Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Trip So Far

Its True If The Bible Says So

Why does reason always have to attack the people who believe in the words written in the bible? Science is such a jerk sometimes. I'm glad there are good people out there who can teach the youngins the truth.

(via onegoodmove)


I guess I missed the fact that Easter happened. Maybe this is why:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

YOU Write Something

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.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St Paddy's

boing boing)

Police In England Want Future Criminals' DNA

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.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I Don't Need Any Rights 'Long As I Got My Gun

The supreme court will soon decide whether restrictions on gun ownership are constitutional. The case before the court questions whether the ban on guns in Washington D.C. violates the Second Amendment. The lawyer who brought the case before the court is a wealthy libertarian who says he is not concerned about guns nor laws, per say, but about respect for the constitution. I'm glad that the rights of Americans are being fought for, but at a time when the Bush Administration is ignoring the Fourth Amendment with illegal wiretaps, the Fifth by not giving "detainees" due process of law, the Sixth by not bringing charges to these same "detainees," and the Eighth by torturing and using cruel and unusual punishment, I would hope that the court would have other constitutional concerns. 
All the same, the Second Amendment seems to me to be concerned with the security of the State provided by "a well regulated militia," and while our national militia seems to be a bit busy right now, I don't think a guy with a gun fetish is going to be of much help if China decides to invade, or Virginia, if you want to read "state" that way. Maybe they'll rewrite it to say "A house filled with guns, being necessary to the security of a house filled with guns, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." They should also think about rearranging the sentence so it doesn't look so stupid. 

links to articles here and here

(creative commons photo from Flickr user barjack)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Good Music

Roland Kirk & Buddy Guy & Jack Bruce - Stormy Monday (1969)

At Least Some Members Of Congress Are Trying To Protect Civil Liberties

The House voted 213-197 to deny immunity to phone companies that helped the NSA with its warentless wiretapping. 

From the NY Times:

The House bill approved Friday includes three key elements: it would refuse retroactive immunity to the phone companies, providing special authority instead for the courts to decide the liability issue; it would add additional judicial restrictions on the government’s wiretapping powers while plugging certain loopholes in foreign coverage; and it would create a Congressional commission to investigate the N.S.A. program.

The Senate will probably not pass the House bill and, even if it does, the President has vowed to veto it: 

“Companies that may have helped us save lives should be thanked for their patriotic service, not subjected to billion-dollar lawsuits that will make them less willing to help in the future,” the president said. “The House bill may be good for class action trial lawyers, but it would be terrible for the United States.”

Companies that help destroy the Fourth Amendment are not patriotic, the ACLU is not a class action trial lawyer, and illegal wiretapping is, well, illegal. Even if useful "intelligence" is ever provided by spying on people, the Bush administration has a record of either ignoring important intelligence or just making things up. The House members who voted for this are very patriotically trying to protect the rights of their fellow citizens, and they should go one further: they are the branch of government that can call for impeachment. 

(public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Report: Saddam Hussein Had No Connections To Terrorists, But We Still Hope You Believe He Did. It Just Makes Things Easier

From McClatchy Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Wednesday canceled plans for broad public release of a study that found no pre-Iraq war link between late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the al Qaida terrorist network.

Rather than posting the report online and making officials available to discuss it, as had been planned, the U.S. Joint Forces Command said it would mail copies of the document to reporters — if they asked for it. The report won't be posted on the Internet.

It's official, and yet "politically controversial." Seems the truth of matters are continually controversial in this administration. Why don't they just finally own up to the fact that they lied to get us into this? Why doesn't Congress finally own up to the fact that it was really, really, amazingly stupid to buy into any of this? I'm absolutely shocked when a politician tries to back away from the fact that he or she voted to allow Bush and Co. to start this war by saying "he lied to us." If you were dumb enough to believe any of that shit they were spewing about weapons of mass destruction and ties to terrorist organizations you really should not be in any position of power. If, after the Pentagon reports it, you still believe that shit, I'm really disappointed in your thinking skills and think you should play with crayons while the big people talk. 

(via Huffington Post)

(creative commons photo attributed to flickr user Nix Sidhe)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stare Directly At The Sun For Hours And You May Witness A Miracle!

Nearly 50 people in India seeking a vision of the Virgin Mary by staring at the sun have instead lost their vision. From Daily News & Analysis:
Even the churches in the vicinity disowned the miracle during Sunday mass after health officers and doctors approached the clergy. The house in question has been the centre of local rumours for a few months.  The hotelier, who has since moved to another house, had claimed that statues of Mother Mary in his house have been crying honey and bleeding oil and perfumes.

I've got a great new business idea! Though I'm pretty sure it was just tried in Thiruvanathapuram:
1. Tell people there's a miracle at my house, or better yet, someone elses house! ($10 entrance fee).
2. Throw some water on a statue of a religious icon.
3. Make video of the people who suddenly begin to pray and talk in tongues and dance wildly and whatnot and sell it to the scientists so they can use it in their war on religion. 
4. If the people figure out that the statue is not all that cool and worthy of prayer/dance/tongue speak, tell them that their sacred being can only be seen by the true believers and only if they concentrate really hard and stare at the sun for a few hours. Then take their wallets and laugh at them while they go all blind and stuff. 
5. Rinse and repeat.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Programming To Resume Shortly

I've been house/pool/dog-sitting these past few weeks and have had little time for this what with all of the playing with puppies and sitting on a house and staring at a pool and wishing it was hot enough to swim. It seems that as soon as I took over these duties the weather dropped 20 degrees and my usual wish to be submersed in cold water has diminished. Luckily, nothing whatsoever has happened in the world during this period so the timing was great. My friends should have returned today to reclaim their house but no sign of them yet. If it suddenly gets hotter I will know that I no longer have a pool all to myself and that I can get back to work here. For now, though, I have to go back over there and see if they've returned or if the dogs have gotten into the garbage again. 

Friday, March 7, 2008

How Not To Play The Cello

If someone had told Camille Saint-SaĆ«ns that there would come a day when people would use a mouse to play his music he would have been a very confused composer. The Berlin Philharmonic has created a neat flash game that allows one to try to do just that. The game gives me a great deal of anxiety, as I keep running out of room on my mouse pad and making horrible squeaking noises on the instrument. Maybe non-musicians will enjoy this more than I did, but I'm seriously anxious now and must go play my double bass to reassure myself that I can, in fact, make nice noises come out of it. 

(via  neatorama)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Obama And Religion

There was a day not long ago when the idea of a black man or a woman running for President of the United States was unthinkable. Sadly, there are still many racist or sexist Americans who believe that a black man or a woman should not be elected. These people are bigots of the lowest form and could be ignored if there weren't so many of them. But when unnamed conservatives begin to worry that a black man might actually have a chance at winning and then spread rumors that said black man is a Muslim or even a terrorist bent on destroying the country, I worry. Because even the America that would elect a woman or a black man would never elect a Muslim. Only Christians need apply. One must at least believe that Jesus had a super power or two in order to run for office, but that is not enough to win. Mormon? No thank you. You have crazy ideas that make talking bushes look brilliant (not just burning ones but ones with W in their name). This effort to make Obama look like a Muslim has unfortunately forced him to spend a great deal of energy pointing to his Christianity. Instead of talking about political reform, he has had to reassure everyone that he is, in fact, a Christian. Every time a news correspondent refers to him as Barack Hussein Obama he or she is trying to not-very-subtly suggest that he is a bad man who will destroy us all. I only wish he didn't have to mention religion at all, because I would prefer to vote for someone who is more concerned with human issues than otherworldly ones. And I really don't care who your imaginary friends are as long as you don't listen to them and then start killing people based on those conversations. 

60 Minutes (CBS)

more here

Saturday, March 1, 2008

BBC Is Still Awesome

I'm pretty busy this weekend. Go watch these if you're bored.