Feb/11
2011
Egypt. They're dancing in the isles, singing in the streets, hailing the end of an era. But you have to wonder if it's going to be another Russia where people start waxing nostalgic for the Ol' Hos not too long after he's gone. I dunno, somehow you have to wonder if people really thought this one out. Trading a fairly benevolent dictator (by Middle Eastern standards) for the military? I mean aren't they the ones with guns, tanks, implements of torture? It's true they didn't go after the protesters, but generally one doesn't ~typically think of the military as the "good" guys. One would think that the pro-democracy segment would have fielded a definite leader, someone they wanted to usher in the new government if not run it. But no, seems like they didn't plan that far in advance. Out of the frying pan into the fire? Maybe. Depends on how the military feels about it I guess. Good luck to 'em. I hope it all works out.
Feb/10
2011

Fuck You 2011 (continued)

Let's tack these onto the list... * At band practice tonight, over the course of an hour, my effects pedals, one by one, began to quit. I now have four non-functioning pedals. And no, it's not the batteries. * On Monday, a friend of a friend and an ex-coworker of mine died of cancer. She was 38. Sometimes you wait for the other shoe to drop. And other times you wait for them to stop.
Feb/10
2011
Trump announces that he wants to run for President as the Republican party candidate. Hilarity ensues.
"The United States is becoming the laughingstock of the world," Trump said, sounding every bit a candidate as he offered his rationale for a possible bid. In a speech sprinkled with quips and jabs, he said he would decide by June whether to run.(AP)
Actually he's right! When Donald Trump runs for office most of America is rolling in the isles. Who's gonna be his VP? His toupee?
Feb/10
2011
Companies are taking the workplace smoking ban one step further, they want to regulate private lives to remove smokers from their payrolls end of story.
While most of the companies applied their rules only to new employees, a few eventually mandated that existing employees must quit smoking or lose their jobs. There is also disagreement over whether to fire employees who are caught smoking after they are hired. The Truman Medical Centers, here in Kansas City, for example, will investigate accusations of tobacco use by employees. In one recent case a new employee returned from a lunch break smelling of smoke and, when confronted by his supervisor, admitted that he had been smoking, said Marcos DeLeon, head of human resources for the hospital. The employee was fired. (NYT)
Smokers have been getting squeezed. After more than a century of lighting up where, when and how they pleased they are getting crammed, penned and regulated into a corner. You can't smoke with your meal. You can't smoke at a park. You can't smoke at your desk. Or in a rental car. Or hotel room. Or near a school, hospital, courthouse, etc. The only place left to smoke is in your own car (presuming you never want to sell it) or in your own home (almost ditto) or, to be the safest, your own yard so long as you're not near any of the aforementioned institutions. I know America is Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, but after a childhood of gagging in airplanes, not being able to taste my meal in a fancy restaurant, I have a hard time of taking an unprejudiced view. I do feel bad for smokers, but not nearly bad enough to want to share my air or compromise my ability to breathe easily. I mean I know they're killing themselves, and in the end they will pay the price for their habit, but perhaps that's exactly why companies are taking radical steps to purge them from their ranks now; they just don't want to foot the bill for the inevitable medical care. Discriminating against a smoker is not like discriminating against a diabetic. Smoking is something entered into voluntarily. People aren't born into the habit, although they may have a genetic predisposition towards addiction, smoking is clearly a choice. Were I a business owner I might feel justified in trying to minimize my risk to the extent legally possible. When I went for my first job I was required to have a full physical before the company would hire/insure me. This seems to me just an extension of the same notion - why spend health care money on someone who may use more than their fair share? Smoking is a pretty costly habit these days. You can pretty much get a decent sandwich, or coffee and pastry for the cost of a pack of cigarettes. But if smokers are denied jobs because of their habit they may be forced to quit simply to afford food and shelter. Hella way to have to make a life-choice, having it crammed down your throat like that, but I guess you'll live longer to complain about it. Win?
Feb/10
2011
Our office, like many large offices, has a parking pecking order. We get tags telling us what parking lot to which we are assigned. Choice and placement is dependent on our position and longevity. Recently, several people retired, so the lot assignments were adjusted appropriately. One of our secretaries and I got a preferential lot due to our seniority. She and I both put up with years of shuttle rides from a peripheral lot where the new hires and interns park. On nice days we walked the couple of blocks, but when the steep hill between our building and the lot is icy we would take the shuttle. Some of the drivers have been interesting, types that you climb in, hang on, close your eyes and pray. The current drivers are nice guys and I still stop and say hello. The situation is not as nice as parking near the building, but not the worst way to get to work. We have another secretary (our drama queen) who sneaked and parked near the building since she started here a few years ago. She obviously thought that she was above the rules and deserved preferential treatment. I told her she was going to get towed some day, but some how she sweet talked the guards into letting her stay (and no, she doesn't have big boobs). The extra snow this winter has resulted in fewer extra spots that have forced the building management to be less charitable toward people like our drama queen secretary. The drama queen obviously does not like having to park with the commoners. Her knee hurts. She can't get in and out of the shuttle (although I did it when I needed a cane). To our other secretary, she cites this and that reason for "needing" to park near the building. Can't I "borrow" your tag she asks her. She let her for a while, now she told her "No", because tells her she doesn't want to lose her tag. They are checking license plates against those tag. Now she's pouting and not talking to the other secretary. (Drama queen knows better than to ask me.) The world is filled drama queens and prima donnas. People who think they are above an established set of rules. Those rules may or may not be fair but they grant a sense of order. People who sulk and pout or rant and rave when they don't get their own way. People who think nothing of bullying or bribing to get their way. They think nothing of the consequences of their actions. Personally, I'm glad the secretary with the tag finally grew a backbone.
Feb/09
2011
Um, no? She doesn't?
WASHINGTON — Representative Christopher Lee of New York abruptly resigned on Wednesday night after a shirtless photo of himself, which he had e-mailed to a woman, was published on the Internet.[...] Mr. Lee, who is 46, replied to a personal ad that the woman had placed in the “Women for Men” section of Craigslist, seeking a financially and emotionally secure man.[...] “I’m a very fit fun classy guy,” he continued. “Live in Cap Hill area.” He described himself as a 39-year-old lobbyist. He said he was 6 feet tall, weighed 190 pounds, and had blond hair and blue eyes. “I promise not to disappoint,” he wrote. After the woman responded flirtatiously, Mr. Lee sent a shirtless photo of himself that he had taken using the camera on his cellphone. When the woman asked him if he made it a habit to send shirtless photos of himself to women, Mr. Lee responded in another e-mail: “Sorry. Its all I had.”
Seriously, is anyone else out there tired of all the political infidelity stories? What the hell does it take to make these guys keep their dicks in their pants? Or is it we just need to cut off their internet access once they get elected? FOCUS PEOPLE FOCUS FOR FUCKSAKE. Don't you have a freekin' job to do? Getting elected to public office does NOT make you hot, does NOT make you younger and does NOT make you a babe/stud magnet. Here's some information for you: we, your people, expect you to be honest and forthright in ALL your dealings - personal or not. Lying about your age, about your marital status, about your profession to get laid is BAD. What you do sets a moral standard for all your actions, and if you can't figure that out then you *do* need to quit your day job ok? Yes, another one bites the dust...
Feb/09
2011

More Republican Rudeness

Why is the part of "conservative values" also the party of rudeness and rampant anger? One might thing that conservatism, in the most literal sense, would also be the most polite, staid, and formal. But no, not true. When it comes to slinging insults, impugning someone's dignity and being unfailingly impolite the most conservative are also the most egregious.
WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans opened a formal assault on Wednesday on the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases, raising doubts about the legal, scientific and economic basis of rules proposed by the agency.[...] Lisa P. Jackson, the E.P.A. administrator, was subjected to more than two hours of questioning, some of it hostile and disrespectful, about proposed limits on emissions from factories, refineries, power plants and vehicles.
Gentlemen and Ladies of the Republican party, I - an American citizen - ask that you treat your position with dignity and respect. That means in doing your job and in all interactions with others, you communicate professionally. Not like ignorant savages from a Third World nation. Politics is the art of agreement and compromise. Maligning, abusing, being abrasive and vitriolic serves only the basest, most anarchistic instincts. In other words: Quit fucking playing to the audience and do your goddamn job, the one you're being paid to do, in a professional manner. You win NO points for treating someone else, someone with a counter opinion, like garbage. Now get to work.
Feb/09
2011
You might remember this guy, he's the looney that sued the University of Kentucky because they didn't see fit to appoint a religious wacko as department chair. Well the University decided to play it safe and just pay the guy to go away (instead of paying the lawyers twice that.) Sadly, instead of just taking the cash and shutting up this guy has taken it as an affirmation that his approach to mixing religion and science is valid, and... projecting that image on others. Funny, the "others" didn't find that quite so agreeable...
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Christian astronomer who sued the University of Kentucky for religious discrimination says the perceived divide between faith and science is an "illusion."[...] "We believe that God has done things through the mechanisms he's revealing to us through science," he said. He has also written that evolution theory has "significant scientific problems" and includes "unwarranted atheistic assumptions and extrapolations." Gaskell said scientists shouldn't be discouraged or rejected for holding non-mainstream views.
And now... the rebuttal.
But some prominent scientists disagree with Gaskell on that point. "You can't discriminate based upon religion," said Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, a science advocacy group in Oakland, Calif. "You can discriminate based upon scientific views. It's perfectly legitimate to discriminate against a candidate based on whether that candidate's scientific views are acceptable to the discipline." Bestselling atheist author and biologist Richard Dawkins recently wrote about the Gaskell case, [...] "Even if a doctor's belief in the stork theory of reproduction is technically irrelevant to his competence as an eye surgeon, it tells you something about him," Dawkins wrote. "It is revealing. It is relevant in a general way to whether we would wish him to treat us or teach us."
In the simplest terms: as a scientist you're not allowed to 'make it up as you go along' and if you disagree with accepted and proven scientific fact you're not as likely to be called 'brilliant' as a 'hack'. See the way science works is that you need to sit and do the math, engineering, chemistry, physics or whatever to prove your hypothesis. Taking large leaps and justifying it as "God's work" doesn't cut it. But what's precisely why Martin likes being an astronomer. Because it's the most ambiguous and hard to prove field, more permissive of wild theories, than any other.
"One thing I feel really strongly about that we need to convey to students that the scientific questions are not all settled," he said. "If all scientific questions were settled I think science would be rather dull, because what I like doing is research and solving unsolved problems."
Sorry no. Basing theories on "well I can't solve it because it's a divine mystery" contributes nothing. I suggest Marin pursue a career in Science Fiction. That way he can proselytize for Christianity all he likes and no one will care. But teach? No, clearly not qualified.
Feb/09
2011
It's getting tiresome. I just wish the rest of the world would stop taking this kind of rarefied bullshit seriously.
Hussein Abdullahi told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the arms shipment seized Oct. 26 "was not conflicting with the U.N. sanctions" because Iran and Gambia had signed a secret agreement two years before the U.N.'s 2010 ban on Iranian arms exports. However, the U.N. had banned the country's arms exports in a 2007 resolution, before imposing more comprehensive sanctions in 2010.[...] Abdullahi said that he had spoken to senior officials of the Nigerian government as soon as the shipment was seized and told them that the intercepted cargo was the third of four Gambia-bound shipments originating from Iran. "I tasked them to please not to allow people who are not happy with our friendly relations to gain advantage of this incident," he said Tuesday.
Is there no end to this stupidity? Dear gods, it's enough to drive a hardened pacifist to take up a crusade for a nuclear first-strike. Not against the government, not against the terrorists, not against religious or ethnic or gender oppression but simply to contain the stupidity before it spreads any further. Really? You didn't break any rules because you had *secret* agreements? And that was the best you could come up with? Why does the press even publish this shit?
Feb/09
2011

Suicide Squirrel

The little guy came outta nowhere. Somehow in the middle of a 4 lane route my headlights lit up a flicker of fuzzy tail. Now ordinarily I would try and swerve, but not in the dark on a crowded road in icy conditions. I didn't feel or hear a thump, so there's some slim chance that he may have managed some matrix-style moves, slow-mo dodging, that allowed him to escape. Still I cringed, throwing my hands up as if I were the one dodging the oncoming bus. Geez guy, did you have to pick then to run across the busy 5pm traffic? I feel bad for it. I know there's nothing I can do, but I still feel that it shouldn't go unnoticed. Sorry.
Feb/09
2011
If Gabriele Susanne Kerner agrees with her country's laws on abortion is not the real question. The real question is whether the singer, whose band Nena sang the song "99 Luftballoons" or "99 Red Balloons" (for those only familiar with the English version), is aware that her song is being used by supporters of an Ohio Bill that will ban abortion after a fetus has a heatbeat. A human fetus has a heatbeat at 18 days gestation. The bill is dubbed the Heartbeat bill and they have parodied Nena's song on YouTube, singing "99 red heart balloons". As one commenter pointed out on the YouTube: "whole lotta copyright infringement!" I hope they at least asked Nena's permission. Gabriele's band-mates, Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen wrote the music and Carlo Karges wrote the German lyrics. If the red heart folks didn't ask permission, I hope that Nena sues the crap out of them for copyright infringement.
Feb/08
2011
Well it's the end of an era, never again shall a new car come equipped with a factory-installed cassette player. The last, the very last model was the 2010 Lexus SC 430. You know when I first read that I was kinda sad and a bit nostalgic. Then I thought about it and went "wait what? Who the hell still wants a tape deck in 2010?" Geezers I guess. It says something about the make and model, the demographics of Lexus that people might even want something as defunct in their brand new vehicle. No one sells new cassettes these days, and even if you do possess some there's a very good chance that it doesn't even work. For me the last tapes I had were back in 1996. That was when I struggled with a few remaining leftovers, mainly because I didn't care what happened to them and the radio sucked on my cheap-y boom box. It was in the garage for a reason after all. Now I do occasionally find some tapes lying around. Some that had custom mixes, with paper inserts that were handcrafted, scrapbook style. I have kept those for sentimental reasons, although lately I've kept fewer and fewer. But the idea that I might want to actually play one of these antiques in my car doesn't even cross my mind. I think the last tapes that kicked around were either hucked in the trash, our wound up being used as temporary ice scrapers some winters past. But I miss them not a bit. So yeah, bye bye TKD, BASF and the like... times were good but you know everyone moves on.
Feb/08
2011
Sorry, not a pr0no-post, but one about a chicken. The male kind of chicken.
DELANO, Calif. (AP) — A California man attending a cockfight has died after being stabbed in the leg by a bird that had a knife attached to its own limb. The Kern County coroner says 35-year-old Jose Luis Ochoa was declared dead at a hospital about two hours after he suffered the injury in neighboring Tulare County on Jan. 30.
Cockfights, where razors are strapped to the sharp, rear-facing claws on a rooster is illegal in the US. That was probably what kept Jose from seeking medical health as he was bleeding to death, but regardless I'd say that the bird was more than he could handle. Frankly I don't mind combining sharp knives and poultry, but only when the bird is already deceased. Bird 1: Careless Human 0.
Feb/07
2011

Bad Precedent

The Department of Homeland Security has recently taken up a new hobby. They’ve been seizing domain names left and right. The vast majority of these recent digital seizures have to do with the pressing national security threat of copyright infringement. But even putting aside the flimsy linkage between DHS and copyright, it’s clear from the sites seized that the DHS has no clue what they’re doing, or the precedents they’re creating. They seized a number of sites that had no copyrighted material on them. They got sites that linked to material on other sites. They took down domains that were hosted outside of the US, and complied with all local law. They took down sites that hosted copyrighted material with the permission of the copyright holder. They did all this without allowing the owner of the domain to defend themselves. One day, their DNS entry was just redirected to a DHS entry. Worst of all, there it does not appear that the owners of these sites will even be prosecuted, which means they will be unable to defend themselves or recover the seized domain names. It’s also not clear what criteria were used to define these sites. The only obvious thing is that the list was generated by corporate entities. If merely providing links to sites with illegally hosted files is enough, then Google can be seized. If compliance with local law is irrelevant, what would we do if some other country did the same to US domains that violated their Sharia law? I imagine we’d go ballistic, and rightfully so. What little DHS says about the seizures is so vague and convoluted that it’s practically indecipherable. Frankly, I’m not aware of any case that has decided that linking to something on another site is the same as hosting the material. Beyond that, it’s clear from their press release that they did little to any investigation of the sites. Instead they seem to just take instructions from big business and follow through with whatever those corporate interests desire. I don’t care if that’s the name of the game in DC. I don’t care if it’s more of the same. It’s fucking wrong.
Feb/06
2011
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — In their zeal to set a Super Bowl attendance record, the NFL and Jerry Jones overlooked one important detail: Making sure all the temporary seats inside mammoth Cowboys Stadium had been inspected and were ready for the fans. A week plagued by poor weather took an embarrassing turn Sunday when the league had to find replacement seats for 850 fans. The NFL also scrambled to find a place for another 400 people to sit inside Jones' $1.2 billion palace and couldn't find any with a view of the field.[...] Not even a hefty refund offer from the NFL was enough to satisfy the 400 fans who lost seats. The league said it would pay back triple the face value — $2,400 for the $800 tickets.
You can't blame them really, I'd be fucking furious. In some cases seat-less fans were shuffled off to a bar. Nifty huh? Fly all the way to Texas and get stuck in some shitty bar when you could do that at home? Nah, not so much. And what about people who bad bought the tickets from someone else? They got totally screwed, no refund, no nothing. So why did this logistics failure happen? Well because in Texas everything has to be BIGGER of course!
About 15,000 temporary seats were added to the stadium in a bid to set the record for the largest crowd in Super Bowl history.
Yep, greed, pure and simple. In the effort to hold the record Dallas wound up screwing fans by not ensuring the work got done on time. Because guess what, the seats are there and some are even usable, but 400 were just "not inspected". What a slap in the face, being able to see your empty seat from a monitor in the parking lot. Given all the guns in Texas I probably wouldn't want to be in that area after the game. And if I were Jerry Jones I'd fucking get the hell outta Dodge while I could...
Feb/06
2011
In the list of "what not to touch" most people know that a dead raccoon is potentially more lethal than a bit of twat. Clearly these kids were rather sheltered. That or they just weren't too smart in their 'life choices.'
The Carrington High School team was pulled from Saturday's tournament when officials discovered the athletes had been exposed to a live raccoon. Grafton Police Sgt. Anthony Dumas says the team picked up what members thought was a dead raccoon on the way to the tournament in Grafton and stowed in the storage area of their bus. Dumas says when the compartment was opened later, the raccoon "just trotted away." The animal didn't scratch or bite anyone, but it's not known whether it had rabies.
Ok Kids, here's a few bits of advice for you... 1. Don't touch wild animals. Dead or alive. Most don't like to be touched. Many will think you're food. A few will have diseases that will kill you. 2. It's good to know the difference between a dead mammal and a live one. That also applies to reptiles, and fish such as crocodiles and piranha. Really, it's a good thing to know. 3. Shoving an animal, no matter what state, into the cargo hold is a bad idea. A lot animals take exception to being transported, even by bus. Odds are Mr. Fuzzy will want to rip your face off after being locked in a dark, noisy, smelly, compartment after being bumped around for a few hours. Really, not a good idea especially if it results in having to find a crowbar to pry Mr. Fuzzy off the bus driver's head. Chances are you might not get a ride home. Finally, 4, when faced with the choice of feeling up your girlfriend and laying hands on a dead rodent always remember: choose Coon over Poon (C comes before P boys, it's sooo easy to remember!)
Feb/06
2011
There's nuts out there with guns. No, I don't mean the typical, gun-toting yahoo, but genuine, certified lunatics who, by law, aren't allowed to own a gun. But they do because either someone didn't check, they didn't admit it, or the police just haven't gotten around to taking them away. Of course then bad shit happens.
By law, Roy Perez should not have had a gun three years ago when he shot his mother 16 times in their home in Baldwin Park, Calif., killing her, and then went next door and killed a woman and her 4-year-old daughter. Mr. Perez, who pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and was sentenced last year to life in prison, had a history of mental health issues. As a result, even though in 2004 he legally bought the 9-millimeter Glock 26 handgun he used, at the time of the shootings his name was in a statewide law enforcement database as someone whose gun should be taken away, according to the authorities. (NYT)
As the article describes it there are some records of who legally purchased a gun that should not have done so. One would think that these would be the easiest to solve right? Just go up to their door one day and demand they hand it over. But it takes time, it's risky (because of course the guy is a mental-case) and it ties up officers who might be needed to handle immediate emergencies.
California is unique in the country, gun control advocates say, because of its computerized database, the Armed Prohibited Persons System. It was created, in part, to enable law enforcement officials to handle the issue pre-emptively, actively identifying people who legally bought handguns, or registered assault weapons, but are now prohibited from having them. The list had 18,374 names on it as of the beginning of this month — 15 to 20 are added a day — swamping law enforcement’s ability to keep up. Some police departments admitted that they had not even tried.
The article goes on to say that most states don't even bother keeping a list. Further out of the 10.8 million who legally bought guns last year only 150,000 were denied. That's estimated to be less than the number of crazies out there who currently have guns if you extrapolate out the number in California to the entire nation. Not good really. That's a lot of nuts with guns. So if the police are too busy, and there's no effective way to prevent them from getting guns, there should be some way to take them away after the fact. And I have an idea: Since gun owners are the ones so damned adamant about their need to possess weapons, lets have them police their own. Let other gun owners go track down the scary types and try and take them away. It follows the whole self-policing mentality, as well as the notion "if the bad guy has a gun then we're all safer if I have one too." Put the responsibility into the hands of the NRA, fuck that, just deputize them as an arm of the ATF and tell them to get crackin' and make America safe one nutjob at a time.