May 31, 2009
Who Said It?
A) Thomas Jefferson
B) Thomas Paine
C) Mel, the cook from Alice
D) Ronald Reagan
May 29, 2009
An openly gay teen has been voted prom queen at his Los Angeles high school in a campaign that began as a stunt but ended up spurring discussion on the campus about gender roles and popularity.
Sergio Garcia said he felt "invincible" when he was crowned queen of the Fairfax High School dance at the on Saturday.
Days before the dance, Garcia told fellow students that he was "not your typical prom queen candidate. There's more to me than meets the eye." He's a transformer!
He also promised that he would be wearing a suit on prom night, but "don't be fooled: Deep down, I am a queen." We know Sergio, we know.
And he made good of that promise Saturday, wearing a gray tuxedo topped off with the prized tiara. It clashed. At least he didn't go in drag. God knows someone would have had the same dress on and then Sergio would have had to choke a bitch and... well * whew * thank goodness that didn't happen.
Although many students were supportive of Garcia's run, others were upset and didn't understand why Garcia chose to run for prom queen. No doubt Heather Chandler, Regina George, and Carrie White are pissssed....
"I'm not really happy about that," said 17-year-old Juan Espinoza. "He should've run for prom king."Juan is obviously a gay basher and needs to be re-educated for his intolerance.
You know who I feel sorry for? The popular girls who got totally dissed. Hey, maybe all those girls can get together with the ACLU and sue in a class action lawsuit against the school and their fellow classmates for gender discrimination?
As our "leaders" are out telling everyone what a great job they did with the stimulus package - bringing the economy from the brink (oh yeah, prove it) You, me and all the taxpayers are on the hook for an extra $55,000 EACH to cover insane, unchecked federal commitments made to retirement benefits, the national debt and other government promises such as rainbows and unicycles for every household
The 12% rise in red ink in 2008 stems from an explosion of federal borrowing, plus an aging population driving up the costs of Medicare and Social Security. Thanks baby boomers!
That's the biggest leap in the long-term burden on taxpayers since a Medicare prescription drug benefit was added in 2003. That's all George Bush trying to get Jeb's state.... and it worked by the skin of his teeth.
The latest increase raises federal obligations to a record $546,668 per household in 2008. Even USA TODAY did an analysis of it. Where do you think I snagged that graphic?
So what? Well, that's quadruple what the average U.S. household owes for all mortgages, car loans, credit cards and other debt combined.
"We have a huge implicit mortgage on every household in America — except, unlike a real mortgage, it's not backed up by a house," says David Walker, former U.S. comptroller general, the government's top auditor. In other words, you don't have anything to show for it.
The group, considered a sect in France, has faced prosecution and difficulties in registering its activities in many countries. (here's that full story)
Second 'poor Xenu' story, in a rather extraordinary effort to crack down on the Church of Scientology's obsessive policing of its online public image, Wikipedia has banned all IP addresses owned or affiliated with Scientology from making edits to entries on its website.
"The muzzling of Scientology IPs marks the first time Wikipedia has officially barred edits from such a high-profile organization for allegedly pushing its own agenda on the site.
According to evidence turned up by admins in this long-running Wikiland court case, multiple editors have been "openly editing [Scientology-related articles] from Church of Scientology equipment and apparently coordinating their activities." Leaning on the famed WikiScanner, countless news stories have discussed the editing of Scientology articles from Scientology IPs, and some site admins are concerned this is "damaging Wikipedia's reputation for neutrality."
The article goes on to explain how the Church Of Scientology operates their little internet spin operation, thanks to testimony provided by a former insider turned informant.
A former member of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs - a department officially responsible "for directing and coordinating all legal matters affecting the Church" - says the Office has organized massive efforts to remove Scientology-related materials and criticism from the web.
"The guys I worked with posted every day all day," Tory Christman tells The Reg. "It was like a machine. I worked with someone who used five separate computers, five separate anonymous identities...to refute any facts from the internet about the Church of Scientology."
This is all fine and good but sooner or later the Scientologists will learn out that all they need to do is send over Leah Remini or Jenna Elfman to give Jimmy Wales a handjob and all of this will go away. Surely they'd take one for the Xenu team.
Or they could just go to the Apple Store and use their computers. Whatever works, right?
Wikipedia Bans Scientology [The Register]Now, all of you making edits of really crappy bands - and inserting your own jokes... take heed. The Wiki's are watching, and they could ban you!
May 28, 2009
The NEW National Sales Tax, on TOP of your current tax burden.
“Of course you know, dis means War.”
Spending unchecked, deficits soaring, a trillion dollar undefined health care plan, escalating wars in Afghanistan with the very good possibility of expanded Pakistani, Iranian and North Korean theaters, and –most importantly – the real chance that America’s A+++ credit rating is about to get reeled in - President Obama and his cronies need some cash. Thanks to Rahm Emanuel’s brother, there’s a fresh look at a money-taking idea long considered too politically taboo: the national sales tax.
I remember the VAT – the Value Added Tax in the UK. Not a lot of fun. I think it was 15% when I last visited there. But on the bright side, I could actually add up the total of my grocery cart and be spot on.
The idea of a VAT Tax hasn’t been seriously considered in the United States. It was only a bad joke in polite society. But now the drum beat of a few elites are saying that few other options can generate the kind of money the nation will need to avert fiscal calamity. You know, without cutting spending or some such nonsense.
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner was begged by a bunch of tax ‘experts’ to consider the VAT. Suddenly, a flurry the subject is attracting interest in Congress. Last month, once spending got so nuts by Obama, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee declared that a VAT should be part of the debate.
"There is a growing awareness of the need for fundamental tax reform," Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said in an interview. "I think a VAT and a high-end income tax have got to be on the table."
A VAT is a tax on the transfer of goods and services that ultimately is paid for by the consumer. It would be on everything. Highly visible, it would increase the cost of just about everything, from a carton of eggs to a visit with a lawyer. It is also hugely regressive, falling heavily on the poor. But folks who dig the VAT say the negatives are off set with “free” health care for everyone – a carrot on a stick for low-income families… who keep voting for these idiots.
"You could pay for it regressively and have people at the bottom come out better off -- maybe. Or you could pay for it progressively and they'd come out a lot better off," said Bob McIntyre, director of the nonprofit Citizens for Tax Justice, which has a health financing plan that targets corporations and the rich. Citizens for Tax Justice? What, did you just come up with that in your garage one day, Bob? How about Citizens for Tax Accountability? I’d join that made-up group.
The White House said VAT is "unlikely to be in the mix" as a means to pay for health-care reform. "While we do not want to rule any credible idea in or out as we discuss the way forward with Congress, the VAT tax, in particular, is popular with academics but highly controversial with policymakers." Well, that was true of the flat-tax idea too, but because that might be, oh, FAIR, it's off the table.
A prominent VAT advocate was hired to advise the White House on health care: Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and author of the 2008 book "Health Care, Guaranteed." Hmmm? Nepotism in government hiring? No! I don't believe it.
I have an idea. Let’s stop spending. Can we try that? How about we DON’T expand the size of the government and conduct three wars at the same time? How about that? I don’t know because it hasn’t been tried.
Welcome to Chicago, America. You asked for Change. That's all we're going to have left... Some change, and waiting in line with a bunch of coughing people at the National Health Clinic.
Perhaps we need to collectively ask if DMV-styled health care is worth it. Perhaps we need to really examine what we really need and what we want from our government. Federal and local. Many would say that it’s already big enough, we don’t need it to get any bigger. We don’t have any accountability of what they’re doing with our money now – and you need more of it? Time to show your math, Congress. Show us where the money that you already have is going. We know that it's going to your cousins and your cronies, but we want an audit.
And remember the VAT - would be ON TOP of all your state, city, and county taxes - plus, one would assume with sin items, like soda pop, cigarettes, and gasoline - it would be tax on top of those already high taxes. Oh yeah!
Here's the whole episode for you! In HD (link!)
"Being Good is so Hard!"
This show is Hank Hill, flipped.
The vegan dog is beyond awesome. "So many missing animals in this neighborhood..."
"...paper... or plastic?" - [Babies cry]
Though it will no doubt be labeled right-wing agitprop by some of its cherished targets, The Goode Family is not really conservative, but something closer to the barbed libertarianism of South Park. What the show is really mocking is groupthink conformity - and that is welcome humor.
What worked about King of the Hill was that her was a ultra-conservative portraiture who was able to crack his shell and see the middle ground. The lessons were nice. I think we can all agree that it was just on too long. Way too long
Keep up the good work Mike Judge. I'll be tuning in June 3 on ABC.
May 27, 2009
On one hand, everything we make, consume, toss out and replace just about everything at the local Wal Mart or Target. Our habit to repeat this cycle of consuming 'stuff' is the antithesis of the idea to reduce, recycle, and reuse. The consumer based and capitalist based society that has existed pre-WWI is completely opposite of the eco-friendly idea that we can live within our needs. Choosing to not 'keep up with the Jones ' is downright Un-American. And even if you are trying to match Chip Jones's new Hybrid SUV and the giant new plastic self turning composter from Costco - although he's still buying stuff - it's still more stuff!
Believe it or not, there was a time that things were built to last. You would buy one car - and when it broke, you could fix it. The disposable world that we take for granted just didn't exist. No, not even razor blades. It was a straight edge and you would sharpen it. Hey, maybe that's why facial hair was so prevalent back in the day?
When did the idea of buying something once - then keeping it forever - change?
Let's look again to razor blades....
The razor industry, specifically King Camp Gillette, is known for a pioneering the marketing strategy in which the seller takes a loss on the device, in this case the razor handle, and makes money on refills, the blades. That model is used by inkjet printers and cartridges, video-game consoles and games and mobile phones and wireless service, I'm sure you can think of a couple others... Great idea, and as a bonus the safety razor (the product) also limited the exposure of a head-severing straight edge next to your grandpa's jugular down to a few millimeters.
Another example of a 'revolution' in the throw-away consumer society happened over a century ago. Lawrence Luellen had already become interested in the concept of a manufactured paper drinking cup that could be delivered by a vending machine and connected to a water cooler. At the time, public places often featured common water vessels with a single tin dipper shared by all. That means one shared cup next to the water. Was it just a coincidence that the two leading causes of death in the United States at that time were pneumonia and Tuberculosis?
By 1908, Luellen had patented a porcelain machine that dispensed a paper cup and a drink of water for a penny. The company soon expanded its market to drug stores and soda fountains. The post-World War I flu epidemic cemented the value of disposable drinking cups in the public consciousness.
(I cannot find the proper citation but..) Once the paper cup thing really took off they had to create an informational marketing campaign explaining to the end user that it was okay to toss the cup in the garbage - since the culture demanded that they keep that paper cup that came out of the vending machine - forever. It was, after all, a perfectly good cup.
And now, paper cup expenditure growth is roughly proportional to the spending habits of the middle class worldwide with the regional differences in the growth rate. Think about it, when Starbucks is opening a store on every street corner - paper cup sales are through the roof. Lately, not as much.
Okay, we started filling our rubbish tins around 1918 with paper cups and safety razors. But when did this form of economy really take off for just about everything else?
In the waning days of WWII, President Truman's council of economic gurus was challenged to find a way to convert a war economy to peace.
Shortly after the end of the war, retailing analyst Victor Lebow expressed the solution: “Our enormously productive economy … demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption…. we need things consumed, burned up, replaced, and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate.” So if you want to blame or thank just one person, there's your guy.
President Eisenhower’s council of economic advisors chairman stated: “The American economy’s ultimate purpose is to produce more consumer goods.” Not better health care, education, housing, transportation, or recreation or less poverty and hunger, but providing more stuff to consumers.
Hey! Isn't that Target's Mission Statement?
When goods are well-made and durable, eventually markets are saturated. An endless market is created by introducing rapid obsolescence (clothes, cars, computers, gadgets, paper cups, condoms...). And with disposability, where an article is used once and thrown away, the market will never be saturated. Ta-dah!
Consumer goods aren’t created by the economy out of thin air though. They come from resources, and when they are used up, they will be returned to the Earth as garbage. It takes energy to extract, process, manufacture, and transport products, while air, water, and soil can be wasted or polluted at many points in the life cycle of the product. In other words, what we consume has direct effects on nature and our surroundings - a.k.a. the environment.
And then there are social and "spiritual" costs. Allen Kanner and Mary Gomes write in The All-Consuming Self: “The purchase of a new product, especially a ‘big ticket’ item such as a car or computer, typically produces an immediate surge of pleasure and achievement and often confers status and recognition upon the owner. Yet as the novelty wears off, the emptiness threatens to return. The standard consumer solution is to focus on the next promising purchase.” Kind of like sex? My last beer?
Ultimately, it goes beyond pleasure or status; acquiring stuff becomes an unquenchable demand. Paul Wachtel writes in The Poverty of Affluence: “Having more and newer things each year has become not just something we want but something we need. The idea of more, ever-increasing wealth, has become the center of our identity and our security, and we are caught up by it as the addict is by his drugs.”
Much of what we purchase is not essential for our survival or even basic human comfort but is based on impulse, novelty, a momentary desire. And there is a hidden price that we, nature, and future generations will pay for it too.
When consumption becomes the very reason economies exist, we never ask “how much is enough?”, “why do we need all this stuff?”, and “are we any happier?” Our personal consumer choices have ecological, social, and psychological consequences.
So what we've got here is way - way beyond just buying stuff. It's become part of the American psychological imbalance. Even the best hippie granola muncher is pining to buy an iPod to play some obscure Grateful Dead show in 1982 and an ironic new Che Guevara/Cookie Monster shirt on threadless.com. Apparently to up the immediate 'happy' time, if even for a half an hour, we need more stuff. While it seems this would be a great time to re-examine some of our deeply held notions of consumerism and what got us into the Great Recession... perhaps we should also consider the other psychological factors that influence our unsustainable lifestyles. I don't think we can handle just going cold turkey on this one, but maybe it's time to have some group therapy on this one?
Just a thought. Feel free to weigh in on the issue.
May 26, 2009
"I know I could give him a check," Burris said. "Myself."
But in the same call, Burris tells Robert Blagojevich he is concerned he and Rod Blagojevich will "catch hell."
"And if I do get appointed that means I bought it," Burris said.
"And, and God knows number one, I, I wanna help Rod," Burris says later in the call. "Number two, I also wanna, you know, hope I get a consideration to get that appointment."
"And however that goes, ah, it would dictate, ah, you know how the press treats it," he said.
"Understand," Rob Blagojevich answered.
"'Cause man, I, I will be, you know we both would be profiled," Burris continued. "And we don't need that."
A federal judge on Tuesday gave prosecutors permission to turn over the recorded conversation to the Senate Ethics Committee, which has launched a review of Burris's conduct prior to his appointment by Blagojevich. The Smoke Monster already asked, but Burris kind of lied to ole' Smokie.
Burris did not specifically mention offering Blagojevich a check in affidavits he filed in Springfield in connection with hearings on Blagojevich's impeachment. On a "good will" tour around the state in February, Burris addressed a conversation he had with Blagojevich's brother, Robert, during the fall timeframe.
"So some time shortly after Obama was elected, the brother called," Burris said then. "And now in the meantime, I'd talked to some people about trying to see if we could put a fundraiser on. Nobody was -- they said we aren't giving money to the governor. And I said, 'OK, you know, I can't tell them what to do with their money.'
"So when the [governor's] brother called me back, I said, 'Well, look Rob ... I can't raise any money from my friends. I said, maybe my partner and I, you can talk this over and see, could we go to some other people that we might be able to talk to that would help us out if we give -- because we give a fundraiser in the law office, nobody going to show up. We'll probably have a thousand dollars for you or something to that effect.'"
Read the order allowing the government to turn over Burris' recorded conversation HERE.
Read the government motion and transcript of the secretly recorded phone call HERE.
No word if the nuclear device that was detonated at the bottom of Starved Rock will place the castaways into a new 'alternate' or new timeline yet - or if they'll have the memories of the island. Since the producers used the same technique in the Star Trek reboot, I think it's safe to assume that the people that were 'touched' by Governor Quinn will now be on the Ajira flight - like they were supposed to be... all along. Except for Juliet. Governor Quinn never touched her, and if she never remembers meeting James, then her wish will have been fullfilled.
It’s an addictively fun game played throughout the Midwest, but is quickly becoming a national phenomenon. It’s played similarly to horseshoes but is much safer. Opposing teams of one to two players toss corn-filled bags at slanted boards placed 30 feet apart. One point is achieved by landing a bag on the board and three points for a bag that goes through the hole. The first team to twenty-one wins!
The mission of American Cornhole is to bring premium quality game boards and bags to the world. Our sets appeal to both the enthusiast who has played the game competitively for years and the first-time player. With our Tournament Series game boards and premium SoftTouch™ bags, we are the new standard by which all other Cornhole games are measured.
And, by the way, YES, our Tournament Series game boards are proudly MADE IN THE U.S.A.
A new pastime is born...are you in?
For President Obama that moment came in the middle of a round of golf at Ft. Belvoir in Virginia.
Now watch this drive.
May 25, 2009
Memorial Day is a holiday, peculiarly observed. If you have not served on a detail, volunteered for honor guard, or flown a missing man formation over a military ceremony on Memorial Day, you may primarily associate this holiday with the running the Indianapolis 500, the beginning of the Critical Days of Summer, or just a glorious three-day weekend at the end of May.
The official function of Memorial Day is to honor the men and women of the United States who have died while serving our nation's military service. It is an American holiday, with obscure origins even though it is less than 150 years old, and claimed by many as their own patriotic invention. Officially proclaimed in 1868, Memorial Day became widespread by 1902, and was named a federal holiday in 1971.
Originally known as Decoration Day, the holiday began as the organized honoring of the fallen from the Civil War by decorating their graves with flowers, candles and prayer. After World War I, the separate Union and Confederate Decoration Days combined as Memorial Day and recognized those who have died in military service during any war.
During the years, traditional observances of Memorial Day diminished. Many Americans forgot the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day, and at many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are untended. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. Some people think the day is for honoring all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country. Memorial Day used to be a solemn day of mourning. With the memory of the lost still fresh, it was a sacred day of remembrance to honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. Businesses closed for the day, and towns held parades honoring the fallen, often ending at a local cemeteries. People took the day to clean and decorate graves of those who fell in service to their country with flowers and flags the graves. As the decades passed those observances faded.
"There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 1950s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 Soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry (Regiment) place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of Soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights," according to www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html.
Within a few hours' drive from Spangdahlem Air Base, there are 55,586 reasons to observe this Memorial Day. They are the graves of our military dead, including at least 14 recipients of the Medal of Honor. Many of the graves are marked with "Here rests in honored glory an American Soldier known but to God." Each of the seven nearest American military cemeteries also records the missing. They are American Battle Monuments Cemeteries and Memorials. The graves are well cared for by the U.S. government. Many of the cemeteries in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have local nationals who have adopted American graves as individuals, groups and families. It is common for them to honor our dead on our Memorial Day by decorating the graves as an expression of appreciation for their freedom and the sacrifices made by Americans on their behalf.
In 1923, Congress established the American Battle Monuments Commission. This was done largely to "commemorate the service, achievements, and sacrifice of U.S. armed forces where they have served overseas since 1917." link
There are seven ABMC cemeteries located in Eastern France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg relatively close to Spangdahlem AB by car. They are the Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium, the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium, the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in Eastern France, the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Luxembourg, the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in France, the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in the Netherlands and the St. Mihiel American Cemetery and Memorial in France. There are an additional 13 ABMC cemeteries in Belgium, France and Italy.
So, this Memorial Day you might consider to decorate a grave and take a moment of silence to reflect on the sacrifices made by our fellow Americans.
I wish you a safe and thoughtful Memorial Day.
May 24, 2009
Often I think about, "Whatever happened to..." such and such a minor celebrity that touched our useless lives back in the day.
The first one that I was thinking of was John-John from Sesame Street.
John Williams III (born in New York City, circa 1970), better known to audiences as John-John, was one of the many small children who appeared on the early seasons of Sesame Street. He joined the show at the age of two, after his mother answered an open call for Sesame Street kids. "The thing that clicked, my mother told me, was that I was able to relate to the Muppets. I wasn't afraid of them," Williams said in a 1998 interview. "And I remembered every single character's name."
Though he appeared on the street segments with Mr. Hooper, Susan, and the rest, John-John's shining hour was his honest, often unpredictable, interactions with Grover, Herry Monster, and others. John-John contributed to many of the best remembered Sesame Street Muppet & Kid Moments.
As a young man, Williams joined the Air Force, and was stationed at Laughlin AFB in Texas. He made a special appearance in the 1989 TV special Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting, where he reunited with Herry Monster. (link on the jump, if you really need to see it)
As of 1998, Williams and his wife resided in San Antonio with their two children, and was working on establishing himself as a Tejano singer.
May 23, 2009
I'm kind of getting nervous.
Maybe you are too?
Perhaps you are still employed, but there have been so many cuts, you're doing the job of the three idiots who used to work around you - not the forth one, she's still asleep in the corner and you still have to cover her. But the threat of a bloody axe keeps you in line...
You've lost half your retirement, your savings and stocks, after you did everything you were supposed to to secure it, and were all on the up-and-up...
The sleepless nights wondering if you'll be able to buy that beach house in Florida... then you wake up in a flop sweat realizing that you could be saving an extra 30 bucks a month on your DirecTV, as long as you don't mind only watching the "Family Package." In my case, that's about all we watch anyway, so let's save the thirty and apply it to the electricity. Can't get the juice, no point in putting into a dark television set? I figured that one out already.
It's Fear. Crippling Fear. The fear...
When the hell will we just say Enough! This has got to end.
Let's all just DECIDE, RIGHT NOW to step out of the paralyzing fear that's stalking all of us right now.
Hey, Cap'n? What can I do?
Start by asking yourself 5 questions.
1. What do I want? Money
2. What have I been putting off doing that I know I need to do? Bathing.
3. What is good in my life right now? Uh... Skip, come back.
4. What are the 3 most important things I need to be focusing 80% of my time on in the next 30 days? Three, Jebus! Narrow it down to three? Well, there's the FIRST thing on the list... Second, make a list!
5. How can I add fun to my life today? Hopefully make someone who came to Blasphemes crack a smile. Failing that, crack a beer.
Fear comes from an unfortunate ability to imagine the worst case scenario. It's possible that by obsessing on your fear, you fulfill the prophecy. When you focus on what you want instead, you drive yourself towards that and away from what you fear.
Fear can paralyze. Next you question everything you do while feeling imprisoned and refuse to act. You know the things you need to do that you've been putting off. Action beats inaction every time- schedule it and get 'er done. Lists. Lots of lists.
When the fear crushes you the best way to negate it, is to examine how much "good" is in your life right now. Got a family? Laid off? Silver lining is extra time with the kids right now. Single? Silver lining is that you don't have kids to worry about. Fear destroys, but gratitude strengthens. Cash helps too. Just spend a minute to focus on what's working out in your life. That builds momentum. Stops the screaming in your head for about a minute.
Let's face it, fear doesn't do anything good. You frenetically try to do as many things as you can. 20% of what we do brings in 80% of the result. That's what I find I'm doing. Now I'm going to focus 80% of your time on the 3 most important things that will bring in the most results.
Fun is important, it relaxes you, energizes you, invigorates you, and refreshes you. Besides, now I have the time. I'm going to TRY to enjoy it. I'm not sitting in the basement watching TV all day - as much as I'd like to - no, I'm trying to generate some new junk.
We either need to all just pretend that we're no longer putting up with this bad economy crap, or we need to figure something else out.
So, anyone interested in buying a Blasphemes T-Shirt?
How about just clicking on some ads?
Here's a clip from "Joy Junction," a creepy Christian kids show that ran on TBN from the early 80's until recently.
Here, we see Marty the puppet, talking about going to a friends house, and resisting the temptation to look at porn that the kids were pressuring him to peruse...
Best ventriloquist ever.
May 22, 2009
I'm fascinated with this guy... he can just go on talking about things that he has absolutely no idea what he's talking about, and flatly just wrong about... and I keep watching. Hypnotized, lulled into his calm but serious voice.
Ken Hovind Creation-Evangalist seminar, excerpt from: "Seminar 1 Why The Earth is Not "Millions of Years Old."
My favorite parts?
"No one's ever seen a sun being born."
"Big Dinosaurs were Mooned To Death"
"Comets indicate the solar system is less than 10,000 years old."
A little about the speaker: He's 57, he graduated from East Peoria Community High School. He is married and has three adult children and five grandchildren. Since November 2006 Hovind is serving a ten-year prison sentence in the Federal Correctional Institution, Edgefield in Edgefield, South Carolina, after being convicted of 58 federal counts, including twelve tax offenses, one count of obstructing federal agents and forty-five counts of structuring cash transactions. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Kent Hovind is scheduled for release from prison in August 2015.
As some of you know, I have zero problem with keeping the Gitmo facility open. No one else wants them, after Bush asked, pleaded and begged the allies to take them.
Not too surprising, no one wants these nice terrorist folks to come to US soil either.
But wasn't this supposed to be about how the Bush administration treated the prisoners there?
What about detaining a bad guy indefinitely without any legal recourse - the legal and physical Phantom Zone or Catholic Limbo? I thought that the original argument had been about flimsy or poor evidence against against the prisoner picked up off the battlefield? The problem starts with a national from another country, say, Saudi Arabia, illegally in Iraq or Afghanistan, aiming weapons at US Soldiers and civilians of the host country? Instead of shooting said illegal alien aggressor war monger, we decided that we should take them out... to sunny Cuba.
There's a discussion of ambiguous and gray-possibly-illegal torture methods used on three bad guys, but that discussion has become a smokescreen for both sides of the political-do-nothings in Congress. What did you know, and when did you know it means NOTHING. As much as I tire of Lady Pelosi - it's a boring argument. She's incompetent. We already know that. Can we move on? She should have just said I didn't understand - not accuse the CIA of misleading or lying to her and Congress. We would have believed that she was an idiot. That's called transparency.
Look, Gitmo has morphed into a symbol, more than anything else. A symbol to the world of America's undiagnosed bipolar disorder. On one hand, America is a bastion of democracy and liberty, free markets and possibility of greatness for everyone who wishes to participate. On the other, we'll do anything -anything- to keep our place as the world's ultimate super power. We'll keep all threats against our crazy lifestyle that we'll assassinate and destabilize your country, even invade it, and if you really piss us off, we'll waterboard you... hell if you attack us, we'll nuke you, twice.
And what would happen if you DID bring these nice terrorists to the US prison system? Haven't you ever seen a documentary about how bad American prisons are? Haven't you seen Frontline: The Released? Up The Ridge? What about all those shows on MSNBC Sunday night? HBO's OZ? At least at Gitmo the prisoners have nice Caribbean weather and access to other prisoners, prayer rugs, and - most importantly - media attention.
Now compare the conditions at Gitmo with a SuperMax. In a SuperMax, the bad guys are held uncommunicado in isolation cells, no visitors, no contact with the outside world, and likely worse food. [Maybe even a processed pork product?! Oh no!] Hell, compare conditions at Gitmo with just a regular US prison? Rapes, racism, gang warfare, overcrowding, limited funding, you know, OZ!
I can imagine that Gitmo, while being limbo, has got to be better than a regular US prison? Got an opinion on it? Go on...
Seems to be a Battlestar influence with the faith and devotion element, i.e. religion? Also, perhaps this is our first sci fi of the Obama Administration? An examination of "what lies under the surface? Obey, don't question us? Careful what you blindly worship themes?" Just a quick thought after watching the trailer. Again, a morality play of current events wrapped up in lizards and spaceships will make V great. If it's just a re-boot without examining other themes and new angles, there's no point. Just bring back the Red Dust and the "Star Child "garbage.
May 21, 2009
Wait, so all that posturing and anti-Bush self-righteous rhetoric slandering Bush the last eight years was nothing more than politics? No!
The reality of this issue, is that Obama said they were going to come here. Supermax prisons? Oh, well he didn't say that. He said they're getting "released" here. And everyone went batnuts over the idea. And the Democrats lost a battle.
And now Obama is so awesome that he can even make Karl Rove happy: "Barack Obama inherited a set of national-security policies that he rejected during the campaign but now embraces as president. This is a stunning and welcome about-face." (link)
Now that the revolting Senate Democrats are telling him he can't have money to shut down Gitmo, MAYBE, that wasn't such a good idea - and MAYBE - there was a pretty good reason why the bad guys were put there in the first place? And MAYBE after hearing that 1-7 of the bad guys (link to that report) who were released end up going straight back into the fight - potentially killing innocents or American soldiers?
No word what the other six guys end up doing. Dentistry perhaps?
What amazes me is that ole' Mr. Personality, Dick Cheney is not only back in the news, he's able to shape and win the debate... oh, there's probably a cartoon for that - here you go....
Come on Obama voters, is this the Hope and Change you voted for? Is this what you were expecting?
Me, I thought the second Obama and the Congressional Democrats won, they'd put their war helmets on, put John Kerry in an important committee and declare that the war had been fought incorrectly, and now it's their turn to do it right - then they'd pull a couple FDR references and fight the war "correctly."
Hey, they own it now. It's all theirs. Gitmo, Afghanistan [not as much Iraq, for some reason] and Iran. It's theirs. They wanted the job, and they got it. But how come they are still using Bush's playbook, and listening to the fired coach? That's the better question.
"Let's just write a pamphlet," or "let's just talk in front of the camera." But no. Not these two gentleman. They are the Michael Bays of conduit bending videos.
Stay til the end. It's worth it.
May 20, 2009
"One thing I can say for certain after Day 1 of this campaign – billboards will soon be going up around the country," said Farah.
More than $10,000 has been raised thus far from many hundreds of donors – more than enough to begin putting up the first billboards. The average donation was $25. WND will keep viewers up to date when billboards are erected.
Farah said the campaign was born of frustration with timid elected officials in Washington, corrupt judges around the country and a news media that show a stunning lack of curiosity about the most basic facts of Obama's background – especially how it relates to constitutional eligibility for the highest office in the land.
"As Obama transforms this country from self-governing constitutional republic to one governed by a central ruling elite, the simple fact remains that no controlling legal authority has established that he is indeed a 'natural born citizen' as the Constitution requires," Farah said. "Obama's promises of transparency have become a bad joke as he continues to hide simple, innocuous documents like his birth certificate and his student records."
The idea behind the billboard campaign is to make sure Obama cannot avoid this question any longer. He must be asked to produce it at every turn, Farah says. Billboard space is currently being negotiated in Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Sacramento, San Francisco, New York-New Jersey, Des Moines, Seattle and other metro areas.
"Is it unusual for a news agency to launch such a campaign?" asks Farah. "Yes it is. But we live in very unusual times. The founding fathers built special protections into the First Amendment for the free press. The reason they did that is because they understood a vibrant 'Fourth Estate' was necessary as an independent watchdog on government. It is in that tradition that WND assumes this role – since nobody else in the press will do it."
Donations are being accepted to defray the costs of a national billboard campaign with the simple message: "Where's the birth certificate?"
"I wish such a campaign were not absolutely necessary," said Farah. "I wish there were checks and balances in our political and electoral systems to ensure that constitutional eligibility of presidential candidates was established before politicians could assume the highest office in the land. I wish my colleagues in the news media believed the Constitution really means what it says and pressed this issue as hard as we have pressed it at WND. I wish radio talk-show hosts were bold enough to ask this question. But wishing is not enough. It's time to raise the visibility of this issue vital to the rule of law in America. I ask everyone to pitch in and help WND make a simple yet profound statement: The Constitution still matters."
WND previously launched a petition campaign that has collected more than 370,000 names demanding Obama's eligibility be verified and demonstrated publicly. That campaign continues. That list has been shared with members of the Electoral College and the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Too silly? Too late? Do you care? Sending them a check? Discuss...
The Massachusetts state Senate approved a 25 percent sales tax hike last night and removed the exemption on booze, bringing recession-ravaged Bay State residents one step closer to paying more at the cash register. (more)
Senators also passed a municipal package that would let cities and towns boost taxes on meals and lodging .
“We were very sensitive to that and tried to look at the least harmful place to go,” said Senate President Therese Murray, who argued the sales tax - boosted from 5 percent to 6.25 percent - has exemptions on necessities such as food and clothing.
The sales tax vote, approved by a veto-proof 29-to-10 margin, came after senators moved quickly to lift the sales tax exemption on alcohol in package stores, which they hope will bring in $80 million more a year for substance abuse treatment. Rigghhhhhttttt....
The speedy approval of the booze tax prompted a loud outcry from several Republicans who said they never got a chance to debate the question on the Senate floor.
“To put another tax on working people in the commonwealth of Massachusetts on top of everything else we’re doing today sends the wrong message,” said Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth).
The sales tax has already been approved in the House, but Gov. Deval Patrick has vowed to veto the increase if additional reforms aren’t passed.You know what I find very strange - these are the great great grandsons that started a war because they didn't want to pay British taxes.
There are four planned seasons of this series, with 13-22 episodes each. I only hope that they only went to the first Mini Series. The original V which was an analogy of a Nazi take - using aliens for the morality play. Or it a "Step-by-step guide on how to conquer Earth without firing a shot" depending on how you look at it.
May 19, 2009
It's happened on Marconi Avenue near Walnut just after 4 a.m. The owner of Marconi Coin And Jewelry Exchange called 9-1-1 saying two men with ski masks on were trying to break-in to his business. The 911 operator heard gunshots while still on the line with the business owner. The 65-year-old business owner said one of the suspects was lying in the parking lot and the second subject was trying to help him.
When deputies arrived and they found an unidentified Hispanic male lying on the ground and suffering from a gunshot wound to his upper body. Paramedics pronounced the suspect dead at the scene. The second suspect had fled from the scene.
About an hour after the first call, deputies found and arrested the second suspect, 22-year-old Sergio Antonio Arauza, at the corner of Marconi Avenue and Eastern Avenue. He is being charged with one count of burglary and violating his probation. He is being held on $100,500 bail.
The store owner has not been arrested. The Sheriff's department will investigate and then turn the case over to the District Attorney's office. But deputies say the shooting could be justified.
"The business owner has the right to protect himself and his business," said Sacramento County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Tim Curran. "And he has a right to be armed."
The business was apparently robbed about three weeks ago on April 29th. The owner told deputies he believed the two suspects trying to break in this morning were the same men who burglarized the store before.
"Bill's always prepared. He's always on his toes," said a friend of the shop owner. "If they hit the place three weeks ago, they know what's in there and they either told his friends or came back again. That gun was in his shop because he's got them to protect himself."
Investigators are looking for a possible connection between Arauza and a series of other Sacramento-area burglaries that occurred this morning.
Arauza is scheduled to be arraigned on May 20, 2009 at 1:30 p.m.
Listen, this man knows about video production. I mean, did you see him sort of walk out onto the set, kind of? Then he flipped his image - whoa! If I needed a video to be produced, I can assure you, I would go to this guy! The best part about his art, is that it wasn't live, which means he had to look at the footage while importing and editing the footage. At some point he would have had to say, "you know, I'm okay with my calves being huge on screen, appearing out of nowhere, then walking off."
"Camera mic - you bet, that's my commitment to quality and keeping costs down. I don't need that 'fancy' audio."
"You know what we need here, more crazy wipes that came with my Digital Juice demo, show the customers the spit and polish they can expect. I better use all of them, just to be sure."
"George Lucas - watch your ass."
May 18, 2009
One person was shot in the torso and another was shot multiple times during the event at Regional Park.
More than 1,200 people gathered for the event, geared toward encouraging teens to turn away from violence.
"All of a sudden, guys started tripping, a guy started shooting and kids got ran over," said Angel Easley.
"I thought it was a balloon pop, and I seen a dude with a red bandana and a gray hoodie, and I just ran," said Toriano Easley Jr.
Alfred Frazier, 17, and Sam ZayZay, 22, were arrested initially, police said. ZayZay has since been released pending further investigation. Frazier is accused of shooting with intent to kill.
Investigators are talking to two other people possibly involved in the shooting. The names of the shooting victims have not been released. Police have not indicated whether the shooting is gang-related.
If you like beer in Illinois, get ready. They're going to RAISE your BEER TAX.
Key legislative "leaders" contemplated hiking the state's tax on beer by 2.6 cents per six pack for the first time in a decade to help underwrite a proposed multibillion-dollar statewide construction program. [Because nothing makes more sense to fund a road with more beer taxes, right?]
Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) confirmed talk of a beer tax, which would be part of a trio of liquor tax increases under consideration. Taxes of 13 cents per bottle of wine and 80 cents per bottle of hard liquor have been on the table.
"The beer people feel left out so we're considering adding them," Cullerton quipped.If I weren't angry enough before, and then I read Cullerton's cute little slight.
(more) Luckily, there's already a mascot.
"Everybody was saying I was Spock," said the US leader, known to have a wonkish command of the minutiae of policy -- not unlike the dispassionate movie Vulcan to whom he has been compared.
Newsweek gushed however that Obama's version of the character would be "Spock with global sex appeal."
The latest in the "Star Trek" sci-fi franchise beamed up to the top of the North American box office last weekend, but slipped this week to second place.
Revealing a bit more about his leisure time viewing, the president told the magazine that he refuses to watch cable news, opting to stick to televised sports.
May 17, 2009
Yesterday Michelle Obama giving a commencement speech at the University of California, Merced’s graduation ceremony. Of course, there were the obligatory brief self-bio that every commencement speech-writer inserts about his or her own life, and Michelle Obama was no different. She talked about where she came from, and what she has achieved. And she encouraged those who will become successful in their careers to “give back” to society. This coming from the family who gave less than 5% of their income over the past ten years to charitable giving, but who has no problem raising taxes on the wealthy in the name of “public good.”
Michelle Obama is an idiot. I’m sorry, I’m being mean. She’s not really an idiot, she’s probably just ignorant, can’t make basic observations about U.S. society and culture, or ignores what is strikingly obvious in most instances because her bias against the wealthy and successful blinds her to what actually goes on in an economy.
Her first assumption is that when somebody becomes successful in America, it is at somebody else’s “expense.” Unfortunately, Michelle, we live in a society primarily based upon freedom of choice (something I believe she touts with regards to some topics such as abortion, but not others). That means that if somebody wants to be successful by acquiring other people’s money (legally), they must offer something in return (it’s why you say “thank you” to the owner of the coffee shop as he says the same back to you when you buy a cup of coffee). If I want what you have (sounds kinda greedy, doesn’t it?), I have to provide you something in return (perhaps the best way to handle the notion of greed in society). If you don’t like what I want to provide you, I can’t have your money. In general, this is how things work legally. It’s how our legal structure is setup.
So when these successful businesspersons provide great things for society such as home construction, cabinet manufacturing, automobiles, quilts, or even family counseling, they are engaging in trade—both parties inherently become wealthier. If that were not true, the trade wouldn’t take place (why would I trade something that I believe would make me “poorer”?). The only instance this doesn’t take place is through coercive methods; anytime one is coerced to do something he wouldn’t do voluntarily, there is not a “mutual gain.”
Michelle Obama believes that “giving back” is not voluntary generous giving (though she may accept this). What Michelle is doing is subtle: get young minds to believe that (1) what they are doing is not in and of itself a service to society, therefore (2) “giving back” means later being okay with some of your markers of success (i.e., money) to be taken from you in the name of “public service” (with or without the voluntary giving piece). If I were trying to get society to be okay with coercive generosity, I’d say this is a great way to redefine taxation into some quasi-voluntary activity.
The Obamas may believe that private charity can have positive impacts upon society. They may also believe in businesspersons who are generous and do not take advantage of “the little guy,” and therefore provide something good for society. So along those lines, Michelle’s admonitions are acceptable. But knowing where she comes from, her advice is at best laughable and at worst hypocritical. But they act as if they believe that the government is the source of all (at least most) good in society, and that top-down planning of an economy and society is the best way to achieve nirvana in this life.
Feel free to visit Doug @ An Unquiet Voice on the link
Not-for-profit, activist organization seeks THREE freelance videographers with their own video camera & tripod for taping of presentations at upcoming Socialism 2009 conference in June. Professionals or budding professionals. [You mean students?]
$200 per day*
CAMERA REQUIREMENTS: [Professional $10K cameras listed]
LOCATION: Wyndham Hotel
(* Socialism 2009 is an advocate of unions and union rates-of-pay. However, as a non-profit, our budget is super tight, and 3 shooters over 3 days adds up. Can you work with us on this?)
No, I can't 'work with you on this'. If I weren't so lazy, I'd look up the Wyndham Hotel to see if it IS a Union hall. That would be funny.
May 16, 2009
Human brains are finely tuned belief engines. Millions of years of evolution [or 6,000, depending on your Board of Education] have honed our grey stuffs to spot causation in the world and form beliefs about what makes cause and effect. It helps us survive when we notice that certain events always follow other events. Such knowledge helps us reliably find food, mates, shelter and conspiracy theories. But our brains are taking efficient shortcuts. We filter out and ignore failures and remember and reinforce successes. And most of the time this works. But beliefs formed in this way can lead to mistakes. Pressing the button may well be a false conclusion drawn from past experience because of a failure to spot hidden causes and alternatives to the obvious. Maybe it really is just the elevator closing the door without intervention?
This all is related to the illusion of control psychological effect studied by Ellen Langer and others, where people are shown to believe they have some control over things they clearly don’t: in most cases, a button does afford us control, and we would rationally expect it to, and if we’re used to it not doing anything, we either no longer bother pressing it, or we still press it every time “on the off-chance that one of these days it’ll work”.
By now you should be wondering why even install the close door button if it doesn’t work?
There are a few options:
- The button really does work, it’s just set on time delay.
Suppose the elevator is set so that the doors close automatically after five seconds. The close-door button can be set to close the doors after two or three seconds. The button may be operating properly when you push it, but because there’s still a delay, you don’t realize it.
- The button is broken. Since a broken close-door button will not render the elevator inoperable and thus does not necessitate an emergency service call, it may remain broken for weeks.
- The button has been disconnected, usually because the building owner received too many complaints from passengers who had somebody slam the doors on them.
- The button was never wired up in the first place.
But thinking about this more generally: how often are deceptive buttons/controls/options – deliberate false affordance – used strategically in interaction design? Are there any examples of products (other than, say, children’s toys) deliberately designed with fake controls to make the user feel in charge even though he/she isn’t?
Perhaps, oh, voting? Just a thought?
May 14, 2009
"Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell and Alan Tudyk of Dollhouse play Homeland Security agents investigating a terrorist sleeper cell in New York. Morris Chestnut is a businessman whose shady past plays into the aliens' arrival. Joel Gertsch is a priest who struggles with his faith in the wake of an alien encounter, and then he's thrust into a conspiracy when a dying man comes into his church and gives him info on the aliens. And Morena Baccarin is the leader of the aliens, named Anna. Scott Wolf is a journalist. The whole thing is played very seriously and shot in a very J.J. Abrams style. [AICN]"
Whoa- does that mean lots of lens flare and very little plot?
Oh good, cause I was afraid they were going to screw it up.