June 24, 2009
Once again the concept of freedom escapes an elected politician. I'll pause now while you express your surprise.
Presumably, women in France are not currently forced by the state to wear burqas. I've seen pictures of them not wearing tops, so I don't think I'm wrong here. This means that women, even Muslim women, in France are allowed to not wear a burqa. But now Sarkozy wants to take away the option of wearing a burqa and he's arguing that by reducing the freedom of French women, he's somehow increasing their freedom.
Now, I've seen a few women here in New York wearing burqas and I find them terrifying. I would have the same reaction to a man walking around in a ski mask as well.
But there isn't and should not be any law against this. The people of France will lose a modicum of their freedom if Sarkozy is successful in his effort to ban the burqa.
Found via Joe.My.God. Be sure to check out the comments on his post for a different perspective on this issue.
April 18, 2009
This is alarming, if true. The news source is Russia Today. My cautiousness around believing this is because there's something unbalanced and amateur about this report -- aside from the fact that they misspelled "copyright" in their captions.
But if this is, in fact, something the Obama administration is considering they should be ashamed of themselves. This is exactly the sort of thing our Constitution was written to prevent, specifically the part against illegal searches and seizures.
April 15, 2009
How many did you spot?
"in a nut..."
"up close and personal taste"
This is funny, sure, but of course, he's making fun of the tax protests in typically liberal fashion -- by completely ignoring the actual principles behind the protests.
In one attempt to address those issues, he claims that it's about "taxation without representation" and although I did see one foolish YouTuber on Headline News this morning claiming that, that is not the issue behind these protests. Everyone knows that we have a Congress who is elected to pass laws to protect our rights.
These tax protests are about the fact that with regard to taxes, members of Congress has colluded with the President to pass laws that violate our rights in the realm of taxation.
And instead of using taxes to fund legitimate functions of government such as the police and the army, they add insult to injury and given our money away. They've literally handed it out to people who either through stupidity or bad judgment have squandered away their own. They've used our tax funds to purchase spectacularly unprofitable things, toxic assets, with all the condescension, arrogance, and audacity that you'd expect from a group spending other people's money. They've "loaned" it out to businesses that Americans obviously do not want to support so that those businesses won't go away and leave us alone.
"Trust us," Congress says, "It's for your own good." Terrifying words.
Our representatives have made it abundantly clear that their are either hell-bent on our destruction or they are too feeble and inept to be trusted with the powers of government. It's not that we aren't represented in government, it's that we're represented by fools and tyrants.
That's what we're protesting.
April 07, 2009
Here's an explanation of how this stupid, new turn came about.
Warning! Spoilers in that link!
April 06, 2009
BA BUM BUUUUMMMMMM!!!
I also learned from the very same utterances that Henry Porter is an idiot with an addiction to haterade.
Guardian.co.uk: Google is just an amoral menace
Despite the aura of heroic young enterprise that still miraculously attaches to the web, what we are seeing is a much older and toxic capitalist model - the classic monopoly that destroys industries and individual enterprise in its bid for ever greater profits. Despite its diversification, Google is in the final analysis a parasite that creates nothing, merely offering little aggregation, lists and the ordering of information generated by people who have invested their capital, skill and time.I feel dirty just having read the article, so you'll need to hop on over there to get the full effect.
I am not sure if Mr. Porter realizes the irony of both decrying Google's success and at the same time arguing that it provides no value to its users. Given the how foolish the rest of the article is, I really don't think he saw it.
For instance, he argues that artists who want to share their work with the masses on the internet have no where else to go but YouTube, a Google subsidiary.
Really? There aren't any other video sites on the internets where people can post their own videos? Someone better not tell these people.
Want another example of Mr. Porter's pigheaded idiocy is his argument that Google is apparently killing newspapers (Yes, I know he denies it, but it doesn't stop him from making an argument that can only be construed as supporting that point.) and arguing that in this day of the internet, complete with Twitter, blogs, and new media, newspapers are the only thing that can save our freedom. Again, I really don't think he sees the irony.
And his ignorance is really just gobsmacking, such as his claim that Google has never known failure. Does anyone remember Google Answers? Probably not, because it was a failure. Remember when it flagged the whole internet as malware? Fail. Remember their failed attempt at radio advertising? No? Well, it was another fail. I would call their capitulation to China a failure as well.
Google has failures, but it has loads of wins. They have loads of wins because they do loads of things well.
Mr. Porter does rightly point out one sort of crime that is rampant on the internet: Intellectual Property Piracy. I would argue that many (30%?), if not most internet users think that P2P file sharing is morally acceptable and see nothing wrong with it. But this isn't Google's fault so much as it is a sign of the intellectual corruption of our time.
Point of fact: there are limits to the amount of cash you are allowed to carry. I believe the amount varies by state (I'm not very clear on this, though. On Law & Order last night, I saw an episode where they said there was a $10K federal limit that required some sort of declaration.), but amounts above the limit are seen as being likely as proceeds from a crime, usually drug sales.
I remember a news story from a few years ago in Georgia in which a small business owner (I think it was some sort of landscaping company) was detained for something like $14K in cash he had.
Hat tip: Noodlefood.
April 01, 2009
Boston EDGE: ’Liquored Up’ Lesbian Assaults, Threatens Forcible Insemination, Says Wife
In an alleged drunken attack, a lesbian reportedly threatened to impregnate her unwilling wife with semen from the attacker’s brother.Need I go on? Let's recap the relevant facts:
- One was drunk
- The drunk one was wielding a turkey baster
- The turkey baster was loaded WITH HER BROTHER'S SEMEN [the caps are mine]
- And she tried to force it upon her wife
And can we revisit the fact that it was full of her brother's semen? If my sister were a lesbian (I'm not saying she is or isn't.) and her wife wanted to get pregnant, I would probably donate my semen to help them out. I don't have any particular issue with that except I would go to the doctor's office to make sure everything is professionally administered. What skeeves me out here is that this semen was apparently harvested at home.
I didn't think semen had a very long shelf life, so I guess he lives near by.
And then I remember that the timeline of this tale of woe goes from a quasi-incestuous masturbation incident to full-on attempted turkey-baster rape. Plus lesbians.
See what you can do with THOSE key words, Google!
March 31, 2009
Rasmussen Reports: 30% Say Government Should Limit Pay for Athletes and Movie Stars
Thirty percent (30%) of Americans believe the government should make it illegal to pay movie stars and athletes more than $1 million per year.It would be cynical not to point out that the majority of people do NOT support government intervention in this way, but the fact that a third of Americans are petty little tyrants is troubling.
There is a more support—but not much more--for capping the pay of corporate executives. Thirty-six percent (36%) say the federal government should make it illegal to pay any executive more than $1 million a year.
March 30, 2009
Unfortunately, some snot who probably believe himself to be clever wrote this cynical rebuttal in the form of a pretend response letter from a customer service representative.
I have been a customer service representative at AIG since 1998, and I get paid $12.32 an hour. This is one of three jobs I work to support my three kids and to try to stay in my 750-square-foot Brooklyn home. When I asked my supervisor how much of a bonus check I would be receiving for working really, really extra hard the last 12 months and offering great customer service to the American taxpayer...Do you know why this person would be paid a mere $12.32 an hour for her job? Because that job can be performed by just about anyone who can read and exhibits a basic sense of decorum. It's the kind of job someone who is stupid enough to have three kids and an apartment in Brooklyn (the Bronx is cheaper, fool.) when they only make an hourly wage. It's the kind of job that, more simply put, just isn't as valuable as that of an executive vice president for financial products. Not by far.
I'm not saying incentive plans would not be appropriate for customer service representatives, but the truth is that customer service centers are responsible for a mere fraction (if any) of the profitability of most companies. They're necessary, yes, but they're often poorly funded because the value they provide to customers is difficult to quantify and can suffer for a long time before they result in serious damage to the brand.
But I have a much simpler point for "Miss Rhonda O'Brien:" You would not have a job at all if not for people like Mr. DeSantis. Show some respect and shut your cakehole.
March 09, 2009
USA Today: Most Religious Groups in USA have Lost Ground, Survey Finds
When it comes to religion, the USA is now land of the freelancers.The USA Today link above has a nifty interactive chart on this.
The percentage. of people who call themselves in some way Christian has dropped more than 11% in a generation. The faithful have scattered out of their traditional bases: The Bible Belt is less Baptist. The Rust Belt is less Catholic. And everywhere, more people are exploring spiritual frontiers — or falling off the faith map completely.These dramatic shifts in just 18 years are detailed in the new American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), to be released today. It finds that, despite growth and immigration that has added nearly 50 million adults to the U.S. population, almost all religious denominations have lost ground since the first ARIS survey in 1990.
Even though religion is one of those things that is difficult to measure and subject to abuse of statistics, I take this as good news.
Robin Meade is asking viewers to write in with their explanation of why this could be. I prefer to think that people are realizing that faith is one of the most singularly destructive things a person can do in their brain, but if I were in a worse mood I'd say that it's probably because people are becoming apathetic about religion and not faith itself.
Religion offers little to people and I think they're waking up to that. We're always hearing how religious leaders are out hiring prostitutes, embezzling money, doing drugs, sexually abusing children, and doing all kinds of hypocritical things. Plus so many religions rely heavily on guilt to keep people coming and I think many Americans are bucking faith to live without that extra pain.
I found this graph interesting also.
March 08, 2009
AJC: GOP lawmaker weighing strip club fee
A Republican state lawmaker is considering legislation that would impose a fee on Georgia strip club patrons.This tax is an implicit accusation against strip club owners and patrons for pederasty.
State Sen. Jack Murphy of Cumming says he’d like to see the state charge between $3 and $5 for every club goer. Murphy said Monday he would like to funnel the money to child abuse programs and other services for young people who are caught up in child prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation.
You might run an honest strip club, but you're being asked to pay for people who kidnap and coerce children into pornography or prostitution. You may be a patron to whom only adults have any appeal, but you'd have to fund the clean up for people who abuse and sexually exploit kids.
It doesn't surprise me in the least that the Republicans of Georgia are working to associate what they call vice with crime, but we shouldn't be so naive as to believe moral equivalency and legislative busy-bodies are only found to the right of the aisle. Remember: Democrats have been known to support pornography taxes.
The whole idea of a "vice tax," taxes on alcohol, cigarettes, porn, strip clubs, offends me. You may think whatever you want about what I do privately, but the idea that I have to stand by while my state points a figure at me and calls me a sinner is so presumptuous, impertinent, and, frankly, criminal. Criminal because they're stealing my money while also telling me that I'm morally corrupt for not agreeing with whatever they think is right or wrong.
I hope the citizens of Georgia tell their legislators to mind their own business and leave strip clubs alone. Human sex trafficking is a crime. Fight it with stronger police efforts. Don't fight it by insulting and robbing innocent people who had nothing to do with that mess.
March 07, 2009
Personally, this fact (assuming it's true) means nothing to me, but the people complaining about this seem to take it as an indication of some weakness in our country.
The US has lots of stupid laws that put people in jail, like how some drugs are illegal. But this is true of lots of countries which have fewer prisoners.
I just don't know what they want me to conclude when they point this out. So, I immediately start thinking that our police are better than police elsewhere and these people are arguing for a less competent police force.
I know! It makes no sense. But the fact itself is a non sequitur to me, so I think they must mean something crazy when they point it out.
I'm talking about you, Bill Maher.
February 26, 2009
While under the supposed control of satanic demons, Susan lashed out at Jindal and his friends. "Whenever I concentrated long enough to begin prayer, I felt some type of physical force distracting me," Jindal reflected. "It was as if something was pushing down on my chest, making it very hard for me to breathe... I began to think that the demon would only attack me if I tried to pray or fight back; thus, I resigned myself to leaving it alone in an attempt to find peace for myself."I didn't notice it during his speech, but Bobby Jindal's speech patterns are remarkably similar to those of Kenneth the Page on 30 Rock!
February 13, 2009
The Sun: Baby-faced boy Alfie Patten is father at 13
BOY dad Alfie Patten yesterday admitted he does not know how much nappies cost — but said: “I think it’s a lot.”I don't know if there has ever been a time when the number of children has ever been less than the number of adequate parents, but it never fails to enrage me when I hear these stories of people having babies willy-nilly without any regard for their ability to provide for them, particularly when I think about the number of idiots out there who oppose abortion for those who really should get them and oppose adoption for those who really could do well for the children.
Baby-faced Alfie, who is 13 but looks more like eight, became a father four days ago when his girlfriend Chantelle Steadman gave birth to 7lb 3oz Maisie Roxanne.
February 10, 2009
It basically consists of a list of very specific situations summed into marginally more general rules of leadership, which without the examples would be almost meaningless, counter-productive in principle, or just obvious to all but the most idiotic:
1. Presidents set the tone. Don't be passive or tolerate virulent divisions.I'm surprised that anyone would call these "lessons" or imply that these are guiding principles for Barack Obama. They're just stupid.
2. The president must insist that everyone speak out loud in front of the others, even -- or especially -- when there are vehement disagreements.
3. A president must do the homework to master the fundamental ideas and concepts behind his policies.
4. Presidents need to draw people out and make sure that bad news makes it to the Oval Office.
5. Presidents need to foster a culture of skepticism and doubt.
6. Presidents get contradictory data, and they need a rigorous way to sort it out.
7. Presidents must tell the public the hard truth, even if that means delivering very bad news.
8. Righteous motives are not enough for effective policy.
9. Presidents must insist on strategic thinking.
10. The president should embrace transparency. Some version of the behind-the-scenes story of what happened in his White House will always make it out to the public -- and everyone will be better off if that version is as accurate as possible.
Here are some "take aways" I'd like to give to Bush, Obama, and anyone else considering a leadership position in government, particularly that of the president.
- Never sacrifice freedom for security.
- Insist that every decision be based on a defense of individual rights.
- Embrace short-term losses that lead to long term prosperity.
- Mind your own damn business.
- Learn to pronounce big words, like "nuclear" and "Ahmadinejad," before you go on television.
- Don't talk about a problem without a clear solution.
- Don't talk about a solution without a clear identification of the principles behind the solution.
- If you have to pray about any decision you make, quit your job immediately.
What advice would you give to the president?
February 09, 2009
February 03, 2009
Found over at Joe.My.God. I find myself supporting this ignorant, silly man's right to impose silly rules on his business. Those punks who complain that he is in some way violating their rights by refusing to allow them in his private property are wrong both in taste and politics.
What's interesting to me about this story is that it doesn't really directly address his political views. We might hazard some reasonable guesses, but this story focuses just on the outrage some people feel about not being allowed to mind other people's business -- literally!
January 31, 2009
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One day after President Obama ripped Wall Street executives for their "shameful" decision to hand out $18 billion in bonuses in 2008, Congress may finally have had enough.Before I start my own tirade let's consider some relevant remarks from someone who seems to have shared my opinion of Congress.
An angry U.S. senator introduced legislation Friday to cap compensation for employees of any company that accepts federal bailout money.
Under the terms of a bill introduced by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, no employee would be allowed to make more than the president of the United States.
Obama's current annual salary is $400,000."We have a bunch of idiots on Wall Street that are kicking sand in the face of the American taxpayer," an enraged McCaskill said on the floor of the Senate. "They don't get it. These people are idiots. You can't use taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses."
Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can.With regard to those companies who have received Federal bailout money, I actually agree with the outrage expressed here. But leave it to Congress to write a $700 BILLION check and not apply any stipulations on how it would be used.
- What Is Man?
Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
- Mark Twain, a Biography
Congressman is the trivialist distinction for a full grown man.
- Notebook #14, 11/1877 - 7/1878
All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity.
- Mark Twain's Autobiography; also in Mark Twain in Eruption
It's like the time my sister complained to me about not having enough money to pay her rent and bills and so I gave her $100, which was a lot for my budget at the time, and I later found out that she was saving for an all-inclusive vacation in the Bahamas for two. It was dishonest of her, but I gave her the money without reservation for her to use in the way that she saw best and so I let it go. But the next time she tried that ploy, I turned a deaf ear to her.
But the larger portion of my outrage is reserved for those idiots in Congress who approved this bailout. Mrs. McCaskill's charge that the people on Wall St. are idiots is outrageously ironic given her and her colleague's tyrannical disregard for American's rights and irresponsible exercise of government power.
If she's right and these people are idiots, then that is all the more reason they deserve to fail. I never thought I'd need to ask how big an idiot one has to be in order to be considered too big an idiot to fail, but Congress went ahead and answered that question for us, quite without our consent or permission.
I don't believe the people on Wall St. are idiots. They might make bad business decisions from time to time, but that's exactly why they should be allowed to suffer the consequences of those decisions.
So, if the people on Wall St. are idiots, what does that make those members of Congress who voted to pay them for their idiocy?
January 26, 2009
CNN.com: Icelandic government falls amid financial crisis, protests
(CNN) -- Iceland's ruling coalition resigned Monday, three months after the collapse of the country's currency, stock market and several major banks, and following months of public protests, Kristjan Kristjansson, a spokesman for the prime minister told CNN.I bring this up because let's note a couple of key similarities between Iceland's situation and ours.
The government also fell after the resignation of the government's commerce minister in response to the country's financial mess.
The minister, Bjorgvin Sigurdsson, resigned Sunday, saying the government had failed to restore confidence in the three months after the collapse of the financial system.
Senior government officials from the two parties that make up Iceland's coalition government -- the prime minister's Independence Party and the Social Democrats party -- had met Sunday to discuss the government's future but nothing was resolved, a spokesman for the prime minister said.
- They nationalized their banks in order to prevent an economic collapse, something that is being discussed with increased frequency here.
- The people there are protesting how the government has been handling their financial crisis. It's not clear to me if they're protesting that the government was involved at all, but good money says they aren't.
- The financial crisis was created from government involvement in investment banks and drove them to accept debt that was 10 times in excess of the economy.
January 23, 2009
Former French President Chirac hospitalised after mauling by his clinically depressed poodle
January 21, 2009
But if you doubt how adorable this show is, let me give you an example from this morning. Instead of focusing on specific policies or challenges that President Obama will have to face, they were FAR more preoccupied with the fact that he was up very late last night at the parties and he had to come to work today.
I think cynical people would be upset about how vapid this sort of coverage is, and I have to admit that it leaves me unsatisfied with my knowledge of current events, but it gives me the giggles by how cute it is. It's just so childlike.
The man has been president now for barely a day and I've already heard speculation that Obama's determination to stabilize the credit markets and the economy will lead to defacto nationalization of the banking industry.
If you were to tell me, "OBAMA'S GONNA GO HUGO CHAVEZ DOWN AT THE WACHOVIA!" I'd laugh in your face and wonder how you learned to talk like me.
But there's a certain appeal to this theory, though.
I don't think Obama will just outright nationalize our banks. I prefer to believe that Americans would totally freak out about that. Although I have read a couple of articles where people, investors actually support the idea!
But a defacto nationalization has an appeal to the sort of indirect, shifty, sneaky politicians of today who prefer to pork barrel legislation and split hairs and sneak things over on an inattentive American public. The way they would accomplish it would be like how Danny DeVito bought that company in Other People's Money or the way Bruce Wayne bought Wayne Enterprises back from a crafty CEO -- although I hate to compare Batman to our politicians. They're not good enough!
See, our banks are already getting bailed out. And I am told it's not just a give away, but that the government will lay claim to a portion of stock. Stock is ownership! So, we're already on our way.
In one of the schemes Kevin sent me today, the Obama Administration (and in fairness, we should remember that this was started under a Republican president) would acquire preferred stock for their bailout. This means the government would get paid before everyone else. And through an interplay of costs and payouts, the government would slowly get more and more stock in the bank until it is nationalized.
Also, remember that the government nationalized many banks to recover from the S&L crisis back when I was a kid.
So, this seems very plausible to me. Plausible and ominous.
On the upside of things, Obama is promising to undo that dreadful national Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) and allow gay people to serve openly in the military. Of course, religious people are buggin' about that, but they really should just go to hell. Now.
I suspect that a lot of the Administration is going to be like this. Horrible things will happen and sometimes good things will happen. Mostly horrible things, of course, but can you imagine what might have happened if McCain were president?
Well, probably the same sort of thing, but around different topics. And if you squint, you can already tell that Obama isn't wildly different from McCain. Oh, and did you know Obama is consulting with McCain on how he should approach things? Yep.
January 12, 2009
Well, duh. I think everyone knows that the Israeli military is far superior to the terrorist guerrilla fighters of Hamas.
I just don't see how Hamas losing this fight is a reason to think they're on the moral high ground. If might doesn't make right, then neither does weakness.
January 08, 2009
But while they do often send me into fits of outrage and indignation, they do also often make me laugh. Via Joe.My.God.
Montana's News Station: PETA seeks Whitefish school name change
P.E.T.A. (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal) sent a letter to Whitefish High School Principal Kent Paulson, urging him to change the name of the high school from "Whitefish High" to "Sea Kitten High".You read that correctly. "Sea Kittens."
P.E.T.A. launched their Sea Kitten Campaign in October, in hopes that everyone will start referring to fish and other marine animals as sea kittens.
The letter states, "we're proposing that Whitefish High School adopt a new name to reflect the gentle nature of it's current marine namesake. If the town starts calling fish, "sea kittens", fewer of these gentle animals would be violently killed for food, painfully hooked for "sport," or cruelly confined to aquariums".
It's wrong on so many levels, but it's too stupid to even begin trying to list those levels.
I love that Joe proposes referring to birds as "sky puppies."
January 07, 2009
Blue Owl sent me this today:
CNN: Porn Industry Seeks Federal Bailout
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Another major American industry is asking for assistance as the global financial crisis continues: Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis said Wednesday they will request that Congress allocate $5 billion for a bailout of the adult entertainment industry.Ok. NOOOOWWWW I'm concerned about the economy. What a state things must be in for people to have cut back on masturbation!
“The take here is that everyone and their mother want to be bailed out from the banks to the big three,” said Owen Moogan, spokesman for Larry Flynt. “The porn industry has been hurt by the downturn like everyone else and they are going to ask for the $5 billion. Is it the most serious thing in the world? Is it going to make the lives of Americans better if it happens? It is not for them to determine.”
$5 billion seems a mite excessive to me, but I don't know how much all that patent leather and pointy shoes costs, so 'scuze my ignorance here.
No, seriously, I'm just kidding around. I'm against bailing out porn stars and investment bankers just the same. But your heart really goes out to the porn stars, no? They must get so cold sometimes...
Like many other protests of Israel's campaign in Gaza, this one ended badly -- police had to cool an ugly fight between supporters of Israel and Gaza, breaking up the warring sides as their screaming and chanting threatened to turn into something worse.Thankfully, ANSWER who organized the event acknowledged that perhaps these remarks were insensitive.
But some protesters at this rally in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., took their rhetoric a step further, calling for the extermination of Israel -- and of Jews.
But as the protest continued and crowds grew, one woman in a hijab began to shout curses and slurs that shocked Jewish activists in the city, which has a sizable Jewish population.
"Go back to the oven," she shouted, calling for the counter-protesters to die in the manner that the Nazis used to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.
"You need a big oven, that's what you need," she yelled.
Now, in fairness, I have been known to call for the complete and utter destruction of the enemies of freedom. I may have suggested the use of bombs and guns, but I don't think I've gotten more specific than that in terms of the methods employed and I certainly have not given much thought to the ethnic origins of those enemies.
Also, for the record, Israel's invasion of Gaza is not anything like a holocaust even if Jews are involved in it in some way. I'm calling Godwin's Law on that.
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