10/30/2005

impeachment update

Haven't mentioned this in a while, but there is a really good article from the perspective of a former prosecutor in The Nation.

grrrr

(R) Again, the Chiefs game is not viewable here in St. Louis. Bad bad bad! (But this isn't the local TV's fault; it's due to the NFL's bizarre blackout rules where I can't watch the AFC game on CBS because even though the Rams are in the NFC, this game happened to be the noon game on CBS.)

And to make matters worse, the programming I caught as filler on CBS was something called Sunday conversation within the CBS evening news. The segment I saw was two follow-up interviews to Bush being elected a year ago. Perhaps this was part of a larger series, in which case the following complaint I have doesn't apply and the only problem is that they didn't explain it was part of a series.

But I seriously doubt it. You see, they interviewed two couples before the election and now a year later and asked variously useless questions like, give the president a grade. Why two? Well, the obvious answer would be the artificial yet oh-so-loved game of "us vs them". [Sorry, I've been told the correct terminology is blue staters and red staters]

Except, even that bad game wasn't in play. Nope, instead, both interviews were with die-hard Bush supporters from St. Petersburg, FL. It was two couples, both married, both oldish middle-age, both white, both homeowners...wtf? Even Fox usually has someone they at least pretend represents "liberal" interests.

Don't get me wrong, the interviews were revealing, particularly the incredible belief that some conservatives still hold that the invasion of Iraq was related to Islamic extremism and the fact that one of the married couples now only give Bush a C+. But basically, this was essentially propaganda not only unrepresentative of substantive issues but unrepresentative of anything in American politics right now.

In other words, it's exactly what those of us who know which way the media is really biased expect from the corporate media.

mmm, that's convenient

It's nice that DST tends to happen the weekend of Halloween. Very handy!

10/25/2005

congrats scareic

bonne chance tomorrow

2,000

For what, exactly?

10/23/2005

not just a drug war post

Sure, this is yet another reasoned argument by people in the know (a police chief, in this case) of the horrible disaster that is the war on drugs.

But read carefully, and this is also an Apple product tie-in! You know you're back at the cool kids' table when you get mentioned in the same sentence with a Lexus. Once I saw that, I had no choice but to link to the article :)

uh, we have a fourth amendment?

(and 1st, 3rd, 9th, 10th...)

(R) Stuff like this really pisses me off. What a great use of my tax dollars (and tuition dollars). ISPs already monitor all kinds of things for the government, not to mention the government itself. If you send an email even remotely threatening the life of the President (or POTUS, or the leader of the free world, or Bush, or that anti-Christ in Washington, or a bunch of other key words) not only will the Secret Service know about it, but they'll be at your house in a very unhappy, menacing, and, ironically, threatening mood in a matter of hours.

Why don't we just build a system that sends every key anyone types on a computer automatically to a secret government database that only certain secretive bureaucrats get to look at? Wait a sec, maybe it would be a good idea to spend that money on things like roads and healthcare, instead?

Nah, that's dumb. It's much more important for the government to be able to track my EXTREME DISPLEASURE with them, even when my expression is COMPLETELY LEGAL and PROTECTED BY THE CONSTITUTION!!!!

And by the way, the Executive Director of The Center for Technology and Democracy, one of the non-profit groups fighting the FCC decision, is a Dempsey. I should write him and see if we're related :)

10/20/2005

doom is almost here!

(P) In the meantime, it's good to see this kind of analysis being talked about. Duh liberal policies are popular. The Democratic leadership's unwillingness to stand up for liberal ideas is why they keep losing elections.

not to alarm anyone

but I was in my first accident last night. Somebody plowed right into me. Fortunately, it was in a parking lot, so neither of us were driving very fast, and they hit the passenger side, which was empty, but there's still a lot of damage around the door, wheel, and fender. It is obviously their fault and they are not contesting that. So now I get to learn about the insurance world.

The thing is, there's something fishy about her insurance, so this may be a continuing saga. Who knows.

10/17/2005

i moved a ton of stuff today

No, really.

The shredding company came today, and they charge by the pound. We loaded about 2,000 pounds of paper onto the truck.

(P) I said a while ago that I was intrigued by a conversation about cloning I had with Adrian, Lauren, Eric, and Brad after seeing The Island and that I would learn more about it. Well, in the process of trying to become more learned about human cloning, I'm really not sure what the fuss is about. I understand there are several reasons to be hesitant or concerned. But none of them seem to have any particular uniqueness to cloning. They are essentially problems with medical research and human reproduction in general. Either overpopulation is a concern, or it's not. Either medical research that could be used for immoral ends should be banned, or it shouldn't (which is a completely separate issue from regulating the immoral act itself). Either parents have the right to bring a human being into existence under less than ideal circumstances, or they don't. Either people with identical DNA are completely independent, fully moral equivalents of a human being, or they aren't.

This last point is where Adrian had a really intriguing perspective I had never encountered; namely, that somehow the definition of a person is their genetic code. In other words, you cheapen their humanity by copying their DNA. I can see how an English major could be troubled by that lack of originality, but I don't see either 1) why it's a valid criteria (as opposed to other "arbitrary" criteria, like having two arms or being able to read music or whatever), or 2) how it fits with the real world (namely, the fact that identical twins are genetic doubles). To be crude, the point of two humans procreating is to pass on the best DNA possible; wouldn't cloning be the pinnacle of human development?

The only explanations I can really find for widespread uneasiness surrounding human cloning is cultural conditioning and unfamiliarity with the processes (after all, people take time to adapt to new devices and ideas). Of course there are alarmists, the same people who would ban cars, fission, meat, and/or globalization and think that SARS/bird flu/killer bees/asteroids/gay pride/etc will kill all mankind in 3 to 6 months. But short of a sci-fi worst-case scenario, it doesn't seem like there's much more to cloning than any other previous topic of contemporary controversy settled by the passage of time.

The sure outcome of US bans on research into human cloning is simply likely to be the further erosion of US leadership and its associated prosperity. Just like with stem cell research and atomic research and countless others, the top scientists will study where they're welcomed, to the detriment of the unwelcoming country.

Meanwhile, if you are concerned about philosophical ideas of fairness or practical concerns about human suffering, try worrying about slightly bigger issues like access to basic food, shelter, and medical care or the wrongs of the drug war, military occupations, torture, corruption, bribery, uggs and mini skirts......

10/16/2005

classy

The fam was in town, so that was most of my weekend. It's always interesting, because family is good and all, but you still feel different when you go out in public with them than with less abnormal and otherwise not embarrassing people.

Sunday night, I tried to show them a couple restaurants in Clayton, but of course the whole city shuts down that night, so we ended up at Houlihan's in the Galleria. My mother is wearing her (cheesy/embarrassing/insert your own favorite parental adjective here) Wash U mom shirt. This despite the fact that, currently, she actually isn't a Wash U mom. But that's not important. The important point is that even if the waiter didn't notice that these were obviously parents, he still should have noticed that my little sister is obviously a tad underage. Nonetheless, the first words out of his mouth after what would you like to drink was an alcoholic joke, specifically about jagermeister. Heck, just to visit the site, you have to promise you are 21.

10/12/2005

oh dear, i'm drooling

Maybe it's finally time to replace my 'ole iBook--or at least get it a nice companion. It's been three years now since I bought this laptop, and I didn't even buy it new. The hard drive is full, it doesn't have the newest operating system on it, it has the slower USB connections for my mini, and it's not even a G4, let alone a G5. Plus the IR remote is way cool. And that would let me use my laptop as a dedicated OS 9 gaming machine; I still have a special place in my heart for Master of Orion and WarCraft and X-Wing and a few others.

Of course, that would require cleaning off my desk. There's a reason my laptop lives in the living room.

10/11/2005

my new favorite physics quote

Voltaire on du Ch√Ętelet: He was a great man except for being a woman.

10/10/2005

old people

Haha, check this out. Listen up all you irresponsible, drug using, hobo, lazy, drug addicted old people. Start being more responsible and listening to your youngers for a change. Think of the children!

10/09/2005

denial is the first step

Read this.

10/07/2005

amerisports...be there

Let's take advantage of the late game tomorrow where the Cards will sweep the Padres. Late dinner and chillin' in front of the big screens?

UPDATE: Ah, the sweep...

drug dealin' with the po po

So I'm driving down my street, which is kind of narrow anyway, to get to my apartment. There are a couple cars stopped in front of me completely blocking the road. I then notice that one of them is a cop car. Hmm, I think, does someone need help, is there something going on? After waiting patiently for a minute, and impatiently for a couple more, they finally parted. They parted by a cop getting out of one car, extended bear hugging the officer in the police car, and then going back to the passenger side of the car in front of me. Then the cop car pulled out and the other car drove down the street.

Note to meetups: our street is handy because it has that nice roundabout with the sign, but the fact that you have to turn around makes a cul-de-sac a very poor choice for a getaway road!

This whole annoyance lasted long enough to memorize the license plate in front of me.

Oh Mr. 439 BMG, what were you doing on my street at 12:45am on Friday, October 7, 2005??

10/04/2005

yay, finally we're going to militarize everything!

This is absolutely amazing. President Bush is openly discussing militarizing domestic emergency response capabilities. One of the key fundamentals to our way of life is that the active duty armed forces do not operate on domestic soil, and that the guard absent a declared state of war answer to their respective governors, not to the President. As lethal as the other US paramilitary groups are (and as long as the list is: CIA, NSA, DEA, ATF, IRS, FBI, border patrol, TSA, customs, Secret Service, US Marshalls, SWAT teams and other police groups, and so on) these activities are still kept purposefully distinct from the active duty armed forces controlled by POTUS.

Long live King George.

playoff baseball!

Even have a radio in the office. Too bad it's not the royals...

10/02/2005

facebook phase day 8

So I took an informal survey of people I've added to my friends list over the last week. Now, I don't do anything to seek out liberal friends. I went to more CLA and CR meetings in college than College Dems. I'm pro free trade, an unabashed Baptist, am sick of hearing about gay rights like it's the most pressing national issue of our time, happen to know many East coast liberals that are elitist, have no problem with hunters and sportsmen, and if I had to make a choice, I'd rather be a southern gentleman than a yankee 9 days out of 10.

Nonetheless, fewer than 13% of my friends admit to being conservative, which is about the same as admit to being very liberal. Not a single one, even a former president of CR, listed their profile as very conservative.

Interesting, eh?

my favorite physics quote ever

"Since the day we discovered Xena, the big question has been whether or not it has a moon. Having a moon is just inherently cool -- and it is something that most self-respecting planets have, so it is good to see that this one does too."

--Michael Brown, California Institute of Technology, regarding Xena and its potential moon Gabrielle.

10/01/2005

accountability for propaganda?

(P) Remember Armstrong Williams and using PR firms paid for with taxpayer dollars? It's pretty hard to argue with the GAO's straightforward report. Well, apparently the President hasn't been able to classify everything damaging to the Administration. I guess they'll have to retract that whole "legitimate dissemination of information" crap.

Actually, what am I saying? They'll just ignore this like everything else.