Friday, June 15, 2007

Free Genarlow Wilson

Demand Attorney General Thurbert Baker drop his appeal.

Genarlow Wilson remains in prison for a victimless crime: participating in consensual oral sex with a 15 year old when he was 17. After a Superior Court Judge voided his conviction on Monday, Georgia State Attorney General Thurbert Baker appealed the ruling over the outcry of thousands of Americans, with no reasonable justification.

Keeping Wilson in prison does nothing to keep Georgia safe. It simply continues the unnecessary destruction of a young man's life. Join us in demanding that Baker withdraw his appeal now.

The inhumanity of some humans has long since ceased to amaze me, but has not numbed me to the sick feeling in my gut every time something like this comes up.

Go to the Free Genarlow Wilson page on the ColorOfChange website and add your voice to the outrage.

Then call/fax:
Thurbert E. Baker
Attorney General
Phone: 404-656-3300
FAX: 404-657-8733

Remember to be professional when voicing your disgust.

China Attacks with Tech Geeks...and Russia?

A little more to feed the Chinese obsession/paranoia. From the Telegraph:
China's People's Liberation Army had established units to develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems and networks, the Pentagon said.
The clearest example so far of cyber conflict came earlier this year when Estonia claimed that state-sponsored Russian hackers had attacked official websites in retaliation for the removal of a Soviet-era monument in its capital, Tallinn.
The Chinese foreign ministry rejected the Pentagon's report as "brutal interference" in internal affairs and insisted that Beijing's military preparations were purely defensive.
So China's planning, Russia's already executed, and they're all buddy-buddy?

Denial of service attack reports pop up from time to time, like military exercises by armed forces. A focused attack by powers outside and daemons inside the country? Well, if a Russian techno-fart could take down secured banking websites in Estonia, I think there's something there to be worried about.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mr. Wizard, 1917-2007

Don Herbert, better known as Mr. Wizard, has passed away. I don't know what to say. Heard this from Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy, Yahoo obit via BA. He popularized science in the 50's and 60's, but I was a child of the 80's and Mr. Wizard's World on Nickelodeon was my bread and butter. It was directly responsible for my love of all things science. If Mr. Wizard had been my college chem teacher, I may have stuck around to become a biochemist.

Mr. Wizard, you will be missed.

I didn't know an 80's television show intro could make me weep:

And yes, you can get it on DVD now. Here's the promo:

Mr. Wizard on (old) Late Night with David Letterman:

...and one more. Mr. Wizard's 1988 Energy Facts PSA:

You can see his official website at

More on China, Big 5 is 6 and Growing...

This is crossposted from my rant at All Things Democrat. I just started writing and researching and came up with too much good information for it not to be here as well. If this is paranoia and not conspiracy, it's mad uncanny.

Let's do a little focusing on China and why they're doing a little bit of scaring the hell out of me. China has a population of 1.3 billion. They have 2.25 million active troops in their People's Liberation Army with over 7 million troops total. They are a nuclear power with a spending limit that is growing by bounds and bounds every time we blink because their trade surplus is skyrocketing, recently bumping $22.5 billion (our trade profile uses the word "deficit"). This has to do with our trade practices (Wal-Mart itself imports 10% of all China's products) and our invariant deafness to still-shady human rights practices when someone's flipping a wad of Bennies in our ear.

China's feeding an already corpulent army with our fatback patronage. Some people are linking this to a history of threatening Taiwan, should they decide to get all batshit crazy and declare formal independence. So what are we doing? Surprisingly, nothing new: we've been Taiwan's primary supplier of arms since 1979; they're asking for more and we're saying they want even more than that.

Looks like we're building our own pickle just so we can be in it.

We're feeding the beast at both ends with complete ignorance about both halves and a blind eye to the military reality of the situation. We don't see the other pieces. China, this growing behemoth, is not just hungry for wealth, but to placate the masses, they must also devour oil. And today they were talking to Iran about becoming oil buddies. You remember Iran, who wants to wipe Israel off the planet? That country that Senator Lieberman (I) would like to attack?

Well, Ahmadinejad in Iran talks to Nicaragua in an "anti-US summit" and has a past of buddying up with Chavez in Venezuela (called Bushy the devil), and we call all three of them "tyrants" (or so say the Turks). Chavez is also deepening ties with North Korea, because they have a budding nuclear program and Chavez wants a piece of world domination. There is an apparent improvement in ties between Iran and North Korea, and they are both being supported by China. Russia and China are now entering their second ten-year period of "strategic partnership," Putin's got ties with Venezuela at "peak level," and last week increased marine ties with Iran were the order of the day. And this was all in the news in the last two weeks.

It appears to me that there is a growing group of malcontents who are only malcontent with us. We don't really like them and they don't really like us; they put up with us because we're big. But they're getting pretty buddy-buddy - carpooling to the office, happy hour on Thursdays - and they're coming into an understanding that if they all got together, they'd be hella-strong, like Voltron on crack. And hey, if the Ro-Beast keeps driving out to the desert every weekend, why not just keep hanging out, growing ties, and pooling resources.

And pretty soon? Well, they just came to the party to drink some oil and kick some ass. And it looks like we're all out of oil.

Kate Chase is right about Russia: there is a larger picture here. It is a web that includes China, Iran, Venezuela, Nicaragua, North Korea. Syria's not entirely out of it either.

Our only hope (besides Obi-Wan Kenobi)? Doughnuts. Yes, doughnuts. The doughnut chains are making it to China. Our best bet is to allow the delicious yet deadly pastries to infiltrate the country and hope fat travels like the clap in a trailer park. Lack of motivation and resolve will follow and they they'll be on par with us and our administration. If only we could make them stupid too...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

VA Abandons Friend, Veteran - Needs Help, Insurance

By now you know that except for the tastiest of intermittent morsels, I don't do much writing about my personal life. The antics and idiocy of our political and religious leaders offers more than enough potato gun fodder for the masses to consider.

However, today I write about a friend of mine, a veteran of the Gulf War. Because of bureaucracy, he may lose his legs. Allow the letter I've written to my members of congress speak for itself:
Dear -----,

A very close friend of mine is a Veteran of the Gulf War. One day soon, he will need to have his legs amputated because Veteran's Affairs has abandoned him under a blanket of bureaucratic nonsense.

David was honorably discharged from Little Creek Amphibious base in 1998. He later married, had a son, and maintained a lucrative union manufacturing job. At the time that he held that position, the rules governing Veteran's eligibility were changing. In order for someone to get medical coverage, they had to register to be grandfathered in. Having excellent union insurance coverage for his family, David did not register. Soon thereafter, he unexpectedly began experiencing back pain. After a few treatments, the doctors said he could not work, and now he takes care of his son full time at home. In a shady move, his insurance company held on to a check until the coverage lapsed, sent it back, and canceled his insurance.

David's back is tolerable right now thanks to the treatments he did receive. However, David is also diabetic. With a house, bills, and insurance for herself and their son, David's wife is barely able to make ends meet. Adding him to her insurance would would be a preexisting condition, and would be excessively expensive because of it. Independent insurance is cost prohibitive. Purchasing any medication without insurance is laughable. Were David to get a job, it would barely be able to cover the cost of daycare for their son. Back to the plant could put him in a wheelchair.

But that's what he's looking at anyway. Without insurance, David cannot afford the testing supplies and medication necessary to control his diabetes. A couple months ago, blood began to pool in his legs due to poor circulation. Amputation is not far down the road. David gets the same answer from the VA: he is not eligible for any coverage because his wife makes too much money. I do not know the math behind this decision, but I do know what his wife makes.

I'm not asking for a handout for my friend;I am asking for his due. David honorably served our country during wartime. He has just about lost hope that anything can be done.

When did we stop taking care of our own?

You can keep a father, a veteran, my friend, your constituent, out of a wheelchair. Won't you?

See letter online (

Thank you for your time.

Ricky Shambles
I am in the unique position as of now to be able to write 4 Senators and three members of congress with residences in two states (FYI, writing a senator or member of congress is sometimes made impossible unless you are a constituent).

As I said in the letter, I'm not looking for a handout. But I am looking for publicity. If you'd like to write your representative about my friend, I'd appreciate it. If you do, please comment about your experience below.

Members of Congress I have written with the above letter:
Senator Elizabeth Dole
Senator Richard Burr
Representative Mel Watt
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator George Voinovich
Representative Jean Schmidt
Representative Dennis Kucinich (c/o relatives)

Thank you all.