sense could tell you in the first place?

Posted by 3 comments

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

White House Details President's Vacation Reading

Who gives a fuck? Why does anyone care what this asshole is reading? Unless it's the Constitution, because he obviously doesn't get the gist of that one. And why the hell is he on vacation again, anyway? Everytime he fucks something up, he goes on vacation 'til it blows over. How hard is that to recognize? So instead of continuing to report on how he thinks it's ok to spy on Americans, ABC News instead tells us what he is reading. Great job! Have they given out any Pulitizers yet this year?

Posted by 3 comments

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Cal Thomas isn't very bright

After several years, we've just recently started receiving the local paper again, the Florida Times-Union. I was reading the opinion page last Thursday and had the misfortune to stumble across Cal Thomas' column, titled War on terrorism requires new methods, not naivete.

It's amazing that guys like this, who rehash tired arguments, don't check their facts, and show a complete lack of logical thought processes have this kind of national forum.

The gist of the column is that Bush was justified in using the illegal wiretaps because, if you invoke national security, then you can do anything you damn well please. Or something like that. Here are a few of his more ridiculous statements.

Talking about the New York Times anonymous sources - Just once it would be nice if the anonymous would leak something beneficial to their country. Obviously, his opinion of what's beneficial to our country differs from mine, but beyond that, what the hell is he talking about? The reason people leak information is to report that something is wrong. Happy news is announced in press conferences, not by anonymous sources.

Then he trots out another tired argument - But civil liberties mean nothing if you're killed by a terrorist who has manipulated the constitution to achieve his or her objectives. The Senate's refusal to extend the Patriot Act increases the likelihood that more of us will die sooner than we expect. No, civil liberties mean nothing if they're subject to the unchecked whims of a chief executive. The argument that our safety requires the suspension (or abolition) of liberty has never been demonstrated satisfactorily. But the dangers of giving unlimited powers to the government have been seen throughout history.

Then he makes an unwarranted assumption - Those relatively few who were spied on and had their cell phones monitored must have demonstrated their intention to aid in another terrorist attack on U.S Soil. Really, they must have, huh? I'm glad Cal is satisfied. That's the problem with this whole scenario. Letting the executive branch authorize surveillance with no oversight invites abuse. In this scenario, we're required to trust that the people in power are working in our best interests. And if they're not? Since it's secret, we won't even know enough vote them out of office, (without a whistleblower). I haven't seen much that leads me to trust that this administration has America's best interests in mind.

Then a factual error - Waiting for a judge to give permission to monitor a suspect's cell phone often takes too long. That may be the case, but as has been widely reported, FISA gives the authorites the ability to tap a phone and get the warrant after the fact. Therefore, time is no longer a concern. In that case, the only reason to ignore the requirement to get a warrant is that you think you may not get one. Or you're drunk with power. By all accounts, these warrants are extremely easy to get and are never denied, so if there was a concern about getting the warrant approved, the intelligence need must be seriously questionable.

Then he heads off into part two of his column, condemning McCain's bill banning the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners in American custody. One wishes our enemies would adopt such a standard, but they won't because they are more interested in winning than behaving nicely. The major flaw in McCain's thinking is similar to what one sees in our dealings with Israel and her enemies. It is that what we do affects what the other side does and if we will be "humane" to them, they won't blow us to smithereens. That is dangerous wishful thinking and there is no evidence to support it. These and other statements in the column show that Cal clearly supports torture, he thinks it's essential to winning. There are three major flaws in his argument. First, the idea that treating people humanely is only done to get reciprocal treatment for our own soldiers and citizens from the other side. If you've ever read Cal's columns, you know he's a conservative Christian. I'm not a Christian, but I believe that treating people humanely and loving your enemies is one of the central teachings. People should be treated well, not for the hope of any reward, just because it's the right thing to do, it makes us better people. Second, Cal, like all his ilk, make the assumption that everyone we detain is guilty. Where do they get this idea? In actual fact, the vast majority of the people we detain are innocent. We've heard that, especially in Iraq, young men are picked up by the truckload when sweeps are done. If we torture or even stop short and use humiliation and degradation, we are invariably going to harm innocent people. My guess is that people like Cal Thomas don't care about innocent Iraqis. They'll say they do, if cornered, but their positions show otherwise. Third, torture doesn't work. It's widely known that forceful interrogation is not an effective or reliable tool. Look at how many false confessions are forced out of people in this country. And that's with the checks and balances we have in place for our own citizens. Basically, Cal just buys the argument without examination, that if the bad guys behead our hostages, then we must do the same to them.

So you call us naive, Cal? Those of us who hold the U.S. to a higher standard? I think for naivete, you need to look in the mirror.

Posted by 16 comments

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Festivus!

A donation has been made in your name to The Human Fund.

Posted by 3 comments

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Patriot Act given a 6-month reprieve

I have mixed feelings about this. While it was nice that the President had to go along with something less than what he wanted, it still bothers me that some seem to be looking at extending this piece of shit for six months as some sort of victory for progressives. The Patriot Act sucks and it needs to go...completely. Why are people so suddenly afraid of terrorism, that they're willing to go along with anything that might (and this is a key word here, most people have no idea of any really scope of terrorist activities or how new measures help or not) prevent it? Sure, September 11th was a terrible, tragic thing, and it was horrible to see. But because it happened once, doesn't suddenly make me afraid that it is coming for me next. Sure, I may die in a terrorist attack, but that's pretty unlikely. I may also die in a car accident, or from a heart attack, or in a freak skydiving accident (not likely either), and I will certainly die somehow. But I don't see the government looking for more power to regulate speed limits, or fatty foods, or skydiving, in order to keep us safer, and no one would give it to them even if they did. Death is my absolute biggest fear, but that doesn't mean that the threat of it will suddenly make me stupid. So why does it seem to do that to so many other people, especially people who supposedly believe that there is something better waiting for them when they die? I hope we all get over this collective fear before we extend this fucked up law again. And I hope next time there are no deals to allow it to continue, and that people by then have realized that it is unnecessary, and does nothing but take away from our freedom that we're all supposed to be so hell bent on protecting.

Posted by 2 comments

Stevens: 'This is the saddest day of my life'

What a fucking dickhead. I hope he's never had any loved ones die or anything, otherwise this looks like a pretty fucked up thing to say. At his age, I'm sure someone he knows has died. But then, I guess by now, everyone that knows him probably already realizes that he's a dickhead.

Posted by 6 comments

Dungy's son, 18, found dead in Tampa suburb

Tony Dungy is a great football coach, and as far as I can tell has always seemed like a genuinely good person as well. So I really feel sad to see something like this. This shouldn't happen to anyone, much less a guy like Dungy. No amount of success in his career can compensate for what he must be going through now.

I've been rooting for the Colts all year (after the Cowboys), since I like the team (and hate the '72 Dolphins). Now that they've lost a game, I wasn't quite as interested. But now I will be paying closer attention. Not that winning the Superbowl would make Dungy feel any better, but if his team gets to 13-0, then loses in the playoffs, he will take a lot of undeserved crap, which he certainly doesn't need at a time like this. Of course I still want the Cowboys to win it all, but since they'll be lucky to get in as the 6th seed in the playoffs, I don't think there will be any conflict.

Posted by 0 comments

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Space cadets taken in by TV hoax

Shouldn't the lack of weightlessness have tipped them off? As far as I know, zero gravity isn't something you can fake very easily.

Posted by 0 comments

George Bush is an Asshole - May become on ongoing series

As everyone comments on this insane abuse of power by our President, I see people quoting government websites and portions of The Patriot Act where the White House assures people that all the provisions of the Patriot Act are done within the bounds of the Constitution and with judicial oversight. Of course people are rightly pointing to all these assurances as evidence of the President assuring us all of one thing, while actually doing another in secret, which is nothing new for him, but this may be the worst of what he has done that has become public, and he has admitted that it is going on (although he claims it is legal). What I'm worried about is all this discussion about the legality of the secret wiretaps may have the consequence of making people more comfortable with all the violations of their civil liberties contained in The Patriot Act. Since it isn't secret, and is all done more openly than this program that has now come to light, people may forget how much of our Freedom is actually taken away by The Patriot Act. Or, worst case, it may be renewed in some bullshit deal in order to stop all the secret stuff we're now finding out about.

In a sane world, this new revelation would have the opposite effect and would serve to focus people on violations of their civil liberties, and therefore make The Patriot Act look even worse. But, as I've learned these last few years, we definitely do not live in a sane world, so I hope that as we condemn the President's illegal activities, we also remember that his legal ones are over the line as well.

Posted by 4 comments

Monday, December 19, 2005

Son of the Mask

So, I'm watching this stupid movie because I thought my son might think it was funny. Anwyay, the movie starts off in a museum where Ben Stein is giving a tour featuring the mask, when one of the tourists suddenly turns into a silly green monster and starts doing all kinds of cartoonish masky sort of things, then grabs the mask, realizes it's a fake and gets upset. Now, it's been a while since I saw The Mask, but as I remember it, it was the mask itself that supplied all these powers, so I don't know how this guy was able to do all this stuff without it. Maybe this will all be cleared up later, but I don't expect to be watching much longer.

Posted by 1 comments

George Bush is an asshole

So now Bush breaks the law, and isn't even worried enough about it to lie about it. He openly admits it and tells anyone who doesn't support his criminal behavior to fuck off. Not that this isn't exactly the kind of shit I expect out of him and his administration, but it's pretty fucking sad to realize that he'll probably get away with it.

Listen up, idiots. This is not an issue about Bush spying on terrorists. No one likes terrorists. I know it's more comfortable for you when everything can be black and white, but reality isn't like that. This is an issue about Bush breaking the law. It's about unchecked power. Sure, it may not affect you if he spies on some terrorists (of course, we have only his word (whatever that's worth) to assure us that he's only doing this for suspected terrorists), but at some point there may be some liberty that you do enjoy that he wants to take away. And if you give him the right to take away one, it's a lot easier for him to take away the next one. Eventually, he may have a problem with something you do, or something you care about. Suppose one day he decides that Americans shouldn't be able to own guns anymore, because that makes it easier for the terrorists to own guns? I guess you might finally start to come around then. Unfortunately, it will be too late, since you dumbasses have decided to trust him with the power to decide what's good for America. No one deserves this much power, even if they are right. I don't want Bush to have it, and I wouldn't want a President I supported to have it, because it's unAmerican. It's that simple. Why anyone still supports this guy is beyond me.

W is for What an asshole.

Posted by 7 comments

'Iraq's Looking Good,' Cheney Tells U.S. Troops

"Well, Iraq's looking good," Cheney replied. "We've turned the corner. I think when we look back from 10 years hence, we'll see that the year '05 was in fact a watershed year here in Iraq."
emphasis mine

Wow, did he actually say that with a straight face? Someone should put together a list of all the corners we've turned, then maybe we can get an idea of how many corners there actually are in Iraq. Anyway, it takes a lot of balls to say something like that at this point. And how does no one ask him the obvious follow-up about how many corners there are?

I also heard Bush said that we're "tightening the noose" which I wondered if it was anything like "last throes" and how many of these useless comments that are obviously not backed up by any objective reality that these guys can make before they are held accountable for this mess.

Posted by 4 comments

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Sneeze - Steve, Don't Eat It!

If you haven't been here, you need to go. It's fucking hilarious. My wife and I were reading it a couple of nights ago and just about crying. It takes a lot to make me laugh uncontollably, but this site did it.

Posted by 8 comments

The Apprentice

As I watched the Apprentice finale last night, I was rooting for Randal to win, because I think he was clearly the best canidate, but I also liked Rebecca, and I thought since last week that Donald Trump just might hire both of them. So I wasn't surprised when Trump asked Randal what he thought about it. I was surprised at Randal's response. I don't see any reason why sharing a fake job is any better than having it by yourself. Especially when it is pretty clear that Randal was the better choice, I don't think anyone would have seen it as a tie. I do think it was a little unfair to put Randal in that position. I didn't ever consider that race had anything to do with that, though as this article suggests some people did. Hopefully, this won't turn into some big controversy.

Posted by 3 comments

Thursday, December 15, 2005

McCain, Bush agree on torture ban

Wow, this is a moment that should go down in our history like the Great Compromise. Imagine, the leader of our country and congress have tentatively agreed that torturing people is a bad thing, and that it really ought to be banned. Next up for our forward-thinking leaders, a ban on taking candy from babies. (although I'm sure the administration will argue for a provision exempting the CIA, in case said candy is actually part of a terrorist plot.)

Posted by 6 comments

Pepsi Cappuccino

This is a bad idea. Pepsi and Coke need to just calm down and realize that cola is fine all by itself, and we don't really need a whole bunch of new flavors of it. Although I kind of like Cherry Coke, I'd be willing to have it go away if it would take Coke with Lime and Vanilla Coke with it. I guess I should at least be happy that I haven't seen that Pepsi Holiday Spice crap around this year (it tastes like there's dirt in it (but just a little bit, maybe at the bottom), if you didn't see my post on it last year (and if you didn't, what the hell is wrong with you, read the archives, dammit)).

Posted by 6 comments

Bob Novak: Bush knows who leaked CIA officer's identity

While it sometimes seems that Bush knowing anything would be news, this is pretty ridiculous. I can't understand how anyone would have ever thought he didn't know. The guy is loyal to his friends before the country, he lies to protect his interests, and he isn't very good at his job. Of course he knows who did it, it was probably done with his consent. And if he didn't know at the time it happened, he surely would know by now. His ridiculous comments about the case all along have been nothing more than trying to sound like he cares about it all the while waiting for it to disappear from public attention. And why not, that's a strategy that works pretty well for him. Hopefully this time it will not.

Posted by 3 comments

Rep. Davis wants to protect symbols of Christmas

Oh my god, could we please stop this fucking insanity? I don't know what's saddest about this story. Is it that people are actually fucking stupid enough to believe that there is any sort of attack on the celebration of Christmas? Or is it that even if there was an attack on the celebration of Christmas that people would even take any notice of it, instead of just ignoring it which if it actually existed would make it go away? Or is it that these idiots elect people even stupider that think that this is in any way the business of the United States government? Or is it that even if it was the business of the government, that people would think it's important enough to waste time on when there are so many things that are absolutely the government's business that either aren't getting done or aren't getting done well? I can't decide, but I do know that people are fucking stupid.

Look if you want to celebrate Christmas, fine, just don't get upset if everyone else doesn't happen to want to celebrate it with you. And if you don't want to celebrate Christmas, fine, but don't get upset if other people do want to celebrate it (although I think most people get this one). And if you're a religous nut that is offended by some employee at Wal-Mart telling you Happy Holidays, then shut the fuck up and let the rest of us have happy holidays (whether those holidays are Christmas, New Years, Hannakuh, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or just a day off to watch football and get presents). If you like it better when people say "Merry Christmas" then you say "Merry Christmas" and maybe in a few years, it just might catch on. Or you could just move to reality where I (and many others) live where people already say it all the time without any reservations. Assholes.

Posted by 3 comments

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

King Kong

I've never been a King Kong fan. I have to admit, I've never seen the original movie, so my opinion is not well-informed. I did see the Jessica Lange version. But mainly the story's never really appealed to me. I'm not a big fan of monster movies or movies where animals are the stars (e.g. Beethoven), and King Kong seems like the ultimate animal/monster movie.

That said, I'm really getting excited about this movie. The previews look great(don't they always, though), the reviews are very positive, and I loved the Lord of the Rings movies, so Peter Jackson's involvement carries a lot of weight with me.

So I've been reading the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and it's got an 84% positive rating from the critics, which is really good for a popular movie. Then I read the negatives to see what the handful of people who don't like it are saying. This is one of my biggest movie critic pet peeves. Of the 22 rotten reviews, the majority mention the length as a big negative factor. I can't stand this. There are a group of critics who seem to think that all movies sould be 2 hours or less, no matter what. I'm convinced half of these people saw the running time and went into the theater expecting it to be too long. If your attention span is so short, quit whining and start reviewing TV shows. These guys probably thought Lord of the Rings should have been one movie instead of three.

My position on movie length is this - if the movie's good, I want it to be longer. If it's bad, I'll just leave. I can't remember a time when I sat in a movie and thought, hey, this isn't bad, but it would be a lot better if it was 30 minutes shorter. When a movie's really good, I get caught up in it and don't really notice the time. Titanic is a good example. (I know there are plenty of people out there who hated it, but for every one of those, there were 1000 who liked it.) It was a long movie, but I was so into what was going on, I never looked down and thought, Man when is this shit going to be over?.

So I'm excited about seeing King Kong and I'm excited that it's a good, long movie. And it may very well be that it won't live up to my expectations, but if it doesn't, it won't be because it was too long.

Posted by 7 comments

Poor Bathroom Etiquette

I just walked into the bathroom at work and there was a guy at a urinal having a conversation with a guy in the stall. I hope I'm not the only one who finds this kind of behavior disturbing and unacceptable.

Posted by 14 comments

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Cable Relents on Channels for the Family

Oh good, family friendly programming packages. Now that fraction of a percent of people that whine about these kinds of stupid things have a choice. Of course, only about 6 people will take advantage of these packages unless they are pushed by the cable companies, so it amounts to a big waste of time for everyone. Not that I'm not all for parents being able to control what their kids watch on TV, but there are so many better ways to do that already. TVs have the VCHIP (which no one ever uses), cable boxes all have locks that can be configured by time, channel, rating, or some combination. There are ratings on each show as it starts, and parents could actually pay attention to what their kids are watching. Of course, that's a lot of work, and who wants to take the time to do that. Also, you could raise your kids not to be closed minded morons where if they happen to see something on TV that they shouldn't (like a nipple for a second), that it won't be some catastrophic event in their childhood. The best way to make sure your kids will watch something they shouldn't is to tell them they can't watch it without any explanation of why it's inappropriate. And nothing you do will keep your kids from seeing things they shouldn't now and then, whether they do it on purpose, or by accident. But if you handle it correctly, it shouldn't be such a big deal. And handling it correctly does not entail writing letters to the FCC wondering why they don't care about your children. It's not the government's or anyone else's job to raise your children for you.

At least we didn't end up with a la carte programming, which I had seen suggestions of. Because, although it sounds pretty attractive, only paying for the channels you really want, I just don't think it would work in practice. I'm sure I would miss things that I watch only occasionally, like The History Channel or Bravo, that I wouldn't want to pay for. And I'm sure without packaging channels together, cable companies would find some way to make it cost just as much, if not more. Also, all people wouldn't want to pick every single channel, and cable companies would sell them in packages anyway, just with less to offer.

Posted by 3 comments

Monday, December 12, 2005

Sunday Night TV

The West Wing isn't what it once was, and I recognize the ongoing campaign (especially done a year early) is a pretty transparent attempt to increase ratings. And I think they are doing pretty well with it, in any case. But whoever decided last night to focus an entire episode on the wedding of a character that no one cares about was ridiculous. Having said that, the show wasn't that bad, but I just don't understand the need to have a "wedding event" in the first place unless it's for someone meaningful to the story. It just seemed awfully forced. And I would like to see a little more coverage of the Vinnick campaign as well. I like Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda, but I'm rooting for Santos, because Vinnick's character just doesn't seem the slightest bit realistic. An atheist pro-choice Republican may exist, but he's not running for President, much less winning the nomination, much less leading the race. Either way, watching the show always makes me sad because all the characters are better choices than what we have in real life (even Bingo Bob).

I'm still pissed that they have the Survivor finale on Sunday when the show airs all season on Thursday, and I may have started boycotting it for that reason, as I might have mentioned last year sometime, but now that I have my DVR, it doesn't bother me too much anymore. Anyway, it's always interesting to see how those people look in real life on the finale after getting used to how they look living in the jungle for all that time. I think Stephanie might be the first person who actually looked worse after cleaning up. Anyway, it was an ok show, I guess, Danni looked like she could have balanced on that board for weeks. Rafe actually looked fairly comfortable too, if he had paid attention to what he was doing. I didn't think Stephanie would do well in an endurance competition after how quickly she jumped off last year for a slice of pizza. I think Survivor does a good job of changing the rules (even if it doesn't always make it better) to make sure the show isn't predictable. it will be interesting to see how they implement that Exile Island next year.

Posted by 3 comments

Broadcasters Piss Me Off

Everytime that someone is driving for a game winning field goal, there's always at least one announcer who can't stand not to say that they should kick the field goal on third down "just in case something goes wrong, like a bad snap, you'll still have another down" and you can just about hear in their voice how they just creamed themselves for making a point that is made everytime this situation comes up and addresses a situation so rare as to not warrant talking about even if they are correct (which they aren't). What is more likely to happen than a bad snap or problem with the hold is that the kicker will miss the kick, and therefore every oppurtunity should be used to get the ball as close as possible and in the best position on the field to make sure this doesn't happen. So, for once in this segment, I'll give kudos to a broadcaster, Joe Thiesman (of greatest injury in NFL history fame), for taking the other side in this argument when idiot Paul McGuire busted out this lame tired pointless line of reasoning last night in overtime.

There was something else I saw yesterday that really pissed me off, but I can;t remember it now, so if I can think of it, I'll do another one of these later.

Posted by 1 comments

The Perfect Season

Now that the Colts have clinched home-field in the playoffs with 3 games left, I hope they don't let up. I understand that the goal is to win a ring, but the two are not mutually exclusive. If Dungy rests some of his stars over the next few games, what is he really accomplishing? History shows that teams that rest their players in the last game or two of the regular season don't do any better or worse than teams that had to fight to the last game. So all you're really talking about is the chance for a season-ending injury. And who are we talking about really? How many of these players will get rested? Do you think any of the defense will get to take games off, or the offensive line? No, it's really Manning, James and Harrison. Manning is the key and he's been one of the sturdiest players in the league over the last 8 years.

But forget all that anyway, because what's important is this - the Colts have the best shot at the undefeated season since the 85 Bears. What the naysayers don't seem to understand is that the undefeated season isn't just "a line in a record book" as you hear so many say, it's a step above the Super Bowl championship. It's like the perfect game to the no-hitter, the no-hitter is great but the perfect game gets you lasting fame. Does anyone honestly think that we'd be talking about the 72 Dolphins today if they hadn't gone 17-0? Full-page spreads, photo-shoots, champagne bottles popping? Do we talk about the 73 Dolphins, who also won a Super Bowl, or the 71 Cowboys? The players from those teams have their rings, but their championships are just two more among all the rest. Even casual fans know about the 72 Dolphins, for one reason - their perfect season.

Posted by 6 comments

Friday, December 09, 2005

Critics Aren't Keeping Quiet Over 'Silent Night' Lyrics Change

First of all I don't see any reason to change the words to a Christmas song. If you don't want to have people singing Christmas songs, then just sing something else instead. Or sing Frosty the Snowman, or Rudolph or somethign non-religous. However, if religous groups are upset about the changing of the words because it may "secularize Christmas", then they need to join us in reality where Christmas is already just as secular as it is religous.

Then of course as you read more of the article it appears the whole thing is just a big misunderstanding anyway. Oh well, any reason for crazy religous people to spend what should be a nice holiday season instead bitching about how everyone is persecuting them is always good.

Posted by 2 comments

Thursday, December 08, 2005

House Votes to Extend $56 Billion in Tax Cuts for 5 Years

Oh good. Now that the government is spending less then ever before, they can give us back our money. What's that you say? They're spending more than ever before? Well, at least I'll be getting some money back, right? Oh, it's for rich people? Well I'm sure they need the money more than our government does, it's not like we have a war to fight or anything.

Maybe the bright side will be, if the government runs out of money, we can get back to that small government that Republicans pretend to want so badly, and they can stop worrying about who marries who, what women do with their own bodies, personal end of life decisions, what I watch on TV, what video games my kids play (oops, I guess that was Bizarro-Centrist Hillary, but I'm sure Republicans agreed with it), or what I check out at the library. Or they could just cut education, healthcare, and welfare instead.

Posted by 6 comments

Random stuff from my music collection

In tribute to the Chemist's Random iPoddery TM and just to show everyone how uncool I really am, I present 10 random songs from my collection at work.

1. Hello - Evanescence
Probably the coolest, most current band I have in my library, and this album is what 3, 4 years old now?
2. Bard Dance - Enya
3. The Longships - Enya
4. Shout - Tears for Fears
5. Heart - from Damn Yankees
6. How Many Tears - from Martin Guerre
Martin Guerre is by the team that created Les Miserables(best musical ever) and Miss Saigon
7. Luke and Leia Theme from RETURN OF THE JEDI - John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra
8. West Wing (instrumental) - from the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack
9. Donna - from Hair OBC
10. Live With Somebody You Love - from Martin Guerre

There you have it, a weird (eclectic?) mix of rock, 80's pop, new age, show tunes and instrumentals.

Posted by 10 comments - Ann Coulter to audience: You're stupider than I am

I don't generally read stuff about Coulter as I think she's beneath my notice, but this was interesting. What got me was the irony of this quote -

UConn junior Kareem Mohni, 20, said he was disgusted by his peers' reaction to Coulter.

"It really appalled me that we're not able to come together as a group and listen to a different view in a respectful environment," Mohni said.

Respectful environment? She called her entire audience stupid! Amazing.

Posted by 10 comments - Alpizar shot by Air Marshals

This is a sad story. On the surface, this situation sounds different than the London Underground shooting. If he did announce that he had a bomb and then approached the marshals, it's hard to argue that they shouldn't have shot him. But there are conflicting accounts.

Either way, it sounds like the real tragedy is Alpizar's bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder has been featured enough on TV over the last several years that I think most people are aware what a devastating illness it can be. It's really sad that this was the end result.

My mom's sister is mentally ill. Mom thinks she's bipolar with psychotic features, but she's not sure since we've never been able to get her in for treatment long enough to confirm a diagnosis. Talking to her and reading letters she writes you can tell that her mind isn't working correctly. We're just lucky that she hasn't been in a situation where she's considered a danger to others. Too bad we can't say the same for Alpizar.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bush Speaks

I was just listening to the excerpts from his speech today on NPR and it just struck me what a terrible speaker he is. It's very clear that he has no hand in writing these speeches. He speaks in batches of words that obviously coincide with whatever's on the teleprompter or cue cards. His inflection is off, and since he doesn't know what's coming, sometimes you hear him correct his pitch and pronunciation because the sentence didn't go the way he thought it would. I knew he wasn't very good at public speaking, but I guess I hadn't really thought about how bad he is.

It really makes me sad for the missed opportunity we had in 2000.

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Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas

Where the hell did all this come from? I'm nearly 35 years old, and I've been hearing the phrase Happy Holidays all my life. I don't ever remember hearing people complain about this phrase until this year. Yes, I've heard them complain about the secularization and commercialization of Christmas, but Happy Holidays? I never even really thought if it as some sort of non-offensive alternative to Merry Christmas. It just makes sense. This is the Holiday season. Starting with Thanksgiving, there are three major American holidays in the space of 5 weeks. (Not to say that I support the idea of calling it a holiday tree. That's just stupid, I'm with John on that one. )

I don't really even see how wishing a Merry Christmas to a non-Christian could be considered offensive. Whatever else it is, Christmas is also a major secular American holiday. I'm an atheist and I go all out on Christmas every year. Hell, I even have a little nativity scene in my house because it's just part of Christmas. I can listen to O, Holy Night without feeling like I'm being preached to.

And that brings me to my main point, which is that Christmas is not owned by the Christians. It's a multi-faceted holiday. My secular celebration of Christmas in no way takes away from their religious celebration. Not to mention that most of them are celebrating in a secular way as well. Santa Claus, Christmas trees and Frosty the snowman aren't exactly religious icons. So I say to them - Quit your bitching and just enjoy the damn holiday.

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The Seattle Times: Politics: Spokane dumps its mayor

The only thing that has bothered me about some of this coverage is that some of it comes across as if West did something wrong by being gay. Although obvious, I think it's important to note that his problem isn't that he's gay, or that he meets people online, but that he's a hypocrite. It's very important to call out all these public figures with double-standards, if we ever hope to stop these idiots from legislating morality. In any case, good for Spokane.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Partial face transplant raises ethical concerns

I really don't get all the hand-wringing about this. Yes, I understand that having a significantly altered appearance could be somewhat unsettling, at least in the beginning. But how are there ethical concerns when your choices are a)refusing the surgery and living life with a severely disfigured face or b)attempting the transplant knowing about the associated risks and rejection possibilities? Who wouldn't choose b? Maybe she should have consulted with a professional ethicist before deciding? I think a lot of this is just people liking to hear themselves talk. Take this quote -

Dr Daniel Sokol, of Imperial College in London, raised the problem of consent. "Ethically, the main issue is that of informed consent: Did the patient give adequately informed consent to the procedure? Did she understand the risks and implications of the transplant," he asked, adding there is no reason to suggest she did not.

He says right out that there's no reason to suggest she didn't know the risks, so why bring it up? You could say the same thing about many kinds of surgery.

I'm surprised there haven't been any references to Face/Off yet, in all this coverage.

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Rendition not foolproof

So if we're not sending people off to be tortured how is rendition a vital tool in the war on terror? Is it just that these other countries don't have bothersome things like the Supreme Court or the constitution holding them back? If these people being rendered are legitimate suspects in any kind of criminal/terrorist activity, they should be handled through proper procedures, not secretly flown off to Jordan. I don't understand how this administration can defend practices like rendition, secret prisons and indefinite detention, and then talk about exporting freedom at the same time.

By the way, I'm Chris, John's brother. He mentioned me in a post a couple of weeks ago. He took the words right out of my mouth about me being the smart one, but he forgot to mention I'm also the good-looking brother, ahem. And now Sumo and I can have rousing discussions on this blog about Harry Potter, at least until John revokes my posting privileges.

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Woman Testifies of Torture by Saddam's Men

In a sane and reasonable world, I would be worried about hearing about things like this because war supporters would use it to point out how terrible Saddam was (which he obviously was) and as an excuse for why he had to be removed from power. However, most war supporters won't be able to do that since they've come out in favor of torture, themselves. I guess the difference is supposed to be that we only torture the bad guys. Who wants to bet that even an evil man like Saddam uses the same rationalization? Congratulations to the Administration for being able to neutralize the one legitimate reason they had for this war in the first place, that Saddam did terrible things. But who am I kidding, they'll still use it anyway.

Wingnut: Saddam was terrible, he tortured people.
Me: Yeah, he was a real asshole, but don't we torture people, too?
Wingnut: Of course not. And even if we did, they deserve it anyway.
Me: So we don't make people strip naked and hook electrodes up to them or anything like that?
Wingnut: Sure, but that's all legal.
Me: But what Saddam did isn't?
Wingnut: Of course not!
Me: But aren't they pretty much the same things?
Wingnut: No, we just humiliate them, we don't really hurt anyone, and anyway, we only do it to the terrorists.
Me: So it's ok for us to make up our own rules, but not ok for Saddam?
Wingnut: Right!
Me: Why?
Wingnut: Because he's bad.
Me: Wake me up when logic and reason become popular again.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Drone said to have killed Al Qaeda's No. 3

What, again? Look, if we've gotten so good at killing the number three guy that we get them as soon as they're replaced, maybe we should move up to trying for the number one or two guy. I think if I was a terrorist and Osama approached me and offered me this position, I might have to turn it down.

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Broadcasters Piss Me Off - Cameramen/Director's Edition

When it's cold outside, men taking a break from playing football will have steam coming off the tops of their heads, and this will be particularly easy to see on bald men. This is just something that happens when it is cold, like being able to see your breath. I'm sure there's some scientific explanation for why this happens, but it's irrelevant. So why camermen feel the need to focus on this phenomenon at every single football game ever, and why directors always decide to put the shot on my TV is beyond me. Even if it was once clever or interesting (and it definitely wasn't), it is now very old and tired, please stop.

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Swindlers Take $6,000 From Victim

The article calls these people swindlers, but if someone is able to convince someone to willingly give them money (especially in such a large amount) with such a bullshit story, I say they deserve the money more than the "victim." Taking advantage of people's stupidity should not be a crime.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Illinois Pharmacists Balk at Contraception

Good. You fucking lunatics. This is exactly what should happen when people refuse to do the job they are paid to do. I haven't said much about this whole phamacist debate, even though it really irritates the fucking shit out of me, only because it is so incredibly fucking simple. If you have moral objections to dispensing legal medications to patients with a valid prescription, then pharmacy is not the line of work for you. That's it, there really doesn't need to be any debate about it. If you believe that strongly in something, then it should definitely factor into your career choice.

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Garbagemen Suck

I'm sure being a garbage man is pretty hard work and is a pretty lousy job, but I wonder why they're given special license to destroy people's property for no reason. Now, I'm not particularly attached to my garbage can, and I know it wasn't all that durable in the first place, but it's still mine, and I paid for it, and it wouldn't be acceptable for anyone to treat anything else I own the way the garbagemen treat my garbage can. It now has one wheel and no handle and has to be lugged down to the street by sheer force, then propped up just right on the curb so it does not fall over. I suppose I could just get a new one, but they aren't exactly cheap, and the same thing would happen to it. I'm not saying that they should put the lid back on and carry it nicely over and set it down where they got it from, but is it too much to ask that they don't sling it across the street from the back of a moving truck?

I guess I should be happy that recently it has actually ended up in front of my yard instead of someone else's. Which was not the case for my other garbage can that mysteriously disappeared one day. Or the one that mysteriously appeared in my yard one day (which I left there for two weeks so the rightful owner could claim it, but finally just used it myself to replace the one I had lost), which just as mysterously disappeared a year or so later.

Would we stand for it if the mailman, after delivering our mail, took out a bat and took a few swings at the mailbox? Probably not, so why is it ok for the garbagemen to be so careless with our garbage cans?

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FOX Sucks

I read somewhere the other day that FOX has cancelled Reunion. Now, this isn't surprising, the show isn't that great and the ratings apparently suck. However, I've been watching it anyway, simply because it was a unique idea and I was interested to see something different. In case you haven't heard about it, it follows 6 friends through 20 years from high school to the present, with each show detailing a year in their lives. The interesting part is, in the present, one of them has been murdered, and possibly one of the others was the murderer. Anyway, like I said, it's not that great, and I'm not one to get too upset over shows being cancelled, but this one bothers me because from what I've read so far, it looks like they aren;t even going to finish the season, which means we won't find out who the murderer is, or what led up to the murder. The reason I think this sucks is that they're basically saying "fuck you" to all the people who have invested time in this show so far.

Now, you could say that about any show that gets cancelled, and they can't keep every show on the air just because they might piss off a few people by cancelling it. But the reason I think this kind of show is different is that the main draw of the series is the ongoing developing story, not the story in the individual episodes, like in CSI or Law and Order or a more conventional show. I think when you put a show like this on the air (and hype it the way FOX did), then you should make a commitment to your viewers to at least complete the story in some fashion, and in this case that means a full season. If FOX wasn't comfortable with making that commitment, they shouldn't have put it on the air. And not just because of the (apparently few) viewers they may piss off with this particular show. But because next year, if they do a show that has a ongoing plot, no matter how good it is, anyone who was screwed over this time will be less likely to watch it. I know I was excited to watch Prison Break this season (and it's pretty good), but if it hadn't started yet, I certainly wouldn't start watching now. Because I'm not going to commit my time to a show that isn't going to commit to giving me the full story promised.

And this doesn't even take into account that FOX seems to have a quick hook for some shows in the first place. They wouldn't have had to bring Family Guy back, if they had never gotten rid of it in the first place. If FOX keeps this shit up, when the Simpsons run finally ends, the entire network may come crashing down like a house of cards.

And while I'm on the subject, I've heard rumors that Rome may not be coming back to HBO. And to the people at HBO, I would say, The Sopranos (if it ever actually returns) has to be near the end, Six Feet Under is over, you cancelled Carnivale. Deadwood is a great, great show, but it can't carry your network alone, and if you have to go back to showing movies all the time, you're in trouble. The only reason I (and I would guess a lot of others) still subscribe is because of the great original shows. Last year, I would have watched anything you put on the air, and I probably still would, but if you keep cancelling the good shows prematurely, that won't be true for much longer. Your next show may be the greatest show in the history of television, but if no one watches it because they're afraid you'll cancel after one season, then it doesn't do you any good.

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