Jan/30
2011
Yes it's sunday again and I'm settling in for a spot of breakfast and a light skim over the morning's news (pleaselettherebenothingbadokwhew). Halfway down the front page I gag on my spoonful of honey doused rice checks. It's Assange's ugly mug. Again. Why do I have to be abused by his image first thing in the morning? I mean the man is uglier in person than a snot-nosed Pekinese with a mucus problem, and his personality is fit to match. I'm not saying that I need to see beautiful people first thing in the morning, in fact my tolerance is quite high for riots, burnings, murders, rampages, earthquakes, mudslides and the typical national bedlam or international mayhem (would you like a double helping of that Davos with your eggs today?) Even "bipartisan" fervor is tolerable. But Julian's face is not. So please, have a little respect for my mornings, leave the images of his upturned nose elsewhere. I'd rather see dead people first.
Jan/29
2011

Wayne's Will

Don't tell me one person can't make a difference. Don't tell me that strength of will in one individual can't change the laws of a state or even a nation. Don't bother trying to because I can show you that you're wrong.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Wayne Dorough didn't come to Virginia's Capitol planning to get involved. But 15 minutes into the debate on whether Virginia should extend the time alleged sex abuse victims have to file lawsuits against their attackers from two years to 25, prospects for the bill weren't looking good. Even the proposal's sponsor was ready to settle for 10 years — still more than most states. Then the 67-year-old Dorough rose from his seat and asked to speak.[...] Dorough spoke barely more than three minutes, then Edwards surveyed the silent room. "Why don't we make it 20?" Edwards offered, recognizing it would be difficult to push a 25-year extension through the General Assembly. Without debate, the subcommittee voted 2-1 to recommend increasing the statute of limitations to 20 years. The full committee will hear the bill Monday.
Impressive doesn't begin to describe the feat this man accomplished. After being abused repeatedly as a child he had the wherewithal to travel to the legislators and recount his personal pain for them, making tangible something that could easily have been dismissed as text on paper. It's very different when heard from a victim. It's hard to hear. But empathy is a key factor in what makes us social creatures, enabling us to defend and protect those who need it, even when it's not us. Well done Wayne, I salute you and your fortitude, the difference you made that day and the difference for all the abuse victims to come. What you did was hard, and I recognize that.
Not until he had grandchildren did he decide to do something. He had heard that those who are sexually abused as children end up abusing children themselves. "All these things came into my mind and scared me to death," he said as his green eyes swelled with tears. "There's no way in the world I would want to be that way."
Jan/29
2011
Israel can successfully push back against international demands for peace when there is a stable structure to push against. Take that away and it's not so simple. Now with unrest and uprisings there aren't any safeguards against the hungry wolves on every side. Somehow bullying the Palestinian Authority doesn't seem like such a good idea any more does it?
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel watched fearfully Saturday as anti-government unrest roiled Egypt, one of its most important allies and a bridge to the wider Arab world. The Israeli prime minister ordered government spokesmen to keep silent. Officials speaking anonymously nonethless expressed concern violence could threaten ties with Egypt and spread to the Palestinian Authority.
Israel and Iran are not so very different in terms of how they choose to manipulate the international community. They'll play nice, sitting down at the table when and where it suits their image, but when the time comes for living up to commitments... eh not so much. Be it building settlements or bombs neither wants to be held to prior agreements and both prefer to just do as they please to placate radical religious interests. This dodge and stall tactic works pretty well when dealing with intellectuals willing to negotiate peacefully, because that is what they want most of all. It doesn't work so well with bloodthirsty homicidal maniacs willing to die for a cause. Were I the US or PA I would take advantage of this opportunity to press Israel for immediate results. And if they stall or dissemble? Well the dogs of war are waiting just on the other side and the grasp on their leash is getting weaker and weaker with every protest.
Jan/29
2011
The AP Wire reports that an Iranian woman with Dutch citizenship was hanged in Iran. But it's merely a blurb, hardly a peep. Does anyone else find it extraordinarily odd?
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian-Dutch woman detained after participating in protests against Iran's disputed presidential election in 2009 has been hanged. Zahram Bahrami's execution appears to have been punishment for a conviction on other charges. State television says she was hanged Saturday for possessing and selling drugs. The report said that initially she was arrested for committing "security crimes," but it did not say what became of that case.
That's it. That's all the information on the subject. Wtf? When citizens from islamic nations are arrested throngs, hordes, multitudes take to the streets in the Middle East to burn flags and demand our deaths. Yet they clearly just murdered a woman in the most brutal fashion and there's nary a peep from the civilized, first-world nations. We can't even begin to discuss the lack of transparency either, killed for what? Protesting? Drugs? Either? Neither? Fuck that. We need to treat them like they treat us, it's not like the situation is going to get any worse, they already want us dead remember? I hope Holland takes to the streets, burns a shit-ton of Iranian flags, bangs a shoe at the United Nations, cuts off any and every financial dealing with Iran and kicks their ambassador in the ass. Screw the double standard.
Jan/29
2011
Bristol Palin was scheduled to talk at Washington University in St. Louis in her roles as Teen Abstinence Ambassador for the Candie's Foundation. Many students were not thrilled about the prospect and were protesting her appearance, especially the part where she gets paid out of student generated funds. Kate Walsh, who is part of the cast of Grey's Anatomy, is a member of Planned Parenthood. Ms. Walsh tweeted “Welcome to the Idiocracy! RT @elliekirsh: @katewalsh please join students at Wash.U. to boycott Bristol Palin's speech on abstinence. What does she know about college or abstaining?” I'm not sure a single mother is the best abstinence advocate, unless she is trying to tell us that immaculate conception has happened again. Some of the commenters on foxnews were appalled that Palin's freedom is speech is being infringed. New flash folks, there is little free about Palin's speech, at least not for the students at Washington University. If she talks, they pay. Shouldn't they get to choose how their money is spent? Oh that's right, Palin drones only accept a reality where the drivel flows from their mouths unfettered. I wish the Palins would slide back into obscurity. Really, I do.
Jan/28
2011
It drives me batshit. Working with someone who is supposed to be an expert in their area and at first it seemed all good. They committed to deadlines, participated in design meetings, pitched in and helped... until the week of delivery. Which was two weeks ago. Well they were busy with other stuff. Then maybe the changes we wanted were too complicated. This was something new, kind of difficult, and they'd get to it really soon. Because, you know, they were busy with other stuff. And this was hard. Hard? Ok, I'm willing to believe that. Once I try it for myself that is. Of course I'm *not* an expert but I like to consider myself a quick study. Especially with the help of the interwebs I can typically find hints and clues with the same facility as Scooby and Shaggy. It took me two days to create a prototype of the elements involved. It took me another day to implement the components we'd agreed on. Then I handed it over to them as a proof of concept. Last week. Now most people, when given a template to work from, will just start adding in the missing bits. Ya no. Apparently the word "most" is key there. Because they didn't. But I guess they got to work on it recently because I've been hearing about how hard it is, even *with* my example. It astonishes me. I know they're not working ON what I need full time, even if they're getting paid full time to do it. I know they're trying to push back even though it's not anything remarkably difficult, fuck I just figured it out from scratch in a few days. I also know that they're doing everything they can to foist their work back on me because that's the simplest solution and I seem like a nice person. But guess what? It's not gonna fly. In my world if you commit, you wait till past the deadline, and you suck down our funds to do it? You'd damn well better deliver. Yes work is hard. Now quit complaining and just get to it.
Jan/28
2011
These two people are just plain idiots.
WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — Police in Connecticut say a man ran over a teen boy after he mistook him for someone who snatched his girlfriend's purse.[...] Police say it started when a 23-year-old woman was walking to Danny Torres's home on Thursday when someone snatched her purse. Torres and the woman got in a car to look for the thief. Capt. Christopher Corbett tells The Republican-American that the couple saw the teen, thought he was the purse snatcher and struck him with the car. Torres, wielding a baseball bat, then allegedly threatened to kill the boy and held him until police arrived.
Really are you both that stupid? Running someone down with your car and then threatening to kill them because they might have snatched your purse? Even if it was the same person you don't get to run people down, not even the cops do that. But the cops sure hauled your ass to jail where it belongs. And I hope the family of the kid whose leg you broke sues that ass silly. What morons.
Jan/28
2011
One is bad, two is too much and any more than that? A damn, fucking, royal mess.
DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — A former WikiLeaks spokesman launched a rival website Friday, saying he planned to give whistleblowers more control over the secrets they spill. The new platform, called OpenLeaks, will allow sources to choose specifically who they want to submit documents to anonymously, such as to a particular news outlet, said Daniel Domscheit-Berg. "We'd like to work with media outlets that have an interest in informing the public," he told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting of top business and political leaders in the Swiss resort of Davos.[...] Domscheit-Berg, a former spokesman for WikiLeaks who fell out with Assange, said the two websites and others soon to be launched could complement each other, helping to "decentralize" the whistleblowing process.
Great, what an improvement. They won't actually be the ones publishing classified documents, just the ones handing them over to people that will use them as they see fit. Phenomenal. You have to love people who make a living by taking stolen materials and handing them over to the highest bidder. Transparency? Please. It's just theft pure and simple of other people's work and our security.
Jan/28
2011
Yeah I'm all for science improving our lives, but that's not the case here. This is an example of "because we can" not "because it makes any rational sense whatsoever."
"I pretty much shut out the idea that driving was possible, because I didn't want to focus on that aspect of something I couldn't do," said Riccobono, 34, who has been legally blind since age 5 and was selected from a group of test drivers to be behind the wheel Saturday. "But I think this project is a clear example that when you dream big and put your heart and resources into it, you get to unimagined places." The [National Federation of the Blind], an advocacy group of more than 50,000 members, hatched the idea a decade ago. In 2004 it began the Blind Driver Challenge through its Jernigan Institute. The challenge encouraged partnerships with universities and manufacturers to create technology that would enable a blind driver to safely operate a vehicle. (AP)
I'm sorry but no. This is quite plainly a bad idea. There are some things in life for which there is no substitute, and vision cannot be replaced by enhancing the other senses to operate a motor vehicle. The scheme cannot operate in bad weather. It cannot operate in rapidly changing conditions. On a racetrack all alone? Perhaps, but add in one additional factor, like another driver or distracted pedestrian, and the entire concept fails. A car is a one-ton (or more) lethal projectile that will protect the driver while taking out everyone and everything in its path. We have enough accidents already from the elderly and now some engineering students are being misguided into the idea that adding the completely vision impaired would be a good thing?
"One of the main things I want to do is build technology that helps society," said Paul D'Angio, 23, the lead Virginia Tech grad student on the project. "You can work with the military and make plenty of awesome technology, but it won't help people until years later ...This is something happening now."
Sorry Paul but you're delusional. I know you're a college kid and this helps your resume. I completely understand that the practicalities of the enabling the blind to drive on public roads doesn't even factor in the "Ooooh Shiny" novelty of the project. But what you might have learned in terms of engineering and project development have been hamstrung by one of the most lethal pitfalls on the path to commercialization: public acceptance. Consider me a bellwether. John Q. Public and my dancing opinion. There is nothing you can say, do or design that will make me comfortable with the idea of a blind person controlling a car. Nice, novel concept, but please, spend your engineering time and resources on more practical applications.
Jan/27
2011
Is this guy for real? No seriously?
[Gil] Meche, a 32-year-old right-handed pitcher, had a contract that called for a $12 million salary in 2011. Yet he will not report to Surprise, Ariz., with the rest of the Kansas City Royals for spring training next month. He will not have surgery to repair his chronically aching right shoulder. He will not pitch in relief, which involves a lighter workload. Meche retired last week, which means he will not be paid at all. “When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it,” Meche said this week by phone from Lafayette, La. “Once I started to realize I wasn’t earning my money, I felt bad. I was making a crazy amount of money for not even pitching. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I didn’t want to have those feelings again.” (NYT)
Ok hold the phones here. A professional athlete forfeited $12 mil because he wanted to feel like he had actually earned it? Please! Someone immediately study this man! Document his upbringings! Enshrine his genes! Whatever it takes... we need, nay we MUST propagate this mentality (and more importantly transplant it to the financial sector.) I don't care if this man is not a mormon, get him a dozen wives and look the other way. Gods, but we need more people like him. Desperately.
Jan/27
2011
This guy is a bishop? Maybe. But he's clearly one misogynistic motherfucker...
...a prominent bishop, Thomas Olmsted, [stripped] St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix of its affiliation with the Roman Catholic diocese. The hospital’s offense? It had terminated a pregnancy to save the life of the mother. The hospital says the 27-year-old woman, a mother of four children, would almost certainly have died otherwise.[...] Yet in this battle, it’s fascinating how much support St. Joseph’s Hospital has had and how firmly it has pushed back — in effect, pounding 95 theses on the bishop’s door. The hospital backed up Sister Margaret, and it rejected the bishop’s demand that it never again terminate a pregnancy to save the life of a mother. (NYT)
I'm not Catholic but I know Jesus was all about compassion and understanding. Seems the Big Bishop doesn't have a grip on that simple fact. He's gonna follow doctrine blindly until the cows come home or everyone leaves the faith (my money is on the latter personally.) Hey Tom! Fuck you, ok? You're an asshole. And you know what else? You're going to Hell too. See you there Bro!
Jan/27
2011
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A member of Oklahoma's Board of Education is drawing heated reaction after saying a newly hired administrator would be "worthless" as a legislative liaison if she takes immediate maternity leave. The board voted Thursday to hire Jessica Russell, who is due to give birth in April. Former state Sen. Herb Rozell then questioned whether Russell would be around for key days of the legislative session, saying she would be "worthless to us" if she immediately takes six weeks off. Russell left the meeting in tears.
Way to be a total douchebag there Herb. And to an expectant mother. Where are you from, Afghanistan or the Dark Ages or something?
Jan/27
2011
The article deplored the fact that the NRA has effectively used their clout to prevent any research into areas related to gun control. Any. Because they were afraid that it might provide "scientific" evidence that more gun ownership means more gun deaths. Really? We need science to prove that? Ok. Maybe not becuase it's entirely obvious but nevertheless it's good to actually go through the rigorous execises that lead from hypothesis to numerically substantiated proof. So sure, honest people, well intentioned people, fair people would agree to investigate a topic instead of preventing the research. But be real, we're talking about the NRA here. Their interest isn't in playing fair, it's in making their views the only views.
In the wake of the shootings in Tucson, the familiar questions inevitably resurfaced: Are communities where more people carry guns safer or less safe? Does the availability of high-capacity magazines increase deaths? Do more rigorous background checks make a difference? The reality is that even these and other basic questions cannot be fully answered, because not enough research has been done. And there is a reason for that. Scientists in the field and former officials with the government agency that used to finance the great bulk of this research say the influence of the National Rife Association has all but choked off money for such work.[...] Initially, pro-gun lawmakers sought to eliminate the injury center completely, arguing that its work was “redundant” and reflected a political agenda. When that failed, they turned to the appropriations process. In 1996, Representative Jay Dickey, Republican of Arkansas, succeeded in pushing through an amendment that stripped $2.6 million from the disease control centers’ budget, the very amount it had spent on firearms-related research the year before. “It’s really simple with me,” Mr. Dickey, 71 and now retired, said in a telephone interview. “We have the right to bear arms because of the threat of government taking over the freedoms that we have.” (NYT)
No, I'm not surprised. Nor do I care really. Gun owners are exactly like smokers, they will never agree that their "rights" should be balanced with those of others. Nor will they accept the fact that their choice to accept risk then forces that risk onto everyone else. Sure they're willing to accept what happens when they mishandle a firearm, but who says that they're the one that going to get hit by the stray bullet? "I'm sorry?" Yeah no, not really. Just as smoking used to be a "right" sanity eventually did win. I have faith that the same will hold true for gun control. So really, I encourage gun owners to enjoy it while they can because someday there won't be any room to play, fair or not.
Jan/27
2011
I really, honestly thought she was his daugter. Until I saw them kiss that is. Amazing how fast the gag reflex works, I'll tell ya, I almost had to cover my mouth and I did have to look away. He was at least 65. At least. She was 15 to 20 years younger. And she snuggled to him like a chinchilla in a rainstorm. She was a chatty one, happy to make conversation with anyone on anything. Gigglegigglegiggle. Yes, dear reader, she was blond and no, not naturally so. Although the dye job was expensive, it was a pittance compared to the rings and watch she wore. Hubby seemed quite satisfied to let her do all the conversing, his pet poodle on a diamond leash hopping about. The most amusing moment in this vignette came when BimboWife decided to harp on the topic of kids. Well grandkids to be precise... "And we have three grandchildren! Seven, five and three," she gushed breathlessly. "You have grand kids? You don't look old enough," said the person next to her, which had honestly been my impression too. Awkward silence. Strangely enough the conversation died out at that point. I'm not saying that there's really anything all that wrong with the status quo in the personal affairs of rich people. Yeah he probably made a ton of loot back in the 80's. His first wife had the kids, held the dinner parties, celebrated their anniversary with him quite happily. Now she's probably got a decent severance and alimony to let her enjoy her less-attractive years peacefully while he pops viagra every night to keep the young missus entertained. As sordid as that might sound there really isn't anything wrong with that. Chances are everyone is happy with their lot. The only people left holding the bag are the bystanders, oh and by bag I mean barf-bag. I wonder sometimes if these self-centered people realize that their audience has opinions too? Ok, that was a bit too gratuitious. But as an audience member I detest a performance I can't walk away from. I mean even prisioners have rights, Amnesty International insures that. I wonder sometimes, if there were no audience, would there still be a market for trophy tits? I mean if Hubby is just looking for arm candy and a good lay I'd think that a call girl is far more cost effective in the long run.
Jan/27
2011
I'm not one of those happy-to-travel type business travellers. I try to be good, stay positive, take in the new or at least different surroundings but for the most part I resent not being home, not sleeping in my bed, not having access to my stuff, missing my workout or any other part of my routine. So it doesn't take much to make me a pretty cranky fuck. That said, I also try not to take it out on my fellow travellers because I realize that they too are in exactly the same boat. Nevertheless, not all co-travellers are worthy of that respect. Take the octagenarian (perhaps even nonagenarian) gentleman of Asian descent. Accompanied by what looked to be two, much younger, family members he spent no less than ten minutes to get down the isle and into his seat. Mind you there was no one in front of him, but a line like the animals waiting to board the arc behind. Up he shuffled. Back he shuffled. Up again to his seat. Then to take off his coat. Then to retrieve his coat. Then to put his coat away. Then to put his coat away somewhere else. Then to put someone else's coat away. Then he simply wouldn't sit down. And when he finally did sit down he decided he wanted the seat next to him which required the two other people to get up and shift as well. Ten whole minutes. I was surprised. The setwardesses didn't intervene. His family didn't appear to want to rush him so we all... stood... and waited... and waited... and finally there was a mad rush once he got out of the isles, backpressure relieved, and the tide of passengers finally surged to the back dissapating into their seats. I know that the airlines are aware of this and will typically let the very young, very old board first or anyone "needing additional time" (e.g. the lady with the foot-cast) get started early. I suggest that perhaps they need to go a step further. Since everyone's age is known ahead of time why not call their names ahead of time and tell them to board anyway? Fuck embarassment, this is practacality speaking here. Besides the luxury of being offended by the gyrations of air travel is long gone, they've just stared at your naked body on a scanner ffs. I'm sorry, I know there's supposed to be some leeway given to those at "their time of life" but the inconvenience of the many outweighs the inconvenience of the few. Move it or lose it Grampy, and if you can't we'll get someone to help you.
Jan/27
2011

One moment.

A sputnik moment is a point where you realize you're losing a race, and, instead of giving up, you double your efforts, grit your teeth and try to win. Historically, it's meaning is derived from the US realizing that the USSR had surpassed it's abilities in getting into space. The US reaction was Kennedy's mandate to get a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Despite the fact that their space program was much further along than ours, the US poured it's resources into the space race in order to reach the moon first. I say that for two reasons. First, because Sarah Palin is confused and thinks that it had something to do with the USSR bankrupting itself and ending it's economic collapse. She doesn't read much and probably doesn't know what Sputnik's significance was, let alone what a Sputnik moment actually is. She surely doesn't understand the cause of the USSR collapse. She's a talking head that mostly full of hot air. It's somewhat acceptable for her to be clueless. (Though I'm sure her handlers have clued her in by now) Second, because while I can appreciate the intention of the metaphor, I don't think the Presidents usage is entire appropriate. It's nice to say that we've reach an economic tipping point where we need to double our efforts, but that's not really the same as a Sputnik moment. We're not really in a race with anyone, so it's hard to be losing. We don't have that person out in front of us that has accomplished more than us. There isn't a competition really. I just don't think it works very well. Especially since a large portion of the people you want to convince are the clueless airheads like Palin. It's a little over their heads, even more so since it doesn't work very well. I think we need a moment for everyone to work together to solve our problems. This country hasn't had a moment like that. There was a window after 9/11, but it was wasted by a fear driven public and incompetent leadership. The moment was lost. Who knows when we'll get another opportunity. I imagine it will be require a great leader standing up and uniting us behind his vision. Reagen demanding the wall come down. Kennedy saying we'll get to the moon first. I'd love to know what a vision like that felt like. One nation, indivisible.
Jan/27
2011
Most Fortune 500 Companies outsource some of their work these days. What happens when a critical piece is needed late at night? Nothing. That's what. Why? Because no one in outsourced country is answering their phones or instance message dings. The folks in the US answer the phone, even well after working hours, but no one in the US has the authority to do it anymore. Then there is the part about the outsourced country buggering up the rest of the order because they don't understand English. Labor in outsourced countries might be cheaper but they act like it. What was that about getting what you pay for? And so much for that $15 mil job being done one time. If I were the customer, I might request a discount.