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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 1, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for May 1, 2006!

RECORD DV DIRECTLY TO HD WITHOUT A NEW CAMERA

OK, well, I still want that [http://thepete.com/ive-found-my-next-camcorder/|hard-drive-based JVC camcorder I blogged on not too long ago], but I stumbled across a great alternative in [http://www.engadget.com/2006/04/27/bella-catapult-enables-camcorder-to-ipod-recording/|a post] at Engadget.Com for anyone who likes the MiniDV camera they have right now but would love to cut out the video-capture-process--it's called the Bella Catapult and it's a small device that will write DV directly to your iPod or any other USB-based external hard drive. Pretty damn sweet, huh?

It'll run you "under $300" (though I don't think you should expect a $1.99 price tag) and will be available in the second half of 2006. Read more about it on it's [http://www.bella-usa.com/Catapult.htm|official product page] at Bella-USA.Com.

My only hope is that it will allow you to record at different sample rates to save on space. I'd love to still grab [http://thepete.com/ive-found-my-next-camcorder/|that JVC HD-based cam] and get this for my old GL-2. Since I plan on doing 2-camera shots, this will allow me to not have to capture anything. That would be so NICE!!

Let's hear it for NICE!! WEEEEE!! YAY, NICE!!!

Sorry, the caffeine just kicked in... :)

CONGRESS MEMBERS ARRESTED AT SUDAN PROTEST

This is how COMPLETELY USELESS our politicians are in Washington. Unable to affect change in American foreign policy, they attend protests like everyone else who has no power in the world. And, like many of those people who attend protests, they got arrested. Here's an excerpt from [http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/04/28/congress_members_arrested_at_sudan_protest/?p1=MEWell_Pos5|an April 28, 2006 article] from AP.org and Boston.com:
Five Congress members were willingly arrested and led away from the Sudanese Embassy in plastic handcuffs Friday in protest of the Sudanese government's role in atrocities in the Darfur region.

The slaughter of the people of Darfur must end," Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., a Holocaust survivor who founded the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, said from the embassy steps before his arrest.

Four other Democratic Congress members -- James McGovern and John Olver of Massachusetts, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Jim Moran of Virginia -- were among 11 protesters arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly, a misdemeanor subject to a fine.

"We must hold the Sudanese government accountable for the attacks they have supported on their own citizens in Darfur," Olver said.

At the White House, President Bush met with Darfur advocates on Friday and lent his support to rallies planned in more than a dozen cities around the country this weekend to protest the violence in that embattled western region of Sudan.

"The genocide in Sudan is unacceptable," Bush said. "There will be rallies across our country to send a message to the Sudanese government that the genocide must stop. ... I want the Sudanese government to understand the United States of America is serious about solving this problem."


I'm sure Bush will deal with the problem of genocide in the Sudan right after he deals with Iran's non-existent WMD.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Toys Weren't This Cool When I Was a Kid

So, I'm a HUGE gadget fiend. I have been ever since I saw my very first Bond movie. I think I probably was even before then, I just don't remember wanting a gadget of any kind before my dad showed my Live and Let Die. Around that age there were toys that inspired us kids to want to become spies. There were minicameras, pens that could squirt acid, pens that would shoot poison-tipped darts and more. The catch was that none of them actually worked. We had to use our imaginations.

THe minicamera just spat out pre-printed badly drawn cartoons of white people. The acid-squirting pen really only squirted water and the pen shot suction-cup-tipped darts, sans the poison. Of course, I grew up in the dark ages of spy toys for kids. Flash forward to 2006 when [http://www.wildplanet.com|Wild Planet], the toy company behind Spy Gear, add a few new products to their already successful line of spy toys. First up is a remote control car with a wireless, night-vision camera mounted on top of it. Pretty damn sweet, huh? What's better is the damn thing transmits a video signal to a head-mounted display!

I had to dream about HMDs when I was a kid...

This whole package will run you (or your parents) somewhere between $100 and $160. Not a bad price for what you're getting, sez me. I probably won't be picking this one up, though I am tempted. I just don't know what I'd do with it aside from spying on my wife while she sleeps. The thing is, I can do that with any camera and--

NOT that I'd actually spy on my wife while she sleeps. :)

The other gadget that Wild Planet is adding to their spy gear line I WILL be picking up even though it's not quite what I'm looking for. It's a pair of sunglasses with a crappy still camera built in. They don't have any pics available on their site, but they claim:
No one will suspect you’re a spy as you stroll nonchalantly into secret places or glimpse in the direction of confidential documents, looking unconcerned with all that surrounds you. Sunglasses on, hand in pocket, seemingly casual – you don’t garner a second glance. No one is looking at you. It’s the perfect time to press the cylindrical remote in your pocket and capture images on the small digital camera attached to your stylish shades.


DUDE, I SO want one!!

Here's more from the press release:
The tinted, impact-resistant sunglasses house a retractable digital camera that stores 20 color photos. Transfer the images onto your computer using the USB cable and decide if you will expose the evidence or keep it in your back pocket for future bargaining. The pictures have 640 x 480 pixel resolution. The Digital Spy Camera blends spy role-play with reality.


Sure, sure--it "blends" role-play with reality--BULLSHIT! THIS THING WILL MAKE ME A HARDCORE SUPERSPY!!

Well, really, I'll hack the thing so it'll record video. :)

These spy-makin' sunglasses will run you $30 and $35 and should be available with the spy car in the fall of 2006.

I can't wait!!

Read more about these gadgets in [http://digitalcameras.engadget.com/2006/03/29/a-night-vision-spy-car-for-your-little-james-bond-in-training/|the original post] at Engadget.Com that I first read about them in or check out [http://www.wildplanet.com/press/wp_release_single.php?prid=88|the press release] at WildPlanet.Com

IDIOT POLITICIAN CONSIDERS TAXING VIDEO GAMES

Some dipshit from Texas wants to tax video games according to [http://www.joystiq.com/2006/04/28/lets-tax-games-proposes-texas-senator/#comments|this April 28, 2006 post] at Joystiq.com. From the post:
The logic behind the proposal is that if school-aged kids are spending a lot of money on video games — or parents are spending a lot of money on games for their school-aged kids — these consumers can spend a little bit more in order to improve their school systems.


Now, the author of the post goes on to say that this tax should apply to other forms of entertainment to be fair. I disagree--this tax should only be applied to my ass.

So, the federal government spends $400+ billion on two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and this asshole wants to make kids and their parents help pay for education?

FUCK you, man--that's an insult!

"these consumers can spend a little bit" to improve their education?

SO CAN YOU, DICKHEAD!

The federal government spends something like $26 billion on education across the country. Yes, this guy is a state senator, but the point is there. He should be lobbying the federal government to spend more on education locally instead of bullshitting us with the oft-underfunded "No Child Left Behind" program.

As I said in the comments of the Joystiq post:
So, $400 billion dollars on two wars with little progress, but they decide taxing virtual killing in video games is a good idea.

Here's an idea folks: less real killing then we'll talk about taxing our virtual killing.

I think that sounds fair.


Don't you?

Friday, April 28, 2006

So, I'm Developing this Puppet Show Podcast Idea...

...and I figure, everyone and their uncle has a video podcast these days, even me. However, I have lots of ideas for lots of stuff--including podcasts. As mentioned in the headline, I decided to do a puppet show.

I figured, though, that I couldn't be the first person to think of doing a puppet podcast and I don't want to accidentally do what someone else has already done, so I checked around. It turns out a friend of mine who was actually in my play last year is developing a show called The Felties. However, he has no episodes done yet. Andrew Moore, that's my friend's name, also did (does?) a HILARIOUS puppet podcast featuring those bodiless animal head puppets you get at the zoo or amusment parks. It was (is?) awesome--he had them paraphrasing Shakespeare. Bloody brilliant if you ask me. It's called Disembodied Animal Head Theatre and you can check it out here: http://daht.blogspot.com/

And check out the latest episode at YouTube.Com here.

For a while it looked like he wasn't doing any more episodes but I just checked the site and there's a third episode up. I hope he does more...

Then I remembered a podcast I watched just once a few months ago--a thing called Puppet Rapist. Now, this is a podcast that is just as dark and just as well done as the title suggests (some moron isn't going to be interesting enough to come up with a title like that). I just watched episode 4 now and I have to admit it rocks. The production values are very high and while I don't like the lead guy's understated performance, the puppets look great and the story is brilliant.

Between DAHT and Puppet Rapist, I began to feel pretty intimidated. While DAHT is super low budget, it is very sharp and smart. Meanwhile Puppet Rapist is 75% perfect with the only bad stuff coming in with the acting (but I'm a grissled MST3K veteran so I can handle bad acting--and the acting is not even THAT bad on PR). However, it's at this point I consider Cakey.

Cakey is a show that I'm sure would be a big hit with the Adult Swim crowd--a crowd I don't count myself among. Cakey has a great premise--an alien that just happens to look like a cake is stranded on Earth where he befriends a young boy who has an aging disease (which allows him to be played by a 20-something). However, the execution is kind of boring. In the episode I watched the lead kid is getting all F's and his teacher wants to talk to his dad. Alas his dad is freakishly obsessed with his looks (which is damn funny, I admit) and refuses to go because he is too fat. So, the kid dresses up Cakey and pretends he's his uncle.

Essentially Cakey ends up being just another stupid sitcom with a "hillarious" premise. The sad thing is, the rest of the show is not so hillarious (without the quotes) to me. It's still worth checking out if you enjoy the Adult Swim type humor.

Now I'm not feeling so intimidated anymore. Time to start writing down some serious ideas for that puppet podcast... and by "serious" I mean, funny...

BUSH IMPEACHMENT TRIAL POSSIBLE WITHOUT CONGRESS DOING ITS JOB

Thank Tom for the Jefferson Manual of Rules for the U.S. House of Representatives!! Thank "Tom" as in "Thomas Jefferson" for writing the Jefferson Manual of Rules for the U.S. House of Representatives. At least--I think Jefferson wrote them, to be honest, I'm not exactly sure...but more on that later.

Why is this "Manual of Rules" such a big deal? For a simple reason--Section 603 of the manual, apparently, allows state legislatures to initiate impeachment procedings, or rather to force impeachment proceedings to initiate in Congress. Impeachment proceedings. You know, of the president--in this case, the guy in the White House--you may have heard of him, George W. Bush.

Sure, sure, ThePete, there's this obscure book no one's heard of that is part of the law of the land, technically part of the Constitution--where's your proof?

Well, that's the frustrating thing. I've searched for digital copies of this thing online and nobody's got one. An analog version was printed by the US Government Printing Office, but all the copies at Amazon.com for sale are through private sellers. Even Books.Google.Com thinks it's a copyrighted book and therefore doesn't have the entire text available. This is absurd since the book is law and therefore should be freely available for any American citizen to look at.

However, I'm pretty sure the law does exist. Why do I think this way? For the simple reason that three states have already initiated resolutions that take advantage of this Section 603 of the Jefferson Manual of rules for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Read about Illinois [http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_steven_l_060422_bush_impeachment___t.htm|in an April 22, 2006 article] at OpEdNews.Com.

Read about California [http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_david_sw_060424_california_becomes_s.htm|in an April 24, 2006 article] at OpEdNews.Com.

Read about Vermont [http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_shay_tot_060425_vermont_lawmakers_to.htm|in an April 25, 2006 article] at OpEdNews.Com.

Yep, the best coverage of this story is at a website that is a giant opinion/editorial page.

If that's not enough of a confirmation that the general media has no interest in seeing Bush impeached, all you need to know is that Illinois was the first state to begin this process, the OpEdNews.Com article went up almost a week ago and the mainstream American media has ignored the story completely.

I did a search for "Jefferson Manual of Rules" at CNN.com and came up blank on articles referring to Bush (although I got a couple referring to Clinton!) but ironically a search at FoxNews.Com turned up two articles on Vermont mulling over the idea of doing a resolution based on Section 603 of the manual, but that was it.

The only other "news source" I learned about this story from was the April 25, 2006 episode of The Colbert Report of all places.

I'm thinking that, these days, this is the truth since only a parody news show dares talk about Illinois moving to force impeachment proceedings.

So, that's the good news. Now that Illinois, California and Vermont had started caring about law, order and justice, the theory is that other states will follow suit, forcing Congress to get off its bought-and-paid-for-asses and initiate an impeachment trial.

Then again, they could just blow off the law like they've been doing for years now.

IRAN'S OIL EXCHANGE TO OPEN NEXT WEEK

For background on this, check out [http://thepete.com/the-real-reason-well-invade-iran/|The Real Reason We'll Invade Iran] and [http://thepete.com/iranian-oil-exchange-postponed/|Iranian Oil Exchange Postponed]. If you already have, then you should know that IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) is reporting that the oil exchange is back on track and will open next week. Here's a clip from [http://www.iribnews.ir/Full_en.asp?news_id=212013&n=32|an April 26, 2006 article] at IRIB.com:
Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh said on Wednesday that the establishment of Oil Stock Exchange is in its final stage and the bourse will be launched in Iran in the next week.

He told reporters, upon arrival from Qatar where he attended the 10th General Assembly of International Energy Agency and consultations with OPEC member states, that registration of the Oil Stock Exchange is underway and the entity will operate after being approved by by Council of Stock Exchange.


It might not be a bad idea to take some American dollars and use them to buy some Euros because that's all the Iranian oil exchange will be dealing in...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

MURDOCH TO BBC: LEAVE CAPITALISM TO THE CAPITALISTS

OK, this makes no sense to me. Check out this clip from [http://news.ft.com/cms/s/e02eca58-d558-11da-93bc-0000779e2340.html|an April 26, 2006 article] from FT.com and AP.org:
Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate on Wednesday accused the British Broadcasting Corporation, the state broadcaster, of using taxpayers’ money to build a “digital empire” that would compete with commercial rivals.

The BBC, which receives about £3bn ($5.3bn, €4.2bn) a year in public funding, has announced plans to relaunch its website.

Dubbed “Creative Future”, the list of improvements includes greater personalisation and more user-generated content on the BBC website. And following the success of rock groups such as Arctic Monkeys through MySpace.com, the corporation said it wanted to be “the premier destination for unsigned bands” through broadband, podcasting and mobile phone services.


So now it's wrong for non-profit to make money so they can beg for less money from taxpayers and license-fee payers? This is nothing but Murdoch protecting his own interests and it shows you just how greedy and paranoid he is. I mean, come on, dude--accusing the BBC of wanting to create an empire?? DUDE, you've got massive media holdings in Australia, America, the UK, Europe and a few other continents, if memory serves. You're the pot calling the non-profit kettle black.

Man, these hypocritical capitalists love competition until it's with them.

IRAN HAS MISSILES, SURE, BUT NO WEAPONIZED URANIUM

So, I'm hitting the news sites today and I stumble across this headline:

Iran has missiles that put Europe in range: report

Niiiice and alarmist.

Here's some from [http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=topNews&storyid=2006-04-27T082608Z_01_L27159331_RTRUKOC_0_US-MIDEAST-IRAN-MISSILES.xml&rpc=22|the April 27, 2006 article] from Reuters.com:
Iran has received a first shipment of missiles from North Korea that are capable of reaching Europe, Israel's military intelligence chief was quoted on Thursday as saying.


Nowhere in the article does it say ANYTHING about how Iran is still years away from having uranium rich enough to use in a weapon. Remember [http://thepete.com/again-dont-believe-the-hype-on-irans-nukes/|my post from all of three days ago]? It was about how Bush/Republican lapdog John Negroponte admitted that Iran was "still years away from having enough fissile material to make a nuclear weapon," according to the article I had read.

Of course, truth and logic don't mean much to the Bush 43 Administration.

SENATOR SPECTER DOES HIS JOB--SWEET!

Wow--imagine this--a Republican senator doing his job! I'm shocked when ANY senator actually does his or her job. Check out this excerpt from [http://www.forbes.com/business/manufacturing/feeds/ap/2006/04/27/ap2703651.html|an April 27, 2006 article] from AP.org and Forbes.com:
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter said Thursday he is considering legislation to cut off funding for the Bush administration's secret domestic wiretapping program until he gets satisfactory answers about it from the White House.

"Institutionally, the presidency is walking all over Congress at the moment," Specter, R-Pa., told the panel. "If we are to maintain our institutional prerogative, that may be the only way we can do it."


Wow--so I wonder what's next. Will Specter actually do something if the White House doesn't cooperate?

You can trust that I'll be keeping an eye on this...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

UNITED 93 (2006)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? It looks like the same kind of fictional movie as A Perfect Storm. I also think it's too soon for a big screen movie about 911.


Technically any good? Paul Greengrass is a solid director. While I thought Bourne Supremacy was a supreme disappointment, Bloody Sunday was brilliant. Well shot, well cut, well acted, well everything. Still, I'm concerned that it will end up being a ra-ra, America-is-great kind of movie that can't possibly hope to be the true story of Flight 93 since no one knows what really happened since there are no survivors.


How did it leave me feeling? The trailer left me feeling like I felt after A Perfect Storm. There is so much conjecture that had to be done for that film, you could have easily had said aliens abducted George Clooney and friends and no one could prove the film wrong. This film suffers from similar limitations. Sure, we have the cell phone calls and the blackbox recording, but short of having a survivor consulting, there are just too many gaps to fill in to make this an accurate movie.


Final Rating? RTV (Rent the Video - I just don't know how this could be a movie of any depth.)

Please click over to [http://thepete.com/united-93-2006/2/|page 2] for more of my take on this movie.

OK, so I'm going to be a little biased about this film. I'm a couple of degrees of separation from someone who died on Flight 93. I'm also biased because I met Paul Greengrass after I screened Bloody Sunday back in 2002. He was a very approachable, cool guy and I liked him quite a bit. The thing is, Bourne Supremacy was not that good. Like, it was surprisingly bad, actually.

However, I find myself really thinking this movie will be bad. At the very least I think it will be a bad experience for me. I am concerned it will be shallow, portray only how brave and wonderful the passengers were and not how the terrorists were people, too.

I think it's still too soon for a big screen 911 movie because we get 911 thrown in our faces every damn time we turn on the news. I'm not kidding, either. Bush mentions 911 every time he needs more money or more of our rights taken away.

I suspect Flight 93 will bomb at the box office because people just don't want to see a movie about this. In fact, according to [http://www.variety.com/VR1117942006.html|this April 24, 2006 article] at Variety.Com, most men surveyed are saying they are interested in seeing it above all other films this weekend, but everyone else surveyed say they're definitely not interested. I'm thinking the guys are talking tough but the film will do nothing at the BO. We'll see, I suppose...

[ThePhlog] 4/26/2006 03:46:56 PM

On my way to the post office today I recorded this phlog entry. In it I talk about my streak of stupid luck, my new pre-paid cell phone and a few other things... have a listen!
this is an audio post - click to play

EU GROWS A PAIR AND ACCUSES CIA OF ILLEGAL STUFF

Wow, who would have thought someone on the planet Earth would have the ballz to stand up to the USA? Turns out an investigation by the European Union has turned up enough evidence for investigators to accuse the CIA of 1000 unauthorized flights over Europe. Here's a clip from [http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-04-26-voa44.cfm|an April 26, 2006 article] at VOANews.Com (that's Voice of America News):
European Parliament investigators say the CIA conducted more than 1,000 undeclared flights over European territory during the past five years. The rendition flights allegedly moved suspected terrorists from the Middle East to other regions. But not all lawmakers are convinced that alleged CIA flights took place.


Nice. So, in the very first paragraph, the Voice of America article casts doubt on the "old countries'" findings. Here's more from the article:
The latest allegations are part of a first interim report into alleged CIA activities published by a special European Parliament investigative committee.

Italian lawmaker Giovanni Claudio Fava, a committee member who drafted the report, says the apparent CIA flights over European territory violated international law. He said there was evidence that the alleged flights then flew on to countries that have used torture. Fava also charged the CIA with kidnapping and illegally detaining alleged terrorists on the territory of EU member states.


Well, it's not America's only violation of international law--just the only violation they're being called on at present.

Either way, it's nice to see someone standing up to this giant America-colored blanket that the USG is spreading around the world.

And to think I used to believe in my country. Now they're being accused of kidnapping people, transporting them to countries where torture is legal, letting locals do the torturing and doing it all without even getting the permission of local European governments that, let's face it, would probably roll over and let the USG do whatever it wanted, anyway.

BUSH LOOSENS ENVIRONMENTAL RESTRICTIONS TO EASE OIL PRICES

...and sadly, it works.

According to [http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=1888769|an April 25, 2006 article] from AP.org and ABCNews.Com:
Crude oil and gasoline futures fell Tuesday after President Bush gave the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to relax regional clean-fuel standards to attract more imports of gasoline to the United States and to make it easier for supplies to be moved from one state to another.

President Bush also said he would halt deposits of oil to the nation's strategic petroleum reserve until the fall, but analysts said that measure would have next to no impact on crude prices and certainly would not help make gasoline any cheaper. Even the fuel-specification waivers will have a marginal impact, analysts said, given that the main force behind today's soaring pump prices is the near-record price of crude oil.


I hate to always play the pessimist card, but does anyone really think this is going to help in the long term?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

FREE SPEECH TAKES A HIT IN CANADA

Now, I've known a few people in my life from Canada. I knew an activist-type-fellow a few years back who told me that there was no guaranteed freedom of speech for Canadians. More recently a local friend from Canada tells me there is. Regardless, the media has been told they can't publish pictures of Afghanistani war dead. Check out this clip from [http://www.charter.net/news/read.php?ps=1012&id=12753363&_LT=HOME_LARSDCCLM_UNEWS|an April 25, 2006 article] from AP and Charter.Net:
Canada's new Conservative government banned the media from showing live images of the flag-draped coffins of four Canadian soldiers when their bodies were returned Tuesday from Afghanistan, angering political opponents and some families.

The government also has stopped lowering flags to half-staff outside Parliament each time a Canadian soldier is killed, prompting Liberals to accuse Prime Minister Stephen Harper of trying to play down the growing human cost of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan.


Typical conservative. Respect life until it's the lives of soldiers doing your bidding in other countries where you really shouldn't be. So, what do you do? You stop the press from reporting on Canadian dead and you even stop lowering the flag to half-staff to better keep Canadians' minds off of Canadian's dying.

Hell, it worked in America.

Thanks be to Bob Edwards for posting a link to this article on TheShoutBox.

LITHIUM CARS ARE NOW AVAILABLE ON CREDIT

OK, so that headline is most definitely not true--it's an obscure reference to an obscure scifi film (can you name it?). However, Lithium-powered cars may be on the horizon. What's so cool about lithium cars? Well, they're powered by the same type of batteries that keep your cell phone functioning and supposedly can allow a car to travel 300 miles on a single 5-hour charge. HOT DAMN!

That catch is even tiny little lithium 2-seaters will run you a somewhat steep 35 grand. Then again, think of the money you WON'T be spending on gas. I think that just might be worth the trade off. Hell, I just might break down and finance a car like that and I DESPISE debt. Though the debt we've got with Mother Nature is one we need to pay off.

Damn, what a hippie thing to say!

[http://www.local6.com/news/8988315/detail.html|Read more about the lithium-battery-powered car in this April 25, 2006 article] at Local6.Com.

CONGRESS TO UPGRADE DMCA AND GET EVEN MORE UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Ever hear of the DMCA? It's the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and ironically it was passed into law before the year 2000 (you'd think with a name like that it would have at least been passed in the year 2000 or 2001, but this was during the Clinton era, 1998 to be exact). The DMCA is unConstitutional. How do I know this? Because it limits your free speech.

Imagine you write a book about safecracking. You detail how to do it, essentially giving any reader the knowledge they need to gain access to the inside of a safe without knowing the combination.

Imagine that book now being banned because it teaches someone how to beat the protection a safe provides.

Not that by cracking a safe you're automatically breaking the law. You could be cracking the safe for the next of kin after the only person in the family with the combination to a safe died. You could simply be cracking safes for fun--hey, we all have our hobbies. The point is, breaking into a safe isn't always illegal and to say it is unfairly limits the rights of American citizens to pursue happiness.

Now, the above scenario isn't illegal. You can write a book about safecracking and teach anyone how to break into safes--which is the way it should be. Knowledge of any kind should not be illegal nor should expressing that knowledge be illegal. However, if you translate the exact scenario above into the digital realm you would be breaking the law--that's the magic of the DMCA.

The DMCA says that if you post information detailing how to beat digital encryption of media (the safe for digital valuables) on the web (or anywhere else) you will be in violation of the law. So, even though you might have a good and legal reason to crack the encryption on that DVD, you are not allowed to do so.

Say, you want to watch a DVD on your iPod. Technically, you can't bust the copyprotection legally and copy it to your hard drive. Sure, there are a thousand different ways to do it for Macs and PCs (and even Linux boxes) but technically, you'd violate the DMCA if you were to post the code on how any of these ways worked. So far, enforcement of the DMCA has been lax, which is good for the DMCA since a trip to the Supreme Court would establish it's unConstitutionality. So if authorities go after enough people with it, they'll eventually run into one person who is willing to take it to the top.

BUT, in the post-911 world where corporate interests are being intentionally blended with national security interests, Congress is about to pass a beefed up version of the DMCA. Check out what [http://news.com.com/Congress%20readies%20new%20digital%20copyright%20bill/2100-1028_3-6064016.html?tag=nefd.top|this April 23, 2006 article] from News.Com.Com reports:
For the last few years, a coalition of technology companies, academics and computer programmers has been trying to persuade Congress to scale back the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Now Congress is preparing to do precisely the opposite. A proposed copyright law seen by CNET News.com would expand the DMCA's restrictions on software that can bypass copy protections and grant federal police more wiretapping and enforcement powers.


Hm, big brother tactics in protecting corporate intellectual property. Nice.

So, things like trademark infringement ([http://thepete.com/homeland-security-fights-trademark-infringement/|remember that time back in 2004]?) and intellectual property are now becoming things that are Constitutionally protected--as if these things are more important than the rights of the standard human.

I'm really starting to get annoyed with this trend.

Companies/corporations/businesses do not have a right to exist. They do not have Constitutionally granted rights--only our Creator grants rights. The Constitution is supposed to protect our rights--not grant them. God didn't create corporations, we humans did. Corporations are here to serve man--not the other way around.

In fact, the basic idea behind businesses, in general, was that they were needed to better provide something that people needed.

Oh, I'd like some milk, but I can't afford to buy a cow.

No worries, Bob, up the street, has several and he'll bottle some milk for you and drop it by in the morning for a fee.

Great!

But one day you save up enough money to buy your own cow. Now you don't need to keep buying milk from Bob's company, but according to the way things are now, when Bob's business starts to fold, the government will give him massive influxes of cash (your tax dollars) so that he can stay afloat. If you work out a way to get the milk directly from cows without even needing him to lift a finger, you're now breaking the law and you get to be sued by Bob.

Think about it--certain corporations exist to distribute movies and/or music. Thanks to the Internet, we don't need a distributor to get the music and movies from the artists to the consumers--now we can get both directly from the artist.

So what do we need the music "industry" for? Or the movie "industry"? Why should our government pass laws protecting them when they are clearly obsolete?

We have to put humanity back at the top of the food chain.

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMCA|Read more about the current DMCA] at Wikepedia.Org

Monday, April 24, 2006

MAN, BAD LUCK WEEK OR WHAT?

So, last week, TheWife twists her ankle on the way into a dance audition, then 48 hours later learns she's being called in for jury duty. Meanwhile, my scooter breaks down on me and I don't have the money to fix it. Gas is through the roof right now so I drop $5 into TheWife's CRV's tank and there's barely any left after it gets me to work and back. Then our building's plumbing goes wonky and our regular plumber refuses to come back (he was JUST here today and not 15 minutes after he left the sink backs up). While I was at work tonight the sink backed up and flooded the kitchen. When I got home, I called up Roto-Rooter and they won't send anyone out without a credit card and/or 75 bucks. I've got a credit card but no $75.

Next week I get to go to court to defend myself against a lawsuit for an alleged back debt I owe. I totally don't owe it and the lawyers suing me haven't come close to validating the debt, but I still have to go in. "Innocent until proven guilty" unless you happen not be in the court room in which case you are assumed guilty and the judgement goes against you (aka you now owe whatever they say you owe).

This is all on top of my standard stack of things to do, like blogging, drawing comics, writing a novel and screenplay, running clients' websites (and my own), and working on my various podcasts.

Things can really stop going wrong any moment now and I'll be perfectly satisfied.

I know there are plenty of people on the planet who have it worse than me, really I just needed to vent.

Oh, one good thing, I brought home a poster for the film Memoirs of a Geisha. Terrible movie, great poster. It's one of the perks of working at a screening facility. :)

Still, I'd give it back in exchange for a dry kitchen floor right now.

APPLE SAYS WEB WRITERS NOT REAL JOURNALISTS

This may seem like a more subtle form of abridging free speech, but it is. The following comes from [http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/business/0,39044229,39353413,00.htm|an April 21, 2006 article] at ZDNetAsia.Com:
A California court in San Jose on Thursday is scheduled to hear a case brought by Apple Computer that eventually could answer an unsettled legal question: Should online journalists receive the same rights as traditional reporters?

Apple claims they should not. Its lawyers say in court documents that Web scribes are not "legitimate members of the press" when they reveal details about forthcoming products that the company would prefer to keep confidential.


The basic argument here is that "real" journalists report on politics and bad things where as Apple's problem is with bloggers who expose new Apple products which makes it hard for Apple to remain competitive.

Right, so someone finds out about their new iPod, a competitor comes out with a clone and Apple bombs? I don't see it.

What's worse is that we individual humans lose a chunk of our creator-given-right of free speech just so some corportation can have an easier time doing business.

Did the creator (whomever you believe this to be) give Apple the right to exist? Do corporations get the same rights as humans? Is a business' right to exist worth more than a real human being's right to free speech?

Seems pretty unfair to me.

This is especially true in an America where the mainstream media just isn't doing their job. Sure, the case in the above-linked article is about gadgets being leaked, but if web writers lose the ability to say whatever they want (within reason, of course) this could end up causing legitimate and important stories from being told, simply because web writers don't have the same protections as "real" journalists.

What makes a "real" journalist, anyway? Is there some certificate you get?

Is it just about convincing some "rich" person, or person in a position of power, who is "wise" enough to recognize your talent to give you a check?

Personally, I think every writer should be allowed to keep confidiential sources except in very specific cases where lives are definitely at stake.

Hell, I'm a member of the Independent Media, after all.

The 5 Minute Show Episode 17

Here it is! It's The 5 Minute Show for April 24, 2006! It features our most STUNNING and holy guest YET! You won't believe who it is! But have FAITH! Download or stream it now and be closer to You Know Who!!!



Is it hot in here or is it just me?

It's a 14.6MB mp4--enjoy it and be holy!

AGAIN, DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE ON IRAN'S NUKES

Once again, one of Bush's own is going against what seems to be the overwhelming direction Bush wants to go in. The below clip comes from [http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1025291&CatID=9|an April 21, 2006 article] from www.AFP.com and DNAIndia.com:
US intelligence chief John Negroponte has said Iran's resumption of uranium enrichment is ‘troublesome’ but the country is still years away from having enough fissile material to make a nuclear weapon.


'Nuff said. Can we move on from this bullshit Iran thing?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

LET SLEEPING DICK LIE

Wow, with a headline like that, how can you not read??

Check out this cropped pic from www.AFP.com shot by Tim Sloan:


[http://abcnews.go.com/US/popup?id=1871301|Check out the original here] to see that Cheney's notes were in front of him, but I till think he was dozing.

Meanwhile, he's a cropped shot again from www.AFP.com taken by Tim Sloan of our beloved Condi "White" Rice sound asleep, as well:



[http://abcnews.go.com/US/popup?id=1871301&content=&page=2|Check out the original] at ABCNews.Com. Unlike Cheney, Condi's handsome leather-bound notebook was closed while she was "looking down at her notes." That was Cheney's excuse.

They were both clearly bored out of their skulls as Bush met with Hu from China.

Who?

No, HU.

HAHAHAHAHA!

Neil Young Talks About New Album on Video

Man, this YouTube.Com thing is pretty sweet! Check out my uncle's favorite musician as he is interviewed by the dumbest "reporter" on the planet about his new album featuring the song "Impeach the President".



I plan on buy that disc when it comes out...

OH and check out Neil's Blog here:

http://livingwithwar.blogspot.com/

MAC USERS! Get your Nintendo DS Online Without a Wifi Router

This is pretty sweet if you have a Mac and an Airport card. The basic gist of it is simple. You set your Mac up to share it's Internet connection over the airport card. Alas, you need to have your Mac connected via ethernet port but once you do that, you don't need to worry about your wifi router.

See, my problem is that I have a wifi router, but I can't seem to get it to work with WEP encryption so I'm always turning off the WPA encryption in order to use my DS--which is an annoying extra step, so having this option is nice. Of course, plugging in the ethernet cable is an extra hassle, too. Oh well...

Learn how to do it yourself [http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20051119155606277|in this article] at MacOSXHints.com.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

PYRAMID FOUND IN BOSNIA...

This is a weird story. Turns out they've found what looks to be a step-pyramid (like South American pyramids, not like the Egyptian ones) in Bosnia--that's Europe to those of you who attended American public schools as a child :)

If true, this is an amazing find but here's the weird part: I don't see the proof. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/19/AR2006041902268.html|An April 20, 2006 article] at WashingtonPost.Com has the headline "Experts Find Evidence of Bosnia Pyramid" but when you read [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/04/0420_060420_pyramid.html|an article] about the discovery at NationalGeographic.Com, it reports:
Amateur archaeologist Semir Osmanagic recently announced that he has uncovered proof that a four-sided hill in the town of Visoko, Bosnia, is an ancient manmade structure.


So, he's an "amateur" archaeologist? Back over at that WaPo article, they say:
Researchers on Wednesday unearthed geometrically cut stone slabs that they said could form part of the sloping surface of what they believe is an ancient pyramid lying beneath a huge hill.

Archaeologists and other experts began digging at this central Bosnian town last week to explore the team leader's theory that the 2,120-foot hill covers a step pyramid, which would be the first ever found in Europe.

"These are the first uncovered walls of the pyramid," Semir Osmanagic, a Bosnian archaeologist who studied the pyramids of Latin America for 15 years, said of the stonework found Wednesday.


So, he's now a researcher with 15 years experience studying the pyramids of Latin America. I wish I could know for sure.

On top of that, both articles talk about these cube-shaped stones that Osmanagic uncovered but what the pictures in both articles show does not look like giant blocks to me. So, I'm thinking, as cool as this announcement is, it's probably a little premature. Although, both articles report on a tunnel that seems to run between the pyramid and what they believe are two other pyramids in the same area. The tunnel they say is definitely man-made but neither article provides pics.

I am still astounded at how few pictures show up in articles on the web--especially with stories like this one.

Ah, the state of journalism today. A pyramid is found that, according to the researchers that found it, could be as old as 12,000 years and there's completely inadequate media coverage.

SCOTT CROSSFIELD, THE 2nd FASTEST MAN RIP

When considering the pioneers of flight, after the Wright Brothers, most people tend to think of Chuck Yeager, the first man to ever travel faster than the speed of sound. However, the first man to travel twice the speed of sound was Scott Crossfield whose name gets forgotten outside of those in Aeronautical circles. While he wasn't the first man to break the sound barrier, he was nonetheless an American hero for being brave enough to do it.

How did he die? Well, he died in a way I think any pilot of his ilk would want to die--in a plane. Sadly, it crashed with him at the stick, but, less sadly, he was alone on the plane and 84 years old.

Not a bad run.

He'll be missed and remembered, even if only by some of us. :)

Read more about him in [http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1867287|an April 20, 2006 article] at ABCNEWS.com.

BUSH APPROVAL EVEN LOWER! (33% Approval!!)

Wow--this one's coming from FoxNews.Com of all places. I would have thought that they'd be ignoring this story. Check out the following clip which comes from [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,192468,00.html|an April 20, 2006 article] at their website:
More Americans disapprove than approve of how George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Congress are doing their jobs, while a majority approves of Condoleezza Rice. President Bush’s approval hits a record low of 33 percent this week, clearly damaged by sinking support among Republicans.


You know things are bad when Fox mentions something like this!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for April 22, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for April 21, 2006!

GAS SHORTAGE ON THE US EAST COAST

Big surprise, right?

http://www.nbc10.com/news/8847571/detail.html

From the article:
Gas stations in three East Coast states ran out of fuel on Thursday as gas prices soared. Shortages were reported in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania on Thursday afternoon. They could last as long as 30 days.

NBC 10 was live at one gas station when the pumps went dry at rush hour.


It has begun! (I'm guessing...)

AAA spokeswoman Cathy Rossi told Baldini that the shortages were due to "logistics."

She said that a switch from MTBE to ethanol as a fuel additive is causing the shortages, and that more ethanol was in transit to refinieries.

Rossi said the shortages were expected to be temporary.


Really? Hang on--here's more from the article:
By temporary, AAA and other experts said the shortage situation could be for as long as 30 days. The news was unwelcome to drivers who saw a big jump at the gas pumps overnight. On Thursday morning, NBC 10 reported that prices at some local gas stations had hit $3 per gallon.

An NBC 10 news van stopping in Conshohocken, Pa., saw gas selling for $3.09 for a gallon of regular unleaded at a local station.

Don't expect those prices to go down in the near future.


Won't even a 30-day shortage have a domino effect and cause more shortages down the road?

Let's all start praying, whether we belive in God or not...

TheVlog for 4/21/6


thevlog20060421.mp4



Weee! This is a nice short one--it's a real slice-of-life vlog entry for ya--it's me walking through Hollywood in the middle of the night--well, 10pm, on the way home from work.

INCREDIBLE PODCASTING!!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Which Scifi-Fantasy Character Are You?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?



Damn, I thought for sure I'd be Captain Kirk. T_T

Ballpoint Adventures for April 21, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for April 21, 2006!
(click to make it bigger)

NATIONAL SECURITY WEBSITE for kids! (!!!)

Whoa--so, you go to this site:

http://www.nsa.gov/

And you get:



Head here:

http://www.nsa.gov/kids

and you get:



I'm kinda laughing at how they think they're going to get kids to be the future codebreakers of America. Check out the chihuahua on the end--I hope they're not thinking that little guy is going to take care of the Latino market--the dude isn't even anthrapamorphasized! He's just a dog!

But seriously--this kind of brainwashing (for kids!) really bugs me. It's one thing to put out propaganda like that new show The Unit that adults who are aware can realize is just a commercial for the USG, but it's entirely something else to put pro-NSA cartoons in front of kids who don't always know better.

Thanks be to the person who posted a link to the NSA for Kids website in [http://thepete.com/index.php#theshout|TheShoutBox]!

CARL BERNSTEIN SAYS INVESTIGATE BUSH

We need to hear more people saying that.

Famed Watergate-guy, Carl Bernstein, says in [http://www.vanityfair.com/commentary/content/printables/060417roco03?print=true|a piece] he wrote for VanityFair.Com that:
John Dean, the Watergate conspirator who ultimately shattered the Watergate conspiracy, rendered his precipitous (or perhaps prescient) impeachment verdict on Bush two years ago in the affirmative, without so much as a question mark in choosing the title of his book Worse than Watergate. On March 31, some three decades after he testified at the seminal hearings of the Senate Watergate Committee, Dean reiterated his dark view of Bush's presidency in a congressional hearing that shed more noise than light, and more partisan rancor than genuine inquiry. The ostensible subject: whether Bush should be censured for unconstitutional conduct in ordering electronic surveillance of Americans without a warrant.

Raising the worse-than-Watergate question and demanding unequivocally that Congress seek to answer it is, in fact, overdue and more than justified by ample evidence stacked up from Baghdad back to New Orleans and, of increasing relevance, inside a special prosecutor's office in downtown Washington.

In terms of imminent, meaningful action by the Congress, however, the question of whether the president should be impeached (or, less severely, censured) remains premature. More important, it is essential that the Senate vote—hopefully before the November elections, and with overwhelming support from both parties—to undertake a full investigation of the conduct of the presidency of George W. Bush, along the lines of the Senate Watergate Committee's investigation during the presidency of Richard M. Nixon.


Christmas would come early, for me, if an investigation of Bush were to happen.

Sad when the government doing what it is supposed to do is considered a Christmas present by me.

LA OBSERVATIONS

So, I'm on the bus last night coming home from a screening in Hollywood. The bus stops at a stoplight and I can see this garbage can that is bolted to the sidewalk, put there by the city. A homeless black guy is digging through it. I notice his grocery cart is only about a third full.

'Must be a starter kit,' I think to myself. From the can he pulls a pink umbrella. I smile sarcastically to myself noticing the contrast between it and the rather intimidating black man holding it. He then opens it up to reveal giant "Hello Kitty" logos all over it.

I cringed on his behalf as he eyed it, making sure the thing worked.

'Oh, dude! You're not going to keep it, are you?' I thought. 'What are the other homeless guys going to think of you?'

As the bus started moving again, I sighed as he put the umbrella in his cart.

I don't have a problem with tough guys using pink Hello Kitty umbrellas, I'm just amused by the juxtaposition. However, I do wonder why he thinks he needs an umbrella at all in Los Angeles. Sure, we got our rainy season late this year, but generally speaking our rainy season is equivalent to two days worth of Syracuse weather (their rainy season is 9 months :) ).

Oh and I noticed something about people who take the bus in LA. They're either minorities, poor white people or foreigners. Foreigners seem to be oblivious to the social ramifications of taking the bus. Which is good, I guess. I wish more Angelinos were. The bus, while slower than car-driving, helps the environment and compared to gas prices these days just might be cheaper.

Think about taking the bus in your town. :)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for April 20, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for April 20, 2006!
(click to make it bigger)

CALIFORNIA (and 38 other states) TRACK AIDS PATIENTS BY NAME

Wow, this seems like a serious invasion of privacy. It seems that California is now following the example set by 38 other American states (according to [http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-hiv18apr18,1,3065129.story?ctrack=1&cset=true|April 18, 2006 article] from LATimes.Com) by tracking AIDS patients by name, as opposed to the method established here back in 2002--by code number. Check out this clip from [http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-hiv18apr18,1,3065129.story?ctrack=1&cset=true|April 18, 2006 article] from LATimes.Com:
Epidemiologists tracking the spread of HIV in California will begin using data based on patient names rather than relying on a flawed code-based system under a new law signed Monday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Biased reporting much? So, the reporter is now letting us know that the system is flawed--apparently Michelle Keller, Times Staff Writer (the author of the article) is an expert in number-based tracking systems and can judge for us that this one is flawed.

Or not...

Anyway, here's more from the article:
The shift will ensure that California continues to receive more than $50 million annually for HIV/AIDS care from the federal government, which has ruled that code-based reporting is unreliable. With at least 38 states already signed on to use patient names, California is one of a handful of states still using alphanumeric codes to identify HIV cases.


Ah, well, that's the fact you include in the first paragraph--that the federal government has decided it's flawed. However, check out how this system is flawed:
The practice of using codes was created to ensure patient confidentiality, but proved to be a bureaucratic nightmare for health officials. County health departments have reported difficulties in exchanging data with doctors and duplication of HIV cases. Sorting out errors, argue proponents of the bill, has proven to be both expensive and time-consuming.

"It's been an incredible waste of energy and resources," said Dr. Douglas Frye, a medical epidemiologist with the Los Angeles County HIV epidemiology program. Frye estimates that the county spends about $1 million per year researching duplicate cases or errors in reporting.


Let me get this straight: the medical industry is having trouble creating a unique code-number for patients suffering from AIDS? This is absurd.

The device you're reading this post on right now has something called a MAC address. A MAC address is a Media Access Control address that gives an absolutely unique number to your networked device. The network card in your computer has one, my PowerBook has one--even my PS2 and my Nintendo DS have one. Now think about all the networked devices in the world. Each one, technically should have a unique number.

NOW, think about the industry trust with our health not being able to handle creating a simple unique number for each patient.

Yeah, pretty worrisome, huh?

Why do I feel we need to use code number instead of just good security on the files that use patients' names? Well, because I have a family member who has AIDS. He was keeping it from us for years but it slipped out when his mom happened to go to the same doctor as this family member. The nurse taking her blood saw the name in common and asked "Oh, are you related to XYZ? We do his blood work."

"What blood work?" his mom asked.

Oh well, so much for my family member's right to privacy.

Accidents happen, but if that nurse didn't have my family-member's real name, she couldn't have slipped up like that. "Oh, are you related to patient 6634-6790-4320-1234?"

"No, but those are my lottery numbers! What are the odds?!?"

GREAT PEAK OIL PRIMER VIDEO

Wanna learn about Peak Oil? Check out the video on [http://wcco.com/topstories/local_story_100223211.html|this page] at WCCO.com. They did a pretty well-put-together special report on it that breaks the issue down pretty nicely. Check it out and if you're really brave keep up with Peak Oil in the news by checking out the Peak_Oil community at LiveJournal.Com.

Even if Peak Oil isn't happenning, it's probably a good idea to play it safe and pretend that it will. When we do, we'll reduce our reliance on foreign oil and the air we breathe will be cleaner. Both are good things, don't you think?

Republicans Vote Down the 4th Amendment (sort of)

It's amazing what you find on the 'net. I had a brainlock while doing [http://thepete.com/bush-burns-through-another-press-secretary/|my last post on McClellan leaving his job] and had to look up the 4th ammendment to make sure I had the right one when I stumbled across [http://webusers.physics.umn.edu/~duvernoi/dem.html|this web page] on the personal site of Michael DuVernois, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. Here's what the page says:
February 7, 1995 - House Republicans Vote Down Fourth Amendment

During the debate today over the House Republicans' bill about the Exclusionary Rule, the House Black Caucus introduced an amendment to the bill that the Republicans promptly voted down. The amendment turned out to be the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, verbatim. The House Republicans were "chagrined." The vote was 303-121, meaning that a number of Democrats joined the Republicans.


Now, I checked the main page of DuVernois' site out and I can't tell if this is a joke or not. I looked it up on Snopes.Com and found no myths mentioning the 4th ammendment. Googling the headline at the top of DuVernois' page on the voting down of the 4th ammendment and got [http://www.cios.org/getfile%5CCRTNET_1152|this page] at CIOS.org, which the server at CIOS.org won't let you view unless you are a member. Luckily, [http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:q-fOi-1b1SQJ:www.cios.org/getfile%255CCRTNET_1152+February+7,+1995+-+House+Republicans+Vote+Down+Fourth+Amendment&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=2&client=firefox-a|Google's cache let's you view it without joining anything]. Here's what's on that page:
Date: Sat, 18 Feb 1995 21:09:17 -0500
[from] ai182_at_cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Wayne Draznin)
Subject: 4th ammendment

Got this off of the Viscom list. Thought folks would be
interested.

Wayne Draznin

Subject: Republicans Vote Down 4th Amendment in Bill of Rights (fwd)

This is a repost from:
Don Pratt
Syracuse University

---- Forwarded message ---
Date sent: Fri, 17 Feb 1995 08:54:34 EST
Send reply to Association of Black Sociologists


Here is a little tidbit that should cause everyone on this
list to say Hmmm. a funny (as in "disturbing," not
"hilarious") anecdote: i didn't hear about this when it
happened.

February 7, 1995 - House Republicans Vote Down Fourth
Amendment

Once again, here I go including something not strictly Newt.
Gingrich is however the leader of the House Republicans so
... During the debate today over the House Republicans' bill
about the Exclusionary Rule, the House Black Caucus
introduced an amendment to the bill that the Republicans
promptly voted down. The amendment turned out to be the
Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, verbatim. The House
Republicans were "chagrined." The vote was 303-121, meaning
that a number of Democrats joined the Republicans.


Here's the Fourth Amendment:

Amendment Article 4

Right of Search and Seizure Regulated.

The right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon
probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation,
and particularly describing the place to be
searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


Hard to believe they didn't recognize the language. I hope
they were all thouroughly embarrassed.

Dan

-----
forwarded by Wayne Draznin


I'm the one who changed the "@" to "_at_" in the above email address just in case it's still good. Anyway, so I thought that was pretty interesting, but the trail basically goes cold with the above email. I've found exact duplicates of the email [http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:GaTqPDZqo_sJ:idiot-dog.com/humor/fourth.html+%22February+7,+1995+-+House+Republicans+Vote+Down+Fourth+Amendment%22&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1&client=firefox-a|here], [http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:3qklvGTmam8J:www.newalbion.com/artists/cagej/silence/html/1995q3/0102.html+%22February+7,+1995+-+House+Republicans+Vote+Down+Fourth+Amendment%22&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=3&client=firefox-a|here], [http://www.eco.utexas.edu/~archive/chiapas95/1995.02/msg00386.html|here], and [http://wings.buffalo.edu/epc/poetics/early_archive/logs/1995/9508a|here]. Just for fun, I'm going to try and reach this Wayne Draznin guy and ask him about this. More on this as I learn it!

UPDATE:
Ah, shit--Draznin is dead. He died of cancer back in 2001. I'm pretty sure this is the right one since he was in Cleveland and so was his email address. I found [http://www.spacesgallery.org/9-01/aboutbb.html|this page] which talks about a memorial art show for him, including some of the works he created while dying of cancer.

Oh well... maybe somone will do a search and stumble across this post and clue us all in.

BUSH BURNS THROUGH ANOTHER PRESS SECRETARY

I don't remember how many press secretaries Clinton had, but it sure seems like doing the job for Bush is a pretty tough gig. It's no wonder why Scott McClellan is leaving. Personally, I've felt that McClellan hasn't been doing much of a job--compared to Ari Fleischer, he's always seemed kind of stiff--like the nerdy smart kid who is suddenly asked to do an oral report in front of the whole class. I just wonder if the next guy we get is going to be more evil and untrustworthy (like Ari) or bland, pliant and not that great at sparring with the press (like Scott).

The really frustrating thing, now that I think about it, is that McLellan should have bailed a while ago. I mean--if the press was really doing its job, he'd have cracked under the pressure a few weeks after taking the job. Of course, the press only does about half of its job, only doing the pitbull routine on things that ultimately don't matter skipping over all of the truly important bits like how the Iraq invasion was a violation of international law, how the GAO discovered that the Bush Admin had violated federal law by producing VNRs, and how the warrantless wiretapping really was a violation of the 4th ammendment.

OH well. Oh and here's some irony for you: FoxNews.Com is [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,192250,00.html|saying] today that:
One of the people the White House has approached as a possible replacement for McClellan is FOX News Radio host Tony Snow. The White House discussed the possibility with Snow as recently as this week.


Sheesh--the dude works for Fox News--he's already a spokesperson for the White House!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for April 19, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for April 19, 2006!
(click to make it bigger)

BOOTLEG CONSOLE SYSTEMS...AN ONGOING THREAT!

OK, this is the first time I've ever tried to post a YouTube.Com video in my blog so hopefully it will work. If you have trouble, check out [http://www.dsfanboy.com/2006/04/17/ds-knockoff-analyzed/|the post I found this video in] at DSFanboy.com. The clip is a pretty damn funny video review of a bootleg Nintendo DS. Never heard of a bootleg console before? Well, there are some businessmen in Asia that are quite unscrupulous. They will steal the general look of a console and then stick their own cheap-ass games inside of it. The results are a riot and, in my opinion, kind of charming in a way. I'd love to get my hands on the "Neo Double Games System" just to check it out. Although I'd probably end up taking it apart and using the casing for something else.

Regardless, here we go:



Pretty amusing, huh? The Britton in the vid is pretty fun to listen to, as well, me thinks. :) Check out the dude's video review of the PSP bootleg [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GESzyKelxXY|here].

RUMSFELD DOESN'T CONSIDER DOING WHAT'S RIGHT

When a huge stack of generals say you suck the LEAST you can do is CONSIDER quiting. Of course, the below screengrab comes from News.Google.Com earlier today. Yes, that's Rummy wiping the retired-general-spit from his eye...



What a bunch of cocky sons-of-bitches the Bush Admin are. Can you believe this? After all the total cock-ups they've committed all of them have the gall to not even THINK about the POSSIBILITY that they suck or that they've made a mistake?

Oh, I get it! Rumsfeld is holding out for his medal. Tennet got one, so it's only fair that Rummy get one, too.

SCIENTOLOGY ONLY GETTING WEIRDER

So, I finally got around to watching the Scientology-themed episode of South Park ironically titled "[http://www.mininova.org/tor/255211|Trapped in the Closet]." The title is ironic (if you haven't seen the episode) because, in the episode, Tom Cruise is told he's a bad actor. He reacts by hiding in the closet of one of the lead characters and won't come out. Several times, various different characters say things like "Tom Cruise, will you please come out of the closet?" and "Tom Cruise won't come out of the closet!"

Too funny. The other thing about that South Park episode was that it details what Scientologists actually believe--according to the writers of South Park, anyway (though I must admit I believe the show is accurate based on my previous reearch). This includes all sorts of wacky crap--like the idea that human bodies are actually possessed by alien souls trapped here on Earth by the evil lord Xenu.

Well, just when I thought the "religion" couldn't get any more absurd, Tom Cruise is in the news again. Check out the screengrab I snagged off of News.Google.Com just minutes ago:



Yep, you read it right--Cruise is planning to eat her placenta!

Pardon my French, but FUCK!

That's SICK SHIT, right there, man!!

Here's a message for all female actors out there who might end up getting cast opposite Cruise in a film--that mouth you're kissing HAS EATEN KATIE HOLMES' PLACENTA!!

YUCK!

If that doesn't make you consider a career change (or at least consider turning down a role) I don't know what will...

US NAVY RATTLING SABER IN SOUTH AMERICA

This is probably nothing to worry about, but I thought I'd mention it just in case. LJ user [http://tafyrn.livejournal.com/|Tafyrn] [http://community.livejournal.com/peak_oil/370248.html|posted something] on the Peak_Oil LJ community about how the US Navy has a bunch of ships in the Caribbean. Venezuelan Prez Hugo Chavez is letting his understandable paranoia of the Bush Administration get the better of him because he's apparently saying this is a possible prelude to an attack on his country by the US.

Chavez has also claimed in recent days that his country has more oil than Saudi Arabia. If that's true his concern of an American invasion just might be justified. However, for now, his concern seems to be overblown. Our sights are on Iran, not his country. Besides, we can't nuke Venezuela--the nuclear fallout would likely end up in the US.

Anyway, you can read more about it [http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1152AP_Carrier_Deployment.html|in an article] at SeattlePI.Com or [http://community.livejournal.com/peak_oil/370248.html|take part in the discussion] on Peak_Oil.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for April 18, 2006

Ballpoint Adventures for April 18, 2006!
(click to make it bigger)

"SECURITY" CAMERA ABUSE CHRONICLES

Yeah, these days I don't trust people any farther than I can throw them. Leaders, religious, political, whatever kind you refer to have proven time and again that they can't be trusted to always do the right thing. Even the beloved Republican party with all of it's "Christian morals" and "family values" turns around and takes bribes and mongers war. What's next? It's those happy people behind the security cameras. Big surprise--give someone some power, like the kind you get from having access to a security camera, and that power gets abused. Now you can keep up with the abuse of security camera's by checking out http://www.notbored.org/camera-abuses.html at NotBoard.Org.

They're keeping a chronicle of security camera abuses stratching back to 2001. Considering just how common security cameras are getting, this is a pretty helpful little record, I'd think.

[http://www.notbored.org/camera-abuses.html|Check it out!]

PEAK OIL HITS SAN FRANCISCO LEGISLATORS

As regular readers know I keep up with all the fun news of vanishing oil from planet Earth by hitting the Peak_Oil community at LiveJournal.Com almost daily. It's actually a great resource for learning about oil and it's place in society. Earlier today LJ User [http://babynutcase.livejournal.com/|BabyNutCase] posted [http://community.livejournal.com/peak_oil/372281.html?view=2465593#t2465593|a transcription] of the resolution San Francisco just passed on Peak Oil.

Why is this important? Essentially it says that progressive leaders are starting to accept Peal Oil as something that is likely to occur in their lifetimes and even in the foreseeable, not-to-distant future (next Sunday AD?). Why is this important? Simple, it means putting together a plan for dealing with Peak Oil is a good idea for every American city and, really, every American town, too.

Like Global Warming, I don't think it's a matter of "if it's really happenning or not." I think it's a question of benefitting from being prepared or not.

As in, would it help us in the long run to pretend that GW and PO are real? Perhaps not in the short-term financial side of things, but in general preparing for Peak Oil is a good idea and juuuust in case it's real, we won't get anally raped by fate.

Don't you just hate when you get anally raped by fate?

The 5 Minute Show Episode 16!

Wow--this week's show was a lot of fun to shoot. See, we found these three kittens under our building and TheWife got inspired to write a whole 5 Minute Show about fighting the ill-effects of overdosing on TheCute. In fact, she even hosts the show giving me some much-prefered time behind the camera. :) I think you'll agree that she's a great host.

Anyway, here it is!



It's a 14.3MB mp4 which should play just fine in Quicktime 7 or on your 5g iPod or your PSP. Please let me know if you have any trouble playing the clip.

SCOTUS REJECTS RIGHTS OF GITMO-GUYS WHILE ATF GOES AFTER PRETEND NINJA

This one should be filed under R for Redundant Story About USG abusing/ignoring rights of humans. It seems like there are so many examples of the USG ignoring/abusing the rights of humans I wonder why I even bother blogging on them.

ANYway, here comes an excerpt from [http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/S/SCOTUS_GUANTANAMO_DETAINEES?SITE=7219&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2006-04-17-10-04-32|an April 17, 2006 article] from AP.Org, ENJOY:
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday from two Chinese Muslims who were mistakenly captured as enemy combatants more than four years ago and are still being held at the U.S. prison in Cuba.

The men's plight has posed a dilemma for the Bush administration and courts. Previously, a federal judge said the detention of the ethnic Uighurs in Guantanamo Bay is unlawful, but that there was nothing federal courts could do.

Lawyers for the two contend they should be released, something the Bush administration opposes, unless they can go to a country other than the United States.

A year ago, the U.S. military decided that Abu Bakker Qassim and A'Del Abdu al-Hakim are not "enemy combatants" as first suspected after their 2001 arrests in Pakistan. They were captured and shipped to Guantanamo Bay along with hundreds of other suspected terrorists.

The U.S. government has been unable to find a country willing to accept the two men, along with other Uighurs. They cannot be returned to China because they likely will be tortured or killed.


Ahhh, FUN. You gotta love a country that promises inalienable rights for all humans and delivers none of them to people they don't like.

HEY, that's MY country!!

OH and special thanks to [http://gypsyjr.livejournal.com/|LJ User GypsyJR] for [http://gypsyjr.livejournal.com/759693.html?view=3976077#t3976077|posting] on a story about how the ATF went after a guy coming from a "pirate vs. ninja event" according to [http://www.redandblack.com/vnews/display.v/ART/443c71ed40b94|this April 12, 2006 article] at RedAndBlack.Com. Here's a clip:
ATF agents are always on alert for anything suspicious — including ninjas.

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm agents, on campus Tuesday for Project Safe Neighborhoods training, detained a “suspicious individual” near the Georgia Center, University Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said.

Jeremiah Ransom, a sophomore from Macon, was leaving a Wesley Foundation pirate vs. ninja event when he was detained.

After being held in investigative detention, he was found to have violated no criminal laws and was not arrested.

“It was surreal,” Ransom said. “I was jogging from Wesley to Snelling when I heard someone yell ‘freeze.’”

Ransom said he thought a friend was playing a joke before he realized officers had guns drawn and pointed at him.

ATF agents had noticed Ransom’s suspicious behavior and clothing and gave chase, apprehending him, Williamson said.

“Agents noticed someone wearing a bandanna across the face and acting in a somewhat suspicious manner, peeping around the corner,” said ATF special agent in charge Vanessa McLemore.

Ransom was wearing black sweatpants and an athletic T-shirt with one red bandanna covering the bottom half of his face and another covering the top of his head, Williamson said.

“Seeing someone with something across the face, from a federal standpoint — that’s not right,” McLemore said, explaining why agents believed something to be amiss.


Yes, of COURSE, if you see a man wearing a bandana over his face HE MUST BE A TERRORIST!!

He can't be just dicking around on a random afternoon with some friends. HE MUST BE AN EVIL-DOER!

LET THIS BE A WARNING TO ANY AND ALL PIRATES OR NINJA READING THIS POST!!

THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT IS ON TO YOU!

WATCH OUT!

KATRINA WAS BAD, BUT BULGARIA, SERBIA AND ROMANIA ARE LIKELY WORSE

Not sure if the mainstream US news is covering this story but I thought I'd at least mention it just in case. Seems the Danube river in the Bulgaria/Serbia/Romania area has flooded over 1000 miles of land that was largely used by people. I don't know how many square miles of land Katrina wrecked, but I haven't heard the phrase "1000 miles" bandied about in connection with that storm.

This isn't to belittle Katrina victims or anything like that, just pointing out that things are rough for people in other places on the planet, too, and perhaps we might better spend our $200+ billion helping people/countries as opposed to invading sovereign nations like Iraq and, probably very soon, Iran.

Here's a goodly chunk of [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2137746,00.html|an April 17, 2006 article] at http://TimesOnline.co.uk covering the disaster:
THE Blue Danube of legend was yesterday a torrent of brackish floodwater after it burst its banks in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, causing widespread destruction and raising fears of mass evacuations.

Romanian officials began a programme of controlled flooding, after the Danube reached its highest levels for more than a century, to prevent low-lying villages being submerged.

The floods have been caused by high rainfall and melting snow from the harsh Balkan winter. Hundreds of houses have been flooded in the region and thousands of people have been made homeless.

In Romania the waters flowed at a record rate of 15,900 cubic metres per second. The normal flow for this time of year is 7,900 cubic metres per second.

“We are going through an unprecedented situation. Romania has never had such water levels,” said Madalin Mihailovici, director of the Agency for Romanian Waters.

Kittens, Work, The 5 Minute Show and Kittens...

It has been one hectic-ass week here at ThePete HQ! A week ago today we found those 3 kittens underneath our building. I've forgotten how much effort kittens are. Feedings several times a day and attention when they feel like whining (or the discipline to ignore them when they do). Been trying to look for more work while attempting to jazz up certain aspects of this site, but the kitties ae just taking a lot out of me. TheWife seems to be holding up fine, but I know I'm not the only one worried about the finances. :) So, Saturday I set up a custom theme for any posts in TheFunnies category, which I think looks pretty good--you can check it out here: http://thepete.com/category/thefunnies

Then on Sunday TheWife did the hard part and wrote this week's episode of The 5 Minute Show and she even hosted it! It was fun being on the other side of the camera for an episode. It's currently rendering in Final Cut right now and should be done and posted later today. (I think you did a great job, honey!)

As I'm typing this I've got the last of the three kittens to survive. We got fed up last night and ate two of them for dinner.

NOOOO, I'm kidding!!

A friend of TheWife's claimed two of them leaving us with "the laid back" one. We named them all just so we would know which kitten we were talking about and the one we still have we call "Skoshi." That's the Japanese word for "a little." As in "a little bit." I suggested the name assuming we'd not be keeping him/her (still can't tell) for more than a few days. Of course, now this one's totally grown on me and I don't want to give him away. He's so chill generally and seems like my kind of cat.

I need more "chill" in my life. :D

Another friend of TheWife's is interested in him/her but he can't take the kitty for a few weeks while he moves into a new pad. I'm thinking we should just keep Skoshi. I've grown attached to him/her and I don't like the idea of keeping him around for three weeks (or so) only to have to give him up after all that time. I think Skoshi is taking the loss of his siblings roughly and I don't want to uproot him again.

Last night when we put him in the cat carrier (he's too small to be left alone) he mewed and mewed for about an hour until he fell asleep. This morning when TheWife got up Skoshi was awake and mewing again. She had to run out to an audition so the poor thing was left by himself and kept mewing. I had to get up and pay attention to him or he'd never shut up. Of course, I was up until 5am working on the show, so I am about to fall over as I type this. Luckily, Skoshi has fallen asleep in my lap, so I'm hoping I'll be able to get him over to the cat carrier and then I'll climb back into bed for a couple hours.

Or not! I cracked my knuckles and he's awake again. Damn cat's too much like me. Wakes up on a dime...

OH well... wish us luck deciding what to do with this guy! (If you feel like helping with his vet visit, the "support TP.C" link above will tell you how. :D

I hope to get back to blogging/vlogging more soon and watch for the newest t5MS later today...

Friday, April 14, 2006

BUSH SUPPORTS RUMMY

The below screengrab comes from News.Google.Com earlier today:


Like we should be surprised? This is the same idiot who gave CIA honcho George Tennet a medal after Tennet called Iraqi WMD a slamdunk.

Bush thinks we're fucking idiots.

Of course, he's right about those Americans who still support him.

VIOLENCE TOWARD WOMEN OR JUST GOOD ADVERTISING?

So, I'm over at Joystiq.com getting my daily dose of video game news and they're doing a new series of stories on game advertising. In one of these entries they post an ad for a game I've heard of but never played. Here's the good bits of the ad:



Click the pic to go to the original post and to see, what I feel are, the objectionable bits. See, to me the ad punished me for having lustful (instictive, natural thoughts). I HATE violence toward women and to me to see a beautiful woman who has suffered violence is not cool--I can't just "not look" at ads like this--by the time I realize what I'm looking at, it's too late--I've already been disturbed.

I mean, this ad was nothing like the very disturbing violence toward hotness in the movie Munich, but it still bugged me.

Of course, if you have a look and you aren't the least bit offended you might want to consider just how jaded you are. If you're actually turned on by such an image, I'd suggest a little therapy.

Sure, sure, "just cover up the wound and she's just sleeping"--yeah, yeah, just keep telling yourself that. I doubt you'd be willing to say that about a real dead woman in your bed.

Ballpoint Adventures for April 14, 2006 by ThePete

Ballpoint Adventures for April 14, 2006!
(click to make it bigger)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

TETRIS DS IS A BLAST, BUT...I'M ADDICTED NOW!!!

Tetris DS online was fun tonight. I got my ass whooped by Cindy and Jay. Sheesh... nothing like losing to people with boring usernames. There's also nothing like playing against jerks players so good they get like 5 Tetri in a row right as the game starts so you end up playing for all of 30 seconds.

As I'm typing this I'm getting murdered by a guy calling himself, simply, "man". All in lower-case, just like that. Sheesh...

The worst thing about playing Tetris DS online is that for about two hours I couldn't find 3 people to do a 4-player game. I'd see three player show up in the qeue but then disappear. Then reappear. Then disappear again. When I finally would get 3 other players in one would bail before the game started thus causing myself and the other two to start all over. I also had far too many people play one round and then bail on the match entirely which is totally lame--DON'T go online if you're just on for one quick round. You're wasting everyone else's time.

I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining--it's just a drag when you take the time to turn off the encryption on your router, log in and wait around to actually get 4 players only to have one loser bail.

Of course, the only reason I'm complaining this much is because I am completely addicted. I binge play--I'll not be on for a few days but then I'll be on for six hours. I should try to play for shorter times but more often. I'm also going to post my Tetris friend code on my site because I'd love to get a bunch of people to regularly play TDS online.

I wonder how interactive the new Super Mario Brothers DS game will be--man, I'm never getting any work done once that game comes out...

In the meantime I'll try to go online with Tetris DS when I can--if anyone wants to join me, my friend code is located above TheShoutBox. When I go online I'll be sure to post there to say so.

Man, I so prefer losing to a person called "UrashaVahn" over losing to a guy called "Poo".

GENERALS JUST FIGURING IT OUT: RUMMY MUST QUIT

Wow--I can't believe it took them this long to figure out what so many of us knew long ago. The following screengrab comes from News.Google.Com just moments ago:



Actually, scratch that--it doesn't surprise me at all that I and so many other civilians knew early on not to trust this paranoid, corrupt, amoral sociopath but a bunch of military men couldn't see the danger.

Doesn't ANYone remember this asshole during the cold war? Dude was saying the same crap about the Soviets as he would about Sadam and now Iran decades later.

"They are a growing threat." is his usual rhetoric said in such a matter-of-fact way as to make you think "of course, he's right and I'm an ass to think otherwise!"

Seriously, this guy going away can only be a good thing. No replacement will be as devious and amoral as Rumsfeld.

Ballpoint Adventures for April 13, 2006 by ThePete

Ballpoint Adventures for April 13, 2006!
(click to make it bigger)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

OH YEAH, WE'RE HITTIN' IRAN

As I type this, it's nearly 1am on Thursday, April 13, 2006. I capped the image below off of DrudgeReport.Com:



Well, I give Drudge credit for not using a red font for the headline--that's showing unusual retraint!

Do I believe the claim made by [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000100&sid=aduNTcpDuDd4&refer=germany|an April 12, 2006 article] at Bloomberg.Com is accurate? Who cares? Not Bush, that's for sure.

Once again we're rushing into a war that we are not ready for and have, once again, not thought through. But does it matter what I think? What does it matter what you think? It doesn't. All that matters is what Bush thinks.

Is Iran seriously this close to a nuke weapon? I doubt it. Everything I've read up until now has said it's going to be several years--5 to 10 in most estimates--even American ones. That's what's odd about this article is that all of the sudden, Iran is very close to a nuke weapon. This is very sudden and I'm pretty sure, based on our experiences in Iraq, that US intelligence sources should not be trusted. Here's what the Bloomberg.com article says:
Iran, defying United Nations Security Council demands to halt its nuclear program, may be capable of making a nuclear bomb within 16 days, a U.S. State Department official said.

Iran will move to ``industrial scale'' uranium enrichment involving 54,000 centrifuges at its Natanz plant, the Associated Press quoted deputy nuclear chief Mohammad Saeedi as telling state-run television today.

``Using those 50,000 centrifuges they could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 16 days,'' Stephen Rademaker, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, told reporters today in Moscow.


Yeah and Sadam had WMD, too.

Why should we trust anything the USG says, regardless of whether it's pro or con an Iran Attack?

In the end, I'm not sure what to think about Iran, but I know I don't trust the USG.

ENDS JUSTIFYING THE MEANS IN IRAQ

So, I'm listening to the podcast of [http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/|This Week with George Stephanopoulos] and I hear House Majority Leader John Boehner state firmly that he believes "we are in Iraq for the right reasons."

This is how I read that statement: "Since we're in Iraq for the right reasons, I believe that our mistakes don't matter. We're doing some nice things for the Iraqis, so don't pay attention to the mistakes, the violence, the death, the lack of stability compared to Iraq before the US invasion and, of course, don't fire anyone for making the decisions that led to the above-mentioned mistakes."

Ultimately, I feel that using the phrase "we're doing XYZ for the right reasons" is identical to using the phrase "the ends justify the means."

There are no more "correct" choices to make in Iraq. Anything the US does in Iraq will lead to further violence and death on all sides of the conflict. The best thing we can do is pull out of there so what ever mess continues after us won't be our fault.

Ballpoint Adventures for April 12, 2006 by ThePete

Ballpoint Adventures for April 12, 2006!
(click to make it bigger)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Performing Surgery on my PowerBook

My nearly two-year-old PowerBook has been a real trooper for me. My hard drive died three days before the warranty expired which was no big deal since I've had HDs go on PCs I've owned. The thing is now my beloved PB is well out of warranty and the monitor is having some troubles. Every so often the screen will go black--it's not dead or even dying as far as I can tell because the monitor still has power to it and light comes from it even if the screen is black. To get the picture to come back I have to push on the wrist-rest-areas or the trackpad.

Kind of annoying, but I believe it's something I can fix on my own. Since I know I haven't dropped this thing at all I think it's reasonable to assume that it's nothing more than a loose cable inside the main part of the LT. I figure I'll just open her up and make sure all of the cables are firmly inside their ports. Wish me luck!

UPDATE: Everything seemed to go fine, though I don't know precisely what I did. I got about a third of the way in and couldn't figure out how to get the rest of the machine apart, so I looked online for instructions. Got all the way in and couldn't see anything expressly wrong so I just started pushing on cable and card connections and wouldn't you know it--that seemed to do the trick once I put everything back together. All is well, now. I shot plenty of video and will post it in a few weeks when I can get through my back log of editing projects. :)

IRAN NUCLEAR CLUB MEMBER--BUT REMEMBER...

As you're reading articles like [http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=1831882|this one] from ABCNews.com and AP.Org, remember there's a difference between enriching uranium (which Iran has now managed to do, apparently) and building nuclear weapons. Most folks still seem to think that Iran is still years away from nukes (as in weapons). How do I know this? Here is the very final sentence of the final paragraph in the above linked article:
The enrichment process can take years to produce a gas rich enough in uranium-235 that it can be used to power a nuclear reactor or produce a bomb.


By saying that the process "can take years" I don't think they mean us to infer that it "can take months." Just my guess, of course.

In the Los Angeles Area? Want a Kitten or Three?

Yesterday afternoon TheWife and I found three little kittens in our storage locker under our apartment building. The mom was underneath the building itself and we couldn't get to her, but we felt that leaving the kittens under there wouldn't be a good idea since the locker is just feet from where the cars are parked--plus it's been getting colder again. Anyway, so we're caring for them for a day or two while we find either a shelter/foster home for them or an actual home.

Needless to say, they're adorable.







What one? Or all three? Know of a good adoption place that can take them off of our hands? We'd love to keep them except that we've already got two adult cats and one very small apartment. Even if you don't want one, do you know anyone in the area who might?

Thanks for any help in finding these guys homes!!

Ballpoint Adventures for April 11, 2006 by ThePete

Ballpoint Adventures for April 11, 2006!
(click to make it bigger)

Monday, April 10, 2006

The 5 Minute Show Episode 15!

WOW--IT'S THE FIRST NEW EPISODE OF THE 5 MINUTE SHOW IN A WEEK! All right, well, it's impressive when you consider that the last new episode before this one was the first new one in three years... did that make any sense? Regardless, YOU'VE GOT TO CHECK THIS OUT! I can't believe what I did in this episode. Anyone who knows me knows I don't normally do what I do in this episode so:

CHECK IT OUT!



The mp4 is just 17MB--AWESOME!

I would have posted this earlier, but we found three kittens under our building and I had to help take care of them. More on them soon. :)

Ballpoint Adventures for April 10, 2006 by ThePete

Ballpoint Adventures for April 10, 2006!
(click to make it bigger)

BUSH PLANNING NUKE ATTACKS ON IRAN

SIGH...

Well, we sure as hell couldn't invade using soldiers--we don't have enough of those left after Iraq--but I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.

The following comes from [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=C3HY5I431EHHRQFIQMGSFFWAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2006/04/09/wbush09.xml&sSheet=/portal/2006/04/09/ixportaltop.html|an April 9, 2006 article] at http://www.telegraph.co.uk :
The Bush administration is planning to use nuclear weapons against Iran, to prevent it acquiring its own atomic warheads, claims an investigative writer with high-level Pentagon and intelligence contacts.

President George W Bush is said to be so alarmed by the threat of Iran's hard-line leader, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, that privately he refers to him as "the new Hitler", says Seymour Hersh, who broke the story of the Abu Ghraib Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal.

...

Hersh claims that one of the plans, presented to the White House by the Pentagon, entails the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites. One alleged target is Iran's main centrifuge plant, at Natanz, 200 miles south of Teheran.


This could easily mean nothing--the Pentagon draws up plans for all sorts of crazy stuff that never happens. The thing is, if the Pentagon draws up a plan I think it's safe to assume that they feel up to the task of executing this plan.

It's scary when entire chunks of one's own government seem to have no morals.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

TheVlog for 4/9/6

Wow--all sorts of stuff in this Vlog entry! News, commentary, news and more news! Check it out!


thevlog20060409.mp4



Here are links to the articles that I refer to in this vlog entry:

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/04/06/1432231

http://prwatch.org/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/05/AR2006040502147.html

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/world/14271210.htm

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chronicle/3771925.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/05/uttm/main1472258.shtml?source=RSS&attr=HOME_1472258

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/04/07/MNGH6I59QF1.DTL

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=101520

http://theocacao.com/document.page/251

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060407/ap_on_go_pr_wh/cia_leak_28;_ylt=AmUTPMv1xb7jsneaC_IT9sdqP0AC;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

http://www.stennieville.com

http://hucklebug.blogspot.com/

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13130-2124287,00.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/08/AR2006040800538.html

http://www.imakeprojects.com/projects/sonic-grenades/