Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Israel v. Palestine again and again and again



So let's go over this one more time.

A. Some Palestinians (Hamas) shoot some un-aimed missiles into Israel (if they're lucky) causing some damage and injuries and a death or two if they get lucky.

B. The Israelis bomb the fuck out of Palestine killing hundreds, mostly civilians.

C. In retaliation to the incredibly lopsided Israeli response to the first missiles, Hamas shoots some more missiles into Israel, occasionally hitting their own people by accident.

D. The Israelis bomb the Palestinians even harder and invade with tanks, destroying all buildings and everything else that might help the Palestinians without actually affecting Hamas.

E. Angry Palestinians blow themselves up to kill Israelis.

F. Israel blows up more of Gaza and takes more Palestinian land by cutting it off with a fence.

G. Go back to A.

And around and around and around we go.

Every time this has happened since I was a child I've thought Israel's response was WAY over the top, punishing the Palestinian people for the act of a group they do not necessarily support. But the more civilians Israel kills, the more people support the attacks. After the deaths of civilians and bystanders the Palestinian people march in the streets against Israel. This is especially senseless in the case of these rocket attacks as by the time Israel responds the trucks that fired those rockets are miles away so Israel is punishing the people that had the misfortune of living there. Does Israel expect shopkeepers and teachers to run out and attempt to stop the rocket launch?!? Do they doubt the rapid response from an AK-47 that would result? Israel treats all Palestinians as combatants, is this fair? It makes no sense to me yet something like this happens every time. And in retaliation this time Israel directly targeted the Gaza police force, including a graduation ceremony. Even if some of these police are Hamas fighters, what about all the ones that aren't? Doesn't Israel need a robust police force in their neighbor? Kill 'em all seems to be the Israeli motto. It would not surprise me if Israel becomes the second country to use a nuclear bomb.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Presidential Pardons for as Little As $40,000!!!

Ah, the pardoning of the scum has begun. More evidence of how completely compromised our justice system has become under Bush and the fact that forgiveness is only for the rich:
President Bush pardoned a Brooklyn real estate developer accused of scamming hundreds of poor, minority homebuyers - and whose father donated $28,500 to the Republican Party this year.

Bush pardoned Isaac Toussie, 36, two days before Christmas in a gesture of mercy that outraged ex-customers who said they were duped into buying overpriced, defective homes.

"We're in the middle of a mortgage crisis [and] this is somebody who was alleged to have participated in predatory lending practices," said Peter Seidman, a lawyer who represents 460 people who say they were fleeced.

"To pardon Isaac Toussie is a kick in the teeth to homeowners struggling with mortgages they can't afford."

But it gets better! Much amazed that anyone noticed him pardoning such a scumbag*, Bush is now attempting to rescind his pardon.

Experts said Wednesday they knew of no other instance of a presidential pardon being revoked. Some analysts suggested Toussie might be able to challenge the reversal in court.

"I can't think of another time that it's happened for a presidential pardon," said Margaret Love, who was the lead pardon attorney under President George H.W. Bush and for part of the Clinton administration. "It's not clear to me that it's as easy to do as all that."

White House aides said that the pardon did not take effect until it was "delivered" to Toussie and that that had not happened when Bush changed course Wednesday. The definition of "delivered" was unclear.
It has been suggested in a Harper's Magazine online editorial that if Bush's negation of this pardon is effective, it means that a future President might be able to rescind the current President's pardons. Wouldn't that be entertaining?

*to be fair, Bushco claims the President knew nothing of the campaign contributions. How it is possible that the team that developed the most organized fundraising apparatus in history (prior to Obama) did not instantly know this man's father contributed around $40k is difficult to believe.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bush Shoes Selling Like Hotcakes





Baydan has received orders for 300,000 pairs of the shoes since the attack, more than four times the number his company sold each year since the model was introduced in 1999. The company plans to employ 100 more staff to meet demand, he said.

“Model 271” is exported to markets including Iraq, Iran, Syria and Egypt. Customers in Iraq ordered 120,000 pairs this week and some Iraqis offered to set up distribution companies for the shoe, Baydan said.

They also claim to be in talks with a U.S. distributor.


via

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Xmas Greetings!



A merry Xmas to all y'all out there in space/time.

And yes, I've photoshopped my and my girlfriend's faces onto these frightened children that I stole from this site that I found through this blog post. There's no way real children's faces could look that creepy.

Cheers all!
Alan Evil

Monday, December 22, 2008

Nuclear Energy: Safe, Clean, Cheap ...?

I have three problems with nuclear energy:

1. Waste. This will be incredibly deadly for a period of time longer than the human race's existence. The very idea of burying our nuclear waste and thereby keeping it safe from the curiosity of future humans... or other future life form... or geology... is ludicrous.

2. Safety. Nuclear power plants are designed by, engineered by, built by, regulated by, and operated by humans. Therefore the possiblity of failure is possible at all levels. As Chernobyl proved, failure can be deadly or worse and for a very long time.

3. Expense. Even if we don't include the increasing cost and danger of stored waste (which is monstrous and exponentially increasing with time), even if we don't do that, nuclear power is phenomenally expensive. Add the incredible amount of energy used and environmental destruction wreaked just to create the fuel with the incredible expense of creating this incredibly complex machine and the unmeasurable expense of accidents and waste leaks and it equals "more expensive than is affordable."

It all boils down to not liking it. Burning coal is very bad in the short term, but at our present useage we will run out of coal long before our nuclear fuel will no longer be deadly. For that matter we will probably run out of all combustible materials on this planet before our nuclear waste is no longer toxic.

We must find a way to use the massive forces around us that we can tap as wind, hydro, and tide. We also must constrain the human population as we're pressing the planet to its limits right now, imagine it in 500 years! Everything boils down to too many humans and too small a planet for all of them.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Shoe Duck

And so it begins...





via

Bush Insulted



I don't think we have an insult as bad as this in the West. He is trying to hit him with his shoe (the dirtiest thing on earth) and calls him a dog (the lowest form of animal on earth). Something like that. All we got is "F#@! YOU!" At least the French hit politicians with pies.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rod Blagojevich


douchebag


Just when you start to feel pride in the president-elect's party* you get some douchebag like William Jefferson of New Orleans and now Rod Blagojevich of Illinois. You have got to be fucking kidding me on this one. William Jefferson was in Louisiana so stupid criminality is expected. Now this Blagojevich has the opportunity to fill the Senate seat of Barack Obama and he turns it into a bidding war. You don't think you're going to be watched like a hawk during the process of making this decision? Does everything have to be bartered? Do any of these people have souls***? Can we find a way to filter out scumbags?

*OK, "pride" is much too strong of a word. This is more like the absence of the ordinary feeling I have for the Democratic party which is chalk-in-the-back-of-your-mouth-you-can't-quite-incorporate-into-your-spit-and-get-it-out-of-you ickiness.**

**In comparison my feeling about the GOP is please-stop-fucking-me-in-the-ass-with-that-very-wide-hot-poker agony.

***Rumor has it that the reason this has been caught by the Justice Dept. is Blagojevich approached Rahm Emanuel who then pushed the investigation.

Kop Busters



Proving yet again the endemic corruption and disregard for the Constitution or law of any kind by our nation's police force. The Odessa, Texas police force is apparently driving around scanning houses with infrared calendars which the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional.

KopBusters rented a house in Odessa, Texas and began growing two small Christmas trees under a grow light similar to those used for growing marijuana. When faced with a suspected marijuana grow, the police usually use illegal FLIR cameras and/or lie on the search warrant affidavit claiming they have probable cause to raid the house. Instead of conducting a proper investigation which usually leads to no probable cause, the Kops lie on the affidavit claiming a confidential informant saw the plants and/or the police could smell marijuana coming from the suspected house.

The trap was set and less than 24 hours later, the Odessa narcotics unit raided the house only to find KopBuster’s attorney waiting under a system of complex gadgetry and spy cameras that streamed online to the KopBuster’s secret mobile office nearby.

-

so amazing. here’s why the cops were definitely up to no good: “There was nothing illegal going on the bait house, just two evergreen trees and some grow lamps. There was no probable cause. So a couple of questions come up. First, how did the cops get turned on to the house in the first place? Cooper suspects they were using thermal imaging equipment to detect the grow lamps, a practice the Supreme Court has said is illegal. The second question is, what probable cause did the police put on the affidavit to get a judge to sign off on a search warrant? If there was nothing illegal going on in the house, it’s difficult to conceive of a scenario where either the police or one of their informants didn’t lie to get a warrant.”

this is interesting in part because arguments that police are doing illegal drug raids are usually raised by people who were raided and found to have illegal drugs, who don’t make great spokespeople for why the police shouldn’t be allowed to do this kind of thing. (boingboing)

Thanks to JM for the heads up.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Update


Ah Xmas time. Between work, gift making, and holidays I feel rather like a rubber band approaching the big snap, but I somehow find myself just finishing my day's must-do list. Unfortunately that means to get everything else done I'm up late at night and have barely been able to update this blog for you as the world ends!!!

OK, maybe it's not quite that bad but the "free market" house of cards is collapsing in a hurry and most of us are not going to be able to get out of the way. In the meantime our tax dollars are now being openly shoveled into the open arms of the ultra wealthy in this bogus lie being called "The Bailout." Upper management is being paid bonuses with this money while investors and depositors are being bankrupted. That ain't right and it ain't American.

I know this sounds socialist because it kind of is: we need to strip the wealthiest Americans of their ill-gotten money and give it to the rest of us. These mind-bogglingly wealthy CEO's, hedge-fund managers, stock brokers, bank managers, hospital officers, etc. have segregated 90% of the nation's wealth by stealing it from the poor. Line them up, empty their pockets, and take possession of their houses, yachts, Ferraris, and jets and either convert them to something useful to those they've made destitute or chop them up for materials. This is not time to pretend these thieves are anything but thieves and they should be treated as the criminals they are. Burn the mansions to the ground and build ten single family houses on their ashes.

There are very wealthy people who have gotten there by providing something needed by people and in the process they've brought many other people along with them. They've provided health care for their employees, generous vacation and pensions, and generally a European standard of living. Our compromised Republican government has made sure those kind of business people don't stand a chance. The only way you can become ultra-wealthy these days is by screwing the poor and gaming the political system to ensure the ease of poor screwing.

At the top of this list I would place hospital CEO's, carefully pricing everything at the highest point the market will bear (assuring that more than half of us will be priced out) while "cutting costs" by skimping on cleanliness*, keeping pay for the people that clean up our shit and puke well below a living wage, and keeping fewer beds open than are needed in the best of times. As a result, not only is our healthcare system rated 72nd worldwide, but if we experience any kind of serious epidemic our healthcare system will be overrun before it starts. They already put patient beds in the halls of most large hospitals because the "management" has "cut costs" by "eliminating unnecessary additional capacity."

Right under the healthcare industry in the list of industries that are fucking up this country is the banking and credit industry in general. Between the subprime mortgage scams, fees, penalties, and credit card debt, the banking industry has made massive profits by fucking the poor in the ass and now that they've turned the ass into pulp they've moved around to the front and are taking our money through our taxes. We're carting wheelbarrows full of cash to the banks without any control over what they do with it, hundreds of businesses that have never been banks are suddenly calling themselves banks and are getting billions of dollars (what the FUCK is up with that?), and there is no effort whatsoever to stop it. So Barney Frank flaps his mouth but Henry Paulson has still handed out nearly a half a BILLION dollars with no strings attached. Meanwhile the poor are still subjugated to usuarous credit card interest rates (that can be raised arbitrarily or because you missed by a day a payment on something else), mindbogglingly high penalties for mistakes ($45-$60 per purchase for being overdrawn by a penny for the micro-second a computer takes to figure your end of day balance before crediting any deposits you've made, penalizing you for every single purchase made that day), and seemingly small things like ATM fees, or government fees levied in lieau of taxes on the wealhty.

I've already made a sketchy argument as to why the auto industry is its own biggest partner in fucking everything up. Add to that the education privatizers, the prison industry, and everyone else that intends to profit from that which should not be done for profit. Sometimes you just need to invest in a system to better the lives of all people. Education, clean energy, healthcare, criminal justice and law enforcement**, regulation of food and medicine, all these things are compromised when the profit motive is introduced. If that's socialism then I'm pretty sure it is proven to work better than capitalism.

I don't even know where I'm going with this rant. There is a huge injustice being perpetrated in this country and frankly I don't know how to fight it. Our government is firmly in the control of the wealthiest citizens and I'm afraid the only way to stop them is through violence. But they've got the really big guns in their pocket, don't they? Once the middle class has been completely destroyed will we rise up and stop the thievery that has been rife since the 70's? Can we reign in the military industrial, prison industrial, drug control industrial, health care industrial, private school industrial, evangelical religion industrial cabal that is buying our government officials and running the show?

*I own a house a few blocks from Louisville's massive hospital campus. From the front door I can see nine different hospitals. There is a public housing project behind my house and all day you can see exhausted people (mostly women) trudging home to their horrendous subsidized housing wearing the scrubs they will still be wearing when they return to the hospital. This is because to "save costs" the fuckwads that run the hospitals require their employees to wash their own uniforms rather than running a high quality sterilizing laundry service themselves. These people walk back to work in their scrubs, picking up germs all along their walk as well as from their crappy apartments and then they go clean up around people in critical care, with compromized immune systems or in a generally weakened state. It's little wonder that hospitals are the most likely place to receive an infection.

**At this point in time, most police departments in this country have become victim of the profit motive, persuing the arbitrary enforcement of drug laws in pursuit of federal money despit the lack of proof that it does any good. Most broad studies of the issue show that our current draconian drug law enforcement is detrimental to society not only monetarily but societally as well. Other than the politicians that are elected on bullshit "get tough" agendas, the owners of pirvate prisons, and the cops that get nice toys to bust more people with, who profits from long prison times and arbitrary arrests of minorities for the use, possession, and distribution of drugs? Prohibition doesn't work. Give people the fucking drugs and let them use them as they wish and give them treatment when they want to quit. It must be cheaper than the enforcement and imprisonment method we're using now.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

More Golf Gags



I read a lot of cartoons and I've got to agree with the sentiment of this one. There are more golf gags, bad boss gags, henpecked husband gags, etc. than gags relating to modern life. Part of it is these strips are syndicated strips that have been around through several artists so there is this lame attempt to keep them "the same." The problem with that method of ruining the comics page is that most of these cartoons were a bit risque and edgy when they were new. I found a comics page from the 1950's while working on a house (it was sandwiched between the floorboards) and Dagwood was trying to sneak behind Blondie's back to go smoke cigars and play poker. Now all Dagwood does is knock down the postman, nap, eat big sandwiches, and piss off his boss. I think his telephone still has a rotary dial on it. Perhaps one benefit of the death of the newspaper as we know it will be the end of Blondie, Wizard of Id, Beetle Bailey, Garfield and the like. They outlived their relevance and humor decades ago.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why I Still Don't Listen to WFPL

Over a year ago I posted a piece about WFPL, a Louisville NPR news/talk station. It was a first person essay explaining why I can't stand to listen to them anymore. Much to my surprise, yesterday I received a lengthy response which I have copied, along with my response to the response, below. I get my NPR and PRI content via podcasts now though I occasionally hear WFPL in the evenings when my girlfriend or others have it on. They still play the same music behind their sponsor slots and I have to put my fingers in my ears and hum. Note that "Anonymous" says he or she doesn't "get a chance to listen to WFPL very often." I have a feeling that's true of most of the staff.


Anonymous said...

I work for Louisville Public Media (formerly the Public Radio Partnership) which is the home of WPFL, WUOL, and WFPK. I don't get a chance to listen to WFPL very often and must say I haven't heard these conditions that the blogger talks about.

What I DO KNOW is that, during business hours (8-5 M-F) we certainly know when a station is on or off the air. There are "dead air" electronic monitors connected to radio receivers that sound a loud alarm when one of the three stations has no audio for more than like a minute or so. So, we are monitoring the on-air signal from the transmitter and not just what is going out of the studio.

Now, I am not sure that this alarm is audible at the Receptionist's area. She has enough to do with routing calls and dealing with walk-ins and can't hear any of the stations. That fact that she wouldn't know doesn't surprise me in the least.

Occasionally for maintenance we have to take the transmitter off the air for brief (or longer) periods. No one may know about this except for the Engineer.

A lot of WFPL is automated. No one is there overnight. If you ever hear two shows at once, it is most likely that someone left more than one pot up on the console. Yep, that's user error - but sorry that no one is there to apologize to you for it.

If you hear a promo over an ongoing show, it could also perhaps be the same reason. Often the hosts will cut their promos while their show is on. Of course, you monitor what you are doing at the time and not what is going out so one pot routed to the wrong place is going to cause this problem. This is NOT dead air so the alarm doesn't go off.

There is no substitute for a person manning the console 24/7 to make everything go smoothly. This position was eliminated years ago to save costs.

With all of these faults, WFPL is like basically no other station in the country. Most markets have one Public radio station. Some markets don't even have that many! A market with one station is trying to be all things to all people all of the time. News maybe for an hour, then classical music around dinner, then Jazz at night and they might even sign off before midnight. To have a station that is all news/talk is pretty much a rarity!
11/27/08 12:47 PM

Alan Evil said...

So, by virtue of your singularity it is acceptable to fail in some instances and be mediocre in others?

I thank you for the lengthy rebuttal except you rebutted very little. There were three specific reasons I stopped listening to your station. Let's review them again, shall we?

1. The music. You are still using the same song snippets behind your sponsor announcements. That drives me bat shit crazy! The music is horrible. It probably wouldn't bother me at all if I only heard it a few times, but every last note of what you use now makes me grind my teeth. You pay someone to "produce" your music for you. FIRE HIM.

2. Your automatic switching system can remain maladjusted for weeks at a time and you do not staff WFPL to cover 24 hours of broadcasting so the station can crash and burn after 7:00pm and there's nobody there to fix it. Admitting that you "save costs" by not having a human in the control booth does not make it the right way to run a radio station. An alarm that sounds in an empty room... that's like that tree in a forest with noone around.

3. State of Affairs is still on and I still don't listen to it. You guys produce some good stuff but State of Affairs managed to fail most of the time. I really don't know if it's improved because I've stopped listening to WFPL.

When it comes down to it, if you people would just change the fucking music regularly I would send you some money and become a listener again. But as it is I simply can't stand to listen to your station because of that music. It's like you don't want to wash your underwear or clean the glass in your front door. It's as if you really don't care what your station sounds like to the people that listen to it every day.

The original piece about WFPL is a first person observation and a negative critique. I won't sing your praises because you're obviously doing just fine at that on your own. The way WFPL is run at the most basic level of broadcasting programming over the air is lame in my opinion. My breast has not swollen with pride because you're so special. You may be a one of a kind but that doesn't make you great. It just makes you one of a kind.
11/29/08 9:18 PM

The End of the World is Coming... in 2012!




Somehow the fact that the Mayan calendar ends in 2012 had eluded me during all this talk about the next election. My theory is that after 4 years of Sarah Palin continuously on television the Earth will commit suicide, taking us all with it.

Try this Google search for more "fun" with the end of time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ann Coulter's Mouth Wired Shut


Though it sounds like a joke, it would appear it isn't. There are reports all over the web that Ann Coulter fell down and broke her jaw and had to have it wired shut. Ann is on my death party list so news of her tragic injury completely fails to illicit any sympathy from me whatsoever. We can only hope the wires realize where they are and attack her vocal cords.

Q: What's the sound of one tall, blond, hate filled bitch with her jaw wired shut?
A: I don't know but it's better than when her jaw isn't wired shut.

As best as I can tell at this point, the nearly 400 reports on this all refer back to this blurb from the New York Post's "Page 6" section. So much for independent verification. What's that you say? Why don't I independently verify this "news story?" How about because I'm not a paid journalist? I'm some shmuck with a computer linked to the internet that happens to know some stuff and have opinions about stuff... 'n' things. I just read stuff and then write things about it or post links or embed videos in my spare time. If you want to pay me to do this please do and I'll call around to hospitals and her publicist and stuff. Until you cough up some cash you'll just have to enjoy the fact I read this and then spent a few minutes checking it. At least I bothered to Google it. Damn, you're picky, my imaginary critic.

God Is A Republican

The "Terrorist" Bill Ayers Speaks


The William Ayers "controversy" cooked up by Sarah Palin, John McCain, and their little group of rabid, seemingly aimless robots points again at a divide amongst Americans that seems will never heal: Vietnam. Just as we were split about Iraq we continue to be split on the subject of Vietnam. Vietnam was also a colossal mistake and was mishandled to a greater extent than even Iraq, but there are still a large number of Americans that believe "America right or wrong" for some unfathomable reason. William Ayers's "terrorist" actions were meant as a direct assault on the war machine and were done not to terrorize or kill but to make a political point that was being all but ignored by those in power and the media at the time. The same people that so vehemently oppose Ayers's stance and tactics during the 60's and early 70's mostly agree with the tactics of the Nat'l Guard at Kent State or the FBI spying on peace activists (as continues to this day). For these people "peace" is equal to surrender as it's the only way they can fit the concept into their simple minded black & white worldview. This Fresh Air interview is his first since the right wing froth machine picked up on his name during the campaign. I would hope that most people would come away at least doubting the truthfulness and tone of the attacks against Ayers and Obama for his extremely loose association with him. Personally I feel there are far worse criminals from that era still walking the earth like Henry Kissinger, people who genuinely ordered the murder tens of thousands of innocents, the destruction of other countries, and the assassination of foreign political opponents in our name. Comparing Ayers to these people is like comparing a jaywalker to a serial killer.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hate Groups Affected by Economy?



Focus on the Family Shrinks: Does God Hate Homophobes?

The Gazette

Because of a weak economy and cash-strapped donors, Focus on the Family said it is eliminating 202 jobs, the deepest cuts in the 32-year history of the Colorado Springs-based Christian nonprofit. The ministry laid off 149 workers, and cut another 53 vacant positions.

The cuts announced Monday slash Focus' local workforce by nearly 18 percent - from about 1,150 to 950. Twenty percent of the cuts are in management.

The layoffs come just weeks after Focus announced it was outsourcing 46 jobs from its distribution department. Focus also laid off 30 workers and reassigned 15 more in September 2007.

The organization also cut its [...] budget from $160 million in fiscal 2008 to $138 million for fiscal 2009 in anticipation of tough times.

more...

I can hardly stand to read about these loathsome bastards, even when it's the wonderful news that they're shrinking. I've been trying to think of any other city on earth that has been infected with as horrible a collection of humans as Colorado City which is overrun by evangelical "Christian" zealots.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Death Parties part II

This is the updated list of people whose death will be a reason for celebration (new additions are in bold). Each of these people has made the world a worse place and their departure from it cannot come soon enough as they will continue to do damage through existing:

John Ashcroft
Robert Bork
Pat Buchanan
Barbara Bush
George H.W. Bush
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
Ann Coulter
Newt Gingrich
Alberto Gonzales
Billy Graham
Ted Haggard
John Hagee
Sean Hannity
Henry Kissinger
G. Gordon Liddy
Rush Limbaugh
Chris Matthews
Rupert Murdoch
Oral Roberts
Pat Robertson
Karl Rove
Donald Rumsfeld
Michael Savage
Justice Antonin Scalia
Jimmy Swaggart
Robert Tilton
Paul Wolfowitz

This is the beginning of a list those who have died and whose death is reason to at the very least drink a toast to their absence. I'm keeping this list to people who would be less than a hundred if they hadn't died:

April 15 - Pol Pot
April 22 - Richard Nixon
June 5 - Ronald Reagan
September 13 - George Wallace
September 17 - Spiro Agnew
Novemeber 9 - John Mitchell

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tech Prez



Let's see, two PDA's and a Pacman eating Apple on his laptop. He simply gets it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Obama Makes Stunning Break With Last 8 Years!

The Borowitz Report

Obama’s Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy

Stunning Break with Last Eight Years

In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS' "Sixty Minutes" on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tick, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.

But Mr. Obama's decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, some Americans might find it "alienating" to have a President who speaks English as if it were his first language.

"Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement," says Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist."

The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find itself saying, "Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate - we get it, stop showing off."

The President-elect's stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.

"Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can't really do there, I think needing to do that isn't tapping into what Americans are needing also," she said.



From the Borowitz Report:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Let The Big Three Fail



For the last forty years the big three American auto makers have been fighting any and all regulation of their industry, spending billions of dollars to successfully lobby lawmakers so they wouldn't have to improve fuel efficiency and safety. I guess it shines a tiny beam of good light on Congress that we have airbags and anti-lock brakes (are those required yet?) but the number one reason Chrysler, Ford, and GM are on the verge of collapse is because of fuel efficiency. We don't even require the average mileage of American cars to be better than the Model T Ford! All these stupid Hummers, Yukons, Expeditions, and Durangos with their whirlpool-in-the-tank V8's and V10's were only competitive in this country because of subsidized oil (didn't Exxon break their record for profits yet again?), lack of regulation, and SUV sized loopholes in mileage standards (as if a fucking chrome plated hummer is ever used as a work vehicle). If we had improved efficiency and emmissions steadily as we originally planned back in the 70's, U.S. automakers would be competitive in the world market now, but these behemoths fought regulation at every turn and now that their house of cards has collapsed they feel entitled to a massive handout to save their sorry asses. I say let 'em die like the pea brained dinosaurs they are. Why should we help these idiots pump out a bunch more crappy cars when we can buy Toyotas and Nissans? Even as Detroit was pumping out 5000 pound living rooms on wheels the best selling car was the fuel efficient and safe Camry. Shouldn't they have noticed this?

Car makers will argue that pensions and health care for their employees is one of the chief causes of their malaise since every other civilized country in the world provides its citizens with health care, removing this burden on their competition, and most other civilized countries have a strong welfare state, keeping the impoverished elderly from starvation and bankruptcy at the end of their lives. Again, this is largely their own fault. In their war against regulation the people they have bought into office (i.e. Republicans) have also been the kind of people that are allergic to universal and affordable health care. They have hoisted themselves onto their own pitards and I say we leave them their to twist in the wind.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Former Libertarian Radio Talkshow Host Says Send Bush and Cheney to the Hague



from Harper's Magazine

Gene Burns is one of the nation’s most popular talk radio hosts. For years he has dismissed accounts of torture; America, he has said, does not torture. But last night, after watching Torturing Democracy and realizing that he had not understood how important and serious an issue torture had become, Burns abruptly changed his tune. Here’s a transcript of his remarks.

I now believe that some international human rights organization ought to open an investigation of the Bush Administration, I think focused on Vice President Dick Cheney, and attempt to bring charges against Cheney in the international court of justice at The Hague, for war crimes. Based on the manner in which we have treated prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, and the manner in which we have engaged in illegal rendition–that is, surreptitiously kidnapping prisoners and flying them to foreign countries where they could be tortured by foreign agents who do not follow the same civilized standards to which we subscribe.

more


Where Are Those Alaskan Ballots?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Man's Best Friend



From The Telegraph

Dogs are the only animals that can read emotion in faces much like humans, cementing their position as man's best friend, claim scientists.

Research findings suggest that, like an understanding best friend, they can see at a glance if we are happy, sad, pleased or angry.

When humans look at a new face their eyes tend to wander left, falling on the right hand side of the person's face first.

This "left gaze bias" only occurs when we encounter faces and does not apply any other time, such as when inspecting animals or inanimate objects.

A possible reason for the tendency is that the right side of the human face is better at expressing emotional state.

Researchers at the University of Lincoln have now shown that pet dogs also exhibit "left gaze bias", but only when looking at human faces. No other animal has been known to display this behaviour before.

A team led by Dr Kun Guo showed 17 dogs images of human, dog and monkey faces as well as inanimate objects.

Film of the dogs' eye and head movement revealed a strong left gaze bias when the animals were presented with human faces. But this did not occur when they were shown other images, including those of dogs.

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Vote Fraud


McCain told the big lie during the last debate claiming that the group ACORN "may be perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history" and may be "destroying the fabric of democracy." The truth is that the fraud was perpetrated against ACORN by a small number of employees trying to up their paycheck by submitting false registrations. There's also a good chance that Republican operatives (or just Republican assholes, there is a lot of gray between the organized conspiracy and those following the leaders) had filled out false registration forms to bolster this strawman argument. The fact is no one showed up to vote as "Mickey Mouse" or any of the other fake registrations. It is also a fact that, at least in Florida, there is a $5000 fine per form not turned in, regardless of whether or not it is a fake. ACORN went to great lengths to help registrars weed out the fake registrations. So why were the Republicans making so much noise about this?

My theory is all the noise was to help cover up the actual voter fraud and actual voter intimidation as well as straight up vote fraud enacted by the Republicans. Tens of thousands of legitimate voters were "purged" from the rolls in many states by Republicans. For instance in Colorado the Republican secretary of state, Mike Coffman* was purging voters up to a week before voting began in direct violation of Federal law. Republican operatives were putting up fliers and making phone calls to Democrats telling them they could be arrested when they showed up to vote if they had outstanding parking tickets (targeting blacks particularly).

And then there's the touch screen voting machines that were built by Diebold Election Systems** owned by a rabid Republican backer which were widely reported to be "flipping" votes and which have been proven to be easily compromised.

This leads me to the state of Alaska, the results from which stand counter to logical expectations, reported heavy turnout at the polls, and extremely heavy early voting. Despite the fact both Sarah Palin and the felon Ted Stevens were on the ballot Alaska actually claims the voting rate dropped by 14% over 2004. Apparently a bunch of people that voted for John Kerry in 2004 stayed home. And a bunch of people that voted for Bush in 2004 stayed home as well. What's really eerie is how the results of the polling looked almost exactly like it did in 2004. The results from the touchscreen machines, that is. The polls in Alaska become more and more puzzling as more absantee ballots come in and as provisional ballots are counted. When compared to the polls, the absantee and other non-touchscreen votes make sense while the touchscreen votes definitely do not add up.

Ohio was using Diebold machines in 2004.

It would appear to me that the Republican idea of "Law and Order" means beating up the niggers and queers while robbing the public treasury blind, stealing elections in broad daylight, and walking away free and fat. The Democrats have got to stop treating Republicans like equals and start treating them like the criminals and liars they are. There is no honor left in the G.O.P. and we need to stop pretending they have any. They will deny a fellow citizen the right to vote simply because they can and it will help them win. That's disgusting.


*Luckily he was stopped. This is good not only because thousands of legitimate (Democratic) voters were allowed to vote but also because this Federal decision has shifted the burden of proof to the State where it should be.

**Originally known as Diebold Election Systems the company has attempted to erase its absolute failure to produce a secure, verifiable voting system by changing its name to Premier Election Systems.

Self Tasering


via


Mitch Mitchell dead at 61.

I read this sad news on a friend's blog and it's not a good way to start the day. He was the last surviving member of what was, in my opinion, the best rock band of the 60's.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Worst. President. Ever.



Like so many people, the first thing I think of when I think about George W Bush are these words, said with a stop after each for emphasis: "Worst. President. Ever." But don't just take my three words for it, according to CNN he has polled with more than a 70% disapproval rating three times in a row:
"No other president's disapproval rating has gone higher than 70 percent. Bush has managed to do that three times so far this year," Holland said. "That means that Bush is now more unpopular than Richard Nixon was when he resigned from office during Watergate with a 66 percent disapproval rating."
And I'm not the only one that feels the Republicans have screwed this country worse than an elephant on a chihuahua:

Only 16 percent of those questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday say things are going well in the country today. That's an all-time low. Eighty-three percent say things are going badly, which is an all-time high.

"The challenge Obama faces has never been greater. No president has ever come to office during a time when the public's mood has been this low. In the 34 years that this question has been asked, the number who say things are going well has never fallen below 20 percent," said Keating Holland, CNN's polling director.

The 83 percent saying things are going badly is "more than in 1992, when the first President Bush was ousted because of 'the economy, stupid.' That's more than in 1980, when President Carter got fired after the malaise crisis. That's more than in 1975, after Watergate and the Nixon pardon," said Bill Schneider, CNN senior political analyst.

I've even seen one of those obnoxious "Support President Bush and Our Troops" stickers with the word "Bush" cut out of it. Even the drooling rednecks around here are ashamed of this cowboy.

Let's see if we can get Bush and Cheney out of office without them pardoning each other.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4

Quotes from BBC Friday Comedy News Quiz

"If we could be allowed to drop our tone of cynicism for a moment, it's bloody marvelous Obama's been elected, isn't it?"

"When Obama said that John McCain had endured things that most of us could not begin to imagine I immediately thought of brunch with the Palins."

"Every president has had an idiot brother, except for Bush who turned out to be the idiot brother."

"No one dared to believe that Americans would put aside their prejudices and elect a president with a brain."

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nanotech Insulating Paint?

This stuff is very intriguing. They're claiming up to 20% savings though no firm evidence of this.

SFGate - There is, however, a great deal of information about Nansulate's performance based on real-life tests in industrial and residential settings. Factory owners have reported savings of 20 percent or more on their energy costs. Home energy savings of 20 to 40 percent are reported in testimonials on the Industrial Nanotech Web site. Although the foil-and-bubble-wrap insulation conserves some heat, it typically allows too much heat transfer to explain so large of a differential. My educated guess is that the Nansulate is responsible for 60 to 80 percent of the differential.


Here's the Nansulate site.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hell Yeah!


This election has actually left me speechless. Obama's election is not only a great thing for America but also for America's standing in the world. The fact that the election was so far from close is incredibly encouraging. I feel really good about this country for the first time in a very very long time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Funny Get Out the Vote Videos

There's a whole bunch of stars and stuff and some of them made me laugh.



Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Snoop Dogg, Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, Ben Stiller, Will Smith, Steven Spielberg, Justin Timberlake, along with Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat, Zach Braff, Colin Farrell, Neil Patrick Harris, Scarlett Johansson, Shia LeBeouf, Tobey Maguire, Ryan Reynolds, and Jason Segal.

This one didn't make me laugh as much but it's still good:

Palin and Witchcraft

Considering this may very well be the most important election of our lifetime I'm going to pile on Sarah Palin a little bit more because, well, because she's a loony right wing fundamentalist wacko. She apparently has been very upset that McCain refuses to go after Obama for his connection to the Reverend Wright. I think McCain may be more intelligent than he often appears given his own controversial religious supporters from the far right (John Hagee being the best example of the worst). But wouldn't you think Palin would have the same sense of shame considering her close association with the insane witchhunter Thomas Muthee? She doesn't. Despite this man being responsible for the murder of many people he declared "witches" she has never said a word against the man. She's part of that weird Christian cult that believes they are literally at war with Satan on earth and there there are witches and demons lurking in the bodies of other people. Here's an example of what Muthee's condemnation caused in Kenya:



Here is a link to a concise page about Sarah Palin's association with this cult.

Thomas Muthee has one of his many churches in the Kisii region, just 125 miles from Kiambu. Kisii has been the scene of many murders of people accused of witchcraft. In the latest of these incidents, in May 2008, at least eleven elderly people were killed, some of them burned alive, by a mob of hundreds that accused the victims of being witches.

...

The children are beaten, starved, tied to trees and left to die, buried alive, and if they survive, are abandoned. They're treated this way because they're suspected of witchcraft, submitted to the same accusation that Thomas Muthee has used to gain power himself.

...

The USA is not apart from the rest of the world. There are many people here in the United States who believe in evil witches casting satanic spells. They are trying to get leaders like Sarah Palin to "infiltrate" the government on their behalf. They are attempting to use the power of government to spread their paranoid ideas.


via

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Majesty of the Presidency



I love how over Shrub's time in office Trudeau has made his war helmet more beaten and broken.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Twit of the Year Show


via Harper's

I have this image in my head of what it's like to be inside the Republican campaign. It's like the great "Twit of the Year" skit by Monty Python's Flying Circus. Except that these twits are kind of mean and angry and they're throwing poop at the people watching them. And occasionally clubbing one of their own to death in retribution. Did you notice how Goldfarb went to "pals around with" instinctively? "Palling around with terrorists" was a big hit for Sarah Palin but this guy is just grasping for straws. The "Straight Talk Express" has become the "Say Anything That Pops Into Your Mind Express." They act like fucking third graders. They do something wrong that you see yourself and they stand there and say straight to your face, "I didn't do anything." They'll make a mistake or get carried away and they can't quite bring themselves to just admitting it and continuing on. "Say Whatever Express" fits better on the bus marquee. All the same, they're a particularly nasty bunch of twits.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Socialism

I hear Barack Obama is actually Mao Tse Tung reincarnated.

And also (to quote Sarah Palin*) that he thinks we should share our toys.

He's obviously un-American and an elitist that will hand us over to Osama (see? even his name sounds like that!) and wave the white flag of surrender everywhere.

This presidential campaign has gotten so tedious I think my head will explode. The Republicans' tone has gotten so shrill they're starting to sound like an un-oiled engine about to seize up.



*She says, "And also" a lot.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Palin Says Obama = Socialism



I find the stuff she's saying to be bizarre at best. This would be like Joe Biden standing up and saying that under a McCain/Palin administration we would invade Poland and kill all the Jews. Craziness.

Cindy McCain Claims She’s ‘Just Like Any Other Female Human’


Cindy McCain Claims She's "Just Like Any Other Female Human"

Friday, October 24, 2008

Slimey to the Moon



Thanks to Media Matters.

Palin and Ethics Violations

I'm again running a bit late with this but I heard an interview with a columnist and former editor of The Anchorage Daily News and thought I'd copy the editorial here. I think the description of her reaction as Orwellian is dead on. It's more than a lie.

Palin vindicated? Governor offers Orwellian spin (10/13/08 22:02:58)

Sarah Palin's reaction to the Legislature's Troopergate report is an embarrassment to Alaskans and the nation.

She claims the report "vindicates" her. She said that the investigation found "no unlawful or unethical activity on my part."

Her response is either astoundingly ignorant or downright Orwellian.

Page 8, Finding Number One of the report says: "I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act."

In plain English, she did something "unlawful." She broke the state ethics law.

Perhaps Gov. Palin has been too busy to actually read the Troopergate report. Perhaps she is relying on briefings from McCain campaign spinmeisters.

That's the charitable interpretation.

Because if she had actually read it, she couldn't claim "vindication" with a straight face.

Palin asserted that the report found "there was no abuse of authority at all in trying to get Officer Wooten fired."

In fact, the report concluded that "impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda, to wit: to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired."

Palin's response is the kind of political "big lie" that George Orwell warned against. War is peace. Black is white. Up is down.

Gov. Palin and her camp trumpeted the report's second finding: that she was within her legal authority to fire Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. But the report also said it's likely one of the reasons she fired him was his failure to get rid of her ex-brother-in-law trooper.

That's not "vindication," and surely Gov. Palin knows it.

Gov. Palin does have a defense. She could have said:

"I'm gratified that the report confirmed what I said all along, that I had the authority to terminate Walt Monegan as public safety commissioner.

"I absolutely disagree that I violated state ethics law. In repeatedly complaining about trooper Mike Wooten, Todd and I were not pursuing a personal vendetta. We were trying to protect the integrity of the Alaska State Troopers from having an arrogant, almost-out-of-control law-breaker in their ranks. Because the action we were seeking was in the public interest, not purely our personal interest, there is no ethics law violation."

Gov. Palin and her husband felt so passionately about Wooten because the case was so personal to them. Their passion blinded them to any other considerations.

They had no sense that the power of the governor's office carries a special responsibility not to use it to settle family scores. They had no sense that legal restrictions might prevent the troopers from firing Wooten. They had no sense that persistent queries from the governor's office might be perceived as pressure to bend state personnel laws.

Gov. Palin and her husband were obsessed with Wooten the way Capt. Ahab was obsessed with the Great White Whale. No Wooten, no peace.

Has Gov. Palin committed an impeachable offense? Hardly.

Is what she did indictable? No.

But it wasn't appropriate, especially for someone elected as an ethical reformer. And her Orwellian claims of "vindication" make this blemish on her record look even worse.

You asked us to hold you accountable, Gov. Palin. Did you mean it?

Bottom line: Gov. Palin, read the report. It says you violated the ethics law.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yard Sign Theft


Video of Obama sign being stolen by fat white woman in an SUV.

The Republicans have been shouting for years that their candidates' yard signs are being stolen but the only evidence of theft I have ever seen has been Democrats' signs being lifted. It's as if the Republicans are using code to tell their followers to get out there and steal Democratic yard signs. Yes, "as if."

Been There, Done That

Or, Repeating History for Lack of Remembering It

From the January 1933 issue Harper's Magazine

Inside the R.F.C.: An adventure in secrecy

The Congress which now presides over the dying months of President Hoover’s administration will, let us hope, bring to an end that fatuous adventure in secrecy which has stained the record of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. In the very act of its birth the R.F.C. was stricken dumb by the President. Thereafter for five months it passed round hundreds of millions of dollars of public money to banks and railroads without affording either to the public, or even to Congress itself, a grain of information about the identity of the objects of its bounty.

...

Before lifting a corner of the curtain let me insert a word about this dangerous notion that government can be safely conducted in secrecy. There is a school of politicians–in close communion with their business allies–who hold to what is sometimes called the idiot theory of government, because of certain expressions which the President himself has let fall. There is a belief that the citizens are stupid; that the less they know the better off they will be; that knowledge in their immature minds will frequently produce economic disorder, and that they will be better served if they will entrust their affairs to the strong and able men set over them by Providence and a well-oiled election machine. The theory ignores a very old truth: that if there are foolish citizens there are also selfish rulers; that the poor judgment of the masses is to be trusted hardly less than the bad ethics of their leaders, and that, in any case, those who supply the funds for governments and the blood for wars have a right to know what is being done with their money and their lives. [more...]