Monday, December 31, 2007

An Inconvenient Year by Dave Barry

What better way to end the year than with a full-blown synopsis of this past year by Dave Barry. There's a monthly recap of all the goings-on during the year. Here's some:
The slump in home sales continues into the new year, with a nationwide total of one home sold in January. In many cities, gangs of real estate agents sometimes wearing "colors" in the form of canary-yellow jackets roam the streets, surrounding their victims and extracting money from them in forcible "closings."

In politics, the burgeoning Alberto Gonzales scandal -- rapidly becoming the most riveting scandal to rivet Washington since the "Scooter" Libby scandal -- burgeons still further when congressional Democrats charge that Gonzales's name can also be rearranged to spell "A Stern Legal Bozo" and "Snot Blaze Galore."

As the month draws to a close, Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday much as the early Pilgrims did, lining up outside Best Buy at 3 a.m. to buy steeply discounted appliances.
Just a few gems from one of my favorite columnists (he's retired now, supposedly). Read it all here -- An Inconvenient Year

Mortgage meltdown same as losing cash?

Here's an interesting perspective for those of us watching a significant portion of their net worths evaporating into thin air ($720 billion in total, so far):
If you are a homeowner, how bad do you feel about this? You should feel pretty bad, but I’m guessing you would feel a lot worse in the following scenario: home prices did not fall at all last year, but one day you took $18,000 out of the bank to pay cash for a new car, and someone then stole your wallet with the $18,000 in it. At the end of the day, your wealth would be the same (down $18,000, either from depreciation of the value of your home or because the money was stolen), but one loss is psychologically far worse than the other.
This is so true.

Lost: Billion. If Found, Please Return to Owner, Preferably in Cash - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog:

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Military Depleted? F-15s grounded

This could possibly be one of the dozens of unintended consequences of choosing to fight two wars overseas: When structural problems were found in F-15 fighter planes, the most prolific of NORAD's inventory of planes that protect and patrol North America, the strain is being felt throughout. IF we could only find a few billion dollars to upgrade...hmm, wonder where we could find some money?

With F-15s grounded, U.S. seeks cover - Military-

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Clinton urges voters to caucus on wrong day

Even the stalwart political war machine of Hillary Clinton is prone to mistakes, this one asking for pledges of support from Iowans for the caucus, only 11 days too late...

Clinton urges voters to caucus on wrong day - Hillary Clinton News-

100 Minds That Made the Market

I'm going to buy this book for a friend and I might borrow it from him later :)

When I do read it, I'll post a review here. For now, let's just use some of Amazon's own words:
From the Back Cover

100 Minds That Made The Market

Introducing the new Fisher Investment Series Comprised of engaging and informative titles written by renowned money manager and bestselling author Ken Fisher, this series offers essential insights into the worlds of investing and finance.

Over the course of nearly two centuries, the innovations, mistakes, and scandals of many different market participants have all played an important role in shaping today's financial markets.

Now, in 100 Minds That Made the Market, Ken Fisher delivers cameo biographies of these pioneers of American financial history. From Joe Kennedy's "sexcapades" to Jesse Livermore's suicide, this book details the drama, the dirt, and the financial principles of an amazingly inventive group of financial minds. Fisher digs deep to uncover the careers, personal lives, and contributions of these individuals, and leads you through the lessons that can be learned from each one. Here you have 100 of the best teachers—some you already know, some you will feel you know, and some you have not yet come upon—whose experiences will undoubtedly enhance your understanding of the markets.

With only a few pages dedicated to each person, 100 Minds That Made the Market quickly captures the essence of the people—and ideas—that have influenced the evolution of the financial industry.
Like I said, when I read the book, I'll post a review of it here.

Pakistan's Bhutto killed in attack

Former Pakistan prime minister Bhutto has died in an apparent suicide bombing. I bet Pakistan's President Musharraf was behind it. He's been wanting to turn the country into a totalitarian state for some time now and it seems like this is a prime opportunity in which to do it, "for the good of the country."

Kind of like here.
Musharraf condemned the attack and urged calm, according to the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan. He also convened an emergency meeting with his senior staff, where they were expected to discuss whether to postpone the elections, an official at the Interior Ministry said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
The conspiracy theorist in me is telling me that the US knew about it, too. I'll have to kill that little bastard on my shoulder.

Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, Revisited and Revised

Though the list is 3 years old, I don't think there have been any songs of significance that might break the top 25. However, the curious thing is the #1 song: Is it a little self-serving -- Like a Rolling Stone is Rolling Stone magazine's top song of all time? And the #2 song is by The Rolling Stones?

I think Rolling Stone has a lot of 'splainin' to do.

What, no Welcome to the Jungle? Elvis Presley doesn't even make it into the list until #19? The Beatles, however, all over the place. I hate The Beatles. They are the most overrated band in history. In history! I mean, Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown), WTF?

Goddamned list would be better upside-down!

1. Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan

2. Satisfaction, The Rolling Stones

3. Imagine, John Lennon

4. What's Going On, Marvin Gaye

5. Respect, Aretha Franklin

6. Good Vibrations, The Beach Boys

7. Johnny B. Goode, Chuck Berry

8. Hey Jude, The Beatles

9. Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana

10. What'd I Say, Ray Charles

The Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time : Rolling Stone

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How to Quit the Caffeine Habit

Many of us like our Starbucks. Or Peet's. Or the corner drive thru coffee shop. Heck, even Dunkin' Donuts. It really doesn't matter; many of us are addicted to caffeine. I'll tell you how I kicked the habit.

It's really like anything else. You have to decide to do it, then just do it. It's difficult. The headaches are brutal. The lethargy is dreadful. The disconnection from our "drinking buddies" is hard to take.

There are at least two dependencies going on, one physical and one mental. The physical and mental reinforce one another.

"My head hurts. Get a coffee."
"I miss my friends. Get a latte."
"I need my energy boost. Get a crappachino."

My kicking the habit boiled down to 3 basic things: One, I wanted to have children and my wife convinced me that we'd have better swimmers if I quit the caffeine. I didn't dispute her on this one :)

Two, I didn't really feel very good. Sure, I'd get a minimal energy boost, but overall I felt really cruddy.

Three, I was spending money I didn't want to spend.

For me, there was never a personal connection to caffeine. I don't drink coffee. I drank Dew. Loved the stuff. To some, it's anti-freeze. To me, it was sugary crack. Nobody on this planet drinks Mountain Dew for social reasons. People don't meet over a Dew, they don't have "Dew parties," and nobody stands in a long-ass line waiting for the stuff.

So, I sought to kick the habit. It only took a few days to render the remnants of the green stuff out of my body. But it sucked. The headaches were horrible, I felt like I wanted to vomit, I got a fever. It really sucked. I wasn't sick, but I sure felt like it.

Here's what I did.

I quit. Cold turkey.

I persevered through the headaches. I took Aleve. Lots of it. For a few days. After 4 days without caffeine, I didn't even want any. Furthermore, I didn't want to go through the discomfort again when I decided to quit again.

My Steps for Quitting the Caffeine Habit are as follows:
  1. Decide what's important to you
  2. Take mitigating steps to curtail any discomfort you're undoubtedly going to suffer when you decide to take the next step
  3. Do it
  4. Don't look back. Failure is not an option.
Now, I'm never going to suggest that you can stop smoking or snorting cocaine by following my path. Those are addictions that I cannot speak to with any experience whatsoever. They're no doubt much stronger chemicals.

However, the 4 basic steps can be followed. The key step, in my opinion, is Step #2: Take mitigating steps to curtail any discomfort you're going to feel when you quit.

Also key is realizing that it's just a damned chemical. It doesn't have your willpower, your determination, or your fortitude. You cannot let it beat you.

Man spends Christmas Eve in septic tank - Weird news-

Not the nicest way to spend Christmas Eve -- upside-down, head-first in a septic tank.

Man spends Christmas Eve in septic tank - Weird news-

Top Ten Mitt Romney Lies

Repugnican 2008 presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is turning out to be a perpetual liar. His latest fib, about "seeing" his father march with Dr Martin Luther King, is receiving a lot of attention in the blogosphere, but this is just one of many lies Romney has fabricated.

In that light, here are the Top Ten Lies told by Mitt Romney:

10. I am a Mormon
9. I am conservative
8. I am a hunter
7. I am the 2nd coming of Ronald Reagan
6. I cried when my church announced it would recognize blacks
5. I don't get $400 hair cuts
4. I got tough on meth
3. I am tough on illegal immigration
2. My boys have served this country
1. I watched my father march with Martin Luther King
Bonus: #1: I am pro-life

10. Okay, Mitt Romney is a Mormon. Who cares? Obviously, every other religion in the world and many atheists care. They believe Mormonism is at best a disease, and at worst the Devil reincarnate. But I don't give a damn. There are good Mormons and bad Mormons, just like everything else.

I hate it, though, when anybody stands up and tells me what their faith is. Don't tell it -- do it, be it, act it, live it. If you believe that Charlie Sheen is god, then, dammit, act like it. But don't tell me, I'll just think you're freakin' crazy.

9. Romney is not a Conservative. None of the self-described Republican candidates have any resemblance to a Conservative, in a fiscal sense or any other sense, except for maybe Fred "Flintstone" Thompson.

8. Brother, P-L-E-A-S-E! First, you were a hunter, without a license, then a varmint hunter. Come on, you hunt for campaign contributions, Elmer.

7. I knew Ronald Reagan, and you're no Ronald Reagan! (Okay, I "knew" Ronald Reagan like Mitt "saw" his dad march with MLK -- see #1 below.)

6. I bet he did, but not for the reason he implied. They weren't tears of joy he shed, but rather tears of fears. White men are afraid of blacks, especially when it comes to sharing their faith. And aren't blacks Islamic fundamentalists? That's what our government and media want us to believe.

5. Right, you get $500 haircuts. You rich bastard.

4. Tough on meth, just like he got tough on all crime. Read more here about his lies on crime fighting.

3. Tough on illegal immigration? Sure.

2. Romney's sons are serving his campaign, and by ridiculous extension, since he's running for president, this country. What a crock of bullshit.

1. Romney suffers from dictionary dyslexia. Like Bill Clinton and his "depends on the definition of is...", Romney is now backpedaling on his physically seeing his father march with MLK to his daddy told him so, to the not-so-literal march in terms of "I had his back." Such a complete liar.

Bonus #1. As I said before, don't say it, do it. Romney, by his very actions, was effectively pro-choice. Now he says he's pro-life. But there is not a shred of evidence to support his lie. Maybe that's the way he feels, but his actions while an elected official seem to indicate otherwise.

This concludes my Rant against Romney. Surely more lies will surface once Romney realizes he's losing to a girl. Or a black man.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Google's new election coverage

It's pretty good. Actually, it just looks like a filtered version of Google News, but nevertheless, it's all right there on one easy-to-get-to page.

Google News - Elections

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays courtesy Whole Foods

A computer glitch shut down the Hartford Whole Foods register system, so instead of making their customers wait until the computers came back online, Whole Foods simply bagged their customers' groceries and wished them happy holidays, without charging them anything for their groceries.

Now, that's a nice little gift.

Too often, when a company screws something up, they make YOU pay for it, usually in terms of time, time you'll never get back. Well done, Whole Foods.

Whole Foods Shows You Can Get Something For Nothing --

GOP's Tancredo quits ’08 race...Who?

Talk about a loser right out of the gate. Tancredo seemed like a whack from the get-go. Now, sadly, he's gone. But he's endorsed another whack-o, Mitt Romney! I say that not because he's Mormon, but because he's just weird. He scares me. He's like Formica. It's a clean, smooth material that looks good from afar, even good close up. But it tarnishes the value of your house. Cheapens it, you know?

When are the Republicans going to offer up a polished, smart, and good candidate? Hell, when are the Democrats? Why so many crappy candidates with lots of money? Is there anybody out there with any brains, common sense, level-headedness?

Yes, but they're all too smart to run. Somebody would go digging deep in the basement of their childhood home and find a skeleton. Like, "He liked to play with himself while reading Spiderman." Or some crap like that.

GOP's Tancredo quits ’08 race - Tom Tancredo News-

FREE online classes from top-name universities

Free online courses from top-name universities, available here. I've never tried any of them, though I've known about them for some time (especially the MIT and UC Berkeley). Has anybody out there tried one or more of them?

They sound like great ways to learn some pretty cool stuff. After all, life is all about learning. If you're not learning, you're probably on the verge of death.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Credit crunch: A great synopsis of the problem

Here's a great summary of the mess we're now in with a nice comparison to the S&L crisis of the '80s.
...This has led to rational fears of credit risk among banks when dealing in the interbank lending market, severely exacerbated by the fact that the instruments in which the mortgages have become intertwined cannot be reasonably valued once they stop trading. This interbank credit crunch filters through the wider economy because companies, in particular, directly suffer the collateral damage of illiquidity at the heart of the financial system. It furthermore reinfects the housing sector, threatening a vicious cycle of house price decline and crunching credit.
Economics Blog : A Proposal for Reviving the Credit Markets

Here's the proposal from the writers of the above piece:
We believe that what is needed is a new Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC), based on the 1989 model that cleaned up the S&L mess. Obviously a different scheme is needed today, based on the new reality of mortgage holdings being dispersed throughout the financial sector. Congress would establish this new RTC to buy up subprime mortgages at deep discounts.
Here's what may happen if no action is taken:
But failure to enact an RTC to fish out the bad debt that is rotting our credit markets only makes it more likely that Congress and the Administration will instead adopt an election-year gimmick agenda with Sarbox-type haste and results.
More on the mess
Some more on the mess

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Credit crunch: About to get a whole LOT crunchier

Alan Greenspan weighs in on the credit crunch.

So does Herb Greenberg.

Want to buy a house? Good luck. Try foreclosures!

Yes, kids, it's getting ugly out there. And it's bound to get a LOT uglier. There could be a tidal wave coming, tsunami-style.

Google Talk scares me

There are some things that just aren't natural, like man on dog sex, people with boundless enthusiasm, and this: Google Talk.

It now can translate, on the fly, from one language to another and back again. Totally unnatural. And an economic bugaboo to the 3 existing translators in the world.

Google Talk Gets One Step Closer To The Ultimate Babel Fish

Monday, December 17, 2007

CEO of Universal Music Is Clueless

Universal Music's CEO is an idiot, plain and simple. The guy must have gotten his job through nepotism or the lottery...he knows nothing about music, business, or common sense.

From Techdirt
There's no one in the record company that's a technologist," Morris explains. "That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?"

Personally, I would hire a vet. But to Morris, even that wasn't an option. "We didn't know who to hire," he says, becoming more agitated. "I wouldn't be able to recognize a good technology person -- anyone with a good bullshit story would have gotten past me." Morris' almost willful cluelessness is telling. "He wasn't prepared for a business that was going to be so totally disrupted by technology," says a longtime industry insider who has worked with Morris. "He just doesn't have that kind of mind."
Universal Music's CEO Gleefully Explains How Clueless He Is

Climbing the corporate ladder

Some funny pictures of dumb people climbing ladders. We all have had bosses like this.

Where’s OSHA When You Need ‘em? -- One Mans Blog

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New board game: Where the hell is Mark McGwire?

There are some big names in the so-called Mitchell report on baseball and steroids: Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Jason Giambi, current players and retired players.

But where is Mark McGwire's name? I admit I haven't read the report, just a story on it from Yahoo (see link below), but his name hasn't been mentioned as having been fingered as a steroid or banned substances user.

Sure, his name is all over the report, in at least the first 100 or so pages. McGwire, and his success, might have been the spark plug, the smoking gun, the leading indicator of a cheating problem in baseball. But he didn't use any banned substances. In fact, he admitted to using two supplements, both over the counter at the time, but neither was illegal or banned from baseball.

Not that I'd care even if he did. He hit a lot of home runs. He and Sosa revived baseball from a near-death experience. Owners turned their heads, the players' union went on defense, and the fans said "Gimmer more of those HRs!!! I like 14-13 games. How thrilling."

Nobody gave a shit. Now they do?

Give me a break. Cheating has been a part of every sport since day one.

By the way, Roger Clemens, almost inarguably the best pitcher of his era, is hit hard in this report. It's funny how the cheating has focused on the rise in home runs and talks about the ball being juiced, but it seems like more pitchers have been implicated in the use of banned substances than hitters. Strange to me. How crappy would pitching stats be if pitchers didn't use 'roids?

Instead of the steroid era, it might be called the era of junkie pitchers.

Clemens, Bonds named in MLB drug report - Yahoo! News

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Water conservation ideas

I know some of my "there is no such thing as global warming" friends might call this stuff hogwash, but I take a different tack -- why not conserve precious resources because, well, they're precious? It's the economist in me: How to ration scarce resources?

So here are a few tips from Utility Services of Alaska. Plus, besides saving scarce resources, it saves you MONEY. Who doesn't like having more money to spend on discretionary things?

  • Check your toilet tank at least twice a year.
  • Turn the water off. Don't let it run when you wash, brush your teeth, or shave.
  • Take shorter showers or a bath.
  • Run full loads of dishes and clothes.
  • While waiting for water to turn hot or cold, catch the lukewarm water in a container to water plants.
  • Be smart, fix leaks.
Just a few tips, more here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Libby drops appeal in CIA leak case

Libby drops appeal in CIA leak case
President Bush commuted Libby's 30-month jail sentence in July. Libby paid a $250,000 fine and must serve two years' probation. Libby remains a convicted felon, but Bush could issue a full pardon as his administration winds down. Wells said he has not discussed a possible pardon with the president and does not know what Bush will do.
Of course, Libby will be pardoned. He and his lawyers have already worked out the details. Bush has signed on. This is the only reason they'd drop the appeal. A pardon will serve as a full exoneration, as if the crimes he committed never happened.

I wish we could do the same with the entire tenure of Bush and his goons. Make like the last 8 years never happened, including the worst attack on American soil.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

White House threatens budget veto

(Cross posted at Independent Bloggers' Alliance)

White House threatens budget veto
"The White House on Saturday threatened to veto a massive spending bill being assembled by congressional Democrats, saying it's unacceptable to add billions of dollars to domestic programs."
But it's okay to add trillions (yes, trillions) of dollars to foreign programs. For a guy not into nation building, I guess one could say he's into nation destruction: Our own as well as Iraq's.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 07, 2007

The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time : Rolling Stone

UPDATE: My Favorite Musicians Who Happen To Play Guitar

What? How did I miss this and why is Clapton #4 and SRV #7? Are Rolling Stones fans high? Wait, don't answer. Of course they are!

But they should be smarter than this list indicates.

1Jimi Hendrix
2 Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band
3 B.B. King
4 Eric Clapton
5 Robert Johnson
6 Chuck Berry
7 Stevie Ray Vaughan
8 Ry Cooder
9 Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin
10 Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones
11Kirk Hammett of Metallica
12 Kurt Cobain of Nirvana
13 Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead
14 Jeff Beck
15 Carlos Santana
16 Johnny Ramone of the Ramones
17 Jack White of the White Stripes
18 John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers
19 Richard Thompson
20 James Burton
21 George Harrison
22 Mike Bloomfield
23 Warren Haynes
24 The Edge of U2
25 Freddy King
26 Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave
27 Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits
28 Stephen Stills
29 Ron Asheton of the Stooges
30 Buddy Guy

Eddie Van Halen is #70. Shameful.

The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time : Rolling Stone
My Favorite Musicians Who Happen To Play Guitar

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Why digg don't digg libertarian lesbian in short shorts

The following is a post from a blogger that I read almost everyday and whose work I really dig. In her post, she's given a summary of how has banned her from getting dugg because her site has been banned for adult content. Whatever that means.

In fact, when I tried to digg Becky's post about "Why Digg Don't Digg Me" I received the following message:
This URL has been reported by users to host adult-only content and cannot be submitted at this time.

Here's Becky's post in its entirety:


Why Digg Don't Digg Me


a2 Geeky guys drive me crazy. And Kevin Rose is no exception. Good Geeks actually believe it is possible to build and tweak algorithms so that the Electronic Frontier is a pure democracy. They admit there are Evil Geeky guys out trying to undermine that democracy, for their own nefarious purposes, but in their vanity the Good Geeks are convinced they can keep one step ahead.

Last March, I and a number of other people noticed, that it appeared there were Bury Brigades at Digg.

Everyone knows the easiest way to get rid of a story submitted to Digg, is to bury it when it first appears, and then there is no chance of it ever making what Digg reverently calls “The Front Page.”

I came to the conclusion this was happening to me when I was tipped off by my favorite Geek.

I went to high school with my Geek, and he is eternally indebted to me, because I asked him to the Sadie Hawkins(in return for a promise of lifetime homework and techie assistance). He is now one of those guys that retired from Microsoft a multimillionaire before his thirtieth birthday.

Anyway, my Geek friend turned me on to Digg Spy. In there you can view users digging and burying stories in real time. I watched, and my stories were being massively buried as soon as they hit Digg.

Other people noticed this was widespread. So Kevin Rose spoke up.

In the classic way of Geeks, Kevin carefully explained how they don't show us everything in Digg Spy and assured everyone the algorithms and systems were constantly changed and tweaked “to ensure a diverse group of users promote or bury stories .”

I don't think we need to dwell on a contention that is so arrogantly full of shit.

digg I can not prove it, but from the comments and messages I have received from Diggers I believe there are a couple of reasons I am buried. First, Geeks are generally progressives and I am a conservative, albeit of a libertarian mindset—but they don't understand that. Second, like many Geeks, their sexual development is rather stunted—and are quite misogynistic and homophobic in an adolescent sort of way. So they do not like their progressive viewpoints ridiculed by an intelligent conservative lesbian.

Last week this blog was banned from Digg because of “adult content.” I am not whining about this, I honestly don't care, and because my stories were being buried anyway, it was not a source of much traffic.

I drone on monotonously only because some readers have asked for more explanation and so people will understand how all this web 2.0 stuff really works. It is really much more like Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution than a New England townhall meeting. In fact, Jan Lanier has called it Digital Maoism.

Digg, and all the similar social networking sites, run on a mob mentality. Boys and girls sit in their lonely cubicles, or their Mom's basement, and band together into brigades who either push or destroy various people or writers. e.g. Digg each other and bury others. Sometimes they even get scary.

The Web 2.0 proponents believe this will supplant the old capitalist system of Big Media choosing our news and entertainment for us. But whether digital mobs are a qualitatively superior way of promoting cultural and political developments is the real question.

Mobs are by their nature anti-democratic. And they often don't want democratic processes to work. The online presidential straw polls are a good example. If these polls are to be believed it is not even necessary to hold a General Election, Ron Paul will be elected by acclamation. But, as far as I can tell the Netkooks are not fooling anyone, except themselves, all the while irritating many.

They will also use dirty tricks. Their favorite, which is not surprising given their dweebie backgrounds, is to be tattletales. They report stuff as being pornography or mature content. These guys are not actually offended by anything they see, it is just a means to an end. After the report is received by some corporate coward at the Internet Corporation, he takes a look, sees a topless woman—and sends the whole domain to the round file.

This has happened to me before. And it was even recognized by one of Google's staffers.

The recent ban by Digg happened when I posted Uber-Boob Fascination. Although it featured two images of topless women , that was not really the reason the Diggers were offended. They did not like the discussion of the uber-attention testosterone drenched uber-jerks have for uber-boobs, and how women do not always appreciate it all that much.

I have sent this e-mail to Digg a couple of times:

“I have inquired before why Ron Paul and Goldwater Conservatives nor Clinton, Huckabee and Mr. Jefferson nor Happy Repeal Day cannot be submitted because of "adult content" but The Poop Tube is perfectly ok.

I realize you are quite refined, but are you not going a bit far?

Although the blog may at times be "naughty" in a Wonkette or Playboy way, it is quite tame by Internet standards. The real problem is that many of the diggers do not dig the blog, because of the opinions expressed therein, not because they are deeply offended by any language or images. This is just a method to augment their organized burying efforts which have been going on for months.

Please let me know.


They are just going to ignore me, and I am not not going to pursue it further. But I welcome anyone who might like to repost this (and submit it to Digg, etc.). It would be a step toward educating people on how all this stuff really works.

As Kevin Rose always gags out:

Digg On.

a1Becky's Stuff

Mortgage crisis market meddling: Will it work?

Here's a summary of the 'plan' the Bush Administration has put together to stave off a blood bath in the housing markets, courtesy of
What would the plan accompliPublishsh? The plan is limited and tries to help homeowners, not speculators. It specifically targets borrowers who have teaser rates that eventually reset to much higher rates. Typically the rates are low for the first two or three years and are known as 2-28s or 3-27s.

For these borrowers, a rate freeze would only prevent foreclosure in the short term. The freeze is voluntary for mortgage lenders, who have no real incentive to participate. Furthermore, the government has no plan to use federal funds to help homeowners make payments -- this doesn't look much like a bailout. Regulations on states would be loosened so that people who are struggling could receive additional aid. The Paulson plan would encourage states to increase aid to homeowners through the issuance of tax-free bonds.
With all due respect, this is both too much and too little. In other words, this is a complete waste. Read my past post, Mortgage mess: US Treasury to freeze ARMs?

It's too much because the market doesn't need manipulation. It needs a regulatory body that will somehow remove fraud and greed from the equation but let the fundamentals of supply and demand do its Adam Smith magic. Further, it will put a stop to any activities in the housing market. How is that? Well, if the current prevailing rate is 8% and I can freeze my 4% for 5 or 7 more years, why would I ever move? So, folks who might move into a bigger or more expensive house have a disincentive to do so. The only incentive is to move into a much cheaper house, such that the payment stays flat. The only way to do that is to finance a smaller mortgage. This will drive house prices down, if anything, worsening the problem.

It's too little because just a small percentage of borrowers used 2-28s or, who's it going to "help?"

I say, let the market decide. Put a regulatory body in place that not only has teeth but also the incentive to act.

More mortgage mess news:
WaMu leadership staying as investors wonder why

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My first PayPerPost post

This is my first payperpost. At first, my web site was rejected and I'm not sure why. The email I received said that my site had not been indexed by google, but it had.

I've been so busy that I just disregarded the email, decided to fight the fight later, and moved on.

Today, I got an email saying that my site had been accepted. Cool. Apparently, payperpost rechecks sites they've rejected, which is convenient. No fights, no arguments.

I like them already.

So this post is about my first experience with payperpost. So far, so good. On to bigger and better things!

UPDATE: I posted the above and got another rejection notice, this time because this topic required at least two hundred words and I had only used 103. So here's my attempt to resolve that.

Here are the things I like about payperpost:

  1. Potential to supplement income my site receives by simply posting about topics that interest me.
  2. Nice graphics.
  3. Did I mention the money?

Things I don’t like:

  1. I feel cheap.
  2. I feel like I need to take a shower.
  3. It seems unseemly to get paid to post, like I’m biased.
But you know what? Bloggers ARE biased. That’s why they do what they do (most of them). We have specific opinions and perspectives. Hopefully, most of us have open minds so that we can discuss things rationally.

But we’re all putting google Adsense ads on our sites and other paid content, why not in the posts? If we’re upfront about it (notice I put a big red button on this post), our readers can factor that in their assessments of the validity of our posts. Right?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Back when we used to starve

Great post. Hilarious picture. Thanks, hell's handmaiden.

Back when we used to starve | hell's handmaiden

Charges filed after Santa pied in the face

The War on Christmas continues! Santa is creamed with a pumpkin pie and files charges against the 'assailant.' There was a time when Santa would have enjoyed a big pie in his face. Not anymore.
MISSOULA, Mont. - A college student accused of shoving a pumpkin pie into the face of a shopping-mall Santa Claus has been charged with misdemeanor assault.
Charges filed after Santa pied in the face - Criminal weirdness-

One Laptop Per Child Doesn't Change the World -- one man's opinion

PC Mag's John C. Dvorak, ever the cynic, has -- ahem -- a negative opinion of the OLPC project. He has good points. Just not sure they're well-founded.

His story does put a damper on my one laptop per child piece, though. Not to mention that the statistics he calls out will make you cry:
Every year, 15 million children die of hunger. For the price of one missile, a school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for five years. Throughout the decade, more than 100 million children will die from illness and starvation. The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well fed, one-third is underfed, and one-third is starving. Since you've entered this site, at least 200 people have died of starvation. One in 12 people worldwide is malnourished, including 160 million children under the age of 5. Nearly one in four people, or 1.3 billion—a majority of humanity—live on less than $1 per day, while the world's 358 billionaires have assets exceeding the combined annual incomes of countries with 45 percent of the world's people.
Thanks, John. Way to rain on the parade. Jerk. :)

One Laptop Per Child Doesn't Change the World - Columns by PC Magazine

Is Hillary Clinton digging her own grave or somebody else's?

Hillary Clinton has taken off the gloves, calling Barack Obama naive, inexperienced, and striving for the Presidency since birth (her campaign sleuths have dug up a paper from Obama's long-ago past: An essay little Barack wrote in kindergarten entitled "I Want to Be President").

Silly former First Lady.

The question I have is how does Hillary say with a straight face that she's experienced? Number one, how is she materially more experienced than John Edwards or Barack Obama? She's been a Senator, what, 7 years? Obama 4? Big difference. Woopty-doo.

Name an accomplishment she's made while Senator from New York...any of her bills signed into law, any leadership positions of committees where something -- hell, anything -- substantial has arisen?

And what did she do in the White House? Stand by her man? Try to socialize health care and failing miserably so?

Let's get one thing straight: Intellectually, I am sure she's smarter than the average bear, even smarter than really smart bears. She can probably go toe-to-toe with her genius husband, Bill. I'd love to sit in on some of their conversations. I'd probably have to just sit there and act like I got it when I clearly didn't get it.

Her new strategy of attacking her opponents, coupled with her old strategy of fabricating her credentials, is going to backfire on her.

When is somebody going to ask her the simple question: What makes you more qualified than anybody else?

Additionally, she's going to have to choose -- most likely -- one of her opponents that she's beat up as her running mate if she wins the Dem's nomination.

Are we then to forget how stupid and inexperienced they are?

Will Clinton's Obama Attacks Backfire? - TIME
Hillary Attacks

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mortgage mess: US Treasury to freeze ARMs?

Looks like the Bush administration, under the purview of the US Treasury Department, is considering freezing adjustable mortgage rates for up to 5 years.


Sure, my budget will like it. I'll get 5 more years of a 4.75% rate. Wonderful.

But won't such an action completely dampen the real estate market? It seems like it should...what am I missing?

Surely, the industry players who helped to fan the market flames, like WaMu, CountryWide, and BofA, will suffer some consequences, but they most likely will come out of this like they always do: Better off, with more money, more capital, more customers, and more audacity than before.

I think the market needs to be enabled to work. Sure, some regulations have to be out there, but this drastic attempt just feels wrong.

Thoughts? A free book to the commenter I deem to have the best answer. Make sure you leave me an email after you comment with your email address. If you win, I'll contact you for your mailing address.

Besides, this can't be a good idea if Hillary likes it. That makes it all the more yucky.

What's Wrong With a Teaser Freezer?
Housing Mess Forces Bush Admin Change: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rants - December 1, 2007

Welcome to the December 1, 2007 edition of Rants. Here is a synopsis of the excellent articles we received.

presents A Dog's Life posted at, saying, "Philosophy and Boxing"

blue skelton presents Blue Skelton Endorses Ron Paul for President posted at Blue Skelton Publications, saying, "Blue Skelton, infamous blogger, has endorsed Ron Paul for president of the United States. Blue Skelton is an affluent political writer and this coveted endorsement of Ron Paul should carry a lot of weight amidst the ranks of the political bloggers. Blue Skelton’s Endorsement should not be taken lightly."

Michael Johns
presents One Iraq Option Only: Victory posted at Michael Johns, saying, "Michael Johns, a former White House speechwriter, Heritage Foundation foreign policy analyst, and award-winning conservative author and writer, argues that the war in Iraq and the war against terror have become one and the same, and retreat is not an option."

presents Today's RANT: SMOKERS posted at Rants 'n Reviews, saying, "What is it with smokers who think existing laws and corporate rules do not apply to them?"

Madeleine Begun Kane
presents My Family Needs Me (Limerick and Video) posted at Mad Kane's Political Madness.

Jon Swift
presents Journalism 101 posted at Jon Swift, saying, "I think it would be helpful if bloggers knew the 20 basic "Rules of Journalism" so that they won't pester Joe Klein and other professional journalists too much about journalistic ethics in the future."

Shaun Connell presents Huckabee a Conservative? posted at Reason and Capitalism.

Lucynda Riley presents Think before you shout something out a window!!! posted at Witch on White Mountain.

Shaun Connell
presents The Definition of Militia posted at The Rebirth of Freedom Foundation, saying, "The Rebirth of Freedom Foundation explains what "militia" means. And it doesn't mean the national guard -- it means the people."

Freeborn Wasnot
presents The Pilgrim's Success, or The Thanksgiving Story Part 2 posted at Liberty's Law, The U.S. Constitution.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Rants using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Technorati tags:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Quote of the Day: Blessings

I do count my blessings, but then I end up counting those of others who have more and better blessings, and that pisses me off.

--Bob Mankoff New Yorker cartoon caption

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Return of Attack of the Machines

It seems that my predictions are coming true: The machines are taking over the Earth, and, where they cannot, they KILL.

More here.

Korean man killed by exploding cellphone - Engadget

They're all out to get us, some might say it's a conspiracy, but that's giving them too much credit. You aren't that smart, Roomba!

The bastards! Keep away from my friggin Eggo's too. Goddamn toaster!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bush to Middle East: "Make peace or I'll waterboard you until you do"


It's somewhat fitting that the talks are being held at the Naval Academy. Ample water. Forget waterboarding, do the real thing!!!

"There will be peace in the Middle East! And if there isn't, I'll bomb you!"

Bush Voices Optimism on Eve of Talks - New York Times
“The United States cannot impose our vision, but we can help facilitate,” the president said in the Oval Office before meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president. “And the process will begin tonight at the State Department, and then on to Annapolis tomorrow.”
...where the torture begins.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pownce: I have 24 invitations: Tell me why you deserve one

I have 24 invitations to Pownce, a file sharing Web 2.0 application with Kevin Rose of fame as a co-founder, so it's got to be good, right? Here's some info from their wiki:

What is Pownce?

Pownce is a social networking platform that allows one to keep up with their friends in interesting ways. You can send messages, files, links, and event invitations to the whole pownce community, or to just your friends, or to groups of your friends, or to specific people directly.

Currently Pownce exists as both a website ( and as a desktop application. There is also a public developer API.

If you want an invitation, tell me why. Make a strong enough case and I'll send you an invitation. Just comment.

I am now a whore

Yes, I am now a whore. I have signed up to Pay Per Post --

Hire Me Direct

I'm trying out the service to try to gain a little dough to keep this blog afloat. I will not post any untruths; I will tell it like it is. That's all I can promise.

Trent Lott to resign by end of year

Hurray! Another incumbent bites the dust. Time for a new Congress. And I mean new!

Lott says he'll resign by end of year - Yahoo! News
He becomes the sixth Senate Republican this year to announce retirement. Democrats effectively hold a 51-49 majority in the chamber, including two independents who align themselves with Democrats. Lott's retirement means that Republicans will have to defend 23 seats in next year's election, while Democrats have only 12 seats at stake.
Hopefully, this trend will continue. This country needs a serious breath of fresh faces. The current crop sucks. Plain and simple. All of them (Dems and Repos).

VP Dick Cheney has a heart!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Blog Carnival Announcement: Rants

I'm new to this topic: Blog Carnivals. I am not really sure how they work so I figure the 2nd best to learn about them is to join one. Not much happened after I submitted a few posts to a few different carnivals.

So I figure the best way to learn about them is to organize one. Therefore, I am in the process of starting a "Rants" carnival at Blog Carnival. We'll have to wait to see what happens with it.

I'd like to get submissions about politics or current events, but I am not limiting the posts to anything in particular. For the first few editions of the Rants Blog Carnival, I will accept almost anything (as long as it's a rant and is not in bad taste (of which I am the sole decider).

Please send me an entry from your blog with a Rant about anything!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Beware Facebook: New advertising scheme is a privacy nightmare

I use Facebook. I've found it's a nice way to keep in touch with my family and friends. I originally started using it because I thought I could leverage the social networking utility to bring in more readers to my blogs.

So far, I think I've failed in that respect.

Imagine my horror, however, when I started reading posts about people who had purchased something online, only to find that minutes later, their purchase was being announced on Facebook.

Facebook employs a "beacon" that other web sites use to share information about buying habits of its users. You buy something online, the retailer you purchased from shares the data with Facebook. I have no idea how Facebook knows who you are if you're not signed into Facebook, but it seems as though there are people out there who have had their purchasing history shared with Facebook when they weren't signed in. They might simply be using IP addresses, which brings up a whole host of other issues (as innocent as my children buying something online to something as whacked as somebody I don't know spoofing my IP and then buying a giant dildo on an adult site).

Facebook claims that no privacy issues are taking place because only your "friends" see these notices.
User privacy is extremely important to Facebook. We designed Facebook Beacon to enable effortless sharing, but we've also put in features to protect user privacy. When you send an action to Facebook, the user is immediately alerted of the story you wish to publish and will be alerted again when they sign into Facebook. The user can choose to opt out of the story in either instance, but the user doesn't need to take any action for the story to be published on Facebook.
First of all, that policy could change. Privacy policies and other policies of companies largely are one-way agreements where the company holding the agreement holds all the cards, and if you want to use the site, you have to agree with the policy.

Second, the key to Facebook success (or any other social networking site like MySpace) is getting as many friends as possible. Many of these folks are not friends, but internet acquaintances that could turn out to be stalkers, creeps, or other sorts of miscreants. Maybe even killers.

Thirdly, now the "beacon" shares purchasing history. But it could share browsing history. Imagine how you might feel if you type in the wrong URL and instead of going to visit the White House, you instead visit a porn site (typing in "" used to take the surfer to a porn site, now it takes you to an election-type site that is in no way affiliated with the White House).

In any event, I, for one, do not wish to share what I do outside Facebook with Facebook, true friends or not. This newfangled advertising money grab is just too creepy for me to accept. So, I stumbled upon the Idea Shower, a site whose author, Nate Weiner, dreams up solutions to problems. Sometimes, he devises the solution himself, like in Read it Later; other times, he finds an existing mechanism that then may need to be tweaked a bit.

"Block Facebook Beacon" is one of those instances where Nate employs an existing piece of code and applies it to a specific use. The details, and how-to solution, are featured in this post.

I highly recommend you install the Firefox extension in every computer you use. I also recommend setting up your Facebook preferences (External Websites) to not share any third-party information with Facebook.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Just what the fuck do people think when they smoke?

I am the last guy to infringe on anyone's ability to have a good time, ruin their body, have sex with other consenting adults or themselves, but what is it with smokers who think existing laws and corporate rules do not apply to them?

For example, a guy goes outside the workplace to smoke, where there's an ashtray right outside the door. So everybody walking in that door has to smell the smoke or go around and find a door where somebody isn't smoking outside.

Furthermore, the sign on the door says "No smoking outside this door." But the ashtray is RIGHT THERE!!!! How stupid is that?

Smoker finishes his cigarette, throws it on the ground and walks away.

So not only did he pollute our air, he has now LITTERED AND COMMITTED ATTEMPTED ARSON.

Seems to me smoker dude has committed at least two crimes for which laws are already on the books: Littering and attempted arson.

The next smoker who starts a goddamned fire ought to burn in hell. And then, and only then, has to pay restitution to those for whom he caused a loss. And if he can't, he needs to spend his remaining life in jail with Bubba.

Supreme Court to rule on D.C. gun ban

It's kinda strange, don't you think, that a gun ban has been in effect for quite some time (31 years), in our nation's capital, but our politicians all run around spewing "right to bear arms" speeches all over the country, especially during election time?

For example, John Kerry made a big deal over his hunting prowess during the 2004 campaign.

And Mitt Romney lied profusely about his love of hunting, just so he could get the guns portion of the "guns and butter" vote.

So it seems really odd to me that the politicians are all for guns except in their own neighborhoods. Is this just one more example of totally out-of-control hypocrisy? I think so.

High court to rule on D.C. handgun ban | U.S. | Reuters

One other thing: The Supreme Court seems even more ineffectual than our President and Congress:
The Supreme Court has not ruled on the scope of the Second Amendment since a 1939 decision when it upheld a federal gun control law but did not definitively resolve the constitutional issue.
When is the last time you've been able to NOT do your job for nearly 60 years without getting fired? These ladies and gentlemen are worthless.

Monday, November 19, 2007

80-year old pastor of Atlanta church in sex scandal

An 80-year-old pastor of a so-called 'megachurch' is in big trouble with his family, the law, and -- I guess -- God.

One could say that there may be hell to pay.

The pastor fathered a child with his brother's wife. That's at least a Ten Commandments' two-fer.
The 80-year-old leader of a suburban Atlanta megachurch is at the center of a sex scandal of biblical dimensions: He slept with his brother's wife and fathered a child by her.
Additionally, he gets 'bonus' points for another sexual affair he had with a church worker, where he told her the only way to salvation was to have sex with him.

She gets idiot points because she believed him.

Religion may not be the root of all evil (money is), but it sure helps evil along, doesn't it?

My favorite quote from the story:
"It was a necessary evil to bring us back to a God-consciousness," said the younger Paulk, explaining that the church had become too personality-driven and prone to pastor worship.
God-consciousness? WTF? Isn't that why people go to church? To find God?

Sex scandal hits Atlanta-area megachurch - Yahoo! News

Rudy Giuliani is a virtual idiot, as well as a physical idiot

Presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani promotes virtual fence. To that I say, he's a virtual and physical idiot!

Here's proof enough:
Gov. Rick Perry, who has endorsed Giuliani, opposes construction of a 1,200-mile wall along the U.S-Mexico border. Instead, he supports fencing at strategic points, such as in bigger cities, along with more border patrol agents and high-tech monitoring of the kind Giuliani seeks, spokesman Robert Black said Monday.
"Good Hair Perry" (as Molly Ivins used to call him, is about the biggest doofus on the planet: Doing the opposite of what he says he'd do would do wonders for anyone wishing to win an election.

Further, don't we have a virtual fence already? Isn't it virtually ineffective?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Redacted: Blacking out PDF text does not delete it. Idiots.

This is old news, but I found a cartoon that needs this story. So, here it is.

It seems that a lot of folks, including the stellar legal team at AT&T, think that overlaying black or some other color on a PDF will cover up the text. Which it does.

Only if you select the covered-up text with your cursor and then paste it into another tool, like Notepad, viola, the text magically shows up.

Here's the initial story that prompted my search for a relevant photo. Sadly, it took me a year to find it! (I really wasn't looking.)

But now, many PDF creators allow one to properly redact information in a PDF file. One is the source of the picture above: ScanSoft.

AT&T leaks sensitive info in NSA suit | CNET "AT&T's attorneys this week filed a 25-page legal brief striped with thick black lines that were intended to obscure portions of three pages and render them unreadable (click here for PDF). But the obscured text nevertheless can be copied and pasted inside some PDF readers, including Preview under Apple Computer's OS X and the xpdf utility used with X11."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

How our Senate voted on the Mukasey confirmation

The recent vote on the confirmation of new Attorney General Mike Mukasey is illustrative of a few things.

First, the vote was mostly along party lines:
  • No Republican voted against the confirmation
  • All but 10 Democrats voted against the confirmation
  • Final tally was 53 for, 40 against

But here's the bigger issue. None of the senators in the 2008 presidential race voted!

  • Joe Biden
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Christopher Dodd
  • Barack Obama

  • Evan Bayh
  • Thomas Carper
  • Dianne Feinstein
  • Mary Landrieu
  • Ben Nelson
  • Chuck Schumer
  • Joe Lieberman (he's an infidel because he voted for the confirmation AND because he abandoned his party)
I think the Cowards identified above need to be held to account for their inaction. The infidels can go fornicate themselves.

110th Congress, 1st session, Senate vote 407 | Congress votes database |

Monkey injures several during rampage

Okay, let me state right away that children being injured is never funny.

That out of the way, let me also say that monkeys on a rampage is hilarious.

Monkey injures several during rampage
As New Delhi's forest cover shrinks, rhesus macaque monkeys have overrun its government buildings, temples and residential areas, occasionally biting passers-by or snatching food from them. A government official died last month when he fell from his balcony during an attack by wild monkeys.
Okay, that's not funny either.
Part of the problem is that devout Hindus believe monkeys are manifestations of the god Hanuman and feed them bananas and peanuts, encouraging them to frequent public places.
Religion IS the root of all carnage.
Last year, the Delhi High Court reprimanded city authorities for not doing enough to stop the animals from terrifying residents. City authorities have experimented with using langurs — a larger and fiercer kind of monkeyto scare or catch the macaques, but the problem persists.
Nothing like stopping a bleeding finger by cutting off your arm.

Surfer dude may have found key to the universe

This is quite an astonishing story. Brilliance always seems to come out of the most unlikely places. I once knew a guy who had absolutely no knowledge of sub-atomic particles, yet he fully fleshed out a description of a quark in a Freshman physics class.

Needless to say, our professor was dumbfounded (this before the internet, where finding crap is easy).

At the very least, my friend knew how to look stuff up in the library, which in itself exhibits some sort of intelligence :)

He claims he didn't. He was just postulating.

Anyway, that is nothing near this. This "surfer dude" may have found the unifying theory for the entire physical universe.


Maybe not.
Lisi's breakthrough came when he noticed that some of the equations describing E8's structure matched his own. "My brain exploded with the implications and the beauty of the thing," he tells New Scientist. "I thought: 'Holy crap, that's it!'"
But it's quite a story nevertheless.

I like that he might just say "dude" after every hypothesis.

Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything - Telegraph

one laptop per child

This is the coolest little laptop I've ever seen!

Buy one and an impoverished child gets one, PLUS you get one for yourself, for $399, $200 of which is tax deductible, making your net cost somewhere a little less than $350.

one laptop per child

David Pogue's review of OLPC:
No, the biggest obstacle to the XO’s success is not technology — it’s already a wonder — but fear. Overseas ministers of education fear that changing the status quo might risk their jobs. Big-name computer makers fear that the XO will steal away an overlooked two-billion-person market. Critics fear that the poorest countries need food, malaria protection and clean water far more than computers.

(The founder, Nicholas Negroponte’s, response: “Nobody I know would say, ‘By the way, let’s hold off on education.’ Education happens to be a solution to all of those same problems.”)

But the XO deserves to overcome those fears. Despite all the obstacles and doubters, O.L.P.C. has come up with a laptop that’s tough and simple enough for hot, humid, dusty locales; cool enough to keep young minds engaged, both at school and at home; and open, flexible and collaborative enough to support a million different teaching and learning styles.
Sounds like a wonderful product and a great concept.

Santas warned 'ho ho ho' offensive to women

Good bye sweet existence!

Santas warned 'ho ho ho' offensive to women

My favorite quote from the story:
"Leave Santa alone."
Unbelievable. I'm calling for Don Imus to play Santa this year and add two words to the familiar Santa phrase "Ho ho ho."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hillary refuses to answer paper or plastic question

“This paper-or-plastic business is one of those ‘gotcha’ questions that I’m not going to get into,” Mrs. Clinton said. “I don’t want to be in a situation where I’ve chosen one and that takes the other one totally off the table.”
The Borowitz Report .com

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Then-Governor Bush leary of Iraq war

From Military:
"There are a lot of Americans (who say), 'Why didn't you go get him?'' Bush told the San Antonio Express-News, referring to Saddam Hussein. 'Well, I'm confident that losing men and women as a result of sniper fire inside of Baghdad would have turned the tide of public opinion very quickly.'"
I guess things change when you become king.

Redistributing wealth the Republican way: A new socialism

(Cross-posted at Independent Bloggers' Alliance)

So it seems that the oil men running our country (Bush, Cheney, and Rice!) have had something up their sleeves that we didn't know about: They're all for redistributing wealth. They want your money in their pockets! You see, they're Republican Socialists. Don't ever let them tell you otherwise! They say the proof is in the pudding. Here's the pudding.

The link below takes you to a Washington Post article that tells the story of oil wealth gone wild.

Oil Price Rise Causes Global Shift in Wealth -
In the United States, the rising bill for imported petroleum lowers already anemic consumer savings rates, adds to inflation, worsens the trade deficit, undermines the dollar and makes it more difficult for the Federal Reserve to balance its competing goals of fighting inflation and sustaining growth.
Our dependence on oil has been foisted on us by a government that likes it. From not raising CAFE fuel economy standards since the early '90s to starting a war in an oil-rich nation that could only lead to higher fossil fuel prices -- and threatening another -- we've been duped into giving our money to members of the government rather than the government itself.

Rather than being "handled" by "tax and spend" Democrats, we're being molested by "don't tax but raise our cost of energy and spend more" Repugnicans.

It's time to take our country -- and our money -- back.

The first step: Take them to task for paying for their ill-conceived and carried-out war -- a war -- at least Iraq's reconstruction -- that was to be paid for by Iraq oil revenues! In this sense, we're being taxed twice: Once in terms of tax dollars to pay for the war and a second in terms of higher prices at the pump, at home, in the grocery store, at the hotel, on the plane, and every conceivable place possible.

I'll leave the second step for another day and another post. Rant over.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Torture of Democratic Incompetence

I'm posting an entry from one of my favorite blogs, Just a Girl in short shorts talking about whatever, about the Democrats' latest puss-out, the Mukasey confirmation hearings. First, Dianne Feinstein turn-coated and voted for him in the subcommittee hearings, then a bunch of Dems voted for him in the full session.

It's so sad how the Dems publicly castrate themselves every time an important vote comes up. Pretty soon, the only balls left will be the ones dangling from Feinswine, the transgendered senator from wacky California.

Just a Girl in short shorts talking about whatever: The Torture of Democratic Incompetence

Hillary Clinton: When flag poles attack

Over the weekend, apparently flagpoles holding American flags took exception to Mrs. Clinton's stance on the Patriot Act, the war in Iraq, and more of her other inane political and social positions; said flagpoles fell over, trying to knock her down a notch.

They failed of course. So, too, might the nation, if she is elected. Won't happen, though. There are enough people out there who despise her that we won't ever elect her.

Unless hell freezes over.

Which is a distinct possibility, given all the other stuff that's happened the last 7 years. - CNN Political Ticker When flag poles attack �

Google Options Make Masseuse a Multimillionaire

Does the next google need a meddling jerk who blogs all day?

Google Options Make Masseuse a Multimillionaire - New York Times:
After five years of kneading engineers’ backs, Ms. Brown retired, cashing in most of her stock options, which were worth millions of dollars. To her delight, the shares she held onto have continued to balloon in value.

Conservatives Have No Clothes

The article below is from the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, a site for which I am now a contributor. This article, and linked podcast, was written by Robert Ellman, a fine contributor to the IBA. The subject of the article and podcast is a book written by Greg Anrig called The Conservatives Have No Clothes: Why Right-Wing Ideas Keep Failing.

I have not read the book, but I did listen to the podcast today. Mr. Anrig is a thoughtful man who is obviously left-of-center, if not far left. He is pragmatic and easy to listen to. I hope to read his book soon.

Conservatives Have No Clothes: An Interview With Greg Anrig

Independent Bloggers' Alliance

I am now a proud potential contributor to the Independent Bloggers' Alliance. I say "potential" because I haven't posted anything there -- yet.

There is a good representation of liberal and progressive thinkers there, and I hope to lend some libertarian and conservative views. I know that most people really are of the same ilk, deep down, and that lending a slightly different perspective on things makes us think, grow stronger, and understand each other just a little bit better.

One thing I do have in common with the group over at IBA is our disdain for the Bush administration and the utterly useless and ineffective war in Iraq.

I am sure that many of my topics posted there will be cross-posted here and will concentrate on this shared disdain.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fox News renamed to Fox Nudes

Should it be called Fox Nudes, rather than Fox Noise -- I mean -- Fox News?


PollingPoint | A Nationwide Network of Millions of People Inspiring Public Debate

Here's some poll results on how various segments of America believe the US is doing in Iraq.

Short story: Not so good
Long story: Republicans think we're doing moderately well while Democrats think things are going badly.

Why is that? How can two sets of people see things so drastically differently? I'm not sure...

PollingPoint | A Nationwide Network of Millions of People Inspiring Public Debate

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

Health insurer tied bonuses to dropping sick policyholders - Los Angeles Times

How topical is this? I had, up until September, one toddler and one on the way. Consequently, my wife and I had to care for 3 people: My wife, my son, and my unborn child.

Late August, my almost-two-year-old had a febrile seizure and we took him to the Emergency Room of our local hospital, after hours, of course (who ever has an emergency medical condition in the middle of a business day after all?).

I'm starting to get the bills in from all the various parties: The hospital, the lab, the physicians. The lab results, the medications.

ER visit: $5000
DR: $330
Hours in ER: 3.


Now, here's a story about health insurance where the employees of the company received incentives for cutting people off. Nice.

It's time for a revolution in the healthcare field. OR we're all moving to Canada or Mexico.

Health insurer tied bonuses to dropping sick policyholders - Los Angeles Times:
One of the state's largest health insurers set goals and paid bonuses based in part on how many individual policyholders were dropped and how much money was saved.
Absolutely criminal. Burn in hell, insurance companies!

Bernie Kerik pleads not guilty to charges

Ex-NYC top commish not guilty to charges - Yahoo! News
Kerik, the police commissioner under then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a failed nominee for homeland security secretary, was indicted Thursday on 16 counts including conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and lying to the IRS. Authorities say that over a six-year period, from 1999 through 2004, Kerik failed to report more than $500,000 in income.
But Rudy didn't know anything about any of this. His police commissioner and nominee for DHS head is a crook and he doesn't even know it. If President, Rudy might hire Osama bin Laden as his anti-terrorism czar "for his familiarity with al Qaeda."

What a dumbass.

More on Rudy Giuliani and Bernie Kerik.

Did credit card companies collaborate with the FBI's grocery data mining program? | Surveillance State - CNET Blogs

Is nothing sacred any more? I can't even go to a small Mexican foodstore to buy real tortillas without getting my name put through the FBI's surveillance?

My god. I am so sick of this. Why don't we just shut the whole goddamned country down, lock it, throw away the key, and start jailing anybody who doesn't look white?

(Sounds like Nazi Germany, no?)

Now the freakin' credit card companies are serving up records to our "intelligence" community.

Did credit card companies collaborate with the FBI's grocery data mining program? | Surveillance State - CNET Blogs:
The program, however, was short lived and was quickly "torpedoed by the head of the FBI's criminal investigations division, Michael A. Mason, who argued that putting somebody on a terrorist list for what they ate was ridiculous -- and possibly illegal."
I have this theory.

Bush called up Pakistan and told them to "try marshal law. Lock down your country. Quell dissent. Imprison anybody who may be a threat."

Because it's going so well in Pakistan might Bush try to replicate the experiment here? I really doubt it, but I bet I'm not the only guy to have thought of this. I would bet a lot of money -- if I had any -- that some in the Bush administration have fantasized about this for years.

I am really beginning to seriously think about moving out of this country. I know, some of you might think that's a good idea -- get the commie out of our country. But I, for one, LOVE what this country used to be and cry like a native American seeing his landscape littered, totally out of his control, when I see our democracy being flushed down the toilet.

I don't normally say such things, but "God bless America." We need all the other-worldly help we can get.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Oil oozes in San Francisco Bay after ship hits bridge - Los Angeles Times

A ship collided with a stationary bridge, the Oakland Bay Bridge, the one that somewhat survived a freakin' earthquake.

How can you run into a bridge?

Oil oozes in San Francisco Bay after ship hits bridge - Los Angeles Times:
Authorities also laid more than 18,000 feet of log booms around the 810-foot container ship Cosco Busan, which was towed to an anchorage off Candlestick Point in San Francisco after it nudged the Bay Bridge in early-morning fog. No more fuel was leaking from the vessel, Hauck said.
58,000 gallons spilled out of the vessel. Already, the fuel has shown up on 8 local beaches. Amazing ineptitude.