Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

So I wrote about the photo w/ caption AFP released where it was claimed an Iraqi woman was holding “two bullets which hit her house following an early coalition forces raid”. Many, many, many people called bullshit on this photo and its caption. Mainly because the photo’s caption was in fact, complete bullshit (even though some commenters on this site thought the AFP caption was nothing more than darn good reporting).

In an effort to help AFP be a little more accurate with future reporting involvin firearms and ammo, The Dissident Frogman has released an educational video, done in full terrorist mime effect, for the AFP. DF calls the video “Cartridge vs Bullet”, but It’s Internet name is quickly becoming ‘Shooty. No Shooty’.

You can watch the YouTube version right here:

or (my recommendation) go watch the original video at the source. (Be sure to keep watching. The credits are humorous and the outtakes after the credits are even better).

070830opusakbar-x.gif

Opus Akbar by Cox & Forkum

Washington Post, Other Newspapers Won’t Run ‘Opus’ Cartoon Mocking Radical Islam

The Washington Post and several other newspapers around the country did not run Sunday’s installment of Berkeley Breathed’s “Opus,” in which the spiritual fad-seeking character Lola Granola appears in a headscarf and explains to her boyfriend, Steve, why she wants to become a radical Islamist.

Isn’t the Opus Cartoon That the Washington Post Refused to Run Quite Tame?

The Post is of course entitled to run or not run whatever cartoons it prefers. Still, we’re equally entitled to discuss and, when sensible, criticize its editorial judgment. And it seems to be an odd judgment here. An Editor & Publisher column reports that managers at the Washington Post Writers Group give two possible reasons: “a sex joke a little stronger than we normally see” and that some papers “won’t publish any Muslim-related humor, whether pro or con.” Yet the sex joke seems quite tame — as best I can tell, it’s that Steve Dallas “won’t be getting” sex from the girlfriend who converted to being a “radical Islamist.” And the reference to Islam seems quite tame, too.

Seems pretty tame to me. Judge for yourself. The ‘offending’ strip can be seen right here.

Hyper sensitive political correctness. Then again, its not like recent history hasn’t given them a reason to be wary. Its just disappointing that they capitulated so easily.

Related entries:
Cartoon Wars
Cartoon Wars II
Origins of a Fake Muhammed Cartoon
Toonophobia

In my del.icio.us post yesterday, I had a link to the story over at Little Green Footballs detailing the false caption that AFP released with one of its photos. Below is a screenshot of the photo along with the original caption:

afplie01.jpg

If you can’t make it out, the caption reads:

AFP/Yahoo!News Caption: Tuesday August 14, 2007: An elderly Iraqi woman shows two bullets which she says hit her house following an early coalition forces raid in the predominantly Shiite Baghdad suburb of Sadr City. At least 175 people were slaughtered on Tuesday and more than 200 wounded when four suicide truck bombs targeted people from an ancient religious sect in northern Iraq, officials said.(AFP/Wissam al-Okaili)

I emphasize: two bullets which hit her house following an early coalition forces raid

Anyone who has even the slightest knowledge about firearms can see that those are unfired rounds. The only way they ‘hit’ her house is if they fell from the sky or someone threw them. So what we have here is a photographer in a war zone who either has absolutely no idea on how firearms function (knowledge which I consider a prerequisite if you’re going to be in a combat zone) OR who wants to run with the story ‘Americans shoot at little old ladies’.

As you might have noticed, this picture caused quite an uproar yesterday. So much so that the original was removed. A little bit a searching and copy of the image was found over at Getty Images. This one bears a ‘corrected’ caption. However, as Ace of Spades HQ points out, the correction is not a 100% correction. Here’s the new caption:

CORRECTS BULLETS TO UNSPENT An elderly Iraqi woman holds up two unspent bullets at her house following an early coalition forces raid in the predominantly Shiite Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, 14 August 2007. US and Iraqi troops carried out massive assaults against Shiite militants, killing four in Baghdad’s volatile slum of Sadr City, and arresting several more across Iraq, the military said today. AFP PHOTO / WISSAM AL-OKAILI (Photo credit should read WISSAM AL-OKAILI/AFP/Getty Images)

As Ace states:

Ummm… that’s not all that was corrected, AFP. The old caption said those bullets hit her house.

Now that you acknowledge they were never fired, of course you admit they could not have hit their house.

Funny how you just omitted that part without actually acknowledging your error there.

Why not just let that caption remain? The woman claimed these obviously-unfired cartridges hit her house. Why protect a liar from being exposed?

Unless, of course, you have a some interest in protecting a liar.

The woman claimed these unfired bullets hit her house. That is what she claimed, and that fact — the fact of her making that claim — remains true, unless the photograher simply made that up.

If the photographer made it up, he should be fired and AFP should admit this.

Is there any wonder why peoples confidence in the press is at an all time low?

Want yet another example of a frivolous lawsuit in America? Here ya go:

Man says hold the cheese, claims McDonald’s didn’t, sues for $10 million

A Morgantown man, his mother and his friend are suing McDonald’s for $10 million.

The man says he bit into a hamburger and had a severe allergic reaction to the cheese melted on it.

Ok. The Morgantown man had an allergic reaction and is suing McDonalds. But why are the Mom and friend a part of this?

His mother Trela Jackson and friend Andrew Ellifritz are parties to the lawsuit because they say they risked their lives rushing Jeromy to United Hospital Center in Clarksburg.

(emphasis mine)

Oh! well OBVIOUSLY! How could I be so remiss?

But what I still don’t understand… how could he not see that he was eating cheese? I mean its been quite a while since I’ve had a McDonalds burger, but they never failed to deliver one that had a majority of its cheese stuck to the wrapper and not on the actual burger.

“By my count, he took at least five independent steps to make sure that thing had no cheese on it,” Houston said. “And it did and almost cost him his life.”

Five independent steps. Five. Just ignore the fact that he missed the most obvious step of lifting the bun and looking (No really. I’m not kidding. Read the story). But of course this is McDonalds fault. Because God forbid we should expect anyone in this country to actually take responsibility for themselves.

Here’s the bottom line folks. If you are allergic to something… especially something that may kill you if you eat it, then it is your responsibility to LOOK at your food before you eat it. This isn’t a package on the shelf that said ‘This product contains no cheese’, this was an item that was fully open to inspection.

One final note: has the man never watched Lethal Weapon? “They f*ck you in the drive-through!”

We just want the smear.

Back in October of 2006, I wrote two entries about a photoshopped picture. Someone took some pictures of a girl in a bikini off of a couple of websites and modified them to look like Michelle Malkin. The links to these two entries are:

Future women leaders of America: Beware of Photoshop
(Entry contains link to story written by the woman who’s images were ‘stolen’).

A followup to the previous story
(Entry contains original image and the photoshopped image).

I never paid much attention to the traffic on those entries or the image until recently. While browsing through the site traffic statistics, I noticed a large amount of traffic going not to the Malkin articles, but directly to the photoshopped image itself. So… on 7-18-07 I changed the image I was hosting to the one below. As you can see, I added the ‘It’s not real. It’s Photoshopped’.

Within two days, traffic to that image dropped 80%. Within a week, the traffic levels was identical to the rest of the site.

Sorry to spoil your fun.

Ok. Got it.

Just been reading a few articles on the proposed ban on all plastic bags for Annapolis, Md.

Alderman seeks to ban bags

Annapolis’ proposed plastic bag ban sparks controversy

I only ask the above question since I just happened to work as a bag boy in a grocery store (Safeway) in the early 80’s. Thats when the push was on to replace bad for the environment because they killed trees paper bags with good for the environment because they save trees plastic bags.

Now the push is on to replace bad for the environment because some of them kill animals plastic bags with good for the environment because they don’t kill animals paper bags.

I wonder how many years it’ll take before it switches back again?

And yes, I know… a lot of people are pushing for things like reusable canvas bags. Thats all well and good… until someone figures out a way to bitch about THEM because they’re bad for the environment somehow. Or they put bag making employees out of work. Or the dyes used on them cause eye cancer. Or they come alive in the middle of the night and eat kittens. Or maybe they’re made by sweatshop employees?

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

Exposed: ‘I’m not an ethical bag’

The designer shopping bag aimed at promoting green awareness was made using cheap labour in China, the Standard reveals today.

I’ve said it a thousand times. No matter what you do, you just can’t win.

Teens face sex-crime charges for slapping classmates on the butt

Two 13-year-old boys from Oregon were charged with felony sex abuse — later downgraded to misdemeanor counts of sex abuse and harassment — after they swatted female classmates on the buttocks while running back to class after lunch earlier this year.

According to the felony complaint, each boy was accused of subjecting the girls to “sexual contact by touching a sexual or intimate part” of the body “by means of forcible compulsion.” If convicted, The Oregonian says the middle-school students face up to 10 years in juvenile jail and will be forced to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

Family says I-4 rage led to mooning

A family driving west on Interstate 4 in a silver Mercedes-Benz on Sunday evening made the men in the black Chevrolet Tahoe mad.

The Mercedes had cut them off, the Tahoe’s driver later told a Seminole County deputy, so front-seat passenger John Thomas Taylor dropped his pants and mooned the family, including their 14-year-old son, according to a Sheriff’s Office report.

Taylor, 21, was arrested and hauled to jail, accused of committing a lewd and lascivious act in the presence of a child younger than 16.

If convicted of the charge alleged by the Sheriff’s Office, Taylor could face up to 15 years in prison and forever be identified as a sex offender.

Meanwhile, someone charged with a serious and real sex crime is allowed to walk free.

Prosecutor Appeals After Judge Drops Rape Charges Against Liberian Over Lack of Interpreter

The prosecutor in the case of a Liberian native charged with repeatedly raping and molesting a 7-year-old girl said Monday that he is filing an appeal of a controversial judge’s ruling that dismissed all charges because an interpreter who spoke the suspect’s rare West African dialect could not be found.

Never mind the fact that the man who supposedly only speaks a ‘rare West African dialect’ was able to speak english well enough to attend High School and Community College here.

Savage ruled on July 17 that Mahamu Kanneh, a Liberian who received asylum in the U.S. and attended high school and community college here, was denied a speedy trial after three years awaiting a court-appointed interpreter who could speak the tribal language of Vai. Linguists estimate that only 100,000 people speak Vai.

Another article on the same story:

Child Rape Suspect Considered ‘Free Man,’ Local Authorities Say

Mahamu Kanneh, 23, was indicted in December 2004 on nine counts of rape, sex abuse and child abuse related to allegations involving Kanneh’s two nieces — one 7 at the time, and the other 18 months old.

Indicted on NINE counts of rape, sex abuse and child abuse on a 7 year old and 18 month old…. but he’s free to go. Show or smack a butt and you’re toast.

Another problem with these trumped up ‘sex offender’ charges… they water down the true meaning of sex offender. You check the list and find someone in your area. The lists don’t give detail of what happened, just the ‘crime’ they where convicted of. So you find someone convicted of ‘sexual contact by forcible compulsion’ or ‘lewd and lascivious act in the presence of a child younger than 16′. Did they actually commit a serious sex crime? Or did they moon somebody? Maybe they smacked someone on the butt when they were 13. Doesn’t really matter since they guy Indicted with child rape ISN’T EVEN ON THE LIST. Makes the sex offender lists pretty damn useless.

Stumbled across this article in the York Dispatch last night:

State funding could get Rabbit Transit a run into Maryland

A plan to connect public transportation systems between York and Baltimore could be up and running within a year, now that the state government has resolved funding issues for Pennsylvania mass transit.

Rabbit Transit had shown interest last year in a commuter bus service connecting York County with Baltimore’s light rail, but shelved the idea while facing substantial service cuts and fare increases to its local service routes.

I love the idea of Mass Transportation in I-83 between York and Baltimore. I would make use of it, only driving my own vehicle when I knew I had to make trips to Lowes/Home Depot/Sears/etc. It would not only save me on gas, but would also get me home earlier. Right now, I usually don’t leave the office until I can see that the rush hour traffic on 83 has died down. I seem to be getting home later and later as a result. Right now my average time is 6:30p. I do this since I can’t stand sitting in traffic while driving. Put me on a bus with a book, a game on the DS or a video playing on the Treo and I could care less about the traffic. But as usual, you get bureaucrats involved and they made idiotic decisions which screw everything up. The article briefly mentions it but doesn’t go into much detail; The plan they are pushing for is a non-stop route from York to the Timonium light rail line. This route knocks me out of the loop.

The fact of the matter is that the PA townships of Glen Rock, Stewartstown, Shresbury and New Freedom, as well as the MD areas of Maryland Line, Parkton, Freeland (and others) are fairly large bedroom communities for people who work in Hunt Valley and Timonium area businesses. Not having a stop near the PA/MD line makes no sense. These are the people who would make the most use of public transportation on 83. It seems to me the ideal line to start with would be from Glen Rock to Maryland Line then on to Hunt Valley and Timonium. Without at least a stop in the area of Maryland Line, you’re losing the majority of commuters who would use the service.

Stumbled across this entry on Daily Kos today:

London Bomb–What a Crock of Crap!!

Its funny…. if an attack manages to be successful, they’ll scream it’s because of the incompetence of BushHitlerMcChimpyCo OR it was an inside job.

If an attack fails or is stopped, its just FUD from BushHitlerMcChimpyCo to scare us into submission.

Remember boys and girls. There is no terrorist threat. At least Michael Moore says so. Rosie says that there may be terrorists, but its ok, they’re ‘Mothers and Fathers‘.

I can only imagine what they would say if it was announced that we arrest 19 (possibly 20) terrorists (that don’t really exist) who where planning on hijaking 4 airliners and crashing them into buildings. Oh buy the way, we picked up a couple of these devout muslim terrorists hanging out in a nudie bar shortly before the attacks where scheduled to take place.

Lots of discussion out there about raising the CAFE standards. Some relatively resonable (low 30’s range), some unreasonable (low to mid 50’s). The discussion seems to be centered around safety concerns with vehicles modified (mainly made lighter) to meat new standards. Not a whole lot of conversation on what the higher standards will really do to a taxpayers pocket.

For the moment, lets ignore the increased up front costs of the vehicles that would be designed to meet the CAFE numbers. Lets focus on the more ‘hidden’ costs. Taxes.

Prediction 1 (this ones a no brainer):
Increased mileage means less gasoline purchased. Less gasoline purchased means less gasoline tax collected, less gasoline tax collected means increasing the gasoline taxes to ‘recover lost revenue’ (for the government, not you. Screw your revenue).

Prediction 2:
This will also be a foot in the door that will be used to introduce a type of GPS tracked mileage tax. Doesn’t matter what happens, this ones coming. If higher gas prices cause people to drive less (and buy less gasoline as a result), they (Government) will need the extra tax revenue to make up for ‘lost’ gas tax revenue. If higher fuel effeceincy causes people to drive more (hey! I get 50 miles to the gallon, roadtrip!), they (Government) will call for this mileage tax to ‘modify’ cosumer behavior and ‘protect the environment’.

I say #1 is a no brainer since we’ve already seen several municipalities and a couple states raise gas taxes (or threaten to) using fuel efficient prius’ and other hybrids as an excuse. Government can never be expected to make do with less. Just us.

Just happened to stumble upon the results of a recent ‘poll’ from Newsweek this morning:

NEWSWEEK Poll
June 23, 2007: Conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

Please note the statement CORRECT ANSWER IS IN BOLD at the top of the poll.

So… why idiotic? Lets start with question #12: When did the Korean War officially end? You’ll note that Newsweek states that the correct answer is ‘Did it ever end?‘. Um… what? Yes, the Korean war ended. It ‘officially’ ended in July, 1953 with a cease-fire.

Next up, question #5: From what you know about the situation, do you think the United States is losing the fight against al-Qaeda or radical Islamic terrorism?. Newsweek states that the correct answer is ‘No.‘. I’m sorry, but how can there be a ‘correct’ answer to that question? You can’t say any answer to a questions that contains ‘do you think’ is correct. It’s what the person thinks.

Lets move on to question #22: Which of the following does NOT contribute to global warming?. Correct answer, according to Newsweek at least, is ‘Greater output from the sun.‘. So Newsweek says increased sunspot activity has nothing to do with the temperature of the Earth. Then again, that all depends on the scientists you talk to.

And finally, remember this entry where I pointed out a reporter deviating from his story just to throw in an irrelevant fact about Al Gore? Question #4: Which of the following do Andrew Jackson and Al Gore have in common?. Answer- ‘Both lose a presidential election after winning the most popular votes.‘. It’s getting pretty sad actually.

You know, I really did my best to just ignore this whole damn thing. I didn’t want to hear about it, I didn’t want to read about it and I sure as hell didn’t want to write about it. But I just can’t ignore it anymore. I can’t for the plain and simple fact that my oldest daughter is now old enough that she pays attention to these…. hell, I can’t even think of a word to describe the Paris Hilton’s, Brittney Spear’s and Lindsy Lohan’s out there. Whats a word for alchoholic, drug addicted, anorexic, common street whore?

Especially Lindsy Lohan. The daughter loves Lindsy Lohan. So I’ve spent time every day for nearly the past two weeks showing her pictures from the news: See what she’s wearing? See her puking in the street? See her wrecked car? See her passed out drunk, UNDERAGE, in the car? Lindsy Lohan is not a role model for you. She is not the type of person you want to be.

And you know one of the worst parts of this whole thing? Paris Hilton has caused a chain of events that resulted in me actually agreeing with Al Sharpton.

Outrage: Sharpton Bashes Paris Transfer

Though I have nothing but empathy for Ms. Hilton whom I have met and appeared with on Saturday Night Live the night I hosted in 2003, this early release gives all of the appearances of economic and racial favoritism that is constantly cited by poor people and people of color. There are any number of cases of people who handle being incarcerated badly and even have health conditions that are not released.

I have served several sentences for civil rights and civil disobedience actions and I even fasted which caused health concerns to prison authorities who paid for a doctor to come see me daily rather than release me. This act smacks of the double standards that many of us raise

THREE DAYS IN JAIL AND SHE’S OUT BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T LIKE THE FOOD?!! Is THAT all it takes? Overcrowding is solved! Our jails will be empty within a week!

edit: Ok, so now its an ‘Unspecified Medical Condition’. If it’s anything but terminal cancer, who cares?! She’s not being released to a Hospital, she’s going home!

edit2: replaced Drudge Report link with more permanent story link at People. Quote is from Drudge link.

Scene: Last week at the boys baseball game. In a rush to get to the game, I left my camping chairs in the driveway and was stuck sitting on the bleachers with the ‘chattering moms’ (the women who never watch the game and never shut up talking about everything but the game).

Characters: Three chattering moms (one of which just happens to be the Smucker’s Uncrustables Mom from a previous entry).

I was doing my best to ignore them and their incessant yammering, but that was nearly impossible since they were right in front of me. Various tidbits that did float out included ‘Gas Prices’, ‘Asthma’, ‘Hyperactive Disorder’, ‘Al Gore’s Movie’, ‘Poison Toothpaste’, ‘Gas Prices’ (yes, again) and… of course, ‘Global Warming’ (I ask that you pay particular attention to the gas prices, Al Gore and global warming references). We were sitting on the bleachers in jackets and blankets. Its pretty much been that way the entire season. Actuall, it wasn’t until just last night that the weather during a game wasn’t so cold and windy that we didn’t need jackets. One woman floated the theory that its been so cold lately because the ice caps were melting and creating the cold air. But I digress…

They finally started talking about a subject that peaked my interest. Apparently a 2nd grade class from a local school had a field trip scheduled the next day. Two of the three had a kid in that 2nd grade class. The trip was to see a play at Goucher College in Towson, MD. From Southern York County in PA, this is a solid 40 minute trip (one way).

The following conversation is paraphrased, but is as accurate as I can remember (all of my contributions, for once, are strictly in my head):

Mom1: Are you letting kid2 go on the trip?
Mom2: Yeah, we were worried since it was such a long trip, but we’re letting him go.
Mom1: So he’s taking the bus?
Mom2: Oh no! Thats much too long of a trip for him in the bus! I’m going to drive him down myself.
Me: ‘Wait… what?’
Mom1: I know what you mean! kid1 is afraid of the bus and I don’t like him being on one for such a long trip. It just doesn’t seem safe.
Me: ‘What?!’
Mom3: Are there four bases now? I thought there were three?
Mom2: Oh… but I thought kid1 was going?
Mom1: Oh he is, we’re driving him down also.
Me: ‘****’
(that wasn’t actually a thought… that was the wife elbowing me in the side. I don’t know how she caught on that I was following this conversation, but she knew when I was about to say something. She knows me too well).

I could go on… but you get the gist of the conversation. I later found out that both of these women drive their kids to school each and every day. One because their kids are ‘afraid’ of the bus, the other because it gives them more time to get ready in the morning before school (they don’t have to ‘race’ out to met the bus).

So lets recap. Complaing about gas prices, global warming and melting ice caps. Talking about how much they like Al Gore’s movie. Then without batting an eye, talking about how they will each skip the bus and be driving their kids to a school event 40 minutes away (not to mention skipping the bus every other day during the school year). Woohoo! Burn that gas! Prices and Al Gore be damned! Did it ever even dawn on them that they could, at the very least, carpool it? Of course, lets not forget the assumption that Mom driven minivans are safer than schoolbuses. These women make no damned sense to me at all.

Flags replaced with swastikas in Wash.

Vandals burned dozens of small American flags that decorated veterans’ graves for Memorial Day and replaced many of them with hand-drawn swastikas, authorities said Monday.

Forty-six flag standards were found empty and another 33 flags were in charred tatters Sunday in the cemetery, authorities said. Swastikas drawn on paper appeared where 14 of the flags had been.

Ok… this is addressed to the morons who did this:

Hi. You’re morons. It can safely be assumed that you meant to replace the American flags with Nazi Swaztikas. You didn’t. This is what a Nazi swaztika looks like:



This is what you drew:



Notice anything different?

What you drew is actually an ancient good luck symbol and is used my many religions as a positive symbol. You need to tilt it 45d to get the Nazi connotation.

Swastika (Wikipedia)

You remind me of this person:



Peace! Love! and uh…. Mercedes!

Back in early April I was researching material on mass graves that had been discovered in Iraq. During this I came across an entry which seemed to fit under wikipedia’s ‘vandalization’ policy. The changes that had been made to this page caused me to sign up for a wikipedia account so that I could roll back the ‘changes’ that had been made.

Original text:

Tony Blair has stated ‘We’ve already discovered, just so far, the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves.’ (11/03) The actual number of corpses found is closer to 5 to 10 thousand.

Vandalized text:

Tony Blair has stated ‘We’ve already discovered, just so far, the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves.’ (11/03) The actual number of corpses found is closer to 5.

Original text:

It should be noted that the conditions in which individuals died varies from site to site. The people that were buried in these graves are believed to have been members of the Kurdish population which was in support of Iranian occupancy of Iraq at the time of their death (circa 1980’s). The legitimacy of claims of atrocity are debateable for this reason. The distinction between those who have died in military style combat or executed under the direction of a lawful court and buried disrespectfully, and those who have been victims of genocide, ethnic cleansing or otherwise murdered innocently and buried efficiently is a bright line; mass burial should not be assumed to be evidence of criminal activity. Victims of chemical weapons are unknown.

Vandalized text:

It should be noted that the conditions in which individuals died varies from site to site. The people that were buried in these graves are believed to have been members of the Kurdish population which was in support of Iranian occupancy of Iraq at the time of their death (circa 1980’s) and who deserved to die in the hands of patriotic Sunni Arabs of Iraq. The legitimacy of claims of atrocity are debateable for this reason, since Sunni Arabs are too honorable to do any such things. The distinction between those who have died in military style combat or executed under the direction of a lawful court of President Saddam Hussein, although buried disrespectfully, and those who have been victims of genocide, ethnic cleansing or otherwise murdered innocently and buried efficiently is a bright line; mass burial should not be assumed to be evidence of criminal activity. These Shia and Kurds were traitors to Iraq and were fairly tried and executed by the patriot Arab Sunnis for their crimes, although the burial was not always respectful. Victims of chemical weapons are unknown, and they too were traitor Kurds and deserved the punishment by the patriotic Saddam government.

emphasis shows added/changed text in vandalized versions.

I don’t agree with the statements of the original text but it is obviously nowhere near the level of absurdity contained in the modified text.

Google (National Review Online)

It’s kind of sad. They change their homepage logo for all sorts of holidays and occasions. Just last week they paid tribute to Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthday. But Memorial Day doesn’t seem to rate anything at all.

May 29, 2006 (Instapundit)

It’s not a huge deal, but judging from my email it seems to be the last straw for a lot of people, coming after the China censorship deal, etc. As I warned earlier, Google seems to be engaged in a Dell-like squandering of its goodwill, which strikes me as very unwise given that goodwill is its biggest asset, really.

Some things that do rate for Google: Edvard Munch’s Birthday, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Birthday, Persian New Year, Birthday of Percival Lowell, Birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Louis Braille’s Birthday, World Water Day, Bloomsday, Venus Transit…. you get the idea.

Holiday Logos and Events — Google style!

And remember kids! Do No Evil! (just ignore that whole China thing please… ok? Thanks.)

I was complaining recently about cancelled television shows and the general low quality of available network television. We are becoming (well actually, we already have become) a wasteland of ‘reality’ TV, brainless ‘men/dads are idiots’ sitcoms and CSI/ER shows.

Not very long after my post about the cancelled show ‘Drive’, I discovered that the show Jericho had been cancelled as well. I came late to the game on Jericho. I tend to avoid network shows nowadays (for exactly the reasons I’m dicussing here) but I heard good things from several people and started downloading the show via bittorrent. The show had an intriguing plotline and quickly caught my interest.

Then it disappeared.

The torrents stopped showing up on a weekly basis. Why? CBS decided a mid-season ‘hiatus’ would be a good idea for the show. 12 weeks of nothing, not even reruns, for the viewers of the show. Suprisingly enough, when the show did come back on the air, the viewers didn’t. CBS annouced the cancellation of the show citing poor viewership after the ‘break’. Ya’ think? I’m not even sure they advertised its return. If they did, I never saw anything about it (then again, its not like I spend a lot of time watching CBS to begin with). The only reason I knew it was back was when a new torrent for the show suddently popped up in my download queue. Funny thing is that the break was so long, the first show when it came back was a ‘special’ explaining everything that happened up until that point. When you feel you have to rehash a show to its veiwers, thats a sign that you’ve had it off the air for too long.

But the ‘break’ wasn’t the worse part. The worse part was the absolute arrogance (and idiocy) displayed by CBS execs in response to fan outrage at the cancellation of the show. iFilm.com posted the letter from Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President of Programming Operations. The last sentence is just a gem:

We always feel that a show must carry its audience regardless of breaks or temporary periods within the transmission season.

He conveniently leaves out the fact that when they brought the show back (with little to no advertising) they brought it back in a different timeslot. One that just happened to be opposite of American Idol. They also neglect to mention that they kicked the fans in the nuts by cancelling the show after a cliffhanger season ending. But ignoring those, this letter goes back to the theme of my message about the cancellation of ‘Drive’. The networks expect you to be their bitch. To watch what they say, WHEN they say. Your preferences don’t matter to them (CBS has stated previously that they don’t count Tivo viewers as actual viewers. If you’re not live, you don’t matter to them). You need to follow their programming no matter what.

Wrong. It doesn’t work that way anymore. Try to figure that out as you also try to figure out why cable networks are kicking your ass across the room. What CBS did (and its not just CBS that pulls this crap) is akin to somebody running a restaurant, closing it down for three months then moving to a new location with different hours… all while not actually telling anybody about the move then blaming the previous regular customers when it goes out of business.

There’s times I wonder if you have to fail an IQ test in order to become a network television executive.

[tags]Jericho, CBS[/tags]

Mid-day Sunday (5-20) the sites Reddit and Digg both had the same story link with identical headlines in the number one slot.

Bush Declares Himself Dictator During Catastrophic Emergency.

This of course fired up the anti-bush comment machine at both sites. Quite a few people acted like the hysterically described government policies were all new inventions of the Bush Administration. Others bounced around yelling ‘see! 9-11 was an inside job!’. After a while, more reasonable comments started to appear and the stories fell off the front pages of both sites. I actually commented on the reddit story. It was fun to watch my comment bob around in the ratings. Up and down as different waves of users made it to the story. The high point was somewhere around 15, low point 0 and it ended up settling at 6.

Reddit link.

Digg link.

They both pointed to this story at roguegovernment.com.

The Bush administration has released a directive called the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive. The directive released on May 9th, 2007 has gone almost unnoticed by the mainstream and alternative media. This is understandable considering the huge Ron Paul and immigration news but this story is equally as huge. In this directive, Bush declares that in the event of a “Catastrophic Emergency” the President will be entrusted with leading the activities to ensure constitutional government. The language in this directive would in effect make the President a dictator in the case of such an emergency.

(Of course it’s worth mentioning that roguegovernment.com has brought us other gems like ‘Robots Could Enforce Futuristic Police State’, but lets just ignore that for now)

Three links to look at (all wikipedia):

Martial Law (Military Rule).

Continuity of Operations Plan

A Continuity of Operations Plan (or Continuity of Government Plan) has been a part of government operations since at least the Cold War, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower provided by executive order various measures which were supposed to ensure that the government of the United States would be able to continue in case of nuclear war. For many years these plans were kept tightly under wraps, partly out of fear that detailed knowledge of these plans would enable the Soviet Union to more effectively launch a nuclear attack and partly out of fear of the public panic that would no doubt follow a revelation that their government was busily planning for post-apocalyptic survival. These plans were considered less important after the end of the Cold War but regained some prominence after the September 11, 2001 attacks, when fears arose that terrorists could destroy significant parts of the government in a short space of time.

The secret nature of these plans have since created a host of conspiracy theories on the supposed “true agenda” of the Continuity of Operations program. Much of the government’s plans for post-nuclear war survival remain secret, and some of the measures that are known are controversial.

Posse Comitatus Act

Existing laws, including Title 10, Chapter 15 (commonly known as The Insurrection Act), and The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Title 42, Chapter 68), grant the President broad powers that may be invoked in the event of domestic emergencies, including an attack against the Nation using weapons of mass destruction, and these laws specifically authorize the President to use the Armed Forces to help restore public order.

(side note: wikipedia is hardly a completely accurate, unbiased source of information but for the purposes of this story, it’ll do).

I’m not going to get into a discussion about the validity of any administration’s meddling in Posse Comitatus (though I have stated before that, for the most part, it’s a bad idea). I just think its funny that quite a few administrations have made changes to these acts (Truman, Carter, Reagan, H. W. Bush, Clinton are just a few examples), yet George W. rustles some papers and its DICTATOR!

Lets try modifying that headline a bit:

Carter/Reagan/Clinton Declares Himself Dictator During Catastrophic Emergency.

All sound pretty ridiculous don’t they? But Dictator Bush? Thats front page news at reddit and digg.

I’d just like to say I’m getting tired of all this Fred Thompson hype. Sh*t or get off the pot.

And thats all I have to say about that.

You know, this whole thing is so idiotic I’m almost left speechless. Almost.

Why We Banned Legos
Exploring power, ownership, and equity in an early childhood classroom

Children dug through hefty-sized bins of Legos, sought “cool pieces,” and bartered and exchanged until they established a collection of homes, shops, public facilities, and community meeting places. We carefully protected Legotown from errant balls and jump ropes, and watched it grow day by day.

After nearly two months of observing the children’s Legotown construction, we decided to ban the Legos.

We met as a teaching staff later that day. We saw the decimation of Lego-town as an opportunity to launch a critical evaluation of Legotown and the inequities of private ownership and hierarchical authority on which it was founded. Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation. We knew that the examination would have the most impact if it was based in engaged exploration and reflection rather than in lots of talking. We didn’t want simply to step in as teachers with a new set of rules about how the children could use Legos, exchanging one set of authoritarian rules with another. Ann suggested removing the Legos from the classroom. This bold decision would demonstrate our discomfort with the issues we saw at play in Legotown. And it posed a challenge to the children: How might we create a “community of fairness” about Legos?

Blah blah blah blah blah blah BLAH! It goes on and like this throughout the article.Its actually quite painful to read at times and to be honest, quite difficult to believe at times as well:

And we visited Pike Place Market, the farmers and artisans market in downtown Seattle, and asked questions to provoke kids to think about ownership: Does a farmer own her produce? Or does the consumer own it?

Huh? They have these kids two hours a day and they’re doing field trips?

I was going to rip on a few more things in this article, but I just can’t stand it. I want to close the browser window its in and be done with it. I’ll wrap up with this; A description of the school given in the article:

he children, ages 5 through 9, come to Hilltop after their days in elementary school, arriving around 3:30 and staying until 5:30 or 6:00. Hilltop is located in an affluent Seattle neighborhood, and, with only a few exceptions, the staff and families are white; the families are upper-middle class and socially liberal.

So they teach these 8 year olds some pretty hard core socialist theories (including class power stuggles) and then send them home to their white, affluent, upper middle-class lives. But hey, its ok! Their parents are socially liberal! I’m sure their parents drive them home to their mini-mansions in the same model/color/year Land Rover and every other parent. And I’m sure that, just like lego-town, all the mini mansions are ‘public structures’ and they’re all ‘standard sizes’. No parent in this socially liberal neighborhood would ever stoop to playing ‘keep up with the joneses’. No way. They live in a ‘community of fairness’.

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