Tuesday, January 31, 2006


One team has a running back that won the NFL MVP award, led the league in rushing, and set the single season record for touchdowns. The other team has a running back that rushed for 368 yards (but with 9 TDs). So who is all the coverage about? Jerome Bettis, of course. Because playing possibly your last game in your hometown is a far more impressive accomplishment than all those other things that Shaun Alexander did. Not that this isn't an interesting side note that deserves to be mentioned, but Jesus Christ, it's enough already. It makes me sad for the day when a Superbowl host city's team actually makes it to the game in their home stadium. Because coincidence is much more interesting than accomplishment.

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Lifetime Movies

I guess there's some sort of rule that you had to be on some 80s era sitcom before you can star in movies on Lifetime. Markie Post, Meredith Baxter, Jo from Facts of Life, and this morning I heard a radio commercial for one starring Raven Symone from The Cosby Show. Just let me remember the cute little girl, don't make me see the bad actor you've grown up to be.

Anyway, that's not what made me post about this commercial. It was because the movie advertised was something about segregated proms, which according to the commercial are still done in some places. Please tell me that Lifetime is just trying to hype up thier bad movie. This doesn't actually happen anywhere, does it? I know we have a lot of work left to do regarding race relations in America, but I thought for sure we had moved past segregated anything.

Ok, as I was typing my post, I realized I could answer my own question with the power of the internet, and found more info about the movie, and the story it was based on. But anyway, now please tell me that this is an isolated incident in some hick town in Georgia. Please.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

The Book of Daniel

So, I'm watching 24 and my son is puttng together a puzzle, when he comes up to me and says, "Daddy, I wana watch the Book of Daniel." I tell him we can't because it won't be on anymore. He looks really sad and says, "but why, Daddy?" I have to restrain myself from telling him it's because some fundamentalist pricks who are too stupid to figure out how thier remote controls, vchips, cable boxes, power switches, turning their heads, closing their eyes, or any other of the million different things they could do to avoid watching this show, like to decide what the rest of us can and can't watch on TV, and instead just manage to tell him it got canceled.

I didn't think it was a great show or anything, I just watched in the first place because the religous extremists thought it was bad, but I was still disappointed when it got canceled before even getting a chance to see how good it would be, just because a bunch of assholes think they should be able to control what I watch. Dickheads. Won't anyone please think of the children?

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Texas Instruments TI-99/4A computer

A coworker sent this to me, which brought back all kinds of great memories. We had one of these when I was a kid, and got a lot of use out of it. We had a bunch of video games for it, like Parsec, Munchman(PACMAN rip off), and some really bad football game. We also had the speech synthesiser which was very cool and futuristic. And we played text adventures with it, but since there was no disk drive on ours anyway), they were stored on cassette tape. Give it seeming eternity to load (modem-like sounds emitting from it the whole time), and you were whisked to some great adventure with no graphics whatsoever. All my friends had atari 2600's, and I always felt like we had the knock-off version, but looking back, the TI games were a lot better than that Atari 2600 crap. Actually, those were some pretty great games, considering the limited resources available. Hell, even with the limits, they were better than a lot of crap that you see today. Great graphics certainly doesn't equal great games.

Speaking of old games, I went to visit my parents this weekend, and my Dad had hooked up our old Atari 5200. The buttons on that thing really sucked ass, so we could only play the games that would work with the trackball, or Space Dungeon, which used two joysticks and no buttons (and we had to use a paperclip to short out the start button to start it). I quickly got re-addicted to Space Dungeon, which is a great game. My brother and I used to play it for hours.

Anyone else have a TI-99/4A, or Atari 5200? If not, what video game system/PC was the first one you remember using? And if you say Nintendo, Sega or Playstation, you're too young to participate in this discussion, so go to your room, because I don't want people making me feel old, damnit.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sen. Obama criticizes filibuster tactic

Jesus, I never realized Senator Obama was a fucking moron. Do people lose all common sense once they get elected to public office or something?

Obama cast Alito as a judge "who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values."
But Obama joined some Democrats, including Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Charles Schumer of New York, in expressing his unhappiness with the filibuster bid

So he recognizes that Alito is a bad choice, but doesn't have any interest in opposing him using the only avenue open for that opposition. Great. Instead of showing up for the vote, why doesn't he just stay home and let Frist cast his vote for him? So, because he thinks it's the wrong way to get it done, he is just going to do nothing instead? Look, I'm unhappy with the filibuster, too, but it's the only way left for resonable people to have any voice in this process at this point. It would be nice to me if Republicans weren't so blindly loyal to their party that they could recognize that all Alito will do is increase the power of governement over individuals (something they're supposed to be against), and would vote against him. But since they're not going to, I'm all for filibustering him. Really, whatever it takes, withtin the rules, and the law, to keep him off the court is what they should be doing.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Who gives a fuck?

Jesus Christ, I can't believe that this is such a big fucking issue. The author was srong to present his book as fact if it was made up or even partially made up, but who really cares whether some guy lied in his memoir? Don't like it? Don't fucking buy it, that's how simple it is. Sure the guy should be forced to tell the truth, but he shouldn't be treated like he's some sort of fucking criminal. I'll tell you what, if I could write a book, pass it off as fact and sell as many as he has, I'd do it in a second. And I wouldn't feel all that guilty about it. If you found the story inspirational and it helped you in some way, or you just found it entertaining, then none of that should change just because it's not true. Shut the fuck up about it, already. It's hardly something we should devote this much attention to.

And as great as I think it is that Oprah gets more people to read, I also am a little sad everytime I see that a lot of people only seem to read or care about what Oprah tells them to read. There are a whole lot of books out there, and I bet even Oprah hasn't read them all. Find some for yourself, you might find that you like your taste even better than Oprah's.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Political Cortex: Confirmed this info. Kerry's office says he is initiating a filibuster

Good. Now, I have no doubt that Samuel Alito will be on the Supreme Court, whether there is a filibuster or not. The Republicans will somehow scare up enough support for their nuclear option, if they have to because they do whatever the fuck they want. But that doesn't mean reasonable people need to just stand aside and let them. We need to make them jump through whatever hoops are possible to get this nutjob on the court. Who knows, maybe some reasonable Republicans will balk at the idea of using the nuclear option and the filibuster will work. That would be great for everyone, even the Republicans who are too stupid to understand it, since alito doesn't care about their rights as Americans anymore than he cares about mine.

And nice to see that John Kerry has gotten tired of being a seen as a spineless pussy, who says a lot of things, but doesn't bother to follow them up with any action. A filibuster is the only choice here. Alito is not fit to serve on the Supreme Court. If you recognize that enough to vote against him, then you need to recognize it enough to support a filibuster.

And when the fucknuts all start chiming in with their "fair up or down vote" crap, be sure to suggest that they are correct and move that we start confirmation proceedings for Harriet Miers, who deserves her up or down vote just as much as Alito does (which is to say, she doesn't).

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

White House Declines to Provide Storm Papers - New York Times

Let's see. So the confidentiality of every American's communications can be compromised presumably to prevent more people from dying in future terrorist attackes, but the confidentiality of the executive branch cannot be compromised to prevent people from dying due to failures in federal responses to future hurricanes? So who is supposed to be in charge in this country, again? Because I keep forgetting.

Look, I realize that there are things that the executive branch must keep from public view, but I hardly see how anything relating to Katrina could compromise national security or anything. Obviously, this is all about power. Although I can't see any legitimate reason to like this guy, I realize that other people somehow do, but I just don't get how liking a guy makes it ok to give him whatever power he wants.

I wonder if the average American is more likely to die in a hurricane or a terrorist attack.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

White House steps up defense of domestic eavesdropping

Bush also said he kept key members of Congress informed.

"You know, it's amazing that people say to me, 'Well, he was just breaking the law.' If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?" Bush said, apparently referring to former Vice President Al Gore's accusation last week that he was "breaking the law" by authorizing the program.

"These are not phone calls within the United States," Bush said. "This is a phone call of an al Qaeda, known al Qaeda suspect, making a phone call into the United States.

"I'm mindful of your civil liberties, and so I had all kinds of lawyers review the process. We briefed members of the United States Congress ... about this program."

Well, I don't know about you, but I feel much better knowing that he had all kinds of lawyers and congressmen looking over the program. Of course, the lawyers work for the executive branch or the NSA, and I wonder just exactly which congressmen he briefed on this? If he was so sure of his legal footing, why didn't he get approval from the actual people the law requires?

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Yesterday was a bad day to be a Quarterback named Jake

As I noticed this yesterday, with both of these guys not just losing, but playing horribly, I also figured out why Peyton Manning is having such a rough time winning a Superbowl, and why my son will face an uphill battle to ever be a Superbowl Champion quarterback. I noticed that all four quarterbacks left had short one-syllable names: Jake, Jake, Matt and Ben. Then I started thinking about all the Superbowl winning quarterbacks and realized the vast majority of them share this trait.

Bart, Joe, Len, Johnny, Roger, Bob, Terry, Ken, Jim, Joe, Joe, Jim, Phil, Doug, Jeff, Mark, Troy, Steve, Brett, John, Kurt, Trent, Tom, Brad, Matt/Ben.

So, out of 40 games, only 7 of them have been won by guys with more than one syllable in their first name, and those 7 represent only 3 out of 25 guys, and none for the last 25 years. So, obviously, if Manning wants to win one, he needs to change his name. His brother is also screwed. We were thinking about calling my son Jake before he was born, but at some point decided not to. I didn't realize we were destroying his chances of ever quarterbacking a Superbowl winning team. Of course, with the two Jakes doing so lousy yesterday, it might not have helped. You'll notice that this research does nothing to excuse Dan Marino from never winning it all. Also, as I thought about this, I thought maybe that's it's just that one syllable names are more common, so as a control group, I also considered the starting running backs for these championship teams:

Elijah, Donny, Matt, Robert, Tom, Walt, Larry, Franco, Clarence, Tony, Franco, Mark, Ricky, John, Marcus, Roger, Walter, Joe, Timmy, Ottis, Earnest, Emmitt, Ricky, Edgar, Terrell, Marshall, Jamal, Antowain, Michael, Corey, Shaun/Willie

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Broadcasters Piss Me Off

I'm always irritated whenever an announcer says "the ground cannot cause a fumble," and they say that all the time. But it's just not true. If a player is running with the ball in the open field and trips over his own feet, or runs into a teammate and the ball hits the ground and pops free, that's a fumble. Obviously, this doesn't happen often, so normally when a guy hits the ground and the ball comes out, he's been hit by an opposing player sometime on the way down. In this case, he would be down and it wouldn't be a fumble. Not because the ground can't cause a fumble, but because the player is down before the ball comes out. Also, announcers often say this when talking about a reception versus an incomplete pass, which is a completely different situation.

So anyway, when for the first time I hear a commentator correctly say that the ground can cause a fumble, it's a little irritating that he does it when the runner is so clearly down that there isn't even any question about it. But that's what Phil Simms did yesterday. Willie Parker's forearm hit the ground, as he was being tackled, and the ball came out. You would think that playing in the NFL for a while, and winning a Superbowl would actually indicate some basic grasp of NFL rules, but Phil Simms apparently managed to get by without it. He actually tried to argue during the review that he wasn't sure if the players forearm being down was enough to overturn the call on the field of a fumble. Huh? Idiot. And he actually said, "but his knee isn't down." Even worse, Jim Nance didn't correct him. And when the official very clearly said that the forearm was down, and there was no fumble, he didn't even correct himself, he still said he didn't know if just the forearm would be enough to overturn the call.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Fake tolerance

I was reading the 'Rants & Raves' column in my local paper today. Like it sounds, it's an open forum for readers to send in short statements about stuff that gets them going. I found the following comment interesting and infuriating.

This is regarding Wednesday night's American Idol episode, where the last contestant was a cross-dresser... While I respect everyone's right to choose their lifestyle, I deeply resent that my 10-year-old son had to witness that particular ratings stunt. As a parent, I want to choose the time to tell my son about alternative lifestyles. Unfortunately, I had no choice but to answer questions that he should not have to ask at this age...This is supposed to be a family show - one this family won't watch again.

Now, I didn't see the show, so I don't know what the cross-dresser in question looked or acted like. I don't know if this was just a guy in drag like a Ru Paul type or an actual transvestite, though I would guess the former. I think it's safe to assume that the author believes that the contestant was gay (I would be surprised if he knew about the various distinctions in sexual identity). A couple of things about this rant piss me off.

First the author says he respects everyone's right to choose their lifestyle. The choice of words tips you off right away. Using the words choice and lifestyle in this context is always negative. He means that it's ok with him as long as these freaks never crawl out of their holes and bother normal people like him and his normal family.

Second, let's pretend that he was telling the truth and that he really does respect people's choices. But he's upset that he has to expose his 10-year-old son to this 'lifestyle'. His implication is that there's something dirty and shameful about people who aren't mainstream heterosexuals. As if the very act of being who they are is somehow sexual, like public lewdness or something. I don't think it's a stretch to say that he would consider anything other than good old-fashioned straight people to be too risque for family entertainment. Especially if one guy wearing a dress gets him so bent out of shape that he feels the need to write his local paper.

Last, what is he trying to protect his 10-year-old from? I have 2 kids, 10 and 6. In my experience, you don't do anyone any favors, especially the kids when you try to keep the world out. Keeping them from knowing that gay people exist is not protecting their innocence. Kids don't have some sort of right to be free from knowledge. He makes it sound like they showed a live blow-job and he had to explain oral sex to his son. It was just a guy in a dress - thank goodness it wasn't a bare nipple, or the shit might have really hit the fan.

I hate this sort of fake tolerance. He says he respects people, but then goes on to prove that he doesn't. Respect and tolerance both require acceptance and compassion. I think it's important to call people on this kind of bullshit. We've come a long way as a society in the last 50 or so years, but there's still a long way to go until we achieve true respect and compassion for people of every stripe.

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My neighbors

Well, not my next-door neighbors, but a house a couple of miles down the road from our neighborhood. I was driving by today and something caught my eye - it was the word 'ass'. Before I passed the house completely, I was able to see the whole thing. It was a phrase in large white letters on top of a windshield of a truck which was facing the road. The whole text was 'Kick raghead ass again!'

I do live in a very red part of a red state in the deep south, but this took me a little by surprise. I think most of the bigots around here (and there are many) have learned to keep their bigotry low key. I mean, I can't imagine the same guy with a slogan saying 'Kick more nigger ass!' or something like that. I guess it shows that openly anti-Muslim, anti-Arab sentiment is ok, at least around these parts.

It does make me wonder what it would be like to live in a place where progressives outnumber neanderthals. But I have too many other things tying me to this area, so it's just an idle thought.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Iraqi Invasion: A Text Misadventure

If you've ever played Zork or games like that, I think you'll find this very funny. An excerpt -

Oval Office
You are standing inside a White House, having just been elected to the presidency of the United States. You knew Scalia would pull through for you.

There is a large desk here, along with a few chairs and couches. The presidential seal is in the middle of the room and there is a full-length mirror upon the wall.

What do you want to do now?

You are not able to do that, yet.

Self-reflection is not your strong suit.

It's not that kind of seal.

They are two several chairs arranged around the center of the room, along with two couches. Under one couch you find Clinton's shoes.

You are unable to fill Clinton's shoes.

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Time-zone fight ends in Indiana

This article sucks. After seeing the headline I was curious to see how, in 2006, people could not even manage to agree what time it is. But after reading the article, I still have no idea why anyone would oppose daylight savings time. Also, after reading the article I have new questions. The article seems to focus on a battle centered on adoption of daylight savings time, which is apparently resolved somehow by moving counties into a different time zone. Why does what time zone you're in have any bearing on whether you use daylight savings time or not? I assume there are some difficulties living near a time-zone border, and apparently daylight savings time further exacerbates those in some way, but it would be nice if the article bothered to explain them.

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Feds after Google data

The Bush administration is a bunch of crooks. Why on earth do they need to see people's search history? If they want to see how often porn is returned in searches then sit the fuck down and do some searches and actually work to find it out, it's not Google's job to do your work for you. However, I'm sure this really doesn't have anything to do with porn. Good for Google for their position on it. Of course, if I were running Google, the official position would be "Fuck Off!" but fighting it vigorously should do ok too.

And a note to parents: There is porn on the internet. There is nothing that the governement or anyone else can do to get rid of it. Also, there is porn that is not on the internet. I grew up with no internet and still managed to see plenty of porn before becoming an adult. Your kids will see porn before you want them to, and you can't stop it. Just get used to it, it probably won't hurt them. The best way to protect your children from porn is for you to do it, not for the government or the tv stations or anyone else to do it for you. Also, by the time they're really looking for it, the only way it's going to damage them is if you've sheltered them so much, and given them some warped sense of reality that they feel guilty about it or think there is something wrong with them for wanting to see it. The reason there is so much porn available is because people like it. Your kids will see it someday, instead of trying to postpone that day until they're adults, try to raise them as responsible open-minded people with good values and judgement, then when they do see it, it probably won't matter that much anyway.

Either way, George Bush needs to seriously stay the fuck out of people's private lives. And if he doesn't, it would be nice if all his "small government" type supporters came out against him for it. I mean seriously, what the fuck's it going to take? Surely we're not afraid the terrorists are looking at too much porn. Actually, if they see enough porn, maybe they'll rethink that whole radical religous nutjob thing and just develop some unhealthy internet addiction instead, which would really be better for everyone.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Follow Up

Following up nicely with my MTV theory post, my daughter has been working on a project in her American Government classwhere they have to come up with their own political party and platform. Today she came home with her speech. I was happy to hear that her party was called the Equal Rights Party, with the central part of their platform being gay rights. There were some other ideas in her speech that I didn't really agree with, but I was happy tosee that a few high schoolgirls could get together and decide that gay rights is an important enough issue to base their party on. She has to give her speech tomorrow, so I'll be interested to see how it goes over with her class.

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Oregon assisted suicide law upheld

In my post below about the probable confirmation of Alito, we were debating whether a justice's ideology should be considered when deciding to confirm or not. I think this ruling points out just why ideology is the most important consideration, if a candidate is otherwise qualified.

This case hinged on the interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act and whether the act's provision that controlled substances be used for "legitimate medical purposes" allowed the Attorney General to criminalize the prescribing of drugs for assisted suicide. You can read through the text of the statue here and the opinion here.

If you read the majority and dissenting opinions, you see that both Kennedy, writing for the majority, and Scalia in dissent, take the same wording and the same precedents on how to interpret these rules and regulations and come to completely opposite conclusions. After reading both opinions, it's clear to me that the major difference here is ideology, not legal principle.

Kennedy writes that the Attorney General's use of the "legitimate medical purposes" language to block prescriptions of drugs that the state of Oregon has authorized clearly falls outside his statutory powers. Reading the statue, it's clear that the intent of Congress was to prohibit the illegal trafficking of controlled substances, and only to regulate a doctor's prescription writing when the prescriptions are being used to promote illegal trafficking of controlled substances. Kennedy cites earlier court opinions which describe how federal rules and regulations have to be interpreted, and comes to the conclusion that the Attorney general's interpretation is not protected by precedent.

Scalia writes that the use of the language "legitimate medical purposes" is sufficient for the Attorney General to issue the rule, and that his interpretation is protected by the court's earlier decisions and requires deference. He goes on to deconstruct Kennedy's reasoning and also to show that assisted suicide is not a legitimate medical purpose.

Reading both opinions, and wading through all the legal minutiae, it's easy to see how in murky cases like this it's easy and probably unavoidable that a justice would use his or her own opinion of whether something is right or wrong and then find the legal basis to support that opinion, even if it's not done consciously. You can see this also in a separate dissent by Thomas that uses different decisions to support the Attorney General's position. It think it's very naive to think that all 9 of these people were dispassionately weighing the law with none of their own personal morality affecting their judgment. That's why you have to consider a justice's ideology when deciding whether to confirm or not.

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Man recovering after heart attack during Steelers game

I'm seriously surprised this kind of thing doesn't happen more often. A lot of people (including me) get very caught up in their sports teams, and when there is a play that sudden and changes the game so much, I would think it would be a lot for some Steeler fans to handle. Hell, I was pretty excited myself, and I don't like either team. Hopefully, the AFC Championship will be less of a nail-biter, whether the Steelers win or lose. Otherwise it may be the end of Terry O'Neill.

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Two-year-old called for jury duty

I'm ok with your feel-good fluff stories, but I'm about sick of this particular brand of fluff. Enough with the kids called for jury duty. Enough with the pets who got credit cards in the mail. This kind of thing was mildly amusing the first time, now it's just tired, and just highlights the fact that the MSM doesn't care about real news. It's just a data error, get over it!

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How MTV will help save America

So, I'm old enough to remember when MTV first got started, and young enough to have watched it quite a bit from then right up until now. Who would have thought an entire network devoted to playing music videos (whatever those are) could possibly work? Oh right, it didn't really work, since I can't remember the last time I saw music video on MTV. I guess they still play them late at night or something. And they still seem to be focused on that silly experiment, only they now call it MTV2, except that it now seems to be just a clone of MTV showing the same original programming over and over (and over...). I guess they've moved the music to MTV Hits (or something), where it can fail again. So, anyway, MTV has for sometime relied on orginal shows (some good, some bad, some terrible)to carry the network, and they seem to be doing ok that way.

MTV's shows, as ridiculous as some of them are, don't get enough credit in my mind, for changing the way people think. Everytime I see people debating gay marraige, it always irritates the shit out of me that people still can have some of the stupid bigoted attitudes that they do. Yet, as I get upset, I'm always comforted by the certainty (in my mind anyway) that in the near future, the gay rights debate will be decided by people who grew up watching MTV. For at least 15 years, gay people have been presented positively, and just like anyone else on MTV, particularly on The Real World, and it's many spin-offs. My ideas on the subject were pretty well formed already by that time, and luckily I came up with the right opinion anyway, but for younger people who may otherwise fall into the trap oh homophobia, I think seeing these people on TV will really help. I think it's almost impossible for people to hold on to their bigotry when growing up in a world where they can plainly see that gay people are just like anyone else.

In my entire time in school there were probably a handful of kids who were suspected of being gay, and people were rough on them. Now, I hear a lot more about kids being openly gay, and obviously the more kids who know those kids, the less bigots we're going to have.

I've often thought of this as I watch MTV, but as I saw a few seconds of some (really, really, really, almost painfully bad) dating show on MTV the other day, where teen lesbians were on the show, and the show was exactly like it was with heterosexual contestants, it really hit me how much progress we've made, and how much I think MTV has contributed to that progress.

Now, if they could just bring back Remote Control, because that was a great show. And it's where I first saw Adam Sandler.

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Monday, January 16, 2006


When this show firststarted, I was very excited to see it, as I usually enjoy shows that are unique and different from whatever else is on TV. But for whatever reason, I just couldn't get into it. And since I stubbornly hate to start things in the middle, I didn't try to pick it back up even after hearing so many great things about it. Well, with all the hype around this season's premiere, I decided to give it another try, figuring that a show whose entire season covers a single day shouldn't be able to have too much going on from the past that I shouldn't be able to enjoy it anyway. So, I watched the two part, two night, four hour premiere, and I'm pretty well hooked. I wish they had done it that way in the first season and maybe I would have been watching all along. Knowing FOX, they'll cancel it next week, despite all the great ratings, but at least if I'm watching, I'll be able to bitch about it along with everyone else.

One thing that did bother me, though, was Jack Bauer having two cell phones. Now, I'm sure that's pretty normal for a super spy, but seems a little odd for a drifter trying to catch work on oil rigs. So if he wasn't carrying around both phones in his new life, and he had the Treo in his bag o' spy stuff, I could see that. Except that since the bag was crammed in an air vent, presumably for quite some time, I'm not sure when he had time to charge the new phone. I don't know why these things bother me, but I'd be willing to forget about it if FOX will send me one of those Treos. Anyway, it's a pretty small thing in a pretty great show, and something I guess you have to give them license for in a show like this with a tight timeline.

So after watching 4 of 24 hours, I'm left with the impression that Jack Bauer is a bad motherfucker. I hope to get the DVDs or something and catch up on the rest of the seasons sometime.

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I wish Al Gore was my President

A little over a year ago, I voted for John Kerry for President, and while I still wish he had won, nothing that has happened since the election has made me sad that he lost, other than the fact that we still have to live being led by George Bush. A little over five years ago, I voted for Al Gore for President, and at the time, I didn't have much more feeling for him than I had for Kerry. I've learned a lot about politics since then, and everytime I hear Al Gore speak, I'm sorry that he isn't the President. It makes me even sadder because I'm still convinced that he won the election.

I hope he runs for President again, because I just can't get excited about anyone else whose names are out there. I would vote for most of the Democrats over any of the Republicans, but I wouldn't be happy about voting for Clinton or Biden or Kerry. I would enthusiastically support Al Gore*. And if he doesn't run, I hope the democrats can scare up someone who has some sort of personality and seems to have ideas about what is going on in our country.

* As long as he doesn't grow that nasty beard again.

Posted by 7 comments

Some Abortion Foes Forgo Politics for Quiet Talk

I found this article pretty interesting. I've long wondered why people who claim to oppose abortion from a moral perspective focus so much time and effort trying to make it illegal, which really doesn't do anything to change the fact that people are going to get abortions. As I read through the article, I was a little bothered by some of the tactics used by this "clinic" particularly in the postabortion counseling which seems to be just a way to make women feel guilty about what they have done. However, I'd much rather see people who oppose abortion do things like this that rather than try to take that choice away from everyone. Discouraging abortion makes a lot more sense to me than trying to outlaw abortion, and it seems to fit better with what most anti-abortion people claim to be bothered by. I don't think abortion is ever a good thing, even if it sometimes might be the best thing available in a particular situation, so it's nice to see that at least some of the people that oppose it actually try to do something to prevent it rather than just make it illegal. It would be nice to see similar efforts trying to make sure the unwanted pregnancies don't occur in the first place, then it would be a lot easier to believe that anti-abortion people were more concerned about stopping abortions than about limiting freedom.

Like I said, there were quite a few things in the article that bothered me, it seems that they're probably misleading women, or even lying, and definitely trying to make them feel guilty, and I wonder how much assistance they actually offer after a baby is born. But overall, doing more of this kind of thing would represent anti-abortion people a lot better than blowing up abortion clinics, and trying to take away women's rights.

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Wife of Colts' Harper says stabbing was accidental

I wonder if he hadn't had a wounded knee if Harper could have gotten by Rothlisberger and scored the game winner. Someone should see if his wife is possibly a Steelers fan.

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Inauguration for Africa's first elected female head of state

Wow. Maybe someday the US can be as progressive as Africa.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Pentagon to families: Go ahead, laugh

I've found a good way to make people smile at least, if not laugh, is to not send their family members halfway around the world to get killed for no reason, but I'm no expert or anything.

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Alito likely to be confirmed

"I think there may well be a strict party-line vote," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters.
Confident Republicans and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said a filibuster is unlikely.

"The point is the key to this was whether or not there was enough critical mass established during these hearings to trigger not only a filibuster but ... that so-called nuclear option," Toobin said, referring to a move to prohibit filibusters of judicial nominees.

"I'm pretty sure -- I could always call for one order of crow -- but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen."

So, it's looking like most Democrats in the Senate are going to vote against this guy. If that's the case, why in the world would they not use the filibuster? I can only think of two reasons - either they don't have the votes for a filibuster, or they're just spineless dogs.

First possibility, enough Dems are voting yes that they don't have enough votes for a filibuster. If that's the case, what the hell is wrong with these people? Although these hearings do little to provide any real information(I blame the Senators themselves for much of that, since they ask the same type of questions over and over knowing they're not going to get an answer), it's clear to me that there's no reason to believe that Alito's changed his position on abortion, rights for workers and minorities, or presidential powers. If any Democrats believe that putting a man like this on the Supreme Court is a good thing, they should just go ahead and switch parties right now.

Second possibility, they have the votes to support a filibuster, but they're afraid to rock the boat and possibly invoke the so-called nuclear option. In this case they're just gutless cowards, more afraid of looking too partisan than in doing what's right. As John has said, there's no reason to be afraid of Republican threats, if you're afraid to use it on vitally important issues, then the filibuster is useless. And what's more important than the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice? Do the right thing and let the Republicans do whatever they're going to do. They won't be the majority party forever.

The bottom line for me is it's clear that Alito trusts authority, whether it's the executive branch, or large corporations, and he's willing to err on their side. He's shown this in his previous rulings and legal papers. I think there's an idea among Democrats that it's more difficult to justify denying him the position because he's obviously qualified technically to do the job. He's certainly no Harriet Myers. But it's wrong to think that because he's got the resume that you have to rubber stamp his nomination. The responsibility of the Senate is to consent. To my mind that doesn't mean a 51-49 ramming down our throat of a right-wing judge. It implies consensus, as much as possible. There have been plenty of nominees from both parties who have been able to gain consensus. Look at Sandra Day O'Connor, the woman he's replacing. She was confirmed 99-0, and is generally considered a centrist. For the Democrats to cave on this nomination and vote yes or avoid the filibuster is an abdication of their constitutional responsibility.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Miller apologizes for comments on drinking and skiing

What the fuck? Who was "confused or hurt" by this? So, is he sorry that it's hard to ski while drunk or just that he pointed it out? And isn't it really pretty much common sense? Lots of things are harder when drunk, why should skiing be any different? Who the fuck hears something like this and decides to make an angry phone call or write a letter? Don't you have anything better to do with your time? There are far, far, far more serious things to get upset about than a drunk skier.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Levi's slips into something more musical [January 12, 2006]

Costing about $400, the RedWire DLXs are on a price par with other designer
jeans such asTsubi, Nudie and Paper Denim Cloth.

If they're going to cost $400, they need to actually come with an iPod, not just be compatible with it.

And really, it's enough with the iPod already.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Conservatives call for return to core Republican principles

Well, it's about fucking time.

Not that I'm a huge fan of core Republican principles, but I'll take them in a second over the ridiculous, out of control spending, bloated government, and corruption we currently enjoy.

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Places to go

Toast has a post over on this over at his place. You create a map of all the states you've visited. I didn't count airports, or states where I've only driven. I figure if I've spent the night, I can count it.

As you can see from the contiguous nature of my map, we don't fly in-country much. The only place I've flown in the US is Las Vegas. There are a lot of places I'd like to go. The Northeast is conspicuously absent, as is the West coast. There's a lot of stuff I'd like to see in both places.

Hey if you put my map together with Toast, we've been everywhere in the continental US except North Dakota and West Virginia. I almost counted West Virginia as I drove a trailer through the mountains there at night, which was very interesting - if you've ever been on I-77 there, it's pretty hilly, to say the least. There are a lot of runaway truck lanes. The scary thing was these lanes actually had worn tire tracks, so you know they got used. We tried to spend the night, but every hotel at every exit in the entire state was full. No shit. We had to stay in North Carolina. So if you're ever driving through West Virginia, make a reservation.

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Miners' Notes Reveal Their Final Moments

This story is just tragic all around, and reading notes from people who knew they were going to die makes it even worse. But the part of this article that really seemed odd to me was this:

Peggy Cohen went to the Central Elementary School...to
identify the body of her 59-year-old father, Fred Ware Jr.
emphasis mine

Huh? They identify bodies at a school? How about a morgue, or a hospital, or even a police station? A school, particularly an elementary school seems like an awfully strange place to do that kind of thing. Anyone else think that's just weird?

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Write-In Candidate

Happy Birthday to my new blog partner and big brother, Chris. Chris is now officially old enough to be President, so remember him on your ballots in 2008, instead of whatever assholes actually run. Of course, by the time 2008 rolls around, I will also be old enough, so you can vote for me as well.

Seriously, though, as annoying as it was everytime I started a new school year to have teachers ask, "Are you Chris' brother?" It's worth it to have a big brother. I know quite a few people who have pretty distant or strained relationships with their siblings, and I can't understand that, as I really value my relationship with my brother. I'm glad that my son has big brothers, also, and though they are considerably older than he is, which will mean he won't be able to grow up with them the same way I did with my brother, the trade off is that he will also not be held down and forced to smell things, so it's probably worth it. My only complaint is my brother never beat anyone up for me, but I suppose there's still time for that.

Anyway, everyone join me in wishing Chris a happy 35th birthday!

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Rose Bowl

Ok, so now can we stop hearing about how USC is the best team in the history of team sports? I mean, they had some wonderful accomplishments, but after a month of talking about one team, it gets kind of old. Aftet Texas played an excellent first half and was leading comfortably, all we could fucking hear about was how USC is a second half team, which is true, but how about a little credit for Texas? Assholes. Had USC won that game, I fully expected most of ESPN's on air talent to line up to give blowjobs to Reggie Bush. Luckily, we didn't have to see that.

Can someone tell the ADT guy that no one cares about their 8,000,000 customers, 40,000 employees, or their authorized dealers? Just present the trophy, already.

Vince Young is pretty good. Reggie Bush is also very good, but he's an idiot for that attempted lateral.

I could write for an hour about the things Dan Fouts and Keith Jackson said that pissed me off, but I'll just give a few highlights. The stupidest comment I think I've ever heard is when USC was up by 12 with around 6 minutes to go, and Young threw a pass that should have been picked off, Fouts said that the USC defender had decided to just knock it down instead. Yes, it had nothing to do with the receiver getting in his way or maybe just an inability to catch the ball. He decided. Because really, when faced with intercepting a pass that will all but asure you of winning the National Championship or knocking it down and at best sweating it out for 6 more minutes and at worst, uh losing the game, knocking it down is clearly the right decision. I don't know what the gramatically correct plural form of time-out is, but I do know that time-outs sounds fine, and times-out sounds really, really stupid, but I think Keith Jackson may be dead soon, so I guess he deserves a pass on that. Dan Fouts also pissed me off by harping on the fact that Texas scored a TD that should have been overturned. He was right about that, but the way he talked about it made it seem like they were given 6 free points. If they had overturned the play it still would have been first down in the red zone, and Vince Young proved last night that he's hard to stop in that situation, so it's not like they couldn't have scored anyway.

Once it got to 4th and 5, I knew Young would run it unless he was just blitzed and blindsided before he had a chance to decide where to go, and I knew he would make it. It was way too easy for him running the ball. Once he tucked it down and took off, I knew he would score. I think he only even bothered to look around first to give the defense a chance to get moving in other directions, and to see if he possibly had a wide open receiver somewhere.

I hate the BCS, because they suck, but they did give us two great games and a pretty good game (I didn't watch the FiestaBowl, so I don't know about that one), so if we have to have a fucked up system, it's nice to have good games to watch, anyway.

Posted by 2 comments

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Surprise secret to soccer appeal

Ok, so I'm a pretty big football snob, I don't think any sport even comes close, especially soccer. So of course, I make fun of it. However, that is mostly just in fun, if a world of foreigners like to watch soccer and get in a big brawl or cut their balls off or throw urine on each other or whatever, I say more power to them. But when you try to prove that soccer is more exciting scientifically, then I have a problem. Particularly with this part:

The team decided to make unpredictability - how often a leading team is
overcome by an opponent with a worse record - the best measure of how exciting a
league is.
Huh? Unpredictability is the best measure of how exciting it is? So all those countless hours that they run around NOT scoring goals don't really factor in at all, I guess. I'm all for rooing for the underdog at times, and appreciating a good upset, but sheer dominance can be pretty exciting as well. This "research" is pretty flawed from the beginning.

In a related study, I have determined that football (not soccer, which came in last) is the most exciting sport. My research team decided to make shit that I like the best measure of how exciting a league is. Congratulation to the NFL followed up closely by NCAA Football.

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So I finally finished re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia (reviews). They were pretty much exactly as I remembered, except they were definitely kids books, and I was more aware of the religous aspects of the stories, particularly in the last book. They're still great to read, though, especially being able to remember reading them as a kid. I think The Magician's Nephew is my favorite, with The Last Battle being the worst by far.

Now, I'm going to start Scattered Suns, the fourth book in the series I've been reading, that I got for my birthday. By the time I finish that, hopefully my wife will be done with The Historian, which I got her for Christmas. There's a guy at work who read it and wants to talk about it and keeps asking me if I've read it yet, so I need to read it.

What's everyone else reading? Any recommendations?

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Kickers are Important and other football related thoughts

So my favorite college and pro teams would both be in better shape now if they had decent kickers. Dallas would likely be in the playoffs without about three big misses on field goals this year, and FSU probably would have won the Orange Bowl with a decent kicker. I can almost excuse the missed field goals in overtime, but the missed extra point was too much. And Bobby Bowden has no excuse for not finding a good kicker, he's seen this all too many times, big kicks missed in big games with FSU on the wrong side at the end. It's not enough to hope the other guy sucks a little bit worse than your guy, although last night (this morning) it almost seemed like it would be, and it did work for Penn State. I don't know if Bill Parcells has had any major kicking problems in his past coaching stops, but I hope this season teaches him that a good kicker is invaluable and that he either goes out and gets a reliable free agent kicker, or find some young kicker who actually shows real promise. I'll be pissed next season if they still have a shitty kicker, considering what it cost them this season.

Now, on to my BCS complaint. Since this season they lucked into getting the right teams in the championship game, I won't complain too much about that. Even though a system that works once every five years seems like a failure to me. Anyway, what I want to complain about today is the game times and length. If a game starts at 8:00, it shouldn't end at 1:00, regardless of how many overtimes there are. Regulation didn't end until after midnight. And if you're going to start the games at 8:00, how about starting them at 8:00, and not at 8:20? I don't need any more pregame or buildup, these teams haven't played for a month, that's all anyone's been talking about. Your extra twenty minutes just means I have longer to wait. One game like this might not be so bad, but after staying up for the Sugar Bowl, then the Orange Bowl, I don't know if I have enough left in the tank to make it to the end of the Rose Bowl tonight. Especially if it's a long game that goes down to the end, like last night's. But no matter what time they start, a football game shouldn't take 4 hours to play. It's an hour on the clock, that means they had three hours of commercials, halftime and other crap. That's too much. I love football and wouldn't mind it the games lasted six hours if they didn't put them on so late on a weeknight. Why is it more important for west coast viewers to see the beginning that for east coast viewers to see the end?

And why were Mike Tirico and Kirk Herbstreit so intent on defending Jeff Bowden last night? The guy blows as a play caller. The one constant in all their underachieving offenses is him. Sure they've had injuries that have hurt, but they still have plenty of talent and ought to be able to rush for more than 50 yards in a game. I think it's a testament to that talent that they can go to overtime with the #3 team in the country despite such an anemic offense. And I especially think it's ok to blame Bowden when he so clearly uses his players the wrong way. Running Booker between the tackes and Washington wide, when it should be the exact opposite. Or after Washington easily converts a third and 2, only to have it come back for a holding penalty, giving it to Booker on the subsequent fourth and 2, where of course he was stuffed. Or trying a QB sneak almost from the 2 yard line. That really could have cost them, just a completely wasted play. I can understand why Bobby Bowden would defend Jeff Bowden, being his father, but I don't get why anyone else would.

As the NFL playoffs start, I will be rooting for the Jaguars and the Colts. Mostly the Colts since I think the Jaguars will get hammered this weekend, and I don't think I could stand listening to the radio if they win. I like Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy, and would like to see both of them win it all. Especially Dungy since he's been through enough lately, and also because he got screwed in Tampa and wasn't there for their SuperBowl win. I can't really get excited about anyone in the NFC. Seattle is the worst number one seed I've seen since the Giants a few years ago. They got a lot of luck this year in the games I saw them in. Chicago is a nice story, but I don't want to watch a team with no offense again. We've seen that too much recently with the Ravens and the Bucs. The Giants are incredibly overrated, if you watch them play, it's amazing that they're able to win at all. I guess having nine home games helps, especially when you suck on the road (nice job, NFL). I guess I'll probably root for Tampa, though I can't get too excited about them either. I do hope Washington gets beat badly, that's one thing I can get excited for. Whatever happens, I hope the games are good. Anyone have any predictions?

Posted by 8 comments

11 of 12 Miners Reported Alive Are Dead

So after posting yesterday that I didn't see any way these guys had survived, I was pretty surprised but happy to hear that I was wrong last night. Well, of course, as it seems happens with any big story these days, somebody fucked up and apparently only one guy survived. I'm sure there will be a lot of people blaming the mining company or the governor's office, or the media, but as upset as I would be if someone in my family was one of the miners, I can't too upset at anyone in this situation. I'm sure it was a terribly stressful couple of days all around, and obviously this shouldn't have happened, but I don't think anyone would maliciously spread false information, or withhold the real information. At least I hope not. I imagine that this rumor started somewhere that they were alive, possibly because the one guy was, and it spread quickly because that's what everyone wanted to believe.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

US lobbyist Abramoff pleads guilty to fraud

I'm glad to see that the Republicans have been able to restore honesty and integrity to the government.

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Desperate crawl to save trapped miners

Is there any chance these guys are still alive? I guess they need to go through the motions of a rescue, and I'd certainly want them to if I was down there, but it's been like a day and a half, I don't see much chance these guys are still alive even if they survived the initial explosion. In 2006, shouldn't there be better ways to do mining than sending people down there? It sure seems like there should.

Anyway, on the bright side for West Virginia, they did (barely) hang on to win the Sugar Bowl.

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I'm just shuffling through the music on my pc and a song from Ragtime just played. For any musical theater fans (I know there's at least one of you out there), does anyone know why this show isn't touring somewhere? Great music, great story, epic sweep, universal themes. I'm glad I was fortunate enough to see a Broadway-caliber regional production.

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CNN.com - Did Virginia execute an innocent man? - Jan 3, 2006

I don't know if this guy was innocent or not, but I hope the DNA testing is done. I think if the state is in possession of viable DNA evidence from old cases, and that evidence could be exculpatory, the state has a responsibility to do the test, and to do it as quickly as possible. My guess is that 99% of these tests will show that the proper person was convicted, but it's that remaining percentage that makes all the difference.

I do wonder how much difference it would make in public opinion if Coleman is exonerated by the DNA. From the article -

"I think it would be the final straw for a lot of people who are on the fence on the death penalty," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington.

I think there's some truth to that, but I also think there are a lot of people who will say that even if he didn't do this crime, he was still a bad guy and point to his attempted rape conviction. I don't agree with this view, but I think a lot of people will take that position.

On the subject of DNA testing, I wonder if OJ would have gotten off if his trial were held today? I think CSI has made the average citizen much more aware of DNA evidence. DNA evidence is no longer considered lofty scientific stuff, in fact, I would say it's solidly mainstream now. I wasn't one of the trial-watchers back then, but I remember the defense trying to confuse the jury about the blood evidence, which was damning for OJ. I wonder if they would fall for it now?

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Better Off Dead

I just ran across this interview with the writer/director of Better Off Dead. I was really surprised to find out that John Cusack didn't like this movie. I actually saw it first-run back in 1985 and I've always loved it. When I think about 80's movies this is one that always comes to mind.

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