Geography: Not hard.

•July 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Someone really needs to tell Fox news that Los Angeles is not, in fact, south of San Diego.

Nobama

•June 16, 2009 • 2 Comments

Still think he’s on our side?
By all means, stick your head in the sand – just let the rest of us know that you are opting to do so please?

Dear universe, please give me someone good to vote for in 2012 please? Ideally someone good and Electable.

Ice Skating Uphill – the new White House appointees

•June 2, 2009 • 1 Comment

Yet another mental midget gets a choice Obamaland appointment – Would-be DOD chief over Afghanistan: War ‘is winnable’.
And this guy hasn’t even started the job yet.

The Army general chosen to take over as top commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan told senators Tuesday he believes the war can be won if a proper counterinsurgency campaign is undertaken.

No, really, ignore two thousand years of history telling us that no one has ever managed to take the region (let alone hold it), let’s just site those wacky madcap Soviets and then know, just know we can do better, because we are Americans…..
Seriously, is the Obama administration using a Ouija board to select their appointees of late?

Well, let’s see. I expect that a pretty good total train wreck could come out of a collision between the Sotomayor appointment and the signal to noise discrepancy created in the wake of some religious wingnut on one of their little crusades again.
Though, on that last count, I’m amazed that so many otherwise god- (read: lobbyist) fearing Republicans have actually had the gibbering nod towards sentience to come out against blowing people away. Don’t they normally put pictures of the shooters on their websites and call them patriots or some other jingoistic flag toting thing or other?

While I’m waiting for the Democrats to elect a liberal President*…

•June 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Well, in my absence, what’ve I missed? Not one whole hell of a lot. The sabre rattling continues…..
North Korea wants us to think war is imminent and, um, I guess someone out there is believing it. I think Jong-Il has finally had one Enzyte commercial too many myself….. (Sorry, the ass muppet is a Bond villain – I refuse to give him any more respect than that.)
The US punks out on North Korea. “The line is drawn” or some such empty nonsense – what, did I hear someone say sanctions? From who? We don’t exactly do a vast amount of business with them you know. Calling for sanctions on N. Korea is like threatening to cut someone’s crack off when they don’t do drugs.
Either way, it leaves the dealer holding their genitalia, which isn’t quite dignified.
Tell that to the state department, which spent lots of last week being unable to pick which position they were supposed to be on. I suppose some people don’t see much difference in being unable to pick a tie to wear to work and this. They probably voted for Obama…..

Meanwhile, the Defense Department still hasn’t learned that in the absence of information the people’s minds fill in the blanks just fine. The media, by the way, is fired. Gone is all talk of how wrong torture is….the only thing CNN, Fox, ABC, or any of the majors (save MSNBC which I can no longer see) seem interested in is whether or not The Defense Department Approved Enhanced Intelligence Gathering Techniques (you know, TORTURE) are “effective” or not.
And people wonder why I have no faith on my fellow humans….

Also – and it’s about time – GM is bankrupt. No fanfare, just glad all that pointless biblical handwringing is over.

Sorry for the tardiness of my update, we’re still functionally homeless, living out of a hotel – and the wife is in the late stages of a Warcraft addiction, making the one working laptop we have…..precious. Speaking of which, she sent me the Best Link Ever yesterday – Psychiatrists are moving to classify bitterness as a mental illness.
Remember, happiness is a chemical condition.

* because they really didn’t get one. My present assessment of Mr. Obama is a naked populist who is petrified of making any permanent lasting controversial decisions. Rather like the last Democratic President (You know, Bill?) save that Bill was somewhat more decisive at times.
Wow that makes him look bad doesn’t it?
In any case, please don’t mistake this for some wacky desire for an actually liberal president to come to pass. While I consider the stupid democrats less odious than the stupid republicans, that by no means should be read as an endorsement.

120 seconds

•May 24, 2009 • 2 Comments

North Korea claims to have conducted a nuclear test and the media eats it up…because North Kore is right next to President Bush in the dictionary listing of “credibility.” (Which does bring to mind an interesting point. The Bush administration was real big on “North Korea does not have nuclear weapons” which, of course, was and remains bullshit. I’m wondering what the Obama administration’s stance is – i.e. do they dwell in reality?)

How soon til we invade? Oh wait, that’s right, NO OIL. So we won’t.

Speaking of Obama, he’s selected a gravedigger for NASA though speculation about NASA having a future involving real space exploration and utilization seem overly optimistic. We still don’t have a replacement anywhere in sight for the Shuttles, which will be flying their final flight next year.
Of especial humor – the article asks about “Bush’s” plan for manned expedition to Mars – which is the same plan suggested by (of all people) Dan Quayle during his time as VP….which is just a regurgitation of the exact same plan suggested by Spiro Fucking Agnew – “Man on Mars by 1988!” Yeah, that happened.

science-flies-to-moon

I don’t think this is a real bus ad, but what I’d give for it to have been so.

the Tea Leaf Dancers escape from the fortress of the flying lotus

•May 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The Obama administration has been denied the funds to close GitMo without further disclosure and I say, well fucking done. The 90-6 senate vote was – somewhat surprisingly – GOP heavy (only somewhat because expecting ideological consistency out of the GOP is a fools’ errand). This should make it that much more difficult for all of those tribunal “terrorists” (sorry but without due process I can’t take that choice of descriptors seriously) to be ferried away to other illegal and secret prisons around the world.
Of course, the reason the GOP did this was to prevent an influx of brown people out of some naieve and extremely misinformed notion of the administration’s intentions. “The American people don’t want these men walking the streets of America’s neighborhoods,” thinks Senator John Thune, an elephant from South Dakota, though he does (at least) go on to say “The American people don’t want these detainees held at a military base or federal prison in their back yard, either.”
So close, but yet so far from…you know, reality. I would opt for mandatory reality checks in congress if I thought it could either be done or be done well, neither of which I believe.
But hey, it beats facing what both parties have done to the world economy I suppose.

Life in Obamaland Day 119

•May 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I intended to start this with a sign of the oncoming end of the universe by mentioning Penn Gillette on Glenn Beck until I hit the internet and found that it was, in fact a rerun. Ah well, I guess the Large Hadron Collider destroyed all life on earth after all.
Still, any time Penn Gillette argues against heterosexual marriage I want to have his baby a little more.

Despite US attempts, photographs slip through their fingers.

So, by raising the price of a car by 1200 dollars we can bail out the auto industry – oh I’m sorry am I supposed to be regarding this as a step forward in energy policy? Because this is a shoddy attempt at trying to write off an auto industry specific bailout as something that it isn’t. If they don’t have the existing infrastructure to do this then who’s paying for it? The government.

The FBI is finally getting comfortable using the Patriot Act – a Seven page report (Warning – pdf) submitted to Congress today detailed 24,744 people who were targeted for warrentless surveillance by the Fed under the Act’s provisions in 2008, up from 16,804 in 2007.

On that note, I’m off to contemplate human extinction

When all things began, the brand name already was. The brand name dwelt with God, and what God was, Disneyland

•May 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Have you read the NY Times 35 minute interview with Obama? You should.
Especially considering he’s opted to continue perpetuating Bush era policies. It is alleged that he’s reinstating military tribunals in favor of actual litigation….but making lots of empty promises regarding greater rights for the accused. Because that makes up for the last seven years. Or something that is only true in his mind.
As it turns out, aides have made a statement that Yes, some GitMo detainees will face tribunals. That’s very ambiguous terminology, which seems to be an increasing hallmark of the Obama administration, especially when it doesn’t want to admit something.
You know, I’m starting to think that what is happening with the Obama presidency is that we’re beginning to see how unprepared he really was for the job he now has. A common observation very early in the campaign was that he lacked enough experience. Which looked at one way is a plus. But I think we’re beginning to see the downside of that.
The recent way he has ham handed his way into the abortion debate is a fine example. He is, in some socially contentious issues (TBLG issues among them) apparently terrified of making a definitive stance…and when he does do so, he concedes to both sides but commits to neither. (The Notre Dame thing is funny because, had he handled it just a liiiiiitle differently, could have been epic. But it fell short, and his silence since encourages all the talking heads talk in the soup.)
And yet we’re waiting on those campaign promises Mr. President. Tick tick tick tick….

Elsewhere…
Blackwater back to its old tricks oh, that’s right they’re called “Xe” now. Either way the score is the same – two civillians dead.

After yesterday’s announcement by Chrysler, GM announces it will be closing 1100 auto dealerships and I can’t help but wonder what happens when all of these creepy guys that sell cars for a living are unleashed on the workforce. In the short term I suspect they’ll wind up telemarketing. Don’t answer your phone.
Either way, in the case of both GM and Chrysler, I’ve got to wonder how much easier it would be to sack one of those million dollar vice presidents instead of close down their franchises.

The U.S. is dispatching special forces ops to Cambodia er, I mean Pakistan. Just remember *we* are the country that destabilized Pakistan, the reason why they’re now in civil war….and Obama’s engagement policy is near identical to Bush’s Iraq policy.

How’s that for Friday afternoon cheer? Don’t forget to donate to the Make-a-Fish Foundation, an utterly fictitious body dedicated to fighting the nonsense that is intelligent design.

Shaving a wet cat with a dull razor – more on torture

•May 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Oh How I Love to watch her TWIST IN THE WIND
Look, no one is debating that the CIA can lie to congress (That is its primary purpose right?) – but in a world where Freecreditreport.com is a lie (don’t believe me? You can’t get that report without having a credit card. Again, without a credit card and thus a line of control from a bank, you are S.O.L.) trying to turn your own lies around on the CIA smells of someone feeling themself sandbagged and having nothing else in their deck to throw into the game.
No great loss really. I remember when Nancy Pelosi as Speaker was accompanied by it’s own particular cult of “She Will Save Us” and I scoffed then too – and was quietly told to let the less cynical enjoy their victory.
Ahem. Fuck that.

Former senator Bob Graham is joining the chorus of I didn’t know likely in exchange for something else later down the line would be my guess.
Jebus, do you have any idea how fucked things are when someone has less credibility than the Central Intelligence Agency? WOW.
Really though, the proof is in the pudding.

Graham is the only other Dem aside from Pelosi to get briefed in 2002, so they are both in effect asserting that no Dem was briefed on the use of EITs that year. The date of the next briefing was in February 2003.

The key word here is DEMOCRAT. Name a single member of the GOP sitting in who can corroborate this? (Not, mind, that they would. After all, the core of the GOP right now is of the masturbates to tortured brown people variety. Right Rush?)

But of course, the Robot has to sound off because he hasn’t done enough this week to end and destroy any tiny vestige of credibility the GOP might still possess.

WASHINGTON, May 14 (Reuters) – The CIA on Thursday rejected a request by former Vice President Dick Cheney that it make public documents that he said showed the effectiveness of using harsh interrogation methods on terrorism suspects.

*QUACK*Torture Works*QUACK*We should show the people how tough and big we are*QUACK* The CIA has a long (over 50 years) history of doing bad things and then not getting caught. But really, maybe just once, we should listen to Dick and watch both the CIA and the socially conservative wingnutjobs of the right wing get sucked into the black hole that would result.
Save of course, that that would insure further Obamanocracy.

It’s great to be back

•May 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

well, hopefully. Still straddling the line of being one of those damned “statistics” cited in evening news reports, but my head is yet above water. Damnit.
Not, to say, that much has changed in my absence. For example, Nancy Pelosi is just as full of shit as she was in 2006. Being the ranking democrat on the intelligence committee c. 2002 she attended a briefing on, yes, torture. Having since been called out on this, of course, she’s screaming that she was misled.
I could address this with a series of points but why? Ultimately it boils down to

“We were told that they had legal opinions that it was legal and were not told about other legal opinions to the contrary,” Pelosi said of the briefings

Ah, so it was LEGAL? Right-o. Because a fucking congressperson is just going to, you know, take the CIAs word for it that something like this is of course legal.
But more to the point – who gives a set of dingos kidneys if it’s legal or not? I’d at this point like to lump the current ‘debate’ about whether or not it was effective into the same pot – Torture is wrong regardless of whether or not it’s legal or if it gives intel. Period. End of discussion.

Nancy Pelosi has, of course, felt the need to pull on the asskicking handle in my absence – because hey, it’s not her fault, she was misled. I’d like to instigate at this point a policy whereby public officials get thrown out onto the street without pay or benefit whenever they site how something could not possible be their fault. Dodging out of your own responsibilities stops being a life skill when you gain high office. Unless you are a teenager or a gothy emo fry cook at Dennys in your twenties with no life ambitions, I don’t want to hear that shit.

In related news, it’s apparently perfectly okay for the Obama administration to just refuse to disclose further details and information about “prisoner abuse” (TORTURE) and sweep it under the rug.
And, more infuriatingly, watch the democrat lapdogs who voted for this guy stammer and mumble trying to justify how The One is incapable of error. (What, he’s the Obama 9000? I don’t think so.) The “Left”s precious Obama is now actively dodging the ACLU. Why? Ah yes, to protect Dick Cheney and his cronies. Why? (Again, I gotta wonder what Dick has on Obama….)

Okay, so the photos would provide incontrovertible proof that these things not only happened at Abu Grahib but also happened at GitMo, and happen in Afghanistan. Nice.
See, to release these photos – it would stir anti-American feeling and endanger the troops. His words. Look, the only anti-American feeling it’s going to generate is amongst AMERICANS. Rightfully so. And how will it endanger the troops exactly?
Jesus Christ Mister President, why don’t you just ask us why we hate freedom you jackass.
What else can I add to that?

An Observation

•April 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

“Move forward” apparently is Obamaland code for “we aren’t going to do shit.”

Also – Arlen Spector :: Rugged Individualist! Watch the dems buy it.

Look at your game girl

•April 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Regretfully, I’m going on hiatus, pretty much immediately – thanks to a bank screwup consuming about 1200 bucks and all of the associated fallout, we’ve been served with an eviction notice.
*le sigh* As I will soon be without (reliable) computer access for the forseeable, it seemed the time.
Now to get packing.

Barrack Obama:: Tool-in-Chief

•April 20, 2009 • 1 Comment

No folks, it’s not part of some “master plan.”
He certainly wasn’t “biding his time, so as to go after those ultimately responsible.”
No, Barrack Obama just wants to pretend it didn’t ever happen. All of those crunchy “he’s really secretly doing some good thing here” arguments I heard after he extended protections to the CIA (what about Blackwater?) just evaporated like a bad fart. He’s now pointedly not going after those responsible for the decisions made – even though, by law, he’s kind of REQUIRED TO DO SO. I’m sure he’ll site some kind of “Not wanting to start a partisan something something” kind of ‘argument’. Citing bipartisanship as trumping ethics makes you a tool.
I say, hey, who besides Barrack Obama can I vote for in 2012? Anyone? My vote is available…..

Most bizarre of all, Dick Cheney just can’t shut the fuck up. He wants to – yes, I’m serious – he’s asking for more documents to be declassified (which, remember, leads to the “Terrorists winning!”)…to prove that torture gets results.
Do the ends justify the means?
NO, they do NOT. Thus and so, Dick, your argument, true or false, has no validity. Zero, zip, nada, none. Dare I say it, you’ve got dick.

I guess, in some kind of attempt to change the subject, Obama has told the cabinet to cut 100 million dollars out of the budget. (Hey it could be worse, the last time a President needed a distraction we invaded Iraq. The last time prior to that, we bombed the shit out of a bunch of factories that may or may not have belonged to al-queda. Of course, that didn’t help Mr. Clinton. Maybe the current democrat will have better luck.) Seriously, this comes out of absolutely nowhere. He gets off the plane and…bang, “hey guys let’s cut another hundred million.”
Guessing those insipid tea bagging things did something, huh? Though how “Taxation” = “excessive spending” I still can’t fathom. Perhaps the GOP Secret Decoder wheel I got in my box of Right Wing Crunch will help it make sense.
(Because really, that “protest” was about as cohesive and well thought out as, um, a “democratic protest” – you know, the kind we had for about eight years. That worked out well.)

U.S. Rep. Jane Harman busted for being on the take. Gee, Israel, smoooooooooooooooth.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that sources said Harman, D-Calif., was caught on a U.S. government wiretap telling an Israeli agent she would help AIPAC officials acing espionage charges.
The newspaper reported the Israeli agent promised to lobby House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, also D-Calif., who then was the House minority leader, to appoint Harman as chairwoman of the House Intelligence Committee once Democrats gained control of Congress

BUSted. Time has been alleging this for something like three years. Though if she’s really been talking to Israeli intelligence then I expect she’ll be dead before she can be found guilty.

Stephen Hawking rushed to the hospital after some weeks of sickness. Here’s hoping that he’s okay.

Just briefly….

•April 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I just finished reading this and felt the need to share. Specifically , I wanted to share with you an absolutely brilliant assessment of the Obama Presidency to this point unfettered by ideological doubletalk (which, honestly, is more than I can say for myself sometimes).

A Myth of the Near Future

•April 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I don’t normally do obituaries on here but this will be an exception. (Though I can recall having done at least one. Whatever.)

Town-scapes are changing. The open-plan city belongs in the past — no more ramblas, no more pedestrian precincts, no more left banks and Latin quarters. We’re moving into the age of security grilles and defensible space. As for living, our surveillance cameras can do that for us. People are locking their doors and switching off their nervous systems.
The BBC reports that J.G. Ballard has died. I first found his work through Michael Moorcock but didn’t really get a taste for his work until last year. The author of Crash, Why I want to fuck Ronald Regan (the last included as part of The Atrocity Exhibition which ought to be required reading) and many many other works was once spoken of, in a review, “This author is beyond psychiatric help. Do Not Publish!” which means he was probably doing something right.
Watching the way Wiki entries get rewritten when someone dies is really really morbid. And by that I mean fascinating.

Congress Swill

•April 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Have you heard of HR 1467?

3/12/2009–Introduced.
Safe and Secure America Act of 2009 – Amends the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 to extend through 2019 provisions which: (1) authorize the use of multipoint or roving wiretaps for national security and intelligence investigations; and (2) allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to apply to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to grant government access to tangible items (books, records, etc.) in foreign intelligence, international terrorism, and clandestine intelligence cases.
Amends the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to extend through 2019 the inclusion of “lone wolf” terrorists as agents of a foreign power, for purposes of the authority to obtain intelligence on non-U.S. persons engaged in international terrorism.

That would be the fault of the following asshats.
* Rep. Lamar Smith [R, TX-21]
* and 17 Co-Sponsors
o Rep. Michele Bachmann [R, MN-6]
o Rep. John Boehner [R, OH-8]
o Rep. Eric Cantor [R, VA-7]
o Rep. Howard Coble [R, NC-6]
o Rep. Mary Fallin [R, OK-5]
o Rep. Trent Franks [R, AZ-2]
o Rep. Elton Gallegly [R, CA-24]
o Rep. Gregg Harper [R, MS-3]
o Rep. Duncan Hunter [R, CA-52]
o Rep. Jim Jordan [R, OH-4]
o Rep. Steve King [R, IA-5]
o Rep. Daniel Lungren [R, CA-3]
o Rep. Mike Pence [R, IN-6]
o Rep. Thomas Rooney [R, FL-16]
o Rep. F. Sensenbrenner [R, WI-5]
o Rep. John Shadegg [R, AZ-3]
o Rep. John Sullivan [R, OK-1]

(Oh, and AG Holder is on board with this too unless he’s radically changed tacks since he went from being a nominee and became an AG.)

The above, in short, pretty much continues the allowance of total
surveillance (maybe on you, maybe just on a brown person) to nigh any degree (as with our media as recently as a year ago) without a warrant so long as some judge somewhere “believes in cause”*), ‘as long as you’re involved or suspected of such in terrorism’ (which has a definition about as tractable as pornography) and, this may continue indefinitely without oversight.

It’s terribly adolescent of me but I’m resisting the urge to replace every instance of PATRIOT with (alternatingly) “Flagwaving” or “Jingoistic”. After the executive branch excesses of the last eight years you’d think I’d be less critical of the legislative branch…and there you’d be wrong. Partisan nonsense.

Moving on…..
Obama’s reprieve for CIA torturers illegal

That particular body of neo-cons that, normally, would be screaming about the notion of “international law interfering with the internal workings of the United States” (Best heard in a sort of Bill O’Reiley monotone) are Being. Really. Mighty. Quiet. Hmmmm. I wonder why……..

U.N. special rapporteur Manfred Nowak told an Austrian daily paper

“The United States, like all other states that are part of the U.N. convention against torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court,”

Reality check – if we bother with silly and irrelevant things like international treaties, or any kind of agreement ever with any other country, we have to actually abide by them or, you know, they don’t mean anything. We can’t just pick and choose when it’s politically expedient.
Ah whatever. Either torture by us bothers you or it doesn’t. For most of you, I don’t think it does. After all, most of the country could care less, right? (Most of my bile is gone, save for a special reserve I’m holding for the liberal blogosphere which doesn’t seem to care…I mean, The Messiahelventyone Hath Spoken, dig?))

This just in, U.S. still sucking the glass cock of Israel. For some reason. Same as it ever was. (See, “white” people don’t commit terrorism, they’re “freedom fighters” – but when those nasty “brown”
people do the same, they are bloody terrorists. How’s THAT for racism for ye?)

* actually I’m not convinced they’d need it. Maybe under Obama they might need a Judge. It’s disgusting how the parties can be told apart only via “degrees of police state bullshit” they’ll allow or put up with.

Welcome to Obamaland. Please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle, it makes sharp right turns

•April 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

CIA ‘amnesty’ dismays campaigners – um, sure. Dismayed. Right. You know, I kind of hope this costs Obama the next election (actually no, I don’t. I think it will take longer than four years for the Republican party to be reconstituted into something worthwhile….or replaced) – besides, I know that the American people are fickle. As long as they’ve got their cable, their shitty fast food, and their porn streaming in along the ‘tubes, they won’t care.
At this point, I think it’s pretty much a given that Obama’s going to pardon anyone that looks like they might actually see some prosecution. Well, unless the American people exercise Vox Populi (witness AiG) but in this case, it doesn’t actually affect their quality of life, so the outrage will blow over.
I think Salon about called it and did so back in August. Specifically that Obama is only interested in the criminal occurances of the last eight years insofar as he wants to appear to be involved – likely in the time honored tradition of a ‘blue ribbon fact finding team’ which, as all such teams are, given the answers on hiring.
I mean, to go after BushCo he’d have to appear partisan now wouldn’t he? You know, if I believed in any tinfoil hat nonsense about the whole world being run by six people in a locked room, it’d be shit like that that I would cite as evidence.
Of course, I’m waiting for Dick Cheney to speak up. I mean, Mr. Credibility won’t be able to resist rubbing his robotic face in it. Hell, he probably really does think that “this has helped the American people”

“…and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”
Dick Cheney NBC’s “Meet the Press”, March 16, 2003

“I have not suggested there’s a connection between Iraq and 9/11.”
Dick Cheney, 2nd Presidential Debate, October 5, 2004

“I think there’s overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government.”
Dick Cheney National Public Radio’s, “Morning Edition,” January 22, 2004

“I’m up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they’re in session.”
Dick Cheney, 2nd Presidential Debate, October 5, 2004 (Per Senate records, Cheney had only presided over the Senate twice in four years as Vice President prior to this statement)

“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”
Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002

Yes, that Dick Cheney. I mean, the way is now clear for Dick to tell the world that he viagra’d himself to videotaped “confessions” – the worst that could happen is that Obama will wait an extra day to Gerald Ford the whole thing.

Technology – makes a man firm, makes a brain soft

•April 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Using system prompt commands may be a sign of criminal activity. A Boston College student has their computer, cell phone, and other items seized after because the command line prompt is apparently probable cause.

In his application, the investigating officer asked that he be permitted to seize the student’s computers and other personal effects because they might yield evidence of the crimes of “Obtaining computer services by Fraud or Misrepresentation” and “Unauthorized access to a computer system.” Aside from the remarkable overreach by campus and state police in trying to paint a student as suspicious in part because he can navigate a non-Windows computer environment, nothing cited in the warrant application could possibly constitute the cited criminal offenses. There are no assertions that a commercial (i.e. for pay) commercial service was defrauded, a necessary element of any “Obtaining computer services by Fraud or Misrepresentation” allegation. Similarly, the investigating officer doesn’t explain how sending an e-mail to a campus mailing list might constitute “unauthorized access to a computer system.”

And why do you hate Freedom anyway?

Trial begins in murder of transgendered woman and I highly doubt the jury will give even the slightest sliver of thought to a thirty odd year old man going to someone barely legal for sex. Also, this sort of thing does serve as a reminder to all of my trans siblings that tis’ a REALLY BAD IDEA to not mention things like, you know, gender status when one is entering a sexual situation. I can’t imagine someone not knowing that before I go into the bedroom with them except in the most unusual of circumstances.
Nonetheless, the “moment of rage” defense is vomitous and I hope he winds up in prison for a very long time.

Verdict in Pirate Bay Trial – Guilty each of the defendants are looking at a year of jail time. The defendants are, of course, appealing – and remain free pending any such action. I expect the political repercussions of this will drive a spike into the middle of Europe. No, I’m not engaging in hyperbole. Of course, despite some opinions I still think the RIAA will implode. Hopefully soon.

Glaxo and Pfizer combine to create new new HIV fighting Voltron which, nevertheless, will I’m sure find some way to do evil anyway. This is the pharmaceutical industry after all.

The NSA has broken a new eavesdropping law and dozens are stunned.

The land of the Scopes Monkey Trial is apparently still administrated by the inbred – as public schools across the state are filtering positive TBLG content from their computers….but leaving the “cure homosexuality” bullshit searchable.
Hey, guys, your messiah doesn’t exist, okay? Now you just keep on perpetuating the 3100 year old sheep herder cultural memes.

I am fucking disgusted

•April 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Obama exempts torture staff from prosecution Thursday the Obama administration published four memos (previously secret) detailing legal “justification” for CIA interrogation (wait, torture* – interrogation involves getting intel from it) programs during the Bush era. Following this, President Obama gave assurances that those who participated in these acts will be not be prosecuted.

“those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice… will not be subject to prosecution”.

Fuck you Mr. President. The only thing stopping me from making impassioned statements expressing hope that you might fall into a pool of 12 molar acid or die in a fire is the thought that that would leave The Biden in charge and ….. yeah not worth it.
Seriously, Mr. Obama, WHAT KIND OF SIDE DEAL DID YOU CUT WITH THESE PEOPLE? I really cannot see any reason why you would do this without benefit? Unless you really are so ideologically sold on this increasingly disconnected from reality notion of unity that puts you as “in touch” with the real world as your predecessor. (Apparently in the 20th century we had crooks in the White House. Now we have bluepills.)

This is all on the heels of the release of documents describing what precisely was “allowed”

So, what was allowed?
Prisoners could be kept awake for more than a week. They could be fed nothing but liquid and thrown against a wall 30 times. Prisoners could be kept awake for more than a week. They could be fed nothing but liquid and thrown against a wall 30 times.
Simulated drowning
Using a plastic neck collar to slam detainees into walls.

“One of the documents contained legal authorisation for a list of specific harsh interrogation techniques, including pushing detainees against a wall, facial slaps, cramped confinement, stress positions and sleep deprivation.
The memo also authorises the use of “waterboarding”, or simulated drowning, and the placing of a detainee into a confined space with an insect.

One technique approved but never used (ha!) involved putting a detainee who had shown a fear of insects into a box filled with caterpillars.

Remember those pictures from Abu-Grahb? Funny how nothing we see there corresponds to anything being described here. Again, we’re not really getting the full truth here (all of those blacked out parts of the memos released should attest to that).

Leon Panetta, the Director of the CIA told agency employees that they should be “fully confident that, as you defend the nation, I will defend you.” Just as Attorney General Eric Holder said “It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department.”

WHAT THE FUCK? Thank you Mr. Obama for effectively raising to the status of law the “I was only following orders doctrine”. I’m sure it will serve our nation’s clandestine service as well as it has for the last fifty years.

Obama said he wanted to move beyond “a dark and painful chapter in our history.”
Aside from pointing out that this does leave those who made these “legal decisions” open for prosecution (well, aside from whatever side deals THEY cut) I have nothing further to add but more frothing anger and outrage.

* of course, lots of things are cited in the “hey we stopped X, Y, and Z” from happening by doing this. People who offer this argument up do rather miss the point.
Besides, do you believe them? I do not.

Things I’m wondering

•April 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Is Xenocentrism cultural appropriation? Is it the same thing or merely similar? If so – why? Is it always such? How?
If not – then why not? Are there exceptions? Is it possible for someone to actually relate to a culture that one didn’t grow up in? (I think so but there are likely perspectives that childhood immersion both provides and prevents.) Does this extend to gender?

Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow

•April 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Miss him, miss him, miss him – Phil Spector has been convicted of murder, specifically of shooting Lana Clarkson in the mouth thus accruing a second degree murder rap. For the interested, this joins the ranks of bizarre, sleezy noir LA murder trials alongside OJ Simpson and (moreover) the sheer fucking wierdness of the Robert Blake Trial.

Yesterday I reported that Amazon was trying very hard to pretend we TBLG people don’t exist – well now they’re saying That was a technical glitch. Yes really. Actually, at first they blamed a troll on the internet (when the first reaction is to blame someone else…..) but now they’re saying it was “purely an internal error”. Hmmmmmmmm.

Goldman Sachs promises to repay rescue money suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure. This as they posted 1.66 billion dollars in net profit during Q1. Hey, if you’re still turning billions of dollars in profits – you don’t need government assistance. (It received 10 billion last year.) “Profits are down” does not an economic catastrophe make.

Judges in Minnesota declare Franken winner in Senate race. You know, long ago and far away I would have just shot both of them in the head and put a third party candidate in there. Of course, had I awesome judiciary powers, I might well have not waited for the long and drawn out outcome, declared the state of Minnesota contaminated on the grounds that Michele Bachmann exists there and throw a Simpsons dome around the whole works.
(Nothing personal against Minnesota – okay, that’s not true. I can name precisely three good things that came out of Minnesota that didn’t turn sour. A friend of mine named Bonnie, the Replacements, and Youaredumb.net. That’s it. Everything else spoils eventually.)

In another move displaying the type of innovation I’ve come to expect from the Obama White House, The Justice Department hires it’s fifth ex-RIAA lawyer, proving that yes Virginia, law can continue to be rooted in the 20th century and that a scarcity based economy is always the way to go.
commiepics_2_2_2

Dear right wing tax feebs

•April 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

No one has increased taxes*. Shut the fuck up. You’re making real conservatives look bad.

* No, you aren’t allowed to protest things “that haven’t happened yet.”

“Adult” Situations

•April 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Amazon.com criticized for removing ‘adult’ books from it’s ranking system where ‘adult’ is a codeword for TBLG materials. Anyone who doubts that last fact can be directed here which makes it pretty clear that American Psycho is included in the ranking system but a book detailing the ban of bisexual, lesbian, and gay people from the military is not.

Certainly many of the books that are no longer ranked are no more “adult” than many of those that are — as the list above shows, the same book, by different publishers, might meet either fate. And Kindle editions of some books remain ranked. “Unfriendly Fire,” for example, is #1 in Gay and Lesbian Nonfiction on the Kindle — even as the hardcover of the book, which was released on March 3, does not show up at all when searched for.

As near as can be determined, this is only (predictably) occurring on Amazon proper – Amazon Canada et. al. aren’t having to put up with this nonsense.
Someone else in the blogosphere inquired about this practice and the response was…almost Federal in it’s whitewashedness.

In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.
Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.
Best regards,
Ashlyn D
Member Services
Amazon.com Advantage

A partial list of the books being deranked exists here. Remember, they aren’t removing the books from sale …. just pretending that they aren’t there when they have to release their sales figures; it’s well known that many online retailers use Amazon sales rankings as a relative indicator of a given book’s success.
Wouldn’t want any of those fine upstanding repressed straight folk to think any income was being derived from those dirty faggots, dykes, queers, and shemales now would we?

The sad thing is that I can’t really see who specifically being catered to – it’s such an obscure (to most users) barometer of success/failure. It does seem to make hunting for certain things a bit trickier but (for the most part) they are still there with an extra step or two. So…if their intent is to cater to the ZombieJesusDay Right then….well, they’re doing it wrong.
I don’t think these things work, but for those of you who do there’s an online petition that can help you feel like you’ve done something.

Amazon – we still exist, and will go on existing no matter how hard you stick your head in the Box of Pretend World. Ttthhhhllllllpppppptttt!

5-mo5

Edit to the foregoing I can’t really be the only one who finds these a little creepy can I?

•April 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Huge Hefner wishes you a happy Pooka day

Huge Hefner wishes you a happy Pooka day

Water’s Wet, the Sky is blue

•April 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Barney Frank wants a cookie
Too little too late for my sympathy. Try again I guess.
While I’m on the subject, I’m still not a fan of the HRC. Duh. Just in case there was doubt.
/Moment of pure bitchy

Bitter Biscuits

•April 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Nearly a year later, and GitMo detainees are still waiting for their “prompt” habeas corpus hearing per Boudediene v. Bush (which, just to be clear, is a decision The Obamanator had nothing to do with).

Ten months after the US Supreme Court ruled in Boumediene v. Bush that the detainees held in US military custody at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba were entitled to a “prompt” habeas corpus hearing in District Court to determine the lawfulness of their detention, only a handful of them have received such a hearing. Amnesty International details its concerns in a new report.
While President Barack Obama has ordered the closure of the Guantánamo detention facility by January 2010, the future remains uncertain for the approximately 240 detainees still held there as the executive review of their cases and of US detention policy ordered by the new President gets underway. So far, this executive review has led to the release of one detainee, to the United Kingdom. No Guantánamo detainee has been charged by the new administration.

That report is available here. Continuing objection to the continuance of Bush era policies at places like Bagram are located here.)

Idaho police mistreat two transwomen after arrest and I tell you I am simply shocked. From the sound of it, Twin Falls police acted like frat boys on a bender, as you’d expect.
I doubt anything will happen to those police. Sad but true. (You will note I’m saying nothing about the rest of the case – yes I’ll concede that having lied to police and being under suspicion of murder isn’t going to make any peace officer terribly well disposed to you, true or not, those who enforce the laws should be held to a higher standard, period.)

Police continue their hunt for the muderer of an Eight year old girl whose body was found in a suitcase – and something odious is leaking from every pore of this story. I can’t *quite* nail down what it is, except of course, that an eight year old’s corpse was found folded up in a box.
Hopefully, whomever is responsible for this will meet a very bad, very long and drawn out, painful, terrifying end.

And lastly in the God is an iron* department, scientists claim to have found a link between oral sex and throat cancer – now before you cry bullshit, they are naming the HPV virus; which I’d like to point out there is a vaccination for. Of course, at this stage, it could also be kissing, smoking, or drinking (or perhaps other forms of fun or alleged fun) so don’t get your knickers in a wad just yet.

* no, I’ve not started drinking from the Jesus Water, tis a reference to an absolutely brilliant story by Spider Robinson with that very title. I urge any reader to go check out any of his short fiction if they are unfamiliar with his works.

Deny the last eight years. With extreme prejudice.

•April 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

CIA to close it’s secret world network of illegal prisons – I just LOVE how matter of factly Central Intelligence (or as they advertise on Death Guild Radio – “the National Clandestine Service”) just acknowledges secret detention (and whatever else) facilities on three continents (at least). Of course, the GovMonkeys immediately turn around and insist “no one should be prosecuted” because, essentially ‘it was legal then’. Which is the shakiest arguement I’ve heard since creationism. Double bonus points for – per their own words – operating these facilities for the last three years on taxpayer dollars even though they haven’t been in use.
Um…uh-huh. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure.
Oh, but don’t stop sweating yet, Leon Panetta states that the CIA retains the power to detain suspects “on a short-term transitory basis”. which is, of course, up to them to define.
But hey, they’re not subcontracting anymore! We should all be happy. You know, because the CIA isn’t hiring mercenaries anymore. Hully gee thanks Mr. Panetta. Could I get a side of STFU with that?

Ah, turnaround time. Why? Because President Obama has asked for an additional 83.4 billion dollars in war funds. So much for that economy thing. Really, outspending the other side worked so well for Bush (well, in fairness, it is the only way we won the cold war).

President Barack Obama asked the U.S Congress on Thursday for an extra $83.4 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year, citing threats from al Qaeda and a resurgent Taliban.
The request, to cover the rest of the 2009 fiscal year which ends on Sept. 30, comes on top of more than $822 billion that Congress has approved to fund the wars since September 2001, Obama said.
“We face a security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan that demands urgent attention,” he said in a letter to Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, urging lawmakers to approve his request swiftly.
“The Taliban is resurgent and al Qaeda threatens America from its safe haven along the Afghan-Pakistan border.”

Ah, yes, the Taliban is resurgent. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. First of all, if the media can identify that the actual Taliban has just changed names and returned to legitimate government and continued on business as usual (Business as usual? Yep. This is what she’s denying.) why can’t the government?
Somehow Mr. Obama I don’t believe you are planning on rolling into Afghanistan and replacing that nonsense with a just government. I think you’re just going to continue throwing the word Taliban around as a synonymous buzz word for Al-Queda and continue on same as before. Which amounts to doing a whole lot of nothing.

A lovely little piece over on Wired.com about how the promise of a ‘panopticon society’ is coming at least somewhat full circle. Little Brother is watching you

Extensive networks of fixed cameras throughout Britain remain the preserve of the authorities, but these are essentially dumb systems monitoring empty streets in the hope that something significant will happen when they’re pointing in the right direction. An informal network of passersby with camera phones creates a crowdsourced, peer-to-peer network of citizen surveillance.

I can’t wait for phones that feed live footage into a video stream. Even though that will be, I think, the final death knell for traditional journalism (and of all the products of our 20th century derived technical society, journalism – while hardly perfect – is one of the least broken of our cultural artifacts, and yes I say that with a gleam in my eye.)

Since I’m over at Wired, and don’t want to end this on a hideously bad note, I just have to pimp out the Tesla Roadster – please check it out, it’s a moral imperative.

Wednesday Evening Biscuits

•April 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Pakistan calls bullshit on U.S. … and there was much rejoicing as I’ve been waiting years to see this or similar happen. Iran did the same later on but in a special backhanded sort of way.
Newsflash – President Obama you can’t just flash your Obama smile and make the last eight (twelve…twenty eight…fifty) years go away magically. As good a game as you’ve talked (incessantly) it’s time for you to deliver on that “gaining the world’s respect” thing…it’s not going to be easy.
Speaking of which, Spain, I’m waiting. Please be my hero and make as giant a stink as possible. Really – at the least it will show just how invested the Obama administration isn’t in seeing justice. At most, it will put the heat on Cheney and the rest of those smug bastards.

And in the I’m apparently in the wrong damn state department, New Hampshire passes transgender rights protections into law – by one vote. Mind, it deals with “the bathroom issue” and Not A Damn Thing Else (and really, is this where the focus of our struggle should be? I think not)…but there are similar bills, in varying degrees of activity, in both Massachusetts & Connecticut.

So poopoo on the Prebublickan Potty Patrol.

Picture Pages

•April 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

jon stewart
see more Political Pictures

A Long and Pointless Blathering on Media Control

•April 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I started this as another attempt at that damn class thing I’ve been trying to wrangle into submission – largely to no avail. I tried a bit of word association to break it up a bit but I don’t think I accomplished much, maybe a little peek through deprogramming. (Word association as deprogramming – anyone who’s ever been in even very low level therapy has probably done some kind of word association, and I figure the rest of you have at least heard of it.) I find it to be a very effective tool for finding where one’s social programing is sitting at (The crusade against learned behavior continues!) and it often gives me some idea where I need to work on some things.
In an effort to maintain some kind of focus, I’m going to zero in on social stratification and the buzz words that go with it.

Lower class? Yes, that’s what I’m talking about. I prefer it to the euphemism “working class” which I think was constructed to make the middle and upper classes feel better. (See also: Liberal Guilt)
Let’s deconstruct, shall we?
Blue collar - makes you think of auto mechanics and Bruce Springsteen doesn’t it? It also (for me at least) elicits images of flag waving jingoism, in much the way that Bruce Springsteen used to, when I was young and foolish.
White collar – honestly the very first thing that comes to mind is someone being led away by the SEC. There’s just something inherently smug about the term. Not sure where that notion was socialized into me but at some point it was.

the Middle Class - American culture is based on the lie that we are all middle class. Television, film, and pretty much all manner of entertainment and information exchange are targeted at the middle class, and if a person is unable to make use of that cultural palimpset, then they find themselves at varying degrees of disadvantage.

In the United States most economists and sociologists tend to accept the existence of six discreet social stratum in the U.S. Social classes in the US exist as divides placed there by the people themselves along certain specific lines, those being income, standard of living, education, and occupation. The middle class also divides into Upper and Working Middle class along lines of subculture. Further, each social class holds certain memes and cultural values that the others do not, but it is a debatable point as to whether this is an effect of social stratification or if this has a causal role. (Heterosexual monogamous divorce rates vary by social class for example, but tolerance of non-conformity, and the ‘protestant work ethic’ are also good examples.)

The wealthy or well off. The smallest group and paradoxically the one with the most influence and power (but which isn’t any more represented by culture than the working poor). Then we have the Upper Middle Class, which – when averaged out with the next class, represent the default assumption of American culture. (Which arises from the belief that America exists as a classless society, which can only be said to be true as a comparative to other societies which maintain class divides more rigid than our own.)

Those who have a degree which has no bearing on what they do for a living (invoking the Mighty Snark, we’ll call this the Call Center Management Class), many of which wind up with those from the next class reporting to them.

And at the bottom exists the working class – one comprised of clerical and “blue collar” workers – what we have in common is that our work is highly “routinized”, meaning it’s repetitive and requires little imagination – and the true lower class which consists of the working poor and the unemployed. I would also suggest that, as class (the social construct) is largely a matter of perception, that race plays a significant role in the divide, which it shouldn’t. You will note I say perception, because factually, the lower class isn’t as divided among racial lines.

Shifting Sands:
Those last two groups also are having their differences eroded by socio-economic factors; this has been occurring since (at least) the early 1990s Clinton era. Further, the predominantly middle class default of American culture is shifting; those with largest control over the media are becoming the dominant force in culture, eroding prior memes which were established in the 1950s (the middle class nuclear heterosexual white family among them).

Of course, here things tend to degenerate into meaningless statistics. (Ultimately, all statistics are meaningless, but more on that in a bit.) The foundation is the problem with deconstructing the class meme (or any meme for that matter). It can’t possibly hurt to remember that everything you read is wrong and everything they tell you is untrue. That you have to be discriminating in what you believe and that thinking for yourself is work but work worthwhile.
Who is “they”? This isn’t a philosophical point – it’s EVERYONE. Advertising is designed to subvert the truth and influence behavior (which sounds an awful lot to me like the definition of propaganda. Hey, it works!)
You can’t believe the government – they use fear (and loathing!) to keep you under control. To influence (again) behavior. Every time you are in an argument with someone who argues the law is good and breaking it is bad – without actually considering the law and it’s implications – you are, essentially, arguing with a meme that has been given human form to walk and fart.

Do you have any idea what television has done to anyone capable of reading this? Perception is reality – and if this is so then the simple act of turning on your television is an act of surrender – potentially at least. You are signaling your willingness to be submit your interpretation of reality before someone else – someone whiter, wealthier, and likely,

Racism, classism, and all of those other “-isms” are learned behavior, which ultimately, are merely refinements of little memes that we pop as children down with our Flintstone’s vitamins.

Of course, certain agencies take full advantage of those toxic memes we imbibe in our milk years. The Mormons, the Republicans – the PMRC, the War on Drugs. All of it boils down to “Repressive forces fighting the war on independent thought.”
There is no objective truth, no 1=1 reality. It’s all a matter of perception – example: I was looking for images of a certain variety; I Googled “Screaming” – but nothing I got came close. On a lark, I Googled yelling, and most (80%+) fit precisely what I was looking for.
But, to me, yelling and screaming are not the same thing. What I think of as screaming – apparently – most people, or most Google search bots anyway, think of as yelling.

Interesting. In looking back over this it seems to have gone off the rails into essaytown and then opted for some offroading in the mudpits near tinfoil city. I suppose I should learn my lesson and recognize that some subjects simply can’t be expressed in a tight tiny little space without at least some little bit of rambly.
Against my better judgement, I’m going to hit publish on this in a second. A heroic (if not masochistic) feat if you’ve read all of this blather. Especially given that I think most of the point I (latter) was trying to make can best be expressed by this image:

MySpace comments, images & graphics

Freedom and Unity

•April 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Wow. Iowa and Vermont (Vermont?) have their shit together, but California “the great liberal vacuum” can’t. Why not?
I’m guessing it might have something to do with neither Iowa, nor Vermont, being all the close to Mormon country, and not y’know sexy enough* a place to crusade against the Evils of Tolerance and Acceptance.
I suspect that, in the case of Vermont, it might also have something to do with the decision resting before a legislature rather than some nonsense referendum (which doesn’t do much more than tally how many from which side show up**)

Excuse me if I’m sighted singing “Going to the Chapel” anytime soon.

*well, in a funny underwear, polyamory-only-if-it-keeps-the-wemmin-down sort of way

** clearly, the cornerstone of a great democracy

Two minutes

•April 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

US deficit nearly one trillion in first half of fiscal year 2009 which, recall, begins October 1. Apparently, some kind of reward is given for those that break new records in government spending.

A US Judge has ruled that foreign suspects held by the US in Afghanistan do in fact have the right to challenge their detention in US civilian courts just as do those at GitMo. Last year the Supreme Court said that while detainees at GitMo had such a right, the Justice Department (You know, those stalwart nonpartisan guys!) ruled that those being held at Bagram did not have such a right.
Yeah, fuck you Bush Era Justice Department. (In common with the rest of you I have to take my victories where I can get them.)

The national geographic society would like you to know that the arctic ice got smaller, thinner, and younger this past winter this on the heels of a BBC report detailing the rupturing of an ice bridge in Antarctica putting the wilkins ice shelf on the verge of breaking away, and the disappearance of another Antarctic ice shelf puts all of this firmly in the category of Our Doomed World.

history lesson in three seconds

•April 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

On this day in 1933, FDR signed unconstitutional Executive Order 6102 making it illegal for private citizens to own gold coins.

Marriage, dating, and the vacuum seal of the economy

•April 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The Iowa supreme court decided today in favor of legalized same-gender marriage. Wait…..Iowa? Keep at this and they’ll kick you out of the I-states club. (Yes, Iowa.) This activity puts them over the top ahead of Vermont, who voted 94-52 in favor of non heterosexual marriage which is two votes short of what’s needed to override a veto by the state governor, who has promised to do just that. I guess someone had to pee in the cereal, neh?
Yeah, that veto override is already in the planning stages. I hear they’re talking Tuesday.

But don’t whip out the whippits just yet, the U.S. unemployment rate is at it’s highest since November 1983. 1983. Since the year of bloody flashdance. Just to put it in perspective*.

I suspect the complete truth is impossible to discern without having been there but some rather surprisingly stupid actions by Bay area Burners led to the lesson that despite good intentions, no, you can’t walk into any door hippie. And no, you can’t. For a change, I don’t have much to add to that, just read it for yourself.

eHarmony opens Gay and Lesbian dating venues but please don’t support them – the only reason the sanctimonious fucks are doing so is because, well, of a law suit. They *have* to.
Or maybe we should dogpile them. I dunno. I think I’d rather eat my own flesh than do anything to feed the nonsense that is a dating site and the paradigm that goes with it (You there, single person, you are useless if you are alone! I HATE that shit.) but part of me finds some crude appeal in making that the most profitable part of their business, just so they can feel the burn. But my kneejerk is to tell them to fly a kite and hope they hemmorage cash.

And because the whole entire world media seems to be sucking on a crack pipe in an echo chamber with this Obama goes to G20 thing, here, have a video. Then shut up about it.

By the way, what was accomplished at G20? Some photo-ops? A sanctimonious “town meeting” thing? Eight billion versions of OMGWTFGLG20iPoD!?
Anything?
At all?

anyone?
Ah, the Wall Street Journal I knew it wouldn’t let me down.
Wait, what’d they accomplish?

*(Rejected examples included Xtro, Return of the Jedi, the Strategic Defense Initiative, the War on Drugs, and since a lab in France discovered a virus.)

A sordid fairy tale

•April 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Expert on numbers fixing nominated for head of Census Bureau. I’ve pretty much already washed my hands of next year’s census, for reasons I’ve discussed previously, but this isn’t making things any easier. President Obama has nominated Professor Robert Groves, a sociology professor at the University of Michigan to head the Census Bureau. Sounds fine so far, right?

Mr. Groves, who served as associate director of statistical design at the Census Bureau from 1990 to 1992, is an expert on “sampling,” the practice of adjusting statistics in order to compensate for undercounting. This tends to bolster the number of people counted in urban areas that are typically Democratic strongholds. The census, which takes place next April, is used to apportion seats in the House of Representatives and disburse billions in federal dollars

Yes, so statistics should be based on “approximations” and fuzzy logic, apparently? I don’t think so. The only sample we’ll have then is that of the sampler. Not representative of the whole country methinks. Of course, the GOP is screaming – not because of funny numbers which clearly they don’t have a problem with *koff*Florida*koff* but because they think it will increase the number of democratic votes in the inner cities. This despite the Supreme Court having already ruled that such sampling is not useful for apportionment purposes*.

Tell you what guys – let ye who have never gerrymandered cast the first stone, ‘kay? Hear that buzzer? That means you’ve been disqualified so quit your bitching.

No, the issue with sampling is that it flies in the face of what the census is supposed to be doing in the first place. In a statistics class, how many times are the students allowed to just shrug and go for the make-shit-up button? Why should it apply in the real world?
It gets better.
Professor Groves worked as director of statistical design with the US Census in 1990. 1990? Yes, the 1990 which gave us hits like the “1990 census vastly undercounted minority populations in large cities”. Yet his experience with “sampling” is going to correct this problem? Please Democrats, break out the new math and graph this for me.

Speaking of corruption and adjusted numbers, the TARP math is already being fully muddied – to the tune of a 100 million $ discrepancy. Oops, someone forgot to carry the two. It’s getting to the point now that every time I hear TARP or FIRREA or any of those “acronyms that mean you’re getting screwed” I start making up primary school word problems in my head – for the betterment of children’s education of course.

“If the democratic senator takes one campaign contribution of 5,000 $, and another contribution for 16,000 $, and is appointed to the finance subcommitte, when will the recession be?”

On a wholly unrelated note, will someone please tell me who Ted Stevens had to blow to get the charges dismissed? In fine and upstanding criminal form, as the ink cools on the dismissal, the Alaskan GOP is calling for a special election. Why? Because

Alaska GOP Chairman Randy Ruedrich said a special election should be held “so Alaskans may have the chance to vote for a senator without the improper influence of the corrupt Department of Justice.”

My brain collapses under the weight of all of the absolute bullshit in that sentence. On the flip side, it’s taken this long to finally indict Rod Blagojevich but it has finally happened.

with 16 felony counts, among them racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud and extortion conspiracy in a wide-ranging scheme to deprive residents of “honest government,” prosecutors said

Okay, firstly, prosecutors accusing him (or…anyone) of depriving residents of “honest government”? Please. Twelve year old kids can see through that one faster than Michelle Malkin speed dialing Homeland Security during Food Network reruns. Lose the high and mighty – we know you’re dirty too, okay?

* which is itself contradictory; one of the big uses the US census is put to (and the only reason politicians care about the US census at all) is because “the results are used to allocate Congressional seats (congressional apportionment), electoral votes, and government program funding”. source

Canoodling with the Enemy

•April 1, 2009 • 1 Comment

I find that “libertarian” as a word and as an ideological concept is inching up close and right behind “socialism” as a word being presently appropriated by those who lack any real understanding of what the word means. Of particular example I direct you to the Sam Adams Alliance which is apparently neo-con code for “listen to Michelle Malkin speak.”
Sorry I think I have to rearrange my sock drawer that night.

Proposed House climate bill has no fangs – a cap and trade plan that was audacious when first introduced c. 1990 with a few other, fairly random, elements tacked on.
If wishing made it so I’d petition the universe for a passel of climate scientists (hell, scientists period) to run for Congress. That would make me happy. (I can entertain myself with dreams of the “Science Party” surrounded by an art deco future later when it’s bed time.)

If naught else, it would (I hope) put a stop – or at least a crimp – in the Fifth grade antics between the two mobs of angry civics examples on capital hill.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The partisan sniping over President Barack Obama’s expensive 2010 budget plan became a battle of posters and charts in a show-and-tell debate on the U.S. Senate floor on Tuesday.
Republican and Democratic senators paraded to the floor to supplement their debate over Obama’s $3.55 trillion budget with stacks of posters blasting exploding deficit figures as well as highlighting lists of tax cut benefits.

There’s more but I can summarize it for you.
Majority: blah blah harumph open government we’re spending this money FOR THE FUTURE rhubarb harumph.
Minority: blah blah tax and spend harumph Jesus rhubarb freedom blah blah.
Conversely, you could get a monkey (or a six year old – functionally little difference I guess), wire them up on crack and have them bounce up and down screaming “LOOK AT MY CHART!!!!”

The Fed continues trying to strongarm the car companies into acting so that they won’t have to meddle. Nothing much has changed since November IOW.

Israeli installs new PM a giant question mark with the name of Business As Usual which is nowhere near as entertaining as the US having the audacity (after the last eight years especially) to seek election to the UN Human Rights Council because as every democrat knows, it’s easier to fix the outcome when you’re part of the committee. (Mind, the GOP knows the “committee secret” too, but they’re fonder of the three drink lunch aspect I think.)

Green Suitcases and Ressurection Clauses

•March 31, 2009 • 1 Comment

Tell me, is this weekend Zombie-Jesus We-stole-your-holiday day yet? I want to know because I keep seeing media references to it, and I want to know which weekend my wife has off.

Speaking of such nonsense, a Baltimore woman pleads guilty to starvation death of her son. Okay, deplorable and she needs to get hit by a bus, right? The 22 year old woman has co-defendants, allegedly members of a cult with the mail order ‘deals’ in the back of magazines name “1 Mind Ministries.”
It gets better.
The woman is being released from jail in exchange for her cooperation against her co-defendants. This particular plea bargin includes a “process of deprogramming” clause including

the promise that charges will be dropped if 2-year-old Javon Thompson is resurrected. Ramkissoon’s attorney said his client insisted on the clause, which he believes is a first in American legal history, because she still holds out hope that her son will be brought back to life.

Actual law. wtf?
The five named suspects belonged to a small group of adults, and by default, their children, led by someone named Queen Antoinette.

Really – how many drugs do you need to be on to not read the sign on the wall that says “Not In Touch With Reality, Grab Your Kid and Run”???
Apparently, the extremely convincing Queen Antoinette ordered members to withhold food and water from the child, believing he was a demon who did not say “Amen” after he was fed. The rest of the facts of this case involving dancing around the child with a knife and carrying the body in a green suitcase while moving.

Davy Jones – your locker is full.

•March 31, 2009 • 1 Comment

After spending the morning catching up on my blog reading, it continues to nauseate and disgust me how many “progressive” people are in favor of genital mutilation on the basis of some Very shaky science*, from people who’ve been trying to find a reason to continue that practice for something like 40 years.
(If someone were to advance the notion that the spread of certain STDs could be reduced by – for example – surgically reducing the external female genitalia, heads. would. roll.)
Anyway, moving on….

Spain will now do with the US seems incapable of doing and good on them. It’s about time – I was starting to wonder if previous “threats” to do this precise sort of thing by certain (say, European) powers were going to come to anything. Well the vote’s not in yet but…..

elsewhere in the EU, France is threatening a G20 walkout (remember, this is the country that just recently decided to re-up their NATO command roll). Seeking a stronger regulator of global finances (well, stronger than the US and it’s Albionese lapdogs would like) it would appear that this is more a case of France (among many other countries) no longer being satisfied with U.S. “leadership” in this arena.
Good work America. France – feel free to provide global leadership for a change.

The New Yorker is running a fascinating piece on Syria and the Middle East peace process. Among the highlights? This lovely bit from The Robot.

“Cheney began getting messages from the Israelis about pressure from Obama” when he was President-elect. Cheney, who worked closely with the Israeli leadership in the lead-up to the Gaza war, portrayed Obama to the Israelis as a “pro-Palestinian,” who would not support their efforts (and, in private, disparaged Obama, referring to him at one point as someone who would “never make it in the major leagues”)

Given the Obama administration’s Mid-eastern policies, I think they’d nothing to worry about – BAU. But it’s not like Cheney has ever had anything to say – here he’s being ironic by being the mouthpiece for the GOP party line c. January 2009. Ironic as the GOP has spent the last eight years being his ass puppet.

Really though can I just say that somehow Cheney wins with the phrase “perfidious Albion”. (Which is so far removed from reality as to be comic. “Albion” has been supping on the cock of the US State Department for decades.)

Obama goes Clinton on DADT

And by “goes Clinton” I mean – fails to live up to campaign promises.

And finally, in an utterly unsurprising turn, Neocon godboy wingnut changes tracks and becomes Democrat. Gotta get out of those tax woes somehow.
No really. That’s why he changed. Such integrity.

* see if you can identify all of the instances of bias in that article.

Expectation breeds weakness

•March 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

ACK! I’ve been working over this entry about the class meme for nigh over a month now and it’s just become this meandering mess of piss and content without form. Frustrating, moreso by the fact that the thrust of what I was trying to say has gotten lost in the morass – probably because there’s still a lot to think about there. Trying to capture the slipsteam of thoughts on the subject(s) – plural because it’s really so much more than just the one thing – is next to impossible. I may butcher what I’ve got and post it up but I doubt seriously it will make any sense to anyone, myself included…..

Anyway, I’ve been pretty sorely remiss in this space for a bit now, and there’s a bit of a backlog. Still trying to play catch up. We’ll see how successful that is.

Apparently the log cabin republicans are finally getting my telepathic messages or they’re reading this blog or maybe they’re back in touch with the mothership. One t’other. After decades of trying so earnestly to prove to the “adult” GOP that hey, they can reach the bar – no really – so why can’t I have a beer?! it would seem possible that maybe they’re done sacrificing their selves and identity on the altar of acceptance. Good for them.
Hope it lasts longer than five minutes.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield removes Gender Reassignment Surgery from offered coverage. Wait, it was covered? Given that I’m still – constantly – amazed that any insurance will cover it (and cover it as something other than elective surgery) at all, I’m not sure what to think. I know that should this liberal dream concept of “universal health care” come to pass (and I do say if) I expect something akin to a razorblade shit storm where it comes to things like GRS. (Interested in reading more – Bilerico has a piece on this here.)
I remain steadfast in my belief that insurance companies combined with credit companies pretty much add up to the worst parts of the Judeo-Christian conception of Satan.

China is furious at a new US report (and whoo tee doo with a side of “how is this news exactly?”) – in short, the Pentagon engages in light hyperbole (as it, being the US Government, is wont to do) which, much like the facts that the Pentagon is spinning, contradict the pseudo-Maoist Propaganda Machine.
You know, actually, don’t bother reading the article – it’s all either so transparently obvious or just political posturing. I’m not sure why I grabbed the thing in the first place. If I were less inclined to laziness I’d delete any mention of it.

The Deconstruction of Privacy continues. The tech curve is rapidly eroding the once considered solid talking point when defining the point of privacy. And we’re all doing everything possible to help erode it faster.
I’m fine with living in a glass dome that you all can see as long as I can see the rest of you, ‘kay? I’m very much with the author of the piece linked to in that I think privacy should be a basic human right, and to me it is, but ….. I think that, like it or not, that kind of thinking is about 20 years too late.

Laughing

•March 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Skype for iPhone arrives – surely I’m not the only one amused by this.
Seriously, the charges for data service apparently make up for otherwise lost revenue.
I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.

Agape, and full of surrender

•March 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Yes I’m behind a few days, sue me.

Piffle headed environmentalists hail ‘Earth Hour’ as a big success Yesterday lots of people (and moreover, lots of businesses and other private concerns) turned their lights off to, er, say….something. I think it was “global warming is bad, mmkay?”
We know that. Enough with the rhetoric. You want to do something about global warming? Try keeping those damn lights off. Like most ‘activists’ many environmentalists don’t so much as want change as something to bitch about. I guess living without those lights would be too hard and/or expensive, neh?
Yeah, que the dismissive attitude.

Federal Election Commission has found the PAC of five TARP recipients has doled out 85 grand to members and that’s just by the end of February.

A NEWSWEEK review of recent filings with the Federal Election Commission found that the political action committees of five big TARP recipients doled out $85,300 to members in the first two months of this year—with most of the cash going to those who serves on committees who oversee the TARP program. Among them: Bank of America (which got $15 billion in bailout money) sent out $24,500 in the first two months of 2009, including $1,500 to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and another $15,000 to members of the House and Senate banking panels. Citigroup ($25 billion) dished out $29,620, including $2,500 to House GOPWhip Eric Cantor, who also got $10,000 from UBS which, while not a TARP recipient, got $5 billion in bailout funds as an AIG “counterparty.” “This certainly appears to be a case of TARP funds being recycled into campaign contributions,” says Brett Kappel, a D.C. lawyer who tracks donations. (A spokesman for Cantor did not respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Hoyer said it’s his “policy to accept legal contributions.”)

Surely, change you can believe in. A bank lobbyist that didn’t (‘natch) want to be identified said, ‘The last thing I want to do is wake up one morning and see our PAC check being burned on C-Span.’ Which is sad because that’s the first thing I want to see, ever, on C-Span.

An interesting yet abhorrent article in Time suggests that faith is the act of powering down* the parietal lobe which is redeeming for the body – but just because it’s biology doesn’t mean it’s good. Jealousy doesn’t do anyone any good either – nor hardwired territoriality, nor a thousand such things. Primates are just wired to do stupid things.

More good news – apparently, there really are other people taking Obama to task about his ‘war on terror’ policy

Hey, Let’s Give Tim Geithner MORE power – oh, too late. Yeah about that. 90% of the TARP funds are committed out – how long before the corporate begging bowls get rattled again? Weeks I’d reckon. Months at most. Geithner of course defends his own actions (Did you expect him not to? Okay, yes, me too a little.)

North Korea is still waving that missile launch around like a giant dildo – and Japan is deploying guided three missile destroyers … just in case. South Korea is warning them away, and of course the US State department does nothing. Hey, they’re good at that. So far I think the latest N. Korean propaganda attempt can be classed as Total Victory.

* like many so-called environmentalists I suspect.

Plate o’ Shrimp (Delayed)

•March 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

For some reason this post has been sitting in limbo for the better part of a week. Not that you’re missing out on anything by it’s absence mind……

Marriage equality bill likely to pass Vermont house, Governor likely to veto – while in New Hampshire, a similar measure having failed on Thursday is being voted on again today ….. but then goes on to zorch a bill enacting certain protections for transgendered folk.
What a mixed up batch today, eh?

Barney Frank called Antony Scalia homophobic – you know what, big deal! That Scalia is probably homophobic is a fact is so underwhelming so as to be beneath notice save for the loftiness of his position. Barney Frank? Hey, he’s transphobic – so what the hell should I care?

Geithner’s regulatory agenda:

The media is aflutter about this radical new idea President Obama has unveiled. I call it a messageboard. Seriously – that we finally have a President who isn’t a luddite with values and vision from the 1940s is commendable but for fuck’s sake, it’s not like he’s reinvented the wheel. (And no, Bill Clinton having read Nicholson Baker does not count.)

Machine Gun a Go Go

•March 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Of 2,390 state executions in 2008, 72% are Chinese – and I’m sure there’s a segment of the American population that feels angry that “asia has outstripped us again.”

Amnesty International also reports on countries that handed down death sentences after unfair trials, like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen. The report addresses the discriminatory manner with which the death penalty was often applied in 2008, with a disproportionate number of sentences handed down to the poor, minorities and members of racial, ethnic and religious communities, in countries such as Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and USA. And the risk of executing the innocent continues, as highlighted by the four inmates released from death row in the USA on grounds of innocence.

Full disclosure time – until this past year, I was pretty much all in favor of the death penalty for certain kinds of offenses, thinking primarily from a punishment/”justice” model…not from a political one. It was pointed out to me that I don’t trust the Fed to deliver on certain other things without screwing them up (say, money…) but I was in favor of them having the power to terminate their own citizens? That was an eye opener.
If you’re interested, there is a followup piece here.

Israel, those champions of human decency, apparently used White phosphorus when blasting crowded buildings – here’s a sticky moral question for you: Which is worse: snipers and rocket attacks, or dumping white phosphorus on crowded population centers? Yes this is a trick question – of course the answer is they’re both pretty bad. Context however, demands that I go with Palestine on this.
Hey Israel – that whole hearts & minds thing? Yeah, you’re losing.

Madoff apparently was funding some of the more fringe oriented Transhumanists. A couple hoping to achieve some kind of better or longer living through architecture lost their life savings via losing income from their investments with Mr. Madoff which had helped fund their research and experimental work.
I have to say, that sounds like a neat house – I’d really like to see it. I doubt it will prolong human life but that theory is, to me, a little less wacky than others I’ve heard. It really floors me how extended life is synonymous with “safe and non threatening” to most people. (Really, the only tie this couple has to transhumanism is that this article says they do, so pencil me in as skeptical.) I’m fascinated by transhumanism – I just wish it wasn’t a) often dominated by the lunatic fringe (though generally, in a fairly agreeable way) and b) so damn far away. Like any other kind of “wishing makes it so” human endeavor, I’m fond of the inspiration it provides but treat it with all due skepticism.

Speaking of pseudoscience….
A new study claims that circumcision prevents spread of HPV and Herpes. Just why is the medical establishment is so hellbent on genital mutilation? They’ve been trying to throw out various kinds of justification for decades. I don’t believe this one either. Not for a minute.

This puts a giant smile on my face – I ran across it while surfing (For something FIRREA related I think.) Douglas Rushkoff advocates letting the economy fail.

It is in the spirit of the above that I report that IBM is cutting 5,000 jobs – must trim those payrolls now musn’t we corporate America? So long as the profit margin for corporate america is more important than the workers that make up that corporation (all of them, not just the executives) all the stimulus packages in the world will only be band aids.

political pictures for your blog
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ubi dubium ibi libertas

•March 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

What is with all of this media attention that the drug war in Mexico is getting – oh, wait, that’s right, there’s that memo that says “fixing the economy is hard, let’s get distracted” from, er, the American people to the powers that be….democratic.
Right, because the Drug War (Whoo!) has only been going on in Mexico for about ten minutes. Sure.
Hey, I’m not the one drinking the bong water, okay?

Obama still trying to contain skepticism on economic plans. I know it would certainly be convenient if everything revolved around AiG Mr. Obama, but it doesn’t. Part of the outrage over AiG is that the American people, who generally display very sheeple-like attitudes regarding bad news, know on some level that the AiG nonsense is only the visible slivers of a much larger problem. It’s not confined to AiG. Businesses are reluctant to work with the government – they fear increased regulation, they (in many cases) don’t want to give up their cushy less-than-legal practices….and at the end of the day, the Federal government has no business running a business. Any of them. (C’mon, again, the proof rolls in that Whenever Tim Geithner speaks the market tumbles.) The Federal government is notoriously bad at spending money wisely.

Some people seem more aware of this than others. The President of the EU calls Obama’s stimulus package “a way to hell”. The rest of the EU is scurrying to appear united and not upset the delicate sensibilities of the market (what, are fiscal traders made of fine china now?) at next week’s G-20 summit. The signal to noise ratio of many in the EU who are shuffling to agree with Obama before next week is a familiar sound – there’s the usual bunch of stuffed shirts wanting to keep as much of the wealth in their corner in the old ways for as long as possible.
G20, when the industrialized countries, and their lapdogs, tell the rest of the world how it’s going to be. Another wonderful vestige of colonial privilege. (For more on the G20, click here.)

Speaking of Europe, it would seem that dissatisfaction is not limited to the U.S. Israeli-Europe ties appear to be deteriorating. But perhaps that’s again just signs that people are getting sick of their shabby crap. And with good reason, too.

The European governments generally accept the Israeli narrative on the Gaza war: It was legitimate self-defense against an Iranian-backed outpost of anti-Western jihadism. By contrast, the European media and public opinion sympathized more with the Palestinian narrative: that Israel used disproportionate force, causing the deaths of large numbers of innocent civilians.

If the Bush presidency was good for anything, I think it may be proven with time to have finally put the nail in the coffin of the U.S. as an unquestioned world leader that the rest of the west will unhesitatingly follow the lead of. Not, in my estimation, a bad thing necessarily.

But hey, not to worry – North Korea has what is believed to be a long range ballistic missile on the launch pad right now – those are the things that (can) throw mystery items like nukes around. Again, like the Bush administration previously, the government is sticking their head in the sand (and their ass in the air) and hoping N. Korea will just go away or something.
Pretext of WMD? Invade and occupy the country for six + years. Increasing likelihood of actually WMD? Ignore it.
In any case, I expect this is just another example of N. Korea fucking around to watch the US Media react. Well, that or sometime soon I will be replaced by a thermonuclear cloud. Cheerful, eh?

More Lies about Open Government

•March 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Wow. Bernanke says, in essence, that the program won’t work if the banks involved have to admit their involvement. No scrutiny please.
After all, people might see how hopelessly furking corrupt they are. (This video is over two weeks old, by the way.)

Have you heard about H.R. 1207? It’s a bill introduced in congress by Ron Paul (who I do have some issues with but this isn’t one of them) – it proposes an audit of the Federal Reserve by 2010. And why the hell not? The full text is located here. The bill was co-sponsored by these people. Of course, the only ‘news’ agency covering this seems to be WingNutDaily, which doesn’t lend a vast amount of credibility. In any case, the bill (also called the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009) has been sent to the House committee on Financial Services – with any luck Barney Frank won’t take umbrage at this affront to democratic hegemony and dismiss it out of turn.

Bernard: But surely the citizens of a democracy have a right to know.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No. They have a right to be ignorant. Knowledge only means complicity in guilt; ignorance has a certain dignity.
Yes Minister, episode one: “Open Government”

Among the Living

•March 23, 2009 • 1 Comment

US home resales mysteriously up in February – the mysteriously isn’t mine. I think someone finally realized “hey, houses are ten thousand dollars!” (Last I checked, similar stories were emanating from both Detroit and from Atlanta.)

After much speculation Geithner unveils his master plan, creation of a new entity which will combine resources (funding, legal ability? Of course, he doesn’t say.) with the FDIC, the Federal reserve, andunspecified private companies. The so-called Public Investment Corp. will then purchase one trillion dollars in toxic assets from banks.
Oh, it will also be funded by 75 – 100 billion from TARP.

The initiative will seek to entice private investors, including big hedge funds, to participate by offering billions of dollars in low-interest loans to finance the purchases and also sharing risks if the assets fall further in value.
When Geithner released the initial outlines of the administration’s overhaul of the bank rescue program on Feb. 10, the markets took a nosedive. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged by 380 points as investors expressed disappointment about a lack of details.

Aside from increasing funding for US Black Hole research, I don’t see what the point of this is aside from moving money around (thus ensuring more chances exist to dip ones fingers in the well – ‘sharing the wealth’) and appearing to do something.

Obama appears on 60 minutes in brief – Geithner has job security…..for some reason, and he may be rethinking his Afghanistan strategy (pity that he’s already spent billions on the latter. Well, on the former too actually). Mr. Obama, you were on Jay Leno but recently and now 60 minutes. Your effort to win hearts and minds is transparent. Please return to the work of government. Oh, and lose Geithner – stat.

Or not. Our tech savy leader has, by action, declared George Bush “the Innovator” by adopting Bush’s policy position on file sharing – 150,000$ fine per track – So I must ask, how does the teat of the recording industry taste? (And really, “per track” – so I suppose stealing books or magazines or something one, you know, reads, isn’t illegal? That’s Bush Logic.)

The position — that the Copyright Act’s monetary damages are not unconstitutionally excessive — mirrors the one taken by the Bush administration and should come as no surprise.
Two top lawyers in President Barack Obama’s Justice Department are former RIAA lawyers: Donald Verrilli Jr. is the associate deputy attorney general who brought down Grokster and fought to prevent a retrial in the Jammie Thomas case. Then there’s the No. 2 in the DOJ, Tom Perrilli. As Verrilli’s former boss, Perrilli argued in 2002 that internet service providers should release customer information to the RIAA even without a court subpoena.
Presidential administrations often intervene in lawsuits in which the constitutionality of a federal law is in question. This case concerns a former Boston University student challenging a peer-to-peer file sharing case.
Still, parts of the government’s brief sounded as if it was taken from the RIAA’s public relations playbook.

A summary of the ruling can be found in pdf here (though I do warn – the ‘summary’ is 39 pages.) You can like it, or hate it, consider it theft or not, but the technology isn’t going back in the bottle. But in America it’s apparently still very fashionable for Big Media to fight the future.

Moving on…..
The Pope responds to cries of GITFO and leaves Africa. It heartens me somewhat to know that the RCC has come under immense amounts of fire since The “Doddering old man who doesn’t want anything to change even if people die” Pope was allowed to open his yammerhole and spill toxic crap into the ears of thronging African masses. Personally I’m just glad he’s left Africa and thus won’t be appearing in public there any longer saying stupid shit. Regrettably, he will be returning to the Vatican to continue issuing increasingly irrelevant statements to the world.

U.S. Senator indicted on charges of slashing his girlfriend’s face with glass in a jealous rage. Freshman senator Hiram Monserrate, 41 and an ex police officer was indicted by a grand jury on three counts of second degree felony assault and three counts of third degree misdemeanor assault. If convicted, he faces up to 7 years in prison. Senator Monserrate was arrested after Karla Giraldo’s face was slashed at his New York city home on December 19 of last year.

The gash over her eye required 25 stitches. Both said it was an accident.
Monserrate, who was in Albany on Monday for a legislative session, issued a statement saying he did not commit a crime.
“I’ve said all along this was accident. Karla has said all along this was accident. The district attorney’s politically motivated decision to pursue this case doesn’t change the fact that this was an accident,” he said.
Monserrate told police he tripped while holding a glass of water and that the glass accidentally hit Giraldo.

Holding a glass of water? The glass slipped when he tripped? Not a crime? I hope this jackass cooks.

A new UN report claims that Israel targeted civillians in Gaza. “Civilian targets, particularly homes and their occupants, appear to have taken the brunt of the attacks, but schools and medical facilities have also been hit,” reported Radhika Coomaraswamy, the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. The report is bursting with human rights abuses. Some of the highlights.

In one, she said, Israeli soldiers shot a father after ordering him out of his house and then opened fire into the room where the rest of the family was sheltering, wounding the mother and three brothers and killing a fourth.
In another, on January 15, at Tal al Hawa south-west of Gaza City, Israeli soldiers forced an 11-year-old boy to walk in front of them for several hours as they moved through the town, even after they had been shot at.

Of course despite the report laying some of the blame at Hamas as well, Israeli diplomats continue to insist that this is all part of a pattern of ‘demonizing Israel’ (because any criticism is clearly ‘demonizing’).

Following a few things up from last week
D.C. Health officials state HIV infection is serious but not critical – the shocking part is that apparently the 3% infection rate is accurate. While dismissing a lot of what was said last week as hyperbole, they did site improved antiviral therapies and longer lifespans as being largely responsible for that 3% figure.

Detained US reporters likely being held in Pyongyang. A press release issued Saturday accused two Americans of illegal intruding into its territory after crossing the border from China, word of which hit the internet late Tuesday. A South Korean missionary identified the two women as Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for Current TV.

A tin of biscuits

•March 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Full and equal rights – for all African men who wish to emulate conservative European men.

Speaking in Angola, the Pope condemns “corruption” ranting against the number of non-democratic tyrannies scattered about the continent. Of course, he also repeated his words from Cameroon that modern culture is ‘destroying traditional African family values’ (which are not, I should mention, Catholic) and equated abortion with sexual violence.
I’m sure his vision for a democratic and prosperous Africa does not involve any significant role for women, features reinforced dominant male gender roles, a hate for sexual minorities and non-Catholics, as well as advocating that all lands adopt a European cultural model.

Sacrimento Hooverville coming down – but those involved are allegedly being moved into apartments, shelters, and “other accomodations.”

Some stories portrayed Tent City as a modern day Hooverville, a reference to the shanty towns built by homeless men driven into poverty during the Great Depression. With foreclosure rates in the Sacramento region among the highest in the nation, the ragtag camp has been depicted as a symbol of the economic meltdown — people who’d lost their homes and were suddenly pitching tents along
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a riverbed.
The truth is somewhat less dramatic.
Although a sliver of the roughly 200 Tent City residents are recently middle class people who lost their homes, the overwhelming majority — 80 to 90 percent by several estimates — have been homeless for years, even decades.

Here’s a local news item on the Tent City from last week:

It remains to be seen how civilized this will actually be – and how much news that will or will not generate. Sad to say, no one seems much to be mentioning the pre-existing homeless problem, only that of the middle-class suddenly faced with a dwindling economy.

The Treasury Department is running job postings for experts on Executive Bonuses. Officially, the ads were placed in October to fill jobs for the bailout (but they run until this Saturday). The job postings list duties like “recovery of bonuses” and ” limitations on senior executives” – maybe if they’d filled those positions the DoT wouldn’t be in this mess.
Or not.
Again, hiring til Saturday. I doubt you could possibly do a worse job than Timothy Geithner

Morning Coffee

•March 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Let’s start this off right – from Wikihow: How to recognize bias in a newspaper article – kind of basic, but neat. Double bonus points for suggesting blogs be subjected to the same kind of scrutiny (um….duh).

Following the lead of Governor Goodhair, Sarah Palin rejects stimulus funds in an attempt to increase her GOP credibility. Note that I don’t think a crane could increase her credibility with anyone remotely sane. Also, she’s only rejecting *some* of the stimulus funds. (See, this is a woman who’s high school teachers employed “partial credit” on failing exams.) In fact, she’s accepting over half the money. 69% in fact. (Yes, really. Like the best parodies – it’s both true and it writes itself.) Still 69% of 930 million dollars is a fair chunk of change. Most of it is, allegedly, being directed to capital improvement projects (which the GOP have been quick to point out aren’t really necessary, being – you know – infrastructure) and a boost to her state’s Medicaid.
And while I’m contemplating the at once amusing and yet sheer mortal terror of a Goodhair/Self-Parody 2012 GOP ticket, I should point out that Mark Sanford of South Carolina and – wait for it – Bobby Jindal have joined the ranks of the “Not taking the money” brigade. Are all of them being groomed for something? Do they think they have a shot in ’12? Well Jindal is refusing 100 million – for unemployment benefits specifically…and Sanford will take the money but – supposedly – only to pay down debt.
We’ll see about that.

Federal culpability in the AiG fiasco is starting to come to light. Christopher Dodd is coming under fire for his alleged role in changing the rules being put into place regarding an upper limit for executive compensation – at the last minute – which affects AiG and supposedly others. He claims that he was directed to do so by the Treasury department (not unlikely in my estimation) despite the fact that AiG was a big contributor to Mr. Dodd’s political campaign of last year. (A little over a hundred thousand dollars according to many sources. Which is, admittedly, pocket change to AiG.) Interesting that the above suggests legal documents between the Fed and AiG – though I suspect the “rules” spoken of were internal to the Fed. Again I repeat - if there is such a contract, I’d LOOOVE to see it.
But it gets better.
Apparently, elements of the Federal government knew about the full extent of the AiG bailouts but deliberately kept Obama in the dark which sounds a little too Iran-Contra and more than a little too Watergate to me. Of course the President didn’t know. I mean, why the fuck would he be told anything? While I can most certainly buy that keeping the boss in the dark is standard operating procedure in Washington, it still chafes.

As pressure mounted on AIG employees to return the bonuses, new details emerged yesterday about what the Fed, the Treasury Department and the White House knew regarding the payments and when. AIG executives said the Fed was informed three months ago by the company that it would pay $165 million by March 15 to employees working at its most troubled division. The Treasury and White House said they learned of the payments from Fed officials only days before they were due.

Oops. As recently as March 10, Tim Geithner was claiming to be “stunned” when the bonus payments came out. As Paul Kanjorski (congressman from Pennslyvania) said “I’m sick and tired of hearing the administration and the Secretary of the Treasury say, ‘I just found out about it.'”

In the more good news department, previous projections of the US Federal deficit are apparently inadequate to the task as
the deficit soars past previous expectations. What irritates me? The numbers being bandied about are about half of what I’ve seen to this point. I suspect another white washing occurred and I missed it. (The Federal government would never massage the numbers obviously.) Either way, even with the new math, it’s projected to grow at an estimated one trillion dollars a year for the next ten years.
Did we secretly elect Walter Mondale wearing one of those masks from the Mission Impossible movies? The Congressional Budget Offices estimates that the national debt will make up 82% of the national economy by 2019. THIS NEEDS TO STOP. The Democrats are talking about “adjustments” needing to be made to the new budget going into effect October 1. They need to be talking about Slashing Spending. Nancy Pelosi, of course, dismissed the report from the CBO. Tool.

While appearing on Jay Leno last night (for some damn reason) President Obama compares his bowling skills to participants in the Special Olympics, gets served by the media – thus eroding the cuddly bunny friendly to everyone image of the democratic party, which they have never put themselves out as but lots of people seem to think is there. (And of course, the media is spinning this as some kind of “education in humanity.” rather than what it was – a slip up.)

Both the US and Israel make appeals to Iran by tape today for…some reason. Oh, yes it’s the Persian New Year (And Happy New Year if anyone is reading from there!) but that doesn’t fully explain the sudden and erratic turn in policy – from either country. The U.S. which has been casting about for some way of putting Iran in a bad light, is now randomly being conciliatory. (Maybe they too think Iran might be invading Iraq in about two years.) While I’m not opposed to this possible shift in policy from Washington, I don’t pretend to – from the point of view of the policymakers – understand it.

France is formally requesting to rejoin NATO command – a move which will no doubt create a partisan debate for some time to come in France. I for one hope they can maintain their own way in the alliance without being compromised by U.S. foreign policy.

2,192

•March 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

That’s days. Another way of framing it would be six years.
We’re still in Iraq. That’s 2,192 days since it was still very much the general perception that it was shameful to speak out against this bullshit war. That’s 4,259 casualties since this day in 2003. When Apophis rolled into Mesopotamia.
Six years ago today, I came in to work and read an article in the San Angelo Standard Times about a tank crew which had deployed to the Mid-East in anticipation of action. They’d named their tank, quite appropirately, Apophis. I looked to see if I find the article on-line somewhere but their electronic archives only go back to 2004.
I’ve always wondered what happened to them, in the time since.
4,259 casualties since this day in 2003. 4,120 casualties since Mission Accomplished and 3,798 casualties since one or more actors was arrested as Saddam Hussein (I’m of the opinion that the real guy was quite dead by that point).
3,401 casualties since the Handover in 2004, just in time for Bush to get re-elected. And those are just American dead – the numbers of enemy combatants and “collateral damage” range into the hundreds of thousands.
All so that a cokehead frat boy could convince the American people that he was doing something about terrorism.
Briefly…..
For a number of reasons, I’m in a pretty wretched mood today, but let me say that Merriam-Webster have managed to put a giant smile on my face

A debate has been spurred by the possibility of same gender unions in Vermont come September. Much rejoycing.

I reported last night that North Korea is holding a pair of US Journalists near the border with China but the series of tubes gobbled it up. The link works however.

I don’t recall where I got this image, it’s been sitting on my hard drive for a while now (at least three years) but it about sums up my feelings on all of this.

Vive la Commune!

•March 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The Federal Reserve announced today that it plans to buy 1.2 trillion dollars in Mortgage backed securities and bonds – specifically it’s doubling it’s purchasing of the Freddie/Fannie debt and increasing it’s planned purchasing of mortgage backed securities from 5 to 700 billion…all this on top of buying 300 billion dollars in long term treasury bonds, all in the name of stimulating the economy.
The reaction? The dollar falls. Every time the government has stepped in and done something to “help” the economy this year, stocks take a hit; on Wall Street, there is no confidence in what government involvement will do. How can the Fed’s economists and fiscal leaders not see this?

There’s lots of news about the AiG snowball going on but I think we’ve fully hit the recriminations & masturbation segment of the news cycle. Everyone is now just posturing and trying to wring what they can out of situation, especially our increasingly populist government (which is fine – in the short term). However, did you know that rental car companies are now seeking a bailout?

Now, Avis Budget Group Inc., Hertz Global Holdings Inc. and other rental-car companies are lobbying Congress to allow them to use Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to finance new auto purchases. The House of Representatives included a clause in a TARP reform bill that it passed last week to give the government authority to back loans to rental-car companies and other fleet purchasers. The bill has now moved on to the Senate.

I’m waiting for one of the fast food companies to come begging for TARP scraps.

Oh, and IBM – please please please don’t buy Sun. Firstly, it’s a bad business idea – Sun isn’t the golden child that it was in the early part of the decade, okay? Second – I know you, I’ve worked for you, you’ll kill open office. And I don’t think I could go back to using Word, you know? (Actually they won’t really kill it – they’ll take it off the market*, rebrand it, and rerelease a gimped version of it 18 months later. I’m not bagging on IBM necessarily, but they acquire a LOT of companies, and most of those companies’ products, in my opinion, get digested pretty quickly.)

The country of Australia censors wikileaks – which for the record is the site with a link just to your right on this page. Why? For posting a list of websites banned by the Dutch. (…wtf?)

The Australian Communications and Media Authority added two Wikileaks pages to its censorship list: one for the Dutch Danish government’s secret index of banned child porn sites as well as Wikileaks’ press release about how the index was used and why the site was publishing it.
ACMA’s list is estimated to hold more than a thousand URLs currently and is distributed to Australian ISPs, which are required by law to make filters available to users.
Wikileaks, the net’s foremost site for leaked documents, responded by announcing the ban, writing “The first rule of censorship is that you cannot talk about censorship.”

The Australian government has recently been keen on trying to make all ISPs adhere to the ACMAs list. Hopefully it will fail miserably. In related news, the White House Chief Information Officer is back in his office after the FBI raided his office following the FBI arrest of his predecessor on corruption charges (and why is this the first I’ve heard of this?) Apparently, the investigation involves a alleged kickbacks over government tech contracts. Transparency in action.

The Vatican defends Papal stance rejecting condoms which involves Pope Benedict’s statements that distributing condoms “increases” the AIDS problem. Precisely what he said was this:

“You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms,” he said. “On the contrary, it increases the problem.”

Going to west Africa and exercising that kind of influence to tell people that condoms are bad and it makes the AIDS problem worse because of your stupid tiny minded political agenda is criminal. The only problem that is increased is that backwards fucking hegemony called Catholicism. I hope it crumbles, I hope it crumbles in his lifetime, on his watch.

He told Cameroon’s 31 bishops that Christians must fight for social justice and urged them to defend the traditional African family from the dangers of modernity and secularization. He also asked them to help protect the poor from the impact of globalization.
Benedict said that while the Catholic church in Africa is the fastest growing in the world, it faces competition from increasingly popular evangelical movements and “the growing influence of superstitious forms of religion.”
The German-born pope also said that exuberant African rites should not “obstruct” the liturgy of the Mass.

Ah yes, we wouldn’t want the new Catholics preserving their own culture now would we? It might get in the way of Catholicism becoming the dominant paradigm in their way of life, eh? The ‘dangers of modernity and secularization’ – which means anyone who questions this fucking German drug dealer pushing his Invisible Sky Daddy Crack. Cultural appropriation and lies to perpetuate itself and overwrite the native culture. Proof fucking positive that the Catholic Church hasn’t changed since the time of the Conquistadors, 500 years ago. (Don’t disregard the recurrence of a certain popular bullshit phrase – “Traditional American*koff*African Families” because we don’t know what that means.) Speaking of, a similar plan regarding condoms and misinformation was in effect for the last eight years in this country, with official sources saying “condoms – bad!” and look how that worked out. (The principle difference is that the Fundamentalist nutjobs fail to understand how this works. The Catholic Church perpetuates it’s own existence by discouraging birth control, as children brought up in a Catholic family tend to become Catholics. However, children brought up in a poor or minority family tend not to grow up to become Republicans, so the BushCo type strategy is ultimately self-defeating.)

* which will be interesting, given that it’s freeware.

 
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