2007/02/28

Kvatch Kvetches - Hypocrisy So Thick...

...you can cut it with a knife.

But in a perverse sense, Bush is more consistent than all the spineless twits that make up his rightist "amen" chorus. At least 'The Decider' stubbornly sticks to his ludicrous positions--can't say that about any of the people involved in the following incidents:

Al Gore's Electric Bills Are Suddenly Interesting...
...to a group of people that don't believe that global-climate change is the result of human activity. So what exactly is it that they've got problem with? Not sure, but I do know one thing. If Al Gore needs to use 10 times the electricity that I do in order to keep on doing what he's doing, I'm content, and the Tennessee Center for Policy Research is just another administration shill.

Sam Fox Admits That John Kerry Is a War Hero...
...and that smear groups like Swift Boat Veterans for Truth should be banned. The problem is that he came to this revelation while the Senates debates his nomination as the next US Ambassador to Belgium. Another valueless hypocrite.

The US Warns Europe To 'Just Get Over It'...
...on the subject of illegal US rendition flights. So let's try a little thought experiment: Canada...takes to kidnapping US citizens for interrogation and puts them on board unregistered flights to Mexico. What do you think Bu$hCo would do? Probably use the Air Force to force said flights to land, right? Hmmm...now there's a thought for our European friends.

2007/02/27

I Hate Contractors - A Cautionary Tale

When the Frogette and I were engaged, my soon-to-be in-laws asked when we planned to buy our first house. We were living in an apartment in Minneapolis at the time and rather liked our situation. "Why would I want to do that?" I responded. "Well," they replied, "you need a garage for your tools...don-cha-know." "But..." I replied, "...I have a toolbox, and all my tools are in the toolbox." This was obviously not the right answer as I was informed that a "real man" simply could not live life without a jigsaw.

All of this is a round about way of saying that I'm not handy. When I need to get something involved done, I usually hire someone to do it, and right now I'm in dire need of an electrician. Why? Well this interesting little flat in which I live has in-wall electric heaters--funky little units that have a small fan for blowing heated air into a room, but we've got a problem. Our's are all recalled; I've got replacements from the manufacturer; And I need an electrician to install them. Now here's where things get interesting. It's taken me 2 months just to find 1 goddamned electrician willing to do the work.

Electrician #1 - Estimated the job, pestered me for a month while I tried to get the heaters, then wouldn't return phone calls when the heaters did finally come in
Electrician #2 - Didn't bother to call back for a week
Electrician #3 - Sent a unlicensed kid who'd never seen an in wall heater before, promised an estimate, then never called or emailed back
Electrician #4 - Refused to do an on-site estimate, tried to get me to accept a verbal estimate, and then insisted that I have the job done the next day
Electrician #5 - Estimated double the hours of any other outfit (training his partner?)
Electrician #6 - Gave me a two hour window to show up for the estimate, called 30 minutes after to say he'd be there in 30 minutes.
Electrician #7 - Never seen a in-wall heater, wouldn't give an estimate, argued about whether they wanted the job outside my window, then had a different firm (friends?) send an estimate 4 days later.
Electrician #8 - Will be here in about an hour.

So this is the "skilled labor" market? Bozos who seem to have forgotten who pays the bills. It's not like I don't waste time for each of these idiots who doesn't show up or who tries to rip me off. Is there so much work around that they can afford to blow off 6 hours of labor.

Damn I hope electrician #8 is able to get the job done.

2007/02/26

Libby Leak, The Sequel

The Station Agent's got the skinny on a brewing scandal in the Scooter Libby trial. Seems there's been another leak, and the whole prosecution may go down the tubes as a mistrial, but over here in the 'Land-o-Snark', Kvatch wonders:

Will we soon discover that this new leak was orchestrated by Bu$hCo? Will we have a whole new trial about the "Leak trial...leak"? Will it be picked up by the MSM and referred to as the 'Leak-Leak'? Perhaps some publications will refer to it as "Son-of-leak", "Leak Squared", or "Meta-leak".

BOOM!!!

(My little frog brain just exploded from too much snark. Seems I'm incapable of writing anything serious today.)

Breakfast At The White House

I'm busting my hump to secure our energy supplies, and that mother-f*cker wins an Academy Award for a slide show on global-f*cking-warming?!

"Turd Blossom...get your fat ass in here. Weren't you the moron who said that denying climate change was a winner?!"

HT to the Frogette for the idea.

2007/02/25

The Woman Running For President Is 'Senator Clinton'

...not 'Hillary'! In fact, if you're not a personal friend of the Clinton's, then you shouldn't be using her first name at all.

So why am I tweaked off about this now? I just got a look at another worthless article--this one from Newsweek, reprinted at MSNBC--tangentially exploring the possible effect of the former president's impeachment and infidelities on the Senator's campaign. This is basically crap reporting, but in the article they refer to the junior senator from NY as "Hillary" no less than four times.

What is it about the former First Lady that emboldens people to take the liberty of referring her by her first name? Usually, we only use a politician's first name to mock or to satirize. It's disrespectful, and in my opinion reporters who routinely do this to Senator Clinton are showing her the same kind of disrespect. Speaker Pelosi is never referred to simply as Nancy. Nobody refers to Senator Snowe as "Olympia" or Diane Feinstein as "Diane", and if Senator Clinton was a man, this issue wouldn't even come up. Newsweek's article shur as sh*t never refers to Senator Obama as "Barack"!

It's time that we cut this crap out, and I'll be the first to offer my apology. I've used Senator Clinton's first name in two different posts on Blognonymous. I was wrong, and I damn well will make sure it doesn't happen again.

2007/02/24

No Stone Unturned

Some days the post just writes itself...

Psychics 'hired to find Bin Laden'
... However, after running up a bill of £18,000 of taxpayers' money, defence chiefs concluded there was 'little value' in using psychic powers in the defence of the nation and the research was taken no further.
Ever practical those Brits, but here's the best part. They couldn't even get professionals:
The MoD tried to recruit 12 'known' psychics who advertised their abilities on the Internet, but when they all refused they were forced to use 'novice' volunteers.
Maybe the Ministry simply didn't offer the pros enough money.

Good thing Bu$hCo didn't try this. Rumsfeld would have given the contract to Halliburton and spent $18,000,000,000 before giving up.

2007/02/23

The First, The Last, and The One You Missed

I believe that our musical tastes say more about us than most other indulgences. Since I've asked just about every other musical question I can come up with, the Blognonymous musical question this Friday is: What artist do you regret never having seen in concert? And just to make it interesting add to that the first concert you ever saw and the most recent.

Here are mine:

The First - Heart

So it's 1978, and I'm bugging and bugging my mother to let me go and see my first concert. Oddly, I don't really spend much time listening to rock having been raised in a household where the only thing I ever heard was classical, but Heart was one band that I did listen to, and I got to see them while doing their tour for Dog & Butterfly. It was an awesome concert.

The Last - U2

I have seen U2 in concert twice. Once in 1984 during their tour for The Unforgettable Fire (still my favorite U2 release) and once last year when the Frogette scored a pair of prime seats for the How To Build An Atomic Bomb tour. Though I might have expected this last time to be a disappointment, it definitely was not! U2 puts on as good a show today as they did two decades ago.

The One I Missed - Prince

I was living in the Twin Cities when 'Minneapolis Funk' was not an oxymoron--the heyday of Prince and the Revolution. I've seen The Time play live at the 7th St. Entry. I've danced at Glam Slam more times than I can count. I've been thrown out of First Avenue by Prince and his entourage, but I've never seen the man play live. Along with having missed the era of Steely Dan, it is my biggest musical regret.

OK, now to be fair... The last 'concert' that I saw was not really U2. It was Kronos Quartet playing John Adams' collection, John's Book of Alleged Dances, but I didn't think that it really fit with the theme.

Whoa! Kentucky Fried Rats

OK it's not like I eat fast food often--maybe once a year and then only if I have no alternative. I mean...when was the last time your were in a clean McDonalds? Food on the floors, spills on the tables, overflowing trashbins, but rats taking over a KFC on the Lower East Side of Manhatten? Where's the freakin' health department? Yuch!

Caution...the video may make you toss your cornflakes.

2007/02/22

Over Gardasil: Merck Should Be Sanctioned, Gov. Perry...Impeached

I've touched obliquely on the subject of Merck's vaccine for HPV (human papilloma virus) before, but now that Governor Rick Perry of Texas has basically been caught being paid by Merck to mandate the vaccine for Texas' young women, the time has come to speak out more forcefully.

Here's what we know of the scandal: It appears that staffers in the Perry administration met to discuss Gardasil (the drug) on the same day that Merck donated thousands to the governor's campaign. Perry then sidestepped the Texas legislature and mandated the vaccine. Though his office claims that the dates are 'just a coincidence', the implication that Perry peddled his influence is compounded by the fact that Merck has ceased it's heavy-handed, multi-state campaign to force the drug on young women.

Now here's my take on the situation: Despite hysterics on the right--that vaccinating young women against a sexually transmitted disease would promote promiscuity--the plain fact is that government mandated vaccines are for the purpose of stopping viruses that spread through casual contact, and HPV does not fit that criteria. Consequently, forcing such a vaccine on young women is a horrible violation of their rights. But even if you don't buy that children have rights, it's still a violation of the rights of the parents to determine what is best for their child. Merck's vaccine may be the greatest thing since sliced bread, and I've been involved in this debate long enough to have heard the horror stories about what cervical cancer does to a woman, but the decision is still one that rests solely with the parents and their daughter.

Finally, a governor peddling his/her influence is unfortunate but all too common. A governor peddling his influence while, at the same time, using his position of authority to take advantage of one of our society's most defenseless groups is detestable! It's tantamount to child abuse, and Perry should be impeached and then indicted for it. And as for Merck, the co-conspirator in this little drama... I say slap the company with a set of big fat sanctions!

2007/02/21

Confession Is Good For The Pocketbook

I can't stand it anymore! I've been living a lie, and I must confess to my battle with a 'dark side'. You see I've been abusing meth-amphibian for years and engaging in immoral behavior with butch toads. Can you ever forgive me?

Whew. I feel so much better. So...uh...can I have my 130 large now? I mean if it's good enough for Reverend Ted...

Lies, Damn Lies, and Fluorescents

Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) has proposed legislation mandating the use of fluorescent bulbs in the state of California, an effort to totally phase out incandescents by 2012. Predictably, Mr. Levine is getting criticized from all sides:
  • By bulb manufacturers who claim that it's technically infeasible -- a lie
  • By retailers who claim there is no market demand -- a fib, since many outlets simply refuse to stock the bulbs despite their availability
  • By the GOP that refuses to consider any energy-saving measure that isn't "market-driven"
  • By the MSM that has taken to dumping on "wacky Californians"
  • By bloggers who've taken up the old meme that fluorescents are bad for autistic children and epileptics -- a lie of omission since modern fluorescents are better shielded and even incandescent bulbs can produce the "flicker" that triggers seizures in the photosensitive
Thus, it seems unlikely that California will follow the path that Australia is already on, but the facts don't lie. A modern 20w compact fluorescent will last 8 times longer than the the 100w incandescent it replaces, and over it's whole 8000 hour life time will use a total of 160 kWh. Your incandescent, during it's 1000 hour lifetime, will use 100 kWh.

So basically, don't be like the short-sighted asses who make up reasons not to use fluorescents. Save money and energy...because the powers that be are going to make sure that governments don't intervene.

2007/02/20

Google Scrooge (Beta)

As the popularity of Gmail skyrockets, Google has started the process of snapping up all the national variants of "gmail.xy", but in Poland they've run into a little trouble. "gmail.pl" is already owned by the "Grupa Mlodych Artystow i Literatow" or "Group of Young Artists and Writers", a cooperative that publicizes the works of young Polish poets.

Predictably, Google is suing and trying to get the Polish telecommunications tribunal to force GMAiL to give up the domain. And admittedly the poet's cooperative did acquire the domain with the knowledge that it would probably raise their profile, but come on Google...give 'em a break! GMAiL has no financial incentive here--they don't make any money at what they do and haven't asked for a buyout. 99.999999% of all people in the world are going to continue to use gmail.com. And for Pete's sake...they're poets!

Give 'em a grant, let 'em keep the domain, and act like the magnanimous company you're reputed to be. Sheesh!

2007/02/19

Kvatch Konsiders - President Pelosi

Anyone who reads Blognonymous knows that I've been very critical of Nancy Pelosi ever since she took over as the House Minority Leader, but when the rubber hits the road, she may be the single Democrat most qualified to become our next President...

...and 2008 may be an ideal year. Consider: Americans love to elect governors to our highest office. In fact, since 1976 we've had only one 'non-governor' as president, Bush Sr., and I would argue that he's an anomaly--really just the caretaker of the last 4 years of Reagan's 12 in office. This time around though, no governor has a viable candidacy. On the Democratic side, Warner and Richardson are the longest of long shots, and on the Republican side you've got Romney who, for a number of reasons, is unelectable.

Moreover, when it comes to qualifications the two Democratic front-runners are sadly lacking. Senator Clinton never held a political office before she became NY's junior senator, and Senator Obama isn't even qualified for his own Senate seat much less the office of the President, having served as a state legislator since 96 and at the national level for...well let's see...two months.

Nancy Pelosi, on the other hand, has served continuously in the House for almost 20 years, rising to become it's first female Speaker. Despite the right's attempt to paint her as a wild-eyed leftist, she's actually more conservative than the district she represents. Her opposition to Bush and the Iraq War are well-documented. She's well-seasoned as a politician and as a campaigner. But the important question is: Does Speaker Pelosi have the ambition?

There was a time, before our nominating conventions became carefully scripted coronations, when they deadlocked and had to look for a compromise nominee. I doubt it will ever happen again, but with Clinton and Obama at the top of the Democratic heap...you never know. And who could fill the role of the compromise candidate? Pelosi, the one politician more qualified than both of the contenders.

HT to KnightErrant and Windspike for nudging me in this direction.

2007/02/18

The Soft Prejudice of Tiny Fonts

I've got a problem...about 4 days ago I accidentally stuck a finger in my eye and scratched my cornea. Now any of you who've had this problem know what an irritating pain in the bahookie it is. I've got eye drops of all kinds. I'm wearing a contact lens--for the first time in 15 years--to help speed the healing process. I've got a patch for those times when I just need to cut off sight to the offending orb. And I've found that I'm having scads of trouble reading some of my favorite web sites. Why? Maddeningly small fonts!

Check out the New York Times or the Washington Post. What do you see? Fonts so small that the text looks like ant tracks. Thank god for CMD+, the "increase font size for dolts like me" command.

So is it just me trying to read with my one good eye? I know from my design friends that when it comes to web sites you're not supposed to override people's preferences, and I also know that the news sites do. I typically use Verdana at 12pt as my default font (14pt on Windoze), but both the NYT and WaPo substitute Times Roman at a something that looks like -3pt.

So all I'm saying here is...give my non-wonky eye a break and punch up those font sizes. Your readers will thank you. I know because when I switched Blognonymous to scaled fonts the most common comment was, "...it's so easy to read now."

2007/02/17

Dear Ralph Nader

So you might run again, huh?

Well...there certainly isn't much left for anyone to say about you and your monumental ego. Though I suppose I should give credit where credit is due: Few people reach the end of their lives with such deep and abiding hatred of their fellow man. I mean how many of us can really say that they have had the opportunity, and in your case the will, to contribute in a substantial way to the utter destruction of their nation? It's as if 30 years of consumer advocacy have turned you into the ultimate consumer assailant.

You see, you whine and cry about how there is no real difference between the parties, but you know that's not true. If it were true then there would have been no point to your playing the spoiler in 2000, no point to helping George W. Bush into power. The sad fact is that things would have been different with 8 years of a Gore administration. Oh, the excesses of corporate America would have barreled along unchecked, but Gore would have handled 9/11 very differently--no $500B dollars down the tubes. Gore would have used the presidency as a "bully pulpit" to agitate for a proper response to global climate change, and the public might just have gotten on board. But you can't see that. All you can see is a one way trip to hell for the rest of us so you can sooth your own rage at your monumental impotence.

2008 is coming around Ralph, and you've only got one card left to play. Unfortunately, the fact that you're willing to play it tells us everything we need to know about the pathetic louse Ralph Nader has become.

2007/02/16

Incarceration Nation Part 3 - A Nation of Criminals

Two stats from the debate on incarceration really jumped out at me this week.

First, we have have an injunction against enactment of Proposition 83, California's recently passed initiative that would have placed the majority of civilized California off limits to registered sex offenders. Though I applaud U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton's ruling that the proposition could not be applied retroactively, it was the numbers that I found staggering: 90,000 California residents are registered sex offenders. 90,000?! I know that our laws are harsh, but that's 1 in 400 people for Pete's sake! How do you get to that point unless your convicting everyone from child molesters to childhood masturbaters?

Next we have a study by the Pew Charitable Trust that projects that the rate of increase in the US prison population will be triple that of the general population--another 200,000 that will be locked up before 2011. Can you imagine...this will take us to a prison population of 2.4 million individuals! At this rate we'll have incarcerated 1 in every 100 residents of this nation by 2026. Madness!

Part 2 <<  Incarceration Nation  >> Part 4

Biden: Right Idea, Wrong Reason, Too Late

Finally! A politician has proposed what I considered to be the most important action the Democrats could have taken as they assumed power in January:

Revoking the blanket September 14th, 2001 Joint Resolution Authorizing the Use of Force against terrorists and terrorist supporters.

But wait...all is not as it seems. Look at who's talking about this, Joe Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Certainly if Biden felt so strongly about this, you'd think we would have started hearings on day one, started talking about it well before the Democrats assumed power, but he didn't. Moreover, the Senator who voted for the original resolution is giving a mealy-mouthed excuse for exploring revocation: "The WMD were not there. ...Saddam Hussein is no longer there. The 2002 authorization is no longer relevant to the situation in Iraq."

Looks like grandstanding to me, a way for Biden to act tough without actually have to say he was wrong or to explore the real reasons why that resolution should be revoked: Flagrant abuse of power by an out-of-control executive. I wonder... Is Joe Biden running for president or something?

2007/02/14

Neocoins

Washington (f-A-ke. P.) -

The United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing has announced the introduction of new one dollar coins to replace the less than successful Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea versions. The new coins are to feature great conservative figures in American history. Recently appointed Bureau Director, John Bolton, said of the coins:
We're just trying to create a coin with a solid conservative message. I mean, what does it say...putting women on our money? Sacagawea? Toting her kid on her back? Obviously employed outside the home--a rejection of a core American value, I'd say And don't even get me started with Susan B. Anthony.

The history of America is the history of great male achievements. So we're gonna find some crusty old white guys to engrave on our dollars.
The series will start with a coin honoring that conservative stalwart, Ronald Reagan, and in the following months coins honoring John Birch, Barry Goldwater, and John Ashcroft will be released. When asked if a coin honoring the greatest conservative president in of all time, George W. Bush, is forthcoming Director Bolton replied, "Well...let's at least wait until we win the war. Maybe next summer."

Updated 2007/02/15, 10:15 am PST - A new image of the 'Reagan Dollar' has just been released.

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2007/02/13

Learn Spanish, Live Longer

You know...I just love 'English-only' laws because not only are they a perfect example of American arrogance, but the assumptions they're founded on are just flat out wrong.

The latest is Nashville's resolution--recently vetoed by their mayor who called it mean-spirited--that all government communication be in English. Interestingly though, the presumably mono-lingual Metro Council members didn't have the courage of their narrow-minded convictions. Instead of staking out a clear position, they included a huge loophole that would accommodate federal multilingual requirements. So much for symbolism, huh?

But let's not cast aspersions. Let's look at the English-only argument. Supporters will tell you that English is so popular that it's OK for us to flaunt our position as the world's most shocking linguists. After all, English is 'the language of business', right? Well, English certainly is in the top 4, but Mandarin is spoken by double the number people who speak English, and the numbers for Hindi and Spanish are so close that the difference isn't worth mentioning. English will drop from numero dos to numero tres before the end of the next decade.

Supporters will tell you that we sabotage 'America as a melting pot' when we coddle people with their native tongues. They reminisce about a time when everyone learned English as soon as the reached our shores--which is, of course, a load of tripe! As a genealogist, I'm here to tell you that in every immigrant enclave I've studied, from inner city ghetto's to rural villages, immigrants continued to speak their native tongues sometime into the 2nd and 3rd generations.

And in the end, doesn't it just suck to be mono-lingual? It's embarrassing. It limits one's opportunities as world citizen. It just plain pisses people off--I mean...look at the French! And now it turns out that if you're bi-lingual you'll stave off the ravages of dementia. How do ya like them apples?

2007/02/12

California: "Let's compromise." Big Auto: "Shove it!"

Last Friday California's new Attorney General, Jerry Brown, invited Big Auto to the negotiating table to try and settle a pair of dueling lawsuits: California's suit seeking damages from six manufacturers, and Big Auto's suit to prevent California from enacting strict emissions limits on greenhouse gases. But rather than a dialog, Brown got a lecture from an industry lawyer:
We know that you inherited this lawsuit from your predecessor and remain hopeful that you will decide to dismiss it...
...translation: "F*ck you!" And of Big Auto's failure to even mention their own lawsuit against the state:
We view this global warming case as a frivolous suit... We don't think it has any connection to the [automakers'] case or any other case.
...translation: "And by the way, f*ck you!"

Seems Big Auto's opinion couldn't be clearer: Only they have the right to use the courts to seek advantage for their industry. California, acting on behalf of it's 36M residents, isn't entitled to the same remedies.

Might as well press the case Jerry. You've got nothing to lose.

Pardon My Absence

Please forgive me. I know I haven't posted anything since Friday.

I'm consumed in a project to help the Frogette get her new company off the ground. Time is short, and the web-site design is eating my brain at the moment--mostly because site design is not one of my strengths. I promise to have something new this evening.

K.

2007/02/09

What's Next Reverend Haggard?

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Votes

I'm a little 'blogged-out' today. So I'm going to turn you on to this excellent graphic covering the numerous improbable vote tallies in the 2004 election.


Thanks to Lizzy of OCD GenX Liberal for finding this.

2007/02/08

Kvatch Konsiders - A Republican Impeachment Drive?

There are many reasons to impeach The Decision Maker, but few that will get Republicans on board. Unless of course your Dana "Constitution Be Damned" Rohrabacher (R-CA). Yes, our favorite SoCal representative has found his cause celebre, and it's--oh please tell me you're not serious--two bumbling Border Patrol agents? You know the ones, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, recently convicted and sentenced for shooting a suspected, but unarmed, drug smuggler in the back.

Indeed, Rohrabacher on a tear. He's talking impeachment. He's talking pardon--as if assaulting someone under color of authority is OK if...well...the target is an illegal alien, or a really, really bad person:
I tell you, Mr. President, if these men -- especially after this assault -- are murdered in prison, or if one of them lose their lives, there's going to be some sort of impeachment talk in Capitol Hill," he said during a press conference in Washington, D.C. ...

...The president of the United States talks a lot about his Christian charity, and his religious beliefs,... He now is showing a mean-spirited side to him, an arrogance, in which he will turn his back, even after one of these officers in prison has been brutally assaulted.
Hey Dana, I'm here to tell you that you need a better standard-bearer than two idiots who got caught trying to cover up an illegal shooting. Or are you so worried that Bush's 'Surge' will send your party into the political wilderness for the next 20 years that you'll latch on to an impeachment excuse?

Gavin's Glass Ceiling

So Gav...can I call you "Gav"? Well why the hell not? "Mayor Newsom," sounds a little formal don't ya think? Considering that you're acting like a petulant twit who just wants the press to go away. I mean...you are following a sort of Hollywood-like trajectory: You divorce the wife; Date a woman who can't meet the 'half-your-age-plus-seven' rule (hell she can't even drink); Get fingered for boinking the assistant, your campaign manager's wife, no less; Enter rehab for alcohol abuse; And then pay off the campaign manager! Are you f*cking kidding me?!

Let me clue you in on something bonehead: You were elected to run the City of San Francisco not play the part of 'John Kennedy of the 00's. And while we're on the subject...I have to ask: Is this the totality of your political ambition? Sure you'll probably get elected mayor again--let's face it Che Guevara could get elected here, and that would be after he'd led a revolution to take over Marin--but you're never going to go any higher. You're done. Good thing you have all those 'hobbies'--your wine business, the restaurants, the parties, the spread in Harper's. You're going need something to keep you busy when this boring-mayoral-gig is over.

And by the way...the hairstyle is creepy.

2007/02/07

No Children - No Marriage In Washington

Using a strategy that practically buries the needle on the Blognonymous irony meter, the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance has filed initiative 957, a measure that would require that heterosexual couples produce children within three years or have their marriages annulled by the state. In fact, the initiative goes one step further requiring that couples "prove" their ability to have children before they can even obtain a marriage license.

"Why is this ironic?" you might ask. Well...the WDMA actually favors homosexual marriage rights. They're using this initiative to undermine the central argument of conservatives: "Marriage is primarily for the purpose of procreation". They're counting on the initiative being tossed by that Washington State Supreme Court, a ruling that would undercut the court's own opinion from last summer where they upheld a gay-marriage ban.

And herein is the problem. First, courts are very reluctant to reverse their own rulings even when the reversal is implicit. The court might just say, "You know, you're right. The law could be construed this way." Michigan did it with adultery. Why not Washington with marriage? Second, though many conservatives may consider this an infringement on their rights, there's a sizable fringe contingent that will look at this legislation and say, "Hell yes! God's plan! Make 'em produce kids!" And you just know that if this initiative gets on the ballot the kooks will flock to the polls to support it.

2007/02/06

Ever get the feeling you're being watched?

Popped up yesterday afternoon on Blognonymous.



If I wasn't contractually forbidden from clicking my own ads...

Style Over Quality - The Apple Computer Laptop Tax

I've been a diehard Apple laptop user since 1995. Between the Frogette and I, we've owned 5 PowerBooks In fact, for my personal computing I typically won't use anything else. But here's the problem: Apple laptops are stylish hunks of junk!

That said, I recommend Mac OS X over Windoze any day of the week, but you need to be aware of what you're getting into when you purchase one of these finicky, prima donnas of the computer industry. And herein is where we come to the issue of the Apple Laptop Tax. You may recognize this by it's other name the AppleCare Protection Plan. Basically this an extended warranty, and although the conventional wisdom says that it's a waste of money, when it comes to Apple you damn well better have it. Why? Because every Apple laptop comes equipped with at least one crippling defect that will turn it into a non-functional brick, usually in it's second year. Here's my personal rundown of problems:

PowerBook 520c
  • Keyboard so misshapen (bowed outward) that the keys wouldn't depress unless they were hit dead center and HARD--turned touch-typing into a mistake-filled nightmare. (3 attempts--never fixed)
iBook G3
  • A graphics card failure scrambled the screen in ways that were both entertaining and horrific
PowerBook G3 "Firewire"
  • Hard-drive failure
  • Failed to sleep on close/failed to wake from sleep on open (a firmware bug)
  • Screen so dim that it couldn't be used in sunlight...at all.
PowerBook G4 "Aluminum"
  • Memory slot failure (2 times)
  • Screen hinge freezes (3 times)
  • Wrong wattage power adapter supplied when new (probably caused 3 batteries to fail before their time)
MacBook (Purchased just 6 weeks ago)
  • Random system crashes due to firmware issues with the WiFi card (a problem that Apple claims has already been fixed)
And how does Apple treat the people that shell out for AppleCare? Usually...as an annoyance. In fact, Apple has a long history of treating their customers like cr*p, but that extra $300.00 you spend does get you slightly better service. Occasionally--perhaps one time in two--you get someone who can actually help with the issue, but not always. And so you might ask yourself why I stick with Apple. In a nutshell, ease of use and style, and that second part translates into resale value. It's rare that I can't sell an PowerBook for up to 50% of what I paid for it, even as late as 4 years down the line, but there is no question that my relationship to Apple is of the love/hate variety.

2007/02/05

NSA Knows My Most Private Secrets!

And you can go right here to learn them!

Super Spy-o-Matic
"Kvatch downloaded an MP3 remix of The Bangle's pro-terrorist Islamic hymn 'Walk Like An Egyptian'."


Perfection! Truly! I love the Bangles!

HT to PT Cruiser for the links to this little bit-o-silliness!

American Untouchables Part 2 - A Federal "No-insure" List

The New York Times reports on the Justice Department's drive to take DNA samples from everyone arrested or detained by federal officials, regardless of whether or not charges are filed or convictions are obtained --
The goal, justice officials said, is to make the practice of DNA sampling as routine as fingerprinting for anyone detained by federal agents, including illegal immigrants. Until now, federal authorities have taken DNA samples only from convicted felons.
Damn this scares the cr*p out of me! As with my speculation on The Federal 'No-work' List, this plan is ripe for abuse. Consider: We already know that Bu$hCo is willing to destroy the lives of career government employees who disagree with them. Don't believe me? Take a gander at the revelations coming out of the Scooter Libby obstruction of justice trial. So what's to stop overzealous DoJ officials from drawing up lists of 'enemies' and them forcing the out of the country by abusing the confidentiality of DNA data? Here's how it might work...

Let's say DoJ decides that it wants to put the kibosh on any further protests at WTO meetings in the US. They forward to local law enforcement bogus warrants listing the people they want detained for questioning. If the police object, DoJ responds that the warrants are the result of a FISA Court authorization in an ongoing terrorist investigation--thus no cause needs to be demonstrated nor charges enumerated. Local law enforcement caves, sweeps up the hapless protesters, and--per federal guidelines--forces them to give DNA samples. The DoJ then takes the samples, screens them, and then quietly forwards any adverse health-related information to the major insurance companies. And...BANG! Your protester, released without charges, suddenly finds him or herself without insurance. In fact, they'll probably never get health insurance in the US again.

Are we frightened yet?

2007/02/04

Cheney Sees His Shadow


"Hmmm... Six more years of war!"

(Sorry for two Groundhog Day posts (and *I do* know it was Friday), but I just couldn't help myself.)

Whither the Gridiron

There are a lot of "American sports". Baseball? Absolutely. Basketball? Probably. Football? Definitely. It's different enough from it parent rugby to be an American sport...but not the way that it's played today.

Admittedly I'm not a fan. Football is too slow for me, to formulaic, but I can understand the special place that it occupies in the American psyche. To distinguish it from baseball, the summertime sport, gridiron football has always been played in the winter--outside--in the harshest conditions. The Brits would probably ask, "What kind of loons play a game on a muddy field, in the cold, with snow, sleet, and freezing rain?" Americans loons. That's who! The gridiron was hulking linemen breathing clouds of vapor; cigar chomping coaches; frozen fingers, feet, and faces. It was the sport of the rustbelt. I mean...what other professional sport could have one of it's most successful teams in Green Bay, Wisconsin?

But that football doesn't exist anymore. Too many teams now play in antiseptic super-stadiums with weather closer to that of Miami Beach than to Cleveland. And let's face it, you can't have a really great Superbowl Half-time Show when it's thirty degrees and snowing.

2007/02/03

Punxsutawney Phil Retires

PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA (f-A-ke. P.) -

Today Punxsutawney Phil announced his retirement from weather prognostication. Interviewed at his den in Punxsutawney PA, the famous groundhog said:
I got just two words for you...global frickin' warming! Spring ain't never comin' late again, you morons. It's been 70 degrees in New York. New York fer cris' sakes, and winter here in PA? Fugeddaboutit!

Now, if you'll excuse me. The missus and me gotta finish packing. We're movin' to Patagonia--gotta get above those risin' sea levels.

The Blognonymous No Fuss Guide To Self-hosting

Let me start by saying that if your well-schooled in the ways of the Internet, best just to skip this post. It's not for you. But if you're one of those people who says, "Kvatch, Blogspot sucks! How do I get a spiffy site like Blognonymous up on the Internet?" Then read on...

There are many reasons why you should choose 'self-hosting'. I've listed these before, but let me summarize them here:

Autonomy - Whether you put it on your own server or host it with a service provider, getting your blog off of BlogSpot means that you're in control. You can upload your own stuff, change it at will, and Google can't decide to pull your stuff off the Internet or shut your blog down if they don't like the content.

Durability - Frustrated with BlogSpot's reliability? Self-hosting allows you to find a provider that can give you a 'uptime guarantee' so that your blog is always available. In addition, you can back it up at your leisure--something you can't do at all with BlogSpot.

Flexibility - Tired of New Blogger? Thinking maybe you want to switch to Wordpress or Typepad? Self-hosting makes that a lot easier because you don't have to depend on Google to provide a way to get at the HTML of your posts.

So now that you're convinced, read on for my guide on how to do it.

BTW: The little trick that allowed me to do this two-part post is also made possible by self-hosting. I used blogger to format the guide, posted it, copied and moved it to a different location, then instructed Blogger to delete the guide.

2007/02/02

On Climate Research or 'Damn Conservatives Are Cheap Bastards!'

Even when they're paying for research that will make their favorite industry billions.

The Guardian reports that the The American Enterprise Institute--an Exxon-Mobil funded think tank--is willing to pay for research that disputes the global warming findings of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But here's the thing, they're only willing to pay $10,000 a pop!

$10,000?! For research that will help Big Oil continue to reap billions of dollars in profits? Exxon-Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell together managed to make $180,000,000 a day in 2006, over $2B in profit for the year. What cheap bastards these f*ckers are! Scientists should demand a piece of the action! I mean, if you're going to sell your soul... Auction it to the highest bidder; Insist on a cut of the 'back-end'; Get a goddamned percentage for Pete's sake!

1/1000 of 1% of that huge windfall just doesn't feed the bulldog!

2007/02/01

First Poetry Thursday, Now Poetry Saturday

For those of you who didn't get enough verse with your blogging during last week's Poetry Thursday, The Poetry Man has decided to run a weekly poetry contest. He'll accept entries through Saturday and post a weekly winner. Check it out here, but I warn you, my entry is already in. So any of you lesser verse-meisters will have to compete against the Frog.

No...not you Snave! I didn't mean you! Don't hurt me!

Alfred Nobel Rolls Over In His Grave

Yes it has been a busy week, and I've been a schlub on the posting front, but this is a tidbit I just couldn't pass up...

Rush Limbaugh has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by the Landmark Legal Foundation, an organization upon whose board the radio host sits...unpaid, of course! Mark Levin, the group's President cited Rush's:

"...nearly two decades of tireless efforts to promote liberty, equality and opportunity for all humankind, regardless of race, creed, economic stratum or national origin."

...along with Rush's selfless dedication to kicking his Oxycontin habit, his cheery disposition, and his unfailing politeness to his guests.