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Monday, December 31, 2007

Handicapping Election 2008: New Developments. Oh, and FUCK OFF, HUCKABEE!!!

Seriously, could Huckabee have his head any farther up his ass? For fuck's sake, he's the most bigoted Republican in this year's field, and that's saying something in a party that's tacked farther to the right than a see-saw with Rosie O'Donnell on it with her ass facing the east. And speaking of Rosie O'Donnell, she can fuck herself too; God knows she's too fucking ugly and WAY too fucking crazy for her significant other to find her attractive.

Oh, yeah, I was handicapping the race for the White House. Since I've ripped two of my favorite targets new assholes, let's start with the Republicans. They look as disordered as the response to Katrina, and they're facing an almost equally certain disaster. However, jockeying for the captaincy of that particular Titanic are Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain, and Mike Fuckabee, er, Huckabee. First, the easy call is to get the coroner to pronounce Giuliani's campaign dead on arrival. I never thought his campaign would implode that badly, but in the end, he's a moderate Republican with no real message beyond "blah blah blah 9/11", and he once stayed with a gay person or couple, I forget which, when he was estranged from one of his now-ex-wives. Yeah, that'll rally the conservative evangelical Christian wing of the party... the wrong way. Next, Fred Thompson's campaign has been going down in flames like the Hindenberg ever since he officially launched his campaign. Who knew that a former Senator and actor could lack that much eloquence? From the beginning, he stumbled out of the blocks like Senator Kennedy stumbles out of a high-class bar. That leaves Romney, McCain, and Huckabee, and the next easiest is McCain. He looks good in New Hampshire, but I think he's peaking about 8 years too late. He had his time, and now it's over. I really don't see him doing well in the South. Now Romney and Huckabee. As much as I hate that asshole, Huckabee has generated a good deal of support, mainly on the basis of him not being a Mormon and not being Giuliani, Thompson, and McCain. That said, his record as governor of Arkansas will work against him, and we're already seeing that. Finally, Romney, I think is a good man, and served as an excellent governor of Massachusetts. However, and I say this as a Mormon, he's a Mormon, and how many evangelical Christians (and more importantly, independents and Democrats) will vote for a Mormon, regardless of his credentials? Still, he looks good to go in this race. My pick: Too close to call between Huckabee and Romney.

On the other hand, the Democrats have three advantages: First, they've effectively winnowed the field to three credible candidates versus the Republicans' five; second, with the exception of Hilary, the rest of the field is more likable than the Republicans' offerings; and third, THEY'RE NOT REPUBLICANS! After the last seven years under Bush, the Republicans look about as attractive as Wesley Snipes and Patrick Swayze in drag after a week-long bender. I'm going to make this one short and sweet: Hilary is perhaps the most hated woman in politics since Imelda Marcos, but she looks strong in Iowa and New Hampshire. Barack Obama will continue to feel some love from Oprah, which surprises me because all of her shows are about why men are the root of every last FUCKING bit of evil in the world, including that committed by women. Rant aside, I also like his chances. Edwards is perhaps the most disgusting of the candidates, and I loathe him. However, likely Democratic Party voters don't, especially in the early primary states, so he's also a solid chance. My pick: Too close to call, with Obama having a slight edge overall and a huge edge in momentum.

Finally, there's Mayor Bloomberg. I know we went over this before, but lately, his rumblings of the last several months have taken more of an urgent tone. His positives are that, as mayor of New York, he has enjoyed approval ratings Giuliani couldn't have achieved in even his most sordid wet dreams. If it comes down to him versus Clinton and any Republican, I think we could easily have our first independent president since, perhaps, Washington himself.

Enjoy the music.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A stunning indictment of the UN Human Rights Watch:

This dates back to March 23, 2007, but has a powerful message. I was unable to find a single factual error or logical flaw in this oration, which was predictably stricken from the U.N. record. The video is below:

A follow-up statement from M.P. Professor Irwin Cotler, law professor, international lawyer, and former Minister of Justice of Canada (equivalent to the United States Attorney General in the United States) was equally devastating in its brutal honesty, though, as you might expect from a lawyer of his caliber, integrity, and high esteem, he was far more eloquent about it. I include his video below.

I first viewed the above videos on the website of UN Watch, an organization whose goal is to monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own charter. For those who oppose the United Nations because of its corruption, and for those who want to see the United Nations prosper at long last by overcoming its serious shortcomings, this website is definitely a must-see.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bullshit, and then funny shit: Snave, this is a shout out to you.

In the spirit of mass consumerism and a complete and utter disregard for the family togetherness that should be and has historically been the focus for most Western holidays over the course of the last couple of millennia or so, I'm not going to focus on what makes me happy. Instead, I'm going to fart on Santa's lap a few times and make a few wishes, and no one would have to wish for them if the respective situations weren't bullshit. The phrasing was intentional. Follow that link for a very good laugh. Anyway, on with my verbal flatus.

1) Dear Santa: I want Eric Volz free A YEAR AGO! In the U.S., Eric Volz would never have been arrested, much less held as a political prisoner as is happening in Nicaragua. The background: Mr. Volz's girlfriend, Doris Jimenez, was murdered in San Juan del Sur on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 between 11:45 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. while Mr. Volz was in Managua, some two hours away. Witnesses place him in Managua at the time of the murder. Cell phone records place him in Managua at the time of the murder. Internet records even place him outside of San Juan del Sur at the time of the murder. Yet, by virtue of Nicaragua's irredeemably corrupt judicial system, not only was he arrested and tried for brutally murdering his girlfriend, one of the main suspects, who had substantial forensic evidence linking him to the crime, was one of the witnesses against him. Had the minister of injustice over the case been interested in the truth, it would have been a matter of minutes to conclude he had nothing whatsoever to do with this horrible crime. Instead, he has been denied his basic human rights, had his life threatened by fellow inmates and the prison guards, the latter both actively and through their gross negligence of his health. He has since been declared INNOCENT by Nicaragua's appellate courts, yet he remains in prison. This is a gross injustice and should be an outrage to the civilized world. I believe there should be people in prison in this case, and first and foremost among them is "Judge" Ivette Toruño Blanco, the minister of gross injustice responsible for both his wrongful conviction and his continued incarcertation. May she roast slowly in the most rat-infested, shit-impacted bowels of Hell for the torment she has caused this innocent man, his family, and his friends.

2) Dear Santa: I want Mike Huckabee's campaign to implode much like Rudy "Blah, blah blah, 9/11" Giuliani's campaign has. Anyone who seriously thinks that the cynically-named "Fair Tax" is a good idea automatically disqualifies themselves from the pool of intelligent thinkers. Granted, he's a Republican, although he's not a Clinton, but his verbal rectal explosions trump the smelly, hot air to which we have become accustomed over the last 16 years from the Clinton and Bush families. Granted, I'm a libertarian and have very narrow views on the proper scope of government and tax collection in general, but I'm sure progressives, independents, and thinking conservatives can all see how much of a stupid fucking idea this is. When you add in his subtle (and occasionally, not so subtle) religious intolerance, I find him even less appealing than a particularly nasty case of the clap.

3) Dear Santa: My final wish is that Hilary Clinton not get the Democratic Party nomination for president. While I'm not opposed to a woman becoming president, I want the RIGHT woman, or man, or gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individual, or whatever the unholy FUCK Richard Simmons is, to be president. We've dealt with 7 years of truly shitty leadership, and while it would be difficult for her, or in fact, anyone not named Mike Huckabee, to do as poorly as the current President, she is not that person. She has a different position on each issue for every audience, and while she's an adequate Senator, that does not a great president make. Also, who really wants to hear about her husband banging interns... I'm sorry, not banging interns; getting sucked off by them, in the White House yet again? I find her every bit as loathsome from a conservative standpoint, a modern liberal standpoint, and my own libertarian standpoint, and much like that unholy alliance between the National Organization for Women and Larry Flynt came to support Bill Clinton, I've seen the gripes that could form a firestorm that would torch Hil's presidential hopes much like a blunt that her husband claimed to smoke once but not inhale.

Enjoy this video for yet another blast of Christmas cheer.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Spotlight on the Automotive X Prize, Part II

For the second half of my posting tonight, I'm going to clarify what I posted earlier a bit. While I wrote and stand behind my list of my four favorite concepts, I did not wish to slight the other 39 teams, all of whom are working very hard to see their respective visions come to life. I have nothing but respect for each and every one of the signatories of the Automotive X Prize letter of intent program, and in fact, this respect expands far beyond this competition to all those who are working to make the future better for our children, grandchildren, and beyond, and who are working to improve the world in hundreds of different ways. I say this on the off chance that someone from one of the teams may stumble across this microblog, and as an expression of hope for the future. My hope, my prayer is that we are able to accomplish more than we have before and that we continue to improve, not just because of the potential consequences of failure, but because it is good and right that we do so.

Regarding my brief commentary about the engine design from Team PsychoActive/THOUGHTFLOW Design, I could put a disclaimer that I do like turbines, since they are highly efficient and have a long and proven track record of good performance. However, my appreciation for that design goes a bit deeper than that, and a bit deeper than simple novelty. I stand by my statement that it could fundamentally change engine design, because I see how this design may overcome the weaknesses that have prevented turbines from gaining widespread use in smaller applications, such as automobiles. Throughout history, people have gone and attempted daring things, not knowing what can or can't be done on a smallish budget (such as the Wright Brothers), or if it could be done at all. Out of that, some fell by the wayside, and others became the Thomas Edison or Rudolf Diesel of their time, and the world was forever changed by their vision, ingenuity, and hard work. We need dreamers, and we need the people to inspire them. When I look at all of these teams, I see 43 dreams, 43 groups of intelligent dreamers, and I see an extraordinary amount of work and, yes, love and hope, that go into each of their respective visions. For my tiny readership, I ask that you share this with others. Maybe they'll see what I see, and if so, maybe they'll get energized by the thought of all of these possibilities. It's a thought.

Enjoy. :)

Tears of joy: University of South Alabama gets football!

Tonight will be a rare two-post night. I'm not going to bother to look to see when the last one was, but I know it's been months. As stated in the headline, the University of South Alabama will have its first NCAA-sanctioned football in the school's 44 year history, starting in the 2009 football season. This is a story I've been watching with great interest, though I didn't allow myself to hope too strongly. After all, there have been near misses before, most recently in 2000. However, when I saw that the student body had gotten substantially more than the required 2,000 petition signatures, when I read that the U. of South Alabama Faculty Senate had approved it 27-4, when I read that the University President and the President pro-tempore of the Board of Trustees both came out with strong language favoring the creation of a football program, and most recently, when I read earlier today, prior to the official announcement, that the president of the Mobile City Council, Reggie Copeland, offered to house the USA Jaguars football program for five years rent-free at Ladd Peebles Stadium, I knew it was only a matter of time, and not much time at that. As it turns out, the formal announcement was made earlier today.

People have been hungry for Division I football here for as long as I can remember. The nearest football schools are at least three hours away, and the high school talent pool is deep in the southern counties of Alabama and Mississippi, and in the westernmost counties of Florida. People in Mobile and Baldwin counties have wanted something more than the Friday night lights of high school football, yet time and again, either through ineptitude at the top levels of leadership at South or through active antipathy towards football among the members of the school's Board of Trustees, it had never happened in the past attempts. Finally, after 44 years, they have listened to their community, their students, and their alumni, and a school that already boasts solid academics and a good medical school will have a football team. So if my eyes look like they're misting up, these aren't tears of sorrow; they're tears of joy.

Enjoy the celebratory music. :)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Spotlight on the Automotive X Prize, and the death of my other blog

First, you may have noticed that I have made some changes to the layout of my blog. Frankly, I was wanting to add more stuff to it that was not supported by the current template, so I took the big leap and changed it. The current design and coloration stays true to my particular aesthetic sensibilities while remaining readable. Expect more changes to occur as the mood strikes me, though the layout will probably not be one of those things that changes. Second, I refer to the temporary death of the TechnoAgrarian Musings blog. The last time I posted on that blog was July 18, 2007, and while it was a good idea, frankly, I have times when I barely have the energy to devote to one blog, let alone two. I will be keeping it up for reference, but anything I have to say about the environment will be posted here first and then copied over there for those who just want to see what I have to say about the environment.

I have been keeping up with the Automotive X-Prize and have looked into the various signatories of their Letter of Intent program. Of those who have websites, I have seen a breadth and depth of innovative thought that frankly boggles my mind and gives me hope for the future. Any of these teams, if they are able to execute their respective visions, will be more than worthy competitors in this competition, and more importantly, they will help reduce our suicidal dependence on gasoline and petrodiesel to drive our vehicles and our economy. However, there are a few that I found, in a word, shocking in their ambition and innovation. Foremost among them, at least in my view, is Aptera Motors Typ-1 gasoline/plug-in electric hybrid. On the details screen, the fuel economy at 120 miles after a charge is a mind-blowing 300 miles per gallon. This later reduces to a still highly respectable 130 miles per gallon after 350-400 miles and beyond, which is its minimum efficiency as stated in the Vehicle Details section of their web site. Given an 11 gallon fuel tank, that would equate to being able to drive from the beach at Santa Monica, CA to Broadway, where the stagehands are currently on strike, on only two tanks of gas. The most notable downside, however, is the capacity: It only seats two plus an infant, though it does have capacity for 15 bags of groceries. Its projected sticker price is under $30k.

Another worth mentioning is Loremo, a turbo-diesel vehicle that achieves a fuel economy of less than of 2 litres per 100 km. I knew that Javascript widget I put on the side would come in handy some day. That translates into a fuel economy in excess of 117 miles per gallon without using any hybrid technology. The tank size is a bit smallish by American standards at 20 litres, but with a range of around 600 miles per tank, well, I doubt I'd have much trouble at all getting used to that. :) The projected sticker price of the more fuel-efficient (and slower to accelerate at 16 seconds to go from 0-60 mph) LS version will be less than €15 000, or just under $22,000 at the current exchange rate. The downside is, of course, the slow acceleration rate if and when it is presented to the U.S. market. However, this is still an excellent vehicle.

A third team is ZAP, a company that specializes in electric vehicles. The main concern with any such vehicle is range, and that is certainly a concern for their current offerings with a maximum range of 25 miles per charge. However, their future offerings have a stated range of 350 miles per charge, which is more than enough for daily use. While that would be a problem for extended road trips, it's certainly more than a step in the right direction.

The last team I'll mention is PsychoActive, whose engine design has the potential to be nothing short of revolutionary. With a turbine engine that has only 9 major parts, it could signal a fundamental shift in car engine design. However, since it has not been tested in a real car, it remains only a possibility. Nevertheless, I found it intriguing enough to add to the list of my four favorites.

I strongly encourage all of my very few readers/blogfriends to look closely at the various teams that have already announced their signing with the Automotive X-Prize Letter of Intent program. Ultimately, fuel economy is a free market problem, and it will only be solved with a free market solution. I am grateful for the hard work and innovation of each of the teams involved in this race, and I'm also grateful for the X Prize foundation for spurring this innovation by creating this competition. It is my hope and belief that their hard work and ingenuity will help lead to a better future for our children, our environment, and our world.

I'm posting this video as an indictment of modern America. Enjoy.