May/19
2006

They call it LIFE??????

Link: http://streams.cei.org/

Heh. I thought the ad was a spoof. No one could be that stupid. Let me back up. There is a little non profit organization called CEI or Competitive Enterprise Institute. Basically, they’re a conservative mouthpiece. Limited government, free market type deal. Pretty boiler plate stuff that is unworthy of scorn or rantage. But you see, sometimes groups do stupid stupid things. This group decided it was their time. They made an environmental awareness ad. Normally such things are no big deal. Talk about what corporations are doing to keep the environment clean. Plant a tree. Search for new alternative fuels. Right? That’s what I expected. No. That would be… worthwhile. I failed to grasp that this little organization was going to be a corporate shill. No, the ad they put out had a stream of images of national parks and kids playing, and such things. The voice over went along these lines:
There is something around you, that you can’t see. It’s essential to life. Plants breath it in. We breath it out. The fuel it gives us help us get away from back braking manual labor. It’s called Carbon Dioxide. CO2. Allowing us to create and move the things we need. Now, some politicians are trying to label it a pollutant. Imagine if they succeed. What would our lives be like then? They call it pollution. We call it life
What the mother fucking hell. Then the other one:
You’ve seen those headlines about global warming. Glaciers are melting. We’re doomed. That’s what some studies say. Others say the exact opposite. You never hear about those studies. The glaciers are growing, not melting. These environmental alarmists blame carbon dioxide from the fuels we use. They want us to cut back. But we depend on those fuels. We use them to light up our lives and protect our families. As for carbon dioxide: it’s not smog or smoke. It’s what we breathe out and plants breathe in. Carbon Dioxide. They call it pollution. We call it life.
I’m almost at a loss for words. First off, they call it a pollutant because it IS. If they doubt that in some manner, I welcome them to close there garage, turn on their car and hang out for a few hours. Or hang out on top of a smokestack. If they want to argue that CO2 doesn’t lead to global warming, go for it. I disagree with those studies that they claim prove otherwise, but I welcome their input. But it’s pollution pure and simple either way. Calling it LIFE, is bullshit. It’s certainly part of the natural cycle of life. Plant need it to live. But you know what? They don’t need the god-awful amounts that the industrial nations of the world put out. And seeing as we’re chopping down forests, there are fewer trees there that can convert it into oxygen. Hence, more and more CO2 in the air. And that’s BAD. Even throwing out global warming, take a tour of downtown L.A., and ask yourself how those CO2 emissions are effecting your breathing. Can you feel it there in the back of your throat? I know you used to corporate cock there, but this time, something else tickling your tonsils. Not a pollutant? Not a pollutant? Are you fucking insane? I mean seriously, do you have good elbow pads? Because you certainly bent over for the oil industry here. I suppose they at least give you lots of KY, right? Secondly, the ad is filled with bullshit imagery that has nothing to do with CO2 production. Lots of panoramic views of huge forests. Some brief glimpses of people cycling in a park. Some close ups of people and dogs breathing. Not many huge industrial complexes. Not so much on bumper to bumper traffic jams. There are a million ways to put out a pro industry ad about global warming. Show some proof that global warming isn’t as bad as they said. Put up some information showing what is being done to curtail pollution. Telling the customer that pollution is good for them? That’s fucking wrong. It’s unconscionable. You call it life? I swear. Fuck you. Just… fuck you.
May/17
2006

You admit it's wrong???

Link: http://www.legis.state.la.us/billdata/streamdocument.asp?did=391732

But you did it anyway. Welcome to my 'Disgraceful Abuse of the Public Trust' List. Down in Louisiana, the House just passed HB 1381. Basically, it makes the video game rating enforceable by law. If I store sells to underage, they get fined. If the game appeals ‘to the minor's morbid interest in violence’ or is determined to be ‘patently offensive to prevailing standards’, a judge may remove the game from stores entirely. Now, this type of thing has been smacked down as unconstitutional in 6 separate states now due to First Amendment issues. Hell, lemme give you the text of it:
A. An interactive video or computer game shall not be sold, leased, or rented to a minor if the trier of fact determines all of the following: (1) The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the video or computer game, taken as a whole, appeals to the minor's morbid interest in violence. (2) The game depicts violence in a manner patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable for minors. (3) The game, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
I’m not blasting them for the bill. I could, but I won’t. The fear mongering Jack Thompson and the Parents Television Council worked their art and scared the House into the vote. It was unanimous. 102-0. Not one member of the House dissented and no one avoided the vote. This is important. Now, if they actually believed the law would help, I could forgive them to an extent. I’d rant at them for being stupid, but I’d at least understand. Nope. What gets me is that many of the House members freely admit it will not survive a constitutional challenge. You know, while it’s the court’s responsibility to ensure laws are constitutionally acceptable, there is an onus on the lawmakers to craft laws to meet those same guidelines. And the Louisiana House members just failed their duties to their voters. It’s totally disgraceful. It’s not even just the time and money they spent crafting the law, talking about it and voting for it. It’s the concept that they think it’s worth wasting the industry’s time and money fighting it. It wastes the court system’s time and money smacking it down. All of those costs get passed down to the citizens. Admittedly, this is just the House bill. There is a separate bill in the LA Senate that is far more reasonable. The House bill can’t pass muster. The Senate bill has a chance, but it is unlikely. Regardless, the people in Louisiana have been done injustice by their representatives. You’d think they’d have better things to do down there than try to pass illegal laws. Maybe they could look into rebuilding a levee or something..
May/16
2006
Perhaps the enemies of liberty are such only because they judge it by its loud voice. If they knew its charms, the dignity that accompanies it, how much a free man feels like a king, the perpetual inner light that is produced by decorous self-awareness and realization, perhaps there would be no greater friends of freedom than those who are its worst enemies. --Jose Marti While possibly one of the greatest writers in the Hispanic World, I would have to disagree on the point he has raised above. In fact it is because the enemies of liberty truly understand its value, and its power that they seek to deny it to others. Imho unless you understand how precious something is, you would not expend untold effort to keep it locked away from the public. The reason dictators and militarists think this way is because they want to keep liberty for themselves and their population in social and mental shackles.
May/15
2006
One of the openers in a conversation that I truly detest is "Ok, don't get mad but....". You know the next thing the person is going to say is that they did something that is guaranteed to be upsetting, yet by hypothetically preempting with the truth you're now hamstrung into glowering acceptance. Well no, not me personally, but I'm sure a lot of people find themselves in a position of wanting to launch into a fully justified tirade but muzzled by the 'first-strike apology'. A further irritant is how the 'first-strike apology' is deployed. More often than not it's used in a public setting with innocent bystanders held hostage as collateral against a genuine counter-attack of outrage. Naturally what happens next is that when you do get alone the perp, they feign surprise that you're "still on that topic" and fall back to the previous "but I already said I was sorry" excuse. Yes it's true that honesty is the best policy more often than not, but feeling that you're justified in getting away scott free because you admitted what happened before the victim was aware isn't fair. I've been in several situations where the person who caused me the grief then went on to get incensed themselves when I did get mad anyway. Just apologizing for doing something retarded isn't going to spare you my wrath, mitigate it yes, but spare you no. You did something wrong, now I get to vent about it. That's how things work.
May/13
2006

But... how????

Sometimes people baffle me. Ok, to be fair, I'm baffled by people more often then I like to admit. But I blame them because well... they are strange. This story is not my own company but comes to me from an online colleague. His company is doing away with paychecks. Physical ones at least. All future payments will be direct deposit online. Now, this isn’t a surprise. It’s been announced for over a year and the company has gone to great lengths to make sure everything goes smoothly. So now, as the deadline approaches, more and more people are becoming vocal about the issue. A quick poll of the employees discovered that about 500 of the 1500 employees don’t have a bank account to link up with the direct deposit. I’m at a loss here. Even my poorest, most fiscally irresponsible friends have bank accounts. I’m not entirely certain how I would get by without one. No checks to pay bills? I guess they use money orders? And go to check cashing places every Friday? And this isn’t exactly a ghetto company. It’s a software firm with an average salary in the 60-80K range. I do have to hand it to this company though. They’re making the effort to get people signed up. They had ‘Banking Day’ with a few dozen local banks dropping by to set up accounts for people. A handful of signups. Didn’t even make a dent in the problem. The company announced afterward that if no account was specified by date required, the company would set up free savings accounts with the local bank in the name of the employee and it would be up to them to get their money from the bank. Now, I’m not certain the legality of the push for direct deposit is, but that’s not really my point. According to my colleague, the union there is ok with it, even though many members are up in arms. I just don’t know how someone in this day and age successfully gets through life without some form of savings to fall back on. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been really thankful to have a nest egg behind me, even if it’s not a huge one. And to do all of your bills out of cash? Insane. Most banks have free checking. USE IT! I just don’t get it.
May/12
2006
What do you call someone that signs laws into existence and then simply states that they won't abide by them? If you're an American you call him President. That's right, while in the past most Presidents had the balls to veto a law they didn't like, our boy Bush just signs them anyway and then publishes a "Presidential Signing Statement". What the hell is that you ask? well it's an article issued by the President that more or less says "sure I just signed that bill into law, but fuck if I'm going to enforce it". 750. Yes Bush has issued 750 of these declarations, lets compare that to 232 issued by his Dad in 4 years and a whopping 140 issued by Clinton in 8 years. Outta control much? I'd say. So lets sample a few of these "Presidential Statements" shall we? What have we got, well there's one where we passed a law that said the Defense Department couldn't censor the legal advice of it's lawyers (in this case dealing with the legal use of torture). Next. He said he wouldn't prevent the military from storing information about private citizens that was collected illegally. Uh huh. We already know about the eavesdropping thing, lets skip that one. What about the law protecting nuclear agency employees if they blow the whistle to Congress... nope he didn't like that one either. Turning over uncensored scientific data to Congress that was used as a basis of environmental laws, without delay? No way baby. So where did this fucking concept of a "Presidential Signing Statement" come from? Who's the freak that inserted this bullshit loophole into the system? Well, looking back it was stunk up by one Edwin Meese the III'rd when he was AG for Regan. He had help tho. From a young lawyer at the time. His name? Samuel Alito Jr.
May/12
2006

Resistance is Futile

It was a nice conversation. Talking about the general aspects of our job and some interaction between co-workers. Standard deal. Then it changed. Very suddenly You see, when you're standing in front of me, facing me, and speaking, I have a very silly reaction. I assume you're still speaking to me. Or, at least, attempting to speak to me. Then, low and behold, I see the glowing blue light sprouting from your ear. You know what? Fuck you. Take your little blue tooth enabled, geekier-than-thou headset; walk your ass ten feet away and continue your conversation over there. Because you know what? That’s fucking inconsiderate you miserable piece of shit. At least gives me a heads up when you get a call. A little hint that your attention has gone elsewhere. I mean, it’s still rude to interrupt a conversation, but it’s much less then going into Borg-mode and standing in front of me non-responsive. Oh, I’m sorry. Are you done talking to the collective? You want to finish our discussion? Sorry. I’m busy. Writing this post actually. Fuck off. And stop reading over my shoulder ass pirate.
May/11
2006
So, there is an increasing push in the "I don't feel like being a responsible parent"™ section of society. They want a new warning label. This year’s target? Televisions. Brain cancer? Obese children? Bad vision? An addiction to anime? Spending habits from the home shopping network? A desire to scrape your ears out if that 'Cops' song comes on again? Nay. They want a warning label to warn people that the TV could fall on them causing potential for injury and possibly DEATH. I’m boggled. Honestly. Gravity causes items to fall. The heavier and higher it is, the more potential for damage there is. This is simple physics. Most children grasp the concept to a lesser extent around the time they learn to walk. So, what prompted this concern? Well, bad parents of course. Though I’m sure they’re looking to pass the buck. Take our first contestant. A 4 year old girl was killed when a 27 inch TV fell off a rolling stand, crushing her. Somehow, I’m going to make two bets. First, the TV manual says to place it on a sturdy support base. Second, the rolling stand has a warning not to place objects over a certain weight and dimensions on it. Now, you see what the parent did there? Improper usage. Ding Ding Ding! Number two involved yet another rolling cart. This time a 3 year old boy was killed trying to reach the VCR on top of the TV. Shock, and surprise, this situation failed the same damn way as the last one. Imagine that. In March, a 2 year old was killed when a 36 inch TV fell off a dresser. Have you seen a 36 inch TV? They don’t just tip over and fall unless they’re perched pretty close to the edge. And I dunno about your dresser, but I don’t think I could balance anything near a 36 inch TV on mine. Ok, so what we have is improper usage resulting in deaths that are tragic, preventable and the result of poor planning by the parental types. Some stats for you, the National Consumer Product Safety Commission claims that approximately six children are killed by falling televisions in the United States every year. Six whole kids. That certainly requires nationwide legislation immediately. They want warning labels. They want manufacturers to be forced to put in wall attachments to prevent these deaths. And they want the money from the law suit and the ability to blame someone else for their child's death. Let’s be fair here, the problem is that we can’t attach a warning label to gravity. It happens, but there just isn’t a place for that label. Likewise parental stupidity seems to be missing that attachment point. I wouldn’t mind attaching a label of some sort to parental responsibility, but it seems to be harder and harder to find these days.
May/11
2006

Georgia on my mind

It’s an old story. Few weeks ago, I meant to write up my rant on it. But I get easily distracted by shiny objects. So, down in Georgia, a lady has a problem with the book selection at her school’s library. You see, they have the Harry Potter series. And like any good religious nutter, she knows that Harry Potter is a gateway to Satanism. She admits she never read the books before filing her complaint because “she was busy.” But it gets better. This part isn’t needed for my rant, but it’s too funny to leave out:
I think it would be hypocritical for me to read all the books, honestly. I don’t agree with what’s in them.
The irony abounds. Setting that aside, let me quote her objection, Harry Potter promotes
evil themes, witchcraft, demonic activity, murder, evil blood sacrifice, spells and teaching children all of this.
Fine. That’s bullshit, and most people know it. Many teachers even use the series as a way to foster reading comprehension because of how well liked the books are. But I respect her right to hold that dumbass ideal. I will, for one time only, forgive her idiocy in challenging the books right to be in the library. However, it’s the rest of her thoughts that really put a bug in my bonnet as it were. It’s her idea for a replacement: “C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia” Now, you might raise an eyebrow here if you compare the themes from that series to the objections listed on her form. I mean, come on now. Anyone who has read Narnia has seen all of those same themes. Now, I’ll end with the fact that it’s not my intention to paint all Christian with the whacko brush. She represents a narrow portion of idiots that are a subclass of the more respectable religious ideology. Honestly, I should make this paragraph into a sig file for most of my rants. Edit: Follow up AP Link
The Associated Press - SUWANEE, Ga. The Gwinnett County school board voted Thursday night to reject a parent's pleas to take Harry Potter books out of school libraries, based on a claim that they promote witchcraft. "At the very heart of this issue is censorship," board member Carole Boyce said before the unanimous vote. "Our students do understand the difference between fact and fiction."
Here's to you GCSB! Glad to know not every loon get thier way!
May/11
2006
Originally when the brouhaha broke over the NSA tapping phone lines people were comforted that it was only international calls that were being tapped. Most people don't call Jordan, Afghanistan or Iraq on a regular or even lifetime basis. I personally can't ever see myself placing a call to any of those places - so like me, most people just shrugged it off as over zealous media resurrecting the specter of Big Brother. Yes some people who are more dedicated to the idea of the rights and protections of the individuals got upset, and so did congress when they found out they weren't informed, but the average American wasn't being tapped just people who might, slightly, possibly be calling countries where the terrorists were. And the press was just being alarmist.... right,right? Well, as it turns out they were right, because that wasn't all the NSA was doing. In addition to tapping into phone calls without a warrant they were also getting copies of all, yes that's right ALL domestic calls. Every phone call handled by the following companies: AT&T, Verizon and Bellsouth, time, caller and callee were handed over to the government to create a database of who called whom and when. Only one company Qwest, refused to hand over the records because of concerns for legality and privacy. Props to Qwest. It's awesome isn't it? Apparently in the name of "national security" your private call data, who you called and when isn't so private. Somehow NSA believes that they can find trending patterns in this truly enormous mountain of data that will enable them to detect terrorist activity. I'm sorry but that's stupid on so many fronts. Terrorists deliberately don't pattern their calls, terrorists tend to communicate in person, and there are so fucking few of them making calls compared to normal people going about their daily life that there's no fucking way in HELL you can pull out a pattern from all the noise in the data. Oh and back on the other front? The Justice Department dropped it's investigation into the legality of the original warrantless phone tapping program because.... their lawyers couldn't get clearance to access NSA records... "Oh well, if I can't get a security clearance to uncover evidence then I guess there couldn't possibly be anything wrong with what they were doing...."
May/11
2006
Three words: "President Jeb Bush".
May/10
2006

EXTREME!!!!!!!

I'm really sick of it. Day after day, we're inundated with it: products, shows, movies, music. All of it claiming to be more extreme or adventurous then the product before it. Well, I’m here to let the world in on a little secret. Your tortilla chips, regardless of the amount of fake cheese added… are not extreme. Nor will they aid you in becoming extreme, unless you mean extremely fat. Your SUV will probably not help you in being extreme because there is a 99% chance you’ll never take it off the asphalt. Your health insurance, never extreme. In fact, by definition, it’s the opposite of extreme. It’s cautious. Your hair gel. Not extreme. The TV show ‘Lost’? Not extreme. Mission Impossible 3? Not extreme. Simply put, I’m tired of everything and its great aunt Fanny trying to sell me on the idea that their thing will somehow spice up my life and make it EXTREME!!!! Those product will not somehow magically alter my life, or the life of anyone else and make them into a cliff climbing, alpine skiing, skydiver. Sorry to burst your bubble of mediocrity.
May/10
2006

Personal Space

Maybe I'm weird. If you ask my girlfriend, she'll say there is no maybe about it. I am weird. And this is a case of something that just irks me. The place I work is a 24 by 7 place. We share the same desks and workstations. Due to the nature of the shared environment, we each have our own set lockable of drawers to hold personal items, paperwork, that sort of thing. So, if you recall from an earlier rant, we have to wear headphones if we want to listen to the radio, so that the noise doesn't bother other people on the floor. I have a set of ear buds. I prefer ear buds because I can put one in and have my other ear free to hear the other people I work with. Now, apparently, at the end of last week, I forgot to lock my cabinets. Totally my fault. However, what annoyed me is that when I came in today, I found that my ear buds had been used. I know, because I carefully wrap them up and twist tie them, and I found them casually strewn about. Plus... well.. let's just say there was wax. Ew. So, today, I'm more or less SOL. I'm kinda unwilling to use these buds again. Unless I can figure some way to clean them. Doubtful. The gist of my anger here is that it's personal space. Not just someone else's property that this guy used. But it's something that goes in my ears. I don't know about the rest of you, but that's my personal space, and it's more of a violation than if they had borrowed some of my books or other supplies. I suppose it's not obvious to everyone. Maybe I'm just weird.
May/08
2006

Strange Bedfellows

I have a neat idea. There are several longstanding global conflicts that seem to have no end in sight, products of generations of educated hatred that must be a part of genetic heritage at this point. A good examples of this are the Israelis and Palestinians. Another are the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland. Sure there's lots more of unhappy culture-couples out there but lets start with these guys. I'm going to wax philosophical for a moment so bear with me. It's said you need black to understand white, you need hate to understand love, basically you need to have a side in order to define the other. It's my hypothesis that these pairs actually share a symbiotic relationship wherein the very existence of one side totally defines the other. If the question is "Who are you?" the answer is "I'm not them" where it doesn't really matter who 'them' are or what they're like. Tall, short, fat, thin, smelly, non-smelly, one side might totally resemble the other (when naked and in the shower) but dressed up, complete with signs, insignias and weapons you immediately know on which side of the street you're welcome on. The point I'm getting to is that these sides are so very used to their "enemies" that it makes me wonder - if someone were to wife-swap antagonists, what would be the result? To be precise, lets say you moved all the Irish Catholics lock, stock and barrel into the space occupied by the Palestinians and the Palestinians into Ireland's Catholic areas, what would happen next? Well a few things are pretty easy from the logistical sense. I imagine the Palestinians would all head for the nearest pub and probably go into gastronomic shock (most people do when confronted with menu items such as "Toad in the Hole" or "Bubble and Squeak"). The Catholics on the other hand would probably have to have the requisite amount of sun-block products air lifted in bulk. Jokes aside what the hell does happen when the enemy you know isn't on the other side any more? It's one thing to become temporarily united with your enemy when confronted with a common threat such as environmental disaster or an attack from a third party, it's another thing entirely to wake up one day to have the chessboard changed to backgammon underneath you. I understand the analogy falls short in the principle because when you have 2 parties laying claim for historical reasons to the same space, well the twain just ain't ever going to meet. But I proposed this as a mental exercise. Picture if you can what the Israelis might say to the Catholics, and the same for the Protestants and the Palestinians. Suddenly the differences would be far more obvious, visually as well as culturally - could there be a resolution, or would these new sides find reasons to hate each other just as quickly? Is it at all possible for a race to say "No, my beef was with the other guy, and because you're new we can figure out how to get along"? Or does the entrenched political hegemony require the existence of a genocidal threat? I'm certainly not smart enough to figure that one out on my own, but it's a thought worth pondering...
May/08
2006

Jersey Parkway Part 2

There's lots of great reasons to avoid Jersey. The highway/parkway gives you lots of time to ponder on them as you gracelessly suffer the drivers, air pollution, shitty drivers, crappy signage, drivers and then get to pay for the privilege of suffering at annoying intervals. On occasion something will add the extra capsaicin to the whole trip. In this case it was a billboard advertising upcoming musical events at the local "thunderdome". In this case it was for "Def Leppard and Journey". If I could have U-Turned without slaughtering myself and a few hundred other drivers in the process I would have.
May/08
2006
Actually seen on the license plate of a white, BMW, SUV:

"NAKED K9"

Words fail me. Sadly the mental images didn't.
May/08
2006

Curse of The Unorganized Family

And now, some insights into my personal life angst... So I've got this birthday thing. Saturday is the actual day. For some incredibly stupid reason which I cannot fathom, my mom insists on having some sort of get together every year for it. "So what are we doing for your birthday?" she will ask. I honestly do not care about the celebration aspect, so I just shrug. We generally have a cook-out and do a two-fer of my birthday with Mother's Day thrown in. But oh my god, I wish my family could get on the same page. If they INSIST on this shin-dig, then they should maybe TALK TO EACH OTHER about what the plan is. Is it Saturday? Or is it better for everyone to get together on Sunday? What kind of food do you want? What kind of cake? These are all questions being put to me by my two sisters and my mother - when the details really don't matter to me! It WASN'T my idea! "I'm fine with our normal cook-out menu and whatever day works for everyone." I'll say, "just as long as we have family together - that's all that's important to me." They just don't get it. Last week, my eldest sister said "I've got this thing with my daughter on Saturday, can we make it Sunday?" Sure, I said, doesn't matter to me. My second oldest sister told me in an email last Wednesday "Ok, Sunday it is. Let me know what you want to eat - I'm handling the food." Uh... barbecue chicken sounds good. Whatever. And of course, I just got off the phone with my mom, who was asking what kind of food I wanted and was looking forward to SATURDAY - which she had requested off from work". ... Do they just not understand that I want nothing special planned for me, mostly because of this very reason? They don't communicate their own plans for whatever it is - insisting that "they have it handled" when they don't! So now there's going to be family drama about this whole deal when really I had planned to spend my birthday doing something I would have enjoyed. Like cleaning the garage.