Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Irish Millionaire

The Irish Millionaire

Mick, from Dublin, appeared on 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,' and towards the end of the program had already won 500,000 dollars.

"You've done very well so far," said Chris Tarrant, the show's presenter,"but for a million dollars you've only got one life-line left, phone a friend. Everything is riding on this question. Will you go for it?"

"Sure," said Mick. "I'll have a go!"

"Which of the following birds does NOT build its own nest?  a) Sparrow, b) Thrush, c) Magpie, d) Cuckoo?"

"I haven't got a clue," said Mick, "so I'll use last lifeline and phone my friend Paddy back home in Dublin."

Mick called up his mate, and told him the circumstances and repeated the question to him.

"Fookin hell, Mick!" cried Paddy. "Dat's simple. It's a cuckoo."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm fookin sure."

Mick hung up the phone and told Chris, "I'll go with cuckoo as my answer."

"Is that your final answer?" asked Chris.

"Dat it is."

There was a long, long pause and then the presenter screamed, "Cuckoo is the correct answer! Mick, you've won 1 million dollars!"

The next night, Mick invited Paddy to their local pub to buy him a drink."Tell me, Paddy? How in Heaven's name did you know it was da Cuckoo that doesn't build its own nest?"

"Because he lives in a Fookin clock!"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Disagreement with the church again

The claim that violence cannot be resolved with more violence is false because of its implicitly universal scope.

To the contrary, the sort of state "violence" the bishops refer to can help resolve some types of actual violence. In particular instances it can solve the immediate problem.

The judicial and penitentiary systems should be improved, for sure, but so should health care, diet, education, and a whole host of other things.

Improving the judicial system should begin with strengthening administration of the death penalty. Foregoing the death penalty while improving the judicial and penitentiary systems makes as much sense as foregoing GM foods while trying to improve food production.

in reference to: Church in Guatemala calls on Congress to abolish death penalty :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

When the law is an ass you treat it accordingly.

"When the law is an ass you treat it accordingly."

That's a meme I've been carrying around since at least July 2007, and almost certainly for some time before that. July 2007 is just the date of a blog post comment in which I used it.

As I type, if I Google that sentence the blog comment I mentioned is the only hit.

Same result on Yahoo, Bing, Twitter, and 100SEARCHENGINES.

I guess the meme is mine. There must be a million ways to express the idea that asinine laws are to be ignored, but I searched out pithy expressions similar to mine (well, I think it's pithy) and found none.

The only reason I care about claiming ownership, copyright or whatever one can claim with respect to a meme, is because my son told me about an outfit that sells t-shirts with provocative or offensive themes, and they accept submissions which, if accepted, net you a couple of t-shirts. Something like that. It might have been Road Kill T-Shirts, where these two and a few others caught my eye and made me smile:

  • Beautiful girl wears a t-shirt that says,
    With a shirt this AWESOME who needs pants?

  • Marked as outsourced so it must be popular:
    Spooning may lead to forking.

But hey, why not check out one of the print-on-demand services like CafePress, Printfection or Spreadshirt?

I've been aware of CafePress for a while, but only learned about the latter two as a result of checking out the former. There must be others, or better ideas entirely.

What to do? Could I supplement my upcoming retirement income by dreaming up stuff to sell via these services? Should I just pick one and give it a shot? Which one?

Maybe I should just ask someone I know, whose worthy cause I support, if he wants this meme for his CafePress shop.

I don't know. I'll have to do some research and think about this some more, obviously, but in the meantime I claim this as mine:

"When the law is an ass you treat it accordingly."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Should Be Legalized" Eminem - Love The Way You Lie Parody by Steve Berke

I really like this video, and not just for its political message. I did not like the Eminem video it parodies, probably just because I'm getting old now.

As for the political message, it won't stir the powers that be, unfortunately, but who knows. Maybe if the video helps to get out the vote in California they can actually pass Proposition 19. Prop 19 is flawed, like any such, but its catalytic effect can only be good for the country if it helps to end the very deep corruption that underlies our national drugs policy.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Item from Blog Del Narco

There was an incident last week in the city of Ixtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico. Here's a quick manual translation of the post at Blog Del Narco, imperfect but probably better than by machine. There are other accounts of the incident, of course, but Blog Del Narco is where I first saw it so that's the one I translated. Details differ among accounts, but the gist of it is there. Square brackets and parentheses below are where I didn't know or find a direct translation, but the meaning remains, I think.

Video in which federal policemen beat municipal policemen in Ixtepec, Oaxaca

Oaxaca de Juarez, 8 September

This evening around 7:30, a group of federal policemen tried to rescue two of their members who had been detained by municipal police for being in a state of complete drunkenness. In the process, federal police shot at municipal elements (municipal police forces) in the city of Ixtepec, Oaxaca.

According to early reports, it was around 4:30 p.m. when two federal policemen were "celebrating" with some women from a bar called "El Chicotazo" (The Whiplash), raising so much hell in the place that the owners called the municipal police who, upon arrival, detained the two drunken federal policemen and the women they were with, and transported them to the police station.

Three hours later, a convoy of federal police arrived at the police station aboard two vehicles, one numbered 14049, to rescue their friends, and without saying anything started to shoot at the station with their R-15's [AR-15's?], hurting nine uniformed municipal policemen, three of whom are in serious condition in Macedonio Benitez de Juchitan Hospital in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. (This is an early report. From the video, and from later reports, it looks like the shooting was apparently into the ground for intimidation.)

The police in the City of Ixtepec do not bear arms, and so were not able to repel the aggression of the PFP (the federal police).

The three seriously injured municipal policemen are: Padilla Torres Diaz, Uriel Ortiz Leon and Regino Guzman Colmenares, the latter in very delicate state.

In the same vicinity is the 13th Cavalry Regiment of the Mexican Army, who, upon hearing the shooting went to the location aboard vehicle 0913271, and apparently detained 12 federal policemen, transporting them to military headquarters.

It's not known if the military (consignaron) [questioned] the federal agents, but they did confiscate seven R-15 with retractable butt, 12 30-round magazines, a loaded 9-millimeter, seven bullet-proof vests, a portable radio, a black Kaplan helmet and a van numbered 14049.

A YouTube video of the incident is embedded at this point in the Blog Del Narco post. Watch it at YouTube or at the embed in the Blog Del Narco post.

Ixtepeceans view federal policemen in the municipality as criminals

City of Ixtepec, Oaxaca. - The [jeromeña] citizenry coincided in signaling that the federal policemen who have come to this city have behaved like real criminals and do not inspire confidence, since those belonging to that police group are people whose absence of education shines through. (This refers not to academic education but manners, courtesy, respect, decency. Apparently the federal police are regarded as a bunch of lowlife hooligans.)

This after learning of the new aggression against local police in which nine were injured, one of them balancing between life and death because of injuries received at the hands of the [energúmenos] members of the federal police.

The most gravely injured among the municipal policemen is Regino Guzman Colmenares who received, according to his colleagues, several rifle-butt blows to the head, and was thrown to the floor leaving a pool of blood, and who is under care at the general hospital of Juchitan.

Municipal authorities say they have filed complaints against the eleven members of the PFP (federal police) and the two women who were with them.

It nevertheless happened that despite the [malandros] (federal police miscreants) having ended up in the hands of elements of the 13th batallion of motorized calvalry from the 46th Military Zone, they were not turned over to the federal prosecutor's office as procedure requires, but instead, taking unilateral decision, they were set free, leaving [un palmo de narices] (a slew of injuries) to the municipal police which are still being tended to medically.

That is why the citizenry [jeromeña] rises in indignation, for the fact that delinquents dressed as federal policemen are given cover by the Mexican army when they should be paladins of justice.

The municipal police are now fearful that the freed federal agents will take reprisal against them, and that there will be frameups linking the municipal police to other criminal groups, as the feds frequently do.

Later on it was announced that while the military released the federal policemen, personnel from federal police internal affairs have sequestered them in the Regente hotel, where they remain until their situation is determined.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Narcoblog Post Translated

This item in the Blog Del Narco caught my eye. I'm curious to see how well my translation compares to what the automated translators produce (update: Mine is better). This is just my first pass, and there are many improvements I could make, but I'm about out of interest in the translation part. The story, this particular one and the wider one, remain compelling. What a tragedy. Doubly tragic because it our own goddamed fault.

They declined to be a part of the Zetas, and 72 were shot

Thursday 26 August 2010

Several vehicles, according to the only survivor of what is the worst massacre on the part of organized crime, blocked the path of the vehicle in which the victims traveled and made them descend. The blockers warned the passengers that they were The Zetas.

The 72 undocumented people murdered in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, were aboard a truck headed for the United States when, last Saturday or Sunday, they were intercepted by the Zeta convoy.

Several vehicles, according to the story of the only survivor of what is - until now - the worst massacre in the wave of violence on the part of organized crime, blocked the vehicle in which the victims were riding and made them get out. They warned the travellers that they were The Zetas.

One by one, the 58 men and 14 women, among them minors, were placed against the wall inside of a storage building, first investigations reveal. Then they were ordered to keep their heads down and were shot with volleys from high-power weapons. At the end, the killers gave each victim a coup de grace.

Among the shot was a citizen of Ecuador, who played dead. The final shot entered, apparently, on the edge of the neck and exited through the jaw. He waited, lying there, until the killers left and he was able to escape. He ws the only survivor. Until now it remains a mystery how he was able to go the 22 kilometers that separate the site from where he made contact with personnel from the Mexican Navy from which he sought help.

Asking for help, Luis managed to say that "the killing was not long ago." He said the miscreants offered them work as hitmen, and that they would earn US$1000 every two weeks. All of the passengers resisted, and with the rejection came the massacre.

At first, the marines did not believe him, since on other occasions they have been ambushed with lies.

It was close to seven in the morning of Monday when the marines had contact with him (Luis) who babbled that there were more than 70 dead at a ranch, but the marines were reluctant to believe him. The head of the unit informed his superiors and it was decided to make an aerial recon of the area, and when flying over they were attacked, from which they deduced indications that the survivor's story was true.

As night fell on Monday, the marines had to redeploy towards Matamoros in the face of the possibility of an ambush by the criminal group The Zetas. Tuesday morning, with more manpower and equipment they arrived at the ranch and discovered the 72 bodies inside an abandoned grain store. They were tied up and blindfolded.

The remoteness of the ranch and the insecurity of the area caused a delay until almost midnight on Tuesday before complete information about the massacre was available. Another 70 marines in vehicles with protection and weapons to confront the delinquents deployed to the ranch where a confrontation ensued in which a marine and three criminals died. During this action a minor from Veracruz, who had particpated in the killings, was captured.

The survivor commented that among the victims were people from Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. In the report about the victims it says that one of the 14 women was in the late stages of pregnancy. The majority of the victims were young people in their productive age.

One hypothesis about the massacre is that the assassins, presumably The Zetas, want to send a message of fear to those who would resist working for them or under their orders, especially illegals crossing towards the United States.

The captured minor, according to initial reports, is very well trained about not revealing information about what he was involved in. His first comments were made only to personnel from the national prosecutor's office which took charge of the case as of late night on Tuesday.

(With information from correspondents)

Update: The Guardian has a piece about this incident.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Associated Press: GOP calls Obama insensitive over stand on mosque

Every day my disrespect for the Republicans as a pack increases, deepening my sense of despair.

Partisan opportunists exploiting religious nuttery. Fuck you all!

The Associated Press: GOP calls Obama insensitive over stand on mosque:
From statehouses to state fairs on Tuesday, Republican incumbents and challengers unleashed an almost unified line of criticism against the president days after he forcefully defended the construction of a $100 million Islamic center two blocks from the site of the 2001 terror attacks.'
'He is thinking like a lawyer and not like an American, making declarations without America's best interest in mind,' said Andrew Harris, a Republican running for Congress in Maryland against first-term Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil.
'Well I think it's another example of him playing the role of law professor. ... We can have a great debate about the legal arguments. But it's not about that,' Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said in an interview Monday on Fox News.
With a steady drumbeat, Republicans tried to force Democrats into difficult positions of either standing with the president or bucking him.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Speaking of map projections

Wolfram|Alpha is pretty amazing, I think. My brain doesn't have enough oomph to really play with it much, but I've been able to use it on occasion.

Now they have this new thing going, Wolfram|Alpha Widgets. Supposedly you can use their tools to create useful little widgets to put on a blog or web page. Supposedly it's simple. Maybe a dummy like me can do it!

I might try this out. If I can do it, I'll make a widget to do some engineering computations at work, such as converting transmission line impedances from a 50 MVA / 345 kV base to something else like 100 MVA / 525 kV. Maybe a widget to decypher the status bits in a synchrophasor stream or something.

It seems this thing might be very useful (assuming I can muster the mental steam to do it, which isn't a sure thing).

But speaking of map projections, someone called Jessica Paris made a widget to see a map of the globe in various different projections. They say it's as simple as copying the embed code into the HTML view of the post I'm typing. Let's see if I can stick it in here:

Hey, it worked!

As for the angelic projection at the bottom of my last post, I guess it looks like an equirectangular projection, but I'm not sure.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Facing East or Facing West?

Updated below to add a flat projection of the Magic Ovals.

It seems that a few months ago, Muslim clerics in Indonesia made a clerical error and told the country's faithful that they should face West when praying in order to be facing Mecca. They recovered, though, with the help of experts in cosmography and astronomy, who verified that by facing West from Indonesia the faithful would actually be facing Kenya and southern Somalia. Something like that. Google is my friend.

Naturally enough there was plenty of fun to be had ridiculing religious foolishness. I managed to honor my Grandfather's good advice along the lines of saying nothing if you can't think of something nice, and found myself playing with Google Earth. I don't know why these clerics needed expert cosmographers and astronomers to look into the question. Maybe it's against the religion to... Never mind. For some reason the question interested me.

Using Google Earth, I picked a few points roughly defining the extension of Indonesia. I plotted some lines that start out from those spots directly towards the West. Sure enough, they wind up in Kenya and southern Somalia. Then I made some green lines running from those same spots in Indonesia directly to Mecca. Here's the picture:

So, there is no place in Indonesia where one can face directly West to face Mecca. There must be such places, though, so I used the ruler tool to draw a line directly from Mecca to wherever I wanted to, and looked for places where the end point would be arriving directly from the West. I plotted a few such points and saw that they formed a line, like this (click the picture to make it bigger):

Wait a minute, it doesn't look like lines starting out from the magic arc are going West!

True, they just start out facing West. In so doing they define part of a "great circle" line directly to Mecca. Here's a closer view of the lines to Mecca as they start out from the magic arc. You can see that, in each case, the line starts out directly West.

If you try to continue the magic arc up through the Arctic and back down into the Atlantic Ocean (to form a magic circle, say), you find that it doesn't work. If you start a line to the West towards Mecca, before you get there it'll flip around and wind up starting out East instead. I guess that's because we're generally after the shortest distance, but trying to go West to Mecca from the Atlantic portion of a magic circle would lead to a path longer than the Easterly path. That's just a definitional thing, I think; just like the Equator, any great circle goes completely around the Earth.

(I'm starting to confuse a Great Circle with my magic circle. My magic circle is not a Great Circle because it does not have the center of the earth as its center. My magic circle just defines the points on the earth where any Magic Great Circle crossing it in an east-west direction will also pass through Mecca. I think.)

It turns out that there is a magic circle, though. It's actually more like a magic oval. I'll capitalize that. Magic Oval. It's just that, in the Atlantic you have to start out towards the East, not the West, like this:

Putting the two Magic Arcs together to form a Magic Oval, you get this:

As one might expect, there's a similar Magic Oval in the Southern Hemisphere. It looks something like this:

(I'm going to have to come back and put a nose and mustache in that picture.)

Since Google Earth works on a global projection (Is that the term a cartographer might use?), you can't see the whole thing all at once. If Google Earth has a way to present the whole thing into a flat projection, I have not learned how to do it yet. So, instead, I made a couple of videos showing the Earth with the Magic Ovals and Mecca Lines in polar and equatorial rotations. Let's see how that works.

First the Equatorial rotation:

Now the Polar rotation:

I don't know how to project the Magic Circles onto a flat projection in order to be able to see the whole thing at once, but someone made a similar thing that's available on Wikipedia. I think it's really quite beautiful. The Wikipedia image shows equidistant lines, whereas I am trying to show where one can face Mecca by facing either directly East or directly West, but what the hell. If I can figure out how to make Google Earth flatten out the Magic Ovals into one flat image, I'll post it later. Otherwise, hey, it's been interesting and fun. For me, anyway.


It turns out that if you put all the relevant Google Earth items into one folder under My Places, you can select that folder and export it as a KMZ file. Then you can go to Google Maps MyMaps and import the KMZ file.

Projecting the Magic Ovals above on to a flat projection in Google Maps produces the image that follows:

Above is just a screen snag of the browser window showing the relevant part of the online version, which rolls the left and right edges (repeats the opposite edge to fill in what would otherwise be blank space).

The flat projection isn't quite what I'd expected, which was something more like the equidistant projection at the Wikipedia link. Clearly, I have a great deal to learn about map projections.

The flat projection above (a cylindrical projection, I think) looks to me sort of like an angel. Maybe a wire-model manga angel about to stomp on a poor heathen like me.

Hey! This could be a hidden sign from above, donchathink? Maybe I should copyright this image and sell it on eBay or something.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

"it's where the money is."

Between this shameful admission by a US lawman and the narco submarine that was found recently (the first true submarine found in the hands of the narcos), I wonder even more about the sanity of people who cannot see the blindingly obvious fact that our stupid approach to the drugs problem is what creates the incentives for such things (not to mention such consequences as failing states to our south, empowerment of war enemies, increased disrespect for the law, and on and on. .

We can be so god damned stupid...

in reference to: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition: - Strapped U.S. Police Turn to Marijuana Busts for Cash (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Vuvuzela culture

Tolerance of other cultures? Tolerance at a distance maybe. Having heard about the vuvuzela long before the World Cup, there's no way in HELL I'd have attended.

The vuvuzela is like a needlessly loud motorcycle. It's just obnoxious, and the responsible party is just being a thoughtless creep. "Mood Killer" is a perfectly apt description.

"Addressing calls for a vuvuzela ban in an interview with the BBC, Danny Jordaan, the head of the World Cup organizing committee in South Africa, said that the vuvuzela would only be forbidden if fans started throwing the trumpets onto the pitch."

Well, there you have it. 20,000 vuvuzelas raining onto the field might have an impact.

in reference to: The World from Berlin: Vuvuzela a 'Global Synonym for Mood Killer' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, June 04, 2010

Piping feature

I can't see leaking pipes causing the sinkholes in Guatemala City. Most likely these holes are the direct result of subsidence due to excessive groundwater pumping. It may be that storms and leaky pipes precipitate the visible consequences, the sinkholes, but the root cause is many decades of excessive groundwater pumping.

in reference to:

"In fact, Bonis thinks calling the Guatemala City chasm a sinkhole is a misnomer—a true sinkhole is an entirely natural phenomenon. There is no scientific term for what happened in Guatemala, he said, adding that he recommends the pit be dubbed a piping feature."
- Guatemala Sinkhole Created by Humans, Not Nature (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Maybe there won’t be a tragedy.

...The cockpit recording shows that Russian air traffic controllers told the pilot, “There are no conditions for landing.”

Mr. Protasiuk thanked them and said, “We’ll make an attempt, but if the weather isn’t good, we’ll leave for a second round.” About seven minutes before the crash, controllers told the pilot to reascend from an elevation of 325 feet, and he answered, “If we fail to land, we are reascending on autopilot.” ...

... “It’s going to be dreadful, we won’t be able to see anything,” a crew member said at one point.

Mr. Protasiuk was more hopeful. “Well, no, you can see the ground,” he said, six minutes later. “You can see something. Maybe there won’t be a tragedy.”

Maybe there won't be a tragedy. Wow!

in reference to:

"“It’s going to be dreadful, we won’t be able to see anything,” a crew member said at one point. Mr. Protasiuk was more hopeful. “Well, no, you can see the ground,” he said, six minutes later. “You can see something. Maybe there won’t be a tragedy.”"
- Pilot in Crash of Polish Jet Saw Chance of Landing - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Good for her!

I've been following Jessica Watson's solo circumnavigation since before day 1, seven months ago, with daily checks of her blog and updates of her position in the ocean.

I don't know why I was interested since I'm not a sailor and don't have anything in common with Jessica, but I was. Maybe it started out as a reaction to some bullshit people were saying about irresponsible parents of reckless, spoiled teenagers or some such. I just felt admiration for her, hoped the best for her, and now I'm glad she's home safely.

Congratulations Jessica! More power to you.

in reference to: BBC News - Australia hails solo yacht girl Jessica Watson (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Arizona's Proposition 100

This is so annoying.

There's a problem with State revenues and budget projections that will require further major cuts in the budgets of various sectors of State government. The proposed Proposition 100 would create a temporary one cent increase in the State sales tax to lessen the cuts that will otherwise me made in education, public safety and health care. They say two thirds of the anticipated $1 billion dollars in revenue will go to education, and apparently the lion's share of the rest will go to public safety.

One of the complaints among the commenters on the Yes on 100 blog is that there's not enough information about how the money would be spent. Maybe a complete breakdown is too much to ask, or maybe it's available and I just have not found it.

Someone suggested looking at the two budgets that the Arizona Legislature had proposed or passed, one with and one without revenues stemming from this temporary sales tax hike. I looked for them, but could not find anything on the Legislature's web page. Maybe it's there and I just didn't see it.

The particular tidbit I was looking for has to do with the public safety allocation, justification for which includes a scare line about having to release thousands of non-violent prisoners, by which they mean, for the most part, thousands of non-violent drug offenders.

Non-violent drug offenders should not be incarcerated in the first place. Their incarceration is the result of bad public policy, the power of the prison-cop complex, deep corruption in the halls of power, stupid authoritarianism and a refusal to recognize that prohibition is as bad today as it was when it was applied to the that really dangerous drug: alcohol.

It would be so easy for me to vote Yes on Proposition 100 if whatever portion of its revenues that will support keeping non-violent drug offenders incarcerated were, instead, going to education. As it is, I will have to hold my nose tightly when I probably vote Yes.

in reference to: Homepage | Yes On 100 (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Short Shrift Friedman

Thomas Friedman's column of May 1, "Narcos, No's and Nafta," contains two paragraphs about the Narcos and the troubles they present, then he drops them from further consideration of Mexico's future.

He goes on about how the No's (the conservative middle class of unionized teachers, oil workers, electric utility workers, other government workers) are the segment of the Mexican middle class that derives its position from Mexico's dwindling oil, which finances 40 percent of the government's budget.

The Nafta's are the segment of the middle class that is meritocratic.

"So here’s my prediction," Friedman writes. "When Mexico’s steadily falling oil production meets its rising meritocratic middle class, you will see real political/economic reform here. That is when the No’s will no longer have the resources to maintain the status quo, and that is when the Naftas from the Instituto Wisdom will demand the reforms that will enable them to realize their full potential."

And the Narcos?

Unless we in the United States get real about the drugs problem and remove prohibition inflation from the profits of the drug trade, the Narcos will gain even more power over society as the No's enter decline. The poor Naftas won't be able to do a thing about it.

The corrupting influence of prohibition has to end. If it doesn't, the Narcos will stifle Mexican progress as the decline of the No's draws nearer.

Thomas Friedman, you gave short shrift to a crucial aspect the issue you addressed.

in reference to: Op-Ed Columnist - Narcos, No’s and Nafta - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Deep corruption evident in drugs policy

Every day, it seems, there is a piece in the news that deepens my contempt for national and international drug policy, and for those who insist on resisting reform and staying the course.

The refusal to recognize that, no matter what, people will go out of their way to get intoxicated, coupled with the refusal to recognize that the prohibition approach to the drugs problem only makes things worse, reflects deep corruption in the halls of power.

Contemporary drugs policy does not serve the public interest. It is harmful to the public interest.

Contemporary drugs policy serves only special interests, including drug cartels, insurgent groups, and the prison/cop complex.

It's all about the money. It's all about the power. It has nothing to do with the public interest.

God damn you people!

in reference to: Fake Weed, Real Drug: K2 Causing Hallucinations in Teens - Yahoo! News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, March 05, 2010

New Jersey snow sculpture

The appropriate response, upon having been informed by a policeman that a neighbor had found a snow sculpture of Venus de Milo too risque, might have been to decline to cover or knock down the scupture, but to immediately sculpt a six foot phallus right next to it.

As it is, I think the "more objectified and sexualized" response was pretty good, too.

What's wrong with people?

in reference to: BBC News - New Jersey snow sculpture gets frosty reception (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, February 26, 2010

YouTube - "Adding comments has been disabled for this video."

YouTube - Congressman Becerra Laughs At Pledge of Allegiance

"Adding comments has been disabled for this video."

Yes, but why?

Here's a GREAT comment.

I would like to congratulate the man who had the bravery and patriotism to make a call for the pledge, which every meeting relating to American politics should begin with. It should be clear to everyone, that those who laughed, or hesitated, when the call to pledge loyalty to America was made, are weak or lacking in such loyalty; they sympathize with, or, indeed, are agents of, non-American elements. They represent a very great danger; it is impossible to underestimate the influence of non-American elements, in these extremely serious times, when we have a President of unknown origins, who has spent an unknown amount of time in Russia, and an unknown amount of time enabling Bill Ayers to conspire with the Taliban, and an unknown amount of time communicating with the secret orbital base, Draconis.

Posted by: llewelly | February 25, 2010 10:02 PM

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Update about an asshole

The asshole I was referring to in the passage below is Dennis Miller.

What he spewed comes 4 minutes 44 seconds into this Fox News clip on YouTube:

in reference to:

"The bit about TV pundits came on the heels of having deliberately tried to watch the run up to the address on Fox News. Bill O'Reiley was hosting. His guest was some cretin whose name escapes me who responded to a prompt about climate change by saying words to the effect that he wanted to drive his huge SUV down is long driveway from his huge house, and that if you couldn't do that without worrying about carbon dioxide then what's the use of having a planet anyway."
- Skeptacles: State of The Union (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dear Vice President Biden and Speaker Pelosi:

Dear Vice President Biden and Speaker Pelosi:

I watched President Obama's State of the Union speech the other night, and I found the constant stream of standing ovations to be a major irritant.

Excessive standing ovations that characterize events like this do not encourage me to tune in. I'm pretty sure the same is true of many people.

One of the most important parts of Mr. Obama's speech was about three quarters of the way through, when he spoke of the loss of faith in institutions, CEO's rewarding themselves for failure, TV pundits reducing serious arguments to silly sound bites and politicians cutting each other down rather than lifting the country up. The place was quiet. People seemed to be assimilating the message rather than making sure to clap and cheer louder.

I'm glad the cheer-leading had subsided by that point because, otherwise, by then I would have changed the channel.

Please stop the overdone cheer-leading. It wastes time, detracts from the message and squanders the impact of a real standing ovation.

Stop it. Thank you.


Steve Sturgill

Thursday, January 28, 2010

State of The Union

He's talking about me:

> Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have
> lost faith that our biggest institutions – our
> corporations, our media, and yes, our government
> – still reflect these same values. Each of these
> institutions are full of honorable men and women
> doing important work that helps our country
> prosper. But each time a CEO rewards himself for
> failure, or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for
> his own selfish gain, people’s doubts grow. Each
> time lobbyists game the system or politicians
> tear each other down instead of lifting this country
> up, we lose faith. The more that TV pundits reduce
> serious debates into silly arguments, and big
> issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away.
> No wonder there’s so much cynicism out there.
> No wonder there’s so much disappointment.

I lost any such illusions ages ago.

The bit about TV pundits came on the heels of having deliberately tried to watch the run up to the address on Fox News. Bill O'Reiley was hosting. His guest was some cretin whose name escapes me who responded to a prompt about climate change by saying words to the effect that he wanted to drive his huge SUV down is long driveway from his huge house, and that if you couldn't do that without worrying about carbon dioxide then what's the use of having a planet anyway.

What an asshole.

Right about then my son looked over at me and asked if they weren't showing the address on PBS. Having had my fill of TV pundits and silly arguments, we switched to PBS.

in reference to:

"Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have lost faith that our biggest institutions – our corporations, our media, and yes, our government – still reflect these same values. Each of these institutions are full of honorable men and women doing important work that helps our country prosper. But each time a CEO rewards himself for failure, or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for his own selfish gain, people’s doubts grow. Each time lobbyists game the system or politicians tear each other down instead of lifting this country up, we lose faith. The more that TV pundits reduce serious debates into silly arguments, and big issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away. No wonder there’s so much cynicism out there. No wonder there’s so much disappointment."
- 2010 Barack Obama State Of The Union Address (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Predictable, revolting

> "Governor Palin has captivated everyone on
> both sides of the political spectrum and we
> are excited to add her dynamic voice to the
> Fox News line-up," Bill Shine, executive vice
> president of programming, said in a statement.
> Mrs Palin said in a statement posted on the
> network's website: "It's wonderful to be part of
> a place that so values fair and balanced news."


"Captivated everyone" on "both sides" of the political spectrum?

This is, as they say, not even wrong. It's just noise. "Both sides" of the political spectrum? Two sides? That's it? Good and evil? Black and white?

"...a place that so values fair and balanced news."


in reference to: Sarah Palin campaign was a 'train wreck', insiders say - Times Online (view on Google Sidewiki)