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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Potentially the greatest fuckup of the Bush (43) Administration:

I was watching 60 minutes when a story caught my attention. It seems this company in San Diego has developed a new drug, Neumune, and the Department of defense has only committed to buying 100,000 doses. This is a drug that has shown strong potential as an anti-radiation drug, and, if approved, would join such old standbys as potassium iodide and Prussian Blue, the latter of which has existed since 1704 (not a typo) and only gained FDA approval 2-3 years ago. The problem here is that's 100,000 doses, with an absolute best case scenario being that drug's ability to treat 100k people, and a real world scenario probably being a fraction, possibly a small fraction, of that. Using the 2000 Census data on the city of Washington, DC, this best case scenario of one dose needed per person would not even treat 1/5 of the population of, at that time, 572,059 people. Expand that to the greater metro area, and you have a ridiculously small percentage that would be treatable. Furthemore expand that to a real-world scenario... Well, you get the picture, and it is far from pretty.

As an interesting side-note, this is my 100th post. At the time I created this blog all those months ago, I never thought I'd actually stick with it and find the process interesting enough to keep it up, much less actively participate in others' blogs. So, hoping this doesn't sound too pretentious, I wish myself a happy 100th post.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A couple of technical questions to my few faithful readers:

First, how do you handle RSS feed to Blogger? I'm interested in getting RSS feed from some other sites, but have less than a clue about how to go about it.

This second question is a bit ironic given my lack of knowledge about something simpler: Linux. I want to start a debate on the merits and deficiencies of various flavors of Linux. For instance, what's the best flavor for someone who's a complete beginner interested in security and stability of the platform?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Bastards of the Day 20060123

John Kelly, Teacher, Bastard # 20060123.01: Last Wednesday, John Kelly, a teacher in Beaverton, PA, forced Joshua Vannoy, 17, to sit on the ground and forced his classmates to throw wadded paper at him. Furthermore, he forced the student to take the test two days later, on Friday. The student's "offense"? He wore a Broncos # 7 jersey, since he's a fan of the Broncos in general, and John Elway in particular. I realize that he deserved to eat some shit for being a Broncos fan in Pennsylvania, and furthermore, for wearing that shirt when the Steelers were facing the Broncos at Mile High Stadium mere days later for a berth in the Super Bowl. However, that should've been at the hands of the students, and had it gotten out of hand, should have resulted in the disciplining of the students involved. I don't know what should be done about the teacher, but I do know what I would do if I were a parent of any of his students: I'd pull them out, and I'd bloody well scream at the school board until Mr. Kelly received some form of significant discipline, up to and including termination.

Olympic Protestors, Bastard # 20060123.02: I believe this speaks for itself. Protesters grabbed the Olympic torch from a woman who set Italian records at the 1500 meter distance, apparently to protest something no one can quite remember. Way to go, fucknuts. You really grabbed people's attention and made them really think about your cause, whatever it was. The Olympics, in theory, are about peaceful competition amongst the members of the community of nations, and in reality, is one of the biggest business enterprises in the world. Athletes all over the world put forth insane amounts of effort and show inhuman amounts of dedication, not necessarily to make it onto an Olympic platform, but simply to be there as an athlete on opening day, representing their countries, their home towns, and their families and friends. The protesters merely succeeded in showing what kind of donkey-fucking rat bastards they are.

Finally, the Beware of Glass Houses Bastards, Pelosi, Reed, and other ranking Democrats, Bastard # 20060123.03: Admittedly, this link has a strong conservative bias, but just trudge through it, and you'll see that there are significant and accurate points made. If people want to point to corruption, there's more than enough with that taint on both sides of the aisle. I've read commentary about corruption in politics, and it pointed to a glaring problem with both the Democrat and the Republican pseudosolutions: No real accountability. Sure, the words are pretty, but who's the enforcers at the end of the day? The ethics committees of both houses of Congress, and they've both done such bang-up jobs so far. The proposed solution posited by the editorial sections of multiple newspapers was the creation of a truly independent ethics commission, not comprised of members of Congress, whose sole raison d'etre is to catch this sort of thing and bring those responsible to justice. To do less is to use smoke and mirrors yet again, and personally, I'm tired of paying the extra taxes this corruption costs, not to mention the loss of public trust in the government this and myriad other scandals have caused.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bastards of the Day

This segment was once called "People Who Piss Me Off", but that was too unwieldy. I'm all about simplifying lately. Must be something I ate. Anyway, I found a couple of stories that really cheese me off. My advice to both is that they'd've done well to have removed their heads from their asses quite a while ago. Without further ado, here they are.

Worst Deadbeat Dad EVER!!!: In 1979, after escaping a work detail while serving a 1 year prison term for failure to pay child support, Johnny Sterling Martin had a relative call Family Court and report that he had died in a bar fight. Apparently, he was such a sterling individual that this wouldn't've been a surprising fate to befall him, but no, he was just being a deadbeat again. Apparently, after moving 150 miles away, they finally caught him after he started using his real name again about TWENTY YEARS AGO!!! It took them 20 years of him using his real name on government documents to catch this shitsucker. I've seen some pathetic excuses for human excrement, but this guy hit a new low. Well, Mr. Johnny Sterling Martin, recently of Myrtle Beach and currently a guest of the state, you have my sincerest wishes that you live to see many more days, and that each day brings you a new agony.

Bush Administration Fights for Google Records: Having already had his online pornography law struck down by the Supreme Court two years ago, the Bush administration is now subpoenaing Google to find out what people are seeking on their search engine. Google's lawyers are fighting this vigorously, claiming it would violate the privacy rights of their users and reveal trade secrets. I wish Google well in their efforts, and at the same time, I'm extremely glad I almost never use them when I'm browsing for hot lesbians enjoying a good 69 in front of a burning American flag. And Attorney General Gonzales, that was called "sarcasm". Besides, parents and good software protect kids far better than any law can. Laws only apply within the borders of the United States, and many of these sites are overseas, so in effect, not only was the law unconstitutional, it was based on extremely flawed logic. But in truth, the act was signed into law in 1998, but then again, what did Clinton need with online porn when he was getting blowjobs in the Oval Orifice? Hell, maybe that's what this administration needs. They certainly do seem wound a bit tight.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New Links and Format Changes

It's been a long time since I've added links to my sidebar. Also, I've gotten rid of the explanation for the blog name since, frankly, no one cares and it was just eating up space unnecessarily and making the site unwieldy. Also, if you want to thumb through my archives, I figure you can scroll down. lol

I added the links because, while I idenfity myself more commonly as a small-l libertarian, that's mainly because as rare a creature as that is, at least it's a term people are familiar with. In ideological terms, I do lean that way, but I lean far closer to neolibertarianism, which addresses the myriad problems I saw in the Libertarian Party even as a young lad fresh out of high school many years ago. Most of the new links are in this vein, though one is something that appeals to something far older and more consistent than my political views: my unrepentant, undying, congenital geekdom. That site is Star Yecch.

The political links are as follows, and I recommend these sites to conservatives, neoliberals, and anyone else who wants to see things from other perspectives. Who knows? Maybe, like me, you'll find in one of these links your ideological home.

Of Punk Rock and Politics provides some compelling commentary, and is a member of the Neolibertarian Network.

Conservative Punk: Not nearly as simple as its name sounds, and another excellent site. Not to be confused with, this site, I believe, has better and far more substantive commentary. This can be found in the Issue Articles area of the website


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

If N.O. Mayor Ray Nagin were white, he'd be a Klansman.

Substitute the word "white" for "chocolate" in the following statement Ray Nagin made yesterday in rememberance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day: "I don't care what people are saying Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day. This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God wants it to be."

He later tried to spin it with the following "explanation": "How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about." Bullshit. In food terms, I prefer dark chocolate, and there's not a drop of milk in it. Maybe some sweeteners, but that's about it.

If he were Pat Robertson or some other prominent Caucasian figure, I can guarantee that there would be protests and calls for the guy to be pilloried, and I'd be right there with them calling for his resignation. However, what's fair is fair, and I think the same should happen to Ray Nagin. There is no excuse for being a racist, and even less of an excuse for a person who holds a position of public trust.

In other racially-divisive comments to mark MLK Day, Senator Hillary Clinton referred to the GOP-run House as a "plantation". The exact quote follows: "When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation, and you know what I'm talking about," Clinton (D-N.Y.) told an audience at the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ during an event sponsored by the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network.

Yeah, we all know what you're talking about, Senator Clinton. We all know that you're trying to use very thinly-veiled language to call all of the Republicans in the House of Representatives a bunch of racists. We all know you said that because your stances are so weakly articulated and thought-out that all that remains are cheap ad hominem attacks. And we all know that you'll get a pass because you're a Clinton.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

My first music review

I know I've ranted about politics, entertainment, sports, and the fucking RIAA, but I recently had the opportunity to borrow a CD many of you may have never even heard of before: "Cristal: Glass Music Through the Ages" by Dennis James. This is a selection of various classical compositions performed with glass instruments, many, but not all, of which use that with other instruments and even vocals. My personal favorites were the Song from Garry Eister's "Quintet for Glass and Strings," the Traditional Irish Lullaby, Mozart's Adagio in C Major, K. 356, and several others, though it was difficult to choose a favorite. Honestly, I liked the ones without vocals more, but that's just a matter of personal taste. The first time I listened to this CD, I was brought to tears by the depth, emotion, and beauty of the music. For what it's worth, I give my highest possible recommendation of this CD to anyone with an appreciation of classical music, even though this is distributed by those bastards at Sony.

This music review is also a request for assistance. If anyone knows any other good CDs that feature glass instruments, I'm very interested in finding out what they are. Thanks. :)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Judge Samuel Alito

Before I get into my opinion of Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and his suitability or unsuitability as a member of our nation's highest court, I would like to thank the American Bar Association's for their analysis and the clarity of the definitions for their ratings as applied to nominees for the United States Supreme Court. If you have a pulse and are reading this, I assume you have some version of Adobe Acrobat, which is good since the above link is in .pdf format. As I'm sure you've heard by now, Judge Alito has earned a unanimous "well qualified" rating from the ABA's Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary. This rating was unanimous with one recusal.

Now, on with the show. After researching what I could about Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr., I have seen nothing that would indicate that he will be anything other than a fair-minded judge who will decide any case that comes before him on the merits of the facts and the laws of the land. When I'm thinking about what I would like to see on any bench, I certainly don't want someone who views his or her own personal agenda as being sovereign over the laws and Constitution of the United States of America. I want a fair and impartial jurist with a brilliant legal mind. In my opinion, insofar as anyone is capable of being impartial, I believe Judge Alito is such a man and will make an excellent addition to the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I've been tagged...

Back on December 27, I was tagged by Blondage, and yesterday, January 9, I was tagged by Snave. Damn, if only Snave were Rebecca Romijn, then I wouldn't feel too bad about being sandwiched between two people...

Anyway, as stated in the challenge, I will name off five weird things about myself, most of which will probably end up with my two or three readers suggesting psychiatrists in my region. This is especially true since I'm naming off some of the more normal of my weird quirks and thought-processes.

1) I take comfort in pleasantly griping about things when everything is mostly okay. A sure sign that a situation is well and truly fucked up is if I'm expressing consistent optimism. During hurricane season, this mutates further, entering a third stage: Keeping glued to the television while carefully not saying anything about what's happening at home however many miles away until a safer time of the year, like December. I was hitting the NHC and Weather Channel websites two or three times a day when there WASN'T anything in the water, all four or five days that occurred this past season, a number that doubled pretty easily when there was something somewhere.

2) Sometimes, I am curious about odd things. For example, I wonder if non-schizophrenics should name their nervous breakdowns, much like meteorologists name hurricanes or infectious disease specialists name strains of the flu. I don't know about that, but I've named my ulcer "Dennis".

3) I'm an agnostic, but I'm pretty damned conflicted about it. When I see a murderer who brutalized his victims and has been on death row since disco was king, or when I read about some other sick motherfucker who's currently in prison, I wish I were a Christian again, so that I could truly believe they were going to hell when they finally get around to meeting their Maker.

4) I'm becoming more and more of a food snob and place an ever-growing level of importance on natural flavors and such, but occasionally, I find myself comforted, if not thrown into an odd childlike glee, by some of the cheapest, most preservative-rich foods in the grocery or convenience store. Thy SlimJims and thy pickled pigs' feet, they comfort me.

5) I have a low tolerance for stupid people, yet I actually paid attention when Senator Kennedy was pontificating during the Alito hearings. Dude, where's the brain cells I lost to that refugee from an AA meeting?

I would get up and tag five more people, but my bad knee, which I'm thinking about naming Gwen after the former No Doubt singer, as both are equally painful, is acting up.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Truer words were never spoken...

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Lt. Gordon James Klingenschmitt, the self-starving chaplain...

Mr. Klingenschmitt, and I refuse to refer to him by his rank given his recent actions, is a Navy chaplain who is in his 17th day of a hunger strike over the denial of his "right" to proselytize at public functions and in settings where attendance is involuntary. Klingenschmitt's claim is that he is being denied the right to pray in a manner consistent with his beliefs. A Navy spokesperson said that this is not an accurate depiction of Navy policy, and that the prayers are only restricted at command events where attendance is involuntary by the servicepeople. Even so, the restrictions are only insofar as they pertain to the specific naming of his deity of choice, and in those settings, more generic terms are preferred. Sunday services, Bible study, and other services for which attendance is voluntary are unrestricted, and according to a Navy spokesperson, in these settings, prayer in the manner in which the individual chaplain believes is actually encouraged by the Navy.

William of Ockham, a 14th Century Franciscan friar, had a very useful saying that is used in modern logic, "Numquam ponendo est pluritas sine necessitate." In English, that means "Multiples should never be used if not necessary," or more commonly, "Given two equally predictive theories, choose the simpler." This is Ockham's razor, and has been taught to students of philosophy and logic for centuries. Applied to this scenario, the two theories are that the Navy is picking on a poor, helpless Lieutenant, or that a Lieutenant is bringing dishonor to his uniform and generally being a cunt. The latter is the simpler and more logical explanation.

My question to Mr. Klingenschmitt is this: How does Christianity view suicide, specifically, your evangelical ultraconservative branch of Christianity? I ask this because that is exactly what he is doing to himself and making a spectacle of himself in the process. As for the Navy, I suggest they allow him to do what he wants. It's his body. If he wants to destroy it in this act of self-indulgent pseudomartyrdom, let him. I think he'll be unpleasantly surprised by how hot it is on the other side.

Monday, January 02, 2006

In honor of the New Year, I have some thoughts I'd like to share.

I could go with the typical bit about New Year's resolutions, but I'll break any I make just like I always do. I could also wax reminiscent about 2005, but the truth of the matter is that it sucked ass. I could even talk about my hopes and dreams of the next year, but any strategist will tell you that plans rarely survive first contact with reality. So instead, I'll go with one of the things I'm best at: Random, very odd, musings.

If I were to become an owner of a major football team, I would change its name to the Hellbeasts, and change the cheerleader outfits to something all leather and skin-tight that would actually make it past the censors, such as that Christine Taylor wore in the movie "Dodgeball." I would change the team colors to two that have only been seen together in the most fevered imaginings of Goya or a medieval artisan's depiction of hell. Whenever my team scored a touchdown, I'd have the giant television show footage from a Gwar, Slipknot, Nine Inch Nails, or A Perfect Circle video and have the cheerleaders grinding in a way that would give a corpse wood (insert Clerks joke here). I would have my football players pointing at the sky, but it would be a two-handed middle fingered salute. Furthermore, I would personally conduct all press conferences after the game, and occasionally, after a victory, I would thank Satan, and then explain that I'm not a Satanist, but I thought Jesus was getting too much credit for kicking ass when he's supposed to be all about love, and dealing out a 42-3 defeat is not love. I would try to make the Raiders of old look like a bunch of pussies. I want to set a league record for team fines and suspensions, and I just want that to be the defensive line. Don't you love the smell of turf in the morning? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!