Sunday, April 30, 2006

Police Blow Up News Rack Because of 'Mission: Impossible III' Promotion

Can we please return to the time when anything unusual in a public place isn't automatically assumed to be a bomb? Everytime I see a story like this (and there are way too many of them), I feel sorry that we've turned into a country full of pussies, scared of the boogeyman, and monsters under our beds.

Also, I have no desire to see Mission Impossible 3. Not because I've jumped on the Tom Cruise hating bandwagon. Despite him being a loon, he has made some pretty good movies, though none recently that I can think of. Anyway, I don't want to see it because the last one required taking notes to keep up with what was going on. They seemed to be operating under the assumption that the more twists they have, the better. And I imagine they'll want to have even more this time.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

A to Z

I saw this over at Shakespeare's Sister, I'm not usually a big fan of these things, but since I can't seem to motivate myself to post anything original these days, I thought I'd do this one just to fill some space.

Accent: I don't know if I have much of an accent, but if I do, I guess it's probably vaguely southern, since I've been down here most of my life.

Booze: I like beer. Cheap, ordinary beer. That's pretty much it.

Chore I Hate: Yardwork, except it feels so good when I'm done that it almost makesit worth it.

Dog or Cat: Dog. I've always liked dogs and been pretty uninterested in cats, though we do have about the best cat ever.

Essential Electronics: Computer, cell phone, TV, does Air Conditioning count as electronics? It's definitely essential.

Favorite Cologne: I used to wear Drakkar when I was a teenager, but don't really wear anything much anymore,and if I do, it's whatever my wife buys me.

Gold or Silver: I like Gold better, and I like two-tone stuff, like my wedding ring.

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL. I wasn't born here, but it's the only place I really remember living, besides a few vague memories of Germany.

Insomnia: I sometimes don't get enough sleep, but it's usually because I stay up too late watching TV, not because I can't sleep. I used to have trouble sleeping occasionally when I was younger, but nothingtoo bad.

Job Title: Developer.

Kids: Four. My wife had three when we got married (who are all teenagers now), and our son is 3.

Living Arrangements: House, with my wife and two of the kids, a dog and a cat.

Most Admirable Traits: Incredibly intelligent, Irresistable to women, easy to get along with, super nice guy, ridiculously handsome, and of course modest.

Number of Sexual Partners: 3.

Overnight Hospital Stays: The only one I remember was after a horrible car accident we were in in 1998. But I wasn't badly hurt, and I don't think I would have even been kept overnight if it hadn't been so late when I got there. They were basically just checking me out, since I hit my head. But when I was a baby, I had pneumonia and had to stay in the hospital for a while.

Phobias: DEATH.

Quote: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” I'm not really much for quotes, so I just picked the first quote of the day from the Google homepage.

Religion: N/A.

Siblings: Older brother, he should do this too.

Time I Wake Up: Around 7:30 on weekdays, maybe 9:30 - 10:00 on weekends, depending on what's going on and when my son gets up.

Unusual Talent or Skill: Allmy talents are pretty usual.

Vegetable I Love: I hate vegetables, but I hate green beans the least, so I guess that would be it.

Worst Habit: Hmm, I would say watching Invasion, but I was ableto kick that one a couple of weeks ago, finally. Maybe getting a little too outwardly emotional when watching sports.

X-Rays: Let's see, I've had dental ones a few times, I had a dislocated thumb when I was a kid, so I imagine they xrayed that, though I don't specifically remember it. I've had a couple of chest x-rays, and that's all I can remember.

Yummy Foods I Make: I make pretty good spaghetti, but that's about all I can cook besides Hamburger Helper and anything that goes in the microwave.

Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius.

Ok, now for the tagging. I tag everyone. So, if you're reading this, you're tagged. And if you're not reading this, you're still tagged, but you won't know it, so I guess it doesn't matter. But why aren't you reading?

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dear Mr. President

My daughter gets Time for Kids at school. I think it's great - she's always talking about stuff she read there and it seems to keep her up on current events pretty well. I guess it replaced the Weekly Readers from when I was in elementary school.

They had a form letter called Dear Mr. President where the student was to fill out an introduction, answer three simple questions and provide an ending. Here's what she wrote (in italics):

Dear President George W. Bush,
Introduction: Introduce yourself and tell why you are writing this letter.
Hello, my name is Tori Howard. I am writing about you and your big problem. You are spying on people in the United States.

Paragraph: Describe one problem in the United States. Then give your viewpoint on the problem. Give facts and details to support your opinion.
One problem in the United States is you spying on people, and without court permission too. Why, George Bush, Why?

Paragraph:Suggest one way that you think the President can solve this problem.
You can try to get court permission or you can stop spying on people, because you're invading people's privacy.

Paragraph: Tell the President what you think he should do to help improve the lives of U.S. children.
You need to stop spying. Because you might make children think it's ok to spy on people and that's not good. If you're the President, set a good example.

Ending: Restate the main points of your letter. Then thank the President for his time.
So I just ask for you to stop spying on us. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Tori Howard

A story about the wiretapping thing was on NPR in the car quite a while ago and we were talking about it. I was happy to see that she remembered and must have taken something substantial away from the conversation. When we talk about politics, I try to tell her and her sister why I don't like Bush and explain in terms of the values I'm teaching them, rather than just saying Bush sucks and leaving it at that.

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Bush picks Fox's Snow as press secretary

I'm tired of hearing about Bush's staff. I'm even more tired of hearing people talk about him shaking things up in response to his low poll numbers and analyzing what each move will mean. It's all ridiculous. Not that I think there aren't a few people in Bush's staff who are stupid and/or incompetent, but the people he has aren't the problem, it's the decisions he makes. And since he's The Decider(!), unless he's going to do us all a favor and replace himself, I'm sick of hearing about it. Especially when I know anyone I don't like who leaves is just going to be replaced by someone as bad or worse. Picking the right people to surround himself with seems to be one of the things Bush is the worst at. And that's saying a lot. And anyway, these big shakeups aren't very big. They replace the guy no one's ever heard of, and the guy who everyone hates simply because he's regurgitating the official administration position.

If Bush really wanted to do something to change his poll numbers (and I know that he doesn't, I'm not stupid), he would tell us something (anything, there are many choices) he has done wrong, then tell us how he's going to fix it, then do it. Actually, at this point, I'd be happy (to the max!) if he just stopped talking like he's in the third grade.

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Bush, senators seek common ground on immigration

I'm so fucking tired of hearing about immigration. It's amazing to me that with everything going on in the world, this is the thing that people want to focus their attention on. I'm sure that there are a lot of problems related to illegal immigration, but I don't think many people are very interested in really solving them, seems they'd rather just bitch about them. You can't put up a fence and expect that to keep people out when what's on the other side is a better life for them and their children. And there are just too many to realistically send them all back. The only way to fix the problem, is to make sure that there isn't a better life waiting for them here, and that isn't going to happen until people stop hiring them, which means people will need to be willing to pay more for things in order to allow for replacing them with American workers. And that just isn't going to happen.

At lunch today, I overheard a guy at the next table saying something to the effect that they should all be forced to walk back over the border as soon as they are found to be here illegally. So either he thinks that they simply cross the border and set up camp right there, or he's proposing some kind of death march back to Mexico. Either way, it didn't make much sense to me. And this is in Jacksonville, FL, where I've lived for almost 30 years and never once noticed a local problem that could be blamed on illegal immigration.

It's sad that a handful of racist nutjobs have more influence over policy in this country than the millions of Americans who oppose just about everything else our idiot President does. But I guess if someone can get Sean Hannity to pull his head out of George Bush's ass for even one issue, it does cause people to notice.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Cell Phone rudeness

I realize that cell phones are still relatively new and as a society we're still trying to figure out just what constitutes good cell phone etiquette. Can I suggest that we draw the line right now at talking on your cell phone while sitting on the commode squeezing one out? Can we all agree with that? Well, everyone except the guy in the stall next to me at the gym this morning who carried his cell phone with him into the shitter, answered it, and then had a sensitive conversation with his girlfriend amidst the sounds of farting and grunting.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Dear Internet

I have heard of Firefox. I tried it. I didn't like it. Please shut up now. Thank you.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Director pleads guilty in wiretapping case

This is weird. Why didn't he just say that wiretapping isn't illegal? Since it obviously isn't, even when the law clearly says otherwise. Maybe he thought Roven was talking to Al Qaeda. You can never be too careful these days. I think the prosecutors have a September 10th mentality. Spying on each other is the (new) American way.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Catholic group urges Da Vinci disclaimer

This is a good idea. I mean, how are we supposed to know if a movie is fiction without a disclaimer. I fully support this, and I assume we'll be getting disclaimers on all Sony moview from now on, like Spider-Man 3, for example. When Spider-Man first came out, I was all set to travel to New York to see if I could meet the superhero, when someone told me he wasn't real. I wouldn't want anyone else to make the same mistake.

Why are these religous extremists so fond of disclaimers, whether on movies or textbooks? Do people actually even read them or give a shit about them? I always thought people were smart enough to decide for themselves what to believe, even if a movie tells them something different, but maybe I give them too much credit.

Was there a disclaimer on Passion of the Christ? Just curious.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

National Uniformity for Food Act

The link leads to a good Molly Ivins column that just appeared in our paper today.

This is how I discovered the National Uniformity for Food Act. This sounds like a good thing on the surface, right? We should have minimum food safety labeling standards at the federal level. Oh, but wait, this bill actually does the opposite - with a few exceptions, it establishes maximum food safety labeling requirements. From the house bill (there are four versions, but they're all substantially the same) emphasis mine-

`(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subsections (c) and (d), no State or political subdivision of a State may, directly or indirectly, establish or continue in effect under any authority any notification requirement for a food that provides for a warning concerning the safety of the food, or any component or package of the food, unless such a notification requirement has been prescribed under the authority of this Act and the State or political subdivision notification requirement is identical to the notification requirement prescribed under the authority of this Act.

So who supports this bill? Well, all the food manufacturers, of course. As I was doing a google search to find out more about this bill, the little results summaries were very interesting. The positive references were all from food corporations, and the negative references were all from consumer groups, scientists and other concerned citizens.

And of course, this issue may just be a drop in the bucket, in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly illustrates the further corporatization of our federal government. Bad laws are passed, that actually harm the people, to help the bottom line for large campaign contributors . The one good thing about this bill is that the senate hasn't passed it yet, so we can still voice our disapproval, but I wouldn't be too optimistic.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Senate Seals No-Contact Sex Assault Loophole

Ok, so as I read this article, lots of thoughts ran through my head. Like how sad it is that we need to have a law to tell people not to shoot a load in someone else's face without permission, why on earth would someone do this, anyway even when drunk, what does Kobe Bryant think of this law, things like that. But nothing I felt compelled to post about, until I saw this part:

The three men, according to the affidavit, watched a pornographic video on a computer and took turns ejaculating on the student's face and body. When the woman woke up, she thought she had drooled on herself, the affivadit says. The next day, the affidavit says, Skvirsky sent the woman an instant message that stated that they "were really drunk" and had ejaculated on her.

Ok, first of all, if it's on your face AND body, just what kind of drooling problem do you have, anyway? And if you can't tell your saliva from semen, then there is either something wrong with you, or something wrong with those guys. Whichever it is, someone needs to go see a doctor. But finally, of course, I have to wonder, if you got drunk and did something so incredibly stupid, then you somehow get away with it, why do you confess to it the next day? If the victim can somehow think she drooled on herself, just leave it at that, she's better off without knowing this happened to her. This is the kind of thing you should be ashamed of for the rest of your life, never tell anyone about, and never again speak to the other two guys who know what you did.

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Monday, April 10, 2006

This is fucking awesome

Ok, so maybe that's a tad overstated, but this is a great video. As a Mets fan who started watching baseball seriously around about 1984 and someone who played countless hours of RBI Baseball (Graphics aside, the best baseball video game ever), this is great on a lot of levels. The nostalgia of going back to 1986 and reliving part of my favorite baseball game ever along with the great gameplay of RBI baseball.

Check out some of the comments on the video:

If 2004 hadn't happened, I'd be dead in my cube right now. As it is, this is brilliant. Excellent work.

Yeah, Red Sox fans should now idolize Buckner for helping to make 2004 that much more special.
Fantastic. I can't say I've seen anything cooler in my life, and that includes the birth of my first child.

Ok, so that's a bit much, but it shows that this thing can be appreciated even if you're a lousy father.

And my favorite comment.
This is the greatest achievement in the history of mankind.

As much as I remember this game, it's interesting to hear parts of it again that are all but forgotten. Most importantly, that the game was tied when Buckner missed the ball, so it's not like they win for sure if he gets it, which seems to be glossed over while everyone is criticizing the poor guy. Also as mentioned here, shitty job by the Boston bullpen. And finally, great job of hanging in on that at bat by Mookie Wilson. Ten pitches, and he fouled off six of them. Oh, and good job of foreshadowing by Scully by pointing out all the errors.

Finally, you have to appreciate the guy who put this together which must have been a pretty hefty task. Getting everything timed just right, and situations set up correctly must have been a bitch. I'm sure some of it could be handled with the editing, but some had to involve some pretty frustrating methodical gameplay. Especially when not being able to play Home Run Derby, which is really what RBI Baseball is all about, hitting the long ball. Anyway, that's after he must have found a working NES, and a copy of RBI Baseball, which he must have had to blow into for about an hour to get to work. And of course something to wedge it into the NES, since the springs on all those things ust be broken by now. Unless he did it on one of those newer models, in which case, he deserves far less credit. Anyway, check it out. Great stuff.

Thanks to Ace at Slack LaLane for finding it.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Bush the Terrible

I'm responding to John's post below, but it ran a little long for a comment. Very good post.

The escalation of this administration's abuse of power is clear and staggering. So now they assert the right to eavesdrop on citizens within the US without oversight. They've already asserted their right to detain American citizens without trial. What's to stop them from detaining citizens based on information obtained through illegal wiretaps?

The wingnuts will complain that this is war, and we just don't understand the dangers. That's an abdication of responsibility. If congress and the Supreme Court allow this shit to continue, the only check we have between democracy and tyranny is the goodwill of the administration itself. Even if we gave them the benefit of the doubt, and assumed that they really have our best interests at heart, that's still no consolation. Many dictators truly believe they're doing what's best for their people. And I don't believe the people in this administration have anyone's interests at heart except their own and their buddies.

So what can we do? Keep up the pressure by keeping these issues in the spotlight, contact our representatives, and hope like hell the Democrats get at least one house of Congress back this year. They may be spineless, but if they have a majority, I think it'll be much harder for Bush to get away with this shit.

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Local Teacher's Run-In With Homeland Security Creates Insecurities

Thanks to Misty at Shake's place for this post, which describes a ridiculous and rather scary abuse of position by some goons from the Dept of Homeland Security. I live in Jacksonville and I hadn't heard about this until I read the post.

So these guys are officers. Big fucking deal. They could be FBI, CIA and NSA, and if they pulled into a school loading zone, they should be asked to leave or provide a good explanation of why they had to be there. I see that Mr. Pickett is suing, and I wish him luck. The people we put in authority have to show better judgment than this, and if they abuse their positions, they and the organizations they represent need to be held accountable.

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Mom Dies After Boy's 911 Call Considered Prank

This is awful. My 6-year-old knows to call 911 in an emergency. I hope someone would believe her if she had to do it. I know that they get a lot of prank calls, but isn't a 911 call a case where you have to assume it's real everytime? Do what you need to do to crack down on crank callers, but I would feel much safer knowing I could trust the operators to take all the calls seriously.

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Gonzales says calls in U.S. could be tapped without warrant

Well, this throws about half of the popular arguments in support of Bush's monitoring of international calls out the window. What's it going to take for people to realize that this administration is going to keep expaning their power until someone makes them stop? First, Bush wanted the Patriot Act, and so he stressed that any monitoring could only be done with a warrant. Then his illegal NSA program was revealed, and they stress that it's just about international calls. Now, apparently they wouldn't rule out monitoring domestic calls. Is it really such a stretch to think that some, just some of the calls they are monitoring have absolutely nothing to do with terrorism? I don't think it is. Especially since, if that were the case, all they would need to do is demonstrate that to a court somewhere and almost no one would give them any crap about it. Since they won't do that, there's no other logical explanation than that they are doing something different than what they claim. They may even be doing it with good intentions and the firm belief that it makes us safer, but that doesn't change the fact that it's against the law and is not their decision to make.

Also, I'm tired of all the roundabout legal explanations we get for why the President has authority to do these things. Besides the fact that they are all bullshit and don't really apply, they don't address the real issue. Frankly, I don't give a fuck that if the President has some obscure legal authority to listen to my phone calls through some loophole or legal manuevering even it is completely valid. The point is that he should not have that power. Instead of Congress tripping all over themselves to legalize what the administration is already doing, they should be telling the President that he has broken the law and needs to stop, and if he somehow manages to pull some valid legal justification out of his ass for why he has the power to do the kinds of things he's doing, then Congess needs to take steps to take that power away from him because he shouldn't have it.

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American Inventor

I'm really enjoying this show. Not because it's particularly well done or anything (it isn't), but just seeing the people and thier inventions. Especially the extremes, the really good ones, or the really bad ones. The best part is the really bad ones where the people seem to have no idea that it's a terrible idea. If you've spent countless thousands of dollars, and years of your life on something, and it hasn't gone anywhere, you might need to consider that it's just a lousy idea.

Anyway, like on American Idol, this show seems to have people on it who are just out to get on TV by being ridiculous. Like the woman tonight with the CD of her repeating herself for some unknown purpose, or the human centerpiece that kept forgetting her pitch, and had to start over from the beginning each time no matter how far in she'd gotten. But with those car armor people, I just have to call bullshit. Those people had to be actors with a made up story. If not, then it just makes me sad for humanity. Anyone else watching this show?

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bush said to have approved leak of Iraq data

Back when all this stuff was swirling around Rove, and everyone was suggesting that Bush should just go ask Rove if it he had leaked the information or not, I posted something about Bush not needing to go ask Rove anything, because he obviously knew what was going on the whole time, and if he didn't explicitly authorize it himself, he probably led someone in that direction. Either that, or he's not really in charge of anything anyway. I'd look up the post, but blogspot is blocked here at work, and I'm too lazy anyway. Anyway, the point is that as big a story as this is, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. What might be surprising is that someone is actually finally saying things that are painfully obvious to anyone paying attention. Anyway, it seems that it's pretty much a done deal that Bush is above the law in the minds of most people who follow these things, so I doubt this will have much impact, unfortunately. Even if Bush came on TV and admitted to this, he would go on to explain why it was necessary to keep us safe from terrorists, and that would satisfy anyone in Congress with any power to actually hold him accountable for it.

Maybe, just maybe, if the Democrats can regain control of Congress in the midterm elections, something may come of this. But even then, although the Democrats are pretty anti-Bush, they're also spineless and reluctant to do anything that might indicate that they actually appreciate the position they hold. If they can't even get behind a censure resolution, which only seems to politely ask the President to follow the law, then I don't see why they'd do anything more significant. However, I still hold out hope that one day, someone in power in this country will remember the ideas it was built on, and decide to stand up for something for once.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Sources: Tom DeLay to leave re-election race

Good. And good riddance. I just wish he would take some of his buddies with him. I really like this line:

The reason for DeLay's departure was unclear.

Yeah, that's a puzzler.

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Jesus Fucking Christ, his name is Billy DOnOvan, with Os

I just can't stand it anymore, why can't Billy Packer say Donovan? It's not hard to pronounce. All night long, Dunavun, Dunavun, Dunavun. Either shut up or say it right.

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