Molt Be Blog

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Reminder - Musical

Just a reminder to myself to buy the albums of the following bands instead of just listening to their singles on the radio and thinking to myself "man, I should really buy their album."

  • Decemberists
  • Architecture in Helsinki
  • Art Brut
  • Yo La Tango
  • Broken Social Scene
  • Cat Powers
  • Guillemots
  • Brakes

some more that my sister sent me:
  • Olivia Tremor Control
  • Spoon
  • French Kicks
  • Clor
  • Love
  • Cat Power
  • Flake Music
  • Piano Overlord
  • The Michrophones
  • The Bees
  • Doug Martsch's solo album
  • Blood on the Wall
  • Low
  • Mazarin
  • Mobius Band
  • The Mercury Program
  • Can
  • Vashti BUnyan
  • The Elected
  • Medications

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Good Designs

Someoddpilot, Co. did the pitchfork logo.

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Quick, read it, buy it.

Pitchfork: Top 50 Albums of 2005

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Digital Box Debate

I've mentioned this before, but the whole digital cable box thing is really starting to ruffle my feathers.
ABC's article today on the government requirement to switch over to digital signals by 2009 mentions the part that of all of this that I find the most infuriating. Just like they did before with the analog spectrum, it looks like the government is going to auction it off again.

What's not often said is that much of the signal spectrum will be auctioned off to wireless and broadband companies that want to provide ever fancier phone and Internet services. That auction is expected to bring $10 billion or more to the U.S. Treasury.

Is everyone else ok with the government auctioning off the airwaves? They've done it before. Maybe I'll get my own station this time.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Hooooooray! "Intelligent" Design SHOT DOWN

Articles are all over the place and I only just saw the news today... so ashamed of myself.
Articles
Wikipedia has a good summary of the whole bidness and if you've got insomnia, it links out to the entire 139 page ruling

"Breathtaking inanity" is how U.S. District Judge John Jones characterized the Dover, PA school board's attempt to cast doubt on the theory of evolution—but in fairness, the recently ousted members of that board were relative unsophisticates, snookered by the intellectual scam that calls itself "intelligent design," or ID.
From TIME
From quotes I've seen so far, sounds like the Judge saw through the veil put up by the Discovery Institute that ID is just short for Creationism.
"The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the board who voted for the ID Policy," the judge wrote in a 139-page opinion, following a six-week trial. "It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy."
In his ruling the judge indicated that he too was aware of what lay behind the move to teach ID. "We find that the secular purposes claimed by the board amount to a pretext for the board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom," he said.
From The Independent
Anticipating that his decision would come under attack from the religious right, the judge, who was appointed by President George Bush, was careful to state that he was not an activist judge, but dealing with proceedings provoked by the actions of the school district. The judge wrote that "intelligent design" was a religious notion that advances Christianity, and so was in violation of constitutional provisions against the establishment of religion.
"The evidence at trial demonstrates that 'intelligent design' is nothing less than the progeny of creationism," Judge Jones wrote.
From The Guardian
Discvory institute fools fight back with brilliant statements like:
"Judge Jones got on his soapbox to offer his own views of science, religion and evolution," John West, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, said in a news release. "He makes it clear that he wants his place in history as the judge who issued a definitive decision about intelligent design. This is an activist judge who has delusions of grandeur.

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Duh

Weekends are good.... Here comes one.
Dans Le News...
Everybody knew that Bush and Co. were all about prying into our affairs, but now all the politicians in Washington are pretending to be Up in Arms today after the story by the New York Times on Bush's allowing the NSA domestic spying priveleges. I mean, duh. Everyone knew this was going on. I'm just glad that someone finally found proof. Brilliant!

Congressional leaders of both parties called for hearings and issued condemnations yesterday in the wake of reports that President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 allowing the National Security Agency to spy on hundreds of U.S. citizens and other residents without court-approved warrants.
Bush declined to discuss the domestic eavesdropping program in a television interview, but he joined his aides in saying that the government acted lawfully and did not intrude on citizens' rights.
The existence of the NSA domestic surveillance program was reported late Thursday by the New York Times and confirmed by U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials.
The Washington Post, citing an informed U.S. official, reported that the NSA's warrantless monitoring of U.S. subjects began before Bush's order was issued in early 2002 and included electronic and physical surveillance carried out by other military intelligence agencies assigned to the task.

I wonder where bush would have stood if the NSA wanted to spy on corporations. They've got all the same rights as people, right? Somehow I think his money-lovin' ass wouldn't have held them to task. C'est la vie.
And a big hooray to the government for stalling the Patriot Act renewal. Bless their pork-barrelling little hearts. The article in the NYT even cites the NYT article on NSA spying as having a possible influence on why the act was stalled. Sweet! Who said liberal rags couldn't get a few things done.
The Senate on Friday blocked reauthorization of the broad antiterrorism bill known as the USA Patriot Act, pushing Congress into a game of brinksmanship with President Bush, who has said the nation will be left vulnerable to attack if the measure is not quickly renewed.
With many Democrats and some Republicans saying the bill does not go far enough in protecting civil liberties, the Republican leadership fell short of the 60 votes required to break a filibuster. Now the future of the law, which greatly expanded the government's surveillance and investigative powers in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, is in doubt.
The debate, a passionate fight about the balance between national security and personal privacy, became a touchstone for repercussions after the disclosure on Thursday night that Mr. Bush had secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for terrorist activity.
On Friday afternoon, after the report in The New York Times and the fallout it engendered, Vice President Dick Cheney made a hurried trip to the Capitol to defend the domestic spying program against charges that it might be illegal, while Mr. Bush said he would do everything in his power within the law to protect the country from another terrorist attack.

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Reminder

AmazingSocks.com ::: Wigwam Merino Wool Rugged Hiker

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Nerdy nerd nerd nerd

This article on slashdot talked about the new Google API and this page is a Developer's guide to using said API to create yer own modules.
A reminder of the recent release of yahoo widgets? Yes. Which is just a rip off of the Mac OS X Dashboard widgets.
Apparently, widgets are the next big thing. And here I was investing in cogs!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Today...

Worked all day.
Watched Control Room, a documentary on the Al Jazeera television network during the leadup and "mission accomplished" periods of the current Iraq War. This is the second time that I've seen it and I highly recommend it.
I haven't done a lick of Christmas shopping and will pay for it dearly this weekend.
In the news...
Bush remains an idiot... I just picked the first story I found and picked a quote... ridiculous.

When one woman asked about how many Iraqis have died since the March 2003 invasion, Mr. Bush did what the Pentagon has been reluctant to do. He offered numbers. "I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We have lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq.

The US decides that killing people is wrong and to prove it, they kill the founder of the Crips and it takes 12 minutes for them to find a vein. Fox news' "reporter's notebook" on the story is an interesting read as well. I'm not saying that he was innocent, I'm just saying that I totally disagree with killing people to teach a lesson about how wrong it is to kill people. The death penalty has proved itself as being a shitty deterrent and is more expensive than life in prison. If it's vengeance that people want, consider life in prison dealing with all of its many horrible
occurrences.
Everyone but the US agrees that global warming exists, but that won't stop polar bears from becoming extinct when their habitat melts. The US' response? Protect Polar Bears and then drill up the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge.
I also ran across this adorable (and seemingly right-wing) news outlet called, cnsnews.com. Hilarious. Watch for quotes from the Heritage Foundation and easy references to "liberals". Unfortunately for them, I'm going to use their powers for my own benefit by repeating this story:

Conservatives Urged to Avoid Progressive Insurance

(CNSNews.com) - A conservative advocacy group is urging its supporters to cancel their policies with Progressive Insurance, after Peter Lewis, the company's chairman, reportedly gave $8.5 million to the American Civil Liberties Union. The multi-million dollar donation will help the ACLU advance its liberal agenda, including its "war on Christmas," the American Family Association warned. In an email message, AFA Founder and Chairman Don Wildmon urged his supporters to "sign a letter to Chairman Lewis, letting him know" that his donation to the ACLU is prompting conservatives to cancel their insurance policies. The AFA recently announced that it was ending its boycott of Target stores, after the retailer promised to use the word "Christmas" in its advertising and in-store promotions.

All of you, get out there and switch to Progressive right now! Pay double your premiums just for fun! Don't report any accidents, even if they're far over your deductible. The more money we give these people, the richer that Lewis fellow gets and the more money the ACLU gets to get out there and fight for all the stuff I think is important. Face, CNS News!
I'm not sure how much of a real source CNS news is, especially given that one of their facts in the "fact-o-rama" section comes from wikipedia. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of the Wiki, but they've definitely come under heavy fire lately for some libelous lies that were entered.
Ok, that's it for me.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Slacker!

I've really been slacking on the blog lately. I'd like to blame my new job for some of it, but really have to confess that it's mostly due to the recent arrival of two of the "Lost" DVDs from Netflix and the borrowing of two others from a friend. My office holiday party (whoa was it lame) and watching ten episodes of Lost occupied most of my time from Thursday through Sunday night.
I was at work until 8:30 on Friday and then Rose and I went out with two other couples to the Melting Pot and then out to Dragonfly for a single drink before cabbing home.
Saturday night was the office party. The room ended up being too big for the small crowd that was present and a lot of people ended up ditching to go to the party next door for Price Waterhouse Coopers.
IN THE NEWS...
Bush decides that he's only killed 30,000 iraqi civilians, does not makes "omelet/egg-breaking" reference.
Frist is a liar, what's new?
Kos or somewhere points to a good graphics in the Washington Post showing How Abramoff Spread the Wealth (right). What the graphic really shows is that all politicians accept bribes, no matter what the party.
and an earthquake hits Afghanistan.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Inalienable Right to a Remote

In his Op-Ed today, "The Inalienable Right to a Remote", George Will argues against the new senate bill that reserves $3 million to help the US convert over to digital television by 2009, arguing that American's have a sense of entitlement that needs to be quelled.

Feeling, evidently, flush with (other people's) cash, the Senate has concocted a novel way to spend $3 billion: create a new entitlement. The Senate has passed -- and so has the House, with differences -- an entitlement to digital television.
What oil is to Saudi Arabia -- a defining abundance -- cognitive dissonance is to America. Americans are currently in a Founding Fathers literary festival. They are making bestsellers out of many biographies of the statesmen who formulated America's philosophy of individualism and self-reliance and who embodied that philosophy -- or thought they did -- in a constitutional architecture of limited government. Yet Americans have such an entitlement mentality, they seem to think that every pleasure -- e.g., digital television -- should be a collective right, meaning a federally funded entitlement. Clearly, Americans' civic religion of reverence for the Founders is, like most religions, more avowed than constraining.

I disagree. This isn't a case of American's thinking they're entitled. From everyone that I've mentioned this to, republicans and democrats, libertarians and Satan, no one thinks that this is a worthwhile way to spend money. This is nothing more than a gift for the cable and satellite companies. Who's going to make money off of installing set-top boxes? Why am I paying for this?
Arrrrrrrrrrrg!

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Windows Live Local

Windows Live Local competes with Google Local by launching a bird's eye view feature.
This should really count as a theft of intellectual property, as far as I'm concerned. It's the exact same thing. Oh well.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sugar Over Substance or Selling Our Kids' Health

This article on not-so-nutritional school lunch programs that feature Yoo-Hoo, pre-made sandwiches in a bag and the sugar water that is Sunny-D exposes one of those fun little arguments over when it's ok to make money that I hadn't really thought of before. Silly socialists, if your kids are going to pony up $1.89 for french fries every day, the school district will make $500,000 to pay for the books that the government stopped giving you because the students are slow and can't pass the tests dictated by No Child Left Behind! Doesn't it all make perfect sense?
De L'article:

As government support has decreased, school food service programs face increasing pressure to be profitable -- a tall order when school lunches across the country cost an average of $1.54 in elementary schools and $1.77 in high schools.
A la carte offerings help do that. For instance, if Howard County adopts Maryland's new nutrition standards [which ban a la carte items with more than 9 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 15 grams of sugar], it will lose about $1.8 million in a la carte sales. In Arlington, the system makes $1.23 million a year from regular school lunches and $836,434 from a la carte sales.
"I'm not going to tell you that if we don't sell Yoo-hoo, we're bankrupt," [Dietitian Sandra] O'Connor said. But when adding up revenue, she said, "it does have a drastic effect."
Last year, when Arlington's secondary schools went from selling french fries a la carte every day to offering them three days a week, the system lost $150,000 in annual revenue.

Sad. We're selling our kids health. More so than usual.

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Reframing the Question?

Wow. Two Female Suicide Bombers Kill 27 in Iraq
Not to downplay the fact that so many people were killed, but I thought the most insane part of the article was this:

On Monday, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld acknowledged that the insurgency has been stronger than anticipated, but he also said the news media have focused on the war's growing body count rather than progress that has been achieved.
"To be responsible, one needs to stop defining success in
Iraq as the absence of terrorist attacks," Rumsfeld said in remarks at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

I'm sorry. I thought that terrorist attacks were bad. Apparently, Rumsfeld would rather define success as "lack of an electrical grid or functional economy... despite terrorist attacks, but plenty of carpetbaggers and loads of war profiteering."
The insurgency is stronger than we anticipated... please stop reporting on it.
Please don't look at the burning car. Instead, check out these functional cars! There's loads of them! How about this new tactical weaponry? Isn't it shiny?
Sounds like Rumsfeld would rather see the kind of news you have to pay for.

AND

What HUBRIS this administration has to kill people all over the world in the name of "protecting 'merica from evil-doers" and then not follow through with the recommendations of the 9/11 panel. I don't seem to remember anything political about the 9/11 panel's recommendations... that probably means that implementing them wouldn't get anyone any votes. It's either that, or that they've found some way to politicize or argue over how to implement the recomendations... Either way, I feel so much safer now! Iraqi terrorists are blowing up hotels in Jordan... that never happened before, did it? Iraqis are blowing up their own police force... that never happened before, did it? Thanks for the infighting!

U.S. Is Given Failing Grades By 9/11 Panel
The federal government received failing and mediocre grades yesterday from the former Sept. 11 commission, whose members said in a final report that the Bush administration and Congress have balked at enacting numerous reforms that could save American lives and prevent another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
The 10-member bipartisan panel...issued a "report card" that included 5 F's, 12 D's and two "incompletes" in categories including airline passenger screening and improving first responders' communication system.
...in nearly half the categories, the government merited a D, an F or an incomplete grade, according to the report card. Kean and other commission members said at a news conference in Washington that all the goals should be achievable, but that many have languished amid political skirmishing and bureaucratic turf battles.
"None of this is rocket science," said John F. Lehman (R), a Navy secretary in the Reagan administration. "None of it is in the 'too hard' category."

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Open Letter to Netflix

Dear Netflix,
Hi! I love your service! I brag about it to people and am a complete convert from the normal way of renting movies. I even opted out of the class action letter that came around because I didn't want to be part of a group that hated on Netflix.
But: I recently told a friend who also uses Netflix, "I never watched the show 'Lost' and I think I'm going to start watching it. I'm going to get the first season on Netflix."
I proceeded to put the first season of Lost in my queue, moved it to the top and began waiting anxiously.
The next day, my friend told me that she too had added 'Lost' to her Netflix Queue.
Two weeks ago, she received the first Disc of 'Lost', enjoyed it thoroughly and then started to tell me about secret plot twists, big dogs running around and other spoilers.
I can't blame Netflix entirely for my having found out this information before seeing the show, but I must hold you partially responsible as I really should have received the disc first.
My friend lives a block away, so I don't imagine that she received the disc first because of her location.
I have yet to receive the first disc of "Lost". I understand that you only have so many copies of a movie and that a "Long Wait" does not denote any specific unit of time for which I'll have to wait. I'm a little disappointed, but I understand.
My suggestions (finally) is that you stick to a first-come, first-serve basis. I can only assume that your databases are set up to do this anyway, so maybe there's a problem with my account that's conflicting with my renting "Lost". What gives?
Thank you for your attention to this matter and please contact me if you have any questions or would like to read aloud the scripts for any of the episodes.

Sincerely,
[name redacted]
elgreg@gmail.com

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Reminder

Read this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/12/02/rice_eu_letter/
-----------
Please excuse typos as this was written with my thmubs
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless handheld.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Europe won't pick fight with Rice on CIA tactics - Yahoo! News


Thoughts on torture, anyone? I thought we'd decided that torture didn't work. I thought we'd decided that this would all only come back to haunt us. The bright side to all of this? We don't torture people, because it's illegal. Bush said so. Therefore it must be true. Praise be.
Europe won't pick fight with Rice on CIA tactics - Yahoo! News
Allegations that the United States has committed abuses in Europe while waging its "war on terror" will cloud this week's visit by Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice, but her hosts have little appetite for forcing the issue with Washington.
European officials seem satisfied, for now, that the United States has promised a formal response to press reports the
CIA ran secret jails in Eastern Europe and covertly flew terrorist suspects through airports and bases across the continent.

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Today's News

Explosive Developments By Telis Demos in Slate
The roundup points to some other interesting tidbits:

  • The Post (a little late) has a story about The US Military is paying Iraqi papers to publish certain stories.
    The U.S. military command in Baghdad acknowledged for the first time yesterday that it has paid Iraqi newspapers to carry positive news about U.S. efforts in Iraq, but officials characterized the payments as part of a legitimate campaign to counter insurgents' misinformation.

  • Also in the post, FEMA Pulls Out of Lower Ninth after receiving threats of violence.
    The Lower Ninth Ward was reopened Thursday; it was the last neighborhood in the city to remain closed as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Residents, who had been limited to bus tours, were allowed to reenter homes, inspect damage and retrieve items but not stay in the area, which still lacks electricity.
    But U.S. Army Corps of Engineers workers near levees and FEMA workers -- who were on hand to help remove debris, set up disaster service centers and coordinate relief -- received numerous threats, said FEMA spokeswoman Nicol Andrews .

  • And the article Corrupt Intentions in Slate discusses Cunningham and corruption at high levels.
    Like medieval scholastics counting the angels on the head of a pin, Justice Department lawyers are struggling with the question of when favors to and from a member of Congress or a congressional aide take on the metaphysical quality of a corrupt bribe. The brazenness of the DeLay-Abramoff circle has caused prosecutors to look past traditional distinctions, such as that between campaign contributions and cash or other favors to a politician personally. Or the distinction between doing what a lobbyist wants after he has taken you to Scotland to play golf, and promising to do what he wants before he takes you to Scotland to play golf.

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  • Friday, December 02, 2005

    Picture Essays

    The pictures on Slate.com are a great time consumer... I recommend them.
    And this reminder article about Bush mocking a soon to be executed woman is something that we all deserve to be reminded about.

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    Reminder

    Papa wants a brand new blackberry: $152.00... hrmmm...

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    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    Something to think about...

    Does the free market neccesitate socially conservative policies?

    ----------------------
    Sent via blackBerry wireless handheld.

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    Chuck Norris (quite amusing)

    This was forwarded to me. It's crass, but highly amusing. If you don't know who Chuck Norris is, you won't get it. You also probably don't know a lot of other things.

    Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
    Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

    Rather than being birthed like a normal child, Chuck Norris instead decided
    to punch his way out of his mother's womb. Shortly thereafter he grew a
    beard.

    Chuck Norris had his own version of Punk'd. Only In his version, he would
    walk around and roundhouse Kick people in the throats.

    A man once asked Chuck Norris if his real name is "Charles". Chuck Norris
    did not respond, he simply stared at him until he exploded.

    Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, until Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked
    her into a glacier.

    The original theme song to the Transformers was actually "Chuck Norris--more
    than meets the eye, Chuck Norris--robot in disguise," and starred Chuck
    Norris as a Texas Ranger who defended the earth from drug-dealing
    Decepticons and could turn into a pick-up. This was far too much awesome for
    a single show, however, so it was divided.

    Chuck Norris was the fourth Wiseman. He brought baby Jesus the gift of
    "beard". Jesus wore it proudly to his dying day. The other Wisemen, jealous
    of Jesus'
    obvious gift favoritism, used their combined influence to have Chuck omitted
    from the Bible. Shortly after all three died of roundhouse kick related
    deaths.

    Chuck Norris's girlfriend once asked him how much wood a woodchuck could
    chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. He then shouted, "HOW DARE YOU RHYME
    IN THE PRESENCE OF CHUCK NORRIS!" and ripped out her throat.

    Holding his girlfriend's bloody throat in his hand he bellowed, "Don't FUCK
    with Chuck!" Two years and five months later he realized the irony of this
    statement and laughed so hard that anyone within a hundred mile radius of
    the blast went deaf.

    Chuck Norris recently had the idea to sell his urine as a canned beverage.
    We know this beverage as Red Bull.

    Chuck Norris built a time machine and went back in time to stop the JFK
    assassination. As Oswald shot, Chuck met all three bullets with his beard,
    deflecting them. JFK's head exploded out of sheer amazement.

    To prove it isn't that big of a deal to beat cancer.
    Chuck Norris smoked 15 cartons of cigarettes a day for
    2 years and aquired 7 different kinds of cancer only to rid them from his
    body by flexing for 30 minutes.

    Beat that, Lance Armstrong.

    Chuck Norris once shot a German plane down with his finger, by yelling,
    "Bang!"

    Chuck Norris can make a woman climax by simply pointing at her and saying
    "booya".

    When Chuck Norris's wife burned the turkey one Thanksgiving, Chuck said,
    "Don't worry about it honey," and went into his backyard. He came back five
    minutes later with a live turkey, ate it whole, and when he threw it up a
    few seconds later it was fully cooked and came with cranberry sauce. When
    his wife asked him how he had done it, he gave her a roundhouse kick to the
    face and said, "Never question Chuck Norris."

    Chuck Norris once went to a frat party, and proceeded to roundhouse every
    popped collar in sight. He then drank three kegs and shit on their floor,
    just because he's Chuck Norris.

    Takeru Kobayashi ate 50 and a half hotdogs in 12 minutes. Chuck Norris ate
    12 asian babies in 50 and a half minutes. Chuck Norris won. (See? He saw the
    error of his ways.)

    When Chuck Norris plays Oregon Trail his family does not die from cholera or
    dysentery, but rather roundhouse kicks to the face. He also requires no
    wagon, since he carries the oxen, axels, and buffalo meat on his back. He
    always makes it to Oregon before you.

    Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and
    unparalleled martial arts ability.
    Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the
    devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony,
    couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming.
    They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

    Chuck Norris frequently signs up for beginner karate classes, just so he can
    "accidentally" beat the shit out of little kids.

    Chuck Norris took my virginity, and he will sure as hell take yours. If
    you're thinking to yourself, "That's impossible, I already lost my
    virginity.", then you are dead wrong.

    At the end of each week, Chuck Norris murders a dozen white people just to
    prove he isn't a racist.

    In one episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Chuck Norris replaced Carlton for
    one scene and nobody noticed.

    Chuck Norris found out about Conan O'Brien's lever that shows clips from
    "Walker: Texas Ranger" and is working on a way to make it show clips of
    Norris having sex with Conan's wife.

    Chuck Norris has every copy of National Geographic in his basement. He also
    has the ability to lift every single one of them at once.

    Before each filming of Walker: Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris is injected with
    five times the lethal dose of elephant tranquilzer. This is, of course, to
    limit his strength and mobility, in an attempt to lower the fatality rate of
    the actors he fights.

    Chuck Norris doesn't have normal white blood cells like you and I. His have
    a small black ring around them. This signifies that they are black belts in
    every form of martial arts and they roundhouse kick the shit out of viruses.
    That's why Chuck Norris never gets ill.

    Chuck Norris ruins the endings of Harry Potter books for children who just
    bought one for the hell of it.

    When they start crying Chuck Norris calmly says, "I'll give you something to
    cry about," and roundhouse kicks them in the face.

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    Iron & Wine

    You can listen to the Iron & Wine concert at the 930 club from last night by clicking here

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    In the news

    Schools to adopt 'phonics' style of teaching reading

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    Wednesday, November 30, 2005

    In a few years

    this will seem like the silliest headline ever:
    TSA Would Allow Sharp Objects on Airliners: Screeners to Focus More on Bombs

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    Reminder

    A note to self to read this article about 250,000 bouncy balls being dropped on the street in San Francisco later when I'm at home and can watch the video.

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    Tuesday, November 29, 2005

    Jury Duty and a Distinct Lack Of Updates

    Apologies for the lack of updates, but Turkey day, work over the holiday weekend and some Jury duty have kept me quite busy. I'll try to work a bigger update in tomorrow at some point.
    Out.

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    Saturday, November 26, 2005

    Found this: Iraq War Coalition Fatalities animated graphic that really helps to put the lack of improvement since March 20, 2003 into perspective.
    Then found this emotioneric.com and laughed heartily after getting through the first basic images.

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    Friday, November 25, 2005

    (not so) Intelligent Design

    Stumbled upon this web page of evolution text book disclaimer stickers that's very well put. At the bottom it links to this article from Scientific American [pdf alert], which gives 15 answers back to idiots' claims about Creationism/Intelligent Design.
    Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

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    Wednesday, November 23, 2005

    Who's Next? Satanists?

    And people wonder why I can't stand organized religion. My biggest problems with them are when they preach one religion being better than another or preach hate. A Vatican document concerning homosexuality made available today that was approved by Pope Benedict XVI on August 31st is what brings this up. What ticks me off the most is the part I've put in italics:

    The Vatican is ordering seminaries to bar candidates for the priesthood who "practice homosexuality," have "deeply rooted homosexual tendencies" or support "gay culture," according to a document published Tuesday by Adista, a Catholic news agency in Rome.

    Everyone knows that if the word of god comes out the mouth of a gay man, it's no good... Acutally, the church doesn't go that far. They appear to be OK with the idea of priests who are gay and already in the church staying in, as long as they don't practice or have those "deeply rooted homosexual tendencies". Ridiculous. I think the most important thing to note is that this is all just a publicity stunt to try to calm the fervor over pedophiliac priests. The post points out the lack of connection between homosexuality and pedophilia and that this won't solve the problem, but they don't take it that extra step to say that the Vatican is doing PR... Probably because without PR, newspapers would have nothing to print... Except facts obtained through journalism. I'll step off my high horse to quote the Post again:
    The instruction from the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Vatican department in charge of seminaries, is not entirely new. Previous Vatican documents dating back to 1961 have called homosexuality an "intrinsically disordered" condition and have declared gays ineligible for ordination.
    But Vatican officials say those rules have been loosely enforced, and some have blamed homosexuality for a worldwide scandal over sexual abuse of minors by priests. Other Catholics say there is no connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.
    "There are people on the right wing who from the beginning saw this document as a kind of magic wand that would remove the taint of the sex abuse scandal," said the Rev. John A. Coleman, a Jesuit sociologist at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. "I think that's wishful thinking -- and pretty stupid."
    The new document delves into the issue of homosexuality in greater detail than prior instructions and may have greater authority, particularly because it bears the imprimatur of Pope Benedict XVI, who approved it Aug. 31.
    The document does not call for the removal of gay men who are already serving as priests, and it does not flatly bar the ordination of anyone who has ever acknowledged a same-sex attraction. It says men whose homosexuality is "a transitory problem" may be ordained as deacons -- a key step toward the priesthood -- if they have lived in celibacy for at least three years...
    The document does not elaborate on what it means by support for "gay culture." However, Pope Benedict, during his long pre-papal service as the Vatican's orthodoxy guardian, banned gay groups from using church property for meetings or setting up gay organizations under the umbrella of local churches.

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    Tuesday, November 22, 2005

    Not BECK!

    Watched the scientology episode of South Park last night and remembered hearing something about Beck being a Scientologist. Lo and behold, here's pseudo-article on the subject:
    The Secret Life of Beck Hansen - A Guide for the Professional Journalist

    As recently as 2002 Beck was reported as denying that he was a Scientologist, but in a New York Times interview that was published since this page was written (March 6, 2005, “Beck at a Certain Age”), he has publicly admitted for first time that he is a Scientologist. The writer, Arthur Lubow, questioned Beck about his involvement in Scientology and attempted unsuccessfully to elicit a comment from him about the 'continuing controversy' regarding the COS. Beck responded by fixing his eyes in the by now familiar "unwavering gaze" and detoured into a vague digression about intolerance and appreciating other cultures and ideas.

    What really kills me about Scientology is the anti-gay sentiment. From the article: "They even believe homosexuality can be 'cured' by Scientology which outlaws homosexuality. Hubbard insisted that the Emotional Tone Level of a homosexual is 'covert hostility': 'they are back stabbers, each and every one.'"
    If you haven't seen the episode yet, follow these simple steps:
    (1) Download and install bit torrent
    (2) Go to torrentspy.com
    (3) Search for episode 912 (that's season 9, episode 12)
    (4) Click the links and enjoy.


    See articles on the episode in the news here and even a video segment on cnn here [video alert]
    *I'm not promoting the use of bittorrent... or at least promise to watch a bunch of advertisements later that you wouldn't otherwise have watched... preferrably those that were likely advertised during the show.

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    No time to summarize today's news

    Check out talking points memo for a good update...
    I can't help myself, though. Here's a link to Scanlon's Plea Agreement [pdf alert].

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    Reminder

    Download Ray Lamontagne (sic?)

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    Bush... so dumb

    BUSH PLOT TO BOMB HIS ARAB ALLY

    PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a "Top Secret" No 10 memo reveals.
    But he was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair, who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash.
    A source said: "There's no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it." Al-Jazeera is accused by the US of fuelling the Iraqi insurgency.

    Apologies for quoting from the mirror. More sources can be found at google news and elsewhere.
    For a country that promotes freedom of speech, this all seems a little bit hypocritical (just a tad, right?).

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    Saturday, November 19, 2005

    Neo-Cons Be Gettin' Blasted

    Scanlon gets served
    House of Reps plays games
    and even Krauthammer says someting smart about 'intelligent design'.

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    Published

    Check out thedelimagazine.com. The banner at the top of the page for Monsterland Studios was done by none other than yours truly. Toot, toot, went my own horn.

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    Saturday

    Gooooood morning. Not doing too much today. Need to find a place to put some books that came off of an old shelf and have been reading up on how to better use Unix with Mac OS X. Nerding it up pretty hard.
    I just read through some of these poll questions compiled by Michael Moore on his website as well. Apparently the current sentiment agrees with what I've been whining about since 2002. Glad to see that 53% of Americans are starting to come around.

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    Wednesday, November 16, 2005

    I knew it!

    Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force

    A White House document shows that executives from big oil companies met with Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001 -- something long suspected by environmentalists but denied as recently as last week by industry officials testifying before Congress.
    The document, obtained this week by The Washington Post, shows that officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met in the White House complex with the Cheney aides who were developing a national energy policy, parts of which became law and parts of which are still being debated.

    What's interesting here is that the White House denied that this happened. If you look at the latest ads in various magazines from Chevron and BP ("Beyond Patroleum", right?) they chatter on about renewable energry and "working towards the future". If that's the case and they were talking with Cheney about renewable energy, then more power to them. They're the ones who could be the most influential and have infrustructures in place for energy distribution. Somehow, though, I doubt that they were talking about renewable energy with Mr. Cheney, especially since the white house has been denying that the meeting took place. They could always say that the meetings were closed door and they had no obligation to say with whom they met. They could also say that they didn't mention meeting with the Oil Execs because they knew that it would be construed in this fashion.
    They can say a lot of things...

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    Uh oh

    You know that when China admits something's wrong, there's trouble afoot:

    China confirms first human bird flu cases

    China on Wednesday reported its first three confirmed human cases of bird flu as the government raced to vaccinate billions of chickens, ducks and other poultry in a massive effort to stop the spread of the virus.
    The Health Ministry confirmed two human cases in the central province of Hunan and one in the eastern province of Anhui, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Both areas reported outbreaks in poultry in the past month.
    Experts are especially worried about the potential for bird flu to spread and mutate in China because of its vast poultry flocks and their close contact with people. It also is a major migration route for wild fowl, which experts say might be spreading the virus.

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    Reminder

    A quick reminder to myself to make my resume into a CV this evening.

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    Tuesday, November 15, 2005

    Quick Note

    From this article in the Washington Post:

    Alito Downplays '85 Comments

    Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito distanced himself Tuesday from his 1985 comments that there was no constitutional right to abortion, telling a senator in private that he had merely been "an advocate seeking a job."

    I thought to myself, "isn't he seeking a job now?"
    But he said:

    "I was an advocate seeking a job, it was a political job and that was 1985. I’m now a judge, I’ve been on the circuit court for 15 years and it’s very different. I’m not an advocate, I don’t give heed to my personal views, what I do is interpret the law."


    Lies, lies, lies. More later.

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    Friday, November 11, 2005

    New Image


    It's been a little while, but I played around with some pictures of scenery in Colorado last weekend and came up with the image to the right. Go to molt be designs to check out the larger image, if you wish.
    I'm hoping to get a photo blog up and running sometime in the next few weeks so that I can make something that resembles chromasia, but with my own images and without stealing that fellow's code.
    R says that this image conglomerate looks like a painting and I take that as a huge compliment. It's a combination of two pictures that I took at altitudes of about 12,000 and 9,000 ft; one of tundra, the other of a park at the base of the mountains. After enough fiddling around, I think it came out pretty well.

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    Delay "I'm totally not guilty...

    unless you want to bust this down to a misdemeanor"


    Nothing screams "I'm kinda guilty" like an attempt at a plea bargain

    DeLay Team Weighed Misdemeanor Plea to Save GOP Post
    Lawyers for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) tried unsuccessfully in late September to head off felony criminal indictments against the then-majority leader on charges of violating Texas campaign law by signaling that DeLay might plead guilty to a misdemeanor, according to four sources familiar with the events.
    The lawyers' principal aim was to try to preserve DeLay's leadership position under House Republican rules that bar lawmakers accused of felonies from holding such posts. DeLay was forced to step down as leader on Sept. 28 after the first of two grand jury indictments. [link]

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    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    Good News For Furry Creatures

    But they're not out of the woods yet.
    Arctic drilling dropped from House bill

    House leaders late Wednesday abandoned an attempt to push through a hotly contested plan to open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil drilling, fearing it would jeopardize approval of a sweeping budget bill Thursday.
    Still, the Senate has included ANWR drilling in its budget bill and GOP leaders will push hard for any final House-Senate budget bill to include it.
    If the House bill passes in a vote set for Thursday, the two chambers would appoint negotiators to work out differences between the bills. Senate Republicans could insist the ANWR drilling proposal be reinserted into the House bill, forcing a new vote by the full House.
    The House Rules Committee formalized the change late Wednesday by issuing the terms of the debate when the House takes up the budget package on Thursday.
    The decision to drop the ANWR drilling language came after GOP moderates said they would oppose the budget if it was kept in the bill. The offshore drilling provision was also viewed as too contentious and a threat to the bill, especially in the Senate. [link]

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    Uh oh

    Down Syndrome Now Detectable In 1st Trimester
    Earlier Diagnosis Allows More Time for Decisions

    A first-trimester screening test can reliably identify fetuses likely to be born with Down syndrome, providing expectant women with that information much earlier in a pregnancy than current testing allows, according to a major study being released today.
    Screening women before the second trimester allows those who might opt to terminate a pregnancy to make that decision when doctors say an abortion is safer and less traumatic. It also gives those who want to continue the pregnancy more time to prepare emotionally for their child's condition, and provides earlier reassurance to those whose babies are healthy, avoiding weeks of anxiety, Malone and others said.
    But Gene Rudd of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations said he was concerned that women are not always fully advised about the risks of prenatal testing, and that screening could be used to try to eliminate babies with Down syndrome.
    "What's the goal here? Is it to rid our society of Down babies? If that is the goal, I really have to question the civility of that," Rudd said. "The overwhelming number of people with Down will tell you their life is good."

    I'm not sure where I stand on this issue on the whole, but I think the results of this study will really only make things safer for everyone involved. I doubt that this will lead to an increase in the number of abortions, as those that would abort would probably have done so after testing in the 2nd trimester anyway. What will happen is that early detection will lead to a safer overall procedure.
    The scary part is how far people would start to take this. Would we start aborting babies after detecting their thick eyebrows or high-chances for pre-mature balding? I guess one just has to trust in human nature to draw some kind of line of when it's ok to abort after a genetic test and when it's just being ridiculous.
    Crap. I just read the last two paragraphs of the article and realized it said what I said:
    Malone and others, however, said they doubted the approach would result in more abortions.
    "Most women are probably going to make the same decision now as before. If she decides to terminate the pregnancy, this just makes it safer and maximizes her privacy and confidentiality," Malone said.

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    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    If Only Rewriting History were that easy

    Wonkette comments on a White House attempt to change transcripts of its October 31st press conference to change "That's accurate" to "I don't think that's accurate" in reference to Rove involvement in the CIA leak... What hubris that they think they can get away with this.

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    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    Hooray

    Kaine Defeats Kilgore in Va. Gubernatorial Race

    By William Branigin
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, November 8, 2005; 9:38 PM

    Democrat Timothy M. Kaine defeated Republican Jerry W. Kilgore in today's election for governor of Virginia, riding the popularity of outgoing Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) and dissatisfaction with the Bush administration in a state that typically votes Republican in national elections.

    With 90 percent of precincts reporting, Kaine, Virginia's lieutenant governor, held a lead of 51 percent to 46 percent over Kilgore, the former state attorney general, according to unofficial returns from the State Board of Elections. Independent candidate H. Russell Potts Jr. was running a distant third, with 2 percent.

    Kaine Defeats Kilgore in Va. Gubernatorial Race


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    MySpace Condemned by Tenn School for its Ability to Spread Lies

    TechDirt links to this article on a school that had all but thousands of students skip class after they read a warning on MySpace that other students were going to bring machine guns to school. The administration blames MySpace for existing as a communication forum...
    Of course then there was a school shooting today in Tennessee.

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    Just like the French to have eleven days of rioting and only one death so far...

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    Monday, November 07, 2005

    Dueling Headlines

    From the post: Cheney Fights for Detainee Policy

    Over the past year, Vice President Cheney has waged an intense and largely unpublicized campaign to stop Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department from imposing more restrictive rules on the handling of terrorist suspects, according to defense, state, intelligence and congressional officials.
    Cheney's camp says the United States does not torture captives, but believes the president needs nearly unfettered power to deal with terrorists to protect Americans. To preserve the president's flexibility, any measure that might impose constraints should be resisted. That is why the administration has recoiled from embracing the language of treaties such as the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which Cheney's aides find vague and open-ended. [link]

    From the bbc: US does not torture, Bush insists
    US President George W Bush has defended his government's treatment of detainees after a media allegation that the CIA ran secret jails in eastern Europe.
    "We do not torture," Mr Bush told reporters during a visit to Panama.
    He said enemies were plotting to hurt the US and his government would pursue them, but would do so "under the law". [link]

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    Sunday, November 06, 2005

    New Music

    I've been listening to some new music around the house today. We saw OK Go open for Rufus Wainwright and got their CD, which is quite good. I'm also listening to the first Grandaddy album, Under the Western Freeway. It's not a good as some of their other stuff (Sumday in particular), but I like it just fine.
    Now I'm listening to an album by My Morning Jacket, which I got on a whim and is awesome.

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    Famousness

    My kickball team, Rambo: First Balls, is officially famous after our writeup in the Sunday Washington Post Style section. The article makes kickball seem like it's all about getting drunk and hooking up... but that's not really how I ever saw it. As far as I'm concerned, the story is unfair and should be burned.... but I'm not going to spend a $1.25 on the Sunday edition of the paper to do so.
    In Kickball, Romance Gets a Sporting Chance

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    Saturday, November 05, 2005

    Picture Post

    Here's a picture post that I'm attempting using Here's a picture post that I'm attempting using flock, a new pro-blog, pro-flickr, pro-del.icio.us web browser than runs off of FireFox/Mozilla. Whew. Lot of linking there.
    These are all photos from the recent trip to Colorado, which were previously put up on Flickr. The descriptions can be found on there as well.

    Photo on FlickrThe frontside of Long's Peak as viewed from Grandpa's breakfast table through the window. We figured out that they've had that view for almost 30 years and not much has changed. We also figured out that nearly everything in his house except the contents of the fridge is older than I am.

    Photo on FlickrAnother view of the back of Long's Peak, the highest in Rocky Mountain National Park. This was taken from Bear Lake as mom and I took a walk around while the GPs waited in the car. It was surprisingly warm while we were there... probably because I packed for a blizzard.

    Photo on FlickrA view of the back of Long's Peak from Trail Ridge Road. The Peak is up around 14,100 ft. and the road is the highest continuous road in the world (at least according to Grandpa!)

    Grandpa pointing out some mountainsGrandpa looking out at Mts. Chapin, Chaquita, Ypsilon, and Fairchild. A ranger fell and died while climbing down Ypsilon earlier this summer. It was the first time in the history of the park that an employee had been killed. Given that it opened around 1915, that's a pretty good run.

    A tree in a fieldA meadow where fall river begins on its way into town. The river flooded after the Lawn Lake dam broke in 1982. Apparently my 2 year old self was in town visiting the GPs when it happened. Glad I wasn't swept up.

    Clouds on our way down the canyon to the airportGoing down the canyon to the airport. the light was playing some interesing games with the clouds. Mom and I both tried to take shots of it, her in the passenger seat and me driving. I think this might be one of the ones I took, but can't really feel great taking full credit.

    The flock experiment for blogging didn't work out as well as I'd hoped and I ended up having to make a lot of changes here in the blogger editor. Oh well. I've used it plenty for linking to articles and such as it has a really cool "shel" feature, but I think the picture feature will need some work or at least some better Options and Settings

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    Friday, November 04, 2005

    Sad

    Senate Permits Oil Drilling in Alaska Refuge
    Why not just take away the tax break on Hummers? That would probably pay for all the oil that will come out of ANWAR.

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    Thursday, November 03, 2005

    RUMOR!

    So here's the rumor that I heard last night:
    Judith Miller had an affair with I. Lewis Libby.

    That's the rumor around Washington. I was surprsed by this entirely. I realized that I don't think of characters like Miller and Libby as humans who would even have emotions, let alone the possibility of sleeping with eachother.
    I wonder if the media has picked up on it.

    In other news, yesterday's Washington Post had an article on Secret CIA torture facilities in Russia.
    Fox News then reported on the Washington Post story, but hilariously begins their article with:


    President Bush's directive that bans the torture of terror suspects applies to all prisoners, even important Al Qaeda captives being held by the CIA (search) at secret camps in overseas countries, U.S. and foreign officials say.
    It's believed that such secret detention facilities have existed — or still exist — in Thailand, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and, according to a Washington Post article, at former Soviet compounds in Eastern Europe.

    I don't know what the hell they're talking about when they refer to "President Bush's directive that bans" torture. I'm pretty sure that Bush is threatening to veto a bill that contains the ban on torture. Maybe there really is a presidential directive on this and Congress is trying to make it more solid law. Maybe McCain just wants publicity. Maybe there is no presidential directive and Bush is a big liar. Maybe the torture ban is buried deep within a bill that Bush wants to veto for other reasons. I prefer to think that Fox and Bush are idiots, but I'm starting to get bitter about everyone else as well.
    Also, some Russian study is claiming that rats born to mothers fed on a diet of GM soy had an over 55% infant mortality rate, compared to a 9% mortality rate for those fed non-GM soy. Interesting/scary/not-sure-if-I-believe-a-press-release
    And Fox News is an endless source of amusement, but here's an article showing that dogs aren't just for terrorizing suspected insurgents anymore. Apparently kids can't be trusted to the point that they're using drug-sniffing dogs in a school in LA. I'm not sure that's sending them the right message...

    Ok, that's all I've got and have to get to work. To restate the news very succinctly: Judith and Scooter sitting in a tree; the CIA tortures people in Russia; Bush is a Saint per Fox news; rats like GM foods about as much as Europe does.

    Fin.

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    Wednesday, November 02, 2005

    Reminder

    A remind to me to finish the banner for that Volunteers web ad.

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    OK, I'm making a mental note to get those picture up on the blog... in the meantime, here's an email that I got from Netflix this morning. I love Netflix like a second son, so I'm going to exclude myself from the litigation below.

    --------------------------------
    From: Netflix
    Date: 02-Nov-2005 00:03
    Subject: Notice of Class Action Settlement. Please Read.
    To: elgreg@gmail.com

    You are receiving this notice because you were a paid Netflix member before January 15, 2005. Under a proposed class action settlement, you may be eligible to receive a free benefit from Netflix.

    A class action lawsuit entitled Chavez v. Netflix, Inc. was filed in San Francisco Superior Court (case number CGC-04-434884) on September 23, 2004. The lawsuit alleges that Netflix failed to provide "unlimited" DVD rentals and "one day delivery" as promised in its marketing materials. Netflix has denied any wrongdoing or liability. The parties have reached a settlement that they believe is in the best interests of the company and its subscribers.

    Netflix will provide eligible subscribers with the benefit described below, if the settlement is approved by the Court.

    * Current Netflix Members: If you enrolled in a paid membership before January 15, 2005 and were a member on October 19, 2005, you are eligible to receive a free one-month upgrade in service level. For example, if you are on the 3 DVDs at-a-time program, you will be upgraded to the 4 DVDs at-a-time program for one month. There will be no price increase during the upgraded month. (If you cancel your membership after October 19, 2005 and before you receive the upgrade, you will have to rejoin to get the upgrade.)


    * Former Netflix Members: If you enrolled in a paid membership before January 15, 2005 but were not a member on October 19, 2005, you are eligible to receive a free one-month Netflix membership on your choice of the 1, 2 or 3 DVDs at-a-time unlimited program. (If you rejoin after October 19, 2005 but before you receive the free one-month membership, you will receive a credit for the free month when it becomes available.)

    These benefits will be provided after the Effective Date as defined in the Settlement Agreement. Your eligibility for the benefits is based on your membership status as of October 19, 2005. The full Settlement Agreement is available for review at www.netflixsettlement.com.

    You have four options to respond to the proposed settlement. You have until December 28, 2005 to make your decision:

    Option 1. Sign Up For The Benefit As Part Of The Settlement
    To receive the benefit, you must complete the online registration process no later than February 17, 2006, at www.netflixsettlement.com. By signing up for the benefit, you waive your right to bring a separate lawsuit against Netflix concerning the Released Claims (as defined in the Settlement Agreement found at www.netflixsettlement.com).

    Option 2. Do Nothing
    If you do not wish to receive the benefit, do nothing. You will not receive the benefit but will remain a Class Member. You therefore waive your right to bring a separate lawsuit against Netflix concerning the Released Claims.

    Option 3. Exclude Yourself From the Class
    To exclude yourself from the class, you must mail a letter by December 28, 2005. By excluding yourself, you preserve your right to bring a lawsuit against Netflix concerning the Released Claims. However, you will not get the benefit described above.

    Option 4. Make An Objection To The Settlement In Court
    To object to the settlement, you must file legal papers in the San Francisco Superior Court by January 5, 2006.

    To receive your benefit, you must register by February 17, 2006 as described above in Option 1. You will not receive any other reminders to register for the benefit. If you have registered for the benefit and your eligibility is confirmed, then you will be provided additional information by email following the Effective Date as defined in the Settlement Agreement.

    After the benefit period ends, the new or upgraded level of service will continue automatically (following an email reminder) and you will be billed accordingly, unless you cancel or modify your subscription. You can cancel or modify your subscription at any time.

    In addition, if the settlement is approved by the Court, Netflix will modify portions of its Terms of Use. Netflix also will refer to its Terms of Use in certain advertisements.

    To get more information about the settlement and procedures, and to take options 1, 3 or 4, visit www.netflixsettlement.com.



    SRC: 10312005CAS
    (c)1997-2005 Netflix, Inc. 970 University Ave., Los Gatos, CA 95032

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    Tuesday, November 01, 2005

    I Flippin' Told You

    I've finally had some time to check out Bush's nominee, Samuel Alito and am quickly learning that Bush has nominated the staunch conservative that everybody wanted.
    A staunch white male to replace a moderate white female. Sad. Sad. Sad.
    I truly think that Bush and Co. never thought that Miers would make it past confirmation hearings, but that by nominating her they could get the "woman gesture" out of the way.
    I looked around a little bit to see if anyone else had this same impression, but haven't found anything yet... Ok. Can't be late for my second day!

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    Monday, October 31, 2005

    This Evening

    Currently with R at the 930 club to see Rufus Wainwright. First day at work was intersting. Didn't get home until 6:30, but it seems llike everyone there is a lot more... human. R picked that descriptive word while I was searching for something.
    ----------------------
    Sent via blackBerry wireless handheld.

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    Alito

    Nominated.
    Check Google News for the articles:
    http://news.google.com/?ncl=http://moneycentral.msn.com/inc/news/providerredir.asp%3Ffeed%3DFT%26Date%3D20051031%26ID%3D5236618&hl=en
    ----------------------
    Sent via blackBerry wireless handheld.

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    First Day

    First day at the new job today, so hopefully that goes really, really well.
    Just got back from my four days in Colorado. I haven't had time to upload the pictures yet, but you can flip through the few that I put up yourself by going to my flickr page.
    I'll update on the job's progress as much as I think best and will try to catch up with all of the interesting news later this evening.

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    Saturday, October 29, 2005

    Random

    A random poem, Suicide in the trenches by Siegfried Sassoon
    I knew a simple soldier boy Who grinned at life in empty joy, Slept soundly through the lonesome dark, And whistled early with the lark. In winter trenches, cowed and glum, With crumps and lice and lack of rum, He put a bullet through his brain. No one spoke of him again. You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye Who cheer when soldier lads march by, Sneak home and pray you'll never know. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_in_the_Trenches ------

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    What a Week

    I'm in Colorado visiting the grandparents for four days before starting my new job but have been managing to keep abreast of current events thanks to their much appreciated addiction to PBS.
    I watched Miers' withdrawal on the screen on the back of the seat in front of me just as I took off from DC and was reminded of my.entry back on Oct 6th (I'd link, but it never works when typing from the blackberry). In that entry, I said that Miers would get shut down and that it would give Bush the opportunity to nominate a real conservative. Along the same lines, last night on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, David Brooks said what a lot of people aren't willing to admit: When asked if he thought that the next nominee would be another woman, Brooks explained that the president had *already made the gesture* and would not have to nominate a woman this time around. I have to wonder what's coming down the pike, but whatever it is I think that this is what Bush (or really Rove) had in mind all along. Harriet Miers was a ridiculous nominee and everyone knew it. She was a crony with no judicial experience and would probably have had a difficult time getting appointed to a circuit!
    court, let alone the SCOTUS.
    I also read a Krathauer OpEd in the NYT the other week that predicted this exact method of withdrawal for Miers (again, no linking), ie using the asking-for-documents-i-cannot-provide reason.
    There were plenty of good predictions out there about the failure of the Miers nomination, but I wonder if anyone else thinks that this was a strategic move that planned for the withdrawal as well. I'd be surprised if an extreme conservative wasn't nominated next. Some suggest that if Bush bows to his base he'll end up with an intensly bitter battle in congress, but that if he nominates a moderate he'll alienate the extreme conservatives who've put him where he is. He's up a creek, that's for sure.

    The other big news out of Washington was the indictment of Libby this morning. I'm glad that something came out of the investigation, but imagine that a lot of others share in my dissappointment that Rove seems to have escaped unscathed. My mom, who's visitng the gps with me, thinks that Scooter will take the fall for everybody. Not that he doesn't deserve it if he's guilty, but I have a funny feeling that he wasn't the one who came up with the idea of outing Valerie Plame.
    One interesting thing that I noticed in statements from both the Vice President and a prominent conservative law-maker was that instead of using the phrase *innocent until proven guilty*, they're using phrases like *innocent until proven otherwise*. I heard this kind of doublespeak at least three or four times this afternoon as I watched CNN. It's as though one of the bulletpoints in some memo focused on not using the actual word *guilty* in association with the case, as it might skew the mind of the public to have the word and Libby's name uttered in the same context. They're probably right, but it's interesting to realize it.
    There was enough good talk on the Libby stuff on PBS tonight and a lot of really good talk from the lead investigator, Fitzgerald, during his one hour press conference, so I won't waste too much thumb energy on the subject.

    Unfortunately, the Miers and Libby news pretty much buried some other big news that came out on Thursday, the release of the final UN report on the Oil for Food scandal. On Wednesday, a coworker and I used our lunch break to attend a speech on the investigation into said scandal given by former head of the Fed and investigation leader, Paul Volcker. As the report wasn't coming out until the next day, he couldn't go into too many specifics as to its content and instead summmarized some of the logistics of the investigation. He expanded more on the content of the forthcoming report during the question and answer period and made it clear that there was definitely corruption found at the UN. He also seemed to think that there was a lack of administrative capability and oversight that allowed this corruption to continue.
    The report that came out on Thursday named over 2,000 individuals and companies that had some corrupt practices in connection with the Oil for Food program and the story seems buried under the deluge of information regarding Miers and Libby. Too bad. The only interesting point that I had after listening to Volcker's speech was to wonder why the UN hadn't tried to foist the difficult administrative and logistical tasks of the Oil for Food program onto a body that was more experienced and capable, like the IMF or the World Bank. It seemed that a lot of the problems with corruption could have been stopped dead if a group with better accounting and audit skills had been around from the beginning. The UN is good at peacekeeping, but I don't know how good they'll ever be at managing the exchange of oil for food and medical supplies.

    Ok, I need to kick this cold before I start my new job on Monday. Pardon any typos and the asterisks (*) instead of quotes, but this is what happens when you type with your thumbs and email blog posts.
    ----------------------
    Sent via blackBerry wireless handheld.

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    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    Wal-Mart - You Already Knew they Were Evil, Now Read the Memo

    Wal-Mart is looking for new hires. They want young, dynamic people who are willing to work part-time and spend all of their earnings on trips to the emergency room because they don't have benefits.

    An internal memo sent to Wal-Mart's board of directors proposes numerous ways to hold down spending on health care and other benefits while seeking to minimize damage to the retailer's reputation. Among the recommendations are hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart.
    In the memorandum, M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits, also recommends reducing 401(k) contributions and wooing younger, and presumably healthier, workers by offering education benefits. The memo voices concern that workers with seven years' seniority earn more than workers with one year's seniority, but are no more productive...

    Ms. Chambers acknowledged that 46 percent of the children of Wal-Mart's 1.33 million United States employees were uninsured or on Medicaid...

    Wal-Mart's benefit costs jumped to $4.2 billion last year, from $2.8 billion three years earlier, causing concern within the company because benefits represented an increasing share of sales. Last year, Wal-Mart earned $10.5 billion on sales of $285 billion...

    The memo noted that Wal-Mart workers "are getting sicker than the national population, particularly in obesity-related diseases," including diabetes and coronary artery disease. The memo said Wal-Mart workers tended to overuse emergency rooms and underuse prescriptions and doctor visits, perhaps from previous experience with Medicaid.

    Wal-Mart Memo Suggests Ways to Cut Employee Benefit Costs - New York Times


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    Indictments! Sweet!

    I'm think I've been mistaken all week to be calling this Schadenfreude. I'm taking joy in the misfortune of others, but I'm not sure how much it should count if those others are terrible people who did terrible things purposefully.
    From the different definitions of the term, I can't figure out if there's a semantic line separating laughing at someone slipping on a banana peel and laughing at someone being indicted for leaking the name of a CIA operateive.
    Look at scooter's face over there to the right. What an asshole. They look like mobsters for Christ's sake.
    Indictments of top White House officials could come as early as today in the CIA leak case.
    The grand jury meets Wednesday and CBS News has learned that at least one person — possibly several — have been notified they are targets of the prosecution's investigation, CBS News chief White House correspondent Bill Plant reports.

    CBS News | D.C. On Edge As Leak Jury Meets | October 26, 2005 08:25:07


    Also in CBS news, I counted one sentence before this article on the recent nor'easter mentioned the words "perfect storm". So frustrating.
    And news on hurricane Wilma makes me think that a lot of people overestimate the power of the United States. There's an analogy to do with all talk and no follow-through that I'm trying to remember... but alas:
    Some American tourists stuck in Mexico told CBS News correspondent Adrienne Bard the U.S. government didn't do enough to help.
    "When you live in the largest, most powerful country in the world, you really would think that our government could get some military aircraft in here, swoop us up, and get us out of here," said Rodney Henson of Kentucky, who was still trying to get a flight out after six days.

    And the quote below is really a shame. I thought that we learned from Katrina that a plan isn't enough... it's acting on that plan that really counts for something.
    FEMA spokeswoman Frances Marine urged Floridians to be patient, and reminded residents that problems such as the ones that popped up Tuesday were why officials suggested that people have 72 hours' of essential supplies — including water — available ahead of Wilma's arrival.
    "People will have their needs met," Marine said. "The bottom line is that there's a plan in place."

    CBS News | No Power, No Water, No Patience | October 26, 2005 09:30:05




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    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    Death Toll Reaches 2000, WMD Tally Still Zero

    The Washington Post writes

    BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A U.S. Army sergeant died of wounds suffered in Iraq, the Pentagon announced Tuesday. The death _ along with two others announced Tuesday _ brought to 2,000 the number of U.S. military members who have died since the start of the Iraq conflict in 2003.

    Staff Sgt. George T. Alexander, Jr., 34, of Killeen, Texas, died Saturday at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, of wounds suffered Oct. 17, when a bomb exploded near his vehicle in the central Iraqi city of Samarra, the Defense Department said.

    Grim Milestone for U.S. Military in Iraq


    I thought that they weren't counting it as a death if a soldier died outside of Iraq, but maybe they've fixed that ridiculous method of keeping count. I'm outraged by the whole thing. The White House and Pentagon are going to say that 2,000 is an artificial number that is being thrown around by anti-war folks (umm... lousy peaceniks?) who just want to fan the flames. As far as I'm concerned, one death was too many. 2,000 may be artificial, but it's 2,000 too many no matter what and maybe this artificial number will help more fools to realize just that.

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    6music - Why Aren't You Listening

    I'm switching jobs next week and will likely not be able to listen to bbc 6music all the live long day for at least two months. Thing is, though, it's OK! They have an amazing website that lets you listen to any show that's been broadcast for six days (until the next broadcast replaces it). Even more brilliant than the fact that you can relisten to shows, is that the shows are something you'd actually want to listen to. American radio, or "ClearChannel" as it's now pronounced, lacks in this area. New music here means Kelly Clarkson and other pop crap that is featured on MTV (not MTV2, mind you). 6music has new music and not-so new music and even some older music and none of it is crap. So start listening. It's free. There are no advertisements. Why wouldn't you?

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    More Schadenfraude

    Rarely has a president confronted as many damaging developments that could all come to a head in this week. A special counsel appears poised to indict one or more administration officials within days. Pressure is building on Bush from within his own party to withdraw the faltering Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers. And any day the death toll of U.S. troops in Iraq will pass the symbolically important 2,000 mark.

    Presidents Past Inspire Bush's Damage Control


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    Reminder: Business Plan Help

    This Link is just here as a reminder and a helper for me to finish the business plan that I've been working on.
    and http://www.uspto.gov/ will be useful on how to get intellectual property secured.

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    White House Writes Onion, Asks For Satire Waiver

    Found this story on slashdot regarding a recent letter written from the White House to the Onion, America's Finest (fake) News Source.

    You might have thought that the White House had enough on its plate late last month, what with its search for a new Supreme Court nominee, the continuing war in Iraq and the C.I.A. leak investigation. But it found time to add another item to its agenda - stopping The Onion, the satirical newspaper, from using the presidential seal.

    Protecting the Presidential Seal. No Joke. - New York Times

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    Monday, October 24, 2005

    Helpin' Relations?


    Not likely... this Seattle Times article explains:

    Boeing and its joint-venture partner Bell Helicopter apologized yesterday for a magazine ad published a month ago — and again this week by mistake — depicting U.S. Special Forces troops rappelling from an Osprey aircraft onto the roof of a mosque.

    "It descends from the heavens. Ironically it unleashes hell," reads the ad, which ran this week in the National Journal and earlier in the Armed Forces Journal. The ad also stated: "Consider it a gift from above."

    The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Magazine ad "unleashes hell" for Boeing and Bell


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    Reminder: MySQL 5.0 is released

    And here I thought I'd have to wait until November... I am SUCH a nerd recently.
    Press Release
    Download

    And also check out Ruby on Rails and learn what that's all about.

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    Interesting Tid-Bits

    If you can't tell, I'm not very occupied here in my last few days at work. Some interesting tidbits that I've found online shortly before I'm going to head out to lunch.
    I was watching Nature on PBS last night and learning about Gorillas and their dwindling numbers due to the trade in bushmeat going on Africa. I can remember thinking to myself, "I can't believe that can't just control their national parks and stop people from poaching." Then I read this in teh washignton post about poaching in national parks in the US and feel stupid and ethnocentric:

    "When I look down in that hollow and see no viable ginseng population, to me that is a very serious matter," said Wissinger, a National Park Service special agent. "In my view they are an integral part in the portfolio of the nation's natural resources."

    That portfolio is now showing heavy losses. While the National Park Service does not keep comprehensive statistics on how much poaching occurs in its nearly 400 parks, its 2006 budget request reported that thefts have helped spur the decline of at least 29 wildlife species. "The poaching of wildlife from national parks has been steadily increasing each year for the past several years," the document said.

    Poachers Looting National Parks of Treasures


    And if you've ever used the Wikipedia as a serious source, this is from the Guardian:
    Can you trust Wikipedia?
    The founder of the online encyclopedia written and edited by its users has admitted some of its entries are 'a horrific embarrassment'. What did our panel of experts think of the entries for their fields?

    Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Can you trust Wikipedia?


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    I Feel Fantastic

    Coming down with a bit of a cold this week actually. Sunday was mostly spent complaining about being sick and helping a neighbor to "fix" her toilet. I just helped with one really tough part and she did the rest.
    Our ceiling start leaking from the water that had drained our of her tank at around 8:30pm. Annoying.
    My last day with my current employer is on Wednesday and then I start a new job on Halloween! On Thursday, I'm flying to Colorado to use up my extra vacation days to go visit my grandparents.
    The reason I feel fantastic is because Frist and Delay are both in a big amount of trouble and I'm experiencing some schadenfreude:

    Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was given considerable information about his stake in his family's hospital company, according to records that are at odds with his past statements that he did not know what was in his stock holdings.Managers of the trusts that Frist once described as "totally blind," regularly informed him when they added new shares of HCA Inc. or other assets to his holdings, according to the documents.

    Letters Show Frist Notified Of Stocks in 'Blind' Trusts

    Former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) surrendered Thursday to the county sheriff's office in Houston, and was then photographed, fingerprinted and released, three weeks after becoming the sole member of the House leadership in Washington to be indicted in at least 50 years.The booking of one of the nation's most powerful politicians was forced by an arrest warrant issued Wednesday by a district court here in the state's capital, in preparation for DeLay's eventual trial on felony criminal charges of money laundering and conspiracy related to the allegedly illegal use of corporate funds in the 2002 state election.


    DeLay Booked in Houston on Money-Laundering, Conspiracy Charges

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    Saturday, October 22, 2005

    reminder

    Read up on how to write a Business Plan in the wikipedia.

    A business plan can be seen as a collection of sub-plans including a marketing plan , financial plan , production plan , and human resource plan .

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    Friday, October 21, 2005

    Google... Why didn't I invest?!?

    Google Stock Soars.... makes me wish I'd bought a hundred shares two years ago.... Hrm... Hindsight 20-20 and all that.

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