Saturday, October 06, 2007

Obama's Lapel and the Right Wing JizzFest

Barack Obama has offended Right Wing America because he is not wearing an American Flag lapel pin. Unsurprisingly, Drudge brought it out as a headline, reporting something to the effect of Obama ditching his pin. How about we let Senator Obama do the talking? From Media Matters report on the hysteria:
OBAMA: Somebody noticed I wasn't wearing a flag lapel pin and I told folks, well you know what? I haven't probably worn that pin in a very long time. I wore it right after 9/11. But after a while, you start noticing people wearing a lapel pin, but not acting very patriotic. Not voting to provide veterans with resources that they need. Not voting to make sure that disability payments were coming out on time.

My attitude is that I'm less concerned about what you're wearing on your lapel than what's in your heart. And you show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those who served. You show your patriotism by being true to our values and our ideals and that's what we have to lead with is our values and our ideals.
So what's the big deal? If I actually owned an American flag, it would be upside down in my library because in naval terms, flying a flag upside down is a signifier of distress. It only makes sense that you allow your actions to speak for themselves or, as Big Man Jesus put it, "Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them" (Matthew 7:20). Not by possessions, not by lapel pins, but by their fruit, their actions. That's pretty much what Barack said.

Not the least bit surprising is the beginning of Matthew 7:
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
I do believe that would relate directly to Mr. Hannity, as he is pissing all over Barack's pin-less lapel but has apparently forgotten his patriotism in the jewelry box at home.

In what conscience, on what planet is it okay for someone to directly criticize someone for not doing something that they themselves are not doing? How did we get to the point where a symbol like the American Flag has replaced the practice of patriotism, where a pin is the signifier of loyalty?

I give kudos to Senator Obama; in my experience, it is those that want President Bush to determine how we should live, fight, and accept surveillance - and not those who embrace the freedom to which we are entitled and the freedom to disagree - who plant 500 flags in their front yards and occlude the back window of their pickup with the rippling red, white and blue.

[Side note: Hey, asshole, stop pasting the "These colors don't run" bumper sticker on your car; pink and powder blue only enforces the addendum "they slowly fade away." Second note: I can unequivocally confirm that almost 100% of the jackholes who cut me off and drive like ass support the troops. How suck is that?]

"Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

The Pentagon's Shady Money Counters

From WCSH, we get the story of the 2600 members of the Minnesota National Guard who have returned after the longest ground combat deployment in Iraq since the war began: 22 months. Unfortunately, they came back to discover that the Pentagon, under the watch of our Commander-in-Chief, shimmied through a loophole and specifically wrote most of their orders for 729 days. Why 729 days? Because at 730 days, the government has to pay for certain benefits, including money for schooling.

This is one of those stories that should make everyone very angry. Right wing radio hosts and FOX News question the patriotism of any person - such as myself - who wants to end this retarded excuse of a war and bring the troops home; they say we don't support the troops because we want them home, safe.

And there sits our military, the same military that has these kids shipped halfway across the world, that has many of them convinced they're fighting to protect America's freedoms as the President slowly strips them away, training these kids, these men, to be highly specialized killers and/or technically training them to fill a very specialized niche that only exists in war, and when they come back and have done their duty, served their country, and want nothing more than to get some civilian training and be a productive member of society, that military, under the watch of President George Bush, says "fuck you," kicks them in the balls, and lays a hot, steamy turd in their MRE because they're too busy shitting away our money on unaccountable contractors and missing money and thought it would be a good idea to save a buck by taking it out of a soldier's ass.

That is unpatriotic. That is not supporting the troops. That is one of the most deplorably pathetic moves I've heard our asshat government make in quite a while. That is our government. That is one more reason why the mess in Iraq must end. And may god have mercy on the soul of our country should Gerogie Porgie decide to pick a fight with Iran.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Phone Salesman Sings Opera

I don't ever post something I get as an interwork/interfriend email, but here it is. I'm not entirely sure why this affects me so, but I watched the 4 minute clip and just wept. Wept like a schoolgirl.

Paul Potts, you are fucking brilliant.

[Alternate YouTube Link]

And not as fully emotional, but still a jerker, part 2:

[Alternate YouTube Link]

Bad blogger. How did I miss this?

And the winner is...

[Alternate YouTube Link]

7 Straight Nights for Equal Rights

From the Kucinich folks:
Between October 7 and October 13, 2007, straight people across the nation will "come out" as supporters of equal rights for the gay and lesbian community in America.

From Seattle to Montgomery, Alabama; Phoenix to Augusta, Maine; Duluth to Houston, Texas, overnight vigils will light up American cities, providing support and visibility to heterosexual men and women who have the courage and conviction to stand up for their gay and lesbian friends and neighbors.

This movement, dubbed Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights, was initiated by Soulforce and Atticus Circle, two Texas-based organizations with members across the nation. With their leadership, straight community leaders are organizing vigils in 30 or more communities around the country.

These courageous community leaders are telling their elected officials and the media that "equality is not a gay issue, not an urban elite issue, not an East Coast or a West Coast issue -- it's an American issue, and Seven Straight Nights is making Americans' support for lesbian and gay equality visible as never before."

We urge you to join this movement. Please go to and find a vigil near you. Plan to attend, and contact the organizers to find out how you can help.

As you know, our campaign unequivocally supports full marriage equality, and our health plan, HR 676, will provide full AIDS treatment to all U.S. residents.

So please support these important vigils. Wear your T-shirts, bring your signs, and let the nation know that not only is the Kucinich campaign the campaign of civil and human rights, but the Kucinich campaign team is far ahead when it comes to standing strong with the LGBTQ community.

In peace, and justice,

Dennis and Elizabeth
Do this.

Dennis Kucinich on PBS

Watch this. And understand why this is the only person I could possibly vote for in the primaries.

[Alternative YouTube Link]


Thursday, October 04, 2007

HP Misconstrues Technology Misquote

Intel Co-Founder, Gordon Moore, stated that the number of transistors you can inexpensively place on an integrated circuit will double about every two years. This is known as Moore's Law. This relates to processing speed, memory capacity, and computer hardware of that nature.

Unfortunately, Moore's Law is often misquoted as doubling every 18 months.

And sometimes that 18 months rule is linked to something that is completely unrelated to the original prediction. And you get an HP ad:

HP Ad Misconstrues Moore's Law

Along with saying the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle explains that the observer affects the nature of what is being observed, Moore's Law misquotes are up there on my list of pet peeves. Pop culture rapes again.

Betavoltaic Shmetavoltaic: Suckas!

Betavoltaic battery

A laptop battery that will last 30 years? The story itself lives on the blood of common sense.

Two days ago, I caught a BoingBoing Gadget post about the Betavoltaic Battery. The story originates from NextEnergy News and says:
Your next laptop could have a continuous power battery that lasts for 30 years without a single recharge thanks to work being funded by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. The breakthrough betavoltaic power cells are constructed from semiconductors and use radioisotopes as the energy source. As the radioactive material decays it emits beta particles that transform into electric power capable of fueling an electrical device like a laptop for years.
Amazing? You bet. BoingBoing's admonition? Horseshit!

My thoughts exactly.

As Joel Johnson noted, if the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory was seriously working on something this commercially viable, something we'd see on store shelves in 2 to 3 years, they'd probably have it on the front page of their website. A deeper search reveals the term "betavoltaic" appears nowhere on their site.

At this point, horseshit is close, but it gets soupier and nastier than that. A brief search of betavoltaic reveals how deep the poop chute goes. A shady company called Betavoltaic Industries, American Antigravity touting the technology, and a handful of other "free energy" sites. A couple voices of reason ring out: Eric Krieg and Shawn Bishop illuminate the junk science, misunderstandings, and purely theoretical basis of the technology. Crunch Gear calls it a classic pump and dump scheme.

[Side note: what good is a laptop battery that lasts 5-6 times as long as the usefulness of the laptop? When was the last time you could switch out a battery from one laptop to another, newer version? Manufacturers consolidating and standardizing, perhaps? Have you ever tried to charge your phone, maybe home for the holidays, where there are seven or eight different chargers and not one fits? Exactly like that.]

Why am I putting such effort into something so obviously untrue? Because the good people at SciFi Tech should know better. It's only a matter of time before it makes Headline News. The retraction will be aired once at 5am. And then that asshat at work who's always wrong about everything will nonchalantly sneer at you charging your cellphone and say "you know, in two years, you'll never have to do that again. The Air Force is makin' a 30 year battery." And then you can donkey punch him. Verbally, figuratively, of course.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Giuliani Choses Money Over Honor

On September 27th, PBS held a debate at the historically Black Morgan State University in Baltimore. Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson decided to wave it off, apparently because the Republican record in regards to the African American community is so damned shiny that it can withstand not only lack of concern, but four slices of snub. Seriously. This is an upswing with minority voters; the Univision GOP debate was canceled due to lack of candidate interest.

And hacks like Hannity attack Democrats for not doing enough to earn the minority vote. Showing up would be a start.

Then there is the sting of the reality of what exactly a "schedule conflict" means. Here's dirty Giuliani's version:

[Alternate YouTube Link]

Notes on the Dartmouth Democratic Debate

On September 25th, MSNBC held a Democratic debate. I know I'm running a few days (ahem, a week) late on this one, but there's something refreshing about going through the notes again, living it again, remembering the nuance so that it doesn't just fade away - although the next one is coming up in less than 3 weeks. This is pretty much blow-by-blow-by-subject, so feel free to skim for the juicy bits or skip to the end for main commentary. Let me know if I left anything (or anyone) out.

Remember, these are my notes and sometimes relate to my impressions of the response and not necessarily the content therein.

General Petraeus

  • Obama: Sometimes all I can hear are the "uh"s. He's getting better, but if he's going to be a serious contender in the next couple months, he's got to straighten that out.

  • Clinton: Well spoken.

  • Edwards: "all of our combat troops" does not include everyone, does it?

  • Richardson: Get 'em out! Yay!

  • Dodd: We have the "power of the purse," so why aren't we using it?

  • Biden: Mr. Biden, this is way different than Bosnia.

  • Kucinich: 2007? "ready to be president today." Bad bobble. Nice catch.

  • Gravel: Did he just say "scruff of the neck"? Did he just say "Fantasyland"? You have me caught between "Hell yeah!" and "what the hell?"

  • (Side: Kucinich: You're just splitting up Iraq.) Exactly.

Iran & Israel

  • Clinton: This is where Tim Russert gets pwned. She will answer the way she wants and there ain't no man strong enough to shut her down. Who's running this shindig? Chris Matthews talks later about Hillary's Leash. See Tim for its location.

  • (Side: Kucinich: I'll answer it!) If they asked him the same amount of questions, this would be funny.

  • Obama: Bluh bla blah blorg - no answer

  • Edwards: [Ah-mahn-EE-di-jad] "cannot be trusted." Perhaps he needs Bush's pronunciation guides.

  • Richardson: Likewise, but [Ah-mah-DEE-ni-jad]

Sanctuary Cities

  • Richardson: He's Hispanic like Giuliani's 9/11: Part of them, but not campaigning on it, but always talking about it.

  • Biden: Bush is the most uninformed person in foreign policy. Poignant and accusatory. Excellent. Smile. Don't have a laugh.

  • Dodd: The president is wrong. Good job. Biden did one better.

  • Kucinich: We are misdirected.

  • Obama: Bluh bla blah blorg - no answer

  • Clinton: Bluh bla blah blorg - no answer

  • Gravel: Did you just say we're failing in spending our treasure? Aarrgh, matey!

Hillary, Mistakes, & Sideshoots

  • Dodd: Something about Mission Accomplished.

  • Hillary: (health care) "with a different plan," "what Americans want." No, Kucinich has what Americans want: not-for-profit health care.

  • Biden: It's hard for Hillary. That's cute. I'm sure she appreciates it.

  • Edwards: You'll lose your health care. What was he talking about? I was sipping wine.

  • Obama: "Take on special interests and win!" Except for the insurance industry. They apparently have his nuts in a box somewhere near Zanesville, OH.

  • Gravel: Did you just say we should stick the bill to the credit card companies?

  • Kucinich: Good job getting the record straight on Cleveland; not all good, but a lot of good.

  • Richardson: He's right in between Obama and Clinton: if they had a baby, it wouldn't be a mulatto, but a Hispanic! Actually, it makes sense.

    Same Sex Education
  • Edwards: "Nobody made me God," education's okay, but not the practice.

  • Obama: Has he? No: "My wife has." And the American public will hone in on what you are "feeding them." A little New World Order speak a little too early.

  • Clinton: We need to Bluh bla blah blorg - no answer

Social Security and Medicare

  • Biden: Raise the 99K cap

  • Clinton: Did you just say "dissing"? No, Tim, you shut the hell up.

  • Obama: Lift the cap.

  • Dodd: We need pensions, financial literacy. Right on.

  • Richard: Fiscal discipline.

  • Edwards: Blah, difference, middle class, blah, 97K - 200K shield. Huh?

  • Kucinich: Wall Street privatization, lower retirement age to 65.

  • Dodd: Let's bring people together.

  • Clinton: We're doing that.

National Smoking Ban (note: Pat Buchanan is a douchebag)

  • Clinton: Local level.

  • Obama: Local level.

  • Kucinich: I've been breathing in a lot of second-hand smoke.

Drop Legal Drinking Age

  • Biden: No, drinking's bad, blah blah MAD

  • Dodd: Alcoholism! Bad! Smoking!

  • Richardson: We need to look at rehabilitation and research.

  • Gravel: If they can die for our country, they can have a drink, damnit. Amen to reason.

  • Kucinich: A-OK: we need to trust in America's youth. Okay, so we have two people supporting the troops. Anyone else?

Lightning Round

  • (Side on "Now to the lightning round" Gravel: "We never got to the real round.") True dat.

  • Obama: [turn the page] divisive politics, blah, bloorrgghhhhkkhh.

  • Clinton: [Bush/Clinton Dynasty] Stand her own ground, blah, blah.

  • Biden: [ Charge] Yes.

  • Kucinich: [Gas above $3.00/gal] Hell no. Choosing a president who wants to effect change "or have a president who's tall." Brilliant.

  • Gravel: [Gas] Get 'em off gas, oh, it's your 30.

  • Dodd: [Temp ban on China] Hell yeah!

  • Obama: [Jena 6] I was in Iraq, made a statement...wait. Is this 'cause I'm black?

  • Richardson: [Boy Scouts Gay Ban] Accept that? No.

  • Obama: [Back to Iraq] Who the hell's ranting?

Nuclear Power

  • Edwards: No nuclear power.

  • Obama: Nuclear power is okay.

  • Kucinich: We have better ways - solar and wind.

  • Gravel: Wind!

  • Clinton: Against nuclear dump at Yucca Mountain.


  • Obama: No torture.

  • Biden: Torture was possibly responsible for our faulty Iraq info.

  • Clinton: No torture. (but Bill?) "He's not standing here right now." Nice.

  • Dodd: It's a dreadful way to collect information.

  • Richardson: Having to deal with terrorists "doesn't mean we become like terrorists."

  • Clinton on Hsu (blah), Obama, donor building, Edwards was poor when he was a kid stop talking about his haircut. Not worth 3 separate points.

Fav Bible Quote?

  • Obama: Sermon on the mount.

  • Clinton: Golden rule.

  • Gravel: That thing about love.

  • Kucinich: St. Francis, instrument of peace

  • Edwards: What you do the least...

  • Richardson: Sermon on the mount. (Obama: Stop copying me!)

  • Dodd: Good Samaritan

  • Biden: Warning of the Pharisees

Red Sox or Yankees

  • Obama: Sox are the wrong color. Something veiled there...

  • Kucinich: Indians! Yay!

First summary note - never again
I will never do this again. I thought an answer-by-answer shot of the debate would have some merit, some posterity. I was wrong. Only 20% of the debate was noteworthy and therefore 20% of the above scratch is noteworthy. I believe an overview of my personal thoughts on the main points with some quotes is more enjoyable for me (it won't take me a week to trod through it) and more enjoyable for you to read. An experiment gone bad. A lesson learned.

Bill Tossing Confusion
For that thin slice of the population tuning in for the cavalcade of debates scheduled in order to get a better feel for the candidates, many probably don't have a full comprehension of the voting history of the candidates, specifically as it relates to voting for the war, voting to fund the war, etc. And to get the reference to H.R. 1400 (further sanctions on Iran, condemn any presence in Iraq, controversial because it did not include language forbidding the president from invading Iran without Congress's expressed approval), which was voted on (and passed) the day of the debate, you've got to be relatively well-steeped in politics. Should the topic be avoided? No. But Tim Russert should've done a better job clarifying.

I really don't have anything else. The questions were distributed on a scale related to how much money the candidate had raised for their campaign. It's like a student council election: you get the distinct feeling that some of them want it because they know they can get it and some want it to pad their resume. The one or two kids who actually want to change things for the better don't have the Prom Queen points, so they get ignored.

Sorry, a little disillusioned about the election today.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Kucinich Looks Like a Million Bucks

From the good folks at the Kucinich campaign:
We reached our goal of $300,000 for the month and our goal of $1,000,000 for the quarter.

Our numbers keep going up. Contributions have increased every quarter. This means more people are becoming aware of Strength through Peace and how these policies can improve their lives and our country.
Some of the other candidates, those with the absence of Dennis Kucinich's passion, raised more, but people are starting to peel off the numbing throng to look around and say "Hey, what's going on over there? Everyone's getting heard. I can smell change and - ooh! Corn dogs!" Or something like that.

He made it to $1,000,000. And I helped!

John McCain Are Ig'nant

Let's backtrack to Saturday with a little John McCain, as I'm falling behind on the blogging as of late (I've still got to get last week's Dem notes up, sheesh!) I know, get on the stick.

While he did later qualify his political gaffe with "I would vote for a Muslim if he or she was the candidate best able to lead the country and to defend our political values," he clearly stated that "...I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith" and that Christianity is "an important part of our qualifications to lead."

I see Obama catch flack for spending a couple years of his childhood in a Muslim country and Romney being singled out as Mormon; I understand that if a Muslim were to run for president, he'd probably be assassinated by the Religious Right, but that doesn't mean a Muslim is automatically disqualified solely by religion. And anyone who would say such is illuminating their ignorance of America, like saying it's acceptable to give up rights to preserve America when without those rights we lose the core and heart of what makes us America.

Can I get some good sense?
"That kind of attitude goes against the American tradition of religious pluralism and inclusion," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Thank you. At least someone remembers what we're supposed to be about.

But the real gem? Read it and weep:
"I admire the Islam. There's a lot of good principles in it,...."
I spent one year teaching 10th and 12th grade English. This level of linguistic acumen is representative of some of the worst case scenarios in writing and/or speech.

At least he's not running for president. Oh, shit. Wait.