2004/08/31

Nuanced Insanity

John Edwards, acting in his official role as trial balloon for John Kerry, floated the most insane idea I have heard since the last Manson interview I watched. The idiot proposes to let Iran keep nuclear plants if they agree to give up material to make bombs.

What? Am I stupid? He must be if thinks this'll work. A country that hangs little girls for being mouthy is going to give a damn? I'll go out on a limb and say they won't.
"At the end of the day, we have to have some serious negotiating leverage in this discussion with the Iranians."

Power flows from the barrel of a gun, Johnny Boy. The old commie bastard was right about that, and you should never forget it. Without a credible threat of force, you have no negotiating leverage with Iran. None. Sanctions don't work. (See Cuba for definitive proof.) I'm not even sure a credible threat works, but if they keep trying to get nukes, we'll sure as hell find out.

Third Rate Celebrities

Elizabeth Hasselbeck (sp?) is currently on stage at the Pachyderm Passion Pit. I think she is the counterpoint to Dog Show Boy's appearance at the Donkfest. She's got a pet issue of breast cancer, which I won't denigrate. It's a worthy cause. Earlier we were treated to a musical guest named Dana Glover (no relation to Danny, apparently).

Who the hell are these people? I realize I could Google them and find out, but that runs counter to my point. These celebrities are not the A-list. I'm not sure what letter these folks would be. F? G? I think this brings home the point that Hollywood is overwhelmingly liberal, doesn't it? People would appear here if they didn't fear for their careers, I'm guessing.

The only entertainment name I recognize is Toby Keith. I think I heard he was performing, anyway. I may be wrong. I'm not a big country music listener.

Update: Daize Shayne? I don't live under a rock. I listen to a wide variety of music. Yet I have no earthly idea who this craptacular performer (band?) is. Google tells me she's a surfer and wanna-be rock star. Stick with the surfing. You can't possibly be as bad at it.

The New York Stampede: Day 1

Allow me to begin by stating how refreshing it is to finally get to this convention. The Donkfest had me a little down. Couple that with the fact that I will admit that I wasn’t expecting too much out of the first night, as I don’t particularly care for either Mr. McCain or Mr. Giuliani. I can now, however, say that I was pleasantly surprised, especially with Mr. Giuliani.

I have the utmost respect for Mr. McCain’s service to our country; however I honestly believe that part of him was left in that cage in Vietnam. All of his oars aren't firmly in the water, so to speak, and I do not agree with him on many issues. He is as stinking a liberal weenie as the rest, and just happens to be strong on defense. He’s Lieberman without the whine. And, last night, his speech was moving, extremely well written, and equally poorly delivered. His timing was awful. It was a speech that President Reagan would’ve delivered with beauty and grace; the kind of speech delivered by a great orator who wants to capture the heart of a nation. Unfortunately, McCain was there to show his support for President Bush, and his speech was not that of a person expressing support for another candidate. Yes, there were the obligatory references to how good a job President Bush and Vice President Cheney have done, but I got the distinct impression that somehow, Mr. McCain was trying to almost play pretend that HE was THE GUY. I almost expected him to say “I accept your nomination as the next President of the United States.”


Note to John McCain: you lost the nomination 4 years ago and the party faithful will not elect you to a higher office than you currently hold. Enjoy your term as Arizona senator, and please retire soon.

Mr. Giuliani, on the other hand, knew exactly what he was there to do, and performed like a dream. Some say his speech ran long, but I think that it was entertaining and engaging enough to excuse his time lapse. Despite McCain’s feeble attempts to overshadow all else, Mr. Giuliani was definitely the star of the night, and I think he was probably the best I’ve seen him. He provided a moving and unique perspective on where we’ve come as a nation since September 11th, he demonstrated unflinching support for President Bush, and grabbed John Kerry by his record and shook his guts out. Kudos to him as well for the Euroweenie swipe. He was inspired, and I found myself standing and cheering from my living room at his comments. I was even more impressed when I learned this morning that not all of his speech was prepared, that on several occasions he went off script. I hope I don’t see Mr. Giuliani being especially successful on the national political stage, but I wish him all the best with his future in New York, as I believe he may be the only man with any chance in hell of taking Hillary’s Senate seat and effectively ending her career. I hope he goes for it.

There are a few miscellaneous points I want to address.


1. I’m glad to see more stupid looking patriotic outfits. That is essential to every convention and was extremely lacking at the Donkfest.


2. I’m also happy to notice that the young people, unlike their counterparts a month ago, appear clean and are dressed professionally.

3. I like the stage backdrop at the convention, but not the podium. That little dark patchwork-looking wood podium looks like a lost little afterthought amongst what otherwise looks like a strong and classy presentation.

4. This is kind of stupid, but I actually like the fact that all the Texas delegates were dressed alike. I told you it was stupid, but it still kind of gave me a Texan warm fuzzy. YEE HAW!!! OK, nobody here actually says that, seriously.

5. It didn’t go without notice, to me anyway, that the moonbat protesters, caged in Boston, are roaming about New York City with wild abandon. Aschcroft’s America isn’t so oppressive, now is it?


C-Span Rocks!

C-Span can be the most godawful boring channel on the face of the earth. Tune in late some night and watch US Representatives giving speeches for the record to an empty chamber. It doesn't get more exciting than that, does it? However, for some things, C-Span just can't be beat. Convention coverage is one of those things. They shut up and show all of the convention without some talking head nattering over the action.

They also show things like John Kerry's Senate testimony from 1971. Then they put up transcripts.

Another One Bites The Dust

Well, another true original has gone the way of all flesh. Indian Larry has ridden his last ride.

For those of you unfamiliar with Indian Larry, he built custom motorcycles in Brooklyn. He made very traditional choppers, similar to what you saw in Easy Rider. The thing that impressed me about him and his bikes more than many of his competitors on the Discovery show Biker Build-Off was that they ran. Consistently and flawlessly. He cranked the bike up and rode it. All the other builders went through iterations of solving some minor or major problem on the road. His bikes? Not a problem.

The other thing that impressed me was his attitude. He mentioned once on one of the shows that he had been arrested and did jail time for armed robbery. He didn't make any excuses for it and he didn't blame anybody else. He accepted full responsibility and moved on with his life. That attitude is rare anymore.

It's a shame he died prematurely, but when you engage in risky behavior, that's a chance you take. Especially when you refuse to wear a helmet.

2004/08/30

Shut Up! Just Shut Up!

Well, lunatic John McCain is ranting again, trying to demonstrate to all of us that understanding the Bill of Rights is not a necessary precondition to becoming a US Senator. Not being happy with co-authoring the worst gutting of the First Amendment in my lifetime, he's now whining that people found a way around his restrictions. Everybody else should have to abide by campaign finance rules, just like he does. Sen. McCain forgets the minor detail that the rest of us aren't running for office.

Let's review something, shall we?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

For the clueless amongst you, that is the First Amendment. Why is it so difficult to understand? Sen. McCain is obviously incapable of grasping this simple sentence. What's his solution to people thinking they're entitled to speak their minds by virtue of living in America? Legislation! Lawsuits! More legislation! Tirades against officials! That phrase about "Congress shall make no law" isn't important, now is it?

The Bill of Rights was intended to be a check on the powers of government and to protect the rights of individuals. Sen. McCain seems to think it protects the government officials and screw the rights of individuals. Want to run an ad saying John McCain is an idiot that shouldn't be allowed within 500 feet of the Senate, much less a member thereof? We're closing in fast on that time of year when you can't say that. How is this not an abridgment of freedom of speech or the press? I'd be real grateful if someone could explain that to me.

“Bush Hug”

If you think a Donk will stop at nothing to get elected, then you haven’t had a look at the contents of Tom Daschle’s latest campaign ad. Mr. Daschle is apparently in a tough race that he’ll stop at nothing to win, which includes trying to pretend he’s not a Bush-hating, partisan hack.

Tom Daschle is just another Donk who has to lie about who he is and what is his record, just to be a viable candidate for election. Holding himself up as the Great American Defender, eh? Did anybody forget about the Defense appropriations bill Mr. Daschle personally stalled immediately after September 11, 2001? I guess he’s hoping everybody did.

I hope John Thune
violently kicks the crap out of this jackass.

Commies For Kerry!

J and I were watching some of the moonbat march on C-Span yesterday. During a discussion of how the Viet Nam war spawned a professional protester class, we looked at each other and said "are they saying what I think they're saying?" at roughly the same time. Someone was chanting "Communists for Kerry." Both of us found this rather amusing, as that's a sure way to turn off middle America. Well, it turns out that it's both true and not true.

There's this group, who are mocking Kerry and what he stands for this week. I saw a couple of pictures of them around and about. My immediate thought was "Hmm, looks like Protest Warrior." Not too far off, I suppose. Nice graphic design, too.

However, it turns out that the actual Commies are endorsing Kerry. The CPUSA will blather on about not endorsing candidates and not fielding a candidate of their own but want Bush to lose. Sounds like a Kerry endorsement to me, but I'm not subtle and nuanced. Hell, even the National Chair of the Communist Party talks about how to help Kerry so as to defeat Bush. So the official Commie line is to help Kerry, even though we're not endorsing him. This isn't an endorsement how, exactly? Of course, an official CPUSA endorsement is not something a mainstream candidate wants to receive and put in the press release, is it? Despite the end of the cold war, the average American voter has a great antipathy towards communism. Any political movement with a body count in the 9 figure range might have that problem. I just can't think of any other political movements with that high a body count.

On a somewhat related note, protesters need to decide who their posters are aimed at and design accordingly. Want to be seen on TV? Big letters, lots of contrast, avoid magic marker scrawls. The posters with magic marker become damn near illegible on television. Simple black on white works really well if the letters are professionally printed. The more crap you festoon on your poster, the harder it is to read when it's 2 inches tall on screen. On the other hand, if you're just preaching to the choir that's present, do whatever works, I guess. I don't pretend to know how to design to appeal to leftists.

Update: Communists For Kerry reminds me of Protest Warrior because it is. No wonder the posters have the same style.

What bias? Ask Reuters.

We’re all human, and have our biases. When we actively inject them into our jobs as “unbiased” journalists, it is entirely another matter. Mr. Eastman, you are compromised by your outburst. It is time for you to go.

One Down

Well, crap. I see from my browsing this morning that Steven Den Beste has decided he will not be posting any more any time soon. Dammit! Hopefully, he will return at some later date.

Update: I think Harvey has called this one. Mr. Den Beste will be back, sooner or later.

2004/08/26

See What Happens?

Well, someone tried to use J's idea of shooting illegal aliens. (Side note: Screw the Comical and the PC police. An illegal alien is an illegal alien is an illegal alien. 'Undocumented worker' is bullshit.) Look what it got them. At these rates, we can't afford to implement that solution. Thanks to Paul at Right Side of The Rainbow for the story.

Free Speech Is Dead

I have always regarded the 1st Amendment as one of the best things about being an American and living in America. Part of this is due to my being an unabashed bibliophile. I delight in the fact that I can order books from Loompanics, Paladin Press , Feral House , Lindsay Publications, and all the other niche publishers of the weird and wonderful. These kind of companies don't exist anywhere else in the world. I can order a book on any topic I want and have it delivered to my front door. The ownership and possession of said book subjects me to no repercussions whatsoever. This is not a privilege enjoyed by the rest of the world, and it's one I cherish.

However, my book collecting is not the primary purpose of the 1st Amendment. The amendment exists so that debate can flourish and an informed citizenry can develop. The ability to openly criticize the government and agitate for change is one of the most important liberties we as citizens have. An inability to speak your mind about the problems you see in government is the first sign of tyranny. That's why campaign finance in guise of the McCain-Feingold Act infuriated me so much when it was first passed. The act is, prima facie, blatantly unconstitutional. The very idea that political speech about candidates is subject to restriction warps my fragile little mind. How anyone who takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution can vote for or sign this act is completely beyond me, yet it happened. Then a group of doddering old fools in black robes decided this was okay.

Now I have bizarre spectacle of the sitting President of the United States saying political speech about the candidates for his office should be suppressed. WTF? I mean, seriously, WHAT THE FUCK? Where am I living? I thought the basic idea behind the 1st Amendment was that we could all stand around and say what idiots our politicians and candidates are. I guess not, huh? Damn. Somebody's going to have to go back and rewrite a whole bunch of textbooks. Every one I ever had on government seemed to have that in there somewhere.

Anyhow, here's a link to the editorial that kicked this rant off. Everything he says is perfectly correct. Now, in addition to the drug war exceptions to the Bill of Rights, we have the campaign finance exceptions. Just peachy. By the way, don't try saying if I vote for Kerry in the fall this will all magically change. Fuck you. He voted for that piece of crap, just like every other donk senator except for John Breaux and Ben Nelson. Campaign finance was a bipartisan screwing of the electorate and a blatant (and successful) attempt to strip our rights from us. The only elected official that didn't fall down on the job was Mitch McConnell.

Update: Even better! The President is now threatening legal action against 527 groups! I'd say something more, but I'm gonna go froth at the mouth and chew on furniture and generally LOSE MY BLOODY MIND. Besides, Nick Gillespie already said most of it.

2004/08/25

Doing it for the Dick

I came across this bit by accident and I must say that the author raises some good points about he who, in my opinion, is the best qualified man to never be President. Be sure to read through to the end, because the picture in the comments post is worth the link alone. I am probably Dick Cheney’s second biggest fan, the first being his family; and have been especially disappointed by the rumblings as of late about why Mr. Cheney needs to leave the 2004 ticket. I won’t go into all the stated reasons, but I think we’ve all heard them.

To those who believe that Mr. Cheney is a political liability, I say this. My commitment to Reagan conservatism brought me to vote for the Bush/Cheney ticket in 2000, but Mr. Cheney keeps me here in 2004. Now, don’t misunderstand, Bush did a good job in Texas as governor, and I applaud him for his tireless efforts on the war on terror. Other than that, however, he’s pretty much been a disaster. He spends too freakin’ much money and coddles too many damned liberals. Cheney’s vast knowledge and tough stance on the issues, coupled with his smooth presentation and soothing voice, are unmatched by any person in the political arena today. Nobody should dare to complete with this fine man. He is an excellent Vice President and we are lucky to reap the benefits of his service.

So, just watch yourself, and don’t mess with the Dick.

Users and Abusers

It looks like, once again, the Democrat party is exploiting veterans. I do have to give them originality points on this one though, because this time they’re doing it through the lunacy of an admittedly suicidal man. I can’t say that I’m surprised that the donks are again using up the vets until they dry out and die. They did it to the devoted so-called “womens’ groups” during the entire Clinton Criminal Era, and are doing it as we speak to the black and ethnic communities.

I’m just glad that the Bush team isn’t backing down from this particular fight, because the
reason why Kerry can’t denounce 527 groups is obvious.

Update: Dude, this is brutal. True and hilarious, but just brutal.

Recurring Theme

Based on Mr. DeLay’s comments last night, coupled with some of the more highlighted contents of Speaker Dennis Hastert’s book, I predict an interesting future event on the horizon, should the Republicans maintain their winning ways. Watch for serious tax reform. Now I don’t mean Mr. Bush’s promised annual tax cut, I mean a serious overhaul of the American tax system as we know it. When the Speaker of the House and the House Majority Leader both mention within a couple of weeks of one another that they intend to work on eliminating the IRS, ripping the tax code out “by its roots”, and instituting a completely novel system, you know something fun is going on. Is another “contract with America” on the horizon? We can only hope.

Information Wants To Be Free

John Kerry's seminal work is now available online. It's delightful bedtime reading.

Lies! Lies, I Tell You!

As I mentioned earlier, I was listening to commie radio the other night. I'm not sure which show, maybe Counterspin, maybe not. The lefty of the hour made a rather startling statement. I can't quote it exactly, but it was something like "All the reasons for going to war in Iraq have turned out to be lies."

Wow. I must not have been paying attention. I was lied to about the 12 years of failing to comply with Security Council resolutions and the terms of the 1991 cease-fire? Damn, Goebbels was right. The big lie is the way to go, seeing as the rest of the freaking world believes that, too. I seem to recall that people were using chemical weapons in roadside IEDs, so there are some WMDs still floating around. Hmm. Maybe I was hallucinating when the Coalition found mass graves. I'm just another gullible American, I guess. Maybe if I lived in Europe or had my head so far up my ass that socialism seems like a good idea I wouldn't be so gullible.

Of course, I don't figure that the President was making the case for war to me, anyway. He was talking to the rest of y'all. I'm one of the people that didn't need convincing. My response upon hearing of the proposed operation was "It's about damn time." I was standing on the ground in 1991 when we were 36 hours out from Baghdad with nothing between us and the city but a whole bunch of sand and fleeing Republican Guards. I thought at the time we should finish the job or it would come back to bite us in the ass.

2004/08/24

Congressional Visit

I was listening to my local commie radio station on the way home. The socialist on the radio was interviewing protesters at a local university, UHCL. What were they protesting? Why, their congressman was visiting and he's an evil bastard! Tom DeLay has that effect on people, I've noticed. I don't always agree with Tom on a variety of issues. However, he usually votes on bills in an acceptable fashion, so I'm okay with Tom. The protesters aren't, because he's a mean evil nasty Republican who is supposedly corrupt. Whatever. The Democratic challenger has about as much chance of winning in the newly redrawn district as I do of winning the lottery. DeLay is your representative, deal with the situation. Standing around outside holding signs and flipping people off won't change the fact.

Anyhoo, the protesters mentioned they would be coming to his next stop, at the civic center in our fair city. Woo-hoo! J and I both work for a living, so we don't often get to see the moonbats out protesting. We had already RSVPd to the event sometime last week, so this was an extra added bonus. I was also curious to see how our local police force (a group of reactionary bubbas at the best of times) would deal with this. I was somewhat disappointed. The moonbats stood mostly politely in the parking lot (gestures notwithstanding) and held up signs indicating they disapproved of Mr. DeLay. One mentioned something about "Trains are for people, not poison." Given Amtrak's record of losing money, I hardly think that's true. The police just stood around by the entrance to the activity center, watching the moonbattery from afar. I'm guessing the protesters were told to stay in the parking lot or something. The moonbats were at the exact same point where the campaign staff hangs out on election day trying to change minds at the last minute. I don't think that's a coincidence.

The events happening inside were pretty uneventful, too. Mr. DeLay gave a short speech full of generalities and worked the crowd a little bit. Most of the people there were the local efenant faithful, along with few local politicians. The strongest applause came from bits on homeland security, pro-life, and the defense of marriage act. So there's my up-close observation on what the grass-roots efenants are interested in this election. I mainly go to these things because of the view of how the process actually works. I think of it as a short course in practical politics. Like most other courses I've taken, it's sometimes very boring.

There was a nice cheese on the buffet, though. A smoked cheddar, I think. Very tasty.

Political Pix

J and I went to see Tom DeLay tonight at the activity center. I took some pictures, so here they are. A slightly more substantive post to follow.

Tom Working The Room

Note the presence of Monica Lewinsky over the shoulder of the man in blue listening to Mr. DeLay. Or her evil republican doppelganger, whichever.


Happy Moonbat!

The moonbats were more than happy to pose for pictures. Especially while gesturing rudely at us.


Tom DeLay on Stage

He's not very tall. I didn't think he was all that impressive a speaker, either.


Moonbats In The Parking Lot

I'm not sure what the point was, other than "We Hate Tom DeLay". That's about all I could gather from them.

Update: I added comments, because otherwise it makes no sense.

Today’s Deathwatch

Yeah, yeah, I know...wishful thinking...Maybe soon. I hope the world’s #2 junior-varsity terrorist has a really shitty birthday. In honor of the event, take a friend out for a pork chop.

Bigger Is Better

While goofing off and eating lunch, I ran across this article at American Thinker about known issues with the 5.56 mm round used by the military. The M855 rounds, aka SS109 green tips, were still new when I was stationed in North Carolina after the Gulf War. Then, as now, a large portion of the troops felt the 5.56 round was not very effective. The conventional wisdom on the 5.56 mm was ".223 in, .223 out", alluding to the small holes that result. It's nice to see that the Pentagon was aware of this, but did nothing.

I was also in service when the Army had to come through and retro-fit all of our 9mm pistols from Beretta. Why? Because after many repeated firings, something would break and then the next round would cause the slide to come off and straight back at your face. More great procurement decisions from DOD.

I also got to use one of the other great weapons the Army bought. We still (in 1991-93) had M3 submachine guns assigned to us. We never took them anywhere, except to the range on occasion. When we did fire them, we would unhook the strap from the rear, drop it on the ground, and step on it. That was the only way we could keep the muzzle from ending up vertical.

Red, Cruel World

While checking the news this morning, I ran across this article from the Boston Globe. Apparently, red is too harsh a color to use when grading the chillun's school papers. Red gets the children all upset and makes them feel bad. Purple is the new color of choice for noting mistakes. The kiddies don't feel as bad when you use purple.

I sure hope that your children are not so psychologically fragile that the color used to grade their schoolwork is an important issue. If color is an issue, they're going to hate life out in the real world. In particular, pray they don't end up working for me. I have no problems giving documents back to people with red all over the damn thing. It's referred to as "bleeding all over it". It's considered a sign that you have screwed up and need to fix the damn thing. It's also the easiest and most effective way I know to get that point across.

Shouldn't we teach the kids to avoid screwing up and that way, they'll see less red on the papers? Wouldn't that be a better solution than using purple so their widdle feelings don't get hurt? Damn, people are working hard to raise a generation of coddled little wussies.


2004/08/23

Remembering the Right Reasons

A pleasant and moving diversion from the nastiness this year's Presidential race has become, a co-worker sent me this reminder of why President Bush is the only logical choice to be President in these tough times.

Pass it on...


Preaching To The Choir, Part I

Well, it's getting close to the Republican National Convention. This will be the last of the political conventions and then campaign season kicks off in earnest. I look forward to the unending barrage of political ads reminding me of why I dislike professional politicians. Election season for me ends with an exciting day of sitting around and helping my friends and neighbors navigate the complexities of electronic voting. I, unlike many of my fellow citizens, have already decided who gets my vote this fall. As a public service to you, I'm going to explain my reasoning and see if it rings true.

First off, let's start with my least preferred candidate in this election, John F. Kerry. I will not be voting for John Kerry in this election or any other, unless an election for Herman Munster look-alikes pops up on the Web. I have a host of reasons for this, but I'll just hit the major points that rely on incontestable facts. I am not voting for a guy who accuses himself and his fellow service members of war crimes, then 30 years later tries to claim he was a war hero. This strikes me as being more than slightly opportunistic. In a similar vein, I have a huge problem with a man who goes and meets with enemy leadership during a war while he still holds a commission in the US military. I do not consider this behavior honorable, or principled dissent. From where I sit, it looks so close to treason as to be practically indistinguishable. I cannot in good conscience think this man would be a good Commander In Chief during wartime. I just don't see how that's possible.

In the decades since then, he has done nothing to redeem himself. When he bothers to show up for the Senate, he consistently votes against military and intelligence spending, or anything else that would actually contribute to the national defense. Instead, he spends his time conducting "investigative hearings" that accomplish less than nothing. His current platform, which might more accurately be termed a plank, seems to rest almost entirely upon the fact that he served in Vietnam for four months 30 years ago. (By this standard, in 2024 I will be 1.33 times more qualified than John Kerry to be CINC because I spent 6 months in theater in 1991.) His economic and health care policies, what little have been unveiled, strike me as misguided at best and horribly disastrous at worst. His foreign policy seems to be nothing more than a vague hope that other nations will ignore their vested business interests and contribute military forces that are simply inadequate to help us in whatever unspecified next steps need to be taken in the war on terror. His entire campaign, and much of his Senate career, appears almost completely void of substance. I don't see anything in his record that indicates to me he has the seriousness of purpose that the country needs right now. I just can't vote for him, based on his actions and inactions.

Gone Daft, He Has

Ken MacLeod is insane. Once again, a man whose accomplishments I admire in one field has proven himself utterly ridiculous when dealing with matters outside his chosen area of expertise. For the uninitiated, I'll give some background.

I am of the opinion that Mr. MacLeod is one of the best sci-fi authors currently working. His two series, the Fall Revolution and Engines Of Light, are great explorations into what the future might look like. He has a fine touch for the bizarreness of human behavior and how that plays out in a larger sense. He excels at deriving future societies from the political ideas and pathologies of the now. He also run a blog.

More importantly for today's post, he is some variety of euro-socialist. One the things that interested me about the Fall Revolution books is that he has an in-depth knowledge of the petty little divisions and squabbles that separate the various left-fringe groups in his native Scotland. Writ large, it makes for interesting reading. The knowledge appears painfully gained by earnest participation. I can't speak to what his exact positions are on various issues, but as near as I can tell he is a socialist anti-imperialist with revolutionary sympathies. The part of his latest post that made me realize he's nucking futz is as follows:
It's recently struck me that the moderate, liberal, democratic and humane response to the build-up to the Iraq war should have been to argue for the West to arm Iraq. It's not merely the case that invading Iraq was a distraction from fighting Al-Qaeda: it was objectively fighting on the same side as Al-Qaeda. If you're serious about fighting Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, the last thing you'd want to do, on the face of it, is overthrow - or even weaken - one of the few regimes in the region that was capable of and interested in crushing them within its borders.

Uh, what? Wait, not enough emphasis on that. WHAT THE FUCK? Okay, let's leave aside the claim that the Saddam regime was interested in crushing Islamic fundamentalism. There is enough credible evidence that Saddam aided terrorists, as long as they operated outside of Iraq, for that claim to be a non-starter. But the moderate, liberal, democratic and humane response is to argue for arming Iraq? Giving guns to a guy who has demonstrably killed hundreds of thousands of his own subjects cannot possibly be described as any of those things. How does that advance the cause of classic liberalism? How is that humane? How is arming a tyrant democratic? Am I losing my mind, or are we not even speaking the same language? Do these words mean something different to Mr. MacLeod than they do to me? Failing that, the only charitable conclusion I can come to is that he's a lunatic.

2004/08/20

#57...Houston: we're headed for the record...

That #57 is not a ketchup reference. It is reference to the fact that the Houston Light Rail’s crash record has become legendary. Check out crash #57 which just happened today. So far Metro has, as always, been full of excuses in terms of why there are so many accidents. They’ve claimed that people aren’t paying attention, are driving reckless, are throwing themselves in front of the train on purpose, and so on. In this case, when the train hits a Tarrant County Sheriff’s van, the question becomes “we don’t know what they were doing there. WHAT? So they were hit because they shouldn’t have been there? Well I guess count in everybody on Main Street. If you’re in a train accident, according to Metro, you have no right to be in the area. Until today, the accidents have been private citizen/train events. This should get interesting.

I have driven around and about the rail line and can completely understand how folks are getting hit. Aside from the fact that the trains are at street level, and virtually silent, there are left turn lanes directly on the tracks. So if you’re waiting for a green light in certain left hand turn lanes, you’re a sitting duck waiting for a head on collision. Another item nobody cares to mention is that if you are at one of the cross streets of a train intersection, there are absolutely no signs, lights, or special warnings. You know because you can see the tracks laying horizontally in front of you in the middle of the intersection. Houston intersections are not known for their clear line of sight looking left and right either. You could be perpendicular on a track and in deep shit before you know it.

A dirty little secret with this whole deal is that Metro claims that the drivers who are hit by the train are getting ticketed, in addition to their auto insurance policies bearing claims for train damage. Given that Harris County already has one of the highest car insurance rates in the country, I believe that the pro-train advocates should have to bear the costs of this sure to come insurance hike. And it isn’t just a Houston problem. Metro plans to ask the Federal Government to foot the bill for the remainder of Houston rail...America hold on to your wallets.

Regarding the Olympics & the National Anthem

Because I spent about 12 years of my life playing a musical instrument, I thought it was just the band geek in me bitching every night about the particular arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner chosen for the Olympic Games. So, it was a bit of a relief for me to see this morning, that I’m not a lone ear in the universe. Opinion Journal had this to say.

O SAY DID YOU HEAR? Did those tears welling up in Paul Hamm's eyes as the national anthem was being played have to do with the incredible comeback that earned the gymnast a gold medal? Or could they signal embarrassment over the "Star-Spangled Banner Lite" that accompanied his victory? As a musician-friend of ours put it, the version playing at this Olympics has been stripped of any martial overtones, and the bombs bursting in air go "entirely to weepy strings with hints of the Barber Adagio." Is this, our friend wonders, the result of an effort to come up with a Europe-friendly version of the anthem, a version "most likely to play down the notion of the U.S. as a chest-thumping, butt-kicking, jingoistic powerhouse"?

The “chest-thumping: and “butt-kicking” missing in the music are actually the bass and percussion lines. Where are they? There are thousands of Junior High/Middle School bands across the country with more musical emotion than this weak-assed string quartet. I don’t, however, think at this point any butt-kicking is actually missing
at the games.

Nonetheless, whoever chose this particular rendition of our anthem should perhaps, at the very least, be familiar with the actual song--the words to which, for our international visitors, I have reprinted below. Note, there are 4 verses, and almost nobody knows the last 3.


Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Looking at that now makes me wonder if Michael Newdow
will try and sue to make this unconstitutional?

Target. Cease Fire.

Dean Esmay reworked John Gilmore's line about the Internet in this post.

"The Internet has detected the mainstream media as a form of censorship and simply routed around them."

Nailed it, didn't he?

Convention Attendees Beware

More proof that this so-called "right to privacy" only exists if you're a leftist, a criminal, a terrorist or if you want to kill a baby. I think we should keep all delegates and attendees to the Republican National Convention in our prayers, because it appears that their safety is not assured.

Update: it appears that indymedia doesn't appreciate the link. So, to find the list, visit here and scroll down the right frame under the heading "Newswire". What you're looking for is this subheader:

"Phone numbers, addresses, and e-mails of over 1600 RNC delegates! Today we are releasing a list of delegates to the 2004 Republican National Conve...20-08-2004 DC"

Yes, you read that correctly. Indymedia is willing to be liable for the physical harm of individuals who disagree with them. Funny, so are the Islamofascists...

2004/08/19

Compound Tragedy

This is one of the more horrifying and disturbing things I have ever seen. What an absolute tragedy...for that slaughtered baby. If more women considering abortions had to physically see the faces of the babies they were about to murder, there would be no abortion debate in this country. The pro-baby killing crowd would finally be shamed and silenced.

What in the hell did you think you were carrying lady, a sack of meat? That “unseemly problem” just happened to be a living child. I certainly hope her medical problem is treatable; however, may she indeed go absolutely insane for the horror she has wrought.

Adventures with "Sponge Ted Drunk Pants"

This is funny on so many levels. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would say this couldn’t possibly be an accident. Since I’m not, I personally can think of a few perfectly legitimate reasons for Ted to remain on the no fly list.

1. Ted is a terrorist determined to destroy our country, which he has demonstrated through his policy positions over his Senate tenure.
2. If anyone in addition to Ted books a flight, the plane automatically exceeds its weight limit and becomes a navigation hazard.
3. He can’t fit in the aisle.
4. He also can't fit in the bathroom, and given his capacity for "the liquids", he creates a drowning hazard.

5. Not enough liquor bottles, food, or seat belt extensions available to the airline.
6. He might explode in a depressurized cabin. Death by fast moving lard is not a pretty way to go.

I especially amused by the article’s last sentence. I didn't know he even knew there was a little guy, both literally and figuratively.

Olympics Thoughts

We've had the Olympics on at YPS Manor for the past several days. I watch a little bit and then go deal with the sea of paper my desk has become. J has been following more intently than I, mainly because her desk is already much, much neater than mine. I don't follow sports much because I just don't care. The Olympics is always special, although much less than it used to be, so I have a passing interest.

Having said that, let me just mention that NBC's coverage sucks diseased animal peckers. Bob Costas is a grinning dolt that epitomizes hairspray journalism. I don't care about the fact that the person competing was born in a cave under the sewer plant, raised by radioactive lice, overcame this tragic background to become a world record holder, and that the lice would be in the audience except they were held up at customs because they triggered the Geiger counter. I don't fucking care, okay? I want to see the sporting event, not some clueless wank babbling about competitor backstory.

MSNBC and CNBC are doing a much better job with the coverage, as is Bravo. How sad is that? The red-headed step-children are doing better than the corporate parent. More proof, if any were needed, that the networks are dying a slow, painful death. At least some people are getting coverage they like.

On a related note, this has to be a joke. Are the Athens 2004 organizers really that clueless? Let's help the process along, like this guy did.

Flaming Asshats On Parade!
Clueless In Athens!
Some will win, most will lose!

Update: The clueless link pointed to someone else. Since I'm trying to mock the Athens organizers, that just wouldn't work.

Further Update: RightWingDuck has some thoughts on the Olympics over at IMAO. Isn't that called the X-Games?

2004/08/18

EEK! Creepy!

What the hell purpose does this serve? Ignore the crappy quality for a second. If you're in your middle aged years, would you put up a website dedicated to your ex-boyfriend from college? Please exclude psychopaths from that question.

So what happened to the relationship? Wait, let me guess...it was a "net worth" issue. Ugh, why must I go on, it is like a train wreck...Good Lord, lady, please let's get this very ugly 15 minutes over and done with quickly.

I am just so indescribably creeped out by this. Oh...so...dirty...I need to go and at the very least wash my hands.

Update: It appears that hits crashed the site. I'm hunting a mirror and still keeping the link in case it comes back up.

Happy Big Three-Oh!

The geek in me can’t let the day pass without acknowledging this very special birthday.

Fun with Olympic Security

Here is a little story that demonstrates how well the Greeks are managing security at the Olympics. As if further proof is needed that Euros should spend more time focusing on those sweaty petty items, like personal hygiene, and leave the real issues like defending the world to the real men (and women). Oh, come on now, a flip top in a tutu is at least almost as insane as any terrorist, and maybe even slightly smarter…eh, maybe not.

Props to the Peeps

If you’re going to be in NYC around RNC convention time, and you’re not a convention attendee, please consider hooking up with these heroes of the conservative movement. I won’t be attending this year because I, like most conservatives, can’t be a protester because I have a job. I figure the very least I can do is give 'em a plug. These guys have a philosophy that definitely does not suck.

So that's why?

CBS news reprinted this fantastic article about why liberals, self-proclaimed intellectuals, and empty headed talking hairdos so blindly and absolutely hate President Bush. It is honestly the most thoughtful analysis I’ve read thus far. Or, perhaps it is the only justification that has made any rational sense. You be the judge.

Litigation Avoidance

As some of you may know, I am what is commonly referred to as “recovered” in the legal profession, in that I have a law degree but don’t practice. I realize that I share with many people a disdain for lawyers generally; it is just that since I went to school with them and know where they’re coming from, it is a particularly special disdain. Allow me to tell you from experience that lawyers have absolutely no reason to be such assholes. Most of them just aren’t that smart. It is just that life is a very complex game of sport and lawyers are the only ones who have an idea about the rules. Unfortunately, most of their ideas just aren’t very good ones.

So I spent almost the entire afternoon yesterday in a mediation session over a lawsuit I filed against a gentleman who was inattentive just long enough to rear-end my car and blow a disc in my back. Texas courts have, over the past few years, ordered much litigation into mediation to not only alleviate backlog in the courts, but to also see if the parties involved can work out their differences in a less adversarial setting. I personally think the goal is lofty and in theory a good idea. About 80% of cases settle in mediation, with another 15% settling prior to trial. I have never been a party to a lawsuit like this and definitely agree with the contention that our society has become over litigious. Now, with all that being stated , let me tell you right now that mediation sucks beyond the bounds of your wildest imagination.

Bet I got you there just now, didn’t I? I’ll bet you thought I was going to extol the virtues of mediation. Oh hell no! Mediation really sucks. My very nice lawyer (he’s part of the 1% tarnished by the other 99) and I blew our entire afternoon (and part of our evening) with some blowhard schmucko and a merry band of insurance cronies playing the “your case isn’t really that strong” game, coupled with all the exciting back and forth of two slugs playing ping pong. And my case, which was very strong, by the way, actually settled. So why am I all down on mediation?

Allow me to provide you the outcome in a nutshell. The side who is entitled to recover accepts less than what they perceive the value of their case to be, while the side who owes the damages pays more than they actually intended to pay; and then everybody signs some papers and leaves with a general malaise. Woo-freakin-hoo…let’s go home and catch some dinner with people we actually like. Mediation has nothing to do with goodwill and everything to do with avoiding the time, cost, and general aggravation of litigation. It exemplifies, in purely legal terms, the laziness and general aversion to risk that has become epidemic within our society.

Sure, I could have chosen to not settle. I could’ve seen my case through litigation, and I am confident that I would have prevailed. However, like the vast majority of people involved in lawsuits, I freely made the decision to just make this mess go away. I was involved in this accident over 2 years ago. I will forever be affected by my injury, and no amount of money will ever heal my spine. So, what is the real choice when it comes to settlement vs. litigation? You can take a check for a little less than expected, or spend an additional six or so months spending more money for discovery and litigation prep than your time and the extra couple of bucks is worth. So, for all the suckage of mediation, litigation is far worse. I still don’t recommend it.




Suck It Up, Dumbass

The fine old tradition of barracks lawyering has not died quite yet. Some National Guardsman out of San Francisco is apparently claiming that the stop-loss order he's under violates his rights to due process, the terms of his enlistment contract, and is contrary to law. Hmm. Let's see if I can dissect this argument a little bit for those of your without military service.

I'll go with the middle one first, since it's central to the whole problem. Let's remember something here: you have to volunteer for the military these days. He signed up for the Guard. Nobody else signed him up while he wasn't paying attention. While doing so, he obviously didn't read the contract very well. Somewhere near the bottom of the back of the ones I signed is a little section that says, in essence, "you signed, you're screwed". More precisely, everything in this contract is subject to change according to the needs of the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense. Whose needs are not addressed? Yes, that's right, yours. So saying that anything the military does is in violation of your contract doesn't wash. Your contract pretty explicitly includes a get out of court free clause for DA and DOD.

Given that, how do you get to bitch about due process? You signed a contract that says DOD can do whatever they want with you. As long as DOD follows some form of procedure, you got processed duly. Have a nice day! Weren't paying much attention, were you? All those lovely constitutional rights are substantially abridged under the UCMJ, which, to reiterate, the jurisdiction of you voluntarily subjected yourself.

If I recall, the contract also states which law they're going to use to screw you. Saying it's contrary to law is all nice and stuff, but which law? I'm absolutely sure that what DOD did with stop-loss is authorized under law. Unless there's another law that explicitly says DOD can't issue stop-loss orders, you are again screwed. Them's the breaks, sparky.

I don't want people thinking I am unsympathetic. I understand fully that getting involuntarily extended well and truly sucks, and I feel for the people who got tagged. It ain't no fun to get told "Sorry, no ETS for you." However, that's a risk you run when you join up. Yes, it blows, but you volunteered. Suck it up and drive the fuck on. Filing a lawsuit will get you so much less than nothing.

Somewhat Chunky Client

Once again, someone thinks all resources can live away from your local machine on the magical mystical server. The offending victim today is Jay Currie, in an article at TCS. Can I just state for the record that all you distributed network, thin client, remote location people need to have a nice hot cup of STFU? It is, for many technical reasons, a bad idea. It will continue to be a bad idea for the foreseeable future.

Why? Well, let's start with the obvious ones first. If I'm working on something remotely and the connection freaks out, I've lost what I'm doing. Anyone who uses Blogger has surely been through this at least once. Hit the 'Publish Post' button and watch your work magically vanish! That's a paradigm I need extended to a word processor. Not. So if I have to save my docs to my hard drive first, what the hell good is the storage space on the server again?

Next problem: if the server goes down, I got no apps. I work for a Fortune 500 company in the engineering department. We have, for various technical and licensing reasons, a lot of engineering software that runs from a central server. When that server craters, as it did a few months back, I literally cannot do my job. The barely competent MIS department took 2 days to bring the server back up. My company pulls in 2 billion a year in revenue, and has a vested interest in getting mission critical software back up. Somebody providing you with a service for free has that kind of motivation? I doubt it, and I don't need that on my PC at home.

Let's look at the assertion that most of us don't need graphics. Gee, I'm glad Mr. Currie is such a serious kind of guy. I don't do a whole lot of imaging work or graphic design or anything. However, I do use another kind of software that puts a hell of a load on a graphics card: games. Doom 3 is doing me no justice if I'm trying run that off a network model. I'm not too sure, because I'm an anti-social bastard with no friends, but it appears that a whole bunch of other people play games, too.

Really, this is just a return to dumb terminals. There's reasons the industry moved away from that model. Unless those reasons have changed, why would you go back? Especially if, as the article claims, hardware is getting cheaper. (Which it must be, seeing as how Wal-Mart will sell me a box for $278.) If the hardware is so bloody cheap, why do I want to put all of my applications and data on a server located in another time zone? Convenience? Most people do not need this model of computing, and I'm guessing they don't really want it.

2004/08/17

A Platform For The Ages

Well, the fine folks over at InstaPunk were out and about for a while and not posting. Upon their return, what do they post? The best Presidential platform I've seen in years. Selected highlights:

Education: Therefore, the Punk Party advocates immediate federal legislation declaring all forms of education illegal and punishable by a mandatory five-year term in prison. Only this radical measure will make learning attractive to the spoiled, anarchic slugs whose only detectable interests include activities that involve breaking the law -- i.e., the use of illegal drugs, underage smoking and drinking, underage sex, copyright theft, etc. Let them educate themselves in secret as the last possible act of rebellion against bankrupt parental and institutional authority.

Sin Control: Any government whose legislative acts have served to make smoking cigarettes more damnable in public opinion than the abortion of fetuses cannot be trusted to play any part in the definition of public morality.

The Economy: Beyond this, the federal government will make no effort, nor claim to have any capability, to "create jobs." Only private enterprises and individuals can offer this potential, and the government will make every effort not to impede it.

Immigration: All illegal aliens will be arrested and deported, regardless of circumstances. The nation of Mexico will be given an immediate ultimatum: end illegal immigration from its side of the border or accept an immediate end to all aid from and trade with the United States.

Homeland Security: In addition, the U.S. government will announce that it is no longer indemnifying business or state government organizations from the losses associated with their negligence in effectively protecting against terrorist attacks. All government regulations which prevent business or state government organizations from adequately protecting their facilities from terrorists will be immediately repealed. When this has been accomplished, no shipping company, airline, utility, or port will have any financial refuge from the failure of their own security responsibilities.


The Foreign Policy section alone is worth the price of admission. "Screw Canada. In every way possible." Finally, a platform I can agree with almost completely. What's more, I'm sure the candidates might actually try to act on the platform instead of just running on it. Too bad they won't be on the ballot here in Texas.

Art By Accident

Peter Bagge does a nice job skewering the fine art establishment in this comic. Speaking as someone who has had a variety of museum memberships over the years, much of his criticism is completely on target. The art world in general seems almost completely unable to make any critical distinctions of quality in this day and age.

I think the best comment on the whole issue came from a friend who has a Master's degree in Painting and two undergraduate art degrees. He also teaches art at a university in Alabama. We were looking at a pile of broken glass with attached neon signage in the basement of a museum one day when I asked how this was art. His response?

"If you can convince someone else it's art and get them to pay for it, it's art."

For a guy that can spit out pretentious art babble with the best of them, this was a fairly direct statement. I recall this frequently when I go look at things deemed art or artistic.

2004/08/16

Minor Details Only, I'm Sure

Let's try again. Blogger ate this post earlier, and then I continued reading. Tim Worstall has some good points in reply to the fervor over at FuturePundit about Solid Oxide Fuel Cells. Good stuff. Alternative energy sources are always a good thing, and I say this from a position deeply ensconced in the minutiae of the oil industry.

I have many issues with this after much reflection. I'm only going to cover two of them. First, none of these wonderful technologies replace fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are a primary energy source. Fuel cells are conversion mechanisms, just like batteries are storage mechanisms. You still have to provide the chemical energy to the fuel cell. This is not a trivial endeavor, either in coming up with said chemical energy source or transporting the source to the fuel cell.

This brings me to my second point. To quote Mr. Worstall,
Cheap efficient SOFCs are, from what I can see, now only an engineering/manufacturing problem.
Oh, is that all? Simply an engineering/manufacturing problem? Maybe I'm missing something, but gee, that's essentially ALL of the work. The fact that it's been proven to work in a lab just means it can magically move to market with just a smidge of engineering and a little manufacturing! My pasty white ass, it can. The manufacture of these fuel cells in a fashion remotely resembling economical is going to take a hell of a lot of man-hours by some pretty smart, diligent people.

Even then, you still have the larger problem which has yet to be addressed in any of these posts. Who cares? Unless it's cheaper than current sources for the end user, it won't be adopted. The only way to get the kind of broad conversion envisioned is make it advantageous for everybody. Otherwise it will wither and die on the vine.

Of course, it does seem like a perfectly nice technology for niche applications. Which is good, because that's all fuel cells are going to be for quite some time.

Barbecue as a Universal Language

This kind of thing is why I love the Israelis. We could learn a thing or two here in the US. Of course, I'm thinking that we didn't do it in Texas first because we didn't think of it, or maybe we just don't have enough hunger striking Palestinians here. Thank God for that.

Part of the Problem

Here's a quick demonstration of why book storage is a continuing issue for me. We went out and about this weekend and ended up at Rice Village. J had some shopping to do there. What else is at Rice Village? A Half Price Books! Yay! So 70 dollars later, I have three books on furniture making, 3 more cookbooks, a book on enameling, and J has two books on sewing. I also picked up next year's calendar for the computer room. (Side note: two of the furniture books are designs for bookshelves and storage. I need more storage to hold my books on making storage.) This is about average for a trip to Half Price. So when it comes to books, I'm definitely part of the problem.

We also went out and got 9 or 10 CDs this weekend. The storage problem there isn't as acute as the book problem yet, mainly because CDs take less space. Someday our current ad-hoc storage system of 4 towers and an IKEA bookshelf will have to be redone.

Cashing in on Desperation

Those damn scam artists at the American Red Cross (ARC) are at it again. Yes, THAT American Red Cross, and yes, I did say “damn scam artists”. How soon folks forget the infamous 9/11 scandals where the ARC President assured the American public that 9/11 contributions were going into a separate fund and was subsequently fired for it; while we were finding out that contributions to those affected by 9/11 were being spent on new computer systems for the ARC and “other disasters”. Who can forget the reminder by ARC officials at the end of the debacle that if you want your contribution earmarked for 9/11, then you’d better write a dissertation stating why in that tiny memo section on your check? The net result of all the mess is that charitable contributions to the ARC alone could have compensated victims’ families adequately, rather than the federal government being expected to serve as the insurer of last resort.

Well, same song, second verse. I watched on FNC this morning the Police Chief of Punta Gorda, Florida tell the interviewers that the best things people could send right now, to help people devastated by Charley, are generators, non-perishable food items, and bottled water. He further stated that since there are no banks open and nowhere to buy anything, sending money doesn’t really do much.


Well funny, Mr. Honorable Police Chief, but the ARC doesn’t seem to see it that way. I’m sitting here, in my office, listening to one of my local talk radio stations on live stream, and sure enough the news segment reports that the ARC is asking for you and me to perform what act of kindness to assist disaster victims? You guessed it, stroke a check.

Now, I cannot attest to the absolute truth of this statement, but I have been told on more than one occasion by people who are in a position to know, that if you receive assistance from the ARC as a result of a natural disaster, you will be billed by them at a later date. So, if this is true, the assistance that the ARC provides isn’t charitable, its billable. I find it extremely hard to believe that a hardware store is prohibited by law from marking up the price of materials in high demand following a natural disaster; but the ARC can expect to collect payment for a stale sandwich from some poor guy who has spent the past few days foraging for anything to eat while looking for lost family, pets, and heirlooms in contaminated water. If my information is true, the American Red Cross reeks to high heaven and should have its non-profit status yanked.

If you want to really help somebody in need, my first thought is slam your checkbooks shut in the face of the corrupt American Red Cross. There are honest charitable organizations out there.

Tron about Town

As if we needed any further proof:

1. Liberals have been rendered completely incapable of distinguishing fact from fiction, and
2. The poor schmucks just have absolutely no sense of humor.


No wonder we can't find Osama...

He got himself one of these things. This particular product is not for the completely unparanoid.

Someday, It'll Be A Bookshelf

Funfurde has a nice description of the Sapien bookshelf. I saw the shelf in the Design Within Reach catalog. Every time I see it, I have the same reaction: pathetically inadequate. Make no mistake, it does look cool. I just need more book shelf than the Sapien is able to provide. I think it's a tragic waste of floor space that a real bookshelf could use.

This doesn't even work as a reference shelf, as one of the commenter's suggested. My references take up more shelf space than this. Some of them would overload the shelf. I think my dictionary alone weighs more than 9 pounds. Ehh, maybe when I'm rich I'll have one of these somewhere it can look pretty and keep the rest of the books in a library room.

It might make a cool nightstand, though.

Hi There!

For some reason, spammers think that sending me an email with a friendly greeting like "Hi there!" in the subject line is going to get me to open the email. This may have worked a decade ago, when I was in college and the Web was new. I would get odd emails from classmates and others when I was in college. Now? I know everyone that sends email to my primary accounts. None of them would use that as a subject line.

Besides, all it ever does is make me think of the beginning of Peter Gabriel's Big Time. Who the hell wants that in an email?

2004/08/15

Oops, My Bad

I hate yardwork. I seriously contemplate paving my yard and painting it green. But given what concrete work costs, I really can't afford it. Too much damn yard, which is also one of the reasons I hate yardwork. Interlinked systems are just a bitch.

So anyhow, it turns out that Los Alamos may not be as fubared as I was led to think. I'm not sure if this is better or worse. It's good that somebody didn't lose classified materials, but bad that the place was shut down over items that didn't actually exist. Either way, the management of Los Alamos looks like idiots. I think the time has come to yank the contract from the UC system. Hell, give it to UT. They can run a damn lab.

2004/08/13

As Usual, NBC Sucks...

Just in case anyone is looking for a full Olympic TV schedule, you can find it here. Don't bother with NBC. It is bad enough these blowhards are going to ruin perfectly good sports coverage with irrelevant fluffy news stories, but they don't even give you a clear layout of when you can watch the stupid fluff with sports interruptions. Thanks for the schedule, ESPN.

2004/08/12

Who said Donks don't believe in preemption?

Something tells me that Governor McGreevy knew his number was up, so to speak. You just can't make up this stuff.

Key word = ILLEGAL

Reading this little blurb yesterday was enough to piss me off thoroughly, because this is a white hot issue with me. Living almost my entire life in the Houston area gives me a slightly different perspective than those who have no experience living in one of the southern “border states”. Illegal immigration is like a plague to us; it infects and destroys everything it touches. Contrary to what the immigration race baiters would have people believe, almost all of us (save a few nuts) in these areas harbor no ill whatsoever toward those kind folks who come to America legally to live, work, and maybe become naturalized citizens. We admire what they went through to get here and make it. Many of us desire to and actively help them along in their pursuits. These folks exemplify the best about America.

The experience in Texas with those who are here illegally is this: illegals refuse to learn our language or assimilate into our culture. They subsequently destroy decent neighborhoods, expect special treatment, and drain our limited resources. Visit the Navigation/Harrisburg or Denver Harbor areas in Houston, and now vast sections of Pasadena, and you’ll find what looks like filthy, burned out Mexican border towns. There are no property values in these places. Crime drives people from their homes. And don’t make the mistake of needing an emergency room in the city. Illegals receive free (read: taxpayer funded), non-emergency medical care through these venues, so emergency rooms waiting areas look like third-world free clinics. If you have health insurance and a bone broken in half, sticking out through your forearm, as long as it isn’t life threatening, you can expect to wait several hours in an emergency room lobby behind Julio with his head cold. The Donks complain about how Texans are underinsured, but they won’t tell you why. Look no further than the illegal populations. And we here in Texas are footing the bill.

The idea that we even pontificate about selectively enforcing immigration laws in this era or national security just enrages me. I heard some nitwits complaining about how this “expanded power” of border patrol is a violation of civil rights. Every person who truly believes that these criminal invaders are somehow oppressed by being denied illegal access to this country should be required to live for one year along the Mexican border; being held personally responsible for the preservation of a residence and their personal property, while having access to only the area resources available. After the year in residence, if these enlightened folks still believe the same as when they came, then let them go back to their Manhattan high-rises or their Georgetown condos and preach. Otherwise, I am sure these heroes could use the extra help.

I say in Texas we should try this alternative. Let’s take the Federal Government off the Texas/Mexico border for a while--just follow me here. Replace them with a heavily armed Texas National Guard. Something most non-Texans don’t know is that in Texas it is legal here to shoot trespassers. You don’t have to ask them off your property, although it is a good idea, but you can shoot them. Utilizing the same logic, because illegal border crossers are trespassers, enforce Texas law: shoot them. People who don’t use the proper legal channels to cross the border should be treated as trespassers and shot. Harsh? Yes. Warranted? Absolutely. A true commitment to national security requires no less.

I would say about those illegals already here, that every single contact with law enforcement, or any government service for that matter, should be viewed as an opportunity to enforce the law of the land. Illegals don’t go to the DPS for a license, because if they do, then they should be arrested and deported. Illegals who are pulled over for speeding should be immediately arrested and deported. Those who go to a hospital and cannot provide proper documentation of legal residence should be reported to authorities for immediate deportation. Illegals who attempt to enroll children in school should arrive to meet with the INS and a set of handcuffs. I think you understand my point.

Many argue that the restaurant, custodial, and construction businesses to name a few, would collapse if immigration laws were strictly enforced. I say OK…and? The people who hire illegals are equivalent criminals to the Enron, Tyco, and Global Crossing guys, so they should be all sharing jail cells. These industries will rebound and rebuild. There should be no incentive, financial, or legal, for business owners who hire illegals. Business owners who are caught should suffer debilitating financial penalties and face stiff jail time. The truth is that our collective savings as citizens would offset any increased prices that would result from hiring proper domestic, legal, labor. If we have a worker shortage as a result, then we can investigate the need for increasing our legal immigration quotas.

It is time for all of us to operate within the law. The Mexican government must be required to fix its corrupt economic and political system, and stop using the United States as an escape route for its downtrodden and criminal masses. How they treat the invaders of their Southern border is very enlightening. The United States needs to stop playing the role of enabler and financier, ceasing its dependence upon this criminal labor stream that ultimately serves to damage its citizens. The bottom line is that the key word with the “illegal immigrant” is ILLEGAL. Like it or not, these people are criminals by their very nature of being here. Nobody can be an “honest citizen” if they are here illegally, and there is no right to perpetrate crimes in this country...contrary to what the great unwashed mass of activists would have you believe.

Dumb Preconceptions Supersized

Trio, a network I'm not in the habit of watching, is running a month worth (read that to mean 20 shows repeated endlessly) of primetime programming on Texas: America Supersized. We caught this last night while flipping around the upper reaches of the cable channels. I invite you to step right up for some penetrating cultural insight into the state where I live. After all, Blood Simple is an important record of Texas, or the Coen brothers' delusions of it. (Good movie, though.) That classic piece of 70s dreck, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, also gives you a vital glimpse into the depths of the Texas psyche via Jane Seymour in a cheerleading outfit: Boobies good! A sentiment unique to Texas, right?

Admittedly, those were easy targets. The two I've actually watched (haphazardly) were the title documentary and something entitled Fat City. Both were, in their own way, pretty damn funny. The first one has Christopher Hitchens wandering around Texas talking to people about Texas. Let me just state for the record that I think Mr. Hitchens is a smart guy and an interesting, although not always correct, writer. Having said that, he fails pretty spectacularly when confronted with Texas, as most Europeans do. A lot of Americans outside of Texas seem to think Texans all ride horses to work and have oil wells in the front yard. I don't expect Euros to have much more of a clue. Hell, I've lived most of my adult life here and the place freakin' baffles me sometimes. So he does the typical tourist crap, like buying boots and a hat, and ponders deeply on what Texas means to the US. I'm unsure of what his conclusion was, although I think he probably is too. It's hard to draw some larger message from any place with 25 million people. The funniest section was him going to the gun range with some Bubba wearing an anti-UN shirt. Mr. Hitchens looked thoroughly confused and/or frightened at spots. Other than that, it's a lot of the usual blather about frontier culture and cowboys and football and related crap. When you start nattering on about that nonsense, you're not engaging in groundbreaking journalism or filmmaking. It's a convenient narrative that's easy to use with Texas because the stereotypes are all true, to an extent, but just grabbing the obvious doesn't provide any insight. You have to spend a little more time and start digging around for the underlying contradictions and seeing if there's more to Texas than the tired stereotypes the East Coast has had for a century.

As a side note, Molly Ivins is not really a credible source anymore. She pretty much lost her damn mind when Bush got elected, like much of the left. (She also lost her chin in her neck fat, from what I could see.) She has spent so much of her career talking about how Texas fails to meet her vision of what it should/could/oughta be I'm not sure she actually looks at Texas as it is anymore. She's more concerned about what it isn't, and has been for a long time. She also fails to grasp the important fact that most Texans like the place the way it is.

The Fat City piece was more entertaining, but if you don't live in Houston it might not be. The filmmakers focused on Houston and why people here are so damn fat. I might try to argue the point, but a simple walk around town looking slightly down would be all the counter-argument anyone needs. It's pretty accurate, and pretty funny at times in the "hey, I've been there!" mode. Some of the restaurants they visit are familiar to me, so it has that weird feeling of watching something on TV that's real to you. It's also comical in that it's a dead honest portrayal of how a lot of people in this town are. My only other comment is not all Houston residents are fat, just a whole damn lot of 'em.

If you're interested, both of these will be repeated later in the month. If you're not interested, watch Kolchak: The Nightstalker instead.

2004/08/10

Can I get a HELL YEAH?

A special thanks to one of my online conservative co-conspirators, Paul, for this little hat tip. Appropriately, while I was reading it, my Launchcast station was playing an appropriate little tune...something called "Screw You" by a band called "The F-ups".

Excellent!

It has been too long...

...since I have been to visit. I used to spend a lot of time at this site, and on this channel.

This is possibly the greatest sci-fi series of all time, prematurely cancelled by the idiot executives who know nothing about the genre. I haven't watched the channel since, except to tune in long enough to catch the newest trailer. They're pumping the miniseries, and I can't wait! Just over 2 months to go, and counting every day.

"I[t has] kicked more ass than you've sat on," as Zhaan would say.

O'Reilly Triumphs!

Actually, he's having Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on the Factor tonight. I'm pretty ambivalent about Mr. O'Reilly. I mean I think he used to be OK, until he believed the hype and now he's on and off...mostly annoying. Tonight takes his career to new heights by interviewing a rubber puppet. Maybe that's appropriate. Who do you think will poop on whom? I just may tune in tonight. My money's on the puppet.

Update: What a borefest. They just sniffed each other up. Bleagh.

How Much Longer...

...will we actually be forced to take John Kerry seriously? I was going to comment on the latest bigfatkerrylie to show up, but I notice that Carl Frank over at No Oil for Pacifists has covered the issue quite famously. I surrender.

Wear Rubber Shoes

Some pub in Argentina has a drink special: free drinks until the first person uses the toilet. Now it's been a long time since I've been to an establishment that offers such deals, (Texas made them mostly illegal in '91.), but I can predict one of the unintended consequences. Drunks are peeing in the corners. I can't imagine a pleasant environment resulting from this. I'd rather not spend my evening drinking in a place that stinks like piss.

Location, Location, Location

Real estate agents always say that's the three most important things about buying property. While this despicable story has nothing to do with property, the location aspect is impossible to ignore. There is a certain amount of macabre comedy involved when frogs start screaming at Jews while they're touring Auschwitz. You simply can't make up stories this twisted. No one would believe you.

Is anyone surprised that the offending parties were French? I know I am. After all, the French have always treated the Jews in their midst with the utmost respect. Just ask Captain Dreyfus.

Ariel Sharon was right. It's time to leave.

Update: Fact check before posting is always a good idea, right? Dreyfus was a captain, not a lietenant as I originally thought.

2004/08/09

Keyes opens the Door in Illinois

I am a huge fan of Alan Keyes. I have seen him speak on several occasions and he is very exciting. I’m part of the 4% of the population who voted for him in the 1996 presidential primary when he ran against Bob Dole, and I’m the other person in America who watched “Alan Keyes is Making Sense” on MSNBC. Yeah, I’ll bet you couldn’t even remember the title, but like I said, I think the gentleman is a star. I watched every night. He is a public figure who I truly admire.

It is my deep admiration for Dr. Keyes that prompted my great disappointment this morning when I learned that he had decided to take the bait for the Senate seat in Illinois. Dr. Keyes is a Federalist, and I thought he understood the importance of true representative Democracy. He is a man who maintains his principles despite the lack of popularity, or subsequent ridicule, and was one of the first to criticize Hillary Rodham Clinton when she carpetbagged herself into a New York Senate Seat. He and Antonin Scalia are two of the greatest constitutionalists of my lifetime, and now Alan Keyes has sold out. It is tragic and a betrayal.

So tragic in fact, that I find myself actually agreeing with Senator Dick Dustbin (D-Ignut) when he said, "Twelve and a half million people in our state, and the Illinois Republican Party was unable to come up with one person to run for the United States Senate." The Illinois Republican party should be ashamed of itself and Chairman Topinka fired for malfeasance if the situation with her state party has truly come to the point where her organization is unable or unwilling to find a proper intrastate candidate.

Although I don’t think he should run, I hope and pray for Dr. Keyes’ victory. I would love for this great man to hold elective office. I am deeply saddened because this should end any viable political career I hope he would’ve had, because I don’t think he’ll beat Barack Obama. I do think, however, that he would make an outstanding Senator…one of the best…representing the State of Maryland.

The Euros Get a Lesson in Democracy

So it appears that some idiot finally found a way to get some group of America haters who know jack about democratic elections to show up and monitor ours. Well bully for them, I guess, since it isn’t going to affect me or my precinct anyway. Nonetheless, I can picture the smelly Eurotrash, or similar types, standing around in their shiny suits looking like chickens watching a card trick because they wouldn’t recognize a true democratic process if it slid up their greasy legs and bit them in the crusty balls

As T has mentioned previously, I’m the election judge for our local precinct, and you could pretty much put some boxed road kill up for office with a big R after its name and it would get elected. And, as absolutely annoying as my Alternate Judge (the Donk) is, he’s not a cheat or a fraud. Plus, he doesn’t know how to work the voting machines anyway. Wait, I can qualify that further. He doesn’t know how to work, at all. He shows up, has social day, and goes home. He knows the neighbors and likes to visit. He’s entertained, I’m aggravated, and we have an election…but I digress.

What I am really trying to point out to those of extremely short memory is this. Donks are still hanging on to that tired canard about the 2000 election being stolen. They’re setting themselves up to be able to claim it again when Lurch gets his ass kicked. They’re already retaining the lawyers. Four years ago, the precincts descended upon by him of dress-shirt-as-tax-write-off, the race baiters, and other assorted moonbats to dangle their chads were DEMOCRAT precincts. Look again at that statement and check your references if you think it isn’t true. Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, etc. were predominantly black precincts run by DEMOCRATS. It was the DEMOCRATS being accused of violating civil rights, intimidating voters, and not counting ballots; and it will be DEMOCRAT precincts where these “impartial” internationalists will observe.

Personally, I would be insulted and would resign my position as Election Judge if my party accused me of such impropriety. But hey, the Democratic Party has a long established history of disenfranchising minority voters, so I hope that shack out back of the plantation is cozy enough for them. Oh, and don’t look for these observers to visit predominantly white and/or Republican precincts. Election Fraud 101 dictates that you go after precincts that your people already control because the challenges appear to be more legitimate if you go after your own while in fact you have more opportunity to manipulate our outcome. I don’t make this stuff up, I just study it.