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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fun With E-Mail

I got the following e-mail from Uncle Jim (e-mail formatting corrected):

I'm voting Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

I'm voting Democrat because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

I'm voting Democrat because when we pull out of Iraq I trust that the bad guys will stop what they're doing because they now think we're good people.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday CAN tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as THEY see fit.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe three or four pointy headed elitist liberals need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would NEVER get their agendas past the voters.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that when the terrorists don't have to hide from us over there, when they come over here I don't want to have any guns in the house to fight them off with.

I'm voting Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I've decided to marry my horse.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn't.

Makes ya wonder how anyone would EVER vote Democrat, now doesn't it?
So I sent this e-mail to his whole distro. (Grammar errors corrected)
And this is why I'm voting Republican:

Because I believe that the government will do a better job of spending my money in Iraq than I would keeping it here.

Because I believe that freedom of speech is fine as long as you're not criticizing General Petraeus and you're not an organization called Moveon.org.

Because I'm not sure who the "bad guys" are in Iraq, and maybe...just maybe....those crazy jihadis set up along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border will vacation in Baghdad so we can kill em, kill em all!

Because I believe the same folks who spill oil on the coasts and pollute entire communities are telling the truth when they say their actions have no harmful effects on the environment.

Because I believe that when businesses make profits, it should go to the CEO and the Board of Directors, and the thousands of employees under them should just be grateful to have jobs.

Because I believe that three or four religious nutcases need to rewrite the Constitution so that Jesus won't get mad and destroy us with fireballs.

Because I believe that the next time a plane gets hijacked by terrorists, the shotgun next to my bed is going to stop them.

Because I believe that when I get married, the government is okay with who I chose to be my spouse. If they say no...well, I guess I'll just have to respect that decision.

Because I believe that oil company profits should be used to prop up unfriendly dictators in the Middle East and squeeze the American middle class.

Dummies

Dear fucking idiot from Richmond, Virginia I just talked to:

I don't know what planet you live on, what kind of brain damage you suffered as a child, or what language you think you know, but you, my friend, are dumb.

Here I was, thinking I'm describing things in idiot-proof terms, and you come along to prove me wrong.

"Computer" didn't work. "Desktop computer" didn't work. "Tower computer" didn't work. "PC" had no luck. "Big black thingy cabled up to the projector" didn't work.

I mean, I don't know what else to try, bud.

So help me out, huh? What do you call it?

The magic commercial player?

Okay, so now that we've established that...

Who Do You Think You're Fooling?

I'm a pretty sharp guy, but I'm a bit confused about what McCain's meet with the Dalai Lama was supposed to accomplish. Is he going for the Tibetan Buddhist demographic? Is it a bit of a middle finger gesture to the Chinese? A photo op? A non-campaign related visit between friends?

I'm seriously confused. I'm confused about this McCain quote, too:
"His nonviolence approach and his lifelong approach of seeking common ground around cultural and religious divides are an inspiration for all of mankind and to millions of Americans."
Say what?

So the hawkish Republican guy is now touting the virtues of nonviolence and a vague form of multi-culturalism based on "common ground?" There's a word that describes that: unconvincing.

To be more convincing, Senator, you might want to rethink your position on the war and maybe think about telling your brethren in the party to stop the "culture war" nonsense that pits NASCAR Dads against Latte-sipping elites and church-going folks against secularists.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Infringing Jazz Standards

So I was just listening to a BB King song called Caldonia. But then halfway through the chorus ("Caldon-YAH! Caldon-YAH! What makes your big head so hard?") I remembered hearing a jazz version of the song and all of a sudden had a Eureka moment.

Caldonia is a jazz standard, and the very idea of jazz standards runs contrary to the prevailing perception of intellectual property rights.

I can hear ASCAP right now saying, "If you want to play Caldonia, you gotta pay the fee!"

French Priorities

Say what you want about the French, but at least they have their priorities in order. In response to efforts to expand the maximum number of days white collar workers can work per year from 218 to 235, one guy said:
"If I'm forced to work 235 days, my personal life will suffer," said demonstrator Arnaud de la Bergerie, a 27-year-old mechanical engineer. "We'll have more pay but less time to spend our salary."
This kind of thing has no traction in America. We hear "more pay" and immediately say "Okay."

I say that as a guy who's all too willing to let his personal life suffer for the "business needs" of the company I work for. Everyone knows a "personal life" is what you do on your own time. Or at least I used to have a boss who said that...

Generation Kill

Despite not having HBO anymore, I have been somehow able to watch the progress of their latest foray into making long films in the guise of an episodic series, Generation Kill. Produced by David Simon and Ed Burns, the guys who made The Wire, and based on the book by Evan Handler, it's got all the great things of an HBO series. Absorbing source material, a talented cast, high production values, and clever writing.

Take this exchange (in MP3 format) from the Evan Handler character (played by Lee Tergesen) and the gruff-voiced Lieutenant Colonel Ferrando (played by Chance Kelly):
Handler: Col. Ferrando, if I can ask, why does your voice sound that way?
Ferrando: Throat cancer.
Handler: You a smoker?
Ferrando: Nah. Just lucky, I guess.
Did I say clever writing? I meant brilliant.

A few notes about the cast. I find it incredibly cool that the character of Brad Colbert, who in real life is as American as they come, is played in the show by Alexander Skarsgard, a Swede. I presume in real life Skarsgard has an accent, but you'd never know it from watching Generation Kill. (I didn't know until I looked him up on IMDB.)

Also, Sergeant Rudy Reyes, a real life Marine written about in the book, is played by...Sergeant Rudy Reyes. Perhaps when he signed up with his recruiter, Rudy knew he was going to fight in a war, be written about in a book, and end up playing himself on an HBO mini-series about his unit's experiences.

But he's just lucky, I guess.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

McCain's Plan For Iraq, I mean, Trashing Obama's Plan

So did you hear that the media wants Obama to win? You know how I know? Well first they didn't tow the White House line on Nouri Al-Maliki's Arabic-to-English problems, but then there's this:

The NY Times rejected a McCain op-ed! (Warning: That link goes to Drudge.)

They're such haters!

Of course, thanks to Drudge the op-ed is available to the masses. Unfortunately, that doesn't change the fact that it's embarrassingly bad, full of inaccuracies and spin. It's also less an op-ed and more of an attack ad. There are more appropriate places for attack ads in the NY Times than the op-ed pages.

There's this:
I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent.
What do you want, a button? How is that some great and noble act? You lined up to support the surge. Such leadership! Such vision! Meanwhile, the guy who was against the war from the beginning remained against escalation. These differences are important to talk about, but notice how McCain likes to think his early support is some kind of evidence of wisdom that has been redeemed by the success of the surge. But, John, you were a "stay the course" man before you were a "surge" man. You seem less like a foreign policy guru than an echo of the Bush Administration. But okay, I'll pretend that macaroni in your cap is a feather...

Then there's this:
He (Obama) makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.
Unspecified time in the future? Dude! Al-Maliki said 16 months in Der Spiegel. And I saw on MSNBC yesterday video of Al-Maliki's spokesman saying withdrawal by 2010. No only has Al-Maliki endorsed the Obama plan (a timetable of 16 months), Al-Maliki's spokesman specified a target date of 2010!

If that had been printed in the NY Times, it would have been invalidated within days.

As this will have been, too:
I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.
But the thing that really bugs me is this, the endless repetition of "conditions on the ground" and "artificial timetables."
But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons.
A realistic assessment of conditions on the ground? Like at Shorja market? And what makes a timetable "artificial?" Am I to believe that the 2010 timetable is artificial, but the 2013 is not? A timetable is a goal, but if you prefer to flail about into the future just say that.

Also, let's not pretend that "domestic political reasons" are the only forces moving towards withdrawal. There are national security reasons as well. Troops are needed in Afghanistan. Our economy is better suited pouring trillions of dollars into American states rather than Middle Eastern ones. And really, the reasons for staying are dwindling with each day. War with Iran looks unlikely. Saddam Hussein and his spawn are long gone. The only way Iraq is getting WMD is if we give it to them. Al Qaeda remains safely protected in Pakistan. We got other things to do!

And you gotta love this:
Senator Obama has said that he would consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his “plan for Iraq.” Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t want to hear what they have to say.
Or perhaps he's just running for President, you know, as the commander-in-chief and the President of the USA. The "commanders on the ground" will get their orders from him, not the other way around.

Also if he doesn't want to hear what they have to say, then why did he meet with them this week?
Oh that's right. It's all part of the media-coordinated conspiracy to defeat John McCain and trash Bush's legacy...

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Joke Misfire

I sent the following IM to a guy at work today:
CNN is reporting that your Mom smells like fish but tastes like chicken. Would you care to comment?

He replied that his mother was dead.

Then I felt bad.

Justice

YES!

Radovan Karadzic has been arrested!

This guy was the world's most wanted man on September 10th, 2001. After that...he was the world's second most wanted man.

Karadzic makes Osama Bin Laden look like a chump, which of course he is.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fun With Idiots

So after a phone call from the White House, Maliki is "walking back" the comments he made in support of Obama's Iraq policy, saying they were "misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately." Riiiiiiight...

Only in the original report, Maliki mentioned Barack Obama by name.

At any rate, I found this post on the subject, and I have to say, these people are idiots. Not just people with different political views. Full-on drooling idiots.

Wow!... What a major mistake by the mainstream media.
It's as if they are rooting for Obama or something.
They mistranslated Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki on withdrawing US troops again.
The "again" refers to a New York Times interview where he was "again" mistranslated.

This poor guy must be the mumblest stumblest prick out there. Take the marbles out of your mouth, bro. I mean, I don't know what you're trying to say, Al-Maliki, but it's coming out as "timetable" and "Barack Obama" and then spreading all over the world, causing problems for Republicans. We can't have that now, can we?

But truly, the idiocy is in the comments. Check out these dim bulbs:
Combining Reuters quotes of Der Speigel is like combining the liberal fashionista fascist fest of Moulitsas DailyKooks and Arianna HuffNPuffs! An evil combination of BDS and leftist lunacy.
I propose a Godwin's Law type rule for anyone who uses the term "BDS." With Bush's approval ratings being as low as they are, the whole country has BDS. Also, a "liberal fashinonista fascist?" Jesus. Nice try to make funny belittling names, too. HuffNPuffs! Classic! Too bad that most people figure out sometime around the third grade that calling people names is well...immature.

Then there's this:
There has been way too much media exposure for Obama, so much so, I'm at the point of Obama burnout and he hasn't campaigned as long as Hillary Clinton.

I feel like Obama has been around forever. He is everywhere and it is tiresome. And, I don't even watch tv anymore.

Obama is over-
Obama is over because this person is tired of him. Hmmm....too bad reality doesn't march to this guy's drum. Obama is far from over. He has a very good chance of becoming our next president. That might also explain the media exposure....DER!

And then there's this guy, who clearly doesn't know what the word "consensus" means:
The MM is still reporting the der Spegel article and burying the change. This is what the link on CNN's main page says: "Iraqi PM quoted as backing Obama's plan". The article does note the change the lede is still that Maliki endorses a 16 month timeframe for withdrawl.

Over at MSNBC, there's no sign of the correction to the der Spiegel article by the Iraqi leadership after earlier trumpeting the news that al Maliki "agrees" with Obama.

ABC News has it but the title on the article is "What's Arabic for Spin?" still implying tht the original story was correct in spite of a specific, public, on the record correction by the Iraqi government.

CBS News...nope...no sign of any correction.

I guess since the correction doesn't fit the meme it is not the "truth" and therefore not newsworthy.

Could the MM possibly be more in the tank for Obama?
CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, CBS News, none of them are reporting that Maliki was mistranslated. His conclusion? They're "in the tank for Obama."

My conclusion: Maybe there's just not much to the mistranslation angle. But I guess four competing news organizations colluding to help Obama is just as plausible...

Then there's this genius, who says:
Wikipedia is pretty left of center, themselves. So using them as a source is suspect.
So an open-source, self-correcting database of hypertext information is "left of center?" For all its flaws, I never thought Wikipedia had a political ideology! (Conservapedia, on the other hand...)

Seriously, who are these people?

And I love this one:
Meanwhile I've taken Drudge off my home page. He's left a bogus headline up in red for two days. What does he do, now, just put up bullcrap and take the weekend off?
1) You should have taken Drudge off your home page a long time ago.

2) What he does, if you don't know, is fan political controversy. That is bull crap and you can bet he's enjoying his weekend right now.

3) Your response to the "bogus headline" is immature. It's the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing to yourself when you hear something you don't like. Plus your retaliation will have no effect on Drudge, no effect on you, no effect on anything. It's a useless action, a cry in the dark meant to comfort no one but yourself. If I were to give you advice, and I do that quite often to people, I'd say this: Get rid of your ego. Engage with the world as it is.

And do nothing.

In other words, embrace the Tao.

This Is Ridiculous

I'm so sick of CEOs getting HUGE paychecks for fucking up their companies. Seriously...

This is free market capitalism??

Just Don't Call it Gouging

I hate to toot my own horn (liar!), but I'm one smart cookie...

Last June, when gas was MUCH cheaper, I wrote a post about the factors behind rising gas prices, and surprise-surprise, it was a little skeptical about the received wisdom about all that supply and demand stuff. (Here's another relevant post.)

Here's some highlights:
With massive prices leading to massive profits, there's little incentive for the oil companies to increase refining capacity.

And this:
If an oil company had the will to open a new refinery, they could do it. They just choose not to.

And this:
Let's just say that refining capacity chokepoints are not really indicators of inefficiency, but instead they are highly valuable profit centers. The oil industry seems intent not on meeting demand, but pinching it for every last nickle.
Well get a load of this.

A relevant passage:
If you’re getting a prime price for a product that will be harder to acquire in a few years and less valuable due to competition from other fuels, the smart play, obviously, is to divert every penny into profit while the Black Gold Casino is still open. To confuse the press and public, you set up several straw men to take the blame for the supply shortage that you’ve seen coming for a half-century: refinery capacity, environmental legislation, and the imaginary supply potential in undrilled portions of the continental shelf and ANWR.Yeah, that's what I said.

The bottom line?
Now, let’s say you’re an oil company selling bulk gasoline, and suppose your inventory contains some gasoline made from $140-a-barrel oil and some that was purchased for $75 a barrel. That leaves a lot of room for price manipulation. But please, whatever you do, don’t think for a minute that’s what Tillerson and Exxon Mobil are up to. Just like you and me, they are powerless slaves in the fields of supply and demand. Now tote that barge, lift that barrel.

Cheap Shot of the Day

John McCain, who makes over 150K a year in the Senate and is married to a woman who is probably worth over $100 million (could be more, could be less: who knows?), still cashes his Social Security checks.

Now I understand that at 71, he is eligible. I also understand that before he became eligible, he paid into the program so now he is just getting his due.

But I also understand that the government is not shoving this money down his throat, and if he wanted to, he could afford to opt out. If he really wanted to...

In Denver recently, McCain said:
"Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace, and it's got to be fixed."
But strangely he didn't mention whether taxpayers dishing out two grand a month to a rich non-retiree is a disgrace too.