Friday, January 20, 2012

Nobody Asked Me, But....

 
1) Apparently, Boss Hogg has a warning for New Yorkers who drive through Tinnysee...Look, dude, the woman carried a gun in New York City, which is a violation of the city gun ordinances and a felony. The law is the law, and fine, if you decide you'll target New Yorkers for traffic tickets, that's cool. But understand this: that sound you hear? It's not us laughing at you, it's us laughing near you through our car windows as we speed down I-65 to get to a sophisticated state: Alabama.
 
2) Republicans really are idiots. They're going to try to force a bill through Congress effectively removing the Constitutionally mandated authority of the President to deal with foreign nations.
 
3) I'm really getting the feeling that the Congress-Obama dynamic is devolving into Yosemite Sam v. Bugs Bunny.
 
4) Best. Video. This Week. The brother can croon a bit.
 
5) Suggestion for the President's initiative to boost tourism: Bill the Republican House Caucus as a circus.
 
 
7) Megaupload. What can I say? If you flout the law, the law eventually catches up with you. Cyberpiracy is wrong, and if you allow it to happen on your website, you can expect trouble. There's a strain of libertarianism involved in piracy, to be sure, but it's wrong to be piggy about it.
 
8) Davos starts Wednesday. It will be an interesting meeting, as much has happened in the world since last January, and most of it is geared towards taking the elite down a few pegs.
 
 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ron Paul Believes In Ear Marks

 
Wait...what?

Moar Jon Huntsman, Plz?

 
Especially if he can get his daughters to do more of this

I Haz A Sad

 
 
Hinchey was one of my favorite Congresscritters, a Dem who was not afraid to stand on principle, whichever way the wind was blowing. He represents one of the most rural districts in New York State, and yet the same district contains some of the largest cities in the state, so his consituency is diverse and broad. He's been re-elected nine times.
 
He is one of the few Congresscritters who I enjoy getting junk mail from.

Gee...No One Could Have Forseen This!

 
Limit abortions, and abortion rates don't go down, you simply get more dead mothers.

To Bake Life

 

How To Spot An Asshole

   

Making Lemonade

 
I don't know what a "Paula Deen" is, but from what I've read, she spent decades promoting really unhealthy eating, only to have contracted Type 2 diabetes.
 
 
It strikes me this is the last person I want promoting my drug, since she basically spent decades lying people ONTO the drug in the first place.

The B Team

Mitch Daniels is this year's sacrificial lamb, giving the GOP response to the State of the Union address.
 
This is an audition, you might note, for a spot on the eventual GOP ticket in November.

As Predicted

 
Iowa has announced that Rick Santorum actually won the caucuses by 34 votes, overturning Romney's victory of 6 votes.
 
No real difference and the announcement comes way too late to save Santorum from his own new Google issues.

Interesting Timing

 
While I can certainly applaud President Obama's decision to halt the Keystone pipeline, there's an interesting dynamic in play here.
 
The deal he struck with Republicans allowed him until Feb. 21, 2012 to block development. If he said no anytime prior to that date, the pipeline is stopped. If he says nothing, the pipeline goes forward.
 
He had five more weeks. What does he have in plan here that made him get off the pot early?
 
After all, he hasn't killed the deal. He asked for a delay while the State Department...yea, cuz, you know, Canada...explored alternative routes (none of which have been even hinted at, much less proposed) that would avoid environmentally sensitive areas of North Dakota.
 
By the way, ignore the bloated bloviator behind the curtain, yapping about China having freer access to the oil now. That's a sham argument.

What Was He Waiting For?

 
I mean, it's not like his chances got better since he got his ass kicked in Iowa...

Picture of the Day

mrray by actor212
mrray, a photo by actor212 on Flickr.

It's been an unexpectedly busy day today, so here's a stingray to keep you coming back for more.

Performance Artistry

 
I've admired Stephen Colbert's work ever since his days on The Daily Show, but I have to say this: the latest bit with the SuperPAC is pure performance art genius. It's been a very subtle jab at campaign finance, the Republican nominating process, and the sham of how politics is usual in America.

Whither MicroSoft?

 
There's a cautionary tale to be told today.
 
Once upon a time, not so long ago, in fact, there was a company which manufactured the software that an overwhelming number of people used. They made a good, no, a great product, except for roughly ten percent of people who felt it wasn't good enough for them.
 
This product could be installed in nearly any hardware, and apart from user glitches and the occasional manufacturing screw up, produced consistent results that could be reproduced over and over again.
 
Its product made the machinery available to the general public. No longer did you need a big bulky box. Indeed, you could carry your data and software around in your hand with you. You could be as wildly creative as you wanted to be, or you could be as utilitarian as you needed to be with it. Everyone from photographers and artists to insurance claims adjusters would use this product in their day-to-day activities.
 
It was truly universal, relatively cheap and easily used.
 
This product has disappeared. And now, so has the company that made it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Alien Visitors: Our Friends

 

Assholes Be Assholes

Lost His Mittens

 
I'm thinking Mitt is wishing John Huntsman had waited a few days before dropping out...

Pretty Eerie

 
This guy knew what the hell he was talking about...from a hundred years ago!

Diabolical

I truly believe that @StephenAtHome Colbert is one of the most ingenious people walking the planet.
 
How better to truly point out the ridiculous amounts of money in political campaigns than to have a SuperPAC generate ads for other candidates, but subsituting your own face for that candidate?
 
Oh. Well. Of course, Stephen had nothing to do with the ad...

I Wish I Could Get C-SPAN At Work

 

SOPA La PIPA

 
 I have mixed feelings about this issue. On the one hand, as an original content provider, I'd like to think my rights are protected to do with my art and writing as I see fit.
 
Let me put this in an analogy to better sum up that sentiment. Say I buy a bowl for my breakfast at work. I store it in the communal kitchen so I can grab it anytime I want some soup or oatmeal.
 
If anyone can come along and grab it, it's not doing me any good, plus I've expended personal resources to enrich the life of someone else who thinks nothing of borrowing without asking. Worse, they may decide to write their initials on it, thus laying claim it was theirs all along.
 
I can put my initials on it first (my copyright), which will prevent most of the problem, and if someone needs to use it, they know who to ask.
 
That's still not going to stop the really lazy or greedy from grabbing it, but I've done the best I can to ensure I get maximum use of the bowl.
 
On the other hand, the SOPA/PIPA provisions seem to be on a road to madness, and I get the sense they are an attempt to backdoor the whole net neutrality issue.
 
Trying to penalize wanton piracy by blocking IPs or even entire nations smacks of censorship, which I oppose. I understand that the copyright treaties are not universally observed, and that if someone from those nations where piracy is condoned grabs my "bowl," there's not a whole lot I can do about it.
 
Also true, deflating the market of people who are either too lazy or too greedy to actually rent a DVD or buy an e-book does seem to be a logical step. If you cut off the demand, the need for supply will dry up, theoretically.
 
This tactic doesn't seem to have worked so well for the war on drugs, however. Illicit drug use is still rampant and that's in part due to the fact that there's a cachet to breaking the law. Similarly, with piracy, one can see where there's a thrill in getting a pirated copy of a first run movie to watch at home.
 
Alexis Ohanian, the self-described "start up guy" for Reddit.com and organizer of what can be called "Day Without Internet" starting tonight at midnight, supports an intitiative to find the pirates and prosecute them in front of the ITC (the US International Trade Commission).
 
While more palatable on the civil rights front, this has even bigger holes in it than PIPA. For one thing, it's reactive, meaning that a content provider would have to realize his content has been stolen and seek damages after the fact. For another, if we're talking about operations in countries that won't even abide by international copyright treaty, how can we possibly expect them to respond dutifully to unilateral demands with regards to piracy?
 
This solution smacks of improvisation. It's hard to believe there isn't a better solution out there, but it sure does beat censorship.
 
What could end up happening is nothing. This might be the worst situation of all. We've already seen an impact of piracy on movie studios and television producers, who have released sequel after sequel and variations on themes, eschewing gambling on new material in the hopes of boosting profit margins by releasing sure-fire hits before the pirates have a chance to circulate cheap copies.
 
Effectively, piracy will have stifled creativity, just as surely as a right wing nanny-stater thumping a Bible.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Gauntlet Thrown Down

 
Last week, Iran warned its fellow OPEC nations not to compensate for her threatened cut-off of oil production.
 
Well, someone took them up on the challenge.
 
 
This might get ugly.

Just In Case You Were Curious

 
I was here last week

Just In Time To Screw Romney And The Republicans

 
It looks like Scott Walker will face a recall election.

When Even The Arabs Can't Control A Leader

 
You know there's trouble a-brewing....

Last Man Out

Well, I'm guessing that, since John Huntsman couldn't even outpoll favorite son Stephen Colbert in South Carolina, he folded up his tent and endorsed Mitt Romney.
 
Curious, since Huntsman struck me as someone who was willing to go toe-to-toe with adversity. My long-time suspicion was, he was in the race for three reasons:
 
1) To set up a 2016 run.
 
2) To present a moderate alternative to the likely parade of nutcases in the GOP race, and perhaps get a lucky boost for it (after all, who really knows who shows up for primaries?)
 
3) To deflect some of the Mormon criticism from Romney.
 
Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me if Romney funded Huntsman in some way for this last.
 
His book ought to be interesting. I'll wait to read it until it's in the library, however.

A Glorious Legacy

 
Today the nation celebrates the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a day of service.
 
I can think of few more appropriate ways to honor a man who espoused non-violence and humility in the face of oppression and rage. Service to our community, service to our fellow men and women, even as small as buying a friend a sandwich for lunch or giving a quarter to the homeless guy who sleeps in the subway, sounds like small potatoes in the face of the service that Dr. King gave to this nation.
 
But it's a start. Obviously, the more you can give to your community, the more important your work can be.
 
It strikes me that, in this day and age of faux-libertarianism, as espoused by the massively zealous support Ron Paul gets as an icon of that movement, we forget that community is based on service, on responsibilities. That with the Rights we all cherish so dearly comes a second edge to the sword of freedom: duty.
 
Or, as Dr. King put it: "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."
 
As eloquent as I can be, as soaring as my rhetoric can take flight, I find myself biting back envy when I read how elegantly and simply Dr. King can make a point.
 
See, Dr. King, for all his renown as a great racial equalitarian, understood that ultimately the battle for equality would be fought on an economic front, that no man, white or black, could be free so long as he was shackled economically, and opportunity was available to him to give back to the community what he took from it.
 
Yes, the plight of the minority was something he worked tirelessly to fix, but in his words you find countless references to lifting all people. You see:
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
The palpable fear these words instill in the right wing today is telling. The first step on this road to equality is faith that the road leads there. Whether that faith is a belief in a higher power, or that the goal is a just and true one, is all that matters.
 
It is hard to believe that, fifty years after these words were spoken, and four years after a milestone in American civilization was breached and a black man elected President, we are still dealing with issues of racial and ethnic abuses. But when that President can be characterized as a "lyin' African" by a significant minority of haters and fear-mongers, we clearly have a long way to go.
 
Indeed, I suspect the reason the race card is played as often as it is, both in direct placement as well as in dogwhistle, is to distract from the fact that all people suffer the repressions of a system that is at best nominally capitalist, that is cloaked in a veil of faux righteousness by the faux-opportunitiests. You suffer it. I suffer it. Anyone who can't escape the system suffers it.
 
Anyone who works for a paycheck suffers it. Anyone who owes more to a banker than he makes in a year suffers it. Anyone who is enslaved by the predations of economic royalists, who at the drop of a hat can change the rules you have to play by, suffers it.
 
There is no freedom without justice. There is no justice without fairness. There is no fairness without standing up straight and demanding it.
 
Or...."Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent."
 
Amen. Stop being a whipping boy. Go out and do something for someone in your community today.