Friday, January 30, 2009
When I discovered the break-in, there were over 14,000 messages in the mail queue (usually there are none). I quickly cleared these out but what little damage that could be done was now done. My use of the Yahoo VIP SMTP relays was disabled so I had to switch back to the semi-lame RoadRunner relays. Not a huge issue, but irritating. According to the error message, the VIP servers should respond again in 24 hours. So we'll see if I have to figure out how to get Yahoo to fix me or not.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
The French sure do. There are massive strikes sweeping across France this week to protest the flagging economy, job cuts and falling wages.
The head of France's biggest union said a million workers had rallied to demand action to protect jobs and wages.
Overall, some 23% of the country's public sector workers are thought to have joined the action, which was called by eight major French unions.America used to have unions that looked out for the workers. Not so much anymore... It's funny, the French workers are angered by the same things we are here in America.
Many people are furious that Mr Sarkozy said there was no money left to raise wages and consumer spending power, but nonetheless managed to find billions of euros to bail out floundering French banks, says the BBC's Emma-Jane Kirby in Paris.Money for rich bankers, nothing for the working people. Sounds familiar. But what are American unions doing? Not much... They're taking the blame for job losses at Boeing. That's about it.
The biggest problem our elections face today is absentee voting, Fund said. Absentee ballots are extremely prone to fraud and make the actual election into a hectic month-long process. It is laughable, Fund said, that some concerned citizens will raise a ruckus over the difficulties with voting machines but trust the United States Postal Service implicitly. Besides, early voting doesn't even raise turnout.Wow, multiple points of FAIL here. But the most egregious one is the underlying implication that voter fraud is rampant. Well guess what. That's a big FAIL too! In a report from the Ohio special prosecutor who was responding to the wingnut Right's claim of "massive" voter fraud, he found the following
“Ultimately,” Special Prosecutor Michael O’Neill wrote in a report, “the investigators discovered ‘get-out-the-vote’ practices, sponsored by community organizations, which took full advantage of this unique absentee-voting period, but no evidence these practices violated Ohio law.”Can we please stop listening to the GOP turds now???
The United Nations is to halve the food ration to millions of Zimbabweans, bringing it below what will keep an adult alive, as the numbers of people dependent on aid rises sharply and donations from foreign governments fall well short of demand.This is nuts. 600 calories a day is below the limit to sustain a human adult. The famine is compounded by the near total collapse of the Zimbabwean farming system under the guise of brutal cronyism masking as "land reform."
The World Food Programme is to cut the core maize ration in February from 10kg to 5kg a month – or just 600 calories a day – for 7 million Zimbabweans, about 70% of the people left in the country. The recommended ration is 12kg a month.
As a result of the cuts, many Zimbabweans will be fortunate to eat once a day. Millions have been left dependent on food aid because of years of crop failures mostly caused by the knock-on effects of the government's seizure of white-owned farms and the collapse of the economy and infrastructure. Most shops sell food only for US dollars because hyperinflation has wiped out the value of the Zimbabwe currency, and what is available is relatively expensive imports beyond the reach of the mass of unemployed and desperate Zimbabweans.The immediacy is driven by the faster-than-expected depletion of local grain reserves. Zimbabwe was committed to importing 800,000 tons of grain but only managed to purchase 200,000.
The April harvest is unlikely to bring relief. Agriculturalists say it will again fail; they estimate it will provide less than a quarter of the country's needs and that drastic food shortages will continue into next year once the results of the harvest have been consumed.Zimbabwe does not deserve this.
They're now "all-in" on a game of chicken with Obama. They hope he fails. They pray for his failure. They need him to fail. They've sided with the most extreme, radical right-wing elements of their party like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. They're calling the shots now. So Obama must fail. Because if he doesn't, they're done. Cooked. Game Over. From ineffective and irrelevant to extinction with one vote.
Good luck with that, GOPers. Good luck.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
President Obama recognizes no difference between the Jewish-Christian covenant between a woman and a man (a covenant that they will have and nurture children, if they are so blessed), and a civil contract between two persons of any sex, in order to set up a household of affection and sexual favors.Wow, where to go with this... First, marriage is not the exclusive province of the "Jewish-Christian covenant" any more than funerals are. Hindus, Buddhists and even us atheists get married every day. And many of us don't want to have kids (or, in my case, any more kids). So should they not be allowed to marry? Should older Americans who have no chance of procreation be prevented from getting married? This whole breeder excuse for man-on-woman marriage is really revolting.
This is a relapse into paganism.
Marriage in our society is a civil union. Civil. Got that? The religious component is merely an add-on. A fluffy follow-on to the civil proceeding. Ordination is unnecessary. Judges can marry people. And guess what, it's perfectly legal. As someone who was married by my brother-in-law who, through the use of the Internet, became an ordained minister in the Church of Spiritual Humanism, the religious component of our marriage was non-existent.
All the LGBT community is seeking is not to force your narrow, biggoted church to perform a ceremony against the will of the hateful parishioners, but rather to share in the same rights and priveleges as heterosexual couples under the protection of the 14th amendment to the US Constitution. Wingnuts need to understand that there are amendments to our Constitution other than the 2nd amendment. The 14th is a good one to read because it clearly states
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.Equal protection. That's the core of the 14th amendment. Equality. No discrimination in law. And, as we have established, marriage is a civil (i.e. legal) contract between two parties, there is no standing to block LGBT couples from sharing in those same rights under the equal protection clause.
What Obama actually did was call for the repeal of the abhorrent "Defense" of Marriage Act. I wish some wingnut or other conservative type would explain to me why marriage needs defending? What does the fact that Sam and Bob got married have to do with you? Why does this hate have to consume your lives? If two men or two women love each other, why do you get to tell them they're not entitled to the same rights and priveleges as a man and a woman? Where do you get off?
Conservative Christians are only happy when they're telling people what they can and can't do based on their own narrow view of morality. You know what? Fuck off.
You know it had to happen sooner or later. The Bush Crime Syndicate would have to give up power and, with any hope, the vacuum would make way for someone with integrity and honor. We'll, we're going to see if Obama is that person. Word is coming down that the ACLU (the protector of all our liberties!) is seeking access to the infamous Bush Torture Memos.
Oh how I hope those chickens come home to roost! Seeing these war criminals stand up before an International Court of Law would be true justice indeed.
The American Civil Liberties Union asked the Obama administration on Wednesday to release Justice Department memos that provided the legal underpinning for harsh interrogations, eavesdropping and secret prisons.
For years, the Bush administration refused to release them, citing national security, attorney-client privilege and the need to protect the government's deliberative process.
The ACLU's request, however, comes after President Barack Obama last week rescinded a 2001 Justice Department memo that gave agencies broad legal cover to reject public disclosure requests. Obama also urged agencies to be more transparent when deciding what documents to release under the Freedom of Information Act.
Mark Kleiman reminds us that there’s actually something perfectly sensible we could do about it—charge market rates for runway slots.Wow... What an awesome idea. Charge the private jets the actual costs associated with using a large airport runway. Same rate they charge the carriers at the time.
In essence, it would create incentives for the runway slots at peak-demand times to be filled with large-capacity planes meaning that more customers could travel during the aforementioned peak demand times.Cool idea!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Wanniski decided to turn the classical world of economics - which had operated on this simple demand-driven equation for seven thousand years - on its head. In 1974 he invented a new phrase - "supply side economics" - and suggested that the reason economies grew wasn't because people had money and wanted to buy things with it but, instead, because things were available for sale, thus tantalizing people to part with their money. The more things there were, the faster the economy would grow.Wow. By turning classical demand-side economics on it's head, Wanniski and Laffer managed to completely invert reality in favor of a plan that would lead the Conservitards out of their exile and into the bright uplands of hypocracy. By linking tax-cuts to increased government revenue and then saying that those tax-cuts needed to go to the top of the income scale rather than the bottom, the Republican party was reborn. And the first disciple of this new psuedo-economic strategy was Ronald Reagan, who, prior to Bush, was the worst President of the 20th century.
At the same time, Arthur Laffer was taking that equation a step further. Not only was supply-side a rational concept, Laffer suggested, but as taxes went down, revenue to the government would go up!
Neither concept made any sense - and time has proven both to be colossal idiocies - but together they offered the Republican Party a way out of the wilderness.
Of course Reagan spent the country into a recession to the point that Wanniski and Laffer almost feared that they'd be found out. But along came David Stockman and his "starve the beast" theory that argued for massive spending to prevent the Democrats from ever being able to discuss social or entitlement programs again.
Reagan, Greenspan, Winniski, and Laffer took the federal budget deficit from under a trillion dollars in 1980 to almost three trillion by 1988, and back then a dollar could buy far more than it buys today. They and George HW Bush ran up more debt in eight years than every president in history, from George Washington to Jimmy Carter, combined. Surely this would both starve the beast and force the Democrats to make the politically suicidal move of becoming deficit hawks.And at the same time, they managed to convince the nation that the Democrats were the party of big spenders. Democrats couldn't hold a candle to these turkeys when it came to spending. They were as profligate as they were dishonest. So what happened under Clinton? Well, we managed, by 1999 to get a balanced budget (finally) and then actually start paying off some of the debt principal. Shocking, I know. But the GOP couldn't have that, so they trashed Clinton and moved into the next phase, W.
"If the Democrats are going to play Santa Claus by promoting more spending, the Republicans can never beat them by promoting less spending. They have to promise tax cuts..."Go read the article for the rest of the story. It's a fascinating tale of lust, greed and betrayal. Well done Thom!
Ed Crane, president of the Libertarian CATO Institute, noted in a memo that year: "...Just cut taxes and grow the economy: government will shrink as a percentage of GDP, even if you don't cut spending. That's why you rarely, if ever, heard Kemp or Gingrich call for spending cuts, much less the elimination of programs and departments."
Attenborough went further in his opposition to creationism, saying it was "terrible" when it was taught alongside evolution as an alternative perspective. "It's like saying that two and two equals four, but if you wish to believe it, it could also be five ... Evolution is not a theory; it is a fact, every bit as much as the historical fact that William the Conqueror landed in 1066."
I love it. It's as if the religitards were questioning the veracity of simple mathematical equations for religious reasons. Awesome.
Monday, January 26, 2009
I guess it's true. It's hard to spin this in any kind of positive light.
"Why should I help you when what you write will be used to the detriment of our company?" replied Bill McNamee, head of CitiFlight Inc., the subsidiary that manages Citigroup's corporate fleet, when asked to comment about the new 7X.
"What relevance does it have but to hurt my company?"
This is William Kristol’s last column.Kristol couldn't hack it in the real media world. His columns were riddled with errors and unproven assertions. I guess the grown-ups at the Times had had enough.
Friday, January 23, 2009
An eleven-year-old Wisconsin girl died of diabetic ketoacidosis resulting from untreated juvenile diabetes. In her final days on earth, Kara Newmann had grown too weak to leave her bed. She was too weak even to talk. Since her parents believe that God alone has the ability to heal the sick, they wouldn't let her see a doctor. Instead, they prayed. And Kara suffered and died from an easily treatable illness.These monsters sat there and let their child die. Let her die of a completely treatable disease. There is no excuse for this. None.
There are numerous other examples of this from around the country. And these aren't just Christian "Scientists" either. They come from a wide range of denominations. This is truly disgusting. Children are dying because, in the words of one of these wackos,
Sometimes we pay for freedom with our lives.Not in this case, nutjob. In this case, you're paying for freedom with someone else's life. Someone who deserves to be sheltered from the insanity of religion. Someone who didn't ask to die for your right to pray. Someone who, in the end, you should have loved enough to save.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the General Dynamics Sectéra® Edge™ SME PED (Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device).
A veritable digital fortress in a hand held device. This thing supports both NSA secure data and voice communications end-to-end.
And talk about features... You get a lot for the $3,500 price tag (connectivity extra!)
- Secure and non-secure wireless phone, e-mail and web browsing
- Withstands rigors of both tactical and everyday environments
- Global roaming over GSM, CDMA or Wi-Fi* wireless networks
- Software upgradeable to VoIP
- Exchange secure e-mail with government personnel, including S/MIME BlackBerry® users
- IPv6 software upgradeable
- Familiar Microsoft® Windows® Platform
- Wireless desktop synchronization
- Separation of Classified and Unclassified applications
- One-touch switching between classified and unclassified PDA functions
- Advanced Security Features
- Secure wireless access to the SIPRNET and NIPRNET
- DoD PKI enabled Common Access Card (CAC) support
- Supports DoD 8100.2 requirements
- Type 1 encrypted storage of classified data
- Can be used inside closed areas with “SCIF-Friendly” feature
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The new 2009 edition [of Freedom House's report] paints a sombre picture of how the world fared during George Bush’s time in office. An initial five years of improvement were followed by a three-year decline—less in 2008 than previously, but still disappointing.
Another GWB FAIL. And in the place where he claims to be proudest. How special. Clinton managed to oversee a significant growth in democracy. Not so for former President Bush.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
This, combined with his shout-out to the athiests/agnostics during his inauguration speech gives me hope in the decline and fall of magical thought. From the ad:
“Given the increasing diversity of America’s population, the dangers of sectarianismAmen.
have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian
nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu
nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”
Friday, January 16, 2009
Barack Obama’s inauguration will have the dubious distinction of being the most perverted in our nation’s history. Obama is not being subtle about either. One of America’s most radical and destructive homosexual activists, “Bishop” Vickie Eugene Robinson of New Hampshire, in official inaugural activities will be offering the invocation at the Lincoln Memorial.Hate! It's what's for dinner!
In order to be consistent in using this kind of reasoning, Obama ought to have a stripper lead off the inaugural parade followed by the Hell’s Angel’s Motorcycle Drill Team followed by the Crips Precision Handgun Corp. and the Transvestite Fashion Police. Just because something exists in society does not mean it is good and is to be paraded in front of everyone, especially children.On this historic occasion of the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, I must unfortunately recommend that you keep the kids away from the TV and pray that God will not rain fire and brimstone down on Washington DC.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
"Defy nature?" WTF does that mean? I know that the GOP is desperately afraid of "man-dog hybrids" and all, but this is just dumb.
Seed: Did you see President Bush ever change his mind based on the scientific evidence that you presented him?
Marburger: As far as I can tell, the president, as a matter of principle, doesn't think it's wise to defy nature. By the time I've arranged a presentation about something for the president, all science questions have been resolved. And he expects it. He would probably fire me if I permitted a science question to leak into his briefings.
Bush's willful ignorance of science borders on criminal. 4 days... 4 days... 4 days...
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The Senate last night voted to pass legislation making it illegal to resell or counterfeit tickets to Barack Obama's inauguration next week. Should the measure become law, inaugural ticket scalpers would face a fine and/or a year in prison.I'm simply astonished that they are wasting valuable time on this horseshit. I mean come on. It's not like we're fighting in two wars, watching an erstwhile ally devastate a substantial refugee population, watch unemployment rise to over 7%, sales drop, stock market drop, banks fail, etc. etc. etc., these douchebags are wasting their time on scalpers?
The doom meter just pegged again...
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
More significantly, the scientists then mixed different RNA enzymes that had replicated, along with some of the raw material they were working with, and let them compete in what's sure to be the next big hit: "Survivor: Test Tube."It ain't quite life yet, but it's getting very, very close.
Remarkably, they bred.
And now and then, one of these survivors would screw up, binding with some other bit of raw material it hadn't been using. Hmm. That's exactly what life forms do ...
When these mutations occurred, "the resulting recombinant enzymes also were capable of sustained replication, with the most fit replicators growing in number to dominate the mixture," the scientists report.
Friday, January 09, 2009
I say we shut all the MBA programs down and use the money to fund more liberal arts education. That way people might actually learn something.
Why am I ranting on about this? Because that paragon of success, Meg Whitman, former President and CEO of eBay is considering a run for the governor's seat in California. But this above all makes her unfit to hold public office outside of Africa or the Muslim world.
Surprise! She's a hater!
As California's voters grapple with a series of weighty issues, from stem cell research to the death penalty to the state's chronic budget crisis, Whitman's views on one contentious subject have become known: she backed Proposition 8, the controversial ballot initiative passed by voters in November to outlaw gay marriage in the state.
Her support for the proposal extended beyond voting for it; she is rumoured to have made a substantial donation to the campaign, a move that if confirmed could cause her problems as she courts the moderate voters essential to any successful Republican candidate.
The resolution calling for a truce was passed by a vote of 14-0, but the US abstention will weaken its impact in Israel, where signals sent from Washington are taken very seriously and where an election is approaching. The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, issued a statement this morning saying that the security council resolution was "not practical" and that the Gaza offensive would continue.Apparently George Bush is not the President anymore (nor is Barack Obama for that matter). It's really Ehud Olmert.
America's volte-face over the UN resoltion stunned British and the French diplomats as the US had helped draft its text. The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, had fiercely defended the draft in the face of heavy lobbying from Israel which was adamant it would not accept any proposal that treated it on an equal footing with Hamas, and might limit its right of self-defence against Hamas rockets.
The US change of mind came at the last moment, as a result of White House intervention following a call from Olmert.Israel's behavior is reprehensible and our kowtowing to their demands leads me to fear for the sovereignty of our nation.
The UN is reporting this morning that one-third of all the fatalities in Gaza are children.
As of Thursday, 257 children were among the approximately 760 reported dead in Gaza. There were another 1,080 children among the 3,100 injured in the conflict, according to statistics from Gaza's health ministry.Collateral damage is a bitch, I guess. But why stop at children when you can kill UN aid workers as well?
The U.N.'s top humanitarian official, John Holmes, described the numbers as "credible" and deeply disturbing. U.N officials say about half of the casualties were civilians.
The decision to suspend aid deliveries in Gaza came after Israeli strikes killed two drivers for UNRWA and injured a third in marked vehicles, U.N. officials say.
In all, four of UNRWA's Gaza staff have been killed since Israel launched a major attack on Hamas 13 days ago, according to the U.N. UNRWA said its deliveries of food have served as a "lifeline" for 750,000 Palestinian refugees in Gaza.
Blood-thirsty Israeli soldiers also targeted a marked UN ambulance as well.
Holmes cited another incident in which a U.N. convoy of two armored vehicles and an ambulance were "targeted by small-arms fire during its passage" Thursday, even though its movement was "agreed in advance" by the Israeli authorities.
Anyone who doesn't think this is an overreaction needs to spend some time in the war zone Gaza has become.
How is this not terrorism???
Thursday, January 08, 2009
by Carl Sandburg
TEN minutes now I have been looking at this.
I have gone by here before and wondered about it.
This is a bronze memorial of a famous general
Riding horseback with a flag and a sword and a revolver
I want to smash the whole thing into a pile of junk to be
hauled away to the scrap yard.
I put it straight to you,
After the farmer, the miner, the shop man, the factory
hand, the fireman and the teamster,
Have all been remembered with bronze memorials,
Shaping them on the job of getting all of us
Something to eat and something to wear,
When they stack a few silhouettes
Against the sky
Here in the park,
And show the real huskies that are doing the work of
the world, and feeding people instead of butchering them,
Then maybe I will stand here
And look easy at this general of the army holding a flag
in the air,
And riding like hell on horseback
Ready to kill anybody that gets in his way,
Ready to run the red blood and slush the bowels of men
all over the sweet new grass of the prairie.
The Creationuts have really put their foot in it. They've pissed off the geologists. It's one thing to annoy a bunch of airy-fairy evolutionary biologists, but quite another to awake the sleeping geological dragon. Yes, let the cage match begin.
According to the UC Press website, this book will be a unique addition to the growing ranks of books that demonstrate how science works better than magical thinking.
According to the idea of intelligent design, nature's complexity is the result of deliberate planning by a supernatural creative force. To date, most scientific arguments against this form of creationism have been made by evolutionary biologists. In this volume, a team of earth scientists reveals that the flaws of intelligent design are not limited to the biological sciences. Indeed, the geological sciences offer some of the best refutation of intelligent design arguements. For the Rock Record is dedicated to the proposition that the idea of intelligent design should be of serious concern to everyone. Editors Jill S. Schneiderman and Warren D. Allmon have gathered leading figures from the geological community with a wide range of viewpoints that go to the heart of the debate over what is and is not science. The purveyors of intelligent design theories and its kindred philosophies threaten the scientific literacy that our society needs by confusing faith and the practice of science. This collection offers a much-needed response.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.I don't see where it says that you can't be seated as a Senator just because the guy who appointed you to complete a vacant term is a douchebag.
(All photos from Rene)
Despite the order of the Israeli Supreme Court to open Gaza to journalists, the IDF has yet to do so.
Earlier this week the IDF agreed to allow eight journalists into Gaza itself, but the army is still not coming through on its promise despite the increasing pressure.This pressure on Israel to open the area to reporters will only increase as more and more "top line" journalists flood into the area. People like CNN's Christiane Amanpour, the producers of NBC television's "Meet the Press" and Bob Simon of CBS' "60 Minutes." But so far, the IDF is not cooporating nor are they obeying orders from the Supreme Court to do so. And, of course, it benefits Israel to have these journalists only report from the Israeli perspective.
Keeping the foreign journalists in Israel, sources say, is good for Israel's image because the media is experiencing the war from the Israeli side. As soon as the IDF gets a hold in the Strip, it is expected that the IDF Spokesman will let Israeli and foreign journalists in with the army. For the time being, the only presence documenting events is the spokesman's office.The brutality of this invasion is being hidden from the world by the war-mongers running Israel. Sympathy for the Palestinian cause will only grow as a result of this aggressive and illegal move.
Take, for instance, GOP Chairman Mike Duncan talking about Facebook and Twitter.
“We have to do it in the Facebook, with the Twittering, the different technology that young people are using today.”Man, that's right up there with Ted Stevens and his famous "tubes" analogy. Scary.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released today.Science has a well-known liberal bias, I guess. Can we now close the book on the complete failure of this kind of "education?"
The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.