Here's me at the bust stop after my last day at the current temp gig.
The plant was a gift from the department. Imagine how fun it was to
carry this thing on two buses back to Westwood! Yeah, yeah, it's the
thought that counts? I know. I think I'll name him Cesar, after the CSR
dept that gave it to me. :D
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Here's a bit of [http://www.engadget.com/2007/07/29/california-white-hat-hackers-3-diebold-and-friends-0/|a July 29, 2007 post] at Engadget.com that reports on the latest example:
In a move which will bolster your undoubtedly high sensations of "faith" in the US voting process, a group of University of California researchers have just hacked their way through security on nearly every voting machine certified by the state of California. According to Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who initiated these tests, the team was able to "bypass physical and software security in every machine they tested."
See? Once again we see that electronic/computerized voting is NOT the way to go. It's just too easy to fix, hack or otherwise alter.
Am I suggesting we go back to the dark ages of paper ballots and hand-counting?
YOU BET I AM!
What's so bad with paper ballots and hand-counting? So, both take a while and are still not 100% secure. So what?
Democracy is worth the extra effort and time and I think it's a helluva a lot harder to stuff millions of ballot boxes than it is to write some nefarious code that would swap votes automatically in all of those machines.
In fact, considering that last part, you'd think the American government would be forcing us to deal with paper ballots--unless they like the idea of an easily fixable system of electing...
Stay tuned for news on Florida's electronic ballot boxes... .
Engadget.com is [http://www.engadget.com/2007/07/31/apples-5-5g-ipods-receive-stealthy-price-cuts/|blogging] that the current generation of hard-drive-based iPod is seeing a price drop. Apparently, you can pick up an 80 gigger for $323 from Amazon.com. So, YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS!!!
Yes, it means good deals on iPods, but it also means that there's probably a new iPod on the way!!!
Touchscreen? Widescreen? Bluetooth? WiFi? WHAT FEATURES WILL IT HAVE???
Rumor has it August 7 is the big day. OMG! THAT'S A WEEK FROM TOMORROW!!!
Damn, and my temp job just ran out. Shit!
Oh, but I should say that if it doesn't have a sufficient upgrade in features, I'll be passing. I like to pretend to be a Koo-Koo for iPod-o-puffs, but I'm really not. If it's just a touchscreen or widescreen (or even both) I'll probably get it, but not for a while. If it has some sort of wireless capability, I'll have to go back to whoring on the streets. That kind of gadget would be just too cool for school. .
See, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens is the classic crazy old man. I mean think about it--he spoke publicly about the Internet without even knowing fully how it works, calling it--well, I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that he called it "a series of tubes." Even if you had no clue what it was you could still come off sounding more intelligent than that.
He's also the guy who had his home raided last night by authorities looking for evidence of corruption. At least, "raid" is the word they used in the headline for [http://public.cq.com/docs/cqt/news110-000002562354.html|a July 30, 2007 article] that was posted at CQ.com last night at 10:17pm.
I like the sound of that! "FBI, IRS RAIDS STEVENS' HOME" that rocks! The other thing that's funny about this story is that on the 3am (this morning) edition of CNN Radio's podcast they had Ken Smith, editor of Stevens' home town newspaper, on commenting that authorities weren't going to find much in the raid. Then, on the 9am edition they had Steven Tophin, AlaskaReport.com columnist, on and he said how shocked we'd all be with what authorities find.
So, which is it, CNN? Shock or awwww (he got raided for nothing)? I thought you were supposed to present both sides of the argument at the same time not hours apart.
Ah well--no matter! Ted Stevens' home got raided!!
I wonder if he was wearing his Incredible Hulk tie when it happened... :D .
Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that he is a "big fan" of embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
In a interview with CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller, the vice president also said Gonzales has been truthful in his testimony before Congress.
This cracks me up because it's supposed to put all of our fears to rest, yet we all know how honest and truthful Cheney's been with us. :)
I mean, seriously, whether it's hunting his elderly friends without a license or last throeing the insurgency in Iraq or laying low during the whole Plamegate thing, Cheney saying something like this cracks me up.
Can we please have someone in DC do their job? Who's going to check this out-of-balance lying sociopath?
Monday, July 30, 2007
In New York, the city is proposing new rules to require many photographers and camera operators to obtain permits before taking photos or shooting video in the city. Under the proposal, any group of two or more people using a handheld camera in one location for more than thirty minutes would be required to have a permit and $1 million in insurance. In addition small groups using a single tripod for more than ten minutes would be forced to obtain a permit and insurance.
This is wrong on so many levels. So, they can stick a camera on traffic lights, street lights and anywhere else they want, but when it comes to us (possibly) keeping an eye on them, we need to let them know we're doing it? That's ridiculous.
This is what you call (say it with me) OPPRESSION.
Sure, it's only in New York, for now and it hasn't passed yet. .
Take the two cases reported on in [http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/07/30/lefttodie.legal.ap/index.html|this July 30, 2007 article] from AP.org available at CNN.com that details two virtually identical crimes that end with two different punishments.
In a nutshell:
A white college professor absent-mindedly left his 10-month old son in a hot car while he went off to work, after completely forgetting to drop his son at daycare.
A South American horse groomer left his 9-month old daughter in his car while he spent less than an hour betting on horses after leaving a car window open just a crack (because he was afraid if he left it open anymore someone would kidnap her).
Result? White guy's punishment is knowing that through his negligence he cause the death of his child. South American' dude's punishment is knowing that through his negligence he cause the death of his child and a 20-year prison sentence after which he'll be deported.
Now, I'm no expert on either case or either crime, but you can't tell me this doesn't seem a bit lopsided. It turns out that the South American dude was called "borderline retarded" by an expert witness in his trial, meanwhile, the white guy who got off was a college professor. Shouldn't we punish the smart guy for being so selfish that he forgot his son in a car? Likewise, shouldn't we go easier on the South American idiot since (as he claimed in the trial) he didn't know a car could get that hot so fast?
Seems like maybe the class thing might be at work here, too, since the South American dude was a horse groomer and not a college professor. The prof was off doing professorial stuff while the groomer was off betting on the horses.
Ultimately, the point is, our system isn't perfect. But in these two cases it seems like both were treated unfairly (white guy should have gotten stiffer punishment and non-white guy should have gotten a lighter sentence--neither should have walked away).
Tap [http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/07/30/lefttodie.legal.ap/index.html|that article] to learn more about this particular story.
Special thanks to regular ThePete.Com reader (and my Mom), Jenny, for pointing me at this story. .
Sunday, July 29, 2007
YAY! After the very unfortunate and untimely passing of founder, Sherman Torgan, screenings have returned at the New Beverly Cinema in Hollywood! It's the last independent single-screen revival movie house in LA (that I know of) and it runs some of the best movies made from around the world. It reopened last Tuesday, but I couldn't make it before tonight's screening of The Goonies, a film I haven't seen since the late 1980s. Back to the Future, I've seen a few THOUSAND times so we didn't stay for it, but we did get out there and show our love for the beloved New Bev. Just $7 for a double feature EVERY DAY!
Check out NewBevCinema.com for what's playing now and in the future! And GO SEE MOVIES THERE! They need our support more than ever!
Friday, July 27, 2007
My answer to that is: You must think America is pretty weak that it can't survive it's own system protecting itself as it should.
Another stupid reason I've heard is that Bush/Cheney are almost out of office and therefore impeaching them would take too long and be for nothing since they'd be gone before it was done anyway.
My answer to this is: so, if I commit a crime but have plane tickets to leave the country in two weeks, authorities shouldn't bother prosecuting me.
So, like in the 2000 election, the law is put on hold because of time constraints?
That makes no sense.
In short, impeachment is a matter of the law. Check out [http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#A2Sec4|the US Constitution, Article 2, Section 4] where it says:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Read that carefully--some are pointing to the "high crimes" part and saying that Bush hasn't committed any of those. Well, he signed a bill removing the right to habeas corpus from non-American prisoners, which is a violation of the US Constitution--Article 1 to be exact. He invaded a country that did not strike America first, which is a violation of the UN Charter, and it's a violation of Article 6 of the Constitution because it says that treaties the US enters into are to be considered the law of the land. So, there are two things Bush has done that, I'm guessing, are high crimes--if violating the US Constitution isn't a high crime, what is??
NOW, before you go and say "where's your proof" or "he's innocent until proven guilty" or whatever, that's precisely my point. When people say "impeach Bush" they probably don't expect the process to be as simple as signing on a dotted line. Most educated pro-impeachers understand that impeachment is a process. That process can't happen without an impeachment trial.
Think of it like this: You see someone do something you think is a crime. You call the police and that person is arrested. Then, in a court of law--during a trial he is proven innocent or guilty of a crime. The same thing has to happen with Bush and Cheney.
It looks to a lot of people that they've both committed crimes. We need to have a trial to see if someone can prove that they did commit crimes.
I'm fine with that. If they get acquitted, we'll deal with that issue when we get to it, but if they just get to impeachment trial, we'll be talking a huge step and ultimately, that would be enough for me to be satisfied that the system is doing what it's supposed to be doing.
If we don't at least try to enforce the law, enforce the US Constitution, and uphold the rule of law, it devalues the rule of law across the board. Why should anyone bother respecting any law at all if the guy in the White House doesn't have to respect the law? And even if the streets aren't filled with lawlessness because of this horrible example set by America's top leader, what example does this set for the next guy who lives in the White House?
I've already heard analysts say that Nixon being pardoned has allowed Bush to get away with that much more. Nixon was pardoned, according to Gerald Ford, ultimately to move the country beyond an unstable time and unpleasant time. Now similar excuses are being used to not impeach Bush.
What are the excuses going to look like the next time someone in the White House should be impeached? .
FBI Director Robert Mueller on Thursday contradicted the sworn testimony of his boss, Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales, by telling Congress that a prominent warrantless surveillance program was the subject of a dramatic legal debate within the Bush administration.
Mueller's testimony appears to mark the first public confirmation from a Bush administration official that the National Security Agency's Terrorist Surveillance Program was at issue in an unusual nighttime visit by Gonzales to the hospital bedside of then-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft when he was under sedation and recovering from surgery.
Mueller's remarks to the House Judiciary Committee about that contentious meeting differed from testimony earlier in the week from Gonzales, who told a Senate panel that a legal disagreement aired at the hospital did not concern the NSA program. Details of the program, kept secret for four years, were confirmed by President Bush in December 2005, provoking wide controversy on Capitol Hill.
Yeah, at this point, I'm thinking Gonzales is being sacrificed on the altar of the Impeachment Gods. I can hear the quiet chants of Cheney and Bush as they pray:
"OH, BEAUTIFUL IMPEACHMENT GODS! PLEASE ACCEPT THIS SACRIFICE OF ONE OF OUR INCOMPETENT MINIONS IN EXCHANGE FOR YOUR MERCY! HE IS RIPE FOR IMPEACHMENT! PLEASE, WITH YOUR INFINITE WISDOM, ACCEPT THIS MAN INTO YOUR BOSOM AND SPARE ME. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ETERNAL GUIDANCE AND YES, WE KNOW WE STILL REALLY OWE YOU FOR CLINTON."
I'll be blogging a bit more about the "I-Word" later today and, well, on and on until it actually happens. :) .
When you have the aisle seat and the person next to you, who has the window seat, needs to get up and off the bus because said bus is at his/her stop, GET THE HELL UP!
DON'T JUST TURN SIDEWAYS YOU LAZY MORON!
This is what the person next to me does every friggin' morning. It's a different person every morning, too. They don't stand, they just swing their legs into the fricken' aisle and expect me not to take their face off with my shoulder bag.
YOU LAZY FRAKKERS BE POLITE AND STAND THE FRAK UP!
Like it's sooo difficult to GET OUT OF MY WAY.
MAN, that makes me mad...
You're not in a wheel chair or on crutches, HOW LAZY ARE YOU THAT YOU CAN'T STAND UP??? .
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Oh yeah, he's also known for having no flippin' clue what the hell the Internet is, at one time calling it "a series of tubes."
Yeah, THAT Ted Stevens. (FREAK!)
It turns out that he's under investigation. Well, not just him, but Alaska Representative Don Young, as well. What are they under investigation for? They're both Republicans--what do you think? For taking bribes.
Here's more from [http://www.adn.com/front/story/9161182p-9077780c.html|a July 25, 2007 article] from AP.org available at ADN.com:
Young is being investigated for his alleged ties to Veco, the Anchorage-based company whose former top two executives -- including former CEO Bill Allen -- have pleaded guilty to bribing Alaska state lawmakers, the Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported on its Web site late Tuesday.
Investigators are trying to determine whether Young or U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens took bribes, illegal gratuities or unreported gifts from Veco, the newspaper reported, citing only "people close to the case."
It really shouldn't be so entertaining to me when guys like this get in trouble like this. I just enjoy irony too much!! I mean, what's more ironic than a Republican getting in trouble for (possibly) taking bribes? Republicans are supposed to be honest, conservative and CHRISTIAN!!
What's the point of carrying that label if you're not going to live up to it? .
Technically any good? Definitely a strongly made film featuring a fairly unique version of the classic cat & mouse game. Only, the mouse ends up being a close friend of the lead character which only heightens tension. The acting from Fred MacMurray was INCREDIBLE. I wish he had been in more varying stuff as opposed to largely roles like the dad in My Three Sons. I was pretty shocked to see him as such an amoral character. It was great. The writing was incredibly strong and it is the kind of writing I miss so much--you know, GOOD. Edward G. Robinson was very solid, too. Stanwick I could take or leave--I know I'm the freak for saying that, but I just don't see the attraction. She's pretty and all, but I wasn't blown away by her.
How did it leave me feeling? Definitely satisfied, though a slightly more closed ending would have been nice. I can't explain what I mean without giving away the ending. Just see it, it's good.
Final Rating? GSN - Go See Now! Well, Netflix it now since the odds of this classic showing up at your local multiplex are pretty slim. (You can also click the poster image above to buy it from Amazon.com and support this site in the process!)
Either way, it's a big WHOOPS for Alby "Gonzo" Gonzales who is apparently a participant in the crimes his job as America's top-cop has him tasked with investigating.
While this is kind of an important story (the Attorney General lying under oath? As if!) all this does is serve as a distraction from the quietly growing movement to impeach the Bush administration. Seriously--plenty of people are talking about the I-word. Just no one in the media is reporting on it. Gee, I wonder why that is?
OHHHH, maybe it's because they've invested too much in a system where the people are sheep and roll over and take whatever they are given and if said system was upset, said sheeple would be thinking for themselves and would therefore no longer be interested in watching stupid coverage of stupid stories on stupid TV.
In short, they have everything to gain from encouraging you to be a giant glob of biomatter sitting on your couch absorbing nothing but complacency-inducing pleasure.
Showing something to you that might inspire you to do something to change the world for the better would threaten their control over you.
CRAP, Oprah's on! Gotta go!
OH and if you're not interested in watching Oprah, check out [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19976707|the transcript from the July 25, 2007 edition] of Countdown with Keith Olbermann to read more about this whole Gonzales-lying-under-oath-thing.
SWEDISH BANK Nordea suffered the biggest Internet heist in history as cyber crooks filleted some eight million kronor (around Â£576,000) from its coffers.
As many as 250 customers at Sweden's largest bank seem to have downloaded files containing the 'haxdoor.ki' Trojan over the past three months. This fellow turned himself on when users tried to log in to their online account at the bank.
The software stole users' information before displaying an error message asking the client to resend the data. The hackers, believed to be based in Russia, then had the two access codes needed to transfer money from the account.
Why is it that people are surprised when this sort of thing happens?
It's like the whole bootlegging movies and mp3s from DVDs and CDs. Like those media discs, the bank's digital services were designed to allow for easier access. So, no one should be surprised when said digitization makes access easier for everyone. .
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Technically any good? Technically good was all that it was, sadly. The tension seemed almost mathematically calculated. That's not to say the calculations don't work--they do. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Of course, I also knew what was going to happen almost every step of the way. The story was incredibly straightforward with very few (if any) surprises. The acting was really awesome--I bought everyone including Chris Evans who is a long way away from the Baxter Building and his role as the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies. It was also real nice to see Michelle Yeoh in a role where she doesn't beat the crap out of people.
How did it leave me feeling? Definitely satisfied, but ultimately not thrilled. It's a brilliantly made movie, but it didn't bring anything new to scifi. It felt like it could have existed in the same "future" as the classic 2001, only without the humor of the Kubrick film.
Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like (to be thrilled). Seriously, this movie does entertain, just so long as you like being on the edge of your seat for two hours.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Check out this cutting from [http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/070723/dollar_gold.html?.v=6|a July 23, 2007 article] from Biz.Yahoo.com and AP.org I've emboldened some of it:
The U.S. dollar sank to new lows against the euro and British pound Monday and was mixed against other currencies in European trading. Gold prices fell.
The euro traded at $1.3816, down from $1.3822 late Friday in New York. It reached $1.3846 in Asian trading Monday, an all-time high. Later, in midday trading in New York, the euro fetched $1.3814.
The British pound traded at $2.0593, up from $2.0549 late Friday. Earlier in the day, the pound rose as high as $2.0603, a fresh 26-year high against the dollar.
Other dollar rates in Europe, compared with late Friday, included 121.28 Japanese yen, up from 121.24; 1.2048 Swiss francs, up from 1.2013; and 1.0431 Canadian dollars, down from 1.0479.
Dude! The Canadian dollar is worth more than ours now!!
DOES NO ONE UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS MEANS??
We're in SUCH big trouble!!!
Why isn't this big news??? Our economy is TANKING in front of our eyes and we can't see it because our eyes are looking over at Iraq, Al Qaeda and crap that won't ever really effect us. A WEAK-ASS dollar has already effected us!!
Ugh... this country is too much! COME ON MEDIA, DO YOUR JOB! .
Well, it turns out that joke may be funnier than you might think thanks to a new study. The following cutting comes from [http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/conditions/07/24/diet.sodas/index.html|a July 24, 2007] article at CNN.com. It reports:
People who drink one or more soft drinks a day have a more than 50 percent higher risk of developing the heart disease precursor metabolic syndrome than people who drink less than one soda a day, a new study has found. And it didn't matter if it was a regular soda or a diet soda.
Metabolic syndrome is a constellation of health problems -- high waist circumference, high blood pressure, low levels of "good" cholesterol," and other health problems -- that have been strongly linked to developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
In a nutshell? It looks like diet soda is just about as bad for you as regular soda, only it's bad for you in slightly different ways. In the end, any kind of soda is just plain unhealthy. I've been staying generally away from sodas for about four years now and I haven't missed them, really. Of course, it helps that I actually do drink a non-diet soda once a month (or less) but that tiny amount of soda isn't likely enough to harm me.
So, don't think it's about going cold turkey--it's about going mostly cold turkey. We're all humans, after all ^_^ .
Technically any good? The story is solid and believable. What is missing is the romance. I am one of those rare people that would like to see more than just a beautiful woman as a reason for men to fall head-over-heels in addicted love for them. I know it's Stanwick and she's beautiful and all, but she doesn't have much of an effect on me, so I would have liked to see what she did to make the men so happy. I guess we're supposed to assume that she was that crazy in bed or something. The acting was pretty solid as well and the direction invisible (as it should be).
How did it leave me feeling? Satisfied, but the ending is particularly preachy. I don't think I needed a different kind of ending, but I did feel it worked out a bit too neatly.
Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like - While no Double Indemnity, there are some nice things about this movie that make it worth seeing. It is pretty behind the times and ahead of them, as the lead character hangs with a black woman. Imagine that.
Buy this movie and two other classics from Amazon:
Very disturbing stuff, I think.
See, I'm against capital punishment in all but the very few cases where a person demonstrates that he/she will definitely kill many in the future if allowed to go free. Killing a cop is not enough to get a death sentence from Judge ThePete. The whole idea of one human determining the life or death of another seems terribly wrong at it's very core.
That said, how do you feel about killing someone who commits crimes? Are you for it? If so, why not prove it to yourself by listening to the recordings in the audio or video versions of the July 17, 2007 edition of Democracy Now? You can get them here:
It's just the voices of the white men with the power executing two black men (Ivon Ray Stanley and Alpha Otis O'Daniel were the ones being killed) so really it's pretty abstract. It's only really powerful if you understand what the words represent.
I suppose if you really believe in the death penalty, these tapes won't sway you at all.
Maybe I'm just a member of the choir, preaching to myself. .
Monday, July 23, 2007
From the [http://www.firebox.com/index.html?dir=firebox&action=product&pid=1839|MiniCat product page] :
This unique two-person catamaran is fully collapsible and supremely portable, so it is ideal for all you wannabe boaters who thought boat ownership was strictly for the rich, the famous and the winners on Bullseye.
Thanks to its inflatable twin floats, the lightweight but super-sturdy MiniCat fits into a single (1350x280x280mm) bag, so you can pop it in the boot of your car and keep it in the attic, the cellar or even a cupboard when it's not in use. Forget about mooring fees; with the MiniCat you can get into sailing without the usual complications and costs of owning a boat.
Doesn't that sound awesome? If Tom Hanks had had one of these with him in Castaway the film would have been a heckuva lot shorter. The price is apparently $5000 but considering how portable it is, I can't help but think how worth it having such a boat would be.
Too bad 5 grand is a just a liiiittle bit out of my budget range. ^_^ .
On the surface, this sounds really great. You video record yourself asking a question of the candidates. The thing is, how do they choose which questions actually get played for the candidates? Well, I had assumed it would be some sort of vote that would be left to YouTube users. If CNN had any balls, that's what they'd do. However, it turns out that CNN decides which questions get played. Which sort of defeats the purpose of the whole thing, doesn't it?
You watch--I bet there won't be a single question regarding how much a joke the War Against Terror really is. Not one question will ask why Al Qaeda is a bigger threat than cars or AIDS or Cancer, all of which kill more Americans than terrorists do WORLDWIDE.
No, only safe questions will be played, like "how will you save the economy" or "what about the war?" They'll be vague and almost rhetorical. This way the candidates won't have to get substantial on our ass.
I seriously hope that I am wrong and that this becomes the new (and the best) way of holding debates.
>From [http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/07/04/youtube.debates/index.html|a July 4, 2007 article] at CNN.com:
For the first time in presidential debate history, user-generated video will drive two unprecedented debates.
On July 23 at 7 p.m. ET, the Democratic candidates for president will face your questions. No journalists. No panelists. No filters.
Huh, no journalists? That's just what I've come to expect from CNN!!
What do you want? It's Monday morning and I'm still dead tired... .
Saturday, July 21, 2007
There are several laws on various books banning torture.
You've got the whole thing in the Constitution about "cruel and unusual punishment" and then there's like the Geneva Conventions and a few other similar things.
AND NOW, GEORGE W. BUSH TAKES A STAND AND BANS TORTURE AGAIN! At least, that's according to [http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/07/20/bush.terrorism.ap/index.html|a July 20, 2007 article] from AP.org that I found at CNN.com. Here's some of what it said:
President Bush breathed new life into the CIA's terror interrogation program Friday in an executive order that would allow harsh questioning of suspects, limited in public only by a vaguely worded ban on cruel and inhuman treatment.
Wow. Bush has a funny way of banning torture, doesn't he? I mean, what the hell does "cruel and inhuman treatment" mean? And, for that matter, what the hell does "harsh questioning" mean? I'm pretty sure that could mean waterboarding. I mean, that's pretty harsh, isn't it?
Well, damn, Bush! You didn't ban shit!
Well, there's more from the article:
The order bars some practices such as sexual abuse, part of an effort to quell international criticism of some of the CIA's most sensitive and debated work. It does not say what practices would be allowed.
The executive order is the White House's first public effort to reach into the CIA's five-year-old terror detention program, which has been in limbo since a Supreme Court decision last year called its legal foundation into question.
Isn't it great when the media actually manages to be unbiased? I mean, CNN wouldn't want to come out against or for using torture.
Friday, July 20, 2007
One of us has died.
And by "us" I mean the group of people I was prominently a member of before I got all busy with politics and shit.
And by "the group of people I was prominently a member of before I got all busy with politics and shit" I mean, movie buffs.
The guy who, since 1978, has owned, operated and programmed the New Beverly Cinema in Hollywood, just down the street from CBS Television City on Beverly Blvd, has died of a heart attack.
According to a statement at NewBevCinema.Com, Sherman Torgan died doing something he loved to do--riding his bike on the Santa Monica bike path.
I've been going to the New Bev for over ten years. I remember when he charged just $3 for a double feature. It's now $7, but it's still the best deal in town.
Oh, I'm so depressed now...
I think I saw him almost every time I saw a movie there and despite that, I never spoke more than a few words to him. Truth be told, he wasn't the warmest of fellows, but his love of great and diverse cinema put us in that same group. And now, he's gone and the LA movie-going landscape will never be the same.
I'll probably see a movie this weekend and as cheesy as it sounds, the picture will seem a bit less bright.
Yeah, it's corny, so what? He was one of us.
....and he will be remembered!
RIP SHERMAN TORGAN .
Set the WayBack Machine for 1994. You're a techie working in Palo Alto (Silicon Valley Adjacent) and you stumble across these guys on Usenet (an old skool version of an online forum) slamming Scientology. You read up, you decide you agree with them and join in on the Scientology-slamming fun. You and the discussion group joke about wishing you had a Tom Cruise missile and you post docs describing the way Scientology approaches medical treatment ([http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,22044493-2702,00.html|weirdly], you think).
Then, Scientology sues you for copyright infringement and you go into bankruptcy because you don't happen to have 75 grand laying around.
Frustrated, you move to SoCal and start protesting everything Scientological. Said protests get you arrested for, get this, "interfering with the rights of others to practice their religion". By now it's 2001 and you flee to Canada, seeking political asylum. Four years later, it's rejected. You're sent back to America where you are promptly arrested. Finally, in 2007, you are sent to prison.
Your only hope, now, is to get a pardon from the governor of California.
Hopefully, now is when you laugh at the irony.
A Hollywood Republican known best as "The Terminator" is going to pardon you for "interfering with the rights of others to practice their religion"??
Good thing your sentence is only six months. Good thing you're only 64 years-old and are still capable of keeping your ass muscles clenched for long periods of time.
At least, I hope that's the case.
Man, all this for protesting Scientology.
Though, it is nice to see our freedoms protected... from the oppression of middle-aged computer programmers from Palo Alto.
Read more about this story:
Oh and, as usual, this post is not meant to be taken as a criticism of Scientology. It's meant as a criticism to anyone who punishes anyone else for what they say or do, short of abridging someone's rights.
Yes, I think Scientology is weird, but then again, I think enjoying the new Transformers movie is pretty bizarre, too. I think it's obvious what kind of person I can get along with and which I can't. ^_^
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Naturally, I decided that I needed to send her a reply:
I used to have concerns about spyware. But then I bought a Mac.
Now I can concentrate on more important things, like why Bush and Cheney haven't been impeached, yet.
How can you ask us to be concerned with the, frankly, petty crime of spyware dissemination when the man in the White House has committed so many blatant crimes that I'm losing track.
I heard about your recent public statements regarding impeachment being put back on the table. Keep going with that or lose people like me to the all too tempting lure of apathy. Ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame tried to sue Dick Cheney for risking her life. The case was thrown out. To me, this served as another example of how much more powerless each American citizen has become.
I voted for you and a handful of other politicians but you all seem incapable of simply following the law. What incentive do I have to care about the system when you people don't follow your own rules? I'm not some whack-job in a log cabin in the woods. I'm a college educated, generally liberal-minded, city-dweller who believes in the principles America was supposed to have been founded on. I've emailed you a few times before because I feel it is my duty as an American citizen to communicate with my leaders when I have concerns.
Now, if you could just do your duty as an American Senator by getting the troops home and impeaching this administration, my faith in the system might be restored.
If these things don't happen, the next people to live in the White House will have no reason to obey the law. You know what? With that example, the people of the United States will begin to do as their leaders do.
What are you afraid of? Losing your job? Which is more important? Your country or your job?
Let's fight spyware. My tax dollars at work.
WARNING THIS EMAIL HAS BEEN INFECTED WITH COMMENTARY THAT WILL (HOPEFULLY) CAUSE YOU TO TAKE AGGRESSIVE ACTION AGAINST THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION.
I do NOT live in a log-cabin in the woods.
I live in a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles.
That's my question after stumbling across a link to [http://news.com.com/Study+Most+dont+see+downloading+movies+as+very+serious/2100-1025_3-6153472.html|a January 25, 2007 article] from CNetNews.Com that reports:
Most Americans know where to draw the line when it comes to leaving a store without paying for a DVD, but downloading copyright movies is a different matter, according to a study released Thursday.
In a survey of 2,600 Americans via the Internet and in telephone interviews, Digital Life America found 78 percent considered taking a DVD from a store without paying as a "very serious offense." Contrast that with the 40 percent who said they believe it is a "very serious offense" to download copyright movies off the Internet without paying for them, the study found.
To top this off, Cinematical.Com has [http://www.cinematical.com/2006/12/13/new-study-shows-extremely-low-percentage-of-movie-downloading/|a post from December 13, 2006] that reports:
A new study performed by ABI research has ripped another hole in the already-weak rampant claims of unstoppable movie piracy and the struggling film business. According to the study, which polled 1,725 North American online consumers 18+, only 5% watched legal digital movie downloads, and even less watch illegal downloads, making it "the least watched genre of online video on the Internet." The majority of respondents say they watch short-form content like news, sports and viral media. Why are they ignoring digitally-acquired films and illegal downloads? Because "they were satisfied with their current providers and the rental market."
So, if most folks don't view breaking a particular law as being that big of a deal (and there is evidence that suggests the law isn't even being broken that often), doesn't that mean the law should be repealed?
I'm trying to think of other laws that are generally ignored by people but are still on the books. Sodomy laws are the only ones coming to mind.
So, the issue of bootlegging aside, what should happen to a law when most people don't think it should be enforced (or that it should be enforced only in extreme situations)?
And I won't even go into the fact that [http://imdb.com/news/sb/2006-11-08#film4|an Australian study] found evidence that suggested:A confidential study for the Australian government has concluded that industry statistics concerning financial loss due to piracy are "unverified and epistemologically unreliable."
Hell, how do you measure potential revenues for a product as amorphous as intellectual property? .
School Children Raise More For Hurricane Katrina Than Major Corporations School children across the United States have given more money for Katrina relief efforts than all but five of the country's largest corporations. According to the group RandomKid, school children have raised over $10 million over the past year through bake sales, lemonade stands, car washes and other fundraisers. School children gave more to the Katrina relief efforts than companies such as AT&T, Verizon, GE and Coca-Cola.
So, exactly, why are we allowing corporations to stick around, again?
Seriously, I thought corporations were supposed to exist for the benefit of people. Of course, that last part has since morphed into "the benefit of the shareholders." Seriously, though--how can said shareholders sleep at night knowing that the companies they own stock in are outdone by children in the generosity department? I mean, what's the point of being a mega-corporation if you don't help people with some of ALL that money? .
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
What I'd love to see happen is for the media (all of it, everything from TV, to movies, to gadgets and anything else) get seriously reformed. Fictional TV shows need to stop pandering, non-fictional shows need to do the same. In fact, so do movies and video games and so on. However, it seems like the companies that provide programming for these various "screens" are not bothering to think above the lowest common denominator.
Whether it's the new law hiking song royalties (putting indy radio stations on the air and on the web out of business) or the magazine postage hike (putting indy print magazines out of business--seeing the trend?)--it seems like Big Business is determining everything we see and therefore everything we can know.
So, where do you learn about the machinations of these big media companies? Check out FreePress.Net. As I type this, I can see the following stories covered on their main page: The magazine postage hike, 'net neutrality, the iPhone being locked to one carrier, and saving Internet radio.
Check out FreePress.Net today and learn about how big media businesses are shaping how you see the world.
LOOK AT THE ITEMS TheCHAD HAS UP FOR AUCTION!
BID ON THINGS YOU LIKE!
These items include Star Trek, Star Wars, and other scifi books. READING IS FUNDAMENTAL and scifi RAWKS!!
SO CHECK OUT TheCHAD'S AUCTIONS AND BID IF YOU LIKE ANYTHING, PLEASE!!
ARIGATO GOZAIMASHITA! .
See, the USG paid them to destroy their crop of opium-producing poppies--you know, the kind the Wicked Witch said would make Dorothy sleepy? Yeah, well, from those you eventually get cocaine, which was a drug I'm not sure Judy Garland was familiar with. But I digress...
What the Taliboys did was destroy their crops in exchange for cash. This kind of buy-out is what I wish the USG had tried with Saddam instead of invasion. I mean, come on--you think Saddam would have said "no" to $10 or $15 billion in exchange for implementing a democracy? Of course, not.
Now that we've invaded Afghanistan, regime-changed its ass and generally made a mess of things over there, the poppy production is BACK ON!
Not only is it back on, but it's THRIVING! At least, that's what [http://wire.jacksonville.com/pstories/world/20070717/184966187.shtml|a July 17, 2007 article] from AP.org available at Jacksonville.com is reporting. Here's a cutting:
Afghanistan's heroin-producing poppy crop set another record this season, despite intensified eradication efforts, the American ambassador said Tuesday.
Ambassador William Wood said preliminary data show that Afghan farmers harvested 457,135 acres of opium poppies this year, compared to 407,715 acres last year. The growing industry fuels the Taliban, crime, addiction and government corruption.
This is GREAT news for cocaine-users, drug dealers and the DEA, alike! Sure, it'll take a bit for the effects to be felt here in the US, but thanks to Bush's absurd interest in toppling Saddam, we're looking at a potential drug epidemic in the US, all over again! Of course, that's good news for George W. Bush, too, since it means there will be another enemy for him to lord over us: DRUG DEALERS!!
That guy is so damn LUCKY!! .
WE FOUND WATER OUTSIDE OUR SOLAR SYSTEM!!
Why is this important?
Well, DUH, water is probably the most important building block for LIFE.
If it exists out there, then it's that much more plausible to assume life as we know it lives out there.
This should be huge news! Seriously--who cares about some terrorists when you consider life outside of our immediate sphere?
It's so ridiculous that we can spend a trillion USD on destruction but waaaay less on progression.
Ah well, you should go read more about this whole story [http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSL1164290820070711?feedType=RSS&rpc=22&sp=true|here] in a July 11, 2007 article at Reuters.com.
It's LIFE, MAN!!
Well, in our real-life nightmare tale, those same citizens (these are American) are working in collusion with the government, only these are under the guise of the corporate citizen. In this capacity, most normal humans don't think of what they are doing as bad for anyone. They only think of their work as being good--good for themselves, mainly. They don't consider what happens once their work (or the effects of their work) go beyond their eyeshot.
Like the fine folks of Coca-Cola who's factory in a small village in India robbed the locals of their water supply ( [http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=7508|source] ).
Or the New Jersey company Sarnoff that, according to [http://www.engadget.com/2007/02/08/sarnoff-wants-to-scan-your-iris-without-your-knowledge/|a February 8, 2007 post] at Engadget.com, want to perfect technology that will scan your iris without you even noticing. Here's a cutting from the post:
recently filed a patent application that spells out a snazzy method of quickly photographing a helpless individual's facial region multiple times in order to (hopefully) capture one solid look at the iris. This newfangled manner of jacking biometrics from clueless pedestrians is actually being requested by the American government, as it apparently hopes to use it to run constant background checks with the information on file in order to peg a threat as they're strolling through.
So, there's the collusion-with-government part in there, too.
Whatever happened to living in a country where you aren't being watched, judged, and sentenced when you walk to the fricken corner store?
Doesn't anyone want to live freely? You know, without the constant need/urge to defend yourself and your patriotism? .
Sure, the obvious good stuff would be during the 70s with Watergate and all of that fun. Generally speaking, however, the MSM fails to cover truly important, truly challenging stories. Such as stories that suggest alternatives to capitalism or it's various subsets, like insurance, the war(s), and the environment. Sure, they're all in the news now but where was the MSM when these stories first broke?
Of course, the indy media HAVE been covering that stuff, pretty much all along. Unfortunately, it's expensive to produce your own news show or spend your day researching a story when you don't have a big fat corporation paying for your expenses (and your bills, rent and food). This, unfortunately, means that the bulk of the big stories are left to the big boys in the MSM to report on. The thing is, they really dropped the ball during the build up to the Iraq Attack which is sad since there was loads of evidence and it makes sense to challenge the march to war no matter what the cause is.
Back in February of 2007 the PBS news show (just on the very edge of the MSM) FRONTLINE did a documentary miniseries, called NEWS WAR, which covers how pussy-whipped the MainStream Media were for the Bush Administration's press releases during that build up to the Iraq Attack. The mini examines the whys and the hows. It's really good stuff. The good news is that PBS.org has made available the entire series for viewing on their site. The even gooder news is that they've got a STACK of other great stuff to check out relating to the whole "bailing on their job" thing with the media. This includes extended interviews with the people featured in the docu, transcripts of discussions given by the producers of the series, and a few other things.
So, check out everything here:
The Internet ROCKS for this kind of thing and Gods bless the PBS for taking full advantage of the inexpensive facilities the 'net offers. .
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
But will it really do that?
Now, there's not a lot of mainstream press on the SPP or a possible NAU. The paranoia among the paranoid stems from the fact that the EU began with similar pacts of economic partnerships. And, to be sure, I share their concern based on the small amount of reading I've done. The way I and others like me have predicted the events over the past 7 years is frightening, but we were right and we are right, so I say we should be worried here. Hell, just the lack of mainstream news coverage on this thing is enough to cause concern.
When they don't cover something big like this, you know it's because it's bad (think the lack of Iraq WMD).
Is there a smoking gun?
No, not yet, but trends are trends. The dollar is at it's weakest since like 1981, according to something I read earlier today. A co-worker friend of mine who pointed me in this direction earlier today said that he had heard a radio interview with a guy (he couldn't remember the name, but I'm guessing it was Jerome Corsi, author of an alarmist book about this very topic) who had suggested that the dollar's drop was being orchestrated on purpose so that we'd have no choice but to accept a new continental currency. In an interview with Alex Koppelman [http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/07/16/jerome_corsi/print.html|available] at Salon.com, Jerome Corsi (who also wrote a book about how John Kerry sucks) describes this new currency as our answer to the Euro.
Of course, Corsi's not spouting anything new. The Dr. Jekyl to his Mr. Hyde is a fellow called Robert Pastor who wrote a book called "Toward a North American Community" that spins this same story in a positive way.
Now, we're at the end of what I know as fact about this whole thing. There are all sorts of other stuff out there about this, including a bizarre tales of a 12-lane highway stretching from Mexico to Canada and a general loss of sovereignty.
What do I think?
I don't believe anything specific will happen, but I do have a theoretical, probable path this will all go if left unchecked:
1) The SPP will lay ground work for a more friendly economy between our three countries.
2) A few more treaty-type things will pop-up that make it easier for businesses to do their thing across North American borders.
3) Proposals get put forth for a new currency to help undo the damage an absurdly weak USD is doing to the world (and North American) economy.
4) Can't have a currency without some new type of country-esque structure to umbrella over everything, so they'll put forward a new NAU constitution, that, like the EU constitution that was being shopped around will include clauses that allow it's provisions to trump each country's laws in certain cases--mostly financial/economic ones.
5) The constitution will be passed by Congress because they're all ready bought and paid for by big business.
6) The WTO/World Bank/IMF either merge or are replaced by a mothership-style umbrella group that will govern all of the planet with the NAU, the EU, the Russian Federation, the African Union (already exists) and the SAU (South American Union, also already exists).
This would be what many call "The New World Order" (GASP! I SAID IT! snicker! Of course, that's just my 2 yen, which isn't worth very much these days--even compared to the weak-ass USD ^_^ .
I hate it, too.
Of course, until recently, there has been very little (if any, really) evidence that the Iraq Attack really was about oil. Please note the phrase "until recently."
The following comes from [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/17/1355251|the July 17, 2007 headlines] at DemocracyNow.Org and deliver all the proof that I need. Check it out:
Hundreds of Iraqi Oil Workers Protest In Basra In the Iraqi port city of Basra, hundreds of oil industry workers demonstrated on Monday to protest a draft oil law that would open up Iraq's oil reserves to foreign companies. Protest organizers accused the United States of trying to control Iraq's wealth. They issued a statement that read: "If this is endorsed by the parliament it would abolish sovereignty and hand over the wealth of this generation and the generations to come as a gift to the occupier."
I've actually been following this law for a while--and it's depressing to see that things will get worse if they're not approached and dealt with. In other words, if you see something wrong, don't sit back and expect it to get better on its own. In this case, the problem has yet to go away.
In fact, I expect the law to pass and for the Iraqi people to lose out.
Hey, no more blood for oil...sigh. .
Well, it turns out the rebellion has begun, in a financial way. Check out CafeFemininoFoundation.org to learn about and help support female coffee growers from South America. The following is from [http://www.cafefemeninofoundation.org/story.html|their "THE STORY" page] :
The story began with 464 women in Northern Peru in 2004. At the first gathering of Women Coffee Producers a new " idea separating their coffee from the rest of the production" was proposed. This concept was conceived through the combined efforts of PROASSA, CICAP, CECANOR, and the women themselves searching for ideas that would improve the conditions of their lives.
These women represent new century pioneers. Theirs is the story of women not just in the rural communities in Peru, but of women throughout developing nations. Many of these women have no rights, have been abandoned and are abused. Many are alone with children and no income. Even with little or no self esteem left, they continue to hold out hope for a better life.
With the help of organic and Fair Trade premiums, much progress has been made in recent years to improve life in the expanding number of rural coffee growing communities. Improvements range from better diets, improved sanitation, new wet-processing mills, and many, many miles of new roads.
Despite the progress, the marginalization of women in these rural communities has grown worse. In urban areas of Peru the abuse rate is estimated at 41%. Due to the isolation in rural communities, the rate is far higher.
In these areas of lower cultural living standards, women are not only isolated, but mistreated physically and emotionally. With little resources, the coffee family invests available resources in educating the sons. The daughters stay home, devoted to chores around the house and watching over the farm. They usually marry between the ages of 12 and 16. With the help of organic and Fair Trade premiums, much progress has been made in recent years to improve life in the expanding number of rural coffee growing communities. Improvements range from better diets, improved sanitation, new wet-processing mills, and many, many miles of new roads.
Hm, sounds like their rebellion could use some more help. Why not swing by their site to learn more?
The thing is, I have a very tiny aptitude for money. If you don't include every step along the way as you explain money issues to me, I'll get lost. Here's an example of something that sounds like it should make sense to me but doesn't:
In September, we saw early signs that the dollar was in trouble. The trade deficit registered at $70 billion but the Net Foreign Security Purchases (NFSP) came in at a paltry $33 billion. That means that our main trading partners are no longer buying back our debt which puts downward pressure on the greenback. The Fed had two choices; either raise interest rates substantially or let the currency fall. Given the tenuous condition of the housing bubble and the proximity of the midterm elections, the Fed did neither.
A month later, in October, the trade deficit hit $69.9 billion but, then, without warning, a miracle occurred. The Net Foreign Security Purchases skyrocketed to a "historic high" of $116.8 billion; covering both months' shortfalls almost to the penny.
Not likely. Either the skittish central banks decided to "stock up" on their dollar-denominated investments or the Federal Reserve (and their banking-buddies) is buying back its own debt to float us through the elections.
See that? WTH does that mean?
One thing I do know is that the USG has "found" over $1 trillion to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. That's 1,000,000,000,000 one-dollar bills.
The thing I'm curious about is this: Where did all those dollar bills come from?
Before 911, why weren't those trillion dollar bills being used to fight cancer or AIDS or make cars more safe?
They weren't being used for that, so the question remains: where did they come from? Or were they just created from nothing--like when you go to the bank, deposit cash only to have it loaned out to someone else? Essentially, that's creating money from nothing. The way I understand it, the USG borrows money from the Federal Reserve System and they get theirs from investors.
Damn... a trillion dollars? That's a LOT of investments. And where did those investors get their money from? Their versions of the FRS? And where did those FRS's get their money? From investors, and so on...
Doesn't this seem like one giant circle-jerk?
My next question is this, if that guy Whitney is right and the USD has been lowered on purpose, what purpose will it serve?
Ironically, as I was typing this I had a co-worker friend of mine mention something he'd heard on the radio this morning. Apparently, there's this North American Union thing that is starting to happen. Immediately my mind snapped to the EU trying to pass a constitution that would allow the EU to usurp a country's government--in other words, take control away from the people. Luckily, the constitution was voted down by the citizens of a number of different member-countries of the EU. They voted it down because they were educated about the new constitution and how it would remove their rights.
What if something like that would play out here under a North American Union?
Based on the way we fell for the 911/Iraq/Afghanistan/tWAT line of bullshit, we'd vote a North American Union constitution in with no problem at all. We're that oblivious and disconnected from reality.
I gotta do some more research on this...anyone want to help? I still have a dayjob :( .
Five years ago this week a train derailed in Minot, North Dakota leaking thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals into the air. One person died and hundreds were treated for immediate health problems. The city's six non-religious commercial radio stations â€“ all owned by Clear Channel â€“ never aired warnings for local residents.
The radio giant Clear Channel owned all six commercial stations in Minot, North Dakota. None of them broke into regular programming to provide emergency information to the city's residents. After the town's Emergency Alert System failed, local officials tried to call the stations - but no one answered. The stations continued to play music piped in from out of state.
Now, there are laws in place that force broadcasters like Clear Channel to enforce the whole "Emergency Broadcast System" thing that means you can turn on the radio or TV and learn about emergencies in your area. Now, if the USG were to do something about this, all Clear Channel would have to do is pay a fine and that will be that. No one gets arrested, no one goes to jail and worst of all, people's lives are put in danger because companies like Clear Channel are "too important" to care about the little people in North Dakota.
Monday, July 16, 2007
I just HOPE she stays with this line of thinking. I will pretty much accept ANY kind of impeachment talk just so long as it's aimed at Bush and/or Cheney (preferably both)!
Almost everything the Bush 43 Admin are doing these days is positively against the principles that America is supposed to hold dear--from allowing 911 to happen, to invading two sovereign nations, to failing to protect Americans during Katrina, to the unwarranted domestic spying controversy, to... I think you get the picture!
So, LET'S HEAR IT FOR BARBARA BOXER!
And Barbara Boxer: LET'S HEAR IT FOR IMPEACHMENT!!
Thank you for starting to do your job by starting to stand up for the law!
(Please, keep going!!) .
Chatter around the web -- see this post at The Register, for example -- is buzzing about the realization that MySpace users give up rights to any material that they post to their profiles on the site. Someone actually sat down and read the terms of service, which include gems like this:
By displaying or publishing ("posting") any Content, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, profiles, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, "Content") on or through the Services, you hereby grant to MySpace.com, a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services.
The terms were changed on May 1st to say that once you remove your profile and/or the content, that News Corp. will remove your information from their servers and won't distribute it later. Awfully nice of Mr. Murdoch, isn't it?
Hm, awfully nice of Murdoch to own our content despite the fact that the only "payment" is the use of his site. Of course, our content competes with all of those damn-ugly ads on there. I think I need to delete some of my own videos from that site...
The thing is, I believe Google/YouTube's terms of service make similar if not identical ownership claims on the content you upload. Well, until there's a courtcase where some hosting service does something with a video/audio clip that it's rightful owner doesn't want done, I suppose we've no choice but to trust them.
I know, trust big business? That's a terrible idea...
So, everyone's chomping at the bit to go into Iran now, right? And everyone's talking about how there are all of these external fingers in the Iraq pie now, right? And if we left now, the evildoers would win.
Well, there's an amusing story that's going on in the back ground. DemocracyNow.Org is [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/16/1330225|reporting] on [http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-saudi15jul15,1,7067890.story?ctrack=1&cset=true|a July 15, 2007 article] on the fact that half of the foreign fighters that have been nabbed in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia and that the number from Iran are much smaller. In fact, the number of Iranians is smaller than the Syrians and Lebanese in Iraq. But don't let me just quote numbers to you--have a look at a cutting that is the source of said numbers:
Although Bush administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran, accusing it of helping insurgents and militias here, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, Saudi Arabia, according to a senior U.S. military officer and Iraqi lawmakers.
About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia; 15% are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% are from North Africa, according to official U.S. military figures made available to The Times by the senior officer. Nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis, he said.
Pretty neat, huh?
So, Lieberman going on about how Iran is a threat and they are behind bombings in Iraq and that's why we should do something "militarily" about them is just Joe living up to his name.
It would be funny if it weren't so lame.
Here's the part to remember:
As with Iraq, none of the threats the USG is quoting are actual threats.
New war, same as the old.
The added irony here is that the Saudis are our ally in tWAT and are actually supplying terrorists to go up against...us in Iraq.
Do we have a bunch of sociopaths as leaders or what? .
In a broadly worded legal opinion, the Justice Department has concluded that President Bush's former top lawyer, and possibly other senior White House officials, can ignore subpoenas from Congress to testify about the firings of U.S. attorneys.
The three-page opinion raises questions about whether the Justice Department would prosecute senior administration officials if Congress voted to hold them in contempt for not cooperating with the investigation into the firing last year of eight top prosecutors.
Surprisingly, the LA Times article brings up my point. What about charges of contempt of Congress? Regardless of any law, you'd think it would be considered rude (aka contemptuous to ignore a subpoena. I thought combating this sort of behavior was why "contempt" laws came to exist.
Once again we see how the Bush Administration is above the law.
Not thinks they are above the law--they are above the law. Why? Because no one in the US Government is enforcing the law at this point. Currently, it's up to Congress to impeach Bush and Cheney. But only Boxer is talking about doing that these days. I'll blog on her later today. :) .
The private discussion between Clinton and Edwards began when the former senator walked over to the former first lady to shake hands at the conclusion of the forum. The candidates were not aware that the microphone that Clinton was wearing was still transmitting sound.
"We've got to talk because they, they are, just being trivialized," Clinton said to Edwards.
"They are not serious," Edwards responded.
"No," Clinton said in agreement. "You know, I think there was an effort by our campaigns to do that. We got somehow, you know, detoured. But we've got to get back to that . . ."
Due to organ music and announcements that were being made in the background, the entirety of the conversation is not audible.
So, what the hell are they talking about here? Does Edwards think he's going to pull some crap, teaming up with Hillary to maybe get himself a VP slot again?
How can he talk about the "2 Americas" if he's going to turn around and help create "2 Presidential Campaigns"?
I remember when Ann Coulter (indirectly) called Edwards a faggot and Edwards came out and said something like "let's not even acknowledge she said anything, let's just ignore her". Meanwhile, his campaign sent out emails asking for us to fight Ann Coulter's hatespeech by giving money to the Edwards campaign going so far as embedding the video in the email. When I emailed back to complain the reply I got back thanking me for my feedback had the word "SPAM" inserted into the subject header. This is how they view critics of their campaign over there at Edwards Central.
Sorry, I know this'll make Edwards supporters around the country cry their eyes out, but I'm not supporting Edwards any more. He's still the best candidate in my mind, but he's fallen into the category of "lesser of two evils." Of course, he's still one of those evils, now. .
Friday, July 13, 2007
Instead of handing over their money, one of the women at the party offered the gunman a glass of wine.
He accepted, admitting "Damn, that's good wine."
The gunman then helped himself to some cheese on a nearby table and after a moment put his gun away and admitted "I think I may have come to the wrong house."
He then asked for hugs from everyone and then one big group hug.
His request was granted.
He left the party with a full glass of wine in his hand.
Nothing was stolen, no one was hurt.
Now, give me one good reason why this tactic wouldn't work against Al Qaeda.
Instead of tracking them down and killing them all (as if!) and instead of giving them what they want, we compromise and give them the (now) proverbial glass of wine in the form of certain concessions. We pull our troops out of Saudi Arabia and start negotiating for a Palestinian state.
Is being cordial to our enemies that absurd an idea?
What if that guy shot the people anyway?
Well, then they'd have died being generous, polite, civilized people. Isn't that better than living as cold, greedy savages? .
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Al Qaeda is stepping up its efforts to sneak terror operatives into the United States and has acquired most of the capabilities it needs to strike here, according to a new U.S. intelligence assessment, The Associated Press has learned.
The draft National Intelligence Estimate is expected to paint an increasingly worrisome portrait of al Qaeda's ability to use its base along the Pakistan-Afghan border to launch and inspire attacks, even as Bush administration officials say the U.S. is safer nearly six years into the war on terror.
Now, isn't this new info coming from the same people who said Saddam had WMD? Aren't those guys the same folks that were blissfully unaware of 911 before it happened?
Funny how this "intelligence" just happens to be released a couple days after Chertoff issues his "gut feeling" statement.
The good news is that by them declaring that they know about this cell, they can't plead ignorance if it actually happens like they did for 911.
As if that's a reasonable excuse...
ARE YOU SCARED YET? .
Nutshell for those who just tuned in:
PEAK OIL=the theory that states at some point Planet Earth will reach it's highest output of oil possible, based on it's finite supply of the stuff. Once that point is reached, it will have peaked. After that, it's all downhill folks!
There's a lot to read about Peak Oil, so check out the Peak Oil entry at Wikipedia.org by going here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil
In the meantime, here's some disturbing (but probably overdramatic) news about Peak Oil being very much on the horizon (say, within the next 5 years) that comes to us from [http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/article2750517.ece|a July 12, 2007] article at http://News.Independent.co.uk :
The world faces an oil supply crunch with prices poised to soar to new all-time highs over the next five years, a report from the International Energy Agency warned yesterday.
In its Medium-Term Oil Market report the Paris-based organisation predicted that demand would rise by 2.2 per cent a year between 2007 and 2012 - up from a previous forecast of 2 per cent - as the world's economy expands at about 4.5 per cent a year.
That means demand is set to grow by 1.9m barrels a day to 95.8m barrels a day by 2012.
The demand will be driven by the fast-growing economies of Asia and the Middle East, where the thirst for black gold will grow more than three times faster than the 30 industrialised members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. That is because several countries in those regions are set to break the $3,000 per capita income level, when consumers can afford to buy energy-consuming products such as cars and white goods.
OK, governments of the world! Time to start oppressing your people and taking away freedoms! If people think they can go on buying DVDs and gadgets and cars, and homes for cheap that means there won't be enough cheap oil to go around! WE CAN'T LET THAT HAPPEN!
I MUST HAVE MY DVDs!!
Seriously, China. Ya gotta start killing more people. Too many of you guys are going to drag the rest of our lifestyles down!
Man, those nukes are looking pretty good right about now! I'm glad we lied about getting rid of them!
I AM SO KIDDING, PEOPLE.
But seriously, there will be many more wars about oil.
Technically any good? The acting was wonderful. The FX were very good and at times AMAZING. Sadly, the script was so messy and random, I just couldn't really work out any real rhyme or reason to it. It went from light family movie to monster movie to political commentary movie and back to monster movie and again back to political commentary movie to depressing family tragedy. So, unless you're in the mood for something like this, I'd skip it.
How did it leave me feeling? I heard that people were comparing this movie to JAWS? Well, they were wrong. This movie doesn't come close to packing the emotional and story wallop JAWS delivers. It's sad, too, since it's not every day we get to see a Korean monster movie--or a Korean any movie, for that matter.
Final Rating? RTV - Rent The Video - it's got a few nice surprises in it, but ultimately it's weak and uneven.
That's one to ponder.
Surely, the Boston Tea Party is looked upon as good.
I wonder if history will favor the EPR, a Mexican group of rebel terrorists who blew up oil pipelines in Mexico disrupting millions of dollars of activity going on in factories and plants run by multi-national corporations. Here's a cutting from [http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/americas/07/11/mexico.gas.ap/index.html?eref=rss_topstories|a July 11, 2007 article] at CNN.com written by the fine folks at AP.org:
Honda, Hershey's and other multinational companies temporarily shut down their factories in western Mexico on Wednesday after rebels attacked a key natural gas pipeline.
The small, left-wing guerrilla group that claimed responsibility for the explosions issued a statement late Tuesday vowing to continue the attacks, while the Mexican government scrambled to increase security at "strategic installations" across Mexico.
At least a dozen companies including Honda Motor Co., Kellogg Co.'s, The Hershey Co., Nissan Motor Co., and Grupo Modelo SA were forced to suspend or scale back operations because of the lack of natural gas, the daily newspaper Excelsior reported. They said they faced millions of dollars in losses.
Vitro SAB, a Mexican company that makes glass containers, said the shutdown of two plants would cost it about $800,000 a day.
Of course to read about the terrorists, themselves, CNN does us the favor of burying their story toward the bottom so as to not accidentally inspire any sympathy for them from anyone but the most dedicated news readers. Here's what they would probably rather you not read:
The group that claimed responsibility for the explosions is the "military zone command of the People's Revolutionary Army," or EPR, a tiny rebel group that staged several armed attacks on government and police installations in southern Mexico in the 1990s, but was later weakened by internal divisions.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, the EPR said it was waging a "prolonged people's war."
"We have started a national campaign of harassment against the economic interests of the oligarchy and the anti-people government, and declare those interests as legitimate military targets," it said.
They sound a bit like freedom fighters, don't they?
Like throwing tea overboard, they're fightin' the Man through His financial interests...
...and breaking laws and risking lives in the process.
I hope their goals are met before anyone gets hurt.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
There's no WAY I'd buy that!!
You know I can only buy widescreen!
Scientists unveiled the discovery Wednesday of a baby mammoth found in the permafrost of north-west Siberia.
The remains of the six-month-old female mammoth were discovered in a remarkable state of preservation on the Yamal peninsula of Russia in May, a Reuters report said. The specimen is believed to be the best of its kind to date.
The animal is thought to have died 10,000 years ago and experts say the approximately four foot tall, 50kg Siberian specimen dates to the end of the last Ice Age, when the great beasts were vanishing off the face of the planet.
Scientists hope the animal might yield DNA samples that could be used to clone and effectively resurrect the extinct members of the elephant family.
Science. Remember that? It's how we learn stuff about the universe. It's cool.
Sure wish we could spend more on science. Maybe we could snag some of that $1 trillion from World War III in the Middle East and spend it on something that will actually allow humanity to progress.
Ah well, I've got to have hope, right?
"Summertime seems to be appealing to them," Chertoff said in his discussion with the newspaper about terrorists. "We worry that they are rebuilding their activities."
So, there ya have it. A "gut feeling" from the guy protecting us based on the idea that "they" find summertime appealing.
You wanna know what I think? Of course, you do!
What I think: If there is an attack it's going to be because of us attacking Iran, first. Check out the following cutting which comes to us from [http://uk.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/20070710/tpl-uk-usnavy-carrier-9562ed3.html|a July 10, 2007] article from Reuters.com available at UK.News.Yahoo.com:
A U.S. aircraft carrier is heading to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet area of operations, which includes the Gulf, but the Pentagon said on Tuesday there had been no decision to increase naval power in the region.
U.S. defence officials said the deployment of the USS Enterprise was a routine measure to replace one of two U.S. Navy carriers now in the Fifth Fleet area.
Ah, nothing like replenishing your "defenses" in a supremely war-torn area of the world. With tensions high it won't take much to piss off the "evildoers" enough for them to actually act on their fairly justified hatred of the US.
If an attack on Iran, with the help of that new carrier, doesn't happen, then the doers of evil can simply use the continuing presence of the US Mil in Iraq. After all, just [http://www.iht.com/bin/print.php?id=6603611|yesterday] IHT.com reported:
Fearful of a Republican rebellion over Iraq that his own aides believe could force him to change course, President George W. Bush said Tuesday that the United States would be able to pull back troops "in a while," but called on Congress to wait until September to debate the future military presence there.
Well, with behavior like that, I really don't think I'd be surprised if Osama bin Laden sent George W. Bush a giant bouquet of thank you roses with a note reading: "Be seeing you... in a while."
And they do have a plan--just like the Cylons on Battlestar Galactica. And like the Cylons' plan Bush's plan seems like a confusing, nonsensical mess at times not resembling a plan at all. The thing is, the confusing, mess-part of the plan is part of the plan. See, we're all busy thinking Bush is incompetent, while really, he's making billions for his friends in the military industrial complex. And you watch, when Bush steps down from power in January of 2009 (IF he steps down), he'll go right to a job on the board of the Carlyle Group--one of the biggest investors in the Mil-Ind-Com.
So, it should come as no surprise that Bush is now threatening to veto any new bill crossing his desk that calls for troop withdrawal from Iraq. See, if the troops pull out of Iraq, there goes his cash cow. Or rather, his cash herd. He doesn't care about the lives that are lost because he's a rich white guy and very likely a sociopath. Sociopaths are people who can't tell the moral difference between right and wrong.
So, sure, you could say he supports the troops--but only so far as they function as fodder to his money-making-machine.
It all makes sense now, doesn't it?
How do I know all of this is true? Because his dad did a lite version of this same plan when he was in the White House. Just check out the Carlyle Group's entry at Wikipedia.org right here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlyle_Group
Or just read about Bush's latest show of "support" for the troops at DailyNews.com by hitting up this link: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_6344697 .