Molt Be Blog

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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