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ADVENTURES

Thursday, March 29, 2007

SATURN LIKES GEOMETRY



Have a good look at that image. Yeah--that's a crazy-ass storm on Saturn that is swirling AROUND a hexagon shape. Apparently it's been there for a while. Nobody knows what it is. It's more than twice as big as Earth.

That pretty much covers it.

However, if you'd like a more complicated explanation, here's a cutting from [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/technology/technology.html?in_article_id=445117&in_page_id=1965|a March 28, 2007 article] at http://DailyMail.co.uk that makes it a bit more complicated sounding:
A mysterious giant hexagon lies above Saturn's north pole, captured by cameras on Nasa's Cassini Orbiter.

Spanning 25,000km - equivalent to the width of two planet Earths - the bizarre geometric feature appears to remain virtually still in the atmosphere as clouds swirl around it.

The infra-red images show the hexagon - which contains a smaller six-sided formation - extends about 60km down into the clouds.

The hexagon is similar to Earth's polar vortex, which has winds blowing in a circular pattern around the polar region. On Saturn, the vortex has a hexagonal shape.

The six-sided shape is in stark contrast to the swirling, hurricane-like vortex at Saturn's opposite pole.

The feature was first photographed more than 20 years ago by Nasa's Voyager 1 and 2 probes, but this is the first time the hexagon has been seen in one image.

The latest pictures were taken at nighttime using infra-red because the pole is currently in darkness and the red colour indicates the amount of heat being generated from inside the planet.

Kevin Baines of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said: "This is a very strange feature, lying in a precise geometric fashion with six nearly equally straight sides.

"We've never seen anything like this on any other planet. Indeed, Saturn's thick atmosphere where circularly-shaped waves and convective cells dominate is perhaps the last place you'd expect to see such a six-sided geometric figure, yet there it is."


Crazy.

Perhaps we should, oh, I don't know, SEND A PERSON UP TO INVESTIGATE???

OH wait, we've already BLOWN $500 billion on a FUCKING USELESS WAR. God forbid we should spend some real cash on EXPANDING HUMAN KNOWLEDGE.

Nobody knows WTF that thing is up there, but thank God, 50,000 Al Qaeda chappies are being held at bay.

We are sooo dumb...

RUSKIES SEE US MILITARY BUILD UP ON IRAN BORDER

Yippeeee!

Just yesterday [http://thepete.com/more-us-saber-rattling-at-iran/|I blogged about this very thing], the possibility of an Iran Attack. Well, just as I was about to go to bed last night I saw [http://en.rian.ru/russia/20070327/62697703.html|this March 27, 2007 article] at http://RIAN.ru linked to from DrudgeReport.Com. Here's a cutting:
Russian military intelligence services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran's borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday.

"The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran," the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched.

He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran "that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost."

He also said the U.S. Naval presence in the Persian Gulf has for the first time in the past four years reached the level that existed shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Sciences, said last week that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran's military infrastructure in the near future.


I have no idea how reliable this news source is, but it bolsters my theory that we're going to hit Iran, logic be damned.

Hopefully, this is all wrong and I'm wrong and Bush doesn't order an Iran Attack.

But if he does, don't tell me I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Project365 day 087




Project365 day 087 20070328, originally uploaded by thepetecom.



This is me in my cube at the dayjob posing with my CardBoy calendar.

Get your own CardBoy that you can print out yourself at

http://CardBoy.tv !! CardBoy: The Flatpacked Freedom Fighter!

TRIPPIEST DAMN ABANDONED HOTEL YOU'VE EVER SEEN

OK, so maybe you haven't seen an abandoned hotel before. Well, look at this:



Now you definitely have.

This is a hotel complex in China, San Chih, just north of Taipei, to be exact. It was never finished because someone decided it would be too expensive for people to pay to stay there. I stumbled upon the above pic at Tranism.com in [http://www.tranism.com/weblog/archives/2006/07/the_abandoned_c.html|this post]. In the comments people who know more about it than the original poster or me chimed in and explained the deal. Hit the link above for more pics and info or have a look at the aerial view below that I grabbed from FlashEarth.com.



Hit [http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=25.260593&lon=121.477299&z=13.5&r=0&src=msl|here] to explore this area of the Earth at FlashEarth.com.

MORE US SABER RATTLING AT IRAN

I've been told by a lot of rational, smart people that there's no way the US can do anything militarily against Iran. Our military is stretched too thin and Iran's military is actually formidable, unlike Iraq's was when we invaded them. I would agree with said smart people, if only logic had any part in the White House's decision making process.


Over the past few months we've seen a naval build up in the Persian gulf. I know there are at least two US Navy carrier groups over there now and I've heard that there is supposed to be a third showing up soon. However, the two that are there are not waiting for three to be a crowd. Check out this cutting from [http://www.wavy.com/Global/story.asp?S=6285824&nav=23ii|a March 27, 2008 article] from AP.org available at WAVY.com that details what those boats have been up to over there:

In an exercise that's sure to heighten tensions with Iran, the U-S Navy has been staging its largest show of force in the Persian Gulf since the invasion of Iraq.
The exercise included 15 warships and more than 100 aircraft. Iran has frequently criticized American presence off its coast and is in a face-off with the West over its nuclear program and its capture of a British naval team.

U-S commanders are insisting that the exercise is not in response to the seizure of the British sailors, but says it was intended as a warning.

It's pretty obvious what these exercises are a warning of. Things are getting tense over there and you wonder if Iran is calling the West's bluff by nabbing those UKGIs.
Remember folks, we get a stack of oil from Iran. If there's a war with them, we'll see our gas prices go even higher. We'll also see our military get stretched even thinner which means defense of the "homeland" will be even weaker.

Lots of ripple effects to an Iran Attack. Let's hope it doesn't happen. Sadly, there is mounting evidence that seems to suggest it's a foregone conclusion.

Scuttlebutt is that we'll see it before the end of spring if we see it at all.

TheFED AGREES WITH ME, ECONOMY THREATENED

Not too long ago, I posted on how, in my view, the economy is tanking. I cited brick and mortar chains closing up shop and megacorps like Toys R Us selling off their main businesses because they were losing money. Well, now it looks like the Fed is agreeing with ThePete. Check out this cutting from [http://money.cnn.com/2007/03/28/news/economy/bernanke.reut/index.htm?postversion=2007032811|a March 28, 2007 article] from Reuters.com available at CNN.com:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday uncertainties surrounding the outlook for the economy had risen recently, and that future interest-rate decisions by the central bank would depend on how the economy evolves.


....
Bernanke said that while inflation, outside of volatile food and energy prices, seems likely to moderate gradually over time, the risks to that forecast were to the upside.
But he also expressed concern about the slowdown in the U.S. housing market, which he said had been the principal source of a slowdown in economic growth that began last spring.


OK, so that's not exactly an agreement since he's not looking at things from the ground, up. Still he's seeing what I think is a trickle-up effect, where people are start spending less on little things and eventually spend less on more and more expensive things until they stop buying houses.


I'm no expert, just using my brain and what I see. Things look bad to me. I'd invest in gold if I had the money to.


Just sayin'!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Project365 day 086




Project365 day 086 2007 03 27, originally uploaded by thepetecom.



Ok, that cloud behind my head looked waaay more threatening in person.

:\ It was a very weird day weather-wise. The wind was blowing *toward*

the ocean. Very strange indeed.

TWO VERSIONS OF NOT SUPPORTING THE TROOPS

OK, so extremists are really starting to rule--but here in America. Dick Cheney and George W. Bush say that dissent is undermining the troops. Anyone who wants the troops to be pulled out of Iraq simply isn't supporting them.

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the same coin are absurd activists who burn a US soldier in effigy as they protest for peace.

These are both examples of extremism in America.

On the one hand these protesters for peace are assuming all US soldiers are evil and should be killed. Clearly, these guys aren't interested in bringing the war to an end (the ultimate show of support for the troops) if they're advocating the deaths of US GIs.

On the other hand Bush, Cheney and friends put our troops in harms way fo WMD that wasn't there and when the survivors of that mistake come home they get medical care on par with the kind you'd get if you were a victim of the Inquisition. Clearly, these guys aren't interested in supporting our troops if they don't actually show their support of the troops in any way.

That's the messed up thing about extremism. It takes the form of things we cherish, but when it comes right down to it, the only good kind of extremism comes in moderation.

In this case, those of us claiming the middleground need to get a little bit extreme and stop these people from essentially lying to get their way, whether it's extremist protesters or extremist capitalist politicians. Sure, "moderates" are supposed to be moderate, but part of that moderation needs to be spent on being extreme in moderation. Don't worry, you won't have to be extreme for long, just long enough to make a difference.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Project365 day 085




Project365 day 085 2007 03 26, originally uploaded by thepetecom.



Me back at Boba Loca and TheWife looking TheCreepy at me. o_O

My "Blond" Hair




PICT0021, originally uploaded by thepetecom.



Seriously folks. What do we think about this hair? Should I go bald? Or stick with this? Comment here or on my flickr page.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Project365 day 084




Project365 day 084 2007 03 25, originally uploaded by thepetecom.



Ah, this was a fun but short night. Someone told us the wrong time for when

our friend Lorenzo's band was going to go on at the Viper Room, so we missed

literally half the act. So sad. Meanwhile, I'm Mr. Idiot with the camera

and can't manage a decent shot. :( Ah well!

LIFE ON MARS (2006)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? Yeah, definitely. It's a bit on the predictable side and I think British cop shows like this one have a tough time being "tough" since UK cops can't carry guns 99 percent of the time. Still, great acting, reasonable writing and good classic rock music kept me watching the entire first series (or season as we know them in the US). But the premise of a modern-day cop waking up in 1973 and having to be a cop back then is a pretty cool premise.


Technically any good? While there is an over all story arc, not every episode feeds directly into it. This is good because it shakes things up, but it also means every episode needs to be really strong to keep people coming back--not every episode was as strong as I think it should have been. I didn't lose interest because the basic premise was still interesting. However, the writing does feel a bit stretched by the final episode. Luckily, everything resolves...almost. The acting, as I said, is spot-on (or "very good" as we know it in the US) and the production/direction is so solid I have nothing to say about it. It really does look like 1973 in the show, by the way.


How did it leave me feeling? The final episode of the six episode series left me feeling almost satisfied. I felt that the main plot had set up the conceit that when Sam (the lead) works out his neurosis with his dad, he'd return to the present day from 1973 and the series would end. Instead, things resolve nicely, but he doesn't wake up from his coma in 2006. Instead, there's a second series.


Final Rating? GSN - Go See Now: of course, it's only available on region 2 DVD in the UK, but you can go out and buy yourself a region free player (mine is a Philips 5960), [http://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Mars-1-Jane-Featherstone/dp/B000E9X0A4/ref=pd_bowtega_1/026-0180280-7917273?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1174879722&sr=1-1|order the DVD] from http://Amazon.co.uk OR you could send a bunch of emails to BBCAmerica.com demanding they rerun the first series. Why am I so gung-ho despite my not quite stellar review of the first series? I just saw the first episode of the second series and they managed to make things ten times more interesting than the first. Seriously, folks--check this show out.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Project365 day 082




Project365 day 082 2007 03 24, originally uploaded by thepetecom.



Stupid me, it's TheWife's Bday today and this was the only pic I took of

her! >_
for the first time years. The round trip only took us 45 minutes! WAHOO!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THEWIFE!!

TheWife (yes, uppercase "W"), aka Sierra, is celebrating her birthday today! YAY!!!

So, to the best wife a guy could have

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWEETHEART!!

I hope our friends and I make this a special day for you!!

I LOVE YOU!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Project365 day 082




Project365 day 082 2007 03 23, originally uploaded by thepetecom.



OK, this isn't me, obviously, but it is the love of my life. This pic was
taken just after we, with complete randomness, stumbled upon a CD of a
concept musical she played the title character in. I'd like to the CD on
Amazon.com but my mom just bought the last copy on there. :)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Project365 day 081




Project365 day 081 2007 03 22, originally uploaded by thepetecom.



After TheWife took me out for dinner and a performance of our old friend
John Torres we stopped by Virgin Megastore in West Hollywood (my old
digs) to pick up some music. Yep, we actually bought Compact Discs!!
Si picked up "Jekyll & Hyde The Musical" to prepare for an audition and
I picked up Hybrid's "I Choose Noise" and "Y4K" because Hybrid is my
favorite band of the moment. There music will help me as I work on the
2nd draft of my novel. Sweet! Wow, this is a long-ass caption!

IMPEACH BUSH OVER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR FIRINGS? BETTER THAN NOTHING

Grabbed this last night off of CNN.com:



Wow, so of all the things Bush has screwed up, this story is the one that sticks?

Well, OK, I'll take what I can get! Let's impeach this guy now. How many more laws do we let him break before we actually do something about it? And remember, you don't even have to break a law to get impeached--all you have to do is violate the public trust.

And I'm pretty sure Bush has already done that and, if he hasn't, he's done so now in firing all of these prosecutors just because they weren't his loyal followers.

Wrongthinking (dissent) is punishable.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

702 818 2457 Calling...

So, I'm sitting here tonight balancing my Quicken, waiting for TheWife to call when the phone rings. The caller ID spits out only: 17028182457

I don't answer because I never pick up calls from numbers I don't recognize or are anonymous. If it's important, they'll leave a voicemail.

The thing is, who ever called didn't leave a voicemail.

On a whim (because I was bored out of my skull balancing my Quicken) I decided to google the number. I found something interesting--other people have had calls from this number.

There are two pages I checked out. The first one is here:

http://whocalled.us/lookup/7028182457

They had a neat little form you could fill out with data regarding the call along with a comment form.

Then there was this page:

http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-702-818-2457

They're a forum for discussion of this sort of crap.

It's nice to see there are people keeping track of these losers with nothing better to do than spam-call people. And here I thought it was illegal to spam-call cell phones. Ah well.

1984 ANTI-HILLARY OBAMA AD--NOT GETTING IT

So, everyone's freaking out about this stupid "1984" Mac/iPod/Hillary ad some guy made as though it was a scathing attack on the former 1st Lady. As if! What the hell is so big-brothery about Hillary??? I write about big brother stuff all the time and the very last person I would ever think of being guilty of 1984ish behavior would be Mrs. Bill.

Is she for increased surveillance of Americans and fewer rights for civilians? Is she for the warantless wiretapping program or against investigations into 911, Katrina, the Iraquagmire or anything else the government has screwed up royal?

Well, not that I know of. All I do know is that she's pro-war. That doesn't exactly sign her up for Big Sister status to me. As I watched the infamous video I remember being puzzled as to what about Hillary did qualify her to be CGed into a Mac/iPod ad. I kept thinking about it, turning things over in my mind, but if that had been Bush, Cheney, Rove, Guilliani, hell, even McCain, it'd make more sense. If anything this guy who made the video should have spliced Hillary's head onto Stan Laurel's body in a Laurel and Hardy short. That's more what she and the Dems are like anyway. Hardy would be the perfect Newt Gingrich: "There's another fine mess you've gotten us into!"

I could be wrong, of course. I really haven't had the time to keep up with everyone's positions and, frankly, I'm not terribly motivated to keep up with them, either. Especially since Dems are continuing to ignore laws that are being broken by the Bush Administration. Hell, as far as I'm concerned, every politician in DC has violated the public trust. Ah well.

I did stumble across another Obama-related video that was pretty damn hilarious. It's not as contravertial, but it is still worth a look. It stars Wyatt Cenac, a comedian I saw perform at Name of Show last week, here in Westwood--needless to say, he was a riot. Check out his video below:

Project365 day 080




Project365 day 080 2007 03 21, originally uploaded by thepetecom.



Sooooo, what do you think of my dye job? I'm kind of iffy on it,
myself. I'm thinking I might dye it back or shave it all off...

BUSH ANTAGONISTIC TOWARD JUSTICE (as always)

Pretty much from day one, any time the word "investigation" comes up, Bush is against it. From the minute he took power, there were calls for investigations into what went wrong in the 2000 elections. He was against them. God forbid we should remove all doubt that he was the guy America actually wanted in the White House.

After 911, one of the first things Bush said was that we should watch out for revisionist historians and conspiracy theorist who would try to redefine what happened on 911. In other words, anyone who differs from the official story was wrong to do so. This is Bush being antagonistic toward critical thinking and anything resembling an investigation on 911. Sure, they had an investigation, the point is that Bush was against it.

There was an investigation into how to fix things in Iraq. The report from that Bush mostly ignored.

Now, Bush is telling the Dems in the House and Senate to lick him regarding the subpoenas they're going to issue to his staff in the investigation into the firing of federal prosecutors for political reasons. Check out this cutting from [http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6496528,00.html|a March 21, 2007 article] from AP.org available at http://Guardian.co.uk :
A defiant President Bush warned Democrats Tuesday to accept his offer to have top aides speak about the firings of federal prosecutors only privately and not under oath, or risk a constitutional showdown from which he would not back down.

Democrats' response was swift and firm: They said they would start authorizing subpoenas as soon as Wednesday for the White House aides.

``Testimony should be on the record and under oath. That's the formula for true accountability,'' said Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bush, in a late-afternoon statement at the White House, said he would fight any subpoena effort in court.

``We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants,'' he said. ``It will be regrettable if they choose to head down the partisan road of issuing subpoenas and demanding show trials when I have agreed to make key White House officials and documents available.''


Now, I think this whole "federal prosecutor firing" thing is a distraction from all of the other ways Bush has betrayed the public trust (a perfectly impeachable offense). However, this investigation is useful in showing off Bush's need to discourage critical thinking and any sort of investigating. The man seems to be convinced that we'll eventually learn something that will be so horrible he'll be run out of office by a horde of screaming citizens with pitch forks and torches.

Of course, we should consider the oft-used excuse for why we citizens shouldn't worry about added invasions into our privacy. We are told that if we have nothing to hide we should have nothing to worry about.

If they're going to use that argument on us, why can't we use it on them?

Come on, Bush. If you've nothing to hide, what are you scared of?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Project365 day 079 2007 03 20





Project365 day 079 2007 03 20

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


TheWife and I and the east coast parents! Thanks for the great visit,

Mom and Don!



We're on our way home! Already missing the cats!



I love exclamation marks!!!!



WAHOOOOO!!!!!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Project365 day 078 2007 03 19





Project365 day 078 2007 03 19

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


TheMom and I in her Jetta wagon just after pulling up to the Caffino

drive-thru coffee place. Good iced coffee there, btw. When in Rock

Hill, SC, why not give them a try?



Special thanks to TheWife for snapping this pic from the back seat.

Project365 day 077 2007 03 18





Project365 day 077 2007 03 18

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


Awwwww, TheWife and I being romaticky at the 'rentals place in SC (the
state, not the uni).

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Project365 day 076 2007 03 17





Project365 day 076 2007 03 17

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


We're in SC! Wahoo!

On Our Way to South Carolina





On Our Way to South Carolina

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


OK, this is actually TheWife and I stuck at LAX waiting for the mystery

4th flight attendent to show up. He's only an hour late. Glad I've got

my Sidekick 3 :) Our destination is my mom's in South Carolina. I'll

try to keep blogging while we're there, but it'll probably be pretty

minimal until Wednesday when we get back. Welp, wish us luck! Mr. 4th

flight attendent! WHERE ARE YOUUUUUUU?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Project365 day 075





Project365 day 075 2007 03 16

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


Weeee! Finally DID something with my blank Munny figure! Sweet! And

no, I didn't just paint it black. You'll have to wait and see what I

did do... IF it works. That stuff is still drying...

LA Fog--That's Right FFFog





LA Fog--That's Right FFFog

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


Not SMog.

I could tell the bus was coming only by sound. Gotta love that
LA weather!

NO ONE LEFT TO BELIEVE

So, two nights ago, I had planned on blogging about that scary-ass-looking terrorist guy who had apparently confessed to 911, the 1993 WTC bombing, and a handful of other fairly-known terrorist attacks on American interests. Not just to cover the fact that he had confessed, but to make another point. I even went so far as to grab the first image below from News.Google.Com:



My point would have been that it's absurd to think that We The People can trust anything this guy says.

First: Everyone knows that we torture. All right, so Bush doesn't call it torture, but everyone knows we use waterboarding and other torturesque techniques to convince people in US custody to spill the beans. Since everyone also knows that torture usually doesn't work, it's likely Mr. Terrorist Man spilled only the recipe for beans that he knew we wanted to hear and not the true beans. Since the error rate at Guantanamo is something like 50 percent, I think it's safe to assume, at best, this guy maybe did a couple of bad things and not the tourist guide he's given us.

Second: Why should we believe he's actually confessed at all? I mean, this "news" comes from the same government that told us Iraq had WMD, that we'd be greeted as liberators and that oil revenues would pay for the Iraq invasion. This "news" comes from the same people that told us the Taleban had been "vanquished" and that Afghanistan was a success story.

Before I actually found a moment to blog, I saw this on News.Google.Com:



WHOOPS!

Seems the mouthpiece for government mainstream media has presented a third reason to not believe Terroristy VonMcBloweyuppy. Seems he might just be exaggerating his own resume. Check out this cutting from [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070315/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/terrorist_plots_4|a March 15, 2007 article] at News.Yahoo.com originally from AP.org:
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's claims that he was responsible for dozens of successful, foiled and imagined attacks in the past 15 years relies on a loose definition of the word "responsible." Officials say the 9/11 mastermind was key to some plots but a bit player in others.

The 31 on his list range from the stunningly vicious suicide hijackings of Sept. 11, 2001, to others that current and former government officials say were more talk than concrete plans, such as a plot to kill Jimmy Carter and other former U.S. presidents.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, noting Mohammed's activities are likely to be the subject of an upcoming military tribunal.

His confession, his first public statement since his March 2003 capture in Pakistan, came in a closed-door hearing in the newly established U.S. tribunal process. A 26-page transcript of the Saturday session at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was made public Wednesday night.

While there apparently is truth in much of the statement, several officials said, there's also an element of self-promotion. They view the claims as at least in part a rallying cry to bolster his image and that of al-Qaida in the only venue Mohammed has left: a military courtroom from which the public is barred.


So, even before us skeptics (with dayjobs) had a chance to point out how dubious this "confession" was, anonymous sources in the USG come forward and give the mainstream media a chance to do their jobs and vaguely look like they're actually being skeptical by telling us this dude is probably padding his resume a bit.

The point in the end is simply this: we can't trust anyone, period. What is presented as the truth one day is then presented as completely or partially untrustworthy. I can't think of a single person or source I would trust completely with anything.

Our society has ultimately let us down, I think. The government and the media are supposed to protect us, serve us and keep us informed, but they have not been. The way I see it, capitalism has influenced both government (in their march to war for oil) and the media (in their march for ratings and newspapers sold). You insert your own explanation as I don't expect anyone to believe me, either. I'm a blogger. What the hell do I know?

All That is Right With America!





Jessica Simpson on Leno

Originally uploaded by UnHolySaint.


Stumbled upon this picture on Flickr last night. I feel like the only thing missing from it is the American flag fluttering in the background and maybe a US soldier sitting next to Simpson. As it is it's a fair example of the "wonders" of America. GOD BLESS HER.

I'll let you decide which "her" I'm referring to here...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Project365 day 074





Project365 day 074 2007 03 15

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


Here's me looking like I'm in a much more sour mood than I really am.

I'm also outside my favorite anime store, which is in Westwood, at the

Westside Pavillion mall or online at PowerAnime.com. I stopped in and

got myself another Tachikoma trading fig and almost picked up another

Munny. I totally shoulda done it...

DISTRACTOCRATS

The Democrats get into power promising the most honest and transparent US government ever. Of course they compromise the potential good they can do by promising not to impeach Bush before they even get into office. What do they do once they actually get into ofice?


A lot of posturing and OH and just today, according to [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/15/AR2007031500213_pf.html|a March 15, 2007 article], they've issued subpoenas so they can investigate that federal prosecutor firing story!!!


WOW, can you believe it? It's like they're trying to distract us from the fact that Bush really SHOULD be impeached and that they've just given up trying to [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/13/1335247|stop Bush from attacking Iran]. You didn't hear? According to DemocracyNow.Org:

Democratic leaders have announced they’re now abandoning an effort to put limits on President Bush’s authority to take military action against Iran. Democrats had included a provision in the new military spending bill that would have required Congressional approval for any military confrontation with Iran. But the requirement was dropped after several Democrats argued it would take away the use of force as a bargaining tool over Iran’s nuclear program.


So, despite the fact that Iran says they don't have a nuke projgram (just like Iraq did), the USG is making decisions as though they do have one. Let's hear it for letting other countries control what we do! Huzzah!


Just goes to show you how full of crap both parties really are. MAN, is there ANY politician we can trust???

GENERAL AGAINST IMMORAL GAYS BUT COOL WITH ILLEGAL WAR

Imagine my amusement when I saw the below at News.Google.Com this evening:



I grabbed that just a few minutes ago. Yeah, so this dude thinks a man loving another man in that way is immoral, but collateral damage (death of civilians near a military target) is OK.

He thinks a man buggering a man is immoral, but when he is ordered to invade a country based on WMD fears which prove to be completely unfounded, he doesn't speak out.

He would never be someone's butt-buddy, but when his Commander-In-Chief gets Iraq all screwed up, it's cool.

OH yeah and he can talk about how gays in the military (and in general) is immoral, but when anyone with less rank speaks openly about how the war in Iraq is immoral, [http://thepete.com/1st-lt-ehren-watada-judge-wont-hear-why-hes-staying-out-of-iraq/|they get to go through a court martial].

General Peter Pace should be brought up on charges of conduct unbecoming. It's that simple.

He voiced his own opinion and spoke of things that made the United States military look bad. This is the very definition of conduct unbecoming.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Project365 day 073





Project365 day 073 2007 03 14

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


Ok, not a literal self-portrait, but another figurative one. This time

it comes to you in the form of an excerpt from a cartoon pilot script I

am currently writing. Enjoy!

HIV-Positive African Woman Fights the Great Fight

So, I'm usually down on people for being lame (or even horrible) to their fellow humans. For this post, I'm going to break with tradition. While listening to [http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/worldtoday/news/story/2007/02/070228_podcast2802.shtml|today's podcast] from [http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/worldtoday/|BBC News' World Today Select], I got to hear the story of this amazing African woman who is fighting for the rights of both women and those living with HIV in Africa. It turns out that there's a massive social stigma attached to being HIV positive. That's not a big surprise, of course. However, in her society you can be ostracized for something like that. She is standing up to the societal oppression and is being awarded a free speech honor.


I don't have all the facts handy because I'm at work and don't have time to listen to the podcast again and take notes, so you'll just have to take my word for it and check out http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/worldtoday/news/story/2007/02/070228_podcast2802.shtml and then click on the "DOWNLOAD" graphic in the right-hand sidebar once you get there. Definitely do listen to it--there's something about this woman's spirit that is infinitely inspirational. Her laughter is so powerful yet so abundant. It makes you realize that our challenges are much easier than hers, yet she makes it seem almost enjoyable to stand up to society.
She almost brought me to tears at my desk. :)

Check It Out! ArtThreat.Net!

I got an email this morning from ThePete.Com contributor Jen that included a link to [http://www.artthreat.net/2007/03/69|this post] at ArtThreat.Net. It's about this contest for photomanipulated newspaper frontpages. In other words, you get a scan of the front page of a newspaper (people still read those?) and then use Photoshop (or your favorite pic editor) to make fun of the news story. Pretty cool little contest. Hit that link above to find out more.
Then, I decided to check out what else they blog about at ArtThreat.Net and I've got to say that I was pretty damn impressed with what I saw. Basically, they're a politically-motived art site. In other words, they encourage and cover artwork that makes a political statement. I'm just going to assume that pro-Bush pieces aren't going to get covered by them, however, I'm all for any site that encourages political expression through art (or political expression through ANY medium).
So, if you're bored and you like political commentary, check out ArtThreat.Net.

More Evidence of Global Warming (to me)

The weather, here in LA, has been screwy to say the least. I was sure summer had arrived and then yesterday it decides to be cold and overcast. Sure "cold" by Los Angeles' standards is still only in the high 50s, but what do you want? Snow? We already had that this year.


Anyway, so here I am wearing my damn trench coat to work again and I'm eyeing the sky for rain. It won't rain, of course. My friend Izzy told me last night that she had read that this has been the driest winter in SoCal in quite a few years. That seems consistent with what I've observed. This is especially true considering my observation from last year that the LA winter had been divided in two and the two chunks have been spreading wider and wider. There is less rain and it's coming earlier (around turkey day) and later (April).


Sure it's dumped a bit on us this year, but not much. My point? Oh, just that our climate sure seems to be changing rapidly. I admit to not being an expert, but I do think I'm pretty good at observing things and I am pretty sure LA is observing some serious effects of Global Warming.


I could be wrong, of course. It's just my two yen as always. However, if anyone has any other compelling alternative theory, please holler. If not, I'm just going to start watching for the tide to come in. ;)



Tuesday, March 13, 2007

VIACOM TAKES IT $1 BILLION TOO FAR WITH GOOGLE

This has got to be an early April Fools joke. According to [http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=internetNews&storyid=2007-03-13T131722Z_01_WEN5351_RTRUKOC_0_US-VIACOM-YOUTUBE.xml&src=rss&rpc=22|a March 13, 2007 article] at Reuters.com, Viacom is suing Google for $1 billion for copyright infringement. From the article:
The suit accuses Web search leader Google and YouTube of "massive intentional copyright infringement" of Viacom's entertainment assets and seeks an injunction against further violations.


Essentially, what Viacom is saying is that the company that provides a tool for both legal and illegal activities is responsible for the illegal activities the tool is used for. If this lawsuit succeeds and Google has to pay Viacom a billion dollars, it would, in theory, open the door to suing weapons makers for illegal activities consumers of guns, missiles, cluster bombs, land mines, etc, that are committed with those tools. If someone, ANYONE, on the planet sees it the way I do and is willing to actually sue weapons makers, I hope Google loses.

However, this is most likely just a show trial, meant to force Google into a settlement and into coming up with some sort of solution for dealing with people uploading copyrighted material to their sites. Another definite possibility is that Viacom wishes to run Google (or it's video hosting services) out of business--which is bad for consumers since it would mean less services for us. Sure there are other hosting services, but how long do you think they'd stay in operation with the threat of a Viacom lawsuit looming over them?

To top it off, this is a giant corporation abusing our legal system for it's own petty interests. Once again, we see that huge companies have no problem clogging the system in the interest of protecting every thin dime that they may or may not have made.

We've got to start making greed a bad thing in our society.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Project365 day 071





Project365 day 071 2007 03 12

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


I have begun TheMunny Project 001! It's already turning into quite a challenge--but I shall rise to the ocasion... For HACKING GLORY!!

CHENEY GETTING VERY BLATANT--NO BUSH SUPPORT, NO TROOP SUPPORT

Wow, this is getting crazy. If Cheney doesn't suffer some sort of negative effects for being so blatantly anti-American, it will show us how screwed we are. First off, what's he saying? Check out this cutting from [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070312/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_iraq_18|a March 12, 2007 article] from AP.org available at News.Yahoo.Com:
"When members of Congress pursue an anti-war strategy that's been called 'slow bleeding,' they are not supporting the troops, they are undermining them," Cheney said in a speech to the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee.


He also said:
"Anyone can say they support the troops and we should take them at their word, but the proof will come when it's time to provide the money," Cheney said.


OH yeah, and:
"When members speak not of victory but of time limits, deadlines and other arbitrary measures, they are telling the enemy simply to watch the clock and wait us out," he said.


See, this is what happens when you don't have a parent in the room--the bully goes wild and starts pretending he knows what's best. And the well-behaved kids are too well-behaved to tell this little prick to shut the fuck up. Now we have this.

Oh, sure, Dick, when we say we support the troops you believe us until we support them in a way that you don't approve of.

"Don't you love me?" the abusive husband says to the submissive, abused wife.

"Of course," she replies, remembering her oath to honor and obey.

"Then show me," he says as she forces himself on her.

This is what is happening to us. America's values are being raped while we watch and do nothing. Our soldiers are being put in harms way because Bush and Cheney want to win.

They want to win, so more Americans (not to mention Iraqis) will die.

We can't stop these freaks.
Does this make any sense to anyone?

CERVICAL CANCER FOR EVERYONE, WAHOO!!! Well, for Every Woman...

That's right, HPV, the virus that doctors say is responsible for cervical cancer can be found not in most women, but a disturbingly large amount of women. Now, you may remember HPV in the news a few weeks ago. A vaccination that can stop HPV in women (in most cases) had been created and a governor (in Texas, I think) was trying to get a law passed to make it required that all girls in the public school system get this vaccine. The catch? It's an STD.

Naturally, the religious types decide that if an STD is removed from the table of threats facing women of any age who have sex, women will be more likely to have sex. Women might think for themselves next, and we can't have that, now, can we? Forget that there are still quite a few discouraging STDs on that table still and forget that condoms can protect against them all and forget that women (well, most women) aren't retarded...

Then comes along [http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=healthNews&storyid=2007-02-27T213209Z_01_N27380525_RTRUKOC_0_US-HPV-WOMEN.xml&src=rss&rpc=22|a February 27, 2007 article] from Reuters.Com that reports:
More than a quarter of U.S. girls and women ages 14 to 59 are infected with the sexually transmitted human wart virus, which causes most cases of cervical cancer, U.S. health officials estimated on Tuesday.

That means human papillomavirus or HPV infection is more common than previously thought, particularly among younger age groups, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said. Its prevalence was highest among those 20 to 24, with 44.8 percent infected, and nearly a quarter of teenagers aged 14 to 19.


So, according to this article, more than 1 in 4 women have a chance of getting cervical cancer or they could get this vaccination. In short, if you're against this vaccination, you're against women.

Being against this vaccination is like saying you want one of the next four women you see to be exposed to cervical cancer.

It's like saying that and "sluts should die."

TALK about misogyny!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Project365 day 070





Project365 day 070 2007 03 11

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


Me in Westwood Village after a visit with TheWife to the new hip, healthy

place to get dessert, Pink Berry! My fave is the straight green tea frozen

yogurt. It's taste is really interesting, but pretty addictive.

CAPITALISM MAKING TSUNAMI VICTIMS SELL OWN ORGANS

Capitalism is a beautiful and pure thing, according to some. To some, there are no changes required in the divine and simple system that almost completely dominates planet Earth. Any compromise in the beloved system would be tantamount to blaspheme and can never be contemplated let alone allowed to be committed.

If you agree with the above, please stop reading.

Turns out, according to a [http://newstandardnews.net/content/fourthcolumn/?itemID=4455|report] from [http://news.bbc.co.uk|BBC News] I found at NewStandardNews.Net, tsunamit victims in Indonesia are selling their organs in order to get money to survive.

Now, shouldn't there be some way for these people to eat, live and feed their children without having to sell their own organs?

But, ThePete, surely they can just get a job!

Not always--in fact, like the areas ravaged by Katrina, even now the areas ravaged by the tsunami have yet to fully recover. And hell, it's Indonesia, it's not like the local economy can support families with more than a few kids, right? At least, not without massive sacrifice in your standard of living. Of course, these are third world countries, so they're used to it.

Regardless, I personally feel that any single system will not be perfect enough to work across everyone and an absurd fear of other systems (communism, socialism, etc) is only going to hurt more people. Capitalism works fine, but not in the extreme like in the case of these people in Indonesia.

Hell, it's outsourcing that led to the mess at Walter Reed where our soldiers have received severely substandard treatment. The market will not correct things when the customers can't go anywhere else and the people who do the outsourcing are thinking like corporate CEOs.

The market will also fail to correct things to make sure that no one in Indonesia will be forced to sell their organs. I can't imagine how that could ever work, either. However, if there was some way the world could take care of the people who simply can't provide for themselves, I think all of us rich folks (all Americans are rich in the eyes of most of the rest of the world) could drop a couple extra bucks a paycheck in order to help people around the world feed themselves and their families.

I mean, which would you rather have your tax dollars spent on? A $1 trillion war? Or feeding people who are falling through the gaping cracks in a world-wide capitalist system?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Project365 day 069





Project365 day 069 2007 03 10

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


ThePete in his natural habitat--the mall. :) Fresh from stopping off at

PowerAnime (check 'em out at PowerAnime.Com) here I am with the marquis of

the crappy little arthouse cinema they have at the Westside Pavillion. Tiny

screens are sad. Still, it was a good trip to the mall. I picked up a gold

Tachikoma trading figure (from Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex) and a

glow in the dark Munny zipper-pull--WAHOO!!

ARE YOU A REALITY-BASED THINKER?

This is one of those things that I learned about and was annoyed at how surprised I was to learn it. Mainly because this attitude coming from the White House explains a lot. I'm getting ahead of myself, though. Check out [http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2004/10/count_me_in.html|this post] I found via a circuitous route I can't recall right now. It's at the website Slacktivist.typepad.com and quotes [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/magazine/17BUSH.html?ex=1255665600&en=890a96189e162076&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland|a New York Times Magazine article] by Ron Suskind, both from October of 2004. Check out this cutting that refers to something a high level Bush aide said to him:
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''


So, apparently, this is how the Bush Admin thinks. Doesn't that explain a lot? Think about it: they said Al Qaeda was in Iraq--they weren't, but now that America has invaded, AQ is in Iraq! They said the world is a dangerous place, after invading two countries it IS!

It's the very definition of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If only these guys could decide to wage peace, cure poverty, disease and hunger.

If the Bush Admin truly thinks they can create their own reality, we have to seriously question their moral center if this is the reality they chose to create.

One other thing about the quote from Suskind's article: the Bush aide said that they were "history's actors." I reeeally dig that phrase. The thing that bugs me, though, is the elitist way the aide uses it. As though the mighty Bush administration can be the only ones to be an actor in history. My thinking tells me that EVERY SINGLE HUMAN ON EARTH should be history's actor.

So, my question to you is this: do you know your lines?

Speaking of "lines" my wife just quoted Shakespeare to me. "Be great in act, as you have been in thought."

I think Shakespeare wanted us all to be history's actors, too.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Project365 day 068





Project365 day 068 2007 03 09

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


This is TheWife sooound asleep on the couch and me watching over her. Ain't

we cuuuute?

300 (2007)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? Yeah, I guess so. I think it's enjoyable, but doesn't contribute much to the world of cinema.


Technically any good? Visually stunning, but it really seems to be unaware of it's pro-violence, anti-gay, anti-non-white-person message that is predominant throughout the film. I mean, seriously--the main Persian bad guy reminded me of something I'd expect to see in West Hollywood on Halloween night. So, the script was pretty racist and anti-gay, and the story was flat. It was all about Spartans being pure warriors and fighting for the sake of fighting or, according to the lead character's rhetoric, "freedom". This film is great for the ladies because almost all the guys in it spend the entire movie in nothing but leather underpants and capes. Though that does bring up what some would call the latent homosexuality of the film. I mean, why do those guys enjoy being around each other so much? (There is some female nudity, but it's sadly limited--however, apparently Spartans didn't invent the bra.) The acting was perfectly reasonable. Music was fun and the visuals stunning.


How did it leave me feeling? Unsatisfied. The film was neither a testosterone-fest nore an epic adventure. It tried to be both--jerking between dramatic and (sometimes annoyingly) stylistic batles and the boring politics of Sparta. The film ultimately gives us the message that in the end violence may not solve our problems, but BOY IS IT COOL!!!!!


Final Rating? RTV - Rent The Video - I mean, I suppose you should see this if you're into amoral stylized violence, but if you like your films with a legit moral compass (instead of a rhetorical one) don't drop your $10.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Project365 day 067





Project365 day 067 2007 03 08

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


This pic was snapped by TheWife inside the Fox Village theater in Westwood.

We had just been to the gala premiere of "Shooter" (Check out

PocketReviews.net in the coming days for my review) and were then settling

in for the midnight show of "300" (Pocket Review here:

http://pocketreviews.net/300-2007/ ) Yes, it was pretty much a blast seeing

two heavily violent movies in the same night. Ironically, they both had the

same message. Violence may not guarantee a win, but it sure is cool! Can

you see the popcorn butter squirting through my veins in this picture? It

was... I swear.

US ECONOMY IN DECLINE, LIKE IT OR NOT

So, I hear yesterday that one of my favorite bands of all time, Nine Inch Nails, has a new CD coming out in April. I immediately think to myself "Awesome! I'll totally pick up that CD!"


Then it hits me: where can I pick up a CD these days?


Tower Records in Westwood closed years ago and the Blockbuster Music/Wherehouse closed years before that. The iconic, Sunset Strip landmark, Tower Records just recently closed for good leaving only West Hollywood's Virgin Megastore and Hollywood proper's Amoeba Music left as CD sources for Los Angeles.
Sure, I can go online to iTunes or a myriad of other online music sources, but I don't know who's DRM system will be the least bigbrothery and draconian. When I buy a CD, I can do anything I want with it.

Then another thing hits me. CD stores aren't the only stores I've seen close.

There have been a rash of KB toy stores in my area close. The one at the Westside Pavillion mall closed earlier this year and the one at the Santa Monica Place mall closed last year, as I recall. I also remember, late last year, hearing on the news that the Toys R Us Corporation was considering selling off their Toys R Us unit because it wasn't making them as much money as it used to.

Just the other day I was looking for a cheap thumb drive at my local CompUSA (the one in Culver City). Turns out they're closing down in the next couple of months. It also turns out that every CompUSA store south of Bakersfield is shutting down.

Now, Bush said something about our economy being strong, but it sure seems to me like it isn't. How else can you explain all of these retail stores closing?

It means that people just aren't buying music/videos, toys or electronics like they used to. Why is that? Because we can't afford them. Why is that? Because gas prices are up (again--thirty-cent jump in the past month according to CNN Radio) and the value of the US dollar isn't up. We have to pay our cable, cell, credit card bills and our jobs aren't paying us any better. Hell, I'm actually making less now than I have in the last ten years.

The rich white men can say whatever they want about how good the economy is but from the poor white man's point of view, my point of view, the economy is in serious decline.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Project365 day 066





Project365 day 066 2007 03 07

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


Back to the boring shots! This is me at my favorite Internet cafe, Boba

Loca. I'm there usually in the weekday evenings between 7:30 and 9:30 or

10pm (but not on Friday nights). Stop by and say hi if you're in the area!

And have a boba drink! They're tasty!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Another Mind Reading Computer

Sheesh, big brother is seriously on the march. According to a March 6, 2007 post over at Engadget.Com (find it here: http://www.engadget.com/2007/03/06/scientists-using-mri-to-predict-intentions-big-brother-seen-nod/) scientists have adapted an MRI for mind-reading purposes--literally. Check it out:
If you'd relegated the Thought Police from that Cliff Notes version of 1984 you read in high school to science fiction, think again, friend: scientists in Germany have just made the first major progress in being able to predict a person's intentions before they act them out. As you might expect, the team from Berlin's Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience are using modern technology's best tool for observing brain activity -- Magnetic Resonance Imaging -- to determine subjects' likely course of action when presented with a set of numbers that they may either add or subract.


Now, the post goes on to assuage our fears by saying that this tech is in it's very babyhood and is far from being in practical use. The thing is, why would anyone want to develop this kind of tech in the first place? Is reading someone's mind with such detail something we really want to be able to do with a computer? I question the morals and the motivation of any "scientist" who thinks this kind of tech is a good idea and isn't like to be less used and more abused.

Project365 day 065





Project365 day 065 2007 03 06

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


This is the first of a new hobby. It isn't so much a self-portrait as it is

a future self-portrait. What is it? It's a blank "Munny" figure from

KidRobot. The idea is, you get a blank figure and then paint it the way you

want (or do other things with it). Watch my blog for more as I get into

this new hobby. :) Or just go to ToysREvil.blogspot.com or

VinylPulse.Comto check out the custom vinyl culture.

LIBBY ACTUALLY FOUND GUILTY???

Wow, maybe the system does work??


Nah, this is a fluke.


Anyway, in case you haven't heard, Libby was found guilty of, according to a March 6, 2007 article at http://Reuters.co.uk :

four counts of lying, perjury and obstructing justice during an investigation tied to the Iraq war.


Investigators were trying to determine who leaked the identity of CIA analyst Valerie Plame in 2003 after her husband accused the Bush administration of manipulating intelligence to build its case for war.


I'm not sure if they've proven he intentionally leaked the name of a CIA agent in order to punish diplomat Joe Wilson (said agent's husband) for speaking out about the Bush Admin manipulating intelligence and effectively lying about Saddam going after uranium in Africa. As I'm typing this news is scant, but I'm surprised the news is as good as it is. I figured he'd get off on some technicality, kind of like how Clinton was impeached, but not kicked out of office. Go fig.


Sure, Libby's just a fallguy for Cheney, but hey, it's something.
No one should feel too bad for Libby taking the hit for his boss, either. His sentence could be as long as 25 years, but won't be--it'll be low, like 5 years or less and when he's done he'll get a position on the board of some military/industrial investment group (COUGHcarlyleCOUGH) and make enough money just breathing to live all comfy-like for the rest of his life.

US MILITARY ERASES FOOTAGE/PICS OF THEIR DAMAGE DONE

From what I can work out, it seems like there was a suicide bombing in Afghanistan that killed two civilians and wounded 17 others. The bombing was apparently targeting US Marines. The reason I can't be sure is that no one seems to be reporting on the bombing, itself, because (I'm guessing) it's just another suicide bombing in Afghanistan. Once a rare occurrence, now all too common. What are they covering? The suppression of any coverage of the bombing.

It seems that US troops went a little trigger happy after the bombing and shot up a civilian vehicle fleeing the scene of the bombing. When journalists started snapping pics and shooting footage of three dead civilians in an a bullet-riddled SUV, according to [http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=2922669&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312|A March 4, 2007 article] from AP.org available at ABCNews.Com:
U.S. troops deleted their photos and video and warned them not to publish or air any images of U.S. troops or a car where three Afghans were shot to death.

Afghan witnesses and gunshot victims said U.S. forces fired on civilians in cars and on foot along at least a six-mile stretch of road in Nangarhar province following a suicide attack against the Marine convoy. The U.S. military said militants also fired on American forces during the attack.

The U.S. military and Afghan officials said eight Afghans died and 34 were wounded in the violence. One Marine was also injured.

A freelance photographer working for The Associated Press and a cameraman working for AP Television News said a U.S. soldier deleted their photos and video showing a four-wheel drive vehicle in which three people were shot to death about 100 yards from the suicide bombing. The AP plans to lodge a protest with the American military.


Turns out US soldiers both seized cameras and deleted/erased pics/footage or threatened journalists to do it themselves. Check out another cutting from the article:
Taqiullah Taqi, a reporter for Afghanistan's largest television station, Tolo TV, said Americans were using abusive language.

"According to the translator, they said, 'Delete them, or we will delete you,'" Taqi said.


The US Mil's explanation for the deletions comes in [http://newstandardnews.net/content/ion/index.cfm/bulletin/6488|a March 5, 2007] post at NewStandardNews.Net reporting on an AFP.com article:
The US military in Afghanistan on Monday defended the erasing of photographs and video after an incident that left up to 10 civilians dead, saying this was allowed in "extreme circumstances."

...

The journalists had gone beyond a security perimeter, the military argued, and had been asked to remove their images to "protect the integrity of the investigation."


In short, the military realized they overreacted and when journalists tried to report on it, they decided to use force to make sure no one could get all the truth out. Gotta love that.

It would seem that the military can't handle the truth.

Oh, the irony...

Monday, March 5, 2007

Project365 day 064





Project365 day 064 2007 03 05

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


This is me in my local supermarket considering whether or not to color my

hair blond (see the selection in the background?). I think I shall... just

not yet.

DIEBOLD TO DUMP EVOTING?

Haha! Finally, Diebold is working it out: their Evoting machine business is nothing but trouble. Now, rumor has it, they are going to quit it. Endgadget.com blogs on the situation in a March 4, 2007 post (available here: http://www.engadget.com/2007/03/04/diebold-considering-dumping-e-voting-unit-engadget-says-please/) by explaining:
Apparently executives high up at Diebold, the company that brought untold amounts of frustration to voters and countless faulty elections across the US, are considering dumping their Diebold Election Systems business unit, which it seems is almost systematically attempting to tarnish its parent company's brand with its infamous e-voting machines.

The post goes onto explain that Diebold will likely decide for sure later on in 2007 what happens to the DES but the point is that they're realizing that all this trouble may not be worth the effort. We'll hope for the best--that they shut the damn thing down completely and set a great example for other Evoting machine-makers to follow.
FINGERS CROSSED!!

ANTI-GLOBAL WARMING DOC DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE

K, so, I'm just checking out DrudgeReport.Com (for entertainment purposes only, of course) and I see two headlines he's got linking to two different web pages about this new docu that will be airing on Channel 4 in the UK in a few days. Turns out this docu explains how this whole "Global Warming" thing is just a hoax and how we're all wrong to trust "scientists" who say that GW is causing Global Climate Change.

Now, the problem isn't that I think Martin Durkin, the director of the docu, is right or wrong, but that he's been wrong in the past, yet people give him more money, more distribution and worse yet, incomplete coverage.

[http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2326210.ece|In this article] at http://News.Independent.co.uk (of all news sources) they don't bother to mention until ten paragraphs into the article that Durkin caused Channel 4 quite a bit of a headache when he:
achieved notoriety when his previous series on the environment for the channel, called Against Nature , was roundly condemned by the Independent Television Commission for misleading contributors on the purpose of the programmes, and for editing four interviewees in a way that "distorted or mispresented their known views".

Channel 4 was forced to issue a humiliating apology. But it seems to have forgiven Mr Durkin and sees no need to make special checks on the accuracy of the programme. For his part, the film-maker accepts the charge of misleading contributors, but describes the verdict of distortion as "complete tosh."


Perhaps, the docu he pitched to Channel 4 back in 1998 wasn't "complete tosh." What was that docu? Well, here's a cutting from [http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2000/03/16/modified-truth/|a March 16, 2000 post] at Monbiot.com:
Channel 4 has hired a charlatan to make its science programmes

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 16th March 2000

In October 1998 a television producer named Martin Durkin took a proposal to the BBC’s science series, Horizon. Silicone breast implants, he claimed, far from harming women, were in fact beneficial, reducing the risk of breast cancer. Horizon commissioned a researcher to find out whether or not his assertion was true. After a thorough review, the researcher reported that Mr Durkin had ignored a powerful body of evidence contradicting his claims. Martin Durkin withdrew his proposal. Instead of dropping it, however, he took it to Channel 4 and, astonishingly, sold it to their science series, Equinox.

To help him make the programme, Durkin hired Najma Kazi, a highly respected TV researcher and producer who was previously a research biochemist. After two weeks she walked out. “It’s not a joke to walk away from four or five month’s work,” she told me, “but my research was being ignored. The published research had been construed to give an impression that’s not the case. I don’t know how that programme got passed. The only consolation for me was that I’m really glad I didn’t put my name to it.”


GMWatch.org a website dedicated to publicizing concerns about Genetic Modification (GM) of foods [http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=39|said this] about Durkin:
In 1997 television producer Martin Durkin from the TV company Kugelblitz made a series for Channel 4 called Against Nature, which targeted environmentalists, presenting them as 'the new enemy of science' and as comparable to the Nazis. They were responsible, the series argued, for the deprivation and death of millions in the Third World.


In short, this guy has a habit of taking accepted science fact and making docus that dispute accepted science fact by conjuring up the few who disagree with said facts or by lying to scientists who agree with the facts and then twisting their words. Meanwhile Drudgeypants is posting it on his site like this docu will "rock climate debate."

*EDIT: forgot to stick this pic in here to provide proof of the above:


The above was grabbed at 7am 3/5/7. On a side note, tell me why
Bush and Rove having dinner should be news.


Yeah, right. Typical Drudge. Like he's anything but Mr. Tabloid. The only reason I post so much about the guy is because so many news sources seem to take his lead on stories. Sad, when he does so little to research the stories he links to and what's even more sad is that the "official" "journalists" "reporting" on this docu aren't even doing their job by researching the filmmaker. I mean, the guy has a history of going after environmentalists and their message. He said breast implants are good for you!

Can we independents PLEASE build a space ship and leave this mess of a planet where EVERYTHING is politics and NOTHING is truth?

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Project365 day 063





Project365 day 063 2007 03 04

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


Clearly, this is not me. This is Grae. She did the LA Marathon. She is a

stronger person than I. She kicks ass.

GRAE DOES THE LA MARATHON 2007!!

Hey there, folks! Just wanted to to post about ThePete's hero of the day! Now, I don't go tossing around the word "hero" lightly, but my friend [http://myspace.com/oneandonlyhellcat |Grae] trained for months to walk the LA marathon and she actually did it! RIGHT ON, GRAE!!

Now, some skeptics may think "oh, she only walked it." Dude, have you ever walked 26.2 miles straight???

Anyway, so Grae, YOU KICK ASS. I'm lucky if I walk 26.2 miles in a MONTH, let alone in a day.

So, here's some media as recorded by me of the welcoming committee at the finish line:

first a pic:



next two vids (click the pics to play 'em):





Congratulations again to Grae for challenging herself and then following through on it! I hope to be more like you, dammit! (I don't think I'll be tackling a marathon any time soon, though...) And good luck in June!!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Project365 day 062





Project365 day 062 2007 03 03

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


Oh, this was a mess--thanks to some parade going down Hollywood Blvd. My

second bus on the way to my writer meeting was rerouted via a different bus

stop that was easily too far away to walk--or so I thought. I ended up

having to walk about a mile to this dodgee looking temporary bus stop which

was right next to filled trash cans that were stenchy in the hot LA sun. I

got to the meeting that I was supposed to be running just an hour late!

YAAAY! Thanks LA MTA!!

Creepy Thing of the Day

Somewhere on the top ten list of creepy things on a bus:

A 40-something, balding man with greying hair who has skipped today's shower and spotted three cute teenage girls who clearly then thought to himself: "I'll sit with them!"
You know he meant to since there are loads of other empty seats on the bus.
> shudder<

Friday, March 2, 2007

Project365 day 061





Project365 day 061 2007 03 02

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


All right, so I bitch about LA a lot, but it does have it's pluses :) This

is me at lunch. Lying in the grass at a park not far from my temp gig.

Yes, that's an iced coffee above my left shoulder. What?!? There was a

Coffee Bean on the edge of the park! SHEESH!

CHENEY MONGERING THE FEAR AGAIN

So, check out this cutting from [http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/iraq/20070302-0052-us-iraq.html|a March 2, 2007 article] from AP.org and SignOnSanDiego.Com:
"If our coalition withdrew before Iraqis could defend themselves, radical factions would battle for dominance. The violence would likely spread throughout the country and be very difficult to contain. Having tasted victory in Iraq, the (militants) would look for new missions. Many would head for Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban," Cheney said.

"And then aliens will invade and murder our men and turn our women into sex slaves. Children would be torn apart like fresh bread and probably worst of all, America... would be no more..."
You know that's what he wants to say!
So, there's all this crap about how "we can't leave Iraq because that would mean failure and failure is not an option!"
The catch is: WE'VE ALREADY FAILED IN IRAQ.
It's DONE folks. DONE.
Sadly, our soldiers and a lot more Iraqis are dying over there for nothing. The longer we stay the more "emboldened" Al Qaeda and the Taleban will be. Our military and our funds are both being drained dangerously low now. This is what they want. They're controlling us by preying upon our "fear of failure."
We are quite literally letting the terrorists win by staying.
The longer we stay, the more taxed we are and the more demoralized. The longer we stay the more antagonistic we are becoming to ourselves and our leaders. The longer we stay, the more money we'll spend and the more people will die.
You ever wonder where the $1 trillion we've spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan came from?
You ever wonder where all these people who are dying are coming from?

"And then aliens will invade and murder our men and turn our women into sex slaves. Children would be torn apart like fresh bread and probably worst of all, America... would be no more..."

You know that's what he wants to say!

So, there's all this crap about how "we can't leave Iraq because that would mean failure and failure is not an option!"

The catch is: WE'VE ALREADY FAILED IN IRAQ.

It's DONE folks. DONE.

Sadly, our soldiers and a lot more Iraqis are dying over there for nothing. The longer we stay the more "emboldened" Al Qaeda and the Taleban will be. Our military and our funds are both being drained dangerously low now. This is what they want. They're controlling us by preying upon our "fear of failure."

We are quite literally letting the terrorists win by staying.

The longer we stay, the more taxed we are and the more demoralized. The longer we stay the more antagonistic we are becoming to ourselves and our leaders. The longer we stay, the more money we'll spend and the more people will die.

You ever wonder where the $1 trillion we've spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan came from?

You ever wonder where all these people who are dying are coming from?

NOW MORE THAN EVER MIDDLE EAST A POWDER KEG

Here's a fun little cutting from [http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/07/front2454153.0444444446.html|a February 21, 2007 article] at WorldTribune.Com that talks about how hot things are getting in the ME:
"We consider this moment in time unprecedented in terms of the amount of insecurity and instability that is in the region," U.S. Fifth Fleet commander Vice Adm. Patrick Walsh said. "Although our presence in the Arabian Gulf is for defensive and not offensive purposes, the U.S. will take military action if ships are attacked or if countries in the region are targeted or U.S. troops come under direct attack," Walsh added.


At a news conference on Feb. 19 in Manama, Walsh said Iran could pose a greater threat to Gulf security than Al Qaida, Middle East Newsline reported. The naval commander said Iran's frequent military exercises were meant to provoke tension in the region and threaten the closure of the Straits of Hormuz, which contains about 40 percent of global oil shipping.


Weeee, so we got a stack of people over there with some seriously big guns all itching for a fight. There's almost nothing metaphorical about calling the ME a powder keg. One false move and things are going to get squirrelly real quick.


You know, "squirrelly" like when squirrels explode and take the tree with them...

John Edwards Visits No and SoCal--Go See Him!

OK, so I don't tend to like politicians very much. I think they're all corrupt in varying degrees and never seem to really say what they think. While I think John Edwards is still one of those people, I do think he speaks the truth more than most politicians do. In fact, I had never donated money to a campaign before I donated to his before he lost the Dem primary back in 2004. What about Edwards made me donate money? It's how he described America.

He said there were two. One made up of the rich folks and another for the poor. He's come the closest to admitting that there is a class war going on in America. This trumps everything else--racism, sexism, homophobia--all of those things are just distractions from the fact that the system favors the rich and pees on the poor.

No, those were not his words, but I believe that is generally how John Edwards looks at things. Now, I'd like to vote for an independent candidate come November of 2008, but if there isn't one I like and Edwards is still standing, I'm going to vote for him. Yes, he talks of the "two Americas" while owning a mansion that he bought with money he made as a trial lawyer, but so what? I don't see that as significant if he's willing to walk his talk. How many other rich white men talk about how the system is designed to be unfair to the poor?

Here's the info on where he'll be talking as it appears in the email I got from his campaign:
* WHEN: Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 2:30pm

* WHERE: Berkeley, California
YWCA Berkeley
2600 Bancroft Way
Located near Berkeley or Rockridge BART
For more information please call 209-648-2578.
[http://johnedwards.com/r/6550/326875|If you plan to attend, please respond by clicking here.]


AND

* WHEN: Monday, March 5, 2007 - 5:00pm

* WHERE: UCLA
Kerckhoff Patio (up the hill from Bruin Plaza)
University of California, Los Angeles
405 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, California
[http://johnedwards.com/r/6551/326875|If you plan to attend, please respond by clicking here.]

These events are free and open to the public.
No RSVP or tickets required.

We hope you will be able to join us!


I'd like to go to the UCLA one, but I'm at work until 6pm and can't afford to take any more time off this month. I'm losing 6 work days thanks to a family trip and a friend's wedding--I really can't take that time off, but I'll be doing a lot of novelling and scripting during much of that time, too. Still that much less in the bank account is going to sting, regardless. So, I can't spare even a couple hours... after all, I know which of Edwards' two Americas I live in!

Oh and if you go to either event, take some pics and either send 'em to me or link to them in the comments and tell me how it went. I'd love to live vicariously through you. :)

If you can't make it, why not check out JohnEdwards.com and see if he's the right guy for you?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Project365 day 060





Project365 day 060 2007 03 01

Originally uploaded by thepetecom.


Me in Westwood as one of those horrible stretch-hummer-limo monstrosities
drove by. We actually passed three in a row last night on the way home. Ridiculous...

POLITICALLY PROGRAMMING THEM YOUNG

So, I see an interesting Google ad the other night and click on it to find a website selling quite an odd little book. Here's a screengrab of the cover:

[http://littledemocrats.net/|]
Wow, I wish I could say that I was surprised that a book like this exists. I remember a friend of my wife telling us upon his announcement that his wife was pregnant that they would raise their child to be a good Democrat!

This is NOT something to brag about, folks. I mean, Mommy's a Democrat because she's an idiot who ignores all the evidence and doesn't mind giving Republicans chance after chance to fuck up Iraq even more. Mommy's a Democrat because she doesn't mind seeing American GIs get killed in a foreign country in a war they shouldn't be fighting. Mommy's a Democrat because she's too thick to think for herself in a world where we're all programmed to think in binary.

Ones and zeroes.

Blacks and whites.

Democrats or Republicans.

I keep thinking of that stupid bumper sticker saying: "If you're not pissed off, you're not paying attention!"

There are just too damn many people who are not pissed off.

I don't care if the Dems were powerless in Congress before this year--what about protests? What about speaking out loudly against things worth speaking out loudly against? Real American leaders would have stood up and filibustered every damn legislation in order to draw attention to the illegal war.

But did the Dems lift a finger? Sure, Ted Kennedy got all red in the face a couple of times, but doesn't he do that every Friday night, anyway? Sure, John Conyers had hearings in the basement to spite the Republicans, but ultimately, he took impeachment off the table.

What's really horrible about this book is that it teaches kids to trust one political party over another. Kids should not be introduced to politics until they are older. Opinions formed as pre-teens can be the hardest to change. You're literally brainwashing your kid by showing him this book. How is this book any different than books extremists use to teach kids to hate Christians? How is this book any different from the kind of programming that kids see when they walk into a corner store and see cigarette ads?

It's just as insidious and just as wrong.

We don't need more "two-party" thinkers to save the world. We need people who aren't going to fall back on the same old politics and think for themselves.

Go ahead and order that book by clicking the pic above. Click on that pic a LOT so this post shows up in their referrer logs. Then they'll come here and see this post and know that teaching a kid to be a member of any political party is terrible.

Teach your kids to think for themselves and to ask questions and to even question the answers to those questions. This is the path to sane judgment.

Trusting a leader because of his party alone is a mistake. Look at what happened when Republicans thought they were voting for a conservative in George W. Bush. They got a big government, big-spending, war monger who looks at 18 year-old black kids as canon fodder. Not exactly conservative values, but good old John McCain supports his president because Bush is a Republican!

It's amazing what you find when you actually click on those Google ads. Why don't you go see what you can find? (HINT! HINT!)

CHRONO CRUSADE (2003)

[asin: B0002I83IQ]
Positive Experience/Entertaining? Definitely--it's a blast. I've only gotten to episode 15 and while the premise isn't my cup of tea, in standard anime fashion, the characters are so endearing and sympathetic, I can't help but care what happens next.


Technically any good? Like a lot of other anime storylines, this one takes something most of us are familiar with and totally changes it around making it much more fun, dramatic and thrilling. How many demon hunter/exorcists have you known to shoot holy guns and wear thigh-high stockings? This series is probably not the most accurate portrayal of demon hunting in 1920s New York City, but it is a blast to watch and so far there have been very few boring, filler episodes many anime series suffer from.


How did it leave me feeling? Good--I still have another nine episodes to go, but I'm enjoying it a lot. If you're looking for a good anime with a hot heroine (despite her sister-ness, she's still sexy) and lots of great action and fun, this is a good choice. Even if you're not into religion, I'd say go for it.


Final Rating? RTD - Rent The Disc, while not anything I'd watch again, this one is definitely worth checking out at least once.

CONDI TO CONGRESS: MY BOSS DOESN'T CARE!

Sheesh. It's like politicians just don't get it sometimes.

Remember when Joe Lieberman lost his primary and ran as an independent? This is sort of like that, only worse. See, when good old Joe decided to run as an independent he was kind of blowing off the wishes of the people of his own party who would have voted for him if they wanted him to run for the office again. In other words, his own people said "we don't want you as our leader" and he's like "I don't care."

Sure, he won, but in today's world of dodgy digital ballot boxes and the pretty shitty showing of his competition you have to wonder how much the people of his state really wanted him as a senator for another term. Here comes Bush pulling the same kind of crap. In [http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6439759,00.html|a February 25, 2007 article] from AP.org and available at http://Guardian.co.uk good old Condi "White" Rice has said that Bush probably will do whatever the hell he wants regardless of whether or not Congress revokes the original resolution to invade Iraq. Well, "revoke" is too strong a word. They want to retool it so that Bush will be a castrated commander-in-chief. Which is fine with me.

Essentially, they're talking about rewriting that resolution so that it let's Bush use troops in Iraq only for training Iraqi military and police and help rebuild infrastructure. Don't get your hopes up, though. If they were to do something like this they'd be doing their job, which is something I just bet they can't bring themselves to do.

The real point here is that Condi and Company think they can do whatever the hell they please. However, if Bush goes and has US troops in Iraq doing more killing in the face of this freshly rewritten resolution, then they'd kinda have to impeach him.

I mean, after such a bold, in-your-face, breaking-of-the-law event as that what good would any laws be after that?

OH yeah, and one other thing: remember [http://thepete.com/digging-the-us-constitution/|my post about people on the Internet actually debating the US Constitution? from a week ago?] Well, the above AP article that I linked to was [http://digg.com/politics/Rice_Bush_will_not_abide_by_legislation_to_limit_Iraq_war|Digged as well] and there's quite an interesting debate to read on the Digg page. It's great to see people on the 'net actually debating something worthwhile. Sadly, there are still a fair number of trolls, aka, people who are jerks for the sake of being jerky. Still, it's better than arguing about what color lightsaber Mace Windu had or why Britney Spears is a ho.