Monday, May 29, 2006

Support The Troops

The fourth-best way to "Support the Troops" is to make sure they have all the equipment they need to perform the job thoroughly and safely.

The third-best way to "Support the Troops" is to make sure their families are taken care-of while they are away serving our national needs.

The second-best way to "Support the Troops" is to fully fund veterans' benefits to take care of them after they get back.

The best way to "Support the Troops" is to not use them unless really needed.

Memorial Day

FilkerTom has some links.

Just remember. And keep all those currently serving in your thoughts today.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

How the Corporate Media Has Failed Us

Media Matters once again points out how the corporate media is unfairly biased in favor of conservatives, to the point of utterly ignoring Bush's crimes while going into great detail about things that Clinton did that weren't crimes.

If you know of any journalist out there that actually has a spine, I'd like to hear about it. Most of them are in the pay of conservatives and aren't willing to actually do their job at all. I would say that 99% of the current crop of "reporters" are just propagandists who reprint press releases and don't bother to do any checking or investigating. Most of them are far more concerned with the ratings of their show and the amount of ad revenue that they can bring in than the truth. What use is Freedom of the Press if the press has been bribed into submission by the GOP?


It's time again. Part one (also at ST).

Thursday, May 25, 2006

More on the Bird Flu

Just Read It. You may be sick of it by now. You might be convinced it will never happen. You might even be right about it. But if you are wrong, you stand a good chance of dying. Just read it. And be ready.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Vote by Mail in King County

As the vast majority of voters were already voting by mail, this only makes it official. In addition, and this is really cool, those that still want to vote in person can... and they have 18 days to do it instead of being limited to a single work day. The downside to that is that it will be in limited locations. But over two weeks to vote is a very good thing.

I never, ever, felt comfortable going to a local church to vote. When the state allowed "permanent absentee" I signed up immediately. I think this is a good move.

And now, for no particular reason...

...a monkey washing a cat!

Courtesy of Mark Evanier.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'm A Dixie Chicks Fan Now

"I apologized for disrespecting the office of the President. But I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever."

-- Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines, quoted in Time, about President Bush.

Via Taegan Goddard's Political Wire. Be sure to listen to their latest song "Not Ready to Make Nice", which is about the threats and hate they received when they dared to joke about Bush.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Why Privacy Matters

At Wired News.
The most common retort against privacy advocates -- by those in favor of ID checks, cameras, databases, data mining and other wholesale surveillance measures -- is this line: "If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?"

Some clever answers: "If I'm not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me." "Because the government gets to define what's wrong, and they keep changing the definition." "Because you might do something wrong with my information." My problem with quips like these -- as right as they are -- is that they accept the premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong. It's not. Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.

Two proverbs say it best: Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? ("Who watches the watchers?") and "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." Watch someone long enough, and you'll find something to arrest -- or just blackmail -- with. Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused: to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies -- whoever they happen to be at the time.

Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we're doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.

Also check out Mark Evanier's tale of his father's work in the IRS.

Another reason to not give up the right to privacy is because the Constitution promises it. If we start to chip away at the rights guaranteed in the Constitution, how long will it be before we have no rights at all?

Kipling warned us too:
Give no ear to bondsmen bidding us endure,
Whining "He is weak and far;" crying "Time shall cure."
I cannot tell you how many people have said, "oh, just wait... we'll elect a new president and wimpy George will be gone." Yeah, just wait, while he takes away more and more rights. Rights that, once lost, we'll never get back again.
Give no heed to bondsmen masking war with peace,
Suffer not the old King here or overseas.
Can anyone say "We're bringing democracy to the middle east! (by illegally attacking a nation that is not an immediate threat to us and murdering hundreds of thousands of their citizens)" Yeah, masking war with peace.
They that beg us barter--wait his yielding mood--
Pledge the years we hold in trust--pawn our brother's blood--
How many American soldiers, our brothers, have died due to Bush's lies and illegal war? Why are we allowing this man to spill their blood?
He shall mark our goings, question whence we came,
Set his guards about us, as in Freedom's name.
Gee, that sure sounds familiar. "Let's spy on you! It's to protect your freedom!" The more I read of Kipling, the more certain I am that the man saw farther than most.
He shall break his Judges if they cross his word;
He shall rule above the Law calling on the Lord.
Let's see... get rid of anyone who disagrees with him. Check. Claims that God is guiding him. Check. This is sounding more and more like a prophecy.
He shall peep and mutter; and the night shall bring
Watchers 'neath our windows, lest we mock the King--
This appears to be the next step. All that Bush does is "peep and mutter" of course, but how soon before the watchers start taking action when we mock George? I mean besides the death threats we already get from the far Right scumbags?
Hate and all divisions; hosts of hurrying spies;
Money poured in secret; carrion breeding flies.
Wow! Kipling described Congress perfectly!
Strangers of his counsel, hirelings of his pay,
These shall deal our Justice: sell--deny--delay.
He even named one of the Congresscritters. But yeah, Sell: "WMD WMD WMD!!!!" Deny: "We never said they had WMD!" Delay: "We cannot comment on an ongoing investigation at this time."

Let's finish this one off with the results of us letting King George and his rabble take over the country:
We shall drink dishonour, we shall eat abuse,
For the Land we look to--for the Tongue we use.

We shall take our station, dirt beneath his feet,
while his hired captains jeer us in the street.

Long-forgotten bondage, dwarfing heart and brain--
All our fathers died to loose he shall bind again.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Oi! Oi!

I just wanted to share with you all one of our favorite curent commericials. Go ahead, take a look:

Those have got to be some of the cutest punks ever! And it's just a cute idea. But why is the bobby a monkey?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Diebold Machines Still Broken

According to Boing Boing, Diebold voting machines are even more easily hacked than previously thought. Standing at a machine for only a few minutes, Harri Hursti was able to load his own software on the machine.

Las Vegas gambling machines are far more secure than voting machines. Heck, Diebold's ATM machines are far more secure than their voting machines. If you want your vote to count, insist on paper ballots.

UPDATE: Slashdot also has a story on this. Diebold needs to be sued by every county that bought their broken piece-of-crap voting machines.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Not Reading Political Blogs...

...trying to lower my stress levels, since I've busted my outrage-o-meter several times just this month. But it was impossible to miss the news that the NSA is now creating a database of everybody's phone calls (including YOURS!) to find out which Americans are terrorists or some stupid plan like that which will never work because the current Administration couldn't find their own noses given precise directions, much less anything important to American citizens. The only company that refused to give in to the NSA's illegal order to turn over phone records was Qwest, which just went way up in my estimation. To the point that I'm seriously considering dropping Verizon when my contract runs out. I don't appreciate my phone company violating the fourth amendment at the request of an organization that has been deliberately spitting on the constitution for years now.

Will we ever get our civil rights back, or have we given them up forever for this utterly false sense of security?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What Would It Take?

Via Boing Boing:
There’s been some ink spilled lately denigrating so called ‘angry liberals,’ that is, people who have allegedly lost their right to be taken seriously because they are ‘angry.’ And they are ‘liberal.’

Well, I hereby declare myself a charter member in the ALC (Angry Liberal Club).

Sure, at first I felt guilty -- what right do I have as a patriotic American to be angry? Or liberal? Oh, I tried to repress the ‘angry thing,’ I tried -- if I was asked, I claimed I was a ‘peeved moderate.’ Or a ‘mildly upset centrist.’ But after much work through ‘BIT’ (Blog Immersion Therapy), I stopped feeling the shame. I’m coming out of the closet to announce I am an Angry Liberal Guy. And I am pissed.

You might be saying “Man, what are you so angry about, Angry Liberal Guy?”

I’ve compiled a short (and by no means complete) list just so I could see it all in one place:

I’m angry about the shredding of the constitution…illegal wiretaps…falsified intelligence…secret prisons… use of torture as an accepted means of interrogation…Terry Schiavo…the war on science…denial of Global Warming…the fascistic secrecy of our elected officials… presidential signings that declare the President above the law…the breakdown of the wall between church and state…the outing of a clandestine CIA agent for purely partisan political gain…the corrupting influence of K Street… the total sell-out of the legislative process to corporate interests… appointments of unqualified cronies at every level of government…Harriet Miers…Brownie…Abu Ghraib… Scooter …the complete mismanagement of the war in Iraq…the lies about the complete mismanagement of the war in Iraq…the grotesque budget deficits… the pathetic response to Katrina… a civil rights division dedicated to undermining civil rights…an environmental protection agency that refuses to protect the environment… (Take a breath, Angry Liberal Guy.)

And I’m angry about a smug, simple-minded, incompetent, unqualified President, and a press that denies the obvious fact that we have a smug, simple-minded, incompetent unqualified President.

If these things don’t make you angry, I have to ask -- what the hell is the matter with you?

And what would it take to make you angry? -- C.B. Shapiro

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Puffer

Law professor Michael Froomkin decides to not go through "the puffer" just because a bored and rude TSA agent wants him to.

As for myself, I haven't flown in years. Airplanes are uncomfortable and jam-packed, I never have enough room for my legs and I always get sick on landing. Airports are paranoid places now that feel more like prisons to me than a place to start a journey. Frankly, I'd rather drive or just not go.

It's not that I'm scared of flying. Airplanes are still safer than many, if not most, modes of transport (on the statistical scale). It's just that I hate discomfort being forced upon me, and I hate being treated like a criminal in the airport or cattle on the plane.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Joking about It...

Mark Evanier (I've been linking to him a lot, lately, haven't I?) points out a good article about the flap over Stephen Colbert's biting performance with the President watching. Yeah, it might have been insulting to Dear Leader, but it wasn't NEARLY as insulting as Dear Leader's jokes about not finding WMDs at the 2004 version of the event. Greg Mitchell has the goods.

Funny. We never found WMDs in Iraq. The weapons inspectors said they weren't there, but Shrubya ignored them. The CIA said they weren't there, so Shrubya fabricated evidence. Colin Powell has even apologized for lying about the WMDs in Iraq. But there are still a number of morons out there who geniunely believe that we've found WMD in Iraq. WE HAVEN'T. There weren't any there. Iraq was no threat to us. How can ANYONE be stupid enough to still believe that we found any, when we've found NOTHING?

It's funny how the corporate media isn't covering this story more widely. The President of the United States of America LIED OUTRIGHT to start a war. This should be front page news, every day until the man is impeached and put in prison.

In addition, Halliburton is being paid millions, if not billions, of dollars to supply tainted drinking water and expensive fuel to the military. Halliburton, who the Vice President still has ties with. Somebody tell me how that isn't illegal and immoral war profiteering, and tell me why the VP isn't also impeached and in prison for it? And why isn't it on the front page of every newspaper, and the top story of every news broadcast?

The facts are out there, and they aren't hard to find. Anyone stupid enough to still believe the lies about the Iraq war... well, if you still believe that Iraq had WMDs, you're either too ignorant for me to understand or too stupid for me to respect.

Monday, May 01, 2006

May First

Mark Evanier has it:
Three years ago today, George W. Bush stood on the deck of an aircraft carrier and proclaimed "Major combat operations have ended" in Iraq. Since then, an additional 2,261 U.S. soldiers have been killed and another 16,927 have been wounded.