Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
In an interview on CNN McCain suggests that if Obama wins the election the evildoers are going to attack us or otherwise "test" the nation. He suggests that Obama has been wrong about American Enemies and about the Surge in Iraq.
McCain helped lead the US into war in Iraq. He should really not be talking about poor judgement. When that turned out to be less than successful, McCain supported sending thousands of additional soldiers into the war in a last-ditch effort to lessen the violence. He likes to say that this worked and that it proves his good judgement, but the surge was not responsible for the drop in violence in Iraq. Ethnic cleansing was. From Rueters:
Satellite images taken at night show heavily Sunni Arab neighborhoods of Baghdad began emptying before a U.S. troop surge in 2007, graphic evidence of ethnic cleansing that preceded a drop in violence
This on the day that supporters of al-Qaeda announced that they would prefer a McCain administration because it would be more likely to continue the "failing march of Bush." Not quite the kind of endorsement McCain was looking for. This latest interview and its grave predictions show a desperate man. Fear-mongering has worked for Bush in the past, and maybe McCain has decided to embrace their similarities.
creative commons licensed photo form Flickr user sloomis08)
Posted by Charlie at 10:16 PM
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I live in a jungly part of the world where the heat and humidity like to team up and make things smelly and miserable. One would think that mammals, at least, would avoid places like this, but here I am. Insects, it seems, don't seem to mind at all, and there are billions of them everywhere. Again, I don't know why I put up with this horrible idea of fun nature is trying out around here. I am no entomologist (though it would be easy to just start picking bugs up off the street here and naming them), but there appear to be no less than a million kinds of ant that live here and most of them can be found coexisting in my kitchen when someone leaves a morsel of food for them. Annoying as that can be, one nasty little type has decided that electronics, too, are food or just fun to play with.
Today they found my computer.
My computer was on my bed.
They also like to bite people.
Having sprayed my computer with ant poison (which can only be good for both me and my laptop), I threw ant poison powder all over the place and held my breath as I sprayed more aerosol all over the place. The I fled to the store for a can of compressed air. They were still there running about my keyboard when I got back and dozens more were found when I took the battery out. The air, being very cold, seems to have only stunned them into hibernation mode and pushed them further into the computer. They're there right now in my poison-smelling machine, plotting and occasionally sending one out to bite me.
These horrible little things seem to be related to or the very same Caribbean ants that invaded Texas and caused nightmares there, even threatening NASA's Johnson Space Center. They are called crazy rasberry ants by the Texans (who aren't known for their entomology either). From the Times (UK):
...crazy because they seem to move in a random scrum as opposed to marching in regimented lines, and rasberry after a pioneering exterminator, Tom Rasberry... Perhaps their most remarkable characteristic, however, is that they are attracted to electrical equipment... Worse, the ants refuse to die when sprayed with over-the-counter poison. Even killing the queen of a colony doesn’t do any good, because each colony has multiple queens.
I just don't understand how people can believe in a god. I'm thinking about putting my computer in the freezer tonight, using ant posion instead of deodorant, and looking for a job in a civilized climate somewhere.
(creative commons photo from Flickr user binux)
Posted by Charlie at 11:55 PM
Posted by Charlie at 8:38 PM
Posted by Charlie at 7:59 PM
Posted by Charlie at 7:51 PM
Posted by Charlie at 7:19 PM
Friday, October 10, 2008
Trying his best to look like Geraldo, right winger John Stossel reports that many of the kids at a rock concert are not very smart and should stay home on election day because they're too stupid. I'd like to point out that other 'tards have been voting in record numbers these last 8 years and the right wing welcomed their ignorance: people who believed that the guy they wanted to have a beer with would make a good president, that Iraq was behind the events of 9/11, and now, that Sarah Palin has something to offer and that Obama is a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer. If we disenfranchise the 'tarded and take their votes away the Republican party will never win a single election and some communities may only have a handful of eligible voters. Down with the 'tards by all means:
Posted by Charlie at 10:56 AM
Friday, July 4, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960:
...we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Posted by Charlie at 12:05 PM
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I am usually opposed to robotics in music because of some belief that music is an expression of the human spirit etc. but Honda's ASIMO has better rhythm, is taller, and has a better personality than my conductor. If you want a full time job contact me ASIMO.
Posted by Charlie at 4:48 PM
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Sarah had to go and make me post something. I've been tagged or something and must now write "non-important things/habits/quirks" about myself, and then go make other people do the same. Way to go Sarah. Now people are going to have to read about me instead of my insight into Obama's poor choice of words. Hope you're happy.
The Rules, according to Sarah:
* Link to the person that tagged you.
* Post the rules on your blog.
* Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
* Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
* Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
Done. Done. And:
1. Tangled wires, strings etc. give me anxiety. I get really anxious when I have to untangle them, even if it only takes a few seconds. I think this has something to do with the fact that
2. I am a twin and
3. When we were children we had a leashes. According to the rest of the family this was because we learned to walk one day and within five minutes we were running in seperate directions: into the street towards a car and towards a very big dog. I don't believe the story. I think my family was just cruel. I have not suppressed the memory of being tied to a tree by my older siblings and I think our leashes used to get tangled when we tried to free ourselves from our restraints.
4. Bartenders who do tricks really bother me. Do you know why I am being shoved about in a crowd of drunks and staring at you? It's not because I like to watch sweaty people throw shiny things in the air and catch them behind their backs. Pour my drink quickly and I will happily give you a tip and go back to yelling about politics and religion with my friends. Make me stand there awkwardly waiting for you to finish your "routine" and I will start yelling at you instead.
5. I am not afraid of clowns. I used to think I was, but I've been to two circuses in Mexico in the last six months and I was not afraid. What I am afraid of is clowns who are not in circuses. A clown waiting for the bus or talking on a pay phone scares the shit out of me.
6. I am not a good list-maker.
Now, If I knew more than a few people with blogs that I knew about, I could randomly pick six of them. No such luck. Both Clara and Jeff are friends of mine. I pushed "Next Blog" to find some truly random people but all I got was (get to practice my list-making here):
1. a page in German with pictures of drunk German girls and guys with Mohawks
2. something in Arabic with pictures of sports cars
3. something in Korean with a picture of a fence and a desk
4. the page of some girl in Spain who has hundreds of pictures of baby clothes she wants to buy for her baby.
I really don't want to link to these people or contact them in any way. I am glad to see that much of the world is connected to the internets and that my site is at least way better than the average blog if that sample is indicative of the whole. Gives me the courage to start posting again. Thanks, Sarah!
Posted by Charlie at 3:49 AM
Thursday, April 17, 2008
"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
I've been watching The Media use this quote to try to turn Obama into the "Elitist" who is condescending, out of touch with America and unelectable. It (The Media) is trying to do the same thing to Obama as it did with Howard Dean and his yelp back in the 2000 race. Only this time it's not even really using the sound-byte so much as paraphrasing and saying over and over again the mantra "elite." I'm not who should supposedly feel offended by these remarks, but neither is the Media, and it seems to think this is the worst thing anyone has ever said and that it is going to destroy him. I disagree and think it may have sounded bad but makes good points. Oh, and my equally sound prediction is that it will not destroy him.
I think Obama should not shy away from these words. I would have included more people than rural folk when mentioning bitterness. All Americans should taste at least a bit of bitterness. Every American should lament the loss of freedoms and laws and the general ethos that make America what it is supposed to be. America is a great country, undoubtedly, but it shines much less than it should these days and at times takes on characteristics completely contrary to its ideals. When other politicians claim that Americans are not bitter but proud they present a false dualism. One can be proud of the wonders that make America great while at the same time lament the eroding of this greatness. A person can have pride in a flag or national anthem, but pride in a country that affords freedom, equality, opportunity and voices to all seems like pride better placed.
Small towns, job loss and lack of new jobs, promises made and not kept by government:
The media mostly ignored this part. Factories in small towns close. Small business can't keep up with Walmart. Ethanol production creates a new market and more jobs. The internet creates opportunities for people to make a living no matter where they are. Military recruitment takes many young people out of rural America where they might otherwise add to the unemployment rate. Economics are complicated. I'm guessing that many rural Americans feel that there is a lack of good jobs available to them and that might be upsetting after a few years or decades.
Clinging to their...:
Rural states are often Red states. The idea here is that people in red states often vote Republican despite the fact that Republicans have done little or nothing to better their lives. It is perhaps elitist to point out that sentiments have been used by politicians to get votes out, but only to those who have not noticed that many election ballots have amendments aimed at or supposedly threatening their way of life. When ballots have amendments about same-sex marriage the assumption is that conservatives will come out to vote against the gays, and while they're there they may vote for Republican candidates. It seems to work. When people think the government is going to try to take away their guns, the assumption is that they will go vote to keep the government from doing so, and they may throw in a vote for the Republican candidate while they're at it. Again, it seems to work. When people believe that the atheists are trying to ban their religion it is assumed that they will go out to vote in favor of prayer in school and they may check the box for Republican while they're at it. Again, it gets the vote out. Etc. Etc. Etc. Obama may be pointing this out, but he certainly didn't put these items on the ballots.
These issues may well be important to people in rural America. There is a way of life and timelessness that is admirable in many small towns, and these issues feed on the fear that it could all disappear someday. I think Obama was pointing out the fact that these feelings are used in a manipulative way by politicians who may preserve some parts of rural America, but only by doing nothing to better the lives of those who live there.
(creative commons photo attributed to Flickr user tonx)
Posted by Charlie at 7:41 PM
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
The economy may be making life difficult for many Americans these days, but the heroic super rich are steadfastly spending and showing the growing mass of poor how wealthy they are. From the NY Times:
Buyers this year have already closed on 71 Manhattan apartments that each cost more than $10 million, compared with 17 apartments in that price range during all of 2007. Last week, a New York art dealer paid a record $1.6 million for an Edward Weston photograph at Sotheby’s. And the GoldBar, a downtown lounge, reports that bankers continue to order $3,000 bottles of Rémy Martin Louis XIII Cognac.
“When times get tough, the smart spend money,” said David Monn, an event planner who is organizing a black-tie party on May 10 for dignitaries and recent purchasers of apartments at the Plaza Hotel; the average price there was $7 million. “Short of our country going on food stamps, I don’t think we’re doing anything differently.”
Even if the economy is of food stamps these magnificent people won't cave in. Why would they? A person with $100,000 in savings might get hurt in the economic downturn and lose 90% of his puny worth and be poor and laughable with his food stamps and rented apartment and used clothing. What a loser! Ha ha ha! Stupid poor loser. Many of the mighty super rich can happily lose 90% of their wealth and still be multi-millionaires. That's why they're so awesome. They can wreck their $600,000 car when the economy is down and laugh at the homeless guy pinned under the fender. These things don't faze them. They're super! And rich! And when and if the economy starts to get better, the stupid poor will only have a few quarters to invest! They'll never get rich like that! Stupid jerks! Meanwhile, the super rich will simply tell their investment manager to buy some more buildings and companies and stuff. Doing such great things with such ease! Magnificent! The super rich don't even have to invest wisely. A million here, ten there, hundred there. The economy has to get better at some point and when it does they will do what they do best: Get super richer. Bravo, super rich. Go out and buy yourself something nice. You deserve it.
(creative commons photo attributed to Flickr user Tracy O)
Posted by Charlie at 12:40 PM
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Woohoo! I've probably avoided serious health issues by avoiding taking the garbage out. I've had many housemates who have gotten angry at my inability to get near a sack of rotting leftovers without dry-heaving or getting sick, but it may just be my body's way of self-preservation. From the Guardian:
German scientists are warning householders of the health dangers posed by storing organic waste, saying exposure to it, particularly to the moulds that develop as the material decays, can cause skin problems and even breathing difficulties... "Even just opening the lid of a bin containing organic waste can cause mould spores to be stirred up which, if breathed in, can damage the lungs," said Morr. "The more spores breathed in, the worse the repercussions on one's health can be."
So next time someone tries to get you to take the garbage out tell him or her that he or she is a horrible person for trying to kill you. If that doesn't work, just get near the garbage can and throw up on it and run away crying. Works like a charm.
(creative commons photo attributed to Flickr user Peter Kaminski)
Posted by Charlie at 7:16 PM
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Pictured: Terrorist Tree-hugger Evildoer Getaway Vehicle
The Bush Administration has been redefining terrorism in order to expand its powers to spy on and prosecute people who are on the opposite side of the political spectrum. Activities such as setting fire to an unoccupied SUV are being treated as terrorist acts and the kids blamed for them are being sentenced as terrorists and being locked up for 20 years of more.
From the Guardian (UK):
According to many, the US is now in the middle of a "Green Scare" akin to the "Red Scare" of the 1950s, when senator Joseph McCarthy launched his infamous communist witch-hunt. Environmental and animal rights activists are being targeted, it is believed, not because they are dangerous, but because in the wake of 9/11 the government needs scapegoats beyond Muslims, and people - often young, white and middle-class - with defined ideologies who target corporate America are easy and attractive game...
...Civil liberty groups expect the green scare to worsen. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act now raises any attacks against the profits of any animal-based industry to the level of terrorism, and a little-known bill making its way through US Congress with virtually no debate is expected to lead to a new crackdown on any dissident activity, under the guise of fighting terrorism.
Apparently, there have been some criminal acts perpetrated by people who identify themselves as environmentalists and see their acts of sabotage and arson as politically motivated. These people are committing crimes and should be arrested and be forced to do community service to better the community they have affected. Wash some Hummers or something. Vandalism is vandalism even if the vandal thinks he's saving the earth from the mean capitalist. There seems, however, to be no justification whatsoever in calling these people terrorists, and a real danger that groups like, say, the Save The Hairless Cat Foundation (if it exists) will be spied on more than the rest of us because they have an environmental concern. Or that donating to the World Wildlife Foundation will put you on a no-fly list.
Here's where it really gets to be too much Not Good, though. Because there are so few crimes committed by these evildoers,or any evildoers for that matter, the government seems to be considering criminalizing thoughts, because, you know, anyone who's not with them is against them:
The Orwellian-sounding Violent Radicalisation and Home-Grown Terrorism Prevention Act, passed by an overwhelming 400-6 vote last month, will soon be considered by the Senate. Rather than seeking to criminalise "extremist" acts, it targets beliefs, or what many people are calling "thoughtcrimes".
"It proposes initiatives to intercede before radicalised individuals turn violent. It could herald far more intrusive surveillance techniques, without warrants, and has the potential to criminalise ideas and not actions. It could mean penalties for a stance rather than a criminal act," the American Civil Liberties Union and the Centre for Constitutional Rights have jointly said.
Ok. What? Doesn't every teenager see him or herself as a "radicalized individual?" That's why they wear those awesome clothes and get things pierced. And how much more intrusive can they get than listening to telephone calls and reading e-mails? What kind of science fiction crap have they invented now that will read a person's mind? And if they have this kind of technology why are they torturing people? Or does it just predict future crimes? The government has been getting advice from science fiction writers, but this, terrifyingly, is reality.
(creative commons photo attributed to Flickr user Marshall Astor - Food Pornographer)
Posted by Charlie at 8:20 PM
So I saw this movie whilst on vacation (night out with a level 4 alcoholic made following night movie night), and I only rented it because I was amazed by its existence and it was free. After 10 minutes of laughter I became upset that it kept going. Then i looked at a cat sitting on the floor for a good long while, but even the voices alone caused psychic pain. There were other people in the room trying desperately to do anything but look at this thing and yet the horrible sounds confused us all and we found ourselves looking in the general direction of and dimly following the plot of this thing as it seemed to play on in front of us forever. Then this song came on and we sang along.
Posted by Charlie at 12:34 AM
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I'm on vacation! Yay! I'm sitting in an airport waiting for my airplane to show up and take me away from the horrible trees pictured above and to an desert. Yay! So why don't my loyal reader and anyone else who happens upon this put interesting links in the comments. Or just an interesting sentence if you like. I'm going to go see if there's an airplane waiting for me.
Posted by Charlie at 10:11 AM
Monday, March 17, 2008
Future Crime: Grand Theft Auto
In an effort to solve the futurecrimes that 5-year-olds will commit when they become the criminals that everyone knows they will be, police in London want to store their DNA in a database. From the Guardian (UK):
Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said a debate was needed on how far Britain should go in identifying potential offenders, given that some experts believe it is possible to identify future offending traits in children as young as five...
'The number of unsolved crimes says we are not sampling enough of the right people,' Pugh told The Observer...
Since 2004 police have had the power to take DNA samples from anyone over the age of 10 who is arrested, regardless of whether they are later charged, convicted, or found to be innocent.
Most people are going to look at this bit of absurdity and talk about civil liberties and police states. I'm just pissed off that there's going to be a TV show called CSI Kindergarten.
Posted by Charlie at 1:13 AM